Cricut Maker 3 vs. Cricut Explore 3

Cricut Maker 3 vs. Cricut Explore 3

With the launch of the new machines, we thought this would be a great time to walk through the differences between the Cricut Explore 3 and the Cricut Maker 3. Are you trying to decide which machine is better for you? We hope to help you in that decision making process!

We'll keep it really simple for you: the biggest difference between the Maker 3 and the Explore 3 is the cutting technology. The Maker line of machines has what is called the Adaptive Tool System. This tool system allows the Maker machine to work with 13 tools, whereas the Explore line of machines can work with 6 tools. The Maker tools can cut, write, score, foil, debs, engrave and more. The Explore 3 can cut, write, score and foil. Let's look a little closer at each blade and tool for each machine.

Compatible Blades and Tools for Maker 3

  • Fine-Point BladeRecommended for use with paper, cardstock, poster board, vinyl iron-on and other fine to medium weight materials.
  • Deep Point Blade: This blade is recommended for cuts on thicker materials such as magnet, chipboard, leather, foam and more.
  • Bonded-Fabric Blade: This blade will cut bonded fabrics or fabrics with an iron-on backer.
  • Rotary Blade: Just like a handheld rotary cutter, this blade will cut through your fabric. You can also use it to cut through soft or less-dense materials like tissue paper and cork.
  • Knife Blade: This blade is similar to an X-Acto knife. It can cut through dense materials up to 3/32 (2.4mm) thick. It's recommend for materials such as balsa wood, mat board and chipboard.
  • Scoring Wheel: Single & Double
    • Single Scoring Wheel: This blade leaves a single, deep score line in light materials such as crepe paper, light cardstock and even acetate.
    • Double Scoring Wheel: This blade will create two deep, parallel score lines — which is perfect for coated or heavier materials like poster board and cardboard.
  • Debossing Tip: The Debossing Tip leaves detailed depressions in a wide variety of materials to add dimension and flair to your project without the need for a folder.
  • Engraving Tip: This tip allows you to inscribe decorative flourishes and embellishments into all of your favorite materials. You can engrave into metal, acrylic, leather and more!
  • Perforation Blade: This blade allows you to create evenly spaced perforation lines allowing for clean tears.
  • Wavy Blade: Adds a fun wavy decorative edge to your designs.
  • Foil Transfer Tool: The Foil Transfer Tool is used with Foil Transfer Sheets to add a foil effect to projects on a variety of materials. It comes with three interchangeable tips: fine, medium and bold. All of this tips are suitable for projects ranging from simple outlines to intricate designs.
  • Scoring Stylus: The Scoring Stylus will make light scores in your paper projects.
  • Pens: Your Cricut can draw and write! There are a variety of pens and markers available to create projects with pens.

Compatible Blades and Tools for Explore 3:

  • Fine-Point BladeRecommended for use with paper, cardstock, poster board, vinyl iron-on and other fine to medium weight materials.
  • Deep Point Blade: This blade is recommended for cuts on thicker materials such as magnet, chipboard, leather, foam and more.
  • Bonded-Fabric Blade: This blade will cut bonded fabrics or fabrics with an iron-on backer.
  • Foil Transfer Tool: The Foil Transfer Tool is used with Foil Transfer Sheets to add a foil effect to projects on a variety of materials. It comes with three interchangeable tips: fine, medium and bold. All of this tips are suitable for projects ranging from simple outlines to intricate designs.
  • Scoring Stylus: The Scoring Stylus will make light scores in your paper projects.
  • Pens: Your Cricut can draw and write! There are a variety of pens and markers available to create projects with pens.

As you can see, you get more blades and tools with the Cricut Maker 3 than the Explore 3 — seven more, to be exact. This is the biggest difference between the two machines. The only other small difference between the machines is the physical look of them. As you'll see in the chart below, Cricut says that the Maker has commercial-grade performance. That is because of the cutting technology it has to work with the additional blades and tools.

Here's a graphic that might be helpful to compare the machines:

You might be wondering, "Which machine should I get?"

Of course, it's all going to depend on you and your crafting needs. Here's how we like to think of it — do the additional blades and tools interest you? Do you think you would realistically use this in your crafting? Are you interested in engraving on leather or cutting wood? Would you like to cut fabric on your Cricut without a backing? Take a look at everything the Maker can do and see if any of it interests you. You can also click on each individual link in the lists above to see how much the blades and tips are if that is a factor for you. If the answer is yes, you might be interested in the additional technology in the Maker 3, then you would want to choose the Maker 3.

However, for the average crafter, they are going to use their Cricut to cut materials like paper, vinyl or iron-on. If that's you, then the Explore 3 would be the perfect machine for you. The most important thing to know is that these two machines are on the same playing field! They both can cut Smart Materials without a mat and 2x faster than previous machine models. Additionally, they both can cut up to 12-feet long with Smart Materials. Rest assured, they are both incredible machines so the good news is that you can't go wrong with either one.

 Which machine will you be picking up?

Related Posts

Preview of Cricut Maker 3 and Cricut Explore 3 Bundles

How to Decorate Explore Air 2 with Cricut Vinyl

One Week Till the Launch of the New Cricut Explore 3 and the new Cricut Maker 3

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5 comments

Hello Imouse,

If you purchase the Cricut Maker 3 there is not a whole lot of need for the other machines. The Cricut Maker has all of the capabilities of the Explore 2’s and the Air2’s. Some crafters like to have the Joy machine as well for the use of smaller projects but it is not necessary. Also there are the Mugpresses and the hat presses that are different than the machines and are for specific projects.

Craft-e-Corner

If you buy the Maker 3, is there any reason that you might need any of the other machines? I have no idea why I can’t get this answered anywhere. Does it do everything the other machines do or is there a specific thing that any of other machines can do that the Maker 3 cannot?

imouse1

Cindy, You do not need the roll holder if you don’t want to. It just holds the smart vinyl. If you are doing long cuts it is really nice to have.

Craft-e-Corner

Do I need a roller tray to use the explorer 3?

Cindy Poore

I am confused over whether or not I need to buy an extra tool for my explore 3, to be able to score with it.
I was also trying to find out what other tools I might need with the same machine.
Any help you can give me will be appreciated.

Joan K Berends

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