Cricut Cutting Machine Guide – Comparing the Best

The market is full of many different Cricut machines, making it a bit tricky to find the best machine for your needs. We take a good look at the various Cricut machines, exploring what they can do, and what type of craft they are most suited for, We’ve also added a quick-reference chart which shows the features that each Cricut cutting machine includes.

Shop the current Cricut lineup

We frequently add the newest machines to the list, so it is a good idea to bookmark this page and revisit it for our latest updates.

The current Cricut cutting machine lineup

The current range of Cricut cutting machines is made up of three new models. These are the Cricut Maker, Cricut Explore Air 2 and the entry-level Cricut Joy.

There are also a few legacy machines that they no longer produce. These are the Cricut Personal, Cricut Cake, Cricut Expression, Cricut Gypsy, and the Cricut Expression 2. The company has stopped manufacturing or supporting these models.

They also discontinued their original models recently, which consists of the Explore, Explore One, and Explore Air. However, Cricut still supports these models and they are compatible with the latest Cricut Design Space software.

There was another type of cutting machine from Cricut known as the Cuttlebug – It was mainly used to emboss and cut die. They stopped making this machine in 2019.

The best Cricut machine comparison

We will review each machine in detail in just a moment. But before then you can consult the table below to compare the machines side-by-side. It compares features like the type of materials it can cut, the maximum length and width of material it can handle, available blades, etc. This is to help you find the best machine for the type of project you want to work on.

Comparison Chart Cricut Latest Machines
Click on image for a clearer table

Current Cricut cutting machines

Entry-level hobbyist machine: Cricut Joy

Cricut Joy - Entry Level Cricut Cutting Machine

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Cricut Joy is the newest model in its range of cutting machines – added to the family in early 2020. We gave it a go when it came out and we were at first taken aback by its small size. But we were soon bowled over by just how good it was.

This is the smallest and cheapest model in the current range of Cricut machines. The Explore and Maker models are about twice the size of the Joy. It features one cutting blade and a pen holder. The Cricut joy has a cutting width of 4.5 inches.

This machine has some good features despite its compact size! We especially love the mat-free cutting feature of the Joy. So, what does mat-free cutting mean? This feature allows you to cut long strips of “Smart vinyl” in one go. In this case, the Joy allows you to cut a whopping 20 feet in one go. That is just amazing.

We also loved the Card Mat feature of the Cricut Joy, which makes card making an “easy peasy” task.

The Joy comes in at a base price of $179 (click here for today’s price), which some crafters might find too expensive – especially when you consider the limited functionality of the machine. However, the Joy can handle all basic Cricut craft projects exceptionally well, including writable labels, iron-on vinyl, cardstock, and adhesive vinyl.

The Joy is best for crafters just starting out, those that do not have room for a bigger machine, and those that want a second machine to complement their Maker or Explorer Models.

The premium craft cutter: Cricut Maker

Cricut Maker - the Premium Model

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The Cricut Maker is their premium cutting machine.  It has the look of the Explorer range, but it is a complete re-design. The Maker comes with several upgraded features, which is why it costs most of the three models.

It features a small rotary blade that cuts unbonded fabric, which means you won’t have to use a stabilizer when cutting as you do with the Explore range. Crafters working with felt will also love the Cricut Maker because it produces a beautiful and clean-cut on felt.

The Maker also comes with a knife blade that can cut through some thick and heavy materials like leather, canvas, and balsa wood. It can cut materials up to 2.4mm thick. The scoring wheel of the maker makes easy work of scoring many different types of materials and is a vast improvement on the Stylus.

The maker is designed to use interchangeable tools, which means you can upgrade the capabilities of the machine without needing to replace the whole machine. It will even work with future tools! You have a machine capable of doing things in the future it can’t do now. Cricut has released a range of tools for the Maker and plans to release more in the future.

The Maker comes with an MSRP of $399, however, you can get it here for $329 (at the time of writing – click here for today’s price). It may sound a bit expensive but it is the best Cricut machine out there and worth every penny. It is ideal for the pro or avid crafter, sewing fanatic, or woodworker. It will make your projects fun and easy to work on.

Value packed craft cutter: Cricut Explore Air 2

Cricut Explore Air 2 - 2021 Cricut Cutting Machine

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We tried the Explore Air 2 a few months back and it impressed! This machine can cut pretty much just about anything your throw at it – cardstock, suede, iron-on, felt, and over 100 other crafting materials.

It doesn’t have the thick material cutting capability of the Maker, but it is an excellent cutting machine for most crafting work. You’ll also love the wide range of colors it comes in, which is great if you want to buy one that matches the theme of your craft room or workspace.

Prices range from $230 to $330 depending on the bundle (you can click here to check today’s prices).

Cricut video overview

Legacy Cricut crafting models

Cricut Explore Air (discontinued)

The original Cricut Explore Air

Cricut discontinued this machine, but you can still buy it used or even new from some retailers. The Explore is the predecessor of the Air 2, which means it doesn’t have as many features or the capabilities of the Air 2. However, the Explore Air is still a very capable cutting machine for most crafters.

It has features you cannot find on the Explore One, which we discuss next. One feature we love about the Explore air is its Bluetooth connectivity. This allows you to connect to your computer or mobile device without cables. It also comes with a secondary holder, allowing to do writing, cutting, or scoring simultaneously.

Cricut Explore One (discontinued)

Cricut Explore One

The Explore one has also been discontinued and no longer sold by Cricut, but you can purchase a used one or even a new one (from old stock) from some sellers. This is a basic cutting machine that comes with all the tools you need for precision cutting, scoring, and writing.

It can pretty much do all that the Explore Air can do – it just doesn’t Bluetooth capability. It also can’t cut, score, or write in a single pass.

What is a Cricut Machine?

It is a cutting machine that helps crafters make precision cuts to many different types of materials. You can put in a pattern and it will cut out the pieces you need to make your project.

It can come with a variety of tools for cutting, scoring, and writing.


There are other Cricut machines like their heat press and embossing machines, but we have focused solely on their cutting machines. We hope this article will have shed some light on the various Cricut cutting machines and helped you pick the best product for your needs.

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