This is a long-overdue blog post all about the Differences Between Cricut Machines and which one do you buy. I talk about the machine features including a handy infographic with comparisons of the Cricut Joy, Cricut Explore Air 2, and the Cricut Maker machines. Also adding in the new Maker 3 and Cricut Explore 3! Continue reading to find out more and get my personal insight into each model.
Differences Between Cricut Machines
I created a handy infographic to summarise what each machine has and does. It can be a little tricky to know which machine is best for you which is why I have put together this blog post. Luckily I have had experience with all 3 machines and can go into more detail below on a more personal level what I like and dislike about each one. If you’re looking to elevate your crafting then owning a Cricut is definitely the way to go. Not sure which one to choose? No sweat, keep reading for my helpful insider knowledge.
The Cricut Joy is the newest and cheapest Cricut machine on the market. I like to see the Cricut Joy as almost a stand-alone machine because it’s launched with it brand new materials just for the Cricut Joy. The machine is really small, making it perfect for homeowners and crafters with limited space. It cuts materials of 5.5 inches wide but up to 20ft long! The machine width can limit some projects, but being able to cut up to 20ft opens up countless possibilities.
Since getting the Cricut Joy, I have to say it’s the machine I use the most not for my projects. It’s quick and easy to set up anywhere in the house because of it’s small size. It’s also easy to travel with making it a great option for crafting customization parties (I took it to a friend’s baby shower and she loved it). The materials I craft with the most are paper, cards, transfer vinyl, and heat transfer vinyl (iron-on) all of which Joy can cut. If you’re after a Cricut that is fuss-free, easy to use, doesn’t take up space, and perfect for beginner crafts, occasional makes, gift making, and personalization then this is for you. It also is the lower price point on the market within the other models.
Cricut Joy ‘Cons’
The only ‘downsides’ compared to the other machines I have found personally is the speed. Sometimes for intricate makes it can be a lot slower than the other machines but this is fine if you’re patient (I am not)! ha. I have noticed the blade can blunt more easily than the blade component in the Explore & Maker, so this may require replacing more often then those other machines. I make a lot of personalized cake toppers and the 5.5 width limits the big letter toppers I prefer to make (example photographed below) so I prefer making them on the Maker. Other than those things I haven’t noticed any other cons. If you’re looking to use the foiling tool, engraving, embossing, and fabric cutting then the Joy sadly can’t do those things, so you definitely need the other models.
Cricut Explore 3
The Explore 3 is much like the Cricut Explore Air 2 but has some incredible differences since the upgrade. The difference between this model and the Air 2 is not much but there are 2 significant differences! The Explore 3 can now cut a brand new Cricut product called ‘Smart Materials’. These materials do not require a cutting mat, and can cut up to several feet in length! Not only that but the speed of the machine is a lot faster, breaking down your crafting time by quite some margin. If you’re to invest in a machine and are unsure between the older or newer model, it’s worth asking what materials you’re mainly going to be working with. If the answer is iron-on and transfer vinyl well then the Explore 3 is likely the best choice, especially with the option of many awesome Smart Materials.
Cricut Explore Air 2
The Explore Air 2 is the first-ever Cricut machine I owned. It’s a lovely machine and cuts over 100 materials! I personally haven’t used my Explore Air 2 since I upgraded to the Maker because they essentially do the same thing. It’s a great option however if you want some of the fancy things Cricut can do like using pens, print & cut stickers, deep cut blade, fabric blade, a scoring stylus, and regular fine point blade. The machine can cut/create on 12.5 inch wide mats up to 24 inches long. This machine is also 2 times faster then the Joy, so perfect if you’re impatient. Overall this is a great machine if you’re looking for versatility and don’t mind the midway price point. In my opinion, however, if you can save more for the Maker then I would highly recommend it.
Last but not least, the Cricut Maker machine which is the pro-level machine but also the most expensive. This beast can cut/create on over 300 materials and have 12+ different tool options. The price point is the most expensive on the market but you get all of Cricut’s exciting new launches and capabilities in this model. I love this machine for it’s smooth and effortless crafting and use of so many tools and materials. I tend to use this machine when I want to craft a few bigger projects in one go but it’s easy to set up and connects. If you have the space like a desk, craft room, etc then it’s a pleasure to work with. I mainly use my Maker machine for large projects for t-shirts, Infusible Ink cushions, Cake toppers, Paper cuttings in A4 size, felt flowers, and loads more!
The Cricut Maker 3 new addition is very similar to the previous model, but continues to be the more premium option for crafters working with Cricut machines.
Overview of the Cricut Machines
Overall each Cricut machine is amazing in its own right. With the Differences Between Cricut Machines, I hope this helps when it comes to choosing which one you buy. I love the Cricut Joy and the Maker but the Explore Air 2 is also great for many reasons. It’s up to you to ultimately choose the right model for what you want it for. Have a think about the kind of makes you would like to achieve and go from there. If you’re still confused head over to my YouTube channel where I have created a similar video talking about the machines with lots of other helpful tips.
Shop my must-have Cricut essentials on my Amazon shop here.