Personal die cut machines have become very popular tools among scrapbookers and paper crafters. However, if you are in the market for one, it may be difficult to sift through the different available models to find the machine best suited for your needs. There are a few features that you will want to consider prior to making an investment in one.

1. Computer-Based vs. Cartridge-Based

There are some models of personal die cut machines that, when connected to your computer, can make die cuts of the fonts and graphics that are available on your PC. The Xyron Wishblade and Pazzles Creative Cutter are examples.

On the other hand, there are other die cutters that need no computer to operate, but rather make cutouts based upon the fonts and graphics that are available on cartridges. The Cricut Expression, Personal Electronic Cutter, and the new Slice by Making Memories, are examples.

Of the two types of machines, the cartridge-based systems are the most popular among scrapbook enthusiasts. Although the cartridges can be expensive, the initial upfront costs are, for the most part, significantly less than the computer-based models. In addition, they are generally considered easier to learn. Also, because no computer is required, cartridge-based die cutters are more portable and can be taken to crops and other scrapbook meets.

2. Die Cut Sizes

The size of die cuts that you can create vary significantly among the different machines. The portable two pound Slice, for example, can make cuts from one inch to four inches in size. Hardcore crafters, on the other hand, may prefer the Cricut Expression, which can make cuts ranging from just a quarter of an inch all the way up to almost two feet in size. Before investing in a personal die cut machine, make sure it will produce cutouts in the range that you need.

3. Portability

It is important to take the size of the machine into consideration prior to making a purchase. If you have an area in your home specifically set up for your scrapbooking projects, this may not be an issue. However, if you have your supplies stored in a closet and use your kitchen table to work on your projects, then a smaller model may be your best bet. Also, if you like to socialize while you work on your scrapbooks, and attend crops or meets, or even just lug your supplies over to your neighbors on a regular basis, then you may want to trade the features of a larger model for the portability of a smaller unit.

As you can see, there are a lot of different options when it comes to personal die cut machines. Even if cost is not a consideration, the most expensive model may not be the best one for your needs. Before shopping for a machine, it is a good idea to sit down and think about what features are most important to you, and make your purchase based upon your needs.