Let me preface this post by saying that I have been a Cricut customer for over 8 years –  it began in 2009 when I received their 6″x12″ mat Personal Cutting Machine as a Christmas gift. And boy, have they come far in those 8 years! I upgraded to an Explore One when that came out and then again to an Explore Air 2. And now with the release of the Maker (not Cricket Maker!), I’ll be upgrading to this revolutionary machine as well!

Cricut Maker vs Cricut Explore Air 2

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Recently I attended the Cricut Mountain Make-a-thon as an influencer. That means that Cricut invited me to attend the event so that I could learn more about the machine at its unveiling. I got to see it in action and actually got to use it and I am psyched to share the details with you.

Are you wondering what the difference is between the Cricut Explore Air (retail $299.99) and the Cricut Maker (retail $399.99)? Let’s dig in and see the differences in the Maker vs the Explore!

Cricut Cutting Machine Differences

Cricut Maker can cut through 100's of fabrics with its revolutionary rotary blade!

1. Cricut Maker can cut 100’s of fabric with no backing! Yup, you heard that right! If you sew, this machine is a dream. It has a rotary blade that can cut bonded fabric, leather, delicate, medium and heavyweight fabrics. Cricut also introduced a new mat: the FABRIC MAT! Made to work with the rotary blade. While the Explore Air 2 could cut fabrics, it required a backing, and it used a point blade, which didn’t always leave the cleanest finished cut. 

Cricut Maker can cut through materials up to 2.4mm thick with its knife blade!

2. Cricut Maker has a knife blade. For those of us that like to cut thicker materials, the knife blade is an exciting edition. It can cut through leather, 2mm chipboard, leathers, and 3/32″ wood. Basically it works like an XACTO knife to cut up to 2.4mm thick materials. The Explore Air 2 could cut through thin pieces of wood (such as 1/32″ balsa) and some leathers with the assistance of the deep cut blade, it took several passes of the blade to get all the way through. 

Cricut Maker has a Sewing pattern library with hundreds of patterns available to choose from!

3. Sewing patterns. With the addition of the rotary blade comes a whole new world: sewing patterns! You can purchase patterns from the Sewing Pattern Library in Cricut Design Space to use with the Cricut Maker. Another new tool is the washable fabric pen, which you can place in your machine when cutting patterns and it will mark your seam allowances and will make piecing the pattern pieces a breeze. How awesome is that? Now you can have a machine cut your patterns, which means no more cutting out the paper pattern, pinning to the fabric, and cutting again. The machine will do it for you in under half the time! The Explore Air does not have this ability.

Those are the top 3 differences. But there are also some smaller details that I think are noteworthy.

Brand new Cricut Maker cutting machine

  • Cricut Maker has a mobile device shelf. This may not be big to everybody, but it is to me! I use my iPhone 7 Plus to cut on my Cricut often. Probably 1/2 the time. Having a space to place my phone while doing so is important. Especially if I’m in the middle of a crafting frenzy and my workspace is covered.
  • Cricut Maker can charge your mobile device. The Maker has a USB port on the side that allows you to plug in and charge your device! Smart!

Brand new Cricut Maker cutting machine

  • Cricut Maker does not have a smart set dial. The dial on the machine was removed. All settings are done through the new and improved Cricut Design Space!

Cricut Maker personal cutting machine

  • Cricut Maker has enhanced tool storage. The tool holder on the top of the machine still has two sections bus is also now lined with rubber, so no need to worry about knicking your blades when dropping them in. The storage on the inside cover has also been made deeper to fit more.
  • There is no open button on the maker.

Brand new Cricut Maker cutting machine adaptive tool system

  • The Maker utilizes the brand new Adaptive Tool System. This new system is what allows the rotary blade to work. It is a totally new design than what the Explore Air had.
  • The Maker is louder. My Cricut Air 2 was fairly quiet. I noticed the Maker is a tad noisier, but not obnoxious by any means.

Conclusion? Cricut Maker vs Cricut Explore The Maker is best for makers that want to be able to cut through heavier materials or those that love to sew. The Explore Air 2 is still an amazing machine that works well for those that want to be able to cut papers, vinyl, and fabric with bonding! Both are great for crafters and makers looking to make DIY projects.

The Cricut Maker will be available online and in retail stores on August 20! Are you excited to try one or are you happy with your Explore Air?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.