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Martha Stewart vs. Fiskars: A Trim Off

Reported by Lexi Daly

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One of the first tools every paper crafter needs is a paper trimmer. And so begins the endless search for the perfect one. For years, I’ve used the Fiskars Deluxe Portable Trimmer, but little bugs along the way have often made me wish for something more. Until recently, nothing caught my eye. Then I heard about the Martha Stewart Crafts Paper Trimmer, and decided to give it a try.

My relationship with my Fiskars trimmer has been very much a love/hate one. I love the portability. I hate that I can’t get perfectly straight cuts every time. I love the swing out arm. I hate that it swings out at 5+ inches, precisely where I cut most often. I love the grid and reference marks. I hate that they rub off with use. For the most part, the loves outweigh the hates, but the biggest hate, the cutting straight one, bothers me most. The advent of the triple track blade made this a lot better, but still the blade sometimes wavers, especially at the end of a cut. It also has a tendency to cut into the plastic track below sometimes, which also causes it to cut unevenly. Even so, I’ve purchased one after another several times over my years of paper crafting.

When I read about the Martha’s paper trimmer, I was really excited. I needed a change and I trusted the products in the Martha Stewart Crafts line. The trimmer is white and compact, with a track blade and a pull out ruler for cutting larger sizes. While the trimmer cuts nicely, with clean, straight lines, there are a couple of quirks that prevent it from being perfect. First of all, the paper guide/blade track lifts up from the left for the paper to go underneath. After using the Fiskars trimmer for so long, it just feels backwards. Second, the pull out ruler is oriented to measure a little differently. At first glance, it seems that the numbers are backwards, but they are done that way so that you can pull it out to the measurement needed and fit the paper into the space it creates. While I understand and appreciate the design, it’s just different from what I’m used to. Here’s the run down.

Fiskars Deluxe Portable Trimmer

Pros:

  • compact design
  • swing our arm for larger cuts
  • measurement grid
  • triple track blade

Cons:

  • inconsistent cuts
  • inconvenient swing arm location
  • blade cuts into track

Martha Stewart Crafts Paper Trimmer

Pros:

  • clean, straight cuts
  • attractive design
  • grid lines

Cons:

  • awkward track/paper guide
  • a different way of measuring–could be a pro!

The Fiskars Trimmer lists for $28.60 on the Fiskars website, and is also available at Michael’s as well as most scrapbook and stamp stores. The Martha Stewart Paper Trimmer is $19.95, available at Michael’s. Because both are available at Michael’s, coupons can make them cheaper. Overall, I think the Martha Stewart trimmer is really good. I just need to use it more. Unfortunately, the Fiskars is a no-brainer, so I still tend to reach for it first! Have you used them both? What do you think?

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17 Responses to Martha Stewart vs. Fiskars: A Trim Off

  1. Avatar
    Angela Sulik February 20, 2009 at 10:44 am #

    Oh, you hit it right on the head with the Fiskar’s – uneven cuts and “guessing” measurements about the 4-5 inch marks. It makes me bonkers! I just might try the MS after reading your article, and thanks for the heads up on the differences.

  2. Avatar
    Sally February 20, 2009 at 2:40 pm #

    I have to use my trimmer “up in the air” against my torso…not sure why I cut this way, but if the MS trimmer opens on the left that would be a BIG problem for me and my “crazy” method!

  3. Avatar
    jess February 20, 2009 at 3:58 pm #

    I have that Fiskars trimmer and the location of the swing arm drives me nuts too!

    I also wish it had a little arm that swung down to give you a right angle to butt up against. I think the next model up has that.

    I find I am more likely to get strait cuts if I press the blade down and to one side when cutting. I feel like it cuts slanted when I don’t do that because the cutting track has some wiggle room.

    It’s an imperfect trimmer for sure, but I love that I can grab it to make a few quick cuts then toss to some other part of my work table all while not getting up from chai. I don’t plan out my pages ahead of time so I never know what I want to cut until I’m cutting it. While part of me thinks a big flat full size cutter would be great, I just can’t see myself getting up to make a cut. I’m too used to the featherweight Fiskars!

  4. Avatar
    ScrapMomOf2 February 20, 2009 at 4:28 pm #

    I also have the love/hate relationship with the Fiskars trimmer. I want it to be perfect, but it’s not. The thing that REALLY bothers me about the Fiskars triple track is that my blades dull very quickly! Drives me crazy! I always have the “fuzzy” edge! The blades are expensive after a while when you use your trimmmer a lot like I do. I just wish there were an awesome portable paper trimmer! Come on Fiskars . . . improve it! You can do it!

  5. Avatar
    kim3timemom February 20, 2009 at 8:48 pm #

    I love my Fiskars trimmer except for the 5+ measures. I would love to have a trimmer that you wouldn’t have to buy refill blades for..that gets to be such a big expense when you do a lot of cutting as I do. Thanks so much for the comparason.

  6. Avatar
    http://angeladaniels.squarespace.com/ February 20, 2009 at 9:04 pm #

    I think what you need is the Fiskars Rotary Desktop (or the portable) version. I feel like I’ve tried them all and this is my favorite- especially the interchangeable blade option- I love the scallop blade. The trimmer is very accurate in my opinion. And to be fair, I like my tonic guillotine for certain projects too.

    Angela Daniels
    Lead Fiskateer
    http://www.fiskateers.com

  7. Avatar
    Michelle E February 20, 2009 at 9:43 pm #

    I have the exact same issues with these two trimmers. I own 3 Fiskars that are different “ages” and one MS. I thought I’d solved my problems with the MS trimmer, but not all of them. I do like the lifting blade guide since that is what I’m used to with Fiskars, but you can’t leave it in the “up” position due to a plastic end that prohibits the full opening of the guide. It took me forever to figure out the MS measuring system – directions on the package would help.
    My dream is that Fiskars can make the tool consistently cut straight and I’d be really happy!
    Thanks for your reviews – I check your blog all the time!

  8. Avatar
    sandra February 21, 2009 at 12:38 pm #

    totally agree with where the arm swings, i cannot stand it! i actually use two, both by fiskars. the one you describe here and the cheapest orange one where the arm swings out after 3inches. i use either one depending on how big of a piece im cutting. i kinda like the martha one but only bc it’s white.

  9. Avatar
    Jean February 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm #

    I tried the Martha trimmer and was instantly in love. The measuring is pretty odd and difficult to get used to but the straight cuts are awesome. You also learn to monitor the pressure on the blade for different paper types. I never bought this Fiskars, I still have my super old grey one. I reach for my Martha trimmer first all the time now.

  10. Avatar
    myonlysunshine February 22, 2009 at 5:04 pm #

    I have the cricut trimmer and rarely use it. Paper slips, blade doesn’t always cut straight, even with a new blade it isn’t sharp enough. I find myself returning to my xacto and cutting mat most of the time. Maybe I need to buy one of these you mentioned and give my cutting some help.

  11. Avatar
    Radiogirl February 22, 2009 at 10:35 pm #

    I sort of gave up on the Fiskars trimmer. At least for cutting. I do, however, use it regularly for scoring. As a matter of fact, it is my dedicated scorer.

    I am still seeking the ideal trimmer. Again, sort of. I have a larger Fiskars trimmer, but it is not compact and so I can’t travel with it. It’s one w/the rotary blade. I like it.

  12. Avatar
    dimpz1230 February 24, 2009 at 2:19 pm #

    I recently got the tonic guillotine cutter and it works wonders although very bulky so I decided to get the fiskars trimmer. Over the weekend I had a project and after using it a few times the blades were already dull and like scrapofmom2 i got those fuzzy cuts already. Very disturbing since its pretty new hasnt even been a month since I bought it. I may have to try the Martha Stewart trimmer.

  13. Avatar
    Lois aka katesmum February 26, 2009 at 1:01 am #

    I also have Martha’s trimmer and can say I do like it but have found that the plastic glides I guess you would call them are not very strong and one of mine, in fact, has broken off from use. I had a problem with some replacement blades and EK replaced them along with some other goodies. Still, the broken part is the important one because that is what keeps the ‘ruler’ from separating causing crooked cuts.

  14. Avatar
    Regina Andari February 1, 2010 at 12:54 am #

    My comment is rather late (by about a year), but I just found this review. I’ve had the MS trimmer for several months and really like it. Actually, the only “unusual” measurements are on the center bar of the pull-out piece–the top and bottom measurement guides are like the ones on the Fiskars cutter. I watched a You Tube video that explained the “backward” measurements . . . if you are cutting a piece of card stock to 8″, you can slide that pull-out bar so that the 8″ mark lines up where it says “paper edge distance to blade” on the cutting platform. By doing this, you can just slide your paper to the stop edge and continue cutting the paper to an 8″ size without having to watch the top measure guide. This could be a really handy feature. My only gripe with this cutter is that it doesn’t seem to have a permanent holder for the score blade–or any holder. I do a lot of scoring and don’t really want to take the cutting blade out of the carrier each time.

  15. Avatar
    BellaMio March 9, 2010 at 6:19 am #

    Hi!!! I’ve used the fiskars cuter for a few years now, and had to replace it 2 times alredy. All for the reasons you discribe in your text. Now its time again, and i stumbled on Martha Stewarts. It looks really nice and I heard alot of good things about it. But I wonder, since I’m from Sweden, I need it to have both inches and centimeters. And dont seem to find any information on if the centimeters is there to…

    Could you please wright a few words on my blog and tell me?

    Thx a bunch for a great review!

  16. Avatar
    Leanne October 11, 2010 at 4:28 pm #

    Gotta say… I had the Fiskars trimmer for about 2 days, bought just for portability to go to a crop. HATED IT! Fuzzy edges, crooked lines, replacement blades, that stupid pull out arm… argh!

    I have a 12×12 base guillotine cutter, which is ALWAYS straight, and the blades never need replacing. Yes it’s bigger, but very light weight, I’ve had it at least 5 years now… no replacing anything in that time!

    And most important to me… it cuts straight!

  17. Avatar
    sugarsherri February 5, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

    I have a lot of paper trimmers, and the large Guillotine on my desk, but I love the Martha Steward…I teach and have taken with me and now lost the carriage that the blade goes in…am considering buying another MS as I am thinking about replacing the whole thing!