Aug 22, 2023

The best Brother ScanNCut machines in June 2023

Brother ScanNCut craft machines enable you to make cards, quilts, and more. But which scan and cut is best for you?

Choosing between the best Brother ScanNCut digital craft machines can be a little bewildering, as they can do so much but all look a little the same. The main thing you need to understand is these machines can cut, score, emboss, draw on and be used with hundreds of materials but fundamentally they have a built-in scanner and LCD display for an all-in-one approach to modern crafting and DIY.

Brother ScanNCut craft machines are a unique product, and are popular amongst all kinds of crafters. Original models started with 'CM' in some countries, and there has since been a lot of changes and upgrades to models. The SDX range has Auto Blade technology, so the machine works out what material is being used, and cuts accordingly – saving a lot of hassle and fuss!

These aren't the only digital craft machines you can buy, alternatives are the best Cricut machines and the best Silhouette machines, and if you're looking for something a little different take a look at the best laser cutters (the xTools M1 comes with a laser and rotary cutter, making it a unique alternative to the Brother scan and cut way of doing things).

You can cut a huge variety of materials with a ScanNCut. The SDX range cuts up to 3mm in depth as standard, so not only are lighter materials like card possible to cut, but you can work on soft fabrics like cotton, leather and vinyls. Other than this you will find SDX models are numbered, this tends to signal a difference in the number of pre-installed designs, images and fonts.

Why you can trust Creative Bloq Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Our expert review:

The ScanNCut SDX230Di is the US edition of the UK's SDX2200D (scroll down), and as such is a premium cutting that can do everything out-of-the-box – literally, you get every cutting blade Brother makes along with mats, contact sheets, tools, guides, designs and even materials for sample projects to test out your new craft machine.

The idea behind this top of the range model is you buy it once and won't need anything ever again. This extends to the ScanNCut SDX230Di incorporated 600dpi scanner and CPU, controlled by a pin-sharp LCD touchscreen and stylus. The touchscreen offers access to over 1,000 projects, fonts and Disney themed designs; this is as well as a built-in design app that enables you to create your own projects.

The true brilliance of these ScanNCut machines is when you begin using the scanner to save your own designs to the SDX230Di and even scan and cut in one go; it means you can turn old patterns into new designs or use the machine to cut out details from complex pieces of material. You can even scan in photos and drawings and turn this into complex designs to cut out.

You can read more of how this works in our ScanNCut SDX2200D review (it's the same model but in the UK) where our writer found an excellent money-saving feature. The ScanNCut will scan leftover materials and cut projects to fit and make best use of these leftovers, so you never waste material again.

Our expert review:

The ScanNCut SDX125E is best viewed as Brother's mid-range machine. It's a powerful craft cutter that can do everything the more expensive SDX230Di can do but only contains half the number of pre-installed designs, and of course lacks the Disney-branded content.

This machine's capabilities come with a caveat; while the machine is as powerful and features the same scanner and LCD touchscreen and the same cutting space, it doesn't come packaged with as many blades, mats or accessories. The SDX230Di will do everything out of the box, while you'll need to invest in more blades for the SDX125E.

The Auto Blade that comes with this machine is great, though. You'll find it's adaptable to most projects from papercraft to sewing, in fact all the ScanNCut machines are excellent for quilters, and the SDX125E is setup to cut thin fabric though you'll need the Thin Fabric Auto Blade). As with the more expensive Disney SDX230Di, this cheaper machine will add seam allowances to your scanned projects if desired.

Our expert review:

The Brother ScanNCut SDX85 is the brand's entry-level model and its cheapest craft cutter. For around the same price as a Cricut Maker 3 you can get a craft machine with a built-in scanner and onboard CPU for designing directly into the craft cutter.

There are a number of limitations the SDX85 has over the other Brother ScanNCut machines on my list, for example it has a smaller 3.50-inch screen, fewer pre-installed designs (251) and is limited to a 12 x 12 inch mat (the more expensive machines can cut fabric without backing).

If you're after an entry-level ScanNCut model or a craft cutting machine to accompany your sewing machine – such as the Brother Innovis F420 – then this entry-level craft machine is a good option.

Our expert review:

The ScanNCut SDX2200D is the most complete Brother craft cutting machine released in the UK, and our reviewer found it to be on par if not slightly better than Cricut Maker 3. (This is the UK edition of the No.1 Brother ScanNCut machine on my list.) This is a great craft machine because it can do pretty much everything out of the box, including cutting 3mm thick materials without the need to buy a specific blade.

This accessibility and adaptability runs through ScanNCut SDX2200D, generally. The inclusion of an onboard computer and LCD touchscreen means you can design projects directly in the machine without the need for a connected laptop or tablet. The built-in 600dpi scanner makes this even easier, enabling you to scan projects, patterns and drawings directly into the ScanNCut SDX2200D.

If you do want to go deeper or work on a larger screen, you can use the free CanvasWorkspace but this is currently only available on PC and Mac (Cricut's equivalent, Design Space, is compatible with Android and some Chromebooks). The bottom line is the ScanNCut SDX2200D is a powerful and versatile machine that does everything out-of-the-box without the need for further spending on accessories.

Our expert review:

The ScanNCut SDX1200 is one of the more limited models in the Brother craft cutting machine lineup, though it still packs in 1,300 built-in designs, a scanner and LCD touchscreen to design and cut projects directly into the machine.

As this is a more basic model you don't get the Auto Blade – this automatically detects the depth of a material and adjusts – with the machine. However, the Auto Blade is compatible with this model and can be bought separately. It's one sign the ScanNCut SDX1200 is a little more basic, and cheaper, as you need to buy a few accessories that, for example, come packaged with the SDX2200D.

The ScanNCut SDX1200 is noted for being relatively easy to set up, and the Wifi connectivity option is a firm favourite amongst users who like their crafts to travel with them. This machine is ideal for those looking to make an upgrade from the cheaper machines - you won't be disappointed – but there is still room to develop.

Our expert review:

Similar to its SDX siblings, the ScanNCut SDX1250 has a large number of features, making it perfect for those who love to spend their spare time crafting. This compact machine has a smaller cutting area to the more expensive models on this list, and fewer built-in designs, though 1,303 projects is still a good amount. These designs can be resized and adapted too, making it a good starting point for newcomers.

As with other craft machines in the Brother roster the SDX1250 comes with a built-in scanner and LCD touchscreen for accessible and speedy projects. This comes with the excellent Auto Blade, which means most projects will be doable out of the box (unlike the cheaper CM300 model below).

If you choose to purchase additional accessories, such as appliques, stencils and rhinestones, along with the rotary and fabric blades, you’ll be amazed with the amount of options available to you, though Brother accessories are a little expensive. On the upside, this model also supports the roll feeder enabling for much longer, larger projects similar to the Cricut Maker 3 or Explore 3.

Our expert review:

The ScanNCut SDX900 allows crafters to precisely cut out designs of any shape in just a few simple steps. This particular model comes with over 680 built-in designs and seven fonts, so when working with CanvasWorkspace, the possibilities are endless.

Whether you want to cut felt or cotton, this machine is a perfect option. As this model has wireless connectivity, you don't need to have a PC to hand to be able to create designs. For a reasonable price, this ScanNCut SDX model is a great option for those looking for something that is easy to use, and has plenty of possibilities.

Our expert review:

The ScanNCut CM300 is not like its SDX siblings, and has slightly fewer functions. But, the lower price reflects this, and makes this machine ideal for beginners, and those figuring out if the ScanNCut is right for them. For example, this lacks the Auto Blade and Fabric Blade of the larger machines, so it's ideally suited to papercraft projects but quilters would want to start with the ScanNCut SDX1200 (above).

Suited to beginner and intermediate crafters, this scanner is still incredibly impressive and accurate with its abilities. It's worth knowing that this model is not compatible with several add-on kits, such as the calligraphy or roll feeder, but if you want to make some simple designs at home, you're likely to have everything you need here.

But the ScanNCut CM300 does still feature a built-in scanner (300dpi not 600dpi like the SDX models) and a CPU controlled via a LCD touchscreen (though smaller than Brother's most costly models). It means you get the same scan-to-cut process that makes these Brother machines so useful, along with 600 built-in designs (including 100 quilt patterns) and five fonts.

Considering the ScanNCut CM300 costs the same as a larger Cricut Maker 3 it raises a serious question as to which to buy. You will need to invest in some accessories for the ScanNCut CM300 to compete, but the built-in scanner and CPU combo is an eye-catching offering at this price.

The Brother ScanNCut range is ideal for crafters of various kinds – sewists, DIY hobbyists, those who enjoy paper crafts and scrapbooking, and much more. The models have a unique built-in scanner, ready to scan and cut out any image or design with no computer or tablet needed.

There are four models within the classic ScanNCut family, and an additional Disney exclusive machine, that comes with all of the features of the SDX / DX range, with exclusive Disney designs and content.

Each model comes with slightly different features, from the size it's able to cut, to its abilities to work on different projects, such as embroidery. All ScanNCut DX models are compatible with the included Auto Blade attachment, so you don't need to fiddle about with attachments to get cutting.

The Brother ScanNCut range has many uses. You'd be wrong if you think that a machine like this only cuts paper – you can cut all sorts of materials with certain models and blades, from vinyl and card, to soft fabrics and leathers.

With blades that easily cut curved designs and small details, the ScanNCut machines can ensure you don't ruin a delicate design with the slip of a hand and scissors, and can even cut through thin crepe paper and lace. So, the possibilities are endless.

In order to take your projects to the next level, you can buy a range of add-ons and accessories for your ScanNCut machine. You can purchase new and additional mats, carrier bags, initiation kits and rotary blades to kick start your collection, but there are many more creative options than just those.

Patchwork designs, stamps, and label making accessories are all able to be purchased for your ScanNCut machine. If you want to glitz something up, there are foil starter kits, lace patterns, and even rhinestones. Or, you can keep things more traditional with embossing and the calligraphy kits.

Generally, ScanNCut machines come packaged with everything you need to start creating out-of-the-box. Generally this means you get the tools – such as a spatula, blades and mats, the exact accessories depend on the model you choose – but it also includes the device's built-in scanner and CPU, accessed via an LCD touchscreen. Unlike Cricut and Silhouette you don't need to invest in a tablet or PC to get crafting.

The Brother ScanNCut range works alongside a free cloud-based design application called CanvasWorkspace, which is available for PC and Mac (but not Android). So, crafters, you are able to design when and where you want, then send your projects wirelessly from your computer to your ScanNCut or transfer them via USB flash drive.

Additionally, CanvasWorkspace also comes with many free designs and projects for you to use, so there are so many possibilities. Cables are not usually included with the ScanNCut machines, but there is direct connection via a USB cable, and two of the four models have WLAN connection.

Yes, unlike the Cricut range of digital craft machines you can design projects directly in a ScanNCut machine using the LCD touchscreen and stylus 'touch pen'. It works really well, and despite the 5-inch screen's size I find it very easy to manipulate shapes and weld into new patterns in the machine's app.

The Brother ScanNCuts are craft cutting machines that can cut all manner of materials, including fabrics, paper, card, wood, vinyl and more. They are similar to the popular Cricut craft machines but have a built-in scanner and CPU, so you can create, save and cut projects in the Brother ScanNCut machine.

Brother ScanNCut model names are different in the US and UK, but we'd recommend the SDX2200D (UK) and the SDX230DI (US) that have every blade, mat and accessory you need packaged with them. A cheaper option would be to buy the base ScanNCut SDX model (ScanNCut DX in the US) and add accessories and blades as you need them.

Like other craft cutting machines the Brother ScanNCut range can cut most materials, including paper and card, vinyl, fabric including leather and much more. Brother ScanNCut SDX (known as the DX in the US) ranger of machines cut 3mm materials as standard, unlike Cricut Maker and Maker 3 models that require a separate blade.

The Cricut Maker 3 is an excellent craft cutting machine and the Rotary Blade ensures it can cut most materials out of the box. We also love the Brother ScanNCut SDX/DX range, as these feature the Auto Blade, which is close in use to Cricut's Rotary Blade. The inclusion of a scanner and design app, accessed by an LCD touchscreen, edges things slightly for us. Also, for sewists and quilters the ScanNCut machines add seam allowances and come with pre-design quilt projects. So, which is best, Cricut or Brother? It all depends on use and cost; if budget is no option ScanNCut SDX2220D / SDX230Di is our choice.

No, the Brother ScanNCut craft machines can be used without a laptop, tablet or mobile. These machines have an onboard CPU, accessed via an LCD touchscreen, and you create designs in the machine. You can also scan in patterns and projects and cut them out directly. It will even automatically add seam allowances to designs, if required.

The Brother ScanNCut range use the Brother CanvasWorkspace app to create new designs and projects. This can be downloaded for free to Mac and PC, but not Android and Chromebook. You can also make designs directly in the machine itself via the LCD touchscreen.

Brother ScanNCut craft machines support the FCM file format, so you'll need to convert any SVG, PNG, JPEG or GIF files to FCM to use with the machines or the Brother CanvasWorkspace. Keep in mind projects can be scanned into, or created in, the ScanNCut machine so this makes life easier. Also, ScanNCut's machine supports Brother's embroidery file format, PES / PHC / PHX.

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Ian Dean is Editor, Art & Design at Creativebloq, and the former editor of many leading magazines. These titles included ImagineFX, 3D World and leading video game title Official PlayStation Magazine. In his early career he wrote for music and film magazines including Uncut and SFX. Ian launched Xbox magazine X360 and edited PlayStation World. For Creative Bloq, Ian combines his experiences to bring the latest news on AI, digital art and video game art and tech, and more to Creative Bloq, and in his spare time he doodles in Procreate, ArtRage, and Rebelle while finding time to play Xbox and PS5. He's also a keen Cricut user and laser cutter fan, and is currently crafting on Glowforge and xTools M1.

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