So Which is Better, Cricut or Silhouette?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

I received a cutting machine for Christmas in 2010. I jumped onto the Silhouette bandwagon and knew for sure that this machine would take my crafting to a whole new level. And it has! At the time, Cricut had a cutting machine that was dependant on cartridges. I didn't like being limited in my designs. I liked the idea of having a design space that was only limited by my own imagination. That's not to say that there wasn't a steep learning curve. I'd spend days designing and creating birthday invitations for my daughter. At one point, I did the math and found that each invitation cost me around $115 to create!

I have watched Cricut grow and evolve through the years and from the sidelines, I saw them making some pretty amazing advancements for a cutting machine. Heck, a machine that could cut leather, fabric and felt? You've got my attention. Talk about upping your craft game! When Cricut invited me to try out one of their Cricut Explore Air™ 2 machine, and write an honest review, I jumped at the chance. So here you go, an honest review from someone who isn't new to the cutting machine game.

cutting machine personal use

So Which is Better, Cricut or Silhouette?

which is better cricut or silhouette

This is the age-old question in the crafting world. Especially as people start to think about getting their first cutting machine. There are debates going on in groups every day. I say that so that you can make up your own mind. I'm not one to say that one is better than the other. But I can tell you the differences I noticed while using the two machines and you can decide for yourself.

I'm also going to start by saying, that I'm not necessarily comparing apples to apples here. I don't have the latest model of Silhouette machine that does indeed rival the Explore Air 2, however, I do have nearly a decade of experience with Silhouette so I can speak to what I noticed as the differences and what made one better than the other. So, after a few hours of playing with my new Cricut Explore Air 2, here is what I liked better about it.

What I like Better About the Cricut Explore Air 2

which is better cricut or silhouette

Detailed Instructions

Straight off, I noticed the detailed instructions included with the Cricut. The Silhouette has always been lacking in support and tutorials and I think Cricut noticed the weakness and stepped it's game up. It's helpful to someone who isn't necessarily computer or design-savvy. Cricut even had a first project plus supplies, included in the box so that you could walk step-by-step through a tutorial to get started. I hear quite often how intimidating just opening the box can be and people don't know where to start, this literally takes the guesswork out of it.


The software for the Cricut design space is more simplified than the software you find for Silhouette, but that's not a negative. I've gotten more familiar with the Silhouette software through the years, so I did kind of miss the various tools I was used to, but if you were just getting started with a cutting machine, the software for the Cricut is by far more user-friendly.

The project space is by far my favorite feature of the Cricut software. I like that you can find step-by-step instructions for various finished projects all in one place. You can save your favorites and come back to them, or easily see the materials needed so you can quickly jump into a design.

cricut or silhouette design space

This project space is a great way to get your feet wet into understanding the machine and is perfect for the first-timer. I spent one afternoon just making project after project from the project space so I could get acclimated with the machine and the design space. You could easily find enough projects to keep yourself busy and creating here, but it also gives you the jumping-off point to start customizing your own creations. Silhouette has nothing like this that I've seen. It's kind of a more sink or swim mentality which can be frustrating for some users.

You can find more ideas on the inspiration page as well.

The Machine Design

The actual machine design of the Cricut Explore Air 2 is a few steps ahead of the Silhouette Cameo. There is plenty of storage in the machine itself for some of your supplies. There are also much better guiding tabs to help load your cutting mat in {the Silhouette tabs are a beast to move!} and out.


I'm going to be honest, I'm not super particular. Precision isn't really something I pay much attention to unless a cut is really off, but when I was setting up a print and cut project on the Cricut, I was impressed that I could use the precision calibration in the settings to help get the best cut. I can't tell you how many times I've printed a registration mark in Silhouette and been baffled as to why my machine wasn't reading it.

cricut or silhouete
I created these print and cut adulting stickers {including with a Cricut Access} and I am going to give them to everyone I know. I honestly can't believe how well they printed and then cut out. It was precise!

print and cut cricut


I've wasted a lot of materials over the years while using a cutting machine. Sometimes I put the heat transfer vinyl in the wrong way {I still have to google it every.single.time}, sometimes the cut won't be deep enough, and sometimes a design I thought was designed properly, just didn't fit in the cut guide or didn't have cut lines on or some other human error.

All of this will still be true for the Cricut as well as for the Silhouette. You will screw it up. However, that said, I did find the Cricut to be far more user-friendly as I prepared a project to be cut. It lays out the various mats and sets the cut files on the page for you. It tells you how to turn the knob to calibrate the cut and it walks you step by step through the process of creation. More safeguards, less chance of messing it up.

When I see blanks {what something plain that is just waiting for some decoration is called!}, I pick them up. I've had these luggage tags for more than a year. Finally glad to get to cut some vinyl and actually use them. Again, this was a design that was included with Cricut Access.

Most Asked About Features In Cricut Design Space Video

Which would I recommend? A Silhouette or a Cricut Cutting Machine?

I'm glad you asked. I've seen the Cricut come a long way. I never recommended it when it required cartridges, but those days are long gone. I'd most definitely recommend it now! But why?

I think the Silhouette is a great machine. I've used it for years and gotten familiar with the design space, but if you are just starting out, it's not the most user-friendly design software out there.

That is reserved for the Cricut. If you don't have experience with any external design software, I'd steer clear of the Silhouette machine.

If you are looking for a good, first-time user cutting machine, I'd recommend the Cricut.

New Cricut Explore Air Machine in Gold

Would I recommend the Cricut Explore Air 2 or the Cricut Maker?

This is another can of worms, but the short answer after using the Explore Air 2, would be, splurge and spend a few extra bucks for the Maker. That machine cuts everything your heart could desire. It goes back to limiting your possibilities and no one wants to purchase a machine and then be disappointed when they find out that you can't cut the material you wanted to cut.


I'm so impressed with how well the Cricut cuts paper and how easy it is to follow the instructions included to create the finished designs that are part of Cricut Access.

So Which is Better? Cricut or Silhouette?

Both brands have created great cutting machines that have definitely changed how the average at-home-crafter creates. The Silhouette machine has more of a learning curve and is a bit more technical. It's perfect for creating custom designs. For the general crafter though, a Cricut machine would probably be a better fit. I like both machines for different reasons and I'm sure you will too! Spend some time comparing on your own. Did you know you can download the software for both machines for free? Do that, acclimate yourself to the design space and find the one that feels best to you.

Cricut Explore Air™ Machine + EVERYTHING Starter Set

Happy crafting!

disclaimer: this post may have affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing through them, I may receive a small commission. These small purchases help me to continue to keep writing content and creating at Rachel Teodoro. Thank you!


Bliss said...

Hmmmm.....I use my Silhouette to make my own lettering for things I'm painting, and I either use vinyl or make one time use stencils right on card stock. Other than those things I really have never explored all of it's uses. And the reason might be because I learned how to do those things and nothing more as you are right, it's confusing. It is hard to load, and loud and still after 5 years I'm not sure I'm using it right! I need to see the Cricut in person, in action because if I can understand it better that would be huge in comparison to the Silhouette that I'm not using to it's potential.

Unknown said...

Great information! Thank you!!

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