Skip to Content

Should you replace your Cricut with an Explore 3 or Maker 3?

The new Cricut models are available. Should you replace your “old” model? This is what I will tell you in this post.

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience and at no extra cost to you. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Starting today, June 10, 2021, for online purchases only, the two new Cricut machine models: The Explore 3and the Maker 3 are now available!

For an in-store purchase, you will have to wait until June 27, 2021.

What are the differences?

Quite honestly, there is not much difference. You can see for yourself in the following comparison chart.

comparison chart

Image courtesy of Cricut Canada

The biggest change is the possibility of cutting without a mat. This feature was introduced with the Cricut Joy. But you will need to buy the “Smart Materials” for it to work.

What are Smart Materials?

The Smart Materials are composed of Smart Iron-On, Smart Vinyl and Smart Paper Sticker Cardstock. These 3 products can be cut without a mat using the Explore 3 and Maker 3.

Image courtesy of Cricut Canada

Thus, no more cuts limited to 11.5 inches x 23.5 inches (29.2 cm x 59.6 cm). The Smart Iron-On goes up to 4 feet (1.2 m) and the Smart Vinyl goes up to 12 feet (3.6 m).

As for the Smart Paper, they are still 12 inches x 12 inches sheets (possible cutting dimension of 11.7 x 11.2) but already have a coat of glue.

It is also interesting to know that the leftovers of these Smart Materials will have to be used with a mat. As a matter of fact, you’ll need the full width of roll to be able to insert them into the new Cricut machines without a mat.

You’re probably wondering: Will I be able to cut other vinyl brands without a mat with the new Cricut machines? The answer is no! Only Smart Materials can be cut without a mat.

Also note this roll holder which will be available (but not mandatory) to keep the materials aligned and that comes with a built-in trimmer. Really convenient!

Image courtesy of Cricut Canada

Twice as fast

Yes, but be careful! The new Cricut machines are faster, but only when you load Smart Materials into them. For example, the engraving time between the Maker and the Maker 3 should be the same (I would sure like to test this myself!)

Where did the Maker 2 go?

Yes, I know, Cricut skipped a number! But quite honestly, I find it more logical and especially less confusing!

Also, if you notice, they dropped the word “Air” for the Explore 3. Cricut mentions that Air meant the machine had Bluetooth capability and as this is now standard for all Cricut machines it was no longer necessary to mention it in the name.

Who should change for the new models?

I would tell you to replace your Cricut with the new model if you think you really need to make very large projects regularly or you have a company and produce the same image in large quantities (and smart materials could save you time by avoiding changing mat every time).

Otherwise, your Cricut is still well up to date and I would tell you to keep it!

If you buy, get yourself a bundle!

Honestly, bundles are definitely worth it whether it’s for the Maker 3 or the Explore 3. In the comparison chart above, you may have noticed that the new Cricut machines have a cutting width of 13 inches (instead of 12 inches). Well, Cricut thought of making a new trimmer to cut 13 inches wide. And it is included in the bundles.

Here is a comparative chart of the bundles available (not counting the machine and its accessories that would come when buying the machine alone). Note that the bundles are the same whether you pair them with Maker 3 or Explore 3:

DescriptionEssential Materials Bundle- Maker 3 or Explore 3Everything Materials Bundle Maker 3 or Explore 3
Smart Vinyl – 3′ Permanent Sampler – Red, White, BlackXX
Smart Vinyl – 3′ Permanent Matte Metallic Sampler – Champagne and SilverX
Smart Vinyl -3′ Removable Sampler – Red, Black WhiteXX
Smart Vinyl – 3′ Removable Sampler – Grass, Ocean, Maize YellowX
Transfer tape – 21 ftX
Iron-On Smart, Black – 3 ftX
Iron-On Smart, White – 3 ftX
Iron-On Smart, Glitter, Gold – 3 ftXX
Iron-On Smart, Glitter, Silver – 3 ftX
Iron-On Smart, Holographic Blue – 3 ftX
Smart Paper Sticker cardstock Bright BowX
Multi-Pen Set, Black (5 ct.)X
Essential tools set (including 13-inch trimmer)XX
Basic tool setXX

What about you Natalie, are you going to change your Cricut?

If I were among the people who tinker “normally” I would keep my Maker. But I want to have all the options to be able to serve you and make all the tutorials you might need.

So, yes, I’m going to splurge and buy myself a Maker 3! And you can rely on me to do an engraving speed test when I get it! haha ?

If you have any other questions, feel free to leave me a comment below!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.