No matter if you use them for 3D printing, stamping or cutting, all Silhouette machines have something in common. They bring efficiency and quality results to the table. However, that is not everything that a Silhouette unit has to offer. They come with software and extra features that make buyers adore them.
Silhouette machines are adored by DIY enthusiasts and crafters across the globe. And if you are thinking about buying one right now, do not hesitate. They have many units that you can choose from. However, in order to help you pick the best Silhouette machine for you, I will review some of their top-rated units.
- Best Silhouette Machine: 5 Best-Selling Units Compared 2019
- Silhouette Machine Reviews: Top 5 Units You Can Buy in 2019
- What is the Newest Silhouette Machine?
- What is the Best Machine to Make Stencils?
- Do You Need a Computer for Silhouette?
- Is Silhouette Studio Free?
- What Software is Needed for Silhouette Cameo?
- Can You Use a Silhouette Cameo 3 Without a Computer?
- What is the Difference Between Silhouette Cameo 2 and 3?
- Can the Silhouette Cameo 3 Cut Wood? Cut Leather?
- Is the Silhouette Cameo 3 Compatible with Mac?
- Does Cameo 3 Come With a Warranty?
- If the Box Does Not Say “Cameo 3”, Does it Mean That I Got The Old Model?
- Can I Use the Same Dust Cover of Cameo 1 or 2 on Cameo 3?
- Will There Be a Silhouette Cameo 4?
- Cricut vs Silhouette: Which One is Better?
Best Silhouette Machine: 5 Best-Selling Units Compared 2019
Just before I dive into the details of each unit, I wanted to compare their highlighted features. If you go through this comparison chart, you will get an overview of the efficiency, dimensions and other useful information that can help you narrow down your search. After, you can jump to their detailed reviews.
|Silhouette Cameo 3 – Best Silhouette Machine for Vinyl||22.5 x 8.5 x 6||6 pounds||Dual-carriage for multi-tool use included Bluetooth for wireless cutting and higher 2mm clearance to cut thicker materials||Silhouette Studio compatible with Mac and PC||1-year warranty|
|Silhouette Portrait 2 – Best Silhouette Machine for Stickers||18 x 8 x 9||3.53 pounds||50 exclusive digital designs, cut a variety of materials and includes a Mac and PC compatible software||Silhouette Studio compatible with Mac and PC||1-year warranty|
|Silhouette Curio – The Best Silhouette Cutting Machine||17.2 x 5.5 x 7||7.5 pounds||5 mm clearance to cut thicker materials, deep-cut blade, and a powerful Silhouette software||Silhouette Studio compatible with Mac and PC||1-year warranty|
|Silhouette Mint||3.2 x 4.8 x 2.2||11 ounces||You can import any image into Mint Studio to create your stamp and you can turn a photo into an amazingly detailed stamp||Silhouette Studio compatible with Mac and PC||1-year warranty|
|Silhouette Alta – Best Silhouette Machine for Beginners||13 x 13.3 x 24.1||15.55 pounds||High-end unit with a heated bed, fan and other advanced features, easy to use and ideal for newbies||Silhouette Studio compatible with Mac and PC||1-year warranty|
Silhouette Machine Reviews: Top 5 Units You Can Buy in 2019
Finally, I have come to the part with all the juicy details about each product you saw in my comparison chart. Here you will find the pros and cons, and overall performance of these machines. Let’s dive into the most detailed Silhouette machine reviews that you can find online and pick the best model for you.
Silhouette Cameo 3
(Best Silhouette Machine for Vinyl)
I know that a lot of you adore this machine or have heard some great comments about it. However, I will reveal every small detail you need to know before you buy. This workhorse is the ultimate DIY unit with a small blade that can cut over 100 materials including vinyl, cardstock, paper and fabric up to 12’’ wide.
However, that is not all that this cutting machine has to offer. It is PixScan compatible and allows you to register and cut printed pieces. The best part? It has one of the largest cutting space. It is considered as one of the most versatile cutting units. Now, you can use your tablet, phone or PC to make your designs.
Among many highlighted features is the dual-carriage for multi-tool use, two mm clearance to deal with thicker materials, matless cutting ability, barcode scanning feature that is about to be released soon. It also comes with a blade and tools storage compartments and over 100,000 ready-make unique designs.
- 100 digital designs
- Silhouette Studio Software
- A USB cable and a power cable
- 12 inches x 12 inches cutting mat
- Cuts lined up materials up to 10ft long
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Blade adjustment tool
- New auto-adjusting blade
- Vinyl cross cutter
- Extra costs for software upgrade
- Not the strongest cutter (only 210gf)
- You cannot cut balsa wood and thin metal
- Larger and bulkier than the Cameo 2
- Not that precise and accurate cuts
Silhouette Portrait 2
(Best Silhouette Machine for Stickers)
If you want a smaller, compact and lighter version of the powerful Silhouette Cameo electronic unit, I think I have the perfect for you. I am talking about the Silhouette Portrait 2 that connects to your PC, allowing you complete freedom to download countless designs from the online store and cut all fonts.
However, you can also design your custom designs thanks to the powerful software. If you are looking for a powerful DIY unit that will take your skills to the next level or help you develop a successful cutting business, this is the ideal choice for you. It comes with an auto-adjusting blade and a large cutting area.
Now, you can cut over 100 different materials with ease in no time. Some of them include paper, vinyl, cardstock, and fabric up to 12’’ wide. If you are someone who likes multitasking, this machine is perfect for you because it allows you to complete two different tasks in one round thanks to the dual-carriage.
The kicker is that you can make your own designs wirelessly by connecting your smartphone, tablet, and computer with your Portrait 2. Also, do not worry because it is PC and Mac compatible.
Extra accessories include 50 exclusive digital designs. However, it is suggested that you read the user manual before use.
- Cheaper than the Cameo 3
- It cuts long and thick materials
- No internet connection required
- Lightweight, portable and compact
- Bluetooth enables wireless work
- It comes with an auto blade
- Extra costs for software upgrade
- It has the same weak cutter as Cameo 3
- It has no storage compartments for add-ons
- Fewer cutting mats and vinyl options in the correct size
- You cannot cut through the edge of the 8.5-inch paper
- It has a limited cutting width of 8 inches
To be honest, this one is my favorite. It comes with advanced features and impressive functions that will blow your mind. The best part? It offers 3 types of embossing methods including score and emboss, path and emboss and print and emboss. Now, you to cut thicker material thanks to the deep cut blade easily.
Can you believe that this baby can cut up to 2 mm thick pieces? However, it boosts 5mm clearance. It is perfect for feeding thicker pieces. You get to use the Silhouette software and online store but here is the kicker. This is the only unit that can unlock the stripping, etching, embossing, and dual carriage features.
If you are looking for a hobby unit that will perfectly blend with your other Silhouette cutting machines, this is the best fit. Just connect this tool to your Mac or PC with a USB cable and install the free software. That is it. This is all you have to do in order to make your new masterpiece. It is ideal for DIY enthusiasts.
If you wonder what you can do with it, I will name a few things that will spark your interest in buying this machine. You can make nicely etched metal. However, remember that the etching/stripping tool can be bought separately. You can also embellish metals & foils with original stipple patterns. Sketching multi-color designs is extremely easy, as well as cutting & sketching fonts that are already on your computer.
However, just like any other product on the market, Curio has its pros and cons. So, let’s summarize the most important advantages and disadvantages of this cutting machine before you make a final decision.
- It saves you time and cash
- Flexible, compact and portable
- It can handle different materials
- Highly functional but lightweight
- Built-in storage and dual carriage
- It cuts thicker materials easily
- It has a limited cutting capacity
- Not the best choice for beginners
- The cutting mat is easy to damage
- Extra costs for software upgrade
- Extra costs for accessories
Next, I want to introduce to you the Silhouette Mint. It is a specialized unit for making stamps thanks to the thermal printing abilities that end in 3D designs. Although this unit is lightweight & compact, it has a very powerful system that is customizable and will help you create custom stamps with ease in no time.
If you are looking for a portable machine that will turn to design into the simplest and most fun process ever, Mint is the right choice for you. However, keep in mind that it does not use the same software. It is operated by a different one called Mint Studio. But do not worry because it is free and available online.
You can find it and install it on the Silhouette’s official website. Wondering why would you buy this unit?
Well, if you want to turn text into a stamp using different fonts from your PC, create your custom design with ease and import any image in order to make your stamp, this machine is the ideal choice for you. It allows all these options including transforming an image and designs into an incredibly detailed stamp.
Many people consider this unit as the pioneering stamping unit that cannot be beaten by any other unit. Compared to other similar machines, the Mint offers extra benefits like portability, freedom and greater creativity. It comes with 50 exclusive free designs you can easily access via the Mint Studio at any time.
- Quiet operation
- Compact and portable
- Endless design options
- Clear manual instructions
- Ideal for newbies and pros
- Exceptional quality results
- A lot of in colors to pick from
- It supports most image formats and fonts
- 50 exclusive free designs
- Extra costs for accessories
- The stamp is easy to damage
- It includes only 2 sets of stamp sheets
- No Bluetooth connection
- No pad for extra support
(Best Silhouette Machine for Beginners)
Last but not least, the Silhouette Alta is also an amazing product that is worth the investment. It is loved by many because of the advanced features it offers. Apparently, this machine allows you to print custom designs. Meaning, it is versatile. It also allows you to create your 3D designs with Snap Kits from scratch.
I am assuming that Snap Kits is a feature from the popular Silhouette software. As you can see, this unit is perfect for DIY crafters and enthusiasts with a great passion for 3D designs. This baby also allows you to print files in many formats. The best part? It comes pre-calibrated and pre-assembled which is a plus.
You can use this unit with any 1.75mm PLA filament. It was mentioned that Alta was making their own filaments. However, you can use any type of 1.75mm filament. If this is not enough to make you order it, I do not know what is. However, that is not all that this workhorse has to offer to its newest customers.
It also has adjustable print settings. If you are an enthusiastic crafter, you will enjoy the many automatic features that this machine has to offer. Now, you can adjust the settings according to your preferences. It is a top Silhouette cutting machine and probably the best Silhouette cutting machine money can buy.
The maximum print size is 120mm tall and 116mm wide which is a decent, reasonable size for the price. However, let’s summarize the main pros and cons of this machine before you make your final purchase.
- It prints only in recyclable PLA material
- A lot of free designs online you can get for personal use
- Complete freedom to create your own designs from scratch
- It has basic software that is not too complicated for beginners
- Completely enclosed unit with a lock to protect small fingers
- A chance to design in Silhouette Studio in the 3D software
- Super versatile, affordable and easy to use
- Non-heated base
- Small printing space
- Extra costs for replacement tapes
- It must be plugged in a computer
- It only prints in PLA material
- Software issues reported
- Expensive designs
What is the Newest Silhouette Machine?
Silhouette Curio is one of the newest units for DIY enthusiasts. I am happy to say that it is loaded with many features that you will absolutely love. This machine is more capable o than the Silhouette Cameo. It can not only draw and cut but also stipple, sketch, score, emboss and etch. It also has dual carriages.
However, in order to read the full description and find out the most important pros and cons of this unit, please check my product reviews above. And stay with me because I will be revealing the release date of Silhouette Cameo 4. Apparently, this model will be everything that DIY crafters have been dreaming of.
What is the Best Machine to Make Stencils?
After hours and hours of research, I have come to the conclusion that Cricut Explore Air 2, Cricut Explore Air Wireless cutting machine and Silhouette Cameo 3 are the best machines to make stencils out there. I also found out that they are best-selling units adored by many because they can cut different materials.
They all come with different extra features like an auto-adjusting blade, smart cut technology, wireless cutting, fast performance, large cutting areas, dual cartridge, and they can be used on both Mac and PC. However, I personally believe that they are all going to be beaten by the upcoming Silhouette Cameo 4.
Do You Need a Computer for Silhouette?
Yes, you do. A laptop or desktop is perfect for working with Silhouette Studio. However, keep in mind that your computer has to fulfill minimum requirements. The RAM, memory, processor and operating system have an impact on how your software will work on your PC. Let’s check the min requirements.
- You will need at least 1 GB RAM
- It runs on Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10
- It runs on OS X 10.7 and higher
- You need 2 GHz processor speed or faster
- You need 2 GB hard drive space
- USB 1.1 port or faster
In case you have less hard disk space, Silhouette Studio will send out a warning message that your hard disk is almost full. Release some extra space for the best results and excellent performance.
However, if you have less than 0.5 GB of hard disk space, the software will not launch until you release enough area.
Is Silhouette Studio Free?
Yes, Silhouette cutting units use free software that you can install with a CD that is included in the box or download it from their official website. However, I kindly suggest that you take your soon-to-become software for a short test drive. Install it on your computer in order to see how your computer handles it.
I mentioned that you can install it with an installation CD that is usually included in the box. However, I just found out that they do not do that anymore because of the updates. The CDs were often out of date which was frustrating because, by the time you get your unit and install it, an update would be released.
Today, you can download their software online and get updates as they come out. It is free and anyone can download it at any time. If you are interested in the paid versions, Silhouette Studio Designer Edition is worth a shot. It includes all the basic capabilities of the free software but also has advanced features.
What Software is Needed for Silhouette Cameo?
If this is the first time you encounter the Silhouette Cameo and wonder what software do you need, you have come to the right place. I am about to reveal everything I know about this brand.
Silhouette Cameo units operate with the Silhouette Studio. It is one of the most popular software on the market for years.
I am talking about a multi-faceted design software that makes your work a lot easier and exciting. It lets you make your own designs, store your previous work and buy ready-made designs from designers from their Silhouette Design Store. You can download and install the software on your computer super easily.
Visit the company’s official site or use the installation CD that you received in the box. It is possible that your unit does not come with a CD but do not worry. Just log on to their website and download it. There are paid editions of the software. However, I kindly recommend that you go with the free version of it.
Just follow the steps on how to download their free software on the official site. Also, keep in mind that the download speed depends on your internet connection. Also, if you use Internet Explorer or Mozilla, expect slow download speed. I suggest that you use Google Chrome as your browser for the best results.
Can You Use a Silhouette Cameo 3 Without a Computer?
You can use Silhouette Cameo 3 and Portrait 2 units via Bluetooth. But you can also use them with a USB cord. However, in order to do this, your computer needs Bluetooth 4.0 support. Once you download the software and updates to it, internet connection is not required for installation or operating the software.
Silhouette Cameo allows you to save from your PC to a USB drive and then cut from your unit without a computer. However, in order to learn more about this unit, please read my product reviews above. Let’s learn the difference between Silhouette Cameo 2 and Silhouette Cameo and decide which one is better.
What is the Difference Between Silhouette Cameo 2 and 3?
Silhouette Cameo 2 is the perfect multitasking unit for DIY crafters. It can help you complete different types of projects. It cuts paper when connected to a blade and you can control it by a computer. But this is not all that it has to offer. It can double as a writing implement if you replace the blade with a pen too.
You will get this machine with software and advanced features that will help you make and cut original designs. Cameo 2 uses fonts and patterns already available in a computer and delivers thousands of new designs in the online design store. It registers and cut printed pieces perfectly as it is PixScan compatible.
However, according to customer reviews I came across, it does not meet the expectations. Some buyers have experienced an issue with the blade while others had problems when using vinyl. Buyers blame the manufacturers for painting a false image about this cutting unit because it does NOT work as described.
Cameo 3, on the other hand, cuts different types of material. It is ideal for crafters and DIY enthusiasts. However, it is also suitable for professional work. It is feature-rich and software-enabled. If you order it, you will get an advanced machine with modern hi-tech features that will help you create masterpieces.
I am talking about a versatile unit that can both register and cut printed pieces with ease and precision. It also has the largest cutting space. The best part? It is also PixScan compatible just like the Cameo 2. If you hesitate about buying this baby, do not. It comes with the usual Silhouette Studio design software.
However, it also provides a Bluetooth technology that helps crafters complete their finest projects. You can use it with your computer in order to store your work. Another reason why you need to buy Cameo 3 today is that it has over 85,000 ready-made shapes and downloadable designs created by pro artists.
Unfortunately, this unit too was a disappointment to some. Buyers claim that the unit does not operate as described by the company. Users say that it offers inconsistent work and pauses in the middle of the job. Others complain about the installer which makes installing the new firmware hard if not impossible.
However, I always say that you have to use something in order to claim if it is good. Let’s not forget that different people have different experiences with units like this. Also, keep in mind that every unit has its pros and cons. If you are interested in something advanced and new, pre-order the Silhouette Cameo 4.
Can the Silhouette Cameo 3 Cut Wood? Cut Leather?
The Silhouette Cameo 3 delivers a cutting force of 210 grams. Meaning, you will not be able to cut balsa wood or thin sheet metal. However, this machine is great for card making, scrapbooking and other vinyl projects. With the Silhouette Cameo 3, you can cut the following materials with great ease and no fuss:
- Tissue paper
- Paper/cardstock up to 350 gsm thick
- Iron-on transfer
- Rhinestone template material
- Cereal box chipboard
- Lightweight fabric
- Craft foam
However, the software comes with a ‘double cut’ option which can help you with some thicker material. If you want to buy this unit and wonder what software is needed for Silhouette Cameo, keep on reading.
Is the Silhouette Cameo 3 Compatible with Mac?
Yes, the Silhouette Cameo 2 is compatible with both Mac and PC. However, your unit must fulfill certain limitations. For instance, you need to have a version 3.8 or higher in order to connect.
Also, you need a Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10, OS X 10.7 or higher to install it. Chromebook is not supported.
Does Cameo 3 Come With a Warranty?
Yes, every unit by this brand comes with a 1-year warranty. However, your warranty valid only in Canada and the US. If you are an international buyer, you will not get a warranty. If this concerns you, please ask the seller for more information. And do not hesitate to ask me questions in the comment section below.
If the Box Does Not Say “Cameo 3”, Does it Mean That I Got The Old Model?
Absolutely, not. The box of your unit does not state if you are getting a new or old version. You can tell by the design of the machine. Also, if you order a Cameo 2 you will get it in a box with a photo of Cameo on the top. However, if you purchased Cameo 3, you will get it in a box with an image of fruit on the box.
The Cameo 2 has a more triangular shape and you can notice the touch screen when you place it on the desk. The Cameo 3, on the other hand, is bigger and has a protection for the touch screen which you will notice once you place it on the desk. Both units are white-colored and have a touch screen to their right.
Can I Use the Same Dust Cover of Cameo 1 or 2 on Cameo 3?
Unfortunately, you cannot use the same dust cover you used on Cameo 1 or 2. The dust cover of these 2 has a more triangular shape. Meaning, it will not fit your new machine. However, keep yourself updated. Covers for Cameo 3 are about to be released soon. Follow my site for news and Silhouette’ official site.
Will There Be a Silhouette Cameo 4?
The Silhouette Cameo 4 is announced to be released for sale in September/ October this year. The price is $299, however, it will definitely be worth every penny. You can choose between black, white and pink unit. You will get this baby with a one-year warranty. Excitingly, you can pre-order it on the official site.
If you are interested in buying but would like to learn more about this unit, keep on reading. I collected some of the most important information like features, new tools, additional features, design and so on.
5kg of Downward Force
Cameo 4 offers up to 5kg of downward force. It allows deep cuts on thicker materials. What you could not cut before will become too easy to handle. This baby can cut balsa wood, craft foam, matboard, and leather. And because of this feature, I can say that it has just become the Cricut Maker’s worst enemy.
Cameo 4 is 3 times faster than the Cameo 3 which means that this unit saves your time and delivers fast results. This feature goes in favor of people who run a vinyl cutting business. A machine that delivers the same quality as Cameo 3 (if not even better) and cuts 3 times faster is definitely worth the investment.
Just like the Cricut Maker, this unit will deliver a set of new tools to complete the unit’s new and bigger, gear-driven drive housing. These tools will be made for boosting the power of the Cameo 4 and will not fit in other Silhouette units. Some of those tools are the Silhouette rotary blade & Silhouette Kraft Blade.
I assume that the new rotary blade is for cutting fabric while the craft blade is for cutting thick material.
However, we do not know for sure. You will have to wait and see for yourself. However, the kicker is the automatic tool detection. Also, you will get the auto blade function from the previous unit, the Cameo 3.
Other features that come along include a touch panel, built-in vinyl trimmer, built-in cross cutter, built-in pull-out roll feeder, wedding tool that will mark the exact place where you need to weed the material and a dual-motor system for max power. It this is not enough for you to order it, I do not know what is.
You can notice by the limited images online that Cameo 4 keeps the familiar Silhouette design. But it will be a lot bigger and sturdier than the previous model because of the increased power and extra features.
Cricut vs Silhouette: Which One is Better?
The Cricut is one of the most famous die-cut units on the market. It is easier to use than some machines by Silhouette, especially Cameo 3. It can cut and draw up to 12 inches x 24 inches and it comes with dual carriages. Meaning, you can cut & draw without needing to stop in order to swap out the blade or pen.
The Cricut is also iPad and Bluetooth compatible. Meaning, you can cut wirelessly. It comes with a print and cut feature. Meaning, you can also print photos from your printed and cut them out with your unit.
What makes the Cricut easier to use than the Cameo, you wonder? Well, two factors are in play when it comes to usage. The Cricut is easier to use because of the Smart Set Sial and the Design Space Software.
The dial is a knob located on the outside of the unit that allows you to easily adjust blade pressure and depth depending on the material that you use. You also have a custom option available that allows you to adjust the depth and pressure according to your preference if you are using special materials or cuts.
As for the Design Space Software, it is super easy to use. Meaning, you will not encounter any issues or complications as a beginner. However, it is online software which means that you will need an internet connection in order to use the unit, so you CANNOT use your machine without an internet connection.
This is considered as one of the biggest disadvantages of this machine. You cannot create your custom advanced designs as well which is another downfall. You will be able to insert SVG files without a charge.
The Silhouette Cameo 3 is another popular die-cut unit in the market. It is the newest invention of this brand. However, it is good to know that it is not as strong as the Cricut. You will be able to cut vinyl and most paper, and other standard fabric materials. Also, the largest cutting mat is 12 inches x 24 inches.
Also, you will be able to cut up to 10 feet long without a cutting mat. Just like the Cricut, Cameo 3 offers dual carriages. Meaning, you can draw and cut without stopping the unit in order to swap out the pen or blade. It is similar to the Cricut because it is also Bluetooth compatible. Meaning, you can cut wirelessly.
However, the best part about this unit is the PixScan technology. It allows you to take photos using your smartphone or camera and send them over to your unit. Another impressive feature is the Scan and Cut. It allows you to print designs from your printer and cut them with your unit. You can buy an auto blade.
If you wonder what that is, it is a blade that adjusts its length depending on the material you are using automatically. Last but not least, I personally recommend the Cameo over the Cricut Explore because of the Silhouette Studio Designer. It is a powerful program that allows you to make, import or buy designs.
If you have graphics skills and experience, then you will absolutely love everything that comes with this program. If you have no experience at all, it will take some time until you finally master the program. Do not worry because there are countless tutorials, YouTube videos, manuals or groups you can learn from.
In overall, both units are amazing. And just like any other machine on the market, they both have their pros and cons. However, when it comes to strength, Cricut takes the crown. However, it is not a heavy-duty unit like the Maker. Still, it allows you to cut more materials than the Cameo. Deep cut blades can be bought for both cutting machines. However, it is a matter of personal preference what you choose.
I have covered some of Silhouette’s best cutting machines. And I can freely say that each one is suitable for different purposes and people. However, I would personally recommend Curio. It is adorned by the public for many reasons including advanced features and versatility, unlike the other specialized models.
The Mint is created for people who love making stamps and makes the best machine for beginners. No matter which one you choose, you cannot go wrong with a Silhouette machine. I highly recommend that you read my reviews carefully before you choose THE ONE and take on your next DIY cutting adventure.
Also, do not hesitate to ask questions about these popular units in the comment section. I will be happy to answer them for you. And do not forget to follow my site for the newest reviews and latest updates.