Which machine has an unfair advantage? Finally a showdown between Brother Scan and Cut vs Cricut Maker

 

brother scanncut2 vs cricut maker

You time is precious. So for this reason I won’t be comparing 10+ machines between Brother and Cricut.

Look:

I’ve picked the very best machine what Brother has to offer which is the Brother Scan and Cut. And I’ve picked the very best that Cricut has to offer which is the Cricut Maker. Now they will go head to head.

By reading this comparison you will know exactly which one of these two will be the right fit.

As you know both of the machines are in the high price bracket. It will be interesting to see which one will come out as the winner. Let’s start the Brother Scan and Cut vs Cricut Maker battle.

First I will give you the bird’s eye view. Check out the table below and see how the two machines compare to each other. Below the table, I will go into the details.

Let’s get started. The fight is on: Brother vs. Cricut.

Between the Brother Scan and Cut and Cricut Maker, the winner is the Cricut Maker. Here’s why:

Why is it Better?

  • It’s the most intuitive and easy to learn vinyl cutter on the market. There’s no steep learning curve thanks to the drag and drop software.
  • It’s the perfect vinyl cutter for beginners and advanced crafters. It will cut a thin vinyl sheet, and it can handle soft materials like fabrics with high accuracy. Not to mention tougher and thicker materials like balsa wood. It can handle more than 100+ different materials.
  • Thanks to the 2x speed upgrade you will be able to finish cutting jobs a lot faster saving you time.
  • It saves you money in the long run. The accessories are the most affordable ones on the market.
  • Amazing and slick design which will make your friends envious. You can proudly show off your designs and your very one Cricut Maker.
  • To get you started as soon as possible you can choose one of tens of thousands of premade designs. You cut it and sell it. That’s how fast you can make money with this vinyl cutter.

*Don’t forget to check the price on both as some may be running exclusive discounts.

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Products Evaluated

Comparison of the Cricut Maker and Brother Scan and Cut

Details Price

Cricut Maker

  • The software is insanely easy to learn it's so intuitive.
  • This cutter is a miniaturist's dream come through. It lowers your production costs and increases profits.
  • You will be able to corner the market with Flowers and Bows made out of felt. A great side hustle opportunity.

Brother Scan and Cut

  • It's the only vinyl cutting machine that has a built in scanner. You don't have to buy shapes when you can hand create them.
  • It's an excellent choice for birthday gift cards and stickers for customizing your car or laptop.
  • Easy to get started no difficult learning curve like with other CNC machines.
Before we get into the deep, let me tell you everything there is to know about the picks. First is Cricut Maker. It’s the ultimate tool that you can purchase from the Cricut family. I finally wanted to do a best of the best challenge.

There’s nothing better among the Cricut machines than the Maker.

scan and cut I had a bit of a dilemma with the Brother Scan and Cut. First, I’ve picked version 2 also known as CM350. There’s a more powerful machine called the CM650, but you can’t order it online. There’s no reason to review something that the majority of crafters don’t have access to.

Plus it costs double the price of the Cricut and this doesn’t include accessories. Many crafters would pick a less expensive machine to get started.

The match is between Cricut Maker and Brother Scan and Cut 2 (Brother Scanncut CM350).

Machine Capabilities:

Vinyl Cutter Size and Weight

When we take a look at their size, they look the same. Only the Cricut is almost twice as heavy as the Brother. This only matters if you have to move it around a lot.

One place that comes into mind is fairs and expos. Make sure about this ahead of time because hauling machines left and right is not fun.

Both of the machines have a cutting and drawing feature. Well, we shouldn’t expect anything less in this price range.

Digitizing Custom Designs

They both have their ways to digitize and multiply designs. The Brother cutting machine has a built-in scanner which can process images in real time. On the other side, Cricut has cloud software called Design Space.

cricut design space

Cutting Force Compared

Now here’s a biggie. The difference in cutting force is huge. Most machines are limited in the 250 range. Brother’s machine stands out from the rest with 350g. But it’s no competition to Cricut which bolsters with 4000g of cutting force. That’s more than 11X.  No wonder it can handle more than 100+ materials.

That’s a lot of power for a small machine like that. Should I just conclude the review here and now?

Well as you know, Cricut has its fair share of weaknesses, so if you’re impatient, you can scroll down to the negative section to find it out.

The cutting size is fairly standard the Cricut machine’s standard is 12 X 24 inches and the Brother’s is 12 x 12, but it can be extended to 24 inches with the purchase of additional add-on mat.

Auto Blade

The Auto Blade is a nifty feature that is missing from Cricut. You need to manually specify what kind of material you’re working with. On the other hand, Brother has it nailed down it takes the guesswork out of the equation.

Dual Carriage

Dual Carriage Dual-Carriage is a feature which I’ve fallen in love with as soon as I found out about it. This feature speeds up your draw/cut process significantly.  Cricut has two holsters where you can put two different types of tools in it. You can pick anything that the project requires like two pens or blades or a pen and a blade. Once you’ve set the project up, you can walk away from the machine and do something else.

Brother doesn’t have this feature; this means that you have to be close by after it has finished stage one. Tinker around with the soft, swap your tool and start it up again. As you guessed it, you are wasting time.

Many other different machines have this feature, and once you get used to it, you don’t want to give it up.

Both of the machines are working with maximum width materials of 2mm. If you try your luck with something thicker, you might ruin your machine. Even though Cricut has the cutting force of 4000g, it can only handle 2mm thick materials.

 

Machine Connection and Software Match Up

Now here’s where Brother truly shines. It’s a one-stop-shop. This means that you can design, crop, position and edit everything on the machine itself. For all this, you don’t need a standalone computer or any other device.

This is why on expos it’s great to have this machine by your side. It’s small, and light plus all you need is one electric cord. That’s it. Once you plugged in, you’re in business. With the pen or your fingers, you can manage any project with ease.

It’s a different story with Cricut. You don’t just need a device, but you need a constant internet connection as well. The editing software is cloud-based. So for you to do the projects, you need a constant internet connection. There’s no other way to do it. This connectivity can be good and bad as well.

The Brother cutting machine (brother scanncut) lets you edit pictures and projects on its LCD device. As I mentioned, earlier this makes it easy to work at places where there’s little space. But you are limited on how fast and what can you do. It’s nice to work with your hands, but the mouse is always more precise and faster.

It depends where you are and what you’re doing. If you are at home with a good internet connection than Cricut is a safe bet. If you are out on the road and have no idea if there’s internet, then you might want to choose something else.

Cricut is advertised to be able to work with 100+ materials. After we found out that it has a cutting force of 4000g, it’s easy to see why. Several crafters said that Brother is limited and there are a few materials that it can cut well and the rest well for those you should use a different machine. Cricut has an extensive toolset like: (rotary blade, knife blade, scoring wheel and many more). My personal one is the rotary blade because it makes fabric cutting easy.

I tried to go through the list and quickly gave up. I was getting way too many ideas. Maybe after I’ve tried many projects, I will go back and start finding new stuff to create. In this category, Cricut is the winner hands down.

Machine Sound Levels Tested

Here’s the biggest issue with these die cutting machines. They are loud. If you just take a look at the Silhouette brand (I have reviewed Silhouette Cameo 3 in more detail), they are notoriously loud. Forget about working late in the night because you will be waking up the whole family. This is how they are manufactured no matter if you chose the Silhouette Cameo or other machines they are all loud.

The situation is slightly better with Scan and Cut machine. It’s noisy but not loud. How does the Cricut fair?

cricut maker

Surprisingly OK. The best thing to compare the sound level is with an older printer. Sadly it’s not quiet as a mouse. So I won’t risk putting my little one down in the room while I work.

The difference between Cricut and Silhouette is out of this world (Silhouette Curio Reviewed here). So far there’s no vinyl cutters that can match Cricut’s level.

Most cutting machines work at the same speed. Cricut came out with 2x speed versions. All I can say is WOW it’s fast. When it was competing for head to head with Scan n Cut on intricate design, it came out a full minute ahead. This speed upgrade is great. Just think about the time you can save. What’s even better is the precision isn’t affected. You get double the speed with the same accuracy. You just have to love it.

 

How Do Accessories Prices Compare

The last subject before I end this article is the accessories pricing. Sadly Brother went the way of printers. Sure it’s cheap to buy one, but the ink will burn a deep hole in your pocket. Brother has priced their accessories out of this world.

brother

If you are doing a head to head comparison Brother accessories are three times more expensive than Cricut. Some crafters have complained that the mats lose stickiness way too fast. It might be by design.

Last but not least there’s one more feature to talk about which is the mobile docking feature. Only Cricut has it. You can place a tablet or a phone and control your machines or watch a video while it’s working. It’s a great way to spend time while you are waiting for the project to finish.

Thank you for reaching this far. Now I will discuss the negatives of each machine. This is where normal reviewers wrap it up. Not me I will tell you the hidden pitfalls of these machines. So get ready there’s no such thing as the perfect machine.

 

The Shortcomings of Brother Scan and Cut Cutting Machine

Brother Scan and Cut 2 negatives:

brother scan and cut 2

There isn’t much improvement from older versions besides the price. They have increased the price without putting too much on the table. The accessories are priced into the stratosphere.

Plus the scanning option isn’t that good. If you are doing monochrome scanning, you are in luck. It does a far better job in that department. If you are scanning full-color things, get difficult fast. If the scan isn’t 100% successful, you need to increase the number of colors. Or reposition the scanned object. This will lead to wasted materials. Many crafters complained that the scans are inconsistent which will lead to a lot of trial and error and wasted time.

File transfers tend to be clunky. If you are using a pen to navigate the machine, it feels like you’re back in the palm pilot age.

Brother Scan and Cut vs Cricut Maker Detailed Comparison

Cricut Maker Brother Scan and Cut
Size 10.2 x 25.8 x 10.4 inches 10.25 x 23 x 10.5 inches
Weight 15.02 pounds 8.6 pounds
Cutting Feature
Drawing Feature
Transform Images to Design Design Space Built in Scanner
Cutting force 4000g 350g
Cutting Size 12 x 24 inches 12 x 12 inches (additional
24 inch add-on available)
Auto Blade
Dual-Carriage
Max Material Thickness 2mm 2mm
Computer Needed
LCD Touch Screen
Edit Images on Screen
Number of materials 100+ <20
Noise Level Acceptable Noisy
Speed Fast Normal
Accessory Costs $ $$$
Mobile Docking Station
Price

Shortcomings of Cricut Maker Cutting Machine

Here are the negatives for Cricut Maker:

cricut maker

First of all the constant internet connection could be a huge turnoff for people. There’s no way around it. The software is cloud-based, so you need to work with that. You might find yourself in a difficult spot where the internet is lagging.

Sometimes it automatically shrinks objects. I don’t know if this is a bug or feature.

There’s no auto-blade, so you need to select the right material every time.

Last but not least there is the not so mandatory monthly subscription. For just $4.99 and $9.99 a month you get access to the whole library of 60,000 designs. Now, this is where they make their money.

Although you don’t need to subscribe, you can waste a lot of time learning different softs and create new designs. As you are reaching the end of this review you can see that both electronic cutting machines are formidable ones. But only one could be the victor.

 

What are the main applications for these two Cutting Machines?

The obvious would be vinyl cutting but that’s not it. With the help of Cricut you can even cut fabric with ease. If you want to extend your capabilities you might want to look into Cricut’s accessories like: Cuttlebug, Cricut Easy Press and the Cricut Brightpad. All these accessories complement and enhance your skills.

Besides vinyl cutting you can easily customize T-shirts with the heat transfer technology. If you really want to stand out you can use your own files but first you need to convert them into svg files.

Depending on your niche sewing machines combined with Cricut Maker machine could open up a whole new world. So keep on experimenting and pushing the limits.

 

Final Thoughts about Brother Scanncut Vs. Cricut Maker

This concludes my in-depth review of Brother Scan and Cut vs. Cricut Maker. By reading through this article, you have learned everything there’s it knows about the machines. I’ve shown you all the good and all the bad. Now it’s time for you to make the decision which is right for you. Scanncut vs. Cricut is ending.

Among the Cricut Machines I’ve picked the Maker for this comparison. It’s true that there’s the Cricut Explore Air 2 which would be a fair contender but it will be probably discontinued in the near future. By choosing the Maker somewhat the comparison is not fair because it’s in a league of it’s own. If you believe that the Cricut Explore Air 2 would’ve been a better fit let me know.

For some Brother seems to be overpriced and for others, Cricut’s constant internet connection is a burden. How will you decide?

There’s no arguing here the Maker machine can do so much more. And it is made that future (yet unreleased) tools will be compatible with it. I don’t know what they are hiding under their sleeves. You can already work with 100+ materials.

For some, it’s appealing the use of a touchscreen. It’s small and sometimes clunky, but it works where you don’t have much space.

Maybe in the future, I will do a Cricut Vs. Other cutting machines. Subscribe, and you will be notified when it will happen. This concludes my Brother Scan and Cut Vs Cricut Maker comparison.

Happy Tinkering!

Cricut Maker, Champagne
  • [CREATE MORE] Cricut Maker gives you the freedom to make everything from paper crafts, iron ons, and vinyl decals to sewing projects, leather crafts, and balsa models
  • [ENDLESS PROJECT POSSIBILITIES] Expandable suite of tools. With its powerful blades, pens, and scoring tool, Cricut Maker grows with you as you learn each new craft
  • [NEW ROTARY BLADE FOR FABRICS] With its gliding, rolling action, this blade cuts through virtually any fabric quickly and accurately – without backing material
Sale
Brother CM350E ScanNCut 2 Cutting Machine with Scanner, Make DIY Vinyl Wall Décor, Custom Stickers and Stencil Sheets with 631 Included Patterns, ScanNCut Online Activation Card
  • CREATE RIGHT OUT OF THE BOX: The centimeter350E electronic cutting machine gives you the option to work directly on your machine with the 631 built-in designs and easy-to-use editing tools on the 4.85" touchscreen LCD display . No PC or mobile device required!
  • SCAN DRAWINGS: The 300dpi built in scanner allows you to scan your drawing to convert it to a one-of-a-kind cut file, directly cut printed stickers, and precisely place designs without counting blocks
  • STUNNING DIY PROJECTS: Craft with 631 built-in designs, including 100 quilt designs and 7 lettering fonts. Add your own SVG design files and additional free patterns via a free CanvasWorkspace account using the USB port and wireless capability

Some crafting ideas (more than 4000) here on Pinterest.

 

Frequent questions from our readers (FAQ):

 

What’s better than a Cricut Cutting Machine?

At the moment there’s nothing better than Cricut. Soon Silhouette Cameo 4 will be released and it’s possible that it’s better than Cricut.

What’s the best Cricut to buy?

The best Cricut to buy by far is their flagship model the Cricut Maker.

Can I use my own images with Cricut Cutting Machine?

Yes, you can and it supports SVG files for free as well.

Which Cricut machine is best for vinyl?

No matter which machine you choose they all cut vinyl. I would suggest choosing Air 2 or Maker because they have 2x speed. The brother scanncut is more expensive to buy and operate.

Can I create my own designs on the Cricut Cutting Machine?

Yes, you can create your own designs that’s why they have created the software Cricut Design Space.

Would Brother Scan and Cut 2 be better than Cricut Explore Air 2 Cutting Machine?

Some people would say that these vinyl cutting machines are closely matched. I beg to differ. Cricut is less expensive and has a faster learning curve. Even if we go back a generation Brother Scanncut would still lose.

What’s better with Brother Scanncut and Silhouette Cameo 3, Cricut Explore Air 2, Silhouette Curio?

There’s only one thing that sets the Brother Scanncut aside from Silhouette Cameo 3 and Cricut Explore Air 2 and this is the built-in scanner. With the built-in scanner you don’t have to fiddle with your phone to get the right conditions.If you like brand stuff then and only then it will be worth to buy a brother scanncut.

Is the Brother Scanncut better than Silhouette Cameo 3, Cricut Explore Air 2, Silhouette Curio?

The Brother Scanncut is not better than the Cameo 3 or the Cricut Explore Air 2. The Brother Scanncut is pricier than the rest but it has a 300 dpi scanner. The brother scan n cut has a built in 300 dpi scanner. It makes digitizing designs much easier. Connect the USB cable and you’re ready for die cutting.

Does the Brother Scanncut have something to the knife blade and rotary blade like the Cricut Explore Air 2?

The brother scanncut has the capabilities but uses different tools to achieve the same purpose. It’s common fact that Cricut is the best in fabric cutting thanks to the rotary blade. The brother scanncut can cut fabric but uses a different device and it’s not that accurate. As for the knife blade, the brother scanncut has a similar one and it’s called deep cut blade plus it’s equipped with a 300 dpi scanner for die cutting. Connection via USB cable.

Do I need an activation card for my Cricut explore air 2?

Yes and for the Cricut explore air 2 it is sold separately. It’s one of the most user-friendly craft cutting machines out there it even beats the brother scan n cut.

Which machine can do die-cutting?

Well, die cutting can be done by most machines like Cricut explore air 2 and brother scan n cut. Plus they can cut file type to size.

Can the Cricut explore air 2 handle balsa wood?

Yes, the Cricut explore air 2 can handle balsa wood. Plus die cutting, heat transfer vinyl, scrapbook paper, and other product lists and of course fabric designs. From the computer screen and the LCD screen, you can work with a heat transfer material. It works through the Cricut design software.

Is the silhouette studio better than the other software?

The silhouette studio is more complicated than the others. And it has a steeper learning curve. It has all the design freedom you’ll need.

Does it have a smart set wheel?

The smart set wheel has been eliminated from the Maker. You can use the USB cord or USB cable to connect with the design studio. You will be ready for die cutting.

Last Updated on August 27, 2020 by Emily

Emily Weathers
Emily Weathers

Hi, Emily Weathers ex-corporate drone, full-time crafter and mother of three running this site. My passion is crafting, and I'm an early adopter. I'm testing many machines, so you don't have to. Since I get to play with these devices, why not write reviews for them? It's the reason for the site's existence, so you make the right choices and avoid money pits. If you want to know more…