House & Beyond is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
A must-have device for any hobbyist wanting to save time on their projects, Cricut machines enable you to precisely cut a vast range of various material types, producing fantastic results each time. The best Cricut machine will offer an increment of sizes for cutting purposes and allow you to perform the task on over 100 plus material choices such as vinyl, felt, card, leather, and even duct tape. With accompanying software as standard, you can cut, write, and score to produce neat and professional results every time.
This dedicated review takes an in-depth look at five of the bestselling Cricut machines. Focusing on those features here such as the size of the machine, workable materials, writing and scoring possibilities alongside wireless options, we also highlight any other benefits worth mentioning. Wrapping up each feature, we offer a small bullet list of pros and any possible cons, too.
By researching the market, we’ve been able to place our findings into a table and review them in detail, providing you with a final rating for each model. Basing our work on extensive reviewing knowledge, we also present a helpful buying guide which explains those features highlighted in a little more detail. Finally, we answer some of those most commonly posed questions about these machines. With all this information combined, when you come to purchase the best model for your needs, you’ll be able to select the best Cricut machine with complete confidence.
Workable materials: 100+, from paper and fabric to chipboard and balsa
More features: design apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android; rotary blade, fine point blade, and fine point pen included with purchase; compatible with an extra-deep blade for heavier materials; double tool holder
The Cricut Maker makes the top of our list, as this is considered the ultimate in smart cutting machines. It allows the cutting of up to 300 different types of materials and is faster when cutting and writing than other Cricut models. With everything included that makes Cricut so popular, and much more besides, this is the most expandable machine in the series. Enclosed here you’ll find powerful blades, a scoring tool, and pens.
The rotary blade in this machine claims to cut through almost any fabric swiftly, with the knife blade also making light of most tasks, all on the two cutting mats included. This model has a staggering 50 ready-to-make patterns which are all free, as well as 25 sewing patterns. Working this machine couldn’t be easier as you just choose from the simple design app, lay it out on your preferred device and the Cricut marks all the pieces for you. Getting to work on cutting, it’s perfect for both beginners, as your first project materials are included, and professionals, as it is a great Сricut machine for teachers or those who accomplish numerous projects, due to its ease of use and cutting speed. You can even use your own designs if you’d prefer. Furthermore, this machine is designed to hold your smartphone or tablet, allowing you to charge such devices through its USB port, or connect wireless through its Bluetooth technology.
Customers of the Cricut Maker highly rate not only its ease of use, but its ability to offer endless possibilities when cutting through even the toughest of materials, yet still with precision results.
Workable materials: 100+, including basic and specialty Vinyl colors, Iron-on Vinyls, Cardstock, Faux Leather and more
More features: Design Space and Cricut Design App for iOS and Android devices; compatible with Scoring Stylus and Deep-Point Blade; double tool holder
The Cricut Explore Air 2 tops the list here for our best all-in-one Сricut machine. Visually stunning, the Explorer Air 2 allows for wireless cutting possibility through its embedded Bluetooth. Here you can access the cleverly designed software on offer through many a device choice or choose to upload your own designs and projects – the possibilities are endless. Featuring a tool holder, cutting and writing or cutting and scoring is simple – and all done in just the one step. With this model, you can choose to personalize, customize, create your own unique designs and create apparel to your specific preferences.
Offering the most perfect precision of cuts with each use, this model features a Smart Set Dial meaning you always get that most precise depth and pressure of cut, no matter what material you place in the machine. The fine point blade included is premium and makes light work of all material and the handy tool holder located on the machine itself ensures all tools are kept safe and secure when not in use. This is a Cricut machine which works up to two times faster, utilizing a new fast mode. Therefore, you can make the most of every crafting minute with the Explore Air 2.
Customers of the Cricut Explore Air 2 love being able to explore the many features this model offers and therefore consider this one of the most fun models from the Cricut range.
What we liked:
Two times faster than standard Cricut machines
Smart set dial
Premium fine blade included
What could be better:
Many reports of software and internet connection issues stated
Workable materials: 100, including cardstock, vinyl, and iron-on, as well as specialty materials
More features: compatible with Scoring Stylus, Deep-Point Blade, and other tools; Design Space software for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac; double tool holder
The Cricut Explore Air is chosen here for the best wireless Сricut machine. This model has embedded Bluetooth, which means no adapters needed to get you working wirelessly as soon as you switch it on! This makes use of a dual carriage, therefore cutting and writing or cutting and scoring is easily performed in just the one step. Here you can make use of the online software which is included, accessing over 50,000 images, or choose to upload your very own images free of charge.
With a Smart Set Dial accessible, all material settings can be set to preference with just one touch every time you use this machine. Cut smart precision is available all throughout with the Explore Air and all Cricut cartridges are compatible. The fantastic design layout of this model allows you to use the storage compartments which are integrated. Therefore, you can readily retrieve your tools and place them safely away when not in use.
The use of a wireless-enabled system makes this device more practical as you don’t have to put up with unsightly cords over your desk. This means you get more creative space back as a result! A fine point blade tool is included in this purchase which does a considerable amount of detailed and intricate projects possible with this Cricut machine, every time.
Customers of the Cricut Explore Air enjoy being able to access all the benefits of a Cricut machine, but one which has built-in wireless capabilities. It’s also considered a great choice of Cricut machines for traveling with, such are the many possibilities to connect with it via Bluetooth.
Workable materials: 100 materials, including cardstock, vinyl, and iron-on
More features: Fine-Point Blade for cutting a wide variety of materials; compatible with Scoring Stylus, Deep-Point Blade, and other tools
The Cricut Explore One receives our vote for the best Сricut machine for custom designs. If you prefer to cut wirelessly using all manner of devices, this machine allows you to with the simple use of a Bluetooth adapter, therefore upgrading instantly. This ensures endless possibility from those cloud-based free apps for updated phones, MACS, and PCs.
Featuring a smart set dial for natural material settings, here you can cut vast amounts of varied material without having to bother with complicated settings! Alternatively, if you’d prefer to create and make the settings for a specific material, here you can. From the standard paper to vinyl iron on, this machine can easily cope with even those thicker of materials such as felt and leather. Choose from the 50,000 plus offerings in the image library or upload your own photos and images for free.
With most projects completed in minutes, no project is difficult to assemble on the Cricut Explore One. This model boasts cut smart technology, meaning you can cut all manner of shapes with the most intricate of precision in sizes. Allowing you to cut and write or cut and score in just one step, this model comes complete with a premium fine point blade, a cutting mat, a sample, and even USB ports and powered cords. Working with all Cricut cartridges as well, this Cricut machine also has a handy slot on one side allowing you to rest your tools and pens in safely when not in use.
Customers of the Cricut Explore One find this super easy to use, alongside offering numerous possibilities through its wireless adapter capacity. Its speed when performing a task is highly rated throughout.
Workable materials: tissue paper, foils, acetate ribbon, and thin leather, and more
More features: cuts and embosses a variety of materials
The Cricut Cuttlebug is our Budget pick and perhaps the best Сricut machine for beginners. A most compact design, it boasts everything that you need to get started. This comes complete with an A Plate and two B plates and a rubber embossing mat. As a bonus, you’ll also find an A2 embossing folder and two metal dies.
This model is ideal for packing up and taking out on the go, such is its compactable fold and store design – as well as its collapsible handle feature. Though it may be small in stature, it can still cut through a wide variety of materials – from foil and tissue paper to acetate ribbon and even thin leather. However, its most significant advantage here is that it can emboss – one of the only Cricut machines to do so! This means professional looking results each time with even and clean embossing providing deep and crisp cuts every time. What’s more, this model can also work with other leading embossing cutting dies and folders. One of the easiest of Cricut machines to operate this is an entirely manually operated machine and therefore requires no sockets or leads. Straightforward to use, it offers strong suction and is perhaps the best choice of low-tech Cricut machines on the market. This is perfect for adding texture and extra dimensions to many projects.
Customers of the Cricut Cuttlebug find this thoroughly practical when transporting, as well as making it easier to craft on. Being able to emboss on such a smaller and cheaper machine also rates highly with many satisfied customers.
What we liked:
Only Cricut model to emboss!
Small and compactable
Great for traveling with
Requires no cables or connections
Easy to use instantly
What could be better:
Best suited for card making projects
Things to Consider
Now you’ve had a chance to look through our reviews on these five fantastic models, you may have a better idea of the best Cricut machine that would suit your needs. But before you make that final purchasing decision, take a look through the following buying guide. This short but informative section expands a little more on some of the features we mentioned above. This will help you to ensure that you get all the essential benefits from your desired Cricut model and are able to derive the most use out of it for many wonderful years to come.
Cricut compared to its competition: what are the advantages?
There are a few competitor models out there on the market, but as yet nothing rivals a Cricut machine. Though some people may feel the price of the Cricut is perhaps the biggest concern, you certainly get what you pay for with these models. That equals an exceptional industry favorite which can cut like no other machine can, access to hundreds of projects all from the one model, and crafting which is so much fun in the process.
The designs of Cricut machines, even offering storage solutions, are claimed to be the most streamlined and therefore practical. The software that is included as standard here is said to be the best on the market and allows more significant possibilities and choice than other models. It’s also the easier to upload and create an account for as well as allowing users to upload their very own images and designs if they prefer to.
Furthermore, these machines are sturdy and durable, serving many users for several years, hassle-free.
Features to consider before buying a Cricut machine
Before you decide on the best model for you, you may want to consider some of the standard and additional features that a Cricut machine can offer you. This can include various cutting speeds, varied material settings, additional tools, increased scoring and writing functions, multiple adjustments and settings, wireless capability, and even tool holders on the model itself.
Most Cricut machines will work at fast standard speeds, but there are newer models, such as the Cricut Maker or Cricut Explore Air 2, which offer even faster cutting times, as much as up to two times that of the standard models. However, an increased cutting speed will not alter the effects of your projects or change the results – it merely means that you can get more done in quick succession.
A faster machine will only really be beneficial to you if you need to get through a lot in one session, or if you use it on a regular basis for numerous projects, perhaps even some professional.
Materials you can work with
All Cricut machines allow you to work on a wide range of material choices. However, you if have a specific material in mind, you will need to double check the specification on your selected model to ensure it can cope with that particular type.
Compatible blades and pens
Each Cricut machine will have a selection of blades that are most compatible with your device. From premium fine points, deep points, rotary blades, knife blades, and bonded fabrics to scoring wheels, when you do buy a replacement, you will need to make sure that the model specified on the blade packaging is compatible with your model number.
The same advice applies to Cricut pens. You will need to ensure they are also compatible with your model. This is because most pens are manufactured explicitly for specific machines and therefore will not fit any others.
Take care to read the specification on your replacement pens before purchasing them.
Scoring and writing functions
The writing function of a Cricut machine will allow you to utilize the Cricut pens and produce handwritten style cards and projects. It will do this through the fonts that are on offer in the machine or by those you can access through download. You merely select the font, then sit back and watch it write! As for the scoring element, this is the part that creates those perfect fold lines, envelopes, cards, 3D paper crafts, boxes, acetate pinwheels, and much more besides.
Depth and pressure adjustment
The depth and pressure adjustment on your Cricut machine will determine how well the material that you chose is cut. It’s therefore vital to ensure you select the right setting for each material you place in the machine to get those finest of results. Therefore, if you’re cutting thicker material, the pressure and depth will be the opposite of what you would use if you were cutting card – and vice versa.
One or two tool holders
Tool holders are handy when located on the Cricut machine as they allow you to store your tools while you work. This means they are close by whenever you’re working on a project and kept safely out of harm’s way. Having a dedicated space for your tools can prevent you from losing them or misplacing them as you work, and it can also prolong their life span as they’re protected from your other equipment. Some Cricut machines offer one tool holder, some offer two. The number may be more personal preference and as to how many tools you’re looking at holding or storing as you work on your machine.
If your Cricut machine is wireless the possibilities of discovering thousands of more designs and on numerous devices is increased immensely. Some of the Cricut models may be enabled wirelessly with use of an adapter, such as the Cricut Explore One. Where others such as the Cricut Explore Air 2 have embedded Bluetooth which makes them instantly wireless without the need to purchase and make use of additional items. If you’re keen to use your Cricut through various devices around the home, a wireless model will be hugely practical for you.
Software you can use to create your designs
Cricut offers standard simple design software to all purchasers of Cricut models. This is free for all customers to access. Additionally, you can use this software on a designated app and work from your phone or install the software on many devices, from computers to tablets. The software aims to allow you to customize, edit and preview your projects. You can choose to do this both online and offline, as the new offline features allow access without an internet connection.
Recommendations on how to set up and use a Cricut machine
It really couldn’t be any easier to set up and use your Cricut machine. The first time you start your machine, you’ll be prompted to automatically register the device to your account. You do this by switching it on, connecting the Cricut to your computer, and accessing the setup link given in your instruction guide. This will lead you through a series of instructions where you will be prompted to create a Cricut ID. Here, you can then download and install the plugin required and then get straight onto that first project!
Using the machine is just as straightforward. You place the tool you need into the cartridge, slot your material selection in, and then select the cut you want. The machine then gets to work cutting for you. It really is that easy!
Look after your cutting mat – Aim to keep it covered with the plastic shield, originally included, on it when not in use. Also, give it a wipe regularly to stop if from experiencing material residues and build up.
Load your mat correctly before you begin cutting by double checking it. The mat needs to slip inside the rollers. If it isn’t loaded properly it will cut each time incorrectly. If it begins to lose its stick, it may be worth investing in a new one.
Keep an eye on your blades and check for signs of ineffectiveness and dullness. If your machine isn’t cutting all the way through, lifts or pulls the vinyl off your backing sheet, or is tearing your vinyl and card, you may need to replace your blades.
Invest in a selection of tools to use your machine to its potential – But make sure they are the right tools for the jobs you’ll likely be undertaking the most. An essential toolset will usually consist of scrapers, tweezers, weeding tools, spatulas, and scissors.
Try to test your materials first each time you start with a new project. This way you don’t get too far into the cutting process only to realize it isn’t quite working how you originally planned. This is mainly a good idea when using materials such as felt and wood and even some specialist fabrics.
Make use of the software included with your machine and take advantage of as many of the free images, fonts and designs as you can. These can often help with kick-starting many new projects and introducing you to aspects of the machine you may never have considered before.
The best thing about Cricut machines is that they are all easy to use. No matter what your level is, from beginners to professionals, they ensure anyone can access them and get to work straight away with ease. This is because they are designed with the simplicity and intention to offer the most precision of cuts, rather than a wide range of unnecessary and complicated features. Therefore, any of the models reviewed here are perfect for all first time Cricut users. The Cricut Maker is the faster machine, but this is merely to enable you to get those projects completed in quick succession and move swiftly onto the next.
Another perfect aspect of a Cricut machine, along with its precision cutting, is its ability to cut your very own designs. The way you do this is by uploading them through the software that’s provided with your Cricut machine. This will take you to the Cricut Design Space. Images, graphics, designs, and even photos can all be uploaded by selecting the new project button and then just clicking the upload icon. Here you can upload your image by either dragging and dropping it into the selected area or by browsing for it on your device. It will allow you to choose a simple, complex, or moderately complex image and then you can begin to cut directly from this.
There is no specific time scale for the length of your Cricut cutting blades as such; instead it’s all dependent on several other factors. The amount of cutting and more so the type of materials will in time mean your blade naturally isn’t as sharp as it was when you originally bought your machine. You may become more aware of this yourself the further on you get into your Cricut experience as you’ll see differences in results when the blade does become dull. Sharpening the blade, yourself is not recommended – as it isn’t safe. However, it is simple and straightforward to replace your machines blades and refill blade packs are readily available to purchase.
All Cricut machines that are purchased from authorized sellers should come with information on their specified period of warranty. This will begin from the official date of purchase. The standard warranty on these machines will usually be a one-year limited warranty. It’s worth noting that this warranty only relates to the Cricut machine itself. Therefore, this will not apply to its blades, blade housing, software, tools, accessories, packaging, materials, or any other item that is non-machine. The official Cricut website
Trusted SourceCricut HomeFrom cutting machines to crafting essentials, Cricut products make it easy to create just for fun, for friends & family, or even for a small business.
will be able to offer more detailed information on what your warranty will provide for your specific machine. You can also access here the standard warranty that should be included with all Cricut purchases.
In concluding, we hope this informative review has brought to your attention to the advantages of owning a Cricut machine. By making use of the individual reports from each model here, alongside our detailed buying guide, we feel confident we’ve armed you with as much help as possible. Now you can select that best rated Cricut machine for your individual needs.
The Cricut Maker makes the top of our list here as the best choice because of its all-around ability to cut through the toughest of material – and offer those more experienced of users more scope in their projects.
Second place for us comes the Cricut Explore Air 2, as not only is it a multi-purpose model, it also works two times faster than standard Cricut machines, getting projects completed in next to no time.
Our budget position goes to the Cricut Cuttlebug. Though it may be the smallest on the list and a budget machine, the fact that this is the only Cricut model that can emboss certainly impresses us and indeed many other satisfied customers.
From cutting machines to crafting essentials, Cricut products make it easy to create just for fun, for friends & family, or even for a small business.