As you may know, Coastal is a company that offers a wide variety of brands. This allows you to make your purchasing decision based on our experience with the equipment and our expert advice…which sometimes will be given, even if you don’t want it.
My last blog was about heat press equipment, Swinger vs. Clamshell. It was aimed at helping you decide what questions to ask yourself when wanting to add a heat press to your business. For this blog, I thought I would stay along the same lines… but switch it up a little and go with… da da daaaa… vinyl cutters.
If you have a heat press, you will probably be looking or have already looked at vinyl cutters and trying to decide if it’s right for you. Then you have to consider which brand is best and which you should purchased; hopefully this blog will help answer some of those questions.
We offer both Roland and Graphtec vinyl cutters. Roland has a great reputation in the market but Graphtec has some offerings that Roland equipment doesn’t. Graphtec is highly under-rated in my opinion…
Let’s start with the Stika and Silhouette desktop models.
While both are personal and portable, the Roland Stika models lack in their ability to precisely cut printed materials, such as printed transfer papers. The Graphtec Silhouette is equipped with a Registration Mark Sensor (otherwise known as an optical eye) which allows for much more precise contour cutting.
The Stika models (8”, 12” and 15”) aren’t equipped with optical eyes, therefore, you must manually move blades to line up with your cutting lines. Manual moving of the blade can cause you to NOT get that precise cut you need. It can also take up a lot of time.
The Graphtec Silhouette cuts with 230 grams of down force, and can cut a max thickness of around 10 mil. Roland Stika models are only capable of 80 grams of force, which really narrows down what you can cut, since your max cutting thickness is only around 32mm.
The Graphtec Silhouette can hold material up to 9” wide and has a max cutting width is 7.87” wide. The Roland Stika models can hold up to 10” wide and has a cutting width of 7.8” wide.
Most vinyls come in the standard 15” wide roll, but Coastal now offers our customers a cut down service. We can cut down our rolls of vinyl so can get a 9” roll and a 6” roll out of any 15” roll purchased. Free of charge! Just Ask! We also carry a limited variety of colors in 9” x 15” sheets to more easily cut from.
Both machines are equipped with the Auto Registration Mark Sensors and are capable of doing rhinestone templates with the purchase of either the R-Wear package for the Roland machine, or the IDesignR package for the Graphtec. However, the Graphtec unit offers many more features.
Here’s a list of the key differences in these machines, as they are tremendous:
- Graphtec cuts with a down force of 300 while the Roland is lacking, only offering 250. Cutting speeds differ as well, Graphtec offers 24” per second and Roland will completely max out at 20”.
- Max cutting area is also better with the Graphtec machine, offering up to 23.7” wide while the Roland only offers 22.9”.
- Memory in the Graphtec is approximately 200MB Ram while the Roland only offers 800kb.
- Graphtec offers the new supported USB2 and the Roland’s are still using the older technology, USB1.
- The Graphtec 24” comes with the free stand, so no extra purchase is necessary. Roland offers a stand, but at an additional cost.
- Graphtec also offers a standard 2-year factory warranty, Roland only offers a 1 year warranty.
And get this… the Graphtec cutter sells for about $200 less than the Roland. Yes, you read that correctly, I said LESS!!! You can get a machine that can process data faster, cuts faster, cuts thicker materials, comes with a free stand and has the most accurate registration mark sensing unit out there for a less money.
So, after spending this time reading, I hope it helped sort out some lingering questions. When the time comes, I hope this information will help you make the right decision about which cutter is actually the best of the best. Regardless of which brand of cutter you decide to go with, remember that Coastal offers great discounts on starter packages for both the Roland and the Graphtec vinyl cutters!
Good luck in your search and happy cutting.