A Brand New Player Vs. A Seasoned Veteran
Are you a passionate crafter, as I am?
Do the virtually endless possibilities of cutting machines amaze you?
If the answer is “yes,” please read this article, as I am currently getting my hands on various cutting machines and reviewing them so that you can choose the one that suits you the most.
The task of choosing the best machine is not easy, I know. Therefore, I performed a comparative analysis of similar options, highlighting the differences and similarities between the two, with the hope that I can facilitate this challenging task for you.
Our competition for today looks like this: Silhouette Cameo 4 Vs. Cricut Maker. I chose to compare these two since they are both #1 machines that both companies offer at the moment.
I’ll be comparing the main features of each one, and by the end of the review, we’ll be able to proclaim the winner.
One thing is certain - once you obtain appropriate tools, you’ll become a master scrapbooker.
So, let’s embark on the search!
Silhouette Cameo Vs. Cricut Maker - The Analogy in a Chart
Take a look at the physical characteristics and the highlight features before you proceed to the full review.
I chose criteria that I find relevant for your future buy, keeping in mind that they can be compared and paralleled, too.
|Feature||Silhouette Cameo 4||Cricut Maker|
|Dimensions||22.44 x 7.68 x 6.69 inches (57 x 19.5 x 17 cm)||22.5 x 7.1 x 6.2 inches (58 x 18 x 16 cm)|
|Weight||10 pounds (4.8 kg)||14 pounds (6.6 kg)|
|Cutting Width||12 inches||12 inches|
|Downward force||5 kg||4 kg|
|Software||Silhouette Studio Software||Cricut Design Space|
As you can see, both options are impressive on paper, but let’s see how they perform!
Silhouette Cameo 4 Vs. Cricut Maker: In the Spotlight
Before you become acquainted with all the resemblances and distinctions of today’s protagonists, it is important to read a short description for each of them, to have a basis for comparison.
But whose contender will be chosen today?
Silhouette Cameo 4 - Getting On Stage
If I had to sum up Silhouette Cameo 4 in a few words, I would go with something like: The best thing that happened to Fall 2019.
This machine is a brand new product by Silhouette, and I’ve been excited for its release for months. Read my full in-depth review of this machine here.
As expected, it did not fail to fulfill my expectations, and it is evident that Silhouette improved all the aspects compared to its predecessor, Silhouette Cameo 3.
Namely, unlike its previous version, Silhouette Cameo 4 can cut through thick materials with a majestic downward force of 5 kg that beats all the competitors on the market.
As for its speed, it has been upgraded three-fold compared to Silhouette Cameo 3, which saves a lot of time and triples the productivity.
Here you can see how Silhouette Cameo 4 looks like and get a hint of its impressive speed:
It is equipped with a built-in roll feeder that makes use easier, and a Dual Motor System - you can already sense it packs a LOT of power.
Other than that, the features that I would like to highlight are:
- Smart Tool System, which makes the selection of tools and settings adjustment automatized
- Auto Blade 2, which again sets up the blade automatically so that it fits the cutting material
- Four tool adapters, thanks to which you can use Cameo 1, 2 and 3 tools
- Silhouette Design Studio, which stands out in its category
Here is a preview of some of the features that I mentioned:
Of course, nothing is perfect, and the flaws that I noticed so far consider the fact that there are two carriages. Because of that, some tools are put on the left carriage and some on the right (this is predetermined), so you sometimes cannot do two things at the same time (e.g., sketch and cut).
The speed, however, makes up for this little inefficiency.
Check out the introduction video for Cameo 4:
Together with all its strengths, this machine can be classified as a professional industrial machine.
Cricut Maker’s Turn
If you are familiar to some extent with the world of crafting, you must have heard about this machine. The Cricut Maker stands among the most revolutionary and versatile gadgets on the market.
Check out the official machine preview:
It has been designed to cut a wide array of materials, and it ranks high if we speak about fabric cutting machines, thanks to its Rotary Blade.
Apart from that, Cricut Maker comes with additional blades that ensure that you can cut anything you want and do it efficiently:
- Knife blade, for thick materials
- Fine Point blade, for medium-weight and thinner materials
- Deep Point blade, which provides a 60° cutting angle
- Bonded Fabric blade, for the finest precision
Here is a short Cricut Maker fabric essentials guide:
One of my favorite features is the sewing pattern library, which provides more than a hundred patterns to choose from. It can somewhat be compared to the stitches patterns in sewing machines, which I always love.
However, apart from the sewing pattern library, the Cricut software can be somewhat improved - and you will see what I mean by that later.
It is twice as fast as its predecessors from the Explore Air series.
Similarly to Silhouette’s tool adapters, Cricut Maker possesses the Adaptive Tool Systems, which guarantees that all the tools you have from your other Cricut machines can be used, so I can totally agree that this is an upgrade (and a big one) to the previous machines.
For more information, read my extensive Cricut Maker review.
What makes Silhouette Cameo 4 and Cricut Maker Dissimilar?
Now that you are familiar with both of the contestants, it’s time to compare them in terms of similarities and differences that they possess.
Beyond is the chart that categorizes the main differences between the two according to the criteria on the left:
|Main Differences||Silhouette Cameo 4||Cricut Maker|
|Downward force||5000 grams||4000 grams|
|Software||Silhouette Studio Software||Cricut Design Space|
|Cutting Width||8 inches||12 inches|
|The number of unique accessories||2||5|
Let’s see what these facts mean in reality.
Difference #1: Cutting Force
While both machines are characterized by the huge cutting force, this is one aspect in which Silhouette Cameo 4 wins.
With 5 kg cutting force, it beats all the competitors on the market, and opens up all the options regarding the materials for cutting, including all kinds of leather, balsa wood, metals, etc.)
Don’t get me wrong - Cricut Maker, with 4 kg cutting force, will also be able to cut through most of these materials and was the first when it comes to the cutting force until Cameo 4 arrived.
Difference #2: Accessories
Still unbeaten in the field of accessories, Cricut Makers offers a much wider range of tools and available add-ons for the machine.
I’m not saying that Silhouette will not produce more accessories for Silhouette Cameo 4, but for now, there are the Silhouette Rotary blade and the Silhouette Kraft blade.
Check out the Rotary blade, which will be available from November this year:
Although I liked those blades, Cricut Maker is still more optimized, including the Rotary (same quality as Silhouette’s; both will offer impeccable work), Knife, Wavy and Perforation blade.
Moreover, there are the debossing and engraving tips that Cricut manufactures, and they constantly expand the series.
Take a look at the Cricut Maker Debossing tip:
Difference #3: Versatility
This variation stems from the previous one, meaning that there are currently more options to do with Cricut Maker than with Silhouette Cameo 4, thanks to the Maker’s greater number of accessories.
Of course, this can be compensated by the fact that Silhouette Cameo 4 has a set of adapters which will allow the use of the accessories from the previous Silhouette machines, but, as I explained, this is sometimes more complicated because of the two-sided system.
Therefore, the points for this aspect go to the Cricut Maker.
Nevertheless, cutting, drawing, and printing will be excellent with both of the machines, and I’m sure the Silhouette will enhance the versatility of the Cameo 4.
Difference #4: The Design Software
One of the important aspects of the design and craftwork is the software for creation. In my opinion, it should be intuitive, customer-oriented, available in every moment, and full of possibilities.
This is my personal opinion, though, and if you are not tech-savvy, you might prefer the Cricut Software, as it is simpler and easier to get around, including many templates.
Setting up the Cricut software is a breeze, and the interface is nice, as the shortcuts and icons are nicely organized.
You also have plenty of online tutorials like this one for the Cricut Design Space:
However, the Silhouette Design Studio is much more powerful, allows you to personalize and create everything that you want, even if you want to start from scratch.
Another drawback of the former is that you need to have an internet connection in order to use it, although there are rumors that there will also be an offline mode of the Cricut Design Software.
On the other hand, the Silhouette Design Software requires no internet connection once it is downloaded (it will take around 5 to 15 minutes, depending on your connection), but keep in mind that you should regularly check for online updates, as Silhouette is constantly upgrading and keeping their software world-class.
Take a look at the aesthetic Silhouette Studio Library:
The Cricut software also does not allow multitasking; you can only work on one project at the time. It also lagged a couple of times, and this is why I finally decided to give it a lower grade.
What is Common for Silhouette Cameo 4 and Cricut Maker?
If I had to tell whether there are more differences or similarities between Silhouette Cameo 4 and Cricut Maker, I would have to think twice.
The manufacturers are different, of course, and have their own unique style. Still, both machines are at the top of the cutting machine market, and created for a similar purpose.
Decide for yourself after reading about their resemblances.
|Main Similarities||Silhouette Cameo 4||Cricut Maker|
|Software||Silhouette Studio Software||Silhouette Studio Software|
|Cutting force||210 grams||210 grams|
Similarity #1: Physical Features
Although manufactured by different companies, the two machines are similar-looking to an incredible extent.
They have almost the same dimensions that put them in the category of the middle-sized machines that will take up some considerable amount of space on your table.
However, they are not too heavy - the Silhouette Cameo 4 weighs 10 pounds, and Cricut Maker is a few pounds heavier, but they are both easy to transport and carry with you.
When it comes to their design, both are sophisticated and elegant.
There is a slight difference considering the colors of the machines, but still not big enough to call them “different” appearance-wise.
Namely, the Silhouette Cameo 4 comes in three varieties: black, white and blush pink, and the whole machine is of the color in question whereas the Cricut Maker comes in blue, champagne, lilac, mint and rose varieties, but the color of the upper part and not the whole machine is responsible for the name here.
Overall, both machines are compact and attractive to have on your working table.
Similarity #2: Wireless Connection
Both devices are equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, so wireless communication is enabled, meaning you can work without the machine plugged in the computer.
If you prefer visual tutorials, here is one for the Cricut Maker:
Similarity #3: Cutting Width
Another resemblance to today’s machines is their maximum cutting width of 12 inches, which is enough for all the materials and projects.
Of course, it should be adjusted according to your own needs, and some of the add-ons that I mentioned in the previous section can help you with that.
I will not dwell on this one too much; it is another strength that keeps these two at the top of the rankings.
Similarity #4: Auto Blade System
Another positive feature that the Silhouette Cameo 4 and Cricut Maker have in common is the Auto Blade System.
Although it is activated in a slightly different manner with the two machines, both systems are easily accessed, fast-working, and their purpose is the same - automatic adjustment to the materials.
It is essential to clean your auto blades regularly, and here is a tutorial on how to do that properly:
Silhouette Cameo 4 Vs. Cricut Maker: Which Rival Will Take the Throne?
It is now time to evaluate both machines and decide who’s the winner.
I must admit that this task is not easy, albeit my thorough investigation, as the Silhouette Cameo 4 and Cricut Maker are both top-class machines that offer countless possibilities for professional hobbyists.
The extra 1000 grams downward force and the excellent Silhouette software makes me slightly incline towards the Silhouette Cameo 4, but Cricut Maker is the reliable option that never failed to create successful projects, partly due to its rich array of accessories.
All things considered, you won’t make a mistake, no matter which of these two machines you buy, as they are the top choices currently on the market!