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Circle Cutters – A Comparison

If you are going to cut a circle, you want to make sure that it is a perfect circle. Even if you trace a perfect circle, it is challenging to then cut exactly on the lines, all the way around. So for circle cutting, the best way to go is to purchase on of the tools on the market to help you cut that elusive, perfect shape.

I have over the years purchased four different circle cutters, and will share my view of them here. They are:

  • Coluzzle nested circle template (ProvoCraft)
  • Circle Cutter (Fiskars)
  • Curvy Cutter (EK Success)
  • Circle Scissor Plus (EK Success)

For all tools except the Coluzzle, you’ll also want to invest in a glass cutting mat. The self-repairing cutting mats will work okay, but you can sometimes end up with skips.

For this review, we’ll start with the simplest tool, and work our way up.

Coluzzle
The Coluzzle is one of the original circle cutting tools; it’s been around for many, many years. The Coluzzle system requires three items: the plastic cutting template, the “Guarded Swivel Knife,” and the “Easy Glide Cutting Mat.” They are all shown below. The resulting circles range in size from 7/8″ to 4-3/8″; the cutting channels are in fixed, 1/4″ increments.

The template has laser-cut channels, into which fits the cutting tip of the swivel knife. The paper or card stock to be cut is placed on the special cutting mat (it’s a foam-like material, spongy to the touch), and the template placed on top of the paper. You guide the swivel knife through the channel that represents the size circle you want to make. The swivel is a very nice feature on the knife: you don’t have to contort you wrist and forearm to make it all the way around. Be sure to keep the knife perpendicular to the template, or else it will cut into the plastic and get stuck.

Because it is a one-piece template, however, there are two places in each cutting channel that are not cut, in order to hold the template in one piece (see below). As a consequence, after you have used the swivel knife, you still have to use some paper snips to release the finished circle from the sheet of paper.

A close-up view of the coluzzle template.

This little piece must be snipped to release the circle.

Coluzzle also now has many, many templates for all kinds of shapes and images. They range in price from $7.49 for the circle template shown here to $19.99 for full alphabets and other more complex shapes.

Coluzzle Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Light weight and portable
  • Transparent plastic makes placement easy
  • Templates available for all kinds of other shapes
  • Nested templates allow for precisely sized mats to layer.
  • Can be used on scraps of paper.

Cons

  • You have to keep track of 3 different things: the template, the swivel knife, and the special cutting mat.
  • An extra snip with scissors or a hobby knife is required to release the circle.
  • The size of your circles is limited to the sizes in the template.

Fiskars Circle Cutter

This is a compact circle cutter, with a clear base that makes it easy to align and place your circle where you want it. It will cut circles from 1″ to 8″, and any size in-between as it has no pre-set increments. It comes with two blades, and refill blades are available.


The cutter is placed in the center of your desired circle. The size is obtained by adjusting the arm (with sizes listed in both inches and centimeters) and locking it in place with the finger wheel. You push down on the orange knob at the top, which presses a rubber foot onto the paper, and holds it in place while you turn the arm to cut the circle.

 

Circle cutting with the Fiskars tool.

It has a $21 MSRP, but I’ve seen it as low as $11.99, so shop around.

Fiskars Pros

  • Light-weight and portable
  • You can store the cutting blade in the tool, protected, for travel.
  • By design, it holds your paper in place while you cut.
  • You can make any size circle between 1″ and 8″.
  • Works well on scraps of paper, since it holds the paper in place at the center of the circle that is being cut.

Cons

  • You have to simultaneously apply pressure to the center, and over the blade, all the way around the circle to make sure it cuts all the way through, all the way around. I’ve been frustrated by this more than once.
  • You cannot see the center of your circle, so if you want to cut around a specific image, you’ll have to do a little measuring, and perhaps make light pencil marks to make sure your desired image is centered in your final circle.
  • Setting the size is not a precise exercise – it may be a little challenging to get exactly the size that you want.

Curvy Cutter

This is a much more elaborate tool that consists of 5 pieces: two cutting rings, two positioning guides (to determine size), and the cutter itself. The cutter is purchased separately from the template. The cutter ranges in price from $7 to $15, and the circle template from $12.95 to $17.99, so it pays to shop around. They are both readily available at many sites on the internet. There is also an oval cutter, and a rounded square. And of course replacement blades are available. The circles range from 2-1/4″ to 7-1/2″.

Curvy Cutter cutting rings, positioning guides and cutting tool.

The cutting tool sits in a track on the template; you choose which track based on the size of the circle that you want to cut. The positioning guide allows you to choose your circle size. Once the cutter is in place, you simple swivel it around the template, in the track, to cut your circle. (Sounds a bit complicated? Yes. That’s probably why EK Success has a PDF file to show you how to use the Curvy Cutter).

Circle cutting with the Curvy Cutter.

Curvy Cutter Pros

  • Cuts large circles (up to 7-1/2″).
  • Other shapes (oval and rounded square) make it somewhat more economical, because the cutting tool works with all of them.
  • Open design makes it easy to center your circle.

Cons

  • You should cut your circle from a large piece of paper, because the gripper feet are outside of the cutting radius. If you try to cut a circle from a scrap, the paper moves around with the blade. Of course you can use temporary adhesive to hold the paper to the glass mat.
  • Storage is a problem. I’ve not figured out a good way to store it, other than to keep it in the packaging that it came in. And that’s not simple: it is about 14″ square!!
  • It is not straightforward to locate the right track for the cutter, and it can be awkward to keep the cutter in the track.
  • Cuts only in pre-defined increments.
  • You have to keep track of lots of pieces!

 

Circle Scissor Plus

Interestingly, this is also made by EK Success (I wonder if it is intended to replace the Curvy Cutter?!). This cutter consists of two pieces, the base and the cutting handle. There is also a drawing handle which can hold a pen or pencil for drawing circles, if desired. (It adjusts to hold pencils of various sizes, too). You dial in any size circle that you wish to cut, from 1″ to 6″. EK Success has provided an instruction sheet for this product, as well.

The base unit sits on top of the paper you intend to cut, and you dial in your desired circle size. The cutting handle swivels as you turn it around the base unit, making it easy and comfortable to operate.

Circle Cutting with the Circle Scissor Plus.
Cutting handle for Circle Scissor Plus.
Circle drawing handle, with pencil (pencil not included).

Prices on the internet range from $23.95 to $29.95.

Circle Scissor Plus Pros

  • Cuts relatively large circles, up to 6″.
  • Cuts any size circle desired; there are no fixed increments.
  • Easy to operate.
  • Draws perfect circles, in addition to cutting them.
  • Open design allows you to center your circle easily.

Cons

  • You should cut your circle from a large piece of paper, because the gripper feet are outside of the cutting radius. If you try to cut a circle from a scrap, the paper moves around with the blade. Of course you can use temporary adhesive to hold the paper to the glass mat, if desired.
  • You have to keep track of two/three pieces: the base, the cutter handle, and the drawing handle.
  • Compared to other tools, it is relatively expensive.

What is my overall recommendation, you may ask? I would have to say the Fiskars Circle Cutter. It cuts up to 8″ circles, you can make any size that you like (i.e. there are not fixed choices), and by its very design, it holds the paper in place while you cut. Finally, it is also lightweight and pretty compact, making it easy to carry with you to crops or classes.

There you have it. Have you used any or all of these? Or do you have other circle cutting tools to share? Let us all know!

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24 Responses to Circle Cutters – A Comparison

  1. JulieHRR May 17, 2010 at 2:10 pm #

    Hands down, the Coluzzle was my favorite circle cutting system but it has since been discontinued by the manufacturer.

    I’ve tried several of the other cutters featured in the review, but not all. I ended up replacing my Coluzzle system with the Martha Stewart Circle Cutter; of the other 3 in the review, I found it to be competitively priced, to cut well, on a glass mat, and compact enough to travel with/transport and to store.

    The only draw-back, is also needing to have a glass mat, but, that’s the same same issue with other circle cutters (minus the Coluzzle, of course). ;)

  2. Bev E May 17, 2010 at 2:19 pm #

    I store my curvy cutter in a clear plastic case with a handle. I put the glass mat in the bottom & lay the circle & the oval shapes on top. It is easy to carry & store that way.

  3. StampinCathy May 17, 2010 at 2:30 pm #

    Thanks so much for the comparison of circle cutters. I have the coluzzle and really like it. I have the SU circle cutter, but haven’t had the chance to try it. Thanks for a great review.

  4. hwnheart May 17, 2010 at 2:44 pm #

    I love the Creative Memorires Circle Cutters. I always get a perfect circle everytime. Yes you do have to purchase the cutting mat and blades seperately but when you combine it with the different blades you can get up to 18 different size circles.
    • The Translucent pattern allows you to see where you cut
    • Rubber feet prevent pattern from sliding while in use
    • Patterns create circles as large as 6.375” and as small as .875”.
    Totally worth the cost.

  5. Carla aka scrappypug May 17, 2010 at 3:15 pm #

    I’ve been curious about these… I too have the Martha Stewart one and find it relatively easy to use. I do use it on glass (an old microwave tray) but also use it on an old sewing fiskars healing mat with no problems when I am too lazy to dig out the glass one!

  6. Savannah O'Gwynn May 17, 2010 at 3:38 pm #

    I’ve got the Fiskars circle cutter–didn’t like it. It broke after a couple of circles. I also have the Martha Stewart cutter–don’t like that either. It is hard to hold the paper down. Thanks for the review–I really need to find a circle cutter that works for me:)

  7. Patchi May 17, 2010 at 3:59 pm #

    I love my coluzzle, but it is kind of limited. I also have the We Are Memory Keepers magnetic circle cutter, which works really well with their magnetic mat – and it cuts circles up to 12″!

  8. sucor May 17, 2010 at 4:06 pm #

    Thank you for comparing circle cutters. I have not tried one I really like yet.

  9. Allie May 17, 2010 at 4:24 pm #

    I have the Fiskars circle cutter, and think it does a more-than-adequate job. It does take a little practice, but I love that you can choose the size, and that it works great with scraps.

    I’ve coveted the Circle Scissors, and am glad to know it doesn’t work as well with scraps. I think I’d save my $$ and stick with my Fiskars.

  10. Jackie May 17, 2010 at 6:01 pm #

    The only one I haven’t tried is the Curvy Cutter. I am not too crazy about the others, but the Coluzzle is by far the most reliable. I sold my Circle Scissor at a recent used stamp sale at my LSS and I don’t miss it at all. They have a new version on the market, but I”m over circle cutters.

  11. Ruby May 17, 2010 at 8:36 pm #

    I have the Coluzzle, Fiskars Circle Cutter, Circle Scissors, Creative Memories and Memories Keepers magnetic.. and I agree with the pro and cons in the article. Well just a coincidence that today I received in the mail the new Circle Scissors Pro. There is a video on this new product at Stuff4Scrapbooking.com and it looked very interesting. They claim that the cons of using the old one have been eliminated. The handle rotates easily without having to turn the hand. It cuts circles from 1 inch to 6 inch at 1/16 increments. The handle that has the blade has a lid on top to carry the extra blades, and it then attaches to the side of the circle scissor so it handy to find. I’m looking forward to using it.

  12. Estivalia May 17, 2010 at 11:01 pm #

    maybe I’m old-fashioned… but I just attach a hobby knife to a compass ;)

  13. Jen May 18, 2010 at 7:51 am #

    I use an OLFA which allows a huge range of circle sizes starting at 1.25″. It’s a great little tool but leaves a hole in the center like a compass. You can definitely see to center it properly on your design which is a huge plus. I use it on a self-healing mat for fabrics mostly. Thanks for this review!

  14. ScrappinCntryGrl May 18, 2010 at 7:58 am #

    Thanks for sharing the pros and cons of products…it really does help me decide.

  15. rush8888 May 18, 2010 at 11:36 am #

    i use the other fiskar system, where there are cut-out places and a special tool to move around the shape. it works well enough for me.

  16. Janelle May 18, 2010 at 12:40 pm #

    I have the Fiskars circle & oval cutter. Neither my engineer husband or I can use the oval, and the circle works great at times and not so great other times. I have the Creative Memories circle & oval cutters and like those a lot better. Thanks for the review!

  17. Mari May 18, 2010 at 3:18 pm #

    Ugh, circle cutters are about as finicky as paper trimmers!
    I’ve used the coluzzle (managed to nick the template the first time I used it) and the fiskars circle cutter (what a chore) a few times. I’ve never tried a circle scissor, but I know lots of people who love it.
    I have the Creative Memories circle cutters, but somewhere along the way managed to ‘lose’ (read: someone borrowed and never returned) the placement templates. Plus I was always struggling to get them out from *under* the circle cutter without moving it! I still like them if I’m not trying to be exact, but otherwise they’re not real useful anymore.
    My personal fave is the Curvy Cutter. I really like how the templates stick in the middle – on top of the cutter so you don’t have to move it before cutting. If my paper is too small I just stick it down with adhesive on the glass mat – works really well for what I need. I don’t think the circles line up exactly with the templates – but close enough for government work!

  18. Barb Y May 18, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

    I am an it-either-works-great-or-out-it-goes type of crafter. For me, the Creative Memory cutting system far surpasses in ease of cutting and sizes you are able to cut. The blades used for cutting were redesigned in the past 2 (?) years and they are easier to use. Any self healing cutting mat works and it also comes with a see through page to place over your photos, in order to size correctly.

  19. Scrap Kia May 18, 2010 at 6:47 pm #

    I use the other fiskar system too. I like that better because you can do more than just circles.

  20. The Mama Monkey May 19, 2010 at 4:07 am #

    Love, love, love the CM system. They just added a huge circle that will cut a big 12″ circle, too. :)

  21. Becky May 19, 2010 at 12:09 pm #

    I have always used the Coluzzle, it is my favorite out of all these cutters.

  22. Btrflywmn May 20, 2010 at 11:11 am #

    Love this review, so many options. Thank you.

  23. paperscissorsscrap! May 24, 2010 at 11:02 pm #

    I have the circle cutter from Fiskars and sometimes it works beautiful, but when I have to cut very small circles that’s when I have problems with. I also have the MS circle cutter and I havent’ been able to use to cut around already printed images. I can’t get the thing to cut around the images even when I trace the circle with the pencil first. I hate it, I googled it to see if there is a video(s) tutorial about it and nothing!

  24. Prody January 16, 2011 at 10:27 pm #

    Thanks for your useful review. Do you happen to know if any of these tools are suitable to cut felt?

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