Best Rotary Cutters For Quilting In 2018

As a new quilter, you will find a large assortment of tools that must be purchased to complete your first quilt project.

One of the tools most often used, besides the sewing machine, is the rotary cutter.

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Originally invented for the garment industry, this handy tool became a staple at every quilters cutting table during the 1980s.

Before the rotary cutter, quilters spent hours cutting out pieces by hand with sharp scissors. Each piece of fabric, as well as each completed block, required precision in trimming.

With the rotary cutter, that accuracy became instant and fast.

Quilters could move quickly through their projects, which added excitement. They could accomplish more in less time. No longer did it require weeks of tedious cutting to finish a quilt.

The quilting industry changed instantly overnight.

Here Are The 6 Best Rotary Cutters for Quilters:

1. Fiskars 45mm Contour Rotary Cutter (195210-1001)

This rotary cutter from Fiskars works smoothly, and it can precisely cut up to 6 layers of fabric at one time. It can accommodate left and right-handed users.

The ergonomic design prevents hand fatigue allowing accurate cutting for more extended periods. The thumb control to engage the blade, along with the button to retract it, will help prevent cuts from leaving the blade exposed.

The sharp steel blade will stay sharp through repeated use. Avoid cutting paper and pins as these items will dull and damage the blade.


2. Fiskars 60-Millimeter Titanium Softgrip Comfort Loop Handle Rotary Cutter

This rotary cutter is perfect for cutting through 6 or more layers of fabric.

Its ergonomic design not only prevents hand fatigue but provides better control. The design allows for excellent visibility by either right or left-handed users.

With the long-lasting titanium blade, it can be used for cutting batting or quilts layered with batting ready to be squared up. It is recommended for cutting thicker layers of fabric.


3. Olfa 45mm Deluxe Handle Rotary Cutter

This rotary cutter cuts up to six layers of fabric easily and works well for most quilting applications. The rubber grip contour handle includes a squeeze trigger blade control that allows it to self-retract.

When engaged, the red button keeps the blade open for longer periods of cutting. The blade can move to either side for right or left-hand use. The cutter can also use a pinking blade for woven fabric to help prevent fraying.


4. Olfa Deluxe Rotary Cutter (60mm)

For large cutting projects this cutter will cut up to 8 layers of fabric at one time. The ergonomic handle includes the squeeze trigger blade to allow the blade to self-retract.

This cutter is also a good choice for cutting thin foam for making tote bags or quilted purses. Avoid cutting foam that is thicker than the width of the blade.

The large blade will allow a quilter to cut through sandwiched layers of batting and fabric. It is especially useful for rag quilting projects or projects involving layers of wool.


5. Martelli Ergo 2000 45mm Rotary Cutter 

This rotary cutter puts your hand in perfect alignment for cutting. It helps prevent twisting of your wrist into an uncomfortable position.

The added pressure from correct hand alignment allows a quilter to cut up to 15 layers.

A helpful video by Martelli will aid in using the guard and changing the blade. The blade does not switch sides so a right-handed user will need to purchase a right-handed cutter. The cutter will use any 45mm blade available on the market.


6. OLFA 9551 RTY-1/G 28mm Straight Handle Rotary Cutter

This small rotary blade makes an excellent companion for small quilting projects. A quilter can quickly push the tab forward to use the blade and pull it back to retract.

It is remarkable for working on small pieces and applique projects as this blade moves around curves smoothly. The blade switches sides for either right or left-handed users. Keep out of reach of children as this cutter is simple to figure out.


Tips on Using A Rotary Cutter

~ Quilters, never cut paper or interfacings with your rotary cutter. It will dull the blade.

~ Be sure to keeps pins away from the cutting area. If you hit a pin, it will put a nick in the blade, and it will no longer cut all the way through the fabric.

~ Old blades are still very sharp. When disposing of a rotary blade use this method. Fold an index card in half and tape the short sides. Place the blade in the pocket created and then tape across the top. This will prevent the blade from slipping out and injuring someone if they are looking back through a trash can for a scrap of fabric.


Read Related: The Best Online Fabric Stores for Quilters


~ Do not scissor back and forth with your rotary blade. It will make a rough edge along the seam and loosen the threads. Instead, use the strength in your shoulder to push the blade forward, away from your body, in one smooth action. It takes practice, but eventually, you will make steady cuts.

~ Store the rotary blade out of reach of children. The blade is as sharp as a razor, and even a small nick can cause bleeding. Children are quite apt to figure out the mechanics of the cutter and can figure out how to open the blade quickly.

~ Never leave the blade open on your work surface. Get into the habit of closing the blade each time you place it down. A small brush of the hand against it will cause a cut. Have band-aids near your cutting area for emergency care in case of an accident.

A good, reliable rotary cutter is a necessary tool when quilting.

Our favorite two cutters are the Fiskars 45mm and the Martelli.

The Fiskars are great for cutting up to 6 layers, and the button on the side to retract the blade makes it easy to close the blade when laying it down.

The Martelli can cut through layer upon layer of flannel and is our go-to blade when making flannel quilt projects.

Its ergonomic design is best for quilters that suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome or similar conditions. The protective cover over the blade is spring loaded and snaps back into place effortlessly.

The price on both of these cutters is very reasonable and a great value.

Do you have a favorite rotary cutter? Please share in the comments below.

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