Best Laptop for Cricut Explore and Maker

These days getting artistic and crafty is less about big pots of messy glue and pieces of felt - it’s gone way more high tech.

But if you’re more about the crafting than the tech, don’t worry - you’ve come to the perfect place.

We’ve been checking out some of the best laptops on the market today, and we’ve handpicked our top 5 favorites for use with Cricut Explore and Cricut Maker.

And the good news is that you don’t need an expensive laptop to run the required software, and most laptops will do just fine.

But if you’re not too sure what exactly to look out for in a laptop for Cricut Explore and Cricut Maker, we’ve got even more help at hand.

Following on from our product reviews we’ve got a handy buying guide for you, which walks you through some of the different things that you might want to think about before you buy.

Then, we’re going to top that off with a further section where we answer some of your most frequently asked questions on the subject, including the hardware requirements for Design Space, the free software for every Cricut machine.

Let’s get straight into it!

OUR TOP PICK

Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop, 15.6 inches Full HD IPS Display, AMD Ryzen 3 3200U, Vega 3 Graphics, 4GB DDR4, 128GB SSD, Backlit Keyboard, Windows 10 in S Mode, A515-43-R19L, Silver

We’re big fans of the Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop. And we’re not the only ones - not by a long shot.

This is one of Acer's best selling laptops.

And the review feedback is really good too with very high ratings.

At 15.6 inches, it’s a standard size laptop, easily able to accommodate all your Cricut images on its screen. 

And the screen has a resolution of 1920 x 1080, which means it has a way better resolution than the minimum you need to run Cricut’s Design Space.

It may even be able to accommodate updated versions of the software in years to come.

With regards to its connectivity, you’ve got 802.11ac Wi-Fi to access your Cricut images stored in the cloud, and you’ve got the option of using either Bluetooth or the USB ports to hook it up to your Cricut Explore or Cricut Maker. 

And to top that off you also get an HDMI port to hook your laptop up to your TV.

It has a really good battery life, able to last up to 7 and a half hours without needing to be plugged in.

The rest of the specs are good too. You get a fast and powerful dual-core processor (the AMD Ryzen 3 3200U, which can do speeds of up to 3.5 GHz.

There’s also a graphics card already built-in, 4 GB of DDR4 RAM, for all your multi-tasking, and 128 GB of SSD storage for any files you want to be kept on the laptop.

Pros:

  • Large screen
  • Great resolution
  • Excellent connectivity
  • Great battery life

Cons:

  • It comes with Windows 10 in S mode, but you can  switch it out of S mode for free in a few easy steps

EDITORS CHOICE

ASUS VivoBook F512 Thin and Lightweight Laptop, 15.6” FHD WideView NanoEdge , AMD R5-3500U CPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, Backlit KB, Fingerprint Reader, Windows 10, Peacock Blue, F512DA-EB51

This laptop has everything you want for running Cricut’s Design Space software - and a lot more besides.

It’s a nice size, with a large 15.6-inch screen, and a display resolution of an impressive 1920 x 1080. That’s good enough not just for your Cricut software but even for streaming movies.

With regards to its connectivity, you’ve got 802.11ac Wi-Fi to access your Cricut images stored in the cloud, and you’ve got the option of using either Bluetooth or the USB ports to hook it up to your Cricut Explore or Cricut Maker.

And to top that off you also get an HDMI port to hook your laptop up to your TV.

It’s got a fast, powerful CPU, the AMD Quad-Core Ryzen 5 3500U Processor, no less. Able to go to speeds of up to 3.6 GHz.

It comes with Windows 10 already installed, ready and able to take on all your favorite Microsoft apps as well as your Cricut apps.

The rest of the specs are good too - there’s an impressive AMD Radeon Vega 8 graphics card installed, 8 GB of RAM for multitasking (double what you need for Cricut software), and a whopping 256 GB of SSD storage for all your image files (not that you’ll need it).

We were also impressed with the fingerprint recognition - an excellent security feature. Plus, we’re suckers for a backlit keyboard.

Pros:

  • Great screen size & resolution
  • Windows 10 already installed
  • Loads of SSD storage for images
  • Fingerprint recognition technology
  • Powerful CPU & plenty of RAM

Cons:

  • Battery life could be better

BEST VALUE

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15' Laptop, 15.6' HD (1366 x 768) Display, AMD Ryzen 3 3250U Processor, 4GB DDR4 Onboard RAM, 128GB SSD, AMD Radeon Vega 3 Graphics, Windows 10, 81W10094US, Business Black

Here’s another great little laptop - and available at a good price too.

It has a large screen at 15.6 inches wide, allowing you to compare your Cricut images side by side.

And the resolution is a crisp 1366 x 768, which is better than what need for your Cricut software. 

It comes with Windows 10 already installed, ready and able to take on all your favorite Microsoft apps as well as your Cricut apps.

With regards to its connectivity, you’ve got 802.11ac Wi-Fi to access your Cricut images stored in the cloud, and you’ve got the option of using either Bluetooth or the USB ports to hook it up to your Cricut Explore or Cricut Maker.

And to top that off you also get an HDMI port to hook your laptop up to your TV.

You’re also treated to the AMD Ryzen 3 3250U multi-core processor, for fast, powerful processing.

You also get plenty of storage for your Cricut files, specifically 128 GB on the SSD drive, if you didn’t want to use the cloud storage. And there’s also an SD card slot for storing files on an SD card.

You also get 4 GB of RAM, meeting the requirements for the app’s multitasking needs.

A somewhat newer feature on this laptop is the inclusion of a physical shutter on the webcam. Great way to protect your privacy.

Pros:

  • Affordable price tag
  • Good screen size & resolution
  • Windows 10 already installed
  • Loads of storage for images (SD or SSD)
  • Excellent connectivity to your Cricut

Cons:

  • Not equipped for graphic-intense gaming

RUNNER UP

HP 15.6in Laptop (Intel Pentium Quad-Core N5000, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD, HDMI, WiFi, Bluetooth, HD Webcam, Windows 10 S) (Renewed)

This dinky laptop is a bestseller with retailers and is available at a great price too - especially if you manage to catch one of the deals they occasionally have on Amazon - worth a look.

The screen is nice and large at 15.6 inches, while the screen’s resolution is 1366 x 768, which is better than what you need to run the Cricut software.

With regards to its connectivity, you’ve got 802.11ac Wi-Fi to access your Cricut images stored in the cloud, and you’ve got the option of using either Bluetooth or the USB ports to hook it up to your Cricut Explore or Cricut Maker.

And to top that off you also get an HDMI port to hook your laptop up to your TV.

It has a fast and powerful processor, namely the Intel Pentium Silver Quad-Core N5000, able to go to speeds of up to 2.7 GHz. 

It also has 4 GB of RAM for multitasking, meeting your RAM requirement for the Cricut software.

There’s even a built-in graphics card (not that you need it for Cricut). And if you wanted to save some of your Cricut images on the laptop, you can take advantage of its 128 GB space of the SSD drive.

But what really impressed us was the long battery life of up to nearly 11 hours on a full charge!

This laptop also has a built-in webcam and microphone, so you can use it for video calling too.

Pros:

  • Affordable price tag
  • Good screen size & resolution
  • Loads of SSD storage for images 
  • Excellent connectivity to your Cricut
  • Fantastic battery life

Cons:

  • It comes with Windows 10 in S mode, but you can  switch it out of S mode for free in a few easy steps

RUNNER UP

HP Stream 14-inch Laptop, Intel Celeron N4000, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB eMMC, Windows 10 Home in S Mode with Office 365 Personal for 1 Year (14-cb185nr, Royal Blue)

This laptop may have a slightly smaller screen than some of the other laptops in our top 5 picks, but we would argue that 14 inches is still adequate, and moreover, the display resolution comes in at 1366 x 768, which is better than what you need to run the Cricut software, and will give you perfectly clear images.

With regards to its connectivity, you’ve got 802.11ac Wi-Fi to access your Cricut images stored in the cloud, and you’ve got the option of using either Bluetooth or the USB ports to hook it up to your Cricut Explore or Cricut Maker.

And to top that off you also get an HDMI port to hook your laptop up to your TV.

It has a fast and powerful processor, the Intel(R) Celeron(R) Dual-Core N4000 Processor, that goes to speeds up to 2.6 GHz.

And it’s got a fantastic battery life, that can reach more than 14 hours on a full charge.

The 4 GB of RAM is perfectly sufficient for your Cricut software, and with regards to onboard file storage, there’s a very healthy 64 GB available.

The stand-out feature of this particular laptop though has to be the 1-year subscription to Office 365, which lets you use all the Microsoft Office apps and gives you a whole terabyte of cloud file storage.

Pros:

  • Affordable price tag
  • Good screen size & resolution
  • Excellent connectivity to your Cricut
  • Subscription to Office 365
  • Fantastic battery life

Cons:

  • It comes with Windows 10 in S mode, but you can  switch it out of S mode for free in a few easy steps

Best Laptop for Cricut Explore & Maker Buying Guide

As promised, here’s your buying guide!

In our FAQ section coming later, we’ll breakdown the actual hardware requirements you will need to run Cricut’s software Design Space, which you can use for both Cricut Explore and Cricut Maker.

Cost

You may not necessarily need a big, powerful top-of-the-range laptop, but if you have the budget you can always get yourself one of the latest value-for-money models like the ones we showed you in our top 5 picks.

They’re all very reasonably priced and come under $600.

Once you have your new laptop you’ll likely want to use it for a lot more besides Cricut Explore and Cricut Maker.

In which case, you may be glad if you’ve aimed at laptops with higher than the minimum specs.

Display Size

Cricut’s Design Space software, as you would imagine is a rather visual tool, and to use it will need a sufficiently good screen. And there are two main aspects to this.

First, there’s the size. You could get away with using the smaller laptops such as the 14-inch ones (or maybe even the 11-inch ones!).

But the clear advantage of having a larger screen, such as a 15-inch (or maybe even a 17-inch) is that you can see more windows on your screen at any one time. 

Now, this can be particularly handy if you need to examine two images next to each other. Or if you want to be able to see the whole of the image, while also being able to access a side pane.

Display Resolution

But more important than the display size is the display resolution. The higher the display resolution, the clearer and crisper the images on the screen will be.

We can confirm, that as a minimum, you will need a display resolution of 1024 x 768. This was previously considered a very high resolution but has since become pretty much standard.

If Cricut decides to bring out new updated software, there’s a chance it may require a higher resolution still.

Connectivity

To connect your Cricut Explore or your Cricut Maker to your laptop, you will need at least one of the following: a standard USB port, or Bluetooth connectivity.

If you’re unsure which of these two look out for, ideally you should look for a laptop that has both. Since if you’re having trouble with one of the connections, you can always then go ahead and try the other instead.

This isn’t generally hard to come by, however, and it’s very common for laptops these days to have both Bluetooth connectivity and several ports, including 2 standard USB ports.

Operating System

Cricut’s Design Space software is built to run on a wide range of devices and operating systems.

The reason that we zoomed in on Windows laptops in our top 5 picks was because people are usually more familiar with Windows systems than Mac.

And because Android-based laptops are usually just for browsing rather than downloading your own software to run offline.

CPU

You don’t need a particularly powerful processor in the laptop, and any Intel™ Dual-Core processor will suffice, or the equivalent AMD® processor.

RAM

The laptop’s RAM is what gives the laptop the ability to multitask. The minimum RAM you need to run Cricut’s Design Space software is 4 GB.

But if you like to have several apps running on your laptop at any one time, you‘d be well advised to look for one with more RAM.

Disk Space

You will need a minimum of 2 GB of disk space just to run the software, so you will need well over that to run any other apps besides.

In terms of storing files from Cricut’s Design Space software, you can take advantage of the cloud storage they have to offer.

However, if you would like to keep copies on your laptop, then you will need additional disk space. 

This does not have to the SSD storage, but SSD is a better option than HDD.

Battery Life

If you wanted to take your laptop to a Cricut arts and crafts class, then this may be easier if you have a decent battery life.

But this doesn’t have to be extensive unless you were going away for a whole weekend.

Frequently Asked Questions

What operating system do you need to run Cricut software Design Space?

You’re in luck - Cricut’s software, Design Space can be run on all the main operating systems: Windows, Mac, iOS, and Andriod.

But it won’t work on really old versions of these operating systems. Here are your options:

  • Windows® 8 or later
  • macOS 10.13 or later
  • iOS 12 or later
  • Android 6.0 or higher

The important thing to note here is that the software won’t run on Windows in S mode. However, it’s easy to switch a laptop out of S mode.

What are the hardware requirements for Cricut software Design Space?

Since this article is about laptops, we’re going to concentrate here on laptop specs. (But if you weren’t already aware, you can also use your smartphone or tablet to run this software.)

These are the minimum specs you need for your laptop:

  • A USB port or Bluetooth® connection
  • Display: 1024 x 768 screen resolution
  • CPU: Intel™ Dual-Core processor (or equivalent AMD®)
  • 2 GB free disk space
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Broadband Speed: 3 MB/s

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