Hi everyone! This post is going to be all about how to pick out the best Cricut machine.
I’ve researched just about every Cricut machine comparison I could find, and I wanted to save it all in one place so that in the future when I’m asked about which Cricut someone should choose, or which features each machine has, I can just point them here!
There are three main machines worth talking about, and each has its own value to be fair: the Cricut Maker, the Cricut Joy, and the Cricut Explore Air 2. There is a whole Explore series of machines, the ones with “Air” in the title just mean they support Bluetooth and cost a little bit more.
A lot of the reviews I’ve looked at go over the features of each machine, but instead I’ll just compare different types of crafters and then which machine would work best for each.
First, the novice crafter. If you’re just getting started with vinyl cutting or home crafting and you’re looking for a Cricut, I’d definitely recommend the Cricut Explore Air 2. For just about anything you’d use it for, it can do it well, and it won’t break the bank. The Explore Air 2 doesn’t have all of the features of the Maker, but there are a lot of tutorials available for it in the Cricut community. With the money you save, you can buy a nice set of starter materials and tools (paper/adhesive vinyl/heat transfer vinyl/blank shirts) and get right into the scene.
The nice thing about Cricut machines is that they keep their value pretty well, if you decide to upgrade to the Cricut Maker later, you won’t lose too much as you can just trade up and basically pay the difference. It also means if you, like a lot of crafters, wind up keeping your machine on the shelf, you won’t be too disappointed by the money you spent (but don’t do that!).
Second, the experienced crafter. Maybe you already knit, sew, or do some woodworking. Or you have a friend that’s shown you around their Cricut in the past. For this person I’d recommend the Cricut Maker. It’s one of the most powerful home cutting machines you can buy, it doesn’t cost all that much more than the Explore Air 2, and it can work with a lot of materials (like wood/leather/metal/fabric) that the other Cricut machines can’t.
Third, the crafter-on-the-go. If you don’t have a lot of space at home, you move around with your materials a lot, or really like making greeting cards or personalized tags, the Cricut Joy is the machine I’d recommend for you. It’s incredibly small and limited in what it can cut, but its super portability means that for crafters who have very little space it’s the only sane choice.
All Cricut machines use the same Design Space software, so you actually get a lot of value from just buying the Cricut Explore Air 2 as it has the same software as the more expensive Cricuts. They also can use Cricut Access to subscribe to really great starter designs, and Design Space will allow you to work with other designers’ SVG files for free, you just have to import them and you’re set.