Cricut Explore Air vs Silhouette Cameo 3

UPDATE: Both the Silhouette Cameo 3 and the Cricut Explore Air are no longer in production.

Silhouette released the Cameo 4 in the Fall of 2019. It is an amazing machine and you can read my full review of the Silhouette Cameo 4. There are some major differences between the Cameo 3 and Cameo 4.

Cricut has since released several new machines. The Cricut Explore Air 2 was released in 2017 and the Cricut Maker was released in 2018. I have full reviews of both the Cricut Explore Air 2 and the Cricut Maker.  Plus an in-depth comparison of these two machines.

You can also learn the difference between the Silhouette Cameo 4 and the Cricut Maker in my article.

There is very little difference between to Explore Air and Explore Air 2. The Air 2 has a fast cutting mode allowing it to cut some materials up to 2x faster than the Air. Otherwise they are essentially the same.

This post is still helpful if you are comparing the Cameo 3 and Explore Air.

With the Silhouette Cameo 3 being released with some features that are comparable to the Cricut Explore, one might ask, which is better, the Cricut Explore or the Silhouette Cameo 3? Both are very popular machines, though they do have some key differences.

Silhouette Cameo 3 Overview

Silhouette Cameo 3

The Silhouette Cameo 3 (as of 2016), is the newest die cut machine by Silhouette. It’s not as strong as the Cricut Explore but is able to cut most paper, vinyl, and standard fabric materials just fine. Even though the largest cutting mat is 12″ x 24″, the Cameo 3 can cut lined media up to 10 feet long without a cutting mat. Similar to the Cricut Explore Air, the new Cameo 3 has dual carriages, so you can draw and cut without stopping the machine to swap out the blade or pen. The machine is also blue-tooth enabled as well, allowing users to cut wirelessly.

Other features of the Cameo 3 are the PixScan technology. This technology allows users to take pictures with their camera or smartphone and send them to the Cameo. Another feature is the Scan and Cut. The Scan and Cut feature allows users to print designs from their printer and have the Cameo cut them out.

What is really neat about the Silhouette Cameo, is that you can purchase the Autoblade, which is a blade that automatically adjusts its length based on the material being cut.

Silhouette Autoblade
Silhouette Autoblade

A big factor in users choosing the Silhouette Cameo is the Silhouette Studio Designer. The Studio software is a powerful software that allows users to either buy, import, or create their own designs from scratch. If you have graphics experience, then you will love the freedom that comes with this software. If you aren’t as computer savvy, there may be a small learning curve, but there are lots of materials, online groups, and free videos you can find to help you learn.

You can read my full review of the Silhouette Cameo 3. My favorite place the purchase Silhouette machines and accessories is  They have some amazing machine bundles that include free designs, coupons for your next blade purchase and helpful guide books.

Cricut Explore Air Overview

Cricut Explore Air

The Cricut Explore Air is another popular die cut machine on the market. It’s easier to use compared to the Silhouette Cameo 3 and can cut and draw up to 12 inches by 24 inches. Similar to the Cameo 3, the Cricut comes with dual carriages, so you can draw and cut with a single pass without having to stop to swap out the pen or blade. The Cricut is also Bluetooth and Ipad compatible (Ipad 2/Ipad Mini and newer), so you can cut wirelessly. The Cricut also has a Print and Cut feature, so you can print images from your printer and have the Cricut machine cut them out.

There are two factors that make the Cricut Explore easy to use. The first factor is the Smart Set Dial. The Smart Set Dial is a knob on the outside of the machine that allows users to easily adjust blade depth and pressure according to the material being cut. For special material or cuts, there is also a custom option to change the depth and pressure to a specific setting.

Cricut Smart Set Dial
Smart Set Dial

Another factor that makes the Cricut Explore easy to use is the Design Space Software. Design Space is beginner friendly, so users who aren’t as tech savy will have a better time with the Cricut software. The Design Space Software is an online software, so you will need a good internet connection to use the machine. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to use the Cricut machine without an internet connection. With Design Space, you won’t be able to create advanced designs from scratch, but you are able to import svg files for free.

My favorite place the purchase Cricut machines and accessories is direct from

Silhouette Cameo 3 vs Cricut Explore Air – the differences

Below you can compare the differences between the Silhouette Cameo 3 and the Cricut Explore Air, and find out which is best for you.

Cricut Explore Air

Silhouette Cameo 3

Cutting Width

12 inches by 24 inches

12 inches by 10 feet

Cutting Force

350 grams

210 grams







Print then Cut



Photograph Designs






Smart Set Dial






Dual Carriage Heads



Wireless Bluetooth



Works Without Internet

iOS only



Cricut Design Space

Silhouette Studio Designer




What machine is stronger, the Silhouette Cameo or the Cricut Explore Air?

While both machines have pros and cons, when it comes to strength, the Cricut Explore is stronger than the Silhouette Cameo. The Cricut Explore isn’t considered a heavy duty cutting machine like the Cricut Maker, but it can cut more materials than the Silhouette Cameo. The Cricut Explore comes with a German carbide blade, making the blades last longer. Deep cut blades are available for both machines.

There has been independent testing done on the Silhouette Cameo vs the Cricut Explore. You can view the strength test online. Here is a quick summary of the results:

MaterialSilhouette CameoCricut Explore
Leather, SoftFailedPass
Leather, hardFailedPass
Chipboard, denseFailedPass
Magnet sheetFailedPass

It should be noted that the Silhouette Cameo can cut some of these materials, but not at the thickness that was tested. For example, you can cut magnet using the Silhouette Cameo, but you need to use Silhouette’s magnetic paper.

Silhouette Design Studio vs Cricut Design Space

One of the big differences between the Silhouette Cameo and the Cricut Explore is the software that the two machines use.

The Silhouette Design Studio is far more powerful and advanced than the Cricut Design Space. The Silhouette software allows users complete freedom to create their own designs from scratch. The images that can be purchased are also more professional looking, rather than the simple, clip-art looking designs from the Cricut store. There is more of a learning curve with the Silhouette software compared to the Cricut software.

The basic edition of the Silhouette software is free, which allows users to use jpg, bmp, and png files. If you want to use svg files, you must upgrade the software for $50.

The Cricut Design Space software is easier and more simple to use compared to the Silhouette Design Studio software. This is good for users who want to create simple designs and won’t be creating designs from scratch. You can create designs from scratch using the Cricut software, but options are very limited. The Cricut Design Space was designed for importing existing designs created in other programs into the Cricut software. One important difference to know is that the Cricut Design Space requires an internet connection and that projects and linked cartridges are stored in the cloud.

Compatible file types for the Cricut Software are .svg, .png, .dxf, .gif, .bmp and .jpg.

Which is better, the Silhouette Cameo or Cricut Explore Air?

When it comes to the Silhouette Cameo vs Cricut Explore Air and deciding which one is better, it all depends on your needs.

Why the Cricut Explore Air is better

Cricut Explore Air

If you want a die cut machine that is easy to use that isn’t complicated, consider the Cricut Explore Air. The Cricut is stronger than the Cameo 3, but the Design Space Software requires an internet connection and isn’t as powerful for creating designs from scratch.

Why the Silhouette Cameo is better

Silhouette Cameo 3

If you want more freedom to create your own shapes, consider getting the Silhouette Cameo cutting machine. The software is powerful, but the downside is that the Cameo cutting force is limited to 210 grams of force, so you won’t be able to cut as many materials as the Cricut. You will also need to upgrade the software to be able to import .svg files. For more cutting force check out my Silhouette Cameo 4 review.

What machine do you think is best? The Silhouette Cameo or Cricut Explore Air? Leave us a comment!

Cricut Explore vs Silhouette Cameo Differences

117 thoughts on “Cricut Explore Air vs Silhouette Cameo 3”

  1. I LOVE my Explore, though I do wish the capability of cutting without internet were available. For me that’s the only downfall as compared to the Cameo. I wouldn’t leave Cricut for that because I fully expect that to be a program release in the not too distant future.

  2. I have the Explore and Explore Air. Now, you can now design offline with the Ipad with your “saved” images and can now print or cut anywhere on your mat with the new “snapmat”. I have the silhouette too and this is so much better than pixscan! I have the pixscan mat and never used it. too much trouble! but love Snapmat! there are several videos on youtube with instructions on how to use it! one of them is and another great one for cutting pictures!

  3. I love the depth of the cuts for the Explore but love the software and designs on the Silhouette. I end up using the cameo the majority of the time as the software and designs are much better.

  4. I’m torn! I have the Explorer and Cameo 3. I love the why the Explorer cuts and how quiet and easy to use it is but Silhouettes software is light years ahead of Cricuts. I wish they would merge and just make the software compatible with Cricut and not require Internet to use, then we’d be talking! Love the Explorer but need the Silhouette software!!

  5. I make designs in Indesign or Photoshop and can make jpg, gif, png or bmp. I will not use software from the cutter. Is the cricut an option?

    • You can design and upload into Cricut Design Space for further design and/or cutting. However any changes can only be saved to Cricut Design Space and cant be exported. Also Cricut does not stand behind compatibility or cut quality if another design program is utilized.

  6. How dense were the products that the cricut cut? And thanks for the article. I’m choosing between these 2 right now.

  7. I’m trying to make a decision between these two machines. I use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to design. Would the Cricut Explore Air be the best choice? I am so torn.

    • Hi Cindy, I also work with Illustrator and have a Cameo. I LOVE the Silhouette extension to send files to the machine straight from Illustrator. I think you have to pay for it though. I’ve had it for so long, I can’t remember if I pay for it.

    • Its not really an issue other than you have to have internet connection to upload and print/cut. I use Design Space to design simple items as well. On a few occasions (like two days before Christmas), the website that hosts Design Space will slow to a crawl because of the high volume of people finishing up gifts. Some of that could be the Internet being slow too (lots of people in my neighborhood were streaming Netflix movies and stuff – so I noticed internet slowness too). If your internet connection is poor, then you might feel frustrated. I use SCAL4 to do most designs on my PC and then use DS to upload and cut – which addresses most of the traffic issues. Other than that – I have had no issues.

      • They’ve upgraded design space. It’s still in beta but there’s no more lag like there was in the previous version.

        • There is still lots of lag as of 7/14/2018. When it is a holiday, like father’s day i couldnt get my cricut to even load. it kept saying error.. The software is just not a good one for designing.

  8. We are looking to add a machine to our high school Family and Consumer Sciences department. Which would be more student friendly to use if mostly used for bulletin board letters, shapes for child development lessons, etc.?

  9. Hello! I am looking for a machine to make vinyl signs for my husbands dealership. Which machine do you suggest? I plan on using our logo too.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions or help!

      • So I myself have a cricut explore air and it’s great, but because I make stickers and enjoy using as much of a page as I can, this excruciating to do because the print and cut only allows for a certain size as the printing area. And to print in a different software and make an attempt to cut that is quite the nightmare even with a few previous sucesses. Now I am not looking to get rid of my cricut, because it can still cut a larger selection of materials. But I am definitely investing in a silhouette for a less headache induced sticker session.

    • I cut vinyl with the Silhouette Cameo all the time and it works wonderfully. I’ve never had a problem. It’s a tie for cutting vinyl.

  10. Cricut is a disposable product. I’ve killed 2, simply by not using them- they die. I’ve had my original Silhouette for almost 10 years. I cut nothing but vinyl. It is a workhorse.I bought a Cameo 3 just for cardstock. The old little cricut is good for cutting scraps of vinyl

    • I am looking at making vinyl cuts outs for monograms and company logo and such and vinyl stencils for glass etching. Does the Cameo 3 not cut vinyl as well as the original silhouette? The Explore saves projects on internet. Where are projects saved with the silhouette? I live in Canada. I have android products which i know you can’t use with cricut. Can you use android with Silhouette? Having a hard time deciding which machine would be best.

      • Silhouette stores on your computer. Thierry designs download to the cloud, but you can move them to your computer, if you do choose.

    • Good to know – I was given a new still in the box with the original price tag Cricut –
      The lady who purchased was a hoarder and never used it. Could not get it to work finally threw it out.

  11. It was mentioned that the Silhouette could handle 10-foot-long material (lined?), but there was no such mention for the Cricut. Would the 10-foot material include vinyl for making boat names to put on the stern of a boat?

  12. I make cards and the thing I don’t like about Explore is that you can’t make a card 8.5 x 5×5 because the software is browser based. If you upload a scan and print card on more than one page it is very difficult to get things the right size to put together. Easier to print off a PDF and cut out by hand. I’m thinking the silhouette might be better for cards.

  13. I live in a rural area & have no home internet, have to use phone hot spots. This being said, would the Cameo be the better option for me?

      • Same… without internet the Cricut is just a paperwieght. The silhouette you can travel with and cut anywhere with your laptop and machine – no internet needed. I gave my cricut away and love my cameo. Esp. if you want to design and modify images – good software.

        • I am thankful that I found this website……I need a machine that can cut vinyl and thin material for etching and masking. At this point I cant justify a regular vinyl plotter. I truly cannot believe that you need to be a slave to a company ( cricut ) to use their machine. I was 3 hours from purchasing their system…..looks like the Cameo will be my choice because off the offline ability.

      • I had a Cricut also and I gave it away when I won an original Cameo and fell in love with it. I used it so much my daughter got involved and I purchased a Cameo 2 so we could both use them at the same time. I like to design my own projects from scratch and you can’t do that with a Cricut. Great to work off the laptop and not have to be connected to the Internet. I love the Cameo 1 and the Cameo 2 so I am satisfied with them and am not considering the Cameo 3, ‘yet’ Hee Hee

  14. I had a cricut & gypsy and loved it. But the gypsy isn’t being made any more &
    all the cartridges I purchased which is quite a few,are no good to me anymore since they were put into my gypsy. I knew that when I purchased it, but didn’t know that they would be obsolete. I refuse to buy another cricut product because I refuse to spend anymore with can find some used Gypsy’s but I would still have to buy carts tonuse it. My daughter has a sillouette & loves it so I’m going that route.

  15. Contact cricut about the cartridges on your gypsy. They will link them to your Design Spce account for you so that you don’t lose them. They had me send a list and within a few minutes they had them linked on my account.

    • What’s their contact information? I have the old Cricut with cartridges as well and am wondering if I can use my machine with online things now or just with the cartridges and keyboards?

  16. I started out with a Cricut Explore but b cause of the problems that I had and the unreliability of the server connection and continuous glitches after updates, I purchased a Cameo. Fast forward two years. The Explore hasn’t been touched again and I have added an ADDITIONAL Cameo so I can actually run two machines at a time when I am really busy! I love, love, LOVE my Cameos. The software is like comparing a Corvette to a Volkswagen bug. The Cricut being the bug. I WISH I had done my homework better before buying the Explore. I was more into buying into the hype. Just because it works great for some, does not mean it works great for all. Now I have an expensive dust collector. Do LOTS of research before purchasing!

    • Are you willing to sell your dust collected at a discount but fair price? I’m wanting Explorer Air. I am not computer savvy so I think this would be the best choice for me. My daughter lives out upstate and has the silhouette cameo However she is a graphic designer, I do not have much experience on a computer at all. Please let me know if you were interested in selling your desk collector. LOL
      Thank you for your time

  17. I am considering purchasing a cameo but I only have an iPad 2 would this be suitable with the cameo . I did notice in the comparison with the Cricut that the cameo does not need Internet , what would you be able to do with the machine without this .

  18. I have been doing a lot of research on-line and with ladies I know about the Cameo 3 versus Explore Air. I know I have it narrowed down to these 2 machines but don’t know which one would be better to purchase. I plan on using whichever machine I purchase to cut mainly vinyl for t-shirts and such and cardstock for cards, invitation, banners, and holiday decorations. I would also like to be able to cut certain logo’s like Disney, sport’s teams, etc… I have not really considered myself to be very crafty but it is something I have been interested in and I have been wanting to do more of now that I have small kids. I do have unlimited internet through Verizon but it’s not necessarily “high-speed”. I don’t have an Ipad or Iphone. I only use Android and a laptop w/ Windows7. With that being said, I am definitely not even close to being a “computer wiz”, for sure. With everything I have read…the cameo software is more difficult than the explore, however, with both I’m sure it will take me a little bit to learn. I am mainly asking those of you who have experience with both of these machines and using this information I have given, which machine will be the best for me to purchase? Thanks

    • I own the Cricut Expression and an Air 2. I also own the original Cameo, Cameo 2 (not the most current version) and a Portrait. My Cricut is not being used but I really do believe it is the best machine but the software is horrible, even with the beta. My original Cameo was the worse machine I have owned (and I had a Robocraft before it). They replaced it a few times and each machine was worse than the original.They were never able to get it to work and personally, I felt they really didn’t care. I purchased a Portrait and Cameo 2 bundle and the Cameo 2 is still in the box. I love my Portrait – never had a problem with it!! The silhouette software (Designer ED to use SVG’s) is wonderful and a powerhouse. The Silhouette store is pretty good but if you will need Disney or branded items, u might want to look at what Cricut offers and how you can use those licenses. The internet is not necessary to use the Cameo, but you can copy/import anything you need from it.You can save to your hard drive and open from there or copy and paste – your preference. Pay careful attention to what materials you might need currently and in the near future as the Cameo is not a very powerful machine (but is excellent for cards and vinyl). Banners would be better on the Cameo as Cricut is limited to 24 inches/ 2 ft. Be careful with Sport Teams as they have everything copyrighted. Cricut is awesome with Disney but I am not sure if you can use it professionally but should be ok for items for the children. Don’t be fearful of Cameo’s software as there are a lot of youtubes, groups and classes you can take. I wouldn’t count on any help from Silhouette, but hopefully you won’t wouldn’t need it. You can check out this site for further info on using the Cameo – . The software really isn’t difficult, just read up on it and watch a few videos and you will be just fine. Cricut also has groups and videos – youtube is awesome for both machines. I have used the Design Space for Cricut and am not impressed. Yes, it does some things for you, but once you move past being a newbie,you will need to use a 3rd party software to design with. Thee are good packages available from reasonable to very expensive. With Cameo chances are for what you have stated that you would only need the Designer edition which can be purchased for approx $40. There is a professional version for $200, but it really is for commercial or serious home businesses. Always keep in mind the best machine is the one that will do what you need and you will be comfortable with. Both machines are on sale constantly and can be purchased for $329-$349 on sale almost weekly. Michaels has the Cricut at $349 everyday pricing and the Cameo is on sale quite often. Joann’s and Amazon run sales and Amazon changes prices often to stay competitive. HSN is the king of bundles so always check there. The other stores will have freebies sometimes or a special bundle, but usually HSN wins out for the bundles. Online shops also have specials from time to time. This may be too late to assist you, but hopefully it might help someone else. Have fun!

    • Be careful regarding copyright. Disney and some sports teams take copyright violations very seriously. If you’re an educator, fair use guidelines will not protect you in this case.

  19. I’m still trying to decide which one is best for me. I already have a very old Cricut Expression and I vowed never to spend any money with Provocraft after the legal action they took against SCAL. However, I’m impressed b the range of materials that the Air can cut but I have now been told that the Cameo etches glass. Does anyone have any know,edge if this?

  20. I’m torn between which one of these two machines to buy. I currently use an ancient Cricut Expression and several years ago vowed never to let Provocraft have another penny of my hard earned cash after the legal action taken against SCAL. however, I’m impressed by the strength of the Air and was leaning towards that she to I heard that the Cameo can etch glass? Does anyone have an know,edge of how this is done?

  21. Hello, I am really torn on which one to get, I want to be able to play with designs and add and take things away. Which would you recommend to do that? Thanks for your help.

    • Cameo’s store and subscriptions will allow you to play as much as your heart desires. Cricut has a store but it isn’t as well stocked, but it has Disney. From time to time Silhouette has had branded artwork also (Batman, Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, Wonder Woman are currently available.). Silhouette also has artwork from crafting industry giants such as Echo Park and Lori Whitlock (among others). The subscription there is tiered and you can purchase as little as you want or a huge package. Cricut has a few options also, but not as much. You purchase what you want with Silhouette but Cricut will allow you to design (try) before you buy.

      You can check out both shops before you purchase a machine and I would suggest you do and also try both software’s. Cameo is a full package design deal while Cricut’s offering is more limited. Both machines are good so ultimately the best one is the one which will do what you want and that you will be comfortable with. Hopefully you aren’t in a rush and can take time to experience both. These are the beginner machines (and the most popular), but there are several others available if your needs go beyond the capabilities of these two.

  22. I have a question….I am about to purchase a machine just cant decided which one will work best because I have never used any of them. I am a planner and will mostly use to print, design and cut downloaded designs. Please help from those whom are experienced. I would love to design shirts but that is not in the plans for now. Mostly cut card stock and normal sticker labels. Advice anyone? I will use my computer (laptop) to download and will definitely need Bluetooth just like my printer.

  23. I have a Cricut Explore and lately been frustrated w difficulty creating words from letters. I understand negative spacing and welding, but just can’t get a right font etc. my big complaint is customer support. I like to talk w a perso, and that’s 8 to 8 m-F only…when I’m working. Online chat appears to overseas and I don’t think they’ve used the machines before. Thinking of investing in Cameo 3. Does anyone know how their support is?

  24. I am trying to decide between the two. I have a MacBook Air. Will either machine work with my computer?

  25. Im trying to decide which machine would be best for me. I also have a MacBook Air. I am looking to do things for my classroom. I am not sure which one would be easiest and easiest to learn.

  26. Hi folks, I think I’m almost sold on the Cameo purely for the freedom in designing stuff. However just wanted to know will it cut out stencils on lightweight plastic? I need it for painting furniture etc and not sure what thickness it would achieve. Also would it cut foam or felt for Christmas decorations? Thanks!

  27. so, if I understand correctly, Cameo you need to purchase software to create svg files and Explore air 2 you can convert for free? is the correct?

  28. Hi, What is machine the best for make my own design ?
    such as : Letter,number and cartoon.
    and can cut felt, sticker, and paper. I want to make my project.

    • The Silhouette software is better for creating your own designs, but you have to pay extra for software upgrades.

  29. This is such a dilemma for me. I am so new to this whole aspect of craft but the concept amazes me. I was about to get the cameo then read a couple more comparisons like this and now its swaying me to the cricut. I signed up to the cricut design space to play about and its slightly frustrating but I think I could get used to it.

    I want to cut vinyl for mugs, glasses, balloons etc and possibly cut heat transfers for t shirts. Which is best for me?

    One extra question is.. the print and cut feature, is it possible to print and then cut on vinyl to put images onto mugs? I am finding this very difficult to find out. (again, just a newbie!)

  30. I’m a little late to the Silhouette Cameo (3) and the Cricut Explore Air 2 party.
    I have the original cricut (The Baby Bug) which I love (but I know it’s on it’s last cut or two)
    I’m not super tech savvy. I have a cheapy Asus laptop.
    I’m a scrapbooker/card maker (no intentions of needing to cut anything other than cardstock type paper).

    I almost just walked into the store and was gonna grab whatever one they had in stock but decided I’d see if I could find some pros and cons and helpful info first.

    Thanks in advance for any info you may offer!

  31. I am a designer and currently have a Cricut expression that I use with sure cuts a lot (very old version). I want a new cutter as I would like to be able to print out something from my computer and have it cut out precisely.

    I currently design all my stuff in adobe illustrator and just print with svg files. If I get the new Cricut can I use the software the same where I just import my own svg files and if so how much does this software cost?

    Do you recommend I get the silhouette cutter instead? I’m so torn.

    • I definitely would buy a a Silhouette Cameo if what you are doing is vinyl or cardstock. Best software to work with. Did any of you know that whatever graphic you find online can be brought into your software by simply copying and pasting into Silhouette software. Remember copyright laws.,,it should be free & there are thousands! Imagine using ANY font to cut! You will need their extension which you can buy cheaper on Amazon. I would never give up my creativity for a Cricut which seems to go out of their way to charge you to use their lack luster designs. Silhouette allows you the endless ability to design & redesign anything!

  32. I buy a lot of mylar airbrush stencils and do make some of my own with a hand held stencil cutter very time consuming I must add, I would like to design some of my own airbrush stencils and be able to cut them out with a plotter cutter….Right now I am undecided between the Cameo Silhouette 3 or the Cricut Maker on which one to purchase and which one would be most suitable for my requirement any suggestions or recommendations will be most appreciated

  33. I’ve read many of the comments and reviews and I’m still not sure which one would best suit my needs. I’m a teacher and would be using cardstock, vinyl and many other types of paper to create decorations for my classroom. I would also use vinyl to create many other things . What would you recommend?

  34. Want to try creating vinyl stencil on wood which is the best machine to start with open to any tips and suggestions.

  35. I am trying to choose between these two for a Christmas present. I have never used either before or had any experience with anything like this. I’m a beginner. I don’t want to make very detailed designs or start from scratch. Just simple designs but on many different materials. Which one is best for me?

    • Hi Annie, I would suggest the Cricut Explore. The Explore machine is more simple to use and can work with more materials than the Silhouette Cameo. Good luck!

  36. I’m thinking of buying a cricut explore or Silhouette Air for making cake toppers which would you suggest for me to get if I just want to make the toppers only ?

    • Hi Wency, it all depends. Both Cameo and Cricut can cut cake toppers. I would say it comes down to other things like what material you’ll be cutting and what machine you think you’ll feel more comfortable using.

  37. Hey,

    It looks like you are keeping up with comments – Good On You!

    Do either of these accept files from outside their software? Like CAD files… If not, are there others you know about?

  38. Great article. I have previously owned a Cricut Explore and later a Cricut Explore 2 but the thing that’s always bugged me is that as good as it is at cutting, I’ve never managed to get a good, reliable print and cut out of it.

    We do a lot of stickers for people and I cannot get an accurate cut around the design with the Cricut. There is also the limitation of print and cut size with the Cricut (which I know has improved in a recent software update).

    This has led me to look at the Cameo as an alternative. My mother in law has the Silhouette Curio which I’ve borrowed a few times and that uses the same software as the Cameo. Quite like it to be honest, but must admit the Silhouette machines definitely feel cheap compared to Cricut.

    Anyone else have any issues with print and cut not lining up correctly?

  39. Which is best If you dont have an IPad or use if you use Android?
    Ww all habe android and I dont plan on buying an Ipad anytime soon


  40. I have a n original silhouette cameo with designer software, & I LOVE it, Am in the market to buy another cutting machine. I can create and use sag files.. hence my question. Can I import those files to the circuit explore air 2? I’m looking to have theist of both worlds… I would love to have circuits ability to be able to cut more types of media.

  41. I am trying to decide between the silhouette and the cricut.. I am looking to make shirts as well as magnetic decals for cars. Which one would do both?

  42. Hello…Im trying to decided which machine to buy and I’m confused about the design space. For both machines I have to make a purchase for the design space? And ive heard for the cricut that people always have to pay money to use certain designs or even things they had previously made in the free trial? Im looking into a machine that will print things for shirts, birthday centerpieces etc. I understand the cricut is the better cutter but I dont have money to be buying all designs that I need to print out. I would appreciate your thoughts.

    • Hi Kassandra, Design Space is free software. When you purchase the machine, you get a free trial to Cricut Access, which is basically a subscription service to use special designs. Once the free trial expires, you won’t be able to use those special designs anymore unless you pay. But even if you don’t pay, you can still use Cricut Design Space for free. Hope that makes sense!

  43. Hardware-wise, the Cricut seems to be the better machine. And I nearly purchased one but the deal breaker was the online software. I don’t want to be tethered to the internet all the time (although I will probably always have it available) and the Silhouette Studio is far more advanced. Cricut lost a customer because of their software. Happy with my Cameo so far. If Cricut ever does improve their software and provide a version that is not online-only then I’ll definitely consider a Cricut. But not until then.

  44. Hello! Ive seen a lot of comments about the Cricut Design Space not being able to design your own designs from scratch? So which machine should i be getting? Im planning on using it for cardstocks and most of the designs i plan to design from scratch either using Photoshop or Illustrator

  45. I am trying to decide between the two. I am needing to cut custom sized mat board as well as vinyl. I don’t have internet due to living in a very rural area so I am leaning toward the cameo but I need to know if it has the ability to cut mats for framing.

  46. Hey there!
    I have a Cricut and I hate that the max print/cut size is 6×9 inches. It severely limits creativity!
    I’m going to buy a silhouette but can you print/cut larger dimensions? I’m looking at 11x17in paper.

  47. Hi! I’m looking to print designs for t-shirts and don’t know where to start. I would enjoy being able to create my own designs but am also looking into disney designs and other things. Playing around and learning new software isn’t an issue but I could use advice for which machine to use.

  48. I am completely new. I am trying to figure out what machine I need. I want to make silhouettes of family members and pets from mid arm up from a profile picture of each one. What machine do I need? I may turn this into a business? Thanks for any advice.

    • You are either a Cricut fan or a Silhouette fan. I have a Cricut and love it. It is super simple to use. One big difference between the two is that Cricut Design Space is web based (note: you have to be online, but not necessarily on WIFI) and Silhouette is not. The idea is that you can access your Design Space projects from any device anywhere. For example, you are at home and you create a project on your PC. A couple of days later you are at a friend’s house and you are talking, and she gives you a couple of ideas for that same project. You can open up DS on your phone, and your project will be there for you to edit. You could even go to DS online on your friend’s computer, enter your UN and PW and access and edit your projects. One note about “any device”. I should clarify that it must be PC, Android, IOS or Mac. Other OS’s won’t work.
      As for pricing, Cricut MAKER retails for $369 – $399 and there are very few used ones that you can get for less. Although they are out there. However, if you are only doing stencils, then all you need is a Cricut Explorer One or an Air 1 or 2. You should be able to find one of these online for a much more reasonable price. I wouldn’t pay more than $200 for a used Air2.
      Finally, ease of use. The machine itself is pretty straight forward. Couple of buttons and that’s it. Design Space is also pretty simple if you have any software experience at all. You do have to remember that this is provided to you completely free and it is not Professional Design Software. In my opinion, they give you a lot more capabilities than they really need to. One disclaimer. I cut vinyl professionally for a living in addition to doing it at home as a hobby. So, I have a lot of experience. Therefore, my learning curve for Design Space was about one hour. You may find it takes you a little longer, but there are many many tutorials on YouTube and there are a number of FB groups that can help you learn. You can also always PM me and I’ll be glad to help. If you have experience in graphic design or using a design software, you can design in any other software and upload to Design Space. Saving as an .SVG is best but, you can also import .bmp, jpg, .gif, .dxf, and .png. Good luck.

  49. i have a cameo and had it for several years, i dont use it too much because i am a dental student, but when i do, IT EATS vinyl! it literally goes crazy with cutting no matter how i calibrate it. I am interested in selling it to get the cricut air but id like thoughts?

  50. Hi all! I am a teacher so I want to do bulletin boards and fun labels. But I also want to be able to design things like wedding invitations. I want something simple BUT I want to have capability to do those things. I also was wondering what the cost of the design programs are like? (Again, I’m a teacher so I’m working on a budget!) Thank you!

    • Hi Chelsea, both the Cricut and Silhouette software allow you to create designs for free. The software comes included. The Silhouette software though charges you $50 to upgrade to be able to import SVG files. The Silhouette native software is a little more advanced than Cricut since Cricut’s software is designed to be simple.

  51. You would think after this detailed post i would have made a decision! 🙁 i’m 100% beginner, i saw a friend post some paper crafts she’s made with her silhouette and it sparked my interest! Then a week later, my sister was putting together decorations for my nephew’s first birthday and she told me all the paper decorations were made with her coworkers Cricut and took it as a sign! haha! I know it’s a big investment for someone who just thinks “that looks cool” but i’ve always been on the crafty side! So I’m no newbie to arts and crafts and DIY’s! But I am a newbie to the die cutting world! Which would you guys recommend for a newbie that may potentially take this and make it work in the long run! Not just vinyl cutting but say I want to make stuff and maybe open my own Etsy shop one day! Who knows! the possibilities are endless haha! The user friendly option seems nice but what if I want to create my own image (may not actually happen but you never know) and not be limited to the Cricut design space! or what if i want to cut more materials than what the silhouette can cut through?

  52. I’m actually curious as to which of these two products would be better for cutting thin leather Into shapes, or cutting shapes out of Faux leather strips

    • The new Cricut Maker is great at cutting faux leather. It has 10x the cutting pressure of the Cricut Explore Air and can cut many more materials than the Explore Air. See the materials listing of what each machine can cut on the help pages of Cricut

  53. I have a Cricut explorer air and I don’t need to use internet to use my machine. You do need to download the cricut design space app or on your computer. I used mine everywhere I go. My friend has a Cameo 3 and it lasted just under a year before it stopped working. I have had mine about a year and it’s still going strong. I’m actually thinking of buying another so I can get more done at once! Personally after seeing all that goes into the silhouette I would never buy one.

  54. Beginning Aug 28, 2019 Cricut Designs Space for Computer users are now able to Save projects, images, and Cricut fonts to a Desktop version of Cricut Design Space. The website version of Cricut Design Space will be removed from its website in early 2020 and when owners of an Explore or Maker go to the website they will be prompted to download and install the Desktop version to the Cloud. When you open that version on your computer it will be just like the website version but you won’t see a website url on the program BUT you will be connected to the Internet. And will need to stay connected if you want to Save a particular project you have in the Cloud of Design Space to your desktop computer app of Design Space. So after the project or images are saved, You can disconnect from your Internet Service if you want to and those specific images you saved to Offline will be able to cut those projects or images. Your projects and images are still in the Cloud of Design Space, as by default all projects and images are saved to the cloud, But now like IOS users have the offline “Feature” computer users have that same feature. But Design Space software itself still is not as feature rich as the Silhouette software. Cricut promises that in future of 2020 that the Desktop version will begin to offer new features and function. Cricut Design Space no longer supports the Windows 7 operating system so all owners who only have a 11 yr old operating system of Win 7 will be unable to use Cricut Design Space. So if you do not want to give up using the unsupported Microsoft operating system of Win 7 – do NOT purchase an Explore or Maker machine if wanting to use a computer with it. You can use an iPad or iPhone with the Design Space app for those devices. Android devices have app they can use but it has the most limited features of any version of Cricut Design Space. Cricut’s websites has lots of info & FAQs on their Help pages

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