Whether you are an artist, student, professional photographer, DIY enthusiast, or craft teacher, a mat cutter is one of those tools that can make your life so much easier.
There is only so much you can accomplish with scissors or paper cutters!
A mat cutter serves as the perfect equipment for tricky situations. You probably remember facing difficulties with cutting tight corners on paper with a scissor or scratching the surface beneath the paper with a cutter.
Mat cutters allow you to complete all your crafting endeavors with accuracy and speed seamlessly. So how do you select the best mat cutter? We have shortlisted five of the best options available in the market.
Best Mat Cutters Reviewed
Here is the list of the 5 best mat cutters that you can use to easily and accurately cut mats for framing artwork and photographs.
1. Logan 450-1 Artist Elite Mat Cutter – Best for Large Projects
The first product to make the cut is Logan’s Elite 450-1 Artist Mat Cutter. As the name suggests, it is the ideal mat cutter for artists. This product is the largest on our list and features a cutting capacity of about 40 inches, making it the perfect choice for all significant projects.
The Artist Elite Cutter from Logan consists of a baseboard, a hinging guide rail, a parallel guide in aluminum channels, a 20-inch removable measuring bar, production stops, and a squaring bar. We especially liked the pull-style bevel cutting head that features a start-and-stop indicator, an anti-crawl button, and nylon guides that hook onto the guide rail.
You get a three-depth position straight cutter, which also has nylon guides that hook onto the guide rail. We recommend that you always use a slip sheet when bevel-cutting an opening on a mat board. Do not forget to set the parallel mat guide to the border size and then place the mat board with the color side down.
This mat cutter is placed at the number one spot in our recommendations as it is easy to operate, thanks to the clear instructions and parts list along with online resources on the Logan website.
What We Like
- Squaring bar to ensure the mat board is held square
- Parallel mat guide in aluminum channels makes marking borders a breeze
- Aluminum guide rail can be quickly straightened if it does not hold square
- Two production stops help significantly while bevel cutting openings in mat boards
- It includes five additional blades
What We Don’t Like
2. Logan Compact Classic Model 301-1 – Best for DIY Framing
Taking the second spot on our list is the Compact Classic Model 301-1 Mat Cutter by Logan. It is a large-capacity precision tool that conveniently creates professional beveled mats for all kinds of framing projects. It includes a mat guide, a cutting board, a bevel cutter, a straight-cut knife, and an instruction manual.
We liked the sturdy parallel mat guide that allows you to set border widths ranging from 1.9 cm (3/4”) to 11 cm (4-5/16”). You will appreciate the push-style bevel cutting head that has a start-and-stop indicator, the spring-loaded serrated guide rail, and the mat knife for straight cuts.
Overall, the 301-1 Cutter is ideal for low-volume cutting tasks, preferably for DIY framing projects. It is reasonably simple to install and use. You can say goodbye to crooked cuts from handheld cutters when you buy this efficient mat cutter from Logan.
We recommend that you use the Logan 270 blades with the 301-1 Compact Classic Mat Cutter. Calculating the size of bevel cuts can be somewhat tricky, and you will be grateful to Logan for explaining how to measure and calculate cuts through demonstration videos in a DVD that is included in the package.
What We Like
- 32-inch cutting capacity but being open-ended, the cutter allows you to cut larger mat boards by sliding them
- You get a built-in carry handle in the box
- The package includes five extra blades and thoroughly illustrated instruction videos
- Best product for hobby photographers or framers
- One of the reasonably priced mat cutters and provides optimal value for money
What We Don’t Like
3. Logan 4000 Deluxe Handheld Mat Cutter – Best for Amateurs & Portability
Logan’s 4000 Deluxe is the only handheld mat cutter that we have included in this list, as it is the company’s most advanced handheld mat cutter. It consists of a marker bar system that allows faster marking. We especially liked the pivot-and-pull blade coupled with the ergonomic handle, making this mat cutter convenient and time-saving.
You will appreciate the fact that the blade slot in this cutter is designed to prevent blade flex, giving you straighter and more precise cuts. The start and stop indicator is accurate and prevents over-cutting. If you have cut a mat board before, you know how annoying it can be if you overcut it.
It uses the Logan 270 blade. When we used the 4000 Deluxe mat cutter, its new ergonomic knob caught our attention as it helped in the comfortable operation of the cutter. You can upgrade it and use it on the Compact, Artist, Adapt-A-Rule straight edge, or Simplex board-mounted mat-cutting systems.
You can use this versatile handheld cutter with mat boards, craft paper, foam boards, and photographs. If you buy this mat cutter, you get a compact and convenient tool that can accomplish a range of cutting tasks with various materials. It is perfect for amateurs and first-timers.
What We Like
- One of the most reasonable branded mat cutters out there
- Instruction video excellently demonstrates how to set up and use this cutter
- Scribing device conveniently marks border widths
- Mat cutter measures just 3.5 x 8 x 8 inches, making it portable and lightweight
- Includes a marker bar that allows faster, more accurate marking
What We Don’t Like
The Logan Graphic Products 750-1 Simplex Elite Mat Cutter is a comprehensive cutting solution designed for professionals who need to manage high volumes of cutting tasks. This cutting system comprises a base board, a squaring arm, a start-position stop, a guide rail stop, and a mat guide. With a cutting capacity of up to 40 inches, the 750-1 is perfect for users seeking a mat cutter that delivers both precision and longevity.
The 750-1 Simplex Elite Mat Cutter boasts a 40″ cutting capacity, catering to larger projects. Equipped with bevel and straight cutting features, it offers versatility in cutting styles and can handle foam boards as well.
One significant advantage of the 750-1 is its 32-inch squaring arm, which streamlines the process of making right-angled cuts on large mats. Moreover, the alignment guides are sturdily attached, guaranteeing lasting accuracy and reliability for high-volume cutting tasks.
Notably, the 750-1 can work with materials beyond just mats, such as glass and plexi, broadening its range of applications.
The Logan Graphic Products 750-1 Simplex Elite Mat Cutter comes with a higher price point compared to similar models, which might deter some users. Nevertheless, those requiring a cutting system that can accommodate high volumes, possess a larger squaring arm or handle different materials may find the 750-1 to be a worthwhile investment.
What We Like
- Impressive 40″ cutting capacity
- Flexible bevel and straight cutting options
- Able to work with foam boards
- Convenient right-angled cuts with full 32-inch squaring arm
- Robust, securely attached alignment guides
- Cutting capabilities for a wide range of materials, including glass and plexi
What We Don’t Like
Specifically crafted for enthusiasts and professionals valuing the freedom of freehand cutting, the Dexter-Russell Mat Cutter distinguishes itself from competitors with its adjustable features and ergonomic design. It is an excellent choice for those seeking a top-notch mat cutter.
Cutting freehand shapes offers users enhanced creativity and customization possibilities, setting the Dexter-Russell Mat Cutter in a league of its own compared to standard options.
Moreover, the knob allows users to adjust the blade to better suit their requirements, resulting in both beveled and straight-edge cuts. Furthermore, the reasonable price ensures a wider audience can access this product without compromising on quality.
Despite its numerous advantages, the Dexter-Russell Mat Cutter comes up short in terms of the instructions provided. The limited information can be problematic for beginners who are new to mat-cutting techniques.
What We Like
- Ability to cut versatile freehand shapes
- Customizable depth and angle through adjustment feature
- Comfortable, user-friendly design
- Accessible and reasonable pricing
What We Don’t Like
Best Mat Cutter Comparison Table
|Product||Dimensions||Weight||Cutting Capacity||Extra Blades|
|Logan 450-1 Artist Elite||35.04″ x 8.07″ x 0.55″||7.9lbs||Up to 40″||Yes|
|Logan 301-1 Compact Classic||36.2″ x 8.5″ x 2.8″||N/A||Up to 32″||Yes|
|Logan 4000 Deluxe||3.5″ x 8″ x 8″||N/A||N/A||Yes|
|Logan 750-1 Simplex Elite||47.25″ x 12″ x 5″||20.4lbs||Up to 40″||Yes|
|Dexter-Russell Mat Cutter||9.25″ x 6.75″ x 2.3″||0.8lb||N/A||Yes|
Buying Guide For The Best Mat Cutter
Here is a list of some essential factors to consider when buying your next mat cutter:
Some mat cutters available in the market can be pretty expensive. It is a rookie mistake to end up buying an overpriced mat cutter that does not do the best job. It is crucial that you understand your needs and accordingly choose a product.
If you are a beginner or a DIY home crafter, buying a large and costly mat cutter is not ideal.
Like any other product, longevity is a vital prerequisite of a good mat cutter. It is frustrating if you buy a product and it malfunctions or breaks in a short period. You would want to get a mat cutter that can withstand heavy use.
Even if you are only starting with framing, go for a more durable option. The initial outlay may be a bit more than you would have liked, but it will pay off in the long run.
Ease of Use
We strongly recommend buying a mat cutter that is easy to install, set up, use, and troubleshoot. Not all of us are professional crafters or framers, and the more complicated a machine is, the less likely it is that you will enjoy using it.
You should pay attention to how ergonomically it is designed and if it comes with detailed, easy-to-follow instructions or not.
If you buy a top-notch mat cutter that can work with a wide array of materials, it will be considered beneficial in the long run. If you are an amateur, you may think that you will be using the cutter for only one type of material.
Mat cutting is not rocket science, and it does not take years to go from amateur to skilled. Before you realize it, you may want to start experimenting with different mat boards and papers once you get the hang of it.
What is the difference between handheld mat cutters and tabletop mat cutters?
Handheld mat cutters are held and guided by hand, while tabletop mat cutters require a flat surface to rest on.
Tabletop cutters often have extra features and can cut more precisely.
How do I choose the right mat cutter?
The right mat cutter for you depends on what you’re looking for in terms of style, features, and price.
Consider your needs and the type of work you will be doing to choose the best one for you.
Can mat cutters cut other materials besides mats?
Some mat cutters can cut other materials such as foam board, cardboard, and even fabric.
However, their accuracy and precision may vary depending on the thickness and texture of the material.
Do I need any special skills to use a mat cutter?
No, you do not require any special skills to use a mat cutter. However, you need to have a steady hand and some practice to make precise cuts.
How do I maintain my mat cutter?
To maintain your mat cutter, keep it clean and dry after each use, replace blades when they become dull, and lubricate regularly.
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results.
Choosing the right mat cutter can make a significant difference in the quality of your framing projects. While there are numerous options on the market, we have narrowed down the list based on ease of use, performance, and affordability.
From the above 5 best mat cutters, here are the top three expert recommendations:
The Logan 450-1 Artist Elite Mat Cutter is an ideal option for artists and those working on large projects. With its 40-inch cutting capacity and various features, such as the pull-style bevel cutting head, it is an excellent choice for professional use.
The Logan Compact Classic Model 301-1 is a good option for DIY framers and hobby photographers. Its 32-inch cutting capacity and push-style bevel cutting head make it suitable for those looking for a budget-friendly, versatile cutting tool.
Finally, the Logan 4000 Deluxe Handheld Mat Cutter is the right choice for amateurs and first-timers who want a compact and convenient tool. This handheld cutter is perfect for various cutting tasks and materials, including mat boards, craft paper, foam boards, and photographs.
Till next time, happy cutting!