Thinking of switching to a rotary cutter for some or all of your fabric cutting tasks but unsure of which one to get if you’re left-handed? You’ve come to the right place because this article will help you find the best rotary cutter for left handed people that will suit your specific needs.
Rotary cutters are tools used to cut different varieties of fabrics, textiles, and craft sheets. Their body involves a circular blade and housing or head and a straight or ergonomic curved handle. These cutters can be operated manually or can be automatic but manual is best for fabric because you have more control. You do get rotary cutters for metal, glass, etc., and electric ones can work well for those jobs.
Why use them if you have scissors? Their efficiency level is high compared to scissors, especially if you need to cut through multiple layers of fabric. These cutters are also very comfortable for the hands and wrists and allow cutting in a long, uninterrupted stretch with very little effort. You can slice perfect holes in fabrics, cut swaths of cloth into smaller strips, and cut through upholstery materials to create sofa and car seat covers. These are most commonly used on materials such as cotton, nylon, felt, suede, leather, batting, foam, and vinyl for sewing or quilting, and paper, cardboard, card stock, Thermocol, plastic, fiber sheet, and thin plywood for crafting.
Something else to consider is that scissors can never be ambidextrous; they can only be left-handed or right handed and you can’t switch hands when one hand gets tired. Modern home sewing machines work about equally as well for any dominant hand but industrial sewing machines favor left-handers.
If you are a left-handed person, you must use left-handed or ambidextrous rotary cutters. The reason for this is to be able to cut safely and cleanly, you need to have control of the blade in your dominant hand and also be able to keep your straight edge steady. In addition, you should also be able to see the blade, and it should be able to move freely along the ruler. However, if you do this with your non-dominant hand or use a cutter designed for the opposite hand, it will mean that there is a greater risk of slipping and not having complete control of the cutter, which is a sharp instrument.
Table of Contents
- 1 In a Hurry? Here Are Our Picks for Best Rotary Cutters for Left Handers…
- 2 How to Choose a Rotary Cutter
- 3 Best Left Handed Rotary Cutter for Fabric
- 3.1 Martelli Ergo 2000 Left Handed Rotary Cutter
- 3.2 Fiskars Crafts Comfort Loop Rotary Cutter, 60mm Titanium
- 3.3 Fiskars Classic Stick Rotary Cutter, 45mm
- 3.4 Fiskars Classic (45mm) Comfort Loop Rotary Cutter
- 3.5 OLFA 45 mm Tungsten Steel Ergonomic Rotary Cutter
- 3.6 Olfa Quick Change Rotary Cutter RTY-2/NS (45mm)
- 3.7 Xinart 45mm Classic Comfort Loop Rotary Cutter
- 3.8 OLFA Small Rotary Cutter 18mm
- 4 FAQs
In a Hurry? Here Are Our Picks for Best Rotary Cutters for Left Handers…
BEST 45MM BLADE CUTTER
Olfa Quick Change 45mm Rotary Cutter
- Interchangeable for left and right-handed use
- Dual independent blade covers for switching hand use
- Straight stick handle
BEST 60MM BLADE CUTTER
Martelli Ergo 2000 60mm Rotary Cutter
- Only for left-handed use
- Automatic release guard
- Ergonomic bent handle
BEST BUDGET CUTTER
Xinart 45mm Classic Comfort Loop Rotary Cutter
- Interchangeable for left and right-handed use
- Switch blade extend tab and retract button
- Ergonomic comfort loop handle
How to Choose a Rotary Cutter
Type of Job
While choosing a rotary cutter, it is essential to consider the kind of fabric you are cutting. If you are cutting small intricate patterns, you have to select cutters with smaller diameter blades. These will help cut tight curves and edges quickly and easily. On the other hand, if you have to cut mostly large patterns, choose cutters with larger blades. Larger blades will be able to handle a larger quantity of fabric at a time. It is essential to choose the right type of cutter for your projects to avoid mistakes and work smoothly.
Rotary cutters come in four sizes. 18mm, 28mm, 45mm, 60mm. 45mm is the size which is most commonly used and found in most stores.
- 18mm: This cutter helps in cutting more intricate shapes, tight curves, appliqué, and small quilting projects. These are also used for cutting templates, trimming seams, and paper cutting.
- 28mm: These cutters work best in small-scale sewing and quilting projects. These are also used for pattern cutting, strip cutting, and square blocks.
- 45mm: This size of the cutters is most commonly used. It can cut up to 8 layers of cotton fabric or 1-2 layers of denim or leather with accuracy and precision. These cutters are usually available with more ergonomic handle options.
- 60mm: This cutter can cut up to 12 layers of cotton fabric with accuracy and precision. These are great for upholstery; cutting, leather, carpet, wool, bamboo, fleece, felt, and suede. These cutters are also usually available with traditional or ergonomic handles.
While buying a cutter, it is essential to look at the quality of the blade or the material used to make it, apart from the blade’s sharpness. The most common material used in making blades is tungsten steel, followed by high-grade alloys and bare steel. To avoid rusting the blade, it is better not to choose any blade made of copper or iron. The preferred design of the blade is when it is slimmest on the edges and thick at the center.
Safety and Ergonomics
- Blade guard: A blade guard is needed to protect your fingers from accidental cuts if the cutter slips from your hands while cutting or if the blade is exposed in storage. Blade guards are usually plastic or fiber glass.
- Blade switches or squeeze handle: There are two ways that a blade could operate. One uses a switch to extend or retract the blade from its guard or covering, and the second type uses a squeeze handle to extend and hold it in position as you cut and to retract it when you release. The former design is better for arthritic hands but not as safe because you might forget to release the blade after you finish cutting.
How Does it Work for Lefties?
A rotary cutter is excellent and convenient to use, especially if it is designed for left-handed people or for both hands use. Compared to fabric cutting scissors, it can cut faster, especially if you have to cut the same pattern through several layers of fabric. While some rotary cutters are designed either for left-handers or right-handers, a few are designed to be used with either hand, which not only benefits lefties but allows all users to interchange hands when one hand gets tired. It’s similar to most western-style double-beveled chefs knives that work just as well in both hands.
The cutter blade edge has to be visible to the user as it cuts through the material, much like when using a circular saw when cutting wood. Since you have to use it against a ruler or guide, you can only watch the edge from the right side if you’re using a right-handed cutter. Many blades also have the edge sharpened to angle slightly inwards to sit snugly against the guide edge. If you switch hands on a right-handed cutter, the angle won’t be snug against the guide edge and it won’t cut cleanly.
One design that allows ambidextrous use requires the blade to be taken out, inverted and assembled on the other side of the cutter head. Another design keeps the symmetrical edged blade in place while extending or retracting independent blade covers on either side. A third design doesn’t have a full head against the blade so it is equally exposed on both sides while in use but will only have a symmetrical handle.
Another metal cutting tool you should get if you’re a left hander – the best left handed or ambidextrous can opener.
Best Left Handed Rotary Cutter for Fabric
Martelli Ergo 2000 Left Handed Rotary Cutter
The Martelli Ergo 2000 Left Handed Rotary Cutters provide accurate precision and are ergonomically designed. You can choose between 45mm and 60mm size blades. Additionally, these are the only fully left-handed cutters. The blade can be easily replaced once it’s worn out and the replacements are readily available in sizes 60mm and 45mm.
This cutter features a handle that will nicely fit into your left hand and requires very little pressure to cut. It also offers excellent maneuverability, which adds to its comfort. These cutters have ergonomic bent handles and are good to use for hands with arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and normal hand fatigue while also providing the user with excellent visibility of the cutting line.
These cutters provide accuracy in cutting and the sharp blade can cut through several layers of cotton fabric with ease. Apart from cutting fabrics, the sharpness of the blade allows the cutter to be used for light construction jobs as well. There’s an automatic release guard for safety.
Sharp blades provide for accurate cutting and last a long time.
Comfortable handles help in avoiding wrist fatigue.
No need to press much.
Exclusively for left handers.
Martelli blades are non-standard and expensive.
Fiskars Crafts Comfort Loop Rotary Cutter, 60mm Titanium
The Fiskars Comfort Loop 60 mm Rotary Cutter is perfect for cutting thicker materials, including quilting materials, batting, foams, and multiple layers of fabrics. It comes with a size 60mm blade that offers precise cuts. It has updated rotary blades, which can be assembled on either side of the cutter. This design provides excellent blade visibility for both left and right-handed users.
The blades of these cutters feature a titanium coating which is three times harder than steel and improves its durability and retains its sharpness for a longer period. The handles of these cutters are soft-grip, which helps in reducing hand fatigue. They also have a curved shape with a loop handle, which makes them a good fit for your hands and helps in improving control. There’s a sliding button that you push to extend the blade for use. It locks into place with a click so that you don’t have to press on anything in order for the blade to cut. When you’re done, you click a small side button and the blade retracts for safety when not in use.
This cutter also has the replaceable blade feature and we advise you to buy a single or pack of replacement blades along with the cutter because some customers report that the cutter was shipped with a dull blade but the replacements are very sharp.
Provides precise cuts.
Good for cutting multiple layers of fabrics.
Handle has a soft grip.
Can be adjusted for left and right-handed people.
You may get a defective blade with the cutter.
Fiskars Classic Stick Rotary Cutter, 45mm
The Fiskars Classic Stick 45mm Rotary Cutter is perfect if you need to cut intricate patterns for appliqué and quilting projects. You can even cut through a stack of 10 sheets of paper. It is made of a high-grade stainless steel 45mm rotary blade which offers a lot of precision in cuts. The size of the rotary blade is ideal for firm, controlled cuts on a wide range of materials.
The cutter is completely symmetrical, which makes free-hand cutting comfortable and convenient for right and left-handed users. It has a sliding button that extends the blade guard to cover the blade when the cutter is not in use.
Additionally, the blade can be replaced by just snapping it off and snapping a new one in. This cutter is light and smooth to use and hold and its precision helps when gliding right across the area that you need to cut.
Excellent for precise cutting.
Slim design takes up very little space in your crafting toolbox.
The safety guard is well designed.
Replacement blades are easily available.
The blade that comes with the cutter may become dull fast.
Fiskars Classic (45mm) Comfort Loop Rotary Cutter
The Fiskars Classic (45mm) Comfort Loop Rotary Cutter is very similar to the Comfort Loop 600mm cutter, except that it features a high-grade 45mm premium steel rotary blade without coating. It offers precision cutting through multiple layers of a variety of fabrics.
This has a curved loop handle design but without a soft grip. The design allows for a comfortable and convenient hold with better control of your cuts. It’s great for people with hand disabilities. This cutter also has a sliding button that extends the blade and locks it into position when you need to use it and another button on the side retracts it to prevent any accidents and for storage.
What makes it lefty-friendly is that the blade can be assembled on either side so that both left and right-handed people can use it. Replacement blades are available for this cutter.
Very comfortable handle.
The cuts are clean.
The safety button is very sensitive and can accidentally cause the blade to retract while in use.
You may get a defective blade with your cutter.
OLFA 45 mm Tungsten Steel Ergonomic Rotary Cutter
The OLFA 45 mm Ergonomic Rotary Cutter is constructed with a tungsten steel blade which helps with precise, crisp cuts and helps retain its sharpness for an extended period. It is good for medium to heavy duty projects and can cut through 6 layers of fabric easily.
This is the best ergonomic rotary cutter with a comfort-grip handle that’s curved so that you minimize wrist turns. It is a two part handle that you squeeze lightly to extend the blade for cutting, and when you release it, the blade retracts. To prevent accidents, there’s a safety lock button to ensure that the blade doesn’t pop out unless you intend to cut with it.
The cutter can be adjusted to use by both right and left-handed people as the blade assembly can be reversed. A quick blade change allows you to replace old dull blades but also to switch out a straight edge blade for a decorative edge blade when you want to create a pinking, scallop, or wave edge. This package also comes with a replacement blade.
Accommodates straight and decorative edge blades.
Has a thumb-activated blade lock along with squeeze handle to extend the blade.
Cuts through multiple layers of fabric.
Very easy to use.
Arthritic hands may not like squeezing the handle to use.
Olfa Quick Change Rotary Cutter RTY-2/NS (45mm)
The Olfa Quick Change 45mm Rotary Cutter RTY-2/NS is a straight stick cutter that comes with independent blade covers for right and left-handed use. Depending on which hand you want to use, you simply switch the corresponding tab to extend the appropriate side blade cover. When you want to switch hands, switch that tab back and slide the other tab forward. There is no need to remove the blade at all. When the cutter is not in use, you slide both tabs forward to completely cover the blade. Replacing the blade is quick. First switch both tabs back and then pop the assembly knob off.
It can be used for medium to heavy-duty projects and can cut up to 6 layers of fabric.
The cutter has an anti-slip contour handle, making it easy and comfortable to use and hold without developing wrist fatigue. It also comes in handy for people who have arthritic fingers.
Sharp blade that cuts through multiple layers easily.
Switch hands with just a switch of a tab.
Dual independent blade covers enhance safety.
Xinart 45mm Classic Comfort Loop Rotary Cutter
The Xinart 45mm Rotary Cutter for fabric is almost identical to the Fiskars Comfort Loop models but cheaper and comes with two extra replacement blades. It uses a blade made of Japan high-grade SKS-7 stainless steel, making the blades super sharp and durable.
This fabric rotary cutter reduces joint fatigue using an ergonomic design of a looped handle. It is ideal for cutting fabric, leather, paper, vinyl, felt, and netting. The 45mm cutter blade can be conveniently replaced. Additionally, both right and left-handed people can use it as it features the ability to install the blade on either side of the cutter head.
It also has a switch that extends and locks the blade into place while you’re using it and a safety button to retract it when you’re done.
Good safety feature.
The blade may retract while in use if you apply too much pressure.
OLFA Small Rotary Cutter 18mm
The OLFA Small 18mm Rotary Cutter is the smallest in the Olfa stable of cutter and has a blade of size 18mm, which is made from RB-18 stainless steel. Cutting curves, small details, and appliques and trimming seams can be done with this blade. It is a fabric cutter that also cuts paper and film and can handle up to 2-3 layers. It has a straight handle, which allows it to be used by both right and left-handed people. There is no need to need to switch the blade position in order to switch hands.
Additionally, there is an in-built blade cover which extends out when you slide the safety switch forward.
Good for small and intricate cutting jobs.
Compact size for storage.
Won’t withstand heavy use.
Replacement blades not found in local stores.
How do you use a left handed rotary cutter?
To use a left-handed rotary cutter, hold the cutter in your left hand and the left handed measuring tape or guide edge in your right hand. You always cut the fabric on the left side of the ruler. Then press the squeeze handle or top switch to get the blade out, apply mild pressure and start cutting through the fabric moving the cutter away from your body. After you are done using it, you can retract the blade back to its blade guard.
How do you cut fabric with a rotary cutter?
In order to cut fabric with a rotary cutter, line up your fabric carefully and make sure that the grains of the fabric all run in the same way, then apply even pressure on the cutter and start cutting in the direction away from your body. Use a measuring ruler or metal or plastic guide edge to run the blade against for a straight cut.
Why is my rotary cutter not cutting?
Your rotary cutter might not cut if your blade has dulled out or you are not applying the right amount of pressure on it to cut. The blade may also need to be tightened if it feels wobbly or loosened if the blade seems to skip while cutting.