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Best Cricut to Buy for Beginners
Let’s talk about the best Cricut machine for beginners. You see all of the cool stuff being made and you literally can’t wait to get started. But which Cricut is best for you?
You’re in the right place.
We’ll take a look at what each Cricut machine does and how difficult it is for beginners to get the hang of. Then you’ll be ready to make the best decision for buying your first Cricut.
One thing to keep in mind is the current Cricut Machines all work in the same manner. It’s the features of each Cricut machine that sets them apart.
Let’s take a look at what Cricut has in common.
Cricut Comparison Chart
|Features||Cricut Maker||Cricut Explore Air 2||CricutCricut Explore Air|
|Cuts over 100 materials including vinyl||X||X||X|
|Writes with pens and scores paper.||X||X||X|
|Dual Cartridge Tool Holder||X||X||X|
|Uses Design Space||X||X||X|
|Twice as fast cutting and writing.||X||X|
|Knife Blade for Cutting thick Materials such as Balsa Wood||X|
|Rotary Blade for cutting fabrics and crepe paper||X|
|Scoring Wheel for faster more detailed scoring||X|
|Check Current Cricut Makers Prices Here||Check Current Cricut Explore Air 2 Prices Here||Check Current Cricut Explore Prices Now|
Cricut Design Space
Each Cricut machine uses the free software called Design Space. You can go ahead and download Design Space and start playing around with it before you buy your Cricut.
Every cutting machine company has its own software. And the software is going to be the most difficult thing to learn with any cutting machine. Out of all of them I’ve tried, Cricut is the most straightforward and easiest to use.
There’s still a learning curve for sure. That’s why I recommend you go ahead and start playing around with it now. By the time my first Cricut arrived in the mail I had a good handle on Design Space and I was able to start making things right away.
I’ll link you up to some great Design Space tutorials at the bottom of this post.
Cricut Cutting Mats
All of the Cricut Machines use cutting mats. They come in 12″x12″ or 12″x24″.
There are four different mats
- Light Grip (Blue)
- Standard Grip (Green)
- Strong Grip (Purple)
- Fabric (Pink)
So you will stick the material you want to cut onto the mat and load it into the Cricut machine. All of the Cricut machines have the same button you press to load the mat.
The Cricut will then cut your design. After it’s cut you push the same button to unload the cutting mat and remove your project from it.
Cricut Machine Control Buttons and Dial
Cricut Machines also have the same control buttons and dial, with the exception of the Maker. In the picture below you will see the button to load and unload the cutting mats.
Then you have the ‘C’ button which you will press when your mat is loaded and you’re ready for the Cricut Machine to start cutting.
The pause button will pause the machine mid-cut if needed for any reason.
And the dial allows you to select what materials you will be cutting on the Cricut Explore series. Cricut automatically adjusts the blade pressure based on what is selected.
Again all controls on the Cricut machines are the same for the current models, and they are all easy to operate.
Cricut Maker machines don’t have the dial to select material, rather you select the material within Design Space
Best Cricut to Buy
Now we’ll take a look at the different Cricut Machines and determine which one is best for beginners.
But what you should really be asking is what do you want to make with your Cricut? Each machine has slightly different features.
We’ll start with the current top of the line.
The Cricut Maker
The Cricut Maker is the latest machine to be released. It made its debut in August of 2017. We are just now starting to see occasional sales and price drops. It’s the most expensive, you can check the current Cricut Maker prices here.
The best thing about the Maker is its ability to cut fabrics and wood. The Cricut Maker is the only one that you can use the rotary cutter for fabrics and crepe paper. Plus they now have a knife blade for cutting things like wood, foam board, and thicker materials.
The Maker comes with the rotary cutter however you will have to purchase the knife blade separately.
To switch out the different cutting tools simply undo the clamp on side ‘B’. Pull out the current blade housing and drop the one you want to use in its place and close the clamp.
So the Cricut Maker is as easy to use as any other Cricut but you can do more with it.
Plus they keep coming out with new tools for it to make it even better. The latest being the scoring wheel that will give you the ability to make intricate score lines for embossing.
The Cricut Maker
- Can cut more materials like wood and fabric
- Comes with access to fabric designs
- Can do intricate scoring for embossing
- Bluetooth enabled
- Rotary Cutter
- Knife Blade (sold separately)
- Scoring Wheel (sold separately)
Cricut Explore Air 2
The Cricut Explore Air 2 is just a step down from the Cricut Maker. You can still cut hundreds of materials with the Cricut Explore Air 2. Here is the full list of materials you can cut from Cricut.
But it’s not compatible with the rotary cutter that cuts fabric or the knife blade that cuts wood.
That said it’s also significantly cheaper than the Cricut Maker, often times less than half of the price. You can check current prices for the Cricut Explore Air 2 here.
What makes it better than the Explore Air 1 is that it cuts twice as fast. So there is a bit of time savings when making your projects.
Cricut Explore Air
The Cricut Explore Air can do everything that the Explore Air 2 can do. The only difference is it cuts slower, so projects will take you more time.
And at the time of writing this post, the price is the same as the Explore Air 2. You can check current prices for the Cricut Explore Air here.
Based on the fact that there is little to no price difference, I would at least go with the Cricut Explore Air 2
The Explore Air is quite an upgrade over the Cricut Explore One though. It’s the first Cricut that has Bluetooth embedded for wireless connection. This allows you to use the Cricut Apps for Apple and Android and eliminates the need to have a computer.
It’s also the first Cricut that has a dual carriage that allows you to score or use Cricut Pens and cut at the same time.
Cricut Explore One
That brings us to the Cricut Explore One. This is the first Cricut Machine that stopped using cartridges and went to the internet based Design Space.
You can still insert Cartridges into any Cricut machine. However, it’s easier to link your Cartridges to your Design Space account.
One big drawback of the Explore One is that it doesn’t have Bluetooth embedded. So you will need to connect a computer directly to it.
Also, it only has one carriage for holding tools. So if you needed to score paper you would have to remove your blade and add the scoring tool. And then switch it back again.
It will still cut everything that the rest of Cricut Explores will cut though.
And again I’m not seeing a significant amount of savings to make the Explore One worth buying. You can check current prices for the Cricut Explore One here.
So Which is the Best Cricut to Buy for Beginners?
So as you can see all of the Cricut Machines use the same design software. All of the Cricuts also use the same cut mats and the same controls. The same basic procedure is used for cutting designs with each Cricut Machine.
It’s not that one Cricut machine is best for beginners over another, it comes down to what you want your Cricut to do.
For the price, my recommendation is the Cricut Explore Air 2.
- It cuts twice as fast as the previous Cricut cutting machines,
- You can cut many materials with it including vinyl, cardstock, posterboard, glitter paper +many more.
- It has Bluetooth embedded for wireless connection
- It has the dual carriage to both score and cut at the same time.
- It’s not that much more expensive than the Explore One or the Explore Air
- It’s about 1/2 the price of the Maker
That said if you have the budget for it, the Cricut Maker can cut more materials. If you sew a lot it may just be worth it to have that rotary cutter. And how cool is it to have wood cutouts? Words cut in wood are super trendy right now. And who knows how many more tools Cricut will come out with that will only work in the Maker.
So which Cricut is best for you? Leave a comment down below and let us know!
Best Place to Buy a Cricut
So now that you know what Cricut to buy, where’s the best place to buy it?
Amazon tops my list as the best place to buy a Cricut. They have some amazing good prices on bundles that you can find here.
The benefit of buying a bundle is you’ll get everything you’ll need or want to get started in one box. If you buy a Cricut by itself you’ll still need to purchase the tools and supplies like vinyl before you can make anything.
A bundle will give you a sampling of the different materials so you can get started crafting right away.
Of course if you can’t wait for shipping you can always go to stores like Walmart, Hobby Lobby, JoAnn’s or Michaels.
I’m sure you know the craft stores have some amazing coupons. But don’t get too excited, they all exclude Cricut products, so you won’t get any additional price savings by going to the store.
Learn Cricut Design Space Tutorials
Be sure to check out these additional Tutorials on Design Space to help you get started:
- How to Upload Cut Files to Design Space on your iPad, iPhone, and PC
- Text Editing Tips for Design Space including making monograms, stencils, and more
- How to Make Knockout Designs in Design Space
Want a guidebook to teach you everything you need to know? Grab Conquer your Cricut The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Cricut
Chris Butler has helped thousands of crafters learn how to use their Cricut machine without feeling overwhelmed. She is a best selling author and an up and coming designer. For fun Chris enjoys designing SVG Files, hanging out with her family (preferably at the lake), traveling, and volunteering at her church. She is a wife and mom of two crazy fun kids.