The latest cutting machine to hit the shelves is the brand new Cricut Explore 3.
Building on the success of the Cricut Explore Air 2 a few years ago, the Explore 3 is twice as fast and can cut up to 12 foot in one go — that’s a big upgrade!
It’s just been released. We’re going to take a few days to test it out and we’ll be back ASAP with a our hands-on Cricut Explore 3 review.
In the meantime, let’s take a look at all the features of the Cricut Explore 3 and how it compares to its competitors.
Cricut Explore 3 Review
The Cricut Explore 3 occupies the perfect middle ground between the elite Cricut Maker 3 and the pocket-rocket Cricut Joy. It’s the machine of choice for hobbyist crafters who want versatility, size and efficiency but without a big price tag.
Cricut Explore 3 vs Cricut Explore Air 2
The predecessor of the Explore 3 is the Explore Air 2. It came out quite a few years ago now but is still popular thanks to its versatility, cutting accuracy and reasonable price.
Let’s have a look at how the two compare side by side, and if it’s worth you upgrading to the Explore 3 if you still have the older model.
|Cricut Explore 3||Cricut Explore Air 2|
|# of Materials it Can Cut||100+||100+|
|Compatible with Smart Materials?||Yes||No|
|# of Compatible Tools||6||6|
|Max Cut Length||12 foot with Smart Materials||24 inches (with extended cutting mat)|
|Compatible with Bluetooth?||Yes||Yes|
|Cutting Speed||2x as fast as Explore Air 2 with Smart Materials|
As you can see, the main way that the Explore 3 differentiates itself from the Explore Air 2 is the fact that it’s compatible with Smart Materials.
Smart Materials allow the Explore 3 to be faster, more efficient and able to cut significantly longer designs than its predecessor.
If you’ve ever felt restricted by the speed and maximum cut size of the Explore Air 2, then the Explore 3 could be an option worth exploring.
Cricut Explore 3 vs Cricut Maker 3
One of the competitor comparisons a few people have asked us to make is between the Explore 3 and the Maker 3, which was released at the same time.
Although they look reasonably similar, they’re actually quite different machines and this is reflected in the price tag — the Maker 3 is around $100 more expensive.
Let’s take a look at how they compare side-by-side:
|Cricut Explore 3||Cricut Maker 3|
|# of Materials it Can Cut||100+||300+|
|Smart Materials Compatible?||Yes||Yes|
|# of Compatible Tools||6||13|
|Can it Cut Fabric?||Only bonded fabric||Any fabric with the Rotary Blade|
|Cutting Force||10x the power of Explore 3|
|Max Cut Length||12′ with Smart Materials||12′ with Smart Materials|
In short, the Maker 3 is a much more versatile and powerful machine than the Explore 3, able to cut more materials, with more tools.
Thanks to its compatibility with the Rotary Blade, it’s also able to cut through virtually any fabric which is partly why it’s so incredibly popular with sewists and any crafters who use a lot of fabric.
But not every crafter needs all that the Maker 3 is offering — indeed, maybe most people will be more than satisfied with the Explore 3. We usually recommend the Maker family of machines for serious hobbyists and people who run craft businesses, whereas the Explore line of cutters is perhaps more suitable for the ‘average’ crafter.
Ultimately it’s up to you — if you can justify the extra price, the Maker 3 is undoubtedly the superior machine. But you may find the Explore 3 suits your needs just perfectly, especially now it’s compatible with Smart Materials.
Is the Cricut Explore 3 Worth Buying?
Stay tuned for our review to find out exactly what we think of the user experience of the Explore 3, and whether we think it’s worth your hard earned money.
We’re excited to spend the next few days getting to know this brand new cutting machine.
The machine is available to order now via the Cricut store or on Amazon.