Having a professional frame your artwork is convenient and guarantees good results, but custom framing can quickly get expensive. Acquiring your own mat cutter can be a smart move, especially if you frequently frame your work. While these tools can take time to master, a good mat cutter can achieve neat and accurate results as long as you properly prep your materials. (Pro tip: Use old mat boards for practice cuts first.) Mat cutters run the gamut in terms of size, cost, and quality; get to know your options by browsing our recommendations below
1. Logan Mat Cutter
This handy little bevel cutter is user friendly, budget friendly, and efficient for small-batch jobs. It features a retractable blade that you control with your thumb, and one side has start and stop markings to guide your cuts. The metal body feels sturdy in the hand and glides smoothly along surfaces. As long as you take care to adjust your blade depth, clamp down your straightedge, and go slowly, you should be able to achieve neat and precise cuts with one or two passes.
2. NT Cutter Mat Board Cutter
Made in Japan, this is another straightforward handheld cutter for making 45-degree cuts. But while Logan’s product places pressure on your thumb, this one features a large knob to press with your entire hand, which gives you a sturdier grip; you won’t have to worry about slipping as you cut. However, you do have to exert a good amount of pressure to cut all the way through the mat each time.
3. Red Circle Mat Cutter
If budget is a top priority, consider this straightforward cutter that can create both 45- and 90-degree edges so you can cut both outer and inner borders. It’s best used on foam boards, but you can achieve good cuts through mat boards with several passes. Featuring a plastic body equipped with a stainless steel blade, it is comfortable to grip and relatively easy to glide along a straight edge.
4. Dexter-Russell Mat Cutter
This mat cutter can easily be used with a straightedge to create consistently straight or beveled edges. But it’s also designed to cut freehand shapes, making it a compact, versatile addition to your toolbox. Blades can be adjusted not only to any depth but to any angle, and they will stay in place as long as you keep the screw cap tightened. The cutter is also designed to be ergonomic, with a curved body that rests against your palm.
5. Logan Graphics Portable Mat Cutter
This is a high-performance tool that can make cuts up to 32 inches in length. Sitting on a baseboard are a hinged guide rail and a parallel mat guide to keep your materials in place and ensure precise cuts without overcutting; you can also remove these to easily downsize boards. You get not only a push-style beveled cutting head but also a straight cutter, both of which sit securely on the guide rail and glide along with little pressure. You could spend a lot more on a cutter, but this one from Logan will have you achieving exhibition-quality slices before long.