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Cricut E2 vs. eClips

Reported by Marti Wills

Cricut Expression 2
Sizzix eClips

When it comes to making the jump to an electronic die cutting machine there are a lot of choices.  It is quite an investment and there are so many things to consider.  Most importantly, you want a machine that will cut well and is easy to use.

Today I want to tell you about the results of my comparison of two of these machines, the Cricut Expression 2 by Provo Craft and the eClips by Sizzix.

Most important is how well the machine can cut. So I began by testing both on a variety of materials.  Both cut cardstock and paper just fine but I wanted to see what else they could cut.

First I tried chipboard – actually the backing from a paper pad.  This is slightly thinner than regular chipboard but it is free, it is a great way to recycle and it WORKS.  First I cut a cupcake – these are on the large size – 4″:

Both machines cut the chipboard perfectly.  I decided to try a smaller and more complicated design with the chipboard next:

The results with the eClips were not as clean as the Cricut.

Next I tried some acetate – another recycled material – I used the plastic covering that my embossing folders come in – you can use any type of plastic clamshell packaging but I like the embossing folder and Spellbinder types because they are so flat and easy to store.

I cut the same cupcakes first – nice basic larger shapes.  Both machines did a great job, however the Cricut cut cleanly through whereas the eClips required some punching out.  However this did not effect the final result.

I also cut the smaller more intricate images again:

Once again the eClips did not quite get the smallest detail cut all the way through:

Those teeny pieces on each tip would not come out without doing some damage to the overall shape.  The Cricut did not have this problem:

even the tiny circles/dots required no punching out.

Finally, I cut out some fabric appliques with each machine.  Before you can cut fabric you need to add something to stabilize it and keep it from stretching as the blade makes the cuts.  I tried Steam a Seam Lite first but this was not enough and neither machine cut through.  Next I used Heat ‘n Bond Ultra which is much thicker.  Both machines cut the fabric perfectly:

One advantage the Cricut Expression 2 had was the ability to set it to cut each image twice which is probably why it cute through more successfully.  One of the features of the eClips is the pre-set cut settings for various materials.  I used these pre-sets to do all of the cuts above.  Better results might be gained by adjusting the settings manually, but I have not tried that yet.

In addition to the cutting ability there are a lot of other considerations when comparing cutters.  Here is a table with some of these other things to compare:

Sizzix eClips
Cricut E2
Price – Starter Kit Machine
$499 – includes 2 blades, 1 cartridge and 1 mat
$349 – includes 1 blade, 4 cartridges and 1 mat
Footprint
22 1/2″ x 5″ x 7 1/2″
Price/mat
12.99 – 2 pack
12.99 – 2 pack
Price/blade
9.99 – 2 pack
9.99 – 2 pack
Price/cartridge
39.99 –  25 designs plus features
24.99/34.99/55.99 – 68 images/168+ images/200+ images
Cartridges available
36
228
Cardstock
5
5
Fabric
5
5
Chipboard
4
5
Acetate
4
5
Store avail.
1
4
Ebay
4   29.99/53.99
5    15.00 & up – open bidding

Both of these machines have a viewing screen.  The eClips screen is on a separate handheld device and is controlled by buttons that allow you to scroll through menus and make your choices.  The Expression 2 screen is mounted on the machine itself and is a touchscreen controlled with a stylus.  I personally preferred the screen being attached to the machine as I have limited space and found the separate screen and its cord was always in the way.

Pros:

  • Easy to set up – Both
  • Easy to use – Both
  • Great mats and sharp blades – Both
  • Ability to save cut settings for future ease of use – Expression 2
  • Huge selection of cartridge images – Expression 2
  • Free web-based program that allows you the freedom to design and customize shapes on Cricut cartridges you already own – Expression 2

Cons:

  • Separate screen/control device – eClips
  • Cartridge based system – Both
  • Price – Both
  • Cutting pre-sets did not work on smaller more intricate items – eClips

Had I compared the eClips to the original Cricut Expression the eClips would have come out ahead.  However, with the vast improvements made on the Expression 2 recently released by Provo Craft, I found the Expression to be a better machine – the cutting ability was better, the price is lower, and the image selection is vastly larger.

Do you own either of these machines?  What do you think of them?  Do you own a different one?  Let us know!

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17 Responses to Cricut E2 vs. eClips

  1. bev September 7, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    I own both an Expression 2 and an original Personal Cricut…love them both. The only downfall I have found with the Expression 2 is it came out after the lawsuit with Sure Cuts A Lot so therefore I can not use the program with it but with the older personal Cricut I can. Using the Sure Cuts A Lot program opens up tons of cutting options as long as you can either download an svg file or convert the file to an svg. With Sure Cuts A Lot I use Inkscape to save my svg files and to make any file conversions for use with the Cricut. Thanks for sharing this great review!

  2. Bast September 7, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    I have the Cricut Expression, the Cricut Gypsy and owned the original cricut. The machines are great but I am also upset about the lawsuit against Sure Cuts Alot and other such companies. The Cricut cartridges are very expensive and to get some you have to pay to join the ‘cricut circle’, which is very expensive.

    I am waiting to see what other companies may do to improve on their machines before even considering an Expression 2 or any other machine. For now I am very happy with my big bug.

    Thanx so much for you great review!

    KimMJ
    bast830@comcast.net

  3. Cathy T September 7, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

    I read your review with great interest and I have just the opposite opinions. My original Expression is a work horse. It cuts chipboard cleanly and accurately. The E2 was NOT the improvement I had hoped it would be. The E2 (I’ve had 3 so far…PC is now testing it to see why I’m having so much trouble) in my opinion is not better than the original Expression. I use the Gypsy whenever using my Cricut so the improvements of the screen and saving settings didn’t really do me much good. I am waiting to hear what PC has to say about the last E2 and if I’ll get a new one. I’ve never used the Eclips so I don’t know how the quality is (except for your review). I love my Cricut products and have used other cutters that aren’t cartridge based, but I prefer the cartridge based Cricut.

  4. MaryNSC September 7, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

    I just got the Eclips and I M loving it as I wanted to be able to be able to do svg files.I Love going to sites and downloading the SVG files They have some of the cutest stuff. and I got my Eclips For less than $250.I still Love my Cricut Expression and Little bug for travel and I still buy carts Sweet tooth boxes is next on my list but I wanted to design my own cuts..Eclips has not posted the software yet but it is supposed to come out any day I can not wait.SCAL and Sizzix are working together and I LOVE THAT..

  5. Sheila September 7, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    I have both the E2 & the Eclips. I like the laser beam to see it the image will fit on a piece of scrap paper on the eclips. On the eclips I can see all the features on one screen,ie, shadow, on the E2, you have to flip back & forth. At least I know I will be able to use Sure Cuts A Lot with the eclips

  6. Jill September 7, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

    I’d love to hear a review on the Silhouette (although I won’t purchase until the 12″ comes out)

  7. graceline paper studio September 7, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

    I received the personal Cricut as a gift from my daughters. I eventually gave that one to my crafty daughter and found a fantastic price on the Expression. Everything about it so far I love. I really like the ability to make double cuts. I long for the day to spend more time with this machine. so far I have used the Fairy Tale cartridge to create a mobile that I sold on Etsy. i have also created Kanji symbolds that I used on my Kusudama flower petals that seems to sell well on my shop. My favorite machine, simple as it is, is the Sizzix Big Shot. i love the clear dies that cut multiples of many objects out of many different materials. thanks so much for the enlightening comparison of both the products featured today. Karen

  8. 2KutiesGrandma September 7, 2011 at 5:51 pm #

    I have sworn off all things Provocraft since the lawsuits against Make The Cut and Sure Cuts A Lot. And as much as I think cutting capability is important – I think that freedom to use your own designs is equally important. I look forward to seeing some future reviews on a couple of the new machines that are not cartridge based like the new Silhouette Cameo and the KNK Zing.

  9. jkinney September 7, 2011 at 7:25 pm #

    I started with the Silhouette and was disappointed by the mats. The mats weren’t sticky enough and I had to use tape to hold the paper in place. I also didn’t like having to spend so much time looking for SVG files. I sold it on Ebay and bought an Expression. I was hired as a Cricut Cake demo and worked for six months demoing the Cake, Expression, and the Yudu. I found that many Expression owners simply didn’t know the full capability of their machines. I now teach Cricut classes and have so much fun. I am a SCAL user and am unhappy with the lawsuit outcome. I received another Expression as a gift, so I don’t update one machine so I can continue to use SCAL but update the newer machine. I think you gave a fair test to both machines and I appreciate the time and effort it took to do both. Crafters are such a sharing community and I am grateful for that.

  10. krafty kitty October 24, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    I started with the personal Cricut and moved up to the Expression. Love it, but the E2 seems like a lot of work to get the same results. I have watched loads of videos and it seems like more work on the screen with a stylus,than setting your dial choosing your item and push cut. I can’t see any benefit.

  11. Anonymous October 25, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    I have both the expression and the eclips and I have to say that I love the eclips. I saw the pictures about the cuts you made and I have to say that I never had that problem. All of my cuts come out perfect with all materials. There was never a need to take little things out. I didn’t change the pre-settings either. I also think that you should have picked the same shape for both machines, just to be fair. Because if you compaire the snowflake and the circle, one can see that the snowflake is much more intrecate then the circle. But anyway, I too have to say that PC did some good adjustments to their new machine. Still with the new SCAL software coming out for the eclips I have to say that the eclips is the better machine. They do not limit their costumers creativity to their own cartridges.

  12. stampgram November 27, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    I don’t have either of these machines but I have a Silhouette SD which I love. I now am looking for a 12 in cutter and have been reading reviews before I make a decision. I was disappointed in your review as it seems you set it up so the eclips would lose. I wanted to see them working side by side. I have to agree with Anonymous, I think if you really wanted a fair comparison you would have cut all the projects with both cutters at the proper speed and pressure for that cutter and material. The more intricate snowflake is much harder to cut than the circle, not just because of more cuts and corners, but it is not self contained so will tend to lift and not cut as well. Circles are easy for any cutter to do. My Silhouette just zips through them every time. Sorry to say your review did not help with my research.

  13. LemonDropMemories December 11, 2011 at 6:13 am #

    Would it have been a fairer fight if you had compared the eClips 2.0 to Cricut Expression 2? I think that Sizzix would have worked out some of those cutting kinks in their second version of the machine, right?

    This review has been very helpful, though, in making my decision. I’ll wait to see how the eClips improves before I buy either machine (right now I’ll be satisfied with my baby Cricut).

  14. JERRY SUMMERS February 18, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    Reading the review I would of thought provocrap wrote it. I purchased the expressions machine and realized the greedy bastards wanted me to buy only their images and sued SCAL. I purchased the eclips and couldn’t be more happier. The machine is so much easier to use and cuts great. I can get on the computer and take any image I like off the web and cut it anytime. Can’t do that with any Cricut product, and for that reason alone the expression or expression 2 is a product nobody should even consider. My expression went on ebay, where some sucker bought it.

  15. Karen hornsten February 18, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    Oooohhhh harsh Jerry, especially when we are just giving opinions here. Guess we are all at different levels of experience and needs.. My funds are tight, my Expression was priced at a fantastic price, and so far I love it. Have only had good relations with Provo Craft and great customer service there. But Jerry, your point is definitely taken also.

  16. Anonymous June 18, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    I just got a expressions 2 today, took it out of the box, spent several hours trying to find a way around not using with SCA and packed it back up and it is being sent back tomorrow. I will be buying an elcips simply because I can use my own images.

  17. Denise Wilson January 25, 2013 at 12:38 am #

    I have the original expression that I purchased 2 yrs ago. I know that the new machines will no longer work with SCAL but my question is this… If I purchased my machine before the lawsuit was won can I now purchase SCAL to use on my Cricut Expression?