Cricut Maker vs Cricut Explore Air 2

Cricut Maker vs Cricut Explore Air 2

The Cricut Maker and Cricut Explore Air 2 machine may seem similar, but there are some key differences. The most notable differences between the two cutters are regarding cutting force and the Adaptable Tool System. Let’s compare the two machines!

Cricut Explore Air Overview

Cricut Explore Air

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The Cricut Explore line comes with 3 machines, Cricut Explore One, Cricut Explore Air, and Cricut Explore Air 2. All the machines are fairly similar. The key differences are is that the Cricut Explore One has one carriage, while the Cricut Explore Air and Air 2 machines have dual carriages.

The Cricut Explore Air 2 offers the most capability of the Cricut Explore machines. The dual carriages allow crafters to draw and cut without having to stop to swap out the tools. The smart dial on the side of the machine allows users to easily choose the material they are cutting to adjust the blade pressure.

Cricut Maker Overview

Cricut Maker

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The Cricut Maker has almost all the capability of the Cricut Explore machines, and more. The main differences between the Cricut Maker and Cricut Explore Air are cutting force and tools. The Cricut Maker is 10x stronger than the Cricut Explore. The Cricut Maker also comes with tools that aren’t backward compatible with the Cricut Explore. The Knife blade cuts thicker materials up to 2.4mm thick, while the Rotary Blade is used for cutting fabric. With the Rotary Blade, you don’t have to worry about tearing the fabric. Both of these tools are controlled by the Adaptive Tools System, which automatically controls the pressure and direction. This Adaptive Tool System eliminates the need for a smart dial, which is no longer a feature on the Maker machine.

Cricut Maker vs Cricut Explore Air – the differences

Below you can see the differences between the Cricut Maker and the Cricut Explore Air. See which machine is best for you.

 Cricut Explore AirCricut Maker
Cricut ExploreCricut Maker
Cutting Width12 inches by 24 inches12 inches by 24 inches
Cutting Force350 grams4000 grams
Print then CutWhite onlyLight/medium color
Pressure SettingSmart Set DialAdaptive Tool Set
Double Tool HolderYesYes
Knife BladeNoYes
Rotary BladeNoYes
Scoring WheelNoYes
Wireless Bluetooth YesYes
Mobile docking stationNoYes
SoftwareCricut Design SpaceCricut Design Space
Amazon PriceCheck priceCheck price

Which is better, the Cricut Maker or Cricut Explore?

The Cricut Maker overall is a better machine. It’s more versatile, having the Adaptable Tool System system, better tools, and more cutting pressure. If you are going strictly on price, however, then the Cricut Explore will be your better choice.

Which machine is right for you?

Cricut Explore vs Maker Differences

19 thoughts on “Cricut Maker vs Cricut Explore Air 2”

  1. I have the cricuit explore air 2 but I think I would like the cricuit maker. Can I purchase the knife blade , rotary blade,
    And scoring wheel for my explore air 2. I just got it when they came out with the cricuit maker. I would like to make some Lazer cut wood light boxes.

  2. What are the must have accessories when you first buy one of these machines? It looks like they have accessories for days!! How do I know what I really need, right away and what might be nice to have at some point?

  3. Thanks for the information, it was plain, simple and precise and I understood so easily the difference between both machines. It will help me decide which one to buy.


    I went to Joanne’s and they were not able to help me figure out the difference. This was wonderfully simple and told me that I want the Maker!

  5. Thanks slot this is a very helpful, I really wasn’t sure what the true differences between the models. Great now I can choose with confidence and not be worried I made the wrong choice, Thank you

  6. Hi – thank you for your post! I have not Owned a cricut yet. I am a teacher and would love to make things for my classroom and t-shirts for my family. I will never need to cut fabric for quilts. Since I do not understand what the terms you used really mean, besides cutting things for quilts what else would I need the maker for? In other words the explore sounds like all I need but I am not really sure what I would be missing out on since I don’t understand the language. I just do not want to buy the explore onto regret it later and wish I bought the maker. I just am trying to watch the cost. Thank you so much for your time!

  7. I’m wanting to get my mom one but idk which to get. She will probably use it to make shirt designs, magnets, ornaments, window decals. Which should I get

    • Hi Marie, the Cricut Maker is much more powerful than the Explore Air. If your mom is cutting fabric, especially leather or thicker materials like balsawood etc, then the Cricut Maker will be best. But if she is just cutting paper and vinyl or thinner materials, then the Cricut Explore will be fine.

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