If you’ve never heard of these machines, you’re probably going to want one the more you read about them. Sorry for adding another thing to your wishlist/you’re welcome for introducing this magical machine. If you use printables, you know it takes a long time to cut out printables with a pair of scissors. A paper trimmer definitely speeds up the process, but… it still takes a while. These cutting machines do exactly that–they cut materials for you. And not just paper! They can cut cardstock, vinyl, fabric… the list goes on.
I was ready to buy one right away as soon as I found out these machines were a thing. Then I discovered that there are many different companies that sell craft cutting machines, and each of them have their own features and accompanying software (like Cricut or Brother). I also discovered the average price range. Then I found out you can’t just buy the machine. You have to get the cutting mat, new blades when the blade gets dull, dust cover, etc. These costs can add up!
At this point I realized something like this would be an investment and knew that I would have to carefully select the machine that would be best for me. I did a lot of research and was ultimately drawn to a couple machines by Silhouette.
This article was last updated on 12/11/17 at 1:00pm.
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If you visit Silhouette America’s website, you’ll see that they have 4 machines for sale. The Cameo 3, the Curio, the Portrait, and the Mint. The Mint makes stamps, and the Curio can cut materials, but can also be used to etch & emboss, among other features.
I was just looking for a cutting machine, so I narrowed my focus to the Cameo 3 and the Portrait. Except… the Portrait 2 was just released! Of course, I had to read everything I could about these three machines. I’m happy to share with you what I learned!
Silhouette Portrait, Portrait 2, or Cameo 3: Which One?
The best way to break this down is probably with a little table that compares all 3. If you’re not a table person, just scroll past it. I’ll talk you through the differences and similarities between each machine. (:
|Portrait*||Portrait 2||Cameo 3|
|$121.99 on Amazon||$181.84 on Amazon|
|Max cutting width||8″||8″||12″|
|Max cutting depth||0.8mm||2mm||2mm|
|Dual Blade Carriage||No||No||Yes|
*Updated 12/11/18: The Portrait model is no longer available. It has been phased out and replaced by the Portrait 2.
That’s right. You read that correctly. The Silhouette Portrait 2. As in brand new and improved. I thought I had my heart set on the Cameo 3 until I read about this machine. Ohhh boy. I was super excited to discover that the Portrait 2 is pretty much the Cameo 3. No, seriously. It does everything the Cameo 3 does except for 3 key features:
- Portrait 2 does not have a dual blade carriage
- Its max cutting width is 8″ (4″ shorter than the Cameo 3)
- It’s cheaper than the Cameo 3.
And to be honest, that third difference there isn’t really so bad… 😉
Honestly, I could live without the dual blade carriage. I’m okay with saving maybe $100 or so to have to change out the blade myself. The one thing that makes me sooorta still want the Cameo 3 is the max cutting width. I have a looooot of scrapbook paper. The kind that’s 12″ x 12″. It would be super convenient if my Silhouette could cut scrapbook paper without having to trim off 4″ every time. But to save $100…? Is it worth it? Hmm.
Oh, this might be a little shallow, but another one of the big reasons I still kinda want the Cameo 3 is because it comes in black! It is beautiful. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that all the other Silhouette machines are ugly or anything. They’re a clean, simple white but it’s just not my style. My desk frame is black, almost all of my computer accessories are black… it would just match with my whole work space area if I could get it in black. Even though I’m leaning towards the Portrait 2, if there’s a good enough deal on the Cameo 3 in black, I just might get it. 😍
Oh yeah, it comes in pink, too. 😍 If it came in a light, pastel pink, I would buy the pink one in a heartbeat. I’m kinda picky about my colors, and this particular shade of pink doesn’t match with any of the stuff in my work space.
The Portrait 2 is definitely a step up from the Portrait. It is compatible with the AutoBlade (it auto-adjusts cutting depth and pressure depending on the type of material it detects, so you don’t have to!), it has Bluetooth connectivity, and its max cutting clearance is higher, now equal to the Cameo 3. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the Portrait 2 listed on Amazon. I could only find it on the Silhouette website. Amazon’s prices tend to be a bit cheaper than the Silhouette website, and with Amazon Prime, I get free shipping! Woo-hoo!
If you don’t yet have Amazon Prime, you should totally consider signing up! It’s AMAZING! It probably pays for itself easily in the money you save on shipping costs. Still on the fence? You can try it for FREE for 30 days! Now is the perfect time to try it! It’s just in time for Black Friday, AND last-minute Christmas shopping! Even if you don’t get Prime, Amazon still offers free shipping on qualifying orders of $25 or more! Sweet!
So, Which One is Right for Me?
This totally depends on what you’re looking for in the machine. What do you plan on using your Silhouette for?
The Ideal Portrait User
Are you looking for something to make DIY stickers, or something to speed up the process of cutting out printables at home? If you know you’re only going to use your Silhouette to cut regular printer paper or sticker paper, you’ll probably be completely satisfied with the Portrait.
That isn’t to say that this machine is limited to those two materials. It can cut through a HUGE variety of materials, just like the other two machines. It just doesn’t have as high of a clearance for the cutting material, so that means you can’t cut really thick materials or make deep cuts. The max clearance on the Portrait is 0.8mm, and the max cutting width is 8″.
The Ideal Portrait 2 User
Do you want the Cameo 3 but don’t want to pay the Cameo 3 price? The Portrait 2 is perfect for you. As long as you’re willing to sacrifice 4″ in max cutting width and dual blade carriage. This machine is small like the Portrait, but powerful like the Cameo 3. Unlike its predecessor, the Portrait, the Portrait 2 has a larger clearance for cutting materials at 2mm. This allows you to cut thicker materials than the Portrait. Be careful though, none of these machines can cut through super-thick materials like wood or metal. If you’re looking for a machine that powerful, you may want to look into commercial-grade cutters!
The Ideal Cameo 3 User
Do you want to have the biggest and the best so that you don’t limit your possibilities? Or maybe you’re a scrapbooker with a lot of 12″ x 12″ scrapbook paper? I would recommend the Cameo 3 to anybody that doesn’t mind paying a little extra to get the machine that does it all. Especially if you use scrapbook paper regularly! It is the only machine out of the three with a wide enough cutting area to accept 12″ x 12″ scrapbook paper. I would also recommend the Cameo 3 to anybody that plans on cutting a variety of different items, which would require switching the blade out frequently. The Cameo 3 is the only machine out of the 3 with a dual-carriage option, so you could have 2 different blades in there, or a blade and a pen, or whatever combination you’d like!
And the winner is…?
For these reasons, I’m probably going to go with the Portrait 2! I want a Cameo 3 in black, but I don’t want that price tag for my preferred color, a wider max cutting width, and dual carriage option! 🙅
In any case, I found a couple bundle packs that are worth looking at. Yes, they’re more expensive than just buying the machine, but I really think it’s a good value! I mean… look at all the extra stuff you get!!
Silhouette Cameo 3 Starter Bundle ($249.99)
So, are you convinced?
Have you already loaded up your Amazon cart with the machine of your choice? I’ve pretty much made up my mind to get the Portrait 2, but if some AMAZING deal comes along on the Cameo 3 in black… I might just get that because it’s so pretty. 😍 Which one do you guys think I should pick? Let me know in the comments!
That’s all for now sweet friends! ♡ Subscribe to my mailing list and be the first to know about new freebies! Thanks for stopping by!