best laptop for cricut explore air 2

Best Laptop for Cricut Makers, Explore Air, Explore Air 2, and Cricut Joy [PCs Included]

by Jane Melcher
Updated on

Are you looking for the best laptop for Cricut Makers, Explore Air, Explore Air 2, and Cricut Joy? We will help ease your choices between the numerous options that offer compatibility with the machines and the Cricut Design Space software.

After all, the features and basic requirements of working with the tool mean you will cast a wide net when finding a suitable laptop. But can you settle for any laptop if the Cricut system requirements are so low?

According to the official Cricut website, although you can get the software to work and the machine to connect with basic hardware, your user experience may be capped by your setup. A faster, more capable computer running newer operating systems offer more to Cricut users.

Our review of reliable laptops for Cricut Maker machines covers ideal options that ensure you can access your machine's features and functionality. In addition, we will break down our recommendations to cater to the available Cricut tools. Plus, you can check out which Cricut machine is best for your specific needs.

Best Laptop for Cricut Machine

1. Apple Macbook Air 2020 MGN93LL/A

2020 Apple MacBook Air Laptop: Apple M1 Chip, 13” Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage,...
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The best laptop for Cricut Maker machines is the Apple Macbook Air, launched in 2020. For starters, you get an amazing battery life of up to 18 hours thanks to the M1 chip that offers reliable power at a fraction of the normal energy consumption.

The laptop chip also features 8 cores of 3.1 GHz for the CPU speed and unified memory for graphic support. Plus, the new Apple silicon offers compatibility with the Design Space program for working with a Cricut Maker.

The SSD storage space is an expansive 256 GB to ensure you can store your designs offline on sufficient memory. But, of course, you can also buy the 512 GB model for more storage.

Image Source: Amazon.com

The 13.3-inch Retina display has a 2560px by 1600px resolution to ensure you have a crisp and surreal look at your designs. In addition, the images and text are impressively sharp and vibrant thanks to the P3 wide color gamut that offers up to 25% more colors than the typical sRGB.

Finally, the Apple Macbook Air 2020 features Bluetooth 5.0 for connectivity and four USB ports. In addition, you can use the Thunderbolt 3 USB port for faster connections.

Pros

  • Meets the minimum requirements for working with a Cricut Maker.
  • Impressively long battery life.
  • Backlit keyboard.
  • High bandwidth for the USB ports.
  • Powerful for versatile uses.

Cons

  • It is pricey.

2. Asus VivoBook F512Da-EB51

ASUS VivoBook F512 Thin and Lightweight Laptop, 15.6” FHD WideView NanoEdge , AMD R5-3500U CPU,...
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The runners-up for the best laptop for Cricut Maker machines is the Asus VivoBook F512. This thin, lightweight laptop looks fantastic in peacock blue and packs enough power for working with the cutter and other applications.

The AMD Ryzen 5 3500U has 4 cores that you can push to 3.6 GHz when you need the extra oomph. In addition, the chip features integrated graphics with the AMZ Radeon Vega.

Image Source: Amazon.com

With 8 GB DDR4 RAM, you can casually surpass the minimum requirements for running the Cricut Design Space. Furthermore, the storage space of 256 GB comes in an M.2 SSD to ensure you have speed and smooth access to your offline designs and projects.

The display is a beautiful FHD NanoEdge screen with 15.6 inches of viewing space. The 1920px by 1080px resolution ensure the design process is smooth and detailed.

Lastly, the connectivity on this laptop includes Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, two USB 3.2 and USB 2.0 slots. You can rely on this laptop for the office or create exciting projects for Cricut.

Pros

  • 178-degree viewing angle.
  • Fingerprint sensor for more security.
  • Backlit keyboard.
  • It comes with Windows 10 Home.

Cons

  • It is not powerful enough for gaming or other high-usage applications.

3. Apple Macbook Pro 2021 MKGR3LL/A

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2021 Apple MacBook Pro (14-inch, Apple M1 Pro chip with 8‑core CPU and 14‑core GPU, 16GB RAM,...
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If you need the best laptop for Cricut Maker machines that can offer incredible versatility, few options can beat the Apple Macbook Pro 2021. Although it is the priciest option on our list, this sleek piece has what it takes to ease and speed up your workflow.

It features the bleeding edge in Apple silicon, thanks to the M1 Pro chip. 10 CPU cores, 16 GPU cores, and 16 cores for the Neural Engine provide top-tier performance. Plus, you get long battery life for all-day performance since Apple silicon is not power-hungry.

Image Source: Amazon.com

The display technology on the Apple Macbook Pro consists of a Liquid Retina XDR screen. 1000 nits of sustained brightness do not blur out the deep blacks and vibrant color reproduction. Additionally, you get 3024px by 1964px for unmatched clarity backed by a 120Hz refresh rate.

With three USB Type-C ports featuring Thunderbolt 4 speeds, Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, and Wi-Fi 6, the Macbook Air 2021 is one of the best laptops for Cricut designs and interfacing.

Pros

  • Liquid Retina XDR provides excellent color reproduction.
  • Battery life can last for 17 hours.
  • One of the most powerful processors without hefty power consumption.
  • Fingerprint sensor and backlit keyboard.

Cons

  • It is pricey.

Best Laptop for Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut Explore Air

1. HP 17-P0013DX

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HP 17.3' FHD Laptop, AMD Ryzen 5 5500U (Beat i5-10500) 6-Core up to 4.0GHz, 8GB RAM, 256GB NVMe SSD,...
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The HP 17-Poo13DX boasts a larger screen than other laptops at 17.3 inches but still packs 1920 by 1080 pixels. The IPS display also has an anti-glare feature and minimal reflectivity to ensure visibility when working in well-lit rooms. Also, you get a 178-degree viewing angle to ensure the best experience regardless of how you work.

The AMD Ryzen 5 5500U is sufficient power for multitasking as the hexa-core 2.1 GHz CPU speed is no slouch. In addition, the processor energy consumption yields an average battery life of up to 8 and a half hours.

Image Source: Amazon.com

Although this laptop comes preinstalled with Windows 10 Home in s-mode, you can switch to the normal version and download the Design Space program. Also, the DDR DRAM included may not be the fastest on the market, but the 8 GB capacity makes up for this setback.

Finally, the NVMe SSD has 256 GB of storage space, and the touch screen feature makes operating the laptop simple and fast. The model will work well with Cricut Explore Air and Cricut Explore Air 2.

Pros

  • AMD Radeon graphics.
  • Battery life lasts for more than 8 hours.
  • 17.3-inch screen.

Cons

  • No backlit keyboard.
  • Performance falls behind gaming laptops.

2. Lenovo Ideapad 1 2022

2022 Newest Lenovo IdeaPad 1 Laptop, 14' Anti-Glare Display, Intel Quad-Core Processor, Intel UHD...
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The Lenovo Ideapad 1 2022 is one of the best laptops for Cricut Explore Air and Cricut Explore Air 2, as it comes at an affordable price point. Therefore, the sleek laptop is a safe bet if you want a budget model that exceeds the minimum requirements while offering the capability for more uses.

For processing power, the Intel Pentium Silver N5030 provides 3.1GHz for the four cores available. In addition, this model features Intel UHD Graphics for those heavy tasks. Plus, the 4 GB RAM can handle multiple tasks without faltering.

Image Source: Amazon.com

The card reader lets you quickly transfer Cricut designs from your phone memory. You can also connect to the Cricut machine via Bluetooth or using one of the two USB 3.2 ports. Hence, you can use a wired connection or set up the combination to work wirelessly.

Finally, the Lenovo Ideapad 1 2022 comes with Windows 11 preinstalled, so you do not need an extra purchase of the software. The 14-inch screen offers 220 nits with an anti-glare feature for reliable use regardless of the lighting. Also, the 1366pc by 768px is sufficient for running the Cricut Design Space program.

Pros

  • Affordable.
  • Comes with Windows 11 installed.
  • The webcam has a shutter for privacy.

Cons

  • No backlit keyboard.

Best Laptop for Cricut Joy

You can use mobile devices to interface with the Cricut Joy machine, as long as you are running the right versions of Android or iOS. After all, you must download the Cricut Joy app from the respective stores to work on your designs.

Nevertheless, the cutter works with Windows and macOS when you keep to the requirements. Furthermore, since the cutter works with Design Space for Desktop, you are not limited to mobile devices.

1. Lenovo Ideapad Touch 3 2022

2022 Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15.6' HD Touch Screen Laptop, Intel Dual-Core i3-1115G4 Up to 4.1GHz, 8GB DDR4...
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The price of the Lenovo Ideapad 3 2022 is comparable to current mid-range smartphones. Hence, if you want to use your Cricut Joy, the investment ensures you get reliable performance and more versatility than a phone.

The Intel Core i3-1115G4 delivers dependable performance for running numerous tasks simultaneously. The 3.0 GHz base speed can reach an impressive 4.1GHz when you need additional juice from the Dual-Core processor.

Furthermore, the 15.6-inch screen has 1366 by 768 pixels and supports HD content of 720p. Plus, the expansive display has LED backlights to reduce energy consumption and boost battery life.

The 8 GB RAM and 256 GB of SSD storage further add to the allure of this laptop. Also, it supports Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and comes with enough ports to ensure you can connect your cutter.

Pros

  • Sleek design.
  • Affordable.
  • Meets the minimum requirements for running Cricut Design Space.

Cons

  • RAM upgrades are capped at 8 GB.

Best Computer to Use with Cricut Makers

A desktop interface with a Cricut machine will fit well in a workstation and stamp a professional look to your setup. In addition, you do not have to worry about the battery life or having to deal with limited screen space when learning how to slice.

However, the entire process can be tasking, whether you are building your own or buying a tower and the necessary peripherals. Therefore, our recommendations are all-in-one setups that ensure you get a complete system off the bat while saving valuable space on your workstation.

1. HP All-in-One 24-DF0040

HP 24-inch All-in-One Touchscreen Desktop Computer, AMD Athlon Gold 3150U Processor, 8 GB RAM, 512...
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The HP 24-DF0040 has a sleek and futuristic look that comprises a thick monitor with a keyboard and mouse attached. Thus, it will fit into your workstation and add professionalism to the space.

Aside from looks, the computer packs a powerful AMD Athlon Gold 3150U processor. This Dual-Core workhorse features 2.40 GHz when running at the base operating level.

Image Source: Amazon.com

Moreover, you get 8 GB of DDR3-2400 SDRAM that you can beef up to 16 GB for more productivity for running multiple tasks. Plus, you have 512 GB of onboard storage space in an M.2 SSD for fast performance.

The large 23.8-inch display contains 1920px by 1080px, far beyond the minimum requirements for a laptop for Cricut machines. In addition, the model features Bluetooth and 4 USB ports to ensure a reliable connection.

Pros

  • Meets the minimum requirements for any Cricut Maker.
  • It comes with Windows 10 Home.
  • The touch screen can aid in the design process.

Cons

  • You need power as it lacks a battery.

2. Asus Zen AiO 24

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ASUS Zen AiO 24, 23.8” FHD Touchscreen Display, AMD Ryzen 5 5500U Processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB...
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The Zen AiO 24 from Asus is another all-in-one alternative to buying a PC with all the necessary peripherals. The modern design, extensive screen real estate and powerful processor ensure impressive functionality and versatility.

Under the hood, the Zen AiO 24 packs an AMD Ryzen 5 5500U processor with 6 cores, each capable of delivering 2.1 GHz of power. When you include the 8 GB of DDR4 RAM, you get a reliable computer for multitasking and running resource-intensive programs.

Image Source: Amazon.com

The NanoEdge display technology in the 23.8-inch screen offers 100% of the sRGB color gamut for smooth and accurate design. Plus, you get 1920px by 1080px to work with.

Moreover, the PCIe SSD provides 512 GB of onboard system storage. Although this model lacks an optical drive, you have sufficient USB ports on the back and Bluetooth connectivity for your Cricut machines.

Pros

  • Meets the minimum requirements for any Cricut Maker.
  • It comes with Windows 10 Home and a free upgrade to Windows 11.
  • Integrated graphics.
  • Hands-free login.

Cons

  • It is a desktop computer and lacks the versatility of a portable laptop.

Top Considerations When Buying the Best Laptop for Cricut Maker Machines

a) Processor

The right processor, the brain powering a computer, is critical to ensure the smooth running of the Cricut software. At a minimum, you need a 1.83GHz chip if you are running macOS, a Dual-Core Intel processor, or its equivalent in the AMD series.

Fortunately, these requirements are pretty basic, and even a flagship chip from 7 years ago can deliver the power required for the Cricut Design Space software. Nevertheless, going for the cheapest laptop may suffice, but you will hamper the usefulness of the computer beyond working with Cricut machines.

Image Source: Pxhere.com

For instance, a powerful processor can support multiple tasks where you can run a browser, use supplementary editing software, or even manage your shirt-making business. After all, it is more reasonable to go for a budget laptop that can do more than operate the Design Space software.

b) System Memory and Storage Space

Think of the RAM as a stage where programs jostle for position and space to run effectively. By that analogy, a smaller stage means all software running will need more time to execute a single task.

You need about 4 GB of RAM, according to the minimum requirements of operating a Cricut cutting machine from a computer. However, this detail does not mean the cutting software will use up the entire allocation when running. After all, some supplementary programs, core to the functionality of your computer, must run in the background.

Image Source: Pxhere.com

As long as you are not running resource-intensive programs, 4 GB will suffice to ensure the Design Space software does not slow down to a crawl when creating. Still, you can choose more RAM to allow for multitasking while maintaining quick communication between the computer and the Cricut machine.

You need 2 GB of memory on your laptop or computer to download and install the Design Space program. However, if you intend to work online, this space will suffice as all your designs and projects will be stored on the cloud platform of Cricut.

Image Source: Commons.wikimedia.org

On the other hand, saving projects offline requires more storage space on your laptop or computer. On the upside, you can work without an internet connection if you are willing to allocate sufficient space on your hard drive.

A traditional hard drive will work well with Design Space since it is not demanding software. Alternatively, upgrading to an SSD will help boost the speed of accessing different projects and saving them.

c) Operating Systems

If the processor is the brain and the RAM the stage, the operating system is a platform with the supporting programs and features that enable the software to run. So, unfortunately, you have two options for computers and two for mobile devices.

Image Source: Flickr.com

The Cricut Design Space software does not run on Linux or Unix systems. Although these two are pretty popular with programmers, they lack the support required to interface with a Cricut machine. Additionally, you cannot use Chromebooks as the operating system is not applicable for any Cricut Maker machine.

1. Windows

Windows 10 is the minimum platform for interfacing with Cricut machines regarding a Windows laptop. In addition, you will need a 64-bit operating system variant to access the full range of features and functionality of Cricut Makers.

Image Source: Flickr.com

Unfortunately, you cannot use your old Windows laptop for Cricut as Windows 7 is no longer supported by the interfacing software. Plus, the S-mode version of Windows will not work either.

2. macOS

Image Source: Flickr.com

If you are a proponent of the Apple ecosystem, ensure your laptop is running macOS 11 or later to support the Design Space software. Unfortunately, relying on the bare minimum will lock you out of some features of your Cricut machine. Hence, newer is better if you want to do more or get fast and quality performance.

3. Mobile Devices

You can create intricate designs on your mobile device and cut them out using the Cricut Joy machine. Nevertheless, you need to consider the requirements necessary to perform the operations.

After all, you might be inspired on your way to work and implement your thoughts on your phone. In addition, you may not have the money to buy a laptop for Cricut, so mobile devices are an awesome alternative.

a) iOS

Image Source: Flickr.com

You need iOS 14.5 or higher to interface with the Cricut Joy machine. Fortunately, Apple provides sufficient support in software upgrades for many of its products.

For starters, you can use the first generation of iPhone SE to the new iPhone 13 without hiccups. In addition, the iPad mini 4 through to the fifth generation of the iPad Pro offers support.

b) Android Devices

Image Source: Flickr.com

As mentioned above, Chromebooks running any version of the Android operating system will not work with any Cricut Maker. In addition, a set list of qualified devices will run the Cricut Design Space for Android.

However, the performance experience will not be uniform across them since the device manufacturer, processor speed, and chipset affect the metric. Also, it would be best to have Android Pie 9.0 or higher for the connection to work.

d) Connectivity

You require a reliable connection to the internet, Bluetooth or USB ports to interface with your Cricut Maker from your laptop, computer or mobile device. Let us look at how connectivity determines the usability of your cutting machine.

1. Bluetooth Connectivity

Image Source: Flickr.com

Any Cricut cutting machine supports a Bluetooth connection. Fortunately, the connectivity is a standard whether you are running the Design Space program from your laptop or mobile device. So, your computer, phone, or tablet can interface with the machine if you do not want to use wires.

Do not get stuck on the Bluetooth version, as the simple A2DP will suffice to connect. Afterward, you can send your designs to the machine and cut them out.

2. USB Ports

Image Source: Commons.wikimedia.org

Using a USB port is an alternative to establishing a Bluetooth connection. The medium allows your computer or laptop to recognize the Cricut machine, and you can send designs and prompt it to cut them out.

Modern laptops compatible with the cutting program may have a USB Type-C port for connecting to the cutter. Ensure you have the necessary dongle, adapter or a cable that caters to a Type-A to Type-C connection.

3. Internet Connectivity

Image Source: Flickr.com

A broadband or internet connection serves numerous functions. For starters, it grants you access to the Design Space cloud platform, where you can save any project you are working on and sync your progress across devices. In addition, consecutively, 2-3 Mbps and 1-2 Mbps for download and upload speeds are the minimum requirements for a computer or mobile connections.

This internet connection is crucial if you want to do your designs away from your workstation but do not want the hassle of copying them between one computer and another. In addition, you need to keep the cutting software up-to-date to ensure you are running the latest one.

Furthermore, you must sign in to the Design Space program via your broadband connectivity. Once subscribed to Cricut Access, you can download different images, fonts, and patterns through the internet. You cannot complete cuts containing subscription-only content without a reliable connection.

Nevertheless, you can choose to work offline after you download the necessary design aspects for your projects. The storage space available on your computer will determine the quantity of downloaded content you can work with without an internet connection.

e) Display Resolution

Image Source: Commons.wikimedia.org

A HD display of 1280px by 720px is suitable for running the Design Space program since it requires 1024px by 768px to run. Since your screen resolution determines the number of details you can see, higher is better.

More screen real estate, in this case, the resolution, can help you create intricate designs more accurately. However, do not confuse this aspect with the size of the screen. You can find the size from the number of inches from one opposite corner to the other.

f) Versatility

When combing through the best laptops for Cricut machines, settling on a versatile option is advisable. Although the minimum requirements are simple to find, it helps if you can do more with your computer than design and cut.

Whether running a business or taking a precise approach to your hobbies, versatility can make the purchase worthwhile. For instance, a gaming laptop has plenty of horsepower underneath the chassis to double as a console. On the other hand, you can take a premium laptop to the office and use it for your projects on Cricut.

Working with the Cricut Joy App on Mobile Devices

Cricut Joy only connects to devices via Bluetooth and not a USB port. In addition, the cutter allows you to use the Cricut Joy app on a mobile device without sacrificing the features and functionality of the machine. The model is more compact than other cutters, but it retains the tools and accessories in a portable package.

a) Android

The Android version of the Cricut Joy app does not support offline uses. Consequently, you need an internet connection to set up the machine whenever you want to work with it.

The functionality on Android devices is pretty limited as you cannot see the difference between free and subscription-only content. Still, you can do your designs and work with your cutter worry-free since the app works seamlessly on the listed Android devices.

b) iOS

The iOS version of the Cricut Joy app allows you to work without an internet connection, but you need to download the necessary files beforehand. Navigation through the app is also much cleaner and more detailed than on Android devices. After all, you can view the purchased, free, and subscriber-only content.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Best Laptops for Cricut Makers

1. What kind of computer do I need for my Cricut Maker?

Ensure your computer is running Windows 10 +, macOS 11+ on your computer. If your computer does not have Bluetooth connectivity, USB ports are the alternative. Check out the minimum specs we outlined to determine how your computer should match up with the Cricut Maker.

2. What laptops work well with Cricut design space?

Although you do not need the most powerful laptop to work with the Cricut Design Space, better specs mean faster results with access to more features. A dual-core processor with at least 1.83 GHz speed, 2 GB of RAM, and 4 GB storage space will be enough. In addition, ensure you are running Windows 10 or higher or macOS 11 or later as Linux, Unix and Chromebook operating systems are not supported.

Featured Image Source: Flickr.com

About the author

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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