Cricut Maker 3 vs Silhouette Cameo 4: which is the best craft machine for you?
Mar 12, 2023
We compare Cricut Maker 3 vs Silhouette Cameo 4 on design, features and price to help you decide.
Cricut Maker 3 vs Silhouette Cameo 4 is a battle between two of the best cutting machines available to crafters. Both are fast, precise and versatile cutting machines that can handle a wide range of materials. They come with each brand's bespoke software and have enthusiastic communities of users.
Both Cricut and Silhouette make a range of craft machines for cutting, drawing and printing. The flagship lines from each are Cricut's Maker and Cameo from Silhouette. In both cases, they're aimed at professional crafters who need a powerful, versatile machine that can cut large materials. But which is best? Below, we compare the latest generation of each machine, Cricut Maker 3 vs Silhouette Cameo 4, to find out. For more options, see our pick of the best Cricut machines and the best Cricut alternatives.
Cricut Maker 3 is the digital cutting machine's newest and most powerful craft cutter. It can cut over 300 materials, including wood, fabrics and vinyl, as well as engraving, embossing and more (with the right attachments).
The new feature of this generation of Cricut machines (that includes the Cricut Explore 3) is the adoption of the Roll Holder for 75ft lengths of material and the use of Smart Materials for cutting without using a mat.
Silhouette Cameo 4 is the latest digital craft cutter from this established US brand that has only recently become available in the UK. This machine can cut just over 100 materials, which is fewer than Maker 3, but it does this using one tool and comes with a roller as standard.
The Cameo 4 base and medium models are comparable to Maker 3, but the Cameo 4 Pro is wider for larger projects, and with a cutter that features more pressure, this is the best machine for sewers and quilters.
The Cricut Maker 3 and Silhouette Cameo 4 are the latest generations of each brand's high-end cutting machines. Both also have smaller and cheaper machines aimed at enthusiasts – Cricut has its Explore machines and the compact Cricut Joy, while Silhouette's compact option is the Portrait. And they both make other, specific craft machines too. Cricut has its EasyPress, Mug Press and Hat Press, while Silhouette has its Mint stamp maker and Alta 3D printer.
The Cricut Maker 3 comes in just one model, which has a standard cutting size of 12 x 24 inches and can cut up to 75ft. Silhouette Cameo 4 comes in three versions: the base model, which has the same standard cutting size as the Maker 3, the 15-inch Cameo 4 Plus and the 24-inch Cameo 4 Pro.
However, Cricut Maker 3 vs Cameo 4 Silhouette is more than a battle of technical specs. Which cutting machine is right for you is also likely to depend on what you want from the software, ease of use, community support and more. We'll look at all of these below.
The Cricut Maker 3 is Cricut's latest cutting machine. It's an improves version of its predecessor, the Cricut Maker, adding in mat-free cutting thanks to its compatibility with Cricut Smart Materials. Its cutting space can cut continuously for up to 12ft. With a Roll Holder this can reach 75ft, but only using black or white Smart Materials. The clearance is 2.4mm, which is more than enough for most materials.
With powerful cutting pressure, the Maker 3 can lice through materials ranging from paper to wood and even leather. It can also engrave, emboss and execute delicate pen work. The more you want to do, the more attachments and accessories you'll need in the form of alternative cutting blades, drawing and pen accessories, materials (see our full Cricut Maker 3 review for more details).
The Silhouette Cameo 4 comes in three sizes. The base model has a classic 12-inch cutting width and 3mm clearance. As standard, it can cut to 10ft without using a guide mat, with the roll-feeder attached this can go up to 140ft. As with Maker 3 this is for vinyl cutting only. It has a sleek backlit control panel and a built-in cross-cutter to give the edge of the vinyl a clean edge. It's generally a more hands-on machine with more buttons and manual controls, while the Maker 3 is setup automatically or in-app).
A handy Tool Detection gadget scans the tool in the machine and adjusts software settings to best suit your setup. Out of the box, the Cameo 4 can cut 100 materials, which is fewer than Maker 3's 300+ but all the main materials are supported. And you have more colour options because you can pick from pink, black, and white.
Based on looks alone, Cricut wins a battle of Cricut Maker vs Silhouette Cameo 4 since it's the more attractive design. Silhouette's Cameo 4 is rather angular and aggressive-looking. The rear-mounted touch-screen is a nice touch, but Cricut's close app-integration renders anything similar unnecessary.
Another key design difference is that the Cameo 4 has no docking station for a smartphone or tablet, which is a handy feature to have considering the machines work with Bluetooth.
Winner: Cricut Maker 3
Both Cricut and Silhouette have their own software packages: Design Studio and Silhouette Studio. Both apps can be downloaded and used offline, but your decision to opt for Maker 3 or Cameo 4 could come down to which app suits you best.
Cricut's Design Space is simple to use and effective for planning projects. Its limited options actually make it accessible and flexible, and it can connect to other software, such as Adobe Illustrator if you want to take your designs further. Silhouette Studio is more complex and includes free-hand drawing capacity and a vector tool. If you want to do more, CorelDRAW compatibility helps there. This software is more than a design tool and enables you to tweak things using a wide range of settings on the machine itself. Cricut's approach is more hands-off, its system does the legwork.
Design Studio does have a free version, but you'll need to subscribe to get the most out of it and unlock the many patterns, fonts, and pre-made projects available. Silhouette Studio has more functions included in a mostly free user experience with fewer restrictions. So Maker 3 will cost more if you want to make the most of it, but generally it's more user-friendly and easier for beginners to get started with. Cameo's software lets you go deeper into the design process, but maybe better for pros.
Winner: this one's a draw
As for what they can do, both machines offer endless projects thanks to plenty of attachments for cutting foam, fabrics and even wood. When Silhouette came out with the Cameo 4 it also released five new blades: the Autoblade 2, Rotary blade, Kraft blade, Punch tool, and Pen holder. The only one included with the machine is the Autoblade.
Cricut's range of tools is broader; There are 13 compared to Silhouette's five. You can use the Rotary Blade, Knife Blade, Scoring Wheels, Foil Transfer Tool and more – you can get them in a bundle from the Cricut store. The machine ships with a Premium Fine Point Blade.
One area where the Silhouette Cameo 4 triumphs is cutting pressure. With 5000gf (gram force) / 5kg, it has 25% over the Cricut Maker 3's 4000gf / 4kg. It also has a higher cutting clearance of 3mm to Cricut's 2.4mm. But more power doesn't always mean better results. With craft materials like balsa wood, you'll get a cleaner cut by making several passes at varying pressures which is how Cricut approaches things with the Maker 3.
The Maker 3 is a great machine for embossing/debossing and engraving too because there are bespoke blades for the job. However, the Cameo 4's raw power and pressure make it the better choice for fabric cutting, for example for making clothes.
Winner: it depends on your needs.
Pricing can get complicated when making direct comparisons between Cricut Maker 3 vs Silhouette Cameo 4. The Cricut Maker 3 comes in at a flat $399 / £429 but the Cameo 4 has the entry level model at $299 / £250, the 15-inch Plus model at $399 / £450 and the widest 24-inch model at $499 / £570. If we compare Maker 3 vs Cameo 4 Plus, the price is quite similar.
Where Maker 3 comes out a winner here is availability at retailers. It's easier to find a Maker 3, and most online stores, including Cricut, offer decent bundle deals. This means it may be easier to find a discount, which could swing the decision for you.
Before the launch of the Cricut Maker 3, the Silhouette Cameo 4 had the edge in the Cricut vs Silhouette battle. It still wins on cutting strength, and it's also a little cheaper for a comparable size. But raw power isn't necessarily what you need in craft cutting.
The continuing software costs for Cricut's Design Space mean a Cricut Maker 3 could end up costing significantly more in the long term. But, on the other hand, Design Space is super easy to use and provides a more enjoyable user experience, certainly for beginners. The Maker 3 is nicer looking machine too, and it has a It's a port to display and even charge an iPad or smartphone while you work and a sturdy lid that clips away when you're not using it.
The Cricut Maker 3 also has a wider range of tools (although you have to pay for them), and it can be used to deboss and score as well as draw and cut many materials.
Ultimately, the winner of Cricut Maker 3 vs Silhouette Cameo 4 debate depends on your craft needs and skill level. Cameo 4 is powerful machine and feature-rich but the software is complex and the accessories somewhat limited. Cricut's Maker 3 is easier to use and more flexible, with an ecosystem of blades, accessories as well as other machines that can print T-shirts, mugs and hats.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Daily design news, reviews, how-tos and more, as picked by the editors.
Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news and features, updates buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment for creatives, from monitors to accessories and office supplies. A writer and translator, he also works as a project manager at London and Buenos Aires-based design and branding agency Hermana Creatives, where he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing photography, video content, graphic design and collaterals for the hospitality sector. He enjoys photography, particularly nature photography, wellness and he dances Argentine tango.
Winner Winner Winner Read more: Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1 Sign in here Join now for unlimited access £1 / $1 / €1 Sign in here