Silhouette Cameo vs Brother ScanNCut

The Silhouette Cameo and Brother ScanNCut cutting machines have some similarities and differences. The Cameo and ScanNCut both are similarly powered, being able to cut the same types of materials, but the software and capabilities are quite different. The Cameo is better for creating custom designs, and the ScanNCut is designed to be a stand-alone machine. Let’s cover some of the differences between the Silhouette Cameo and Brother ScanNCut and decide what machine is best for you.

Silhouette Cameo

Silhouette Cameo

Amazon Price

The Silhouette Cameo is one of the most well-known die cut machines out there, and there is a large following to get help and support from. Similar to the Brother ScanNcut, the Silhouette Cameo primarily cuts paper-based material, vinyl, and fabric, along with some other materials.

Some features of the Silhouette Cameo include:

  • Cut up to 12 inches by 10 feet with lined media (12″ x 24″ with cutting mat)
  • Print and Cut – print designs from the printer and have the Cameo cut them out
  • PixScan technology – allows users to use their camera or smartphone to take a picture of the design and have the Cameo cut it out.
  • Onboard touch screen to cut designs loaded from a USB port

Silhouette Studio Designer

The Silhouette Cameo comes with the basic version of the Silhouette Studio Designer, which is powerful software that allows users to create custom designs from scratch. Users are also able to work with .jpg, .bmp, and .png file types. If you wish to import .svg files, you’ll need to upgrade the software for $50. Thousands of finished designs are also available for purchase through the designs store, typically for 99 cents.

Brother ScanNCut

Brother ScanNCut 500

Amazon Price

The Brother ScanNCut is more expensive than the Silhouette Cameo but is one of the only die cut machines with a scanner. The built-in 300DPI scanner allows hand-drawn designs, photographs, or magazines cutouts to be scanned into the machine to be cut.

Some features of the Brother ScanNCut include:

  • Cut and draw up to 12 inches by 24 inches
  • Built-in 300 DPI Scanner to scan and create designs.
  • USB drive input for saving files or importing new designs
  • Internal memory for storing custom designs
  • Full-color LCD touch screen to edit designs.

What’s also neat about the scanner is that you don’t have to use it just create designs. You can use it as a regular scanner and import images to your computer.

The Brother machine also has some neat features for using fabric, where you can create seam allowances and sewing guides.

No Computer Required

One interesting aspect of the ScanNCut is that it doesn’t connect to a computer directly. The Brother machine has a touchscreen to edit and manipulate designs, making it a stand-alone machine. You can still use the free Brother ScanNCut Canvas software, which allows users to import .jpg and .svg file types. You can import designs that were created on the computer, but you will need to use a USB drive to transfer the files from the computer to the machine. The Brother ScanNCut does come with some pre-loaded designs and fonts.

Differences between Silhouette Cameo and Brother ScanNCut

Compare the differences between the Cameo and ScanNcut.

 Silhouette CameoBrother ScanNCut
Silhouette CameoBrother ScanNCut Die Cut Machine
Cutting Width12 inches x 10 feet (with lined media, 12" x 24" with mat)12 inches by 24 inches
Cutting Force210 grams350 grams
Deep cutNoYes
Print and CutYesNo
Turn images into designsWith PixScanWith built-in scanner
Edit images with touchscreenNoYes
SoftwareSilhouette Studio DesignerBrother Canvas Software
Amazon PriceCheck priceCheck price

While both machines can cut fabric, the ScanNCut does come with a deep-cut blade, allowing it to cut more types of materials.

Another difference to know is that both the Silhouette Design Studio and the Brother Canvas software can import .svg files, but to be able to import .svg files in the Silhouette Design Studio, you must upgrade for $50.

What machine is better, the Silhouette Cameo or Brother ScanNCut?

The Cameo and ScanNCut both have different features. Getting the right machine for you will depend on your needs.

Why the Silhouette Cameo is better

Silhouette Cameo

Amazon Price

If you are more interested in creating your own designs with advanced software, and will primarily be cutting paper-based products or vinyl, then consider the Cameo.

Why the Brother ScanNCut is better

Brother ScanNCut Die Cut Machine

Amazon Price

The Brother ScanNCut is more of a stand-alone machine that has a built-in scanner and doesn’t require a computer. The software is more limited and is more for importing designs rather than creating on the computer. If these are the types of features that seem more appealing, consider the Brother ScanNCut.

What machine do you think is better? Leave us a comment!

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  1. Karina Tansill

    Hello. The beginning of your article says the Silhouette has a Cut and Draw area of 12 feet by 10 feet (wow!) while further down in the compare area it says 12 inches by 10 feet. I am assuming the second set of dimensions is correct?

    1. Personal Die Cutting (Post author)

      Hi Karina, you are correct! Thanks for the correction. We have also fixed it on the page. The 12″ x 10′ is for lined media, but if you are using the cutting mat, then you are limited to 12″ x 24″. Hope this helps! Let us know if you have any more questions.

  2. Donna

    I am looking for something that can cut oracal 651 outdoor vinyl, any suggestions on which would be best? I want to use my own designs sometimes and from computer for others. Thanks

    1. Colin Sevier

      I cut Oracal 651 all day long with my Brother.. I also have the cameo.. does the same. I don’t have to change blade or settings at all to go from 651 to heat transfer vinyl. set the blade at 1 and low force.. cut away

    2. virginia

      I do it with silhouette cameo.

  3. Cindy

    I have just upgraded my embroidery software to Premier+ Ultra (Husqvarna Viking), and one of the new features is being able to export applique designs for cutting by a personal die cutting machine. I would like to be able to cut all types of fabric – but want minimal hassle with file conversions, etc. I would also like to cut paper for greeting cards, invitations, etc.

    I’ve read the descriptions for both machines – but am still not sure which one will offer me the greatest flexibility with longevity. I’d appreciate any help!!

    1. Personal Die Cutting (Post author)

      Hi Cindy! How much fabric will you be cutting? Are you using the machine for quilting? If you want to cut lots of pieces of fabric, a manual die cut machine might be better for your needs. The manual machines do require dies, but they can cut multiple layers at once. Here’s a link to some of the better machines for cutting fabric:

      If you’re still interested in a digital die cut machine, the ScanNCut is geared more for cutting fabric. There’s more to consider though such as software differences and the built-in scanner. Both machines will cut paper products just fine.

      1. Anonymous

        I cut fabric for applique for quilting and embroidery all the time with my silhouette. Even with the $50 upgrade to allow embroidery files to open it’s still 1/2 the price of the SNC. I cut EVERYTHING with my silhouette…cardstock, vinyl, velum, fabric, chipboard. It’s not just for paper and vinyl.

    2. Barbara

      The Premier plus software now has a new (free) update that includes the Brother San N Cut format when you export the files for cutting.

      1. Jeanean

        I have a scanncut2 and a viking embroidery machine
        I have purchased several appliques from planet applique and want to learn how to get the scanncut to cut the fabric but have not figureded out what software i need or how to do it.
        Is there something i can doo with the premire plus software to make this happen?
        I am going crazy with searches and watchong videos to figure this out and am coming up with dead ends. Please help,

  4. Kai


    i am looking for a cutter (mostly) to cut text on vinyl.

    What would be the minimum size of text I can cut with these machines on vinyl?
    Would there be any other product (in about this price range) that are better with very fine details?

    Thanks for any advice!

    1. Clare

      I have the same question. Have spent a lot of time on-line researching and watching YouTube – but nothing has helped me to figure out any answers??


      1. Kathy

        If you go on YouTube & search for ScanNCut Jam Sessions she has tons of vids. She also has a fb page called ScanNCut & SCAL Help. She seems a little harsh with the way she talks, but she’s really nice, just does do drama. I have the ScanNCut2 (CM350R). It cost me $350. The Silhouette & Cricut was only about $50 less. I’ve looked up the vids on YouTube by Ken’s Kreations. He demonstrates the Silhouette, the Cameo & ScanNCut live to show the quality of the cuts & features of the machine. Jan from Jam Sessions tells you how to cut small intricut designs. As far as creating your owm designs, I use Inkscapes. It’s free software & you can save files as a png or svg. Then I import the design into my machine & cut. There are times when the software for my SNC doesn’t want to open an SVG file so I save it as a png & no ptoblem. The only issue I have is the mats don’t seem to stay sticky for long. Maybe That could be I do something wrong, but there is sticky spray out there you can use. Jam Sessions explains it all.

        1. Barbee

          There is a new spray by etchall.

          We use it all the time to refresh/renew the cutting mats.

          PS We use both of these machines. You cannot go wrong with either one! They last for a long time so forget price and pick the one for your needs!!

  5. nikki Farthing

    Hi, I am leaning towards buying the cameo – are you able to tell me the thickest paper weight it would be able to cut? thanks

  6. David Conrad

    I’ve created some designs as PowerPoint slides, sized as 8.5 x 11 inches. They print out exactly the right size, and the size matters. I’d like to be able to run these printed paper sheets directly into a die cut machine and have the machine figure out (with my help) where to do the cutting (essentially it’s on the black borders around the objects on the page). I gather that the Cameo would require me to export each of the 25+ slides from PP as individual JPGs, then import them into the Silhouette software, one at a time, then use the software’s Trace feature, then reprint each page only now with cut lines, then insert each page into the machine. Awfully tedious. Do you know if the Brother machine can do those things, only with fewer steps?

    1. Anonymous

      Brother scan-n-cut would allow you to scan it, set the outside border for cutting and then cut. ou can set it to cut with a border or right on the black outline. You would need to scan each one separately. I have the Cameo, and the Brother, would definitely use the Brother for this task (if I understand you correctly)

    2. Kathy

      Yes it does. Once you print you deisign you can directly scan it into the machine & cut or you can scan into your computer & save as a jpeg or png, then download the deisign to a thumb drive using Brothers ScanNCut Canvas software, nsert the thumb drive into your machine and you can resize your designs & move them around on the cutting area to precisely cut where you want it.

  7. Rozy Smith

    Can you use Cricut cutting mats on the Brother Scanncut2?

    The Brother mats are so expensive!

    How long will a mat last!


    1. Personal Die Cutting (Post author)

      Hi Rozy, I don’t know if you can use the Cricut mats in the ScanNCut. Let me know if you find the answer!

      1. ES Kew

        No, i tried and it did not work. Scanncut mat is so fragile. I like cricut mat more. My scanncut mat was damaged on day 2… the blade cut through the mat dued to the wrong deepth adjustment. .

        1. Caroline

          tape the back of the mat where it is cut, should work just fine

        2. Kathy

          If you don’t set the correct depth this happens. Tape in on the back & it works fine. Once you figure out the depth needed for each material it usually cuts the same everytime. When in doubt abt the settings I use my damaged matt & a sample of the material I’m cutting. Then I cut on my good matt. I’ve used the same matt for over a year.

  8. Alan Davies

    I have 2 Silhouette Machines plus Eclips and have brought a Scan n cut CM300 the brother is the machine I use most of the time What would have make it even better is to have the scan n cut canvus as a stand alone Program I dislike Cloud Base systems I Design in Photoshop and convert in Inkscape

  9. Shar

    Which machine could I cut light to medium weight leather on?

  10. Kathleen

    I am wondering which would be better for my own drawings and images from photos, to cut for stickers. I make my own children’s art kits, and make coloring stickers, and cutout stencils for kids to color and paint. I’ve been cutting by hand using an exacto knife and that’s labor intensive. I don’t do a huge volume but looking to make life easier.

    I’d be cutting Avery labels that are full-sheet 8.5×11 and 65# to 100# cardstock but not much thicker than that.

    1. Personal Die Cutting (Post author)

      Hi Kathleen, I would go with the ScanNCut, as you scan in your handmade drawings. Hope this helps!

      1. Bea

        Hi! Does the Scan N Cut respond well when the outlines of the illustrations aren’t well defined?

        1. Sandy

          No. The image has to be well defined

  11. susan

    Hi Iam new at this.So bare with me. I hope iam explaining my self right. I have been printing out pic and placing heat stones by hand. what machine would be best for designing t shirts, Mostly stones. I also print out pic of people to put on shirts. can you send a pic to cameo to cut stone holes?

  12. Cath

    Hi I’m just looking into buying a cutting machine. Would the cameo cut through laminated paper ok?

  13. Lathera 242

    Hi I have a wedding business and I’m trying to choose between these 2 machines. I would want to be able to create pocket folds,Petals for fan programs, petal folds custom cuts and some embossing maybe (i don’t know if know what i’m talking about lol).. and of course i’d use it for other things but mostly for weddings.. Could you point me in the best direction.. I was thinking the scan and cut cm650w would be perfect.

  14. Shawn

    Hi,I need a cutting machine to cut cellphone skins from software. I’d like to know Which one can be more precise cutting design and save material

  15. Carol

    I am looking to get a cutting machine to cut appliqué fabric. The appliqués would be printed or scanned from mr Bernina v7 designer plus software

    1. Mary

      Check out Sarah Vedeler’s site. She uses a Silhouette to cut appliqué shapes and has a tutorial on the best way to do that. I have heard several people say the Silhouette is quite a bit easier to use, and it is priced far more reasonably. Sarah did learn to use the Brother Scan N Cut in order to be able to help her followers with that, as many people have them, and she actually did a tutorial on that too. So check out Sarah’s website!

  16. HILTON

    hello in one of your videos i noticed that you have a silhouette cameo. is the brother scan-n-cut better than the cameo, what are your thoughts i need something that cuts crafts foam. is this machine more for sewing and embroidery i want a machine that basically does it all. Thank you in advance.

  17. Moni

    Hello .. Glad to find your page ..I have been manually punching large numbers of 1-2inch of paper butterflies for a year (using small paper puncher).. .. If I scan that paper punched butterflies & ordered 100 of them , which machine do you think will do the job better.
    Appreciate your reply

  18. Deanie Carroll

    Can you purchase designs fro Silhouette and use them with the scan n cut?

  19. kerry

    I have the scan n cut which I love. I am looking at getting a Silhouette Curio for more detailed cuts, am I right in thinking the curio has a smaller detail cutting ability?

    1. Personal Die Cutting (Post author)

      Hi Kerry, the Cricut Explore has more precision than the Curio. If you wanted to get even more detailed cuts, I would look at some of the KNK Machines or Silver Bullet machines.

  20. Annie

    For users of both silhouette cameo and Brother, I’ve only used the cameo and find that that there is so much from for error when it comes to how tight the paper, vinyl holds in the machine…it moves and slips on occasion. Is the feed on the brother more foolproof? And what about the blade holder. I find the cameo blade holder and lock very flimsy. Is brother better in that regard? And I do mostly words on vinyl and htv. Would I just type this into the brother keyboard and print? Can I use the same 12 x12 vinyl and htv I used in cameo in brother?

    Thanks for any info above!

  21. Dolores Bennett

    One very important fact not mentioned here is customer service. Silhouette company is the poorest of any I’ve ever encountered. For several reasons, but mainly because of the indifference to my problems, I have returned the Cameo 3 and will stay clear of any Silhouette product ever again.

  22. Glenda

    I’m interested in getting one of these machine. I sew and I’m do crafts. Which one of the three would be best for me.? cameo, brother, or cricuit. Is there any other machine you may recommend?

  23. Karen

    I want to cut mylar or heavy paper stencils for wood pallet signs….which machine would you recommend.

    1. EJ

      I cut chipboard with my silhouette all the time and fabrics of different types for embroidery applique. Works great for me.

  24. Jen

    Which is better for cutting felt? I’m looking at making quiet books for my kids. I would also like to cut thin cardboard when making party decorations etc.
    Thanks in advance.

  25. Bun

    I’m looking for a machine that can work with photographs of family. Etc.. what would be the best machine?

  26. Jolanda

    When you use Sure Cuts a Lot 4 with your Scan n Cut, you have also advanced software to make your own designs and all the extra features like the scanning function of the scan ‘n cut.

  27. Jacqui Smith

    Please can someone tell me if I can use the Scan n Cut usb sticks by putting them into my computer and to then transfer the images to my Cameo machine, can not afford a scan n cut yet but would love to use their software. Please please advise on this anny thanks Jacqui

  28. Matthew

    I am looking for a machine to cut intricate appliques out of cotton quilting fabric….which machine would do the best job?

    P.S. Thank you for such a great article!

  29. Jim mellor

    The one thing I don’t like about Scan and Cut is the screen size, I have a cameo with a 20 inch screen not a 3″ one. Cameo. Allows me to import from a scanner, has 10000s of designs on line, plus free designs on the ner. Their help desk has never let me down.

  30. Sadie

    My first preference would be the Silhouette Cameo. I’ve had it for 7 years and I absolutely love it! The computer program is second to none with endless capabilities. I have had great customer service from them too. I recently bought a Scan n Cut and I like it simply for scanning and cutting in one simple operation. That’s what I will use it for. I find the Scan n Cut also has much more depth power like for cutting stencils etc. Scan n cut cuts clean and fast.

    1. Bea

      Hi Sadie, which machine would you recommend to make die cuts out of vintage images from old books? I’ve been told that the Scan N Cut is not too intuitive when it comes to cutting illustrations with blurred or not well defined outlines. I would appreciate your opinion.

  31. Melissa

    Can either machine cut thin wood for wood monograms like people use on their doors?

  32. Sepi

    thank you for this informative post!

  33. Chryssie Ricks

    I’m confused on which machine to get. I want simple but custom made things. I want to create t-shirts for family events and my son bday parties. I want to work with vinyl and other materials. What machine should I get?

  34. Robbie

    Has this article been updated with comparison of the most recent models of each brand or is it still comparing 3 year outdated models?

  35. Karen Ritter

    Would like to cut scanned or printed shapes from fusible-backed wool. Possible?

  36. Kyoko

    I would like to cut vinyl sheet for screen printing on fabric.
    Which machine is better? I draw images by hand.

  37. Kate Biller

    I also want to know the answer to Kyoto’s question as also mainly want this for cutting screen printing stencils..

  38. John

    I am start a business of skateboard deck.I need to buy a machine which can easily create a reused photo stencil.I want to create some art and word by speay paint,meanwhile I need a software which can turn photograph into a stencil and cut. Is cameo 3 better for me to buy?

  39. Vickey

    I have a Scan and Cut but find that the matt needs replacement every week. (The area where the wheels grip gets worn and the mat starts sliding while cutting) Is the Silhouette more durable?


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