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With all the new advances in cutting machine capabilities, it’s no surprise that Cricut has come out with another improvement on their own top-line product: the Cricut Maker 3. But which one is really better, the Cricut Maker or the Cricut Maker 3?

To clarify, in this side-by-side comparison of the Maker and the Maker 3, we cover all there is to know about the 2 machines.

There’s nothing saying that just because a new machine is an available means, for certain, that it’s better – maybe it’s just a different set of tools – or maybe it’s just a cool new color option. We’re about to find out because I’m ready to find out if I should buy the Cricut Maker or the Cricut Maker 3.

side by side photos of the cricut maker and cricut maker 3

I completely understand. I literally searched for “should I buy the Cricut Maker 3” when I heard it was coming out. Because even though there was hardly any information yet, I felt like I might need this – and maybe I didn’t. How was I supposed to know?

Once I got that out of my system though, I got into some hard-core information hunting. I mean, we’re talking notebooks and jotting here.

Above all, this is an investment in your crafting, maybe in your business, or your favorite hobby. So I want to make sure you do it right.

Firstly, let me share what I have discovered and see if it will help you figure out which cutting machine is best for you.

Cricut maker and cricut maker 3 side by side button settings

Cricut Maker vs. Cricut Maker 3

So, here’s the meat and potatoes of it. If you want to make a decision between the Cricut Maker and the Cricut Maker 3, you need to know all there is to know about them both. Likewise, informed decisions require information.

So, I put together this super-efficient table to throw all the information at you that you might need. However, don’t get upset if you don’t care for tables. I’ll go a bit more in detail below, so keep reading – because tables can only get you started on your information-gathering.

Cricut Maker vs Cricut Maker 3 Side by Side ComparisonCricut MakerCricut Maker 3
Size22.6″x 7.09″ x 6.22″22.6″x 7.09″ x 6.22″
Cutting SpeedStandard Speed2x Faster Than Maker
Adaptive Tool System?YesYes
Smart Cutting Machine?NoYes
Cut Larger Projects?NoYes
Yes (see attachment)
Etch?Yes (see how here)Yes
Score?Yes (see attachment)Yes
Compatible MediaVinyl, Heat transfer material, Cardstock, Photo paper, Corrugated paper, Chipboard, Fabric, and more (300+)Vinyl, Heat transfer material, Cardstock, Photo paper, Corrugated paper, Chipboard, Fabric, and more (300+)
Mattless Cutting?NoYes, with Smart Materials (over 6″ in length)
Cut Size12″x2′With Mat: 12″x2′
With Smart Materials: 12″x 12′
Fabric CuttingYesYes
Deep CuttingYes (2.4mm)Yes (2.4mm)
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what these two Cricut cutting machines are all about.

The Cricut Maker 3 is a smarter version of the Cricut maker. What I mean by that is that you can cut materials on a mat, or use Cricut smart materials and you can cut smart materials off a mat.

cricut maker vs cricut maker 3 tool holder side by side

Which of the 2 Cutting Machines Use SVGs?

The full line of Cricut cutting machines use SVGs and other cut files, for instance. You just upload the images to Cricut Design Space, follow the prompts to tell the software what you want to do and the software will then turn your files into precise cutting lines, draw lines or printing lines that are perfect for sewing patterns, cutting, and emboss paper projects, or vinyl lettering and designs.

Whether you’re drawing the files or buying them elsewhere, the Cricut machines can use SVGs, JPGs, PNGs, and more. Which one you select will help determine the project type – but that’s a whole different discussion.

In the meantime, if you need some ideas or a free SVG to get your creative juices flowing, you can check out my library here.

You can also make your own designs in Cricut Design Space, with new capabilities they seem to always be adding to it.

cricut maker with a gold roll of vinyl hanging out of it

What are the Materials That the Cricut Maker Cutting Machines Can Cut?

For instance, both machines can cut the same materials. They can cut:

  • Balsa Wood (or Bass Wood) 
  • Felt
  • Fabric
  • Craft Foam
  • Paper
  • Chipboard
  • Leather
  • Poster Board

All in all, the Cricut Maker can cut over 300 different materials, and the handful I noted above are just the most popular ones I’ve personally used.

Therefore, with a downward cutting force of 4kg, the Cricut Maker to cut materials up to 2.4mm thick – and the list of what those materials are is long.

cricut maker 3 with a hand inserting smart vinyl into the machine

What Are All Of The Blades That the Cricut Maker and Cricut Maker 3 Can Use?

Both machines can use the same blades – which is fantastic for someone who already owns a Maker and wants to upgrade to the Maker 3. And because the housings are also sometimes interchangeable with the Cricut Explore Air machines, you can sometimes use those, as well, depending on the blade. The following are the blades the Cricut Maker and Cricut Maker 3 can use:

  • Rotary Blade | This blade works much like a rotary blade for cutting fabric yourself, for instance. It’s a small, circular blade on a wheel that can cut fabrics with ease.
  • Scoring Wheel | Score all your projects with a nice, quick clean line to help with folding. 
  • Knife Blade | This is the blade you’ll want to use to cut the thicker leather, craft foam, and even items like balsa wood, which is what made the Cricut Maker so awesome when it initially came out.  
  • Basic Perforation Blade | Perforate paper, cardstock, acetate, poster board, and more to make tear-offs and peel-aways so much cleaner.
  • Wavy Blade | Cut all your standard materials with this on the edge for a fun, squiggly edge.
  • Fine Debossing Tip | Detailed debossed designs no longer require a Cricut Cuttlebug when you’re using this ‘blade’.
  • Engraving Tip | Engraving with a cutting machine is one of the best ways to make precise, clean designs on lots of crafts.

Does The Cricut Maker Come With Blades?

The Cricut Maker comes with two blades:

  • Premium Fine-Point Blade + Housing – This blade will be the most used of the blade options for general crafting needs. Easy to use and easy to clean, this particular blade is a workhorse.
  • Rotary Blade + Housing – Generally for cutting fabrics. It will be your second favorite blade for general crafting because it’ll make quick work of your sewing patterns.

Does the Cricut Maker 3 Come with Blades?

The Maker 3 comes with one blade:

  • Premium Fine-Point Blade + Housing – Like with the Maker, this will be your standard, everyday blade for your general crafts.

Other Items in the Box with Your Cricut Maker

  • Fine Point Pen, Black
  • FabricGrip™ Machine Mat, 12″ x 12″ (30.5 cm x 30.5 cm)
  • LightGrip Machine Mat, 12″ x 12″ (30.5 cm x 30.5 cm)
  • Welcome Book
  • USB cable
  • Power adapter
  • Free trial membership to Cricut Access™ (for new subscribers)
  • 50 free ready-to-make projects, including 25 sewing patterns
  • Materials for a practice project

Other Items in the Box with Your Cricut Maker 3

  • Welcome card
  • USB cable
  • Power adapter
  • Free trial subscription to Cricut Access™ (for new subscribers)
  • 100 ready-to-make projects online
  • Material for a practice cut
cricut maker machine with hand inserting a tool into the machine

Cricut Maker vs Cricut Maker 3 Price Comparison

The Maker costs: $329 and you can buy one here.

The Maker 3 will cost: $399 and you can buy one here.

Although I don’t feel like an experienced cutting machine-owner needs to buy the essentials bundle with all the materials to practice on, the extra blade sets, etc., I would recommend that if it’s your first time owning a cutting machine, that you explore this option as it will give you all the supplies you need to get started.

In addition to the cost of the base machines, you’ll also want to add a couple of blades to your tool chest, trust me. So, look at the pricing on those before you make your final decision.

pin image of cricut maker and cricut maker 3 side by side

Which is Best: Cricut Maker vs. Cricut Maker 3?

At the end of the day, if speed is what matters to you, then you have to try the Cricut Maker 3. I mean, it’s awesome having the full capability of the Cricut Maker available, but if you’re a professional trying to make big projects, it can be a whip if just cutting your party supplies for a handful of clients takes all day.

But, if you’re not pumping out ten projects a day – if your business doesn’t require that load or you’re just in the cutting game for a hobby, then maybe the cost is what matters to you.

So, because the capabilities of the machines are so similar. The price, speed, and off mat cutting being the only major differences, I feel like it’s certainly, a personal decision regarding which cutting machine is best.

And if you appreciated this comparison post, but aren’t quite ready to make your buy, be sure to pin it to your favorite crafting board on Pinterest so you can find it again when you’re ready!

cricut maker on a table

In conclusion, the Cricut Maker 3 is definitely an upgrade from the Maker. You can still use your SVG files in design space, make your favorite cards with your scoring stylus, and all the other decorative effects you are used to. Only more.

More Cricut Posts Inspire You

The biggest difference between the original Cricut Maker and the New Cricut Maker is the matless cutting which also allows you to use the new smart materials, such as smart paper sticker cardstock and smart iron-on. Also, it cuts up to 20 ft in a single cut session just like the Cricut Joy.

The extra blades that came out with the original maker can also be used with the new maker. All machines come with a fine point blade, however, there is no place for cartridges like in the older machines.

You can still use a cutting mat with these new machines. I got the Maker 3 not long ago, and I don’t notice a lot of new features. But the smart materials and the longer cutting size make it worth upgrading.

This definitely takes things like making signs, wall decals, and other bigger projects to a whole new level, in a great way.

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    1. @Karin Rubenach, nevermind the reply saying you can’t. you absolutely can. I typically buy whichever is the best price. When using the original maker you will still need to use the mat is all.

    1. Years ago they made 1 for food. They don’t anymore. I suppose if you use the Cricut for only food and clean it properly it could work, but it could also void your warranty as that is not what it is meant for.

  1. Thank you so much for this! You have truly helped this indecisive woman make the decision between the two! Again, thank you so much!

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