Cricut Scoring Wheel vs. Scoring Stylus: A Comprehensive Comparison

If you are an avid paper crafter like me, you have probably wondered whether you should be using the scoring stylus or the scoring wheel for your project. Well that answer isnt as straight forward as I would like it to be. So I want to share my experience with both, and what I like to use each product for.

The Scoring Wheel

The Scoring Wheel is designed to work with your Cricut Maker, or Maker 3 machines. Because they use the Drive housing wheel, they cannot be used in any other of the Cricut machines. It fits into the B slot, which is the same slot your fine point blade uses.

It comes in two variations – single and double scoring wheels. The single scoring wheel creates a single deep score line. It is perfect for use on thinner materials like paper, and cardstock.

The double wheel makes two parallel score lines. It is intended for use on thicker materials like your Kraft board, or anything around 300gsm. It is also meant to be used on coated materials that may require a different approach. The double scoring wheel can also be used on the back of your material, so remember to mirror!

These tips are two of the available tips for the Quick Swap housing, so you are easily able to press the silver button at the top of the housing to easily pop off the tip and switch them out in seconds.

Advantages of Scoring Wheel:

  1. Precision: The Scoring Wheel offers incredible precision due to its specially designed wheel mechanism that applies even pressure for clean score lines.
  2. Efficiency: It can handle a wide range of materials, including cardstock, paper, and even heavier materials like leather and light chipboard.
  3. Versatility: The double scoring wheel is fantastic for 3D projects and creating more complex fold patterns.

Segment 2: Scoring Stylus

Now, let’s move on to the Scoring Stylus. This is a simpler option that’s not specific to Cricut machines – it can be used with various cutting machines or even just by hand. The stylus essentially creates an indentation on the paper, serving as a guide for your folds.

It is used in the pen slot on your machine, and needs to be clicked into place in order to reach the paper below.

It can be used with the Explore or Maker machines, the only machine it doesn’t work with is the Cricut Joy.

Advantages of Scoring Stylus:

  1. Affordability: Scoring styluses are generally more budget-friendly compared to the Cricut Scoring Wheel.
  2. Compatibility: As mentioned, the stylus can be used with various cutting machines and even manually, making it versatile for different crafting setups.
  3. Portability: If you’re working on the go or without access to a Cricut machine, the scoring stylus can be a handy tool to have.

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Segment 3: Pros and Cons Comparison So, which tool should you choose? Let’s break it down.

Cricut Scoring Wheel Pros:

  • Precise and consistent score lines.
    Because it makes use of a wheel instead of dragging the tip across the paper, you wont have to worry about any rips in your material, and also your material does have a higher quality score line, as it is compressed better. The wheel will achieve a better, easier to work with result over the stylus.
  • More Materials
    Can be used on both lighter and heavier papers, making it a lot more versatile as you are able to choose from so many more different materials for your projects. So I love being able to easily make projects with Kraft board, or anything above 300gsm, which you cannot do as easily with the Stylus. Remember to score into the back of your thicker materials with the double scoring wheel, as you will crack your material if you use the normal method.

Cricut Scoring Wheel Cons:

  • Only used by the Maker machines, so you are limited to the stylus if you dont have a Maker.
  • Cost
    Higher cost compared to scoring stylus, this product comes in at over R1000 or around $25 for the housing and both tips (it is generally cheaper to buy the combo pack rather than it all separately)
  • Projects require more attention while cutting.
    Because it uses the B housing where your fine point blade goes in, it does mean that if you are scoring and cutting, you will need to swap back and forth between the wheel and the fine point blade, which if you are cutting a project that is several pages – can be a bit tedious!

Scoring Stylus Pros:

  • Affordable and accessible
    It comes standard with the Ultimate toolkit, so you likely already have one – a huge plus! If you dont have one yet, you are only looking at R250 / $11 to buy it separately.
  • Compatible with various machines or manual use.
    It works with both the Explore and Maker machines, so you dont have to upgrade your machine in order to be able to make projects with the score feature (Let me know if you would like a “hack” for a way to score projects with your Cricut Joy!).
    I have also successfully used it many times over without my Cricut machine – for those small projects!
  • Portability and versatility
    It is light, and easily fits into your pencil case along with your other tools, or hangs up on your peg board, and can be used
  • Helps complete your projects faster
    Because you dont need to keep manually swapping out the tools, your machine will automatically start cutting once it has finished scoring. For this exact reason, most of the time I prefer to use the scoring stylus instead of the scoring wheel for my projects.
    If you have a Maker and you want to switch to the scoring stylus instead of the scoring wheel that it defaults to, just click ‘Edit tools’ select the Scoring stylus, and hit ‘Apply’.

Scoring Stylus Cons:

  • Tearing your material
    If your material has absorbed a little bit of moisture, or isnt properly stuck down to your mat, or a number of other factors, you can tear your material. I haven’t quite worked out exactly why it does this, but it can be frustrating to have the stylus rip up your materials.
  • Stylus can pop out during a score
    I have experienced it myself, and heard many reports of it doing this too. Usually it happens because I didnt insert the stylus into the A housing correctly, but it could also be because the pen adaptor is broken, so make sure to check both of those things if this happens to you.
  • No way to change pressure
    Although this applies to both the scoring wheels and the stylus, this is more of a problem with the stylus because it is dragged across the material instead of rolled. So when you have a material that is quite thin like copy paper for example, it technically needs a lighter pressure to score over the pressure needed for cardstock for example. But currently, there is no way to change the pressure for scoring. The pressure change you make in the material selection is only related to cutting – and this doesnt apply to scoring, at least that’s what Cricut says on their website (even though this is for the scoring wheel, they dont have a section for the scoring stylus, so I assume it applies to both).