What is the best printer for vinyl

Plotter comparison 2021

  • With a plotter you can cut out shapes from various materials with millimeter precision. Depending on the model, made of paper, fabric, plastic, plotter foil or flock foil.
  • The plotter knife determines which maximum material density can be processed. It is usually between 1.5 and 2 millimeters.
  • The plotter knife can be replaced when it becomes blunt. You can find knives with different degrees of sharpness in stores.

Handicrafts are one of the Germans' favorite hobbies. Surveys have shown that more than 25 million people in this country do handicrafts in their free time. In addition to sewing machines and handicraft scissors, more and more households are using special plotters. With it you can cut out lettering and shapes from materials, which you can then process further.

We have studied some plotter tests and summarized the results for you in a clear manner. In our plotter comparison 2021 you will find out everything you need to know about these practical cutting machines and what are the most important characteristics of the best plotter. You can find detailed information about function plotters in our guide.

1. Why are plotters the ideal handicraft accessories?

For example, you can cut out lettering with a plotter.

Brother or Silhouette plotters are found in more and more households with which craft enthusiasts can indulge in their hobby. The reason to buy such a cutting machine is certainly due to the versatility of these practical devices. Visually, the devices are reminiscent of conventional printers, which you usually know from computer accessories. But plotters are different because they don't have a drawer for paper or the like, for example. Instead, always reinsert the material to be cut before the plotter machine starts working.

So that the cutting machine, which is also often called a curve recorder, knows where the material is to be cut, a so-called plotter file is required. How this finds its way into the device usually depends on the model. USB plotters and WLAN plotters can, for example can be conveniently connected to the computer and controlled from there like a conventional printer. Plotters with scanners even create plotter files according to your own specifications and wishes.

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1.1. With or without a computer: different types of plotters

The versatile devices in the plotter category can be divided into two groups: for example, there are plotters that can be connected to a computer and plotters that can be used without a computer.

The following table of our plotter comparison gives you one at this point Overview of the two plotter types:

Plotter typeproperties
Plotter for coupling with a computer
  • Connection via USB, WLAN or Bluetooth
  • Driver required
  • Control via special plotter software
Plotter for use without a PC
  • own display
  • own controls
  • no additional device required

Plotters that can also be used without a computer are particularly easy to use. They are also called standalone plotters.

1.2. The advantages and disadvantages of standalone plotters at a glance

  • no additional device required
  • intuitive control via touchpad
  • often equipped with a scanner
  • Your own graphics can be transferred via the USB interface
  • optional connection to computer
  • more expensive to buy

2. Buying Advice: What Should You Look For When Buying a Plotter?

Plotters can process foil and other materials.

Does it make sense to buy a double tool head plotter? Does every plotter come with a spare blade? Can a plotter work in multiple colors? You may ask yourself these and other questions when purchasing a plotter. We'll tell you how to find the best plotter for your purposes.

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2.1. Maximum cutting area

The maximum cutting area (cm) of a plotter indicates which area can be processed in a single work step. As a rule, the maximum area processed by the plotter is 30.5 cm x 61 cm. Some devices, such as devices in the Cameo series from the manufacturer Silhouette, can also process materials with a size of 30 cm x 10,000 cm. So if you want to make big things like wall tattoos, such a device is recommended.

2.2. Maximum material density

From the specified maximum material density you can see how thick the materials used may be, that you want to cut with your plotter. If the material is too thick, the knife will not be able to cut through it completely, it will only scratch the surface of the material. In such a case, you would then have to rework manually with scissors or a cutter knife.

Tip: The maximum material density can be achieved by changing the plotter knife. Replacement knives in various degrees of sharpness and lengths are available in stores.

2.3. Materials that can be cut to size (paper, fabric, plastic, etc.)

Regardless of whether it is film, fabric or paper - a lot can be designed creatively with a plotter.

All cutting plotters in tests can usually handle ordinary plotter paper. For paper handicrafts such as greeting cards, this is also completely sufficient. Chart plotters are therefore very popular with hobbyists who have a lot to do with paper materials. However, you can also use your plotter for CDs if you want to give your self-burned CDs an attractive cover. For example, a CD or DVD plotter is also ideal if you are creative in this area.

However, many devices are also compatible with completely different materials. So you can use some plotters for vinyl, plastic or flock film. Some devices are also ideal for textiles and fabrics, so that you can, for example, easily print bags, t-shirts or other fabrics with flock. When buying a plotter, make sure that the device is compatible with the materials that you really want to process.

2.4. size

The size (cm) of most plotter machines in tests is quite compact. While plotters for professional use are usually real large format printers, Hobby plotters for private use are often even smaller than a conventional printer for the computer.

2.5. price

The price (euros) of plotters or chart recorders in tests varies greatly. Particularly versatile devices such as plotters from the market leaders Brother and Silhouette often cost more than 400 euros. But there are also much cheaper plotters available, which then cost less than 200 euros. If you know exactly what you want to do with your plotter, your decision shouldn't be based primarily on price. However, you will certainly enjoy a high-quality plotter such as a Silhouette plotter for a very long time.

3. Why do the best plotters have a wide range of accessories?

Pre-installed designs

Many plotters come with designs pre-installed. Here you can select motifs and fonts, which you then cut out. You can also download countless designs from the Internet - some free of charge, some subject to a charge.

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The versatility of plotters is also related to the accessories available. When buying, make sure that essential items such as the appropriate plotter software and a cutting mat are enclosed with the plotter. Another useful accessory is a spatula with which you can, for example, remove excess film from stickers. Plotters with a double tool head have the advantage of being able to hold a pen and a knife at the same time. So you don't have to laboriously switch between the two.

4. Are standalone devices particularly easy to use in the plotter test?

Not everyone who wants to use a plotter has a lot of experience with computers and computer software at the same time. Plotters offer a good alternative here, which can also be used without being connected to a computer. This type of plotter is simply controlled via a touchpad. Plotter files can be created automatically according to your specifications or conveniently transferred to the device using a USB stick. If you can use the plotter in connection with the computer, that is of course also possible.

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5. What tips about the care and maintenance of plotters should you know?

Fortunately, a plotter requires little maintenance. The cutting mat should be cleaned regularly, to maintain their adhesiveness. To do this, remove the remains of paper, foil or fabric with tweezers. You can then easily wipe the mat with a clean cloth. No water or detergent is required.

We also recommend that you cover the mat with a cloth when not in use. You should also clean the plotter knife and its holder regularly; you can also remove dust and dirt from the inside of the plotter at the same time. To do this, you can use a cleaning brush like the one used on printers. Always unplug the plotter from the mains before starting the cleaning process.

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6. Frequently asked questions about plotters and cutting machines

6.1. What are plotters used for?

To ensure that the plotter always works precisely, keep the knife clean and the plotter free of dust.

A plotter is suitable for various types of work. Therefore, it is not only used by professionals, but is also particularly popular as a hobby plotter with enthusiastic craft enthusiasts. USB plotter, WiFi plotter, plotter with scanner and plotter for vinyl can be used, among other things, for the following decoration and handicrafts:

  • Car films
  • Greeting card design
  • Adhesive tattoos
  • Scrapbooking
  • Fabric work
  • Textile finishing
  • Wall decals
  • Draw or sketch

6.2. What is a plotter file?

A plotter file is something like the basis of plotting. So that your Designjet plotter even knows where to apply the knife, such a file, which contains a vector graphic, is absolutely necessary. You can, for example, find and download plotter files for free or for a fee on the Internet. With special plotter software you can also create your own plotter file. Often there are already preinstalled and therefore freely available plotter files on chart plotters.

6.3. Which accessories do I need for plotting?

Depending on what you want to use your hobby plotter or cutting machine for, you will need different accessories for your plotter at home. What you need in any case is a cutting mat, which serves as a base. You also need a carrier material such as special plotter foil or suitable plotter paper.

On the Internet, craft fans can exchange ideas about their craft passion with a hobby plotter. Here you can exchange ideas and find tips about plotters for beginners / beginners and interesting facts about handicraft games, handicraft accessories and the well-known Plottermarie accessories.

6.4. What brands and manufacturers of plotters and cutting machines are there?

Get creative and create your own designs with a plotter file.

As with conventional printers, there is also a large selection of plotters, cutting plotters, cutting machines and curve recorders. You probably know some of the manufacturers whose products you come across in cutting machine tests from computer printers (e.g. laser printers, large format printers). Branded plotters such as the Silhouette plotter and Brother plotter - with his model plotter ScanNCut - are among the most famous plotters. The devices are not only available in electrical stores and specialist retailers, you can also often find cheap plotters of this type in online shops of discounters such as Lidl or Aldi. Other plotter brands are:

  • Agfa
  • Brother
  • Canon
  • ColorDots
  • Epson
  • Freebie
  • HP
  • silhouette

6.5. Which model is the plotter test winner of the Stiftung Warentest?

Unfortunately, we cannot introduce you to a test winner at this point, because the experts at Stiftung Warentest have not yet carried out a plotter test. Instead of an official test winner, however, we give you our comparison winner and the products of our plotter comparison to the heart. The Brother company is one of the market leaders in the field of hobby plotting. Many enthusiastic hobbyists swear by Brother plotters.

Brother ScanNCut DX-SDX1200
Currently available for € 636.66
»Now to Amazon» Now to Ebay
Easy handling++
very easy to use
Maximum material density+++
3 mm
What thickness should the materials have that I process with the Brother ScanNCut SDX1200 cutting plotter?The cutter of the plotter is recommended for materials with a thickness of 0.25 mm to 0.5 mm.
Brother CM900 ScanNCut hobby plotter
Currently available from € 449.00
»Now to Amazon» Now to Ebay
Easy handling+++
particularly easy to use
Maximum material density++
1.5 mm
Do I need a computer to work with the Brother ScanNCut CM900 hobby plotter?No. A connection to the plotter is also possible via two USB ports for storage media.

Which are the best plotters from our plotter test or comparison 2021?

Choose your personal plotter test winner from the following list:

  • 1st place - very good (comparison winner): Brother CM900 ScanNCut Hobby plotter - from 449.00 euros
  • 2nd place - very good: Brother ScanNCut DX-SDX1200 - from 636.66 euros
  • 3rd place - very good: Brother ScanNCut SDX2200 - from 752.00 euros
  • 4th place - very good: Brother SDXCE ScanNCut - from 449.00 euros
  • 5th place - good: Cricut Intelligent Cutting Machine - from 434.99 euros
  • 6th place - good: Cricut Maker Smart Cutting Machine - from 434.99 euros
  • 7th place - good: Cricut 2007 992 Joy cutting and drawing machine - from 189.90 euros
  • 8th place - good: Silhouette America SILH-CAMEO-4-WHT-5T - from 329.00 euros
  • 9th place - good: Cricut Explore Air 2 - from 295.00 euros
  • 10th place - good: Vevor vinyl cutter plotter machine - from 319.99 euros

In the plotter comparison, the products score with particularly high quality, because 4 "very good" plotters and 6 "good" plotters were identified among the 10 plotter models. None of the products in the product table for the plotter comparison was rated worse than "good".

4 of the 10 products from the plotter comparison come from one manufacturer - Brother can thus stand out from the competition due to the increased number of different "good" and "very good" plotters.

More information "

How many manufacturers are compared in the plotter comparison?

In the plotter comparison, the editors compare 5 different manufacturers for you in order to offer you the best possible purchase advice. More precisely, the experts compared and rated models from Brother, Cricut, Cricut Maker, Silhouette America or Vevor. More information "

In what price range are the models from the plotter comparison or test?

The most expensive plotter from our plotter comparison currently costs 752.00 euros, for the cheapest plotter you only have to calculate 189.90 euros. More information under plotter test. More information "

Which plotter has the most customer reviews?

With 2,283 reviews, the Silhouette America SILH-CAMEO-4-WHT-5T received the most customer reviews on Amazon. However, the average best reviews received the Cricut Intelligent Trimmer. More information "

How many of the 5 different manufacturers were rated "VERY GOOD"?

The "VERY GOOD" -rated models include:

  • Brother CM900 ScanNCut hobby plotter
  • Brother ScanNCut DX-SDX1200
  • Brother ScanNCut SDX2200
  • Brother SDXCE ScanNCut
More information "

Which plotter models were compared or tested?

All in all, 10 different plotter models were made, including:

  • Vevor vinyl cutter plotter machine
  • Cricut Explore Air 2
  • Silhouette America SILH-CAMEO-4-WHT-5T
  • Cricut 2007992 Joy cutting and drawing machine
  • Cricut Maker Smart Cutting Machine
  • Cricut intelligent cutting machine
  • Brother SDXCE ScanNCut
  • Brother ScanNCut SDX2200
  • Brother ScanNCut DX-SDX1200
  • Brother CM900 ScanNCut hobby plotter
More information "

What are customers looking for plotters looking for?

The most popular alternative term for plotter is cutting plotter, followed by synonyms such as Hobby plotter and Brother plotter. More information "