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Cricut Maker 3 Review

The Cricut Maker 3 (available now from Amazon or the Cricut store) is Cricut’s most advanced craft cutting machine.

With some incredible features on board — including being twice the speed of the original Maker and with 10 times the cutting force of the Explore Air 2 — it’s certainly a machine to be reckoned with.

This cutting machine redefines versatility — but with that comes a hefty price tag that might leave some crafters wondering whether it’s really the right machine for them.

In our Cricut Maker 3 review below, we delve into exactly what you can expect from this cutter, all the pros and cons, and whether it’s worth your hard earned money.

Cricut Maker 3
Incredible cutting specs The Cricut Maker 3 is an elite cutting machine that can cut vinyl, paper, leather and over 300 different materials. This smart cutting machine is twice as fast as its predecessor and now compatible with Smart Materials for even greater accuracy and size.

Cricut Maker 3 Review

Key Features

cricut maker 3

The Cricut Maker 3 is really the crème de la crème of cutting machines and it will to appeal to crafters who really want the most elite desktop machine available. Serious hobbyists and small business owners are the ones lining up for a piece of it.

Key Features
  • Can cut 300+ materials
  • Up to twice as fast as Cricut Maker when using Smart Materials
  • Compatible with Smart Materials for matless cutting and cuts up to 12 foot long
  • Compatible with 13 tools for cutting, writing, scoring, foiling and embellishing
  • 10 times the cutting force of the Explore Air 2
  • Works with Rotary Blade to cut virtually any fabric

Pros and Cons of the Cricut Maker 3

What We Love about the Machine

It's an Upgrade on the Original Maker

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of the original Cricut Maker — it’s an incredibly versatile machine that makes easy work on any cutting job, even fabric.

Well, we’re pleased to report that the Maker 3 is simply a better version of the original, retaining everything that made the Maker brilliant and improving in a few key areas, namely speed and maximum cutting length.

This is all due to the fact that the Maker 3 is compatible with Smart Materials — specialist vinyl, paper and cardstock that is sophisticated enough that you don’t need to use a cutting mat when you’re using them. The Maker 3 can cut these Smart Materials at up to twice the speed the original Maker took with ‘normal’ materials and up to a whopping 12 feet in length. This is a huge improvement on the Maker’s maximum cut length of 24 inches.

So, if you’ve ever felt a little restricted by the max. cut size on the original Maker, the Maker 3 will be a great investment. All the pros of the original, plus extra efficiency and space.

Insanely Versatile

The major selling point of the Maker 3 is just how damn versatile this machine is.

It’s a machine for life.

It can cut over 300 materials and is compatible with over 13 different tools — so while straightforward cutting is its bread and butter, you can also score, embellish, write, punch, foil and much more if you’ve got the necessary tool.

And this versatility will only continue to grow as Cricut release more tools, thanks to the Maker 3’s Adaptive Tool System that works with it’s incredible power and engineering.

This System basically means that you can plug into the dual carriage any of Cricut’s tools — past, present and future — and you’ll be able to use them in the machine.

One of the most popular and loved tools for the Maker machines is the incredible Rotary Blade.

This allows the machine to cut practically any fabric like butter — whether you’re cutting fine silk or thick denim. No need for a separate fabric cutter!

A Pro Cutting Machine

We’ve always enjoyed Cricut’s suite of cutting machines — right from the early days of the Expression all the way through to the later Explore Air line. But with the Maker, and now the Maker 3, they’ve really moved into the ‘pro’ category.

The Maker 3 is definitely the machine to go for if you’re looking for a desktop machine that delivers professional level results. It’s this reason that so many small craft business owners and serious cutting hobbyists opt for Cricut over many of its competitors.

Precision blades plus the whopping 4kg of downward force makes for high level accuracy and efficiency that is super rare in a relatively compact machine like this.

The tools are all impeccably well made, from the Rotary Blade which we’ve already mentioned, to the Knife Blade, which can tackle thick materials with ease and not require numerous passes.

Other Things We Love
  • Looks very sleek and professional
  • Small footprint and can be stored easily
  • Bluetooth connectivity = wireless cutting
  • Lots of storage space within the machine
  • Has a docking spot and USB port so you can connect and charge your device while you’re using the software
  • Comes with a free trial subscription to Cricut Access

Things that Could be Improved

It's an Investment

To be expected, the Cricut Maker 3 is not a ‘cheap’ machine. It’s retailing at $399.99 on the Cricut website right now. Certainly an investment.

Honestly, we think it’s worth the price if that’s within your budget. It’s an incredibly versatile, pro level machine that delivers on results.

For craft businesses and even hobbyists who want to perform at the top of their game, it’s a worthy investment for sure.

Where we get a little annoyed is with all the upselling and add-ons which you’re expected to buy.

The Maker 3 comes equipped with the Fine Point Blade and housing, but no other tools or materials.

And the problem is that the reason we’re buying the Maker 3 is for its versatility. So that means investing in lots of other new tools and blades — at least the Rotary Blade and Knife Blade but we’d love to try any of the 13 tools that the machine’s compatible with — and, of course, Smart Materials.

Smart Materials are understandably more expensive than the generic vinyl, paper and cardstock that requires a cutting mat, but of course this is yet another expense. And really, the number #1 way that the Maker 3 stands apart from the original Maker is the fact that it’s compatible with Smart Materials, so you almost have to buy them over the generic version as, if not, what’s the point?

All this to say, the Maker 3 is an investment that doesn’t just stop at the machine cost. Make sure you factor in the price of tools and materials if you’re working with a tight budget.

Cricut Design Space isn't Perfect

Cricut Design Space is the software that’s used with the Cricut machines to design and prepare those designs for the machine to cut.

It’s always had a not particularly great reputation — namely because it’s quite basic and not ideal for more sophisticated designing and creations. It also used to be quite glitchy although we think this has improved hugely over the past couple of years.

Regardless, many Cricut crafters choose to use separate applications for designing — CorelDraw, Adobe Illustrator, Sir CutsALot, for instance — and then upload their finished designs into Design Space in order to send to the machine for cutting.

As long-term Cricut users, we definitely think that there have been worthy improvements to the software over the years, but it’s still not quite at the level more elite users require. Having said that, for ‘normal’ and occasional users, we think it’s at a much better level than it ever used to be.

Bring on the updates!

Cricut Maker 3 vs Cricut Maker

A lot of you will be wondering exactly what the Maker 3 has to offer over the original Cricut Maker.

If you’ve already got the Maker, you might be wondering if it’s worth upgrading to this latest machine.

Let’s have a look at how the two machines’ features compare side by side.

Cricut MakerCricut Maker 3
# of Materials it can cut300+300+
Compatible with Smart Materials?NoYes
Cut Speed2x as fast when using Smart Materials
Cutting Force4kg 4kg
Max Cut Length24 inches12 foot using Smart Materials
Compatible with all Tools?YesYes
Compatible with Bluetooth?YesYes
cricut maker vs cricut maker 3

As you can see, the main way that the Maker 3 differentiates itself from the Maker is that it’s compatible with Smart Materials technology.

What are Smart Materials?
Smart Materials were introduced with the Cricut Joy machine and essentially allow you to cut without a cutting mat. You just need to load and go.

They’re especially effective for long, continuous cuts and do away with a lot of the faff that comes with using traditional materials and cutting mats. Smart Materials are also really easy to weed and apply.

By using Smart Materials, the Cricut Maker 3 automatically becomes a much more versatile machine.

Suddenly you’re able to do much bigger cuts than ever before — up to 12 feet long in fact — in a much more efficient way, that’s twice as fast as the original Maker.

And, of course, you’ve got everything that made the Maker so good in the first place, including the ability to cut any fabric with the Rotary Blade, being compatible with all of Cricut’s amazing new tools, and the huge number of materials it’s able to cut.

If you’ve ever been hamstrung by the small cutting area of the Cricut Maker, then the Maker 3 could be a great option for you to consider.

cricut maker vs maker 3

Is the Cricut Maker 3 Worth Buying?

The Cricut Maker 3 is undoubtedly a highly sophisticated and valuable cutting machine.

This is a high-level cutter for high-level crafters — if you’re running a craft business or even just a dedicated hobbyist, we think it’s worth the investment. It’s hard to put a price on the increased speed, efficiency and cutting size that it has over the original Maker.

Speaking of investments, however, bear in mind that you’ll need to buy a number of tools and materials to really make the most out of the Maker 3.

If you’ve already got the original Maker and don’t feel restricted by it, then the Maker 3 probably isn’t worth buying — at least right now.

The machine is available to order now via the Cricut store or on Amazon.

Cricut Maker 3
Incredible cutting specs The Cricut Maker 3 is an elite cutting machine that can cut vinyl, paper, leather and over 300 different materials. This smart cutting machine is twice as fast as its predecessor and now compatible with Smart Materials for even greater accuracy and size.

Still not sure what the best vinyl cutter for your needs is? Be sure to check out our Reviews section for detailed analysis of ALL the top-selling die cutters.

Cricut Maker 3 Review
4.9

VCM Verdict

The Cricut Maker 3 is a supremely versatile, pro-level cutting machine that can cut at twice the speed of the original Maker and up to a whopping 12 feet in length.

It’s definitely an investment, however, so think carefully about whether it’s necessary for your needs if you’re working with a tight budget.

Pros

  • Hugely versatile
  • Compatible with Smart Materials for matless cutting
  • Can cut up to 12′ in length
  • Twice as fast as the original Maker
  • Can cut 300+ materials and work with 13 different tools
  • Pro level cutting and efficiency
  • Looks great
  • Small footprint but lots of storage space

Cons

  • Expensive, with the option to buy lots of extra tools and materials
  • Cricut Design Space isn’t the best software

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