Vinyl cutter is a versatile machine for many DIYers since it can deal with both drawing and cutting your design in a single machine, so now you don’t have to do the tiring part and quicken the pace of your work. Two currently popular vinyl cutting machines are Silhouette Portrait 2 vs Cricut Explore Air 2. This two are not only versatile but also packed with useful features you will surely love. If you are confused about which to choose, go check our article below.
In this article, we are going to give you information about:
– What are Silhouette Portrait 2 and Cricut Explore Air 2
– What Silhouette Portrait 2 and Cricut Explore Air 2 Look Like
– What Silhouette Portrait 2 and Cricut Explore Air 2 can offer to you
– Silhouette Portrait 2 vs Cricut Explore Air 2
About Silhouette Portrait 2
Silhouette brand has been around for quite some time now and is very popular among DIYers for their vinyl cutting machines. Just like the name suggest, Portrait 2 is the continuation of their former machine the original Portrait but since the unit has been launched years ago, the company decide to upgrade it to be more modern and supporting more useful features to increase the machine’s versatility. If you are wondering what those improvement are, check our article on Silhouette Portrait vs Portrait 2 here. For starter, this one already supporting a wireless connection via Bluetooth.
Silhouette Portrait 2 Design
For those who never see or use a vinyl cutter before, the outside appearance of Portrait 2 is mimicking a printer. This machine is very small and can be hold with one hand if you try compared to the company’s more expensive and features rich Cameo 3. It has a chick look with the white all over body and a simple product name at the cover. When this cover is opened, you can see its blade/pen carrier and a set of buttons at the right side to operate the unit.
Silhouette Portrait 2 Features
As the company’s entry level machine, you can’t expect much here. First, it small size is limiting the cutter to only cut material with 8 inches width while the 210 grams cutting force also make its not suitable for thicker and hard materials. It can cut materials like paper up to 350 gsm thick, tissue paper, vinyl, cereal box chipboard, iron-on transfer, craft foam, lightweight fabric and rhinestone template material. Aside the regular blade, Portrait 2 is compatible with both deep cut blade and autoblade.
Just like what you can have and perform in the older machine, you may also do the Print and Cut as well as use the PixScan technology in the newer unit. Print and Cut is very useful and this feature will let you send an images into your printer from the software and after it is printed, you can load the paper in your vinyl cutter. The image printed has a registration that can be detected by your machine to let it be cut according to the shape.
The next feature is PixScan technology which is very similar to the Print and Cut but now you don’t have to use the printer anymore. This feature will let you cut images by placing them in a special mat with registration and then you will need to take a picture of the material on top of the mat and upload them to the software and then send to your machine for cutting process.
About Cricut Explore Air 2
There is still another option if you want to find a dependable vinyl machine because Silhouette competitor also offer a similarly powerful machine that is slightly more expensive. Cricut Explore Air 2 is the continuation of its original model which is also very popular and the company claimed that this new machine is even faster and better than its predecessor. It is boasting the wireless connectivity, so you don’t have to deal with tangled cable anymore; precision, and ease of use.
Cricut Explore Air 2 Design
If you ever see or use the original machine, Explore Air 2 is still coming with the similar design but with a minimal difference, the most obvious is the color because the older machine only comes in white with leafy green bottom while this one has 4 color variants including mint like in our example picture above. The machine’s top has a few buttons with a dial at the right side and an accessory compartment, cartridge port as well as the button to open the port at the opposite side.
Cricut Explore Air 2 Features
What has been improved by the company in this new machine is the speed since they claimed it to be twice as fast now. It is a good improvement because fast machine also mean fast result, so at least you can save more time to create your design or executing the final steps. What makes this machine great and different from another similar machine in its class is the double carriers, so you can use it with both tools at the same time without having to change them in every step.
Another good part of this machine is how easy to set the machine to cut certain material because of the dial provided on the right top will let you set the machine to do specific requirements for the material you are using consisting of paper, vinyl, iron-on, light cardboard, cardstock, bonded fabric, and poster board. It also has more than 80 different material settings in its Design Space software to make sure you can always have the right setting for different materials.
Another good side is the Design Software itself which contains a myriad of patterns you can print as you wish if you are not in mood to draw. Unfortunately, the cutting width can be quickly diminishes when you upload from another source depend on your browser.
Now, let’s compare Silhouette Portrait 2 with Cricut Explore Air 2. As you may already know, the biggest difference between these two machines is the fact that Explore Air 2 has 2 carriages while the other only have one. However, Portrait 2 have interesting function like the Pixscan that allow you to instantly cut your design only by taking the picture on top of its special mat and sending them to the software without the need of scanner.
Silhouette Portrait 2 vs. Cricut Explore Air 2
All in all, the decision is all yours to make. In our opinion both of them are great option and you can pick based on personal preference but if we are to choose we will go with Silhouette Portrait 2 because it is great to have if you often draw manually and don’t use a scanner to upload it in the software.