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How is the Cricut different from competitive cutting machines?


Here are some great reviews for personal cutting machines. The information seems a little dated, so keep reading.




What are the big names in the personal cutting machine wars? (in alphabetical order)



KNK Zing



While Cricut and Silhouette have been in the personal cutting business for awhile, Brother is new to it with the Scan and Cut Machine. Prior to this research, I had never heard of the KNK Zing, probably due to the machine being double in price of the others. 


Price break down:

The price differences aren’t going to make the decision easier for you. They are all typically similar except for the Zing machine. If you found a great sale, that might make a difference. You could also look for a used machine or a refurbished machine to save costs.

Cricut Explore Air 2



Brother Scan and Cut


(basic machine, need to purchase activation card, USB cord, card or flash drive)

KNK Zing

$ 449.00 - 960.00

(need to purchase software)

Silhouette Cameo 3





Cutting mat size (width):

No real differences here except once again for the Zing. The standard mat size for the Zing is 12” but it can cut larger.


Cricut Explore Air 2  

12” wide

Brother Scan and Cut


KNK Zing 

12” - 15”

Silhouette Cameo 3 




Uses files named:

There seems to be a lot of differences in the file types accepted. Most machines have a function to translate files. If you don’t already have a stash of saved files, this difference isn’t going to make a decision easier either. 


Cricut Explore Air 2  


Brother Scan and Cut 


KNK Zing  


Silhouette Cameo 3 



* Most of these machines can handle different file types by converting them into a file they can read. 



The software could make a difference. Depending upon the machine you want to use to access that software, whether or not you have WIFI access to run the online program, or if you want to be able to work as a standalone without internet access or even use a computer. No matter what machine you buy, there will come a time you want to edit a file, additional software and skills will be needed. As well as the computer to make those changes. 

Cricut Explore Air 2  

computer, tablet, or smart phone (also utilizes cartridges)

Brother Scan and Cut

built in images and fonts, need to purchase activation card for CM350 machine

KNK Zing  

need to purchase Sure Cuts A  Lot - windows and mac

Silhouette Cameo 3 

Mac and PC - mobile software is in beta form



Unique qualities

KNK zing - has a variety of different blades: material, thick, fabric, uses Sure Cuts A Lot software that you need to purchase separately (additional cost)


Brother - This machine has a built-in screen. It can scan a drawing and create a cut file from it. 


Cricut and Silhouette are the most similar in comparison. You will find brand loyalist in each camp. Typically, a user begins with a certain kind of machine and stays with that brand as they upgrade. Early on, Silhouette had the upper hand in flexibility and use of files. Cricut has had so many improvements in the past few years, I believe they are overtaking the market. Circuit Design Space software is already released for tablets and smartphones. Silhouette is still in beta. 


If you are going to read comparisons make sure you are looking at reviews and comparisons for the newest machines; Silhouette Cameo 3 and Cricut Explore Air 2.


Want to see head to head battles? I recommend:


In the end, it comes down to whether or not you have past experience with one brand over the other. If you have used an older machine and are looking to upgrade or get back into personal cutting, that will be the biggest driving force. It is easier to work with a brand that you already have familiarity with. Given the two reviews above, if you are a first time user, the Cricut Explore Air 2 is the easier machine to learn. 


Finally, you will need to learn. No matter what machine you choose there will be a learning curve. Work through the tutorials, Experiment with different materials. Learn, watch YouTube videos, join a few Facebook groups dedicated to the machine you choose. And for heaven’s sake, don’t let that machine sit in the box or go unused!


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all my own.
Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.



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