Comparing Inexpensive Vinyl Cutters

Whether starting an apparel decoration business, or just looking for an affordable backup vinyl cutter, these 4 inexpensive cutters are worth comparing. Stahls’ may not sell them, but they pair perfectly with our CAD-CUT® Heat Transfer Vinyl. What separates these inexpensive cutters from mid-grade cutters (above $500) is the quality of the motor and the cutting accuracy.

Benefits of a Professional Grade Vinyl Cutter

  • Long-lasting, powerful servo motor
  • Increased downforce for thicker substrates
  • Optic eye for precise cutting
  • Compatible with a variety of software
  • Reliable tracking
  • Cutting features like overcut, contour cut, and automatic paneling

 

Watch this video to find out if it’s time to invest in a professional vinyl cutter.

These inexpensive cutters may not have the features and durability of mid-grade cutters but they still work as a great starting point or a backup. Which one you choose will ultimately be based on what you need the cutter for. Here’s how they rank for cutting speed and downforce of the blade.

Choosing an inexpensive cutter according to speed:

  • US Cutter Refine MH-721 – 48 IPS
  • Creation PCut 24″ – 20 IPS
  • Laserpoint 24″ Cutter – 16 IPS
  • GCC Expert 24″ Cutter – 16 IPS

 

Choosing an inexpensive cutter according to downforce:

  • Creation PCut 24″ – 500 grams
  • US Cutter Refine MH-721 – 400 grams
  • Laserpoint 24″ Cutter – 400 grams
  • GCC Expert 24″ Cutter – 250 grams

 

Mid-grade cutters employ a servomotor that is likely to get more mileage than the stepper motors these inexpensive cutters use. If you will be cutting tough materials like twill or rhinestone templates, you do not want to buy a cutter with a stepper motor as it will likely burn out from the work. If you need a cutter to cut these thicker substrates, a Graphtec CE6000 or a Roland® GS-24 vinyl cutter would be the better choice.

Another thing to consider is inexpensive cutters also lack the optic eye that more expensive cutters have. This optic eye cutting around an image printed on vinyl/paper very easy by reading crop marks that are printed along with your design. If you are going to cut highly detailed designs, choose a cutter with a built-in laser guide, like the Laserpoint 24″ below.

While these cutters may not have the features and durability of mid-grade cutters, they still work as a great starting point or a backup. Which one you choose will ultimately be based on what you need the cutter for.

Here is a breakdown of 4 popular and inexpensive cutters, with their specifications and pros/cons:

US Cutter Refine MH-721

Creation PCut 24″

SPECS:

Ports: USB, Serial, and LPT

Downforce: 400grams

Speed: 48 IPS

Price: $280

PROS:

  • Easy-to-use LCD Control Panel
  • Comes with SignBlazer Elements software
  • Highest listed speed of these 4 cutters

 

CONS:

  • Cannot adjust cutter offset
  • May not work with other graphics software, like CorelDraw
SPECS:

Ports: USB and Serial

Downforce: 500grams

Speed: 20 IPS

Price: $379

PROS:

  • Highest listed downforce of these 4 cutters
  • Has a material detector to tell if material is loaded

 

CONS:

  • Cannot be used with CoredDraw or Adobe Illustrator

 


Laserpoint 24″ Cutter

GCC Expert 24″ Cutter

SPECS:

Ports: USB and Serial

Downforce: 400grams

Speed: 16 IPS

Price: $399

PROS:

  • Has a built-in laser for contour cutting

 

CONS:

  • Cuts at a slower speed than the Refine MH-721 and PCut 24″
  • Is the most expensive of these 4 cutters
SPECS:

Ports: USB and Serial

Downforce: 250grams

Speed: 16 IPS

Price: $579

PROS:

  • Very easy to set up
  • Is the most user-friendly out of these 4 cutters
  • Can be used with CorelDraw and Adobe Illustrator
  • Has a material sensor to tell when the machine is loaded

 

CONS:

  • Has the least amount of downforce of these 4 cutters
  • Does not have an LCD Screen ‒ is controlled by a program on your computer

 


When choosing between these cutters, know what your priorities are. If you expect to be cutting thicker substrates, look for a cutter with a higher downforce. If you plan to use Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw, choose a cutter that is compatible with those programs. What your needs are will lead you to the inexpensive cutter that’s right for you.

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