Welcome to the Best Cricut for Making Shirts Awards
After spending the last 8 days testing Cricut machines and skipping on house chores and bedtime stories (sorry honey…), I’m ready to reveal the best 4 Cricut Machines that are perfect for making Shirts and T-shirts.
I’ve been crafting for many years, ever since I’ve left my corporate gig. With all the mistakes I’ve made, and the time I’ve invested in, I’ve become a great crafter. I’m sharing this knowledge with you so you can avoid all the costly mistakes I’ve made.
This is why I’ve handpicked and tested these Cricut Machines. To find the right fit, first of all, you need to know your budget and your shirt needs. Once that’s clear, finding the perfect Cricut machine will be a breeze.
No matter which one you choose from the list below, you will have a winner in your hand, and I’m sure that you will be in PROFIT in a matter of months (if not weeks).
Let’s make some shirts with Cricut already!
Make sure to read our article, Is Cricut Compatible With Chromebook? to learn if your device will pair with your Cricut Machine!
In A Hurry? Here Is Our Top 3 Recommended Cricut for Shirts
Beginner-friendly: The ultimate vinyl cutter for beginners, hobbyists, and home business
For True Artisans: The only choice for artisans and tinkerers needing total creative freedom with any material
For Beginners and Pros: Being light and easy to use means that you can dazzle your friends and family with beautiful creations.
#1 Cricut Maker – Best Cricut for Making Shirts
Maybe you get bored with shirts; then this machine will allow you to access over 300+ materials.
The Cricut Maker can do all the things that the Cricut Explore Air 2 can and a bit more. The cutting size is a bit bigger, 12” X 24”. The 0.5” isn’t much of a difference. Plus you can buy some specific tools for specific jobs.
For example, there’s the rotary blade for fabric and the knife blade for stronger and thicker materials.
Besides these improvements, there are the looks and the docking station. These don’t make a difference when you’re cutting HTV.
On the other hand, if you want to work with multiple materials, it’s a great choice. Maybe there’s a slow season with shirts; then you can do decals or cards. It’s a great way to compensate for seasonal ups and downs.
The accessories are the same as the Cricut Explore Air 2, so you’re getting low operational costs.
My biggest gripe with the Cricut Maker is that they seem to be out of stock for months now. Sometimes there’s just one color available. I’ve contacted their support, and even they didn’t know when the supply will be fixed.
If you see the color you like in stock, get it, or it will be gone in a few days.
Read our related article, How to Print On Fabric With Cricut for a quick DIY guide!
*Don’t forget to check the price on both websites as they may be running exclusive discounts.
#2 Cricut Explore Air 2 – The Best Cricut Machine for Making Shirts
Even though the Cricut Explore Air 2 is the previous generation, it’s the best choice for making shirts.
Since it’s not the flagship model, it’s more affordable. Plus, it has been battle-tested for many years, and it delivers time and time again.
To create great looking shirt designs, you need to use heat transfer vinyl (HTV for short). Cricut Explore Air 2 can handle HTV very easily. It has a cutting force of 350g, so it’s more than enough to cut vinyl.
The cutting size is 11.5 inches X 23.5 inches. This means that you can easily create designs for any shirt to your liking.
With the Explore Air 2, you’re getting the double speed upgrade. It’s twice as fast as other vinyl cutters. Plus, the sound is quite acceptable. As you know, typically vinyl cutters are loud, so working in the evening might bother the relatives.
With the Cricut Explore, you’re getting noise reduction as well.
We all know that the software can make or break even the most perfect product. Cricut Design studio is super easy to use. You turn the dial to the desired material and hit the cut button after the design is done. Presto, it will be cut out in seconds.
The major biggie with Design studio is that you need a constant internet connection. This issue might prove a big one in areas where there’s a lousy service. Not long ago, a reader of mine contacted me and asked for an alternative.
So far, we got that this Cricut machine is easy to use, and it works fast. What else do you need to know?
Operational costs pop into mind. You see, typically, brands sell machines at a loss and make big profits with accessories. The printer industry is known for this. Luckily it’s not the case with Cricut. They have the lowest priced accessories on the market, let it be replacement blades, mats, and vinyl.
If you feel that this is the right cutting machine, you need to take action. For some time now, the stocks were running low. If they are available, get them ASAP, or you will have to wait weeks, if not months.
Read our related article, What Can You Make with a Cricut Joy? for more fun ideas!
*Don’t forget to check the price on both websites as they may be running exclusive discounts.
#3 Cricut Easy Press 2 – The Best Heat Press for Home Use
This heat press is the best choice between a pricey professional one and an inefficient home iron.
Ok, you have your HTV cut out. Now what? Well, you need a heat press to transfer the material on the shirt.
This micro review is to get to the point as fast as possible. If you’re interested in the full review, check out my Cricut Easy Press 2 review for more info.
Wouldn’t my traditional iron do the job?
Traditional irons were designed to generate steam and remove wrinkles. This is not efficient for creating shirts. To be fair, it can be done, and it will be a real pain plus, it will take a lot of time to get the same results as with the Easy Press 2.
Also, you might have more failures because the iron doesn’t have a balanced heat surface. This means that you have to move the iron, so you cover every inch of the vinyl if you don’t like that, it might peel off.
On the other hand, the Cricut Easy Press heats up in less than a minute, and it’s light weight. There’s a timer that tells you how long to press it down, and then you’re done.
The heat is distributed evenly so that you will have flawless results every time.
Read our related article, Cricut Heat Press or Iron? We cover more about the debate between heat presses and household irons in this guide!
Do I need a professional heat press?
The major weakness of the Cricut Easy Press heat press is that it’s not suitable for bulk work. You will need a lot of elbow grease if you have to finish 100+ shirts.
With a professional heat press machine, you get two issues. These are expensive and take up a lot of space. Not to mention they take their sweet time to warm up.
Which size should I get?
There are three to choose from. There’s the small one 6” x 7” this heats in less than a minute. There’s the medium one 9” x 9”. It heats up in less than 2 minutes. Finally, there’s the big one 10” x 12”, which heats up in less than 3 minutes.
I highly recommend getting the medium one or the big one. You can go with the smaller one, and then you have to press a typical shirt four times to make sure you got it right. This is wasted time.
Hot tip: No matter which size you get, make sure that you get the extra-large mats. These mats need to be bought separately.
As you can see, you can’t live without the right heat press. Cricut made it light and simple to use. It will get you the best results every time. Get your Cricut heat press at the same time with your vinyl cutter.
Read our related article on How to Make a Shirt With Cricut Infusible Ink! We show you how to make a shirt with infusible ink in this short guide!
The Cricut Explore Air 2 was the best vinyl cutter for shirts. However, there are people with specific needs, so here are a few alternatives. For the Cricut Easy Press 2, there’s no alternative.
#4 Cricut Joy – The Best Machine to Create T-Shirts on the Go
It’s so tiny and cute… it can do so much.
What kind of shirts can I do with this little thing?
It’s a common question that I get from readers. The Cricut Joy is a niche product. It’s for those crafters who are on the road or creating custom baby gear.
Imagine a baby shower; you can create designs on demand. Better yet, you might even upsell to other moms who are attending.
With the Cricut Joy, you can work on a 4.5” X 6.5” surface. It’s only compatible with paper and vinyl. And yes, it can handle HTV with ease.
There are a couple of flaws with the Cricut Joy. There’s no beating around the bush. It’s expensive compared to the Cricut Explore Air 2. Secondly, they have thrown their low accessories advantage out the window.
It seems that the accessories are overpriced. Now you can save money if you buy your own HTV and then cut it down to size. Plus if you can charge higher prices, then you will be in profit.
As you can see, the Cricut Joy is a niche product. The best place to use it is either on trade shows, fairs, or baby showers. It’s perfect for crafters on the go.
The Cricut Joy suffers from the same issue as the Cricut Maker. They seem to be out of stock all the time. Again if you see it and it’s what you need to take action because it’s gone in a matter of hours.
Read More: Cricut Maker vs AccuQuilt. We look at the Cricut Maker and AccuQuilt to see which is the best cutting machine for embroidery and quilts!
Cricut T-Shirt Maker Bundle
While there isn’t any specific t-shirt making bundle on the cricut website or any other platform, I have added below a list of my own bundle that you can use to make Shirts! (Amazon is likely the best spot for accessories, but Cricut has sales too!)
- Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) found on Cricut.com or Amazon
- T Shirts found on Cricut.com or Amazon
- A weeding tool found on Cricut.com or Amazon
- Standard grip machine mat found on Cricut.com or Amazon
- Cricut Maker (of course!)
- Cricut EasyPress (or an iron if you like) found on Cricut.com or Amazon
Read More: How to Put Letters On a Shirt With a Cricut. This step-by-step guide gives you everything you need to get started!
Conclusions for the best Cricut Machine for Making Shirts
We have reached the end of this article. By now, you should know which the best match for your needs is.
The Cricut Maker came out the winner. It’s affordable. It’s fast and has low operational costs.
The Cricut Easypress 2 is the middle road between a cheap home iron and an expensive professional heat press.
With the help of these two machines, you can create shirts, t-shirts to your liking.
The Cricut Explore Air 2 and the Cricut Joy are valid contenders. Sadly they are the best choice for a few people. Also, they have many drawbacks, which the Cricut Explore Air 2 doesn’t have.
I do not doubt that Cricut delivers, and you will be able to create great designs and sell them for a profit.
If you have any questions or feedback, let me know by contacting me. Until then…
Read More: How to Make Large Farmhouse Signs With Cricut. Modern farmhouse is in style, and here’s how to make your own DIY farmhouse signs!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
What is the best Cricut machine for making t-shirts?
The best Cricut machine for making shirts are these:
Can I make shirts with a Cricut?
Yes, Cricut is made for you to create shirts. No matter what type of shirt you want to make there’s a Cricut cutting machine to help you. Any Cricut machine can handle iron on vinyl and heat transfer vinyl.
What is the best Cricut machine to buy 2022?
- Most Versatile: Cricut Maker.
- Best Cricut Machine Overall: Cricut Explore Air 2.
- Most Compact: Cricut Joy.
- Best Cricut Heat Press Machine: Cricut Easy Press 2.
- Best Cricut Electric Pad – Cricut Bright Pad.
Can you make T-shirts with Cricut joy?
The Cricut Joy is perfect for making shirts. Since the Cricut joy is compact it’s ideal for baby shirts or small designs on T-shirts. You can easily create custom designs for your loved ones.
Read our related article on How to Make Onesies With Cricut to learn how to make customized and adorable baby clothes!
Can you use Cricut easypress for shirt design?
Yes, you can use the cricut easypress for shirt design. To get started collect the materials you need like iron on vinyl and heat transfer vinyl. The shirt design has to be prepared in a design software such as cricut design space. Once the shirt design is ready in the design software you want to cut it out with a cutting machine.
To create the perfect shirt, use iron on vinyl or heat transfer vinyl in the cutting machines. Once the design is cut used the weeding tool to remove the excess. The next step is to use the cricut easypress and iron on vinyl or heat transfer vinyl on the shirt. The cricut easypress will do the rest. You have to let it warm up and then press the cricut easypress on the design and you’re done.
How much does Cricut design space cost?
Cricut design space is free when you get started. Typically a Cricut cutting machine can handle more than 100 materials. By far the Cricut design space is the most user-friendly design soft out there. The Cricut cutting machines handle iron on vinyl superbly. If you want Cricut to get access then you have to sign up for a monthly subscription plan. I highly recommend doing the demo project first so you get familiar with the Cricut design space. Make sure you get the weeding tool because that’s sold separately. Keep in mind that the Cricut design space requires a constant internet connection. If you need to make frequent trips maybe an offline cutting machine would make more sense. If you want to cut more than iron on vinyl then the Maker is your safest bet. The weeding tool is sold separately FIY.
Is the Cricut Maker the best Cricut machine for shirts?
Yes, the it’s the best cricut for shirts overall.
What are heat presses good for?
Heat presses are a great way to make t-shirts, mugs, and more.
While we’re on the topic of mugs, check out: How to Make Personalized Mugs with Cricut.
Is making shirts with a cricut hard?
Making shirts with a Cricut is a very fun experience! It’s also easy to do and can really help you get the creative juices flowing. You can print out any image onto vinyl or paper and place it on your shirt.
Which Cricut is best for making shirts?
I recommend the Cricut Maker. It’s easy to use and it has a variety of settings, so you can make just about anything!
Is a Cricut good for making shirts?
The Cricut Maker is a great machine for making T-shirts. It cuts out iron on vinyl designs like a dream, and it makes you look cool because your clothes are homemade!
Is the Cricut explore AIR 2 good for making shirts?
The Cricut Explore Air 2 is a great option for making shirts. It has everything you need to start creating your own clothing designs.
Is the Cricut EasyPress 2 worth it?
Yes, I think the Cricut EasyPress 2 is worth the cost. It saves time and you won’t have to worry about large shirts not getting applied evenly because of wrinkles from a heat press.
What are the different types of Cricut machines?
Cricut has 3 Cricut machines:
- Cricut Joy.
- Cricut Maker.
- Cricut Explore Air 2.
Which is the best Cricut overall for t shirts?
I think you should get the Cricut Explore Air 2. It’s easy to use and it’s one of the most flexible machines on the market. Plus, its price is very affordable for this type of machine!