Dear Fellow Crafters and Cricut machine users, if you have opened this page, you are in search of a good Cricut machine for an upgrade. Being an obsessed paper crafter from childhood, and a Cricut machine user for the past ten years, none can guide you better than me. Before we dive right in, I have to disclose this fact to the readers, that I own the machines listed out here. It is an honest review for the sake of helping the obsessed crafters like me.
Is it time to upgrade your Cricut machine? You must have heard about the new entry into the market, which is the Cricut Maker machine. I own this machine as well. I thought it would be fun to walk down memory lane and compare the differences and improvements of each machine and see if getting a new machine is worth it for your needs.
THE CRICUT EXPRESSION
More than ten years ago, The Cricut Expression machine entered our household. My mom was a crafter and event conductor, so she owned this machine. I have to say that I loved her new toy. On seeing my obsession with using this machine, she let me borrow it permanently!
I loved all the clean-cut Cricut Expression machines, But, multiple things that bothered me about it. Like, the blade and pressure settings. The Cricut Expression machine has lots of options like using different types of materials, but, you often had to tweak these if you ventured beyond the normal materials (card-stock or vinyl) which meant wasting a lot of material.
Cartridges are so expensive and occupy so much storage space. While there are a lot more designs on the cartridge, they are all classics, Which are old designs to use right now. There is much pain in using new designs. You had to store the cartridge to the project book and the keypad overlay. Plus, it is a total pain to figure out which version of the element you wanted to cut, or having to look through all your Cartridges to find one element that you want to cut. (It’s so much easier to search in Design Space).
The green pixel display screen is not just a little weird to navigate, it was extremely difficult to lay things on the material, which caused more material waste. Eventually, Cricut made it so you could lay things out on the computer, but I still found it a little frustrating to work with. Plus, it had to be plugged into my computer, which meant setting it up in near it which wasn’t always convenient.
PROS AND CONS:
- Whatever design is in the machine, it cuts great.
- Best machine for Classic Designs.
- Repairs were too less and still working great.
- Because of the limited design and restricted material usage, the machine has been gathering dust in the far corner of my craft closet.
- I couldn’t design using images, or layout things perfect.
After using the other two machines and seeing how much faster, easier they are to work, and the material they save, you might decide to change.
If you own a Circuit Expression machine and looking for an upgrade. It is a wise decision to change it.
THE CRICUT EXPLORE AIR 2
I did a sponsored post about the Cricut Explore Air 2 machine before I even knew about the existence of the Cricut Maker. I have to tell you this machine was so fun for me to play with. I loved how it supports different materials like – craft foam and bonded fabric with it. I liked how there were mats with types of tackiness to make it easier to work with a variety of materials. It is fast and yet noiseless, `.
Cricut, with its long list of material, I didn’t have to handle the blade pressure and depth. The smart dial on the Explore Air 2 did it for me. And if it’s not on the dial, it has a custom setting that I can select even more materials in the Design Space. Plus, the housing can use a scoring tool or a pen to add more dimension to projects!
I loved the new adapter in which you could put a scoring tool or a pen to mark items – genius and great for adding a “handwritten” items to the mix. It works best for me since my handwriting is comparable to a five-year-old.
All those Cricut cartridges are still usable – but with the Cricut Access in Design Space, I can pay a flat monthly fee and get access to a wider library than mine! And the best part – I can use Design Space to import files that I designed. As a full-time designer and a font loving, I can use all the fonts installed on my computer in Design space.
PROS AND CONS
- It’s fast and quiet and can cut different materials (think faux leather, bonded fabric, and craft foam).
- It has plenty of design options. It’s a definite step up from its predecessors, and it has plenty to keep the hobbyist busy.
- You’re stuck with the traditional cutting blade system and can’t cut thicker materials.
If you own the Cricut Expression Air 2 machine and looking for an upgrade, Maybe, It depends on the type of your work and long term usage.
THE CRICUT MAKER
So you might be wondering what the big deal about this machine is. Well, it is so much like the previous ones, and yet not just that, and has more. This machine has a lot more power to it. Not only can the Cricut Maker cut everything better than the other listed above, but it also takes cutting to the next level. You can cut out fabric on this machine, with no binding nor special preparation. Whatever the material is supposed to cut, just put it on the fabric mat and cut. This machine is a pleasure to work with and especially for full-time designers. We have to admit that CRICUT CHANGED THE SYSTEM COMPLETELY.
See that golden gear at the top of the rotary blade? That is a huge difference. No more drag on the cloth, gear turns, glides, and cuts. It’s cool to see. Imagine no more laying out patterns – open the file up in Design Space, and cut it out in a perfect way. It gets even better when you can mark it with a fabric pen to make sewing the seam allowance easy!
The best part of the new Cricut Maker system? They will add new tools – like the knife blade that cuts wood. So this machine will be able to cut more and more materials and do different projects on this machine. So while it can already do cool stuff – it will just get better. The adaptive tool system is an excellent addition to this machine. This past year upgrades like scoring wheels, embossing/ debossing tips, and a perforation blade are new additions. I can’t wait to see what else they add!
If you love to work in different mediums, nothing rather than a Cricut maker is suitable for you. It is what I would call a pro-summer level machine. It’s heavy, sturdy, and built to cut through materials of different types.
PROS AND CONS
- It’s the only thing like it on the market – nothing comes close in all positive aspects.
- It can cut several types of materials, and it has got a lot of potentials.
- Technical support is available.
- It’s a new machine, so there is a learning curve.
- The Cricut Maker machine doesn’t have a slot for cartridges ( but it does offer an adapter), so those cartridges won’t be available for immediate use.
- But honestly, you should marry those cartridges to your Design Space account and make life a little easier.
If Circuit Maker is what you are about to buy or upgrade to?
Be clear about your necessity and the product you want to buy.
Ask yourself the following questions,
- Do you have a Cricut Explore Air 2?
- Do you only pull the machine out a few times a year?
- Do you not care about sewing?
- Do you prefer paper crafting projects and simple vinyl projects?
If the answer is yes to these questions, then I think you’ll be happy with your current machine. The truth is I was happy with the Cricut Explore Air 2 and had plenty of ideas to keep me busy.
Don’t stress about getting a new machine just yet – there’s nothing wrong with being happy with what works for you!
- Do you have an old Cricut machine?
- Is the current device pushing you to the brink?
- Do you like to sew?
- Do you create several materials?
- Do you like the idea of different tools (besides the traditional blade) to use in the machine?
- Are you an early adapter and love to learn new tech?
If the answer is yes to the above questions, I have to tell you that as a sewist, having a machine that cut quilting squares and perfect patterns are worth to buy. I think it is the Cricut Maker, which is more suitable for you.