Cricut Explore Air 2 Vs Cricut Joy

Paper and fabric arts are very popular hobbies that you can try at home even using the small tools we already have. But, for those who are more serious into the hobby, you may want to have a vinyl cutter such as Cricut Explore Air 2 Vs Cricut Joy that can ease the job. These machines are ideal for beginners and hobbyists who need something to ease their job but, before you make a decision, do check what they can offer below.

In this article, we are going to give you information about:

  • Do You Need a Vinyl Cutter
  • What are Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut Joy
  • What Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut Joy Look Like
  • How are the Reliability of Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut Joy
  • How are the Capabilities of Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut Joy
  • How are the Connectivity and App of Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut Joy
  • Cricut Explore Air 2 Vs Cricut Joy

Vinyl Cutter

Having a new hobby is fun, new stuff is interesting and sometimes it can take you away from what we have usually done every such job or school for a while to refresh our mind. The type of hobby however, varies depending on which took your attention. Some of us prefer sport or outdoor activities such as hiking and mountain biking while some may love to stay at home reading books, drawing, or watching their favorite movies and shows.

Craft is one of the most popular hobbies that is very well-known since we were very young because it can increase one’s creativity but also fun to do, especially if you love making things and building them yourselves. The type of craft also varies among people based on their own taste but paper and fabric craft or art is probably the easiest to access. This is because they are typically learnt from early school years while the tool and material itself are easy to access almost for everyone.

 Cricut Explore Air 2 Cricut Joy
Product Dimensions24 x 9.5 x 9.5 inches8.43 x 5.43 x 4.25 inches
Shipping Weight14 pounds6.09 pounds
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Depending on how serious you are into the hobby, the type of material and tools we need can be different. For paper and fabric arts, besides the materials itself, the typical tools we need to work are scissors, rotary cutter, and hobby knife. Almost all crafters are familiar with these tools because they are what we use to cut the paper or fabric along with a helper like ruler and cutting mat. While in general they are easy to access and cheap, they require manual effort.

In this step things can go wrong and it is a common problem we meet especially when drawing and cutting patterns as they require high precision and most of all, patience. If this step often stresses you out, we recommend getting a vinyl cutting machine which, as the name suggests, will take the burden of cutting material from your shoulders. They are very useful and convenient but still fairly easy to use even for beginners.

The function of a vinyl cutter is to cut your design and this machine is looking almost like any paper printers out there with a cutting blade or pen moving on the X axis. The paper or fabric is then rolled slowly while the blade is taking care of the cutting process. They can plot as well when paired with a pen or marker, depending on the machine and software capabilities. They are very accurate and fast so we don’t have to spend much time handling this step while also helping minimize error that waste materials.

About Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut Joy

Vinyl cutters are just like any hobbyist machines out there including 3D printers because of their convenience but specific function. While not all people will benefit from investing on a vinyl cutter, we do think they are very helpful to let you enjoy the activity better without having to stress about spending time cutting your design. In addition, they are not very expensive so chances are most people will be able to afford them. However, the capabilities among machines will vary.

If you are here then it means a vinyl cutter will improve your experience and for those who are willing to invest on one, now let’s see what the manufacturers can offer. In general all vinyl cutters will be able to cut your design based on their software which also differ among machines but, if you want to keep the shopping as simple as possible, then we recommend to stick with popular names such as Cricut because they are one of the best when it comes to releasing reliable machines.

They also made lots of machines over the years which can make it a bit confusing when you need to choose one. Recently they just released a new machine called Joy that is marketed for beginner crafters who want to start their journey. For those who already use one of their machines before must know that Cricut are making good and useful machines but, we can’t just pick any of them. Until now, this company has few popular machines such as the Explore Air 2.

This variant was released years ago and is still one of the most favorite vinyl cutters out there but, you may wonder which of Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut Joy will be the better option today. Overall these machines are pretty much the same to each other when it comes to their main capabilities but, one thing that sets them apart the most will be the width of the cut you can make because Joy is specifically designed for quick cut and paper art such as greeting cards.

Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut Joy Design

From the sample picture above we are sure most people can already guess what set Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut Joy the most and yes, it is starting with the size of the machine itself. As you can see, if we will put the Joy side by side to Explore Air 2 then the older machine can fit two of the new one while still leaving some space. The actual measurements for the machine itself are 5.9 inch tall, 6.9 inch deep, and 22.1 inch wide compared to 5.5 inch tall, 4.2 inch deep, and 8.4 inch wide.

The older machine is also about 6-7 times heavier than your Joy variant but the mechanism and overall design is similar to most or about any home-used vinyl cutters out there. They look like a paper printer and when the front panel is opened, it will expose a knife or pen holder but, while most full size vinyl cutters such as Cricut Explore Air 2 Vs Silhouette Cameo 4 are carrying two attachments, the Joy is only carrying one.

Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut Joy Reliability

The first thing you may want to know when getting a vinyl cutter is probably how reliable they are and here we want to mention that among the two, only Explore Air 2 can be categorized as a versatile cutting machine. This is because Joy is specifically designed for cutting paper and mostly used to make cards in which Cricut also offers a special card that increases the capability of this machine. We also are not sure how much is its cutting force.

The Explore Air 2 is offering 400 grams of cutting force or about 10% of the Maker’s machine but it can handle various materials as long as they are not thicker than 2.0 millimeters. This is why the Joy is often said as the easy start and friend of casual crafters. Overall you can cut cards and stickers with just any of them but for thicker and wider materials, the Explore Air 2 will be the better choice. As for the cutting dimension, they can cut 12 inch by 2 feet material compared to 5.5 inch by 20 feet.

Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut Joy Capabilities

Next we want to talk about the capabilities of Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut Joy. Both of them can cut and draw depending on the attachment and what you tell them to do but the older machine can score as well. Their attachments are not interchangeable however, so we can’t use Cricut’s older machines’ attachments such as Makers in the new one like Joy as the clamp and blade are different in size. They will come with the basic versatile blade and you can purchase more for different types.

We have mentioned that Cricut Joy can cut up to 20 feet and not only this, the machine is actually capable of using material without the mat as long as it is their Smart Materials which has thicker backing to allow the machine to cut on them.

Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut Joy Connectivity and App

The last part we want to talk about is their connectivity and software but, you will get a free software to use with both machines and our favorite part is you can find so many designs here to play with and match with your style. For convenience both of Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut Joy are also featured with Bluetooth connectivity so we can use our mobile app whether it is iOS or Android base without having to connect the device physically.

Cricut Explore Air 2 Vs Cricut Joy

These brothers are ideal for any crafters who want to be more convenient by removing the burden of drawing or cutting the material manually with a hobby knife or scissor. The reliability is different however as Cricut Joy is made for cutting papers or cards while the Explore Air 2 can work on wider types of materials. The older machine is also better with larger width but the Joy can cut on much longer material.

- [CREATE MORE] The Cricut Explore Air 2 is your personal DIY cutting machine. It will flawlessly cut over 100+ different types of materials including premium vinyl, iron on and htv vinyl, cardstock, faux leather, adhesive foils, specialty paper, poster board and more
- [ENDLESS PROJECT POSSIBILITIES] The Cricut Explore Air 2 makes it so easy to create a wide arrange of DIY projects. Make custom stickers, personalized home decor, home-made gifts and party favors, unique greeting cards, custom designed apparel, and more
- [INCLUDED WITH MACHINE] Each machine includes a Cricut Premium Fine Point Blade and Housing, a Cricut 12 inch x12 inch Light Grip Adhesive Cutting Mat (perfect for vinyl and htv projects), a Cricut Black Fine Point Pen, access to Cricut's design software Design Space, and a 2 week free trial to Cricut Access
- [DESIGN FOR FREE] Upload or create and design your own images for free from your computer, tablet or mobile phone using Cricut's free design software design space. Enhance your design space experience by subscribing to Cricut Access, Cricut's vast library of over 100,000 images, fonts, and make it now projects and designs
- DIY Made Easy Whether you are new to DIY, or a seasoned crafter looking for a more convenient way to complete those quick projects. This smart little cutting, writing, and label making machine is perfect for you. Cricut Joy's small size makes it the perfect companion to the Cricut Air 2 or Cricut Maker machines.
- Add that personal touch adding that extra touch to your projects is easier than ever. Cricut Joy can make continuous cuts up to 4 feet and repeated cuts up to 20 feet using Cricut smart materials. (Available in Vinyl, HTV Iron On, and Label Vinyl varieties.) No cutting mat needed. Just load and go. Or use other popular materials like Cricut Infusible Ink, Cardstock, or Insert Cards using Cricut Joy Cutting Mats and Cricut Joy Card Mats.
- Get organized: See you later label maker. Cricut Joy can cut and write custom labels for a variety of home organization projects. Organizing the pantry, toiletries, storage bins and more with Cricut Smart Vinyl and Cricut Pens.
- Design for free: Upload and create your own designs for free using Cricut design space. Design on your computer tablet or mobile device using our iOs or Android apps. Take your design space experience to the next level with Cricut access, a monthly subscription to our vast library of over 100k images, fonts, and make-it-now projects.


There is no bad option between the two and you can have both if needed but, comparing the versatility we do like Explore Air 2 better because it can handle various different materials including fabric for those who are working with more than papers.

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