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Silhouette CAMEO vs Cricut: Which Is Best For You?! (Honest Pros and Cons from the Pros!)

I get asked a decent amount about the differences between the Silhouette vs Circut.  I'm always kinda like, "I can talk to you all day (every day) about Silhouette, but, um, I hear that the Circut Explore does this but..."

Silhouette Cameo, Cricut, Silhouette Cameo vs Cricut, Silhouette vs Cricut

Let's just be real here for a second: I.don't.know.enough.  I may know the Silhouette machines like I know my kids' bad habits, but I don't know a darn thing about the Cricut machines other than what people tell me.  That's not very useful for someone who's trying to answer the question: "Should I buy a Silhouette or Cricut?"

While I have absolutely no doubt I could give you a 100% honest answer about the pros (powerful software, works offline, cuts up to 10') and cons of Silhouette (lacking customer support, some accessories and supplies are poor-ish quality), that's not what we're talking about here. We're talking about major differences between the Silhouette CAMEO and the Cricut... and who better to ask than those who have both machines?

So, armed with a series of questions, I turned to a few of my fellow bloggers, who craft with both the Silhouette CAMEO and the Cricut Explore to help you decide which is best for you.

Many of their responses actually shocked me particularly because all four of the bloggers I interviewed, were given their Cricut machines from Cricut.  Some of them have or have had working relationships with Cricut which is not uncommon between bloggers and brands.  Only one, however, has ever had a working relationship with Silhouette America (and it's not me, FYI).  Keep this in mind as you read through their responses.  My hope is that with their side by side comparisons you can decide which die cut machine is best for you: Cricut Explore or Silhouette CAMEO.

Our amazing bloggers are (please follow and support them!):

Lindsay | Frenchie - Facebook - Instagram

How long have you been a Cricut user?

Mandy: 2 Years, but not much of a user
Jessica: 2 years
Rebecca:  4 Years
Lindsay:  10 years

How did you get your Cricut? 

Mandy: It was given to me by Cricut.
Jessica: It was given to me by Cricut.
Rebecca: It was given to me by Cricut.
Lindsay: It was given to me by Cricut.

As a blogger and influencer, what is your affiliation or relationship with Cricut? 

Mandy: Posted projects using the machine.

Jessica: I am an affiliate blogger for Cricut. I also do sponsored and non-sponsored posts for Cricut.

Rebecca: Contracted work, and work when I want with the brand.
Lindsay: Affiliate and a promoter.

About how often do you use your Cricut?

Mandy: Hardly ever.
Jessica: Weekly
Rebecca: Hardly ever.
Lindsay: 1-2 times a month, unless it's the holidays.

How would you describe the learning curve for new Circut users? 

Mandy: If you are just selecting a file and cutting it, the learning curve isn't high - I would recommend it to people who would only do that sort of thing (no designing), it would be a good option for them.
Jessica: Pretty simple.

Rebecca: Machine and set up is easy to use right out of the box. Software takes a little time to learn, but is fairly easy.

Lindsay: Software can be a bit tricky.

What do you like most about your Cricut? 

Mandy: The actual machine is awesome! I love it's cutting capabilities and I like the actual machine over the Silhouette machine.

Jessica: It cuts anything.

Rebecca: The smart blade and the ability to cut so many material types.

Lindsay: The quality of the cut.

Can you design your own designs in the Cricut software?

Mandy: Yes, but I tried and struggled with it and I would consider myself pretty tech-savvy.

Jessica: Yes

Rebecca: Yes

Lindsay: Yes. You can take multiple shapes and morph them into one. You can also upload jpegs and svg. 

After initially purchasing the machine, what are other expenses that will be incurred by a crafter who owns and uses a Circut?

Mandy: Same as silhouette - purchase cut files individually, materials to cut, new mats and blades, etc.

Jessica: Design Space/art, and products to be cut (vinyl, iron on, paper), mats and blades

Rebecca: Design Space images are available on a monthly payment plan. You can also expect to purchase vinyl, transfer paper, any additional mats or tools you may need, etc...

Lindsay: New blades, mats, pens and scrapbook supplies.

If you could change one thing about your Cricut or the design software what would it be? 

Mandy: The design software, starting with making it NOT web-based. I don't have an amazing Internet connection, so web-based software is a big negative for me.  I struggle with Cricut design software in designing and manipulating my designs. The design software is a negative for the Cricut machine.

Jessica: I would make it faster

Rebecca: The software! It's not that great. If there were simple features like slice, or the ability to erase part of an image that would be awesome. It doesn't compare to Silhouette software at all! Silhouette wins this category hands down. Cricut Design Space is internet based software, which means that it limits when people can should be a downloaded program to the computer like Silhouette. It always needs firmware updates, which often times can be troublesome since it can freeze or take a while to do. It also can't cut any length over 24", and always needs a mat to cut. Such a pain.

Lindsay: To make it more like Adobe Illustrator like Silhouettes software is.

What features do you wish the Cricut had that it doesn't?

Mandy: Better software that is easier for the every-day person to manipulate.

Jessica: Offline designing

Rebecca: Touch screen, cutting longer than 24", and the use of no mat.

Lindsay: To be able to cut larger shapes and overlap the shape

How would you describe the quality of Circut's customer support and customer service? 

Mandy: n/a

Jessica: Amazing

Rebecca: For me it's excellent since I work with them directly, but I've heard from readers it's terrible or long wait times. There is actually a Facebook group called "Cricut Lovers Guide to Design Space" ( that I belong to and recommend to all my readers when they have questions I can't answer. This group is large and very knowledgeable, and always willing to help quickly.

Lindsay: Awesome

If you only own a Cricut, would you recommend it to a friend? 

Mandy: Depends on the person - I would recommend a Cricut to a person who would want to simply select a file and cut it out, who wouldn't be doing any design manipulation. I would recommend the Silhouette to a person who is wanting to create and design within the software.

Jessica: Yes

Rebecca: It depends, If the person is looking for longer cutting capabilities and easier software I would recommend the Silhouette hands down. If they are looking for an easy to use machine right out of the box with minimal image manipulation then Cricut is the way to go.

Lindsay: Yes

Have you ever used a Silhouette machine?

Mandy: Yes, I own one.
Jessica: Yes, I own one. My Silhouette is an older machine.
Rebecca: Yes, I own one.
Lindsay: Yes, I own one.

As a blogger and influencer, what is your affiliation to Silhouette America?

Mandy:  Currently none.
Jessica: None
Rebecca: Currently none
Lindsay: Nothing

For those who own both a Silhouette and a Cricut what are the biggest differences you see between the two die cutters?  

Mandy: Hands down, the software

Jessica: The Cricut cuts better

Rebecca: Software, cutting length capability, and the ability to cut many different kinds of materials.

Lindsay: The blade on the Cricut is much sharper and you're able to get a much more quality cut.

If you also own a Silhouette, what Cricut feature do you wish the Silhouette machines/software could perform?

Mandy:  The Cricut machine is better at cutting a broader range of materials, such as balsa wood.

Jessica: The Cricut cuts better than my old Silhouette

Rebecca: Smart cut blade, not having to adjust a blade by hand each time.*

Linsday: A spinning blade.*

In what ways does the Circut outperform the Silhouette?

Mandy: Cutting variety of materials.

Jessica: Cutting

Rebecca: Smart cut blade *

Lindsay: The cut quality is far superior and the ability to have the smart dial.

* Silhouette has since announced the release of the Silhouette Auto Blade which will auto-adjust depending on the material selected by the user in Silhouette Studio.

In what ways does the Silhouette outperform the Cricut?

Mandy: Software program.

Jessica: The old design software was better, and had less cartoon-y art

Rebecca: Software, cutting length capability, touch screen.

Lindsay: The software.

If you own both machines, which would you recommend to a friend? Why?

Mandy: Silhouette for sure, if they're planning on trying to create their own designs or manipulate designs they find in store or online.

Jessica: Cricut, it cuts better.

Rebecca: Silhouette for cutting length and software. Cricut for precision cutting and ease of use.

Lindsay: Cricut. You can get a smoother cut out of any product you are cutting. 

So I think the major takeaways here are that Cricut Explore provides a better cut and can cut thicker materials, while Silhouette's software program, the ability to work offline, and the 10' cutting capability is superior to the same features on the Cricut.

If you are a current Silhouette or Cricut owner, are you still confident you make the right decision? If you are in the market for a die cutter, which machine are you now leaning towards and why? Leave a comment to weigh in! 

And a very special thanks to the bloggers who helped share their knowledge on the Cricut and the Silhouette CAMEO. Please show these ladies support and follow their blogs and their social media channels! 
Lindsay | Frenchie - Facebook - Instagram

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing products through my links, I receive a small commission. That's what helps fund Silhouette School so I can keep buying new Silhouette-related products to show you how to get the most out of your machine!

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  1. This is the best Silhouette vs Cricut post that I have read. I wish I'd seen it a year and a half ago. I bought a Cricut originally (I think it was on sale because they were bringing in Cricut Air) with the intent to use it in my home-based business. I picked up learning it right away. But it was also evident, right away, that the web-based software was going to be an issue. Use this browser, not that one, oh! now you need to click this in the settings of that browser to make it work. And then, there was the fear that I'd be working on client projects and it would fail on their end, or my internet would go out because I live rurally. Also, I really wanted to do some bling shirts and could not do that with the Cricut software.
    So, I bought a Silhouette Cameo and haven't used the Cricut since. The software was a bit of a learning curve (I bought your book and it was a GIANT help) and I didn't use it for a couple of months after I set it up.
    I agree with the others, the blade is kinda crappy and the machine itself seems flimsier than the Cricut, but the ability to curve text and work offline makes it my favorite. I just keep a stock of blades and have designated glitter blades.

  2. Hands down the Silhouette. I own several Cricut machines & just invested in an Explore Air so I could give an honest review on the differences & I HATE it! It's slow & I have a super fast internet connection, so it's not that. I can't figure out the software for the life of me. Silhouette has made it so much easier. I regret buying the new Cricut machine even just to compare the two, it's just going to collect dust. I've been a Silhouette user for over 3 years now & love it. Going to have to save up to get the new machine & build a bigger cutting station for my machines.

  3. Is it possible to use the Silhouette software on Cricut?

    1. No, in fact many of the other cutting softwares you can buy won't work with Cricut (make the cut, sure cuts a lot) but they will work with the Silhouette.

    2. While it's true you cannot cut directly from MTC or SCAL to the Explore, you can design in those programs {and many others} and save your file and upload it to Design Space to cut to the Explore. Design Space can read svgs, dxf, png, jpg and bmp files.

    3. Circuit sued MTC and SCAL so those software's no longer support Circut. They both support Silhouette though. Previous versions of both are still available that do support Circut, but they newer versions with newer features do not.

  4. I sold all my cricut stuff in 2013 to get the cameo for 2 reasons - print and cut and cutting a true circle. The software is wonderful and yes there is slight learning curve but not bad. I did check into new the cricut explore which can do print and cut and cuts a true circle, but after trying the software, there was no way I would go back to a cricut. My machine may be louder and slower but I never have to worry about no internet and now with the new machine coming out.... need I say more. I have the curio for cutting thicker stuff which is very quiet.

  5. I have the silhouette cameo and do a lot of word art and individual designs on it. My friends who have cricut machines say there is no way they could design what I do on the silhouette with their cricuts. However, it is really important to set the blade correctly for a good clean cut and I think the instructions that come with the machine don't help. I wrecked my first blade using the cut settings on the machine software. Also, I did a huge number of cuts with my last blade but I've just replaced it as it lost its edge. The new one was useless - I'd had it as a spare for ages, so couldn't really return it, I've just had to suck up the loss and send for new ones. Some papers cut much better than others as well. Paper that is too pulpy just produces too many fibres that clog the blad so you wreck more cuts than are successful.

  6. I have the Silhouette Cameo and the Cricut Explore Air. I refer the silhouette hands down. I think that the cuts are better and the software makes designing easier. Although circut does provide a much easier print and cut. If I had to recommend
    to friend which machine to buy it would definitely be the Silhouette Cameo.

  7. I had a Cricut that was given to me by my sister because she never used it after the first week of frustration. I'm better on a computer - so I honestly figured it was user error. I tried a few things - and then out of frustration - I boxed it back up and passed it down to the other sister. I was looking for a cutting machine that I could use - when I came across the Silhouette Cameo. I watched hours of videos - and read just about every post made in Silhouette Blog - then I got it for Christmas. I've never looked back. I have come SOOOO far with what I am able to do now vs not even 6 months ago. I LOVE SilhouetteBlogSchool SOOO much, and I have found a ton of help online. I just use cardstock and vinyls - so I haven't had any problem cutting at all. I absolutely love my Cameo

  8. I used an older Cricut for years and enjoyed it. I had a Gypsy and became pretty decent at designing my own stuff on that. But then I won a Silhouette Cameo and discovered how easy designing my own stuff really could be! I LOVE my Silhouette, and I think I've only used my Cricut once since receiving my Cameo about six months ago.

  9. I started with the Cricut, then added the Gypsy and the Cricut Imagine to my collection. I still have all 3, but became very annoyed at Cricut on how they bring out something new and exciting and then after a couple of years stop supporting it (Gypsy and Imagine). I decided to not purchase any more of their machines because of that. I purchased my first Silhouette because of the design capabilities and LOVE it! I use it several times a week and it preforms beautifully. I do use the Cricut mat with it as I like the thickness of it better. For me, it is Silhouette and nothing else!

  10. Great post. This is so helpful. I had just purchased a Silhouette Portrait when I read a seies of articles by one of my favorite blogging crafters about why she switched from Silhouette to Cricut. I was so disappointed that I had chosen the "wrong" brand. Yet, I have really enjoyed my Portrait and found it pretty easy to learn. Now, my only regret is that I didn't buy the bigger Cameo model!

  11. I agree with cdeasey that I like to use the Cricut mat with my Silhouette Cameo. But I've been surprised that no one has mentioned using the CB09 blade. It's much, much cheaper than the Sil blade and cuts better and stays sharp longer. It can be a little tricky to get it manually adjusted to the right depth, but once I get mine just right, I leave it alone. It's so inexpensive that you can buy several sets of blade holders to adjust and keep reserved for specific types of materials. There's also a helpful Facebook group just for using this blade with Silhouette. I love the Sil software, but will never buy their mats or blades again.

    1. I'm going to look into this thanks! My blades are driving me nuts.

  12. Great post. You nailed it on the differences between the machines. I bought the Cricut on a whim when I read that it could cut leather. I thought I could use that to make leather backings for my bead embroidery. The online software was so frustrating (and I am a computer geek), a week later I ordered the Silhouette and now have both. I use them both, and I love it the the Cricut can see the fonts I have activated via Extensis Suitcase. The Silhouette can only see fonts I have in the system folder. So if I want easy font use, I design in Illustrator and send to Silhouette Connect for sketching or cutting. I wish I could save files that were sent to Connect as studio files so I could then open them in Studio.

    I would like to see an easier way to remove excess points after tracing.

    One thing I don't think was mentioned above. The Cricut is much quieter. I can't use the Silhouette when my husband is asleep -- it makes quite a racket!

  13. I would love to see these same interviews after the new SiL 3 comes out, & of course has time to work out the kinks. Great info. I have been wondering what to buy when my cameo dies. I've had it for years & lately it's been *quirky*. Thanks

  14. I would like to see a comparison between silhouette cameo and brother scan and cut

    1. Yes, please. And the Janome, Artistic Edge!

  15. I have both original Cricut and Sil Cameo. Hands down, the images on Silhouette are much more beautiful, sophisticated, and the variety is endless. I was so tired of the juvenile images from Cricut and they continue to not have anything that is contemporary or exciting. I use my Cricut as a back up for some very basic designs for my Grand children. I also think it's DISGUSTING that Cricut NEVER updated their Cricut Rewards after over 5 years of promises, even though we spend big bucks for those now useless cartridges. This company LIES and has taught their employees who
    answer to just dodge questions. Both machines cut equally and both require a learning curve.

  16. I had a Cricut Expression, but decided to buy a Cameo after the rave reviews, the machine is very noisy, doesn't cut as well as the Cricut and I wish I loved it as much as the Cricut, I bought it for the print and cut, which is good or not depending on the day! I gave the Cricut to my Niece, she loves it, she's a Teacher and uses it for her class work.

  17. I debated for a long time before I purchased the Cricut over 5 years ago. After using it for a year and not enjoying it, I bought a Sil Cameo - and I absolutely love it! I like being able to use any font on my computer (obviously some work better than others), create my own designs, or choose from thousands of designs in the store. I use my Cameo on a regular basis and highly recommend it.

  18. Thank you for the honest comparison! I purchased the Cricut first (from HSN) and, after receiving it, sent it back! I found the website unhelpful and it just couldn't do what I wanted. I love the rhinestone feature on the Silhouette! I have two little granddaughters who want their bling (one of them calls them diamonds) and the Silhouette can't be beat for that feature! I was most interested in using the machine for embellishment on tees and merging it with my sewing projects. It seemed to me that the Cricut was designed more for paper crafters--even the projects on the website were mostly paper based.

  19. I had Cricuts for years but once I tried the Silhouette I never went back. I don't think the software is hard to learn at all and I love to design my own images. I also love being able to import images or photos and trace them. I have been able to personalize my scrapbooks and projects in ways I never would have been able to with just Cricut products. I can appreciate that Cricut has made improvements recently, but not enough for me to go back. I use the Silhouette almost every week and love how quickly I can accomplish what I sit down to do. Print and cut, trace, custom backgrounds, perfect spacing... easy peasy!

  20. Try using the Cricut mobile apps (Design Space and Basics) and compare that experience to the Silhouette design studio. 1.5 stars for Silhouette vs 4.5 stars for Cricut in the App Store sure says something about the software experience difference.

    1. Also check the Amazon reviews/ratings for Cricut, which are higher than Silhouette. Just providing unbiased data from actual users.

    2. I am being quite biased in my opinion. I guess it does say something that all 4 bloggers are affiliated to Cricut and not to Silhouette. Could the review be trusted? Am skeptical..

  21. My 2 cents: I sold all of my Cricut stuff back in 2013 after I got the Cameo. In my experience with Provo Craft, they discontinued many of the products that I invested serious money in (the Gypsy design tool, the Print-n-cut Imagine machine, the Cake machine, etc) and just expected me to keep buying their latest and greatest. Since then I've had minimal investment with the Cameo and love it just as much as the day I got it. I find the software easy to use and have been able to cut all that I've wanted it to and more. I would never recommend anything Provo Craft again. Very greedy company.

  22. Silhouette has not abandoned people that own older machines. I donated my old silhouette SD after I upgraded and that machine was still working and compatible with all the new features! Cricut (Provocraft) on the other hand has a history of not providing support and not making things compatible with older and now obsolete machine. Besides with their web based software, they just force updated on you, you have no choice or say. The machine might cut better, but I cut all sort of materials with my silhouette (felt, fabric, htv, cardstock, fun foam) and if I had to upgrade I would consider other brands, certainly NOT Cricut ;)

  23. Great comparison made. I own both machines. I have owned Cricuts and Silhouette machines when they were first introduced to the public. Love them both. I love the Silhouette software over Cricut software. I love the Cricut Air when it comes to cutting materials over the Silhouette. Shame they don't combine their software and cutting abilities - would have one awesome machine.

  24. I bought a Cricut Explore last week and it arrived a few days ago.
    These past two days have been very frustrating, because I wanted to use it for pepakura papercraft. Unfortunately, the print and cut feature is very limited, because it only works for designs that are under 6" x 8.5".
    Highly considering returning the Cricut Explore to get a Silhouette cameo, which I hear allows for a much larger print and cut space. Not to mention, Pepakura has a viewer specifically built to be used with the Cameo.

    Cricut's web-based software is horribly slow at times, and sometimes requires a refresh. I did not realize that cut spacing was not preserved if the "Attach" tool wasn't used, and this caused a great deal of confusion.
    I really hope I can return the Cricut for a decent refund.

  25. Are you able to customize font and phrases using the Cricut Software? or would I need the Silhouette?

  26. Is it possible to upload designs made on Adobe Illustrator to the Cricut? With a USB or cable or Bluetooth or something?
    Very good article, thank you so much!

    1. I am not sure as I am not familiar with cricut. I'm sure you could find some information on the spec and features of the machine on their website.

  27. Hi Melissa! I did some research and yes, you can upload Adobe Illustrator designs to the Cricut. Just wanted to tell you in case someone else is curious or something. :) Have a beautiful day!


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