Since this is a long article, feel free to use the quick nav to jump to what interests you:
A Cricut electronic cutting machine, as the name suggests is an innovation in the DIY branch for the home creation of all sorts of creative gifts, personalized decorations and basically anything you can think of. Your imagination is the only limit. Since the first release of a Cricut product, things have evolved to a much better user experience and now we can see that the cutters are actually as intuitive as a printer with which you can often confuse them.
Since now the market comes with an overwhelming number of different models and companies, we made a fine selection of the best cutting machines from various brands and we compared them with the Cricut Explore Air, (the wireless version) and between them. If you are interested in a certain comparison use the quick navigation table above.
Note: the Cricut machines work on a number of materials. But if you’re looking for a dedicated cutter for vinyl, for instance, I have a page on the best vinyl cutters out on the market now.Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine
The actual difference between the Cricut Explore and the Explore Air is simple and rather intuitive. The Explore Air can work with your devices wirelessly (without any physical connection), so you will be able to send designs and images via Bluetooth with your phone, pc or Ipad while the Explore is dependent on a wire connection; simple as that. I heard a lot of potential buyers of the Cricut machine raving around which of these to buy, not knowing that there are no actual differences besides the wireless capabilities.
That is pretty much everything you need to know when choosing between the two. I would recommend the Air for everyone who likes working with multiple devices and for that is ready to spend a bit more for this feature. If you are the kind of person which mostly works on a PC and wired connections are not a hassle for you, then the Explore might be a better choice.Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine Silhouette Cameo — Starter Bundle
This is a general comparison between Cricut and Silhouette as brands, each highlighted with its own pros and cons. When we compared the Cricut Explore with various Silhouette cutters we saw that some patterns emerged. Generally speaking, both the Cricut and Silhouette electronic cutting machines are very similar when it comes to the final result (i.e. the physical object created). The differences are only visible on the looks, configuration and cutting process of the machines each coming with its own style and features.
Let’s first get the similarities out of the way. Both brands feature intuitive online platforms for finding the designs you like with the important mention that on the Cricut platform you are actually renting a design whereas Silhouette sells you the design. So the difference here is that on a Silhouette you can keep the image licenses and on the Cricut you can have them as long as you keep using the Cricut product. I don’t find this to be a major inconvenience on the Cricut as long as you do not plan to switch to another brand. Also, you should take into consideration that Cricut offers a generous selection of free designs besides the paid ones.
Another similarity is the cutting precision. No matter which of the two brands you chose, the precision of each cut will never be a problem as long as you keep the blades sharp. Also, both brands have the print and cut technology implemented in their last products i.e. Explore and Cameo.
As of the last major similarity, the ease of use is present both at Silhouette and Cricut. Coming with great online platforms and intuitive layouts with few buttons to learn and configure.
Now the differences: It seems that Cricut’s philosophy is to provide the user with a wide range of predefined symbols and designs to choose from in order to obtain the desired result, making it a more self-sufficient machine. Now with the Silhouette things differ a lot. I do not know any Silhouette product which works without a PC connection. Now that is also the case with the newer versions of the Cricut too, like the Explore, you might say. Yes, but if you look back at the Expression, for example, you can see that Cricut had the early idea of making a standalone cutting machine which is not dependent on other devices whereas Silhouette didn’t.
Another major difference between the two is the resolution for print and cut. The Silhouette comes with a default resolution of 600 dpi while the Cricut’s maximum resolution is 150 dpi. As a consequence of this, the final results will tend to be crisper and better looking when it comes to fine details on the Silhouette.
Finally, I do not consider that either of the two is a real winner; each comes with its strong and weak points. That is why choosing the one which is the best for you is more a matter of taste. There are a lot of people who love the Cricut and the same amount which consider the Silhouette a better choice. I consider that no matter what you chose, either of them will be a reliable companion which will make the hassle of cutting with scissors a thing of the past.Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine Cricut Expression 1 Electronic Cutting Machine with no cartridges included
If I were to put all the meaning of the comparison bellow, in a nutshell, I would say that a newer product is in almost all situations a better product, and that is also the case with the Cricut Explorer when compared to its older counterpart, the Cricut Expression.
Of course, there are some things which people loved about the old Expression which are no longer present or supported in the newer Explore but as a general rule of thumb, I consider that the newer product makes for a better experience. And when we looked at these two Cricuts things seem to go on the same path.
The Explore comes with an incomparable ease of use and intuitive design which many people absolutely love. The online platform although dependent on it makes selecting the designs and ideas rather a pleasure. Then comes the design. Let’s face it; the Explore looks so much better when put aside to the Expression. I do not say that the Expression had a bad design but if I were to choose between the two solely based on the looks; I would go hands down with the Explore.
There are good parts of the Expression too, the things that I said people loved it for, like the capacity of working as a standalone machine without any PC connection. With the Expression, you can create your own designs through the touchscreen by using predefined symbols and images, and that can be great when you take it with you in a place where a PC is not available but still want to create something with it, or simply do not have a PC at all. This is not even remotely possible with the Cricut Explore, and on top of the fact that you are dependent on a
PC connection, you are also required to have an internet connection to use the online platform and upload your own designs. So for that matter, you may want to choose the Expression.
Don’t get me wrong. If you plan on working with scissors as before just because the Expression is not as good as the Explore then you missed the point. Of course, the Cricut Expression is a way better alternative to scissors and any form of traditional cutting. The only thing to consider is that it was discontinued by newer and improved versions of it. Things can simply be put like this. If you want a discounted version of a Cricut electronic cutting machine, go for the Expression; if you want the newest and greatest go with the Cricut Explore.Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine Cricut Explore One Cutting Machine
The Explore One is the budget version of the Cricut Explore. Basically you will find that some features are not present in the Explore One in order to maintain a lower price tag. So simply put the Explore One is the cheaper one, but what are the other aspects that matter other than price?
One of them would be the Explore One’s lack of the two clamp heads, with which you could cut and write messages on the material at the same time. I consider this to be the main disadvantage of the Explore One because you have to swap the knife with the writing pen several times until you get the results you would otherwise get in one run with the Explore Air. Also another thing you might miss is the wireless capability. With the Cricut Explore Air, you can upload your designs and images straight from your couch using your Iphone, Ipad or Laptop whereas with the Explore One you can only do this by purchasing a Bluetooth adaptor. Otherwise, you are stuck with a wired connection every time you want to cut something.
The rest of the features are pretty much similar on both machines like the precision made possible by the Cut Smart technology, the Smart Set dial for easy material selection or the online platform which is the same for any of the new Cricut machines.
Finally, you could make a choice between the two Cricuts by questioning whether all the shortcuts the One has and the added work you will have to do are worth the small difference of money you pay on the fully fledged Explore Air.Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine Cricut Expression 2 Electric Cutting Machine
Since the same rules apply as on the previous comparison between the first Cricut Expression and the Cricut Explore, this comparison highlights the differences between the Expression 2 and
Expression. From that point, you can look at the previous comparison and decide which is best for you. With the Cricut Expression 2, there are no major updates regarding the functionalities of the machine rather we can see some changes in the looks and design. The Expression 1 featured a lot of physical buttons which you had to learn in order to use the machine. All of them were replaced by a touchscreen on the second version of the Expression.
As the actual improvements on the Expression 2, it can be updated digitally using a PC, it comes with a screen that lets you see what is being cut, and, more importantly, it lets you save your settings for further use. Last but not least the final results on the Expression 2 are definitely of higher quality.
As a final note, the Expression 2 is an all-around better choice than the Expression although it is hard to understand why Cricut choose to eliminate the possibility to freely move the blade. Many users complained that this causes an unnecessary waste of materials.Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine Silhouette Cameo — Starter Bundle
The most debated topic on the internet regarding the electronic cutting machines is which of the Cricut Explore or the Silhouette Cameo is better. I start off by saying that neither of them is an absolute winner. Both the Cricut Explore and the Silhouette Cameo are designed to do their best on every aspect of the cutting process.
As of the cutting precision, the differences are not big, yet I consider that the results on the Cricut Explore Air are better. The corners are crisper and overall the cuts are cleaner. This should not be a concern for most people yet it’s worth mentioning. However when it comes to thick materials Silhouette seems to struggle more than expected; While for the Cricut materials like foam, cork, leather or chipboard do not represent a problem, the Silhouette can barely cut them. So if you plan on cutting thick materials the Cricut is definitely the better choice.
Things at which the Explore is better:
- Cutting thicker materials
- Making more precise cuts
- Offering an easier experience for the unskilled creator
Things at which the Cameo is better:
- Printing designs with a higher resolution (600dpi on the Cameo vs 150dpi the Explore)
- Cutting vinyl
Things you can’t do with a Cameo
- Upload and cut your designs wirelessly
- Work on your projects through the internet wherever you are.
- Cut SVG files
Things you can’t do with an Explore
- Operate without an internet connection
- Cut large designs without tiling
Finally, which of them should you choose? That’s a tricky question, but generally speaking, if you want greater ease of use, a more simplistic approach to the machine and thick material cutting capabilities along with better cuts, then choose the Cricut Explore. On the other hand, if you prefer greater freedom in creating your own designs, work on vinyl with less difficulty and have a more business-friendly cutting machine then go for the Silhouette Cameo.Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine Brother ScanNCut CM100DM Home and Hobby Cutting Machine with a Built-in Scanner
The thing people love the most about Brother Scan and Cut is that it actually is a standalone electronic cutting machine as opposed to Cricut products where you are stuck with a permanent internet connection which is necessary in order to upload and cut your designs.
Reasons to choose the Brother Scan and Cut:
- More independent from PCs
- Better printing quality 300dpi (Brother) vs 150dpi (Cricut)
- Slightly larger maximum cutting area 12 X 24 inches (Brother) vs 11.5 X 23.5 inches (Cricut)
- Works without cartridges
Reasons to choose the Cricut Explore / Explore Air
- Better support due to the larger number of customers
- Notably more information about the machine and free designs from the Cricut platform including trademarked Disney images.
- Wireless capabilities for sending your designs from multiple devices.
- Although both machines are intuitive, nothing matches the ease of use of a Cricut Explore
Brother included a plastic scraper or a spatula whatever you want to call it, with which you were supposed to easily remove the surplus material but sadly enough it is barely useful. I strongly recommend a metal scraper for better results; in the package, you also get a box with different accessories which include things like a stylus for the touchscreen, two mats, a deep cut blade and other stuff.
To sum it up, I would say that choosing between the two is both a matter of taste and pragmatism. For example, if you had a Cricut machine in the past and invested your money in various designs and images from the Cricut’s online platform or you bought all sorts of accessories which are only compatible with Cricut machines, you might want to remain faithful to Cricut. The same applies with the Brother Scan and Cut especially on the second version of the machine which you can find bellow this comparison. However, if you are a newbie in this industry and you are unsure which of them would be a better choice there are some generalizations about each that might give you a hint which would be a better choice for you.
The Cricut is the most user-friendly among all cutting machines and it holds its position, so if you want to see quick results with the least amount of work you should choose the Cricut. This is not to say that the Brother ScanNCut is not user-friendly, just that Cricut cannot be dethroned on this matter. When it comes to independence from other devices, as said previously the Brother wins hands down coming with over 1000 built-in designs and a touchscreen which lets you put your creativity into action without the need for a PC. The Cricut on the other hand not just that it requires a PC connection but it also needs a permanent internet connection. From that, we could say that the Brother ScanNCut is, even more, business friendly since network drops won’t affect it. You might be concerned about the price; on this topic, the Brother ScanNCut is a more expensive choice. In the end, no matter which of them you choose, you will find that you bought a quality cutting machine which puts your imagination to good use.
The Silhouette Curio is one of the most similar machine to the Cricut Explore. It comes with similar features and a similar price, the single things that differ are the design and brand.
Since the price is not a shootout in the case of these two machines we need to look at little details to see which of the two might represent a better choice for you. However, do not expect to see a definite winner between the Silhouette Curio and the Cricut Explore. Actually, I would consider that this comparison is closer to a tie than any of the previous ones.
Dual carriage system for multiple operations in a single run? Both feature this. Deep cut blade for thick materials? The same. However there is a point where the Silhouette Curio loses it, and that is the width of the machine. With the Cricut, you can cut wider materials whereas with the Curio you will have to measure them to be sure they will fit the machine.
Since there is no absolute winner between the two you could make a choice based on brand preference. Also, if you had an electronic cutting machine in the past and you invested in different designs you may want to stay with the initial brand since licences and designs are not transferable.Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine Brother ScanNCut2 Home and Hobby Cutting Machine with Rhinestone Trial Kit
The Brother ScanNCut 2 is, as you may already know, an improved version of the first released Brother ScanNCut. So no matter if you plan on upgrading from your older Brother or just want to figure out whether a Cricut or a Brother is a better choice for you, then you should first know that with the improved capabilities also comes a higher price. However, it is definitely worth it.
The Brother Scan and Cut 2 now features a bigger touchscreen that will satisfy most customers which complained in the past that they could not see the details of their designs and images. Surprisingly enough this is not the single flaw which Brother choose to correct. Now it comes with a fully working wireless system which allows you to upload your own designs straight from your smartphone or laptop. When comparing the first version of Scan N Cut with the Cricut Explore, these were the features which made the Cricut a better choice but now it seems that Brother has caught up and is here to dominate the market.
Exclusive features of the Brother ScanNCut 2
- Rhinestone applique capabilities
- LCD Touchscreen for a better handle of the designs
- Hundreds of built-in designs which let you operate without a PC connection
Exclusive features of the Cricut Explore
- The Cricut online platform with countless ideas and designs
- Unbeatable thick material cutting
When comparing the Cricut Explore with the Brother Scan N Cut 2 as opposed to other comparisons when there was no best choice, I concluded that in this case there is an actual winner, which is the Brother Scan N Cut 2. Of course, this applies to most segments; in some cases the Cricut Explore did a better job but the general feel is that the Brother Scan N Cut, although being a more expensive machine, surpasses most of Cricut’s functions.Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine Cricut Mini Cutting Machine
The Cricut Mini is the perfect version for everyone who preffers a smaller footprint and is not very picky when it comes to more advanced features.
The Cricut Explore is definitely the choice one would make to get the most of an electronic cutting machine because it features very nice additions and functions for a better end result.
In terms of price the Cricut Mini is the winner, however, the difference between them is not significant. Generally speaking, if the price difference is not significant enough think about the Cricut Mini as the compromise between size and features and about the Cricut Explore as the high-end machine that is capable of much more. As a personal preference, I would not choose the size to the detriment of quality, but this is again a personal choice.