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Reviews

Cricut Maker 3 Review: Best Features for Craft Projects

 July 1, 2022

By  Jane Melcher

The Maker 3 is the latest addition to the Cricut family of cutting machines. It has some amazing features that make it stand out from the Cricut Maker and other Cricut machines, including the ability to work with smart materials. In this Cricut Maker 3 review, we take a closer look at all of the features and accessories it comes with. So, before purchasing the Cricut machine, be sure to read this review first!

What is a Cricut Maker 3?

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According to research, making craft projects has several benefits for adults and kids. Specifically, it helps reduce stress hormones which then helps kids and adults to understand or regulate emotions. If you need a way to reap these benefits, you can invest in the best vinyl cutting and vinyl printing machines to improve your craft.

The Cricut Maker 3 is a smart die-cutting machine from Cricut. The machine is designed for DIYers looking to turn their creative and decorative art and craft into reality. It connects to a designing software on your smartphone or computer to allow you to design creative images or art that you can then print and cut to fit on different surfaces. The Maker 3 allows you to cut, write, score, foil, deboss, and engrave your work onto many surfaces, including vinyl, clothing fabrics, paper, and more.

Before discussing its features more, here are some pros and cons you should understand before buying the Cricut Maker 3.

Pros

  • Works on different materials
  • Compatible with Apple, Windows, and Android devices
  • Easy to craft designs from Design Space
  • Fast cutting speeds
  • Relatively silent operation
  • Ideal for professional use
  • Precise cutting movements

Cons

  • Quite expensive
  • It only comes with a fine-point blade
  • You will need to buy a mat and other accessories if you don't want to use the Cricut smart materials

The Cricut Maker 3 At a Glance

The Cricut Maker 3 is the newest in a line of die-cutting machines from Cricut. It's a major update from the previous Maker version, and it's packed with new features that make it even easier to create professional-looking projects. Here are some of its physical specifications:

  1. It weighs 15.4 lb
  2. It measures 22.1 x 7.1 x 6.2 in
  3. It comes in a light blue (greyish) color
  4. It has a maximum cutting depth of up to 2.4 mm
  5. It comes with several holders for your craft tools and devices

Notably, the Cricut Maker 3 needs a bigger working bench with a length that runs about 22 inches. Its body is also slightly rounded with a very light blue color that's given a glossy finish to help keep it clean. Additionally, the machine comes with a silvery metallic lid that, when you lift it, forces the feeder panel to also open and move forward.

Image source: pcmag.com

The Cricut Maker 3 has several compartments for holding various craft accessories. Firstly, you will find the two holders to the left of the lid; these are great compartments for storing pens and tips. They are exposed when the lid is open or closed. You can also find storage space for more accessories if you lift the feeder tray to reveal four bigger compartments. Finally, the Maker 3 has a shallow slot where you can place your smartphone or tablet on top of the main cavity.

Image source: daydreamintoreality.com

This Cricut Maker 3 is also easy to use. When you open the metallic lid, you will expose several control buttons for Power, Start, Pause, and Load and Unload buttons. Unlike its predecessor, the Cricut Maker, the Start button is easier to spot as it deviates from the usual C button to a play/go button.

Image source: sweetredpoppy.com

As mentioned above, the Maker 3 is a Smart cutting machine, allowing you to cut without using a cutting mat. However, you can only use the company's smart materials for this feature. That said, the machine's design is to thank for the feature. When you open the lid, you will notice guides and sensors that help keep the Smart materials in place and determine whether you have enough material for your project.

You will also spot a crafting head mounted on the metal bars when you study the main cavity. The crafting head is operated with a belt-drive system that allows the machine to work faster than its predecessors. In addition, the crafting head features two tool slots; one that can hold a pen for drawing, while the other has a gear system that drives mechanical tool heads. Both tool slots have clamping levers.

Image source: pcmag.com

The inside cavity also features an extra metal bar with toothed wheels. It helps feed your design materials when ready to print and cut. Finally, the back of the Cricut Maker 3 features two slots for a USB and power cable.

Image source: sweetredpoppy.com

What’s in the Box?

So, you've just ordered your Cricut maker 3 and are wondering what all comes in the box. Well, let's take a look!

First, you will be greeted by a motivational 'You Are Meant To Make' message on the box and a quick user guide once you open the box.

Image source: polkadotchair.com

Then, you will find the Cricut Maker 3 machine itself. You can take out the Cricut Maker 3 to assess any shipping damage and set it aside so you can see other accessories in the package.

After taking the Maker 3 machine out, you will find USB cables and power adapters in the box. The USB cables connect your Cricut Maker 3 to a computer, while the power adapters (UK and US designs) connect to a power outlet. Finally, you'll find a few sheets of material on the side of the box. These are just samples of some materials you can cut with your Cricut maker 3.

Cricut Maker 3 Top Features

Now that we've taken a look at the design as well as what comes in the box, let's take a closer look at some of the features of the Cricut maker 3 that set it apart from the Original Cricut Maker and other Cricut machines.

a) It can cut matless

If you needed a gamechanger for your Cricut projects, nothing could really beat the freedom of not needing a cutting mat. This Cricut Maker 3 allows you to cut your materials without a mat. As mentioned above, reliable guides along the drawer plus two sensors ensure your materials are aligned and enough for the projects you designed.

Image source: imore.com

However, you can only use Cricut's smart materials for this matless feature. Luckily, Cricut sells many smart materials like Smart Vinyl, Smart Iron-On, and Smart Paper sticker cardstock materials you can use for your craft. Furthermore, you can get these smart materials in affordable bundles online, with enough supplies for your projects.

That's not all; the Maker 3 also allows you to feed long sheets for large projects. For example, you can cut sheets up to 12 ft long for a maximum cutting length without needing a mat. But, to design such long projects, you will need a way to manage the long sheets, especially if you don't have such a large workspace.

b) It is compatible with a Cricut roll holder

Though the roll holder is sold separately, it is a good addition to your purchase when you need to keep your work area tidy. The roll holder attaches to the Cricut Maker 3's tray to make it easier to feed your machine. In addition, it also has a paper trimmer to cut your sheets nicely and straight after you finish your current project.

Image source: thecountrychiccottage.net

To install the roll holder;

Step 1: Align the grooves beneath the roll holder with the Cricut Maker 3 tray guides. Gently push the roll holder into place until it fits properly.

Step 2: Insert the sheet roll you want to use for your design. To do so, place the roll on the roll holder, and pish the sheet into the Maker 3 tray. You will need to push the roll into the tray color side up if using the Maker 3 as a vinyl-cutting machine. Alternatively, you will push the Smart materials with the shiny side down for the best designs.

Once the sheet reaches the material guide, you will need to press the load button on your Cricut Maker 3. Then, you can gently move the sheet to the left side to guarantee proper alignment.

Step 3: Once your sheet is loaded, start printing your designs. When done, you will need to use the paper trimmer on the roll holder to cut the sheet nicely for the next use.

c) It cuts fast

Since you can use Smart materials with the Cricut Maker 3, you will also enjoy some very fast cutting speeds to complete your projects faster. The Maker three can cut your Smart materials 8 inches per second, up to 2x the speeds you expect from the original Cricut Maker.

However, when you need to use the mat, meaning you will also not use the Smart materials, you will get the same speeds as you would from a Cricut Maker.

d) It has easy-to-use buttons

Image source: colormecrafty.net

As mentioned above, lifting the machine's metallic lid will expose a few buttons that make the Maker 3 quite easy to use. While the buttons work the same as those on the original Maker, you will love the play/go sign on the center button that makes it easier to use.

e) It uses an adaptive tool system

Image source: daydreamintoreality.com

While the above four features set this machine apart from the original Maker, you will still need different tools to accomplish different projects. Luckily, the Cricut Maker 3 is compatible with 13 cutting blades like its previous generation. In addition to the fine point blade it comes with, the machine can also use the following tools that you can buy separately:

  • Rotary blade
  • Knife blade
  • Deep point blade
  • Bonded fabric blade
  • Foil transfer tape
  • Deboss tip
  • Wavy blade
  • Engraving tip
  • Quickswap housing
  • Perforation blade
  • Scoring wheel

Finally, the maker 3 is also compatible with all Cricut pens, apart from Cricut Joy pens.

f) It can cut over 300 materials powerfully

Before we talk about the over 300 materials you can use with the Cricut Maker 3 machine, it is important to understand that it uses 4k cutting force. With that in mind, the machine can cut many materials, from tissue paper, fabrics, and vinyl to balsa wood and other thicker materials.

g) It is compatible with Cricut’s Design Space software

While you could choose to use any software, Cricut Design Space is the best Cricut software you can use. You can connect your Maker 3 to Design Space through Windows, Macs, iOS, or Android devices using the included USB cable or wirelessly through Bluetooth.

Image source: thecountrychiccottage.net

When connected to the software, you will be spoilt for choice when designing your art. You can use your own designs or get Cricut's massive library of projects and pictures. While some projects, templates, images, and more are free, the best ones are often hidden behind a Cricut Access subscription that can set you back around $9.99/month. However, Cricut Access has over 150000templates you can choose from when you cannot create your own.

If you are not a regular DIYer, you can opt to buy the templates you need for your project piecemeal. Once you choose and customize your ideal templates, you can proceed to load your best sheet, then press the play/go button to print and cut. When loading your sheet, understand that Cricut Maker 3 will ask you to confirm if you'll use a mat and verify you have enough sheet length. You will often need a sheet that's longer than your project.

Should You Upgrade Your Cricut Maker Machine?

If you have previously owned the original Maker, you might need a few reasons to upgrade to better smart cutting machines. Here are a few reasons the Maker 3 is a better machine for you:

  1. Since the machine is compatible with smart materials, you will get a larger cutting space. Note that this extra width is only achievable when using the matless cutting process.
  2. It is compatible with a roll holder that allows you to keep your work area tidy.
  3. It has faster cutting speeds when using matless cutting with new smart materials. If you need to cut at twice the speed you get from the original Maker; then this Maker 3 is your best alternative. It will not compromise cutting precision or cutting power, making it ideal for professional projects.

Featured image source: imore.com

Jane Melcher


Jane is a stay-at-home small business mom. She makes more than her husband selling her creations on Etsy.