Are you considering a Silhouette Cameo vs. a Cricut Explore Air? I’ve been users of both for a long time. How is the Cricut different from competitive cutting machines? Here is my story of my experience with both machines. This post may contain affiliate links.
My Cricut Story
Eight years ago, my sister in law brought handmade cards for everyone at a Christmas party. I thought they were lovely, and then I found out that she made them with a Cricut machine. Instant want.
That year my husband purchased a Cricut Expression for me for Christmas (after lots of hints from me, of course!). The old Cricut Expression was a cartridge based machine that required no computer for use. Instead, users bought cartridges to cut shapes, cards, etc. The machine, at least for me, had a few down falls. I found it very confusing on how to size the images. I disliked that I had to buy an entire cartridge when I maybe only wanted one or two images. Other than card stock, I didn’t feel like it cut different materials well. I slowly lost interest and barely used it unless I needed to cut basic shapes for a bulletin board or project.
Then I won a Silhouette Cameo in a giveaway.
I was in a group of bloggers who raved about the Silhouette, making me super excited to try it out. I join a Silhouette Challenge group and got to work! The Silhouette Design Software was very easy to use, but that was about it. I could NEVER get the Print and Cut feature to work, no matter what I tried. Half of the items that I tried to cut never cut cleanly, and I would have to re-cut them. I hated wasting money on materials that I had to re-cut. I, once again, just phased out from using the machine. I also had a difficult time getting the pens to work. I was only successful with one project, and, after that, they never worked correctly.
Then Cricut sent me a Cricut Explore Air.
After my experience, I was skeptical. My track record with cutting machines was disheartening. I did not have high hopes. But I thought that I would cut a few cards and try out the Window Cling material that they sent in the box to make window clings for the kids and call it a day.
That was six months ago. I’ve used my Cricut Explore Air a minimum of twice a week for blog, home, and school projects. I never thought that I would be this happy with a cutting machine!
Why I’m Using the Cricut Explore Air
So, here’s the scoop. Am I affiliated (as in, they send me materials, machines, etc. sometimes) with Cricut? Yes.
But I’m affiliated with Cricut BECAUSE I love recommending them. I’m not recommending them only because I’m affiliated with them. Does that make sense? Here are the things that made me love the Cricut Explore Air over the other cutting machines that I have used.
-The wide range of materials. The Cricut Explore Air cuts a wider range of materials. I’ve heard that it can even cut balsa wood, even though I’ve never tried that material out for myself.
-I’ve never had a ruined cut. I have not changed my blades since opening the Cricut Explore Air. I’ve used it 1-2 times a week (on everything from vinyl to faux leather to adhesive foil), and I’ve never had a cut that I had to re-do because it did not cut correctly the first time. This is a BIG deal breaker for me when it comes to a machine. Cutting materials are not cheap, and neither is my time, and both are wasted when the machine doesn’t cut correctly the first time.
I often hear other crafters say that they prefer the Silhouette Design Studio over the Cricut Design Space. Guess what? I do, too! The Silhouette Design Studio is easier to use and isn’t internet based (meaning it’s a program that you download on your computer and do not need internet connectivity in order to use it). I will say that there is a new version of Cricut Design Space in beta. I’ve heard awesome things about it and cannot wait to try it out!
But design software doesn’t mean a hill of beans if the machine can’t cut it out correctly or it wastes materials.
And, bottom line, that’s why I like the Cricut Explore over the Silhouette Cameo and why it’s what I use and promote. In the end, it’s each user’s individual choice, so here’s a breakdown of pros and cons in my opinion of each machine.
- Design Studio Software has less of a learning curve.
- Design Studio Software has less overall glitches.
- Easier to transfer own images and cut files into the software.
- Cuts fewer range of materials.
- Does not have as clean of a cut.
Cricut Explore Air
- Cuts wide range of materials.
- Clean cut every time.
- Design Space is Internet based and sometimes “stalls” out (although I’ve never had an issue of this where I could not exit the program, start again, and fix it this way).
- Greater learning curve for the Design Space software.
I also own a Sizzix Big Shot, but a Sizzix machine is in a completely different category (it is not electronic), and I do not feel like it would be an apple-to-apple-comparison.
Don’t just take my word for it- check out these other Silhouette VS. Cricut comparisons below!
Comparing the Explore Air 2 & the Cameo 3 – PMQ for two
5 Reasons Why I Traded My Silhouette Cameo for The Cricut Explore Air – Tastefully Frugal
Why I replaced My Silhouette Cameo with a Cricut Explore Air – The Quiet Grove
Why I love my Cricut Explore – Crafting In The Rain
Why I Switched from a Silhouette to a Cricut Explore Air – Housewife Eclectic
Cricut vs. Silhouette: Why the Cricut Explore Continually Wins – Becoming Martha
Top 10 Reasons why I love my Cricut Explore – Brooklyn Berry Designs
Why I switched to the Cricut Explore – My Mom Made Take