Sponsored by Cricut. Affiliate links included to make shopping easier!
The Cricut Explore Air 2 has broken the die cut mold! Meet the new kid on the block that pushes the crafting and DIY envelope even further!
But first, I have a confession to make. The first cutting machine I bought was the Silhouette Cameo in 2011. At the time, it was ground breaking. No cartridges and an improved software system brought cutting machines into the 21st century. I used that machine my first couple of years of blogging. I’m telling you all of this because I am intimately familiar with both brands.
Silhouette Cameo 3
Don’t get me wrong. The Silhouette Cameo 3 is still a cool machine. It has a digital touch screen on the device and built in tutorials. So I took her for a test drive.
I started by uploading a basic image into the Silhouette Studio software. OMG. It took me an hour to figure out how to get cut lines! Maybe it’s just because I’ve been spoiled with the Design Space software but I could not wrap my head around it. I finally got around to cutting the snowflake I uploaded and here are the problems.
- The software is confusing. Adjusting the settings is cumbersome and difficult. I needed to change it from standard cardstock to textured cardstock. You have to select your blade in the software and then pick your material.
- The machine is noisy. It jumps and clicks as it adjusts the blade depth. My husband said it sounded like a car that wouldn’t turn over.
- It does not cut all of the way through. I cut the same shape 3 times before I got it to cut through the textured cardstock. At one point, it jumped in the middle of my cut and I ended up with this.
But apparently the mat is too sticky because it demolished my snowflake when I tried to remove it.
If I can’t get it to cut paper properly, how am I supposed to cut any of these other materials?
Cricut Explore Air 2
So what makes the Cricut Explore Air 2 so special? The Cricut Explore Air 2 is the perfect union of DIY and technology. It’s the same sleek design as the Cricut Explore but internally it packs an extra punch!
It’s built in Bluetooth technology make crafting even easier on the go! With the new Cricut Design Space app, I’m able to design while sitting at the park watching my kiddo play. Instead of going home and setting up my laptop with my machine, I can simply add my material and cut! It’s that easy!
This machine sounds like a kitten purring. It is significantly quieter than the Cameo. I set it up to cut confetti while I sat on the floor putting a banner together. I couldn’t even hear it.
The next internal feature that I love is the Fast Mode. This allows me to cut simple images up to 2 times faster! I timed it. It wasn’t exactly 2 times faster more like 1.5. But this is a great feature when cutting multiple identical shapes. It is a little noisier on Fast Mode.
Look at how much crisper it cuts!!
One of the questions I always get is what about my old cartridges? No worries, there is a built in adapter for that.
The Design Space software is very user friendly. It walks you through your project step by step. It’s much more streamlined which sets it apart from Silhouette Studio which I feel is cluttered and confusing.
The final selling point for me is cost. Cricut has one subscription option which is $9.99 per month or $95.88 for the year. That includes unlimited access to over 30,000 images and 370 fonts. Silhouette has multi tiered subscription program which also begins at $9.99 per month or $113.89 annually. However, this only includes 25 regularly priced images during that month.
For me the proof is in the pudding.
Cricut continues to blow my mind with their creativity and ingenuity! Grab the Cricut Explore Air 2 for the crafter on your Christmas shopping list! I promise, you won’t be disappointed!
And because it’s Cyber Monday, they have all sorts of crazy deals!
I did receive both machines for the purpose of this post. To read my full disclosure, click here.