Cricut Maker and Explore Differences

What Makes Cricut Maker Different From Cricut Explore Machines?

September 27th, 2018 • Contributor: Cricut Blog Team

We know many of you still have questions about what makes Cricut Maker different from our Cricut Explore family of machines. If you’re thinking about questions like…

What can Cricut Maker cut that my Cricut Explore machine can’t cut?

Can I use the new Cricut Maker tools, like the Knife Blade, in my Cricut Explore machine?

Is it worth upgrading from my Cricut Explore machine to Cricut Maker?

We hear you and we want to make sure you as many of your questions are answered. So let’s talk about Cricut Maker compared to the Cricut Explore family of machines. This includes the Cricut Explore Air 2, Cricut Explore Air, Cricut Explore One and Cricut Explore.

More Tools. More Materials. More Possibilities.

Let’s start with the biggest difference between the machines, Cricut Maker’s Adaptive Tool System™. Cricut Maker has a completely different technology built into the machine, that we call the Adaptive Tool System, which allows for us to expand the suite of tools you can use for a number of cutting and scoring applications.

The Adaptive Tool System can control your tools to cut from side-to-side, move up and down, and lift and turn, so you can cut more materials with more pressure than ever before. This is what makes it easy to cut through fabric without a backer (right off of the bolt) using the all-new Rotary Blade. We’ll talk more about the Rotary Blade below. Cricut Maker can cut hundreds of materials from delicate papers and fabrics to denser materials like leather, chipboard and balsa wood. To see the full list of materials you can cut with Cricut Maker, follow this link.

 

Cricut Maker has 10X the cutting power

 

Our Cricut Explore family of machines has a drag blade technology system that moves up, down and cuts side-to-side. While you can still cut a number of amazing materials, they have to be stabilized otherwise the blade will get stuck in the fibers. It also makes it difficult to cut through dense materials like balsa wood, basswood, and leather because the Cricut Explore Family doesn’t have the same pressure as the Cricut Maker.

You can still cut up to a hundred materials like vinyl, iron-on, cardstock, and stabilized fabric, using the blades available with the Cricut Explore family of machines. To see the full list of materials the Cricut Explore family of machines can cut, follow this link.

What tools can be used with what machine?

Now that we’ve explained the technology differences between the Cricut machine lines, we want you to know what tools you can use with what machine.

How is Cricut Maker Different from Explore Machines?
Cricut Pens, Fine Point Blade, Rotary Blade, Single Scoring Wheel and Knife Blade.

All of the tools you love and use with your Cricut Explore family of machines also work with the Cricut Maker. This includes the Fine Point Blade, Deep Point Blade, Bonded Fabric Blade, Scoring Stylus and Cricut Pens.

The new tools that were designed specifically to work with Cricut Maker, because of the Adaptive Tool System, include the Rotary Blade, Knife Blade, and Single and Double Scoring Wheels.

Rotary Blade

How is Cricut Maker Different from Explore Machines?

Knife Blade

How is Cricut Maker Different from Explore Machines?

Single Scoring Wheel

How is Cricut Maker Different from Explore Machines?

Double Scoring Wheel

How is Cricut Maker Different from Explore Machines?

Rotary Blade

Rotary Blade brings infinitely customizable, precision fabric cutting to the home for the very first time. Use it to cut cotton, fleece, denim, and more. With its gliding, rolling action, it cuts virtually any fabric quickly and accurately – without backing material. Rotary Blade comes in the box with Cricut Maker.

Knife Blade

The extra-deep Knife Blade cuts through dense materials up to 2.4 mm (3/32”) thick with unprecedented ease and safety, almost like an automated X-ACTO® blade. It’s ideal for thicker materials like balsa wood, mat board, and heavy leather. Check out more on the Knife Blade here.

Single and Double Scoring Wheels

Scoring Wheel makes a deep single-line score perfect for uncoated light materials like crepe paper, light cardstock and even acetate.

Double Scoring Wheel creates two deep, parallel score lines that are ideal for coated, heavier materials like poster board and cardboard.

We know many of you ask why you can’t use these new tools with your Cricut Explore family of machines. You can see at the top of the tools that were designed for Cricut Maker that they have the gold gear-like attachment. That is what directly connects to Cricut Maker’s Adaptive Tool System so it can use the different controlled movements we discussed above. The tools aren’t compatible with the Cricut Explore Air family of machines because the housing technology is simply different.

What else is different between the Cricut machine lines?

Aside from the technology, there are some design differences. Cricut Maker does not have the materials dial like the Explore Family of machines. You now choose your material from Design SpaceⓇ once you get to the cut screen. We’ve also provided more storage space for your tools in the Cricut Maker, added a mobile device dock on the machine - so you can do hands-free designing - and a USB port for charging your mobile devices.

Cricut Maker comes in three colors: champagne, rose and blue.

How is Cricut Maker Different from Explore Machines?

The Cricut Explore family of machines comes in a number of different colors across the different machine lines. Some colors you can only find at certain retailers like Michaels, JOANN, Hobby Lobby and more, so if you have a color palette you love, keep an eye out for where you can find the right one for you.

How is Cricut Maker Different from Explore Machines?
Cricut Explore Air™ 2 in mint, rose and glacier blue.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the all-new Bold Cricut Explore Air 2 machine lineup, make sure you learn more here.

To view Cricut Maker compared to the Cricut Explore family of machines and their differences, we also have a comparison chart on shop.cricut.com.

Which machine is right for me? Should I upgrade?

First of all, we have to say we love both of our machine lines. Our best-selling Cricut Explore family of machines have opened up the possibilities of what crafters can make for more than five years. Cricut Maker takes those possibilities to the next level.

If you are a crafter, designer, sewer or really any type of creator, Cricut Maker gives you the possibilities to take on new projects you couldn't imagine you could do from your home.

How is Cricut Maker Different from Explore Machines?
Cutting and applying chipboard to make incredible 3D projects.
How is Cricut Maker Different from Explore Machines?
Like this 3D cake stand that was cut on Cricut Maker and painted over for a premium look.

If you love your Cricut Explore family machine and really stick to cardstock paper projects, iron-on and vinyl, the Explore lineup is a great option for you.

However, if you’re someone who likes to push the boundaries of what you can make - from 3D to sewing and fabric projects - and are looking for the next evolution in cutting machine technology, Cricut Maker is the right choice. We want to bring you more tools, more materials, and more possibilities so you can make anything you can imagine.

We hope this was a helpful guide to what differentiates Cricut Maker from the Cricut Explore family of machines. Tell us in the comments which machine you use and why, and we will answer your questions as they come in. #CricutMade

How is Cricut Maker Different from Explore Machines?

23 thoughts on “What Makes Cricut Maker Different From Cricut Explore Machines?

  1. Will the Cricut Maker come in other colors anytime soon? Like maybe Purple or Wisteria like the Air 2. I am holding off buying a Maker with hopes of more color coming around the holidays.

  2. I have the original Explore machine and I want to upgrade eventually but I’m still conflicted. Lol. This helped a bit and made me more confused at the same time. Doesn’t help that you guys just brought out the Air 2 in all those pretty colours. Lol. I thought I wanted the maker but I don’t sew and I’m not into 3D so I’m not sure I would use it to it’s potential. Although my husband builds model airplanes and being able to cut balsa wood would be nice. Ugh! Too many choices. Lol. Wish I was rich. Hahahahaha

  3. I don’t have either yet, so this article was very helpful and loaded with information to help me make the best choice. After reading, I’m leaning towards the Maker.

  4. I own the maker but I haven’t warmed up to it yet. I was just getting familiar with the Explore Air 2. I guess I need to play with it a bit.

  5. To all those who complain Maker was expensive, I live in Europe and had to pay for shipping, handling and customs. The end price was double to what you pay in US. However, I am extremely happy with purchase. I sell my work and my Maker paid off long time ago (I got my at the end of April). I must admit that I did not use it to full capacity yet. Without Knife Blade, Maker can’t do more than Explore Air 2. I purchased Knife Blade recently and I’m just about to start using it. So, if you are in two minds, first consider what you need it for. If you don’t plan to use it for heavy and thick materials, Air 2 will suit you perfectly. You don’t have to even think about Maker. For all those working with textile, Maker is the right choice. I still don’t have scoring wheels but I have the idea what I might need them for. For the time being I use scoring stylus extensively, which I’m sure works equally well with Air 2.

  6. I want to cut out quilt patterns and not just one thickness, how could I make that work with the sticky matt? And is the software easy to learn are there more than one way to learn it?

  7. Want a machine that cut material (cotton or maybe poly-cotton.)only for making quilts , is it the Cricut maker the one to choose , not interested in leather , card or none of the other materials , I’ve saw one at michaels n the diff. Pcs. To do other items , o.k. Should I start shopping n viewing circuit maker , mary, Canada.thank u .please answer.

    • Hi, if you are mainly interested in fabric, the Maker would be the way to go. You can cut other materials too down the line if you like.

  8. can somebody tell me what currency if I buy this machine online I’m from Australia I would like to know the amount in Australian dollar
    thank you,

  9. I’m not sure I need more then the Cricut Air but I’m afraid it will be outdated soon and anything new will be for the Maker. Am I right in saying this?

  10. Pingback: 10 Cricut Gift Ideas for the Beginner Crafter | Cricut

  11. I have an older Explore as well as 2 legacy machines. Is there any way that you could develop a material cutting blade for the explore like the rotary one for the maker? Being in the UK we are paying over the odds for our Cricut machines which makes updating very expensive. Thanks.

  12. I am gearing towards buying a Cricut Maker. I make projects using mostly foam sheets. Can the Maker cut through foam sheets or does the Explore Air 2 also handle this type of material? I am not sure if the new version of Maker allows for creating your own design and saving it in the computer. Can someone give me advise/feedback? Thanks.

    • Hi. If you’re looking to work with foam sheets, I would suggest the Cricut Maker. On this machine, you have the ability to move the rollers over to the side. This means that you won’t have tracks running over your design. It can handle sheets up to 3mm. Since the Maker also uses Design Space, you can create your own design and upload indeed.

      You can cut through thinner foam sheets on an Explore Air 2, but you may end up with tracks depending on the size of your design.

  13. Love my Explore but would like to see you add the ability to join two of my projects on one new page and better finished pictures of some images you leave a lot to my imagination and not everything has a you tube

  14. Just wondering I have the original cricut. I like the flexibility of being able to design without being on the internet,. Is this possible with the maker

  15. I have the Air2. Not long after I purchased it I found out about the Cricut Maker. Would have purchased Maker but did not need yet another Cricut machine (owned two older models before that). If unable to trade-in I would have been wasting money. I do wish I had waited.

  16. I have two Cricut Explore machines which I use extensively in my job. I would love to upgrade, but I am constrained by lack of finances. It is certainly interesting to know what is available out there in the event that I come across some funds, I definitely will upgrade.

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