The Best Die Cutting Machines of 2021!

Hello! Today I am sharing my top three recommendations for die cutting machines.

[Warning: This video is LONG. Lots to share! All products are linked to multiple sources in the thumbnails below. Affiliate links may be used at no cost to you. Please note that I purchased these die cutting machines personally. The decision to include them in this list was my own. For more info, visit HERE.]

Please watch my video to learn more about my top three die cutting machine recommendations for 2020/2021:

For my video on Gemini cutting plates, head HERE.

I hope this info is helpful!


This post was going to be a part of My Favorite Crafty Things series for 2020, but I felt it was best to feature it separately. But to check out more of this series, head HERE. I hope it is helpful!


Want to find the products I used? I have listed them below. (Compensated affiliate links used at no cost to you. Thank you for your support! Affiliate and product disclosure can be found here. All machines were personally purchased. Some stamps and dies shown were received from the company with no expectation. As always, I was not paid to do this post nor am I on any design teams. I only use products I love!) Click on the icons below each product picture to go to a favorite store.

Anna Griffin Empress Die Cut Maachine
[ UQH | ANN ]
Anna Griffin Empress Machine Plates
[ HSN | ANN ]
Gemini Junior Die Cutting Machine
Gemini Junior Plates
Spellbinders Platinum 6 Die Cut Machine
[ SSS | SPL | ELH ]
Spellbinders Platinum 6 Plates
[ SSS | SPL ]
Simon Says Stamp Metal Adapter Plate
[ SSS ]
Easy See Tape
[ SSS | DSG ]
I-Crafter Retractable Pick
[ SSS ]
We R Memory Keepers Weeding Tool
Clear Packing Tape
Your Next Stamp Die Cutters
[ SSS ]
Flush Wire Cutters
[ SSS ]
Sticky Mat
Tape Dispenser
Tape Dispenser
Concord & 9th Love You To Pieces Die
[ SSS | C&9 ]
Altenew Radial Hearts Die
[ SSS | ALTN ]
Scrappy Tails Assorted Leaves Dies
[ SCR ]
Lawn Fawn Thinking of You Line Die
[ SSS ]
Memory Box Stained Glass Butterfly Die
[ SSS ]
Crafters Companion Sew Lovely…
[ SSS ]
Gemini Geometric Triangles 3D…
[ SSS ]
Sunny Studio Buffalo Plaid Embossing…
[ SSS | ELH | SNN ]
Altenew Garden Harmony 3D Embossing…
[ ALTN ]

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57 thoughts on “The Best Die Cutting Machines of 2021!”

  1. I loved my Gemini Jr before but since I adopted your cheat of taping plates together I love it even more! No more shuffling around and flipping several different plates on my desk every time I cut! And so far my plate that I cut into is lasting much longer with no warping!

  2. I noticed in an earlier video, you also talked about the Big Shot/Big Shot Foldaway as options for manual die cutting. Is there something you prefer about the Spellbinders one that has won you over?

  3. I purchased the Spellbinder Platinum 6 because I saw you using it a lot last year in your videos. It is a better price point for me, because I live in Canada! Thank you so much for this excellent video!!

  4. Thank you once again for all your thoughts and time into producing these videos. I am wanting an electric machine so I found this video quite helpful, especially with your tips.

  5. I have had the Gemini Junior since it first came out, and I love it! When using the iCrafter mat, I use a Gemini Junior cutting plate on the bottom, the iCrafter mat, my cardstock with die face down, and then a sizzix cutting plate. I found that two of the Gemini plates were too thick with iCrafter mat, but the Sizzix plate is just a bit thinner and works perfectly in place of one Gemini plate.

  6. You never cease to amaze and impress. I have ordered the Anna Griffin machine. For the information of Canadians the Anna Griffin machine is available through The Shopping Channel. Thank you so much for your dedication to this craft and all the time you give.

  7. I just saw the video and was ready to purchase the Gemini Jr ( thanks for the great tips), however many of the folks buying have been saddled with huge costs to ship it back as it does not come with the correct cords for the US. Apparently comes with european cords? Cant figure out why since you and others have them in the US and are using them. Again thanks for the great tips Jennifer, will have to wait for response from them to see if that issue has been corrected. Also i absolutely love your videos…they have gotten me in love with stamping again!

  8. Great comparisons, thank you! Weight may make a difference for some. I think the Anna Griffin is about five pounds heavier than the Gemini Junior – 15 vs. about 10?
    And I’m curious why the sandwich flip.
    Putting a die in different parts of the plate helps against warping too. It’s natural to plop a die in the middle of a plate. I have to remind myself not to do that. I have no warping of the Gemini Junior plates but I flip and every single time.

  9. I have the mini electric Empress and love it. It is very easy to use and the results are good.
    One question that I have is the metal skim makes a loud noise and curves going through the machine.
    Do you have this problem?
    I did call and was told that was not unusual.
    I purchase another metal skim and it does the same thing.
    Any suggestions on how to prevent this?

  10. Hi Jennifer,
    I love your videos! Thank you. I do have a couple of questions to ask.
    -I have several Sizzix Bigz dies that they are still producing. Do these fit in any of the preferred electronic machines?
    -Tim Holtz mentioned in his last video that they are retiring the Vagabond and he is creating a new machine that should be out in the near future. Do you know anything about that?
    I am tempted to get the Empress if it fits the Bigz dies, but wondering if I should wait for the TH creation?
    Any advice?

    Ann O’Brien

  11. Thank you so much for a wonderful video. I really appreciate you test and try everything, so we don’t have to. This helps tremendously as some machines can get really pricey.

  12. I just watched your video and it was interesting information about the different machines. I was just wondering of you had any experience with the Tim Holtz Vagabond 2 machine. I’ve heard good things about that machine too.


    1. Just some information. Our group of girlfriends gave the Tim Holtz Vagabond to one in the group for her birthday. She was thrilled. It lasted less than a year and there was no way to fix it. Just food for thought. I’m not saying every vagabond would have the same problem. She purchased the Spellbinders manual and loves it.

  13. I love my Spellbinders 8. I also have Cricut, Sizzix big shot and Gemini Junior. Right now the Spellbinders has my heart.

  14. Thank you so much for all your hard work in making these amazing videos. I have the Gemini Junior. I love it. But I’m going to try the plates the way you do it. Thank you. For all your amazing tips.

  15. Yay!! I have gone through 3 die cutting machines and my 3rd one was the Spellbinder’s Platinum 6 and so glad I did!! Love it! And now YOU recommended it!! I totally agree!!!

  16. Your emails are always so informative! Thank you for taking a year to test something before recommending it. I was wondering do you cut on both sides of your bottom plate? It looked like it on the Impress but I couldn’t tell on the rest. I’ve had the original, larger version of the Gemini since they started selling them in the US. I’ve been thinking it’s time to get another one but there is nothing wrong with it. If I do decide to get another one, it will be the Empress. Thanks so much for all you do!

  17. Thank you for this awesome video. Your efforts in making this video and sharing your learning experience from your testing is so much appreciated!!

  18. I did leave a comment on the video, but, I wanted to leave again here. I was so pleased to see your recommendation for Anna Griffin’s Empress machine. I have had the Empress mini for several months now, and use it virtually every day. The plates have not warped at all. It is super quiet, and the reason I bought it was, it has a wider plate (41/4″) than every other mini machine, which means that most small dies will fit. This make it a very versatile machine. It is compact and sits permanently on my desk. It is a real work horse. Because of that, I have just purchased the next size Empress machine. I purchased the larger plates and they will take a full sheet of letter size card stock, which will save on card stock when cutting multiples of a die. I have literally just got the machine out of the box and have not used it yet. But to hear you say that you have used it constantly for a year, and would recommend it makes me very happy. I had the Gemini, but the warping of the plates was so disappointing, so I sold it. It was also quite loud compared to the Empress Mini. Regarding Anna Griffin customer service. I have purchased lots of her products, they are really good quality, and I have had very few problems with them. However, the one or two issues I have had, have been dealt with quickly and professionally. Their customer service has always been excellent.

    1. I have a question on your mini, I got a mini and just unboxed it. I used an Elizabeth Craft die and it didn’t cut all the way through so I added the metal shim and was fine. But then with some Tim Holtz detailed dies, even with the metal shim, I didn’t get a good cut. Just to see if it was a machine issue I went back to the beginning with an included die and just the basic plates no shim and it cut perfectly. Do you have any issues with thin dies even with the shim? I was going to call and see if there were any risks using two metal shims.

  19. Hi Jennifer,
    Can you use the plates from a Gemini Jr. in the regular Gemini? If you can, do you have to put the plates in sideways?

  20. Hi Jennifer,
    Can you use the plates from a Gemini Jr. in the regular Gemini? If you can, do you have to put the plates in sideways?

  21. I am saving this for when my trusty but ancient Big Shot goes kaput! Thank for the amazing videos that you share with us that inspire and educate me.

  22. I must say that I love my Gemini, Jr but too am disappointed in how fast the plates and shims need to be replaced. I will try your taping method you suggested to see if I can extend their life. It usually cuts very well and is a workhorse for me. Sits permanently on my desk top.
    I had no success with the Spellbinders Platinum 6 machine. Even after following their sandwich, the machine actually broke. I had to discard it. And never got a return call from customer service. I was extremely disappointed in the product.

    Really appreciate your videos that help us make better choices in products.

    1. Hi Becky,
      We seem to have had the same experience with both the Gemini Jr plates and the Spellbinder machine.
      You might want to try this tip for your Gemini Jr. I purchased a Accuquilt Go self healing mat and cut it down to the correct size. I use only the platform, plastic plate, Accuquilt Go self healing mat, then the plastic plate. I rotate and flip the plates each time. The Accuquilt Go self healing mat will perfectly and easily flatten. I put mine next to my small heater for about 1 minute and then just put on a flat surface like a table top and it becomes perfectly flat.

  23. I am delighted to see a recommendation for the Empress! I too bought the Mini about a year ago and absolutely love it. After a year, I did replace the magnetic mat because of the stretching, it did affect the cut. I have been considering buying the full size one hecause the mini works so well. I find I only need my manual Big Shot for cover or edge dies, and embossing folders. But it wouls bereally nice not to have to crank!

  24. I love my Gemini Jr. I found that using a sandwich of the Platform, the plastic plate and an Accuquilt Go self healing mat then the top plate is all I need to get perfect die cuts. Very simple and the Accuquilt Go self healing mat does not warp as much and can easily and perfectly be flattened. I rotate the plates as well.

  25. Good morning Jennifer
    Thank you so much for all your advice on die cutting machines, I have been in the market for a few months now, and your videos have really helped. Thank you! But I do have a few questions; do you find the electric machines noisy? And if so, is there one that is quieter than the other? Thanks in advance

  26. I gave up my manual machines because of shoulder issues and have BOTH the Gemini and their mini and The Empress and its mini. Because of plates not warping, I LOVE the Empress. It holds up, has less warping than ANY other machine and is super convenient. For elegance, I love her products also. They are pricey, but last and last. Her customer service IS great and the company does listen to suggestions, as does Crafter’s Companion. Crafter’s Companion has superior coloring products if you have never tried them. I watch the crafting days on HSN and buy the products when they are on sale. Thank you for all you do Jennifer!

  27. Hello Jennifer,
    Another jam-packed with information video! Thank you.
    I have been holding out for the Sizzix Switch machine but the release seems to be constantly delayed – I don’t suppose you have any inside intel, lol. The Empress looks wonderful…… and I may just go with that one if the Switch doesn’t come out so.

    Very best wishes to you and your family.

  28. Your videos are great…I have the Gemini Jr, but an considering a bit larger machine for using some of my larger dies….the Gemini Pro is too big and I am wondering if the regular Empress has a larger opening than the Gemini Jr. that would work.

  29. Thanks for the great video. Last year when you mentioned the Platinum 6 was on sale (the FSJ version) I got it at a great price and I’ve really been happy with it – so thanks for that. I also have the Gemini Jr. that I got at a scrapbook show and with a discount code I got it at a great price. I don’t use it often because of the warpage, so I’ll be interested in your next video addressing that and I will be getting some new plates and taping them together. I also have the Grand Calibur which sits lonely in the corner and haven’t used it for a long time. My most used die cutting machine is still my Cuttlebug. I got one of the earliest versions and it’s still a workhorse. I do have new plates when the old ones finally die, but they keep on keeping on.

  30. My die cutter is the HUGE Fiskars Fuse. Do you remember it? It didn’t stay on the market too long. Sequoia claimed the Big Shot, and I donated the Cuttlebug to my sister_in_law’s disabled seniors group. Now after 8 back surgeries, I think an electric machine would be beneficial! You just bought new ones to show the box openings. Would you be interested in selling your older ones? ☺️

    1. I own the Fuse (early adopter, the Vagabond 2 and both sizes of the Gemini.

      I adore the Fuse. I think Fiskars totally botched its release, They had no large dies or plates to show off its massive 12.25 cutting width, but I pieced some together from the Big Shot Pro and custom-cut plates and shims. It is so powerful and the embossing it does is the best I’ve ever seen. It embosses sheet aluminum like buttah.. It’s a shame it was discontinued. I have making aluminum ceiling tiles in my future with this machine.

      I then added a Vagabond 2. I like it A LOT. My growing arthritis made the electric option a smart move and it is the only machine on the market that will handle the big BIGZ does as well as the thinnest ones. (I have quite a lot of BIGZ does.)

      Its footprint is small enough that I leave it on my work counter 24/7.and I love that I can “stage” the sandwich on the open, flat wings before cutting/embossing.. It’s my daily go-to machine.

      I then added both sizes of the Gemini machines at a deeply discounted price I could not resist. I’m not really a fan, but they do work well

      I don’t expect to ever use them regularly, but I’m not ready to part with them, either. Never hurts to have a back-up. or one for a friend to use.

  31. I’m very anxious to watch your next video, Jennifer, because even though I taped my plates together (for my Gemini Jr) just like you did, not only did my cutting plate warp horribly after only 3 or 4 runs, my plastic shim also warped quite badly, but still works okay. I ordered new cutting plates and Magic Mats, which just came today so I haven’t tried them yet. You mentioned you would address the warped plates, etc., in the next video, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that there are solutions I haven’t tried yet! Thanks for all your hard work in providing these videos for us!

  32. Thank you, again, for your great instruction and the details you provide when you compare products. You are so thorough, I appreciate that! Love, love all of your videos, they are just very helpful, instructive, full of tips and techniques I would never come up with on my own.

  33. Thank you Jennifer for doing this video. I ordered the Empress today as a result. I have a manual machine and was looking at the Gemini Jr for an electric option, but read a lot about plates warping and then them being hard to find in stock during COVID shortages. I really appreciated the information!

  34. Thank you so much for the video. I thought I wanted the Gemini Jr. but after watching the Empress I ordered one. I also got the weeding tool. I’ve never seen that in action before and loved it. Can’t wait for the tips one and I’ll always put the cut side down instead of having both plates with cut marks.

  35. Thanks for the information! I just bought a Spellbinder platinum 6 last week. It is nice to hear and to watch someone’s who has had experience with something and recommend it too. Looks like you do an excellent job!!! Thanks again! Jane

  36. Is there a reason why the Tonic Tangerine Die Cutting machine is not in this comparison. It seems to be the only one that does not cause the cutting plate to warp?

  37. Thank you Jennifer for this informational video. I’m currently re-organizing my craft room & looking to upgrade some of my cutting machines little by little since it’s been a while since I crafted but slowly getting into it. Love the review on The Empress die cutting machine by Anna Griffin & can’t wait to get it soon. 🥰

  38. I purchased the Empress Mini almost two years ago after rotator cuff surgery. Still using the original clear plates! I’m splurging on the Empress. I like that I can rotate the plates in different directions and if it runs as well as the Mini I’m sure I’ll get years of use out of it. Thank you for sharing your experiences with all of these.

  39. Jennifer, Anna Griffin gave you a shout out tonight during her HSN on-air presentation. Suzanne Runyan also gave you praises. Congratulations.

  40. Hi Jennifer – Thank you for your review, it made me happy to see that you rated the Empress so high, as I’ve just bought one. So I have a question on the sandwich you’ve been using for die cutting with the Empress – did you always use the sandwich as listed in the instruction book where you would be cutting against the top plate of the stack(even if you flipped it over)? I see now that Anna cuts the other way, cutting down into the magnetic mat rather than towards the plate, and now I’m so undecided which way to do it. I’ve tried it both ways, and I didn’t really like cutting into the mat, but it seems that’s how a lot of folks do their cutting now. So I wondered how you chose to do it?

  41. I watched the video and then later that day broke my Big Shot! I guess it is time for a new machine! 🙂

  42. Thank you so much Jennifer for this great informative video.
    I love your series every year and although I’m not as often buy
    craft suplies as I wanted, unfortunately you can spent your money only once LOL,
    I find myself often look for one of your episodes of this serie to look what you have
    wen I needed something and can buy.
    So thank you so much for all the time and effort you spent for those great videos.
    Stay safe and have a wonderful week.

  43. If you buy the Anna Griffin Empress Die Cut Machine you have to spend 50.00 or 60.00 t0 replace all of the mats in order to just get the cutting plates? I did not find them for sale but maybe on other sites they sell just the cutting plates?

    Thank you

  44. I bought the Empress based on your comments and I received it today however it will not take a 3D Embossing folder from Altenew and it would not take it with the sandwich as shown it would only pull the A plate through. I tired it with out the metal shim and it would still not take it. I am returning it. It is an expensive machine that did not live up to what I thought I would get.

  45. The Empress does not take thicker 3D folders at all according to their support desk. I am returning the machine as many of my embossing folders are 3D. You may want to mention that to the people who watch your blog. The material that comes with the machine says it does 3D folders however it mentions nothing about the fact that it does not take all 3D folders. I believe that is misleading.

  46. Hi Jennifer,
    I read the reviews and was very interesting to me. I have a Spellbinder 6, which I have had quite a while, very good machine, I use to buy my clear plates at Michael’s but they don’t sell the supplies anymore, just the dies. and Hobby lobby also sells just the dies. I have to order the clear plates. I have a LOT of Spellbinders dies, some other ones I got at Tuesday Morning. I fell and hurt both shoulders, one Dr. wanted to do a complete shoulder replacement, but decided not to have it done because of my age (79), I can’t use my shoulders, I fell twice on my right Shoulder so I can’t use my Spellbinder 6 because I can’t turn the handle, so I am thinking of buying Anna Griffin’s empress Mini. I want to know if it is compatible with the Spellbinders dies and the other ones I have bought. I have tried to call different places but they don’t return my call. Please let me know if you think I can use the other dies if I buy the Anna Griffin Mini, no one has the big one, so I will buy the Mini Empress so I can start on my Christmas cards. Thank you for your time

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