Reported by Kim Fox
Here are two very popular die cutting tools and a bit of background on each:
- popular because you can use other manufacturers dies in the machine
- the embossing folders come in a wide variety of patterns and are inexpensive
- has been on the market since 2001.
- has gained popularity for its variety of dies
In making my comparison, I will focus on the following:
- ease of use
- cost of the tool (with all items needed to simply get started)
Ease of use
In terms of ease of use, I think the learning curve for both tools is rather simple. Once you get your CB out of the box and attach the handle, you are nearly ready to go. The newer CB’s come packaged with an exclusive die and coordinating embossing folders (I know this because I recently purchased a new CB because I lost my old one – that’s right, I’ve misplaced it and I haven’t found it yet). Having the die and the embossing folders in the starter kit means you can get started right away with no extra purchase. You can quickly peruse the instructions to see how to stack the plates (also called making sandwiches) depending on what manufacturers dies you are using or if you are embossing. I usually keep the instructions handy to make sure I am using the right sandwiches. I think that the ease of use is very easy. It’s also fun to have the kids help out. I’m usually embossing when I do that though, as opposed to working with the cutting dies which are sometimes, but rarely, sharp to the touch.
I do like the CB for its versatility. I have Spellbinders, Sizzix and QK dies that I have used in my CB with no problem. I like that the designers created the machine with the idea in mind that you could use other manufacturers die in the machine. They include the plates that are needed to do that.
The CB is portable. You could tote it with you to a crop and it’s not really a big deal. Some might say it’s a bit heavy to carry along with other craft items, but that is a matter of preference. Just remember to carry along the plates and your dies and embossing folders.
Cost of the tool
The CB retails for $79.99 and really that is not a bad price since you can use other manufacturers dies in the machine. But most crafters usually make the CB purchase using a discount coupon from one of the big box stores. You can even find it online for a good price, but since it weights a lot, you want to make sure that you get free shipping or or flat rate shipping as opposed to shipping based on the weight of the item or else it will end up being a more expensive purchase. You can find it online at Cricut Express for $54.99 + $6.25 for shipping. Oh My Scraps had it for $49, but the shipping info was not available.
Ease of use
The QK Squeeze is simple to use as well. Once out of its packaging, it is ready for action, though you’ll need to purchase or borrow some dies to get started. QK also has a line of embossing dies that you can use in the hand tool. They are called Goosebumps. Using the dies in the hand tool is very easy. Just slip the die on the underside of the mechanism. It’s magnetic and the die will stay in place. There have been complaints and concerns about difficulty squeezing the tool. Not a big deal for me since I usually only cut a few letters and shapes at a time, but I could see how it would be a problem.
The QK Squeeze has limited versatility. You can only use QK dies. However, there are a lot of dies to choose from.
I love the portability of the QK. It’s sort of an awkward shape, but it will fit into a craft bag along with other items. The good thing is that it is not heavy. I like that you can take it out of your bag, insert a die and paper and you have instant die cuts.
Cost of the tool
I don’t know that QK is still manufacturing this tool, but it is definitely still available for purchase. And the price has come down a bit. It used to be priced at about $89. Just remember that not only do you have to buy the tool, you’ll have to get some QK dies to use with your hand tool as well. Scrapbuggy.com has the Pink Squeeze for $29.99+$5 for shipping; the purple Squeeze is available at Scrapbook Express for $39.99+$5.95 flat rate shipping and includes 11 dies.
I did not get into the cost of the alphabets and shapes that support each of these die cutting systems. You can get individual dies or full sets of alphabets as well as a variety of embossing dies and folders. But watch out, it can get pricey.
I own both of these tools and I like them both. I like the QK shapes and alphabets. I like the CB’s embossing folders.
What I don’t like about QK is that you can’t use other manufacturers dies with their tool. I would like to see CB have more frequent releases of new dies and embossing folders.
Other Cuttlebug resources
Other Quickutz resources
So what do you think of these two die cutting machines? We would love to hear your thoughts on these!