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New Silhouette Cameo 3 Compared to Silhouette Cameo 2

See how the New Silhouette Cameo 3 Compared to Silhouette Cameo 2!

New Silhouette Cameo 3 Compared to Silhouette Cameo 2

First, some Silhouette Background

I love it when new die cut machines come out…and I always buy them.  Sometimes, they’re not a big hit with me and sometimes they are.  I thought that the Silhouette SD was a cool machine, then when the original Silhouette Cameo came out, I was elated.  (Later the Silhouette Portrait and Curio took the place of the SD.)  Then the Silhouette Cameo 2 came out and I thought it was a nice improvement over the original.  Did you know that the new Silhouette Cameo 3 is actually the 4th Cameo machine release?  It is.  It’s the 3rd new Cameo, but there was a change and reissue of the original Cameo.  Here are the differences between the Silhouette Cameo 2014 Compared to the Original Silhouette Cameo.  You can also learn about the differences in the reissued machine in that post, and see which one you might have!

That was a lot of background on the Cameo’s, huh?  Let’s get on with learning about the newest additon!

Let’s See the New Silhouette Cameo 3

Silhouette Cameo 3

The box.  I think it’s probably helpful to see it, in case you receive a box that doesn’t look like this, you might want to go over the machine really well to make sure you actually have the Silhouette Cameo 3.  I like the fruit on top!

silhouette cameo bluetooth

Yes, Bluetooth.  That is definitely one of the biggest selling points of this machine.  This is Silhoutte’s first Cameo that has Bluetooth capabilities.

silhouette3 contents

I bought this bundle deal from Amazon and all of these things came with it.  If you buy the Silhouette Cameo 3 machine and it’s not part of a bundle, you can count on receiving the machine, a mat and all of the cords you’ll need to get started.

silhouette cameo3 box contents close

These things were part of my bundle, but you can buy the Deluxe Tool Kit (or the regular tool kit), Metallic Sketch Pens, regular mat and PixScan mat individually.  You can buy more self-adjusting AutoBlades too.  One of the nice things about this machine is that the new AutoBlade will adjust to the blade depth that’s associated with the material you’re using, which you’ll choose in the software settings.  This machine will also accept the previous Silhouette blade.  So, if you’re like me and stocked up on those, you haven’t lost anything.

Inside the Silhouette Cameo 3

silhouette cameo3 open

Once you open the Silhouette Cameo 3, you’ll see a few new things: an open storage area on the far left, a dual head carriage for a blade, pens and other tools, and a pull out tray.

cameo3 holder left side

This area on the far left can hold either the AutoBlade or the ratchet blade, as well as Silhouette Sketch pens.

Accessories tray Silhouette Cameo 3

You’ll see that the pull out tray is made to hold tools and the cross cut blade that goes on the back of the machine.  We’ll see that in a minute.   What’s interesting about the pull out tray are those tiny fold out arms.  See them?  They’re made to extend the mat intake area.  Look below and you’ll understand it better.

silhouette cameo3 mat tray

See?  Folding out those little arms gives the mat a larger area to rest.  It’s nice because previously the mat would dip a bit.  Usually that didn’t matter, but if your mat lost it’s stickiness, it could cause your material to come up where it dipped or bent.  I used to deal with that by putting a block of wood under there.  I’m really glad that I don’t have to do that any more.  It can also be helpful if you’re using a 12 x 24 mat.

silhouette cameo3 dual carriage

 Here’s a close up of the dual carriage with the AutoBlade and a Silhouette Sketch pen in the holders.  The bar can rise to 2mm and the rollers are now easier to move.  You can actually push them out of the way now, which is nice if you want to keep roller tracks off of foil, foam and other materials that can get smashed or smudged.

silhouette cameo new old blades

Here is the AutoBlade on the left compared to the much smaller adjustable blade on the right.  This machine can use either blade.  Nice!

If you are a Cricut user, you may notice that now the Silhouette Cameo 3 and the Cricut Explore Air now have a lot of things in common.

New Silhouette Cameo 3 Compared to Silhouette Cameo 2

silhouette cameo 3 versus 2

The Silhouette Cameo 3 has several new offerings compared to the Silhouette Cameo 2.  You’ll notice some changes in the menus.  The 3, on the left, has removed the “load media” option.  Keeping this menu fairly succinct.  The purple hue has changed too, but you still only have 3 screen color choices.  I like the pink/purple color.

preferences menu silhouette3

The Silhouette Cameo 3 now includes some helpful tutorials.  Notice the “Sounds” button?  Here’s a tutorial showing exactly how to turn off the sound on the Cameo 3.

silhouette cameo 3 tutorials screen

It will show you to do some basic operations that are pretty important.  For example, you can learn how to load materials, load and adjust the blade and adjust the roller bars.  I think this is a nice addition for people who are new to the Cameo, and a helpful reminder to more seasoned users.

Here are some helpful Silhouette tutorials.

bluetooth screen silhouette cameo3

I’d say the most important difference between the Silhouette Cameo 3 compared to Silhouette Cameo 2 is Bluetooth.  I didn’t have any trouble syncing it to my Ipad, but once I did, I was not impressed with the app.  You can download the app for free and see what you think, but when I tried it for the first time a few weeks ago, I thought it was a mess.  That being said, Silhouette’s software has always been why I choose it over other machines.  I think it’s very user friendly.  So, I’m sure they can and will make changes to make the app rise up to meet the expectations of Silhouette users.  I’m crossing my fingers on that one, but don’t take my word for it.  Go check it out for yourself.  That’s the best way to know for sure.  After all, some people hate the Silhouette software and prefer Cricut’s.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, “The best machine is the one that works best for you.”  That goes for software too.

usb screen cameo3

The Silhouette Cameo 3 and the Silhouette Cameo 2 both have USB abilities.

silhouette cameo3 cameo2 machines compared

There’s a BIG change to the outside of the Silhouette Cameo 3 and the Silhouette Cameo 2.  The Cameo 3’s lid has been extended to cover and protect the touch screen, as well as enclose more of the cutting area.

silhouette cameo3 cameo2 inside

You can see the differences here with the lids open.  The Silhouette Cameo 2 is in the front.  The 3 has the dual carriage, storage on the left, and a different overall look.

silhouette cameo sides comparison

When I said BIG change, I meant that the Silhouette Cameo 3 got bigger.  It’s possible that the 3 could eat the 2.  The 3 is wider, longer and heavier.  Personally, I don’t like that it had to grow up so much, but I guess I’ll get used to it.  Those cool covers (like this Hey, Gorgeous one)that fit the original and the 2, forget about it.  They will not cover the 3.  We’ll just have to get crafty!

silhouette cameo3 side

Where the Silhouette Cameo 2 had storage on the side (see this post for more about the Cameo 2), the 3 incorporates it into the front part of the machine.  Both machines have the removable crosscutter blade.  It’s helpful when cutting rolls of vinyl and excess paper.  By the way, if you’re new to vinyl, it’s a super fun!  Check out these projects for some free files and ideas.

Well, I think that covers all of the offerings of the new Silhouette Cameo 3 and how it compares to the Silhouette Cameo 2.  I hope it helps you pick the best one for you!

You can find all of my Silhouette Cameo projects on my blog here or on my Silhouette Pinterest board.

Happy Crafting!

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  1. What’s the thickest cover stock (in lbs. or g/m²) that the new Cameo can comfortably cut? Thicker than the old Cameo. Thanks!

  2. Very informative and fun to read! Thank you for such a detailed review.

  3. Great article, thank you! I’m new to all of this, and I am trying to decide if the 3 is worth the extra money.

    For a beginner, who is just doing some light projects here and there, do you think it’s worth it to splurge on the 3?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Morgan! I was just using the 3 and my biggest appreciation of it so far is that automatic blade. It is so nice to be able to run a variety of materials without having to adjust the blade. I’m sure I’ll come across some strange material that I’ll have to account for by creating custom settings, but so far, I really love that seemingly small change. It’s really nice! I thought the machine cut well too. It is big, but it also feels a little more solid. I’d say that I’m pleased with my purchase. I think as I use it more, I’ll find even more things that I like about it. I hope that helps!

  4. Jammi Amedee says:

    Hello, thanks for doing these reviews on the different Cameo machines. I am considering buying a Silhouette. I already own the Cricut Expression 2 and I’m not impressed. Since I am purchasing a new system would you recommend purchasing the newest machine or will the last version work just as well?


    1. Hi Jammi!
      If I were buying a new machine, I would buy the newest one. Now, I say that just because I know how I am and I would be checking out the new machine all the time and making plans to buy it. So, for me, it would make sense to buy the newest one that was out. That being said, the Silhouette Cameo 2 was a great machine and it costs less than the 3. I’m finding that I like the adjustable blade in the new machine so much, that I would buy the Silhouette Cameo 3 just for that. I love it! I hope that’s somewhat helpful! The Silhouette’s without any extras are the least expensive. Take a look at this Silhouette Cameo 3 for some savings!

      1. Hi Joy,

        Thank you for your review and feedback to the comments.

        My daughter, 15 in January, has asked for something like this for Christmas. A friend’s mom recommended Silhouette as a good brand. In doing some research I was leaning towards the Cameo 2, but your appreciation for the adjustable blade in the Cameo 3 has changed my mind. In your opinion, would the bundle that you’ve linked to in your response to Jammi be a good starter kit for someone new to this? It looks like it contains a lot of different tools, vinyl sheets, etc that are necessary for a newbie and would have to be bought separately to make the Cameo useful.

        Thank you and Happy Holidays,


      2. Hi John! I think your daughter will really like Cameo 3. What a nice gift! Yes, I think this is a really good bundle for starting out. I’m sure she’ll like having some vinyl on hand to try, and the pens and tool kit are great to have too. She might also like some paper to work with. I buy this card stock by Wausau for test cuts. For example, if I’m working on a new creation and want to cut it out of vinyl, I’ll test it out on this paper first, because vinyl is more expensive. Amazon used to sell this paper a lot cheaper, but you can probably find it at Office Depot for around $6 dollars. I just like keeping it on hand. She might want to make cards, 3D projects or scrapbook pages, Echo Park is one of my favorite brands for printed (pretty) paper, like this Christmas paper pack. If she needs solid colored paper, I’ve bought this American Crafts paper in the past and it’s really good. Two more things, an ATG gun is a great crafty gift. It’s a terrific way to easily add adhesive to paper and projects. My whole family uses my ATG guns all the time, so much so that I bought two. Lastly, a tip… if the Silhouette mat is too sticky, have her stick her hands to it several times and remove her hands. Continue doing it a few times all over the mat to reduce the stickiness. It’s true that you want the mat to be sticky, but if it’s too sticky paper can tear or not come off easily. It can be very frustrating for a beginner. (I was once that beginner with a pile of paper next to me. I was super sad until I figured it out.) I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any questions! Merry Christmas!

  5. I have this wonderful wheeled storage/carry case for my Cameo 2, I’m guessing with the overall size difference the Cameo 3 will not fit in it. Do you by chance know if this is true? BTW, great review, answered all my questions!!!!

    1. Thank you, Kim! I’m so glad the comparison helped! I’ll need to measure the machine for a really accurate answer, but I’m thinking the 3 probably will not fit your bag. Of course, that depends on the bag. 😉 I’ll measure the 3 and that should help you more. 🙂

  6. Hi I hope you do not mind me asking you for your help?
    You are obviously a very knowledgeable lady re cutting machines.
    I am in real dilemma ..I have had the Silhouette Cameo for about 3.5 years, its becoming rather elderly like me!
    So thought a New Cameo 3 But the whole learning curve is worrying me alto I hav ecuts lots with my old one Its just the updates to 3 that worry me.. all that new kit.
    Well I just bought the Cricut air and thought how smart plus solid it looked. Fabulous. I thought , but LIKE LOTS OF FOLK I CANNOT GET IT TO WORK !! Its defeated me! They are not interested on the CRICUT SITE AT ALL OF HELPING ME? So I think I shall go and try the Cameo 3 again..
    but I would like to ask you this..there is a Cricut expression for sale on Ebay and I fancy that?Would it work with any files at all like svg’s or anything similar Because I do think they cut well .They are also best at cutting!! However CRICUT ISNT GHOOD AT HELPING ANYONE SO DO NOT WANT TO END UP REGRETTING IT?
    I know you say its your choice but its just plain talking I would love to hear as I am now 71 years old .With not much money? So need a hobby of cutting out cards to make me look good and keep me going! I did those deep box files last Christmas they were a great success. So am good at some things. Please advise me as to which way to go please thank you so much ..you are very honest! Love Mary

    1. Hi Mary! I loved my Cricut Expression machines, but they don’t work with svg files at all. They are completely cartridge based. If you want something that will work with .svg’s you’ll need a Silhouette or one of the newer Cricuts, like the one you have. Ugh! Sorry about that, but I hope that helps! Hugs, Joy

  7. Thanks for the detailed review of this machine! You are the first reviewer to show the usb connections on the side of the machine. Have you tried using a usb thumb drive to load jobs onto the Cameo 3? I really like this option on the Cameo 2 and with an SD card on the earlier models since you don’t have to have a computer hooked up to run jobs.

  8. Just to be clear, I DON’T have to have a computer at all with the 3 because I can design and send cuts from any bluetooth enabled device such as a tablet or smartphone?

    1. Peggy,
      I’m not sure how good the tablet or smartphone app is on its own to be able to totally do away with using a computer. You’ll also need a computer when you want to download new updates. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think this machine works best when you do have a computer.

      1. Thanks for your help!!

  9. Hello.
    Just ran across your article on the Silhouette 3 and find it very helpful. My question is, since you don’t need internet connection to use this machine, what software is required to use with the Silhouette 3? Can Adobe Illustrator design files be used with the Silhouette 3? Or is there a priority software that will only work with the Silhouette 3?

    1. Hi Dee! You can use Adobe Illustrator with the Silhouette 3, but you’ll need the Silhouette Studio Designer Edition software upgrade to do that. It’s around $20 on Amazon. Here’s a link: Silhouette Studio Designer Edition software. According to Silhouette, that upgrade gives you the ability to open SVG files directly which have been created from other major vector imaging software programs (such as Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw). I hope that helps!

      If you want to try the software out, without the upgrade of the Designer Edition, you can download it for free from the Silhouette site.

      1. Anonymous says:

        Thank you so much for the information. It was very helpful. 🙂

  10. Rebekah Ledwig says:

    Is the software the same in all of the silhouettes? Or is there a difference in them?

    1. Hi Rebekah! The basic Silhouette software is the same for all machines. You can even download it and check it out for free from the Silhouette site. The differences come when you add upgrades to the software. The upgrades are the Silhouette Studio Designer Edition, which allows imports of .svg files and more; Silhouette Studio Designer Edition Plus, which adds advanced rhinestone features and the ability to import embroidery files; and Silhouette Studio® Business Edition, which allows users to utilize multiple Silhouette units simultaneously in order to mass produce jobs in a small business environment and also allows users to import Ai, EPS, and CDR files. I highly recommend getting the Designer Edition for the ability to import .svg files. Best of all, you can usually get it for half the price on Amazon! Here’s a link: Silhouette Studio Designer Edition. I hope that helps!

  11. Thank you so much for the great information on the 3 and also comparison to the 2. I am getting ready to purchase a Cameo and have agonized over a 2 or a 3. I am going with the 3 and can’t wait to get started.

    1. You’re so welcome, Sara! I hope you enjoy your new machine!

  12. Wow, you have provided some really great information here! One thing that I’m curious about is whether or not the Cameo 3 is quieter than the Cameo 2 and if you have any idea how it’s noise level compares to the Cricut Explore Air? I have some friends who have the Air and it’s unbelievably quiet compared to all the other Cricut machines. I’m really wanting to get a new cutting machine, and really leaning towards the Cameo 3, so just doing some research 🙂 Thank you!

  13. Thank you for this very informative post. I just ordered a Silhouette Cameo 3 and am so excited to receive it! I’ve never owned a machine like this so … here’s hoping I can create some fabulous items with it.

    1. Woo hoo, Gina! Congratulations on your new machine! I hope you have sooooo much fun!

  14. Hello! New crafter here that’s wanting to make my own vinyl shirts for my kiddos. Would you recommend the Cricut Explore Air 2 or Silhouette Cameo 3? Based on you choice, why is it your preference? I’ve read multiple reviews and just can’t decide. I’ll be using a Mac.

    1. Hi Allison! Oh, vinyl is so much fun! I know you’ll have a blast. (If you need vinyl help, I have created a comprehensive vinyl DVD, Cricut Vinylology. It’s useful with any machine, because it focuses on vinyl techniques. Here are some vinyl projects that you might enjoy too!) About the Cricut vs. Silhouette, I really prefer the Silhouette Cameo 3 to the Cricut Explore Air 2, but for me, it’s a software preference. I just prefer the Silhouette software. My suggestion is to try each one and see what you like. You can download them for free! Cricut Design Space and Silhouette Studio. This Cricut Explore review might help you along with this Cricut Explore Air 2 unboxing and first look post.
      I hope that helps you! 🙂

  15. Thank you so much for your review! I am torn between purchasing the Cameo 2 or the Cameo 3 and what I really need to know are the dimensions of the Cameo 3 (I have limited space and dimensions are important). Do you, by any chance, have the external dimensions? I can’t find that information online anywhere. Thanks so much!

  16. I have been doing embroidery for over a decade but want to invest in a vinyl machine. I wanted the 2 when i found a great bundle price last Christmas, but now that it’s mother’s day and time to tell the kiddos what I want, there’s a 3!! So I found another great bundle on the 3, but they offer like SIX different bundles!!! Having never had one EVER, how do I decide which bundled items I want??? i found them on swingdesign. I mean… I don’t even know what the little sketch pens are for! LOL Any advice is welcome! Enjoyed reading every word of your blog on the 2vs3. THANKS!!!

  17. Michele Engel says:

    Thank you SO MUCH for this useful comparison. It is exactly what I was looking for, and your responses to the comments and questions add all of the detailed info one could want when trying to decide between the two models. This is the first time I’ve seriously considered buying one of these tools, and now I have the info I need to make an educated decision. You made it easy-peasy! 🙂

    1. I’m so happy that this post helped you, Michele! Thanks for letting me know! Happy crafting! 🙂

  18. Thank you for the side by side comparison. My husband and I were in Jo-Ann’s yesterday, and I saw the new Cameo 3 on display. I oohed and aahed a bit, and he asked if I wanted it. I told him I needed to do some research first, because I couldn’t only see a few key differences, and for my purposes I couldn’t justify the cost just for “convenience” upgrades.

    My Cameo 2 is positioned right next to my laptop, so I don’t even have to get up to turn the blade – just reach over. It becomes a hassle though, when I forget that I had changed it from cardstock (my main use) to vinyl or other material, and I end up cutting on the wrong blade setting. Although having the pull out tray and fold out arms to support the mat better is a nice feature that I didn’t even notice in the store!!

  19. Wondering if you can tell me if the Cameo 2 is wireless or only the 3? THANK YOU!!

  20. Mary Stanley says:

    I appreciate your comparison of the Silhouette 2 and 3. I have a 2 and am considering upgrading. I have a question, though. Will the sketch pens that I have for my 2 also work in the 3 or will I have to get new pens? Thank you again for the information and comparison.
    Mary Stanley

    1. Hi Mary! Your current sketch pens will work with the Cameo 3. YAY! I did notice that they have some new Sketch pens out that claim to have 2x more ink in them. Who knew? LOL!

  21. Thank you for this review. I’m torn between the Silhouette Cameo 3 and the Scan n Cut. Being a newbie at 50, I feel like I can’t learn the Silhouette software and prefer to just print out designs then scan n cut them on Brother’s machine. Since I wish to make big wall decals, which do you advice to buy? I live in Abu Dhabi so I likely won’t return any machine I buy because shipping is expensive. Thank you!

  22. How does the speed compare with Brother’s DesignNCut?

  23. Ann Reeves says:

    So, would you say the 2 would be easier to learn and use over the 3? I’m new to this and after reading the reviews on both, seems like the 2 has less negative reviews. I know the 3 has Bluetooth and is wireless. Is this basically the only difference between the 2 and 3? Thanks for ANY help you can give me. I want one of these machines so bad, but the reviews have scared me off. ~~Ann~~

  24. Canaro Jos says:

    Wonderful reviews on this point “there’s a BIG change to the outside of the Silhouette Cameo 3 and the Silhouette Cameo 2”. I’m also agree with you that Silhouette Cameo 2 still work very well.

  25. Darlene Arthur says:

    I have the original Silhouette cameo machine but find it to not be consistent in its cutting despite using the recommended blade and cut settings. I find myself wasting a lot of material. Sometimes it skips in its cuts. I want to upgrade to a different machine but I am on the fence. I would stick with the silhouette if I knew that the new self adjusting blade would make better cuts as I love the software on Silhouette but If not, I am considering the Cricut Maker. I mostly cut card stock, HTV vinyl, regular vinyl and stencil vinyl. I would greatly appreciate your input

  26. Thank you for your Cameo 2 and 3 review. I have been using the Cameo 2 for the past 3-4 yrs and am considering upgrading to the Cameo 3.

    I would like to know if the Cameo 3 software page registration function is easier to use than the C-2 Design Studio edition? I have had problems getting the proper cutting alignment, and have to turn off the machine, and open a whole new blank design page when wanting to cut a new image. ‘Help’ is useless! Any suggestions/tips would be appreciated!

    1. Hi Marty! I haven’t noticed if the registration function is any easier or not. I do have one tip for you though, if you haven’t tried it already. Sometimes, shining a light toward the front of the machine can help it sense the registration marks better. So, I’ve actually taken a little desk lamp and basically used it like a flashlight to shine into the main opening. That’s helped me a lot in the past. I don’t use an actual flashlight though because I’ve had good success with a more diffused lighting. I hope that helps you! 🙂 Joy

  27. Hi Joy! A nice overview indeed. Can you please tell me which Cameo would be advisable for a newbie like me on crafting. Sure autoblade & bluetooth is an advantage but any other important factors to consider first before deciding to purchase one. Looking forward for your reply… Cheers…

  28. In Cameo 3 can you change the blades?

  29. Hi there! Thanks for the comparison…great info! If you covered this in previous replies, I apologize, but does the newest model cut any faster than the original? I have had the original Cameo since it came out and LOVE it…I just upgraded to the Designer Edition program and I’m in love! I use my machine for cutting stencils and cut MANY of them on a daily basis. My old Cameo is quite slow but it works just fine….However if the new one is faster…I may have to buy one to make the most of my work time.

    Thanks so much!

  30. Pamela Balko Smith says:

    Hello. Thank u for taking the time to do these reviews.. I have a question about the cameo 2 and cameo 3
    Can you use the cameo 3 blades in the cameo 2 ? I just purchased the cameo 2. Thank u again!

  31. Joy Brooks says:

    Hi Joy,
    I have had the Cameo 2 for several years and love it and it is doing great but I just ordered a Cameo bundle from Costco for a fabulous price. I am 72 and not terribly computer literate. Will I be able to load the software for the 3 without removing the 2’s software. Also, I bought the Designer Edition upgrade for the 2. Will I be able to use it on the 3 without repurchasing? Finally, will my library stay the same and will it be attainable from the 3? From one Joy to another, I thank you.

    1. Hi Joy!! The new software will overwrite the previous software, but you could save your past download to a different file. Yes, you can use the upgrade without repurchasing (thank goodness!). You will keep your library and be able to access everything that you previously purchased. By the way, you can find legacy/previous versions of the Silhouette software here, in case you need it. https://www.silhouetteamerica.com/software I hope that helps!

  32. Brenda Douglas says:

    Hi all, I am brand new and excited about getting a machine so thanks for answering my questions by writing this article. The only question I have is about speed. Is the cameo 3 faster than the cameo 2. I just need a starting point to learn the ropes and then advance

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