Whether you’re a new crafter who’s thinking of buying a Cricut machine in 2020 or you already own the Explore Air 2 and are contemplating upgrading to the flagship Maker, this will hopefully be helpful for you. Should you save and get the Cricut Explore Air 2 or is it worth investing in the top-of-the-line Cricut Maker? We look at their different features to help you choose which cutting machine to add to your craft room this 2020.
Cricut Maker vs. Explore Air 2 Comparison Chart
|Model||Cricut Maker Machine||Cricut Explore Air 2|
|Price||Check Price||Check Price|
|Adaptive Tool System||Yes||No|
|Software||Design Space||Design Space|
|Max Cutting Force||4000 g||400 g|
|Blade||Rotary Blade, Fine-Point Blade||Fine-Point Blade|
|Colors||Blue, Lilac, Champagne, Mint, White, Rose||Blue, Cherry Blossom, Lilac, Matte Black, Twilight, Mint, Persimmon, Rose|
|Cutting Mat||12″ x 12″ FabricGrip™ and LightGrip machine mats||12″ x 12″ LightGrip Machine Mat|
|Compatible Tools||All the tools available for the Explore Air 2 plus the following:|
Single and Double Scoring Wheels Wavy Blade
Fine Debossing Tip
|Fine Point Blade|
Deep Point Blade
Bonded Fabric Blade
The Cricut Maker has a sleeker design and more storage while the Explore Air 2 is lighter and has more color options
The Cricut Maker has a cleaner, sleeker design than the Explore Air 2. It is mostly white and only has four buttons while the Explore still has the materials dial at the top. There is also more storage space available on the Cricut Maker. It has deeper pockets and trays than the Explore Air 2, something you will really appreciate once you start buying more tools for its Adaptive Tool System. To further maximize storage space, the Cricut Maker also has a device docking station where you can put your tablet while working.
As for colors, the Explore Air 2 has more choices, including stunning colors like matte black and persimmon. It is also lighter, so if you like taking your cutting machine with you to craft events or a friend’s house, the Explore Air 2 is more easily portable than the Maker.
Downward Cutting Force
The Cricut Maker has 10x the downward force of the Explore Air 2
If you are more of a paper crafter and typically cut cardstocks, vinyl, iron-on, and do not mind the extra effort of bonding and stabilizing when you want to cut fabric, the Explore Air 2 will just be fine. Since the Cricut Maker has 10x the pressure though, it allows you to easily cut materials–from the more delicate crepe paper, and lace to denser materials such as leather, balsa wood, felt, heavy-duty chipboards, and the like. You no longer have to worry about your blade getting stuck simply because the fabric was not stabilized enough.
The Cricut Maker’s Adaptive Tool System is a game-changer
To make a long story short, the Cricut Maker allows you to do more things through its Adaptive Tool System, a feature that the Explore Air 2 does not have. What is that, you ask? This tool system lets you upgrade to the Maker-only tools that Cricut will release or has released. In 2019 alone, Cricut released the following tools: Engraving Tip, Fine Debossing Tip, Double and Single Scoring Wheels, Perforation Blade, and Wavy Blade. Imagine what else will be released in 2020 and beyond?
The Cricut Maker’s Rotary Blade and Knife Blade have created possibilities for cutting more fabric materials, so those who like sewing and DIY-ing will enjoy the wide array of sewing patterns available in Design Space.
The Cricut Maker is worth investing in, but the Explore Air 2 is still a solid cutting machine for those on a budget
Cricut Maker Machine
Cricut Explore Air 2
With all the possibilities that come with the Adaptive Tool System of the Cricut Maker, it is hands down worth investing in. If you like sewing, leather-making or crafting 3D projects and DIY stuff, the Cricut Maker will be a great partner. It is incredibly powerful and imagining what other tools you can use in conjunction with in the future is exciting.
If you feel like you will not need the Adaptive Tool System and will stick to cutting vinyl, paper, and iron-on, the Explore Air 2 is still a solid choice as cutting machine goes. Just take note that if you ever change your mind and want to upgrade to the Cricut Maker, the Explore Air 2 will have much less value when you want to sell it.