With the release of the new Cricut Maker machine, I have gotten a lot of questions from people wondering which of the Cricut machines would be best for them.  

I bought my first Cricut machine right before Christmas in 2015 – the Cricut Explore Air™.  Being a Cricut newbie, I started out just doing vinyl projects and slowly expanded to playing with different mediums like card stock and heat transfer vinyl.  I received my Cricut Explore Air™ 2 machine earlier this year and then got the Cricut Maker machine in August after attending the Cricut Mountain Makeathon!  I passed my Explore Air down to a teacher friend, but have my two other machines on my desk and actively use both.

First, let’s break down some basics for each machine..

Cricut Maker

  • Adaptive tool system allows a growing suite of tools to be used with the machine. This technology controls the direction of the blade and cut pressure per material.
  • Over 4000 grams of pressure allow the machine to cut through thicker materials up to 2.5mm thick (like balsa wood and chip board) using the knife blade.
  • Rotary blade was created for precision fabric cutting, without your fabrics having to be backed, woo! This blade and the new fabric mat mean the Maker can all all sorts of fabrics – felt, fleece, poly blends, denim, etc.  This also allows for cutting very delicate papers like crepe paper.
  • Partnership with Simplicity & Riley Blake (and own Cricut sewing projects) mean that there are sewing patterns in Design Space so the Maker will cut your fabric for you and you just have to sew.
  • Mobile device holder for your iPad or phone and USB port to charge your device

Explore Air 2

  • Material selection knob allows you to choose the material you’re cutting on the machine instead of in Design Space.
  • Cuts, writes and can score hundreds of materials
  • Quieter when cutting than the Maker (although I think the Explore Air was the quietest!)

Both machines have:

  • Bluetooth capability, no USB connection necessary
  • “Fast mode” when cutting
  • Ability to cut vinyl, HTV, card stock, paper, bonded fabric
  • Tool holder
  • LightGrip, StandardGrip and StrongGrip mats
  • Ability to use different blades & pens. Some blades can only be used with the Maker (rotary & knife blade), but all blades that the Explore series uses can be used with both machines.
  • Accessories like weeder, scraper, spatula, etc.  New sewing accessories are now available too!

After using both machines recently, I’ve found that the Maker definitely has more force and is a little louder when cutting.  Make sure to select the right material when cutting and use the “more” option because there’s a huge list to choose from.  The Maker also takes a little longer when cutting because it will slide almost the entire mat through, then detect the blade before cutting.

I primarily cut vinyl and HTV and use both machines for my projects – typically the one that is more readily available (and no projects to move to use it) is the one I cut with.  It’s also been nice when I had multiple things to cut at once and get them going on both machines.

If you’re just starting out and don’t want to commit to a machine, I’d look into the Cricut Explore Air™ 2 because you can do so much with it and it is cheaper.  However, I wouldn’t be surprised if you wanted to upgrade to the Cricut Maker machine soon after to expand the materials you can work with and cut fabric, leather & wood!

I hope this helps if you’ve been wondering what machine is best for you – Leave any comments for me if you have questions and I’d be happy to talk more about my experiences!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

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