Guys, it’s time for a heart to heart… Cricut vs. Silhouette? Where do you stand? Are you confused? It’s no secret that I have been pro Silhouette for years and my heart was torn when the new Cricut Explore came out a few years ago. I’ve taken my time. I’ve used various machines from both companies. I’ve chatted with the CEO’s of both companies, spent time with their employees and trained with both. Today, I am finally ready to put the two machines to the test!
I have always been obsessed with cutting tools. The minute the very first Cricut came out I ran out and purchased one. This was back in the scrapbooking hay-day. I spent so much money on those darn little cartridges and very quickly was fed-up with the whole system. It was hard to use and not cost effective at all.
Fast forward a few years and the Silhouette personal cutting machine jumped onto the scene and created a frenzy among the creative community. It was the new darling and everyone wanted one. I sure did. I was thrilled with what I could do with my new Silhouette. Fast forward a few more years and Cricut releases the new Cricut Explore to great fanfare and again the creative world went bonkers. (We creative types tend to do that.) I felt unbelievably torn. I had spent so much time working with and sharing the Silhouette machines and I felt quite loyal to the company. I didn’t want to make a hasty or uneducated decision. I didn’t want to feel like I was yanking you back-and-forth as my followers. That would be truly unfair. I value YOU, your time and the money you spend on the things that I recommend. With that said, that was a couple of years ago, I am now finally ready for a good head-to-head review to give you my thoughts and observations.
First off we will be looking at the latest machines from both companies. The Silhouette CAMEO 3 & the Cricut Explore Air 2. I’m working on the same project with both machines. However, I am using the Silhouette Premium Vinyl with the Silhouette and then the Cricut Premium Outdoor Vinyl for the Cricut. I have some travel mugs that I want to dress-up and I thought this would be a good simple project to put these two machines to the test.
Cricut vs. Silhouette
Before we jump into the project, I want to discuss a few things about the machine themselves…
Overall Machine Design
First off, the Cricut is more compact and yet has the same cutting width as the Silhouette, 12 inches wide. When the machines are closed, the Cricut Explore Air 2 is more secure than the Silhouette CAMEO 3. The top of the CAMEO 3 is not secure at all. When you are carrying it around the top lid can swing open and cause issues and heaven forbid it break right off when you are carrying it around. You won’t have that issue with the Cricut Explore Air 2. It’s easy to travel with. The whole machine closes securely and travels and stores easily.
Cricut was first to come up with onboard tool storage when they first released the Cricut Explore a few years ago. They also included a cubby to store other items like markers or other tools on the left side of the machine. Silhouette followed the trend by adding tool storage to the CAMEO 3.
The designers at Silhouette added a drawer under the machine that holds three of their main tools.
The vinyl hook, spatula and the handy material cutter. It’s doesn’t hold anything else. I’m not fan of the design because it’s awkward to get into when you are working with the machine. You need both hands to pull out the drawer which sometimes, lets be honest here, can be a little hairy when you are working with a project. Plus, it’s just too small for my taste.
The Cricut Explore Air 2 has an easy to access panel that holds all of the tools (including scissors), cutting blades and blade housing. It’s easy to flip open to get access one-handed when working on your projects.
I have a dirty little secret… In all of the years that I have used the Silhouette, I would buy Cricut cutting mats because they are so much better. GASP! The silhouette cutting mats are flimsy and they are not fun to work with. Cricut has three kinds of mats for light, medium & heavy materials.
Silhouette CAMEO 3 TEST
Here we go with our head to head project with both machines. I started with the CAMEO 3 and recorded the entire process for you…
Cricut Explore Air 2 TEST
Ok, I’m finally ready to declare my love to the world… I LOVE Cricut!! The machine just works BETTER. It’s consistent every single time. I don’t waste money on materials because of missed cuts. It’s more intuitive and therefore much easier to use. The same goes with the software. You can literally pull your machine out of the box, follow the directions at start-up and have a project completed within the first 30 minutes. I would say that is truly impossible with the CAMEO 3.
Overall, I would have to say that the Cricut Explore Air 2, hands-down, won this head-to-head contest!
I can’t wait to show you! That will be coming up soon, so stay tuned.
By the way, if you have any questions or concerns about either the Cricut or Silhouette feel free to leave a comment. I would be happy to chat with you!71