One of the most efficient tools in a quilter’s sewing box is the rotary cutter. Why bother with scissors? Within seconds, rotary cutters can slide down the edge of a ruler, slicing yards of fabric into perfectly measured strips.
These affordable tools are available in a wide range of sizes and styles. With plenty of different rotary cutters on the market, you might wonder: “Which is the best rotary cutter for quilting?”
Whether you’re looking for the best overall, the best budget pick, or a customized fit, we’ve got you covered. Read on for five of the best rotary cutters for quilting.
Our Top Picks
Olfa Ergonomic Rotary Cutter
Olfa Splash Rotary Cutter
Best for Lefties
My Comfort Cutter
If you only purchase one rotary cutter, make it the best overall rotary cutter for quilting! The Olfa Rotary Cutter model is ideal for most projects. It offers great value at an affordable price.
Our favorite feature of the Olfa model is the ergonomic handle and built-in safety feature. The safety guard releases from the blade when you squeeze the handle. Unlike traditional rotary cutters with a slide-and-lock safety guard, leaving the blade exposed is virtually impossible!
We also love the extra-sharp stainless steel blade. The Olfa-designed blade included with the cutter will stay sharp for twice as long as an average rotary cutter blade.
We think the Olfa is the best rotary cutter for quilting overall due to its versatility. While it’s not specifically designed for miniature cutting projects or slicing multiple layers of fabric, this cutter can do both. Left-handed quilters can install the blade on the opposite side of the handle for a customized, comfortable bit.
- Easy to switch blade to the other side for lefties
- Tough blade
- Squeeze trigger reduces hand fatigue
- Great value at a lower cost than other rotary cutters
- 45 mm size is ideal for most quilting projects
A good quality rotary cutter is important for any quilter, but you don’t have to break the bank to get one. The Olfa Splash is the best rotary cutter for quilters on a budget.
Ringing in at almost half the price of our other top picks, the Olfa Splash still has plenty of nice features. The simple, symmetrical handle makes it easy for left-handed users to reassemble the blade on the opposite side.
To protect yourself from accidental nicks, slide the blade cover up with the convenient switch. This budget find is great for tossing in your bag on your way to sewing class or a quilting bee.
- Much less expensive than our other top picks
- Excellent quality steel blade makes precise cuts
- Easy to change blades
- Handle is less comfortable than other recommended cutters
- Some quilters report difficulty cutting through more than one layer of fabric
Best for Lefties
Rotary cutters are often designed so that the blade is screwed onto the right side of the handle. That’s convenient for right-handed quilters to fit the edge of the blade directly against their rulers. However, that’s less than ideal for lefties.
Many models allow left-handed quilters to remove the blade and reinstall it on the other side of the handle. The best of these left-handed adaptations is the My Comfort 45mm cutter.
Left-handed quilters will love the comfort and precision of this rotary cutter. Many ergonomic rotary cutter handles are tailored to fit a right-handed grip, even if the blade itself can be switched.
Because of the angle of this unique handle, the grip is comfortable for both right-handed and left-handed users. Lefties will finally have relief from wrist and hand strain!
The My Comfort rotary cutter is also part of True Cut’s Track and Glide system. It’s impossible to get off track when used with True Cut quilting rulers! That’s because the My Comfort rotary cutter has a built-in cutter guide. The guide fits neatly into the track along the edge of all True Cut rulers.
After a lifetime of trying to adapt to right-handed tools, there’s finally a comfortable, accurate rotary cutter for lefties! It’s no wonder the My Comfort cutter is the best rotary cutter for left-handed quilters.
- Customizable for left-handed quilters
- Comfortable, ergonomic handle
- Easily cuts through multiple layers of fabric
- Some quilters report difficulty replacing blades
- More expensive than most rotary cutters
- Must be purchased with True Cut rulers to use the cutter guide
Best for Small Details
While most rotary cutters for quilting carry a standard 45-millimeter blade, some quilters may prefer a smaller size. Several rotary cutter companies offer a 28-millimeter blade, which is ideal for small, precise cuts. The best small rotary cutter for quilters is the Olfa 28mm.
We love the value of this mini rotary cutter for quilting. The Olfa 28mm comes with five replacement blades. That’s a great time- and money-saver. Finding replacement blades for the less-common 28 mm size can be difficult.
Unfortunately, because this rotary cutter is designed for small-scale cuts, it’s not as versatile as others on the list. We’d recommend purchasing a standard 45mm or 60mm cutter as well for cutting sashing, backing, and background fabric.
Still, you can’t beat the convenience of this rotary cutter for small quilting projects.
- Small size is ideal for cutting miniature quilts and applique pieces
- Symmetrical handle design can be used by right and left-handed quilters
- Comes with five replacement blades
- Small size is not as versatile for other uses
- Handle is not as comfortable as our other picks
Best for Large Projects
If you’re tackling a large quilting project, you need a durable rotary cutter. The Fiskars Titanium Softgrip comfort loop is designed to last longer than rotary cutters with standard stainless-steel blades. With this heavy-duty rotary cutter for quilting, you’ll be able to handle yards of fabric with ease.
You’ll also be able to use the Fiskars Comfort Loop for longer cutting sessions. The handle is designed to reduce hand fatigue. That’s a major bonus if you’re preparing a king-size quilt or several quilt tops simultaneously! The Comfort Loop design needs only light pressure, so you won’t have to push hard to cut through several layers of fabric.
The Fiskars Titanium Softgrip Comfort Loop is the best rotary cutter for quilting large projects; it’s also versatile enough to use on all projects. The same is true for other heavy-duty tools, like sewing machines. These are great investments for serious quilters.
- Titanium blade lasts three times as long as typical stainless steel blades
- Softgrip handle is comfortable for long cutting sessions
- Loop design and covered top blade protects hands from accidental cuts
- Some report that the blade loosens easily
- Requires a light touch, not designed for heavy pressure
Rotary Cutter for Quilting Buyer’s Guide
Repetitive motions like cutting and sewing can cause major strain on your wrists and hands. The best rotary cutter for quilters with shoulder, wrist, or hand pain would have an ergonomic handle.
Some ergonomic rotary cutters are even designed to work with low or gentle pressure. The Fiskars Titanium Softgrip comfort loop is a great example!
It’s also important to have a comfortable position when cutting. Most quilters stand while cutting in order to get the most leverage over their work. Set up your rotary cutting tools just as you would an ironing board and iron.
It’s easy to make painful mistakes when working too quickly or from an odd angle. Take the time to adjust your work so that you can cut easily.
One of the best features of a rotary cutter for quilters is the ease of making clean, precise cuts. However, it’s also easy to get off track if your blade strays from the edge of your ruler. True Cut’s Track and Glide system is ideal for keeping your cuts precise.
Whichever rotary cutter you choose, you will need a sharp blade to make precise cuts. Dull blades are known to “skip threads,” or leave some threads uncut.
Going over the same mark two or three times will give you a fuzzy, imperfect line. Make sure you are using a sharp blade to get precise cuts every time.
Keeping quilters safe from accidental cuts is a top priority for rotary cutter manufacturers. All rotary cutters come equipped with a safety guard that covers the blade when not in use. However, accidents do happen. It’s important to take precautions when using rotary cutters for quilting.
When not in use, keep your rotary cutter in a safe place. Hang sharp tools from a pegboard or keep them secure in a sewing box. If you have pets or young children at home, keeping rotary cutters out of reach is especially important.
For infrequent quilters, any rotary cutter should last for years. While the blade itself should be changed regularly, the cutter should stay in good condition through many quilting projects.
Investing in titanium blades can give you even more longevity from your rotary cutter blades. These stay sharp about three times as long as stainless steel!
Serious and professional quilters might invest in several rotary cutters for different uses. A quilter might have a heavy-duty rotary cutter, a small cutter for precise cuts, and a carry-on for sewing bees.
Since rotary cutters are fairly inexpensive, it makes sense to choose several cutters. However, most quilters can get by just fine with one, such as our best overall rotary cutter for quilters.
Frequently Asked Questions About Rotary Cutters for Quilting
What is the safest way to use a rotary cutter for quilting?
Because rotary cutters are designed to make quick, clean cuts, it’s easy to accidentally nick yourself!
Make a habit of flipping on the guard each time you put down your rotary cutter. The guard will cover the blade, keeping your fingers safe from accidents!
When you are preparing a cut, line up the fabric and ruler first and find a comfortable position. Always cut away from you, and be sure you have a good grip on the ruler!
Then, pick up the rotary cutter and flip off the guard just before cutting. With practice, safe rotary cutting will become second nature.
Can I cut materials besides fabric with my rotary cutter?
Cutting through paper will dull a blade faster than cutting fabric. That’s why many quilters also have a rule about not using the “fabric scissors” on paper!
If you’re paper piecing, you might need a tool that can cut through both paper and fabric. We would recommend purchasing a separate rotary cutter for this quilting task. Otherwise, you may need to plan on changing your rotary cutter blade more frequently.
How often should I change the rotary cutter blade?
It’s important to use a sharp blade in your rotary cutter. Dull blades are less accurate and more likely to slip!
A new stainless steel blade will likely last through cutting the material for an entire quilt. A titanium blade should last three times as long.
For a stainless steel rotary cutter, it’s a good habit to change your blade before starting a new project. And if you notice your rotary cutter is leaving some threads uncut, change the blade right away!
Choosing the Best Rotary Cutter for Quilting
Finding the best rotary cutter for your quilting needs makes the cutting process so much easier. Instead of individually tracing and cutting each piece with scissors, you can cut several pieces of fabric at once!
Rotary cutters are efficient and economical tools, so some quilters even purchase two or three.
Once you’ve chosen the best rotary cutter for quilting, you’ll want to store them safely with your other quilting supplies. Get organized with a dedicated craft table next!
- About the Author
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As a novelist, special educator, and freelance writer, Ellen enjoys unwinding with a variety of crafts. Whether it’s a quick sewing project or a long-term dollhouse remodel, Ellen loves to be creative whenever she has down time.
Ellen holds a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and psychology and a master’s in early childhood education. She enjoys learning new things, which is why she dabbles in many types of needlework and yarn crafts. With so many new techniques to try, Ellen rarely makes the same thing twice!
Originally from Virginia, Ellen can often be found with a glass of homemade sweet tea while she ponders her next project.
Ellen can be reached at email@example.com