We’re big fans of our Cricut Joy. We love it for its total simplicity, super portability, and all of the amazing projects we can make with it. We’re doing a series about our Cricut Joy right now, so be sure to check out our other articles, too!
You don’t have to be in this space very long to learn that although Cricut is basically a household name at this point, it has some strong competition. Silhouette is another company producing machines that makers love, and you’ll hear its name along with Cricut in many “best of” lists. Both companies make smaller versions of their popular cutting machines as well. Cricut has the Joy and Silhouette, the Portrait.
But which is the best of the best? Is Cricut Joy better than Silhouette Portrait? Which is the right machine for you? Let’s really dive into the details because there’s a lot to think about when you compare the Cricut Joy vs Silhouette Portrait.
Should I buy a Cricut?
Is Cricut right for you, or would Silhouette be a better choice? It’s going to come down to your personal preference and how you like to craft.
To decide if you should buy a Cricut or Silhouette, you’ll need to consider software, size, types of projects, and materials, among other things. Though the Joy and Portrait are similar, Joy will offer a simpler design and a quick, easy experience, while Portrait offers much greater functionality.
Every crafter has their own opinion about which is the best, and not everyone’s advice will be right for you. Use your own judgment when considering which machine will best suit your needs.
Is Cricut Joy expensive?
We say budget-friendly, but the truth is, either the Cricut Joy or the Silhouette Portrait will be at least a small investment. The Cricut Joy retails for between $150 and $200 depending on the bundle you choose and if any sales are in progress. The Silhouette Portrait is usually about $20 above the price of the Joy.
There isn’t a big difference between their price points. So, when you’re deciding which one to purchase we suggest focusing more on functionality and which one suits your needs than just the price.
Of course, the machine isn’t the only thing that could make the Cricut Joy expensive. Pay attention to the price of your materials as well. Although you can use card stock and regular vinyl, if you intend to purchase Cricut Joy’s Smart vinyl, know that it is more expensive than regular vinyl.
Silhouette vs Cricut software
Before you buy a Silhouette or a Cricut, think about what technology you have access to. Both software platforms are very easy to use with the right computer or phone, but there are some differences.
Silhouette Portrait 3
- Compatibility: Windows and iOS
- App: Silhouette Go for iOS and Android
- Paid Subscription: $50, or Club Silhouette $9.99/month
- Bluetooth or USB
- Compatibility: Windows and iOS
- App: Cricut Joy
- Paid Subscription: Cricut Access, $9.99/month
- Bluetooth only
None of these software platforms or mobile apps are currently supported on Chrome OS, so if you have a Chromebook, you will need to use your Android or iPhone.
Please note that only the Cricut Joy app has total functionality, while the Silhouette Go app is not a replacement for the desktop version. Also, according to some of the reviews we’ve seen and responses from the developers, Silhouette Go is still being developed and may have some issues.
Is Cricut compatible with iOS?
Cricut does some interesting things when it comes to how you use its software. Because you can access a whole suite of features on an app, Cricut is compatible with iOS and Apple store, but of course it’s a little more complicated than that.
Some features of Cricut Design Space are only accessible using iOS while others are only available on Windows and so on. Some makers find that Design Space can be a little buggy when using Android and prefer to access it with their iPhone. A good wifi connection will always be critical to your projects.
Is Cricut or Silhouette easier to use?
Enough about software. We think its time to get to what happens when you actually go to use Cricut Joy or Silhouette Portrait. Is Cricut or Silhouette easier to use, and what can these machines really do?
When it comes to simplicity, Cricut Joy is much easier to use because it has less features and functionality. It is very pared down from the larger machines. Silhouette Portrait, on the other hand, has a wider variety of features it has access to, and the software does not walk you through setup.
- Simple features
- Limited options
- Easy software
Silhouette Portrait 3
- Advanced, full suite features
- More tool options
When it comes to ease of use, the Cricut Joy wins due to simplicity of design. If you’re looking for a quick, easy crafting solution, go for the Joy. Especially if you already have a full-sized machine, you’ll love the pared down interface for quick projects and portability.
If you don’t have a machine already, you may find the Silhouette Portrait is the better option. You’ll be able to do more with it, though you may need to get the hang of the software and tools. Since there are more options, there will be more of a learning curve, but you’ll be able to create a greater variety of projects.
Can Cricut Joy and Silhouette Portrait do the same things?
Though the short answer is yes, you can use Cricut Joy and Silhouette Portrait for the same types of projects, Cricut Joy is much simpler and basic, while Portrait has a larger functionality.
You can do more with a Silhouette Portrait than you can with the Cricut Joy, but you’ll have an easier time doing things with Joy. Let’s take a closer look at Cricut vs. Silhouette when it comes to features.
Cutting without a mat
Cricut Joy has a great feature that may give it a leg up over Silhouette in one respect.
When you use their Smart materials, the Cricut Joy can cut without a mat. Matless cutting is one important feature of the Cricut Joy. While you can achieve matless cutting with Silhouette Portrait, it is not advertised as a feature, and you will need to adjust your rollers to the width of the material yourself.
We have seen plenty of people using their Silhouette Portrait to do matless cutting, but it’s normally advertised as a feature found on the Cameo.
Making cards with Cricut Joy
The best project for Cricut Joy is cards. Silhouette Portrait can make cards, but the Cricut Joy was designed for it.
For making cards with the Cricut Joy, make sure you have a new, sharp blade. Cricut makes a special card mat that you can buy, which really makes the Joy shine. By using the card mat, the Joy only cuts the top of the card. They also sell their own, special card stock, or you can use your own.
Cardstock can quickly dull your Cricut Joy blade. Check out our article on Cricut Joy blade replacement for tips on when to know when to make a Cricut blade replacement.
Silhouette Portrait projects
The function of the Cricut Joy is mostly limited to these basic projects, which is where Silhouette portrait really takes off. You can do a lot more with Silhouette Portrait, like creating print and cut designs or uploading photos from your phone.
Silhouette Portrait can also cut larger-sized materials than Cricut Joy can. In fact, it has almost twice the cutting width, boasting an 8in width compared to Joy’s 5.5in. It can also cut a length of up to 60ft, while Joy stops at 20ft. This is obviously not going to be a problem if you’re just making cards, but as you can see, the Portrait offers a bit more in terms of projects.
Because of this, Portrait is naturally larger than Cricut Joy, so although both are portable, Joy is much smaller.
Cricut Joy vs Silhouette Portrait – Breakdown
We’re ready to give a summary of all of the different points that have been made so far. Let’s make a simple list of the pros and cons of Cricut Joy vs Silhouette Portrait.
Dimensions: 8.5in, 5.5in, 4.25in
- Simple to use
- Great for card making
- Better app
- Limited projects
- Smaller project size
- Smart vinyl is expensive
Dimensions: 16.2in x 5.5in x 4.4in
- More functionality
- Larger projects
- Diverse materials and projects
- USB option
- Larger, less portable
- More expensive
- App does not replace desktop software
Cricut Joy vs Silhouette Portrait – Final thoughts
How you like to use your machine determines which you will prefer when it comes to Cricut Joy vs Silhouette Portrait.
If you already own a full-size machine and you just want something cute and portable, the Cricut Joy is a fantastic choice for fun, simple cardmaking or label projects.
If you don’t yet own a full-size machine, Silhouette Portrait will do most of the work for a fraction of the price.
Let us know in the comments if you own one of these cutting machines and how you like it! Would you ever switch brands, or are you committed?