Before the dawn of the rotary cutter, cutting multiple layers and shapes out of fabric was a taxing task. Fitted with a revolving blade, the slim handheld tool transformed the quilting industry, allowing users to cut out uniform pieces of patchwork with greater speed and precision. Today rotary cutters are used by professional quilters and DIY-ers alike, with one of the most popular options being a 45-millimeter blade that can perform basic cuts. No matter which brand you choose, always use a cutting mat to keep your blade in optimal condition. Read our reviews of the best rotary cutters to find the one that’s right for you.
1. Olfa Deluxe Handle Rotary Cutter
The founder of Japanese knife manufacturer Olfa invented the rotary cutter, and his company’s product is still one of the best you can get. This specialty tool is sharp, easy and comfortable to use, and safe. Its blade can glide through six layers of fabric from fleece to felt with little effort or drag, and it’s built to last even with everyday use. This cutter also has an outstanding safety feature: the blade deploys only if you squeeze the handle, and it automatically retracts when you release your hold. Even with constant pressure, this cutter reduces tension in the hand due to its rubber grip. Because it can accommodate specialty blades like pinking and scalloping ones, this is a smart choice for quilters who like to play with patterns.
2. Fiskars Classic Comfort Rotary Cutter
Fiskars’s product feels really nice in the hand, thanks to its gently curved handle that’s designed for comfort while giving you a steady grip for controlled cuts. The blade is razor sharp and well anchored and can cut through both thinner and heavier fabrics. You’ll find that cutting straight lines is incredibly easy as the cutter sails along your straightedge. Wider curves too are nearly effortless, but sharper curves or free-form cutting might be a little awkward to execute due to the angle of the handle.
3. AGPTEK Rotary Cutter Set
Rotary cutters can present a steep learning curve, and this is one of the best for beginners and students. It cuts quickly and easily, feels natural in the hand, and features a sturdy safety button that retracts and locks the blade. It’s also an economical pick, as you get seven extra blades for different cuts that are simple to switch in and out: four for straight lines, two for curves, and one for dotted lines. While the blade is not as strong as those of name brands—it will handle one or two layers well, but not many more—this is a great choice for starter projects and occasional use.
4. Martelli Ergo Rotary Cutter
Resembling a pizza cutter, this rotary cutter can coast through thick material and layers with little exertion on your part. Its offset rubberized handle extends out to the side, so you grip it as you would a bike handle, which reduces the amount of necessary pressure and prevents slipping. The blade can slice through up to 15 layers of fabric, making this an excellent choice for heavy-duty work. Those with arthritis will especially appreciate this efficient cutter as it eliminates hand fatigue and stress, even when used for long periods. Note that because of the placement of the handle, this cutter is sold in a right-handed and a left-handed version.
5. Omnigrid Rotary Cutter
We like this option because it accommodates both left-handed and right-handed users, making it a great choice as a shared tool or for individuals who are ambidextrous. The cutter’s handle is an organic extension of its body, so you can move it between hands without moving the blade, an extra step that many other cutters require. This is especially handy if you are able to use the cutter with both hands, as you can address angles quickly without having to move your fabric. Comfortable to grip, straightforward to release and lock, and wonderfully precise, this cutter is an all-around winner.