Comparing Die Cut Machines

This article is a comparison of four different die cut machines:
  1. The Wizard, by Spellbinders
  2. Cuttlebug, by ProvoCraft
  3. BigShot, by Sizzix
  4. Cricut Expression, by ProvoCraft

And, yes, I am somewhat embarrassed to say that I own all of them, and have personal experience with each… always on the lookout for the next best tool, that’s me!!!

What I will not cover is the multitude of other manual and digital cutting machines. Sorry- but I had to stop spending money!!! There are quite a few, and you will see them when you search any of these other machines.

Below, you will find the features and benefits of the four machines as I have experienced them, the suggested retail price, and possible places to find them in person as well as online. And, I will add my own commentary on each die cutter: what I like, what I don’t like, and my opinion of its versatility. As always, I would welcome your comments below, to help expand the experience base to share with all readers.

Here we go! And we’ll start with my least favorite:

The Wizard, by Spellbinders.

I will preface my comments by saying that my machine is older (about 5 years old?), but the basic design has not changed.

The list price is $99.00 on the Spellbinders site. It comes with two White Master Mats, a magnetic spacer mat, a Tan Emboss Pad, and a Universal Cut Mat. It is 9″ wide (including the handle), by 11″ long, and doesn’t take up a huge amount of space. It weighs 5 lbs, but does not have a built-in carrying handle.

This particular machine uses a back-and-forth motion with the handle (as opposed to continuously turning the handle in a circle, as with most other machines). You are instructed to position the machine in a particular fashion, and you are instructed to go through three particular steps to engage your die cut “sandwich” (the cutting mats, cutting die and cardstock) into the machine.

My complaints about this machine?

  • The fit of the “sandwich” is REALLY tight! And, if you are not careful, and you don’t hold onto the sandwich as you are passing it through, you can shoot it across your room!!
  • You need pretty decent hand strength and arm strength to push the handle back-and-forth.
  • The way you position the machine is not intuitive: the logo faces away from you and is upside down; and the way you are supposed to load the “sandwich” is awkward. If you only die-cut periodically, you will have to get your manual out to remind yourself of how you are supposed to best use this machine.
  • The machine itself slips and slides all over the place as you are running the sandwich through it. Because you need to use both hands (one on the handle, and one to catch the sandwich) it is not easy to control the movement of the whole machine while you are cutting.
  • You can use dies from other manufacturers, but the “sandwich” recipe differs for each type, so you have to keep your manual handy, and be able to recognize the different types of mats supplied, because they are not labeled.

These are not huge complaints, and if you already own this die-cutter, you know that you can make it work just fine, particularly with practice. But if you have not purchased one yet, this is NOT the machine I would recommend as your only investment in a die-cut machine.

Now, I DO like the Spellbinders dies. You can use the same die for cutting, embossing, and as a stencil for selectively adding color to your die cut. And these dies are compatible with the Sizzix machines and the Cuttlebug.

Cuttlebug, by Provocraft

The Cuttlebug is a compact die-cut machine: when not in use, it takes up 5-1/2″ X 11″ on your shelf, and is 6-1/2″ tall. When the platform is down for die-cutting (as shown here), it is only 11″ wide. I’ve seen it listed for as low as $49.99 on JK Crafts and it is also carried by Michael’s, so you might be able to get a good deal with one of their 40% off coupons. It also has a pop-up handle on the top, which makes it easy to carry around. (And it’s not too heavy- 7-1/2 lbs.)

The Cuttlebug comes with three cutting pads (labelled B and C), and a Spacer plate (A). It is a universal die cutter, accepting most dies from other manufacturers. And, it can cut or emboss a variety of materials. The handle turns easily and without requiring a lot of arm strength.

An interesting feature is that when you lower the platforms (which your die “sandwich” rides on), it engages a large suction cup on the bottom, which grips the surface it is sitting on (as long as it is a solid, smooth surface). This helps to hold the machine still while you are cutting your cardstock.

My complaints about the Cuttlebug?

  • Only one, really: you have to keep your manual handy to know which plates to use with which dies- i.e. the proper sandwich recipe for your die type. This is NOT a big deal, and at least their plates are all labeled. But it means you need to store the paper manual nearby your machine or in a place where you will remember to find it. (I hope there are others out there who can relate to this: you put something away, thinking you will remember where you put it, but when it comes time to find it… it’s another story entirely!)
  • Okay, maybe two complaints: the suction mechanism does not always work like it is supposed to. So the machine can move around a bit while you are using it, and it is a bit top-heavy, so it can actually tip over if you are too vigorous.

I have not used dies made especially for the Cuttlebug. I have successfully used Sizzix dies, and Spellbinders dies easily in the Cuttlebug. I have used the Cuttlebug embossing folders, which do a great job on cardstock, and are the perfect size for the front of a standard A2-sized card.


The BigShot, by Sizzix
The Big Shot is a bit larger machine, and takes up a footprint of 14″ X 9-1/2″ (including the handle). It weighs 8 lbs and can be used on any kind of surface, from a table top, to a tablecloth, or even carpet. The suggested retail price is $99.00 directly from Sizzix, and for the same price, Stampin’ Up! now carries the Big Shot as well. You can occasionally find a lower price online, but so far I’ve only seen it on HSN and QVC. AC Moore carries it for $103.99.

If you are using a traditional Sizzix “Bigz” die, which is about 1/2″ thick, you only need the two clear cutting mats that come with the machine to make your die-cutting “sandwich”. These will also cut through cardstock, felt, fabric, foam, magnet, leather, craft aluminum, and many other materials.

Additionally, Sizzix got smart and made the “Multi-Purpose Platform” ($19.99) to use with your dies.
I did not realize how much I was missing this until I purchased my machine from Stampin’ Up!. Basically, it takes the place of the multiple plates required for cutting the wafer thin dies (like the Sizzlits) or dies from other manufacturers (like Spellbinders “Nestabilities”). In essence, the Multi-Purpose Platform is made up of plastic pages which you can flip over to use, or to move out of the way, depending on what die you are using or whether you want to emboss. AND, the reason I love it: the instructions are written right on each plate for which ones to use for different dies and different applications. You only have to keep track of the machine, the basic cutting plates, and the Multi-Purpose Platform. You don’t need to keep track of other plates or rubber mats and paper manuals. Like I said, I did not realize how great a feature this was until I got my Big Shot and started using it.

The machine is heavy enough that it is very stable while you are cutting. It has a handle that turns easily to pass the die-cut platform through. There is a handle built into the top which makes it very easy to carry.
There is also a “doctor’s bag” made to carry the machine and some dies if you are going to a crop. (SU also sells this carrying case.)

And, Stampin’ Up! has commissioned some exclusive dies that match some of their stamp set designs. This is a nice touch, to be able to use die cuts and stamped images that coordinate.

My complaint about the Big Shot?

  • It is truly hard for me to come up with one, but I would say that it takes up a relatively larger footprint on your table or shelves for storage.


Cricut Expression, by ProvoCraft

I’ve previously reviewed the Cricut Expression here on Craft Critique- you can find that post here. But for completeness’ sake, I’ll repeat some of the features and benefits in this post as well.

The Cricut Expression is a digital die-cut machine, which means that it requires electricity. However, it does NOT require dies in the traditional sense. Instead, it uses small cartridges that have computer programming in them for your die-cut shapes. When the cartridge is plugged into the Cricut Expression, the computer program directs a cutting tool, which moves across your cardstock to cut your shapes. It’s really pretty cool!

The footprint is the largest of all four that I’ve mentioned: it’s 21″ X 7-1/2″. So you need some space for storage. It weighs 13 lbs, and it has handles on the two ends, so it requires two hands to move it around. The retail price is $319.99- no, that’s not a typo. It is expensive. I’ve seen it at JKCrafts for $279.99 (pretty much routinely, including two cartridges). The cartridges are also pricey, and run from $38.99 to $79 for new releases. The good news is that these are frequently on sale on various sites online (and too numerous to mention here). [Just Google “Cricut cartridges”.] However, if you put it into perspective, you can spend anywhere from $10 to $19.99 for single Bigz dies for the BigShot, and you can spend up to $149 for a complete alphabet for a manual machine. So for alphabets, you can’t beat the Cricut.

Provocraft did a great job with the design of the Cricut Expression, and clearly paid a lot of attention to the user interface. I used my machine to cut 40 stars within 10 minutes of getting it out of the box! And that included practicing on various weights of paper so I could adjust the pressure level on the cutting tool.

Two other features that I have not used but I learned about since my last post:

  • There is an add-on called the Jukebox (made by ProvoCraft), which holds multiple cartridges at the same time. There is also a special ProvoCraft software called “Design Studio” which allows you to combine images from two different cartridges. So you can really start to multiply the use of each cartridge with these two add-ons.
  • There is another software called “SureCutsALot” (not made by ProvoCraft) which allows you to use your Cricut with your computer and to cut any TrueType font off your computer. [WARNING: check out this blog post on Cricut- some people have significant problems with getting this system to work on computers with Vista as the operating system.]


The Cricut Expression machine does cut through a variety of materials, including paper, cardstock, adhesive-backed vinyl, stencil material, magnetic material, and flocked, heat transfer fabric. ProvoCraft also makes pens that can be used in place of the cutting blade, so you can draw the desired image.

My complaint about the Cricut Expression?

  • The price. Although I honestly don’t think it’s a rip-off; it’s a computer that cuts, so there is a lot of hardware and software involved. It’s just tough to cough up that much money for one piece of equipment in our hobby.
  • It does not emboss. Period.


My recommendations:

  • Don’t buy the Spellbinders Wizard. It is too cludgey to use, and there are other options that are more user friendly.
  • If you are really strapped for cash, the Cuttlebug is a good choice. It is compact, it die-cuts a variety of materials, and it embosses.
  • If you can swing a $99 investment, you can’t beat the BigShot. Stable during use, it die-cuts through many different types and thicknesses of material, and it can emboss.
  • If you can afford the Cricut Expression, and you only want to die cut (and not emboss), then this investment is definitely worth it. This is particularly true if you routinely do things in quantity (like 100 Christmas cards!). Search for good deals online- they are out there.

If you were to force me to recommend just one? I’d go with the BigShot. It die-cuts, and it cuts through tons of different materials; it embosses; the Multi-Purpose Platform is really handy; it is stable and easy to use.

We would love to hear from you on these machines, and your own recommendations!! Do you agree? Disagree? Are there other machines you like better? Let us know!

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69 Responses to Comparing Die Cut Machines

  1. Avatar
    Cassi February 11, 2009 at 9:07 am #

    I think your review is spot on. I don’t have a lot of crafting space, but even still I decided to purchase the Big Shot for all of the reasons you listed. I also own the Slice, for the versatility of a cartridge system and it’s super small footprint. I am happy with my choices

  2. Avatar
    Tracey February 11, 2009 at 9:58 am #

    Thanks for this! I enjoy your reviews!! I gotta give some love though to my QuicKutz Revolution! I love it! I have the 12 inch platform for it and I use it with QK dies, Nestabilities and Cuttlebug embossing folders! I love my QK!!

  3. Avatar
    Anne-Marie February 11, 2009 at 10:06 am #

    I have the Big Shot and I’d have to say it is a great cutter! Love that I can use it with almost any die and to cut many materials.

  4. Avatar
    Helen February 11, 2009 at 10:37 am #

    I love my Quickutz Revolution too. I use it for QK dies, Nestablities and Cuttlebug embossing folders. Now QK is coming out with some great embossing folders. I have a Cuttlebug too, but never use it since I got my Revolution. It is so easy to use and no sandwiches.

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    Cheryl February 11, 2009 at 10:44 am #

    If you’re looking to be able to use a Michael’s or Joann’s coupon, the BigKick is essentially the same machine as the Big Shot – the mechanics are the same, it just looks a little different. The Big Kick also comes with the multi-purpose platform.

  6. Avatar
    Donna February 11, 2009 at 10:51 am #

    About the Cuttlebug? Simplify.

    I bought 3 of the white platforms and for my nesties I attached my shim to the platform and then taped a B plate over that with packing tape. Wrote Nesties on it and Voila!–no need to put anything together. Do this for your other options too, making custom platforms for every need. Added perk—the bottom platform attached B plate never gets bent up as it is held flat and it will now last forever.

  7. Avatar
    Doramiyi February 11, 2009 at 11:50 am #

    love your spin on the different machines out there. i have 2 of the 4 (CB & CE), and was thinking of the spellbinders wizard, but maybe not now.

    just a note on making sandwiches easier for the cuttlebug. in the beginning, i typed up some common sandwich recipes, printed it out and stuck it on the side of the machine. i don’t look at it much now since i’ve used my CB so much and know which sandwich is which. but it did help a lot in the beginning.


  8. Avatar
    Angie February 11, 2009 at 11:55 am #

    Great article, very informative. I don’t own a die cut machine, but may get one in the future, so your info is very helpful. Thank you!!

  9. Avatar
    Tams February 11, 2009 at 12:39 pm #

    Great review. I have a cuttlebug (which I LOVE), and just recently got a Cricut Expressions (still learning, but loving so far). I do have Sure-Cuts – A -Lot, and it works great… but I have an Apple. And I love that the Cricut can cut fabric… makes appliques for sewing projects so easy!

  10. Avatar
    Anonymous February 11, 2009 at 1:46 pm #

    Thanks for this….I have been torn about making a step up to a more complex machine than the Wizard…..I have definitely ruled out the Expression when You said it does not emboss.

  11. Avatar
    Allie February 11, 2009 at 2:35 pm #

    I have the Big Shot and the Cricut (little bug, not Expression). I use the Big Shot more often than the Cricut. I have the bag too, and it makes great storage and carrying. I too got mine through SU, and love their exclusive dies that go with a number of their stamps.

    I thought I’d use the heck out of my Cricut, but I find it more trouble than it’s worth to figure out which settings to cut quality CS. Yes, I still struggle with that. And what’s the point of a die cut machine if you still have to cut out letters by hand?

  12. Avatar
    Micki February 11, 2009 at 2:49 pm #

    LOL, I can completely relate to you! Matter of fact, I had this problem last night!
    Like you, I own all reviewed with the exception of the Spellbinder machine. I also have the desktop QK machine which I keep nearby so it’s handy.

  13. Avatar
    java diva February 11, 2009 at 2:49 pm #

    I completely back the Big Shot endorsement! I was hesitant to purchase it being more into embossing, but now am surprised how much I love to die cut! I’m very happy I made the “splurge!”
    My complaint is the size, weight and bulkiness of it for taking it to crops. But the CB was heavy, too! I store my big shot away b/c of the space it takes.
    I got the Big Shot for $70 at Archivers with their 30% coupon. And it comes with the MPP and 2 clear plates.

  14. Avatar
    MaryNSC February 11, 2009 at 2:50 pm #

    I can not believe U did this I just emailed my friend last night to ask her which machine did she like the best the Sizzix are the cuttle bug.. I have them all too not the Wizzard thing.I was looking at the Cuttle bug for convenice.
    Thank U 4 answereing my questions..

  15. Avatar
    Lynette February 11, 2009 at 2:52 pm #

    I love my expressions!!
    You are so right about the cuttlebug, and the manual. For me I made a label and stuck it on my cuttlebug that way I always have the “sandwich” placing there and I don’t have to take out the manual…works for me 🙂

  16. Avatar
    Nancy Park February 11, 2009 at 2:57 pm #

    I am the owner of the ” Cuttlebug”, but used the “Big Shot” last week at SU Club. I could not beleive the smoothness of the cut, it just glided through with very little effort. My next purchase is the “Big Shot”.

  17. Avatar
    RachelV February 11, 2009 at 3:17 pm #

    Great Review! I have a BigKick and use it on nearly every papercraft. Lots of choices in Sizzix dies, plus, as you said, it is very easy to use other manufacturer’s dies too. I also like how sturdy it is.

  18. Avatar
    diane mcvey February 11, 2009 at 3:46 pm #

    Oh, please enter me into the contest!!! I am subscribed by email, and I love reading it! Thanks so much for all the great information you give us! 😀
    Diane (

  19. Avatar
    Angela Sulik February 11, 2009 at 3:52 pm #

    Just received my Stampin’ Up! Big Shot today. I’m so excited and cannot wait to try it out. FYI . . . Stampin’ Up! is not longer selling the Big Shot doctor bag due to “quality” issues.

  20. Avatar
    Okispice February 11, 2009 at 5:29 pm #

    Thank you for the interesting information. I may have to add one of these tools to my scraproom. Currently, I own the blue Wishblade. It has such a steep learning curve, that I only use it to cut titles, or sometines circles.

  21. Avatar
    Diane February 11, 2009 at 5:44 pm #

    I flip quickly through some emails but yours I read faithfully. I have a Big Shot, a Cricut and a Slice. I have thought about getting a Spellbinder too but there is only so much one can store. I have been able to do most anything I need done so far with this combination.

  22. Avatar
    Anonymous February 11, 2009 at 6:12 pm #

    Your review is spot-on!
    I have 2 spellbinder wizards and there’s so much rust I stopped using it. Spellbinders has great nesties diecuts!
    I use the BigShot(teal one) super pleased!! I almost bought the cuttlebug and all those plates are cubersome, sorta like the sandwiches for the Wizard. Love the plateform by sizzix.
    Thanks again for the insight! I will share this article with other friends who are trying to decide which diecut machine to purchase.

  23. Avatar
    Etha February 11, 2009 at 6:30 pm #

    What a great review!! I loved reading through this. My experience would differ a bit, but that is normal I guess, we all ‘work’ differently. I LOVE my wizard and haven’t had an issue with it yet. I think if I would only buy ONE machine, that would be it cause you can crank just about anything through it, I admire the sturdiness and am easily amused if I forget to hold the plates while they come out 😉
    I *like* my cuttlebug but would not have bought it if I had the wizard first. I am slowly beginning to warm up with my cricut, and would not have bought the cuttlebug OR the wizard if the expressions would have been my first purchase. You can fit 6 cartridges into the add on thingie and with the design studio software, I do not think you are limited to any number of different cartridges that you can use in one design 🙂

  24. Avatar
    Jackie February 11, 2009 at 7:53 pm #

    I have the Big Shot and love it. Sizzix has the Multi Purpose Platform – Stampin’ Up didn’t come up with it, sorry. I’ve had both for about 2 years now 🙂

  25. Avatar
    Linda February 11, 2009 at 10:53 pm #

    Thanks for the reviews, I have the cuttlebug which I love for the embossing, don’t use it too much for the die cuts, at least not yet. I am still new to all of this and learning

  26. Avatar
    Jen February 12, 2009 at 12:14 am #

    Really helpful review, thanks. I own a Cuttlebug and no other diecutting machine and quite frankly, it felt like a big plunge (for me) to even get that!

    I think your assessment of the C/B is very fair- I often find I have to stabilise the machine with my spare hand b/c the suction isn’t quite strong enough. In terms of cutting I find that it is actually the die rather than the machine that makes the difference in smoothness and what materials I can cut through. In terms of building the ‘sandwich’- I just don’t find it that hard to remember! But I think that is b/c I only have one machine.

  27. Avatar
    hollystar February 12, 2009 at 1:11 am #

    i FINALLY decided to invest in a machine this year (4 years of holding back on one) and i pretty much had decided on the big shot (in hopes of getting one for my bday next week!!! and not having to feel “guilty” for buying it for myself) this post confirmed my decision and i will be getting one no matter how i obtain it.

    thanks for the info!

  28. Avatar
    Anonymous February 12, 2009 at 8:56 am #

    i could use some paper love your reviews Diana Cook

  29. Avatar
    Anonymous February 12, 2009 at 9:12 am #

    I printed a small version of the CB sandwich stack manual and adhered it on the machine. Handy!

  30. Avatar
    Meg February 12, 2009 at 11:29 am #

    Love your reviews!! I’m a HUGE Big Shot fan, and have tons of samples on my Blog, plus a fun way to purchase one. Oh, and the Multipurpose Platform comes WITH the Big Shot (included in the $99) when you purchase from a Stampin’ Up! Demonstrator.

    For ideas…

  31. Avatar
    Denise February 12, 2009 at 12:34 pm #

    I totally agree with your comments, especially about the Big Shot. I just got mine for a really terrific deal, almost half, free shipping and no tax. I’ve started using it more than my Cricut already. If you are looking to get one check out and see what deals they are offering, my deal was offered for just one hour but they still have great prices.

  32. Avatar
    Phyllis February 12, 2009 at 2:00 pm #

    I think it was very inappropriate for an SU demonstrator to write this review.

    To further my point, in all fairness, it should be listed as Big Shot & Big Kick – they are the EXACT SAME MACHINE AS SHELLI THE OWNER OF STAMPIN’ UP POINTED OUT IN THE INFORMATION ABOUT THE BIG SHOT. Don’t let any SU demo tell you otherwise.

    The Big Shot is identical, you can get it at any of the big box craft stores with your 50% or 40% off coupon.

    Thumbs down to Craft Critique for not including this information in the review. If you want to be known as an unbaised review site, this does not help your case.

    All that said, I do think the Big Kick/Big Shot is a good machine, but it does have some cons that you fail to mention. It is harder to store than the Wizard – it takes are large storage space, whereas the Wizard is compact and fits in a small space. The Wizrds has more pressure so if you check their web site, it can handle more materials than the Bib Kick/Bit Shot.

    I own the Wizard, Big Kick and Cricut and I think the machines are equally good, it depends on what the user wants to do, their storage space, their workspace, need for portability etc. etc.

  33. Avatar
    Sharon F / Createdbyu February 13, 2009 at 12:26 pm #

    Great review! I own three of the four machine and can honestly say that the Big Shot is my FAV! It’s a steady machine, holds it’s own.. doesn’t have to be held down and works with a variety of dies. Since owning my Big Shot, my cuttlebug hasn’t even come off the shelf (and I probably should just sell it before the price drops more). Thanks for a terrific review, glad to know that I have the best of the best!

  34. Avatar
    Maggie February 13, 2009 at 11:07 pm #

    I luv luv the cuttlebug, luv it so much we have a blog dedicated to Cuttlebug and other die cuts.


  35. Avatar
    Anonymous February 14, 2009 at 1:52 pm #

    First off, I love your articles. I always ready them and have referred to them when purchasing crafting items. I own the Cuttlebug and the Cricut Expression. I do not have a complaint about either one. I use my CE almost everyday and there is always something I am ready to make on it. I have read but not tried that you can emboss with the CE by turning your blade upside down and using the blunt end instead of the knife part. It will be worth trying out!

  36. Avatar
    Chookarooni February 16, 2009 at 8:04 pm #

    Found this article very informative – and from my experience with two of the machines mentionned – bang on! One question that has been topic of discussion amongst some of us online – is the author of this – a SU rep? – does she sell Stampin up products? – I have reread the article and I can see where someone might assume that she is – so I have decided to just come out and ask.
    Thanks in advance
    Mary-Jane Downey

  37. Avatar
    Craft Critique February 16, 2009 at 9:08 pm #

    Yes Chookarooni, The author is a SU! rep… and her review is in fact her OPINION of her experience with these machines. Some of the other comments will give you more opinions to consider as well.

    Craft Critique recommends that you seek several sources to form your own opinion before making a purchase. Ours is only one… and withing this blog you will find several opinions on Die Cut Systems. Just click at the tag on the bottom of the post for more related articles.

  38. Avatar
    Anonymous April 17, 2009 at 7:33 pm #

    I have a question. Which of theses machines can cut through multiple layers of paper. I also would use it to cut through fabric with fusible webbing on.
    What I am looking for is a cheaper way to help our teachers witht he dicut. As it stands they have to pay afew hundred $$ for dicuts for their manual machine.

  39. Avatar
    indesign April 17, 2009 at 11:56 pm #

    I have the Cuttlebug , use it’s cutting and embossing plates. I also use the Sizzix plates and it works great!!! If you want to see samples of my work using the Cuttlebug visit my website :

    Go to “My Art” and you will see all the different textures and even embellishments done using the Cuttlebug. I’m having a blast with this machine!!!!!

  40. Avatar
    rrpric01 April 21, 2009 at 1:33 pm #

    I have the Big Shot and the Expression. I love them both and use them together.

  41. Avatar
    Anonymous May 17, 2009 at 11:37 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your information on the Die Cut Machines. I have been thinking about getting one for a while, but I may wait until they change up the Cricut to emboss. I heard they have a Digital Slice out now, so I bet Cricut will upgrade their machine soon with more features.

  42. Avatar
    LadyUp May 17, 2009 at 11:43 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your information on the Die Cut Machines. I have been thinking about getting one for a while, but I may wait until they change up the Cricut to emboss. I heard they have a Digital Slice out now, so I bet Cricut will upgrade their machine soon with more features.

  43. Avatar
    Joan of Canton July 12, 2009 at 11:07 am #

    thanks for all the info. I have the quic kutz, big shot, slice and Cricut die cutting machine I use my cricut constantly and it is important to purchase the deep cut blade this makes a big difference in being able to cut thru various materials and you don’t get any jagged edges just percise cuts. I also purchased the cricut design studio and it is so awesome and extremely easy to learn and use and certainly allows one to be much more creative with it’s welding feature when you do get this you will see what I mean. I love my big shot and love it’s ability to use all dies and emboss and the slice is awesome for what it can do.

  44. Avatar July 27, 2009 at 11:43 pm #

    Does anyone have any experience with the new QuicKutz Epic 6? How does it compare with the BigShot/BigKick? Is the BigKick Express (electric) worth the electric part?


  45. Avatar
    Renata August 15, 2009 at 12:37 pm #

    Thanks for this review. I was never really interested in these die cut machines until I discovered they will cut through fabric. Now I wish I hadn’t spent my birthday gift certificate on other things 🙂

    One thought about the cuttlebug: Is there a way you could put a mark (either with a sharpie or a sticker) on the die to determine which mat to put it on?

    Also, are there ways to exchange dies with others locally? Like are there meets or maybe online (but more risky, I think).

  46. Avatar
    Jan Castle August 18, 2009 at 12:00 pm #

    I totally agree with your assessment of the Wizard: difficult to use if you have any hand problems…going to sell mine; Cuttlebug: have used it…it’s okay; Big Shot: another perk…it is wider so can accommodate biger dies. Anyone want to buy a Wizard! LOL

  47. Avatar
    Anonymous August 26, 2009 at 5:05 pm #

    I have the QK Epic 6 and I am not impressed. I mainly use it for embossing and when I put the embossing folder in the “sandwich” (the dark grey panel and the clear protective panel) it makes a very loud popping noise when I twirl the handle. It embosses great, but my QK Revolution did it too. I’m not impressed for the price…JMHO.

  48. Avatar
    Anonymous September 14, 2009 at 1:51 pm #

    I have the Cricut and love it. It is an expensive hobby with the jukebox, Design studio and SCAL.

    I received a big shot for mothers day just for embossing, I love it. It is larger than the cuttlebug so I went for it and have been very happy!

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    MaryLou Langley September 27, 2009 at 12:02 pm #

    I have never die cut before, but want to get one for cutting out leather applqiues for rodeo queen clothes, thin garment leather, any suggestions to what machine to buy with designs?

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    Anonymous December 31, 2009 at 10:27 pm #

    My question about the circuit expression is I am concerned about Bazzil paper. I love their paper but it is VERY hard to use with diecut machines. Can anyone offer any suggestions?

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    Anonymous January 9, 2010 at 12:52 pm #

    Thank you for the info.

    I have had the WIZARD for about 6 or 7 years and I thought it was the best. It still does almost any die that I want and it does emboss great.

    I also have the Cuttlebug and I got it for the ease of transporting it. I use it more now than I do the WIZ.

    I also have the E and I LOVE it. I use it more than I do any of the others….I have the jukebox and I have found that I don’t use it at all and I feel that I wasted my money with it. I also have the Gypsy that I just got and I am using it with my E. I love it and feel that it is a better use of my money than most of the others. I got it on BF and was able to use a 30% off coupon and I got a $100 credit at so I really ended up paying about $55.00 for it. I feel that it was a great buy. I had the old Sizzix machine but have sold it now. I have never tried the Big Shot but I am real interested in it after your review. Thanks again

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    farry2 January 19, 2010 at 3:58 pm #

    You can add my complaint to the Cricut Expression. As expensive as it is and as costly as the cartridges are the warranty sucks. 1 year on the machine regardless of how many thousands of dollars you have spent on the accessories.

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    farry2 January 19, 2010 at 3:59 pm #

    You can add my complaint to the Cricut Expression. As expensive as it is and as costly as the cartridges are the warranty sucks. 1 year on the machine regardless of how many thousands of dollars you have spent on the accessories.

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    Anonymous February 3, 2010 at 9:55 am #

    Does anyone know if Cuttlebug plans on comming out with a bigger machine for the Sizzex dies or should I just give up and buy the Big Shot?
    I am a hugh fan of the Spellbinders and find I cant use some of the borders with the CB.
    Wonder if the extender will fit in the CB. Does anyone know?

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    Becky March 12, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

    Great info!! I own a cuttle bug and love it,2 years of constant abuse and it is still on the original plates, now my girlfriend owns a big shot, and I am in love with that also :).

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    Carol March 18, 2010 at 9:14 pm #

    I really enjoyed your review. I own both ehe CB and CE. I use them both all the time. The CE has a new deep cutting blade that will cut through multiple paper layers and chipboard. On the web has some great specials on these machines.

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    dave March 20, 2010 at 2:39 pm #


    I’m thinking about a die cut machine, but would like to create my own designs. which machine is the best for this?

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    Anonymous February 14, 2011 at 2:20 am #

    I have all of the machines except the sidekick, also have the sizzix original and the sidekick. I just got my expression about a month ago, love it, I just the day before yesterday got the gypsy. The little Cb is just a great machine for embossing. That’s the main thing I use it for… Silverbutterfly

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    Carmen March 21, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

    Thank you for taking the time to write up these reviews! I got a Cricut Expression for Christmas and just returned it. I have never been so frustrated with a product and after dealing with their tech dept, will boycott all their products from now on. I do have a Cuttlebug, which I love and will continue to use.

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    Peter Howie April 13, 2011 at 6:55 am #

    I remember when I first see these.
    These are really good stuff for scrapbooking. Since then Scrapbookers seen a lot of new creative tools and materials. This area is really evolving I have to admit!

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    Ximena & Elle August 21, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

    Thank you for you review. You are fun to read.

    Do you know of a machine like the cricut that I could use for felt? I’m in terrible need for something like that.

    Thanks again

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    Betty G February 10, 2012 at 1:13 am #

    What an incredibly useful review! I make cards and just bought a BigShot based on the evaluation you gave it backed by user comments that were all positive. I looked at quite a number of consumer reviews and yours was the most informative by far.

    I’m really happy with the BigShot. The first embossing job I did was a little scary because the sandwich fit was so tight that I thought something would break. But it went through the machine smoothly and easily.

    I thought the BigShot would make my (numerous) hand punches obsolete, but happily I can keep using them and just get different die cuts to use with the BigShot. I love that I can now emboss, and once I get some basic shape dies I’ll be able to cut card windows much more easily and better than I can do with a stencil and scissors/craft knife.

    I found my BigShot for $65 at Free shipping, no sales tax, at least here in California). If I’d held out for a 50% coupon I could have gotten it a little cheaper at JoAnn or Michaels, but I didn’t want to wait and I’m glad I didn’t!

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    Valerie February 26, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

    Great review. However, there have been changes to the Cricut. You can buy an embossing kit and engraving tool now. They are made by Chomas Creations. They make several items for use with the Cricut. Also, Cricut is no longer making the Jukebox.

    I LOVE my Cricut. Started with the original personal size, then upgraded to the Expressions and gave the personal one to my daughter. I miss the personal one as I was more apt to get it out and use it. Since I do not have a “cutting station” in my craft room, the footprint of the Expression makes it a bit of a hassle to get down and set up.

    I also have the Cuttlebug, the QuicKutz Revolution, and Sizzix Sidekick. I really should downsize, but I love aspects of each of them. The Cuttlebug was a great buy with a 40% coupon at Hobby Lobby, so I chose it over the Big Shot. The Revolution is great for it’s magnetic platform. I use all my Spellbinder, QuicKutz and now Sizzix flat metal dies in it. It holds them in place with the magnetic platform. And, the Sizzix Sidekick, which I’m not sure you can get anymore, is just easier to get out when I’m cutting the sizzlets, 2×2 dies and the little embossing folders.

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    Sisters Craft Cafe May 16, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

    First of all, thank you for the review. Totally, I love my Big Shot. I do think about that Cricut Expression machine, but Big Shot remains to be my machine of choice because of one more feature – it doesn’t require electricity. I’ve made several die cuts of the same pattern for 100 exploding boxes before, my golly, it was an epic project, but patience and diligence is a virtue. And oh, with the right body mechanics, Big Shot is an ergonomic machine 🙂


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    New Creature February 12, 2013 at 10:14 am #

    Wish I had seen this before I asked my husband for the Cricut Mini for Christmas. I am totally dissapointed with it (it only cuts limited paper types and does a poor job of it.) I should have asked for the Big Shot instead.

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    Wona February 27, 2013 at 9:19 am #

    The only other thing I would like to know is if any of these would be good for cutting thin sheet metal. I’m wondering if there is anyone out there that uses their machines for this especially on a regular basis?

    • Avatar
      Diane January 30, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

      I just stumbled into this blog and I don’t know if anyone ever answered your question but I’ll tell you my experiences with cutting metal. I have a Cuttlebug and a Big Shot. You CAN in fact send some pretty thick gauge metal through both of them. BUT unless it is extremely thin metal I would seriously recommend annealing it first. It you do that either of these machines should cut and/or emboss very nicely. To get the most for your money however I would go with the Big Shot since you can use the larger dies with it. Hope this helps.

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    Kate May 24, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    Thank for a great review on these machines. I have a BigShot and although I love it, I would like to cut and emboss on A4 card. Price is important, can you advise me which machine may be best for my needs in card making please. Can I still use the Dies which I have now?
    Thanks Kate

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    Kathy February 9, 2014 at 11:04 am #

    Outstanding information. I greatly appreciate having additional comments to read about the experiences of others with their machines. The valuable critique and comments are aiding me in my decision making process. Thank you for a great post.