Cricut Maker vs. Explore Air 2: Which Machine Should I Buy and Why?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut.
If you’ve been contemplating whether to purchase the Cricut Maker or the Explore Air 2, then look no further! I’ll be covering both machines in depth, showing the similarities as well as the differences and helping you to make an informed decision about which machine is right for ALL of your crafting needs!
What can the Cricut Explore Air 2 do?
Let’s start by covering all that the Cricut Explore Air 2 is capable of doing!
For beginners, the Cricut Explore Air 2 is a cutting machine that utilizes smart technology. It cuts and writes up to 2x faster than previous models.
The Cricut Explore Air 2 cuts over 100 materials. It can cut everything from cardstock, vinyl, and iron-on to thick materials like leather. The Cut Smart technology allows you to precisely cut a wide variety of materials with incredible precision.
With the Cricut Explore Air 2, you can create on a computer, tablet or smartphone iOS or Android app.
The Explore Air 2 utilizes Bluetooth for wireless hassle-free cutting. I love that I can connect it to my phone and create wherever I go!
It features a smart set dial on the right-hand side for easy cutting. If you plan to cut the same material over and over, you can set it and forget it. Pretty neat, right?
Cricut Design Space
Cricut’s Design Space allows you to upload your SVG files for free or choose from thousands of pre-made designs.
Visit the Ready to Make page to find inspiration from beautiful photos of projects that are available within Design Space.
The Cricut Explore Air 2 features a double tool holder which allows you to cut and write or cut and score. The A clamp can be used to hold a pen or a scoring stylus while the B clamp can be used to hold a standard blade, bonded fabric blade or deep cut blade.
Now you’re probably wondering what the different blades are used for. Let’s go ahead and go over each of them!
Cricut Explore Air 2 Blades
Fine Point Blade
The Fine Point Blade is designed to cut light and mid-weight materials like vinyl, iron-on, cardstock, and posterboard. The blade is made out of premium German carbide for longer lasting cuts and sharpness. This is the blade I use for the majority of my projects when using the Cricut Explore Air 2.
Bonded Fabric Blade
Designed specifically to cut bonded fabrics the Fabric Blade is made of German carbide as well. It allows you to cut a variety of lightweight fabrics that have a backing on them. This is a great option for creating appliques!
Need to cut thick materials like stiff felt, leather, cardboard or even magnet? This blade does the trick! The steep angle of the blade (60 degrees vs 45) allows you to cut thicker materials than the Fine Point Blade. With this blade, you can cut materials up to 1.5mm thickness.
Explore Air 2 Print and Cut
The Cricut Explore Air 2 offers the ability to print and cut images.
Use your home printer to bring your images to life and cut them with perfect precision on the Cricut Explore Air 2. It’s the ideal way to create beautiful gift tags, stickers, and cutouts.
There is an accessory adapter on the Explore Air 2 machine which is compatible with Cricut cartridges, so you still have access to all of your most loved images.
The Explore Air 2 has multiple compartments for storage!
Overall this is an incredible machine that will give a professional look to all of your craftings.
You can purchase the Cricut Explore Air 2 here.
The MSRP on the Explore Air 2 is $299
Here’s a side by side comparison of the Cricut Maker and the Explore Air 2.
What can the Cricut Maker do?
Now let’s move on to the Cricut Maker! The Cricut Maker can do everything the Explore Air 2 can do plus so much more! It’s the ultimate smart cutting machine.
The Maker cuts over 100 materials quickly and accurately, from the most delicate crepe paper and fabric to tough leather and wood.
Cricut Maker Adaptive Tool System
What sets the Cricut Maker apart from any other machine on the market is the Adaptive Tool System. The gear on the Adaptive Tool System is what allows the interchangeable tools to move in any direction creating even more precise cutting ability as well as 10x the cutting force. Yep, 10X the force!! That means you can take on even more difficult projects than before with even greater precision.
Cricut Maker Rotary Blade
Similar to a hand-held rotary blade traditionally used by seamstresses but quite a bit smaller, the tiny wheel glides across fabric allowing it to quickly and accurately cut virtually any type of fabric. The rotary blade paired with the fabric mat eliminates the need for paper patterns, tracing paper and marking pens. Now, you can spend more time doing what you love: sewing!
The Knife blade resembles a miniature E-ACTO blade which is capable of slicing through dense materials like balsa wood, heavy leather or matboard. It’s the perfect tool for hard to cut materials. The Knife blade allows you to add the extra dimension to your projects by precisely cutting through dense materials with ease.
Cricut Maker Scoring Wheels
The newest tool in the Cricut Maker series is the scoring wheel. This combo creates crisp and clean score lines adding a professional finish to everyday projects. This is a paper crafters best friend! Now you can get perfect score lines on any project.
*Images via Cricut.com
The Bonded Fabric Blade, Deep Cut Blade, and Fine-Point Blade are all compatible with the Cricut Maker.
Cricut Maker has 10x the Force
Choose from hundreds of different materials to cut within Design Space. The Adaptive Tool System allows the perfect amount of force (up to 4K g) to be applied to each specific material for best results.
Cricut Maker Sewing Pattern Library
This is my very favorite part of the Cricut Maker! Cricut teamed up with Simplicity Patterns to bring you a library of digital patterns. Gone are the days of meticulously cutting and tracing patterns by hand which allows you to spend more time sewing!
If you love to quilt, you can even find a wide variety of quilting patterns available within Design Space.
But it gets even better!! There’s a washable marking pen that draws in the seam allowances and pattern markings for you!
You can purchase a cartridge adapter for cartridges from older models.
An access trial membership comes with the purchase of a Cricut Maker.
Try out 50 free ready to make projects including 25 sewing projects.
Cricut Explore Air 2 vs. Cricut Maker?
Which should I buy and why?
Now for the big questions!! Which machine should I buy?
If you plan on using your machine to mainly cut out vinyl and paper the Cricut Explore Air 2 is the perfect fit.
If you want to use a wide variety of materials, you love to sew, make intricate paper crafts and you want to have even more creative capabilities I’d recommend upgrading to the Maker.
For only $100 more (MSRP $399) you can have the top of the line machine, and you will have the ability to do SO much more with your machine! Plus, rumor has it there are more tools in the works!
You can purchase the Cricut Maker.
Winner: Cricut Maker!!!
With the Cricut Maker, you get the most bang for your buck, and you can cut the widest variety of materials.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.