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Best Cricut For Vinyl (2020): Choosing Your Cricut for Vinyl Cutting

Vinyl is such a versatile material that can be used to customize a wide range of products including shirts, hats, wood, glass, and more. You can design your own stickers, wall decals, magnets, labels, and more using a Cricut to cut vinyl. But which is the best Cricut for vinyl? The best Cricut for vinyl overall is the Cricut Explore Air 2 while the best portable Cricut for vinyl is the Cricut Joy. Keep reading to find out why and to find inspiration for vinyl projects you can do with these two Cricut smart cutting machines.

The Best Cricut for Vinyl: Cricut Explore Air 2 & Cricut Joy

ModelBest Cricut For Vinyl Overall:
Cricut Explore Air 2
Best Portable Cricut for Vinyl: Cricut Joy
 Cricut Explore Air 2Cricut Joy
PriceCurrently on Sale at 179.99 USDCheck Price
Dimensions
(LDH)
22.17″ x 7″ x 5.0″8.4″ x 5.5″ x 4.25″
Weight21 lbs3.9 lbs
Best ForVersatility and speed
Cutting bigger vinyl projects
Portability
Cutting Smart Vinyl without a mat
Cutting long vinyl projects
Max Cutting Area12″ x 24″4.25″ x 6.5″
Cutting VersatilityCuts 100 materialsCuts 50+ materials
ToolsCompatible with Deep-Point Blade and Scoring StylusCricut Joy only
Tool HolderDoubleSingle
Material DialYesNo
Mat-less CuttingNoYes
SoftwareDesign SpaceDesign Space
Upload Own DesignYesYes
Tool StorageYesNo
ConnectivityBluetoothBluetooth
ColorsBlue, Cherry Blossom, Matte Black, Twilight, Mint, Persimmon, RoseWhite/Turquoise

Overall Best Cricut for Vinyl: Cricut Explore Air 2

The Cricut Explore Air 2 can cut a wide range of vinyl and other materials. It features Fast Mode and a large 12″ x 24″ cutting area.

The Cricut Explore Air 2 in Mint (left) and a sample Cricut Intricate-Cut Vinyl on a side table (right)

With a 400-gram cutting force, the Cricut Explore Air 2 can cut up to 100 types of materials. Apart from vinyl, it can also cut cardstock, faux leather, and bonded fabric. While it is not the most powerful Cricut cutting machine (that would be the Cricut Maker), we picked the Explore Air 2 as the best Cricut for vinyl as it can cut a wide range of vinyl materials with excellent precision and quality. In addition, this Cricut comes at an attractive price point, especially when it goes on sale.

With its 12″ x 24″ cutting area, the Cricut Explore Air 2 lets you design and cut bigger vinyl projects on Design Space. This allows you to print and cut stencils, decals or other designs for larger surfaces. This Cricut also features a Fast Mode, which is best for cutting more vinyl projects in a shorter time. The Cricut Explore Air 2 also comes with two tool holders so you don’t have to keep changing tools from drawing to cutting. For the organization-conscious crafters, this Cricut offers a tool holder on the side and a tool storage tray at the bottom.

The Cricut Explore Air 2 comes with plenty of storage space for tools (left) and a handy material dial (right)

What’s comes with the Cricut Explore Air 2

When you purchase a Cricut Explore Air 2 for cutting your vinyl projects, you will get the following with the cutting machine:

  • Cricut Premium Fine Point Blade and Housing
  • Cricut 12″ x12″ LightGrip Adhesive Cutting Mat (Great for cutting Cricut Vinyl and HTV),
  • Black Fine Point Pen
  • Access to Design Space, Cricut’s design software
  • Free 2-week trial to Cricut Access, Cricut’s vast library of fonts, images, and designs

Cricut Explore Air 2

Cricut Explore Air 2 for vinyl (1)

Best Portable Cricut for Vinyl: Cricut Joy

A very beginner-friendly Cricut, the Cricut Joy is a portable machine that can cut extra-long vinyl projects even without a cutting mat

best portavle cricut for vinyl cricut joy
Take your Cricut Joy anywhere you want to cut vinyl

The Cricut Explore Air is the best Cricut for vinyl for its versatility, impressive precision, wide cutting area, and attractive price point. However, it’s not as portable and space-saving as the Cricut Joy, the latest machine from Cricut. It’s so compact it can fit at the top of your palm and can mesh well with your shelf decor.

The Joy is the best Cricut for cutting vinyl while on the go. For crafters and makers who often travel with their cutting machine or are in the organization business, the Cricut Joy is a must-have. Something to consider when thinking of getting the Cricut for cutting vinyl though is its limited cutting width. It is designed to cut extra long projects, but its maximum cutting width is 4.25 inches. If you need to cut vinyl projects that are wider than that, you are better off getting the Cricut Explore Air 2.

bets portable cricut for vinyl: cricut joy
Smart Vinyl lets the Cricut Joy cut vinyl directly from the roll

In addition to its portability, users love how the Cricut Joy is very beginner-friendly. One of its best features is the Cricut Joy can cut Smart Vinyl even without a cutting mat. Its Smart Materials are designed specifically to work with the Cricut Joy directly from the roll. This further allows this new Cricut to cut designs up to 4-feet continuously and up to 20ft-long repeated designs. If you’ve ever had to sit with your Cricut while it cuts so you can change the mat, you’ll know how game-changing and time-saving this feature is.

Cricut Joy

Cricut joy machine

Best Cricut Ideas for Vinyl Projects

Cricut and cutting vinyl offer endless design and customization possibilities. We collate some of the most beautiful and creative vinyl projects from Cricut’s website for your inspiration.

1. Cut vinyl patterns and texts for walls.

Whether you want to use patterns or wall quotes and messages, Cricut can cut vinyl you can use to fashion your walls into what you like. If you live in a rented apartment where you’re not allowed to paint the walls, removable vinyl can still let you add your personal touch to an otherwise generic, plain wall. Unlike permanent vinyls, removable vinyl doesn’t leave a residue when peeled.

2. Customize shirt, shoes, blankets, towels, pillow covers and more using Cricut Iron-On Vinyl

iron-on vinyl using cricut

Vinyl is such a versatile material that you can cut different types of vinyl to customize fabric. You can use the Cricut Iron-On Vinyl, which is also called Heat Transfer Vinyl by other brands. Cricut and other brands carry an array of vinyl materials, including glitter, holographic, foil, sports-grade vinyl, and more. To yield impeccable heat transfer results, you can get the Cricut EasyPress. Its heat plate boasts even heating from edge to edge can get hot for up to 400ยฐF.

3. Label away using your Cricut machine and vinyl

These labels are made from basic Cricut Vinyl, which is among the most affordable ones Cricut offers.

4. Personalize a wide array of products

This vinyl balloon (left) by Jen Causey of Something Turquoise looks like it’s not just a simple DIY vinyl project. The Cricut Explore Air 2 can cut foil vinyl precisely so your vinyl project looks impeccable. One of the best things about the Cricut Explore Air 2 or Cricut Joy for cutting vinyl is you can turn your projects into something profitable.

5. Design and cut your own stickers using Cricut Printable Vinyl

best cricut for vinyl

Up your sticker game by designing and cutting your own stickers using the Cricut Explore Air 2 to cut Cricut Printable Vinyl. Cricut boasts a Print Then Cut feature. With this, you can design your sticker on Design Space and print on the Cricut Printable Vinyl using a compatible InkJet printer. Afterward, the Cricut will the images around the edges so you can peel your stickers easily.

Summary

These are the best Cricut for vinyl that are worth your investment

Cricut Explore Air 2

Cricut Explore Air 2

Cricut Joy

Cricut Joy

 

The Cricut Explore Air 2 takes the crown as the best Cricut for vinyl as it offers the best value for your money. It’s a versatile cutting machine that can cut most vinyl materials with impressive quality without the steep price tag. Meanwhile, if you want a more portable alternative, the Cricut Joy is the best portable Cricut for vinyl. In addition to its compact size, it’s very beginner-friendly and can cut Smart Vinyl without worrying about the mat.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ Which Cricut machine is the best for vinyl cutting?

The Cricut Explore Air 2 is the best Cricut machine for vinyl as it’s a versatile cutting machine that can cut most vinyl materials with impressive quality without the steep price tag.

๐Ÿ“Œ What features can you enjoy with the Cricut Explore Air 2?

With its 12″ x 24″ cutting area, the Cricut Explore Air 2 lets you design and cut bigger vinyl projects on Design Space. It also features a Fast Mode, which is best for cutting more vinyl projects in a shorter time.

๐Ÿ“Œ What are the disadvantages of the Cricut Explore Air 2?

The Cricut Explore Air 2 is the best Cricut for vinyl for its versatility, impressive precision, wide cutting area, and attractive price point. However, it’s not very portable and space-saving.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is there an alternative to the Cricut Explore Air 2 for vinyl cutting?

If you want a more portable alternative, you can consider the Cricut Joy. In addition to its compact size, it’s very beginner-friendly and can cut Smart Vinyl without worrying about the mat.

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Rhodaline Escala-Phelps
Rhodaline Escala-Phelps

Managing Editor and Team Leader at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about people, product comparisons, culture, and current events.