The Essential Guide to Buying the Best Rotary Cutter for You

A rotary cutter is a patchwork and quilters' number one tool. It is the most efficient way to cut out accurate shapes with clean, straight lines and well defined corners.

When we asked our ladies and gents at Cotton Patch what their favourite tool was, the humble rotary cutter won the vote hands down.

Being a tool that is so regularly used, it is important that you chose the right cutter for you, and with so many options on the market now you are spoilt for choice!

Reputable brands such as Olfa (the original inventors of the rotary cutter), Clover, Fiskars, True Cut and Omnigrid all make high quality cutters.

But before we delve into the models we have on offer, here’s a couple of things you may want to take into consideration before you choose;

Blade Size

The standard sizing for blades is 18mm, 28mm, 45mm and 60mm.
The small 18mm and 28mm blades are great for intricate shapes and curves, particularly useful if you're dressmaking. The larger ones are more popular for general use.
At home I tend to reach for my 45mm blade, however when doing a lot of straight line cutting at the shop or several layers of fabric at a time, the 60mm is my favourite.

I would suggest that unless you are doing significantly more intricate cutting or high volume cutting, the 45mm blade is a great all rounder for your first blade. You can see our rotary cutter spare blades here.

Safety Covers & Latches

I will put it straight out there - if the cutter doesn’t have a safety latch, don’t buy it. It’s not worth risking your fingers (and toes) for.

It’s important that the latch is accessible and easy to use, and if you have difficulties with your joints (arthritis for example), you may want to look for a sliding latch rather than a button, as they require less pressure.

Most cutters have a button or switch which sits right under your thumb, so you can lock and unlock the blade with ease.

Handle Type

Handles can be straight, curved, ergonomic, padded and everything in between. Comfort is important, and if you have troubles with your hands or wrists, there are a wide variety of ergonomic handles available that reduce pressure.

With these considerations in mind, let us take a look at the best rotary cutters on offer;

This is the granddaddy of all rotary cutters, the one that started it all. So it seems right to begin here.

What We Say

Olfa 45mm Rotary Cutter has changed the quilting and sewing industry. The most popular size available, this cutter features a durable handle with a blade cover for safety. The cutter is a rolling razor blade used to cut materials into shapes, strips and pieces for sewing, quilting and craft projects. The blade is made of high quality tungsten carbide tool steel for unparalleled sharpness and superior edge retention. Designed for both right- and left-handed use. Also available as 28mm cutter and 60mm cutter

What You Say

This is the model we use at the shop for cutting all your beautiful fabric orders off the bolt. It is also the one I reach for at home as well.
What We Say

A rolling razor blade that's perfect for all of your sewing and quilting needs. Sharp enough to cut through more than 6 layers of fabric, making quick work of your strip, block, and pattern cutting. Comfortable ergonomic handle reduces hand and wrist fatigue, and dual-action safety lock allows the blade to lock open for comfort and closed for safety. Blade is made of high quality tungsten carbide tool steel for unparalleled sharpness and superior edge retention. For right- and left-handed use. Also available as 60mm cutter

What You Say

This is the smallest blade on offer, and perfect for those really intricate projects or if you are using fine materials for dressmaking. If you already own a rotary cutter, this can be a very useful addition to the family. It is not suitable as a replacement for a larger cutter however if you intend but be regularly cutting out patchwork shapes.

What We Say

18mm standard rotary cutter from Olfa for intricate designs such as miniatures. 18mm stainless steel blade.

What You Say

This model has a straight, rubber grip handle and pressure sensitive cover which moves away when you press down to cut, eliminating the need to lock and unlock your safety latch.

What We Say

45mm cutter with lockable, pressure sensitive, safety guard that slides back when pressure is applied and slides back again when the cutter is lifted from the surface.

What You Say

What We Say

The Fiskars Trigger Rotary Cutter has a 45mm cutting blade with a high quality steel blade. It cuts smoothly, precisely and easily through multi-layers. You get ultra-close to the ruler avoiding fabrics from slipping and the long ergonomic handle fits all hand sizes for a comfortable grip.

Simple and safe to use with a blade retracts when you let go the trigger. There is a safety locking system with an orange button to lock and unlock the trigger.

The blade can be easily positioned either side, for right or left-handed.

What You Say

This one has all the bells and whistles. The pivoting handle allows you to choose between standard, power and comfort position depending on what you’re using the cutter for. Because of the slightly angled position if the blade, less pressure is required to cut through the fabric making it a great option for those who struggle with their hands and wrists.
See how it works here;

What We Say

The Fiskars Pivoting Rotary Cutter offers a unique pivoting soft handle that rotates to 4 different fixed positions to increase comfort when cutting for long periods of time.

The classic position offers familiar feel, the power position enables you to cut thick material more easily and the ergonomic position (45° to the left or to the right) relieves wrist pressure.

The enhanced blade position requires less force during cutting and makes it easier to cut through layer of materials.

What You Say

Similar to the Fiskars, this models blade is slightly angled, meaning less pressure is required to cut. You can also combine it with a TrueCut ruler which guides the blade so you don’t have to worry about rolling off track. This would be perfect for someone who struggles to hold the ruler still whilst cutting. To top it all off, you can customise the handle! What more could you possible ask for from a rotary cutter..
For a detailed look into how this cutting system works, watch the video below

What We Say

The TrueCut My Comfort Cutter ergonomic rotary cutter has a unique handle design that aligns your wrist naturally, placing all cutting power directly over the blade and eliminating stress in the wrist and arm. The My Comfort Cutter uses the TrueCut track and guide system, which works with all TrueCut rulers to keep all of your cuts straight every time. This guide is also removable so the cutter can be used normally with any ruler without the benefit of the track and guide system. With the My Comfort Cutter, you can customize your rotary cutter's handle with your own designs, photos or fabric! Colour of Truecut cutter my vary, grey or blue. Also available as a 28mm cutter and a 60mm cutter.

What You Say

The best rotary cutter for you depends on your personal needs and usage. If you’re still unsure, check out this handy table;

For loads more information on all the cutters we have available, plus mats, rulers and other accessories, have a read of our e-book, it's bursting with useful information and videos.

If you have any more questions, gives us a call or drop us an email. One of our super knowledgeable members off staff will happily help you out.


Melanie Barsk√© said…
If you use both left and right hand all the time like me, the most simple Olfa (any size) is the easiest. You don't have to switch the bladeside by removing etc. it. You just hold it in your hand either left or right, the way you are supposed to do. No unscrewing, just changing hands and holding it the right way for the hand using it.

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