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What is the difference between Cricut machines?

The main difference between Cricut machines depends on how you intend to use them. For example, if you want a small portable machine, then you need the Cricut Joy. If you need a good machine for t-shirt printing, then you need the larger Cricut Maker or Cricut Maker 3.

In this article, we will compare the differences and similarities between the original Maker vs. the new Maker 3 and the Cricut Explore Air 2 vs. the Cricut Easy Press 2.

Difference between Cricut machines

The choice between the Cricut Maker and Cricut Maker 3 is a big challenge among crafters.

Body and Build

From the onset, you will notice that the original Cricut Maker came in a variety of colors, such as lilac, rose, blue, champagne, and mint. On the other hand, the new Cricut Maker 3 comes in one light blue color for now.

The buttons on the two machines are a little different. The cut button on the Maker is a C, signifying cut, while on the Maker 3, it is a more universal Play button. 

Having a Play button on the Maker 3 calls for the addition of a Pause button too, which was not present on the Maker. Arrow buttons may look different but work exactly the same.

On the Maker 3 tray, they have added some material guides to ensure that your material goes straight into the machine and is correctly inserted every time. This was not present in the original Maker.

Difference between Cricut machines: Cricut Blades

When it comes to the blades, there are no new ones that were added on the Maker 3. All blades that can be used on the Maker 4 can be used on the Maker.

To get the optimum position of the next cut with precision, both the Cricut Maker and Maker 3 use the adaptive tool system. It is a system that actively lifts and rotates your blade to the best position, especially when dealing with high-detail artwork and cuts.

Basically, the Maker 3 is an upgrade of the Maker. This means that it can do everything the original maker can do, plus a lot more.

Cricut Maker vs. Cricut Maker 3

The Maker 3 features a new powerful 3-ampere output adapter. This is because the Maker 3 is designed to run faster than the original Maker. 

When using power cords, the ones on the Cricut Maker and Cricut Maker 3 are different and cannot be used interchangeably. The sizes differ, and you have to use the correct one for each.

The next difference is what you get in the box when you buy.

What is in the box for the Cricut maker?

When you buy the Cricut Maker straight out of the box, you will get

  • Rotary blade 
  • Drive Housing
  • Premium fine-point blade 
  • Fine-Point Black Pen
  • 12×12 light grip mat 
  • 12×12 fabric grip mat
  • 50 free, ready-made projects
  • 25 sewing patterns and materials 

What is in the box for Cricut Maker 3?

The Maker 3 is more focused on smart materials. In Maker 3, you will not have a rotary blade, housing, fine-point pen, or cutting mats.

You will have in the box a fine-point blade preinstalled in Clamp B, smart vinyl, a smart iron on a sheet, smart paper sticker card stock, and transfer tape.

Cricut Explore Air 2 vs. Cricut Easy Press 2

If you are looking for a smaller Cricut Machine, below is a comparison between the Cricut Explore Air 2 vs. Cricut Easy Press 2.

Cricut Explore Air 2

The Cricut Explore Air 2 is Cricut’s best-selling machine. It takes the spot as our pick for the best machine if you are a beginner. The machine cuts a wide variety of material sizes that make it easy for you to cut materials for t-shirts.

The default fine-point blade can be used to cut over 100 materials but will not be able to cut leather or fabric. However, by upgrading to the Deep Point Blade, you can cut these and even more materials.


  • Cuts over 100 materials
  • Easy Bluetooth Connection
  • Allows cutting, writing, scoring, and framing.
  • Print, then cut.


  • Can not cut Smart Materials
  • Only cuts 23 inches max length
  • Incompatible with the Adaptive Tool System 

Cricut Easy Press 2

The Cricut EasyPress 2 is the first item on this list. It is designed to apply heat and pressure to imprint images on flat surfaces, mainly on fabric such as t-shirts or hoodies.

It comes in two sizes, either small or medium. The small size measures 9 inches by 9 inches and can print A5 and closest-to-A4-sized prints.

The medium one measures 12 inches by 10 inches and can print perfect A4s and near-A3 sizes. A5, A4, and A3 print sizes cover all sizes you might need to print on t-shirts. Cricut Express 2 does not have a large option, so there is no A2-sized option for t-shirt print.

When using Cricut, temperature is easily regulated using the mobile app. The press can reach up to 205 degrees C and allows you to print on T-shirts, tote bags, pillowcases, aprons, and more.

It also has precise temperature control, features like an insulated safety base and auto-off, a raspberry, and many more. The Cricut Easy Press 2 applies heat and pressure to vinyl cutouts to print on shirts.

What can you cut on Cricut Maker vs. Cricut Maker 3?

Both machines can cut over 300 materials, such as vinyl, fabric, leather, iron, etc. Both can print and cut on colored and white papers. They can use the same blades to create their own custom designs.

Unlike the Maker, the Maker 3 will allow you to cut smart materials without using a mat. Because you are not limited to a mat width and length, the Maker 3 allows you to cut up to 12 feet in length and 11.7 inches in width on a single cut.

Smart materials allow the Maker 3 to cut twice as fast as the Maker. When you factor in this speed and the lack of need for mat installation, the Maker 3 will save you a lot of time.

Cricut updated a new addition with a new roll holder portable trimmer to accommodate long smart materials. The roll holder will fit on the ridges on the Maker 3. It is not compatible with the original Maker.

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Conclusion: Difference between Cricut machines

If you want to start using smart materials, then we highly recommend upgrading to Maker 3. However, if you are happy with what the maker does for you or do not see yourself using smart materials, then the original maker is ok for you and will save you a lot since it is cheaper.

  1. Cricut Maker
  2. Cricut Maker 3
  3. Cricut Explore Air 2
  4. Cricut Easy Press 2

FAQ: What is the main Difference between Cricut machines

  1. Is Cricut Maker 3 better than Cricut Maker?

    Yes. It is faster and better and will work with smart materials. However, the maker will work perfectly well if you do not need to use smart materials. Both machines are very similar.