Which Cricut cutting machine is best for me?

25 November 2020

“Which Cricut machine should I choose?”… a question we often get asked and one we love to help answer! There are so many things to consider when buying a machine that we have put together this guide to help you make the best decision on which cutting machine is best for you!

It’s helpful to have a few things in mind to help you decide on a machine. Thinking about each of these points will help you match your needs with the best Cricut machine for you. In this article we also look at each machine in more detail, there’s a comparison chart at the end which summarises the key differences between the machines, and we’ve even created a ‘Which Machine Quiz’ to help you find the perfect one for you. But for now, let’s have a think about what we need to consider:

  • Is the size of the machine important to you and how portable you would like it to be? Cricut Joy™ and Cricut Joy Xtra™ are compact and can be taken out and about easily. Cricut Maker™ 3, Cricut Explore™ 3 and Cricut Venture™ are much bigger and heavier so will probably be harder to move around.
  • Think about what materials you would like to be able to cut. The cutting of different materials is one of the biggest differences between machines. So, is a good starting point to think about when choosing which machine is for you. Cricut Joy and Cricut Joy Xtra cut 50+ materials, Cricut Explore 3 and Cricut Venture the cut 100+ materials and Cricut Maker 3 cuts 300+ materials.
  • Have a rough idea of what you would like to make? Looking for the best machine for you will be much easier if you have a few projects in mind! If your projects are big in scale and complexity then a machine with a larger cutting width such as Cricut Maker 3, Cricut Explore 3 or the Cricut Venture will be best. If your projects are more compact, or you don’t mind arranging smaller images together as one larger image, then Cricut Joy would be great.
  • Similarly, consider what size of cutting area you are interested in. Cricut Joy has a cutting width of 4.5 inches and a cutting length of up to 20 feet compared to the Cricut Maker 3, Cricut Explore 3 and Cricut Venture are perfect as they can cut up to 12 feet long in one go when using Smart Materials, which are 13 inches wide!
  • So what are Smart Materials? Cricut Explore 3, Cricut Maker 3 and the Cricut Venture can all use Smart Materials. These are consumables that are designed to feed directly into these machines without a mat. These machines have more processing power, more memory, and more powerful motors. These enhancements were all designed to drive Smart Materials accurately, at high speeds, and to keep them perfectly aligned, even for your most intricate cuts.
  • Think about the other tools you might be interested in besides cutting. Cricut Explore 3 and Cricut Maker 3 can add foil embellishments and can score; Explore models with the scoring stylus and Maker models with the stylus or the scoring wheels. The Cricut Maker 3 also has the Adaptive Tool SystemTM so, with additional tools, you can also engrave, perforate, deboss and there’s a knife blade for thicker materials such as basswood or heavy chipboard. There is a rotary tool for cutting fabrics too (sold separately).
  • Will you want to do more in the future? Consider what your cutting needs might be in the future once you get the Cricut bug! If you think you’re going to want to try lots more and grow your craft skills then you’ll need a machine that grows with you. Cricut Maker 3 is best for this as it can do the most.

Once you have a preferred machine in mind, there are a few other things to consider:

  • Everything you need to get started comes in the box with your machine, but we recommend buying a basic toolset, an extra set of mats and a few materials so that you can get playing straight away. If you are looking at using iron-on vinyl for your projects, consider the Cricut EasyPress to accompany your machine.
  • Download the software, Cricut Design Space. You can download the free Cricut app onto your smartphone or tablet direct from your app store (iOS and Android) or download the software to your computer from here before you have a machine. This means you can have a play with it to see if it’s right for you. This is the software that you use to design your projects then cut them on your machine. All machines are driven by the Design Space App so there is no difference for beginners when it comes to using the software. Click here to find out more about Design Space. There is also a Cricut Crew workshop called Intro to Cricut Design Space which will give you the confidence to start making. Click here to find out when the next workshop is taking place.
Cricut Jot Xtra

All three machines use Bluetooth connectivity to connect to devices via Bluetooth. Cricut Joy and Cricut Joy Xtra have no cables to connect to the computer and works solely with Bluetooth, the Cricut Maker 3, Cricut Explore 3 and Cricut Venture models have an optional USB cable to connect them to a computer or laptop.

Let’s look at each machine in more detail.

I want to know more about Cricut Maker 3

Cricut Maker 3 Which machine to get
  • Cricut Maker 3 is the most versatile Cricut machine, with additional tools and blades. It can cut 300+ materials.
  • Cricut Maker 3 can cut Smart Materials. These clever crafting materials work without a cutting mat, so you can just load the material directly into your machine and go. Smart Materials come in a variety of material types, including Smart Vinyl, Smart Iron-On, and Smart Paper Sticker Cardstock.
  • Using Smart Material can cut a single image or repeated cuts up to 11.7 in (29.7 cm) wide and 12 feet (3.6 m) long! For all other materials, the size of your mat would limit the size of your design.
  • The Adaptive Tool System means there is a wider a range of add on tools available – Debossing, Perforation, Engraving, Scoring, Knife Blade, Wavy Blade and foiling tip
  • A Rotary Blade is also available for cutting fabric on a dedicated fabric cutting mat, without the need to bond or stabilise the fabric
  • The Knife blade allows you to cut thick/dense materials like balsa wood, foam and leather.
  • Cricut Maker 3 can cut materials like Cardstock, Paper, Vinyl, Iron-on and Vinyl with ease.
  • It can draw or write with a pen.
  • Print then Cut is a popular feature which means you can cut out an image printed to your printer onto any colour of material. This is a great feature for making stickers.
  • Cricut Maker 3 connects via Bluetooth or USB cable to your device.

In the box:

– Cricut Maker 3 machine

– Premium Fine-Point Blade + Housing

– Welcome card

– USB cable

– Power adapter

– Material for a practice cut

– Bonus materials

I want to know more about Cricut Explore 3

Cricut Eplore 3 Which machine
  • Cricut Explore 3 is great for cutting Iron-on, Vinyl and Cardstock – the most popular materials.
  • It can cut 100+ materials including Smart Materials which can be loaded directly into the machine without a cutting mat. Smart Materials come in a variety of materials types including Smart Vinyl, Smart Iron-on and Smart Paper Sticker Cardstock.
  • Cricut Explore 3 can draw or write with a pen.
  • A deep point blade is available for thicker materials like leather or wood veneer.
  • Cricut Explore 3 can cut cotton fabric that has been bonded with an interfacing using the fine point blade.
  • A Scoring Stylus is available for scoring projects.
  • The Cricut Foil Transfer System is compatible, for adding foiled elements to projects.
  • Cricut Explore 3 can cut out an image printed to your printer onto white material. This is a great feature for making stickers.
  • It connects via Bluetooth or USB to your device.

In the box:

– Cricut Explore 3 machine

– Premium Fine-Point Blade + Housing

– Welcome card

– USB cable

– Power adapter

– Material for a practice cut

– Bonus materials

I want to know more about Cricut Venture

Cricut Venture
  • Precision-cut 100+ materials with this 63.5cm (25 in) professional cutting machine.
  • Cuts & writes up to 64.5 cm/s (25.4 in/sec).
  • Cuts single images up to 3.6m (12 ft) and repeated images up to 22.8m (75 ft).
  • Compatible with 7 tools to write, foil, score & more (sold separately).
  • Space-saving 45° design, plus built-in mat & roll supports.
  • Adjustable for 33 cm and 63.5 cm (13 in and 25 in) width Smart Materials™.
  • Compatible with your home inkjet printer to print then cut full-colour designs up to 61cm x 71 cm (24 in x 28 in).
  • Compatible with Docking Stand for Cricut Venture (sold separately).
  • Bluetooth® wireless technology.
  • Cut or write with your favourite materials with a Performance Machine Mat (sold separately).
  • Cricut Manufacturer Warranty.

In the box:

– Cricut Venture professional cutting machine

– Performance Fine-Point Blade

– Cutoff Tool

– Roll Supports

– Cleaning Tools

– USB-C Cable & USB-A Cable Power cable

– Mat Support Extension

– Free trial subscription to Cricut Access™ (for new subscribers)

– 50 ready-to-make projects online

– Smart Vinyl™ – Removable 33 cm x 76.2cm (13 in x 30 in) in Black

– Smart Vinyl™ – Removable 65.5 cm x 1.8 m (25 in x 6 ft) in White

I want to know more about Cricut Joy

Cricut Joy
  • The most portable machine, its small size makes it easy to carry around and store!
  • It is perfect for quick projects.
  • It cuts 50+ materials including cardstock, iron-on, and vinyl with ease.
  • The Cricut Joy card mat, insert cards and ready-to-make projects in Design Space make card making even easier.
  • It can cut up to 20ft of length with a width of up to 5 inches
  • Cricut Joy is compatible with appropriately sized Smart Materials to cut without a mat. Mats are available for materials such as paper and card or for cutting smaller pieces of vinyl or iron-on.
  • It can draw or write with a pen.

In the box:

– Cricut Joy machine

– Standard grip mat (small)

– Black pen

– Power cable

I want to know more about Cricut Joy Xtra

Cricut Joy Xtra
  • The most portable machine, its small size makes it easy to carry around and store!
  • Fits in any space.
  • Works with 50+ materials, including popular materials like vinyl, iron-on & cardstock
  • Cuts intricate designs with precision.
  • Compatible with your home inkjet printer to print then cut full-colour designs
  • Writes, draws, foils, and more
  • Works with popular material sizes, including US Letter and A4
  • Bluetooth® wireless technology
  • It can cut up to 20ft of length with a width of up to 5 inches
  • Upload & cut your own designs or choose from the Cricut Design Space library
  • World-class customer support is available via phone or chat
  • Free live workshops, online courses & beginner cheatsheets
  • Cricut Joy is compatible with appropriately sized Smart Materials to cut without a mat. Mats are available for materials such as paper and card or for cutting smaller pieces of vinyl or iron-on.
  • Cricut Manufacturer Warranty.

In the box:

– Cricut Joy Xtra machine

– Premium Fine-Point Blade + Housing

– Cricut Joy™ Fine Point Pen

– Cricut Mini Weeder

– Welcome card

– Power cable

– Free trial subscription to Cricut Access™ (for new subscribers)

– 100 free, pre-designed projects in the companion app

– Materials for a practice cut

Machine comparisons

You can find the best machine for you by taking our ‘Which machine quiz’ that will help you to quickly find the perfect match: Take the quiz.

We hope you have found this article helpful and now have a better idea of which Cricut machine is right for you, but if you’re still undecided, we’ve worked with John Lewis to offer a concise video to compare our machines.