You may be wondering, “Which Cricut machine is best for me?”
In order to answer that, we need to look at what you are wanting to use the Cricut for, and the features of the different Cricut machines.
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There are four Cricut machines currently available. The Cricut One and the Cricut Air came out first. They are the most basic of machines and not readily available in stores.
The main two machines now are the Cricut Air 2 and the Cricut Maker.
Honestly, if I were buying a machine today I would stick to the Explore Air 2 or the Maker. If you come across an Explore Air or an Explore One, they are still good machines, but aren’t the standard anymore.
Let’s look at the how the Cricut machines are the same and how they are different.
The Cricut One has a single holder for the blade and accessories. In order to use a blade and an additional tool such as a pen, you have to take out one and put in the other.
All the other machines have two holders. The blade can stay in at all times and the second holder can be used for an accessory.
The Cricut One is not able to connect to bluetooth, and it has to be physically plugged into the computer.
The Cricut Air has the ability to connect to bluetooth, but it needs an adapter. (Might as well buy the Air 2 price wise by the time you add the cost of the adapter).
Both the Cricut Air 2 and the Cricut Maker easily connect to bluetooth. This enables you to use the computer, an iPhone or iPad, or an android.
The Cricut Air 2 and the Cricut Maker have the option to cut and write 2xs as fast.
The Explore One, Explore Air, and Explore Air 2 can cut, write and score over 100 materials.
The Cricut Maker is the most versatile. It can cut, write and score over 300 different materials including balsa wood, unbonded fabric, aluminum and more.
The Cricut Maker also has an expandable suite of tools. It includes a rotary blade, knife blade, scoring wheel, perforation blade, wavy blade, debossing blade , engraving blade and more!
Both the Cricut Maker and the Cricut Air 2 use the same Design Space software, so I wouldn’t consider one necessarily more beginner friendly than the other.
The Cricut Air 2, however, does not have the advanced cutting capabilities that the Cricut Maker has. It is limited on the types of materials it can cut, but is still a great machine!
If you are a beginner and are only interested in cutting vinyl or paper, the Cricut Air 2 is sufficient. If you think you might want to experiment and use different materials later such as fabric, balsa wood, felt or leather- I would take the leap and get the Cricut Maker.
If you are primarily a papercrafter, the Cricut Air 2 will be enough for you. It cuts paper and vinyl easily, but is not able to cut other materials such as balsa wood, leather, fabric, etc.
If you are wanting to use your Cricut machine to cut adhesive vinyl or heat transfer vinyl, the Cricut Air 2 is a great choice. Just know that it is not able to cut other materials such as balsa wood, leather, fabric, etc. like the Cricut Maker can.
The Cricut Maker machine has been a dream for sewers and fabric art lovers. The rotary blade cuts fabric and felt like butter. There is no question here- if you work with fabric, the Cricut Maker is the Cricut machine you need.
Yes, it is possible to cut fabric with the Explore but the fabric has to first be bonded. I prefer the option to be able to cut without it being bonded.
What is the best Cricut machine for teachers? Well, honestly, it could go either way.
Some may prefer the more simple features of the Cricut Air 2. It cuts and writes, but doesn’t have the adaptive tool system that includes the rotary blade and many other “extras”.
On the other hand, the Cricut Maker has the ability to cut so many various materials, I could see how that could really come in handy for a teacher.
If the primary way you will use your Cricut machine is to make shirts, most likely with heat transfer vinyl, the Cricut Air 2 will do the job. It is a great machine and is perfect for vinyl.
If you are wanting to make shirts that include some type of fabric element as well, I would suggest upgrading to the Cricut Maker so you can take advantage of the rotary blade cutting fabric.
Let’s look at the Cricut machine models and their features.
The Cricut Maker is my absolute favorite and most recommended machine. It is the latest machine and definitely worth the higher price in my opinion.
I recommend the Maker to everyone because I believe once you start creating with your Cricut machine, you will get to the place where you will want to be able to cut a variety of things. I would just rather get the machine that does it all up front instead of needing to upgrade later.
The Cricut Explore Air 2 is a great machine, and as long as you aren’t wanting to cut unbonded fabric, balsa wood, etc. it will be sufficient. Especially if you are getting a machine and will only cut vinyl or paper, then this is the machine for you.
There are always some great deals on Amazon, especially if you are an Amazon Prime member. You can get individual machines as well as bundles.
Cricut does run sales on their website, and the price of a machine will qualify for free shipping as well. If you already own a Cricut machine and you have Cricut Access, you can get an additional discount.
Check out the price of the Cricut One here.
Check out the price of the Cricut Air here.
Check prices for Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut Air 2 bundles here.
Check prices for Cricut Maker and Cricut Maker bundles here.
Michaels, JoAnns and Hobby Lobby also sell Cricut Machines, but rarely at a discount.
I actually bought my Maker at JoAnns though because I was able to get a percentage cash back through the Ibotta App. (You can download the Ibotta app to get cash back from purchases including groceries and retail stores. Use the referral code s7ke5a to get started).