5 Little Monsters: Which Cricut Machine is Right for You?

Which Cricut Machine is Right for You?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

Have you been considering purchasing a Cricut machine either for yourself or for a gift? Between gifts, whether for someone else or for yourself, and Christmas crafting a Cricut may be on your wish list this time of year. If this is you how do you know which machine is right for you?

There are two machines to consider the Cricut Maker and the Cricut Explore Air 2. Both are great machines and can do a lot of amazing stuff, but there are a few differences that may factor into your decision.

Cricut Explore vs. Cricut Maker

The Maker is the newest top of the line machine. As a result it is pricer than the Explore Air 2. The Maker retails at $399 and the Explore Air 2 at $249, although at the time I am writing this they are currently on sale for less than that, and they often are. 

The Maker has a wider variety of tools and blades that work with it and it cuts with more force, and as a result it can cut a wider range of materials. 

Both come in several colors.

What can I cut with a Cricut?

So what exactly can each machine cut, and how could that influence your decision? 

Both machines work great for cutting materials like all types of paper, cardstock, vinyl, and iron on (heat transfer). The maker has an adaptive tool system which allows it to use a wide range of tools and blades, including the rotary blade, the knife blade, and other tools that allow you to engrave, deboss, score, and more. This allows you to work with other materials including everything from thinner, more delicate materials like fabric and tissue paper, to heavier, thicker materials like chipboard, balsa wood, and leather. 

What can I make with my Cricut?

Now that you have an idea of what you can cut what can you make?

Well, I want to say pretty much anything you want but that probably isn't very helpful. Both machines with allow you to make paper crafts like cards, gift tags, boxes, etc. There are some pretty amazing things I have seen people make with paper. You can use Cricut pens to add writing or drawing directly onto your paper projects, or use the print and cut feature to print out your design and then cut it on the Cricut. 

Both machines also allow you to work with vinyl and iron on, which happen to be a couple of my favorite materials to work with. I love to use vinyl for signs and other decor items, you can use it for car decals, and for labeling pretty much everything. I use iron on all the time to make t-shirts, it is also great for other fabric items like pillows, and even for things like reverse canvases. Cricut's Infusible Ink works with both machines as well. 

One of my favorite other materials to cut on the Maker is fabric, the rotary blade comes with the Maker and cuts fabric beautifully, I have cut out whole quilt tops with my Maker. I also love using it to cut felt. It cut nice crisp shapes to make things like felt flowers and hair bows. I also like using the the knife blade to cut heavy chipboard or thin wood. I have used it to cut out things like ornaments, and to add a 3D effect to signs. 

There is a lot more but hopefully that gives you an idea of the many, many things you can make with a Cricut. 

How do you know which Cricut is best for you?

Now that you know a little about each machine, what they can cut and make the question is how do you know which one is right for you?

The answer to this questions is going to vary from person to person and I think there are a few questions you need to ask yourself to figure out the answers. 
  1. How much does the price factor in to your decision? Do you have a specific budget that you need to stay within?
  2. What materials do you want to be able to cut? Mostly just paper, vinyl, iron on, and other similar weight materials? Or do you want to be able to cut fabric? Chipboard? Engrave metal?
  3. What type of projects do you plan to make? Lots of t-shirts or signs? Cards and gift boxes? Quilts, dolls, or other sewing projects? Leather or wood projects? Felt flowers?
  4. Do you want a machine that just does the basics or do you want a machine that has a variety of blades and tools that you can continue to add over time?
Once you have answered these questions I think you will have a better idea of which machine is the best fit for you, which leads us to the last question..

Which Cricut should I buy?

Both the Maker and the Explore Air 2 are really great machines and you can do amazing things with either one. 

If budget is a major factor and you can afford a $200 machine but $400 is out of the budget, then you will be happy with the Explore Air 2. It really can do a lot, especially if you plan on using a lot of vinyl or iron on projects. When I got my first Explore it opened up a whole new world of crafting. If budget is less of an issue then you may want to splurge on the Maker, because even if you don't plan on using the other blades you may find that you want to at some point and they won't require a new machine. 

If you know you want to cut lots of felt or fabric then the Maker is definitely the machine for you. However, if your project plans mostly include t-shirts or signs, then the Explore will be a great machine. 

I have both machines and am very familiar with both of them. For some people the Explore Air 2 is going to give them everything they need, while others will prefer the expanded tools and materials that come with the Maker. Either way a Cricut is one of the best tools for crafters and you will love all of the things you can do.

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