While Cricut machines look like fancy printers at first glance, they enable DIYers to cut, score, and embellish all sorts of materials with ease. The machines can also write and draw, making them that much more versatile.
Cricut machines are an essential tool for modern-day crafters since they can do a lot of legwork for you. The company also offers an online platform that enables you to create beautiful designs or replicate (and optionally personalize) projects that others in the Cricut community have completed.
But the best part about them is that there is a model for every crafter.
Whether you run a business or love working on projects and sharing them with friends and family – there is a Cricut machine out there for you.
However, there’s much more for you to consider than just the price when looking for a Cricut machine. The machine’s functionality, the number of materials it works with, cutting speed, and size are huge factors that will influence your purchase decision.
Comparing and contrasting the Cricut machines can take a lot of time and effort. So, we’ve reviewed the best Cricut machines and weighed out the pros and cons for you.
You will also find a table conveniently comparing the products below.
Best Cricut Machines Reviewed
With the best Cricut machines reviewed in order of impressiveness below, finding the right option should take you minutes.
It’s the fastest, most powerful, and most versatile Cricut machine there is. It enables you to cut over 300 different materials. From delicate paper to tough leather, there’s nothing the Maker 3 cannot handle.
You must note that its predecessor is the original Cricut Maker. There is no “Cricut Maker 2.” The company skipped naming the second iteration of the Maker that, seemingly for naming consistency with the Explore family of Cricut machines.
Speaking of the Explore family, the Maker 3 is ten times more powerful than its Explore counterparts.
Besides cutting, scoring, writing, and drawing, the machine can deboss, engrave, and add several other types of effects to your projects without any hassle. The machine is precise and powerful, making it the company’s ultimate offering.
Enabling you to cut images up to 12 feet long makes it impressive, but the Maker 3 takes things up a notch further. When you work with smart materials, you won’t need to use a cutting mat, even to cut 12 feet long images.
The machine removes the guesswork from creating what you envision. The Maker 3 will measure the material for you, ensuring that you have enough for the project.
When it comes to performance, the company has improved on the original by a huge margin. The Maker 3 is twice as fast as the original when it works with its smart materials. Further, it comes with two additional accessories: the roll holder and the portable trimmer.
There’s nothing that the Circut Maker 3 can’t handle, making it objectively the best Cricut machine you can buy.
- No-fuss; works with smart materials that cut without a mat
- Two additional accessories included
- Twice as fast as its predecessor
- Best Cricut machine for professional use
- Overkill for the novice crafter’s needs
#2 Cricut Maker
The Cricut Maker can cut thick material like corkboard and precisely cut the most delicate Chiffon. It’s without a doubt one of the best Cricut machines you can buy.
Available in four colors, you can buy the version that complements your workspace.
The key difference between the Maker 3 and the original Maker is that the original doesn’t work with smart materials. In turn, the Maker has a much shorter cut length.
But now that the new version is available, the original offers several impressive features at a lower, more reasonable price. Besides the size limitation, you won’t miss out on much with the Maker.
It allows you to work precision-cut over 300 different materials. You won’t have any trouble with embellishing your projects, either, with the 13 tools that come included with the machine. You can do everything from creating folds and adding foil embellishments.
Like the Maker 3, the original Maker is also very advantageous for crafters that work with quilts. It can cut quilts with precision, so you can focus on the fun stuff in your projects.
If you’re looking for a fast and powerful machine that can cut dense material for 3D projects but don’t want to go for something as expensive as the Cricut Maker 3, the Maker is among the best Cricut machines to consider.
But if you’re willing to trade power for a longer cut length, you can consider getting the Explore 3.
- Detects attachment and ensures you’re using the right one
- 13 tools make it perfect for professional use
- Powerful workhorse boasting 4kg of cutting pressure
- Just as versatile as the Maker 3
- It does not work with smart materials
- Knife blade attachment not included with the product
- Limited cutting length
Like the Maker 3, the Explore 3 also works with smart materials. You can load them into the machine directly, and the material will stay aligned inside the machine without needing you to adjust it. This allows you to cut the material up to 12 feet in length in one go.
You will get access to over 50,000 images right when you first fire up the machine. You can start creating anything from wedding gifts to customized home décor right from the get-go.
The Explore 3 is more affordable than the Maker 3, but it also cuts some corners. Instead of the 13 different tools, it comes with six tools. But these enable you to write, score, fold and embellish the 100+ compatible materials without hassle.
With the fine-point blade equipped, you won’t have any trouble cutting thin and medium-thickness material.
The best thing about the Explore 3 is that it is effortless to use. You will be able to create with it even if you’ve never used a similar device or cutting machine before. Since the Explore 3 is compatible with the Design Space app, you will have no problems getting the hang of completing impressive projects with the machine.
- Max cut length of 12ft, making it better than the Explore Air 2 and original Maker
- Smart dial makes operation easy
- Twice as fast as the Explore Air 2 (with smart materials)
- Convenient built-in storage
- Can’t cut dense materials like the Cricut Maker products
If you’re looking to get the best bang for your buck, the Cricut Explore Air 2 is the Cricut machine you want to buy. It comes in four colors, allowing you to complement the appeal of your workspace.
The Explore Air 2 is the Cricut Explore 3 machine’s predecessor, but it comes with a lot of the same impressive features. You can cut over 100 materials with it – the machine can handle everything from cardstock and iron-on to vinyl and paper.
Its precision is extraordinary considering its price. But unlike the Maker family of products, it can’t slice through denser material like basswood.
But it makes up for its reduced versatility with ease of use. The Smart Dial allows you to conveniently set the depth and pressure you need to cut the material of your choice. If you’re a hobbyist working with materials such as vinyl, the Explore Air 2 is the best Cricut machine for you.
Unlike the smaller Cricut Joy, the Explore Air 2 comes with a double tool holder. This enables the machine to cut, score, and write all at the same time.
The older Explore One didn’t have Bluetooth built-in, but the Air 2 does, allowing you to send your design to the machine seamlessly from your phone.
But the best part? It comes with “Fast Mode,” enabling you to cut twice as fast when it’s crunch time.
- Easy storage compartments
- Two-week free trial of Design Space
- Great value for money
- 3000+ ready-to-make projects
- Works with 100+ materials
- Not powerful enough for professional use
#5 Cricut Joy
One of the company’s newest offerings, the Cricut Joy is the most portable Cricut machine so far. Having a width of just 5.5 inches and weighing 3.9 lbs, you will be able to carry it with you and create on the go.
It’s packed with features that are impressive for its size. You can write and draw all kinds of shapes with it. You get the flexibility of picking from a variety of pen types and line weights.
But what’s more impressive about it is that it can fabricate long cuts without needing a mat. You can print a single four-foot-long image with it, or if you need a repeated cut, the machine can produce images up to 20 feet long.
The machine is compatible with Cricut infusible ink, card mats, and insert cards, making it that much more versatile.
It comes with Bluetooth built-in, which, coupled with its compact size, truly enables you to create personalized designs on the move.
The small size and affordable price make it the perfect gift for a crafter that likes to organize. The label maker feature is something every DIYer will appreciate. The free trial access to Design Space enables you to pick from 50 ready-to-make projects and start using the machine on a high note.
- Compact, fast, and quiet
- Portable and works virtually anywhere
- Impressive maximum cutting length for its size
- Free Design Space trial
- Bluetooth built-in
- Only two capabilities: drawing and cutting
Putting together a quality custom mug is a lot more challenging than it looks – even seasoned DIYers would agree. The Cricut Mug Press machine is suitable for anybody looking to make the process a walk in the park.
It impresses at first glance – it has only one button, and a button-press is all that’s needed for the machine to work its magic on the mug. The entire process is automated, meaning you don’t have to fiddle with the settings to get the mug you envisioned.
All you’ll have to do is cut the Infusible Ink sheet that has your design on it and wrap it around a blank mug. Slip the mug into the machine, and press the button.
The Cricut Joy will automatically adjust the heat and pressure to infuse the design onto the surface permanently. But it’s important to bear in mind that the machine only works with the company’s infusible ink sheets. You will not be able to use regular vinyl with the machine.
Further, you will need to purchase the pens, markers, mugs, and transfer sheets separately.
Every design you print will be microwave and dishwasher proof. The prints are permanent, and the convenience of making customized mugs with the Cricut Joy makes it worth the slightly higher costs of using it.
- Long-lasting results
- Dishwasher- and microwave-proof prints
- Extremely easy to use
- Quick process
- No need to fiddle with pressure or heat settings
- It doesn’t work out of the box and requires extra purchases
The Cricut EasyPress 2 stands out as one of the company’s more appealing products. While it may look cute, it is powerful, enabling you to customize T-shirts, pillows, aprons, banners, and even blankets.
To use it, all you’ll have to do is grab an iron-on or HTV design and press it onto any fabric using the machine. The company provides an online guide that will help you set the right temperature according to the type of project you’re doing.
Further, the guide also suggests the time you will need to heat the fabric, depending on the fabric. You can use the convenient timer function, which ensures that you get the timing just right. No guesswork is required.
The EasyPress 2 comes in a 12×11 inch model and also a 9×9 inch model. You can select the size according to how large you expect your prints to typically be.
There’s also a smaller version of the machine called the Cricut EasyPress Mini available.
- No guesswork involved
- Professional results
- Auto-shutoff feature
- Available in different sizes
- Costly for what it is
Comparing the Best Cricut Machines (That Cut)
While Cricut products like the EasyPress 2 and the Mug Press are made for specific crafting purposes, the company mainly offers machines that help you draw, write, and cut.
Here’s a table comparing the best Cricut machines side-by-side for your convenience.
|Cricut Maker 3||Cricut Maker||Cricut Explore 3||Cricut Explore Air 2||Cricut Joy|
|Max. material width||13 inches||12 inches||13 inches||12 inches||5.5 inches|
|Max cut length||12 feet||1.9 feet||12 feet||1.9 feet||4 feet continuous cut; 20 feet repeated cut|
|Smart material compatibility||Yes||No||Yes||No||Yes|
Conclusion: Which Cricut Machine is Right for You?
Objectively, the Cricut Maker 3 is the best Cricut machine you can buy. But it’s not right for everybody. The Maker 3 is meant for professionals that want to produce commercial-grade craft.
If you’re a hobbyist that wants to turn your passion into a business, the Maker may suffice for you. On the other hand, if you’re a crafter that wants to simplify their creative process, the Explore 3 or Explore Air 2 will be perfect.
The Circut Joy is great for beginners or those that don’t have much space to keep a bigger machine like the Explore 3. It also makes an excellent gift.
If you’re looking to solve specific problems – like printing on mugs or fabric reliably – the Mug Press or the EasyPress 2 are the best Circut machines you can buy.