This post may contain links to affiliate websites, such as Amazon as well as others. Through those links, at no additional cost to you we may receive an affiliate commission for any purchases made by you using these links. We appreciate your support!

Sharing is caring!

Cricut Explore Air 3 and Cricut Maker 3 are the new machines in the Cricut Family. But, when it comes to answering the question of “What Cricut Machine Should I Buy” versus the want the new machine, it becomes a much harder decision.

However, do you know which of the 5 Cricut Machines are right for you? Today I am going to walk you through the biggest difference between the Cricut Models. This comparison will include the Cricut Explore Family, Cricut Maker Family, and Cricut Joy.

Above all, this Cricut Comparison will help you understand the difference between all of the Cricut Machines that are on the market. Including the Cricut Maker 3 and Cricut Explore Air 3. And also help you decide which Cricut is best for you.

cricut machine comparison with text overlay

In reality, you want to make sure that you have the right machine to cut the different materials. So you will first need to ask yourself a few questions. Like do you want to make greeting cards and other small projects? Or are you looking to cut balsa wood and other thicker materials?

Are you wanting to be a serious crafter and start a business or are you a hobbyist? So ask yourself, what am I going to use my new Cricut Machine to make? This guide and the answer to that question will help you come to a final decision. Whether it is your first machine or your third.

Which Cricut Should I Buy?

The Cricut Joy, Explore 3, and Maker 3 are smart and fast. They are designed to be the top of the line and a machine that can crank out a lot of designs quickly. Not only that but the fine point blade precision of this machine is unlike anything else on the market right now as well.  The Cricut Joy is the best thing in my opinion for smaller projects.

The Cricut Maker 3 and Cricut Explore Air 3 both cut about 10x faster than the generation before them.

To say that the Maker would be an upgrade from the other Cricut machines is an understatement but it’s also a powerful machine that isn’t a necessity for the casual crafter. Before diving in and potentially feeling overwhelmed, it’s important to know the differences between the options to find the best Cricut machine for your crafting needs. 

Cricut maker machine with materials and projects surrounding it

Which Cricut Is Best? Cricut Explore vs The Cricut Maker Machines?

Right away, you’ll notice that there is a $100 price difference between the two. The Maker comes in at a higher price point of $399 and this is due to a few various factors that I’ll highlight below. (This means that the Cricut Explore is currently on sale for $299 as well)

Both of the machines are much faster than any of the other Cricut options. With a cutting speed of at least 2X’s faster, it’s simple to get more done in a short amount of time. (and faster-cutting speeds don’t mean less quality – these machines are cranking out the cuts with perfect precision!)

The Maker has a rotary cutting blade that allows you to cut through the fabric which is a total game-changer, in my opinion. This gives you the freedom to design and create in a way that you’ve never been able to do before. (The Maker also has a knife blade that can cut through wood and leather surfaces as well!)

One of the other biggest differences between the Maker vs. the Cricut Explore is that the Maker just seems to have a bit more storage capabilities, different blades, and upgraded tool options. There is a shelf for you to have your electronics on hand and also the option to plug in your phone so that you can keep charging it and using it at the same time. 

Cricut Explore 3 vs. Cricut Maker 3

These are actually the two newest machines that Cricut has introduced. While there are several similarities. There are a few key differences as well. 

  • When compared to the Cricut Maker 3, the Cricut Explore 3 is going to be the choice for more casual crafters. Maker is in the “pro” category and is going to be what more businesses tend to use. 
  • Both machines are faster and can easily turn out products and ideas at least 2X’s faster than the other Cricut machines.
  • The Cricut Explore is versatile in using over 100+ different types of materials. While the Maker can actually work with over 300+ types of materials as well. 
  • The Explore 3 comes with 5 different tools to use with the machine while the Maker has an impressive 13. 
  • The Maker has an impressive cutting technology added to the machine and adaptive tool system, which is what bumps it up into the “pro” use category for businesses and serious crafters.
  • Both have the ability to print on white or colored materials easily. 
  • Both machines can be connected via Bluetooth. You can also connect with a USB.
  • Cricut Maker has an adaptive cutting system that uses tools like the rotary blade, scoring wheel, and other tools.

Conclusion When comparing the Cricut Explore 3 vs the Maker 3?

For crafters who are casual users looking to increase their speed and time spent on their Cricut machine, the new Explore 3 is a phenomenal choice. If you’re wanting to use your Cricut for business purposes and have the latest and great technology, the Maker 3 needs to be on your purchasing radar. 

Cricut Explore 3 vs. Cricut Joy

Many of you might currently have the Cricut Joy and are contemplating bumping up to the Explore. Here are a few key differences to consider.

  • The Explore will be incredibly fast compared to the speed of the Joy. 
  • By upgrading to the Cricut Explore, you’re going to double the width of the material that you can use in the machine from 5.5 inches to 13 inches! 
  • There are only 50 types of materials that work with the Cricut Joy while the Cricut Explore 3 has over 100 materials that you can choose to use. 
  • The Joy only has 2 tools compared to the 5 that the Explore uses. 
  • The Cricut Joy has a card mat that can be used for making cards.
  • The Joy has the capability to cut up to 4 feet of length while the Explore can cut up to 12 feet at one time. 
  • Connection for the Joy machine is limited to Bluetooth only while the Explore has the option for Bluetooth as well as USB.

Conclusion When comparing the Cricut Explore 3 vs Cricut Joy?

So, to sum it all up, it’s time to upgrade to the Cricut Explore 3 to enhance your Cricut experience. The Cricut Joy is great for the casual crafter but a simple upgrade will increase your cutting and designing speeds and leave you free to create even more than before.

cricut explore air 2 with cricut pens near it

Which Cricut Should I Buy? The Cricut Explore 3 vs Explore 2.

Firstly, you might have noticed that this isn’t the first Explore machine that Cricut has produced, (and this is one of the biggest reasons that I’m a Cricut fan – they’re always trying to improve their machines and make them bigger and better than before!) 

The Cricut Explore Air 2 was, and still is a great machine but I have to admit that I LOVE the changes that they’ve made for the Cricut Explore 3. Not only does it cut longer and faster than ever before, but it lets you cut without the need of having a mat. However, the new Explore machine uses Smart Materials that you can use without a mat. This helps with eliminating the wasted time for switching out and resetting all the time. 

Cricut Joy machine with finished projects near it

What Is The Best Cricut Machine? Cricut Comparison.

Let’s not forget that the Cricut Explore 3 has a super-fast cutting speed and can cut up to 12 feet at one time as well. That is to say, to me, this is a game-changer and I find myself wondering what I’m going to do with all my extra crafting time. (Make more Cricut projects, right?!) 

To clarify, the Explore Air 3 Machine can be used with smart vinyl and other smart materials without a cutting mat.

Now that you know some of the key differences between the Cricut products, it’s time to decide when you’re going to get your Cricut Explore 3. But, with a release date online of June 10th, the countdown is already online. That is to say, you should probably add it to your cart now, they will go fast!

If you’re wanting to wait and buy this machine in person, places such as Best Buy or Target are always great places to check. 

Cricut Maker vs. Cricut Joy

While we all loved the Cricut Joy, below are a few of the changes that you’ll find between the two Cricut machines. 

  • The Maker is a quicker and more precise cut and also has a larger cutting area. 
  • Compared to the Joy, the Maker can cut materials that are 12 inches in width while the Joy can only do 5 inches. 
  • The maker has the tools and ability to cut over 300 different types of materials while the Joy has the ability to cut through 50.
  • When it comes to tools, the Joy has 2 options to use while the Maker has 12 tool options. 
  • But Joy is connected using Bluetooth only. But the Maker can be connected with a USB as well as Bluetooth. 

Conclusion When comparing the Cricut Maker vs Cricut Joy?

Since the Maker is quite an impressive machine, it’s an easy way to upgrade to improve your Cricut skills. The Joy is still a great machine, but after using it for several years, an upgrade to a machine that is faster and gives more tools to learn and use is a great step to take. 

cricut maker 3 being loaded with vinyl

Maker Vs Cricut Explore

While I touched on this above slightly, here are a bit more details on the breakdown of the differences between these two machines. 

  • Maker is currently being labeled as the “ultimate smart cutting machine” so this indicates that it’s at the top of the line when it comes to the current Cricut machines offered. 
  • The Explore is quite impressive with its ability to use over 100+ types of materials while the Maker comes in at the top of the list with over 300+ materials as an option. 
  • The maker has 12 tools that are available to use while the Explorer currently has 5. 
  • Each machine has the option to print on colored materials as well as white materials. 
  • Connection is the same for both with the options of Bluetooth or USB. 

Conclusion When comparing the Cricut Maker and the Cricut Explore?

In my opinion, both are great machines and it really does come down to a personal choice. But, if you’re a professional crafter or someone who creates and sells Cricut products, the Maker is going to give you a huge amount of options and variety in a very quick amount of time. 

However, if you’re more of a casual crafter and aren’t looking to go over your budget. Likewise, the Cricut Explore Air is a great machine as well. It’s an upgrade from any previous models and is still extremely fast with a ton of variety and available cutting tools.

I personally feel that it’s a win-win decision. Even if you start out with the Explore and decide you want to upgrade later, you’ve created a solid foundation of learning that you can easily transition right into the Maker. (above all – it’s always fun to have multiple Cricut machines on hand to keep on creating!)

cricut explore 3 with smart vinyl

Cricut Machine Quick Comparison Table

Cricut Machine
ComparisonMaker 3MakerExplore 3Explore 2Cricut Joy
Cut Width?12 in12 in12 in12 in5.5 in
Cut Length?12 ft2 ft12 ft 2 ft20 ft
Tools?13+12+ 6+5+ 2
Smart Materials?YesNoYesNoYes
Print Then cut?YesYesYesYesNo
Cricut Roll Holder?YesNoYesNoNo
Off Mat Cutting?YesNoYesNoYes
PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price

Which Cricut Should I Buy? 2021 Machine Comparison

A Cricut Machine can be used for, for example:

  • Leather projects and crafts
  • Baby Clothing
  • Fun fashion accessories
  • Cloth napkins
  • Homemade cards
  • Vinyl wall sayings
  • Customized prints
  • Die Cutting
  • Paper Crafts
  • T-Shirts

Lastly, all of these Cricut Cutting machines come equipped with a Cricut Access trial (as of the date of this post) but, can also be used with the Cricut Design Space app, and your own designs too. The final choice of which is the right Cricut Machine for you is yours.

And in my opinion, any of these machines will work for a small business or if you’re using it just as a hobby. I spend a lot of time with each of my different machines, and I love them each for something different. I hope this article was helpful in helping you make an informed decision on the right choice for your New Cricut Machine. If you have any questions drop me a comment below.

More About Cricut Machines and Tools.

Sharing is caring!

Similar Posts


  1. Do the cricut joy and the cricut maker Basotho same set up and do about the same? I bought a 24” Cricut Expression Maker Machine it was way bit overwhelming for me being j in never even had any type of cricut machine to start out with I didn’t know until after I purchased it that it was way over my head. I didn’t touch it or turn it on (for) (9 months) til two weeks ago and I’ve had it since April. So I need something easy that I can understand and that’s not over my head. I like the thought of one of these does wood since I deal so much in wood craft projects that would be helpful so what do you think I should get for a beginner and something that won’t be overwhelming or over my head lol. Thank you for your time God Bless You, Alita Hogge

    1. The joy and the maker are different in a lot of ways, the joy is much smaller and it also doesn’t have any buttons on it. The expression is an outdated machine. I don’t believe Cricut even makes cartridges for it anymore.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *