Cuts hundreds of materials
Cricut Explore Air 2
2x Faster Than Explore 1
Cricut Explore Air 1
Amazing DIY Value
Good for paper crafters
If you don’t have a Cricut machine or have an older version, you don’t know what you are missing! While there is a learning curve with Cricut Design Space, the free, design software, the projects you can create are unlimited. There are thousands of images, fonts, and projects. You can also personalize and upload your own artwork.
The newer machines cut a variety of material, from cardstock to leather, chipboard and vinyl. And the Maker cuts fabric! This allows you to not only make scrapbook pages and cards, but banners, decorated t-shirts and home decor!
There are four machines available now that work with design space. Let’s jump right into our list of the best Cricut machines. Starting off at number 1 we have…
#1 Cricut Maker (Best Cricut Machine)
The top of the line model – the Cricut Maker! All around, the cricut maker is the best cricut machine, but also the most expensive. It cuts hundreds of materials, including fabrics. The ability to cut fabrics and thicker material is what differentiates it from the other Cricut machines.
It also comes with a sewing pattern library with hundreds of patterns available. Other types of materials it cuts are paper, cardboard, felt, leather, and vinyl among many others. It’s rotary blade allows the cutting of fabric without backing the fabric first – just put the fabric on the cutting mat! The X-ACTO® type blade, which is expected out by the end of 2017, can cut through thicker materials, including balsa wood and mat board.
It also uses Bluetooth® wireless technology so you can use your Cricut machine without wires. In addition to cutting, it scores and writes. With the pens, you can embellish with texts and shapes. The pens also allow you to cut and write with just one step. The machine will cut a box and score the lines with one step. This machine is also faster than the two lowest end models.
If you really enjoy crafting and want the best cricut machine on the market, the cricut maker is the definitely the way to go. It will not disappoint!
The next best Cricut machine is the Explore Air 2. It also is faster than the lower two models, but doesn’t cut fabric or the thicker materials. However, if you are mostly a paper crafter, this may be the best cricut machine for you. It still cuts vinyl, cardstock, poster board, adhesive foil, and faux leather, among others.
The Explore Air 2, like the Maker, makes a perfect cut, using the Smart Set Dial, which ensures the right depth and pressure. If you use your Cricut quite a bit, having that extra speed is very helpful. It will allow you to quickly get what you need allowing you to get right back to crafting!
A step lower is the Explore Air. The main difference between the Air and the Air 2 is the speed. The Air 2 and Maker cut two times quicker than the Air. It still cuts all the material that the Air 2 does, including cardstock, vinyl, poster board, faux leather, among others. This machine, like the others, makes intricate cuts.
Finally, the Explore One. It does the same cutting as the Explore Air, but doesn’t have the Bluetooth ® technology. There is a wireless Bluetooth® adapter, sold separately. It cuts vinyl, cardstock faux leather, adhesive foil, etc. It also scores and writes, like the other machines.
If you are just getting into crafting and don’t need to cut too many different types of materials, this may be the best cricut machine for you. With that being said, a few months into using the Cricut Explore One you may wish you had one of the top two cricuts!
The choice of machine depends mainly on your use. If you are purely a papercrafter, the Explore One, Air, and Air 2 will allow you to do the projects you want. However, the Maker gives the most flexibility in materials used. I’m mainly a papercrafter but it would be nice to be able to cut matboard, felt and the occasional fabric easily!
There are accessories that go with the machines and you can purchase bundles that include these accessories. For example the Cricut Air 2 plus Everything Starter Set comes with Vinyl Transfer Tape, Replacement Blade, Basic Trimmer, Vellum Metallic Sampler,Printable Iron On Light and Dark, Window Cling, Printable Sticker Paper, Faux Leather Wood Grain Sampler, Metallic Poster Board, Outdoor Vinyl, Dry Erase Vinyl, Window Cling, Home Sampler Vinyl, Basic Tools Set, Metallic Pen Set, Multi Pen Set, Scoring Stylus Tool, Deep Cut Blade, and 3 pack Cutting Mat.
There are numerous materials that work with the machines. The Cricut Iron-On Lite is a material that cuts on all four of these machines and decorates t-shirts, bags, dish towels, backpacks, makeup bags, etc. You can cut out shapes, letters, and designs. The Cricut EasyPress is an alternative to ironing on the images. With an evenly heated ceramic plate and simple digital controls, it makes ironing flawless and easy.
You can purchase cardboard, felt, fabric and leather. With the leather, you can cut out shapes to make bracelets, earrings and pendants. A leather clutch would be a fun fashion accessory to make.
With the Cricut pens, you can draw and write with your Cricut Explore or Maker. The pens come in a very wide variety of colors. This allows you to add color to your embellishments for scrapbook pages and cards.Cricut Accessories
Software and Images
All four of these machines come with Design Space. This is Cricut’s free design software. With it being cloud-based, you can access your files from any device. Design Space has many ready to make projects. There’s also thousands of images and fonts to play with. And you can upload your own images. You can also use your cartridges with these machines.
For a fee, you can subscribe to Cricut Access. There are three levels – Fonts, Standard. and Premium. Fonts includes over 370 fonts, including exclusives. Standard includes the fonts, but also comes with more than 30,000 images. It also includes a discount on digital and physical purchases. Cricut Premium comes with all that Standard comes with, but offers a 50% discount on most digital purchases.
There are so many fun projects you can make with these machines. In addition to the obvious scrapbook embellishment and card, you can make seasonal items. Make halloween costumes including masks and embellishments to pin on a sweatshirt. Make place cards for Thanksgiving, and felt stockings and ornaments for Christmas. For Easter, decorate a candy pail with vinyl or make themed treat bags. Cut out stars to make a Fourth of July pennant or fun pinwheels.
There are many things for parties you can also do. Make a complete themed birthday from pennants to cupcake toppers. How about a Batman or princess themed party? You could make football snack bowls for a Superbowl party. And customize it with the teams! With the vinyl, you can make t shirts, customized caps, mugs, wood plaques, along with many other things. Numerous party favors can be made for a bridal shower, baby shower or wedding reception! You could put the bride and groom’s initials on the champagne glasses.
Home decor items are limitless. Make a wood plaque with your favorite saying on it. Or a wood plaque with a ghost for Halloween, a Santa for Christmas, and a decorated egg for Easter! Make a custom pillow by adhering fabric or vinyl to it. Make custom coffee mugs! Cut out flowers from cardstock to make a wreath! Create custom napkins with vinyl. You can even decorate a gorgeous coffee table!
Silhouette is a competitor with its Cameo 3 product. Users generally feel the Cricut Explore Air cuts heavier material better. The Cricut tends to cut material clean. Also, the Cricut products are easier to use out of the box. The custom design graphics tend to be better with the Silhouette than the Cricut. The ease of the software with the Cricut products is also a selling point. For most users, the Cricut appears to be the better option.
The reviews are very good for the Cricut machines. Users like the speed of Explore Air 2 over the Explore Air. The intricacy of the cuts are another positive feature. One negative is that it is dependent on the internet, but you can download images and use offline. Users feel it is fairly easy to get it up and going out of the box. The projects you can make are endless and many ideas can be found online.
Thanks for reading my article on the best Cricut machine, hope you enjoyed!