Cricut Explore vs. Silhouette Cameo
Let’s close our eyes and take a little stroll down memory lane, shall we? (Actually, don’t close your eyes because then you won’t be able to read. Just imagine your eyes are closed.)
The year was 2011. I was a fairly new craft blogger who was interested in purchasing a digital cutting machine. I knew a lot of friends with Cricut machines, and just couldn’t get on board with purchasing a cartridge every time I wanted an image.
Plus, Cricut was just for scrapbookers, right? I was a scrapbooker but I also did so much more, and I wanted my machine to do the same. And when I consulted “the blog world”, the bloggers were pretty unanimous: Silhouette Cameo was the way to go. So, I set about purchasing one, which was no easy task given that they were only available in a handful of stores across Canada.
It’s hard to believe that was just under five years ago. So much has changed in this industry in such a short amount of time, and Cricut has completely turned the competition on it’s head. Silhouette was ready to take over the crafting world, until along came a powerful and amazing machine – the Cricut Explore.
Cricut Explore vs. Silhouette Cameo: What’s Changed
I was one of the few chosen to attend the Cricut Explore launch party in Salt Lake City. At this time, I was kind of working with Cricut (using my Cricut Mini) but still using my Silhouette at times. Neither machine was perfect – the software for both was cumbersome and slow, and the Cameo was so loud that I could only cut while my husbands shows were on commercial. (Wait, what are these commercials you speak of? Yes, so much more than the crafting industry has changed in the past five years!)
Then, along came the Cricut Explore – the machine of my dreams. It was quiet enough to cut during even the most suspenseful episode of The Walking Dead, it cut materials I couldn’t even imagine cutting, it held the potential to be wireless, and offered a print and cut that actually worked! I was sold.
I placed the dust cover on my Silhouette Cameo and placed it in a storage closet in my craft room. That was over two years ago, and I haven’t even looked at it since. I have no need to – the Cricut Explore goes above and beyond anything I could ever want or need, and with the newly launched iPhone and iPad apps, well, let’s just say I’m thrilled that I can take my crafting with me wherever I go. I design while waiting at the doctors office, and thanks to the bluetooth adapter, I can cut my project as soon as I get home.
Cricut Explore vs Silhouette Cameo: Why It Rocks
Can I tell you the absolute number one reason why I will never, ever return to Silhouette? The blades that the Cricut Explore uses are AMAZING. I have had my Explore since early 2014, and I only changed my blade a few months ago. (Upon closer inspection, there was a small piece of vinyl stuck inside, and I probably didn’t need to change it after all, so I put it back in the package and kept it for when this one was toast.)
And it’s not just a fluke that I got a really good one, or that I don’t use mine very much (which I do) – my cousin runs a small business selling items customized with vinyl. She’s had her machine for over 18 months, and uses it all of the time in her business. Her blade still isn’t showing any signs of kicking the bucket. My Silhouette Cameo? I changed blades 3-4 times a year. Have fun with that when you live in rural Canada, nowhere near any craft stores. (And if you are Canadian, you are definitely going to want to trade up to the Cricut Explore, especially after they just announced their amazing new flat shipping rate to Canada!)
Cricut Trade Up Program
So, if you’re like me, and you want to trade up your old cutting machine for the top of the line Cricut Explore, here’s your chance: Cricut is starting a new Trade Up Program where you can “trade in” your old cutting machine (Cricut brand, Silhouette brand, and more) and receive a $50 off coupon towards a new Cricut Explore Air or Cricut Explore One. All you have to do is send in two photos of your old machine – you can find all of the details on the trade up program here.
What about you – have you tried the Cricut Explore yet? What’s your favorite part? I can’t wait to hear who will be trading up and joining me on Team Cricut! And if you aren’t quite sure yet, check out this popular post of mine that also compares Cricut vs. Silhouette!
Mrs. Bennett says
Thank you for sharing your experience. I am on the verge of starting a crafting business and recently acquired the Explore Air. So friggin AWESOME!! I often wondered about the Cameo though. Wondered if I made the right decision. One thing I still question is about the software. Design Space is awesome and with it the possibilities are endless, but it runs very slow for me at times and csn almost be unbearable at certain times. Like changing fonts is a nightmare. It just takes so long and the program itself can be very glitchy. Have you experienced any of this? How does the Silhouette’s software differ? Is it better in any way? Once again thanks, your article helped immensely.
Hi! I have found changing fonts is a little slow, but I found it was the same with the Silhouette software!
I love my Cricut machine but I wish the design store would get better designs. Looking at the designs on Pinterest from the Silhouette store I like their designs better.
Many of the designs from the silhouette store can be purchased in svg form from the designers personal sites 🙂
Amy Brooks says
I am so confused trying to decide if I want to Cricut Explore Air or the new Cameo 3. No one has compared the two since the Cameo 3 is so new. I keep reading and looking at reviews and going back-and-forth depending on which I read the latest.
One of my biggest concerns with the Cricut Explore Air is that I have heard whenever you purchase something online and then discontinue your subscription you loose anything you have created with those designs. Is that true? It would be so discouraging to loose projects!
I am mainly wanting to use my new machine to do vinyl lettering and use for my business of either personalizing or doing wall art. So lettering is my biggest need.
What are your thoughts!?! Please! and THANK YOU!