Cricut Imagine vs Cricut Expression

Cricut imagine vs Cricut expression
Please add your advice and thoughts on the Pro's and Con's of each device. Which would you suggest for someone just getting in to Cricut? The Expression, or the Imagine?

Marilyn Writes:

I am just getting into Cricut and almost ready to buy the Expression and found out about the Imagine and now am all mixed up on what to purchase after reading all the comments. Could you please give me some advice. I know nothing except what I have read. Thanks!! Marilyn

59 Responses to “Cricut Imagine vs Cricut Expression”

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  1. Sara says:

    The Expression

    I would suggest the Expression since it is quite a bit cheaper. Also more people have the Expression, so it there are lots of people who can help you learn to use it.


    • fraqn says:

      I have the original cricut expression and just love it. I just got the Image Cartridge Baby Boutiquem and was told it won’t work on my machine. Will it or not. I don’t care to print color. Went to cricut site and no response. I am anxious to know before I open it.
      Please, Help

  2. Sherri says:

    I started with the very original Cricut and when Expression came out I decided to buy it.This summer I gave the small Cricut to my sister to use in her classroom. I did buy the Imagine and hardly use it…the Expression is a better size and a learning tool…the Imagine is great for special projects. This past week I bought another small Cricut as I teach art classes and travel.. You can t go wrong with the Expression…it is the best thing going!!

    Katy, TX

  3. Shelly says:

    I would highly suggest the Expression. The cost of the ink with the expression and the amount of ink it uses it just not worth it. Also if you read the feedback regarding the Imagine its not very positive. I know people have been having a lot of issues with it. For the amount of money they charge for the machine its rediculous. I have never ever had an issue with my expression. Love it!

  4. linda says:

    Hmm I say both if you can afford them The expression is a great all around machine but the Imagine takes it to the next level allowing you to print and cut. I have not had any problem with the Imagine however in all honesty I have not played with it as much as I would like. The ink is an added expense but you can make your own dimensional embellishments instead of purchasing stickers etc so that may offset the expense

  5. Aimee D says:

    I can’t emphasize it enough, the EXPRESSION! I bought the Imagine and after one month of use it quit working and I returned it and bought the Expression. I think the Imagine WILL become a great product but I don’t think Provocraft was ready for the release. Waaay too many bugs to work out. Get the Expression and wait a couple of years to buy the Imagine. The Expression does everything but print. It’s so much easier to work with and the mats are always sticky! (Another problem with the Imagine). I honestly couldn’t be happier with the Expression.

    • Sarah says:

      Wow! I really wanted the Imagine but now I’m not so sure! Did you buy a new IMAGINE? I have a personal, and have just recently purchased a new Expression. I thought I should have gotten an Imagine. I wanted it for my birthday this year but I should probably wait. What do you think of the Gypsy is it better than design studio for the computer, or basically the same thing?

  6. PJ says:

    I have all three, but my favorite is the Expression. For the money, the Expression is the superior machine. I like the features of the Imagine, but don’t really like the new cartridges…not much to work with. Granted, there are a lot of colors, and patterns; however, there aren’t a lot of symbols per cartridge. I also don’t like the cutting mats, the adhesive is very bad as it does not hold the paper.

  7. sandra jones says:

    I would definately go for the imagine it is the machine to have lots more advantage lots of things you can do and make you can also coordinate your colours, I absolutely love it.Not a machine you are able to carry about with you though if you need to take it with you have the expression but personally i love the imagine but would not part with the expression.hope this is of help to you.

  8. Marsha says:

    Sara, Sherri, Shelly, Linda, Aimee, PJ, and Sandra.

    I was also debating between the 2 machines. Thanks so much for providing your valuable insight!

    Anyone else have advice on this issue?

    Thanks you! :)


  9. Annelvira says:

    Hi! I would recommend starting with the expression and here is why:
    1. There are a wider variety of cartridges to suit most any idea.
    2. The cartridges can be purchased inexpensively from many on line retailers.
    3. You can cut larger ( up to 23.5″) on an Expression
    4. The expense of paper is less than the cost of ink. Cardstock is almost always on sale at one of the big box stores.
    5. The Expression is more hands on which is good for new crafters, they get to play more with textures.
    6. I don’t think the bugs are out of the Imagine yet. The first release of most dynamic machines usually need a little time to be as smooth as anticipated. Problems with a tool this costly would be a greater hinderence to a newer crafter and sully the relationship with Cricut.

    There are lots of reasons to go either way. I own 2 Expressions and a baby Cricut and although tempted by the Imagine will wait for the next year’s release when hopefully some of the issues I read on the blogs will be worked out. As long as my large cartridge library will work, I have nothing to lose.

    Merry Christmas

  10. Anne says:

    I am also interested in purchasing a Cricut. This is a new endeavor for me! After reading the above replies, I am leaning toward the expression. I do have a question… What program do you recommend that allows you to use true type fonts installed on your computer (instead of relying solely on the cartridges).

    Thanks for the input!

  11. Cat says:

    I have heard good things about using the SCAL software with the Cricut. SCAL states it can be used on any of the Cricut. Plus it allows you to auto trace.

  12. Darlene says:

    I say the Imagine! Everything you can do on the Expression and more. I have both and since I got the Imagine I haven’t once touched my Expression. All the cartridges work on the Imagine. I love the fact that I can use the ink colors of my mixing to each design. I don’t have to buy colored or printed paper but I can use whatever paper I want. If you are interested in the Imagine why waste the money on an expression and just put your money toward the Imagine.

    • Sarah says:

      I really want the imagine, but I have a personnal and have just recently purchased a new Cricut Expression. Do you think I should have gotten the Imagine?

    • Tracy says:

      I realize that this conversation started a long time ago, but here it goes. Darlene, I really appreciated your comment on the imagine. There are not many good reviews. I just got one for my B-day literally 2 days ago. I have 2 questions for you if you don’t mind>

      1. With the expression you not supposed to hot swap the cartridge, you must turn off your machine, are you supposed to do this with the imagine too, or can you just take out the cartridges.

      2. What’s the best paper you can buy, or what cuts best for the machine.

      Your response is appreciated. Thanks to all that commented on the machine. I’m almost afraid of using the machine….

      • Tracey says:

        Hello My Name is Tracey I have the imagine and I haven’t used it that much I want to I have to find better paper for it you can use white card stock works well with it. I have to play around with it more and play around with the sizes I love the machine I love how you can choose your colors I am waiting the next big thing that my boyfriend of 3 years got me the Cricut Expession 2 that is my Christmas gift I gave the expression 1 to a best friend for her Christmas gift I can’t wait to get it I am looking forward to being up to date on what Cricut has in store I guess you can say this will be my last cricut that I will have him buy for me and he said no more big things for awhile. I am fine with that I love him for getting this. anyway I have had issues with the mats all you have to do is call they with send you matts at no charge if they are not sticky for the imagine I just have to play around with it more I love to Scrapbook that is what I use mine for and the cricuts are awesome I know my friend will love it more as she gets used to doing stuff if anyone has anything bad to say about the imagine I haven’t had mine very long so far no problems. wel I guess thats what I think but you can always leave comment I will check this offen….

    • Nicole says:

      I found the imagine very NOT user friendly – we couldn’t figure out how to change the size of the letters for cutout – we looked online, inthe book, the view finder was very small and hard to read- any tips to convince me to buy it – did I get a dud – was it not working properly. I agree that I think it has a lot of bugs to work out – i was leaning toward expression2 that just came out in april……

      • Nicole says:

        also….I found that if I printed my letters then cut them out – they were malaligned – we calibrated the machine at least 5 times, read directions, etc…but still poor quality!

    • Lynn says:

      Are there any things that you can do with the expressions II that you can not do with the imagine?
      How wide does your imagine cut and can you connect letters etc to any length as the expressions II can do?

  13. Newbie says:

    can you just print a full color page on Cricut Imagine..if so how?

    • Tracey says:

      My Name is Tracey, if you have the imagine cartrige in the machine go to the menu and select it I guess I haven’t done that one yet cause It takes alot of ink to do that you can always call Cricut if you have questions on how to do things I always do…

    • Elaine Higham says:

      Hi Newbie,When you go to tools on you Imagine,you should have 4 boxes,one should say print full page,if you haven’t got this you need to update you Imagine in Cricut Sync.

  14. Jeanie says:

    I am new to cardmaking, etc., but I have both the Expression & Imagine.. I also have the Gypsy, and love it. I think it is a must, even though I am still trying to learn it.
    I personally prefer the Expression. I think it is more user friendly.
    I like the Imagine, but have not had time to learn to use it properly, therefore, I get frustrated when things don’t turn out. Then return to the always user friendly Expression. There is also a new “Cricut Expresion 2” that is coming out in April on HSN, that I think would be the ultimate machine. Not as expensive as the Imagine either!

    • Hayley says:

      I just bought an Expression, Gypsy and Design Studio! Is there a need for a jukebox if you have a Gypsy? Kind of confused. I did not see why I should have waited on the Expression 2, it doesn’t seem like there is enough change to the machine and it sounds like the Expression is plenty to learn. Any thoughts? I also eventually want the Imgine but thought a good “jumping off point” would be the original Expression…

      • Janeane says:

        Hayley, yes you are correct about the Jukebox, I don’t think there really is a need for it any more if you have a gypsy. Also, about the Cricut Expression 2, if you always wait for the “next” thing you will be left with nothing…so I would do the same as you, it will take a long time for the new expression2 to gain the traction that the original expression has, so I think you did great with your choices. :)

      • Caroline says:

        Hi I have the gypsy and the design studio I us them both. I design what cuts I want on the computer because it’s easy to see and having the jukebox with my cartridges in and now messing about . And if I am upstairs I us the gypsy.( I have the expression).

  15. Jessica says:

    I am trying to decide between the 2 machines also. For the people that have the Imagine… Can you cut shapes without using any ink? Can you say that everything you can do with the Expression can be done with the Imagine?


    • Janeane says:

      Jessica, yes you can just cut with the Imagine. You do not have to print and then cut.

    • Tracey says:

      yes u can use it for shapes without printing it should be on the screen that you choose all your settings it has cut only print only or cut and print I hope this helps you out

    • Elaine Higham says:

      and don’t forget with the imagine if you haven’t got the correct shade of colour for you project you can just print it on the shape you need,so you won’t waste your ink..

  16. David says:

    I am a screen printer. There are always people that come back after a job has been printed and say, “you’re going to kill me but I need one more shirt”
    You’re right…I usually am not happy. But, sometimes, if a job has been done in a one color, I can use my Roland Stika Design Cutter to make an iron on.
    I am looking for a machine that will print and cut vinyl graphics for iron on or stick on.
    1. So, my question is…will the Expression work? Or would the Imagine work?
    2. Will the machines work with CorelDraw, Photoshop, etc?

  17. Ashley says:

    I would say…Both the Expression and the Imagine. I have both. I used the Expression a lot for various projects, although it did get a little discouraging when I wanted to cut something and had to switch paper colors all the time and cut out what I needed. The Expression is great for things you want to cut that are not very specific. I did get the Imagine machine for my birthday and so far I love it. I can take an image and make one part a certain color and make another part a certain color and…wala….it prints it and cuts it! No cutting multiple “layers” of different colored paper and piecing them together. The Imagine does have some bugs to be worked out though, but it’s a new machine. Like anything new…theres going to be problems and bugs to be worked out.

  18. Marilyn says:

    Hi,I just purchesed a Cricute Imagine I found as i set the imagine up it was hard to calibraite didt have white papaer to do so as for forther product it would be wise to send a few samples of white 12×12 paper to be able to calibraite the machine. I had to go buy some to get started with the cricut Imagine for the price of the machine it would be wise to add a sample pack of paper Love the purches. Thank You Marilyn

    • June says:

      My husband just bought me a Cricut Imagine for Christmas. I have to say I was also disappointed that there was no sample paper for calibrating the machine.

  19. Leil says:

    Good afternoon,
    I want to purchase my first Cricut to prepare for my daughter’s 1st bday. But the project I want to tackle needs letter press, is the Expression for cutting only? No printing and letterpress?

  20. Thomas H Dahlmann says:

    my wife is looking to purchase a cricut but dosn’t know which if she gets the expression and has a image cartridge how does that work out since the expression cant print all she would get is a cutout of the outline is that right and i hear that the software out there ie fairy cut and sure cut dosnt work with image is that also true?

  21. kym pendered says:

    can you cut with imagine if u run out off ink or does it become disfuctional without ink

  22. Sheribeary says:

    Hi, I just wanted to add my 2 cents. I am very new to the Cricut world, I have had mine for 3 months now. I planned on buying the Expression but as I was shopping around I saw the Imagine. I thought it looked amazing but felt torn about which machine to get. My husband thought we should go ahead and get the newer technology (he loves Tech. gadgets) and got me the Imagine for Valentine’s Day, it also helped that they put it on sale for $300. I have never owned any other Cricut before but I am in love with the Imagine. Since I had never used any Cricut before I think my learning curve was a little steep but I got it figured out. I can hardly put this machine away, it is just so fun to use. I have used the printer part a little but I mostly use it just like the Expression. I enjoy cutting all the pieces and putting them together. You can definitely use it without the printer and just cut. I like having the option of being able to customize something if I want but have all the features of the Expression. I also like being able to see exactly how the pieces will fit and layout on the paper before I cut. I think the only thing you can’t do with it is cut chipboard.

    • Jill says:

      I completeley agree!!! Ihave an expression and I love it!! I wanted the expression 2 for xmas but my husband got me the imagine and I could not be more thirlled!!! I think if you are a true crafter and scrapbooker the cost should not matter even with the ink cost!!!! And I do not like the limitations of the expression compared to the imagine…the more you tube videos I watch, I am finding the possibilities with the imagine are truly endless!!! I just learned you can also cut shrinky dink material then cook to shrink and make jewelry I thought that was a very cool idea for my young nieces!!! I LOVE THE IMAGINE it is my new pride and joy!!! If cost is only reason not to go with Imagine move on to a new hobby your not ready for any cricut!!!!

  23. teresa says:

    What I want to know is, can I use the imagine cartridges on my expression!!!!! I bought some on accident, soo!

  24. Natalie says:

    Hi There
    are the cartridges interchangable?

  25. Becky Aglinsky says:


  26. MJ says:

    can you use the hello kitty cartridges on the imagine as well?

  27. TBV says:

    Is the HP ink acid and lignin-free? Safe for scrapbooking??

  28. MP says:

    Hi there! Thanks everyone for all of their comments & input. These discussions began almost a year ago. Just wondering if anyone knows or feels if the Imagine has gotten any better? Have the kinks started to be worked out? I wonder if there is a way to tell the “born on date” of the machines to know whether or not it was produced after a certain time period? Thanks again all!! Enjoy! : )

  29. Emma says:

    does the cricut imagine do everything the cricut expression 2 does?

  30. Charlotte says:

    What is the latest on the imagine vs. the expression 2? Have they worked out the kinks in the imagine?

  31. Kerry E says:

    Just chiming in with some of the info I have gathered recently in my research… I have an Imagine brand new in the box staring at me ($187 black friday purchase) AND a Cricut Cake that I found for $50 that I plan on utilizing like an Expression (NO food products) Anywhoo :) ALL your cricut cartridges (even Cake) will work in your Imagine and Expression. The Imagine functions are comparable to the Expression, (just add printing ablility) but there are portability issues with transporting the Imagine. I have watched the ProvoCraft videos stating it must be recalibrated after any movement. So, here I sit gazing at this big ole box reading and researching and waiting for a really good answer to everything myself! Looking into the Expression2 as I saw video of WiFi capability… the boxes will just keep piling up ;)

  32. Susan says:

    Just got the Imagine and have tried to do the initial setup. Looks easy, very sinple steps… Set the blade, put in the ink cartridges, the screen propmts me to inset the Imagine Cartridge to update the machine and nothing…. just nothing. Any Suggestions? Help!

    • Marsha says:

      for more information there is lots of information on the cricut community board www cricut com and be sure to check out the cricut craft room it is a great place to create all of your artwork and much easier to use than the screen on your imagine. I just received my imagine for christmas but mine updated on it’s own. I did have to install drivers and download cricut sync to print and cut from the craft room. I love my imagine and haven’t had any problems so far with it I use it all the time.

  33. Carol says:

    If the Cricut Imagine is so great, why did Michaels and Joann Fabrics quit carrying it? Once it is completely sold out, they will not restock the cricut imagine. Also, is provo craft going to continue to make cartriges for the imagine?

  34. Renee says:

    Hello carol,
    I just spoke with cricut customer care yesterday. They expect to have the next imagine shipment in stock at the tail end of february or mid march. Provo craft only buys ink from HP do the fear that they will be not making them is unfounded. IMAGINE is their next generation of machines so according to the supervisor I spoke with new cartridges will be made. From what I’ve learned in cricut classroom you can use normal cartridges and flood the images with cricut imagine color pallets or paper designs. Making all the cartridges more versatile Has anyone tried this yet with their imagine?

  35. Breat says:

    I purchased the IMAGINE yesterday. I had the same problem when I inserted the Imagine More cartidge. Nothing! So I called customer support. I had to download the update on my computer then hook my IMAGINE to my computer and install the update. Customer Service is also sending me a new Imagine More Cartridge. So far I love the IMAGINE, but I have not used any of the other Cricuts, so I don’t have anything to compare it to. Hope this helps.

  36. Suzzette says:

    I know absolutely nothing about scrapbooking, card making, etc.. I do not know what the terminology is that you all are using about the cricut machines. I am thinking about buying a machine to make wedding invitations. Do you know a custom made invitation is around $3. each for card and envelope? What I need to know is this… Are either the Imagine or Expression a good machine to cut and print wedding invitations? I need user friendly and beautiful end product. Or should I buy a die cut machine and print them on my home printer??

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