You have made the big decision to buy a Cricut. But which Cricut? I compiled a list of all the Cricut Cutting Machines and the pluses and minuses of each. And do you need more than one? This article will help you decide.
I have both the Maker and an Air machine. I do not currently have the Joy but I have done a LOT of research about buying one. And I have been using one type of Cricut or another for about 12 years.
Which Cricut is better for you? That depends on the space you have, the money you are willing to spend and most importantly what you want to cut.
Which Cricut? The Maker
The Maker is the latest version of the full sized cutter and definitely the most powerful. While it doesn’t take the older Cricut cartridges, they can be loaded into Design Space either by buying the adapter or calling Cricut and having them loaded into your Design Space profile. If you have the money and the space it is the best choice for you. I would even say wait until you can afford it if you want to cut wood, fabric and most materials or if you want to engrave metals or glass.
- Cuts the most materials – there is a list here
- Uses much more pressure and therefore cuts through thicker materials
- Added blades and tips – (Knife Blade, Engraving tip, Debossing Tip, Wavy Blade etc.) See a complete list here and when to use which.
- Interchangeable tips – the new tips are interchangeable using one housing which allows them to be cheaper.
- Uses Design Space – Lets you design anywhere including on your phone and cut later
- Has a USB Charging port and phone or tablet holder built in – Charge tablets or phones while you are working.
- Expensive and the extras aren’t cheap either – The current price is about $329 for just the machine.
- Slightly bigger footprint than the Air series and you need space in front and behind it.
- Steep learning curve but of course The Crazy Cricut Lady can help with that!
- Doesn’t take cartridges, but your cartridges can be uploaded into Design Space by buying the adapter or just calling Cricut help line.
Which Cricut? Air and Air 2
The Air and the Air 2 are basically the same machine, but the Air 2 is much faster. I have the Air and notice some difference between it and my Maker. But if you aren’t making things commercially, and don’t have to do things faster, there isn’t that big of a difference between the Air and Air 2.
- Both use Design Space
- The Air series will take cartridges outside of Design Space.
- The Air 2 is much cheaper and you can find used ones fairly cheap on EBay and Facebook Marketplace. The current price of the new Air 2 alone is $199.
- Limited in what it will cut – mainly vinyl, cardstock and bonded fabric.
- Slower and uses less pressure than the Maker.
- The newer tips and blades don’t work with the Air Series.
- Only uses the scoring stylus for making score lines. The single and double scoring wheels only work with the Maker.
Which Cricut? The Joy
Before I start, I don’t own a Joy. I have both the Air and the Maker. have plenty of room and don’t need one. The Joy is portable and smaller. It will cut longer vinyl without a mat because the vinyl designed for it comes with a “built in” mat. You can buy a mat to go with it but the mat is only 4.5 inches wide, which limits the projects you can do with the Joy.
It has a much smaller footprint and is much more portable. You can take it to your kitchen, plug it in and use it almost instantly. If you don’t have a lot of room, this may be the machine for you!
I make mainly cards and the lack of a scoring tool is a deal breaker for me. But if you want to do mainly vinyl this won’t bother you.
- Portable and smaller.
- Cuts long pieces of vinyl without a mat.
- Does have a mat for cutting other things. – You can buy one for about $10
- Uses Design Space
- It is much cheaper – the current price for a Joy is about $150
- Quicker setup
- The mat is smaller (4.5 inches wide) limiting project size.
- The Cricut Joy blades and pens are not interchangeable with the Air and Maker – you must buy Joy specific markers and blades.
- It is very limited on the materials it will cut – basically only vinyl and cardstock.
- Not USB Compatible only Bluetooth and doesn’t hard wire to the machine so the Bluetooth connection has to be stable.
- Won’t do Print then Cut at all. This limits the images you can cut from Design Space and uploaded files.
- No Scoring Stylus or blades. Scoring must be done after you cut with hand held scoring tools.
The Cake, Expression, Cricut Personal, Cricut Create and several others can be found on Ebay and other resale sites. They all require cartridges that Cricut no longer sells. You can get cartridges at the same resale sites but they cost just as much as they used to and any you buy are probably already registered to another user and can’t be uploaded to your Design Space Profile. Cricut does not support these machines anymore. They can design using illegal copies of Scan and Cut 2.
If you find one at a garage sale for $5, they still aren’t worth it.
Do I need More Than One?
Conclusion About Which Cricut Machine to Buy
If you are tight on cash, buy the Air 2 or the Joy. If you have the cash buy the Maker. As you get better and want to cut more materials, you will be grateful you did. You can always buy one (Air or Joy) and then sell it to finance the Maker later, if you don’t have the funds right now. Also Cricut has been having some sales lately, so keep your eyes open. Or buy a used Maker machine on Ebay (that is how I got my 1st Maker), but you are taking a chance because it won’t be under warranty.
I hope this helps you decide which Cricut machine to buy. Any questions or if you want my opinion on a deal, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be glad to help. And remember, once you get a Cricut, I have tutorials that will help.
Once you get a Cricut machine, consider buying an Access subscription. It is well worth it. Find out more about an Access subscription here.