Help! I don't know which one I will like better!
This is the question that I get asked the most often and the words I always hear. The other most asked question is, "How do I add bridges to letters and where do they need to be added?" I'll save answering that question for another post. The following are my opinions on the cutting machines and software that I use. I am not an expert, nor do I get paid for my reviews. I am just giving you my quick 2 cents below. I have bought a Brother Scan n Cut machine also, but no review on it yet.
The Cricut Explore Air machines are easy to use, have labeled cut settings on the machine and you can also create a custom setting. The new Cricut Maker is supposed to be superb machine. I have not invested in one yet. I am happy with my Cricut Explore Air. I just got a Cricut Explore Air 2 and I like it too. It cuts just like the Explore Air. It is just a newer model. Cricut Design Space software is fairly easy to learn, although there is still a learning curve. It cuts very well through thicker material. I can cut cookie stencils with no issues. It is a sturdy machine. There is no knife tool or manipulation of edit points available in the current version. It does not design fine detailed images because the software doesn't allow you to create those small details. The software now has a curve text tool too! It cuts very well, especially when you have a new or newer blade. I like the premium german carbide blade. The regular blade cuts well too, however, it wears out faster. Bluetooth works perfectly every time. I like the Cricut mats. They are durable. I clean and re-sticky them and they last a really long time. Cricut Design Space requires the internet to run. The most current version of Design Space has been great. No crashes! I like it much better than the previous version. A Cricut Access subscription is available to purchase. It gives you access to images and fonts, as well as Make it Now Projects. I use it all of the time. It is worth it. You can also share the weblink to your files with other Cricut users if you use these images. You cannot share the weblink to your files if you use images of your own or images downloaded from the web because of copyright. If you already own cartridges, you can upload them to your online account. Read about the types of files you can upload and use here.
The Cameo is also easy to use, does not have labeled cut settings on the machine. The cut settings are found in the software. The software is more sophisticated and has more tools/features than Cricut Design Space, so it is a little more complicated to learn. It cuts detailed designs and bridges fonts very well because of the variety of tools(knife tool and edit points)available in the software. It allows you to design images with finer details. Bridges are easier to create in small areas of an image or letters. I use the knife and edit points tools for those fine details. I use premium(stays sharp longer) and autoblades, but I ordered a CB09(which is a carbide blade), so hopefully that will cut through the heavier material better and last longer. We shall see! The has more difficulty cutting through the thicker stencil material. Bluetooth for the Cameo does not work on the Mac at this point. They are supposed to be working on a fix for that. I am not sure how Bluetooth works with a PC. I don't care for the Silhouette mats. They are flimsy. I cut down a Cricut mat to use instead. Silhouette Studio software does not need the internet. (You do need the internet if you will be saving to the cloud.) It is software that you download to your computer. There is also a Silhouette Design Store subscription available for purchase. Read more about that here and read about the types of files you can use here.
I like both of my machines for different reasons. I'd buy either one of them again. They are both great machines! They both cut vinyl and paper very well!
If you are tech savvy, Silhouette Studio won't be too hard for you to learn. If you like to keep things simple, then Cricut Design Space is a little easier to learn.
If you are new to a cutting machine--follow this blog and join The Colorful Cookie Club when enrollment is open again. You can read more about it here and sign up to be notified by email. Just click "Join Now" and enter your email address to get an email when enrollment opens again. There are tutorials for both machines and lots of other fun things going on in The Colorful Cookie Club! You really can't go by joining or if you buy either cutting machine.
Need a stencil fast? I also have an online shop. You can download and cut stencils immediately. Directions for both Cricut and Silhouette software come with every download. Super easy and fast!
Let's Get Busy Designing!