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If you’ve ever tried to make a clean cut through fabric, you know the value of a rotary cutter. These handy tools are uniquely skilled at slicing through textiles. The circular blade has a central pivot that lets you run straight cuts through pretty much any fabric. If you are working on patching upholstery, a heavy-duty rotary cutter gives you the advantage of perfect lines. Instead of worrying about frays and stray threads, you can match the pattern exactly. It not only helps the material stay intact, but it also creates a more aesthetically pleasing result. They’re crucial to quality auto upholstery.
Whether you’re crafting yourself a work apron or merely fixing a tear, rotary cutters change the game. Lightweight and easy to maneuver, these cutters produce professional results regardless of experience level. Of course, this relies on you choosing the right tool for the job. We’ve tracked down the best rotary cutters on the market, along with some tips on how to make the perfect selection.
The Best Rotary Cutters
This tool features a unique grip, designed to maximize stability while the cutter is moving. The steel blade is crafted to hold a lasting sharpness. It comes with several safety features to help you store and handle it with added ease. The slider at the top of the handle lets you retract the blade. It pops out just as easily and holds its position while you slide it along the fabric. The ergonomic handle leads to a 4-1/2-centimeter blade. It is large enough to slice through thick material. However, the blade isn’t so large that it is cumbersome when dealing with precision-focused tasks.
While you can replace the blades, it can be a bit tricky to switch them out. Wear gloves when you’re alternating the blades to optimize safety and to help you keep a grip on the surface.
Includes five replaceable blades
Blades are 4.5 centimeters across
Sliding button retracts blade
Steel blades and polymer cutter
- Weight1.76 ounces
Lightweight and easy to use
Blades hold sharpness over time
Handle is comfortable to grip
Can be hard to switch out blades
Safety features can get stuck
Vulnerable to impact damage
This rotary cutter is affordably priced for pretty much any budget, and, since it has a reasonably long-lasting blade, it is a popular solution. The cutter’s handle is at a fairly unique angle and is only viable for right-hand use because of the placement. However, provided you have the needed control, it can easily slice through all kinds of fabric. The bold red color makes it easy to spot, and the clear polymer shows how the blade is doing from all angles. It incorporates a sliding cover to keep the blade away from hands in between uses.
Keep in mind that this cutter isn’t a suitable option for left-handed users. Because it comes out at the side, it must be held from the right hand to work.
Designed for right hand use
Includes 4.5 centimeter blade
Blades are replaceable
Ergonomic grip structure
- Weight3.6 ounces
Comfortable to hold and use
Creates steady and even cuts
Comes at affordable price
Blades can get dull quickly
Requires proper angle to work well
Won’t cut through super-thick material
This cutter is very lightweight, crafted mainly out of a reasonably dense polymer. The weight spreads evenly, letting you control the angle of the blade and the pressure applied. In terms of strength, the tungsten-based steel is very sturdy. It has a very sharp edge that achieves even and reliable cuts. The blade is designed to move with ease through as many as six layers of fabric. There is a safety included to lock it in place when you aren’t working on the project. Compatible with a range of blades, you can achieve both practical and stylish cuts with ease.
Despite it technically being able to cut through six fabric pieces at a time, this applies only to cloth (not thicker material like upholstery).
Includes a very sharp blade
Replaceable blade for continued use
Tungsten-based steel in blade
Ergonomic handle structure
- Weight2.4 ounces
Straight handle works with both hands
Small enough to remain precise
Remains sharp over time
Blade can dull quicker with thicker material
Can be tricky to change blades out
Lacks grip on the handle
The cutters in this tool are highly versatile and come with a set of five blades so that if one of them wears down midway through a project, you can easily swap it out for a new one. Meant to tackle six layers of reasonably thick fabric, this rotary cutter moves very smoothly. The blade is over four centimeters across, giving you an optimal balance of resistance and efficiency. You can use this rotary cutter on anything from leather to paper, making it a convenient tool to keep around for projects of all types.
While this cutter is user-friendly, it does require a lot of upkeep. Be sure that the screw is sufficiently stable before you start on the task at hand. Also, the cutter requires a fair amount of attention and maintenance. However, so long as you check it before getting started, it is definitely a useful tool.
Includes five blade replacements
Blades are 4.5 centimeters long
Comes with locking safety feature
Works on multiple materials
- BrandPremier Blades
- Weight5 ounces
Easy structure to control
Curved handle for comfort
Useful on thick materials
Blades can get stuck in place
The screw at the center can loosen
Requires continual upkeep
This rotary cutter comes in three different colors, including blue, pink, and gray. Each of the sets is equipped with a solid base to help you measure your cuts. The included ruler is made out of acrylic, a material resistant to the rotary blade. When the cutter is used in conjunction with the craft clips, you can keep the fabric secure, making it easy to get straight and even lines. It is tough enough to slice through five layers of material, though it won’t tackle thicker material like upholstery. However, when it’s used on the right textiles, the smooth application and firm handle makes it easy to control this cutter.
Bear in mind that this set is primarily geared towards crafts. If you need something with heavier-duty applications, this may not be the best way to go.
Includes clips, cutter, and mat
Can slice through five layers
Sturdy and ergonomic handle
Reliable and sharp blade
- BrandHoney’s Heaven
- ModelRotary Cutter Set Pink
- Weight2.14 pounds
Steel material remains sharp
Ergonomic design for comfort
Works on denim, vinyl, and paper
Can’t cut through really thick material
Only suited towards craft-based tasks
Blade will wear down over time
What it lacks in bells and whistles, this rotary cutter more than makes up for in efficiency. The blade is forged using high-grade steel material pressed into a sharp edge, effectively slicing through all types of materials leaving behind a smooth edge free of frays. It can move seamlessly through several layers of paper, adding some versatility to its applications. The handle is designed straight, letting you use it with both hands. You can keep a steady grip on the handle, even over long periods. This is thanks to the ergonomic design meant to limit strain.
It should be mentioned that this tool is meant for casual and occasional use. For daily use or professional demands, this cutter may wear down too quickly. However, for crafts and household tasks, it’s an excellent option.
Includes 4.5 centimeter blade
Curved handle for maximum control
Works on versatile materials
Lightweight and easy to maneuver
- Weight2.56 ounces
Works on projects of all sizes
Cuts through multiple fabrics
Can tackle several layers
Retracts for optimal safety
Fairly easy to break the casing
Blade wears down somewhat quickly
Better-suited to short-term use
This rotary cutter is designed so that the blade can be put on either side of the handle, letting you control it with both hands. You can place the blade on the other side to limit hand strain, or if you are better when working with your dominant hand, this feature gives you better control. The handle leads to a 4.5-centimeter blade that moves smoothly regardless of the surface it’s slicing through. This set comes with seven blades: four are meant for straight lines, while the others are for cutting on a curve or addressing dotted lines.
While the cutter is relatively heavy-duty, it’s lasting ability requires proper care and maintenance. So long as you keep the rotary tool away from harm, it is a reliable piece of crafting gear to have around.
4.5 centimeter blades
Includes seven replacements
Safety lock prevents damage
Ergonomic handle with good grip
- Weight6 ounces
Can cut straight or on a curve
You can use it with both hands
Includes several replacement blades
Safety features prevent injury
Requires routine upkeep
Changing blades takes practice
Vulnerable to rust and corrosion
This rotary cutter comes in a sleek black and white design, and the handle is curved for comfort while you’re handling the tool. It lets the muscles on your hand stay relaxed without compromising the force you’re applying to the material. You can use the steel blades on all types of textiles. It can cut through leather and burlap with equal ease, making it one of the heavier-duty options out there. The set comes with several blades. A few of them are replacements with rounded edges, though others are meant to add texture and style to the cuts. By incorporating safeties and a good grip, this cutter sets itself apart in terms of utility.
Although there are plenty of supplies included, it can be tricky to switch out the parts. Take your time when changing the blades to be sure the installation goes smoothly.
Features 4.5-centimeter blade
Comes with six replacement blades
Includes tools for textured cuts
Cuts through multiple materials
- BrandHeadley Tools
- Weight5.6 ounces
Enough resistance to slide easily
Sleek design that’s easy to hold
Designed to tackle thick materials
Safety can be hard to control
Only fits compatible blades
Attachment parts are easy to break
For those searching for a cutting tool suited towards artistic use, the Olfa Splash Rotary Cutter is an excellent way to go. It has a pretty straightforward design meant for right-handed functions. The four-and-a-half centimeter blade is made of tungsten-fortified steel. This material is capable of slicing through all sorts of textiles. You can use this cutter to get an even line on paper of all types. It can slice through thick synthetics like vinyl and cut through upholstery with equal ease. The blade features a safety cover to prevent issues, so it is easy to store this cutter over the long term.
Although this tool is handy for occasional use, the blade will grow dull over time. Since it doesn’t come with replacements, you would need to track them down separately.
Blades made out of tungsten steel
Works on various materials
Includes blade cover for safety
Blade is 4.5 centimeters across
- Weight2.4 ounces
Creates smooth and even lines
Useful on natural and synthetic fabric
Lightweight and easy to control
Doesn’t include replacement blades
Only works for right-handed use
Blade is vulnerable to rust
Best Rotary Cutters Buying Guide & FAQ
When it comes time to purchase a set of rotary cutters, you likely have a project in mind. The goal is to pick a cutter that is best-suited to the task you’re going to tackle. The range of functions alone sets them apart from other crafting gear. However, you only get the full value if you find something of sufficient quality.
To achieve that goal, you’ll want to assess each cutter carefully. Figure out the type you are going to benefit most from. Identify the features you need the most and determine which rotary cutter is going to work the best. To learn which rotary cutter will fit your needs, it helps gather information about the tools in general.
Why Do You Need a Rotary Cutter?
Few households wouldn’t benefit from a rotary cutter. Sure, you can use scissors, but have you ever tried to use standard scissors to chop through vinyl? The results are frayed edges, uneven lines, and damage to the material. Even with paper and leather, getting those long, straight lines is challenging without the right tool. Rotary cutters make this quick and easy.
The idea behind a rotary cutter is to lay the material flat and smoothly glide the blade along the surface. Thanks to the design, it results in even pressure and improved ability to control your lines. What takes hours with scissors can get done in a matter of minutes with a high-grade rotary cutter. The benefits extend from versatility to user-friendliness, making crafts and work easier and more enjoyable.
- The blade and design let you cut through material evenly and precisely.
- Works in conjunction with other tools to make art easier.
- You can cut through several sheets of fabric or paper at the same time.
- When you cut multiple layers simultaneously, all your cuts are identical.
- You can use rotary cutters on both synthetic and natural materials.
- Rotary cutters are easy to control and provide a comfortable grip.
- The blade moves smoothly, so you don’t have to strain your muscles to achieve the cut.
Different Kinds of Rotary Cutters
Most rotary cutters are relatively similar, though there are different types based on the blade's size. All of the blades are circular (thus the namesake: rotary). However, even a slight variation to the blade size makes a big difference. There are four types of blades that stand out, and each is geared towards a unique task. To figure out which will work best, ensure you understand the differences between the kinds of rotary cutters.
This type of rotary cutter features a round steel blade, just like the other types. What sets this type apart is its ability to deal with finer details. The smallest of the blade sizes, these cutters are used in quilting and scrapbooking. They are also better at cutting patches since they can achieve more precise angles.
While the accuracy of these tools is ideal, they also work slower. This type of rotary tool can cut through a limited amount of layers only suited to smaller-scale projects. Overstraining can result in frays on the edges of the cut. It can also cause the blade to dull prematurely. As a result, this type is only suitable for nuanced, artistic projects.
This type of rotary cutter is one step up from the smallest option. The added size takes away from the maneuverability somewhat. That said, it enables you to cut through multiple layers. This type is a common choice for sewists and those working with smaller upholstery projects. Often, because of the precision use, the cutters will work with both left and right-handed use.
Featuring a prominent blade and a medium level of resistance, you can use these cutters on heavier-duty material (provided it isn’t layered). This means it will work on anything from tarps to vinyl. If you’re planning to use the cutters over the long term, be sure that the set comes with multiple blades so you can replace them as needed.
Perhaps the most common type of rotary cutters, this type of tool is the most versatile. It is popular because of its balance between efficiency and control. Because this type is used more than other options, the cutter will usually come with replacement blades. High-quality options are made with sturdy steel and a noticeably sharpened edge. There should be safety features to protect your hands from injury.
Another value of this type of rotary tool is that it works on both large and small scale projects. As a result, you can find textured blades to achieve different edges. While this is handy, it can be time-consuming to switch out the blades. Since they are usually used for larger quantities and bigger projects, the blades tend to dull faster. Stick to the indicated thicknesses to preserve the sharpness for longer.
The final type of rotary cutter is prominent for those using the tool for professional reasons. The large size of the blade sets it apart. These are used for large-scale upholstery work because the sharpness and speed make it good with leather and thicker materials.
With this type of rotary cutter, it is especially important to find something with an ergonomic grip. The tool is designed to be used over more extended periods. As a result, if it lacks a good handle, your muscles are likely to get strained. Keep in mind that this type of cutter sacrifices control for speed and strength. If you plan to deal with small cuts and fine details, opt for something with a smaller blade size.
What to Look for When Buying Rotary Cutters
When assessing the quality of rotary blade cutters, there are a few important things to keep your eye on. The first is if you've identified the right type. The blade's size directly relates to its utility, so if you choose something bigger, you get more power but less control (and vice versa for smaller blades). Once you figure out what type you want, the next step is figuring out how easy it will be for you to use.
Check whether the blade is on the correct side relative to your dominant hand. From there, you can look at the finer details—think about how heavy it is, the texture of the handle, and the quality of the material. Choose a set of cutters that are made of better parts to get the longest-lasting effects. Of course, there are a few other things to keep in mind.
- Safety. By their nature, rotary cutters are sharp. Since you won’t be using them all day long, you need to put the tool away safely. Some options come with retracting blades while others feature a cover. Check the mechanism used for safety and be sure that it offers a sufficient amount of protection.
- Structure. The shape of the rotary cutter will directly impact how easy it is to use. This refers to the angle of the handle relative to the blade. It also speaks to how long the handle is and how smoothly the blade moves across a surface. Opt for something that’s easy to control and puts you at a comfortable angle when working.
- Material. Think about the material used in construction. The steel of the blade will impact how long it can stay sharp. A common type of blade is tungsten-heavy steel. Look at the plastic to be sure that it won’t crack or fall apart. Check that the attachment points won’t break when you replace the blades.
- Edge. Look at the edge of the blade. The standard option provides a smooth, straight cut. Others are textured to give you different designs when you cut the material. Whether you want these accessories will depend on how you plan to use the cutter. In most cases, you’ll be using the smooth-edged blade. However, if you plan to use the blade for art projects, find something with options.
- Replacements. Eventually, you are going to need to swap out the blade. Whether it is for the style of cut or because it grew dull, it will need changing. Consider how easy it is to swap out the blade itself. Check that you can easily find a compatible replacement or that the set includes extra blades.
The Most Important Features of Rotary Cutters
Though all rotary cutters are unique in design, some essential features need to be there for it to be a viable tool. So long as it incorporates these features (and you pick the right type) you will be able to use the cutter easily. By investigating each of these criteria when you’re looking at a set of cutters, you can determine which tool will work best for you.
Probably the most crucial feature of a rotary cutter, the blade is the part that does the slicing. The key to success is choosing something strong and sharp. You want something made out of tough steel. The edge should be prominent and come to a distinct point. The harder the steel, the longer it will stay sharp.
The blade's strength refers more to its ability to cut through layers and materials of various thicknesses. Blades made of different materials face different resistances when cutting. The weight of the blade itself impacts how smoothly you can roll it. Be sure that the attachment point is loose enough to give an easy roll while remaining taut enough to keep you in control.
An essential component of any rotary cutter is that you need some kind of safety unless you plan to remove the blade every time. There are different approaches to safety features: the first is a retracting blade. It is controlled by a slider that lets you pull the sharp metal piece in. When the safety is engaged, you could roll the cutter over a surface, and it would not harm.
Another kind of safety is in the form of a cover. Either on a swivel or a slider, it is a circular piece of plastic that goes over the blade. It protrudes slightly from the cutter and locks in place. The safety stays in place between uses. This feature both protects the blade and vulnerable surfaces from damage.
A rotary cutter can’t work without a handle—this is the part that you hold while you slide the blade over the surface. The handle has a few criteria to meet: the first is sitting at the proper angle relative to the blade. It can be hard to get the right level of control and precision if it is too flat. If it’s too sharp an angle, your hand can grow tired.
An ergonomic design is there to keep you in control of the blade without causing strain in your muscles. Check for a slip-resistant grip—the handle should be textured for comfort. Finally, the handle needs to be long enough to fit your hand. Unlike scissors, you need a full grip over the rotary cutter. Be sure that the handle can accommodate.
Care and Maintenance for Rotary Cutters
To optimize the durability of your rotary cutters, there are a few easy steps you can take. The first is to find a tool that fits your purpose and workspace. This alone will make it easier to use the cutters properly. When you can control it more comfortably, it mitigates the risk of putting a strain on the blade and attachments.
So long as you’re careful when using it, maintenance is pretty straightforward—it comes down to keeping the cutters safe from damage. Since the blades are almost always made out of steel, you need to store them in a dry environment to avoid rust. Keep the safety engaged when the cutters aren’t in use and try not to drop them as it can cause the blade to loosen. The rest of the steps are pretty straightforward.
- Keep an eye on blade sharpness to determine when it’s time to change it out.
- Clean off the blade occasionally to keep it clean and free of dust.
- Use the cutters strictly for textiles and use other tools to cut through metal or strip wires.
- Engage the safety immediately after you are finished using the cutters.
- Use the cutters on a solid base so you can hold the material steady.
- When you change out the blade, be sure that the attachment is tight enough.
- Only cut through the recommended amount of layers to prevent premature dullness.
- Help the blades stay sharp by only cutting on a smooth surface.
- Keep spare blades to ensure that you are cutting with the maximum sharpness.
Best Rotary Cutters FAQ:
When it comes to picking the right tool, it’s important to gather all the information you can. By gaining a full understanding of rotary cutters, you can get a complete picture of what to expect. The good news is that using rotary cutters is relatively intuitive. So long as you pick a set of reasonably high-quality and don’t overstrain them, you can get the desired results.
Q: What is the best rotary cutter for cutting fabric?
A: For cutting fabric, stick with a 45-millimeter cutter that is easy to control and suits your dominant hand. A good choice is the Nicapa Rotary Cutter.
Q: What is the difference between a 45mm and 60mm rotary cutter?
A: The larger rotary cutter is meant for thicker material and bigger cuts. The 45-millimeter option is more versatile and generally easier to use.
Q: How often should you change your rotary cutter blade?
A: Change the cutter blade once you notice it getting dull. Keep extra blades on hand and check the sharpness before you start a project.
Our Top Pick
After careful consideration, we’ve named the Nicapa Rotary Cutter as our top pick. Not only does it have a comfortable grip and substantial design, but this cutter also comes with several replacement blades. The 4.5-centimeter design, the versatility, and the strength of this cutter set it apart. It’s easy to replace the blades, and, given the tough steel material, it is a durable option.
Now that you’re fluent in the finer details of rotary cutters, you can pick the set that’s right for you. It could be the Nicapa Rotary Cutter or the budget-friendliness of the Martelli Ergo Rotary Cutter. There’s a tool suited to every job so you can get smooth, consistent lines.