If you’re into crafting, you’re likely dreaming about purchasing a Cricut machine for a while. The brand has dominated the cutting machine market for the last few years, providing enthusiastic creatives with affordable tools that can bring their DIY projects to the next level. But what is the best Cricut machine for you? It’s a question we get very often, which is why we decided to review the most popular options currently available and help you determine which of them better fits your needs.
Cricut stands out from the crowd thanks to their quiet, powerful, and user-friendly devices. The thing we appreciate most about the brand is that it keeps up with technology. Each model that comes out is better than the next, via improved hardware or software. Users can easily say goodbye to hand cutting shapes and rely on Cricut to help bring their design ideas to life. And while each model will allow you to cut through a variety of materials, the best Cricut machine for your needs will also boast features meant to improve your productivity and cater to the projects you would like to tackle. Without further ado, here’s a quick buying guide, followed by comprehensive reviews of the brand’s popular devices.
Best Cricut Machine: Buying Guide
Regardless of which Cricut machine you will end up purchasing, all models come with a few things in common. First off, they all enable you to cut various materials – cardstock, paper, vinyl, even leather and thin wood. If you have something thicker to cut, your Cricut should be able to cater to it, no problem. They come with a strong motor that can handle intense use for a long time.
Next, there’s the software, which lets you design and create projects you can then tackle with your machine. You also gain access to a generous library of pre-made images, fonts, and graphics you can use in your work or you can upload your own images and designs and start from there. Either way, the software is fairly intuitive, so you should be able to get a feel for it in no time. The software is usually compatible with most computers; just make sure yours makes the list prior to purchasing.
As for the differentiating factors between models, these come down to speed, wireless abilities, and extra features. For instance, some Cricut models have the ability to cut and draw at the same time thanks to a double tool holder. That means that you no longer have to stop halfway through the process to switch out the blade for a pen. On the same note, some models get the job done faster than others, and some boast Bluetooth capabilities for wireless cutting.
Finally, another important factor to consider is price. Depending on your needs and budget, you can go with a model that only comes with the basics or save to purchase one of the fancier machines. If you’re just getting started with crafting, we advise you to keep an eye out for bundles. These include a Cricut machine and accessories and materials meant to give you a head start, all at a significant discount. Think craft tools, vinyl paper, transfer paper, pens, markers, and more.
At the end of the day, whichever option you end up choosing, you’ll be making a solid investment. All models come only with minor flaws (no machine is perfect, although the Cricut Maker comes close) and rarely disappoint, enabling users to create beautiful stuff with minimal effort. So start shopping around to find the best Cricut machine for you. Here are our favorite models, from the Cricut Maker to the Cuttlebug.
Find the Best Cricut Machine for You: Reviews
The Cricut Maker is a wonderful aide for any crafting enthusiast out there. It comes with an expandable suite of tools meant to simplify sewing and quilting projects, simple design apps, and features that are exclusive to this model.
Thanks to its Adaptive Tool System, the Cricut Maker sports commercial-grade cutting power. The tech, exclusive to this model, controls the direction of the blade and the cut pressure to match your material to a T, ensuring a perfect cut every time.
The Cricut Maker also has an expandable suite of tools (blades, pens, and scoring tool), enabling you to experiment with a variety of crafts. It also offers a Rotary Blade, cuts through virtually any fabric quickly and accurately, as well as a Knife Blade, which can slice through heavier materials like 2.4mm (3/32”) balsa wood and matboard.
The design apps work for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. With your purchase, you’ll get 50 free ready-to-make projects, including 25 sewing patterns. The brand calls the Cricut Maker the ultimate smart cutting machine, and we tend to agree.
- Adaptive Tool System – professional cutting technology that intelligently controls the direction of the blade
- User-friendly software – including access to designs and sewing patterns
- Cuts a wide variety of materials
- Rotary Blade and Knife Blade
- Expandable suite of tools
- Double tool holder
- The Cricut Makes comes with built-in Bluetooth
- No built-in cartridge slot
All in all, the Cricut Maker is the brand’s most advanced model so far, which can cater to both beginner and experienced crafters. If you can swing it money-wise, this might just be the best Cricut machine for you.
Cricut Explore One Cutting Machine
If the Cricut Maker seems too much to handle right now or you’re an entry level crafter who doesn’t want to spend a lot, the Cricut Explore One Cutting Machine is a worthy alternative.
The electronic cutting machine comes with plenty of useful features, so you don’t have to pay extra to make all your DIY crafts, and projects come to life. It lets you design from anywhere thanks to its free cloud-based apps for Mac, iPad, iPhone and PC. You can use available designs or upload your own images. The machine doesn’t have built-in Bluetooth capabilities, but you can cut wirelessly if you add a Bluetooth adapter, which is sold separately.
In terms of what it can cut, there’s a wide range of materials the Explore One is able to handle, from paper to iron-on to adhesive vinyl and leather, as well as plenty of other fabrics. The Smart Set will ensure you’ll always use the right settings for your current project.
The accuracy of the Explore One is another thing worth talking about. Thanks to it CutSmart technology, your cuts are nice, clean and precise every time. Your cuts may range from ¼ to 11 ½ wide X23 ½ inches tall. The German premium blade is sharp and tough.
Depending on whether you want to buy it as a standalone or as a bundle, the Cricut Explore One can come with a 12×12 inch cutting mat and 50+free images, but also several free project ideas and one vinyl sample.
The machine is well-made and works with Cricut cartridges. It runs rather smooth and quiet and is dependable, being made of sturdy materials. Unlike the Cricut Maker, it has a single tool holder, so you can’t cut and write at the same time.
- Well-made and dependable
- Cuts a wide variety of materials
- The cuts are precise every time
- It runs smoothly and quietly
- The software may be better
- The cutting area is a tad small
Despite the minor flaws, we still like the machine for its durability, versatility, and smooth operation. This is the best Cricut machine for beginners who don’t want to spend a fortune on crafting supplies.
Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine
When you work on your DIY projects a lot but don’t want to stay near your computer all the time, a wireless machine is a clever investment. The Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machinehas built-in Bluetooth capabilities, which means that you can cut wirelessly. It’s also highly versatile and compatible with all sorts of materials, including vellum and leather. As with the previous model, you get access to the free Cricut Design Space online software and iPad app.
This model has a double tool holder, for writing and cutting, or cutting and scoring at the same time. The list of features also includes the SmartSet dial, which helps you easily choose the right setting on a specific material. You may cut materials in many shapes and sizes accurately, from 1/4” to11 ½” wide x23 ½” tall. The blades are tough and last well, even under intense use.
Easy to use and well-made, the Explore Air is pure quality, so it won’t break down on you anytime soon. The design is well thought out and the device comes with built-in storage compartments (one can never have too many of those). You can also manually customize settings, which boosts the product’s versatility.
- The machine handles wireless cutting
- It’s very accurate and gives clean cuts
- Works on a great variety of materials
- Double tool holder
- The images may look blurry at times
- According to some users, there’s a learning curve
All things considered, we still think this is a great wireless Cricut that will make your life much easier and considerably improve the quality of your DIY projects. It’s definitely one of the best Cricut machine models for users who don’t want to be glued to the device as they go about their crafting.
Cricut 2000293 Cuttlebug Machine
If you’re looking for a DIY cutting machine that is manual instead of electrical, you can’t go wrong with the Cricut 2000293 Cuttlebug Machine.
The machine is not only easy to operate, but it also takes the dies you already have. It works very well on various types of crafting materials, including tissue paper, foils, thin leather, acetate ribbon, and more.
In terms of details, we like the compact shape of the Cuttlebug and the fold-n-store profile that lets you easily store the device when not in use. The portability of the machine should also be noted, as the built-in pop-up handle lets you carry it around without any hassle.
The Cuttlebug ensures clean, crisp cuts and accurate, deep emboss. Strong suction is a given. You may use it for the whole line of Cricut Cuttlebug embossing folders and cutting dies. It’s also compatible with many other types of folders and dies, ensuring versatility. The machine usually comes with cutting pads, space, an instruction booklet, and a flower-embossing folder.
- Cuts and embosses on a large variety of materials
- Compatible with many folders and dies
- Portable and easy to store
- Small, so you can’t use it for the larger projects
- It’s not electrical
All in all, this is the best Cricut machine for crafters who like to work with their hands a lot and prefer a manual machine over an electrical one. Not to mention the fact that unlike more advanced models like the Cricut Maker, the Cuttlebug won’t break the bank.
Cricut 29-0001 Personal Electronic Cutting Machine
Do you like scrapbooking and paper crafts more than anything else? Then the Cricut 29-0001 Personal Electronic Cutting Machine is definitely the choice for you. The machine offers numerous possibilities when it comes to greeting cards, scrapbooks and all sorts of paper crafts.
This model is great if you want to cut letter, phrases or shapes. You may easily use it for paper, vinyl, cardstock or vellum. The cuts may vary in size, from 1 inch to 5 -1/2 inches tall.
What’s great about the machine is that you don’t need to use a computer, but you do need cartridges. The machine bundles the George and Basic shapes cartridge, so you can be up and running from the get-go. The cartridges are small and lightweight.
We love the portability of the machine and the ease of use. The cutter weighs only 9 pounds and has a handle for convenient transportation. You can cut letters, shapes or phrases with the touch of a button, considerably simplifying the entire process.
There’s no real learning curve as far as this model is concerned. You only need to place your paper on the cutting mat, load it into the machine, and insert your cartridge. You continue by selecting the cutting and pressing cut. You are also able to control the size and the style of the cut via simple settings. Besides the George and Basic Shapes cartridge, the machine also comes with a cutting mat, user manual, and power adapter.
- Great for greeting cards, scrapbooks, and various paper crafts
- Cuts vellum, vinyl, paper, and cardstock
- Cuts letters, phrases, and shapes
- Easy to use and portable
- You can’t actually design your own image
- The paper pad loses its stickiness sooner than expected
As long as you are aware of its limitations, this is one of the best Cricut machine models for scrapbooking lovers on a budget.
Best Cricut Machine Models: FAQs
What can I do with a Cricut machine?
Depending on the model, you should be able to cut, write, and score with minimum effort.
What materials can a Cricut machine cut through?
There are tens of materials your Cricut machine will be able to handle, from vinyl, fabric, and paper to thicker stuff like leather and balsa wood. You can check the official Cricut website for a complete list. The more advanced the model, the more materials it will be compatible with.
What kind of projects can I tackle with a Cricut machine?
The world is your oyster. You can use a Cricut machine to create decals, stickers, jigsaw puzzles, ornaments, T-shirt transfers, coasters, invitations, and many, many more wonderful things. Here are some quick projects that work well for beginners. If you get a Cricut Maker, sewing projects will prove particularly tempting.
How do I figure out which is the best Cricut machine for me?
It all comes down to the kind of projects you want to experiment with. Go through the buying guide and reviews above for a starting point and read the specifications carefully. Next, it’s a good idea to look up other online reviews as well, preferably from other crafting enthusiasts. There are a ton of resources on YouTube, so leave no stone unturned when doing your research. Think of your Cricut machine as an investment – it should be versatile and last you for years to come.
The Cricut Maker may be the brand’s most advanced model, but it’s also pricey. And if you’re just tackling smaller projects or don’t require too many fancy features, you can do with one of the other, more affordable models just fine.