This is one in a series of posts answering some of the most frequently asked questions about the Cricut machine. See all the other posts in the series HERE. If you still have questions feel free to reach out via email or social media and I will get back to you.
Which machine is the best to cut vinyl? There are numerous machines on the market that can cut paper, vinyl, and other materials. While the price is affordable in comparison to commercial machines, it still has a significant cost (each are around $300 for a machine and starter kit) so you want to do your research before you buy.
To start with, years ago I was given both a silhouette cameo and a Cricut explore. They both sat in the box because I was too intimidated to use it. I started with the Cricut Explore because more friends had it, so I figured I could get more help from them with the Cricut.
Silhouette Vs Cricut
The basic summary I hear from most bloggers and crafters who have used both is that the Cricut explore machine cuts better, with precise and smooth tiny cuts. If you want to use ONLY one program to design everything, the Silhouette Studio program is better. That being said, Cricut Design space is very user friendly and can incorporate design features from other third party programs saved as a .svg file.
Machine Software –
Silhouette uses the silhouette studio program which is installed to your computer. Everything is offline, which means you can design on a laptop or desktop only. If you want to curve text and create your own graphics all in one program, this software is your best option.
Cricut Design Space is an all online software. Projects are saved to the cloud, which allows you to design on your ipad or phone using the Cricut Design app. You can design, save an open projects on your phone, ipad, desktop, or laptop and access all your saved projects there. If you are a designer and already work with adobe products or other third party software, the Cricut Design space is the best option.
Brother Scan N Cut 2 is a stand alone machine. It doesn’t connect to a computer, rather it has its own touch screen with a built in scanner, which seems like a pretty cool option for paper crafters that use stamps. It can scan in any document or design and cut out the shape of that design.
When I first got my machines I watched a couple youtube videos showing really technical comparisons of the two. I found the videos from Kens Kreations to be really unbiased and very helpful, so I will link to one of his comparison videos below. Side note: I met Ken at a craft event recently and mid conversation remembered his comparison videos. I may have fan girled a bit, and even helped film his Youtube live video!
I personally find each machine to have it own benefits depending on what you are needing to cut. The Cricut Explore family of machines (I use the Explore Air and Air 2) is the best overall. It looks like an apple product (I am a sucker for great product design). The machine itself has great storage capabilities with a side cup and hidden storage in the tray for extra pens, cutting blades, and even a magnet to hold them in place. The software is easy to use and easy to upload your own images. The accessories and materials are inexpensive (I recommend buying from Cricut vs Michaels, at least for us Canadians, as the price with shipping is MUCH much lower). The Cricut Explore is my top choice for a bang for your buck machine.
Check out Ken’s comparison video here:
Get the most up to date pricing on each of these machines, their accessories and materials by looking on Amazon.
There are a few other posts from people who own both machines, so here are some links to read as well:
Comparing the Explore Air 2 & the Cameo 3 – PMQ for two
Why I switched to the Cricut Explore – My Mom Made That
Why I love my Cricut Explore – Crafting In The Rain
Why I replaced My Silhouette Cameo with a Cricut Explore Air – The Quiet Grove
Silhouette Cameo Vs. Cricut Explore Air – It happens In A Blink
Why I gave away my Silhouette for the Cricut Explore – Lia Griffith