Silhouette has finally released the details for its newest machine, the Silhouette Cameo 4.
We’ve been waiting for this moment for quite a while, the Silhouette Cameo 4 is taking preorders and about to ship. They’ve issued a few review copies, so I can finally go into details with my Silhouette Cameo 4 review.
Silhouette has been working for years to improve on their incredibly successful Silhouette Cameo 3 machine, but where did they make those changes? Did they listen to our requests and increase the cutting power? Does it come at a cost?
I’ll dive into the details.
We’ll also compare the Silhouette Cameo 3 vs the Cameo 4 to look at where Silhouette made the largest improvements.
So whether you’re looking for just a quick listing of specifications, changes, or an in-depth review, I’ll cover it all and highlight its 5 best new features as well as the few major issues the Cameo 4 has.
2020 Silhouette Cameo 4 Review
The Silhouette Cameo 4 is the hottest crafting machine on the market right now. Details have been slowly trickling out, and I’m here to make sense of it all, first-hand.
First I can say: this machine does live up to all expectations, and in a few places it blows them out of the water.
If you’re familiar with the Cricut Maker, you know that Silhouette has been planning their response so they can compete with Cricut’s latest machine.
The Silhouette Cameo 4 doesn’t disappoint, as it adds 3x the cutting speed of the Cameo 3, 20x more force, a redesigned dual carriage, and a collection of new tools designed just for the Cameo 4.
The Cameo 4 is a unique machine in the market right now and within Silhouette’s lineup, and I’ve saved the best for last: the Silhouette Cameo 4 comes in 3 different sizes:
- 12″ Silhouette CAMEO 4
- 15″ Silhouette CAMEO Plus
- 20″ Silhouette Cameo Pro
Here’s a quick comparison table of the three new Silhouette machines
|Name||Silhouette Cameo 4||Cameo Plus||Cameo Pro|
|Max cut||12" by 120"||15" by 120"||20" by 120"|
|Warranty||1-year limited warranty||1-year limited warranty||1-year limited warranty|
|Available||Shipping now!||Check now||Check now|
If you’re looking to preorder and find the best Silhouette Cameo 4 bundles and deals, just click that link to head right down to that section!
New features to look for in the Silhouette Cameo 4
Since this is a brand new machine, I’ll start by going over the Cameo 4’s best new features.
(You can skip ahead if you want to get right to comparing the Silhouette Cameo 3 and 4)
5 Key Features
- 3x the cutting speed of the Silhouette Cameo 3
- Comes in a 20″ Silhouette Cameo 4 Pro size & 15″ Silhouette Cameo Plus
- 20x more downward force, 1000gf more (25%) than the Cricut Maker
- Re-designed, gear-driven dual carriage
- New tools, designed just for the Silhouette Cameo 4 (Silhouette Rotary Blade & Silhouette Kraft Blade)
Silhouette has listened to its customers over the past 2+ years as they’ve seen many crafters migrate toward Cricut because of their software and 2017’s Cricut Maker release. The machine had more power, new specialized tools, and was designed from the bottom up.
I’m happy to say that Silhouette not only met expectations for this new machine but surpassed them in almost every way.
Let’s take a look:
3x cutting speed. Okay, you’re probably wondering, does that mean the Cameo 4 is really 3x as fast as the Cameo 3? We’ve asked Silhouette they’ve confirmed this measurement is for cutting straight lines. But what about when you change direction or cut a curve? The Cameo 4 can make those cuts twice as fast.
12″, 15″, or 20″ sizes. The two larger models (The CAMEO Plus & CAMEO Pro) will both have the same features and interface as the base model, but with a larger footprint and the ability to use wider material. For many of who work with vinyl, we wish there was a 24″ size, but the two larger models are a game-changer still for those who use their machines frequently.
20x more force. One of the major issues the Cameo 3 had was its cutting power, that’s why we’ve often recommended the Cricut Maker or Explore Air 2 as alternatives. This was a feature many of us have asked for and they’ve blown me away. This machine will be 25% more powerful than the Cricut Maker, and allow crafters to make deeper cuts on new materials (like wood, metals, and leather).
Re-designed, gear-driven dual carriage. Silhouette completely redesigned the tool-holding carriage on the Cameo 4, moving to a design closely related to the Cricut Maker (at a significantly reduced cost). Why the gear interface? It allows for new tools to be used (like the rotary blade for cutting fabrics) and a deep cut crafting blade (we’ll get into those in a moment!). It’s also responsible for helping the machine generate large improvements in force while keeping cuts accurate and reliable.
New tools, designed just for the Silhouette Cameo 4. We have the first two tools already announced, with more promised down the pipeline. This new dual carriage is larger than previous models, so it’s a completely new generation of tools that will be designed to work exclusively for the Cameo 4 line. We have the Silhouette Rotary Blade (for cutting fabrics/felts) & the Silhouette Kraft Blade (for cutting delicate materials like felt with high precision).
Fortunately, Silhouette has released a set of adapters so that if you have tools you’re using in the Silhouette Cameo 3 you can adapt them to the Cameo 4 and still use them.
Other new features
- Machine redesigned with a touch interface
- Built-in crosscutter, vinyl roll feeder, and vinyl trimmers (all integrated into the machine itself)
- New single-tap AutoBlade
- Retracting cover
- Automatic tool detection, so your software immediately knows which tools are loaded into the Cameo 4
- 3mm material clearance (instead of 2mm in the Cameo 3)
- Matless cutting for paper (like cardstock)!
- Faster, more accurate, stronger cuts (everything we’ve asked for)
- New built-in crosscutter & vinyl roll feeder
- Easy to use touch interface
- Cheaper than the Cricut Maker (for arguably more machine)
- Most powerful Silhouette machine reviewed
- Not compatible with older tools (but for a good reason)
- Silhouette Studio Basic still doesn’t allow for SVG imports
- Increased MSRP over the Silhouette Cameo 3
Silhouette Cameo 4 Specifications
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of what exactly the Silhouette Cameo 4 comes with, then we’ll go into a comparison between the Cameo 4 and 3.
- Silhouette CAMEO 4 machine (12″, 15″, or 20″)
- 12″ cutting mat (1). You’ll use this for loading your material into the Silhouette machine. It’s slightly adhesive on one side to secure your material during the cut. Plan on replacing it every 6 months or so, depending on how much use it gets.
- AutoBlade (1). This is Silhouette’s signature cutting blade, resigned. It detects the cut settings you’ve programmed into Silhouette Studio and will adjust its depth automatically.
- Silhouette Studio 4 software (download)
- 1-month of a basic subscription to Silhouette’s Design Store
- USB and Power cables.
- 1-year limited manufacturer’s warranty. This applies only to the hardware and cables, not for consumables like the blades and cutting mats.
- 100 exclusive designs for the Cameo 4 (downloadable)
Silhouette Cameo 4 Technical specifications:
- Cutting force: 210gf up to 5000gf
- Max cutting size: 12″ x 120″ (15″ x 120″ for the Plus, 20″ x 120″ for the Pro models)
- Max media thickness: 3 mm
- Weight: 13.7 lbs
- Dimensions: 24.8″ x 10.3″ x 8.8″ (length, width, height)
Cutting quality of the Silhouette Cameo 4
The one issue we’ve always had with Silhouette in our reviews is with cutting quality, power, and speed and they’ve addressed all three. This machine will cut materials twice as fast as the Cameo 3 on average (up to 3x faster on straight cuts).
The Cameo 4 can also cut a wider range of materials because its cutting power is over 20x stronger than the Cameo 3, and 25% stronger than the Cricut Maker.
What more can I say? They met the expectations completely here and surpassed them pretty considerably with cutting power. I honestly didn’t expect Silhouette to release a machine more powerful than the Cricut Maker at a reduced cost.
Materials that can be cut
Let’s talk about exactly what the new gear-based carriage is going to offer, and how the new tools will change what we can craft with and how.
New tools like the Kraft Blade and Rotary Blade allow for making delicate cuts (along with a new 3mm of material clearance), or for using fabrics for the first time. If you haven’t used a rotary blade before, you’re in for a game-changer.
But what does 20x more powerful really mean?
Well, you can cut wood now without dulling your blade. Some projects that I wouldn’t have considered using my Silhouette with before include:
- Raised lettering for a scrapbook (chipboard works!)
- A wooden duck made out of balsa wood (for our youngest’s bedroom)
- Custom puzzles!
- Leather wallets (a little bit of sewing required)
- Fridge or car magnets (yup, it cuts through magnetic material)
- Toy airplanes and rocket ships
These are just a few projects that came to mind when I saw how powerful this machine was.
Silhouette Cameo 4’s Design
Silhouette decided to take the incremental approach to a re-design, so this machine won’t look too different, but it packs a lot of new features. The design integrates a completely new touch interface which disappears completely when the machine is turned off.
Silhouette has also integrated a built-in roll feeder for loading rolls of vinyl. The lid has been re-designed as well, it now slides back into the machine so the Cameo 4 can fit into smaller crafty spaces.
There are some drawbacks to these changes though. Overall, to make room for the built-in roll feeder & retractable lid the drawer for tool storage was removed.
There is a small storage area, but it’s around 1/3 the size. The USB input has also been removed, so if you used a thumb drive to load your designs into your Cameo previously, you might miss that feature.
Overall, I prefer the new design of the Cameo 4, even if it only comes in three colors now (hopefully more to be added later). For me, I can overlook some of the negative aspects of these design changes because of the increased cutting power and speed.
Silhouette Studio Software
For those of you who have read my Silhouette reviews in the past, some of this won’t surprise you. Silhouette Studio is my favorite cutting machine software available right now. The Silhouette Cameo 4 will ship with version 4.2 (4.3 is soon to be released this year), and it’s free to download, so you can always try it out before making a large commitment.
The design interface is fully customizable, which means as you start learning which tools and functions are the most useful for your style of crafting, the software will improve alongside you. It’s fast to learn (compared to other software I’ve used), but doesn’t hold you back like some software that’s designed for only novices.
You can use Silhouette’s Print & Cut features to make temporary tattoos, stickers, and all sorts of 3-dimensional papercrafts. Silhouette Studio will automatically print out the registration marks so that the cuts are aligned perfectly with your printed material.
A few of the new features that Silhouette Studio 4.3 will add:
- New custom color palettes (you can design and save your own palettes to use over and over, for different styles of project or product brands). A lot of us have made our own small ‘hacks’ to make this work in the past using the eyedropper tool, now it’s integrated right into the software. It’s about time!
- New line styles.
- Most recently used colors will show for easy reuse.
- Re-designed project setup. You’ll choose your machine so that your project will be setup to work with that size mat and width. That way you don’t make a great design that you realise later can’t ever be cut.
Here’s the bad news: Silhouette Studio still doesn’t allow you to import or export SVGs with the Basic Edition of their software. If you want to import SVGs (everyone should!), you’ll upgrade to Designer Edition for $50.
If you want to export, it’s even worse, a $100 upgrade to Business Edition. So when you’re pricing out your machine, make sure to add these costs if you know this is a functionality you’ll need.
All-in-all, Silhouette Studio is still my favorite software to use, so I’m willing to pay the extra amount for the full functionality. Just make sure to account for this when you’re comparing the Silhouette Cameo 4 to other machines.
The Silhouette Cameo 4 continues the tradition of having wireless, which for many is a must-have feature for keeping their crafting room clutter-free (or, more likely, clutter-reduced).
For those who haven’t used it before, Bluetooth lets you connect wirelessly to a computer, tablet, or phone. The range is usually around 150 feet, so that gives you a lot of flexibility on how you design your crafting area.
The Silhouette Cameo 4 is a huge improvement not only from the Cameo 3, but in the entire market. Even when you account for upgrading the software, its price is still competitive with the Cricut Maker and comes with the best software in the business.
They’ve improved on every category we could ask for:
- Cutting power: improved 20x.
- Cutting speed: improved 2x.
- Cutting quality: improved (fabric + harder/thicker materials)
- Cutting width: improved (15″ + 20″ Plus/Pro models)
They’ve also kept the features we loved, like the ability to cut long materials while keeping the price competitive. I’ve already purchased mine (none of my reviews are ‘sponsored’ or paid for by the manufacturer, I only buy and keep the products I like!), and I’d encourage you to do the same as Silhouette has announced their pre-orders are almost filled up.
Best Silhouette Cameo 4 bundles and deals
Silhouette Cameo 4 release date & pre-orders
The Silhouette Cameo 4’s official release date is September 27th, 2019. Pre-orders started on September 10th, 2019.
Silhouette has announced that they have a limited number available for this first batch that’s being shipped out and they’re encouraging people to order now if they want to guarantee a machine this year.
I’ve compiled the best bundles (and machine-only) deals that are available right now, and if you click below you’ll have a free shipping discount automatically applied to your orders.
I prioritized the deals that are shipping fastest because many of you have contacted me wondering how to get this machine ASAP!
Silhouette Cameo 3 vs Silhouette Cameo 4
We’ve talked a bit about what’s new, but let’s now directly compare those new features to the Cameo 3.
If you’re considering a change, you should decide if you can get some additional mileage out of your Cameo 3 or if it’s time to upgrade to the Cameo 4
The main differences between the Silhouette Cameo 3 and Cameo 4 are:
- Two new blades & more cutting tools on the way.
- Tool autodetection.
- Roller quality.
- Crosscutter & roll-feeder built-in to the machine.
- Cutting force.
- Cutting speed.
This is probably the most dramatic change, and one of the reasons we had difficulty recommending the Cameo 3 in the past even though we loved so many of its features: it just didn’t cut as many materials as the Cricut alternatives.
We’ve gone from 210gf to 5000gf.
For comparison, the Cricut Maker which is considered to be an incredibly powerful machine only boasts 4000gf.
What this means (along with the new Kraft Blade, which we’ll get to shortly) is that the Silhouette Cameo 4 can cut loads of materials that you wouldn’t even consider loading into it before. The material clearance is also up from 2mm to 3mm, meaning thicker materials can be loaded in.
One small downside of the material clearance is that the Deep Cut Blade is only long enough to cut materials 2mm thick. This means that while some materials will be easier to load in, don’t expect to cut through all 3mm right away.
Silhouette assures us that they’re developing a new tool that will take advantage of this increased clearance in the future.
Support new tools for cutting fabric and making deep cuts
The tool carriage is completely redesigned on the Cameo 4. It’s larger and uses a new gear-based system which generates more powerful cutting force, accuracy, and speed. I’ve spoken with Silhouette about the design of their new machine, and they described it as a ‘two-chamber’ approach.
The first chamber is responsible for the light, accurate cutting force, just like the Silhouette Cameo 3. This is for delicate cuts, like kiss-cuts where you might want to cut a vinyl sticker but not through its backing material. The force of this chamber is the same as the Silhouette Cameo 3, at 210gf.
The second chamber is where the magic happens. This is where you can find increased cutting force for their new tools to let you cut thicker, dense materials or fabric without the need for a stabilizer or specialized backers. This chamber ups the cutting force to 5000gf when needed, but they recommend for most cuts to keep it to around 2500gf or less.
So on to two new tools, designed for the Silhouette Cameo 4: the Kraft Blade and Rotary Blade.
Kraft Blade. Announced last year, this blade is designed for making delicate cuts on materials like felt. If you’re looking to cut through crepe paper or fabric without needing a stabilizer, this is going to be a huge help for your crafting.
Rotary Blade. Speaking of cutting fabric, you have two options. If you’ve used a Cricut Maker before, you know how helpful this can be on fabric projects. If you do a lot of sewing or work with fabric frequently, this is a must-have.
The base models support the same width material, but Silhouette provides two new options in their 15″ Plus and 20″ Pro models. These models won’t be released until Q1 of 2020, so they’re still works in progress, but if you’ve been looking to work with wider material, this definitely counts as an essential feature.
On the other hand, if you’re like me, you like to buy rolls of vinyl in 24″ widths. I’m not sure why Silhouette capped the width just 4″ short of that magical number, but with a machine this strong and at this price point, the technology might not be quite there yet.
Silhouette Cameo 4 FAQ
Q: Where can I preorder the Silhouette Cameo 4?
A: They’ve just started shipping as of today (September 21st), but Silhouette has said they only have limited numbers available for September/October so I recommend people order soon if they absolutely need to have one.
If you want to wait, that’s often a good idea with a newly released machine but as we’ve seen in the past, they can be sold out for many months if it’s a successful release.
Q: Do I need a Silhouette Cameo 4? Should I upgrade?
A: It depends entirely on which machine you currently have and what kind of crafting you do the most.
If you have an older machine without Bluetooth, I’d definitely upgrade.
If you have a Silhouette Cameo 3 or a Cricut Explore Air 2 and cut a lot of fabric, delicate material, or thicker materials like leather or magnetic backing, I’d consider upgrading as well.
If you have a Cricut Maker, it’s a lot less important to upgrade unless you already know that you prefer Silhouette’s software.
Q: When are the new tools for the Cameo 4 being released?
A: The Silhouette Rotary Blade & Kraft Blade are both available now, but are sold out almost universally. If you check back, I’ll update this section as they are available!
Q: When can I buy the Cameo Plus or Cameo Pro?
A: Silhouette hasn’t released full details on their availability yet, but we’ve been told “Q1 of 2020” – so they’re at least a few months out. If this changes, we’ll be the first to know here and will post an update as soon as we get better information from Silhouette.