Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
Craftwell's eCraft Cutter offers a lot more freedom than die cut machine users might expect. With eCraft, you can cut the cord and lose the mat. You do not need to have this machine attached to a computer at all times, and you won't ever need to buy a cutting mat again. Freedom from a cutting mat also gives you freedom to cut out great quantities of your design – you just attach a roll of vinyl or other media and let the eCraft pull it through and cut it out as it goes by.
We saw some absolutely gorgeous things that were made by this machine, but its focus is relatively narrow, on cutting. This is not the machine to get if you love to be able to emboss and engrave your materials in addition to cutting them.
This unit strikes a nice balance between tech-savvy crafters and those who aren't. If you like to roll up your sleeves and get into software and design or manipulate your own patterns, you absolutely can with eCraft's included software, eCraftshop Pro. You can also just choose from a selection of SD cards filled with designs. Just plug the card in and cut.
The eCraft digital die cutting system is unique and innovative in so many ways, but the most noticeable is the ability to cut without a mat. This makes it more like a printer than most die cut machines, in all of the best ways. You can set and forget this die cutting machine more than any other cutter. Instruct it to cut a hundred units of a specified pattern and walk away. You will come back to a nice stack of finished cuts.
The lack of a cutting mat also means the elimination of replacement mats. Cutting mats will always have to be replaced when they get old. Replacing them gets old fast. Buying the eCraft digital die cutting machine means never having to replace a cutting mat again.
Adjustable pressure means that you can kiss cut, cutting only the top layer of a material. This means that this die cutting machine can cut the sticky layer only of sticker paper, for instance.
This digital die cut machine is quite light compared to others on our lineup, especially considering all of the things it cuts. To weigh less than 11 pounds and be able to cut the things it can is really impressive. A carry handle and the fact that it can run without connection to a computer also add to this machine's portability.
An interesting added feature for this die cutting machine is the creation of a Craftwell iPhone app. This means you can keep a folder of all of your cutting designs on your phone and access catalogs of images for sale. You can even manipulate images using just the app. The app is basically a scaled-down version of Craftwell's software. You can send an image from your phone to your cutter for cutting. You can also sell your own designs through eCraft's site and monitor all of that with the app.
With its bright colors, this die cutting unit may look more like a toy than a machine. But make no mistake, it can handle some pretty serious materials. The eCraft Cutter will take on cardstock, chipboard, sheet magnet, foam, balsa wood, rubber, vinyl, and even thin metal and leather. As with any of these machines, it will cut some materials better than others, but there is quite a bit of muscle under the hood of each Craftwell unit.
This quality product has the kind of help and support it really deserves. The Craftwell site is professional looking and well organized. The customer service is easy to access through FAQs, the Tips & Tricks page and speedy pick-up on the phone lines. Tutorials are easy to find and forums are easy to navigate.
The eCraft Cutter is a little daintier overall than our top picks in this category, but we think that you'll love its many innovations. This die cutter can cut mat-free, which has been unheard of in the past. It also has some wonderful portability features, such as the flexibility to work with or without your computer. Extras like an iPhone app and good customer service are also helpful. This digital die cutting system does not venture far beyond cutting, which may be a drawback if you love to emboss and engrave many of your projects, but no device on our lineup cuts mat-free like this one does.