Countless small business owners have turned their hobbies into viable business models. Since they find pleasure in crafting something from scratch, their passion translates into quality products and a thriving company.
According to a survey conducted by Guidant Financial, 31% of the small business owners started their business to pursue their passion.
So, if you want to monetize your craft that includes cutting materials with precision and heat pressing patterns into objects, you need a Cricut machine. The versatile machine is simple to operate and gives accurate results every time.
Below we dive into the best Cricut machines, along with their highlighting features, pros and cons, and prices. Armed with the information, you can easily pick the model most suitable for your requirements and budget.
- What Is A Cricut Machine?
- Benefits Of A Cricut Machine
- What Are The Best Cricut Machines?
- 1. Cricut Maker 3
- 2. Cricut Explore 3
- 3. Cricut Joy
- 4. Cricut Maker
- 5. Cricut Explore Air 2
- 6. Cricut Autopress
- 7. Cricut EasyPress 3
- 8. Cricut EasyPress 2
- 9. Cricut Hat Press
- 10. Cricut Mug Press
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A Cricut Machine?
A Cricut machine is an electronic cutting machine with a small, moveable blade that cuts a design on a thin sheet. In fact, it enables you to cut over 100 materials, such as felt, card, leather, paper, fabric, vinyl, metal, and more, with laser-accurate precision.
You must prepare your design on a computer, tablet, or phone and load it into the Cricut machine. A press of the button will stir the device into action to materialize your design quickly and efficiently.
As a result, you can produce multiple projects in a short amount of time.
Benefits Of A Cricut Machine
Cricut machine is a valuable tool for avid crafters, as it creates intricate designs easily and accurately. It also has numerous other benefits that make it a worthwhile investment for your small business. These include:
Easy To Use
The best part about the Cricut machine is its effortless operation, even if you have no prior experience with it. Since the Cricut cutting machines can be connected to most devices, you have the liberty to create your design on a device you feel most comfortable using.
That being said, the Design Space software used by the Cricut machines might involve a learning curve. However, it is relatively straightforward to use compared to other design software.
All you need is a little time to play around with the software, and you will get a good grasp on its functionality to start creating your custom designs.
The Cricut electronic cutting machine is one of the most versatile cutting machines since it can cut hundreds of materials, as well as write, score, draw, deboss, perforate, engrave, etc., depending on the accessories you install in your machine.
The machine paves the way to produce the most detailed designs, using its countless features, which may be time-consuming or difficult to accomplish by hand.
Apart from being easy to use and offering dozens of design options, the machine is also very efficient. It can cut intricate patterns quickly and accurately on any material within minutes.
Thus, it is perfect for small business owners who want to produce customized orders for individual clients for prompt service.
The Cricut caters to the tech-savvy generation since the machine connects with your devices using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
Consequently, you can use your desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone to generate a digital design using any font and shape before transferring it to the machine to start the carving or cutting process.
What Are The Best Cricut Machines?
Following is my list of the best Cricut machines and their key features and price points. The detailed Cricut machine reviews will give you a deeper insight into each tool on the list and answer some of the most prevalent questions about this multifaceted equipment.
Cricut Maker 3 is the latest upgrade to the flagship machine, armed with the most sophisticated technology. It comes with the ability to cut Smart Materials, which means you can cut up to 12 feet of material without a mat.
With its powerful motor, you can cut twice as fast as the original Cricut Maker. Despite the high cutting speed, it does not compromise the quality of the cut.
The machine can cut the most intricate patterns with incredible precision on more than 300 materials, from delicate fabric to leather to balsa wood.
Cricut Maker 3 comes with two additional accessories, i.e., a large portable trimmer and a roll holder. It is also compatible with 13 cutting tools, including a rotary blade, wavy blade, fine-point blade, a scoring stylus, etc. Consequently, you can use these tools for cutting, foiling, scoring, engraving, and more.
However, all the upgrades translate into the most expensive Cricut machine available by the manufacturer.
- Smart Material compatibility: The machine can cut up to 12 feet of crafting material without a mat.
- Multiple tools and capabilities: You can cut, write, engrave, embellish, and foil using up to 13 tools compatible with Cricut Maker 3.
- Adaptive tool system: You can swap out the tips/blades (knife blade, rotary blade, scoring wheels, foil transfer tool, etc.) for a multi-dimensional project.
- Free Cricut design space software: The software is free for every Cricut customer and works on Windows and Mac computers and iOS and Android devices.
- 2x higher speed compared to the original Cricut Maker
- 10x cutting force compared with Cricut Explore
- Bluetooth connectivity, USB port
- Two additional accessories
- Steep price point for regular projects
- Relatively bulky
💡 Is Cricut Maker 3 Worth It?
Cricut Maker 3 is a professional-grade machine with a high price compared to other top Cricut machines on the list. It is ideal for pros who can make the most out of the many tools and features offered by the machine.
Cricut Explore 3 is comparable to Cricut Maker 3 since they share many similar features. Explore 3 is compatible with Smart Materials for matless cutting, with up to 12 feet long and 13 inches wide cuts.
The stronger motor allows it to cut 2x faster than the Cricut Explore Air 2. It also comes with a larger portable trimmer and roll holder.
However, it works with six cutting tools (instead of 13), including a fine point blade, scoring stylus, foil transfer tool, and deep point blade, which enables you to cut sturdy materials like stabilized fabric and bonded leather.
It can cut over 100 materials, including glitter paper, cardstock, iron-on vinyl, vinyl, and balsa wood.
It may not be as savvy and feature-rich as the Maker 3, but it has enough capabilities to satisfy any avid hobbyist. It also has an attractive price point, which is cheaper than Cricut Maker 3.
- Smart Materials compatibility: It supports Smart Materials, eliminating the need for a cutting mat.
- Multiple tools and capabilities: It can be fitted with six cutting tools for writing, cutting, foiling, and more.
- Free Design Space software: The software works on almost every device, including Windows, iOS, and Android.
- 2x faster-cutting speed than the Cricut Explore Air 2
- Ability to cut 100+ materials
- Bluetooth connectivity, USB port
- Not as feature-packed as Maker 3
- Thick material cutting may lack precision
💡 Is Cricut Explore 3 Worth It?
Circuit Explore 3 is an impressive machine with a bundle of features that makes it the best Cricut machine for hobbyists and crafting enthusiasts. The ability to work with Smart Materials cut 100+ materials and provide faster precision cuts makes it stand out from its competitors.
3. Cricut Joy
Cricut Joy is for crafting on the go. The machine is portable, lightweight (less than 4 pounds), and incredibly cute. Consequently, the compact design makes storing and carrying around in your bag easy.
The best part is that it can also cut the Smart Materials without a mat, along with more than 50 kinds of material, including paper, cardstock, iron-on vinyl, adhesive vinyl, thin faux leather sheet, etc.
While the small size of the Cricut Joy makes it inadequate for handling larger jobs, it can manage continuous cuts for up to 20 feet in length and 4 inches wide.
However, Cricut Joy lacks the speed and cutting power of the higher-end Cricut machines, which is not surprising considering it is the cheapest Cricut machine.
Finally, while it offers Bluetooth connectivity to connect the machine to the computer, it does not have a USB connection.
- Ability to use Smart Materials: The portable machine can work with Smart Materials without a cutting mat.
- Basic tools and capabilities: The machine has 3 simple tools: cutting, writing, and foiling.
- Free Design Space software: The intuitive software can connect to most devices for easy operation.
- Compact and lightweight
- Low price
- Bluetooth connectivity
- No USB connection
- Bare-bones feature set
💡 Is Cricut Joy Worth It?
Cricut Joy is perfect for casual crafters looking to buy a compact Cricut cutting machine at a reasonable price. The modest feature set is great for creating greeting cards, stickers, labels, and other simple projects.
4. Cricut Maker
Cricut Maker is another smart cutting machine. It can cut up to 300 materials, including fabric, felt, acrylic, plastic, wood, leather, etc., with incredible precision.
With a robust motor, it delivers a higher cutting speed than most Cricut machines, except Cricut Maker 3.
It also has 13 tools, including a rotary blade for all kinds of fabrics, a knife blade for thicker and denser material, a foil transfer tool for embellishments, and a scoring wheel for creating folds and creases.
With Circuit Maker, you can cut, write, score, engrave, deboss, and more, making the best Cricut machine for most people. The only drawback of this model is its inability to work with Cricut Smart Materials.
- Wide-set of tools and capabilities: The machine works with 13 tools that allow you to cut, write, score, engrave, deboss, and add other decorative elements.
- Adaptive tool system: You can easily swap tools without changing the housing to create complex designs.
- Free Design Space software: The bespoke software is compatible with most of the devices.
- Fast cutting speed
- 10x cutting for comparison to the Explore series
- Bluetooth connectivity, USB port
- Unable to handle Smart Materials
💡 Is Cricut Maker Worth It?
Cricut Maker is another professional-grade machine that is straightforward to operate despite its many functionalities. It is terrific for small business owners looking to create custom designs if you overlook the lack of Smart Materials compatibility.
Cricut Explore Air 2 might not be as powerful and efficient as the Cricut Maker 3 and Cricut Explore 3, but it is perfect for amateur crafters looking to buy their first Cricut machine. It is markedly simple to use, with user-friendly, easy-to-grasp software.
The machine can cut through more than 100 materials, including paper, vinyl, cardstock, fabric, and leather. It has six competent tools, including a fine-point blade, deep point blade, and bonded fabric blade.
Hence, you can use it for writing, cutting, and scoring. Unfortunately, you cannot cut longer lengths with the machine, making it ideal for small-scale projects, such as greeting cards, stickers, and iron-on decals for t-shirts, amongst other things.
It also comes with Fast Mode functionality, which allows you to cut and write twice as fast as the standard speed. It also offers precision cuts similar to the premium models.
The modest feature set is reflected in its price tag, which is far more agreeable than the other Cricut machines.
- Multiple tools and capabilities: You can use the six tools to cut, write, score, foil, etc., with ease.
- Fast Mode feature: The new functionality allows you to control the crafting speed of your projects.
- Free Design Space software: You can use the app with Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android devices.
- Easy to use
- Less expensive than premium models
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Unable to handle larger projects
- Occasional software and connection issues
💡 Is Cricut Explore Air 2 Worth It?
Cricut Explore Air 2 is the best Cricut machine for newbies since it is inexpensive and does the job without bells and whistles. It is also straightforward to operate, so you start creating your projects as soon as you unbox the cutting machine.
Cricut Autopress is the latest heat press machine, which produces high-quality results consistently. Like all Cricut machines, it offers easy operation, where you can close the lid with just two fingers.
The extra-wide clearance border decreases the risk of accidental contact with the heat plate. Moreover, the large pan is heated from edge to edge, allowing you to create larger projects easily.
The sophisticated machine automatically adjusts according to the width of the material, accommodating up to 2 inches thick projects. Consequently, you can even replicate designs on wooden blocks or frames. The lid lifts automatically when it is finished pressing.
All you have to do is set the ideal time and temperature depending on the project (you can consult the Heat Guide for optimum time and temperature), close the lid, and wait for the design to be prepared.
The lid opens automatically once the time has elapsed. This is a valuable feature for saving time that might have been spent monitoring the machine. It is also an upgrade from the other heat press machines, where you must manually remove the device from the material.
- Programmable Control Pod: You can set the time and temperature for your projects, and the lid will open automatically when the heat pressing is done.
- Auto-adjustable width: The smart machine gauges the width of the material and adjusts its height accordingly.
- Easy to use
- Large heat plate
- Powerful and consistent performance
- Too large for home use
- Extremely expensive
💡Is Cricut Autopress Worth It?
Undoubtedly, the Cricut Autopress is an impressive heat press machine that delivers commercial-grade quality. However, it is best suited for professionals with substantial orders who have the space and budget for the bulky and expensive Cricut machine.
Cricut EasyPress 3 is a fantastic machine for iron-on custom designs for personalized t-shirts, pillowcases, tote bags, coasters, and aprons. It combines the efficiency of a heat press and the convenience of iron to provide you with a high-quality iron-on effect.
The dual heating elements and a ceramic-coated plate are contained in a compact and storable housing. It provides even heat distribution, up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Consequently, it uses the entire machine surface to provide you with the correct temperature at every point.
It is compatible with prominent iron-on brands, sublimation products, and the Infusible Ink system to help you dye material. You can also use the machine to attach the vinyl to the cloth, which is much easier than using the standard home iron.
Cricut EasyPress 3 comes with a nifty Cricut Heat app, which connects with the machine via Bluetooth and allows you to set precise time and temperature settings for your projects with a single tap.
The app also guides you with easy-to-follow instructions and on-screen prompts to help you achieve the best results on any material, from t-shirts to pillowcases to aprons.
Finally, it comes in two sizes; one is 9 inches by 9 inches, and the other is slightly bigger with the dimensions of 12 inches by 10 inches.
- Ceramic-coated iron plate: The smooth, heated plate provides edge-to-edge heating at an even temperature.
- Auto-off feature: The machine turns off automatically after 10 minutes of inactivity.
- Insulated safety base: You can use the base to place the machine while it is still hot to protect your workspace.
- Intuitive Cricut Heat app: The app allows you to set the time and temperature depending on the project and offers short tutorials to help you make the most of your Cricut EasyPress 3.
- Even heat across the entire surface of the plate
- Bluetooth connectivity, unlike in EasyPress 2
- Easy to use
- High-quality, long-lasting results
- Relatively expensive
💡 Is Cricut EasyPress 3 Worth It?
Cricut EasyPress 3 is one of the best Cricut machines for customized iron-on. However, it is not worth buying if you already own the EasyPress 2 since it has no significant upgrades. Consider this model if you are purchasing an EasyPress for the first time.
Cricut EasyPress 2 is the older version of the Cricut EasyPress 3. It is a capable device that can transfer iron-on or Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) on any fabric, including t-shirts, aprons, totes, and more. Moreover, it is very easy to use, with an online Heat Guide regarding the ideal heat settings for your projects.
Simply set the suggested heat setting depending on your project and apply the plate to the material for the recommended time. The device comes with a useful timer to help you keep track of the time.
The heat transfer by base plate is evenly distributed across the surface, comparable to the newer Autopress and EasyPress 3 machines. It also features precise temperature control up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Similar to EasyPress 3, it is also available in two sizes. The 9 inches by 9 inches is more suitable for standard projects, while the 12 inches by 10 inches can tackle bigger designs. If you want something even smaller, check out the Cricut EasyPress Mini.
- Ceramic-coated iron plate: The smooth, heated plate provides consistent heating at an even temperature for quality transfers.
- Insulated safety base: You can use the base to place the machine once you are done using it to protect your table surface.
- Helpful online Heat Guide: The guide provides you with the ideal time and temperature settings for almost any project.
- High-quality results that last even after multiple washes
- Easy to use
- Cheaper than EasyPress 3
- No Bluetooth connectivity
- No app
💡 Is Cricut EasyPress 2 Worth It?
Cricut EasyPress 2 is best for professionals working on large projects. It has been a loyal companion for hobbyists who prefer iron-on graphics with outstanding results. That being said, if you are looking to buy your first Cricut EasyPress machine, opt for the newest EasyPress 3.
As the name suggests, the Cricut Hat Press is designed exclusively for creating your designs on hats and caps. It is one of the small but useful devices by the brand, albeit with limited use.
The device works on almost all styles and materials and is very easy to operate. It has a carved hot plate that molds to the shape of the cap and an ergonomic handle for convenient operation.
Thus, you can use it to customize caps for teams, special events, or an added flair.
Place your hat on the pressing stand, included with this Cricut model, adjust the heat settings on the machine (up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit), and iron the design, created on a Cricut cutting machine, on the cap.
You can determine the ideal time and temperature for your project using the Cricut Heat app that connects to the device via Bluetooth.
Using a Cricut cutting machine, you can create your design with the compatible iron-on, Infusible Ink sheets, and sublimation products before transferring it to the cap.
- Adjustable temperature setting: You can customize the temperature or choose from one of the three presets.
- Insulated safety base: The safety base allows you to safely store the device immediately after use.
- Competent Cricut Heat app: The app allows you to set the time and temperature depending on the project and offer step-by-step instructions from start to finish.
- Professional-grade results
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Reasonably priced
- Simple to operate
- Limited functionality
💡 Is Cricut Hat Press Worth It?
Cricut Hat Press is an intelligent Cricut machine with minimal features. It is a good option if you want to expand your hobby from simple crafting to creating commercial quality caps and hats with trendy designs.
10. Cricut Mug Press
The final Cricut machine on the list is the Cricut Mug Press. It is another one of the heat press machines specializing in a specific task, i.e., printing high-quality, personalized designs on blank mugs.
Like other heat press machines, it requires a Cricut cutting machine to cut out the transfer, which should be on the Infusible Ink sheet. You cannot use standard vinyl for this purpose.
As expected from a Cricut machine, it is incredibly simple to operate. Simply wrap the transfer around the mug, place it in the Mug Press, press the button, and wait for your brand new mug to be ready. You do not even have to set the temperature or pressure manually.
Moreover, the sleek design of the mug is long-lasting and dishwasher-proof. Thus, you can use the machine to create mugs for branding purposes, gifting, or personal use.
However, you have to buy the mugs and other Cricut accessories to start using the machine, which adds to the already hefty price of the Mug Press. The good news is that it is great value for money since it offers consistent results.
- One-touch settings: The machine starts operating with the press of a button without any manual control settings.
- Auto-off feature: A safety feature prompts the machine to switch off automatically when not in use.
- Durable results
- Easy to use
- Requires additional purchases
💡 Is Cricut Mug Press Worth It?
Since the Cricut Mug Press offers top-quality results, it is a practical investment for professionals looking to monetize their craft. However, the steep price tag and extra purchases might not make this Cricut machine suitable for personal use.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Supplies Do You Need To Get Started With Cricut?
The Cricut has many tools, such as a blade, a pen, a mat, and a few material samples, to help you get started. You will receive a charging cord and USB cable depending on your machine.
You will have to buy additional supplies once when the materials included in the box run out. These supplies will depend on the type of project at hand, for example, paper crafting, vinyl crafting, home organizing, etc.
Finally, you will need a few extra mats, a hand tool set, and blades.
Which Features To Consider Before Buying A Cricut Machine?
There are multiple cutting machines offered by the manufacturer, each with its set of features, including cutting speed, material settings, scoring and writing functions, tools and capabilities, and settings. Before buying one of the Cricut machines, here is what you need to consider:
A higher cutting speed means you can get more done in a short time without compromising on the precision of the cut. Both Cricut Maker 3 and Cricut Explore 3 have the fastest cutting speeds, almost two times the speeds of their predecessors.
Cricut machines can work with many products, from thin fabrics to adhesive vinyl to thicker materials like balsa wood. However, if you want to cut a specific material, check the machine's specification before buying it.
Each Cricut machine comes with its set of blades compatible with the device. These include fine point blades, knife blades, rotary blades, scoring wheels, etc. Choose a model with the set of tools you require for your projects, or you can invest in the Cricut Maker 3, which comes with 13 different blades.
Ease Of Use
While Cricut machines are generally simple to operate, the Maker and Explore series has a plethora of tutorials available that can guide you about handling most materials. On the other hand, Cricut Joy has limited guidelines.
What Is The Best Cricut Machine?
If you compare Cricut machines, Cricut Maker 3 is by far the best Cricut machine. It is the only Cricut cutting machine that can cut fabric without stiffening and does a fabulous job. It can also handle thicker materials with ease, producing high-quality results.
With robust technology, wireless capabilities, and unparalleled cutting speed and force, it is the current top-rated Cricut machine.
The Cricut machines have set the bar high with their proficient cutting machines and sophisticated heat press devices. With powerful cutting speeds, incredibly precise cuts, long-lasting results, and limitless designing options, the Cricut models are a crafter's dream come true.
While it can be overwhelming to choose any one cutting machine, the detailed reviews above will help you narrow down your choices from our best Cricut machines review. To summarize, if you want a complete crafting solution with the liberty to create anything, buy the Cricut Maker 3.
However, if you want something more affordable and want to work with only paper and vinyl, a cheap Cricut machine, Cricut Explore 3, is suitable for you. Cricut Joy is your best bet for occasional crafters with a lack of space and minimum budget.
If you wish to grow your Cricut collection further, there are numerous heat press machines for all your printing needs ranging from the versatile Cricut Autopress to the single-dimensional Hat Press and Mug Press.
Let us know in the comments below which Cricut machine piqued your interest?