Silhouette Portrait 2
Last updated date: February 21, 2019
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We looked at the top 1 Cricut Machines and dug through the reviews from 5 of the most popular review sites including New York Times Wirecutter, Vinyl Cutting Machines, Personal Die Cutting, Cut, Cut, Craft, The Best Vinyl Cutters and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Cricut Machine you should buy.
In our analysis of 55 expert reviews, the Silhouette Silhouette Portrait 2 placed 8th when we looked at the top 9 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.
Editor's Note March 17, 2019:
Checkout The Best Cricut Machine for a detailed review of all the top cricut machines.
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An Overview On Cricut Machines
A Cricut machine can be the perfect tool for any crafter’s workshop. Over the years, these devices have evolved from their original design that needed cartridges to cut out letters and shapes. Today’s Cricut machines can print out die-cuts that are designed on your mobile device or computer, opening up the possibilities for what you can do with them.
If you’re interested in designing on your mobile device, though, it’s important to find a Cricut machine that’s compatible with the operating system you use. Some machines have larger image libraries than others as well, with some featuring big-name designers as part of the free library they provide.
But not all Cricut machines are created equal. Some can cut through extremely tough fabrics like leather and vinyl, while others can handle delicate fabrics like lace. If you plan to work with a wide range of fabrics, look for a machine that can adjust to the thickness and type that you’re using.
Cricut machines have also improved in their ease of use. Not only can you get started right out of the box, but today’s machines also have notifications built in that will let you know when your machine is warmed up and when it’s about to shut down due to inactivity. You’ll also find that some machines can quickly warm up, which means you’ll be able to complete a cut any time you need to without having to wait an extended period of time.
Crafting doesn’t always happen at home. If you craft with friends, perhaps through retreats or casual get-togethers, you’ll love that some Cricut machines are ultra-portable. Not only are these machines lightweight and small, but they also have a handle that makes them easy to carry. Even if your machine never leaves the house, though, a smaller machine will more easily fit into your crafting room.
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Cricut machines are generally used for cutting fabrics, but their versatility shows in the many products they can make. Crafters regularly use them to make vinyl car window stickers, leather tablet cases, clothing, purses and pillows. Once you’ve purchased a Cricut machine, you can start exploring all the possibilities. However, in order to be able to make many of these things, you’ll need a machine that can handle the type of fabric you’ll need to use. Whichever Cricut machine you choose, you’ll likely be able to use a basic Google search to track down a list of things you can make with it.
The Cricut Machine Buying Guide
- For crafters, it’s all about the designs. The Cricut Explore Air 2 lets you upload your own images or choose from the large selection in its free library. The Cricut Maker also has a built-in image library, with hundreds of patterns from big brands like Simplicity and Riley Blake.
- Before you buy a Cricut machine, think carefully about the types of materials you’ll want to use. The Cricut Explore Air 2 can cut through foils, leather and vinyl, among many other material types. The Cricut EasyPress 2 is especially good with thick materials, like glitter heat transfer vinyl. The Cricut Cuttlebug Die Cutting & Embossing Machine can easily manage a wide range of materials, from tissue paper to thin leather. However, if you have an intricate design, you may find the Cricut Cuttlebug has issues.
- For quilters, the Cricut Maker may be the best option since it can cut fabric without the need for heat and bond.
- The Cricut Maker is the only machine that can cut all types of fabric without you needing to add interfacing or backing to it to reinforce it.
- The Cricut Maker is the first Cricut machine to use a technology called the Adaptive Tool System, which features 10 times the cutting power of other machines. It adapts to the depth of the fabric you’re using at a given time.
- Waiting for your Cricut machine to warm up can be frustrating. The Cricut EasyPress 2 heats up in 60 seconds or less, achieving temperatures of up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Whether you’re new to Cricut machines or not, ease of use is important. The Cricut EasyPress 2 beeps to notify you once it reaches the preferred temperature, as well as before shutting down due to inactivity. Another handy feature of the EasyPress 2 is that it remembers the settings you last used. A quick start guide will walk you through your first project, so this one is great for beginners.
- Cleaning and maintenance can be time-consuming, and the Cricut Cuttlebug Die Cutting & Embossing Machine eases some of that for you by lasting through many uses with minimal maintenance.
- It’s important to note that these aren’t professional-grade die-cutting machines. However, they’re great for home craft projects that you wouldn’t have been able to do without a Cricut machine.
- If you’re limited on space or want to take your Cricut on the go, you’ll like a machine like the Cricut Cuttlebug Die Cutting & Embossing Machine, which is highly portable. It also has a pop-up handle to make it easier to carry.
- For those concerned about staying within a budget, the Cricut Cuttlebug Die Cutting & Embossing Machine is the most affordable Cricut machine, retailing for less than $200. The Cricut Maker is on the most expensive end of pricing, retailing in the $300 to $400 range.
- Although you’ll spend more than $200 for a Cricut Explore Air 2, it does hold its value, which will become important if you upgrade to a newer machine down the road and want to sell your old one.
- In order to print designs from your mobile device, you’ll need an app. Unfortunately, the Cricut Explore Air 2’s app only works with iOS devices. The Cricut Maker, on the other hand, works with Windows, Mac, iOS and Android devices.
- A loud Cricut machine can be a nuisance, especially if you use your maker when your family is around. The Cricut Maker is the quietest of all the machines.
- Technologies seem to always be changing, making a device outdated as soon as you’ve purchased it. The Cricut Maker is fully expandable, which means as new tools like blades and pens are released to the market, you can easily add them.