Silhouette Curio vs Cricut Explore Air

Some of the newest machines on the market are the Silhouette Curio and the Cricut Explore Air. They have some similarities, but there is a lot of differences between the Curio and Cricut Explore. Let’s take a look at these two machine reviews.

Silhouette Curio Machine Overview

Silhouette Curio

The Silhouette Curio Machine can be thought of as a companion tool to the Silhouette Cameo. The Curio is super functional and is loaded with features, such as embossing, stippling, and etching. These features are not available to the Cricut Explore Air machine, making the Curio pretty unique.

While the Curio does have a lot of features, but one of the downsides is that it isn’t that powerful. For example, if you want to etch, you’ll only be able to do it on a thinner and lighter material, as the pressure of the machine is only 210 grams.

Silhouette Curio Embossing

Similar to the Cricut Explore Air, the Curio has dual carriages, which means you can mix and match tools. This saves time by not having to stop the machine to swap out the various tools. It’s also really neat to use two colored pens at once on the same project.

Silhouette Curio Dual Carriages

A big consideration when purchasing a die cut machine, such as the Curio, is the software. The Curio comes with the Silhouette Studio Designer, which is software allowing users to create their own designs from scratch. Even if you aren’t a designer, the software allows you to import or purchase designs from elsewhere. There are a lot of features with the Silhouette Studio Designer, so there may be a learning curve when first getting started. If you are comfortable using graphics software, you’ll be able to catch on more quickly.

Cricut Explore Air Overview

Cricut Explore Air

The Cricut Explore Air has been around longer and is more popular than the Silhouette Curio. The Cricut Explore machine can cut and draw up to 12 x 24 inches. Like the Silhouette Curio, it also comes with dual carriages. However, the Cricut Explore is limited to cutting and drawing. Tools for embossing and engraving are not available for the Cricut Explore. But there are some ways around embossing with the Explore Air using the Cricut Scoring Stylus or third party pens like the Ranger Embossing Pen.

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.

The Cricut Explore is one of the easiest machines to use. One reason is because of the simplicity of cutting. The machine has a Smart Set Dial, which 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 cutting special material, there is a custom option where the settings can be adjusted using the Cricut Explore Software.

Cricut Smart Set Dial
Smart Set Dial

Another reason that makes the Cricut Explore simple to use is the Design Space Software. Design Space is a user-friendly friendly software that makes importing files easy to use. If you an advanced user who wished to create designed from scratch within Design Space, you’ll be better off using a 3rd party software instead to import the file for free. One consideration when using the software is that it is cloud-based. All your designs are stored in the cloud, but it also means an internet connection is required.

Silhouette Curio vs Cricut Explore Air – the differences

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


Cricut Explore Air 2

Silhouette Curio

Dual Carriages
Print and Cut
Photograph Designs
Smart Set Dial
Cutting Force

350 grams

210 grams

Cutting Size

12 inches by 24 inches

8.5 inches by 12 inches

Works without Internet



What machine is stronger, the Silhouette Curio or the Cricut Explore?

While both machines have a lot of differences, if you are wondering which machine is stronger, the Cricut Explore is stronger than the Silhouette Curio. The Cricut Explore isn’t the strongest die cut machine on the market, but it can cut more materials than the Silhouette Curio. The Cricut Explore comes with a German carbide blade, making the blades last longer. Deep cut blades are available for both machines.

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

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

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

Silhouette Design Studio vs Cricut Design Space

One of the big differences between the Silhouette Curio 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 us 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 Curio or Cricut Explore?

When it comes to the Silhouette Curio vs Cricut Explore and deciding which one is better, it does depend on what you are looking for. Overall, the Cricut has received much more positive reviews than the Curio.

Why the Cricut Explore 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. The Cricut is stronger than the Curio, but the Design Space Software requires an internet connection and isn’t really built for creating designs from scratch.

Why the Silhouette Curio is better

Pre-order Silhouette Curio

If you want more freedom to create your own shapes, consider getting the Silhouette Curio or even Cameo cutting machine. The software is powerful, but the downside is that the Silhouette’s cutting force isn’t that powerful, 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.

Cricut Explore vs Silhouette Curio Differences

Diane Davies

Diane loves to craft and create. She enjoys experimenting with her Cricut Maker and Accuquilt GO! She also dabbles in jewelry making and crocheting. She is also passionate about sewing.

Recent Posts