Whether you’re a scrapbooker, a hobby-crafter, or a business owner, a die-cutting Cricut machine could take your crafting to the next level. In addition to improving your creations and products, a Cricut can boost your productivity and confidence within your field.
If you know a thing or two about die-cutters, you’ve probably heard the Cricut brand pop up before. They’ve dominated the cutting world in recent years and now offer a wide range of different machines. So, which Cricut machine is best for you and your needs?
Below, we explore some of the best Cricut machines on the market today, each one has it’s own unique qualities and differences.
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1. Cricut Maker 3
If you’re looking for the best of the best when it comes to Cricut machines, this is it – the Cricut Maker is the most advanced Cricut machine on the market. Not only is the machine compact, powerful, and wireless, but it’s also dependable so you can enjoy the same quality with whatever you’re cutting.
Like the Cricut Explore Air 2, the Cricut Maker comes with a double tool holder to keep your workspace tidy. This Cricut machine also benefits from a faster cutting speed to help streamline your workflow and a rotary blade. Equipped with both a rolling and gliding action, the rotary blade can be used to cut tough fabrics without any snags.
On top of that, the Cricut Maker is equipped with a knife blade. This sharper blade can cut through materials as thick as 2.4mm – even wood! It’s these two blades that set the Cricut Maker apart from the crowd and make it the most sophisticated desktop cutter in the range.
- Comes with a rotary blade and a knife blade
- Highly powerful
- Can cut materials up to 2.4mm in thickness
- Comes with a wide sewing library
- Turbo-charged engine for faster performance
- Automated technology detects whether you’re using the right blade for the material
- Still uses internet-based Design Space software
- Cutting space is still limited
2. Cricut Explore Air 3
Rated one of the fastest cutting machines on the market, the Cricut Explore Air 3 is ideal for those who want to dabble with light-duty commercial work. This Cricut machine benefits from a double tool holder, meaning that it’s capable of cutting, scoring, and writing simultaneously. Better still, it’s super easy to use!
Another great thing about the Cricut Explore Air 3 is that it’s built with Bluetooth wireless technology. This means that you can send designs directly to the machine from your phone or laptop. Unlike the Cricut Explore Air One, you don’t need to purchase a separate Bluetooth adapter to use this function – everything you need is built into the machine.
A key selling point of this Cricut Explore Air 3 is its cutting and writing speed. The cutter has two operation modes – normal, which allows you to cut at the standard pace, and fast mode which enables you to finish a job in half the time.
It’s also worth noting that the Cricut Explore Air 3 benefits from Cut Smart technology. This allows you to get the same superb results, time after time. Whether you want to cut paper, card, fabric, or even wood, the Explore Air 3 has got you covered.
- Comes with access to over 3,000 ready-to-make projects
- Powerful cutting blades
- Compact design
- Freedom to customize your designs
- Multiple storage compartments
- Built-in Bluetooth
- Works with the Design Space software
- Louder than the Explore One
- The Design Space software can only be accessed via the web
3. Cricut Joy
At the start of 2020, Cricut released their newest cutting machine, the Cricut Joy. The machine benefits from a compact design, measuring less than half the size of the Cricut Explore and the Maker.
As you’d expect from a smaller and cheaper Cricut machine, the capabilities aren’t quite as advanced as Cricut’s other products. The Joy comes with a single blade and pen holder, so you can’t cut and write simultaneously; however, it does benefit from some fun new features!
One of the main selling points of the Cricut Joy is mat-free cutting, which means you can cut up to 20 feet of vinyl in a single-use. This Cricut machine also benefits from a Card Mat, making it easy to create cards for every occasion.
This handy little Cricut machine is ideal for all the basic crafts, including cutting cardstock, vinyl, adhesive vinyl, and writing labels. So, if you’re looking for an affordable desktop cutter, the Cricut Joy is worth checking out.
- Mat-free cutting function
- Separate Card Mat
- Only has a single blade and pen holder
- Has a cutting width of just 4.5 inches
4. Cricut EasyPress
Perfect for those who want to upgrade from an iron but don’t have space for a traditional heat-press, the Cricut EasyPress machine offers professional iron-on results in minutes. This Cricut machine combines the convenience of an iron box and the speed of a heat press to deliver fast and long-lasting results.
The easy-to-use controls and evenly heated plate make the Cricut EasyPress stand out from other iron-on boxes on the market. It boasts variable temperature control settings up to 180°C, making it perfect for both small and large projects.
Another selling point of the Cricut EasyPress is the handy safety features, including an insulated resting base and auto-shutoff. This allows you to rest easy, knowing the machine has got your back if your mind wanders. It also comes in 3 different sizes: 6″x6″, 9″x9″ and 12″x10″, so there’s something to suit everyone.
- Easy to use controls
- Evenly heated plate
- Insulated resting base
- Available in 3 different sizes
- Biggest size is 12″x10″
5. Cricut EasyPress Mini
If you like the sound of the Cricut EasyPress machine but need something smaller, the EasyPress Mini will be right up your street. Measuring just 3.25 x 1.92″, this machine is the smallest size in the EasyPress collection.
Unlike the standard Cricut EasyPress which has specific temperature controls, the Cricut Mini comes with 3 temperature settings: low, medium, and high.
It’s much smaller than the standard EasyPress Cricut machine; in fact, it can almost fit in the palm of your hand. This makes the Mini ideal for crafters with limited desktop space.
Another benefit of the EasyPress Mini is its tapered end. This makes it great for getting into tight spaces that can’t be reached with a standard heat press.
While it looks similar to an iron, it offers a much higher and more evenly spread heat, delivering more professional results.
- Compact size
- Evenly heated plate
- Fast results
- Doesn’t have a countdown timer
- Only has 3 temperature settings
6. Cricut Explore One
If you’re just getting started in the Cricut world, the Explore One is certainly worth checking out. The cutter is small, affordable, and is linked to the Design Space software.
One of the best things about this Cricut machine is that it comes with access to over 50,000 images. These freebies allow you to hone your craft and dabble with a range of different image styles. Whether you want to design home decor, wedding stationery, or your own personalized products, the Cricut Explore One has got your back.
Another advantage of the Explore One is that it allows for wireless operation. This means that you can design on your phone or laptop from anywhere in the house and send your designs to the Cricut machine for cutting. If you like the sound of this, make sure to purchase the Bluetooth adapter which is sold separately.
- Comes with access to over 50,000 images
- Has a smart dial setting which removes the need for manual settings
- Comes with a powerful German carbide premium blade
- Boasts a USB port
- Limited to light cutting materials
- The Design Space software can only be used on the web
- A separate adapter is needed to use Bluetooth
Note: Cricut no longer makes the Cricut Explore One but you can still find it for sale in some places or can pick one up second hand.
Discontinued Cricut Models
The following is a list of the previous Cricut die cutting machine models that have been discontinued and are no longer easy to purchase. We wouldn’t recommend them because you will be missing out on key up to date features and most are not compatible with Cricut Design Space.
- Cricut Personal
- Cricut Create
- Cricut Expression
- Cricut Cake
- Cricut Expression 2
- Cricut Imagine
- Cricut Gypsy
- Cricut Expression 2
- Cricut Cuttlebug
What Are Cricut Machines?
For anyone that’s totally new to the Cricut world, let’s explore the purpose of Cricut machines. From making intricate iron on work to complicated cuts, Cricuts take your crafting tasks to the next level.
Cricut cutting machines such as the Cricut Maker and Explore Air 2 can cut stickers, greeting cards, vinyl, cardstock, fabric, and a plethora of other materials.
The EasyPress machines transfer vinyl like a traditional heat press.
They are great for DIY projects and working with smart materials
What Tools Do I Need for a Cricut?
If you’ve just purchased your first Cricut machine, you might be wondering what tools you need. The answer to this question depends on the type of materials you plan to work with.
For instance, if you want to slice fabric with the Cricut Explore, you’ll need backing material, a standard grip mat, and a fabric bonded blade. However, if you plan to cut fabric with the Maker, you can invest in a fabric grip mat and a rotary blade plus.
When you purchase a Cricut cutter, you can choose between the basic toolset and the essential toolset. The basic set comes with tweezers, a scraper, a spatula, a weeder, and scissors with a blade cover. The essential kit comes with a scoring stylus, a scoring blade, and a trimmer.
All of the Cricut cutters arrive with a fine point blade and the regular grip mat as standard. Thankfully, these are enough to get started with, so you don’t need to invest in anything specific from the outset. As you get to know your machine, you’ll discover what tools you need to improve your workflow and productivity.
Features to Consider
Below, we explore some features to consider when deciding which Cricut machine to purchase.
Not all of the Cricut machines have the same cutting speed. For instance, the Maker can cut up to two times faster than the beginner models.
Of course, this is reflected in the price, so if you’d prefer a machine that doesn’t cut as fast but is more affordable, the Explore range may be best. If you’re a business owner or someone that crafts every day, you might want to invest in a top tier model that cuts at high speed.
Automatic depth and pressure adjustment
If you’re cutting a range of different materials, you’ll need to adjust the depth and pressure of the blade. Some Cricut machines come with automatic depth and pressure adjustment, while others do not. If you opt for a beginner machine, you’ll need to set the depth and pressure manually to ensure a perfect cut.
Some of the Cricut machines come with a scoring function for decorative and folding purposes. Cutters with this ability are pricier but can take your game to the next level. However, if you don’t want to splash out on a top-tier machine, you can always score manually with a scoring stylus instead.
Some of the Cricut machines can hold and a pen and draw images or write in different fonts. This premium feature comes with a high price but leaves a professional look.
Some machines have built-in Bluetooth that allows access to the downloadable online library of patterns and images. Some of these are free, while others are purchased individually or with a monthly subscription. Machines that don’t have Bluetooth can still access the online library, but you’ll need to use a USB.
Investing in a machine with wireless capabilities will also allow you to send designs to cut directly from your phone. This means that you can get on with your crafting from anywhere in the house, without needing to be wired up to your machine via a USB.
The Original Cricuts were designed to cut paper, but many of the new machines can now do so much more. As well as paper, more advanced machines can cut vinyl, vellum, cardstock, faux leather, and adhesive foil. Some top tier machines can even cut fabric, metal, cardboard, chipboard, and balsa wood.
Keep in mind that the more materials a Cricut machine can cut, the more expensive it will be, so it’s best to consider your needs before investing.
Compatible accessories and software
To get the most from your Cricut machine, you may need to invest in some accessories and software. Cricut has various accessory bundles available that include items like replacement blades, vinyl transfer tape, deep cut blades, different types of vinyl, and scoring stylus tools.
Many Cricut machines come with access to Design Space, the brand’s free design software. Accessed through the cloud, Design Space includes thousands of images, patterns, and fonts to use.
Some of these are free for Cricut users, while others can be purchased individually or through a monthly subscription. There are three different levels to the subscription service – fonts, standard, and premium. Have a look at the details before deciding which is best for you.
So, there you have it – the best Cricut machines on the market. Not sure which Cricut machine is right for you? Don’t panic! Read through the information above to help you make an informed decision on which is the best Cricut machine for you. Our top recommendations are the Cricut Maker and Cricut Explore Air 2 if you want a cutting machine and the EasyPress for vinyl transfers.
Cricut Access: https://cricut.com/cricut-access.html
Cricut Design Space: https://design.cricut.com/