There are four types of Cricut machines available and they all have different "abilities".
1. Cricut Cuttlebug -is mostly for embossing an simple die cuts. This is a manual machine. Very inexpensive.
2. Cricut Personal- cuts letters and shapes from 1 inch up to 5.5 inches (excellent for scrapbookers)
3. Cricut Create - cuts letters and shapes up to 5.5 inches by 11.5 inches wide but also has mirror image, and some other functions that the Expression has and the Personal doesn't
4. Cricut Expression -cuts designs from .25 up to 23.5 inches and has numerous functions that the others don't (good for bulletin boards)
All models of the Cricut cutting machine, with the exception of the Cuttlebug, function in the same way. They all work using cartridges and the blades are the same too.
I was unsure if I needed to spend the extra money to buy the expression for my needs. But, of course I knew that if I didn't get the best one now I'd be back in line waiting for it within weeks. I justified the price in two ways; one being that I'm going to use it with kindergarten and the other being that it was $200 off at Walmart this week! I felt bad buying it at Walmart but I couldn't beat the price and it was the BLACK one with the Plantin Schoolbook Cartridge
So far I've created cutouts for my Kindergartens to make Mother's Day Cards and made a few cards with my daughter. I can't wait to make the Paper dolls next!