Thursday, 7 November 2013

Cricut Expression vs Silhouette Cameo Review

Let me say from the outset, I own both a  Cricut Expression and Silhouette Cameo machine and I am not in any way compensated by either Provo Craft or Silhouette. In my humble opinion, there is a place in the market for both. I have read some negative comments online about Provo Craft's after sales service. I have had a few software updating problems with my Provo Craft Gypsy, and even phoning the USA from South Africa, has not been problematic at all.

Herewith a breakdown, I hope you find it helpful in making your choice:


SILHOUETTE  CAMEO PROS
http://www.silhouetteamerica.com/
SILHOUETTE CAMEO CONS
No ‘cartridges’ necessary – thousands of single images available online at reasonable prices.  Free shape and loads of images ‘on sale’ every week as well as new shapes by well-known designers.
Although lightweight and easy to transport, you need your computer to run Silhouette Software to operate the machine.
Apparently images can be saved to an SD card which can be plugged into a slot on the Cameo, but I have not tried this option yet.  If this works, you may be able to cut images without a computer (I will report back on this issue)
Customers outside the USA have same access to all images/designs – very important.
Handbook provided with software is not adequate for someone who is not computer literate.  I had to sit through hours of YouTube clips to understand some basic principles (no teacher available in my area). Silhouette does have a dedicated help site, but I found some individual sites  more informative.   Thank you to all those wonderful people who posted the tutorials. 
 
To use the Cameo extensively, additional software has to be purchased (Designer Edition), but well worth the extra cost.
Can use any image = png, jpg, svg etc. 
Images can also be created from scratch. Some talented users create cutfiles and share it online (thank you!)
Colours of images can be changed according to a palette available or touched up with the help of a dropper (Photoshop type feature)
No deep cut blade for cutting really thick materials.
My favourite feature: you can download any image, trace it, print the image with a setting to print registration marks at the same time.  The silhouette recognises the registration marks, synchronizes and aligns the cutting exactly with the pre-printed image. 
Negative:  your Silhouette Machine must be calibrated to the printer you are using, and as this is a precision setting it would be best to choose a dedicated printer (so no printing at work on that lovely laser printer and then taking it home to cut – images won’t line up)
Can print and cut any True Type Font available on your computer.
 
Machine is lightweight but will cut paper, cardstock, vinyl and fabric (latter with special blade) with ease.
 
Can accurately cut very intricate and lacy patterns and smaller images like lettering.
 
Machine reasonably quiet when cutting.
 
Once you understand software, possibilities are limitless.  Do not need to be connected to the internet to work in the program.
 
Cutting Mats 12x12 or 12x24 and can cut certain media (vinyl) without a cutting mat (up to 10feet)
 
Starter Kits available:
Stamping; Heat Transfer; Rhinestone; Fabric Ink, Vinyl; Double Side Adhesive and Glass Etching.
 
Works with specialised Silhouette pens or a pen holder in which a ‘normal’ pen can be inserted.
 
Silhouette specific printable media available:
Magnetic Paper; Cotton Canvas;  Adhesive Cardstock; Tattoo Paper and Silver and Gold Foil.
 
 
Important!
Silhouette does not have an Angel Policy in place whereby an individual is allowed to make limited items for sale.  If you are planning to make cards for your local charity, think again, you have to pay a hefty Commercial  Use Licencing Fee per image!
 
 
CRICUT EXPRESSION PROS
http://www.cricut.com/home
CRICUT EXPRESSION CONS
You do not have to be connected to a computer to operate the Cricut unless you are working in Cricut Craft Room.
Cartridges are expensive, especially if you are not a USA/Canadian Citizen.  Customers outside USA cannot buy from Cricut Shop or redeem their rewards – a BIG negative.
Single images/cartridges through Cricut Craft Room are also not available outside USA
Machine very sturdy.
Cartridges take up space (especially if you have limited storing space like my ‘little scraproom” – see my post below) – but I think you would agree this is not a ‘serious’ con.
Can cut heavier/thicker materials like chipboard, poster board and thin magnets with deep set blade – additional cost: deep cut housing and blade.
This option is one of the main reasons why I have kept my Cricut.
Cannot cut small intricate lacy patterns (even though they are available on the cartridges), no matter what speed, different pressures or types of paper I have tried.
Do not need a computer to cut images.  Gypsy handheld device is available (like a mini computer) – costly but worth it.  Owned Cartridges can be linked to the gypsy, which means you don’t have to keep on changing cartridges. Gypsy or CCR software allows you to weld, tilt or flip images as well as a few very basic editing features.
Cannot custom or create any images other that what is predetermined on your cartridges.
Third party software used to be available, but class action lawsuits have made these illegal.
Cricut Craft Room free software is limited and very slow – often almost to a point of freezing up.  Need to be connected to internet to do anything in CCR (data expensive in a country like South Africa)
Let us all hope that Provo Craft  will move with the times and develop the Cricut Craft Room software extensively to cater for the serious crafter.
I do love the multi-layering option.  While available on Silhouette, the Cricut handbooks make this feature visually easier to complete.
 
To be fair, while cartridges are expensive if you only want one image, $ for $ it is probably cheaper if you have a specific project and you are going to use in excess of 20 images.  I am sure someone can give me feedback on this.
Machine quite noisy when cutting. (I have added this ‘con’, as I do a lot of work in the evenings when my family have gone to bed already!)
Cutting Mats 12x12 or 12x24 – not sure if you cut vinyl without a cutting mat.
 
Additional Accessories:
Embossing Kits
Specialised colour pens
Scoring Housing & Blade
 
Additional Cricut  Machine Options:
Cricut Imagine (not to be confused with the Expression) can print and cut images, but only those available on the imagine cartridges.
Negative: Cricut Imagine printer ink cartridges very expensive.  On the positive side, you don’t need a to be connected to a general printer.
Cricut Cake available for cake decorators (selective market).
 
Other:
Provo Craft has an Angel Policy, which grants limited permission to private individuals to incorporate Copyright Materials and Third Party Rights into Finished Products that may be offered and sold to others, but only in the quantities and in the manner expressly permitted in the Angel Policy (excluding Disney, Sesame Street, Martha Stewart © etc.) This basically means that you can make cards for your local charity’s annual market.
 



Have a lovely day and thank you for visiting.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this comprehensive comparison. I love my Silhouette!

    ReplyDelete