Cricut Explore Air 2 vs. Cricut Maker

Sewing & Craft Supplies

If you start to notice a decline in the quality of the cuts your Cricut machine is making, it’s probably time to get a new blade. Cricut blades have a limited lifespan. Depending on the material, some may only last two months.

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Cricut Maker vs. Explore Air 2

A Cricut machine is a device that makes precision cuts in various materials. The purpose of the Cricut is to speed up the crafting process and refine it, so the quality of your one-of-a-kind creation rivals that of a commercial product.

The Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut Maker are two machines that perform very similar functions. The difference between the two essentially comes down to what type of materials you use in your crafting projects.

Cricut Explore Air 2

Cricut Explore Air 2

Cricut has three cutting machines in its product line. The Cricut Explore Air 2 is the one that resides in the middle. For many crafters, this is the best machine because it offers a balance of affordability and features.

The Cricut Explore Air 2 comes with a fine-point blade and a fine-point pen so you can use the machine to cut and write on over 100 different types of material. The model also comes with a USB cable, a power adapter and a LightGrip mat along with materials for a practice project that allow you to get started crafting right away. 

The Cricut Explore Air 2  is available at Amazon and Home Depot.

What you’ll love about the Cricut Explore Air 2

  • The Cricut Explore Air 2 can cut over 100 materials. These materials include cardstock, vinyl, iron-on, cork, glitter paper, bonded fabric and more.
  • This model connects to your computer or mobile device using either Bluetooth technology or a USB cable for versatility.
  • The Cricut Explore Air 2 can cut materials up to 12 inches wide and 2 feet long.
  • Aside from the included fine-point blade and pen, this unit is compatible with a deep-point blade and a scoring stylus.
  • The Cricut Explore Air 2 has a fast mode that can cut and write up to two times faster than previous models.
  • By utilizing Design Space, which is available for iOS, Android, Windows and Mac, crafters can create designs from scratch on a computer or a mobile device. Alternatively, crafters can subscribe to DesignSpace to access thousands of images, fonts and ready-made projects. The cost is $100 per year for a regular subscription, $120 per year for a premium subscription or $10 for a month-to-month subscription.
  • The Cricut Explore Air 2 comes with a convenient double tool holder, so both the blade and the pen are always ready.
  • The cost of the Cricut Explore Air 2 is significantly less than the Cricut Maker.

What you should consider about the Cricut Explore Air 2

  • While the Cricut Explore Air 2 is equal to the Cricut Maker in many ways, there are tasks, such as debossing and engraving, that it cannot perform and materials, such as fabrics and balsa wood, that it cannot effectively cut.

Cricut Maker

Cricut Maker

The Cricut Maker is the company’s top-of-the-line model. Its design highlights the versatility, allowing the crafter to create with over 300 different types of materials. Additionally, it was manufactured to perform better cuts on fabrics, and it offers the crafter a more comprehensive range of executable tasks.

The Cricut Maker comes with the same fine-point blade, fine-point pen and LightGrip mat that the Cricut Explore Air 2 has. However, in addition, this model includes the all-important rotary blade along with a FabricGrip mat.

The Cricut Maker is available at Amazon, Home Depot and Overstock.

What you’ll love about Cricut Maker

  • The Cricut Maker can cut over 300 materials. In addition to everything the Cricut Explore Air 2 can cut, you can use the Cricut Maker on materials such as balsa wood and fabric ranging from delicates to denim.
  • This model also connects to your computer or mobile device using either Bluetooth technology or a USB cable for versatility.
  • Like the Cricut Explore Air 2, the Cricut Maker can cut materials up to 12 inches wide and 2 feet long.
  • Besides the included tools, this unit is compatible with a knife blade for thicker cuts, a washable fabric pen and an adaptive tool system for expandability and professional-level cutting.
  • The Cricut Maker is compatible with QuickSwap tools, which allow the crafter to quickly swap between instruments that offer scoring, engraving, debossing and other decorative effects.
  • The Cricut Maker also has a fast mode that can cut and write up to two times faster than the previous Cricut models.
  • The Cricut Maker utilizes DesignSpace in the same way as the Cricut Explore Air 2.

What you should consider about Cricut Maker

  • The main drawback to purchasing the Cricut Maker is that it’s the highest-priced model in Cricut’s line.
  • If you primarily work in paper, decals, vinyl or other thin materials, you might not need all the bells and whistles offered by the Cricut Maker.

Should you get the Cricut Explore Air 2 or the Cricut Maker?

Both the Cricut Explore Air 2 and the Cricut Maker are excellent machines that can give the home crafter the ability to make commercial quality creations. When it comes down to choosing the best one, it isn’t as much a matter of quality or performance as it is a matter of what type of materials you prefer to utilize.

The Cricut Explore Air 2 is ideal for the crafter working primarily with paper, cardstock, vinyl or decals. The biggest reason to step up to the Cricut Maker is to focus more on sewing projects. The rotary blade allows you to perform much better cuts in fabrics.

Additionally, if you want to create 3D projects using firmer materials such as balsa wood or add design elements such as embossing and engraving, you would need the Cricut Maker. 

 

Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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