While many may believe technology hinders creativity and crafting, Cricut has proven they go hand-in-hand. With the right machine, nearly anything you imagine, you can create. The best Cricut machine will cut the materials you most often craft with and be large enough to suit your needs.
Our favorite model, the Cricut Explore Air 2, allows you to craft with over 100 materials, offering the most versatility for the best price.
If you’d like to learn more about the different Cricut machines, so you can decide which model is best for your crafting needs, we’ve got you covered.
What to know before you buy a Cricut machine
What does a Cricut do?
While Cricuts perform a wide variety of automated tasks from writing to scoring to debossing, the primary function is cutting. Cricut machines make complicated, precision cuts on a wide variety of materials. Depending on the Cricut machine you purchase, you can use it to cut cardstock, vinyl, fabric and even balsa wood.
There are three different Cricut cutting machines
Cricut currently manufactures three different cutting machines: the Cricut Joy, the Cricut Explore Air 2 and the Cricut Maker. The Cricut Joy has limited functionality, making it the best Cricut for beginners as there is less to learn. The Cricut Explore Air 2 is highly flexible and affordable and is best for the average crafter. If you are a heavy-duty crafter who likes the ability to cut over many materials, the Cricut Maker is the top-of-the-line model.
Besides cutting machines, Cricut has a line of heat presses. These models do not allow you to create, but you can add iron-on materials to your projects. One model can even handle heat transfers to mugs.
What to look for in a quality Cricut machine
Cricut machines come in different sizes. The Cricut Joy makes projects that are a maximum of 5.5 inches wide but can be up to 20 feet long, while the other models make projects up to 12 inches wide and 2 feet long.
Variety of materials
The type and number of materials available vary from machine to machine. The Cricut Joy is compatible with over 50 materials, the Cricut Explore Air 2 is compatible with over 100 materials and the Cricut Maker is compatible with over 300 materials.
The tasks you can accomplish are also different from model to model. The Cricut Joy can cut and write. The Cricut Explore Air 2 cuts, writes and scores. Finally, the Cricut Maker comes with many tools that allow you to cut, write, engrave, deboss, score and more.
The Cricut Joy is a Bluetooth-only device, while the other two models can connect via Bluetooth or USB.
Sometimes, Cricut machines come with bundles that can save you a great deal of money on supplies and tools. If there’s a particular bundle that catches your eye, that can be one of the best ways to save when purchasing a Cricut.
How much you should expect to spend on a Cricut machine
Though you can often find Cricut machines on sale, the retail price is $180 for the Cricut Joy, $250 for the Cricut Explore Air 2 and $400 for the Cricut Maker.
Cricut machine FAQ
How does a Cricut work?
A. While you can create virtually anything you imagine, there are only four basic steps needed to create a craft.
- Either create an original design within Design Space, import an original design to Design Space, or purchase a pre-made option in Design Space.
- Ensure your Cricut has the correct tool loaded for the task.
- Set your machine to the material that you will be cutting.
- Affix your material to the backing paper, load it into the machine and press the Cricut button. The device will produce your craft.
What are the best Cricut fonts?
A. There are two types of fonts that Cricut uses: an outline font for cutting and a single line font for writing. You must know the difference. Otherwise, your craft will not turn out as expected. Ultimately, the best font for you depends on your project, but a few general guidelines can help you achieve the best results.
- Play it safe: Don’t use wild, hard-to-read fonts.
- Contrast: If you use two fonts, make sure they are different enough, so they easily stand apart from each other.
- Watch the weight: Fonts that are too bold or too thin can both be hard to read.
- Ignore the rules: If you want to go crazy and try something bold rather than safe, that is also an option.
Which is the best printer for Cricut?
A. According to Cricut, to take advantage of Design Space’s Print Then Cut feature, you need an inkjet printer.
What is the best Cricut machine to buy?
Top Cricut machine
What you need to know: This is the top-of-the-line Cricut machine.
What you’ll love: The Cricut Maker can cut over 300 materials, it is capable of executing over 12 tasks, and it offers both Bluetooth and USB connectivity.
What you should consider: This model costs more than the other Cricut models.
Top Cricut machine for the money
What you need to know: This is the Cricut model to get if you want the best bang for your buck.
What you’ll love: The Cricut Explore Air 2 can cut over 100 materials, it has five tools and offers both Bluetooth and USB connectivity.
What you should consider: This model cannot cut as many different materials as the Cricut Maker, but it is still an amazing crafting tool.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This smaller model is the best choice for someone on a budget who doesn’t need to create full-page designs.
What you’ll love: The Cricut Joy can cut or write on over 50 materials, it works with Smart Materials for long projects and works with Card Mat for quickly making custom cards.
What you should consider: This Cricut machine is small. It can only make designs that are a maximum of 5.5 inches wide. However, it can make banners up to 20 feet long.
Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.