Laptops

Best Laptops For Cricut: Reviews For Maker, Explore Air 1 & 2

Cricut is every crafter’s dream tool. Using this machine allows a user to create and cut a variety of crafts with perfect precision, no questions asked. Whether you plan on using your Cricut for delicate paper or durable fabric, having a laptop that’s compatible with the cutting device is the key to getting professional results.

Since so many laptops have the same specifications and features, choosing the best laptop for the Cricut Maker machine isn’t easy. This is especially true now that there are several Cricut models available, which just adds to the confusion. This guide can help you to choose the ideal laptop for using the Cricut device that’s best for you.

Image

Model

Processor

RAM

Screen Size

Storage

Battery Life

Check Price

Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop, 15.6 Inches FHD...

Intel Core i5 or i7

4GB, 8GB, or 12GB

15.6”

128GB, 256GB, or 512GB

9.5 hours

Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 128GB...

Intel Core i5

8GB

13.3”

128GB

12 hours

Lenovo Flex 14 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop, 14...

AMD Ryzen 5

8GB or 16GB

14”

256GB or 512GB

8 hours

Dell Inspiron 15 5000 Laptop, 15.6' Full HD...

Intel Core i3 or AMD Ryzen 7

8GB or 12GB

15.6”

256GB SSD + 1TB HDD (or 256GB SSD only)

8 hours

ASUS VivoBook Thin and Lightweight FHD...

Intel Core i5

8GB

15.6”

128GB SSD + 1TB HDD

About 5 hours

LG gram Thin and Light Laptop - 15.6' Full HD...

Intel Core i5

8GB

15.6”

256GB

Up to 19 hours


Cricut & It’s Design Space Software

The Cricut is a machine that’s designed to cut materials (like cardstock, vinyl, fabric, and more) with unbeatable precision. Not only does it cut, but it is capable of cutting intricate designs - anything from detailed snowflakes for the holiday season to spooky spiderwebs for Halloween.

It works similarly to a printer, but instead of printing, it cuts the design of your choice into the material of your liking. It's used by both professional designers looking for help with projects and crafty hobbyists who just want to have some fun.

In the past, there was only one version of this die-cutting machine, but now there are a few different models to choose from, including:

  • Cricut Maker
  • Cricut Explore Air
  • Cricut Explore Air 2

Each of these options is reliable and durable, but the Maker is more geared towards professionals who need a lot of cutting force and work with a variety of materials (it can handle over 300 of them). Since the Maker comes with a higher price tag, most at-home hobbyists choose one of the Explore series Cricut machines.

When comparing the Air to the Air 2, the Air 2 is about twice as fast for most materials. The other perk of the Air 2 is that it comes in a variety of colors so that you can match it perfectly to your craft room. This model is definitely a step up from the original Explore Air, but that means it’s also slightly more expensive.

Make sure to check out our full article on the best printers to use with Cricut. 


About The Design Space Software

The Cricut experience is enhanced even more thanks to the Design Space software. This software allows you to arrange a design from start to finish, or if you're not feeling overly creative, you can select from one of the premade projects (there's thousands of them). This is where having the best laptop for Cricut Maker Design Space comes in handy. 


Choosing A Laptop For Cricut’s Design Space Software

Minimum Laptop Specs & Features

Deciding on a laptop isn’t so much about finding one that’s compatible with the Cricut machine. It's all about choosing one that's compatible with the Design Space software. Just like any software, this one has some minimum requirements to run properly and to the best of its ability. 

Here you can read about the minimum laptop specifications for running design space on your laptop, but keep in mind that it’s a good idea to choose a device that goes above and beyond the minimum. This is especially true if you’re planning to multitask and use the laptop for Photoshop, gaming, even just watching movies. 

Cricut for Windows:

The minimum requirement for using Design Space on a PC is Windows 8, but try not to settle for anything less than Windows 10. This shouldn’t be too difficult since very few laptop brands are manufacturing devices with an OS prior to Windows 10.

  • CPU:
    For CPU, Intel Dual-Core is always a solid choice, but try not to choose anything below i5. A lot of design professionals say that i3 is just fine, but for the purpose of using Design Space, i5 or higher is better. If the laptop has an AMD Ryzen processor, find one that’s equivalent to Intel Core’s i5.
  • RAM:
    The very minimum RAM you should settle for is 4GB, but it’s recommended that you go with 8GB or higher. The higher the RAM, the better your laptop will be able to handle multiple software and applications at once.
  • Browsers:
    You’re not limited to choice for web browsing, but just be sure that you are using the latest version of whichever browser you choose - Mozilla, Firefox, Google Chrome, or Microsoft Edge.
  • Free Disk Space:
    You should have a minimum of 2GB free disk space for using Design Space on Windows, but it’s recommended that you have 20GB of space available.
  • Connectivity:
    For connecting to your Cricut, you’ll either need an available USB port, but try to stay ahead of the times and find a laptop with a Bluetooth connection.
  • Display:
    Stellar display and high resolution is something that all design professionals look for in a Cricut laptop. Don't settle for anything less than 1024 x 768 pixels for screen resolution; just remember that a high resolution means crisper images and better clarity. 
Cricut for Mac:

If you know that you want an Apple laptop for designing, look for a device with the macS 10.13 (macOS Mojave) or later. The only significant difference when shopping for a Mac vs. Windows laptop is to choose one with a CPU of 1.83 GHz. Other than that, you can follow the same recommendations for selecting a Macbook.

Connectivity

When it comes to connectivity, the phrase "the more, the merrier" comes into mind. In other words, the more ports the laptop offers, the better.

A lot of users feel that one measly USB and 1 HDMI port is plenty for a laptop, but try to find something with more options for connecting. An SD card reader is essential for transferring photos for creating unbelievable design

Connectivity doesn’t just have to do with USBs and HDMIs, though. You’ll also want to consider the quality of the WiFi connection and whether or not the device is Bluetooth compatible.

Portability

One of the main motivations behind choosing a laptop over a desktop is having a portable device, but this doesn’t mean that all laptops rank high for portability. If you plan on using your laptop away from the house, investing in a lightweight device (anything between 2 and 4 pounds) is an added bonus.

Battery Life & Performance

Software like Design Space can quickly drain a laptop’s battery. To prevent this from happening, pay close attention to the battery lifespan, but don’t just take the manufacturer’s word for it. Read reviews from other users to see if the battery life actually lives up to your expectations.

Price & Warranty

Laptop prices range dramatically depending on things like CPU, RAM, storage space, and brand reputation. If you’re on a budget, the good news is that you’ll likely be able to find a Cricut laptop that won’t break the bank. Just always confirm that it comes with some sort of protection plan for coverage against drops, water damage, and unexpected malfunctions.


6 Best Laptops For Cricut Explore & Maker Reviewed

1. Acer Aspire 5 Slim

Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop, 15.6 Inches FHD...
  • 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8265U Processor...
  • 15.6 Inches Full HD (1920 x 1080) Widescreen...
  • 1 - USB 3.1 Type C Gen 1 port, 2 - USB 3.1...
  • 802.11ac WiFi | Backlit Keyboard |...

Best Laptop for Cricut Maker (Top Pick!)

Processor

Intel Core i5 or i7

RAM

4GB, 8GB, or 12GB

Screen Size

15.6”

Storage

128GB, 256GB, or 512GB

Battery Life

9.5 hours

Warranty

1 year

Since Cricut Maker is considered the most professional of the Cricut cutting tools, you’ll need a laptop that can keep up. The Acer Aspire 5 certainly can, making it the best laptop for Cricut Maker available.

The initial attraction of the Aspire 5 is its slim and sleek design; it has a large 15.6” screen that’s great for creating well-thought-out designs, but it still weighs less than 4 pounds.

You’ve got a few options for specific laptop configurations with this one. You can either go with the i5 CPU or ramp it up with an i7 processor (either choice is perfectly capable of handling the Desing Space software by Cricut. There’s also an option for i3, but try to avoid this one; a more up-to-date processor is better for handling Cricut tools and software.

There are also a few options for storage space availability and RAM. Our suggestion is to go with the Acer Aspire 5 that comes with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage since both of these exceed the minimum specs for using Cricut.

However, if you want to go all out with RAM power and storage, there are additional configurations available (like 12GB RAM and 512GB SSD).

All types of artists are using this laptop since it's the perfect tool for graphic/interior design, photo-editing, and digital art

Acer focuses on two things with this device to help launch creativity: power and portability. “Creativity soars to new heights with sharp, crisp visuals showcased on the 15.6" Full HD IPS screen,” says Acer, “while the thin bezel provides you more space to work with wherever inspiration strikes. It’s the perfect companion to take with you wherever you go!”

To top it all off, the Aspire 5 has a respectable battery life of 9.5 hours, a clear display resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, and extra features like a backlit keyboard and fingerprint reader.

It’s built with plenty of ports for connecting to your Cricut machine and other design tools. The one and only complaint is that internet speed isn’t lightning fast, so it’s not great for handling online gaming if that’s what you’re into.

Also Recommended: Best Budget Monitors for Graphic Design

Good
  • Several configuration options
  • 8th gen processing
  • Crisp visuals
  • Impressive audio speakers/mic
  • Lots of USB ports
Bad
  • Slow internet at times

2. Apple MacBook Air

On Sale Today
Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 128GB...
  • 1.8 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 Processor
  • Intel HD Graphics 6000
  • Fast SSD Storage
  • 8GB memory

Best Apple Laptop for Cricut

Processor

Intel Core i5

RAM

8GB

Screen Size

13.3”

Storage

128GB

Battery Life

12 hours

Warranty

1 year

Of course, we had to include at least one MacBook on this list, and not just because Apple is a leading force in laptop technology. The Apple MacBook Air meets all the system requirements for running Design Space.

Actually, it exceeds them. It has plenty of RAM (8GB), an adequate amount of storage (128GB), and a 1.8 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 Processor (with the option to upgrade to 2.9 GHz).

One of the most-loved features of the MacBook Air (and not just for Cricut users, but for everyone) is that the device weighs less than 3 pounds.

The thin and lightweight design makes this one of the most portable Cricut-friendly laptops out there, and the same goes for the high-quality display. Display brilliance is something that Apple prides itself on, and it’s why so many artsy laptop users choose Apple products.

So what makes the display so brilliant? The signature Apple Retina Display is mostly to thank for this.

Here's how Apple describes the MacBook Air's Retina Display: “With a resolution of 2560-by-1600 for over 4 million pixels, the results are positively jaw-dropping. Images take on a new level of detail and realism. Text is sharp and clear… With millions of colors, everything you see is rich and vibrant.”

This amazing display quality is something you can count on for the MacBook Air. Other great features for using the Design Space software and connecting to the Cricut machine of your choice include long 12-hour battery life, fast web browsing, and a variety of ports. It’s built with 2 USB-3 ports, a Thunderbolt-2, and an SDXC.

One flaw of this version of the MacBook Air is that the color quality isn’t as crisp and defined as the newest Air model.

Some users feel that the resolution is noticeably less than the most up-to-date Air, but that said, the resolution is still higher than any other laptop from another brand. On top of that, some users feel that the 13.3” screen is too small for their design needs, but this is all about personal preference.

Good
  • Retina Display
  • True Tone technology
  • Trusted brand
  • Fast wireless browsing
  • Lightweight and compact
Bad
  • Resolution is lower than new Air model
  • Small screen

3. Lenovo Flex 14 2-in-1 

Lenovo Flex 14 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop, 14...
  • Up to 8 hours of battery life with quick...
  • Comprehensive protection with Windows 10...
  • Convenient TrueBlock privacy shutter allows...
  • The included Active Pen lets you draw or take...

Best Budget Laptop for Cricut Design

Processor

AMD Ryzen 5

RAM

8GB or 16GB

Screen Size

14”

Storage

256GB or 512GB

Battery Life

8 hours

Warranty

1 year

Even with its affordable price tag, the Lenovo Flex 14 is a worthy component for the best Cricut laptop. This budget-friendly option packs a powerful punch, plus your bank account won’t take a hit with this device.

It runs on the Windows OS and meets all the minimum requirements for Cricut and Design Space. It’s built with a Ryzen 5 processor, and although some laptop users are wary about straying away from Intel Core, AMD’s Ryzen 5 is equivalent to Intel Core’s i5.  

The coolest aspect of the Lenovo Flex 14 is the unique 2-in-1 design. The device is built with a convertible hinge so that you can flip back and forth from a laptop to a touchscreen tablet.

There’s a stylus pen included, so you can easily and comfortably create your designs in tablet mode by drawing directly on the screen, then when you’re ready to connect to your Cricut machine, switch to the laptop.

This feature is why the Flex 14 has been included on numerous lists for art-friendly laptops, and it’s the thing that Cricut users love most (aside from the affordable cost, of course). You can work, stream, game, edit videos, and create designs using Design Space in whatever way works for you. 

Just as Lenovo says, this laptop was “designed to boost your productivity and creativity, while enhancing your multimedia experience.”

And to think we haven’t even covered the basic specs of the Flex 14! It comes with 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD storage, resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, and weighs about 3.5 pounds. The battery life isn’t all that impressive, but the 8-hour lifespan works just fine for most users.

The quality of the stylus pen isn’t on par with the on-screen writing experience you’d get from a Microsoft Surface or other high-end device, but there’s no room to complain when you consider the price difference.

If you’re willing to spend a little bit more, keep in mind that the Flex 14 comes with the option for added RAM and storage space. For slightly more, you might feel that it’s worth it to choose 16GB RAM (instead of 8) and 512GB SSD (instead of 256). The choice is entirely yours, but even with the added RAM and SSD, chances are you’ll still be able to stay within budget.

Also Recommended: Best 2 in 1 Laptops Under $300

Good
  • Convertible design
  • Anti-glare touchscreen
  • Stylus pen included
  • Built-in protection for Windows 10
  • Fast clock speed
Bad
  • Battery life could be better
  • Dim display at times

4. Dell Inspiron 15 5000

Dell Inspiron 15 5000 Laptop, 15.6" Full HD...
  • 15.6" Full HD Micro-edge LED-backlit...
  • 8th Gen Intel Core i3-8145U 2.10GHz Dual-Core...
  • Upgraded to 12GB high-bandwidth RAM to...
  • 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x HDMI, 1 x...

Best Laptop for Cricut Maker Design Space

Processor

Intel Core i3 or AMD Ryzen 7

RAM

8GB or 12GB

Screen Size

15.6”

Storage

256GB SSD + 1TB HDD (or 256GB SSD only)

Battery Life

8 hours

Warranty

2 years

Each of the laptops on this list is compatible with Design Space, but the best of them is the Dell Inspiron 15 1500. The main reason for this is the 12GB RAM, which not only allows you to run Design Space but lets you run multiple design programs simultaneously.

This laptop comes with tons of storage space; not only does it have 256GB SSD storage, but also 1TB of hard drive storage.

You've got two different options for processing, including an Intel Core i3 or AMD Ryzen 7. If you're a die-hard Intel Core fan, the i3 works perfectly fine, but the more updated Ryzen 7 CPU is faster and smoother.

However, if you choose the Ryzen 7, you won't get the additional 1TB storage space, and the RAM will be 8GB instead of 12. The choice is entirely up to you, but either one works well with Design Space.

The screen is 15.6 inches measured diagonally, and it has a pixel count of 1920 x 1080. It's not the most portable laptop for Cricut, weighing about 4.5 pounds, so keep this in mind if you plan on using this on the go.

The battery life is also fairly mediocre - you won’t get the same 12 hours of usage as you would from the MacBook Air, but this isn’t the worst thing in the world.

Another reason that this is an excellent choice for Design Space has to do with the quality of the built-in graphics card. If you opt for the i3 Inspiron, the laptop comes with the Intel UHD Graphics 620, and the Ryzen 7 version is built with Vega 10 Graphics.

Both of these are top performers, so no matter which one you choose, you’ll enjoy clear and colorful visuals on the Design Space platform.

We’ve mentioned a few minor flaws for the Inspiron 15, including mediocre battery life and bulky design. The only other flaw worth mentioning is that the hard drive performance is a bit slow, which ultimately affects the speed of the laptop.

Slow performance is actually one of the reasons that so many people are picking SSD storage over HDD storage, so this isn’t all that surprising.

Good
  • Lots of storage
  • Amazing value
  • Suitable for gaming
  • Long warranty
  • Suitable for gamers
Bad
  • Slow hard drive
  • Lacks portability

5. ASUS VivoBook

ASUS VivoBook Thin and Lightweight FHD...
  • Powerful 8th Generation Intel Core i5 8250U...
  • 15.6 Inches Full HD WideView display with...
  • 14.2 inches wide, 0.8 inches thin and...
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM and 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD storage...

Best Laptop for Cricut Explore

Processor

Intel Core i5

RAM

8GB

Screen Size

15.6”

Storage

128GB SSD + 1TB HDD

Battery Life

About 5 hours

Warranty

1 year

The Cricut Explore (also called the Explore One) was the first model in the company's Explore series. If you've never used a cutting machine for digital designing, this is the perfect device to get started. It's easy to use, plus it's the most affordable Cricut machine available. If this is the one you opt for, you’ll need the best laptop for Cricut Explore One, like the Asus VivoBook.

Just like the Explore One cutter, the VivoBook is easy to use, and it won't break the bank. It's thin and lightweight, weighing just 3.7 pounds even though it has a large 15.6" screen.

The laptop is built with an 8th generation Intel Core i5 CPU and a clock speed of 1.6 GHz (with the option to upgrade to 3.4 GHz Turbo speed). It has 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD plus 1TB HDD storage, so it's doubtful that you'll ever run out of space. 

The main reason this is ranked as the best option for Explore One is its ease of use and functionality. If you’ve chosen the Explore One rather than the Maker or Air 1 or 2, it probably means that you’re just using your Cricut machine as a hobby.

That, in turn, means that you don’t need an overly fancy device to create designs and run the software. Although the Vivobook is far from basic, it’s a great choice if you’re not using your Cricut for professional reasons.

The complete connectivity of the VivoBook is yet another reason that Explore users love this laptop. 

The ASUS company says that the “VivoBook comes equipped with a USB 3.1 Gen 1 port with reversible USB Type-C connector with an 'any-way-up' design that makes connecting devices simple and quick."

In other words, you'll have no trouble connecting your Cricut directly to your laptop.

This laptop is close to perfect, but it does come with some drawbacks. Don’t count on getting more than 5 hours of battery with heavy usage. Aside from poor battery life, the laptop is lacking when it comes to durability. The fact that it’s slim and sleek is great and all, but this means that it feels a bit flimsy compared to other lightweight laptops on this list.

Good
  • NanoEdge display
  • Fast boot-up
  • Reliable fingerprint reader
  • Hassle-free Windows setup
  • Aesthetically pleasing design
Bad
  • Poor battery performance
  • Feels flimsy

6. LG gram

LG gram Thin and Light Laptop - 15.6" Full HD...
  • 15.6" Full HD IPS LCD Screen
  • Windows 10 Home. Lithium Battery Energy...
  • 72Wh Lithium Battery (up to 19 hours* -...
  • Intel 8th Generation i5-8250U CPU

Best Laptop for Cricut Explore Air 2

Processor

Intel Core i5

RAM

8GB

Screen Size

15.6”

Storage

256GB

Battery Life

Up to 19 hours

Warranty

1 year

There are a lot of perks that come along with choosing the Explore Air 2, like better compatibility with a variety of materials, and it cuts about two times faster than the original Air.

The price is slightly higher, but it's definitely worth it if you're willing to spend. To actually take advantage of the advanced features of the Air 2, you'll need a high-quality laptop for Cricut Explore Air 2, like the LG Gram.

The gram has one of the longest-lasting batteries on the market. On a full charge, you can get up to 19 hours of use from this device. That, with its amazing portability (it weighs less than 2.5 pounds), means that you can create your designs while on the go before coming back home to create the final project with the Explore Air 2 machine.

The gram runs on the Windows 10 Home operating system, it has 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD, and it's known for its premium performance and 8th generation processing. The full HD display has the standard resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, and it supports a broad color gamut for delivering lifelike picture quality.

LG says that the "gram packs exciting features, Keep going in dark environments with the backlit keyboard, while the touchpad supports up to four-finger multi-touch gestures and the HD webcam on the top bezel is ideal for video calls."

You can definitely count on this laptop for more than just your Cricut needs - it’s a well-rounded device that is worth every penny.

On the topic of pennies, it’s worth noting that this is not a budget-friendly laptop. It’s the most expensive model on this list of best laptops for Cricut, but that’s because LG laptops like this one are designed for optimal performance, proven durability, lightweight portability, and ease of use.

The only thing that could use improvement is the keyboard quality (typing for long periods of time can feel cumbersome).

Good
  • Amazing battery life
  • Thin and lightweight
  • Variety of ports
  • Military-grade durability
  • Built-in DTS headphone jack
Bad
  • High cost
  • Cumbersome keyboard

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How do I download Cricut Design Space?

Downloading and installing Design Space is super simple. Just visit the Cricut website and follow the steps that they provide. You’ll either download for Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android, so select the download option based on the device you’re using. Here are the specific steps provided by Cricut:

  1. 1
    Open an internet browser and go to design.cricut.com.
  2. 2
    Select Download. During the download, the screen will change. This will be a little different with every browser. Google Chrome is used in this example.
  3. 3
    When the download is complete, double-click the file in the browser or your Downloads folder.
  4. 4
    If a window opens to ask if you trust the application, select the option to trust the application.
  5. 5
    A setup window displays the installation progress.
  6. 6
    Sign in with your Cricut ID and password.

Does Cricut require an internet connection?

Cricut now offers an offline version for those who install software for offline cutting. Cricut says that “you will launch the beta app right from your computer instead of going to design.cricut.com on the internet.

The benefit of using the beta app is that we can give you features like offline (and seamlessly rollout future features) that will make Design Space an even better experience.”

Are gaming laptops good for Cricut Maker?

If you’re a gamer, by all means, go ahead and use your gaming laptop for your Cricut Maker. Most gaming laptops meet the minimum requirements for running Cricut Maker and using Design Space, and in many cases, they exceed the requirements. The Dell Inspiron 15 is a good fit for both gaming and design.

How do I connect my laptop to a Cricut machine?

Cricut has made it extremely easy to connect and set up a Cricut machine with a laptop. Here’s the step-by-step on how to do it:

  1. 1
    Plug in the machine and power it on.
  2. 2
    Connect the machine to your computer with the USB cord or pair it via Bluetooth.
  3. 3
    Go to design.cricut.com/setup in your browser.
  4. 4
    Follow the on-screen instructions to sign in or create your Cricut ID.
  5. 5
    Download and install the Design Space plugin when prompted.
  6. 6
    You will know the setup is complete when you are prompted to make your first project.

If you’re still having trouble, you can find tons of video tutorials on the Cricut website or feel free to reach out to a customer service rep.


Conclusion

According to Cricut enthusiasts everywhere, very few laptops compare to the Acer Aspire 5. It has powerful processing, lots of short-term memory, and plenty of long-term storage - plus, it's not outrageously priced. It's compatible with both the Maker and Explore Air machines, so you won't be limited to your cutting capabilities with the Aspire 5.