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The Best 5 Cricut Machines in 2022

Being creative and looking for new DIY crafting projects is a favorite pastime for many creative people. When you’ve created something from simple raw materials, the feeling of accomplishment you get is unparalleled.

Whether you like choosing big crafting projects or you find completing smaller DIY projects more fun, a Cricut machine will suit your crafting needs.

In case you don’t already know, a Cricut machine is mainly used to cut designs into things like paper, vinyl, and fabric. It saves you the hassle of cutting it out by hand, which is a less precise method. And way too often, people make crucial mistakes that ruin their DIY projects altogether.

With a Cricut machine, you have the luxury of focusing all your attention on coming up with creative illustrations and designs, and the machine does the cutting and drawing with accuracy and speed.

At a Glance

  • Cricut Blue Maker – Best Overall Pick
  • Cricut Maker 3 – Premium Pick
  • Cricut Explore Air 2 – Best for Beginners
  • Cricut Explore 3 – Best for Smart Materials
  • Cricut Joy – Budget Pick

The Best 5 Cricut Machines in 2022

To save you some time, we did the research and trials, then shortlisted the best five Cricut machines out there. Each product on our list appeals to a different group of people. So have a good look at them to find the right Cricut machine for you.

1. Cricut Blue Maker – Best Overall Pick

Cricut Blue Maker

The Cricut Maker is perfect for your average Joe. It’s by far Cricut’s most sold machine, and for good reasons.

The main selling point is the blade used in the Cricut Maker. Unlike other products which use either a gliding or a rolling motion, the Cricut Maker uses both, which highly simplifies the cutting process, therefore, gets the job a lot faster.

If you buy the Cricut Maker, you wouldn’t be limiting yourself to just straight-line cuts. There is a large arsenal of tools that perform all sorts of different functions, all compatible with the Cricut Maker. For example, some tools engrave, deboss, perforate, and even perform wavy cuts.

And if you need to cut material other than just paper and vinyl, then you’ve got the right machine, as the Cricut Maker uses around 8.5 pounds (~4 kg) of cutting pressure. That’s enough power to cut through the most rigid fabrics like denim and canvas.

The machine is also delicate enough to cut through light materials like chiffon and silk.

And if you’re a person who loves to pay attention to small details, the Cricut Maker comes with an extensive library of sewing patterns that will give any DIY project a more premium look and feel.

However, the Cricut Maker isn’t strong enough to cut through leather and wood. So if you’re into making signs, this particular Cricut machine isn’t for you. It’s unfortunately not compatible with Cricut’s smart materials as well.

What We Like:

  • Cuts through most fabrics
  • Precise and efficient blade
  • Wide variety of compatible tools
  • Library of sewing patterns

What We Don’t Like:

  • The motor can’t cut through more challenging materials
  • Not compatible with smart materials

The Bottom Line

The Cricut Maker is perfect for people who practice DIY as a hobby. It’s got all the functions you’d ever need and more. But if you want to start a crafting business, you’re going to need more.

2. Cricut Maker 3 – Premium Pick

Cricut Maker 3

The Maker 3 truly is the cream of the crop of craft machines. For starters, it can cut over 300 materials, about three times as much as its predecessor.

The folks at Cricut also improved the engine and a powerful motor. The Cricut Maker 3 uses smart cutting to operate twice as fast as its predecessor.

And unlike the Cricut Maker, this machine is compatible with Cricut’s smart materials, which are designed explicitly for Cricut products, making the cutting process even faster and more precise.

The Cricut Maker 3 has even more tools than its predecessor. There are 13 different tools to choose from, including tools for foiling, writing, cutting, embellishing, and scoring. And with all of them at your disposal, your crafting possibilities become virtually endless.

Unfortunately, all those perks don’t come cheap. The Cricut Maker 3 has a somewhat hefty price tag. But if you’re looking to start a crafting side hustle, you can be sure that the Cricut Maker 3 will be a worthy investment.

What We Like:

  • A powerful motor
  • Operates very quickly
  • Compatible with smart materials
  • 13 different tools

What We Don’t Like:

  • A hefty price tag

Bottom Line

The Cricut Maker 3 suits people who are more serious about crafting. So if you’re starting a business and need a machine that can handle more demanding cutting tasks, you should strongly consider the Maker 3.

3. Cricut Explore Air 2 – Best for Beginners

Cricut Explore Air 2

The Cricut Explore One is what originally put Cricut on the map. It was a massive success for its time, but Cricut no longer supports them since much better versions dropped.

After the Explore One came the Explore Air, which wasn’t that different, but then the Cricut Explore Air 2 dropped at an attractive price and it was a game-changer.

The feature that truly impressed was fast mode, which allows the Cricut Explore Air 2 to craft twice as fast as the Explore Air. And for people who use their Cricut machines all the time, the double speed was a widely popular request.

The Air 2 also uses a dual carriage, where the machine can use two tools simultaneously.

Unfortunately, the Air 2 is a big and heavy machine. Compared to the Cricut Maker, the Explore Air 2 weighs 40% more. So if you buy it, you’ll have to make sure you set up a sturdy table for the machine to sit comfortably on and minimize the risk of damage.

What labels the Cricut Explore Air 2 as a beginner-friendly machine is its cutting power.

While we talked about the Cricut Maker having 8.5 lbs of cutting power, the Cricut Explore Air 2 only has less than a pound of power.

This is still enough to cut through paper, vinyl, and fabrics, which is typically how beginners learn the ropes before they jump into tougher materials.

What We Like:

  • Fast mode
  • Dual carriage
  • Affordable price

What We Don’t Like:

  • Low cutting power
  • Relatively heavy

Bottom Line

The Cricut Explore Air 2 is definitely not a heavy-duty machine. Instead, it’s got a weaker motor that won’t allow you to create advanced-level crafts. For its price, it’s a great stepping stone into the crafting world.

4. Cricut Explore 3 – Best for Smart Materials

Cricut Explore 3

For materials to be cut by Cricut machines, you’d have to own a cutting mat. The piece of paper, leather, or vinyl is placed on top of the cutting mat and inserted into the machine. The problem here is the limited space of the cutting mat.

It was truly revolutionary when smart materials were introduced for the Cricut Explore 3. Suddenly, users were no longer limited to the small surface area of the cutting mat and could cut materials up to 12 feet in length in a single project.

Aside from the added benefits of smart materials, the Cricut Explore 3 is also a very versatile and capable machine. You have the option to score fold lines in cardstock, draw with the pen tools, cut fabric, transfer foil into other objects, and more.

And on top of that, this machine also uses dual carriage technology, which supports two tools being held simultaneously. So you don’t have to pull your project out of the machine to swap between tools.

Unfortunately, though, the Explore 3 is quite a heavy machine, which is its main drawback in our opinion.

What We Like:

  • Compatible with smart materials
  • Wide variety of tools
  • Dual carriage

What We Don’t Like:

  • Large and heavy

Bottom Line

The Cricut Explore 3 is the same price as Cricut’s flagship, the Cricut Maker. They serve different purposes, though. The Explore 3 is mainly for smart material use, which is faster and more efficient than Cricut’s regular materials.

5. Cricut Joy – Budget Pick

Cricut Joy

The most prominent advantage of the Cricut Joy is the price. For someone who’s on a tight budget but still wants to develop the hobby of crafting, this is the best option we’ve tried.

One crucial and overlooked perk of the Cricut Joy is its compact dimensions and lightweight. The machine is only 8.43″ in length x 5.43″ in width x 4.25″ in height (roughly 20 cm x 14 cm x 10 cm). And it only weighs just over 3.5 pounds (1.7 kg).

The Cricut Joy also utilizes smart materials. Though, not as good as the other models we discussed earlier, unsurprisingly.

A problem with the Cricut Joy is that it doesn’t have a dual carriage. This means you’ll have to switch between the blade and the pen if you’re designing a project that requires cutting and drawing.

The machine is also relatively slow. Which is understandable given how much smaller it is to other Cricut models.

But regardless of the drawbacks, the Cricut Joy will still get the job done, and it works wonders considering its price tag.

What We Like:

  • Low price
  • Compact design
  • Very lightweight
  • Utilizes smart materials

What We Don’t Like:

  • Significantly smaller cutting force
  • Doesn’t have dual carriage

Bottom Line

When you’re going for a budget option like the Joy, you don’t expect it to do all the fancy things the bigger, more advanced models do. Nevertheless, the Cricut Joy is still a fun way to fuel your crafting hobby without breaking the bank.

Factors to Consider Before Buying a Cricut Machine

It’s very easy to get excited about a product and order one without doing proper research and considering all the different factors of operating it. To prevent that, we’ve decided to save you some time and do the research for you. So here’s a list of all you need to know before you buy a Cricut machine.

Special Cricut Ink

Since you’ll probably be doing a lot of drawing with your Cricut machine, that means you’ll need a lot of ink. And unfortunately, you can’t run to your nearest supply store and buy the cheapest ink you can find. Instead, you’ll have to order Cricut’s special ink.

Maintenance

When your Cricut machine cuts any material, tiny particles, dust, and fibers are released into the machine’s components. These leftovers can highly decrease the lifetime of your Cricut mat and blades. So you’ll need to periodically clean the machine to reduce damage and ensure it works for years to come.

Learning the Software

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely you’ll start creating intricate designs the first day you unbox your new machine since there’s a bit of a learning curve when it comes to Cricuts software, Design Space. So be prepared to spend a couple of days to a week learning how everything works before you hop into crafting.

Cricut Tools

If you want your Cricut machine to do more than cutting vinyl, you’ll have to buy extra tools for drawing, foiling, writing, cutting, scoring, embellishing, and more. All of which could add up to a significant sum of money that’s not included with the machine’s price.

Crafting Materials

Before you pick a Cricut machine, you need to consider its cutting power and what sort of materials you’ll be working with. For instance, you don’t need a top-of-the-line woodcutter if you’re only going to be working with paper and vinyl.

Cricut Accessories

You’ll need a couple of accessories to craft items like the ones you see on the internet. For example, you’ll need a pair of tweezers to lift and hold small pieces, scissors with a protective blade cover, a spatula to lift the leftover pieces off of the mat, a weeder to remove smaller scraps, a scoring stylus that adds fold lines to paper projects.

You’ll also want a paper trimmer to cut paper to the specific size of the mat, scoring, and replacement blades for the trimmer.

Cricut Access Subscription

It’s not mandatory to subscribe to Cricut Access. It will, however, make your crafting life so much better. Through the subscription, you’ll have access to a vast library of fonts, images, and projects free of charge. You’ll also get discounts for licensed designs.

Subscribing also gets you discounts on physical Cricut tools and accessories. So if you’re planning to shop for new Cricut gear now and then, the subscription will be the right call for you.

Your Own Needs

You shouldn’t go out and spend around $400 of your hard-earned money on a Cricut Maker 3 because you read all the great things it can do when all you need is a cheaper Cricut machine that makes cute paper designs and cuts vinyl decals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Difficult to Learn the Software?

Like any other new skill, learning it can be a little challenging initially. But once you learn Design Space, which is Cricut’s software, you unlock so many different design possibilities that can easily bring your ideas to life. Plus, Cricut has many video tutorials that are very thorough and easy to follow.

Are Cricut Machines Worth It?

Absolutely. If you’re into crafts and DIYs, a Cricut machine helps you bring all your creative designs to life faster and more accurately than almost any skilled crafter. It also opens you to the possibilities of more advanced crafts that you might not be able to do on your own.

Can Cricut Machines Cut Through Tougher Materials?

This mainly depends on which Cricut machine you’re going for and how much cutting force it possesses. Something like the Cricut Joy won’t be much help when it comes to tougher materials. However, a machine like the Maker 3 will cut through almost any crafting material you place inside it.

Do Cricut Machines Have to Be Connected to the Internet?

You don’t need to be connected to the internet to operate the machine. However, you’ll need to periodically connect it to the internet to verify your Cricut Access subscription, download new fonts and images, and keep your Design Space version up to date.

Conclusion

The Cricut Maker will be more than enough for whatever crafts they want for most people, especially if they’re not looking for something specific in terms of functionality.

The Maker doesn’t specialize in a specific niche, and therefore it’s the most sold Cricut machine. However, if you need something more heavy-duty, the Maker 3 is the option for you, since it has all the most advanced options Cricut offers. But it’s also the most expensive machine we reviewed.

And if you’re on a tight budget, the relatively cheap Cricut Joy will be perfect for you.

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