When it comes to precision cutting, plotting and crafting, Cricut Machines will make any project, any job easy. Cricut Machines gives you the freedom to create all kinds of projects, from paper crafts to vinyl decals. Simply connect your tablet, smartphone or PC to a Cricut and it’s a guarantee that your project is off to a good start.
We will discuss the features, the pros and cons of using each type of Cricut and hopefully at the end you will be able to find the best machine that will work your needs and budget.
#1. Cricut Maker
You will be able to make everything with the Cricut Maker. This is the flagship Cricut model and can work with almost all types of materials from paper to balsa wood. The Cricut Maker has an expandable set of tools: it comes with a blade, pen and a scoring tool. You can cut through any kind of fabric fast and in the most accurate manner when you use the rotary blade that comes with the Cricut Maker. you can create extra-deep cuts through thicker and heavier materials like balsa and matboard with the machine’s knife blade. You also have the freedom to choose from hundreds of digital patterns from the Cricut database. The machine can easily cut and mark all these pieces and all you need to do is to complete your project. The Cricut Maker makes sewing and quilting work simple. You also have the option to use your own designs; just upload these and use them using the Cricut app.
This Cricut model is one of the most popular however there are a few disadvantages to its use. The knife blade that lets you cut even thick materials is sold separately. Not all images are free from their Image Library and in fact you need to pay for the best ones. There are some complaints that it takes time to work with an iPad. Consider these cons before you purchase the Cricut Maker.
- With expandable tools: rotary blade, knife blade and pens
- Rotary blade can cut fast and accurately
- Knife blade can handle thin and thick materials
- With fine point pen, 12 x 12 inches cutting mats
- Comes with hundreds of digital sewing patterns
- With simple design app; load projects on a computer or mobile device
- You can use your own designs
- With a device docking slot
- With Bluetooth wireless technology
- With a USB port to charge your device while in use
#2. Cricut Explore Air 2
You can do a lot with a personal DIY cutting machine, from custom vinyl stickers to home décor. The Cricut Explore Air 2 will let you upload our own designs or you can use any design from their huge library of pre-made designs. You can make your designs in a personal computer, tablet, laptop or a cell phone and easily import it to Cricut Design Space. The Design Space app can work for Android devices as well as iOS devices. You can use more than 100+ materials for different projects with the Cricut Explore Air 2 with its Smart Set Dial. This machine can connect to your PC or device and it also works via Bluetooth to cut materials wirelessly.
There have been no problems with using the Cricut Explore Air 2 for Android users but some people who use iOS finds it hard to use Design Space. This is why if you use an iPad or products with the iOS system then you might consider a Cricut model that works well with your device.
- Cut intricate details with ultimate precision
- With Cricut Pens to create “handwritten” cards and other projects
- With more than 370 fonts to choose from
- With Scoring Stylus to fold cards, boxes, envelopes, acetate and to make 3D paper crafts
- With Fast Mode for 2X faster cutting
- You can work with more than 100+ kinds of materials
- Uses Design Space to work on files from any device
- Can work with an Android or iOS device
- Wireless cutting with Bluetooth
- With Cricut Image Library
#3. Cricut Explore Air
You can work on projects wirelessly when you use the Cricut Explore Air. This cutting machine has Bluetooth wireless features that will let you work with your tablet, smartphone or iPad. It has dual carriages so you can cut, write or score in one step. You can even upload your own images to Cricut Design Space for free and this machine supports almost all design files. Working on different materials? You can cut over 60 kinds of materials easily and precisely so you won’t waste expensive materials like leather. The Smart Set dial will allow you to make easy settings so you can work like a pro even if this is your first time to use the Cricut Explore Air. You can work using your own designs, use Cricut cartridges or use designs from its vast library collection.
It’s a breeze to use the Cricut Explore Air however you might find it expensive to use it in the long run if you are not planning to use your own designs. Fonts and images start at $0.90 and this could get costly if you want to print more designs. Uploading your own designs is free however.
- With embedded Bluetooth so you can work wirelessly
- With dual cartridge to cut, write or score at the same time
- Compatible with .svg, .jpg, .png, .bmp, .gif, .dxf files
- Will cut more than 60 different materials
- Will work on all Cricut cartridges
- With integrated storage components
#4. Cricut Explore One
You will be able to create projects and cut different kinds of materials with the use of the Cricut Explore One. This cutting tool uses a wireless Bluetooth adapter so you can use any Bluetooth-capable device to make beautiful projects. You can upload your own designs and images too for free and cut these easily as well. From paper to vinyl, carton to leather, the Cricut Explore One can cut seamlessly and easily anytime. If you don’t have any designs handy, you can also choose from the Cricut 50,000+ images from its Image Library. You can even use old Cricut cartridges.
It’s very convenient to use the Cricut Explore because you can enjoy wireless cutting and plotting however, this machine does not come with built-in wireless features. You must separately purchase a wireless Bluetooth adapter to be able to use this feature and this is clearly an additional cost for users. You also need to pay more for using fonts and images from the Image Library which is another additional expense.
- Upload your own designs for free or pick one from the Cricut Image Library
- Use the Cricut Design Space for PC, Mac, iPad or iPhone
- Works wirelessly by adding a wireless Bluetooth adapter
- Work on different materials from thin paper to thick vinyl
- Use fonts installed from your PC
- Compatible with .svg, .jpg, .bmp, .gif, .png and .dxf files
- Will work with Cricut cartridges
- With convenient tool and accessories holder
- No need to set with the Smart Set dial or create your own custom settings
- Create projects in minutes
#5. Cricut Expression 2
You have the option of using your computer or device or use the handy LCD touchscreen of the Cricut Expression 2. This is a completely new design and is also portable so you can take it anywhere to make projects, cut fonts and images and to use your own designs. The Cricut Expression 2 also works with Cricut cartridges so you can use old cartridges from your other Cricut models. You can control the machine easily from the touchscreen LCD screen and you can work with all kinds of materials as well.
The Expression 2 lets you manage your projects from the use of the LCD screen; you can change pressure and speed settings or customize your own settings for special kinds of materials. You can use thin materials like fabric, paper or foil or you can use thick materials like vinyl, chipboard or cardstock. It has 3 preloaded Cricut cartridges with limited fonts, phrases and images. You have to purchase additional Cricut cartridges to get more fonts and images.
- With full color LCD touchscreen
- Compatible with Cricut cartridges
- With Cricut cartridge content preloaded in the machine
- Connects to the free Cricut Craft Room design software
- More image editing features like image sizing, image rotation, vertical/horizontal flipping
- Preloaded 3 kinds of fonts, 40 phrases and 110 layered images
- With Cricut Essentials Cartridge and Alphabet Cartridge
- Works with all kinds and sizes of materials
- Uses 12” x 24” cutting mat (sold separately)
- With additional features like Auto Fill, Quantity and Fit to Page
- Use a computer to design and cut via the Cricut Craft Room
- Use images from Cricut Image Library
#6. Cricut Expression 1
You can make more customizations for different projects with the Cricut Expression 1. This electronic cutting machine works with the Cricut Craft Room where you can edit designs and improve your output all the more. With its six modes and four functions, you will be able to create a variety of projects. You can also enjoy fast cutting and plotting speeds which means that you can make projects faster, ideal for business use. The Expression 1 is also portable you can take it anywhere you need to be; at school, at home or at the office. It has an LCD screen but is not touchscreen. Your purchase comes with a 12” x 12” cutting mat so there is no need to purchase.
The Cricut Expression 1 is portable and woks efficiently; you can create many types of projects however you need to purchase cartridges because this one does not come with one. Technically, you can’t make any projects yet by the time this comes out of the box.
- Will work with the Cricut Craft Room
- With 6 modes and 4 different functions to improve customization
- Can cut minute 0.25’’ images to 23.5’’ designs
- With regular LCD screen
- Portable design
- Purchase comes with a 12” x 12” cutting mat
- Cuts quickly and efficiently
#7. Cricut Mini
You will appreciate the Cricut Mini because despite its small size, it can cut up to 8.5’’ x 12’’ materials and can cut shapes and fonts 1/4’’ to 11.5’’. You get precise cuts all the time. From its name you know that it is portable and light, you can take it anywhere you want to go. You need a laptop or a desktop that is connected to the internet to use the Cricut Mini so you can connect to the Gypsy. This Cricut model is the right one for you if you want to save space or if you need a machine you can move from one place to another.
- Can cut up to 8.5’’ x 12’’ materials
- Can cut shapes and fonts from 1/4’’ to larger cuts up to 11.5’’
- Must be connected to a laptop or computer to run the Cricut Gypsy
- Works with the free Cricut Craft Room online design software
- You can use numerous images from the Cricut Image Library
- Edit designs with size, slant, rotate or flip features
- Can work with all kinds of materials from thick vinyl to fragile thin foil
- Small and portable
- Quiet to use
- Comes with free 4 sheets of cardstock 8.5’’ x 11’’
#1. Cricut Maker vs Explore Air 2
The main difference between the Cricut Maker and the Explore Air 2 is the Maker has a Knife Blade that will let you cut thicker and tougher materials like leather, balsa wood and chip board. The Maker is heavier as well because it has been designed to provide larger pressure while using the Knife Blade. But of course the Explore Air 2 can also cut thick materials but the Maker does this faster and more precisely with the Knife Blade.
The Maker can cut colored paper and patterned paper using its new improved sensor while the Air 2 cuts only white paper. The Air 2 has a Smart Set dial which lets you choose the material you will use; it seems that it works on only a few materials compared to the Cricut Maker which can cut from the very thin to thick materials faster and easier.
The Cricut Maker has a sleeker design with some metal elements. It also has more compartments to store accessories such as scissors, blades, pens and markers plus a tablet or device holder. The Air 2 has only one compartment for tools and accessories.
All-in-all, if you are looking for a Cricut that can cut deeper and faster, can work on more types of materials and has more room for accessories then the Cricut Maker is for you. The Cricut Maker is the most expensive of all Cricut models being the flagship cutter machine. But if you just want to work on basic projects and want to take your Cricut anywhere then you might be better off with the Explore Air 2 model.
#2. Explore Air 2 vs Explore Air
The Explore Air and Explore Air 2 Cricut models are two of the most popular in the Explore line. Although these two cutting machines belong to the same Explore family, there are stark differences that you must take note of before you choose the right machine for your needs. Both the Explore Air and Air 2 have the Smart Set dial that will let you set the machine according to the material that you want to cut. The two machines are Bluetooth ready to help you work wirelessly. Both work with Cricut cartridges or you can use images and fonts from Image Library. The two machines don’t have a Rotary Blade for fabrics, no Knife Blade and Adaptive Tool System.
The main difference between the Explore Air and Explore Air 2 is that the Air 2 has the Fast Mode to cut and write up to 2x faster than the Air. The Air is available in Blue, Teal, Gold and Wild Orchid colors while the Air 2 is available in Mint, Blue, Rose, Anna Griffin and Lilac. Therefore, if you are looking for a faster and more efficient Cricut Explore machine line then the Explore Air 2 is more suitable for your needs. But if you don’t mind speed and you don’t want to pay more then you can settle for the Explore Air.
#3. Explore Air vs Explore One
The Cricut Explore Air and Explore One are two lightweight and easy to carry anywhere Cricut models. You can take these anywhere you need to work: at home, at school or at the office. The two models are equipped with the Smart Set dial to let you set the machine easily and work on specific types of materials. Both Explore models can cut a variety of materials, from thin paper to thick leather and vinyl. These two models can be connected to a PC, Mac and iOS mobile devices however the Explore One does not have a built-in Bluetooth for cutting wirelessly; you need to purchase a Bluetooth adapter from Cricut to allow the machine to work wirelessly. The Explore One has an Accessory Adapter that you must purchase separately. This adapter will let you attach the One Pen Adapter so you can write with your Explore One.
Between the Explore Air and Explore One, the Air will is a more practical choice if you are looking for a wireless-ready Cricut machine. It also has a double tool holder for cutting and writing so there is no need to purchase a tool adapter. You will save money and time in using the Explore Air compared to purchasing accessories and enhancements with the Explore One.
#4. Explore Air vs Explore Air Gold
Now comparing the Explore Air and the Explore Air Gold, which Cricut is better and which one will work for you? Actually, there is no difference between the Air and the Gold specs wise. Both machines have the Smart Set dial to set the type of material that you will work on with the Cricut, both are Bluetooth so you can cut and write wirelessly and both have a double tool holder for easy cutting and writing.
Both machines will let you cut a wide variety of materials and you can upload your own images for free using the Design Space app. You can use Cricut cartridges on both machines and you can connect your PC, iOS device or Mac devices to the Explore Air Gold and Air as well. The only difference is the actual design. The Air Gold has a gold band that runs around the bottom part of the machine body. It makes the Air Gold look more stylish and no doubt that it is pricier than the regular Explore Air.
The Explore Air Gold looks good for office use and a stand out as a cutting tool at home. If you are most people who have fallen for the Air Gold’s beauty then you won’t mind paying extra for it. But if you choose value over design then the Explore Air is a more suitable choice for you.
#5. Explore One vs Expression 2
Just by looking at the design of the Explore One and the Expression 2, you will clearly notice something very different. The Expression 2 has a mini touch screen which is where the main control panel of the machine is located. You can pretty much edit your design, enhance speed and pressure on the material you will be cutting using the LCD touchscreen. The Explore One lacks the LCD screen but it can be controlled using a PC or device once it has a Bluetooth adapter in place. Both machines can cut different kinds of materials and can work with Cricut cartridges.
Compared to the Expression 1, the Expression 2 is a complete improvement. It has done away with physical buttons with the screen entirely controlled by touch. So design wise and specs wise, the Expression 2 is a clear winner over the Explore One and its predecessor. It’s LCD touchscreen and wireless connectivity will win you over. It is heavier than the Explore One though but still its great features and design makes it a clear winner.
#6. Expression 1 vs Cricut Mini
If you want to use and purchase a Cricut but can’t do so because it’s just too expensive then the Cricut Mini might be the best choice for you. This cutting machine is a watered down version of traditional Cricut models with its ability to cut and write on 8.5’’ x 12’’ paper and to create small to larger cuts. It can work with a variety of materials, is lightweight and easy to take around. It costs just a fraction of regular Cricut models but is this cheaper Cricut alternative a better choice if you need to work on larger and more intricate projects?
Let’s look at the Mini vs. the Expression 1, one of the most popular Cricut models in the market. The Mini can print on regular paper and can cut and write on most materials. However, it needs to be connected to a PC or a laptop that is connected to the internet for it to work. The Mini sure is light but you still need to bring a laptop with you so you can work remotely.
The Expression 1 has an LCD screen and buttons that will let you edit your design as you use the machine. No need to use a computer or laptop. The Expression 1 comes with a Plantin SchoolBook font and shape cartridge. You can fine tune the pressure and the speed of the Expression 1 using the LCD screen. You can also enjoy 6 cutting modes and 4 functions so you can easily choose the ideal setting for your cutting or plotting needs.
The Expression 1 is clearly heavier than the Cricut Mini and therefore if you need a small, compact cutting machine you can take anywhere you need to be then you must consider the Cricut Mini. But if you want a more efficient and fast cutting tool then the Expression 1 is the most suitable cutting device for you.
More: Cricut Maker vs. Silhouette Cameo 3 – Which One is the Best Cutting Machine?
If you are shopping for the ideal Cricut model for your crafting needs, it’s always best to check out the specs and the pros and cons of each model to find out which one will suit your needs and of course, your budget. There is no Cricut model that stands out from the rest because each one is unique in their own way.
For crafters who want it all, DIYers and for people who love to sew, the Cricut Maker is for you. This machine has all the fantastic Cricut features and accessories like the Knife Blade and the Rotary Blade that will let you work on more materials in the most accurate and efficient way. This model is faster than most Cricuts and can work with ready-made designs and designs that you uploaded. It connects wirelessly and can also do so via computer or a wireless device via the Cricut app so you can design and cut on any device.
For people who would like to do away with using PCs, the Expression line is for you. These models come with and LCD to control and edit designs on the go. And for crafters looking for a cheaper but quality cutting tool. The Cricut Mini, with the best Cricut features, is the suitable cutting machine for you.
More: You can check out the best Cricut bundles that’s good for beginners.