Is a Cricut Brightpad Worth It?

The Cricut BrightPad is an illuminated workspace that allows you to see the tiniest details of arts and craft projects. Characterized by its ultra-thin design and bright light, it allows you to piece patterns, weed vinyl, do diamond painting, build models, and complete a variety of other projects. But as with any crafting accessory people often ask, is the Cricut BrightPad worth the price? 

The Cricut BrightPad and BrightPad Go are worth it if you want fine attention to detail. The device works by providing a backlit workspace, making it easy to see cut lines for weeding and precisely tracing designs. It’s particularly useful if you like creating custom gifts, home decor, and other such projects. 

Cricut had previously made a BrightPad but has since revamped it and re-released it in the summer 2021 along with the BrightPad Go. In this article, I’ll take a closer look at the Cricut BrightPad and BrightPad Go and discuss their main features and uses to determine if investing in one is worth it for you. 

Cricut BrightPad weeding red vinyl with a Cricut Maker 3
Source: Cricut

What Is the Cricut BrightPad?

The BrightPad is an illuminated workspace manufactured by Cricut. The backlit pad allows you to see the finest details of intricate art and craft projects. Simply put, the Cricut Brightpad is a tool that makes it easy for you to trace designs and weed iron-on and vinyl. 

The Cricut BrightPad comes in two models, the standard BrightPad and the BrightPad Go. Both come with non-slip pads at the bottom, which helps prevent them from sliding on your work surfaces. 

In terms of dimensions, both devices are fairly compact. Both have a physical size of 13.5″ x 11″ which makes them very portable and easy to carry around. The BrightPad is 0.25 inches thick and the BrightPad Go is 0.37 inches thick.

The lit area measures 11.5″ x 9″ (22. 86 cm x 29.21 cm) – just the right size for your art and craft projects. 

Difference Between the BrightPad and BrightPad Go

Cricut offers two BrightPad models – the BrightPad and BrightPad Go. While many people mistake them for being the same product, there are some differences.

Cricut BrightPad

Cricut BrightPad Go

Physical Size

13.5" x 11"

13.5" x 11"

Thickness

0.25"

0.37"

Lit Area

11.5" x 9"

11.5" x 9"

Built-In Battery

No

Yes

Hardness Level

4H

6H

Brightness Levels

3 levels

5 levels

Max Brightness

3800 lumens

4200 lumens

Number of Buttons

1

3

Power Adapter

Not Included

Included

Color

Mint

Indigo

MSRP

$59.99

$99.99

Cord and Built-In Battery

Although portable due to its compact size, the BrightPad does not have a built-in battery. You must plug the device in first through a USB power cable before putting it to use. 

The BrightPad Go, on the other hand, is designed for cordless use, meaning you can use it anywhere provided the battery is well charged. The rechargeable battery gives you over 2 hours of power on the brightest setting and up to 12 hours on the lowest setting. It’ll take about 2 hours to charge the battery and can still be used while charging though it may take longer to fully charge.

Hardness 

Hardness is a material’s or device’s resistance to scratches. The higher the hardness rating, the more resistant to scratches a material is.

Cricut’s BrightPad comes with a 4H hardness rating, which is higher than the 1-3.5H hardness than most light boxes come with. 

Compared to the BrightPad, Cricut’s BrightPad Go is more resistant to scratches, courtesy of its 6H rating. This means you can put the device through some rough treatment without damaging it.

Brightness Settings

The BrightPad has three light settings that help illuminate your workspace. And while the brightness settings aren’t as advanced as BrightPad Go’s, they’re powerful enough to light up your workspace to allow for precise cuttings and tracing.

At maximum, the BrightPad will give you 3800 lumens of light.

The BrightPad Go, on the other hand, boasts five brightness settings that help improve your view of hard-to-spot cut lines. This helps you increase your overall efficiency when weeding, tracing, and working on various designs.

The BrightPad Go gives off 4200 lumens of light when set to maximum.

Appearance

The Cricut BrightPad comes with a mint-colored case and features a minimalist design that makes it among the easiest lightboxes to use. It comes with one button (to switch it on and off and control overall brightness), which is gently raised above the lightbox surface. 

Unlike the BrightPad, the Cricut BrightPad Go comes with three buttons – power, brightness up, and brightness down. These buttons are flush with the surface. This model also comes with an indigo-colored case.

Advantages of Using a Cricut BrightPad

The BrightPad and BrightPad Go have many advantages for crafters, and cutting machine users.

Versatile 

Despite its compact size, the Cricut BrightPad can be put to a number of uses. The bright light provides you with an illuminated workspace, allowing you to see cut lines better when weeding. Besides weeding, you can also use the device when working on several other projects like tracing, quilting, modeling, and paper crafting, among a host of other tasks. 

Easy to Use 

You don’t need years of experience to use the Cricut BrightPad – it has a pretty straightforward design with minimal buttons. The Brightpad has only one button, making it one of the easiest to use light boxes on the market. 

The BrightPad Go is only slightly more complicated with 3 buttons. The inclusion of minimal features make the BrightPads easy to use, allowing you to focus more on your art instead of learning how a new device works. 

Portable

The Cricut BrightPad and BrightPad Go are compact and highly portable. This makes it easy for creatives who move from location to location to take it with you. You won’t have to look for additional packaging as it easily fits inside standard backpacks, making it easy to carry your work with you. 

The Bright Pad Go boasts a rechargeable battery making it easy to use any where you go. The Bright Pad does need a power outlet but anywhere you have power you can use this model. You can even use it with a portable power bank.

Durable 

Unfortunately, not all light boxes are constructed the same. Most budget light boxes tend to get scratched and damaged easily, which means you might have to make replacements sooner rather than later. 

However, with the Cricut BrightPad, you won’t have to worry much about scratching or easily damaging your device as it has a 4H hardness rating, which is higher than most lightboxes.

Its brother, the Cricut BrightPad Go, boasts an even higher hardness rating of 6H, solid proof of Cricut’s commitment to releasing durable, high-quality products. 

Slim Profile

The last thing you want is to work on a thick surface that affects your hand positioning and movement. The good thing with the Cricut BrightPad is it has a slim profile that doesn’t interfere with your work. 

With this slim device, you can easily weed vinyl and piece together models, jewelry, and quilt pieces. Even better, the Cricut BrightPad’s compact design allows you to place on any even surface and work on your projects comfortably. 

weeding vinyl on a cricut brightpad go
Source Cricut

Disadvantages of the Cricut BrightPad

While the BrightPad and BrightPad Go have many advantages there are a few drawbacks.

Power Cord

The Cricut BrightPad must be connected to a power source as it doesn’t have an internal battery. This means that with the BrightPad, you’ll need to set up in strategic locations close to a power source since the cord is 6 feet long. But the charging cable is just a micro-USB cable so you can always swap it out for a longer cable.

Another downside of the BrightPad is it doesn’t include a wall adapter for the cable. It comes with the required micro-USB cable but to plug it into the wall you will need a power block. One similar to the square iPhone blocks that provide 5V and 1A is all that is required. If you are like me, you have many of these around the house. The BrightPad can also be powered from a computer USB port.

Price

Another downside of the BrightPad and BrightPad Go are they cost more than other lightpads available on Amazon. You can find lightpads around the $20 mark. The BrightPad is about $60 while the BrightPad Go is about $100.

Granted, the Cricut BrightPad and BrightPad Go are much more durable and higher quality than the cheap lightpad available. Plus the BrightPad Go is cordless.

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Is the Cricut BrightPad Worth the Price? 

The BrightPad and BrightPad Go are worth the price due to their durability, versatility, design, and portibility. Not only are they long-lasting, but are also highly portable and effective.

Most light boxes within its range have low hardness ratings between 1 and 3.5, which makes them prone to scratches and damages. 

However, with the Cricut BrightPad, you get a product that’s guaranteed to serve you for ages. The simple design also makes the BrightPad ideal for both first-timers and experienced users, which allows you to focus on your craft as opposed to learning how the device works.  

However, If you want a device that’s highly portable with no restrictions, then you will want to buy the Cricut BrightPad Go.It features a cordless design with up to 12 hours of battery life and has a higher hardness rating. 

However, keep in mind that the Cricut BrightPad Go is the more expensive option, and this may sway your decision. 

What Do You Use a BrightPad For?

As mentioned earlier, a BrightPad plays the all-important role of being an illuminated workspace, which allows you to work on detailed craft projects. 

Here are some ways in which a Cricut BrightPad can come in handy. 

Weeding 

A Cricut BrightPad is a great tool when weeding vinyl, adhesive-backed paper, and iron-on as it allows you to illuminate those hard-to-spot cut lines, ensuring you make accurate cuts. This makes the BrightPad a great companion to the Cricut cutting machines like the Maker 3 and Explore 3.

Weeding without a light box is a fairly hard task that gets even harder if you’re working in a poorly lit room. But with this tool, you’ll be well placed to see the cut lines and know exactly where to weed as long as you have the right tools. Learn what my must have tools are for my Cricut in my article, Top 10 Tools for Cricut Users.

By taking advantage of the BrightPad’s even light and modifying the brightness to suit the project you’re working on, it’s be easier to properly weed your project and have a perfect final design. 

Tracing 

The BrightPad can also help you trace and bring out the inner artist in you. When tracing using this device, you’ll first need to print your preferred drawing and ensure it’s the right size. Anything printed on an 8.5″x11″ paper will fit easily on the BrightPad.

You can also trace kids drawings or a loved ones handwriting using Cricut’s Infusible Ink Pens then transfer it onto a shirt or mug.

The tool’s even backlight will make it a lot easier to see all lines through your paper or material. This allows you to trace drawings from the reference page to your canvas. The BrightPad is also a great tool for sewists, as it allows for the transfer of unique marks and patterns onto fabric. 

tracing using cricut infusible ink makers with cricut brightpad
Source: Cricut

Paper Crafting 

Paper crafting requires keen attention to the tiniest of details, especially if you want a neat, final product. 

A BrightPad allows you to see different colored paper pieces clearly, regardless of where you’re working from. Through the tablet-like device, you’ll be able to align the different pieces quickly, more so if you choose the right light settings. 

Working on a backlit surface will help you see pieces clearly and can help you get the job done a lot faster, especially if you’re working on several paper crafting projects. 

Model Building

Model building is a fun but equally demanding hobby that can have you straining your eyes and even leaving you frustrated if you misplace some tiny pieces. 

But with a Cricut BrightPad on your side, modeling becomes a lot easier as you’ll have all the small pieces positioned in a well-illuminated work area. This can make the entire model building process a lot easier and more enjoyable. 

Besides modeling, BrightPads can also be used when making jewelry or beadwork as you can place tiny items like jump rings and beads on the backlit area, which makes the entire creative process smoother. 

Is There a Difference Between a BrightPad and a Lightbox or Lightpad?

Essentially, the BrightPad is a type of lightbox (also called lightpads) developed by Cricut and tends to perform similar roles to other lightboxes. 

A lightbox, on the other hand, isn’t a brand-specific term. Instead, it is the general term that refers to portable, illuminated work areas used for crafting and lighting up tiny lines.

However, despite performing the same function, BrightPads and lightboxes differ on the finer details. The slim design, surface hardness and portability set them apart from other products.

How do You Care for a Cricut BrightPad?

There are some general care tips for using a Cricut BrightPad or BrightPad Go. Even though both models have high hardness compared to other lightpads you should take care to not apply too much pressure when weeding. They should not be used as a cutting surface.

As with most electronics the BrightPad should never be submerged in water. You can use lens cleaner, glass cleaner or touch screen wipes to remove any adhesive residue or marks on the surface. If you have an especially tricky spot from a permanent marker, try going over the mark with a dry erase marker then wipe away.

When storing your BrightPad don’t stack any heavy objects on top of it. Also the BrightPad Go should be recharged at least every 3 months to keep the battery in good shape.

Final Thoughts

The Cricut BrightPad and BrightPad Go are both worthy investments for crafters looking to make their craftwork easier and more enjoyable. 

Besides weeding vinyl, adhesive-backed paper, and iron-on, you can also use the BrightPad to perform a variety of other activities like tracing, modeling, paper crafting, and quilting.

The good thing with the Cricut BrightPad and the BrightPad Go is that, as it doesn’t cost a fortune and is simple to use. You’ll also love that it boasts a simple, easy-to-use design that perfectly suits beginners and experienced users.