The Best Cricut Machine for you

 

If you are thinking of purchasing a Cricut machine, you may be a little overwhelmed by all the different Cricut models out there, and what they all do and don’t do.  So which Cricut model is the right one for you? My guide here will help you choose the Cricut machine that will work the best for you and your needs.

 

The Cricut machine is such an amazing machine for cutting and creating all kinds of craft and DIY projects.

Cricut machines replace hand cutting. So your craft and DIY projects will look so much neater and professional.  There are a wide range of projects that you can design, and make, with a Cricut machine.

Whether you are a scrapbooker, someone who likes to sew, somebody who likes to make cards, someone who likes to dabble in all different craft and DIY projects they find on Pinterest, or a mom or teacher, you will find something that Cricut can help you with.

There are currently 3 Cricut models available – Cricut Maker, Cricut Joy, and Cricut Explore Air 2. This is a comparison and guide to all 3 models, so you can choose the model that will work the best for you and your needs.  

Which is the best Cricut machine for you and your needs? My review of the Cricut Maker, Cricut Explore Air, and Cricut Joy

 

 

What do all Machine Models Do the Same?

Each machine model has differences in what it does, and what it does well and not well.  But there are similarities between all 3 machine models in how and what they do. These are all the things that all 3 models pretty much do the same:

All models use Cricut Design Space software.  This is free software that you get access to when you purchase any Cricut machine. It enables you to design your projects, and therefore run the machine.

All 3 machines cut and write for projects.

All 3 machines have Bluetooth capability.

All 3 machines are power operated – not battery operated. Therefore they all come with power cords and you will need to connect them all to a power supply to use them.

All 3 machines are compatible with paper/cardstock, vinyl, iron-on, and infusible ink products.

 

Cricut Explore Air 2

Cricut Explore Air 2 is the most popularly bought Cricut machine model. This machine is great for a really wide range of DIY and craft projects. This machine has a great price tag, coupled with an amazing array of capabilities.  

Who this is Best for
If you are a crafter who likes to try all different craft projects and DIYs this is a great machine for you. With this machine you can take on so many different projects and try out so many different things. This machine is great for beginners, as well as for more advanced crafters and DIYers.  

Price of Cricut Explore Air
Cricut Explore Air is the middle priced Cricut machine.  It normally retails for around $249 (but check for sales!).

Check the price on the Cricut official site here.  Or check the price on Amazon.

The Materials it can Cut
Cricut Explore machines can cut a hundred different fabrics. That includes cardstock, vinyl, iron-on, glittery paper, polished foils, felt, poster board, and bonded fabric. For a full list of the materials that Cricut Explore can cut click here.
The Maximum material width for this machine is 12 inches.  Cricut Explore does need mats for cutting.  There are two mat sizes available for this machine – 12×12″ and 12×24″.  

What it Comes With:
Cricut Explore comes with 4 tools, for cutting, writing and scoring. It has Bluetooth and USB connectivity.  

Things it Cannot Do:
This machine cannot cut heavier materials such as leather, wood, chipboard, and unbonded fabric. It also does not allow for matless cutting or for designs longer than 24″

Colors available: 
The Cricut Explore comes in numerous colors! That includes black, blue, lilac, mint, rose, sunflower, sky, denim, cobalt and more!

Learn how to set up and use your new Cricut Explore Air for the first time!

Related: The Best Places to get Cricut Supplies & Tools

Cricut Maker

Cricut Maker is the top model in the Cricut range, and the higher priced model.  It features Pro level DIY performance and versatility. It has a steeper learning curve and so many more bells and whistles than other Cricut machines.

Who this is Best for
If you are a professional producing high quality items, especially unique items, this machine is for you.  This machine can engrave, deboss, score, and perforate.  If you are a beginner this machine does have a steeper learning curve, because it does so much more. But this machine will enable you to take on just about any craft or DIY project. 

The Materials it can Cut
The Cricut Maker can handle 300+ materials. This means you can cut just about anything with Cricut Maker.  For a full list of all the materials that Cricut Maker can cut click here.  Maximum material width it can cut is 12 inches.  This machine has commercial grade cutting technology, unlike the other Cricut models.  Cricut Maker uses cutting mats, and the sizes available are 12×12″ and 12×24″.  

Price of Cricut Maker
Cricut Maker is the top priced, top of the range Cricut model available. It normally sells for around $399 (check for sales!). 

See the price on the official Cricut site here.  Or check the price here on Amazon.

Things it Cannot Do:
There isn’t much that Cricut Maker cannot do!  However it does not have matless cutting (you need the Joy for that). It also cannot support designs longer than 24″

What it Comes With
The Cricut Maker comes with 12 tools for cutting, writing, scoring and other pro-level needs. It also comes with 2 mats (light grip and fabric grip), a fine point black pen, and sample materials for your first project.  Cricut Maker also comes with a very helpful docking slot for your phone or tablet.  

Colors available:
Cricut Maker comes in 5 colors, which includes blue, lilac, mint, champagne, and rose.

 

Cricut Joy

Cricut Joy is the newest machine that Cricut offers.  It is a simple and compact machine, great for fast everyday craft and DIY projects.  

This is the smallest and most portable machine of the 3 Cricut machines reviewed here.  But it’s small size should not fool you. This is a small machine with a heavy duty heart! The whole premise of the Joy is that it is a machine made with simplicity in mind. Therefore it only features one button, so it is not complicated to learn and use.

Who this is Best for
If you want a more portable and compact machine, this is the Cricut model for you.  This is the only Cricut machine that uses smart materials – that is rolls of vinyl, paper and iron-on that are sized especially for matless cutting.

This machine is ideal if you only dabble in crafting and DIY every now and again.  This is also a great machine if you don’t have a lot of space, and don’t want a large machine taking up a lot of space.  Because this machine is so portable, this would be an ideal machine if you need portability, such as for taking to craft shows.  

If you are starting out with a Cricut machine, and you are not sure if it is for you, or if you will even like it, this is the lowest priced model that is fast and easy to start out on. This is also a good machine to have if you already have the other models, but you want another model on standby for faster craft projects.  

The Materials it can Cut
Cricut Joy can cut 50+ materials.  The maximum material width it can cut is 5.5 inches.  Joy can cut without a cutting mat.

Things it Cannot Do:
Cricut Joy cannot cut images wider than 4.5″.  It also cannot cut materials such as wood, chipboard, fabric, and poster board.  Cricut Joy cannot score lines.  Cricut Joy uses its own unique tools – you cannot use tools from the other Cricut machine models in Joy.

The Price of Cricut Joy
Cricut Joy is the lowest price Cricut machine available, and usually costs around $179.99 (check for sales!).

Check the price here on the official Cricut Site.  Or check the price on Amazon here. 

What it Comes With:
Cricut Joy comes with 2 tools for cutting and writing.  It comes with a fine point cutting blade that is made especially for the Joy.  

Other Things you Should Know
You will need to spend some extra money on purchasing accessories for Cricut Joy, so you can use it to its best potential.  If you want to make cards you will need to buy a card mat.  Joy’s blade is different to the blades used in the Maker and Explore, therefore you won’t be able to use them in this machine. Cricut Joy cuts without using a cutting mat. You should look for smart materials for Joy, which are pre-sized to fit this machine and don’t need a mat.

Colors available:
Cricut Joy only comes in teal and white right now. Which is very stylish and attractive.

 

The lightweight, low-profile BrightPad makes crafting easier while reducing eye strain. 

 

If you are thinking of purchasing a Cricut machine, you may be a little overwhelmed by all the different Cricut models out there, and what they all do and don’t do.  So which Cricut model is the right one for you? My guide here will help you choose the Cricut machine that will work the best for you and your needs.

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