On this page, you will learn about the differences between the Silhouette Cameo and the Cricut Explore Air. While yes, these machines are very similar to each other, there are some differences that cannot be ignored. Both cutters are great machines, but which one to choose, check it out below.
Silhouette cameo – Click here to check the price
Silhouette Cricut Explorer Air– Click here to check the price
Silhouette Cameo VS Cricut Explore Air: which one should you buy…?
Size and technology
The Cricut Explore Air is larger and heavier than the Silhouette Cameo. They both use print and cut technology, however, the Explore Air’s print and cut area is much smaller than that of the Silhouette Cameo.
While the Cameo is predominantly white in color, the Explore Air offers three color options: baby blue, peach pink, and mint green.
Both machines have roughly the same cutting width. The Explore Air does replace the Cameo in terms of cut length, however, as it has a longer cut length. This makes the Cricut Explore Air a more viable option for longer materials.
The Silhouette Cameo comes equipped with the matless cutting capability, which means you have the freedom to cut certain materials without using a mat. Customers love this feature because it saves them the extra expense of buying belts and allows the machine to cut longer materials. The Cricut Explore Air, on the other hand, needs specialized mats for cutting.
The Cricut Explore Air cuts a wider range of materials than the Silhouette Cameo. It is able to efficiently cut thicker and denser materials. This remains one of the biggest advantages of the Explore Air over the Cameo, because while Cameo users claim the machine is unable to cut balsa wood, the Explore Air cuts it satisfactorily.
The cuts of the Silhouette Cameo are not as crisp and precise as those of the Cricut Explore Air. Some users claim that they usually need to redo a cut because the Cameo didn’t cut properly the first time around. The majority of customers say the Cricut Explore Air has sharper, more durable blades.
The Cricut machine comes with a Smart Set dial. This dial is placed on the top of the machine and is used to select the cutting parameters for different materials. It is not necessary to remove the blade to change a setting as is the case with the Silhouette Cameo. However, some Explore Air users have complained that the dial does not perform as well in adjusting cut dimensions.
Unlike the Cameo, the Cricut Explore Air incorporates Bluetooth which gives it the ability to cut wirelessly. This minimizes the use of cables and gives users the freedom to work a considerable distance from their computers.
Click here for more details on the Silhouette Cameo
Click here for more details on the Cricut Explore Air
The Cricut Air is designed with built-in storage compartments to store blades, work supplies, and other tools. The Cameo does not have this built-in storage function.
Dual cartridge functionality
The Cricut Explore Air has two cartridge holders. This gives users the freedom to sketch and cut without wasting time reloading. The Cameo doesn’t have similar designs to save time.
Cameo comes with a cutting mat, cutting blade, Pick Me Up tool, power and USB cables, Silhouette studio software, free designs, and a free one-month subscription to the design store of Silhouette. The Explore Air comes with its own cutting mat and blade, USB and power cords, accessory adapter, Cricut Design Space software and a mobile app, plus projects, samples, and images free
For design and editing, the Cameo uses Silhouette Studio software while the Explore Air uses Cricut Design Space software. These two software are very different from each other, as evidenced by the testimonials of their users. Silhouette Design Studio is more difficult to use due to its steep learning curve, with the main complaint from users being that it is too advanced for beginners. The Cricut Design Space, on the other hand, has a streamlined learning process, making it a great choice for beginners.
The Design Space comes with predefined files and basically leaves little room for users to get creative. This is not the case with Silhouette Studio, as it comes with so many functions and options and great design potential.
The internet requirement of the Cricut design space has been a deciding factor for most customers. Since Cricut software is internet-based, you must be online and have a fast internet connection before you can use it. Many users report that the software sometimes has several bugs and malfunctions for no reason. They claim that the software tends to crash, freeze, or lag while in use. The Silhouette Studio, on the other hand, is not internet-based. Once you’ve downloaded it to your computer, you’re good to go whether or not you have an internet connection. User reports of the issues are scarce.
Design shop, subscription and ownership
By purchasing the Silhouette Cameo, you will have access to the Design Store. The Design Store is simply a collection of awesome and eye-catching ready-made designs available for purchase. Users can download these designs for a small fee for each download or purchase a monthly subscription with a specified monthly subscription. Any design downloaded from the Silhouette store becomes the property of the user and is free to use in projects for both personal use and for sale.
The Cricut Explore Air comes with access to its own design store: the Provo Craft. However, the strict policy on using their designs turned out to be the biggest downside of this machine among the users. Customers can access shapes and designs on the store. To use a design, you must pay a small fee for the download. However, it is virtually impossible to use these images in projects for sale because you do not own these designs or shapes. Worse yet, you have to continue paying monthly fees to continue to have access to already uploaded designs. Simply put, with the Cricut Design Store, when you buy designs, you don’t really own them. You just praise them.
Many customers report that the Cameo is much louder than the Cricut Explore Air.
Pros and Cons of Silhouette Cameo
- Large cutting width
- More powerful and creative software
- Does not require internet connection. Works offline
- Noisier than the Cricut Explore Air
- Steep learning curve of the software
Advantages and Disadvantages of Cricut Explore Air
- Larger cutting width than the Cameo
- Several color options
- Simplified software
- Can cut dense materials
- Not so economical
- Limited software with several bugs
Click here to see Silhouette Cameo Reviews and Ratings
Click here to see Cricut Explore Air Reviews and Ratings
Summary and recommendation
If I had to choose between the two cutters in Silhouette Cameo vs Cricut Explore Air, I would have a hard time deciding, but ultimately I would choose the Explore Air. The Cricut Explore Air has a larger cutting area than the Cameo, and it can cut many different types of materials as well. But its software is limited because a large number of users complain about problems. Nonetheless, I think both machines are good buys and have a number of advantages and limitations. Make sure you are comfortable with the limits before choosing one.