Which Cricut Machine Should You Buy And Why?

If you are new to Cricut machines, you are probably wondering which Cricut machine should You buy and why? Trust me we have all been there.

When you first decide that you want to buy a Cricut machine, you’re over the moon, right!

Then reality kicks in and the stress becomes overwhelming because you have so many unanswered questions.

  • Which model should I buy?
  • What is the difference between the Cricut machines?
  • Is it worth the money?
  • Do I really need one? etc.
Cricut Joy, Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut Maker
source: www.inspiration.cricut.com

Making the right decision when choosing a Cricut machine is a big challenge.  The last thing you want is to spend so much money on a machine and later realizing you should have bought the other model.

Let’s face it, they are not cheap and making the wrong decision can be a very expensive mistake.

Which Cricut machine should you buy? Well, it depends on you.  To figure out which machine you should buy, you need to ask yourself the following questions.

  • What is your budget?
  • What materials do you want to work with?
  • Which features are you interested in?
  • WANT or NEED, The main question… Do you need a Cricut machine or do you want one?

I remember when I decided to buy one.  Instead of me researching online to figure out which Cricut machine best suited my needs.

I ended up asking the Facebook group that I’m in. 

Don’t take me wrong everyone was super helpful, and I appreciated all of them for being so eager to recommend which model I should go for.

However, everyone was recommending the model that they owned. 

You need to keep in mind that your needs will be different from someone else’s.  Only you can really decide which model would best suit your needs and your budget.

No point buying the top of the range machine if the smaller model will do everything you want to create.

If you have a big budget then sure why not go for the most advanced model but if you have a limited budget as I did, then figuring out which Cricut model best suits your needs is key.

Cricut has 3 models which we will look at in detail later in this article.

  • Cricut Joy (around $200)
  • Cricut Explore Air 2 (around $280)
  • Cricut Maker ($400)

***prices start of 2021***

If you decide to buy the Cricut Joy you can always upgrade later on; this is what I did.  I started of with the Cricut Joy and about a year later I bought the Cricut Maker.

There is one factor most people don’t consider when choosing which Cricut machine to buy and that is the cost of materials, tools & accessories. 

There are many tools and accessories available for each machine and the cost can vary from model to model.  Depending on which projects you plan to make the price can add up quickly.

First things first!

How Many Cricut Machines Are There?

At present Cricut has 3 models.  They range from around $160 – $380.  Each model comes in a choice of colors and starter bundles.

Cricut Joy

Price: from $160
Size: 5.50″ (h) x 8.40″ (l) x 4.25″ (w)

The Cricut Joy is the smallest of the 3 machines that are available but by no means the weakest.  This fantastic little machine can compete with the top dogs’ hands down.

This machine is packed with lots of features.

  • Design & create from your mobile phone or tablet.
  • Can be used with over 50 materials.
  • It can use smart materials which is a HUGE plus…not even the other 2 models can handle smart materials.

I started with the Cricut Joy, even though I now have the Cricut Maker as well, the Cricut Joy is still my go-to machine for all my small projects.

Cricut Joy has one feature that makes it stand out from the other 2 models and that is, you can use smart materials with it.

What are Smart Materials?

Smart materials work without the need of a cutting mat, so all you need to do is load the material directly into the machine.  This saves you time by missing out the step of preparing the cutting mat.  But even better it saves you money having to buy new mats.

Types Of Smart Material

  • Smart Iron-On.
  • Smart Vinyl
  • Smart Label Vinyl
  • Permanent smart vinyl
  • Smart Label Paper

These are just a few types of smart materials available.  Each one comes in different finishes such as glitter, matt & gloss, etc.

Cricut Joy – Pros & Cons


  • Great price for a beginner.
  • Portable and compact, weighing only 4 lbs.
  • Uses smart materials.
  • Easy to store.
  • Cuts over 50 materials.
  • Wireless Cutting.
  • Can cut up to 20 feet of material.


  • Can only cut and write one at a time.  Other models can cut and write at the same time.
  • Can’t’ cut thick or dense materials.

Who Should Buy The Cricut Joy?

Everyone! lol. Can you tell I like the Cricut Joy?

If you are new to electronic die-cutting machines and you plan to do the popular projects such as

  • Personalized mugs.
  • Personalized t-shirts.
  • Card making.

Then Cricut Joy is the perfect machine for you to start with.  Like I said earlier no point going for the top-of-the-range machine (Cricut Maker) if the Joy will do everything you need.

The Cricut Joy is around a quarter the size of the other two cutting machines which makes it compact and portable.  It is perfect for anyone who has limited space as it can be stored away after use.

Cricut Explore Air 2

Price: from $270
Size: 5.97″ (h) x 22.17″ (l) x 6.99″ (w)

Cricut Explore Air 2 is Cricut’s mid-range model, which is packed with lots of features.

It can cut, draw, score, and even etch.  What makes this model stand out is that it is 2x faster than the previous Explore models. 

This is great news if you are planning to use your machine to make money.  The quicker the machine the more products you make to sell.

The Cricut Explore Air 2 is capable of cutting a wide range of materials such as:

  • Vinyl.
  • Craft boards.
  • Paper.
  • Canvas.
  • Fabric and so much more.

This machine opens new doors for your creativity and will take your projects to the next level with ease.

What Blades are Available For The Cricut Explore Air 2?

There are different types of blades for different projects available for this machine.  It usually comes with the premium fine point blade which can be used with many popular materials as you can see below.

But if you are looking to create projects using specialized materials then Cricut has you covered with other blades available for this machine.

Fine Point Blade

  • HTV.
  • Vinyl.
  • Standard cardstock.

Bonded Fabric Blade

  • Bonded silk.
  • Bonded polyester.
  • Bonded burlap.

Deep Point Blade
This blade is for thicker materials such as:

  • Craft foam.
  • Leather.
  • Magnetic sheet.

Cricut Explore Air 2 – Pros & Cons


  • Easy to learn.
  • Cuts hundreds of materials.
  • Great for a small business.
  • Can handle bigger projects than the Cricut Joy.
  • Holds 2 tools at once i.e cutting blade and writing pen.


  • Doesn’t cut as many materials as the Cricut Maker.
  • Not compact or portable.
  • Not storage-friendly like the Cricut Joy.

Who Should Buy The Cricut Explore Air 2?

This machine is great for anyone who is planning to start their own crafting business, as it will open so many new creative ideas for you to create and sell.

It’s quick and easy to learn and you will be surprised how many projects can be made with it.

That being said this machine isn’t only perfect for anyone who’s looking to start their own business but it is also great for someone who loves creating crafty projects.

With so many materials available to be used with this machine such as vinyl, leather, and cardstock to name a few, The only limitation is your imagination.  if you can imagine it you can create it with this machine.

Cricut Maker

Price: from $360
Size: 9.5″ (h) x 24″ (l) x 9.5″ (w)

This is Cricuts top of the range machine.  If you are looking for a professional machine that can handle all your projects, then don’t look any further than the Cricut Maker.  

It looks great and gets the job done.

It’s hard to imagine but this model can cut more materials than the Cricut Explore Air 2.

One of the main features that attract people to the Cricut Maker is that it can cut Balsa (thin wood).  Yes, you read correctly, it can cut wood. 

But what really makes this machine stand out from the other 2 machines is the number of blades that are available for it.   

What Blades are Available For The Cricut Maker?

Rotary Blade
Cricut Maker is the only machine that comes with the rotary blade.  This blade is what makes this machine worth every penny.  It can easily handle winding, curvy cuts as the blade rotates while cutting.

This blade eliminates the need for backing material. This blade can be used with materials such as:

  • Fabrics.
  • Tissue paper.
  • Cork.

Knife Blade
This blade is strong enough to cut through materials as thick as 3/32 inches.  This opens doors to a new set of materials such as:

  • Chipboard.
  • Balsa (thin wood).
  • Matboard.

Fine Point Blade
This blade is great for making intricate cuts to thin to medium-weight materials.

  • Paper.
  • Cardstock.
  • Posterboard.
  • Vinyl.
  • Iron-on.

Deep Point Blade
Cricut Maker comes with a deep point blade which is great for thick materials.  If a thick cardstock is giving you problems, then this is the blade to get the job done.

It is made from durable steel, meaning it will last for years, so you don’t need to worry about replacements.

This blade is perfect for making intricate cuts on thicker materials

  • Magnet.
  • Chipboard.
  • Thick cardstock.
  • Foam sheets, the list goes on.

Bonded Fabric Blade

  • Bonded silk.
  • Bonded polyester.
  • Bonded burlap.

It doesn’t stop here, this amazing machine offers so many other tools that will take your projects to the next levels such as pens, foil transfer tool, a scoring stylus, a perforation blade, and even an engraving tip the list goes on and on.

Like I said earlier, the only limitation is your imagination.

Who Should Buy The Cricut Maker?

If you’re looking for a professional machine that is easy to use and gives you tons of project ideas don’t look any further than the Cricut Maker.

This model is perfect for anyone looking to take their crafting business to the next level.

If you are a serious crafter then this is one machine you need to have in your inventory. 

If you are looking for a machine that you will only use once or twice a month then probably this isn’t the model for you.

If you love crafting professionally or as a hobby this machine will help you create some amazing products that will impress your customers and friends and family.

Final Thoughts

Like I said right in the beginning, choosing the right Cricut machine, all depends on your own circumstances, your budget and the projects you are looking to create with the machine.

All three machines mentioned in this article are great at what they do. You can create some amazing designs and products that you thought were never possible.

Cricut MachinePrice (approx)Great For
Cricut Joy$160Hobby & small business
Cricut Explore Air 2$270Hobby & Business
Cricut Maker$360Hobby & Business

my personal opinion is…

If you are looking to purchase a Cricut machine to make gifts or for personal use, then I recommend the Cricut Joy.

It’s easy to use, it’s easy to set up and there are so many projects you can find to create with this small machine. 

But keep in mind, you can only do smaller projects due to the size.  This said you can still create projects like personalized mugs, water bottles, t-shirts, and much more.

What I love about the Cricut Joy is that it’s compact and portable. Better still you can store it away in a drawer after you finish using it.


If you have the budget to purchase the Cricut Maker then that’s a great machine to go for.  It offers so many features that can help you create countless projects using so many different types of materials including wood.

This machine is perfect if you plan to create and sell your projects or consider it later down the line.

Once again it all depends on your circumstances and how much you can afford to spend.

I hope this article has been helpful and has given you a better idea of which Cricut machine should you buy and why?

Please share in the comments if you have any other advice or tips on how to choose the perfect Cricut machine. Let’s share and learn together.

Happy Crafting!

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