Any crafter or DIYers will agree with me when I say that Cricut has single-handedly changed the way crafts are done, and it is by far the best crafting tool. Most people contemplating whether to purchase a Cricut machine often find themselves torn between the Cricut Maker and the Cricut Explore Air 2 as these two machines are quite similar. Nevertheless, they have several significant differences with the most notable ones being the machines adaptable tool system and their cutting force.
In this article, we cover both machines in-depth, beginning with an overview of the machines, their similarities as well as their differences so you can make an informed decision as you decide which of the two you should acquire to meet your needs
Cricut Maker Overview
This smart cutting machine is a crafter’s ultimate tool. The Cricut Maker brags an expandable suite of tools and advanced X-ACTO knife and rotary blades that facilitate practically any DIY and crafts project. Both the blades are operated using the machines adaptive tools system which manages the direction and the amount of pressure that is applied on materials. The Cricut maker does not have a smart dial as this was replaced with the adaptive tool system. Like with most Cricut machines, the Cricut maker has the ability to cut through several materials such as paper, leather, fabric, matboard amongst others. The Cricut Makers knife blade can handle cutting materials that are up to 2.4mm thick.
Cricut Explore Air 2 Overview
Utilizing a cut smart technology, the Explore Air 2 uses Bluetooth for wireless cutting, and users can connect the machine to their smartphones, computers, or tablets which they can then use to create on the go. With the capability to cut over 100 materials from leather to cardstock, this machine is extremely precise and can achieve intricate details, including those that involve cutting the same material repeatedly. The Explore Air 2 is part of the explore range of Cricut machines, and it is the best of all three machines in the Explore range. The Explore Air 2 is equipped with a small dial on its side that facilitates the cutting process allowing users to set the material and pressure they want to use. Users can easily perform two different activities with the Explore Air 2 as they no longer have to stop working in order to swap out the tools being used for the activities. The dual carriages allow crafters to draw and cut without having to stop to swap out the tools.
Similarities Between the Cricut Maker and Explore Air 2
- Users can create and upload their own design files on both the Cricut Maker and Explore Air 2.
- Both machines have similar cutting width measuring at 12 inches by 24 inches.
- The machines both have Bluetooth wireless technology, which means users can cut and do all other activities remotely.
- The machines share similarities in some of the materials such as vinyl and paper that they can cut. The blades of the Cricut Explore Air 2 can be used in the Cricut Maker.
- Despite having slight differences in the load tools and mat as well as the set materials, both these Cricut machines utilize the Cricut Design Space.
- Users have the option of choosing both machines in a variety of colors depending on what suits their aesthetic.
- The Explore Air 2 does not have a rotary blade, scoring wheel and knife blade which are tools that the Cricut Maker is equipped with.
Key Differences Between the Cricut Maker and the Explore Air 2
- Even though the two machines have several similarities, such as the ones discussed above, there are still several differences that we discuss below.
Unlike the Cricut Maker, the Explore Air 2 does not have an inbuilt shelf on which users can place their smart devices such as tablets and phones.
- The Explore Air 2 has an output of 2.5 amps, unlike the Cricut Maker which brags an improved 3.0 amp with a power cable that facilitates charging of mobile devices on one of the sides while the Cricut Maker is performing other activities such as drawing or cutting.
- The Cricut Maker which has an X-ACTO knife is capable of making cuts as thick as 2.4 mm while the Explore Air 2’s deep-cut blade only achieves cut as deep as 1.5mm.
- The Cricut Explore Air 2 has only one storage/ tool holder compartment in comparison to the Maker which has two compartments with rubber bottoms to handle the sharp blades.
- The Cricut Maker is 10 times stronger and has a better cutting power than the Explore Air 2. This is because weighing at about 30 pounds; the Cricut Maker is heavier than its counterpart, which weighs 21 pounds.
- The Explore Air 2 has a Smart set dial for materials which the Maker does not have.
- Instead of the Adaptive Tool System equipped on the Maker, The Explore Air 2 is equipped with a Cut Smart 2 cartridge that is used to hold pens and pens
- The Cricut Maker lacks cartridge slots which the Explore air is equipped with for inputting Cricut cartridges. The lack of a cartridge should not worry you as everything stored in the, are linked to a user’s Cricut ID in the cloud.
Which Cricut should you opt for?
The raging debate of whether the Cricut Maker or the Explore Air 2 is the best cricut machine is not about to come to an end. Anyone who enjoys sewing and making things out of fabric, is likely to lean towards the Cricut Maker as their ideal tool; however, those who are primarily paper crafters will find that the Explore Air 2 suits their needs in a much better way. So, depending on what it is that you, as the user wants to get done, you can make a decision on which one of the two machines works best for you. Nevertheless, in our opinion, the Cricut maker is generally the better of the two machines as it is more handy.