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Comparison of Cameo 4 and Maker 3

If you are planning to buy a hobby plotter you probably know that two very popular brands - Cricut and Silhouette - reign supreme in the industry. Each of them boasts an interesting assortment, a whole range of devices with a wide range of capabilities and tailored to different types of customers, dedicated accessories and materials with which you will make many interesting projects. Today, however, we will focus on the flagship devices of both manufacturers: Cricut Maker 3 and Silhouette Cameo 4.



You're probably mainly interested in the differences between these devices, but I think it's worth starting with the similarities. These are probably what made you consider buying one of the two plotters in question, although for equipment intended to meet the requirements of the same audience, the Cameo 4 and the Maker 3 share essentially few features.


The Silhouette Cameo 4 and Cricut Maker 3 are machines with very similar dimensions: 55 x 16 x 17cm for the Cameo 4 and 56 x 18 x 15.8cm for the Maker 3. They belong to a family of fairly compact craft plotters, but they can handle larger format work just fine as well. This makes them versatile and not too cumbersome in terms of the amount of space they take up. They will fit into both larger studios and blend into the artistic corner of a craftsman creating at home. Both the Cameo and Maker are still hobby plotters. They can be used for larger orders, but may not be able to handle mass production. If you have plans to create on a very large scale, it is worth looking into professional equipment.
As for the common features of the Silhouette Cameo 4 and Cricut Maker 3, both models can also cut in a similar material base (papers, film and fabric).



In keeping with the saying that tastes are not discussed, I will not judge how the plotters in question compare visually. However, it is worth mentioning that the Silhouette Cameo 4 comes in three color versions: white, black and pink.


On the other hand, you will receive the Cricut Maker 3 exclusively in blue. If the color scheme of the device is important to you, and you are leaning towards a Cricut device, you can take a look at the previous version of the Maker 1.


The Cricut Maker 1 is a plotter with similar functionality to its successor, which can be purchased in two colors: champagne and pink.


Cutting with a mat


The Cameo 4 model from manufacturer Silhouette is equipped with adjustable roller spacing. This means that you can easily adjust their width for mats of different sizes: 30x30cm, 30x60cm, and even A4 size.


As for the Cricut Maker 3, only 30x30cm and 30x60cm mats come into play, and this is due to the rollers, which are not adjustable. However, nothing prevents you from placing sheets of paper of a smaller format on a large mat.

Cutting without a mat


With the Cricut Maker 3, you can cut backing materials without a mat. However, the manufacturer has limited the possibility of using materials outside its range. Narrower films are out of the question due to the inability to adjust the width of the rolls. This means that narrower material will simply not be properly "pulled" into the machine. If, on the other hand, you want to make a cut in a film wider than recommended, the working field will be effectively limited by plastic guides. The best solution will be to use the manufacturer's dedicated materials, perfectly matched to the dimensions of the machine, for example, Smart vinyl and Smart Iron On.

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Meanwhile, with Silhouette Cameo 4 you get the ability to adjust the width of the rolls to the material you want to cut in. This makes cutting stickers in letter and A4 size self-adhesive sheets no problem at all. If you want to cut self-adhesive film or for flex and flock napkins - just spread the rollers wider. In this way, you can use the manufacturer's dedicated materials while still using the range of competitors, such as Cricut, discussed today.

What can we cut?


Cricut Maker 3 and Silhouette Cameo 4 can handle cutting papers up to about 300g. If you additionally choose the right blades you can also cut foamiran, creative foam, leather and fabrics.


However, there's no denying that if leather and fabric cutting is your main focus, I would rather recommend the Cricut Maker 3 plotter, which will handle the challenge a bit better in the long run.

As I mentioned above, each manufacturer has its own dedicated materials, such as films with different finishes (for example, matte, glitter or metallic), or sticker sheets for printing and cutting, as well as flex and flock napkins films. Each of the individual brand's materials has dedicated cutting settings, which will make your work much easier.

How fast do they cut?

If you care about cutting a lot of projects, the working time of each plotter model will be important for you. In the case of the Cameo 4 and Maker 3, the cutting itself is comparably fast. However, it is worth noting the time required to prepare the design. By this I mean opening the design in the program and sending it for cutting.
The Cricut Design Space program falls behind right from the start - it needs a longer moment to just open the program and load the design. In addition, if you plan to cut the same pattern several, or a dozen times in a row, it will be necessary to enter it anew each time you finish the job. Unfortunately, this is quite cumbersome during creation and proves to be much more time-consuming compared to Silhouette Studio. The Silhouette manufacturer's program does not require the pattern entry procedure to be repeated. After each, successive cut, all you have to do is reload the mat and select "send". This saves a lot of time and avoids extra work when creating larger designs.

Graphics program for plotter operation

If we are at the aforementioned graphics programs, I would like to point out some additional features with which the software differs. After all, this is an important, if not essential, part of working with a plotter. Each of the two manufacturers in question offers a dedicated program in which you can open, or create a design.


For cutting with Maker 3, the manufacturer includes Cricut Design Space. In it you can create basic shapes, freely merge them with each other, choose a font and create a caption. All the fonts you install on your computer will be at your disposal.


Designing in the program is very limited, so it's best to purchase a subscription to Cricut Access, an extensive library of patterns and fonts. You can also buy ready-made .svg designs, or try your hand at a vector graphics program, where you can create your own designs from scratch.


If you don't want to use an additional vector program while having more options for creating and editing designs, you may be more interested in the Silhouette Studio program included with Silhouette plotters. It allows you to draw any shape, transform finished designs, and do more advanced text editing. It also has access to all the fonts stored on your computer.


This allows even the most demanding user to customize the design of their choice, all within the free version of the program. Silhouette Studio also comes with one-time paid extensions Designer and Business, which will enrich it with many additional features, such as opening files in .ai, .cdr, .svg or pdf formats, as well as saving them in .svg and pdf. This is very helpful if you want to send a designed file to an external printer, for example.

Cutting prints

Both machines discussed today have a print cutting option, so you can create original stickers, scrapbooks, toppers and many other interesting works. All you have to do is set up marker printing in your project, so that the machine, with the help of a built-in reader, will be able to determine the position of the graphic to be cut on the sheet. However, even here the two models differ.


As for Cricut Maker 3, you have a print field with maximum dimensions of 16.54cm x 25.22cm, and the print must fit on an A4 or letter size sheet.


The Silhouette Cameo 4 offers - a much larger field, giving the ability to cut prints in A4, letter, but even A3 and larger, depending on the printer's capabilities. Cameo 4 also has a wider print field.


If you have graphics that you have not printed, and you want to cut them out with a plotter, you can use the Pixscan mat proposed by Silhouette, with which Cameo 4 is fully compatible. This makes it possible, for example, to cut individual elements from scrap papers.

Accessories and add-ons

Silhouette and Cricut also offer a range of interesting accessories that offer many new possibilities. They allow, among other things, cutting, sketching, gilding and much, much more.


For the Cricut Maker 3 plotter, the manufacturer has provided a rotary blade, which is used for cutting fabric. If you are cutting in thicker materials such as leather or felt, it is worth getting a knife blade. In addition, there are sketch markers, a gilding tool and a card cutting mat. For Cricut, you will also need tips for specific tasks: single-line creasing, double-line creasing, perforating, debossing and corrugating. You can also purchase a feeder to hold the film during cutting.


As for the Silhouette Cameo 4, you also have the option of getting a rotary blade for cutting fabric, and a special blade for thicker materials. You can also use the We R gilding tips, the engraving tool, the manufacturer's dedicated markers, or use the holder for any marker, thin pen or pen. For those who cut out multiple sheets of stickers one by one, Silhouette has created a feeder that automates the work.

What changes are coming and what to expect from these brands

Cricut has made some interesting changes in recent years. Among other things, it has enabled users to use the program offline, which was not possible until recently. The change occurred after a worldwide crash of the program's browser-based version. Polish language has also been introduced into Cricut Design Space, which is a big improvement for Polish developers. The program is also gradually being enriched with new useful features, such as a border tool and a monogram generator. Unfortunately, you will get full access to all the new features only after paying for a subscription. At the same time, many useful options are disappearing from the program. Until recently, creating and reading a dotted line in designs requiring a fold was not a problem for Cricut Design Space. After the latest update, this has changed and the only solution is to buy a dedicated creasing tool. The same is true for gilding. Before the program update, it was possible to use foil quill gilding sets. Now the ability to edit the force of the markers has been removed. This once again forces the user to buy dedicated Cricut accessories.

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In this regard, Silhouette goes more out of its way to meet the customer's needs by offering the possibility to use even competitor's materials and accessories such as gilding kits or markers, for which you only have to buy a holder. You can also freely edit lines in the program from continuous to dashed and vice versa. The free version of the program adds a pop up card generator and unlocks the sketch fill option, until now only available in the paid version of Silhouette Studio Designer Edition. In the Business Edition you will get new features such as a puzzle generator and custom fonts. There are also a number of updates to improve the program's operation and fix bugs that appear in it.

Which plotter to choose

Although it might seem that we have very similar devices in front of us, intended to meet the expectations of the same audience, upon further consideration it turns out that each of them meets completely different requirements of the potential user with respect to each other.


Cricut tries to make working with its plotters as easy as possible. It minimizes the need to interfere with the design. This allows you to focus on the pleasure of creating without having to delve too deeply into the ins and outs of operating Maker 3 and Cricut Design Space. Appropriate, dedicated accessories have been created for each activity. To achieve the desired goal you just need to use the right tool. Wanting to use a particular material, you need to choose a dedicated product. You don't have to adjust the dimensions, look for alternatives that interest you. This saves you the time needed to purchase the necessary items for your work and learn the various functions of the device. However, it forces you to use only original Cricut accessories, materials and patterns.


If you are not afraid to spend a little more time learning the software and plotter bet on Silhouette Cameo 4. In return you will get the ability to use many materials and accessories, not necessarily Silhouette brand. In addition, the program will allow you to create your own designs from scratch, freely editing the ones you already have, and that's with the free version of the program. So if you're setting your sights on projects you'll create completely on your own, and you care about the larger selection of media needed to make them, Silhouette Cameo 4 is the plotter for you.

I've been working with the Cameo 4 and Maker 3 for a number of years, so I've been able to compare them not only on the basis of specification data, but also test the options discussed above in practice. This allowed me to add my subjective opinions about these plotters to the whole.
As you can see, the models from both manufacturers have their advantages and disadvantages. As I have already mentioned, they meet extreme requirements with respect to each other, which makes both Cricut Maker 3 and Silhouette Cameo 4 have their opponents and supporters. That's why you can purchase both devices in our store. If by now you have found it difficult to decide on one of these two models, I hope I have managed to at least partially dispel your doubts. However, if you still have any questions, I encourage you to contact us. We will be happy to answer them and help you choose the right plotter!

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Made by: Michał Desol