Best Cricut Machine For Cutting Vinyl

If you are shopping for a Cricut machine, it’s very helpful to know what items you will be cutting most, and what kind of projects you will be doing in order to get the best machine that suits your needs.  If you’re looking for the best Cricut for vinyl, here are some things to consider.

Which Cricut Is Best For Vinyl?

When it comes to cutting vinyl, all of the Cricut machines will do a great job, including the Cricut Joy, and all of the Cricut Explore -Cricut Explore Air and Cricut Maker machines. They can all cut vinyl, including intricate designs. The main difference between the Cricut machines in going to be cost, size, and materials it can cut. So how do you choose which one to get as a vinyl cutter?

Size Of Projects

If you want to make larger vinyl projects on your Cricut, you probably do not want the Cricut Joy. Its small size means that it can’t cut anything wider than 4.5 inches. It can however create long projects. With the matless vinyl for Cricut Joy you can create projects up to 20 ft. long at once. And even if you want to create wider projects, you can sometimes break a project up into sections, as a work around, if the Cricut Joy is your only option.

best cricut for cutting vinyl

All of the Cricut Explore and Maker machines can cut a width of 12 inches. The standard mats are 12 x 12, but you can also purchase 12 x 24 inches for longer projects.

The Cricut Explore 3 and the Maker 3 can cut new smart vinyl, that does not require a cutting mat. The new smart materials are available on a roll, that you can feed into the machine for much longer cuts. The width is slightly wider than with a mat, at 13 inches, and the vinyl rolls come in lengths up to 75 ft, so a great option for larger projects!

For most standard crafters the 12×12 regular mat will be fine, which works with any of the Explore or Maker machines, which might make them a great choice if project size is a factor.

Types Of Vinyl

It doesn’t matter which different type of vinyl you use, they should all cut the same in all of the Cricut machines, whether it’s permanent vinyl, removable adhesive vinyl, glitter vinyl or HTV vinyl. So you can make vinyl decals, t-shirt vinyl, tote bags, even window cling vinyl. You can pair your Cricut machine with the Cricut easy press for lots of amazing projects that use a heat press.

best cricut for vinyl

There is one exception to that rule, which is the printable vinyl . The Cricut Joy does not have the Print Then Cut feature, so if you want to use the Print Then Cut feature for printable vinyl sheets, then the best vinyl cutter for you may be any of the Explore or Maker machines.

Explore or Maker?

This is a great question, and one that lots of first time buyers of Cricut machines have. Out of the Cricut Explore and Maker Series machines, which Cricut machine is the right machine for you to buy? I usually tell people that it depends on two factors -price and what materials they want to cut. We’re talking about cutting vinyl specifically so it may just be a matter of price.

best Cricut for vinyl


Which Cricut machine will give you the best results in terms of performance? All the Cricut machines will do a great job and can cut out detailed designs, with precise cuts. I don’t think one does any cleaner cuts than the other. The different Cricut machines have things that set them apart from one another, but the quality of the cuts isn’t one of those factors. Whether you’re vinyl cutting, doing paper crafts, greeting cards, or different projects, my experience is that all the Cricut machines do a quality job with the cutting process.

The Explore series machines can’t cut all the fancy things that the Maker can, but then again, are you ever going to even use your Cricut for engraving or cutting fabric? The answer for many people is no, in which case I would wholeheartedly suggest any of the Explore series machines.

The Explore machine can still handle 100 different materials, including bonded fabric and some wood. The best thing about the new Maker 3 machines is that they have 10x the cutting force and can cut 300 different materials, including thicker materials like balsa wood. This is the biggest difference between the different Cricut models.

If vinyl is your primary material the Explore series machines are a perfect choice. If you also want to cut lots more materials now and/or in the future, the Maker series machines may be your best choice.

best Cricut for cutting vinyl


There is a price difference between the Explore series machines and the Maker series machines.

Explores are cheaper. If the Explore machine is cheaper and does a great job on the materials that you want to cut then it’s a clear winner and the right choice!  So, if you primarily want to use your Cricut for cutting out vinyl, then I recommend the Explore series machines as the best Cricut cutter for you.

If, however, you want to use your Cricut for a wide variety of materials, then a Maker series machine might be a good idea, and the right Cricut machine for you. This is a machine that will last you a long time, and you will not outgrow quickly. Some people get an Explore series machine as a starter machine, to see how much they use it and if they even need the capabilities it offers.

best Cricut for cutting vinyl

A Word About Small Business

If you are investing in a Cricut machine with the intention of starting a small business and selling projects, be warned that Cricut Explore machines are not recommended for commercial use. These are for the at home crafter, and not recommended for business. The Maker series of machines promise commercial grade experience, according to Cricut. Many people love to use Cricuts for their small business for their ease of use , and accurate cuts, as well as being able to buy them and other supplies easily at craft stores. If cutting vinyl, or other materials is for a business venture, then the Cricut Maker might be worth the extra cost.

best Cricut for vinyl

I hope you’ve found this information helpful as you try to decide the best Cricut machine for you and your needs.  With the right Cricut machine to cut vinyl projects, life really is a party!

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