Cricut Explore 3 vs Cricut Maker 3: a brief comparison

Cricut offers a range of different types of machinery ideal for handcrafts and DIY projects. Among their options, you can find heat presses and basic supplies for your creations, but their most famous products are their smart cutting machines.

Besides, there are several options you can choose from based on your crafting needs. These are the Cricut Joy, Explore and Maker, all of them with a few generations that included new features along the last few years.

Let’s take a look at the differences between Cricut Explore 3 vs Cricut Maker 3, the latest versions of these two cutting machines.

Cricut Explore 3 vs Cricut Maker 3

What do Cricut cutting machines have to offer?

Cricut cutting machines come in different models with different functions and features which can be helpful for you depending on what kind of projects you want to create.

The main concept of these cutting machines is you can create a digital design on Cricut Design Space and send it to your Cricut machine to have it cut as if it were a printer.

You simply choose the material you want to use and load it into the machine on Cricut’s sticky mat and press “Make it!”. In a few minutes, you will have a finished project.

These cutting machines come in three models: Joy, Explore and Maker. At the moment, there have been several versions of cutting machines, but the current ones available on their website are Joy, Explore 3 and Maker 3.

The main difference among all of them is what materials they are compatible with. The Cricut Joy is the smallest, and it’s designed to make cards, notes, and other small items made of paper, vinyl, or very thin cardboard.

Cricut Explore 3 is a medium option which can cut more materials in bigger sizes, which will allow you to make a bigger variety of creations.

The most versatile option to get is the Maker 3, which can cut even more materials and is compatible with more cutting blades.

Let’s take a closer look at the difference between Cricut Maker 3 and Explore 3.

Cricut Maker 3 vs Cricut Explore 3_

Cricut Explore 3 vs Cricut Maker 3 

Although we want to dive into comparing Cricut Maker 3 vs Cricut Explore 3, let’s see what these two machines have in common:

  • Cutting speed
  • Smart materials
  • Roll holder accessory

New versions are faster

Both Explore 3 and Maker 3 are twice as fast as their previous version. Some users have reported that their older versions might sometimes be faster than the new ones, but the truth is that it also depends on what materials you are working with, and whether you are using Fast Mode or not, which is automatically activated in the new Explore and Maker versions, whereas you have to activate it manually in the older generations.

When comparing these two machines, there is no official information about this feature on the Cricut website, but some suers have tested them and they have discovered that the Cricut Explore 3 is a little faster, but it really isn’t a significant difference.

They work with smart materials

These new versions of the cutting machines have one of the best improvements Cricut has included so far. That is, the incorporation of Smart Materials.

These Smart materials are versions of vinyl, paper, cardboard and many others which are specially designed to be used without a cutting mat. You simply load the whole roll of material into the machine and it will take only what’s necessary for each project.

They allow you to reduce preparation time and to make big projects in just one cut instead of several pieces.

These smart materials are not compatible with all cutting machines; only with the latest versions of Explore and Maker.

So, if you are looking to create big single pieces or you want to save time, you may want to buy any of these two options.

You can attach a roll holder

In both cases, you can also get the roll holder accessory. This is an extra feature you can buy separately to keep the roll of the Smart Material you are using in place while the machine does the cutting.

This way you ensure the roll doesn’t get tilted and the piece you are cutting is perfectly aligned along the whole process.

Something that is not so important, but that is common, is that both Cricut Maker 3 colors as Explore colors are not varied, and they only come in one tone: mint green.

Of course this won’t make you not buy the machine, but you may want to keep this mind in case you want to have a specific color for your whole Cricut collection.

Cricut Maker 3

But, what are the differences?

The differences between these two types of machines are not so big, but they can definitely make you choose one or the other depending on your needs.

The variations are related to the number of materials they can cut, the tools that can be attached to them, and their cutting force.

The truth is that, in these aspects, the Cricut Maker 3 is superior.
While Explore 3 can cut more than 100 materials (which is a lot),
Maker 3 can cut over 300 (which is a ton)!

This is possible because of two functioning factors that Maker has and Explore doesn’t. The main differences between these options are the tools and the cutting force.

Cricut Explore 3

Explore 3 Cricut has a Standard cutting force, which allows it to cut through thin or medium materials like paper or vinyl, but Maker is ten times stronger, so it can also cut things like leather, chipboard and even wood and aluminum!.

This is also possible because Explore can be used with the 6 most common blades, while Maker is compatible with 12 different blades and points.

In conclusion, although we want to make a Cricut Explore 3 vs Cricut Maker 3, we have to admit that, although Maker 3 has more options, none of them is better, as it totally depends on the use you are going to give your cutting machine.