Whether you’re looking into buying your very first Cricut machine or trying to decide whether you should upgrade your current machine, we have everything you need to know about the new Cricut Maker 3. Learn all that it can do compared to the original Cricut Maker and determine if it’s the right machine for you.
This post is sponsored by Cricut. As always, the ideas and opinions shared are my own.
Have you heard the buzz about the new Cricut machines that launched? Last month Cricut released the Cricut Explore Air 3 and the Cricut Maker 3 and I’ve been playing with my new Cricut Maker 3 pretty much non-stop.
I will always have a special place in my heart for the original Cricut Maker. It’s launch was the first time I was invited to Salt Lake City by Cricut and I got to be there with many of my favorite bloggers when this new revolutionary machine was revealed. Honestly when I heard about the Cricut Maker 3, I wondered if there would be enough different features that would make me feel like I really needed it.
While there are many upgrades, I think my favorite thing about the Cricut Maker 3 (other than how they designed the color to perfectly match my office 😉 ) is how fast I can whip up a project. Not only because the machine itself cuts 2 x’s faster (check out my IG stories for a real life Cricut Maker vs. Cricut Maker 3 race), but because it’s so easy to just load and go with Cricut Smart Materials. I also feel like the Smart Materials are waaaay easier and faster to weed than any other materials I have ever used. I wanted to make personalized popsicle sleeves for the littles in our neighborhood for the holiday weekend and I was able to whip up a bunch in less than 20 minutes.
I’m finding that I’m much more likely to just make a quick, spur of the moment project because it doesn’t feel like a production to get out my cutting mat, measure and cut my materials, etc. I got the idea to personalize my daughter’s step stool and instead of adding it to my “Projects to Make list”, I just made it. In about 10 minutes.
Everything You Need to Know About the Cricut Maker 3
Like the original Cricut Maker, the Cricut Maker 3 can cut 300+ materials including fabric, balsa wood, leather and chipboard. (Check out even more of the surprising materials that the Maker machines can cut here).
The Maker 3 also uses the dual chamber Adaptive Tool System and has an expandable suite of 13 tools (sold separately) that cut be used for cutting, scoring, engraving, debossing, writing, and more. Read more about how the adaptive tool system works here and about the full suite of tools here.
Key Differences Between the Cricut Maker and the Cricut Maker 3:
Faster. The Maker 3 cuts at 2x the speed of Maker with Smart Materials. Check out my IG stories to see both in action, stopwatch included. There is no need for a “Fast Mode” on the Maker 3, it is automatically optimized to cut fast.
More Forceful. The Maker 3 cuts with 10x the force of the original Maker. That means super clean and precise cuts, even on the materials that sometimes might push the original slightly past its limits. Even with very intricate cuts. There are often instances with the original Maker that I have to ask it to run several more passes in order to get a clean cut. It never bothered me, but no I’m really appreciating not having to do that with the Maker 3, which again makes my projects go much quicker (even beyond the 2x’s faster cuts).
Improved Print Then Cut. My annoying printer gave me the opportunity to test out this upgrade right off the bat. My printer printed these planner stickers all wonky with the black box interrupted. With my previous Print Then Cut projects, my machines couldn’t read these kinds of printer mishaps so therefore couldn’t cut them. Another upgrade to Print Then Cut that I’m super excited about… now Print Then Cut will even work with colored paper! Cricut listened to our pleas for this! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
Compatible with Cricut Roll Holder. I never knew how much I needed this until now. It’s 1000% worth the extra real estate it requires on my craft desk. When we talk about Smart Materials you’ll see why it’s a necessity.
Bigger Cuts. I like big cuts and I cannot lie. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. 😉 With Smart Materials, it’s possible to cut up to 12 FEET!!!
Compatible with Smart Materials for Matless cutting! Listen carefully… do you hear that sound? It’s the collective cheer of Cricut users across the land. I fell in love with matless cutting when I got the Cricut Joy, so have found myself using it the bulk of the time for simplicity sake. But the Cricut Joy can’t make the large cuts that I need for most of my projects.
So what are Smart Materials? Vinyl, Iron-on and Sticker Cardstock that you can load directly into your machine, no mat needed!
Of all of the upgrades, the Smart Materials alone make this machine worth the upgrade to me. Let’s get into the specifics:
Cricut Smart Vinyl
Cricut Smart Vinyl comes in a variety of colors in Permanent, Removable, Shimmer and Matte Metallic varieties. It comes in rolls 13″ wide by 3′, 12′, 21′ or even 75′ long! Pause for a moment and think about all of the projects that you thought weren’t possible because you could previously only cut up to 24″ long. There’s even a new 12′ Transfer Tape roll.
Smart Vinyl is also the easiest vinyl to weed ever in the history of ever. Look at this one handed weed job with all of these small letters. It pulled up so easily I just balled it up as I went.
One thing to note with Smart Vinyl… because the liner is much thicker than the other Cricut vinyls, it doesn’t grab and peel away from Transfer Tape as easily. I have found the best way to use Transfer Tape with Smart Vinyl is to peel the backing away from the design as you apply it with the hinge method. Either that or another option is to use StrongGrip Transfer Tape.
Cricut Smart Iron-on
Cricut Smart Iron-on comes in a variety of colors in standard finish, Holographic and Glitter. It comes in rolls 13″ wide x 3′ or 9′ long. All with no cutting mat.
Smart Paper Sticker Cardstock
I love the Smart Paper Sticker Cardstock that I’ve used with my Cricut Joy and am so pumped that it comes in 13″ x 13″ pads that I can use with my Maker 3. Say it with me now, you guessed it… no mat needed. I love this for making labels, cards and planner stickers. We’re in potty-training mode over here with my toddler so I’m working on some stickers for her potty chart. She’s the designer and has given me very specific instructions as to what she wants!
Cricut Roll Holder
Now that we talked about Smart Materials, do you see why the Roll Holder is a must-have?! I for one definitely don’t have the skill (or patience) to perfectly postiion and hold a 21′ roll of anything as it cuts! The roll holder keeps materials aligned for clean and precise cuts and holds it nicely so you don’t have to try to corral that 75′ roll of Smart Vinyl. 😉
The Roll Holder slides and locks into position with a grooved guide to line it up easily.
Then you just place your material into the roll holder, slide it through the slot and up to the material guides. Then cut away.
There is even a built-in trimmer for when your cut is complete, ensuring a straight edge every time.
Cricut Maker 3 FAQs
What comes with the Cricut Maker 3?
The Maker 3 comes with a Premium Fine-Point Blade with housing, accessory adapter, material for a test cut, bonus Smart materials, a quick start guide, USB cable, power adapter and power cord.
Can I use Smart Materials with my original Cricut Maker or any other Cricut machine?
You can, but you will need to use a cutting mat if you use them with any machine other than the Cricut Explore Air 3 or the Cricut Maker 3.
Can I cut Smart Materials on a Mat?
I don’t like to waste ANY material scraps so absolutely YES. Any extra pieces from my matless cuts I store in a photo album and cut them on a cutting mat when I need a specific size.
Can I use the Cricut Roll Holder with any other Cricut machine?
Since the roll holder is to be used with Smart Materials, the only other machine that is compatible with the roll holder is the Cricut Explore Air 3.
What can I cut with the Cricut Maker 3?
With its ability to cut over 300 materials, it might be easier to list what you can’t cut. Check out this post for a comprehensive list of materials you can cut with a Cricut Maker (with photo examples).
What size materials will the Cricut Maker 3 cut?
With Smart Materials, the Maker 3 can cut up to 13″ wide and up to 12 feet long. With a mat, up to 12″ wide and and just under 2 feet long.
Should I get the Cricut Maker 3 if I already have the original Maker?
Of course that is a personal decision and I would say that it depends on how much you use your machine and what kinds of projects you want to make. I use my Maker a lot and often make larger projects that require cuts on multiple mats. With all of the features of the Maker 3, I think it’s 100% worth the upgrade for the ease and speed of use.
As excited as I am about this launch… please know that if you just bought the original Cricut Maker, you bought an incredible machine. It is not by any means obsolete because a new version launched. Design Space updates, adaptive tool additions and cutting materials for the original Maker are not going anywhere.
So, what else do you want to know about the Cricut Maker 3? If it isn’t covered in this post, send me an email or comment here and I can help answer any other questions you have!
If you’re brand new to Cricut machines and have more questions about the differences in machines, check out this post for a comprehensive comparison of the other types of Cricut machines.
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