PROS / The KNK Zing Air has many modern features like Bluetooth compatibility and a voice command app.
CONS / Because of its size, this die-cutting machine isn't very portable.
VERDICT / This KNK model is best suited for at-home crafting. It can easily handle most materials, but it takes patience to assemble and learn how to use this die-cutting machine.
Editor's Note: The KNK Zing Orbit is now available. Clicking the Buy button will take you to this version for purchase. The manufacturer lists the new version as offering the following features: USB and Wi-fi connectivity; increased cutting force; 2-way communication, which can make operation more efficient; automatic registration tracking, adjustable pinch feed assembly; and more. We will evaluate, rank and review the Orbit when we next update the die cutting machine reviews. Meanwhile, enjoy our review below about the Zing.
The KNK Zing Air is so compact you may be surprised at how powerful this die cutter is. Our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award winner packs a real punch with its 750 grams of cutting force. In addition to its cutting force, other innovations, such as ZingSpeak, it's voice-activated feature, set it apart from other die cutters. With the Zing Air, you have unlimited mobility in every way. You can cut without cords or cartridges. You can also engrave, emboss and draw on a wide range of materials, including vinyl, cardstock, fabric and chipboard.
Function & Capabilities
Zing Air comes with a feature set that allows you to complete a range of craft projects. It includes Make The Cut software, which can help you weld letters together or automatically fit the most objects possible on a single page of material. Using Zing Air in conjunction with Make The Cut, you can do what is best for each project in terms of manipulating blade speed and depth as well as blade pressure.
Zing was already competitive, and with the latest edition, the Zing Air, Klic-N-Kut, the manufacturer, added a number of features. These include the ability to cut wirelessly with Bluetooth, a wider range of speed settings, a third pinch wheel to further steady materials, and the ability to cut vinyl scraps shorter than four inches to cut down on waste. Those added features make this die cutter stand out even more.
Part of what earned Zing a top spot in our lineup is ZingSpeak, a feature in the Klic-N-Kut plug-in. Using voice commands, ZingSpeak controls the die-cutting machine remotely. With ZingSpeak enabled, you can tell Zing's software to "Set cut speed to 14," for instance. Apart from making changes to settings within the software, you can give voice commands in regards to making a cut and the Zing carries it out.
The print-and-cut feature cuts designs from hard copies as well as your own designs stored in Make The Cut. Print-and-cut uses a laser inside the machine that aligns with the corner of your sheet. Then, the Zing Air scans for registration marks to know where it needs to cut. From there, the nimble blade can maneuver around tight angles and sweeping curves. We recommend this feature for vintage magazines and maps to add a nostalgic pop to your crafts. This die cut machine can also draw, pierce, engrave and emboss several types of materials. You just have to attach the right tool for the job. The Zing Air is especially good at embossing metals.
Portability & Convenience
This die-cutting machine is pretty compact considering everything it does, but it is still heavy to carry when you want to attend a scrapbooking party. It weighs over 12 pounds and lacks a handle for easy toting. However, there is a travel bag available for an added cost. Its large size does have payoffs though. While it's hard to move, the Zing Air has a massive maximum cutting width, up to 14 inches wide.
Installation and setup are tricky. This paper die cutter comes with many small pieces that are hard to keep together. If you are used to the old cartridge system, or traditional styles, you will face a learning curve with this machine. With ZingSpeak and its Bluetooth capability, you are less tied down, but there is a learning curve with those features too.
This die cutter is built with quality materials and has a lot of cutting power, which means you can use really thick materials, like balsa wood and cork, without any trouble. It can even handle some types of cake frosting and virtually all types of fabric. It can cut through just about anything you could need in the crafting world – rhinestone rubber, stiffened felt, chipboard and much more. Die cutters that provide this much pressure are useful for making custom stamps and stencils.
Help & Support
Good customer service is vital, and Klic-N-Kut does a nice job of that. The manufacturer's website is organized and relatively informative, but we found it more difficult to find answers to our questions in general than we did with some competing products. However, our emails received timely responses, and this is the only manufacturer we could get to respond via chat. We also got fast and friendly responses on the phone, plus the Zing community is active on blogs and social media.
The Zing Air is a compact and very powerful tool for making your crafting ideas a reality. A potentially intense learning curve notwithstanding, the Zing Air earns second place, our Bronze Award, on our lineup of the best die-cutting machines. You can even tell this machine what to do with the voice command feature. It cuts almost any type of material, and it goes well beyond cutting with its engraving, embossing and other capabilities.