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If you are new to Cricut crafting, you may be wondering which Cricut model to get. I’m going to do my best to answer this question briefly but thoroughly. These are my opinions and observations after using these machines. The information below is about the currently available machines, which all use the same free software, Design Space.
The Cricut Maker is the top of the line, and the one I recommend getting if you can possibly afford it. Without getting too deep into the very advanced technology, the Adaptive Tool System makes the Maker more versatile than any previous machine. I’m primarily a paper crafter, and so my favorite tools are the Scoring Wheel, the Debossing Tip, and the Wavy Blade. (These are all QuickSwap Tools.)
The Knife Blade can easily cut balsa wood and mat board. If you sew or quilt, the Maker cuts fabric without stabilizer using the Rotary Blade, which is included with the machine.
The biggest difference I noticed going from an Explore to a Maker was that the Maker just seems like a heavier-duty machine. It does have ten times the cutting power of the Explore series.
Cricut Explore Air 2
That said, if you are an occasional crafter who only needs a machine a few times a year for holiday gifts or scrapbook retreats, the Explore Air 2 is an excellent machine at a more affordable price point. Also, if you only plan to cut vinyl and/or HTV, this machine can do that just like the Maker.
Like the Maker, Explore Air 2 can cut up to 11.5″x 23.5″, and it has the ability to do print then cut. It also as built-in Bluetooth capability and comes in a variety of colors.
The newest member of the Cricut family is the Cricut Joy. This smaller machine is great for smaller crafting areas and is easily portable.
I have used my Joy more than I thought I would. It’s so nice to have when I want to do a small cut and don’t want to deal with the big mats for the larger machine. The Card Mat makes is so easy and quick to make an insert card that doesn’t even need adhesive. It can also do write/draw then cut like the larger machines. Also, I have to say, it’s adorable.
The cool party trick that the Joy has that the other machines don’t is cutting without a mat using Smart Materials™. With these special materials, the Joy cuts individual shapes up to four feet long or makes continuous cuts up to 20 feet long!
Whatever machine you get, don’t be afraid to dive right in and create! My beginner tips and tutorials can help you get started.