The debate over which model of digital die cutters has been going on for years. I hadn’t realized Cricut was not limited to cartridges, and was able to cut anything I designed using third party software called Sure Cuts A Lot (SCAL). So of course I had concerns about my Silhouette (aka CraftRobo), which is not as wide and can’t cut as thick. My doubts were finally assuaged after seeing this wonderful post by Kwerner Design, showing the differences in cutting. So although Silhouette wins hands down on cutting finesse, I’d have to say Cricut’s mats trump Silhouette’s.
The Silhouette mat (8.9″ x 13.5″) is thin, so if I cut too deeply, I could go through it if I used the deep blade depth on thin paper = ruining my $25 blade. The adhesive is evenly coated, so my paper and card stock curls until enough lint has been worked into the surface. It helps if I put my paper face down on the table and peel the mat away.
Then I learned Cricut sold mats double in length (12″x24″) and cost half the price at Joann‘s – I just trim it down to fit. Not only is it thicker by far, you’ll notice a mottled texture in my close up shot – I think it helps with the release of my paper. I’ve seen videos showing blotting the mat with a clean white t-shirt until that perfect stickiness is achieved. I love having the best of both worlds.