The Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine and the Silhouette Cameo 3 are two of the most popular die cutters on the market. They both come with their strengths and weaknesses and appeal to different types of crafters at different skill levels.
So who wins the fight between Cricut vs Cameo? Which product offers the best combination of value and function?
In this Cricut and Cameo review, we will take a close look at both products and decide once and for all, which is the better product. But first, let us go over the general features that die cutters offer.
What Are Die Cutters And What Do They Do?
Before we get down to the nitty-gritty details in the battle of Cricut vs Cameo, let us first go over the basic regarding die cutters. First, let us go over what a die actually is. The term die refers to a small metal frame template with a sharp side designed for cutting. So what is a die cutter? The term covers a lot of ground, but broadly it refers to anything that can mass product shapes and designs for cut out purposes. This device saves a lot of time since you do not need to use a stencil and manually remove the form with scissors.
So how is a die cutter different from a printer? The most obvious way it is different is the type of material you can cut out with it. In addition to paper, most types of die cutters can also handle materials like fabric, plastic, chipboard, foam, tape, and many more.
It also cuts out the design for you. Die cutter machines vary in terms of their advancement. For example, some die cutters are manual, while others are digital. Manual cutters require a crank like function and premade die frames. Digital die cutters use electricity and can sometimes include designs you download from the internet. Both of the products on this Cricut vs Cameo review are digital die cutters.
Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine Specs
Now that we know more about die cutters, we can get into the specific products on this list starting with the Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine. The product can cut around sixty different types of materials and exerts three hundred and fifty grams of strength.
It features a cutting wide of twelve inches by twenty-four inches but does not feature an auto blade or a touchscreen. However, it does come with Bluetooth and Design Space software.
The Design Space software is intuitive, but you will need an internet connection to access it. The Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine also comes with a smart set dial.
This knob allows you to easily tune the blade depth for different types of material like vinyl, paper, or iron-on plastic.
|Amount of material it can cut||Around sixty|
|Cutting strength||three hundred and fifty grams|
|Smart set dial?||Yes|
|Cutting width||Twelve inches by twenty-four inches|
Silhouette Cameo 3 Specs
The Silhouette Cameo 3 can cut around one hundred different materials. It exerts a cutting strength of two hundred and ten grams and a width of twelve inches by ten feet. Unfortunately, the Silhouette Cameo 3 does not come with the smart set dial featured on the Cricut Explore.
But it makes up for this lack of a dial with the auto blade feature. The auto blade automatically adjusts to the material you cut, so you do not need to change it using a compass. The Silhouette Cameo 3 also comes with a touchscreen for navigating the various programs and settings.
It also features Bluetooth and the Silhouette Studio Designer software. This software allows you to create, purchase, or upload your design templates on to the Silhouette Cameo 3.
|Amount of material it can cut||One hundred|
|Cutting strength||two hundred and ten grams|
|Smart set dial?||No|
|Cutting width||Twelve inches by ten feet|
|Software||Silhouette Studio Designer|
Where Can You Purchase the Cricut Explore Air
You can purchase the Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine and the Silhouette Cameo 3 at most major online retailers that offer craft supplies. We recommend using Amazon or eBay since you can purchase both new and used options.
Alternatively, you can also visit the manufacturer’s website. If you want to buy either the Silhouette Cameo 3 or the Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine in person, then you can find it at Michaels or Walmart.
How Cricut and Cameo Compare With
| Cricut Explore Air
Wireless Cutting Machine
|Silhouette Cameo 3|
|Brother CM350 Electronic
|Sizzix Big Shot Starter Kit Manual
Die Cutting Machine
In this section, we compare the two products on this list with two other popular die cutters. Specifically, we compare them with the Brother CM350 Electronic Cutting Machine and the Sizzix Big Shot Starter Kit Manual Die Cutting Machine.
We make these comparisons so that we can identify what some of the other products offer in terms of function and value. It also allows some good alternative options for people who do not think the Cricut or the Cameo products work for their crafting needs.
Brother CM350 Electronic Cutting Machine
The Brother CM350 Electronic Cutting Machine is more comparable to the Silhouette Cameo 3 since it also features a touchscreen and on-screen editing capabilities.
However, like the Silhouette Cameo 3, the Brother CM350 Electronic Cutting Machine also comes with a steep learning curve. You should expect to spend a lot of time making mistakes before you get the hang of it.
The price is lower than the Cameo, but it also comes with some flaws. For example, it features a cheap mat that loses its tack quickly and problematic scanning technology that makes your additional purchase software.
Sizzix Big Shot Starter Kit Manual Die Cutting Machine
If you are on a tighter budget and do not want to invest in an electric die cutter, then the Sizzix Big Shot Starter Kit Manual Die Cutting Machine is an excellent manual alternative. It features a variety of pre-cut designs and working material for getting started.
If the programming involved with the electric die cutters intimidates you, then we highly recommend the Sizzix Big Shot Starter Kit Manual Die Cutting Machine. It is much more intuitive and easier to use from the start. However, you will need to crank each design manually. And you will not have all the customizable options that come with the more advanced products.
But if you are a beginner looking to get into the hobby, then this product is a great place to start.
Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine
In this section, we will go over some of the things we like about the Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine and some things we think could use improvement. We include both our observations and user reviews so we can get a complete picture of the product.
One significant advantage associated with the Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine is the easy-to-use nature of the product. The smart dial makes navigating the cutting process more manageable. Design Space software also does not take much time to master.
It is very beginner-friendly, so if learning how to program stuff intimidates you, then the Cricut is a good option. The Cricut also exerts more strengths than the Cameo when you cut with it.
While it cannot operate on the same amount of material as the Cameo, it can cut much thicker. So if you want a stronger machine, then go with the Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine.
- Slightly easier to use
- Intuitive software
- Exerts more strength
Unfortunately, the Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine is not perfect. The easy-to-use nature of the product is a double-edged sword. While it does allow you to use the product quicker without watching a bunch of tutorials, it also limits the scope of what you can do.
With the Design Space software, you cannot make your custom die — you need to either upload them or choose preselected versions. It also requires you to have an internet connection when you use it. It also cannot cut as much material as the Silhouette Cameo 3.
Even if it cuts thicker, you will need to purchase more cartridges if you want the same range as the Cameo.
- Cannot create your designs
- Requires an internet connection
- Cannot cut as much material
Silhouette Cameo 3 Pros and Cons
Now that we looked at some of the pros and cons associated with the Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine let us take a closer look at the ones that come with Silhouette Cameo 3.
The biggest pro associated with the Silhouette Cameo 3 is the more advanced software. Not only can you upload and choose from preset, but you can also make your very own designs. This feature covers the ground the Cricut does not even touch.
You can also use the Cameo on roughly forty more types of material than the Cricut — as long as you purchase them from the company. The touchscreen is another talented pro because it allows you to operate directly on the device instead of using your computer as a middleman.
- Can cut more material
- More advanced software
- Features a touchscreen
The biggest flaw associated with the Silhouette Cameo 3 is its lack of power. The device exerts significantly less force than the Cricut, which substantially affects the type of material you can work with on the device.
Also, the fact that you can cut more material on the Silhouette Cameo 3 is misleading. It is technically correct that the device can handle certain types of content that the Cricut cannot. But the lack of strength on the Cameo dramatically affects the kind of material you can use.
For example, you can cut magnet with the Silhouette Cameo 3, but only Siloutte’s unique brand of magnet paper. If you try and use it on a regular magnet, then it will not work. The same thing goes for foam, cork, leather, chipboard, and aluminum.
Finally, there is a steep learning curve on the software. While the Silhouette Studio Designer does offer more in terms of customization, you should not expect to learn it overnight.
- Not as powerful as the Cricut
- Must buy some Silhouette material
- The steep learning curve on the software
Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine
So who wins the fight between Cricut vs Cameo? The truth is that neither product is inherently better than the other. Instead, it depends on your needs as a crafter. In our opinion, the Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine ranks slightly higher than the Silhouette Cameo 3.
If it comes down to which product is stronger, then the Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine wins. The Cricut also succeed if you are new to the hobby and do not want to spend a lot of time learning extensive software. But, the software included with the Silhouette Cameo 3 give you a freedom to create that the Cricut does not allow. As such, we provide the Silhouette Cameo 3 a final rating of three in half out of five stars.
The Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine earns a rating of four stars out of five stars. We think the Cricut appeals to a broader selection of users and the intuitive design of the product makes operating it much less of a hassle. Good luck with deciding between the two!
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