As a scrapbooker or hobby-crafter, finding a cutter that allows you to explore your passion can help boost your confidence and productivity. Talking about cutters, Cricut is one of the few companies that have completely dominated die-cutter manufacture. But as you know, no two or three machine models are exactly the same (even if they come from the same company). So, here is our two cents on which model qualifies to be called the Best Cricut Machine based on features and reviews.
6. Cricut Mini Cutting Machine (DISCONTINUED)
The Cricut Mini is a tiny and portable machine that’s reputed for its power. Weighing in at a paltry 5.2 pounds, the mini is easy to pack up alongside your laptop for the next die cutting party. What’s more? The machine is pretty powerful and is capable of cutting more through tough materials including 1.5mm cardstocks.
Besides cutting, the mini is also capable of drawing. In fact, the tiny machine comes with two buttons. One of these two buttons is for powering the machine either on or off. The second button is for loading the mat.
Beneath the cute body is a powerful blade. However, the blade depth and pressure have to be set manually. And except for several situations when the machine’s roller operates without a mat, the mini is a moderately quiet machine.
Another fact worth noting about the Cricut Mini is that it comes with a free Craft Room Software version. This software allows you to make custom designs using ready-made resources. However, you need to have an internet connection to use this software.
On the flipside, though, this software does not allow you to create your own designs from scratch. You’d need to order some ready-made designs most which retail at 99 cents. This can be a serious drawback especially if you’re an experienced crafter looking to explore their creativity.
However, there’s no doubt that this machine presents you with great value for money. It can help you save your office space. Likewise, if you travel frequently and would like a portable Cricut machine to boot, this one would be a perfect choice.
Some examples of materials you can cut using this machine include vinyl, cardstock, chipboard, fabric and thin foils. And to make the deal even sweeter, you can size, slant, rotate or flip through images as you wish. Lately, they’ve even included a free access to over 500 digital images. That’s in addition to 4 full fonts, 150 layered images, and 50 phrases.
- Excellent portability
- Great cutting precision
- Quiet cutting technology
- Great space saving design
- Powerful cutting blades
- Light in weight
- Easy to use
- Limited cutting power
- No access to Design Space software
5. Cricut 29-0001 Machine (DISCONTINUED)
If you’re looking to take your die cutting career to a whole new level, the Cricut 29-0001 might be the budget-friendly choice for you. This portable cutting machine is best suited for scrapbooks, greeting cards as well as other paper crafts.
You can use it to cut phrases, shapes, letters especially since it can work with vinyl, cardstock, paper, and vellum. On the flipside, though, it comes with the old cartridge-based system. Actually, that’s an advantage to some extent because you wouldn’t need a computer to cut some basic shapes with it.
So, if you’re looking for portability and are willing to limit your creativity to a few George and Basic Shapes, the 29-0001 would dazzle you with what it has to offer.
- Can handle a wide variety of materials
- Freedom to control the size and style of the cut
- Excellent scrapbooking results
- Compact and lightweight design
- Not suitable for heavy-duty die cutting
- Limits your graphics design abilities
4. Cricut Expression 2 (DISCONTINUED)
This is a fun machine. Besides that, it’s decently powerful meaning you can use it for all basic tasks. However, it’s purely cartridge based and that means it’s impossible to use it for custom-made designs.
That said, it comes with a full-color LCD TouchScreen which enables you to move and even manipulate images. On top of that, you can use it to connect online so you can access the benefits of the Craft Room Software program. This software program contains thousands of images which you can browse and use for die cutting.
As you can tell, this is an extremely easy-to-use machine. You can settle for it if you’re not familiar with graphic design and stuff. In this case, all you’ll need to do is select and plug the right cartridges into the machine. You can then move the designs around and even resize them.
Beyond that, you can always make good use of the auto-fill option which once selected enables you to copy the shapes onto the mat multiple times. That’s just but a snippet of some of the time-saving features this machine comes with.
- Great time-saving design
- Access to free designs on Craft Room software
- Ability to handle different materials (chipboard, balsa wood, foam and so forth)
- Backed by a 1-year warranty
- Limited graphic design freedom
3. Cricut Explore One
If you’re looking for the latest Cricut machine, the Explore One should be on top of your bucket list. It’s tiny, affordable and most importantly linked to the Design Space software.
In fact, right out of the box, this machine comes with 50,000+ images. These free images allow you to start your die cutting career on a high note. So, whether you want to design personal wedding gifts, seasonal home decor or even your very own customized designs, this one has got you covered.
Another major advantage of the Explore One is that it uses advanced technology which allows for wireless operation. This way, you can come up with some awesome designs on your phone and send them to the machine for cutting. You’d, however, need a Bluetooth adapter (sold separately) for that.
- Comes with a smart dial setting which eliminates the need for manual settings
- Has Cut Smart technology which cuts different dimensions
- Powerful German carbide premium blade
- USB port
- The Design Space software can only be accessed on the web
- Limited to cutting light materials
2. Cricut Explore Air 2
Ranked one of the fastest Cricut cutting machines on the market, the Explore Air 2 has all the power you need to experiment with light duty commercial work.
In fact, the machine comes with a double tool holder. That means it’s capable of cutting, writing and scoring simultaneously. On top of that, its design is meant for everyone who’s looking for an easy-to-understand machine.
Another awesome feature of the Explore Air 2 is its Bluetooth wireless technology. This incredible technology means you can directly send designs from your phone to the machine. And unlike in the Explore One, you wouldn’t need to purchase a separate Bluetooth adapter for this.
Actually, the main selling point of the Cricut Explore Air 2 is its cutting and writing speed. The machine has two operation modes. The normal mode allows you to cut at the usual pace. On the other hand, the fast mode enables you to do the job twice as fast.
It’s also important to note that this Cricut machine comes with Cut Smart 2 technology. This patent-pending technology goes a long way in improving the quality of your cuts at all times. And what’s the thickest material that this machine can cut? Well, the Explore Air 2 is capable of cutting wood.
- Powerful cutting blades
- Great freedom to customize your designs
- Compact design
- Comes with easy-storage compartments
- Can be operated using the intuitive Design Space software
- Over 3,000 ready-to-make projects waiting for you
- The Design Space software can only be accessed via the internet
- No Android app available for it so far
- Louder than all the other Cricut machines reviewed so far
1. Cricut Maker
The Cricut Maker is, without a doubt, the best Cricut machine ever. Not only is it powerful, wireless-enabled and compact but also dependable. In addition, not only does it come with a double tool holder and faster-cutting speed but a rotary blade as well.
The rotary blade does an incredible job of cutting tough fabrics. This special blade is equipped with both a rolling and gliding action which gives the machine extra power to slice through fabric like a knife through butter.
On top of that, this machine comes with a knife blade. What’s that for? You might be wondering. Well, this is a sharper blade which can cut through materials as thick as 2.4mm thick.
In other words, these two blades – rotary and knife blades – elevate the Cricut Maker to the level of sophisticated desktop cutters. And on top of that, the machine’s 4kg of cutting pressure is as powerful as they come.
In other words, no task is too complex or too simple for the Cricut Maker to handle. So, whether you’re a beginner or pro, there’s always a way to make every moment with this machine worth reminiscing.
- Highly powerful cutting blades
- Well-priced at an under $500 price tag
- Come with a rich sewing library
- This is a real work-horse with a turbocharged engine
- Has a fantastic and futuristic design
- Automated technology which detects whether you’re using the correct blade or not
- The cutting space is still quite limited
- Still uses the web-based Design Space software
Final Thoughts – Which One Is the Best?
Our verdict is that the Cricut Maker is the best Cricut machine. That’s because it comes with all the latest and advanced features you need to enhance your creativity. However, if you’re looking for a cheap and basic machine, the Cricut Explore 1 would be the ideal choice.
So, ultimately, you need to start by understanding your unique needs so you can make an informed choice.