5 Little Monsters: Cricut 101: Which Machine is Best?

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Cricut 101: Which Machine is Best?

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If you are thinking of getting a cutting machine it can get really overwhelming really fast as you look at all of the different machines available and try to figure out which one to buy. Not only are there different brands, there are also different machines within each brand. Knowing which one to choose can be pretty overwhelming.


I have only ever used a Cricut, both an Explore Air and an Explore Air 2, and I have been really happy with them, but I thought it would be good to make a chart to compare some of the different machines. I chose to only compare the different Cricut and Silhouette models since those are the 2 most common brands. There are a couple others like Brother Scan N Cut and Sizzix Eclips that arsimilar and you may want to look at those, but most people seem to debate between Cricut and Silhouette so that is what I decided to focus on.


From the information I was able to find each company currently has 3 models of cutting machines for sale. The Cricut Explore One and the Silhouette Portrait are the most basic, sort of entry level machines. Both retail for around $200 (although at the time I am writing this the Explore One is on sale for $149). Both only hold one tool (I think the Portrait only cuts but I could be wrong, the Explore One can cut, write, and score but you have to change out tools because it only holds one at a time or there is an adaptor you can buy to add an additional tool holder). Neither of these machines have wireless capabilities although there is a wireless adaptor available for the Explore One. I think the biggest difference between the two is the size. The Portrait is a smaller machine and can cut 8" wide while the Explore One is the same size as the other Cricut machines and can cut 11.5". The Silhouette machines are able to cut without a mat so you can cut up to 10 feet long, while the Cricut machines are limited to the size of the mat and can only cut up to 23.5"

The mid price machines for the 2 brands are the most different, though they are similar in price. The Explore Air is basically the same as the Explore One with a couple of upgrades. The first being a dual tool holder so that you can cut and write or cut and score without needing to change out your tools. The second big difference is the fact that it has bluetooth and can be used wirelessly. The Silhouette Curio on the other hand is a very different machine. It is meant to be used to do different things like emboss, stipple, and etch. It has a higher clearance so you can use thicker materials in it. It still has a narrower cutting area of 8.5". From everything I have read and heard this is more of a companion to your other machine rather than the one that you would want to get for the majority of your cutting needs.

The higher end machines for the 2 brands are the Cricut Explore Air 2 and the Silhouette Cameo 3. Both are around $300 (At the time of writing the Air 2 is on sale for $249). From everything that I have read and researched these two machines are pretty similar as far as what they can do. A lot of this comes down to personal preferences. Some people prefer one software over another (both are free to download so you could always download both and play around a little before deciding). Comments that I have heard are that Cricut's software is easier to learn and very user friendly but Silhouette's software is great if you are wanting to do a lot of designing. I think it is kind of like iPhone vs. Android, everyone has their preference and their reason for liking one more than the other but they are both going to do what you need them to do. Personally I have been very happy with my Cricut machines and my experience with the company has been great.


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