Cutter Reviews

Best Cricut for Making Shirts: Small Businesses and Home Use

 March 2, 2021

By  Jane Melcher

For any small fashion business or any customized t-shirt crafter, acquiring the best Cricut for making shirts is worth investment. With the right vinyl cutter, you can actualize any designs, texts, artistic impressions you have in mind. A Cricut is ideal for t-shirt making because it quickly cuts out iron-on vinyl designs, which can be quite challenging for a beginner, but there are plenty of tutorials to follow.

Below we have listed some of the best t-shirt making machines in the market with their pros and cons to help you get started. Besides, to help you make an informed decision on the right kind of Cricut machine, we have included a detailed buying guide.

Best Cricut for Making Shirts

Best Cricut for Making Shirts: Small Businesses and Home Use

1. Cricut Maker

Cricut Maker, Champagne
11,063 Reviews
Cricut Maker, Champagne
  • [CREATE MORE] Cricut Maker gives you the...
  • [DESIGN FOR FREE] Simple design apps. Lay out...

Cricut Maker is among the best machines for t-shirt making, whether as a business or hobby, because of the Cricut access to over 300 materials on the low season you can use to make wall decals. The Cricut Maker is an upgrade of Cricut Explore Air 2, where it packs more accessories and can do what the machine does and more. Cricut Maker employs a bigger cutting size measuring 12 x 24 inches and comes with a knife blade for use with thicker materials like balsa wood and a rotary blade that cuts fabric. Still, these tools don't make any difference in cutting heat transfer vinyl.

Cricut Maker is quite versatile, with more than twelve capabilities of what it can do, including writing, scoring, cutting, and many other advanced options. This is the best Cricut machine for professionals or experienced users because it comes with advanced features, but if you are a fast learner, you can teach yourself through tutorials. The Cricut Maker adapts to up to 10 times the standard cutting force, and it can work at twice the baseline speed in its fast mode.


  • The fastest electric
  • Cricut cutting machine you can find
  • High cutting power, and therefore, you can cut through anything for your project.
  • Low-priced accessories and selling your projects can bring you high profits.
  • Access to over 300 materialsLow operational costs


  • Its quite pricey
  • The Cricut Design Space is mostly online.

2. Cricut Explore Air 2

Cricut Explore Air 2, Mint
21,904 Reviews
Cricut Explore Air 2, Mint
  • [CREATE MORE] The Circuit Explore Air 2 is...
  • [INCLUDED WITH MACHINE] Each machine includes...
  • [DESIGN FOR FREE] Upload or create and design...
  • [BECOME A PART OF A COMMUNITY] We know it can...

Cricut Explore Air 2 is designed to make seamless vinyl cuts for various materials, including Heat Transfer Vinyl for shirts. It is more affordable because it is not a flagship model, but it offers twice the other cutters' speed. The Cricut machine also has noise reduction making it an acceptable sound as cutters are quite loud. Therefore, a crafter can use Cricut Explore Air 2 even at night without bothering neighbors or relatives.

Cricut Explore Air 2 has a cutting force of 350g and a cutting size of 11.5 by 23.5 inches, and you can easily create different designs for your shirt. The Cricut machine features a Smart set dial technology where it automatically changes the cutting depth and pressure applied on different materials. You have to select the type of material. Cricut Explore Air 2 works with both the Mac and Windows systems, and you can also easily print from your phone via Bluetooth.

Cricut Explore Air 2 machine does not allow third-party installation, so it doesn't offer flexibility in that way. Still, the Cricut machine comes with an IOS app that allows you to upload your designs and offer cloud service for storage and easy access from any location.


  • It is compact and has a minimal design.
  • Great material adaptability
  • The vinyl cutter can speed up the workflow because it has a dual carriage.
  • You can upload your designs for free.
  • Affordable
  • A variety of pre-made fonts and designs
  • Easy to use for a beginner
  • It can be used offline using its IOS mobile app.


  • Lacks specialized blades like the Knife blade or the Rotary blade
  • Third-party design software installation is not allowed on the Cricut machines.
  • It is outdate

3. Cricut Joy

Cricut Joy Machine - Compact and Portable DIY Machine For Quick Vinyl, HTV Iron On and Paper...
3,731 Reviews
Cricut Joy Machine - Compact and Portable DIY Machine For Quick Vinyl, HTV Iron On and Paper...
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  • Add that personal touch adding that extra...
  • Get organized: See you later label maker....
  • Design for free: Upload and create your own...
  • Included in the box: Cricut joy cutting...

Cricut Joy is a compact cutting machine that makes it the best Cricut for crafters on the road and creating t-shirts on the go. Cricut Joy can be used to create small custom t-shirts for kids. This Cricut machine has 4.5 inches 6.5 inches surface, and it is only compatible with smart materials, vinyl, and paper but can handle heat transfer vinyl easily.

Compared to Cricut Explore Air 2, Cricut Joy machines are on the higher side when pricing. Their accessories are not reasonably priced and quite expensive, but you can save some money if you want to cut it to your size and buy your heat transfer vinyl. Cricut Joy is ideal to use for opportunities such as baby showers, fairs, or trade shows.


  • You can quickly finish your project within 15 minutes.
  • Lightweight
  • Perfect choice for kid's school projects because it's easy to useIdeal for people on the move


  • The Cricut cutting mat and the blade is not compatible with other Cricut machines.
  • Overpriced accessories

4. Silhouette Cameo 3 Bluetooth Starter Bundle

Silhouette Cameo 3 White Bluetooth Starter Bundle with 26-12" x 12" Oracal Vinyl Sheets, Transfer...
  • Silhouette Cameo 3 with Bluetooth,...
  • 26 Sheets of Permanent Oracal Vinyl - 12 Inch...
  • Autoblade - Auto Adjust Blade to Match Cut...
  • Vinyl Application Guide by Silhouette School...

Silhouette Cameo is one of the topmost recommended cutting machines for your DIY project, which performs exceptionally well in transferring designs from your design Space software to the heat transfer vinyl. The machine features advanced design software that allows you access to various vector designs and fonts from your computer. Silhouette Cameo is compatible with the Pixscan program, designed to provide the user with a place to scan the image, and the machine does the rest if they cannot do it themselves.

Silhouette Cameo 3 comes with an auto blade that saves time and guarantees correct settings without any guesswork. Additionally, the Cameo 3 comes with a full-color touch screen, making it very user-friendly. The biggest downside of this cutting machine for making t-shirts is that it could use a wider cutting width.


  • Impressive software design
  • Full-color touch screen
  • Accurate cutting
  • The user interface is beginner-friendly
  • Compatible with the patented Pixscan technology


  • Cutting width cutting surface

5. Cricut Easypress 2

Cricut 2 6X7 RASPBERRY EasyPress, 6" x 7"
  • 6" x 7" (15 cm x 17. 5 cm) size ideal for...
  • Professional iron-on results in 60 seconds or...
  • Advanced heat plate design with...
  • Precise temperature control up to 400℉ (205...
  • Easy to learn, simple to use

Cricut EasyPress 2 is one of the best Cricut devices for transferring vinyl heat transfer designs, even for beginners. Better heat presses are required to make bigger t-shirts, unlike the regular iron, which can be used for infusible ink projects. Cricut EasyPress 2 gets hot within two minutes, and the heat plate offers edge-to-edge heating to promote even heat even when placed on top of your t-shirts.

Easy Press 2 Cricut machines provide a heat guide that ensures your time settings and temperature provide the best heat transfer results, and the heat transfer holds well after several washes. It is available in three sizes: 9-inch x 9 inches, 6-inch x 7 inches, and 12 x 10 inch and it is recommended no matter the size; make sure the Cricut EasyPress mat is extra large. However, Cricut EasyPress is not ideal for bulk jobs, and you might have to use lots of energy.


  • Portable heat press
  • Using the Cricut is fast because the heat press is superfast.
  • Evenly distributes heat, so the vinyl sticks.
  • Cricut Easy
  • Press 2 can act as an industrial heat press vinyl without spending a lot of money.


  • It can be difficult for bulky jobs.
  • The Easy
  • Press works best on flat surfaces.

What to Consider the Best Cricut for Making Shirts

Customized t-shirts are trendy and have been for the past years because people need to make their designs. These are some of the things you should consider before purchasing your Cricut machine.

1. Cutting Depth

The cutting depth of any cutting machine depends on the blade and pressure the machine applies, so you have to decide the depth you need. It is recommended to choose the 2.0mm because it can cut relatively thicker papers, fabric, or leather. However, ensure you check how compatible the cutter is with different types of materials.

Most of the best Cricut for making shirts can cut through the popular materials but ensure you choose a machine with the capability of cutting a variety of materials.

2. Wireless Capabilities

All Cricut machines usually wirelessly connect to your devices, smartphones, computer, or tablet through Bluetooth. However, not all Cricut machines have a wired connection, so if this is a must-have, go for a machine that offers it. High-end Cricut machines have this feature, and they also include USB ports that you can use to charge your mobile device.

3. Flexibility

The flexibility of a machine depends on different factors such as voltage rating and software. Always remember to check if your supply line is compatible with the voltage rating of the Cricut. To be on the safer side, you can choose a machine that runs on a variable voltage rating not to be inconvenienced if you move places.

On the other hand, you should choose a Cricut for making shirts that is compatible with any third-party software. Some vinyl cutters don't work with third-party software as they supply the machine with their software.

In conclusion, when it comes to flexibility, new technology is featured in some vinyl cutters, which is called Pixscan. It detects the cutting area or outline of any design, and thus, you can easily cut pre-printed t-shirt designs.

4. Printing Facility

This feature is not present in all vinyl cutters, and only some of the advanced ones will have it. Some vinyl cutters come with two cartridges where you can replace one for printing and have a sketch pen available in various colors, and you can also get a bundle pack in different colors. On the other hand, only one cartridge comes with some vinyl cutting machines with difficulty cutting them after print.

Any crafter is advised to go for the best vinyl with a printing facility and check the print quality where a genuine one has a printing capability of 100dpi. The advanced Cricut machines can be able to print in 600dpi.

5. Length of Design

The best vinyl cutter or the majority works on a Cricut mat that measures 12 x 12 inches. It is essential to choose a vinyl cutter that can use longer mats when making large designs such as banners.

6. Design Complexity

An intricate Cricut design will need to use a machine that has the highest cutting ability. Therefore, if you are interested in making micro and complex t-shirt designs, you should choose a vinyl cutter to cut a quarter-inch design.

7. Easy to Operate

Ease of use is applicable in any machine and more so a Cricut cutting machine. Ensure you choose a Cricut cutting machine that you can efficiently operate, has cloud storage, and has a simple mechanism. It would be best to have a machine that allows you to change the cartridge and load any papers quickly.

Additionally, go for a vinyl cutter that works with the popular types of fabric and papers like adhesive paper, leather, vinyl, and magnet paper. Some companies have installed software that eases your work, and they come with a vast image library that you can get some functional free designs that you can use for your home DIY projects.

8. Size

This is among the most important factors to consider because your production rate and frequency should determine your machine. Your cutting machine should be able to handle the amount of work you have at hand. A small machine can be enough for a newbie, but for anyone or a small business looking to customize shirts in bulk, a bigger vinyl cutter would be the best to handle the production rate efficiently.

Desktop models of small vinyl cutters are ideal for individuals who would like portability and space. On the other hand, established businesses will need a properly grounded cutter with accessories such as a stand.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do you need internet to use your Cricut machine?

You need internet for your Cricut machine's setup, but you don't need the internet to use the Cricut Design Space software. With the Cricut Design space software, you can be able to work online.

2. What is the best vinyl cutter for home use?

The Cricut Explore Air 2 is the best cutter you can use to make t-shirts at home.

3. How long do Cricut shirts last after washing?

The longevity depends on the type of heat transfer vinyl you will use, where the iron-on vinyl can last very long. However, to lengthen your time, it is vital to turn your t-shirt and wash it inside out on cold. If you don't adhere to this, your t-shirt project may last for only six washes.

Jane Melcher

Jane is a stay-at-home small business mom. She makes more than her husband selling her creations on Etsy.

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