Wondering what the best vinyl for Cricut is? I tested the most popular brands to see how each one stacked up to Cricut brand.
This is a sponsored post on behalf of Cricut. However, all opinions and projects are my own.
I’ve been using a Cricut machine for over 10 years. I am on my 5th or 6th machine! I am a Cricut addict, I know!
And over the past decade, I have used a lot of different materials, some good, some bad, and some down night pulling my hair out screaming bad!
So today I thought I’d talk about the different vinyl materials I have the best success with (AKA my go-tos!) and also do some comparison testing of the most popular brands out there.
First, we’ll take a look at the best adhesive vinyl when using a Cricut cutting machine and then we’ll look at a few iron-on vinyl (heat transfer vinyl (HTV)).
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links from Shareasale, Cricut, Awin, and Amazon.com. I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my links (purple text). As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Adhesive Vinyl Comparison
There are two different types of adhesive vinyl – indoor or removable vinyl and permanent or outdoor use vinyl.
One of the most popular vinyl crafts to make is vinyl decals. You can make large wall decals to decorate a room. Or use permanent adhesive vinyl to make car decals or decals to go on tumblers or mugs.
The type of vinyl you use will depend on your end product. For anything that will be outside, get wet/washed, or needs to stay on a long time you’ll want to use permanent adhesive vinyl… think outdoor signs, a water bottle, cutting boards, DIY Christmas decor, etc.
For anything that you’ll want to remove like from a window or wall, you’ll want to use removable adhesive vinyl since its glue is not as strong. I used removable vinyl when decorating the large walls at church.
Then within those two main categories are a ton of different types for your vinyl projects:
- matte finish
- glossy finish
- premium vinyl
- patterned vinyl
- glitter vinyl
- holographic vinyl
- chalkboard vinyl
- foil vinyl
- glow in the dark vinyl
- metallic vinyl
- stencil vinyl
- Smart Vinyl – these are Cricut vinyl rolls that are to be used without a mat in the Cricut Joy, Cricut Explore 3, and Cricut Maker 3.
- And the list can go on!
Tips for Using Adhesive Vinyl
- Make sure you are applying vinyl to smooth surfaces that are clean and free of grease or debris. I recommend cleaning your base surface with rubbing alcohol and then allowing it dry.
- Heat your permanent vinyl with a hair dryer or embossing gun after it’s on the surface to activate the glue. Then when it’s cool to touch, press it down well with your fingers (use a heat-resistant glove or finger protectors!)
- Leave the vinyl on your Cricut cutting mat for easier weeding. It will hold the paper backing of the vinyl down while you remove all the excess pieces surrounding the cut image and within.
For this comparison, I decided to test Cricut vinyl, Dollar Tree vinyl (permanent and glitter), Oracle 651, and Teckwrap.
I first cut out a saying with cursive words but not too intricate. I cut everything out on the same setting at the same time.
I tried to weed them all the same way. Not being too careful.
The Dollar Tree was pretty horrible. It just flicked off.
Oracal, Teckwrap, and Cricut all weeded fine. To me, the Cricut brand was easiest since my weeding tool was actually able to pick up the little pieces.
Then I applied all of them to a mug and let the vinyl cure for 72 hours to see which one adhered the most.
The Dollar tree vinyl scratched off easily. The other three all adhered well.
Just to show you longevity, I added Smart permanent vinyl with my Cricut Joy onto this Starbucks cold cup a few years ago and it doesn’t scratch up at all! Still very adhered after a lot of hand washings.
Just because I wanted to try it, I cut the same image out of the Dollar Tree glitter vinyl and it was also really bad. Nothing stuck to the backing when I tried to weed it.
So, I wanted to test the adhesive pieces of vinyl a little bit more on intricate designs so I cut out an intricate mandala design to see how they would all do.
You can see right off the bat, that the Dollar Tree vinyl was a hot mess. Oracal also had quite a few vinyl pieces missing right from unloading.
Again, I weeded them all trying not to be careful and holding down small pieces. All of the different brands of vinyl pulled up some of the super small circles.
To me, Teckwrap was hard to keep on my weeding tool to lift up. It just kind of moved but didn’t peel up. Cricut vinyl left the smallest pieces on the paper backing during weeding.
So for me, I will definitely be sticking to my Cricut vinyl!
Iron on Vinyl Comparison
If you are a fan of making shirts with your Cricut, tote bags, or other apparel, then I’m sure you’re aware of how many different types of iron on vinyl there are! Iron on vinyl is the same as heat transfer vinyl or HTV.
HTV comes in all sorts of different designs, including:
- everyday iron on
- sports (stretch) HTV
- holographic HTV
- glitter iron-on vinyl
- patterned iron on
- glow in the dark HTV
- sparkle heat transfer vinyl
- And again, the list can go on!
For the HTV comparison, I tried Cricut everyday iron-on vinyl, Siser Easyweed, and Dollar Tree heat transfer vinyl. I cut a craft image and mandala image out of all on the basic Iron-on setting.
I prefer to weed HTV to adhesive vinyl because I can be a bit rougher when pulling off the excess!
The Dollar Tree iron on vinyl was even worse than the adhesive vinyl! Nothing cut through and I had to push really hard to even break through the super thick weird material.
Cricut brand and Siser Easyweed were both pretty similar when it came to weeding. The only thing I noticed was that Siser Easyweed (purple) was a bit softer so if I pushed too hard with my weeding tool it would pull up and stretch the edge of the pieces that were meant to be stuck down.
I used my Cricut EasyPress 3 to press them on a cotton/poly shirt. They both pressed great. With Cricut brand, you just want to make sure it cools down before you remove the liner or it might pull up.
I find the best place to purchase vinyl at a good price is on Cricut.com when they are having sales, at local craft stores like Hobby Lobby, Joanns, or Michaels (again when there are sales), or on Amazon.
Specialty Cricut Vinyl
Cricut released some fun specialty types of vinyl that I used to make a cool glow-in-the-dark sign. I used the metallic vinyl sampler (crystal metallic sparkle) and glow in the dark adhesive vinyl to make a little sign.
I placed each type of vinyl on a green cutting mat and used the drop-down menu setting to select the corresponding material (if you have a Cricut Explore Air, turn your dial to custom and then use the drop down menu within Cricut Design Space).
Then I cut the images with my Cricut Maker 3.
The materials weeded easily and quickly.
Then I used Cricut transfer tape to apply the Let’s Glow Crazy image to a Dollar Tree blackboard sign.
Super quick and cheap decorations for a fun party or girl’s night!
Best Vinyl for Cricut
As you can tell, there’s a reason my go-to vinyl is always Cricut brand! Cricut vinyl causes the fewest do-overs and pull my hair out moments, for sure!
I know that when I use the Cricut brand, that Cricut has tested each of the hundreds of different types of vinyl and HTV on the machine I am using.
Plus Cricut vinyl is easy to find in most craft stores. And if you buy them on sale (30-50%), they are a great deal!
Cricut designed the material to work seamlessly with the entire line of Cricut machines and gave me the ideal settings to start with in Cricut Design Space. Both materials and machines are pre-calibrated to work in line with each other.
And since Cricut is a brand I trust, I know that their materials are compliant with regulations and are made to last. So I am reassured that my machine will last longer when I’m using materials that were made to work with the machine.
A funny story comes to my mind when I think of using brand materials. I was having a terrible issue with my key fob for months. It would take me several minutes to get it to work every time I wanted to unlock my car, it was beyond frustrating!
I had changed the batteries a few times and still, nothing helped so we took it in. The dealership was quick to tell me that the batteries I had used as replacements were generic batteries (off Amazon of course!) and that as soon as they swapped them out with the brand batteries everything worked perfectly!
The batteries that I had purchased were not tested with my specific car and fob so why should they work as well??!!
I hope this comparison helped you when deciding on which vinyl is best to use with your Cricut!
If you are looking for more inspiration for Cricut projects, make sure to browse through my ultimate guide of Cricut ideas for beginners to advanced!
Thanks for stopping by and have a creative day!