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I saw the commercial for Glowforge and I fell in love. I saw it right after it came out. I remembered that commercial years later and I still wanted to buy one.
When I went to go look at the price of the Glowforge, my jaw dropped. I couldn’t afford that. So I went with the next best option, a Silhouette.
Silhouette Cameos and Glowforges are both great but there is a reason for the large price difference. Keep reading to see if you would do better with a Glowforge or Silhouette.
A Silhouette Cameo 4 comes in at $300. Not a bad price for what it does.
A Glowforge is much more expensive. You can get the basic model for $2,995 and the most expensive model costs $5,995.
That is a huge price difference.
What they can cut
Silhouettes are great at cutting paper and vinyl. (Glowforges are not able to cut vinyl so plan on getting a Silhouette if you want to cut vinyl.)
You can also use a pen with your Silhouette and draw things. I have used this to address envelopes with glitter gel pens for a wedding and I got many compliments.
You can also cut fabric, felt, and crepe paper with the rotary blade.
There is the option to cut leather and thin balsa wood with the kraft blade. I have never cut balsa wood or leather with my Silhouette because it looks easy to mess up and I would rather not waste material. Read about how to cut wood and thicker materials with a Silhouette.
Silhouettes are also not great at cutting designs into thicker materials especially if the design has lots of detail. You can only cut circles or other basic shapes.
A Glowforge is great at cutting wood, acrylic, leather, and many other materials and it can cut them with great precision and add lots of detail.
Check out this pen holder I made.
Glowforges are much better at cutting thicker paper than a Silhouette. I could never get my Silhouette to cut through 110lb cardstock. My Glowforge cuts it really well.
The best thing about cutting paper with a Glowforge is that you don’t have to take the paper off a sticky mat. This can sometimes curl your paper or rip a design.
Something to consider is if the paper is thin or white, a Glowforge will leave a blackish edge where it cuts.
Glowforges are able to engrave wood, glass, and almost anything you can think of.
Need a wood sign that says “Welcome”? A Glowforge can cut out the wood and engrave the words without any trouble.
It can also engrave pictures with great detail.
Check out this picture my Glowforge engraved on glass.
Silhouettes have an engraving tool you can buy but it is really only good at engraving dog tags. It is also expensive.
Glowforges are hands-down faster at cutting. I haven’t timed it but I think it can cut paper twice as fast.
Wood will be cut much faster (and better) with a Glowforge because you only need to make one pass. A Silhouette takes many passes to make a cut in wood.
Glowforges are huge. I didn’t relize how big it was until it arrived on my front step. To give you an idea of how big it is, fold a yoga mat in half and that is the base of your Glowforge. No kidding. it is that big.
Silhouette’s are much smaller. I can easily pick mine up and move it. I could fit four in the space that my Glowforge takes up.
What Glowforges can do that a Silhouette Can’t
- Glowforges can cut thick wood and acrylic.
- It can engrave wood and glass with great detail
What Silhouettes can do that Glowforges Can’t
- Draw with a pen
- Cut thin paper better
- Cut vinyl
Silhouettes and Glowforges are different enough that it would be beneficial to have both. They are both great machines and they each do something better than the other one.
If you need to choose one over the other, I would recommend getting a Glowforge. There is so much more than you can do with it.
Can’t afford a Glowforge or want to cut vinyl? Try a Silhouette instead.