Deciding on which vinyl cutting machine to purchase for your business is a potential minefield. How do you get the best vinyl cutter for you when the current market is saturated with a wealth of effective, feature rich and high tech machinery, which begs the question, is it possible to have too much choice? Especially when at the end of the day you just want to get down to business, cut some vinyl and make some money.
It’s hard to know whether to spend a little extra for a few added features that could benefit your workload drastically or save some hard earned pounds on a workhorse with a more basic functionality that’ll get the job done.
As we get to play with these machines daily we start spotting the benefits and disadvantages of each machine. We thought it might help if we were to share our findings and opinions in the form of this blog, separating them into four price categories which will hopefully make your decisions a little less daunting.
Vinyl Cutter on a budget? 48 / 24 / 12 inch options
Features: They are both very affordable machines that are built with a low price point in mind. They are now classed as old technology with their designs being prevalent on the market for a long time now. Unfortunately, as technology has moved on, they are often overlooked as they can’t be updated or upgraded like other more recently manufactured cutters. The optical eye feature for manual contour cutting isn’t very accurate and is actually really quite hard to do. As it’s old technology now, this feature is seen as outdated and we highly recommend to use ARMS (Automatic Registration Mark Sensor / System) if your budget allows for all auto contour cutting duties. This machine is a good fit for smaller jobs but if it’s accuracy, the capacity to complete large complex designs or long accuracy tracking then this probably isn’t the machine for you.
Suitable customers: Starters / beginners with a small budget, craft / hobbyist customers, those looking to learn vinyl cutting procedures and for small to medium size simple design cutting tasks.
Comparable models with other brands: EH is often compared to the PixMax and SK models with many similarities well documented whilst the MH models are comparable to many of the low-cost Chinese made vinyl cutters that are currently widely available. The most popular comparison we get asked is that of the Silhouette Cameo. The Cameo does possess some good features, however, even for the price point at lot more is expected of the level of quality. I couldn’t recommend relying on it for your business needs but could be good enough for the hobbyist.
Economical Vinyl Cutters — 48 / 24 inch Options
Model: SC1261-A/AM, SC631-A/AM
Overview: Solid, upgraded and updated, 1G memory
Overview: Good brand and entry level vinyl cutter
Features: These machines may push your budget up a little but you will get a better quality machine and higher quality results compared to the aforementioned budget cutters. The Liyu SC series cutters have been a pillar of the marketplace and have stood the test of time more than 20 years. It’s no wonder that the “famous” SC series is the most popular cutter plotter in the far east as It has built up an excellent reputation based on solid and stable performances over such a long period of time. We have many customers that have been working with them for over a decade and proudly tell us that it still functions as well as the day they first put it to task.
What’s also worth noting is that the SC is always evolving and updating, never standing still and always putting customer experience above all. The all new SC-A/AM has upgraded to a more advanced technology mother board and system that makes all future updating possible and has also upgraded the internal memory to 1GB. High memory capacity is beneficial when dealing with large and complex designs, however, for smart contour cutting and long accuracy tracking or detailed works, we suggest to choose from the next price tier.
Suitable customers: Small business owners needing reliable, everyday usage. Good for daily t-shirt and sign making vinyl jobs, not advised for those in need of high accuracy on big or detailed complex jobs.
Comparable models with other brands: Graphtec CE Lite-50
After a Pro vinyl cutter? — 48 / 24 / 12 inch Options
Features: Next up is our professional cutters. With these models you will be able to produce complex designs with no need to worry about the quality of the cutting, it’s literally perfect. UK Cutter Smurf series are commonly known as “the smart cutters”, they utilise new technology and have user friendly features like ARMS auto contour cutting, Section cutting for long distance tracking and a high speed, high cutting force. As we mentioned before, Liyu cutters are known for their quality and the TC series seriously reinforce this notion. Incredibly stable cutters with the benefit of ARMS auto contour cutting and 1GB of memory allowing you to repeat tasks easily, saving time and improving workflow.
The TC is remarkably accurate, making it ideal for cutting small lettering. Instead of aligning each registration mark manually, the cutter with ARMS contour cutting will do this automatically. Obviously with this step up in price you can expect to reach a new level of plotter quality, added functionality, higher accuracy, faster, quieter and with a higher pressure. We’re super confident that these machines will easily meet all requirements necessary for the most of our clientele. A solid choice for businesses.
Suitable customers: Designers, Medium sign making and t-shirt printing, Car wrapping businesses, printing and cutting companies.
Comparable models with other brands: Graphtec CE6000, GCC Expert II, Roland CAMM-1 GS-24
Top quality / Industrial cutters – 63 / 48 / 24 inch
Model: DF1261-AF, DF631-AF
Overview: Servo motor, ARMS, Long tracking/Section cutting, very quiet, highest available speed and accuracy
Features: Last but certainly not least are our top level and industrial cutters. If you are looking at a cutter that will last you for a long time and will be depending on to produce great results every time then look no further. Not only are they both blessed with the pioneering ARMS feature, both HSF and DF cutters integrate a servo motor and long distance cutting. What’s a Servo motor I hear you say?
Servo motors cut a lot faster than regular stepping motors but, and very importantly (trust me) it would be near silent doing it whilst at the same time keeping the same precision and quality. This machine is built to last, you can comfortably run it 8 hours a day Monday to Friday without any fear of sending it to an early grave. They still have all the features of the other plotters that we’ve mentioned earlier in this post but you can almost guarantee higher productivity levels as it’s widely acknowledged as the best performing cutter in its class. A great choice for busy businesses with many orders and large sized jobs.
Suitable customers: Professional sign makers, designers, busy car wrapping businesses, Medium / big printing companies who requires highly productive and accurate plotters.
Comparable models with other brands: Graphrec FC8600, GCC Puma IV, GCC Jaguar V, Roland CAMM-1 GR