Best Cricut Machine for Beginners in 2021

Best Cricut Machine for Beginners

Crafting has exploded in the last few years. Everyone is creating and selling their products through tons of different platforms. The most popular crafting machine out there is the Cricut. But, if you’re just starting out, which model should you choose? Do you need the latest and greatest, or will a used one work? What is the best Cricut machine for beginners?

Here we will go over the ins and outs of basic Cricut for beginners, which Cricut machine is best for beginners depending on the type of crafting you want it for, and where you can get it.

What Type of Crafting Do You Intend to Use Your Cricut Machine For?

The first step in determining the right machine for your needs is to write a list of the types of crafts you’re interested in practicing. We know this seems like common sense but, it really will make a difference in the machine you choose and the amount of money you spend.

  • Want to use your Cricut to make handmade cards?
  • Are you interested in creating vinyl decals?
  • Do you plan on using your Cricut for fabric?

These are great questions to know the answers to. If you don’t intend on using the machine for fabric, you can get away with spending a lot less money. What’s impressive about Cricut is that all the machines are incredible. But each iteration comes with its own specialties and eccentricities.

The current Cricut models on the market in order of expense are the Maker, the Explore Air 2, and the Joy. They also offer an Easy Press for HTV transfers for shirt making. It gives you a large amount of cutting space (11.5″x11.5″ or 11.5″x23.5″ cutting area depending on the size of your mat). This makes it a great idea for large vinyl decals, think the back window of cars, holiday decorations for your home windows, etc.

Best Cricut Machines for Beginners

Now let’s take a look at our top 2 picks for best Cricut machines for beginners: The Explore Air 2 and the Maker.

1. Cricut Explore Air 2

The Best Cricut Machine for Beginners Overall

Cricut Explore Air 2

Brand: Cricut | Workable Materials: 100+ | Additional Components: Scoring Stylus and Deep-Point Blade | Bluetooth: Yes | Price: 💰💰

The most versatile for all different types of projects is the Cricut Explore Air 2. This powerful cutting machine is our choice for the overall best Cricut machine for beginners. If you’re unsure what your favorite craft will be or you want to dabble in a variety of different kinds of paper crafts and vinyl, this machine is going to work for whatever you want to do.

Product Specs

The machine comes with everything you need to get started:

  • The machine itself
  • Premium fine-point blade and housing
  • Black fine point pen
  • A lightgrip cutting mat (12”x12”)
  • Your welcome book and instructions
  • USB cable
  • Free trial membership to Cricut Access (The premium version of the Cricut software)
  • 50 pre-loaded ready to create projects
  • All the materials you need for the practice project tutorial

A Deeper Dive Into What the Cricut Explore Air 2 is All About

While you may think of the Cricut as just a cutting machine, the coolest part is that it can write too. So if you use the specially designed pens you can create a beautiful calligraphy card using fonts instead of giving yourself hand cramps.

You will be able to upload your own images or use the ones pre-loaded into the Cricut software which is super simple to use. There are also plenty of .SVG files (Cricut cutting files) available on crafting sites like Etsy.

Consider a “New to You” Option

The best part about the Cricut Explore Air 2 is that it’s been out a while. Why is that great? Because you can find a used one for your first machine. Why go to the expense of buying new if you don’t even know if you’ll like it? Buy it used through eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or even a local garage sale.

Vinyl was a huge trend, and everyone bought a Cricut then, now a lot of those people are closing up shop and selling off their machines. Take advantage and make their trash your treasure.

Reviewers Pros & Cons of the Cricut Explore Air 2

ProsCons
The machine walks you through an entire project from start to finish as a practice tutorial on how to use all the different aspects of the Explore Air 2The learning curve is a little steep; a lot of reviewers recommend gathering info from YouTube and/or getting a Cricut “How to” manual.
It allows you to create anything you would like to as stickers or put things on t-shirtsWhile you can technically do many projects out of the box, be prepared to invest in extra materials to make crafting easier.
Fun to do with friends and familyWill limit you to working with certain mediums

What About Fabric?

The Explore Air 2 cuts anything you throw at it with ease, with one exception, fabric. If you want to cut fabric, leather, felt, or anything else that is thick with fibers it’s going to give you some trouble. That’s where our next suggestion comes in.

2. The Cricut Maker

The Best Cricut Machine for Beginners in Fabric Crafts

Cricut Maker

Brand: Cricut | Workable Materials: 300+ | Additional Components: Knife Blade, QuickSwap, Fabric Pen, and more | Bluetooth: Yes | Price: 💰💰💰💰

Now, don’t be fooled. The Maker does everything the Explore Air 2 does. But, it does one thing better than any cutting machine on the market, deals with fabrics. As well as being one of the best Cricuts for beginners, The Cricut Maker is also our choice for the best Cricut machine for fabric crafting

However, that unique ability makes this machine nearly double the price of its closest counterpart. Therefore we only suggest this machine to those who know they will be doing primarily fabric crafting or maybe 3D wall décor with chipboard or some such.

If you’re looking for cutting anything thinner than these products, save the money.

Product Specs

The Cricut Maker comes with everything you get from the Explore Air 2, Plus:

  • 10x the power of the Explore Air 2
  • Additional blades made specifically for fabric, namely
  • The rotary blade and,
  • The knife blade
  • Scoring wheel tools are included for super sharp fold lines

A Deeper Dive Into What the Cricut Explore Air 2 is All About

Is it worth it to have a machine doing work that can be done by hand?

If you are into fabric crafts you know you need something heavy duty to make perfect and clean cuts. Whether you’re a quilter, leather worker, or even just want to branch into making some simple clothes cutting patterns is difficult by hand. With a good pair of pro fabric scissors running you around $50 and fabric going up and up in per yard price, mistakes can end up costing you a pretty penny in replacement materials.

But, never fear, Cricut is here. The Cricut Maker was created as the ultimate solution for cutting fabrics. From delicate silks, to matboard and leather, the Maker is made to cut through it cleanly and with precision.

Partnering Precision with Technology

The Cricut digital application allows you to create incredibly detailed patterns and then send them to the machine. Gone are the days of hand cut borders and tiny details. Let the magic of the Cricut Maker perfect the pieces of your project to make it easy for you to put together.

It works like a dream on felt as well, which can be a pain to cut by hand for sure. It uses specialized blades and a stronger motor to handle all these bulky mediums with great ease.

Reviewers Pros & Cons of the Cricut Maker

ProsCons
Worth the hype and worth the additional investmentThe steep learning curve increasing the odds of having a frustrating first few attempts
Great value for what it is capable ofSome have received machines in poor condition out of the box
Offers the most significant variety for project makingCustomer service is not ideal; especially for the cost

How We Chose the Best Cricut Machine for Beginners

Creating a Quilt before using the Best Cricut Machine for Beginners
Image by Melnikof / Canva Photos

Since there are only a few machines that Cricut makes, we had to start out with a set of specific criteria. We decided to focus on type of crafting to choose two of the best machines. We read through countless reviews and did a ton of research, both online and in-person, with the machines.

As we read through all the reviews (both positive and negative), we considered our own experience to reflect these products in the most factual light. Are the Cricut machines perfect? No. Do they live up to the hype and popularity? Absolutely; for all levels of crafting expertise. They’ll save you tons of time and money in the long run.

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