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Best cricut cartridges 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated March 1, 2020
Best cricut cartridges of 2018
I review the three best cricut cartridges on the market at the moment. You must have heard that the best cricut cartridges should allow you to save money, right? Sure, but that’s not the only reason you should consider getting one. You can make a choice based on the my list as you shop. Now, let’s get to the gist of the matter: which are the best cricut cartridges for the money?
Test Results and Ratings
|Ease of use||
№1 – Cricut Easy Press
Why did this cricut cartridges win the first place?
I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. I was completely satisfied with the price. Its counterparts in this price range are way worse. The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing!
Why did this cricut cartridges come in second place?
The material is pretty strong and easy to wash if needed. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made. Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery. The design quality is top notch and the color is nice.
Why did this cricut cartridges take third place?
I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. I hope that the good reputation of the manufacturer will guarantee a long-term work.
cricut cartridges Buyer’s Guide
Who should get this
If you’re interested in making craft projects such as stickers, vinyl decals, and custom cards, consider getting an electronic cutter. These electronic die cutters and plotters cut designs out of a variety of materials. They use software that lets you create, upload, or purchase designs to be cut. And often, if you put in a pen instead of a blade, they can draw too. A quick tour of Instagram hashtags shows the wide range of projects people make with these machines.
Some crafters use manual die-cutting machines, which are mostly limited to cutting paper. If you already own one of those, and it does everything you want it to, you have no need to upgrade. But the expense of buying single image dies adds up, and manual die cutters that cut fabric can cost about as much as an electronic cutter. If you want to cut anything with vinyl, make stickers, draw with pens, create more elaborate projects, or work with a wide variety of materials, you should choose an electronic cutting machine.
Keep in mind that there’s a learning curve with these machines, especially with the software, so it helps if you’re comfortable with online tutorials and manuals, or have a friend who can teach you. It also helps to start with easy projects, such as a simple vinyl decal, to learn the basics.
How we tested
Once we had our four models for testing, we spent a lot of time with the Silhouette Studio and Cricut Design software—about 1hours total—on both a MacBook Pro (macOS) and an HP Spectre (Windows PC). Before we started cutting anything, we used both programs to try to create basic designs, looked at their collections of projects and images, and asked the companies directly about certain features. We looked at online tutorials and at the Cricut and Silhouette help sections to learn some new techniques, and we noted which software felt more intuitive, with clearly labeled tools to help us get started.
We also timed how long it took for us to set up the machines (all four were under minutes), and how easy it was to start making a project. We looked at the machines’ cutting speeds and noise level—following a suggestion from Silhouette School’s Melissa Viscount, who said some crafters used these machines while their children were napping.
Even if you’ve never touched the Cricut Explore Air before, you can start cutting ready-made projects in a few minutes.
Cricut Design never crashed on us, while Silhouette Studio crashed repeatedly on our Windows laptop (an HP Spectre) but not on our MacBook Pro. Cricut’s canvas, the software’s workspace for making projects, is easier to navigate than in Silhouette Studio thanks to its big, well-labeled icons. And if you’re drawing a layer instead of cutting it out, Cricut assumes you’re drawing with a Cricut pen, so the software shows all the pen colors the company makes for you to select from. Silhouette Studio, in contrast, uses a generic palette of colors that aren’t matched to Silhouette’s own sketch pens. We like that extra touch in the Cricut software; it’s especially useful for anyone who wants a clear visual of their finished project.
First-generation Cricut machines used image cartridges, which are still sold, and the Explore Air can use these. We don’t recommend buying new cartridges, since the digital library is more affordable and more flexible, letting you pick and choose single images. But if you happen to have a stash of cartridges, you can put them in the Explore Air 2, which will link them to your account and let you use the digital versions (you won’t be able to resell the cartridges once they’re linked).
In our testing, we found that the Explore Air made perfectly clean cuts in cardstock (the Silhouette machines snagged the paper a bit), and the materials dial was accurate. It easily cut through vinyl and left the backing paper intact, which is what it should do. The Silhouette Cameo also did a decent job calculating material thickness, but the task was a bigger hassle with our budget pick, the Silhouette Portrait, which needed more adjustments to get the cutting depth right on cardstock and vinyl. The Explore Air 2’s blade struggled with fabric and felt, but so did those of the Silhouette machines. Only our upgrade pick, the Cricut Maker, handled fabric well. We also liked the replacement blades for the Explore Air 2, and in general we think Cricut’s blades are better than Silhouette’s. The cutting area of the Cricut Explore Air is the same as on the Cricut Maker and the Silhouette Cameo It works with mats that are 1by 1inches and 1by 2inches, sizes that allow you to create full-size iron-on decals for T-shirts, vinyl decals for walls (within reason), and three-dimensional projects such as treat boxes and play masks for kids.
We also preferred Cricut’s customer service over Silhouette’s. You can contact Cricut by phone during weekday business hours, and the company’s online chat is available 24/Silhouette’s chat is available only during business hours Monday through Friday, and as of this writing, the phone number has disappeared from its website. You may never have a question that needs an answer from your machine’s maker, but if you do, you’ll have a better time getting an answer from Cricut.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
The Cricut Design software is Web-based, so if you have really patchy Internet, the software might not work very well. The Explore Air also took a few more minutes to draw and cut intricate designs than the other machines we tested, but since it made cleaner cuts than the Silhouette machines, and the software never crashed on us, we didn’t mind being patient.
The Bluetooth also underperformed, with a limited range of a few feet, but we found this to be true with all the Bluetooth machines we tested. It’s just not a great feature. And the Explore Air can’t receive software updates, a new feature Cricut has made available on the Maker in an attempt to increase the machine’s longevity. Eventually the Explore Air will become outdated, though that’s true of lots of equipment (like TVs and sewing machines) that still works perfectly well for years.
Care and maintenance
Close your machine when you’re not using it, so dust doesn’t settle into the cutting area. Wipe any dust or paper debris away from the blade and cutting area with a clean, dry cloth, but only after you’ve unplugged the machine. Cricut recommends using a glass cleaner on the exterior, but do not use anything with acetone. Silhouette doesn’t give cleaning recommendations, but you should be able to follow the same advice with a Silhouette model.
Silhouette estimates that a blade lasts about six months, depending on what you’re cutting (Cricut doesn’t estimate a time for its blades), and cleaning it will help you get the most out of its lifespan. Silhouette and Cricut both have instructions for opening the blade housing to clean it out if the blade isn’t cutting properly. If the machine starts to make a grinding noise, Cricut also has instructions for greasing the machine (the company will send you a packet of grease that it recommends you use).
The cutting mats for all of the machines come with a plastic film to cover the adhesive side. Hold on to these to extend the life of your cutting mats. You can prolong your mat’s life by scraping away any bits of material left on it after a project using a spatula tool (Cricut has one, and so does Silhouette) and making sure to cover the adhesive side of the mat with the plastic film in between uses. Once the adhesiveness has gone, you’ll have to replace the mats. You can find tricks to refresh the mats, but we’ve never tried them.
The Cricut Explore Air and the Cricut Explore One are older models in the Explore line, and we’ve been told that they will eventually be discontinued. The machines are nearly identical, but the Explore Air has Bluetooth and a double tool holder. Both are pretty readily available online but tricky to find in major craft stores. Both use the same Cricut Design software we like, but because of their unpredictable in-store availability issues, and the strong possibility of their being discontinued soon, we can’t recommend them for most people.
Reviews of the Sizzix Eclipswere unimpressive at the time of our research, and it isn’t widely available.
The Pazzles Inspiration Vue has no image library, and we saw that it had very few reviews—which were pretty terrible.
Choosing the Cuttlebug Machine as the best cricut machine is a great investment if all you need is a small machine for your paper craft projects. It is a handy little machine that will not let you down. For all your greeting card embossing, scrapbook collection, embossed cards, and other easy to make paper products, this machine is your best bet.
With your machine, you will receive a standard blade holder, a standard blade, a holder for the deep cut blade, standard and low track mats measuring 1by 1inches, a spatula, and six color pens.
The combination of style and versatility may easily make this the best die cutting machine that suits your purpose. Also, the Sizzix 66042measures about 1¼ by 13/by 5/inches and includes rollers made of solid core steel and gears made of solid steel. The exterior is made of ABS plastic for long-lasting use. A great feature of this flexible machine, also, is that it works well with dies from other brands.
Silhouette Cameo Tool Bundle
Following closely is this vinyl-cutting machine from USCutter. Similar to its larger 28-inch stable mate, it has won the hearts of many users because of its simplicity and seamless operation. The well-designed control panel together with the large LCD display makes adjusting the cutting force, speed or choosing a mode rather easy. It features ABS sides for extra precision and aluminum alloy construction for durability. Moreover, if carrying or moving worries you, you will rest easy since it features a 4-wheeled carriage.
You don’t have to stress yourself cutting vinyl or struggle to adjust the speed, power and pressure. With the 24-inch LaserPoint II cutter, you enjoy simplicity, convenience and a seamless experience. This unit comes with a strong and solid frame for support, a clear and user-friendly blue & yellow backlight LCD and a superior motherboard. The easy to install machine cuts in different ways including contours thanks to the Laser Registration feature and VinylMaster Cut Software. The sad bit is that it is rated 110V and will require a step-up transformer to work in some regions.
Right from its launch into the market, this vinyl cutter and plotter has continued to dominate the industry. It’s a people’s favorite due the two easy-adjust pinch rollers that make it perfect for different materials, and the superior ball-bearing roller mechanism that provides smooth operation. The included VinylMaster Software improves precision and functionality while the Roland compatible holder can accommodate different kinds of cutting blades. Some consumers would have wished if the legs were a bit sturdier.
Designed for light and heavy work, this vinyl cutter should make life less complicated. Not only does it look simple but also makes every operation simple thanks to its good design. The SC vinyl cutter comes in 24-inches and works with a range of cutting blades thanks to the Roland compatible holder. It features 60 and 45-degree blades as well as an ink pen adapter. The laser alignment supports contour cutting while the included VinylMaster Cut & Design Software simplifies the operation. This cutting machine would have ranked higher if it came with a stand.
Like the legendary TITANS, this mighty machine will make cutting vinyl seem rather easy. This is all thanks to the superior design and mechanism that allow smooth and seamless operation. The unit is made of aluminum alloy and can withstand regular use. It comes with solid stands for improved stability, a basket for better functionality and VinylMaster Software for better precision and faster operation. Adjusting the cutting force and speed is easier courtesy of the control panel and the well-lit LCD display.
Brother Vinyl Cutting Machine
The Brother brand is not only known for superior sewing machines but also reliable and effective vinyl cutters. To prove this claim, all you need is to look at the ScanNCut CM100DM. It comes with a built-in in 300DPI scanner that allows you scan anything you desire. The 600plus integrated designs give you a wide choice while the large LCD Touchscreen gives you full control concerning editing, scanning, welding, modifying, resizing and much more. It also comes ready to work and requires no software installation.
If you wish for a powerful, more compact and silent vinyl cutter, then the 24-inch, Graphtec CE6000-60 should be perfect. Although very powerful and suited for heavy-duty use, this unit is relatively light and very portable. It’s a good choice for many applications including sign making, apparel decorators, etching, decals, stickers and much more. It works well on materials such as vinyl, stencil, window film, laminate, card stock and much more. This cutter and plotter is eco-friendly and has minimal impact on the environment.
Slice Digital Die Cutting Machine.
This Digital Fabric Cutter has a large LCD screen, multifunction buttons and rechargeable batteries.
This lightweight machine is portable and easy to store, as it is quite small.
The machine comes also with an adjustment wrench, a glass mat, foam brush and adhesive.
There is also an user manual, a quick start guide, and an SD card.
The cutting machine has low battery alert, and cuts fabric, felt, oilcloth and vinyl and produces nice fonts and shapes for cards.
An older version of this machine is the
This machine cuts paper, cardstock, vellum, vinyl, acetate, photos and lightweight fabrics up to ½ mm thick.
As it happens, this machine cuts designs in sizes, ranging from 1” to 4” and it’s fully rechargeable. The cutting machine can run around ½ hours and, if it runs out of battery, you can always plug it in.
The machine features a large screen, with a simple menu and tips for embossing and drawing.
This machine won’t cut chipboard or anything thicker than that, and you do need to cut each letter individually, while holding down the slice.
This set contains a basic Shapes Design Card& Design Guide, a glass cutting mat, blades, blade replacement too, blade adjustment wrench, a power cord and adhesive.
You get also a user manual, an applicator brush and the slice cordless design cutter.
The machine is large so you need a room to store it.
Sometimes, the machine does not show the trace and there can happen some material wasting.
Keep in mind to keep the original box or the warranty is void.
For the money, though, this is a great vinyl cutting machine.
When you want to do it almost professionally, the
This machine features a cutter laser point with contour cutting and the speed is around inches tall by 2inches a minute.
When you order this, you get high quality blades, a Grafix weeding tool kit and a Greenstar Vinyl Starter Pack, containing 1rolls of 24”x5yd in most uses colors.
The Greenstar Vinyl Color Guide Booklet that comes along is useful, as are the GreenStar Classic Application tape rolls.
The package contains also squeegees, two magnetic sign blanks, a Design Mini Pack, and a self healing Cutting Mat.
The cutter has year warranty and there is free lifetime phone support on the cutter (even when the warranty has expired).
The Laserpoint helps you contour cut around graphics, has high–precision „steel barbed” axis for greater accuracy cutting.
The digital force and speed are adjustable and you can manually contour cut just as well.
And, if something goes wrong, you can pause cutting and restart thanks to the emergency stop/start feature.
This is not the fastest vinyl cutting machine and you might want to slow it down on thicker materials, but it does a great job for all kinds of other materials and designs.
The GRAPHTEC FC8600-100 Vinyl Cutter is a high performance cutting plotter with a speed of 58.inc/sec and a 4.0G maximum acceleration and 20 to 600 g selectable cutting forces. You can basically process diamond grade, high-intensity reflective film, self-adhesive vinyl and so on.
The machine has an LCD control panel, a dual configuration function, Ethernet ability (you can run several machines from one place) and the option for additional push rollers with tension settings.
This machine automatically detects registration marks with color variants thanks to the ARMS system.
This machine comes in five model sizes, each one of them giving max versatility to applications.
This cutting machine gets you successfully through vinyl media, window tint film, automotive paint protection film, diamond grade media and sandblast resist stencils.
28-inch USCutter Titan Vinyl Cutter with Servo Motor, Stand, Basket Plus Design and Cut Software.
This vinyl cutting machine is for the professional sign makers and do-it-yourself vinyl cutting enthusiasts. You can cut various materials with this ranging from window film, hard paperboard, mask material to sandblast stencil, adhesive and so on.
The included software is easy to use and the illuminated LCD screen and large control panel buttons make it easy to operate this machine.
The force and speed are adjustable by a touch of a button and the digital readout gives precise readings.
The USB interface is MAC and Windows compatible and the machine itself is plug-n-play.
Along with the cutting machine itself you get a floor stand and material basket, blade holder, Titan blades, a pen holder, stand assembly tools, USB cable and free lifetime phone support.
The Silhouette Cameo Electronic Cutting Machine Vinyl Starter Kit Bundle does an amazing job for those of you out there who have just discovered the art of cutting.
The machine comes in a kit that includes software for Windows XP/Vista 7/and Mac, instruction guide, cutting mat, cuttable designs, vinyl trimmer blade, USB and power cable vinyl.
The touchscreen is very responsive and easy to use, looking sleek and pretty at the same time.
The machine is lightweight and it lets you cut even edges off the back of the paper, giving great cut quality.
The paper peels pretty easily off the cutting mat, leaving very little residue after use.
The machine is a bit louder than expected and the mat leaves a slight adhesive feel to the back.
Things to Know When Choosing a Vinyl Cutter Machine
Any new or experienced sign maker faces the reality of finding the best vinyl cutting machine. A high quality plotter can help you make your dreams come true while a bad equipment can only give frustration and failure.
Die cutters work for cardstock and paper but you can cut rubber, fiber, foil, paper, fiberboard, foam and even sheet metal with the tougher models. Even the simple models can cut and emboss, while the more advanced models can draw, print, scan and weld.
A vinyl cutting machine has a drive motor that can be either mechanical stepper or servo motor. If the first one is economical but noisy and losing points on precision on small graphics, the second type is smooth, silent, more precise on small paths and great at tracking. It’s almost obvious that the most fit vinyl cutting machines at present have servo motors.
So, you only need to take a look at the drive motors and tracking for you to buy the best vinyl cutting machine (for you!). The reality changes though if you need a plotter that precisely cuts small fonts and tracks in excess every 1ft, then you need to take a look at other things also. You might find out that vinyl cutting machines do other things also and have so many other qualities to think about.
For instance, you need to take a look to the tangential emulation as the full tangential blades lift and rotate at corners so the blade doesn’t bind. The tangential emulation orients the blade direction, giving more precision to the vinyl cutting machine, without any loss in speed or productivity.
Nowadays the cutters need to turn printer images into contour-cut decals so the need for advanced hardware that enables the plotter to optically detect printed registration marks has grown amazingly. The top vinyl cutting machines these days use all of these technologies that require the use of integrated and capable software.
It doesn’t matter if you get the best cutting machine for crafts or the best cutting machine for vinyl: a cutter with ARMS should have a great software for best print and cut graphics results. You should also seek a vinyl cutting machine that has adjustable pinch rollers and a media cut-off feature that lets you begin each job with a clean straight edge, reducing the waste of materials.
Don’t forget to think about the die when you buy the cutting machine and get one that accepts most popular die brands. Versatility is also an important quality of the best die cutting machine for vinyl as it should provide cutouts in the most various sizes.
Take safety into good consideration when getting your cutting machines. They have moving pieces that may cut/pinch, and smaller pieces that are choking hazards for children/pets.
Warranty coverage is also an issue to look for. This warranty may go from six months to three years, depending on the model.
This is a standard blade that comes with the machine.
If you want to cut something very tough, such as aluminum, it would need a type of blade that costs extra.
The second slot is for a drawing pen, included here, or a scoring pen, which costs another five dollars.
The machine can work with two tools at the same time, just like that.
And over here underneath the tray there is a compartment for the tools, like this one for example.
First we need the design.
You can either make the design yourself or choose from the vast options provided by the Quicken design space.
Most of these projects here are for free, others cost from 9cents to a few dollars.
Alright, let’s find something meaningful and quick to make here, ok, here we go.
Now, as you can see this one requires an iron on material which I have here so let’s load it up.
Now, depending on how big the project is, or how complicated it is, this might take a few hours or a few minutes to be done.
Now this particular project here is gonna take just a few minutes.
With some project, you need to use multiple kind of materials, you can even assemble different parts into a 3D project.
So don’t make anything too crazy.
And know that even when there is internet you need to connect the computer to the machine before it can lock in the account.
And that means you cannot go to your library and make your project before you bring it home to print.
And the by the way the machine here connects to the computer using a usb cable.
Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine
You might be looking for a new Vinyl cutting machine that’s the only reason you are on our site. As of today, there is a significant number of the dedicated device for the purpose, and it becomes quite overwhelming to decide that which one will suit your needs the best.
Well, selecting the best vinyl machine can make the critical difference between realizing your dreams or it can lead to failure & cause lots of frustration. In the market there are different models with different features, you may get confused looking them. So before you make any choices let’s try to understand the basics of a vinyl cutting machine.
What to look for in a Vinyl Cutting Plotter
Now you know that what kind of machine you need depending on your requirements, but you still don’t know that what different features to look for. Well don’t stress we have this sorted for you, below are some essential features that you should look for.
For every buyer, it is the feature which indeed decides design capabilities regarding size and that what kinds of job you are going to perform. Depending upon the selected model the printing surface varies from a few inches up to a foot for personal level machines. On the other hand, commercial tools give you the range equivalent up to two feet, letting you design larger projects like banner and signage which are often required.
The operating software
All the vinyl cutters which you will find in market work on a predefined software package. Its operation is simple just hook it to your computer, install all the drivers and start designing and cutting via the provided software. The key aspect while looking the cutters is the software package offered, as some of them are pretty easy to understand and work with while some are pretty complicated.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your cricut cartridges wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of cricut cartridges