Which Cricut Explore Is Right For Me?

Earlier this week Cricut announced it’s new cutting machine, the Cricut Explore One to it’s family of cutting machines launching in early May 2015. This only a few months after releasing the Cricut Explore Air!  With so many choices, how do you know which machine is best for you?

Cricut has done a pretty good job detailing the differences between their Cricut Explore line in the chart at the bottom of this page but crafter to crafter, let me break it down to the basics.

What is the same for all models

Regardless of which machine you purchase, these features will be available to you so do not base your ultimate purchase decision on these.

  • Precise Cutting – all three of the Cricut Explore models use the exact same “Cut Smart” technology for precision cutting. The lower cost does not mean lower quality cut!
  • Cutting materials list – all three of the Cricut Explore versions has the exact same material cut list. Special blades may be needed for certain materials but a special machine is not required.
  • Upload your own images and fonts – this is part of the design space software which all three models use so not dependent on machine type.
  • Use your iPad for Designing – again this has to do with the software, and is not machine dependent. Some may not allow you to cut from your iPad without an adapter but you can design all day on your iPad without issue.
  • Works with Cricut Cartridges – All three models have a slot for you to link your existing Cricut Cartridges to your Design Space account.
  • Print then Cut – The ability to print an image with your printer and have your Cricut machine precisely cut it out is available in all models.

Differences Between Models

Okay now we know what is the same, lets look at the differences.

Cricut Explore One (Grey)

This is meant to be the entry model. Never mind that it is the latest to be released, it is the most basic version of the Cricut Explore.

Cricut Explore OneThis model is designed to be a cut only device. That means out of the box you will be able to cut out your designs.

There are two features this base model does not come with.

  1. The second device holder in the other machines that allows you to put in a stylus or pen to allow you to cut and write in the same process.The Cricut site does note that this functionality is available with an accessory adapter so it doesn’t sound like you are stuck if you decide later on you would like to.How this adapter will work is you will take the blade out of the holder and put in the pen adapter into the blade carrier to do your writing. I do not have pricing information on this adapter at this time.
  2. Bluetooth technology to allow you to wirelessly send your cut to the machine. There is a bluetooth adapter for this as well that allows you to add this functionality later on. Bluetooth technology is required if you want to cut from your iPad.

The Cricut Explorer One is currently available for Pre-Order for $199 USD and is planned to be released on May 6, 2015. The suggested retail price for this device after the pre-order sale ends looks to be $249 USD.

Cricut ExplorE (Green or Purple)

The standard model and the one I personally have. The Cricut Explore can do everything the Cricut Explore One can do.

Cricut Explore and Cricut Explore AirThe Cricut Explore’s added feature is that it has the ability to cut and write in the same step as a built in feature with the machine. No adapters or additional parts to purchase.

Like the Cricut Explore One, this model also does not have the Bluetooth Wireless Technology available.  There is a bluetooth adapter for this that allows you to add this functionality if desired.Bluetooth technology is required if you want to cut from your iPad.

Right now the suggested retail price of the Cricut Explore on Cricut’s website is the same as the Cricut Explore Air ($299 USD) so unless you can find a better price, you are probably better off just buying an Air and getting all the features!

Given this same pricing and that the Cricut Explore isn’t available to purchase any longer on the Cricut Store, it is speculated that this model may be replaced by the Air. However, there are still models available for purchase from other retailers.

Cricut Explore Air (Blue)

To date the Cricut Explore Air is the most advanced model available. All of the items that are considered optional accessories in the other two models come included in the Air.

That means it can cut and write in the same step and it has built-in bluetooth technology to allow you to send your cuts to the machine wirelessly. No additions or adapters are required for the Air.

The price for the Cricut Explore Air is $299 USD but can be found on sale or specials from time to time.

But Will I Use These Extra Features?

So now hopefully you understand the differences between the three cutting machines. They all could be made comparable with adapters so you don’t feel like you are missing out if you buy a more basic model but naturally you want to be economical and only purchase the model with the features you actually use.

Now I cannot speak to your personal use but I’ll be happy to share my experiences. I own a Cricut Explore with the bluetooth adapter so with those pieces together, I currently own all available features and upgrades available on the Cricut Explore.

Cutting and Writing in the Same Step:

Do I use this? Absolutely.

Cricut Explore Writing ToolI am constantly finding uses for the optional writing holder in nearly every project. Having the machines pre-score my cards and paper creations is absolutely wonderful and I’ve made so many cards where I allow the machine to print the wording on for me.

I have been trying to think of an instance that this feature would not be useful and I’m coming up blank. I guess perhaps if all your sentiments are on stamps or you prefer to print them out you could possibly skip this feature.

I’ve heard from others how they feel the scoring isn’t that helpful or that it’s too light to see. It is true that it doesn’t carve in a big line into my paper but it is generally enough for me to find and press down the folds where needed. I have no complaints on the scoring tool.

I had no idea how wonderful this additional feature was going to be when I purchased my Explore but I might seriously fight someone if they tried to take it away.

Bluetooth Wireless Cutting:

I’ll be honest and say when I found the bluetooth adapter for the Cricut explore I purchased it right away and even bought one for my mom. I was super excited to have one less cord from my laptop to trip over.

I’ve had it for about 4-months now and while it is nice, I wouldn’t call it essential. I do own an iPad but I still prefer to design and cut on my larger laptop screen so while it’s nice to not have that cord in the way, it’s a minor nicety.

However, I will add in the caveat that if you really enjoy designing and cutting from your iPad, this feature is probably a must have. You cannot send your designs to your Cricut Explore machine without the bluetooth feature. If you find designing on your iPad your preferred method, you are most likely going to want to cut from your iPad as well.

So there’s my opinion and hopefully this helps those unsure of which machine they need! Have other reasons to pick a specific machine? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the different features!



  1. […] are unclear on which of the three available Explore models this is, you can review our post “Which Cricut Explore is Right for Me?” post detailing the differences between […]


  2. […] learning the differences between the different Cricut Explore models, please read our post “Which Cricut Explore is Right for Me?” where we detailed the different models and the […]


  3. […] you are unclear on which of the three available Explore models this is, you can review our post “Which Cricut Explore is Right for Me?” post detailing the differences between […]


  4. […] The original Cricut Explore Machine is available for $179.99! If you are unsure which Cricut Explore model is right for you, check out this break down of the differences between the three options. […]


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