Today we are going to continue with another frequently asked question about the Cricut Explore machines. Will I be required to use cartridges with the Cricut Explore? I see it all the time on Facebook and in craft forums – “I won’t use the Cricut. I don’t want to have to spend all that money on cartridges.” Let’s break down this myth and talk about what you DO need to design with the new Cricut Explore machines.

Will I be required to use cartridges with the Cricut Explore?

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Will I be Required to Use Cartridges with the Cricut Explore?

The answer to this one is simple. No! You do not need to use cartridges with any of the new Cricut Explore machines. The machines work using software called Cricut Design Spaceā„¢.

When you start a new project you can add any image from the Cricut Design Space library easily by selecting Insert Images.

Insert Images Cricut Design Space

From there, you can search for over 60,000+ images. You can type what you are looking for right into the search bar, choose from categories, or cartridges.

Images in Cricut Design Space

The reason I think people get confused about this is that the older machines did require you to use cartridges to work. And you can still purchase them online and at your local craft stores.

The great thing is if you are a long time Cricut user, and there is a particular cartridge you love, you can search by a cartridge and even purchase it digitally through the software. However, many people used to complain about having to buy an entire cartridge for only one or two images. This is no longer an issue as you can purchase individual images from any cartridge.

Many of the full cartridges are available through the Cricut Access subscription. Any cartridge that has the little green and white A on the left side means you get it for free with your subscription.

Cricut Access cartridges

Can I Still Use my Cricut Cartridges with the New Cricut Explore?

Some of you may be long time Cricut users, like me. I have had a Cricut for years – even before I started blogging. I have a large collection of cartridges I had purchased for my Cricut Expression.

It is easy to link these cartridges to your new machine. On the side, there is a little port you can plug in a cartridge.

Cricut Explore font cartridge slot

Cartridge port Cricut Explore Air 2

Click on the Link Cartridges link under your profile, plug in your cartridge, then follow the on-screen instructions. 

Link cartridges Cricut Design Space

Cartridge in Cricut Explore Air 2

Note: Be sure you are logged in before starting this process.

The software walks you through linking each cartridge and once linked you will have them available to use at any time within Cricut Design Space.

How to link cartridges to Cricut Explore Air 2

I hope this has cleared up some of the confusion about this frequently asked question!

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