Best Cricut Machine for Beginners

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Is a Cricut worth it? Let’s compare the Cricut Maker vs Cricut Air 2.

Quick Version of the best electronic cutting machine

I own both the Cricut Maker and the Cricut Explore. While I use mostly the Maker these days, 99% of my projects can be done with the Cricut Explore.

I recommend the Cricut Explore for all beginners.

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Comparing Cricut Machines by Project Type

The first thing to think about when deciding which Cricut to buy is what type of projects do you want to do?

Are you planning a a wedding and want to make your own invitations?
Are you and avid decorator and want to take on a bunch of home decor projects?
Are you looking to make a little side business selling crafts and handmade goods?

You will most likely find additional projects that interest you once you get your Cricut but for most people, there’s usually a started project category that drives them to make the purchase.

I’ve created a quick snapshot of my thoughts on each machine and how they perform for the most popular project categories.

Cricut Comparison Chart

Project TypeCricut ExploreCricut Maker
Iron-OnLittle difference Little difference
Paper CraftsLittle difference in cutting cardstockCan use the rotary scoring blades
Vinyl Art Little difference Little difference
Wood Signs Little difference More power
Tumbler Decals Little difference Little difference
SewingCan’t use the rotary bladeEnables cutting of non-bonded fabrics
Stencil Projects Little difference Little difference
Leather ProjectsHandles Faux Leather fine More power for real leather

So basically my conclusion from this comparison between machines is unless you need to cut a bunch of fabric or score really intricate lines, just get the Cricut Explore.

Why Buy a Cricut Maker:

More Materials

If you are an avid sewer or love felt projects, then the Cricut Maker is a better choice. I was really impressed by the rotary blade cutting felt. It didn’t look like anything was happening but it makes super clean intricate cuts that would otherwise be really difficult to make with scissors.

I also like doing real leather projects with the Maker. There’s a little more power in the machine. There is also a knife blade that works only with the Rotary housing. This knife blade is great for thicker materials (greater than 2mm).

In general, the Maker is incrementally faster but with all the overhead involved in setting up the SVG, working in Design Space, getting things on/off the mat, the percentage of time saves is negligible.

Recommended Accessories for Cricut Beginners

One thing I want to clarify to everyone is you really don’t need all the accessories they promote with the Cricut.

Here are things I would recommend as a basic Cricut Beginner’s Starter Kit:

Mats: I could recommend getting both the green Standard Grip and blue Light Grip mats so you can try basically any type of project from the beginning.

Tools: I don’t have any of the dedicated tools. I just use my cast iron pan scraper and tweezers. A credit card works too.

Materials: Cardstock, Glue, transfer paper, Vinyl and Iron On HTV covers 90% of all you might need. Here are some of my favorite deals on these materials:

Just getting started with the Cricut?

If all of this seems overwhelming, check out my quick reference ebook Cracking the Cricut. I provide a comprehensive overview of Cricut Design Space for all devices:

Related Articles:

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All Free Cricut Card Templates

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cricut beginners guide

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