When it comes to precision crafting and cutting, Cricut machines are revered for their superior power. No matter your level of experience, you can always find a Cricut-branded machine that enables you to put your skills to good use. But with so many options on the market, the task of finding one that best suits your needs might be a little complicated. In fact, as a beginner, you might be tempted to invest in the latest, whizz-bang Cricut machine. However, we’d advise against that. As a beginner, it’s always a good idea to test the waters prior to splurging on the newest machine.
So, if you are just getting started, we have curated a list of some of the best machines that are beginner friendly.
1. Cricut Explore One
If you are just getting started in crafting and looking for a reliable machine, this is one of the options worth looking into. It looks a lot like the Explore Air 2 but they are not the same. Apparently, the Explore One was just released as an inexpensive alternative to the Explore Air 2.
Compared to the Explore Air 2, Explore One does not have Bluetooth technology. The good news is that you can add a wireless Bluetooth adapter for wireless cutting with your iPhone, PC, iPad, and Mac. However, the adapter is sold separately.
But probably the best thing about the machine is that it can cut a wide array of materials. In particular, you can use it to cut vinyl, paper, leather, fabric, cardstock and even poster board for DIY projects.
On top of that, thanks to its Smart Set dial function, the machine allows you to get precise cuts on almost any material. You can as well design a custom setting for a wide variety of materials. In addition to that, it features unique Cut Smart technology designed to help you make clean cuts of different shapes and sizes.
Additionally, the device employs a German carbide blade that provides quick cut on most fabrics with great accuracy. As if that’s not enough, the Explore One supports cartridges which is what makes it more approachable for beginners. The cartridges make it easy for anyone to get familiar with various materials and styles of crafting.
Moving on, the machine boasts easy-to-use and free Design Space software that is only available online. This software provides you with access to your projects and images from any compatible iPhone, Mac, PC, or iPad. Similarly, the software is cloud-based to ensure your projects and designs are synced across all your devices.
What’s more? It includes over 50 free images and 25 one-click projects so you can get started as soon as you purchase the machine. More so, you can upload your personalized images and fonts for free or simply choose from the image library. You also have the option to browse pre-made projects for cards, home decor, scrapbook pages, parties, and more to satisfy your crafting needs.
Also included are a standard-Grip cutting mat and storage compartments for added convenience. With the Explore One, you can make so many things including banners, birthday invitations, wedding gifts, and decorations. Therefore, the only limit will probably be your imaginations.
- Makes ultra-precise cutting
- Includes over 60,000 design and projects ideas
- Cuts over 100 different types of materials including printable images
- No complex material settings thanks to the Smart-set dial
- Relatively inexpensive and works with Design Space
- Easy to use and comes with an instruction guide
- Allows you to design your projects on your smartphone, PC or tablet
- Not embedded with Bluetooth so you will need to buy an adapter
- Includes just a single holder so you cannot cut and write simultaneously
- Cartridges are quite expensive
2. Cricut Explore Air
The Explore air is yet another great entry-level Cricut machine for beginners that allows for customized designs. It includes everything you might need to create stunning DIY projects and crafts. Like the Explore One, it also cuts a wide variety of materials with superb accuracy. From thick fabrics like leather to paper, adhesive vinyl, vellum, and even iron-on, it precisely cuts over 60 types of materials.
Unlike the Explore One, this machine has dual carriage including one for a cutter and the other one for a marker. This basically means that it can easily cut a card and write a customized message on the card in one step. Also, it can cut a box and then score its fold lines simultaneously. Similarly, the dual tool holder helps keep your pen and blade always within reach.
In addition to that, it comes integrated with a Bluetooth function for fast and wireless cutting. Therefore, you can connect the machine to your tablet, desktop or smartphone and control it without the need for cables or wires. You can also send all your crafts and projects wirelessly to the device for cutting.
On top of that, the device is fitted with the easy-to-use Design Space software that is compatible with nearly all Android and iOS devices, and Mac and Windows computers. The software enables you to access thousands of fonts and images for free or at a small fee.
Further, the Explore Air includes the popular Smart Set dial function to help you make intricate cuts or create custom settings for various materials. Thanks to its Cut Smart technology, making clean cuts of all sorts of sizes and shapes is also easy.
Another great feature of this machine is that it supports all Cricut cartridges. As such, you can make different types of cards in a minute and without worrying so much about the design. Also, the device provides you with the option of uploading your own set of images in various formats like .jpg, .gif, .png, .svg, .dxf, and .bmp.
Similar to the Explore One machine, it also comes with over 50 free projects and 100 images along with a getting started guide. You will also get an iron-on and cardstock sample so you have an easy time making your first crafts. Also included with the purchase is a metallic silver pen to help you add beautiful embellishments to your projects so they stand out from the rest.
As if that’s not enough, the Explore Air packs a high-quality German carbide blade designed to cut through both light and medium-weight materials accurately. Besides that, it comes with built-in storage compartments for storing your gear safely and conveniently. Other accessories included with the purchase are standard grip cutting mat, power cord, accessory adapter, and USB cord.
- Cuts and writes in just a single step
- Well-made with durable blades, easy to set up and use
- Supports cartridges
- Super convenient and easy to use iPad app
- Includes orange grid-lines to ensure designs stay centered
- Supports wireless cutting
- Only works if there is an internet connection
- Design software is a bit slow
3. Cricut Explore Air 2
Next up we have the Explore Air 2 that is reported to be two times faster than the previous Explore models. From home decor to cards and custom t-shirts, the machine allows you to create stunning DIY projects in just minutes. On top of that, it cuts over 100 types of materials such as specialty paper, Iron-on Vinyls, faux leather, poster board, cardstock, adhesive foils, and more.
The Explore Air 2, like the Explore One and Air, makes intricate cuts every time thanks to its Smart Set Dial function. This function allows the machine to create cuts only at the correct pressure and depth for all kinds of materials. In addition to this, it includes the free Design Space software that is cloud-based. The software enables you to edit and customize your projects on the go.
What is more, it features a dual tool holder so you can cut and write or simply cut and score in a single step. Using the Cricut pens, you can literally make handwritten cards or projects using your favorite font for free. Also, you can easily create fold lines for boxes, cards, paper crafts, and envelopes using a scoring stylus.
Another feature worth mentioning is its built-in Bluetooth connectivity designed to ensure faster wireless cutting, scoring, and writing. Consequently, you can send your designs and projects from your smartphone, computer or tablet to the machine for optimal convenience.
With over 3,000 pre-made projects and design ideas to choose from, the machine provides you with endless possibilities in the image library. Besides, you can always upload and use your image files, artwork as well as fonts absolutely for free. As if that’s not enough, the Explore Air 2 enables you to print full-color patterns or images and then cut them out.
Moving on, it employs Cut Smart technology for ease of making precise cuts. The technology also allows for effortless selection of pre-calibrated materials. More so, the device comes with a premium German Carbide blade and works very well with cartridges. But wait there is more. The Explore Air 2 packs a cardstock sample, standard cutting mat, start guide, over 50 free project ideas, and over 100 free images.
- Cuts easily through printable images
- Easy-to-use software
- Cuts and writes up-to 2X faster
- Includes images and thousands of design ideas for nearly every project
- Boasts easy material settings
- Beautiful and stylish design with vintage colors
- Some users have has issues with the software
- Cutting mat loses its sticky very fast
With the flexibility to cut a wide array of materials and with incredible precision, these Cricut machine options for beginners make die-cutting fun and easy. But ultimately, the best choice entirely depends on your intended use and needs.