Cutting machines are essential for hobby crafters looking to work with various materials. Much-desired for their precision and ease of use, both die cutting machines and laser cutting machines are popular nowadays. If you need some help deciding between which type of crafts machine to buy, check out our comparison of the Cricut Maker and the Glowforge Plus below.
Cricut Maker vs Glowforge Plus Comparison Chart
|Model||Cricut Maker||Glowforge Plus|
|Price||Check Price||Check Price|
|Weight||9 lbs||120 lbs|
|Max Cutting Area||12″ x 24″||11″ x 19.5″|
|Max Material Height||.09″||2″|
|Main Cutting Tool||Adaptive Tool System||40W Laser|
|Scan and Print||No||Yes|
Design and Size
The Cricut Maker is more portable than the Glowforge Plus.
As you well know, the Cricut Maker is designed to offer professional-level cutting performance at home, so it’s sized just big enough to make moving it around easy. In stark contrast, the Glowforge Plus is huge, and requires an area roughly 3′ by 2′. You’ll need to make sure that your available space has enough room to accommodate the Glowforge Plus. Also, placing it near a window is recommended for ventilation, as the machine heats up with prolonged use.
Weight considerations are also important, as the Glowforge Plus weighs as much as 12 Cricut Makers. You might want help moving it room to room, whereas you can simply tuck the Cricut Maker under an arm and cut wherever you feel like. Finally, though it shouldn’t really be a big factor, Cricut lets you choose from six color options so you can pick a style you like, while the Glowforge Plus only has a single variation.
The Glowforge Plus has better cutting precision and power than the Cricut Maker.
Here’s where all of the bulk and size of the Glowforge Plus comes into play. The 40-watt CO2 glass laser assembly of the Glowforge Plus is capable of emitting a high-precision hair-thin beam of light that can cut through materials up to a half-inch thick. Compare that with the Cricut Maker’s limit of being able to cut materials up to 2.4mm (.09 inches) thick, and that’s only if you get the Knife Blade which is sold separately.
As a result, you get a lot more flexibility with choice of material with the Glowforge Plus. You can also fit in materials as thick as two-inches into the cutting area by removing the steel tray underneath it. Indeed, Glowforge Plus can ably engrave titanium, glass, marble and hardwood panels as well as cut out plexiglass, wood, food(!) and more.
In terms of accuracy, we’ve all probably heard the term “laser-precision” of which the Glowforge Plus is an excellent example. The Cricut Maker is still undeniably accurate in its cutting performance, but you can just see how easily and quickly a laser beam can glide through any surface and give you the exact output you previewed.
Ease of Use
The Glowforge Plus offers scan and print functionality and doesn’t need dedicated design software like the Cricut Maker.
Unlike the Cricut Maker which includes the Design Space program as a dedicated interface, the Glowforge Plus only has a web interface that’s accessible by any desktop computers and mobile devices alike. Best of all, it accepts any of the common photo file formats and even PDF, so you can create your designs on any graphic design software. There’s also a catalog of customizable and ready-to-print ones, though it might not be as extensive as that of Cricut’s library.
With the Glowforge Plus, you get to preview exactly how the design will look on your material thanks to a wide-angle camera and a macro camera that can autofocus for a better close-up view. This also lets lets you scan hand-drawn or already printed designs and transfer that onto your final material easily. While cutting, you can actually watch how its laser moves inside as the interior is well-lit by LED strips.
There are also a few limitations on the Cricut Maker’s Design Space software which some experienced hobbyists find quite limiting indeed, such as scaling and positioning elements and printing extremely complex personal designs.
The Cricut Maker can cut vinyl safely and can also be expanded with tools.
Cricut wants to be your one-stop shop for all your crafting needs, so they’ve made sure you’d be able to find what you need in their store. There are numerous tools you can customize your Cricut Maker with, from the Rotary Blade and Knife Blade to scoring, engraving and debossing tools. You can also get infusible ink pens, washable fabric markers, rotary cutters, iron-on sheets and more. Plus, they have a wide selection of vinyl, paper, leather, felt, and fabric materials within easy delivery.
A big safety consideration with laser cutting machines like the Glowforge Plus is that you’d definitely want to avoid using any materials with reflective filaments or additives such as vinyl and PVC. The laser will melt through these or get reflected into internal components resulting in damage to the machine or leaking of harmful gas.
The Cricut Maker is better for new crafters and light use. The Glowforge Plus is only recommended to serious hobbyists.
As you can see, there’s a world of difference between the capabilities of laser cutting machines such as the Glowforge Plus and die cutting machines like the Cricut Maker. You’d undoubtedly get more powerful performance with laser, but that comes at a very hefty price, literally. The Glowforge Plus costs as much as ten Cricut Makers, making it a clear recommendation only to experienced and devoted enthusiasts looking to cut large volumes and intricate designs almost daily. By that point you’ll definitely appreciate its full power and recognize that it’s truly worth it.
If you’re only looking to dabble or to take the next steps after experimenting with more basic die-cutting machines, the Cricut Maker is the easy choice. It’s so much more affordable and the range of designs you can print with it is amazing. You can work with nearly 300 kinds of materials and even push your creative boundaries by expanding your suite with any number of tools and accessories.