A Deep Dive into the Cricut Explore Air

Published: November 17, 2020

The Cricut Explore Air is a unique machine in itself. It fits all formats and is exceptionally capable of delivering results. It is one of the most prevalent models used in the Cricut series. Preferred by beginners, as well as advanced users, this is one useful machine to have if you like embossing, creating personalized cards, or professionals who regularly experiment with the arts and crafts. It is one of the best-selling Cricut machines.

The Cricut Explore Air Reviewed

The Cricut Explore Air offers you enough cutting width to cut most sizes. The maximum cutting width of this wonderful machine is 11.5 inches. Its maximum height is 23.5 inches. At a glance, it might appear like a smaller machine but when you take a closer look at its small size and it’s relatively lightweight which is 10.9 pounds, you will be pleasantly surprised at its size capabilities.

The wireless variant of the Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine is designed and manufactured in a safer, non-corded environment. It features the “Cut Smart” technology for the precise cutting of photographs and fonts of different sizes. If you have tasks that involve both printing and cutting, you can do this in one stage.

This machine is ideal for most hobbyist craft cutters and it comes with “Cut Smart” technology for precision cutting of various-sized images and fonts. When you indulge in projects that require both cutting and printing, this machine can help you accomplish it in one step through its double tool cutter.

The most interesting feature is the wireless technology or Bluetooth which you use to your benefit without getting distracted by entangled cords. This provides a convenient atmosphere for the household as you can place it anywhere out of harm’s way, on a higher shelf, etc. permanently plugged in. All you have to do is slide some mats in and out and finish the project without having to move the machine.

However, if you are having trouble with the Bluetooth synchronization then try turning the Bluetooth function on your iPad off and then back on. You should be able to find the Cricut option and then make the connection wirelessly. This is a cool feature that makes this machine different from others in this category making it also one of the best machines.

The smart set dial is placed on the top of the machine and is an attractive feature that most craft cutters would go for. This inventive material selection feature eliminates the need for you to adjust speed, pressure, and depth manually.

To ensure that your images aren’t distorted due to slipping or sliding you also have the standard grip cutting mat that is customized to suit all kinds of crafting materials, providing a better grip to hold your material in place. Not to forget the German carbide blade of premium quality that cuts through a plethora of materials.

The machine cuts more than 60 different materials, such as paper, vinyl, iron, cardboard poster board, cloth, and even leather. You can also create personalized settings for additional materials. Default materials will appear on the smart set dial for ease of use.

The Cricut image library provides you access to over 50,000 images, projects, and fonts, as well as the ability to upload your designs. The mobile app allows creative minds the ability to make creations on the go and then save them to be cut later.

The Cricut Explore Air Wireless is available in a range of colors including gold, blue, and champagne. Simple setup and robust construction. It is also available in a range of colors including gold, blue, and champagne. The simple setup and robust construction make this machine quite easy to use.

One of the best features of this machine is the software. While it has been a cause for concern especially for beginners it does come with immense benefits. The latest software is the Cricut Design Space. It is easy to use and most importantly allows you to upload and convert your own designs to cuttable images for free.

It also provides access to a large image library, for a certain amount every month for unlimited use, or pay the amount per image download instead. You will also find plenty of inspirational designs in the Make It Now section which contains a collection of packet projects you can use for events, parties, card making, etc. In case you are using Cricut cartridges, you can access these via Design Space as well.

This cloud-based software needs a good internet connection to access some good designs or your chosen favorites besides also accessing cartridges. The advantages are plenty as this software requires fewer upgrades and maintenance provided you have a reliable WiFi connection. If you check out the recent 2.7.1 update for the Design Space iOS app then you will find that it has brought an offline option so you can now design and cut even without an internet connection.

When it comes to exceptional quality cuts for a budget cutter then this is the machine that never disappoints. You can see the actual quality of the cutting which is amazingly accurate, outstanding on small and intricate designs, and is equipped with a long-lasting German carbide blade.

The Cricut Explore Air functions better due to the benefits of a dual carriage. This radically reduces machine time that is spent on cutting. This carriage is responsible for both cutting and writing, or cutting and scoring in one go thus, effectively reducing the production time by a half.

Considering the low price point this machine is easy to use, and an entry-level craft cutter, perfect for beginners and hobbyists who occasionally dabble in some designing. The user interface is also easy to navigate and get started with quickly too.

Who’s It For?

The Cricut Explore Air is appropriate for expert crafters as well as novices who want to treat themselves to a hobby or sell their finished projects or products. This machine comes with “Smart Cut” technology so those who are tech-savvy will find it a blessing. However, if you have little patience or seem to struggle with a good internet or Wi-fi connection then this might not work out for you.

If you aim to sew projects with multiple design patterns then you will be pleased to know that you get over 60000 designs to play with. So, if you are a beginner then you can choose from multiple options. The Bluetooth technology assists in the use of engraving and decorating for better presentation.

While all the other Cricut models provide a good user experience in terms of DIY projects, the Cricut Explore Air also delivers quality work. The manual contains a long list of materials that can be used with the machine providing the user options to experiment with. In that sense, this machine is ideal for anyone.

What We Like About Cricut Explore Air

This plug and play machine is simple to set up and easy to use. Unlike previous versions that required lengthy updates and software installations, this machine needs only unpacking, plugging in the power, turning on, syncing with the iPad, logging in to the Cricut app, and designing.

Durable and portable it comes with a bag, the handles of which fit over the shoulder or can be gripped by hand. This relatively light machine is also super quiet. If you do wish to carry it to work or in your car to use in between breaks then you will not have to worry about bothering other people.

Moreover, it is fast, and delivers quality results, within minutes. Additionally, the premium quality new blades are more durable. Plus, the smart dial feature saves you guesswork, by relying on the depth of the blade and the speed of the cut or pressure.

Above all, you can manually customize your settings within the program. If you decide to use special material, first go through some test runs. If you are an iPad user then this machine is a good buy since it is the only machine that has an iPad app so it is quite compatible and easy for you to use.

What We Don’t Like About Cricut Explore Air

One of the features of this machine is most unique, and yet problematic. Its dependence on a WiFi Connection makes it limiting at times or can halt your work in case the connection is not strong enough. However, there is a recently introduced offline mode with a 2.7.1 update for the Design Space iOS app. This will enable you to both designs and cut even when you don’t have an internet connection.

While having the Cricut Design Space Software is indeed a blessing the restrictions on using only their software – the Cricut Design Space can be challenging for many crafters. This perfectly serviceable machine which is more than sufficient for newbies might not satisfy experienced crafters who want to use other specific software.

Some other areas of improvement could be providing a smaller handle as it could be a little tricky to remove from the bag. Another issue is with the Cricut Design Space App which is currently only compatible with iPhone and iPad.


  • Easy to use
  • Ideal basic features for beginners
  • Old cartridges can be used
  • Inexpensive
  • Smart Dial eliminates manual adjustments
  • Wireless technology


  • Might be a challenge for those unfamiliar with the technology

What’s Included?

The Cricut Explore Air comes with a Cricut Black Fine Point Pen, a Cricut 12 x12 inch Light Grip Adhesive Cutting Mat which is perfect for vinyl and htv projects, Cricut Premium Fine Point Blade and Housing, access to Cricut’s design software Design Space, and a 2 week free trial to Cricut Access.

Overview Of Features

Let’s gloss through the features once again.

Smart Set Dial
This is a revolutionary aspect of content collection. It comes with predetermined settings that help you produce maximum results as long as you run the system in the correct mode. The positive thing about this function is that it removes the need to manually change speed, depth, and pressure.

Cricut Design Space Software
This is a versatile app that can be accessed via iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows, or Mac computers. All you need to do is log in to the framework and find hundreds of beautiful pre-made creations. This ensures that you can pick from thousands of ready-made designs. And the nicest aspect of this Design Space program is that you only need to pick and press the “Make It Now” button. This makes an easy product to use.

StandardGrip Mat Cutting
This cutting mat has been customized to fit various styles of crafting materials. They have a strong grip and boast about the ability to keep the material tightly in place, making it easy to extract the material. This is an innovative material selection feature.

It comes with predetermined settings that help you get optimal results as long as you operate the machine in the right mode. The good thing with this feature is that it eliminates the need to adjust speed, depth, and pressure manually. This mat serves several purposes, is of high quality, and boasts the ability to create picture-perfect cuts.

See Related Topic: A Deep Dive into the Cricut Explore Air 2

Double Tool Holder
In comparison, the Explore Air comes with a double tool holder. The holder of the double instrument allows you the right to cut and write at the same time. Therefore, you don’t have to buy an Explore Air Tool Adapter.

SVG, GIF, and DXF files
This lightweight computer not only accepts .jpg, .png and .bmp files but also .dxf and .svg files. So, you do not have to get trapped in a single file format. As a designer, that is the kind of independence you need to create the designs that you want.

Cut Smart Technology
If you are looking for a machine that makes precise cuts from a quarter-inch to a 23.5-inch then this is the Cricut Explore Air that serves this purpose. This where the “Clever Cut Technology” exclusive to the Cricut comes displays its usefulness. This innovative technology works in a hybrid engine system engineered to enhance blade control. When combined with the “Smart Set dial” feature, you will find that you have much greater control over the types of cuts that can be done at any given time.

Review Summary

The Cricut Explore Air has been one of the most popular machines used by the craft cutting community over the years and its popularity continues to maintain its peak. It is considered to be one of the best craft cutters for beginners. The embedded Bluetooth feature makes it a wireless machine. This results in an efficient, precise, and easy-to-use machine that is also quite inexpensive.

The cuts are very precise, even if the design has very small details. The quality is clean and refreshing to look at. The ingenious design shows the amount of thought that went into this machine. Everything you need is at your fingertips. This includes a tray that comes down and reveals a compartment where you can store your Cricut tools and extra blades. The blade storage is magnetic so that the tiny blades are not lost.

Since this is a preferred machine for beginners, it is no surprise that is extremely easy to use. If you want to cut a different type of material you can simply make your selection by changing the dial to the type of material you are cutting. You do not need to change the depth of the blade.

This is a versatile machine that can cut anything from paper and vinyl to fabric and cardstock. When you are setting it up, the on-screen prompts you through the entire process. The loading is easy as it is mentioned in the guide for the cutting mat. This ensures the mat is always loaded properly.

You can do a test run with the given “Starter project” where you are provided with the paper for the project right inside the box. The double tool holder ensures that you can cut and write in one step. The two separate housings contain a pen and a blade, respectively. You will also find an optional scoring blade.

Perhaps the most important feature is the wireless system or Bluetooth technology inside the machine that allows you to cut without having to hook up your computer, phone, or tablet. For design reference, you are also given the option of choosing from the Cricut Design Space app. This can be used on an iPhone and iPad, where you can save a project in the app on your iPhone too.

Speaking of the Cricut Design Space you will find all the design work done for you. You do have the option of using your designs by uploading your images and cutting out whatever your heart desires.

For those who like to use their own Cricut cartridges, a door right above the “open” button enables you to use it by inserting your Cricut cartridge. The box also includes the power cord, USB cord, white storage bag with a handle, 12″³ x 12″³ standard grip cutting mat, blade and housing which is already installed, pen and accessory adapter which is again already installed, and gray and blue Cricut cardstock. In all aspects, this is a good machine for all types of users that is convenient and technology-friendly to use.

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