Versatile uses. Quilters can cut fabric without using heat and bond. Also works with delicate fabrics like lace. Can use customized designs.
Some owners are frustrated by the software, saying it is not as user-friendly as they would like.
Easy to use. Works well on everything from tissue paper to thin leather. Highly portable and compact. Great at embossing. Price is hard to beat if you want a simple, no-frills machine.
Doesn't always cut all the way through on intricate designs.
Easy setup. Integrated Bluetooth and iPad app give it complete wireless control. Orange grid lines keep designs centered.
Mac app doesn't work well. Doesn't work as well on foam, and fails to maximize wasted space.
Upload your own images, or access a good selection on Cricut's free library. Cuts through foils, leather, vinyl, and a whole lot of other good stuff.
Access to the extended graphics and font library requires a pay-per-image fee. Some users had problems with software.
An updated version of one of the brand's top machines, it enables you to transform iron-ons to a variety of materials. Results look professional. Slim build.
Some owners gripe that it loses heat while in use, resulting in the need to press several times for intended results.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Cricut machines are a must-have for devoted crafters and scrapbookers. With one, you can say goodbye to hand cutting shapes. By using cartridges with pre-downloaded designs and shapes, the Cricut allows anyone to make beautiful lettering, shapes and decorations. Cricuts work on a variety of materials, such as vinyl, felt, and construction paper.
Before you decide on a Cricut model to purchase, however, there are some things to consider: software, ability to cut through many materials, ease of use and setup, wireless capability, selection of fonts and graphics, cutting speed, and compactness are all important. Our reviews cover these features along with pricing and affordability.
A Cricut is a handy tool for your crafts arsenal, and we’ve recommended the best Cricut machines on the market. If you’re not ready to buy, keep reading to learn about the factors to consider.
Stacey Nash has a natural curiosity that’s led to extensive research into the latest in appliance development and technology. She’s tested, read about, and dug deep into the facts for the past two years to find the products that simplify life, especially those that pertain to arts & crafts.
Not all Cricut machines cut at the same speed. Some of the top machines can cut up to two times faster than beginner models.
Occasional crafters may be happy with a less expensive machine that doesn’t cut as fast.
If crafting is part of your business, or you do it every day, you may want to invest in one of the models that cuts at high speed.
Paper and materials of different weights require depth and pressure adjustments to the blade.
Some machines have an automatic adjustment system, setting the blade correctly for you.
You’ll still need to be sure you have a blade appropriate for the material you’re cutting, but this feature takes a lot of guesswork out of starting a new project.
When cutting thicker materials, you’ll need to use a slower cutting speed to be sure the blade cuts all the way through the material.
Keep plenty of cutting mats on hand. They come in 12” x 12” and 12” x 24” models. Use a large mat for big items, or when cutting a lot at once.
Lifting images from the cutting mat is a sticky business. You may need a Cricut spatula tool to lift images off without tearing them.
After considering 8 models we purchased our top Cricut machine to make sure it stood up to its claims. We consulted over 100 Cricut users to find out what to look for when testing.
Scoring lets you create a depression for decorative and folding purposes. Machines that have this ability are more expensive, but can take your crafting to the next level. You can always score manually with a scoring stylus, but if you score a lot, you may want to spend the extra cash on a machine that can do it for you.
Some Cricut machines can hold a pen, and write in different fonts, or draw images. This premium feature leaves a professional look, but also comes with a high price.
Some Cricut machines have Bluetooth capabilities that allow access to Cricut’s downloadable online library of pictures, patterns, and images. Some of the images are free, while others must be either purchased individually, or with a subscription.
Bluetooth gives you access to all that information without any extra wires. When you’re busy making cards or putting together a project, wires can clutter your workspace. Machines that don’t have Bluetooth can still get access to the online library, but they require a USB cord.
You can also use Cricut cartridges to access patterns and fonts without any online access at all. These cartridges have a preloaded set of fonts and designs, and must be manually loaded into the machine each time you want to use one of those items.
Cricut machines that can write can also draw intricate pictures on a wide variety of materials. Machine drawn images add a professional quality to all your work.
Cricut’s Design Space can recognize the system fonts on your computer. You can download free fonts from online, then use them on your Cricut machine.
Originally, Cricuts were designed to cut paper, but today they can do so much more.
Basic Cricut machines still cut paper, but other machines can also cut vellum, vinyl, cardstock, adhesive foil, and faux leather.
New technology allows advanced machines to cut cardboard, fabric, metal, chipboard, and balsa wood to name a few.
Some of the most advanced machines can cut over 100 different materials. Keep in mind that the more materials the Cricut can cut, the more expensive it will be.
There’s a long list of accessories available for Cricut machines, and you may not need them all. Always check what accessories are compatible with the Cricut machine you want to purchase, to be sure you’ll be able to do the projects you want.
Accessory bundles: Accessory bundles are often designed to be used only with a certain Cricut machine. Bundles may include items like vinyl transfer tape, replacement blades, deep cut blades, different types of vinyl, scoring stylus tools, and more.
Software and images: Many Cricut machines include access to Design Space, Cricut’s free design software. Through the cloud, you can access thousands of images and fonts. Some are free with the purchase of a Cricut machine, while others can be purchased individually or through a monthly subscription. The subscription service comes in three levels — fonts, standard, and premium. Some subscriptions also include discounts on other Cricut products. For machines that cut fabric, you can also access sewing patterns from popular pattern retailers.
When removing paper away from the cutting mat, pull the mat away from the paper by rolling it, rather than pulling the paper away from the mat, as this can make the edges curl.
Do a test cut with the materials and settings before you commit to cutting a full page. You may need to adjust the positioning or depth and pressure of the blade, and check the size and placement before beginning.
Keeping the surface of the cutting mat clean can prolong its life by protecting the sticky surface. You can clean the sticky surface with a lint roller. Also, replace the protective sheet over the cutting surface when not in use.
For less than $100, you can get a manually cranked Cricut machine that die cuts and embosses paper, vellum, tissue paper, foils, thin leather, and acetate ribbon.
If you’re an occasional crafter, this might be all the machine you need.
In the $100 to $200 range, you’ll find machines with automatic depth and pressure setting, Bluetooth, and the ability to cut a wide variety of materials like vinyl, faux leather, adhesive foils, and poster board.
From $200 to $300 are many of the same machines in the mid-range price category, except they come with accessory bundles that include different cutting materials, pens, and idea books for projects.
In the premium price range, above $300, are machines capable of cutting fabric, felt, leather, wood, and some thin metals.
They can write and score materials as well.
Q. Can I create and upload my own designs to a Cricut machine?
A. Uploading custom designs is possible with some machines. However, you’ll need to check carefully about the specs before purchasing, because this is considered a specialty feature that not all machines have. Design Space only accepts certain formats as well, so your uploads will need to meet Cricut’s requirements.
Q. Do you use the same blade to cut all materials?
A. Every Cricut machine comes with a standard blade, but specialty blades will need to be purchased separately. Machines that cut the widest variety of materials may come with a toolset, but there will still be some specialty blades you might need to purchase.
Q. Are there attachments that allow the Cricut to hold more than one tool at once?
A. You can use two tools at once using a special attachment. However, it doesn’t work on all Cricut machines. Machines that write and score use this type of attachment. You’ll need to be sure your machine is compatible with the tool before purchasing.
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