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SD Silhouette / Cameo vs Cricut Expression 2

Updated on November 1, 2012

Which scrapbook cutter is the best one for you, the Cricut or the Silhouette?

There are many cutting tools out there, but the two most popular are the Cricut Expression and the SD Silhouette. This lens will compare the two and give you the most informed choice for your needs.

I've updated this lens to include all the various Cricut tools as well as the SD Silhouette and the Silhouette Cameo!

The Machines!

There are many options on packages for this tool on Amazon. Look around and find the best bang for your buck!

Do they have the Silhouette at Michaels?

A quick note here...

Yes and no.

Hobby Lobby and Michaels both carry the vinyl rolls now. This is more common than other accessories or the machines. The machines have been released to a few Michaels. It's not 100% yet.

If you want it to come to Michaels or Hobby Lobby for the coupons, it's worth noting that the coupons generally exclude the Silhouette and Cricut products. Sometimes, you get lucky though!

What's generally included

Check with your store for specifics!

Cricut Expression -

* Plantin Schoolbook font cartridge

* Accent Essentials shape cartridge (not included with all offers)

* 1 12x12 cutting mat

Silhouette SD -

* Silhouette software (with a bonus of 50 pre-loaded shapes)

* USB Cord

* Power Cord

* One cutting blade with three blade caps for varying types of material thickness

* Cutting mat

* User Manual

Silhouette CAMEO -

* Silhouette electronic cutting tool

* Silhouette Studio® software for Windows XP/Vista/7 and Mac® OS X 10.5.8 and higher

* 51 exclusive cuttable designs

* Power cable, USB cable

* 12" cutting mat

* Cutting blade

* $10 gift card to the Silhouette Online Store

* Basic Instruction Guide

Physical Size of the Machine

Machine

Cricut Expression

Cricut Expression 2

Silhouette SD

Width

25.8"

23"

16" (18" for cords)

Height

9.5"

9.5"

4.25" (8.25" cover open)

Depth

12"

11.3"

6" (12" on either side for material feed)


System Requirements

Cricut Expression -This machine does not require connection to a computer though you can connect it to the computer.

Silhouette SD - The Silhouette SD and Cameo does require a computer to connect to. An Internet connection is strongly recommended for obtaining software updates and enabling you to be able to download additional images to your library. Neither have to be hooked up to a computer to cut however.

Compatible with Windows XP/Vista/7, Mac® OS X 10.5.8 and higher

Find a wonderful Silhouette on eBay

Silhouette or Silhouette SD, find a great deal on either here on eBay!

Media types

What will your cutter cut?

Material

Circuit

Silhouette SD

 

Paper

x

x

Cardstock

x

x

Bazzill

x

x

Cardstock

x

o

Chipboard

x

o

Flocking

x

x

Vinyl

x

x

Window cling

x

x

Thin magnets

x

x

Wallpaper

x

o

Poster board

x

x

Fabrics

x

x

Fabric papers

x

x

Metallic papers

x

x

vellum

x

x

iron-on transfer

x

x

transparency film

o

x

sticker paper

x

x

temporary tattoos

x

x

rhinestone setting

o

x


Materials that are more dense (such as shrink plastic, crafting foam, chipboard) or fibrous in nature (such as fabric) cannot be cut by the Silhouette, even if they fit within the thickness range noted above. However, some have had success with fabrics when starched

Great Stuff on eBay - A used machine is often a wonderful deal!

Sometimes it is a good option to buy used, or to find a fantastic package deal on eBay!

Media sizes

How large of a design can your cutter cut?

Cricut Expression -

* Smallest - 1/4"

* Largest - 12" x 23 1/2"

Silhouette SD -

* Smallest - 3" x 3"

* Largest - 8 1/2" x 12" or 8 1/2" x 39" for adhesive backed materials like vinyl

Cameo -

* Smallest - 3" x 3"

* Largest - 12" x 120" (10 feet!)

Note - the smallest sizes are the size of the paper you must use to cut on. These cutters are capable of making very tiny cuts such as small fine letters or details

Portability Factor

What can you take with you?

The Cricut Expression is a portable machine because it's cartridge based. Most of your designs will be bought on a cartridge and therefore it's totally independent of a computer. You will have to pack up the machine and all the cartridges you wish to use or buy an additional thing like the Jukebox or the Gypsy.

The Silhouette SD and Cameo need a computer for it's designs, however, you can load images onto an SD card for portability. They can be scaled on the machine itself. The lightweight and small machine and the images on the SD card make it very portable, but you will be limited to what you have put on your SD card.

Consumable costs

What will it cost you over time?

Cricut Expression -

* Blades - $7 - $10 (these are often available in your local stores like Michaels or Target but there are different blades for different materials)

* Mats - $15 - $30 depending on size (again, you can find these sourced locally)

Silhouette SD/Cameo -

* Blades - $7 - $15 (you cannot buy these locally so you will also pay shipping if you order them alone)

* Mats - $20 - $40 (and again, you cannot buy these locally. However, you can use a Cricut mat, simply cut to the same size as the Silhouette mat for the smaller Silhouette SD or just use a regular sized Cricut mat for the Cameo)

Accessories!

What else can you buy?

Cricut Expression - This list is almost endless. There is software to connect it to a computer to give you the ability to make your own designs. There are carrying cases, portable design tools, a storage bank for your cartridges, etc. Many of these cost over $100 and up to several hundred. You can get pens for journaling as well as a set of tools for removing your designs from the mat.

Silhouette SD and Cameo - Pens for journaling and tools similar to the Cricut's. In fact, the same tools will work for either machine. There are also specialty media like metal and magnets as well as iron on rhinestone setting templates!

Designs!

What pretty things can you cut?

Cricut Expression - This is mainly cartridge driven. The cartridges cost from $20 to over $100. All fonts and designs are on cartridges. There is software to connect it to a computer, you can find it anywhere from $40 - $80.

Silhouette SD / Cameo - This is computer driven, so any fonts you own can be used and there are MANY free fonts on the internet. It comes with simple designs and a design library where you can pick out the individual designs you want for around $1 a piece, or you can buy a subscription for unlimited downloads. You can even design your own shapes with any design software or the design software it comes with. Also, you can upload your designs and earn credits on your account. Your imagination is your only limit!

Overall Cost Factor

What will it cost me to get creating?

Cricut Expression - These machines start at about $300 and then require either the software or the cartridge purchases

Silhouette SD - This can be found at around $150 and does not require any additional purchase. There is another version of this machine called just the Silhouette. It can be found fairly inexpensively on eBay and the only difference is the SD card capability. If you don't need this feature and want a cost effective machine, this might be a good choice for you.

Silhouette Cameo - This starts at $330, but doesn't require cartridges. There's not much outlay on design/image costs after the initial cost of this machine.

So what's your choice?

Basically, it boils down to this...

Want 12 x 12? Cameo or Cricut Expression. Are you comfortable with using the computer? Cameo will save you money over the life of the machine.

Want a starter level and don't 'need' all the bells and whistles? Get a lower end Cricut or a Silhouette SD. Like the Cameo, the SD will save you money over the life of the machine.

If this guide helped you, let me know! If there was another factor you used in considering your choice, keep me posted! I'd love to update to keep this as complete as possible.

Please let me know if you were helped!

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      excellent review helped very much! Buying the cameo

    • psiloveyou1 profile image

      psiloveyou1 5 years ago

      You did a great job comparing the two machines. I have a Cricut Expression and LOVE IT...I also have a Pazzles Creative Cutter Pro that I use for cutting scrapbooking titles that I sell. Love it too, but it's not portable. Great lens.

    • profile image

      DanielleTruax 6 years ago

      @anonymous: To work with the Silhouette software, there's minimal computer requirements, I get the software to work on a netbook. The Silhouette machines are smaller and lighter than the Cricut, if you're worried about freight, I would look for the package deals so you get some supplies with your Silhouette.

    • profile image

      DanielleTruax 6 years ago

      @anonymous: The Silhouette is the only one that will let you cut your own designs, as far as I'm aware. The Cricut design software is just for manipulation of the cartridge images. Also, the Cricut doesn't officially cut gum paste, that's a separate machine...the Circuit cake! People have been successful at cutting fondant with the Silhouette (someone made a blade) - http://imtopsyturvy.com/using-my-silhouette-to-cut... which makes me fairly sure both machines can do it, without using the 'special' Cricut.

      The Cricut blades are not interchangeable with the Silhouette, which is unfortunate as you have to order then, even here in the States. Is there a need for this overseas? Y'all can't get this stuff? Maybe I should look into making an online store, LOL!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Hi,

      I like to know, how large Hard driveand Ram, I live on the island of Bali,Indonesia, therefore I must be careful what kind machine I need to buy, (freight). I think I prefer the cameo. Thanks for all the help sofar, there are no craft-art shops here who do cardmaking etc. Thanks,Jogry/bali

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thanks for the great comparison! I am leaning towards the silhouette, because I would like to be able to cut my own Illustrator designs. However, the silhouette blades are hard to come by in the Netherlands. And I would like to be able to cut gumpaste as well, and the silhouette doesn't have a gumpaste/fondant blade (yet). Do you happen to know if the Cricut and Silhouette blades are interchangeable?

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Hi, I was thinking about buying a Cricut Expression. Now I have learned about the Silhouette SD, and I think that's a better (and much cheaper) option for me. Thanks!