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If you love to craft, chances are you’ve heard of Cricut! If you haven’t, it’s a must-have electronic cutting machine for any crafter that wants to save time on their projects while also taking their cool creations to the next level.
With the addition of a Cricut machine, you will be able to precisely cut a huge range of material types using thousands of different fonts, patterns, and images in order to create handmade projects.
Wondering which Cricut machine is the best, though? The best Cricut machine will allow you to work with different types of material choices such as vinyl, felt, card, and different types of paper. As well as this, you’ll be able to connect your machine via Bluetooth and have access to thousands of different designs and fonts to produce professional results every time.
In this article, we’re going to be comparing and contrasting the top Cricut machines (as well as a great alternative) on the market today. We’ll also include a handy buyer’s guide area to give you a little more information on Cricuts, as well as answering some questions.
In a hurry? This is our winner!
If you’re looking for a fast purchase that you can put your faith in, you won’t go wrong with the Cricut Maker. Gaining the seal of approval of hobbyists and professional crafters alike, the Cricut Maker is considered the leader in smart cutting machines.
It is able to handle a variety of materials (over 300 different types learn more in my article) from the most delicate to the toughest, not to mention it’s powerful blades, pens and scoring tools make it quicker and more efficient to use than other Cricut models.
Its rotary blade will cut fabrics quickly with precision, gliding through all types of fabrics quickly and accurately, while the fine-point blade will cut through light to medium types of material with precision. The knife blade is able to cut thicker and more dense materials easily and safely, such as leather or chipboard.
Here are some other features that stand it apart from the other types of Cricut machines:
- Extra built-in storage with a helpful docking slot to hold your tablet or phone
- Bluetooth connectivity to wirelessly connect your laptop, tablet or phone
- Hundreds of digital sewing patterns available
- Double tool holder
- A washable fabric pen to mark your pieces
- Up to 2x faster cutting and writing than other Cricut Machines
Best Cricut Machines – Comparison Table
Best Cricut Machines – Reviews
Giving you the freedom to let your imagination run free, the Cricut Maker is a crafters must have!
Offering exceptional versatility, the Cricut Maker comes with a vast selection of images and patterns (as well as sewing patterns) so this cutting machine is good to go as soon as you get it out of the box. If you want more options though, there are many available for purchase or through amazing subscriptions like Cricut Access which you will get a free month trial with your machine.
Plus, thanks to its cutting speed and functional design, getting the hang of this machine couldn’t be easier! All you need to do is choose a project or design in Cricut Design Space, place your material on the cutting mat, load it into the machine and the Cricut Maker takes care of the rest.
If you are using your Maker for sewing patterns, your Cricut will mark and cut your pattern for you, there is even a handy fabric pen you can purchase to help with this.
Extra built-in storage will help keep your tools organized whenever inspiration strikes you, while its handy docking slot will hold your tablet or smartphone safely. Its USB port will also let you charge your device.
As for its cutting performance? Its rotary blade will allow for precise cutting of fabrics including cotton, fleece, and denim thanks to its ability to effortlessly glide through fabric, cutting virtually all types of fabric quickly without backing the material. Its knife blade allows you to cut through materials up to 2.4mm thick with unprecedented ease (such as leather).
To learn more about the amazing Cricut Maker, read full our Cricut Maker Review.
- Up to 2x faster cutting performance than other Cricut machines
- Integrated Bluetooth technology for wireless cutting
- Stylish design
- Tablet/smartphone mount
- Many different blades and tools available
- It can be slow when using the knife and rotary blade
Our runner up is the Cricut Explore Air 2. This is a durable, large cutting machine (12 inch max material width) and is a great choice for those on a budget.
Two times faster than the Explore Air (the original model), this machine is able to cut over 100 materials, from paper and card too thicker materials such as leather. The Cricut Explore Air 2 also offers wireless cutting, writing, and scoring with a built-in Bluetooth connectivity. This wireless option will allow you to create designs on your phone, tablet, or laptop without being tied to your Cricut by wires.
It also has a fast mode feature which allows the machine to cut and write up to 2x faster on standard materials like cardstock, vinyl, and iron-on. This is really helpful for people who make multiple copies of their projects (teachers, we’re talking to you) or for those who make designs to sell and want to save time.
Unlike the Cricut Joy (you’ll find a review on this model below), the Cricut Explore Air 2 also has a double tool holder which means that it can hold both a blade and an additional accessory. The second clamp is compatible with accessories like the Scoring Stylus and Cricut Pens so you can cut and write or score all in one go without having the fuss of switching tools in the middle.
The Cricut Explore Air 2 is a great alternative to the Cricut Maker since it’s quite a bit cheaper but it doesn’t have nearly the capabilities. Learn more about the difference between the two models in our in-depth comparison Explore Air 2 vs Maker. Or get the full rundown in our review of the Cricut Explore Air 2.
- Affordable option
- A great choice for a beginners
- It can cut hundreds of materials
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Does not cut as many materials as the Maker
- More limited tool options
The ideal partner for bringing your projects to life, the Cricut Joy is a digital cutting machine that will allow you to cut, write, and draw to create a vast range of personalized designs.
Don’t let it’s compact size fool you, the Cricut Joy will allow you to create customized cards, wall decals, decorative vinyl designs, birthday banners, clothing transfers and so much more! Whether you’re a beginner or professional crafter looking for a smaller option to travel with, the Cricut Joy will take your crafting to next level and allow you to create your own papercrafts, home decor, and custom clothing, to name a few.
It’s also super easy to set up and use, so don’t worry if you’re not a whiz in that department (it comes with easy to follow instructions). As soon as it’s up and running, the Cricut Joy smart cutting machine will cut images up to 4 inches wide and 4 feet long or repeated cuts up to 20 feet long.
Though it only has two tool capabilities (a fine-point blade and Cricut Joy pens and markers) the number of projects that can be done just with these two tools is practically endless! For quick and simple projects, cards, and personalization, the Cricut Joy will cover all the bases and then some. It’s ideal for keeping on hand and it can quite literally fit in your palm! You can take it with you anywhere, ready for inspiration to hit.
- Compact and cute design
- Ideal for smaller projects, it will be able to complete them in 15 minutes or less
- Cuts design up to 4 feet long
- Can cut without a cutting mat
- Smaller tool capabilities than other models
- Single tool holder
- Only cut projects 4 inches wide
- No USB port
If you’re looking for an alternative to a Cricut model, then the Silhouette Cameo 4 Electronic Cutter is a great option.
The newest model in the Silhouette Cameo family, the Cameo 4 features cutting edge technology that can operate three times faster than the Cameo 3. The ultimate DIY machine for all different types of projects and crafting creations, this can be used to cut 100s of materials, including paper, vinyl, cardstock, and even fabric that is up to 12 inches wide.
The Cameo 4 model has an increased cutting force of up to 5kg and offers Bluetooth wireless connectivity with increased range. If that wasn’t enough, this electronic cutter also comes with Silhouette’s auto-detecting AutoBlade. The Autoblade system will ensure that the machine will adjust your blade depth for you, allowing you to in turn cut materials up to 3mm thick (such as leather).
Alongside this, this digital cutting machine also comes with a 12 inch cutting mat, four blade adapters, a Silhouette Studio Software subscription to the design store, 100 free digital designs, and more. My favorite place to buy Silhouette products is from Swingdesign.com, they offer amazing customer service and discounts on blades and accessories.
To learn more about the difference between the Cricut Maker (our winner) and the Silhouette Cameo 4 (the Makers only real competition) check out our article Cameo 4 vs Maker. To learn more about the Cameo 4 read our in-depth review.
- Slightly cheaper than Cricut but just as powerful
- Able to cut materials such as leather and wood
- Accurate and fast cutting
- Stylish, elegant design
- Can cut specific materials without a cutting mat
- Has built-in vinyl roller feed
- Not as many tool options as the Cricut Maker
Best Cricut Machines – Buyers Guide
Before you decide on the best model for you, you’ll want to consider some of the standard and additional features that a Cricut machine can offer! We’re talking various cutting speeds, material, additional tools, scoring/writing functions, wireless capability, and even tool holders on the model itself!
In order to make you a Cricut machine expert and to ensure you make the best choice for you, we’ve created this handy buyer’s guide to bring to attention some of the most important features you should bear in mind before making a purchase.
This feature will allow you to utilize the Cricut pens to create and enhance your own projects. This is a really cool feature because it means that you can experiment with the different fonts or even uploading your own writing to the software – the possibilities are endless.
All of the machines listed above have the ability to use Cricut pens (Silhouette has Cameo specific sketch pens too). But you can buy a third party pen adapter from Amazon and almost ANY pen you want instead of being limited to Cricut brand pens.
The wireless capability of your machine is another important feature! If your Cricut machine is capable of connecting to your smartphone or another device like an iPad, you will be able to access a vast array of different designs and fonts – from your fingertips. In our opinion, this is an essential feature and will take your creations to the next level.
As a side note, some Cricut machines or electric cutting machines will come with a USB port which can also be used to connect your device.
This is another feature worth considering. If you’re a professional crafter, you may find that you need a Cricut machine that is going to be able to handle different paper weights and materials (so you may opt for the Maker which can handle a ton of different of materials). Whereas if you’re a beginner, you may not need to spend the extra cash on a Cricut machine can cut materials you are not going to be using.
Most Cricut machines will work at fast standard speeds, but there are newer models, (which we have included in this review) which offer even faster cutting times, as much as up to two times that of the standard models. However, it is worth noting that an increased cutting speed will not alter the effects of your projects, it will just free up a little more time for you, making it a great factor to consider for teachers or professional crafters who could use the extra minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I care for my Cricut machine?
As soon as you purchase your new Cricut machine, it’s important to get the most out of it by taking proper care. In order to do this, we recommend looking after your cutting mat and keeping it covered with the plastic shield when not in use. This will help to keep it in tip-top condition.
Also, we suggest giving it a wipe regularly to stop it from experiencing material residues and build-up, as well as the machine itself. Before use, make sure that you load your mat correctly before you begin (it needs to be positioned inside the rollers) this will ensure that your Cricut machine is able to cut accurately and correctly.
If you notice your mat getting very dirty with fibers and leftovers from past projects, there are ways to easily clean your cutting mat. Check out our article 6 Ways to Clean and Restick your Cutting Mat.
Alongside this, regularly check your blades and check for signs of dullness. If your machine isn’t cutting all the way through, lifts or is not cutting as precisely as it was in the beginning, it’s probably time to replace your blades.
You can help your blades last longer by removing leftover residue. Simply make a tinfoil ball and carefully stab your blade into it. While this won’t sharpen the blade it will clean it.
We also recommend taking five minutes before each project to test your materials. By doing so, you’ll be able to make sure that your Cricut machine is working before you start to use the materials. This is one of the rookie mistakes new cutting owners tend to make, not making test cuts, learn more in our article 6 Common Mistakes Cricut owners make.
How long does the cutting blade last and when should I replace it?
There is no specific time scale for the life of your Cricut cutting blades! It depends on a bunch of different factors and how well you take care of them.
For starters, if you’re frequently using it to cut thicker materials, it’s only natural that your blade will not be as sharp over time or as sharp as when you first bought it. When this does happen, it will be easy for you to spot! The blade will become dull and you’ll notice this in the end result of your designs. Though sharpening the blade yourself is not recommended (safety first) it is relatively straightforward to replace the dull blade (refill blade packs are available to purchase and are easy to install).
Learn more about how long a Cricut blade will last in my article, How Long Does a Cricut Blade Last?
Do Cricut machines come with a warranty?
All Cricut cutting machines come with a limited 1-year warranty which means your machine is guaranteed against defects in materials and workmanship. This will begin from the official date of purchase from an authorized seller.
What is the best Cricut machine for me?
Before making a purchase, it’s important to factor in your level of expertise and what it is you’re going to be using your Cricut machine for. For instance, if you’re going to be using it professionally and you need to cut a wider variety of materials, you’re going to need to buy a Cricut machine that cut whatever you throw at it (figuratively of course) like the Cricut Maker.
On the other hand, if you’re a beginner to the world of Cricut and you’re just looking to have fun and get creative, you might be more interested in the different designs and fonts the machine offers. As well as this, you are also going to want to consider your budget, the Cricut Explore Air 2 is perfect for beginners who want to try some of the easier to work with materials first. You can also read our article Best Cutting Machine for Beginners to help you decide.