Hobby Tools

Best Styrofoam Cutters – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Best Styrofoam Cutters - Reviews & Buyer’s GuideStyrofoam is an incredibly versatile type of plastic. Additionally, despite being inexpensive, it’s excellent and dependable. Even more so, because it can be easily cut, shaped, drilled, and re-attached, it’s also a fantastic option for making a solid, stable, and realistic modeling base.

Best Styrofoam Cutter On the Market – Comparison Chart

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Best Tabletop Foam Cutter

Hercules Tabletop Styrofoam Hot Wire Cutter

Hercules Tabletop Styrofoam Hot Wire Cutter

  • Type: Countertop
  • Temperature: 200°C - 315°C
  • Dimensions: 17.1 x 13.7 x 5.6 inches
  • Weight: 5.85 pounds
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Easy-to-use

Hercules SC-190 Handheld Electric Styrofoam Hot Knife

Hercules SC-190 Handheld Electric Styrofoam Hot Knife

  • Type: Handheld
  • Temperature: 300°C - 400°C
  • Dimensions: 12.5 x 9.1 x 3.2 inches
  • Weight: 2.65 pounds
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Clear cuts, very cheap

Woodland Scenics Hot Wire Foam Cutter

  • Type: Handheld
  • Temperature: 350°C - 450°C
  • Dimensions: 12.5 x 7.5 x 2.8 inches
  • Weight: 1.2 pounds
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Best quality + accessories

Guritta Perfect 300-400°C Styrofoam Cutting Knife

  • Type: Handheld
  • Temperature: 300°C - 400°C
  • Dimensions: 12 x 6 x 1.8 inches
  • Weight: 11.2 ounces
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Heats up FAST + easy-to-use

Proxxon 27082 Thermocut

  • Type: Handheld
  • Temperature: 150°C - 315°C
  • Dimensions: 12.7 x 6.7 x 1.8 inches
  • Weight: 1.15 pounds
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To use styrofoam successfully, though, you will need to use the right tools. Among them, one of the most important, without a doubt, is the styrofoam cutter (often referred to as a hot knife). Using heat and a sharp edge, this type of tool can cut through styrofoam smoothly and consistently.

In stores and online, there are many styrofoam cutter options to choose from. To help you choose the right one for your needs, this buyer’s guide will provide thorough reviews for five of the best styrofoam cutters on the market. What is more, it will provide useful information about styrofoam cutting in general.

1. Hercules SC-190 – Best Lightweight Foam Styrofoam Cutter

Hercules SC-190 Handheld Electric Styrofoam Hot KnifeThe Hercules SC-190 is a lightweight, user-friendly and effective hot knife that can be used with one hand. Using two heat cutters (one with a 4-inch and another with a 6-inch blade), this tool can cut through various materials, including polyurethane, polyethylene, polyester foam, polyether foam, sponge rubber, cellulose, and, of course, styrofoam.

Design and Materials

Compact and lightweight, the Hercules SC-190 can be easily used with one hand. Apart from making it easy to manipulate, its size also makes it effective at making small details such as those you want in your diorama.

However, it should be considered that both its plastic and its metal parts are somewhat flimsy and fragile.

Versatility

Because it can be used on a large variety of materials, the Hercules SC-190 is more versatile than a regular styrofoam cutter. What is more, its design enables it to be used for cutouts, sculpting, and creating small details. As a result, it’s a good option for creating dioramas and other modeling projects that combine different textures, shapes, and materials.

Security and Safety

Because it employs both a sharp edge and burning heat, a hot knife can be a dangerous tool. Luckily, the Hercules SC-190 goes above and beyond to ensure complete safety and security while being used. Apart from featuring safety temperature regulators, the tool is designed to keep the hot sections as far away from your body as possible. As if all that wasn’t enough, it also features a spring-loaded safety trigger and a 9.5-foot cord.

Overall

Considering everything, it can be said with confidence that the Hercules SC-190 is a dependable, effective tool for cutting styrofoam. Compact, lightweight, ergonomic, and portable, it’s definitely a practical tool. Furthermore, due to its design, it’s very well-suited for creating small details with efficiency and precision. All in all, the Hercules SC-190 is a styrofoam cutter well worth checking out.

Pros
  • Includes hard plastic case and cleaning brush.
  • Lightweight.
  • Heats up quickly.
Cons
  • Can overheat.
  • The handle is not ergonomic.

2. Woodland Scenics – Best Hot Wire Foam Cutter for Making Advanced Shapes

Woodland Scenics Hot Wire Foam CutterStreamlined, simple, practical, and clean, the Woodland Scenics Hot Wire Foam Cutter is a fantastic tool for cutting styrofoam. Using a tensed hot wire, this tool allows its users to make swift, precise, and accurate cuts not only on styrofoam but other materials as well.

Due to its design, it can be easily maneuvered and handled. As a result, the Woodland Scenics Hot Wire Foam Cutter can be used to successfully shape and carve out styrofoam for creating complex, realistic dioramas and other modeling projects.

Performance

Despite the simplicity of its design, the Woodland Scenics Hot Wire Foam Cutter is very effective at making complex, difficult cuts on various materials. Using a long, perfectly tensed wire, this tool can make clean, precise cuts (whether straight or at an angle). Even better, its wire can be adjusted to be more effective when making angled cuts. If required, you can also adjust the wire to make quick straight cuts precisely and cleanly.

Precision and Cleanliness

Without a doubt, one of the most notable features of this product is its immaculate and precise cutting system. Using a wire that is at the right temperature and angle, this tool can slice through styrofoam as if it was butter. Even better, it cauterizes the material simultaneously as it cuts it, resulting in a smooth surface and a complete lack of debris. Even better, this system reduces the release of toxic fumes to the bare minimum.

Ease of Use

Unlike many other styrofoam cutters on the market, the Woodland Scenics Hot Wire Foam Cutter does not require experience or skill to be correctly used. Instead, it allows beginners to use it intuitively. Because it cuts so smoothly, it does not require the use of force or pressure either. Its ergonomic handle adds to its maneuverability, making it a great tool for school students and inexperienced diorama makers.

OverallIt’ss easy to proclaim the Woodland Scenics Hot Wire Foam Cutter as one of the best styrofoam cutters on the market with everything on the tablet. Easy to use, clean, and versatile, it is a great tool for working on a diorama or similar modeling projects. Its angle adjustment system can be used to create different types of cuts with ease. Besides, it’s completely safe, and it releases a negligible amount of toxic fumes.

Pros
  • Do not release toxic fumes.
  • Makes clean and accurate cuts.
  • Replaceable cutter wire.
Cons
  • Reheats quickly.

3. Guritta Perfect – Best Tool To Cut Styrofoam

Guritta Perfect 300-400°C Styrofoam Cutting KnifeFeaturing two different cutting shapes, the Guritta Perfect 300-400°C Styrofoam Cutting Knife can help you create various arts and crafts projects with ease. Reaching a temperature of up to 400 degrees Celsius, this tool can cut through styrofoam as if it was butter.

Even better, it seals the material as it cuts it, resulting in smooth edges and perfectly formed shapes. It also features a comfortable grip that makes it very easy to maneuver.

Shape Crafting Capabilities

Undoubtedly, the Guritta Perfect goes above and beyond to provide options for making different types of cuts. Apart from its main straight wire cutter, it features two separate poking tips that can help you carve out styrofoam to create beautiful, realistic details, no matter how small. In addition to the tool’s ergonomic grip, these characteristics make the Guritta Perfect 300-400°C Styrofoam Cutting Knife a fantastic tool for crafting complex shapes.

Convenience and Safety

Despite its versatility, the Guritta Perfect 300-400°C Styrofoam Cutting Knife is a simple and practical tool. Compact and streamlined, it is easy to pick up and use. The tool’s ergonomic handle further helps this. What is more, because it heats up almost immediately, it is a perfect go-to tool for impromptu cutting, such as creating last-minute details. Incredibly featuring a self-regulating heater, this tool is also very safe to use.

Ergonomics and Maneuverability

As previously mentioned, the Guritta Perfect 300-400°C Styrofoam Cutting Knife features a comfortable handle that helps its maneuvering. Ergonomic and stable, this handle allows you to grip the cutter tightly and securely while making cuts. Apart from increasing the precision you can cut with, this characteristic makes the Guritta Perfect extra safe. Even better, it prevents your hand from becoming strained or tired easily when using this tool.

Overall

All in all, the Guritta Perfect 300-400°C Styrofoam Cutting Knife is versatile, effective, and safe to use. It has different tips for cutting, which gives it a definite plus as it helps create varied shapes with ease. Additionally, it heats up very quickly, making it a convenient option for on-the-go crafting and retouching. Without a doubt, this is a styrofoam cutter worth looking into.

Pros
  • Provides choice between two tips.
  • Makes smooth cuts.
  • Features a comfortable grip.
  • Very safe.
Cons
  • Somewhat pricey.

4. Proxxon 27082 Thermocut – Best Styrofoam Cutter for Model Making

Proxxon 27082 ThermocutEven though it looks somewhat clunky, the Proxxon 27082 Thermocut is one of the most maneuverable and effective free-hand styrofoam cutters on the market. Featuring an adjustable saw-like blade and variable temperature control, it can make exact cuts on styrofoam and a variety of similar materials.

Temperature Control

This useful tool by Proxxon features a variable temperature that can be easily accessed at all times. Using a simple knob, you can regulate the temperature of the blade to fit your cutting requirements.

Unlike many other styrofoam cutters that feature temperature control, the Proxxon 27082 heats up very quickly. Even better, it maintains its temperature perfectly for prolonged periods of time, and it is quick to change temperature when the user adjusts its control settings.

Grip and Reach

The Proxxon 27082 Thermocut features an extendable wire fixture that can be adjusted to protrude up to 7.9 inches from the handle. In combination with the tool’s fine blade, this feature allows you to reach difficult places without compromising your grip or losing torque. Unfortunately, the tool’s sturdy and somewhat awkward handle takes a bit away from this feature as it makes it difficult to create small details.

Classic Model Building Abilities

It is no coincidence that the Proxxon 27082 is one of the most popular styrofoam cutters among experienced miniature model builders. Precise, dependable, and highly adjustable, this tool is well-suited for macro and micro work on styrofoam and similar materials.

Moreover, it can be used for hours at a time without the danger of overheating or failing because of its high-quality parts. However, it should be considered that being an advanced model, the Proxxon 27082 requires some practice too to be correctly used.

Overall

Without a doubt, the Proxxon 27082 Thermocut is an advanced styrofoam cutter. As such, it gives itself perfectly for advanced model making and other types of high-level arts and crafts. Made with high-quality materials and expertly constructed, this is a product that will perform incredibly well for years. However, it should be noted that it can be somewhat difficult to operate for styrofoam cutting beginners.

Pros
  • It can be easily used with one hand.
  • Features variable temperature control.
  • Great reach.
  • Maintains temperature very well.
Cons
  • Requires a separate power supply.
  • Does not surpass 315 degrees Celsius of temperature.

5. Hercules – Best Table Cutter

If you are particularly serious about your modeling or arts and crafts projects, a simple handheld styrofoam cutter may not be enough. Solid, durable, and dependable, the Hercules is a countertop cutter that can help you take your projects to the next level.

Best Styrofoam Cutters - Reviews & Buyer’s GuideFully adjustable and very ample, it allows you to use it in a variety of ways. As a result, this tool is a fantastic addition to a workshop, and it can even be used in industrial settings.

Variety of Uses

As previously mentioned, the Hercules Tabletop Styrofoam Hot Wire Cutter can be used in various ways. On the one hand, it can help you make quick and easy straight cuts to break up large styrofoam pieces.

On the other, it can help you cut smaller three-dimensional shapes out of the material. Due to its easy adjustment feature, its wire can cut at any angle with equal precision. What’s more, this wire can reach up to 510 degrees, allowing it to cut styrofoam and other materials with consistent ease.

Speed and Smoothness

Beyond any doubt, the Hercules tabletop designs provide various advantages, the most important ones being the speed and smoothness that it provides to your workflow. Unlike handheld styrofoam cutters, this tool can handle large sections of the material with the same efficiency as handling much smaller pieces. Furthermore, its ample base gives you plenty of room to work, and it’s long hotwire allows you to make large cuts in a single motion.

Industrial Capabilities

Best Styrofoam Cutters - Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Large and spacious, the Hercules Tabletop Styrofoam Hot Wire Cutter allows you to work quickly and comfortably. As a result, it can be perfectly used to create complex projects in limited amounts of time.

For that reason, this tool is often used in industrial settings where time and productivity are essential. However, this styrofoam cutter is still versatile enough to be used by hobbyists at home to create unique arts and crafts projects.

Overall

Even though it’s not as portable or practical as some of the other products we reviewed, the Hercules Tabletop Styrofoam Hot Wire Cutter is a great option for those who are serious about their modeling projects. Fully adjustable, it allows a great level of precision when cutting styrofoam. As a result, it helps create a wide range of shapes. At the same time, it’s ample and comfortable enough to make broad cuts quickly and easily—all in all, this a styrofoam cutter that can truly make a difference in your work.

Pros
  • Heats up very quickly.
  • Remains heated to a consistent level.
  • It can be used to cut different shapes.
  • It cuts edges cleanly and without leaving debris.
Cons
  • Heavy.
  • Not portable.

F.A.Q.

What is the best tool for cutting Styrofoam?

It depends on your aim. If you need to cut styrofoam just n a straight line, you should choose a pencil hot knife. For making surfaces like a mountain, desert, etc., use a table styrofoam cutter/hot cutting knife.

What can I use to cut thick foam?

How does a hot wire cutter work?

hotwire foam cutter is a tool used to cut polystyrene foam and similar materials. The device consists of a thin, taut metal wire, often made of nichrome or stainless steel. A thicker wire preformed into a desired shape, heated via electrical resistance to approximately 200 °C (390 °F).

Source: Wikipedia

How do you cut foam padding? How do you cut polystyrene blocks?

Before you cut foam, always make sure your work surface is flat, stable, and won’t be damaged by cutting through the foam with the knife. If you choose to use a carving knife, use a gentle back-and-forth sawing motion and let the blade work through the sheet.

Source: https://www.foambymail.com/CUT.html

How do you smooth out Styrofoam?

  1. Cut or trim your Styrofoam project pieces.
  2. Cut a 2-inch square scrap piece of Styrofoam. Rub the cut edge of the scrap piece against the cut edges of the Styrofoam project pieces. This will sand and smooth the rough-cut edges.
  3. Rub the scrap piece of Styrofoam against sharp corner edges of the cut Styrofoam project pieces to round, bend, taper, and shape them.

Source: https://www.ehow.com/how_6185333_trim-smooth-styrofoam.html

How do you cut foam core cleanly?

The most important thing – a very sharp blade. Once the blade begins to dull, it will start tearing through the foam instead of slicing it cleanly. I use a metal ruler as a guide to cut along straight lines. Get one with a cork backing, so it doesn’t slide around on you while cutting. Using a proper cutting mat under the foam core also helps keep it from moving and helps your blades stay sharp longer.

Source: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1716565/best-way-get-straight-and-clean-cuts-foamcore

How do you cut a 2 foam board?

I think there are 2 ways.

  1. Barbarian way:
  2. Civilization way:

How do you cut closed cell foam?

Unlike open-cell foamclosedcell foams should be cut with a straight blade like a utility knife or a crafting knife. These straight blades work well because they often feature disposable blades that make it easy to keep the knife sharp and cut smoothly.

Source: https://www.foambymail.com/blog/learn-how-to-cut-closed-cell-foam-at-home-for-easy-diy-projects/

Does Styrofoam dull knives?

Regardless, after cutting several linear feet (maybe in the neighborhood of 5-10?), the knife blade begins to dull rapidly and no longer produces nice cuts but begins to tear the foam instead. You can always sharpen your blade on a stone, but in short order, it will again dull and tear.

Source: https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/101341/why-does-foam-dull-knives

Best Hot Knife Foam Cutter – Buyer’s Guide

How to Properly Cut Styrofoam

If you are not sure how to go about cutting styrofoam, follow the next tips:

How to Cut Styrofoam Manually

1. Use a Cutter/Blade

If you are attempting to carve small shapes out of styrofoam, you can use a small cutter or blade by waxing it up. This will prevent the styrofoam from becoming damaged. To do so, before cutting, run the blade along with an old candle. Make sure to use a white candle, however, to avoid coloring the styrofoam.

2. Use Dental Floss

Best Styrofoam Cutters - Reviews & Buyer’s GuideTo make short straight lines through styrofoam, try using dental floss. First, lay the foam down with the floss beneath it. Then, align the floss according to the direction in which you want to cut the styrofoam. Finally, place on hand on the styrofoam sheet and pull the floss towards you.

3. Use Cookie Cutters

If you are using a thin piece of styrofoam, you can use cookie cutters to create specific shapes. With it securely placed on a flat surface, press the cookie cutter into the styrofoam sheet until it punches through it.

How to Cut Styrofoam Using Electric Tools

1. How to Cut Thick Pieces of Styrofoam

Best Styrofoam Cutters - Reviews & Buyer’s GuideIf you are trying to cut a thick styrofoam piece quickly and effectively, your best bet is to use an electric knife. Please take into account, though, that they are only effective for making straight cuts.

2. How to Cut Through Styrofoam

When you attempt to make a hole through styrofoam without damaging it, the best option is to use a hot knife like the ones reviewed in this guide. Easy to handle and precise, this type of tool is very effective at making cutouts.

3. How to Make Smooth Cuts on Styrofoam

Without a doubt, a countertop (tabletop) wire cutter is the best choice when it comes to making complex shapes out of styrofoam. Apart from allowing great detail, this type of styrofoam cutter is great at smoothing out the styrofoam’s freshly cut edges as it cuts, resulting in smoother, better-defined shapes.

How to Make Advanced Cuts On Styrofoam

1. How to Reduce the Chance of Breakage

Best Styrofoam Cutters - Reviews & Buyer’s GuideWhen cutting styrofoam, always try to keep a steady and even pressure as you slice through. If you do this correctly, you will greatly reduce the chances of breaking or crushing the foam. As a bonus, using slow and steady motion can help the tool cauterize the styrofoam as it cuts, resulting in smoother edges and more precision overall. Furthermore, it will minimize the formation of debris.

2. How to Cut Out Shapes From Styrofoam

When attempting to cut a depression in styrofoam, always start at the center of the sheet. If possible, use a pencil to draw a line around the area you want to cut out first. Then, make a vertical incision into a single spot on the material. After that, begin moving the tool to cut out the shape you want.

3. How to Cut Channels On Styrofoam

Best Styrofoam Cutters - Reviews & Buyer’s GuideWithout a doubt, the best way to cut channels on styrofoam is to use a long hot knife. If possible, use a serrated one. Before starting to cut, mark the line where the channel will go using a pencil or marker.

Then, align the wire or blade vertically with the line and begin applying pressure slowly and steadily.

4. How to Cut Styrofoam Balls in Half

Whenever you need to cut a styrofoam ball in half, it is best to use a countertop hot wire cutter. Before cutting, though, make sure to trace a line along the equator of the ball. Often, this line has already been marked by the manufacturer. If that is the case, use that line. Once you are sure about the line you want to make, take the ball and align its equator line vertically with the cutting wire. Then, push the ball slowly as steadily towards the wire until it cuts through.

Conclusion

Without a doubt, a styrofoam cutter is one of the most important tools you can have when building a modeling project from scratch. Hopefully, this buyer’s guide will help you choose the perfect styrofoam cutter for your personal needs.

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