5 Best Cricut Machines for Beginners to Perfect Your Art

Last updatedLast updated: July 29, 2021
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For a creative looking to cut up lettering or a particular design onto various materials such as vinyl, fabric, paper, and more, you may want to purchase a Cricut machine.

With the best Cricut machines for beginners, you can get started, learn the ropes, and perfect your art before even thinking about upgrading to a pro model. On our end, we reviewed about nine of these beginner models and identified the Cricut Explore Air 2 as a favorite and serious contender for the best beginner device. The 2x fast mode, Bluetooth and fine point blade are just a few of the features that make it so. Nevertheless, since the best device is based on personal preference as well as individual needs, the other four products on the list are also good choices depending on the person in question.

Of course, different Cricut machines have different capabilities in the materials they can use and the maximum cutting size. Also, the size and weight, software, warranty and other features may serve to give each product an edge over competitors by the value they give to the user. As per the requirements of the job, our team spent a lot of the time leading up to this write-up checking these details and rating devices according to features. We have thus provided you with a table below giving an overview of product ratings for the five best Cricut machines for beginners. Another section to look toward is the in-depth reviews section that provides more information about our five hand-picked devices. You may as well find the buying guide a considerable help when it comes to making your purchase.

Top 5 Cricut Machines for Beginners Review 2021


Cricut Explore Air 2Editor’s Choice

  • Job type: cutting machine
  • Workable materials: cardstock, fabric, heat transfer material, transparencies, paper, vellum, adhesive vinyl, and magnet paper
  • Dimensions: 24″ x 9.5″ x 9.5″
  • Weight: 14 lbs.
  • Software: Design Space (for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac.)

Other features: 11.5” x 23.5” max. cutting size, built-in Bluetooth, 2x fast mode, Fine Point Blade

Our editor’s choice is one that may vary in pricing depending on the finish you pick. Nevertheless, you should have a budget of about $250 if you are seriously thinking about purchasing the Cricut Explore Air 2 Mint. As mentioned above, this is a cutting type machine and one that should be able to handle working on different types of materials. Examples of such include cardstock, paper, magnet paper, transparencies and more. With that, the product has already positioned itself as a versatile artistry tool.

Once you’ve ordered this from Amazon, you should be aware that it comes with Design Space software. As such, you can work on and finish your designs on your PC and leave the heavy lifting of imprinting these designs on various materials to the machine. The manufacturer makes sure all their bases are covered by creating software for all major operating systems. This is inclusive of iOS, Android, Mac and Windows systems. As such, whether you have your phone or your pc to work with you are still good to go.

Of course, for your phone to work with the device all you need to do is turn on the Bluetooth, link the machine and you are good to go. Of course, with the fact that the software can be downloaded onto your phone or iPad, you can design on the go. A review of this tool would be incomplete without the mentioning of the fine-point blade. This component is what makes it possible for the machine to cut into 100 different types of materials. In addition to that, it allows for fast mode which minimizes the time you have to wait for your project to finish. Also included in the package is an adhesive mat that you will attach to the material you want to cut your designs into and that allows you to load the material onto the machine.

What stands out?

  • Free software
  • Bluetooth enabled
  • 2x fast mode for when you are in a hurry
  • Works with a variety of materials
  • 1-year warranty

What cons did we manage to find?

  • Working with the online software may be a little frustrating
  • Vinyl requires extra care if you want perfect results
RELATED: 5 Best Vinyl Cutters Under $300 – Great Quality and Reasonable Price!

Cricut MakerPremium Pick

  • Job type: cutting machine
  • Workable materials: 300+ materials, from the most delicate fabric and paper to matboard and leather
  • Dimensions: 21.2” x 7” x 5.9”
  • Weight: 23.8 lbs.
  • Software: Design Space (for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac.)

Other features: available in five colors, the Rotary Blade, compatible with the Knife Blade

The Cricut Maker is rather simplistic in its naming and sums up the job of the device in two words. This is a higher-end machine than its predecessor on the list, and you will have to pay almost twice as much to own it. Whether or not it is worth this price point is up to you to figure out from the features listed. It is superior to other products especially when it comes to the different materials it can handle. Three hundred-plus materials is quite an impressive statistic. Nevertheless, the tool still has more to offer.

Of course, it will come with its copy of Design Space. As such, you will have a hard time finding a device that the machine is incompatible with except those with Linux operating systems. As to the finish, there are five different colors to choose from. However, unlike its predecessor, these color options do not come in at various price points.

One thing you should take note of is the rotary blade that makes working with fabrics a cinch. Also, there is the chance that the bundle in question does not have enough accessories for every type of project. Nonetheless, the manufacturer also allows for extra accessories to be attached to the device, and this may cover for that deficit.

As well you may find the docking slot useful since it can hold your tablet, phone as well as any other working materials that you may want close to you. In addition to that, a USB port is included. With it, you can plug in your phone or tablet and not have to move an inch before the project is over. You may as well want to look into the digital sewing patterns that you can buy to add to your collection of original ideas.

What makes it special?

  • Can work with 300+ different materials
  • 1-year warranty
  • Docking slot
  • Free software
  • Compatible with Windows, Mac, android, and iOS

What cons did we find?

  • Relatively pricey
  • Web software can be unreliable at times
  • The software does not support use with Linux operating systems
RELATED: 7 Best Fabric Cutting Machines – Efficient and Effortless!

Cricut Explore AirBest Dual Carriage Cricut Machine

  • Job type: cutting and writing or cutting and scoring
  • Workable materials: over 60 materials from vellum to leather
  • Dimensions: 25.4” x 10” x 9.2”
  • Weight: 16.89 lbs.
  • Software: Design Space (for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac.)

Other features: embedded Bluetooth, dual carriage, Smart Set dial, integrated storage compartments, Fine-Point Blade

While this machine can only work with about 60 different types of materials, it has other things going for it. Among them is the embedded Bluetooth. As we have already established this makes the tool versatile in the number of devices you can connect it to. Another similarity you can find between this device and the two mentioned above it is the software. As such, you have all the design tools available to you that you would use with a higher-end model.

Perhaps one of the tool’s endearing qualities is that it can handle even leather. You could attribute this to the fine-point blade that is a feature in even higher-end models. The dual carriage is also another impressive aspect of the machine. As such, it will be able to cut and write or cut and score on various materials at the same time. Consequently, this will likely save you lots of time as you go about your business.

The smart set dial is also a prominent aspect of the machine. With it, you find choosing the various material settings to be quite straightforward.

Why did it make our list?

  • Dual carriage
  • Smart set dial
  • Bluetooth
  • Comes with a fine point blade

What is not ideal about it?

  • Requires a learning curve
  • While the software works, it does lag sometimes
  • Pricey
RELATED: 7 Best Fabric Cutting Machines – Efficient and Effortless!

Cricut 2000293 CuttlebugBest Embossing Machine

  • Job type: diecutting and embossing machine
  • Workable materials: a variety of materials including tissue paper, foils, acetate ribbon, and thin leather
  • Dimensions: 14.4” x 7.2” x 12”
  • Weight: 11.4 lbs.
  • Software: n/a

Other features: fold-n-store profile, a built-in pop-up handle

As to the Cuttlebug, you find a lot of differences between this small machine and its predecessors on the list. This is both in design and functionality. However, it does have its niche of people that would prefer it to any other device on the market. As mentioned above the main functions for the tool include die-cutting and embossing. As such, there are likely a couple of projects that only this machine is suitable for.

As well, you cannot discount the fact that it allows for the cutting of a variety of materials, including thin leather. You might not see it from the image provided but the tool is rather small in stature. It is as well light. Add that to the fact that it folds up and has a pop-up handle and you will realize that the machine is meant for mobile use. As such, you can take it with you whenever you need to work on a project on the go.

Another thing we like about the device is the suction base. You only need to activate it by simultaneously lowering the platforms of the invention while placed on a tabletop. After that, the suction base will ensure the device stays stationary and stable while you finish up your project. As it stands, the device will come with a few cutting pads to get you started. After a while, you will likely need to purchase other cutting pads as well to supplement your supply.

Why are we impressed?

  • Easy to use
  • Fold up profile takes up less space
  • Has a carry handle
  • Suction bottom to maintain stability

What negatives must you be aware of?

  • Limited in its use potential
  • Some of the accessories you need to make full use of the device may be a little hard to find
RELATED: 10 Best Embossing Machines – Your Way To Creativity

Cricut EasyPress 2Best Value

  • Job type: heat press
  • Workable materials: all Infusible Ink™ products and most major brands of iron-on material
  • Dimensions: 9.6” x 7.2” x 11.8”
  • Weight: 5.29 lbs.
  • Software: n/a

Other features: adjustable heat up to 400℉, professional iron-on results in 60 seconds or less, advanced heat plate design with a ceramic-coated surface, Insulated Safety Base and auto-shutoff feature

This less than $100 Cricut EasyPress 2 is a high value, low budget piece of equipment that will add tremendous value to your arts and crafts toolbox. You can also tell that the device is rather compact in comparison with other options in the market. Consequently, it can only handle relatively small projects.

As to the materials that this tool will work with, you find most iron-on variants to be compatible. Infusible ink products can be used in conjunction with this device as well.

You should be impressed by the time it takes for this product to finish up a project. After a maximum of sixty seconds, you should be moving on to your next project. Also, the temperature controls can be adjusted up to the 400°F parameter with ease.

When it comes to construction, the manufacturer seems to have included a ceramic coated surface with the device’s heat plate. This is what ensures that your projects get done promptly. The insulated safety base is as well included so that the heat doesn’t transfer onto your tabletop. Another safety feature is the auto-shutoff that shuts the device down after it is done with your project.

What are its best features?

  • Easy to use
  • Auto-shutoff turns the device off when you are done
  • Insulated base
  • Affordable

What could be improved?

  • Some users have complained of inaccurate temperature readings
RELATED: 15 Best Heat Press Machines to Imprint Wonderful Designs on Various Materials

Things to Consider

Of course, you should make your purchase decision based on merit; hence why features play a rather significant role in the selection process. The section below focuses on said features and factors and if you take all this information into account, there is almost zero likelihood that you will make the wrong decision.

Why Cricut?

Most people who have used these devices for their arts and crafts will tell you they would pick them again over other devices from competitors. You will find they are well built, functional, easy to use, and worth every penny you spend on them. As such, it is hard to find a reason not to buy the Cricut set of machines.

Features to consider when choosing a Cricut Machine for beginners

5 Best Cricut Machines for Beginners to Perfect Your Art

Each feature will likely come with its benefits. However, they can’t all be useful to you, depending on the intended use and projects at hand. As such, knowing which features need to be present in the device you choose will make picking out the perfect Cricut machine for beginners much easier. Consequently, make it a point to read all the information provided below about said features.

Job type

If you took in all the information provided above, you would have noticed a trend in the devices mentioned. They are either for cutting, embossing or pressing various designs onto a surface. Generally speaking, these are the types of jobs that the machines are capable of undertaking. Often you find that most machines can only carry out one job. However, you also have exceptional models that are capable of carrying out two job types at the same time. Of course, if you have the money and the option to go for the second one, do so since you might need such a piece of equipment in the future.

Workable materials

You also need to know which materials work best with your piece of equipment. The Cricut EasyPress 2, for example, is very specific about the types of materials that should be put in. Of course, if you use different types of materials you may not get the desired results. Other products like the Cricut Maker are more versatile in the materials they allow to be used.

Dimensions and weight

Also, you may want to know if the machine will fit on your desk in terms of length, width, and weight so you can adequately plan for it. Another factor that is likely to be affected by the dimensions is the size of materials that you can use with it. Consequently, you need to find a healthy middle between saving space and ensuring the machine can handle your most significant projects.


The Cricut Explore Air and all the other machines above it on the list all come with a copy of Design Space software.

Other options might not need such design software to work. Nevertheless, you should always ensure that the device you pick has the requisite software or allows you to access it at minimal to zero extra charges. This way, you get to finish your designs without spending more money.


5 Best Cricut Machines for Beginners to Perfect Your Art

Of course, the bundle you buy will not be capable of handling all the jobs you may want it to do. Nevertheless, you find some of the machines on sale can have added functionality with the purchase of extra accessories. Check for this as it will always be cheaper to buy a few accessories rather than buying a whole new machine.


While not explicitly stated above, all of the Cricut machines listed will come with one-year warranties. As such, you will not have to worry about damage and the extra costs these breakages might bring within the first year of purchase. The manufacturer also has you covered on product defects as well.

Other features

Additional features are as well not as common. They include high cutting speeds, pressure adjustments, temperature control and so on. Of course, if you have these extra features in your device, you will be much better off than a person without them.


There are a whole bunch of projects that you can take up with your Cricut machine. Some examples include cards, labels, nail art, home décor, and faux leather jewelry, to name a few. Of course, if you are creative, you will not be running out of ideas to use the device any time soon.

Uploading your images onto the Cricut design space is relatively easy if you know the steps to take. The first step is, of course, to open the design space software on your computer. Once you have done so, you should see an upload button on the sidebar to the left of your screen. Click this button, and it will give you a sort of dialogue box with two options; the “upload image” and “upload pattern” buttons. Of course, you will click on the former.

After that, you can choose the image from your computer files and decide how you want it to be uploaded. After that, the image should appear in the Design Space window. You may as well want to make a few adjustments at this time and the software allows you to do so. Finally, you can choose how to use the image in terms of whether to cut, print or more. Giving your image a name may also be a part of that final step. After that, all you need to do is check in the uploaded images section to see that it is still there for future use.

Our Verdict

Of course, the three most impressive offerings to make it onto the list are the Cricut Explore Air, the Cricut Maker and the Cricut Explore Air 2 in reverse order. As such the Cricut Explore Air 2 makes a significant merits case to any would-be buyers on why it should be chosen. The 2X fast mode as well as bluetooth are probably two of those merits. The Cricut Maker only falls behind since it is inaccessible to the broader population. If it were, it would probably topple our first pick to take its place. The features and quality are all to write home about.

As to the Cricut Explore Air, it is hard to find any problems with the dual carriage as well as other key features. These three will provide you the most options as you try and perfect making various crafts. All you need are the funds to make the purchase. Nevertheless, the other two products as well, can make good optional accessories for specific projects.

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