Button Making Kit Comparison: American v Chinese Buttons
(Not-so-subtle hint: Support the home team…Buy American!)
Before we begin this article, let’s take a quick, 1-question quiz. And don’t worry, it will not be an essay test so put your blue books away. We simply have an easy multiple choice question for you:
Which of the following terms in the list does not belong with the others?
A.The Great Wall of China
B.The 2008 Summer Olympics
D.Professional, easy to use button making kits that are made in the USA.
The answer, of course, is “D”. Professional, easy to use button making kits that are made in the USA, which differs from the others by not being an accurate descriptive term for China.
And don’t worry if you got the answer wrong. The purpose of this post is to educate you on why buying an American-made button making kit not only supports the home team, but ensures that you are getting a better, more effective, and more cost-efficient product.
Based on questions and feedback we receive from our customers, it is clear that the debate between American-made button making products and Chinese-made button making products continues to flow throughout the market. And while we can only make judgments based on our own experience and research-based opinions, it is our view that the debate is decidedly one-sided: buy American.
We come across customers all the time who are looking for a button machine that makes more than one size button. “Can you exchange the dies to make more than one button size with your professional button machine?” they ask. The simple answer is no, you cannot exchange dies with our professional button machines. There are, however, products out there, namely the Chinese all-in-one (or sometimes called 3-in-1 button machines), that will allow you to do so.
We put this article series together to highlight the many drawbacks of the all-in-one or 3-in-1 exchangeable method that actually end up making it less efficient, less convenient, and more costly than buying separate machines for each button size you desire.
button making kits – Chinese buttons vs American buttons.
Common Myths about Chinese Button Making Kits
First, let’s debunk a few myths that we hear propagated time and again. Each of the myths below is false, as you will learn when you continue reading.
Myth #1: Exchangeable dies are better than single-size button machines.
Myth #2: The manufacturing quality of Chinese-made button machines and American-made machines is similar.
Myth #3: 3-in-1 machines are made in the U.S.A.
Myth #4: Chinese machines make photo buttons and fabric-covered buttons.
Myth #5: It is cheaper to buy a 3-in-1 machine rather than three separate machines.
We will be dealing with the exchangeable versus single-size machines on another page, along with the vast difference in manufacturing quality between our machines and Chinese-made machines. The crux of the debate lies with the general idea that all-in-one products of any type very rarely do one thing as well as products designed for a single purpose. This is especially true with respect to made-in-China button makers, which are both less effective and less efficient because of their exchangeable die design.
In regards to Myths 3 and 4 above, these are quite easy to debunk. 3-in-1 machines are not made in the U.S.A., which means that you are not supporting American manufacturing by purchasing one. In addition, a made-in-China 3-in-1 machine limits your options, as there are no sizes available that we have found which allow you to make photo or fabric-covered buttons.
Myth #5 is the big one, as most people assume that buying an all-in-one Chinese button making kit will save them money over buying a button making kit that is a series of single purpose machines. While this may be the case for other products in other industries, it does hold true in button making.
Button Making Kit Cost Comparison
First, let’s take a look at the hard costs. The 3-in-1 Chinese button machine kits, which are sold through a limited distribution channel in the states, typically come with three exchangeable dies, three different “plastic” paper cutters to cut-a-circle, and button supplies for 250 buttons. On average, such sets retail for around 20% more than ours. We have developed two deluxe wholly American-made button making kits, each of which includes our most popular button sizes: 1”, 2.25” and 3” at a discounted price:
- Includes a 1″, a 2.25″ and a 3″ Button Machine.
- Adjustable Circle Cutter with 3 centering templates to cut out the 3 different button sizes.
- 250 complete pinback button sets for 1″, 2.25″, 3″ pinback buttons.
- Our Button Essentials Design CD and Artistic Creations Series #1 and Artistic Creations Series #2 Design CD’s.
- Includes a 1″, a 2.25″ and a 3″ Button Machine.
- A 1″ Punch Cutter, 2.25″ Punch Cutter and a 3″ Punch Cutter to cut out graphics.
- 250 complete pinback button sets for each size: 1″, 2.25″, 3″ pinback buttons.
- Our Button Essentials Design CD, Artistic Creations Series #1 CD and Artistic Creations Series #2 Design CD.
Note: The primary difference between our beginner’s button making kit and the professional button making kit is the circle cutters. The beginner’s button kit includes one adjustable circle cutter, while the professional button making kit includes three individual advanced circle cutters that we call punch cutters. Learn more about the cutters below.
The hard costs associated with Chinese button making kits and American button making kits, however, only tell a part of the story. Next, let’s consider the variable cost of supplies.
If you buy any type of button machine, obviously you need button supplies. The supplies necessary for use with a Chinese button machine are 3-5 times more expensive, with necessary being the operative word. While our button machines come with a lifetime warranty, Chinese button machines carry a warranty that is voided if you do not use their more expensive parts. Over time, this difference in supply cost can obviously add up to significant amounts especially if you are getting a button maker kit for business purposes and plan on producing in volume.
In addition, it is important to take into account the cost of time, especially if you are running a button-making business. While you could have three separate machines running at once making different sized buttons with the purchase of one of our deluxe button making kits, a singular 3-in-1 machine can only produce one size at one time. This means that a team working with one of our deluxe kits could make three times (if not more, since our machines are easier and quicker to use) as many buttons in a given time period than if using a 3-in-1 machine.
Button Making Kit Paper Cutter Comparison
Another important difference is the quality of paper cutters. Made-in-China button making kits only provide a clear plastic circle cutter, pictured below:
On the other hand, we offer three different types of higher quality cutters to choose from:
Adjustable Circle Cutter
This durable circle cutter provides an easy method to cut circular button graphics with speed and accuracy. One cutting wheel and interchangeable plastic centering templates are included. A cutting plate is also included which protects table surfaces. Depending on paper thickness, multiple graphics may be cut at one time. The circle cutter cuts a full range of button sizes from 1″ to 3.5″ (Actual Cut Size: 1.313 to 4″).
The punch cutter is made with all metal and when using this cutter, the entire circle’s circumference is punched at once. There is a clear visual centering hole at the top and it requires very little physical force to operate. Our punch cutters are self sharpening so there is no need to replace cutting blades and come with the same lifetime warranty as our button making machines.
Die Cutting Press
Do you feel the need for speed? Our die cutting press can cut up to 50 graphics at a time.
Add it all up, and the Chinese 3-in-1 button making kit is significantly more expensive, and the difference in cost grows each time you use it. Why would you want to spend more money to support a non-American product that is of lesser quality? Save money and support the home team by purchasing a higher quality and more cost efficient American-made button making kit from American Button Machines:
Click to learn more about our Beginner’s 3-in-1 Button Making Kit
Click to learn more about our Professional 3-in-1 Button Making Kit
Continue to Part Two of our Button Making Kit Comparison