The Cricut Explore Air 2 cutting machine is a model that’s designed to take the crafting world by storm. If you want to know more about this exciting new machine before you buy then sit back and read on as we delve a little deeper into what exactly makes this cutting machine Cricut’s top selling model and a machine that you simply can’t live without.
If you’re a long-time fan of Cricut, this is the model you’ve been waiting for.
Explore Air 2 Rundown and Features
The Air 2 comes with a ton of accessories including an accessory adapter, the popular Design Space web-based software program and app, power cord, USB cord, a hundred free images, fifty free projects, cardstock and pen sample, user’s manual, accessory adapter, and German carbide premium blade. You can put those free projects and designs to work as soon as you set your machine up.
So, what materials can this machine work with?
Just like the Cricut models before it, the Air 2 is very versatile and can work with more than a hundred different types of materials. This includes all the basic material options such as fabric, felt, paper, vinyl, poster board, cardboard, and cardstock. The material type can be chosen using the Smart Set dial for precise cutting. You might need to purchase deep cut blades for thicker materials such as foam and leather. You can use Design Space to choose from an additional eighty automatic settings available as well.
The model offers a max cutting size of twelve inches wide by twenty-four inches long. While it’s not the biggest cutting machine on the market, it’s definitely designed to meet the needs of most crafters and is one of the best sizes available for a desktop model.
However, when you use the Print Then Cut function for your own imported images, the cutting size will diminish quickly. Ultimately, the size of the cut will depend on the browser you use. Safari, Internet Explorer, and Firefox offer a size of six inches by eight and a half inches. Google offers a size of five and a half inches by eight inches.
One drawback consumers have with this model is the software. You won’t be able to use any other type of software with this machine. While it won’t bother some crafters it can be a deal breaker for others.
Even though most users won’t have a problem with the Design Space software, it’s not nearly as powerful as other programs such as Adobe Illustrator. Yet, it’s definitely a great stepping off point for beginners because it’s so easy to use.
For more advanced designers, the fact that Design Space allows you to upload and convert your own images is great news. This software also offers thousands of quick cuts and ready to make projects that will allow you to get started creating right away. It’s also compatible with traditional cartridges from Cricut, which is a big plus for long time Cricut users.
Probably the best thing about this software is the fact that it’s free and cloud based, so you can create designs on your smartphone, PC, or tablet.
Cricut Cutting Machine Pros and Cons
Pros: Really, there’s only one huge improvement on this model, but it’s a major one. This model is actually twice as fast as the previous Explore Air. Most consumers can agree that the past model was slower than they’d like, so this model’s fast mode setting gives many users every reason to buy.
The writing function is also lightening quick compared to older models. Keep in mind that the fast mode will only work for cardstock, iron-ons, and vinyl. Fortunately, these are the types of materials crafters use the most.
But with this type of faster speed, you can also expect a compromise of sorts. This model is much louder than the basic Explore Air. While in most cases it’s not loud enough to prevent any crafter from buying, it’s still worth considering.
This machine is also much sleeker than models of the past. The Smart Set knob is more integrated into the machine for a techy, modern look.
Users will also enjoy the wireless Bluetooth connectivity, auto-settings, storage space for tools, and the dual carriage which allows for drawing and writing, or writing and scoring in one step. Most importantly, this model offers precise cuts thanks to the premium German carbide blade.
This Cricut machine will definitely blow away the competition due to the strength of its cutting. It’s great to see that the manufacturer didn’t have to compromise quality for speed.
In fact, the 2 can cut over a hundred different types of material with precision.
Cons: As we mentioned earlier, this model is quite a bit louder than other Cricut machines. Additionally, while most users will love designing their own creations to cut, the fact that using the Print Then Cut function takes away from the cut size can be incredibly limiting.
If you’re looking for a Cricut machine that’s known for its quiet operation, we recommend taking a look at the Cricut 2000293 Cuttlebug machine, which is also reasonably priced and offers the same type of cutting quality you’ll only get with Cricut machines.
Cricut Air Explore 2 Conclusion and Rating
The Cricut Air Explore 2 is the cutting machine you’ve been waiting for. The impressive cut speed is definitely worth the higher price tag, although we feel that this model is more designed for seasoned crafters. For the advanced user, the Explore 2 can be a total game changer. While the Fast mode only works for iron-ons, cardstock, and vinyl materials, it really is much faster than any other type of desktop craft cutter currently on the market, which is why consumers gave this model a rating of five out of five stars. This is truly one of the best Cricut machines on the market and it’s also our top-rated product. Fortunately, the machine’s impressive speed doesn’t affect its precise cutting abilities or the overall quality.