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Purple Cows 2-in-1 Combo Trimmer w/ Detachable Rotary Cutter

{reported by Emilie Ahern}
I saw Purple Cows 2-in-1 Combo Trimmer at a CHA a few years back and after the demo I was totally convinced. It seemed so perfect... A rotary trimmer on one said and a guillotine on the other, precise cuts, light-weight...what's not to like? I got one and started using it right away...with very mixed results. I am going to jump right in to the Pros and Cons so you can get a good feel for this trimmer.


- One thing I loved about this trimmer was the absence of a sharp blade. I have small children who not only get into my stuff, but who I sometimes want to allow to craft along with me and the guillotine "blade is not a blade at all. It cuts paper really well, but cannot hurt you. Seriously, you could smash it down onto your hand with no injury whatsoever.

- The guillotine blade also can cut throw serious stuff. For instance, I used this blade to cut through a standard thickness piece of acrylic to reduce the width of an album page. It made it through the material....yes, I had to seriously try hard, but it did cut it and I'm not sure if any other trimmer I have tried could accomplish that feat.

- The rotary side comes with additional blade types and does a good job. The replaceable blades can be easily stored and are easily changed out.


- It is advertised as lightweight, and it is, but it is far too light weight for my liking. I found it difficult to anchor down when making cuts. Some others may like the lightness, but I found it to be quite a drawback for me.

- There is an additional arm which you are supposed to hold down before cutting to keep your paper steady. This seemed bothersome to me and like an additional step I didn't need.

- Having a removable side seemed like such a bonus at first, but I ended up hating it for a few reasons.
(a) Removing it is kind of tricky and feels like you are going to break the thing right off.
(b) The unattached right side/guillotine cutter does not have enough surface area to hold a 12x12" sheet of paper.
(c) The unattached left side/rotary cutter has nowhere near enough space to make any trimming project stable. It is very poorly designed and makes this side useless if unattached. And that was the whole point...wasn't it?

- The trimming itself was not exact. We have been over this trimmer seems to be 100% accurate all of the time, but I have found this to be exceptionally inaccurate....maybe based on the fact that I opted out of the additional arm step. (see second "con" above)

- If you choose keep the sides attached to solve some of the problems listed above, the trimmer itself is incredibly bulky and awkward to use and transport.

Where and How Much
What Purple Cows 2-in-1 Combo Trimmer with Detachable Rotary Cutter
Manufacturer: Purple Cows
MSRP: $54.99
Available at:*,,

What I think Overall I am going to have to say I would not recommend this trimmer. I donated mine to the Salvation Army. While there are a few good things about it, the cons heavily outweigh the pros.

What do YOU think? Do you love this trimmer and think I have lost my mind? Have you tried it before and had my same issues? Do you think the pros outweigh the cons? Leave a comment and share your insights.

To see other TSR reviews on trimmer and cutting systems click here.


Naomi Ockeman said...

Oh no you are right on!!! I was the same thought this is the perfect trimmer--it will do it all!!
Ok to be very disappointed!!!

its not very well made for everyday use---I gave it to my mom who has more patience...

Vel said...

Thanks so much for a thorough and completely honest review. Though I wasn't seriously considering buying one of these, it's nice to know it's not an option anymore. I'll stick with my cheapo Fiskars like a charm. :)

Jingle said...

I have this trimmer and, honestly, I love it. The arm makes a HUGE difference in accuracy. Also, I have found that you have to use either the top or the bottom consistently to measure because they aren't quite the same. I believe there is a reason for this in the instructions, but I don't remember what it was. I do agree that the detaching concept is not as well thought out as I would like and even when detatched the sides are too large and bulky to put in my XXL. I just bring the whole darned thing to crops since I don't have a decent smaller one. I had troubles with it for a while, but I realized that it was more user error and once I focused on them and tried to be consistent with my set up it worked wonderfully. I really love that it is so easy to use and I do love the guillotine side. I have thought about looking at the MM cutter, but I got this one for free from PC, so it's hard to spend so much on a new one! LOL!

Anonymous said...

Actually I have had this trimmer for over a year. I don't detach the side and it has been the most accurate trimmer I've had. I like the exchangeable blades for the rotary cutter, although I don't use it often. I also like all the measurement lines on the cutter itself. I got it with a 50% coupon so it wasn't as big an expense, but I really do like it and use it daily.

lisa808 said...

Thanks for the review. I was contemplating getting this, but will instead keep up the quest for the 'perfect' cutter.

Anonymous said...

I bought this awhile back and returned it to the store! I totally agree with everything you wrote. It's definitely not worth the money.

Bekah said...

Duh, use the arm. I have this trimmer and I love it. I get the most accurate cuts I've ever had with it. Plus, with the stabilization arm there's no more holding the paper down with the palm of one hand, trying to keep it steady, and worrying about a rotary arm torquing it at the same time.

I will admit that the rotary side sucks. Big time. But the guillotine side is the best trimmer out there.

Rebecca Keppel said...

I bought a similar purple cows trimmer (the one with the guillatine and the moveable any angle rotary trimmer) and I thought the same thing--TOO FLIMSY. I use my trimmer all the time and I knew it wouldn't hold up to constant use so I returned it.

Aly Dosdall said...

Very interesting. Thanks for being so honest in your review, emilie.

Rhayne said...

I think for $55 it should really shine. I do not have this trimmer but one of my friends does. She too was raving about it for awhile after she got it but then she started to see the negatives you mentioned. One great thing she did note was amazing customer service when she broke hers trying to pry the halves apart.

atlcarly said...

I have this trimmer. I got it from Costco in Atlanta for $27. I'd never had a rotary trimmer for scrapbooking before. This combo trimmer is AWESOME. I takes some getting used to and the shape is a bit unwieldy but overall, I'm very pleased. Mine came with scoring and perforating blades, but I've never tried them. I think they are more useful with cardmaking.

Jodee said...

I have the Purple Cows 2 in 1 one piece trimmer. I like it well enough. My main complaint about that one is that it is only 11 inches wide. So, sometimes I have trouble with the 12 inch paper, making specific cuts. But, I guess that's my own fault-I knew it was that wide when I bought it. I think it works pretty well. I leave this trimmer on my table at home and if I go anywhere to scrap, I have a cheapie Provocraft one that I take with.