Silhouette’s basic software is free, and its paid upgrades are completely voluntary. Paid subscription services are available, but not required to operate the machine.
Silhouette Studio, the software required to operate the Cameo 4, Portrait 3 and Curio is free for everyone. This free version has some limitations, but it enough to produce high quality results with your cutting machine. There is no required monthly fee for Silhouette software or machines.
Silhouette offers paid upgrades to their software to greatly expand its functionality. Upgrading the software is not a requirement to operate the machine. The different tiers of Silhouette Studio are:
- Silhouette Studio – free
- Designer Edition – $50
- Designer Edition Plus – $75 (or $25 to upgrade from Designer Edition)
- Business Edition – $99 (or $25 or $50 to upgrade from Designer or Designer Plus Edition)
Subscription services offered by Silhouette
Silhouette also offers users two different subscription services; both are offered on a monthly or yearly basis, but both are completely voluntary. Enrollment in Club Silhouette and the Silhouette Design Store can be very beneficial to your crafting experience. Joining is not a requirement to operate or maintain your machine.
Club Silhouette is a monthly or annual subscription for freebies and discounts on physical goods from the Silhouette store. It costs $10 per month or $100 per year and users receive the following physical and virtual perks:
- one free blade and one free mat delivered three times per year
- 10% discount at the Silhouette America store for materials, accessories and tools ( but that excludes new machines, software, other subscriptions or gift cards)
- Free shipping over $50
- 10 free digital designs per month
- members earn Club Silhouette points on purchases at Silhouette America (1 point per $10 spent). Members can use those points at a value of one point/$1 toward future purchases. ($100 earns 10 points; 10 points equals a $10 future discount)
Silhouette Design Store
Subscriptions to the Silhouette Design Store earn subscribers special credits and discounts on digital images, fonts and projects every month. In essence, you pay for a subscription and get 2x (and up to 8x) the value in store credit.
For example, at the Starter level ($4.99 per month), you can spend $10 in credit at the Silhouette Design Store. Since most images cost $1, you double your buying power – you can buy 10 images for the $5 you spend. Non-subscribers can only buy 5 images for $5.
The pricing structure is complex, so here’s a chart that lays it out. To re-iterate, this subscription is handy (especially around the holidays) but not required to operate your machine.
To read more about the Silhouette Cameo 4 and how it stacks up against its main rival, the Cricut Maker, click here.