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The best Cricut machines in 2022

The best Cricut machines, a Cricut Maker 3 is photographed on a table with accessories
(Image credit: Cricut)

The best Cricut machines will help you if you want to start making money from crafting. These new cutting and heat press machines enable you to improve the quality and consistency of your crafts, whether that's creating cards, woodwork gifts, or sewing projects.

The top Cricut machines enable you to cut all sorts of materials for crafting, including paper, vinyl, card, felt, fabric, metal and leather. They may look like Apple-designed printers but these crafting machines can do so much more. They're approachable too, simply prepare and load a design into the Cricut machine and press Make – it will automatically cut out your project. These are accurate and fast, ensuring you can create large and multiple projects with ease. 

Some of the best Cricut machines focus on other tasks, such as transferring your designs to mugs

Cricut has a whole ecosystem of tech and accessories too. There's more to the best Cricut machines than cutting. Some of the best Cricut machines focus on other tasks, such as transferring your designs to mugs, clothes, and other items.

In this article, we've carefully curated the best Cricut machines available today. Below explain what each one does, and give you the information you need to choose the best model for you. We also have a guide to the best heat press machines if you just want these devices.

If you want to focus on the most advanced machine, check out the best Cricut Maker 3 bundle deals, or if you want something different, check out the best Cricut alternatives. If you already have a Cricut machine and are in need of more crafty kit, then don't miss our list of the best Cricut accessories.

Meanwhile if you want learn more about Cricut, skip ahead to our common questions about Cricut. If you don't have a laptop yet, check our guide to the best laptop for Cricut makers.

The best Cricut machines in 2022

A photo of the Cricut Maker 3 open on a table for review

(Image credit: Rachael Phillips)
The best Cricut machine for smart materials

Specifications

Purpose: Cuts 300+ materials
Best for: Professionals
Size: 56 x 18 x 15.7cm
Weight: 6.9kg

Reasons to buy

+
Good for pro use
+
Cut smart materials without mat
+
Two extra accessories

Reasons to avoid

-
Overkill for standard projects

If you want to work with Smart Materials, then the recently released Cricut Maker 3 is the one to go for. (Just in case you're wondering, there’s no Cricut Maker 2; the company simply skipped a version.) 

The Cricut Maker 3 is pretty similar to the Cricut Maker (third on our list). The biggest difference is that it can cut Smart Materials without a mat, which means you can make cuts of up to 12 ft (3.6 m) in one go. In our Cricut Maker 3 review we found this incredibly beneficial, and once tried you really can't consider being without the option of reeling off long, unbroken rolls of cut craft projects.

The Cricut Maker 3 is also twice as fast as the Cricut Maker when working with smart materials. On top of that, you get two extra accessories in the form of a larger portable trimmer and a roll holder, which can help you feed your smart materials into the machine. So while it's quite a bit more expensive than the Cricut Maker, if you're working on big craft projects the extra cost will be well worth it.

A photo of the Cricut Explore Air 3, one of the best Cricut machines, on a table

(Image credit: Rachael Phillips)
The best cheap Cricut machine for big projects

Specifications

Purpose: Cuts 100+ materials
Best for: Hobbyists
Size: ‎65.5 x 27 x 26.9cm
Weight: 9.86kg

Reasons to buy

+
Work with smart materials
+
Larger portable trimmer & roll holder
+
Cheaper than Cricut Maker 3

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as feature-rich as Cricut Maker 3

The Cricut Explore 3 is the recently released successor to the Cricut Explore Air 2 (see below). The main difference between them is that the Cricut Explore 3 allows you to work with Smart Materials, Cricut's new materials mean you can cut projects without the need for a cutting mat. You also get a larger portable trimmer and a roll holder. This means that, like with the Cricut Maker 3 (number one on our list), you can make cuts up to 12 ft (3.6 m) long in one go. 

The main advantage Cricut Explore 3 has over the Cricut Maker 3 model is that it's cheaper. So if you want to use Smart Materials but you don't need professional features, this is the best Cricut machine for your needs.

There are some caveats, as we found in our Cricut Explore 3 review. First the Cricut Explore 3 cuts 100 materials, while the Cricut Maker 3 and its older model, the Cricut Maker, can cut 300 materials. Also, for design fans the Cricut Explore 3 only comes in mint green, but expect more colours to come.

All in all, the Cricut Explore 3 is the ideal middle machine in Cricut's cutter line-up. It can cut enough materials to be competitive while also supporting Smart Materials, which the older Cricut Maker doesn't support. And it's cheaper. The Cricut Explore 3 is a worthy number 2.

A photo of the Cricut Maker open on a table for review

(Image credit: Rachael Phillips)
The best Cricut machine for most people

Specifications

Purpose: Cuts 300+ materials
Best for: Professionals
Size: 17.8 x 53.8 x 15.1cm
Weight: 4.8kg

Reasons to buy

+
Good for pro use
+
Cut 300 materials
+
13 tools

Reasons to avoid

-
Unsuitable for smart materials

In general, the Cricut Maker is the best cutting machine from Cricut for most people as we discovered in our in-depth Cricut Maker review. The exception is if you want to work with smart materials, in which case skip to back to the top machine on our list, the newer Cricut Maker 3. Otherwise, if you’re looking for the best Cricut machine for vinyl, the best Cricut machine for fabric, or indeed the best Cricut machine for most purposes, this is the one for you.

The Cricut Maker enables you to precision-cut more than 300 materials, including everything from delicate fabric and paper to tough materials such as matboard and leather. You get 13 tools that allow you to cut, score, write, deboss, engrave, or add other decorative effects with precision. These include a rotary blade for cutting fabrics, a knife blade for thicker materials of up to 2.4mm, scoring wheels to create creases and folds, and a foil transfer tool for foil embellishments. 

In use we found it to be incredibly adaptable, and the bespoke Cricut Design Space app is excellent for all projects, though we did that if you're a proficient artist or crafter you may want to explore the other software for Cricut that can be used with Design Space; CorelDraw, for example, we found to work well.

So while this isn't the cheapest Cricut machine, it's not the most expensive either, and given the variety of tasks it can do and the regular offers you can find, Cricut Maker is the best value overall.

Cricut Explore Air 2 product shot

(Image credit: Cricut)

04. Cricut Explore Air 2

The best Cricut machine for newbies

Specifications

Purpose: Cuts 100+ materials
Best for: Novices
Size: 60.96 x 24.13 x 24.13cm
Weight: 6.35kg

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to use
+
100 types of material
+
Five tools

Reasons to avoid

-
Not for pro use

New to machine cutting? Then we recommend the Cricut Explore Air 2. It’s not quite as versatile and powerful as the first two Cricut machines on our list. But for a newbie, that's a good thing, as it makes the software easier to follow. And it still offers pretty much all the features that a beginner will want.  

To get specific, the Cricut Explore Air 2 will cut more than 100 different types of material, including premium vinyl, iron-on and HTV vinyl, cardstock, faux leather, adhesive foils, specialty paper and poster board, and you get five tools for cutting, writing and scoring. 

This is a great choice for home-based, small-scale craft projects, such as making custom stickers, greeting cards, personalised decor and bespoke gifts. So while it's not suitable for commercial cutting, it’s the best Cricut machine for anyone at the start of their Cricut journey. 

A photo of the Cricut Joy front, for a review

(Image credit: Future)
The best Cricut machine for travel

Specifications

Purpose: Cuts 50+ materials
Best for: Hobbyists
Size: 21.4 x 13.8 x 10.8cm
Weight: 1.75kg

Reasons to buy

+
Compact
+
Lightweight
+
Low price

Reasons to avoid

-
No USB connection

Want to craft on your travels? Then your best bet is the Cricut Joy, which is beautifully compact and portable. With diminutive dimesions of 21.4 x 13.8 x 10.8cm, it’s significantly smaller than other models, and with a light weight of 1.75kg, it’s easy to store and carry from place to place. This makes it the ideal choice for smaller crafting tasks. 

In our Cricut Joy review we found this smaller, portable craft cutting machine was ideal for making cards, stickers and vinyl heat ink transfers – the kind that are pressed onto bags and shirts. It works incredibly well and designed primarily for creating home made card projects, which we found we easily used from within the new Cricut Joy mobile app.

That said, the Cricut Joy is still capable of bigger things. In fact, you can use the Cricut Joy for continuous cuts without a cutting mat, up to 20 feet long and four inches wide. More generally, it can be used to cut over 50 types of material, including iron-on, cardstock, vinyl, paper, and smart materials. Note, though, that while you can connect this machine to your computer via Bluetooth, it doesn't have a USB connection (unlike the devices listed so far).

Cricut EasyPress 2 review, a photo of a heat press machine on a table

(Image credit: Rachael Phillips )
The best Cricut machine for making T-shirts

Specifications

Purpose: Transfer Iron-On or HTV designs to fabric
Best for: Professionals, hobbyists
Size: 22.5 x 22.5cm or 30 x 25cm
Weight: 2.3kg or 3.9kg

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to use
+
Removes guesswork
+
Professional results

Reasons to avoid

-
No good for small items

Cricut machines aren’t all about cutting; you can also get iron-on machines for printing custom-designed T-shirts, tote bags, pillows, aprons, sweatshirts, banners, blankets and more. Our pick of these is the Cricut EasyPress 2, which lets you transfer Iron-On or HTV (Heat Transfer Vinyl) designs to any piece of fabric. 

In our Cricut EasyPress 2 review we found this device easy to use, with an online guide explaining the ideal heat settings to use for different projects. Once you’ve programmed your settings, you apply the plate to your materials for the suggested amount of time, and there's a timer to help you stick to this.  

The base plate of the EasyPress provides a consistent heat, making it better than an ordinary iron, where the core of the plate is typically hotter than other parts. It also boasts a larger surface area than a normal iron, making it easier to adhere the whole design in one go. 

The Cricut EasyPress 2 machine comes in two sizes. The 9 x 9 inch (22.5  x 22.5cm) model is best for standard items, while the 12 x 10-inch (30 x 25cm) model is better for larger items. For items that are smaller than 9 x 9 inches, meanwhile, you're best off with the Cricut EasyPress Mini (see below).

A review of the Cricut EasyPress Mini shows a photo of the device in raspberry

(Image credit: Future)
The best Cricut machine for small items of clothing

Specifications

Purpose: Transfer Iron-On or HTV designs to fabric
Best for: Professionals, hobbyists
Size: 10 x 8.5 x 5.3cm
Weight: 0.35kg

Reasons to buy

+
Good for small surfaces 
+
Good for challenging surfaces
+
Compact and lightweight

Reasons to avoid

-
No good for large items

The best Cricut machine for printing onto smaller items, such as hats, caps, socks, shoes, headbands or small bags, is Cricut EasyPress Mini. This 50W device works in a similar way to the Cricut EasyPress 2 (number 6 on our list), but has a tiny ceramic heat plate (4.8 x 8.2cm) that's easier to use on small or challenging surfaces. It's particularly good for curving around contours, working between buttons, and navigating seams. 

As you'd expect, the Cricut EasyPress Mini is nice and compact, measuring just 10 x 8.5 x 5.3cm and weighing just 0.35kg. This makes it very easy to store and transport, so it's a great option for travel too. 

The joy of using the Cricut EasyPress MIni goes beyond heat transfers. In our Cricut EasyPress Mini review we used the tiny heat press for a number of sewing and quilting projects and found its design, size and ease of use was unrivalled. If you're a sewer and need to have an iron to hand to flatten material and seams this neat little device can sit comfortably next to your machine.

Cricut Mug press on a heat matt

(Image credit: Future)
The best Cricut machine for printing onto mugs

Specifications

Purpose: Transfer Cricut Infusible Ink designs to mugs
Best for: Professionals, hobbyists
Size: 27.49 x 16.5 x 15.74cm
Weight: 3.5kg

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to use
+
Long lasting results
+
Dishwasher proof

Reasons to avoid

-
Requires extra purchases

As the name suggests, the Cricut Mug Press is the best Cricut machine for making custom mugs. It allows you to print your designs onto blank mugs, and couldn’t be easier to use. In fact, it has just one single button. 

As we discovered in our Cricut Mug Press review, be aware that this gadget won't do much on its own. You’ll also need a Cricut cutting machine to cut out your transfer, which needs to be on a Cricut Infusible Ink sheet (you can’t use normal vinyl). The main Maker series or Explore series are best, and while the Cricut Joy can be used its size means you can only create designs for the smaller stacking mugs.

Once you’ve done that, you wrap your transfer around your mug, put it in the machine, press the button and the Cricut Mug Press does the rest. While that's all it does, it works well in practice, creating professional-looking results that stand the test of time, and which are fully microwave and dishwasher-proof. 

A photo of the Cricut Autopress, one of the best Cricut machines

(Image credit: Cricut)

09. Cricut Autopress

The best Cricut machine for large clothing design projects

Specifications

Purpose: Transfer Cricut Infusible Ink designs to clothes and wood
Best for: Professionals
Size: 38 cm x 30 cm
Weight: 23.1 kg

Reasons to buy

+
Automatically adjusts to cloth sizes
+
Easy to use and large
+
Commercial power and performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Too large for some hobbyists

Cricut's latest heat press machine is the Cricut Autopress, and it's a large and powerful device that delivers consistent and commercial-quality results. The Autopress may look hard to use but like all Cricut machines it's been designed with everyone in mind, for example the device auto-detects material width and adjusts and the lid can be closed easily with two fingers.

The large pan size ensures you this heat press machine is perfect for those larger design projects, such as creating t-shirts, quilts or even replicating paintings onto wooden frames and blocks. The programmable Control Pod means you can set multiple timings and temperatures for your projects, in use this is a fantastic time-saver.

The Cricut Autopress is quite bulky but will sit on the average kitchen worktop or large craft table. It's simple to use and offers consistent results across its even heat plate. If you're planning more commercial craft projects, this is a great addition to your Cricut toolset.

A photo of the Cricut Hat Press, one of the best Cricut machines

(Image credit: Cricut)

10. Cricut Hat Press

The best Cricut machine hat and cap designs

Specifications

Purpose: Transfer Cricut Infusible Ink designs to hats
Best for: Professionals, hobbyists
Size: 12.7 cm x 7.6 cm
Weight: 785 g

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to use and approachable
+
Perfectly designed for hats and caps

Reasons to avoid

-
Has a narrow use

The Cricut Hat Press follows on from the Cricut EasyPress Mini as one of the manufacturer's small but useful devices. While the EasyPress Mini can be used for a number of projects the Hat Press, as its name suggests, is designed exclusively for creating designs on hats and caps.

The device has a unique curved heat plate that matches perfectly the dimensions of canvas caps loved by sports fans. It automatically heats to the required temperatures and using the Hat Pressing Form template that comes with the gadget you can easily press on your designs.

The Cricut Hat Press may be a one-use device but for many its a great one-use. If you're keen to expand your crafting to include commercial quality hat and cap designs then this is a good option.

Common questions about Cricut

What does a Cricut machine do?

Cricut is an American brand of automated cutting machines for home crafters. They are typically used for cutting materials paper, felt, vinyl, fabric, leather, matboard, and wood, using pre-programmed designs. You use Cricut's proprietary software, Design Space, to prepare your designs on a computer or phone. Then you feed your material into the machine, and it will cut out your design automatically. Cricut also makes machines for pressing custom designs onto clothing, mugs and other items.

Do you need a computer to use a Cricut machine?

Can I use a Chromebook with a Cricut?

Yes, you can now. For a long time Cricut's and Chromebook laptops really didn't get along but now you can download Cricut Design Space from the Google Store and it works fine. From our use, it's still not quite as stable as the Windows version but it exists and is worth looking into. This is particularly good if you have a touchscreen Chromebook with a stylus, as it turns your laptop into a design studio. 

Can I use other software with a Cricut?

You need to put everything through Cricut's bespoke designs software, Design Space. But you can import projects from other software into Design Space. This is great as you may find the free projects limiting and the tools to design your own not as deep as apps such as CorelDRAW. For a full list of the best software for Cricut, read our guide.

How do I choose a Cricut machine?

What should you be looking for when choosing the best Cricut machine for you? Well, if you're after a cutting machine, the most obvious factor to consider is the types of materials you want to cut. 

The more expensive Cricut models are capable of cutting a huge variety of materials: the first two on our list, for example, can each tackle more than 300 materials. However, if you just want to cut a few simple light materials, such as paper, card and felt, you may not need all that, and you may prefer a lighter, cheaper model.

Some Cricut machines are also capable of cutting smart materials. These are special materials you can cut without a cutting mat. This means you can load large pieces into your machine and cut them in one go, which is useful for big projects. Smart materials include Smart Vinyl, Smart Iron-On, Smart Label Writable Paper, and Smart Label Writable Vinyl.

If you have no need for cutting, and instead want to print custom designs onto items, take a look at numbers 6, 7 and 8 on our list above. These are the best Cricut machines for this purpose.

How do you pronounce Cricut?

Many people see the word 'Cricut' and pronounce it "cry cut". However, the correct pronunciation is using a weak 'i', like in 'cricket'. The company have even featured a cricket in many of its logos to ram the point home. That's unlikely to stop people pronouncing it wrongly, of course, as other brands like Nike, Adidas and Sony have historically found. But at least you know, and you can now correct other people and look smart.

Which materials can I cut with a Cricut Maker machine?

The Cricut Maker allows you to precision-cut more than 300 materials. These include everything from delicate fabric and paper to tough materials such as denim, matboard and leather. And you've covered for virtually everything in between too, including metallic poster board, neoprene, oil cloth, bonded polyester, quilt batting, bonded silk, velour and washi sheet. For a full list of materials you can cut with a Cricut Maker, see this help page (opens in new tab).

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Tom May is an award-winning journalist and editor specialising in design, photography and technology. Author of the Amazon #1 bestseller Great TED Talks: Creativity (opens in new tab), published by Pavilion Books, Tom was previously editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. Today, he is a regular contributor to Creative Bloq and its sister sites Digital Camera World, T3.com and Tech Radar. He also writes for Creative Boom and works on content marketing projects.