Which Cricut is best for me? I get this question often from my readers and viewers, and today I'm going to answer it! Let me show you the differences between the Cricut Maker, Explore Air 2 and Joy and which machine I'd recommend for your specific uses.
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I use my Cricut machines a lot for crafting, organizing and home decorating, and they've become a staple in my crafty arsenal. "What is a Cricut?", you ask? A Cricut is a cutting machine that can cut several different materials for your craft projects like paper, vinyl, and cardstock. Some machines can even cut thin wood, leather, fabric and more. I recently wrote a blog post completely dedicated to explaining exactly what a Cricut is and what it does, and you can click right here to read it.
Even though it might look intimidating, a Cricut is actually quite simple to use. Once you give it a try, you'll see how easy it is to design a project with Cricut Design Space, how to change blades in the machine, and how to use different materials for a wide range of projects.
Now, let's find out which Cricut machine might be best for you. Watch the video below, or read on.
(The embedded video below is sponsored by Cricut.)
The Maker is the ultimate smart cutting machine. You can cut over 300 materials with this machine including everything from delicate materials like crepe paper and fabric, to thicker materials like chipboard, leather and thin woods. You can also use over 12 tools for cutting, writing, scoring, debossing and other pro-level effects. The Maker cuts everything the other machines cut like vinyl, iron-on material and cardstock, but then it also cuts more!
Cricut Maker is super easy to set up, and you can get started making projects quickly using the Cricut Design Space program from your desktop computer or mobile device.
Who should buy the Maker?
I’d recommend this machine if you want pro-level DIY performance & versatility and want to use a variety of materials and tools. It allows you to make more complicated projects and DIY with a wider range of materials than the other Cricut machines.
Here are some examples of projects I've made with the Maker:
- DIY Face Mask (using the rotary cutting tool to cut fabric)
- Crepe Paper Peonies (using the rotary cutting tool to cut crepe paper)
- Bunny Ear Napkin Rings (using the rotary cutting tool to cut felt)
- 3D Farmhouse Sign (using the knife blade to cut chipboard)
- Baby Slippers (using the rotary cutting tool to cut faux leather)
The Explore Air 2 is currently Cricut’s most popular machine, and it will cover most materials you’ll use for a wide variety of DIY projects like vinyl, paper, cardstock and chipboard. You can cut over 100 materials with this machine, and you can use 4 tools for cutting, writing and scoring.
Cricut Explore Air 2 is also super easy to set up, and you can get started making projects quickly using the Design Space program from your desktop computer or mobile device.
Who should buy the Explore Air 2?
I’d recommend this machine if you enjoy a wide range of DIY hobbies but don't want to venture into cutting more delicate or thicker materials. This is the Cricut machine that I recommend to most people.
Here are some examples of projects I've made with the Explore Air 2:
- Paper Flower Wreath (using the fine-point blade to cut cardstock)
- Personalized Christmas Eve Box (using the fine-point blade to cut vinyl, cardstock & iron-on material)
- Labels (using the fine-point blade to cut vinyl)
- Dreamer T-Shirt (using the fine-point blade to cut iron-on material)
- Watercolor Mixer Decal (using the cut-then-print feature & the fine-point blade to cut vinyl)
The Joy is a more compact machine than the other two machines for quick, everyday DIY projects. It can only cut materials up to 5.5 inches wide, but you can purchase material that is very long (up to 20 feet). The Joy cuts over 50 materials, and can use 2 tools for cutting and writing. Cricut Joy provides quick and easy personalization in 15 minutes or less and is cute & compact for easy storage and transport.
Cricut Joy is also super easy to set up, and you can get started making projects quickly using the Cricut Design Space program from your desktop computer or mobile device.
Here are some examples of projects I've made with the Joy:
- Container Labels (using the fine-point blade to cut vinyl)
- Farmhouse Inspired Tea Towels (using the fine-point blade to cut iron-on material)
- Spice Jar Labels (using the fine-point pens to draw the labels and the fine-point blade to cut them)
- A 12' long decal for a friend's bathroom sign (using the fine-point blade and 20' Smart Vinyl roll)
- Easy cards for Mother's Day (using the easy card designs on Design Space and the Card Mat)
Who should buy the Joy?
I’d recommend this machine if you want to make quick projects, want portability, and want a smaller machine. The Cricut Joy is perfect for creating simple projects like vinyl signs, cards and small iron-on designs.
My personal favourite machine?
The Cricut machine that I like the most is the Maker because in addition to cutting vinyl, paper and iron-on material, I enjoy working with both fabric and wood. I make a lot of vinyl labels, so the other machines are perfect for those. However, the Maker can make those AND take my projects to the next level with a wider variety of tools and materials.
Which Cricut machine is best?
The machine that is best for you is going to depend on your personal needs, but the Explore Air 2 is the one I recommend to most people. I think most crafters want a Cricut for making viny labels, stencils, and iron-on projects, and the Explore Air 2 does the job. Plus, it's usually more affordable than the Maker.