Jump to the quick list↴
1. Best overall: Cricut Maker 3
2. Best value: Cricut Explore 3
3. Best for papercrafts: Cricut Joy
4. Best for beginners: Cricut Maker
5. Best for price: Explore Air 2
6. Easiest use: Cricut EasyPress 3
7. Best for sewing: EasyPress Mini
8. Best for mugs: Cricut Mug Press
9. Best for studios: Autopress
10. Best for hats: Cricut Hat Press
11. Value heat press: EasyPress 2
12. Best for interiors: Venture
How to choose
How we review
When you own one of the best Cricut machines you can unlock a new level of creativity and even develop a new business or side hustle. In my Cricut machines comparison I take a look at the main craft machines as well as the best Cricut machines for beginners and the best Cricut for making shirts. This guide will enable you to decide which machine is right for you, and it's based on my own use of these great digital craft machines.
I've carefully curated the best Cricut machines available today. Below I 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 Cricut alternatives if you need something a little different, for example the xTool M1 can cut like a Cricut Maker 3 but also has a laser for fast engraving. If you need something more powerful, read our best laser cutters guide that offer blade and laser cutting. The new models from Siser as well as those from Silhouette also offer slight differences to Cricut.
We have full reviews for the majority of the best Cricut machines on my list, and I've tried all of the Cricut machines below at some point, so don't hesitate to read more. (Where we've not directly reviewed a machine, I've averaged reviews from trusted websites and used my own judgement from using the machines at events.) Below I've mixed in old and new Cricut machines, as well as digital cutters and heat machines, so you can build an end-to-end craft workflow.
The best Cricut machines: Quick List
Cricut Maker 3 is the latest, most powerful of the brand's digital crafting machines. It can use over 300 materials, and is capable of cutting, engraving and scoring. It also makes use of the new Cricut Smart Materials for longer, mat-free cutting.
Read more below
Best for value
Another new machine, the Cricut Explore 3 can handle the same Smart Materials as the Maker 3 but has slightly less power, which really means it is a little slower and has access to slightly fewer attachments. Overall it's a solid cutter.
Read more below
Best for papercrafts
The Cricut Joy takes the tech inside Maker 3 and reduces it down to a machine about the size of a small toaster, meaning this is ideal for papercrafts and mug designs, as well as taking to a friend's house for a day of crafting. As the name suggests, a joy.
Read more below
The best Cricut machine overall
✅ Good for consistent results: the Cricut Maker 3 is a quick and quiet digital cutter that delivers consistently good results.
✅ Makes use of lot's of extras: if you want to do more than cutting there are scoring and engraving attachments designed for more uses, including metal.
✅ Smart Materials are key: this new machine uses Smart Materials that cut without a mat and a roll holder attachment extends the length of materials up to 75ft.
❌ The extras cost: I love the extra attachments that enable you to do more, some digital craft machines, like the Brother ScanNCut come with everything you need.
❌ Cricut materials are costly: if you're new to digital cutting, or wish to craft without trial and error, it's best to use Cricut's own materials, but they can be costly.
❌ It's a narrow machine: Maker 3 has a width of 13 inches but there are machines that are wider, such as the Silhouette Cameo 4 Pro that cuts 24 inch wide.
🔎 Cricut Maker 3 this newest cutter is faster and quieter than any others on my list and is an ideal machine for hobbyists and pro crafters alike. The use of Smart Materials makes life easier, and there are plenty of attachments. A great pro digital crafting machine. ★★★★★
The Cricut Maker 3 is similar to the older Cricut Maker (further down on my list) and uses the same process, Design Space app and similar attachments.
The biggest difference is that it can cut, score and engrave using Smart Materials; these are materials that feed directly into the machine so there's no need for a cutting mat. In practice this means you can make cuts of up to 12 ft (3.6 m) in one go. You will ideally need the Roll Holder attachment for these longer cuts, so consider this an extra cost. You can use Smart Materials without it, for smaller projects.
In our Cricut Maker 3 review we found the use of Smart Materials incredibly beneficial, and once tried you really can't consider being without the option of reeling off long, unbroken rolls of cut craft projects. Our writer Rachael Phillips said, "The big selling point of this machine is the ability to use Cricut Smart Materials, which do away with the need to use a mat and can cut designs up to 12 feet long".
The Cricut Maker 3 is also twice as fast as the Cricut Maker when working with Smart Materials and from personal experience it is much quieter. While Smart Materials are excellent, they are expensive, but just like other Cricut machines you can use any material with the machine, including fabrics.
While the Cricut Maker 3 is 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. You'll also find the extra speed and power of the Maker 3 comes in very useful if you're creating regular projects and are using the machine for crafting items to sell. It's also worth noting Cricut no longer fully supports Maker, and Maker 3 is its flagship machine, so you're future-proofing yourself with this model.
Read more: Cricut Maker 3 review
Best value Cricut machine
✅ Smooth and quiet: being a newer machine the Explore 3 is quiet and smooth cutter that can handle most projects.
✅ Uses Smart Materials: can be used with Cricut Smart Materials for mat-less cutting, making it easy to use.
✅ An adaptable cutter: the Explore 3 can be used to write, draw, foil and score as well as cut.
❌ Fewer materials than Maker 3: this craft machine can be used with 100 materials while Cricut's premium machine can be used with over 300.
❌ Less power: it's better than the older Explore Air 2 this new model is less powerful than Maker 3.
❌ Buy the extras: to really get more from Explore 3 you'll need to invest in extra attachments.
🔎 Cricut Explore 3 is a great machine that is less powerful than Maker 3 but use of the new Smart Materials for easier use and larger craft projects. ★★★★★
The Cricut Explore 3 is the recently released successor to the Cricut Explore Air 2. 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. Our reviewer, Rachael Phillips felt this Cricut machine is "the perfect cutting machine for new crafters".
All in all, the Cricut Explore 3 is the ideal middle machine in Cricut's craft 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.
Read more: Cricut Explore 3 review
Best Cricut machine for papercrafts
✅ Elegant compact design: the Cricut Joy is small and smartly designed, and can fit into a bag to take on your travels.
✅ Very adaptable: despite its compact size the Joy can be used for everything a larger machine can do, including engraving.
✅ Perfect for papercrafts: the Joy is ideally suited to created cards and paper gifts, and uses Smart Materials for easy use.
❌ Size matters: the Joy's strength is also a weakness, meaning is can't create large craft projects.
❌ Lacks connectivity: there's no USB connection, so you're relying on Bluetooth and you need to be within 10ft of the machine.
❌ You need attachments: if you want to do more then cut, you'll need to spend extra on pens, blades and engraving tips.
🔎 Cricut Joy this tiny craft machine is like no other and makes for a fun gadget to create card designs with, but can also do much more if you're willing to invest. ★★★★
Want to craft on your travels or pop to a friend's house for a day of creativity? Then your best bet is the Cricut Joy, which is a beautifully compact and portable digital craft machine. With diminutive dimensions 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 is designed primarily for creating home made card projects, which we found we easily used from within the excellent Cricut Joy mobile app. (I own one of these and regularly make cards for family and friends, as it's incredibly easy.)
Our reviewer Julie Dean loved the Cricut Joy, writing: "if you want to create cards, stickers and heat press templates the Cricut Joy is a quick and easy gadget to have in your craft closet."
That said, the Cricut Joy is still capable of bigger things. In fact, you can use the 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.
The Joy can also be used to engrave and even draw, but you'll need to buy extra attachments. One thing to note, while you can connect this machine to your computer or mobile via Bluetooth, it doesn't have a USB connection (unlike the devices listed so far).
Read more: Cricut Joy review
The best Cricut machine for beginners
✅ Great starter machine: while Explore 3 is pitched at beginners, the features and price of the original Maker is hard to ignore.
✅ Use with 300 materials: it may be an older model, but the Maker can still be used with more than 300 materials.
✅ Lots of features: this older machine can be used with 13 attachments, for engraving, scoring, drawing and more.
❌ Outdated tech: the Maker is old, and right now Cricut no longer fully supports it, meaning you're reliant on third-party stores.
❌ No Smart Materials: because the Maker doesn't use Smart Materials you're restricted to using cutting mats.
❌ Can feel slow: less lower means the Maker is slower and noisier than the newer Cricut machines.
🔎 Cricut Maker this is Cricut's original digital cutting machine is still more than capable, and is regularly on discount, making it a good starter machine. ★★★★
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 my 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.
While it may lack the Smart Material support and having used one I found the newer Maker 3 to be quieter and faster, there's still an argument the original Maker is exceptional value for money as it's regularly discounted. For example, our reviewer Rachael Phillips noted, "this early model looks good value for money".
One caveat is Cricut has now begun to pull support for this older model, meaning eventually you will need to upgrade to Maker 3 for new tools.
Read more: Cricut Maker review
The best Cricut machine for price
✅ A good cutter: out of the box the Explore Air 2 can cut 80 materials, 100 if you invest in the extra attachments.
✅ Decent performance: it may be an older model but for occasional use the Cricut Explore Air 2 still performs well.
✅ Nice design: the Explore Air 2 comes in some nice colour choices and special editions.
❌ Old and loud the older cutting tech means this machine can be quote loud.
❌ It's a slow cutter: it has a Fast Mode but this only applies to vinyl, cardstock and iron-on materials. For other uses it's quite slow.
❌ Limited cut size: the Print Then Cut feature can limit the size of the project you're working on.
🔎 Cricut Explore Air 2 is another older machine but it's fine if you're a casual crafter. It's slow and can be loud, but good for newcomers on a budget. ★★★★
New to digital cutting? In which case I'd recommend the Cricut Explore Air 2 as a good, cheap entry machine. It’s not quite as versatile and powerful as the newer Cricut machines on my list, or indeed the older Maker, but for a newcomer, that's a good thing, as it makes the software easier to follow.
The Explore Air 2 still offers pretty much all the features that a beginner will want, but it's less powerful, which in craft machine terms translates to a slower and noisier machine.
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. But it doesn't support the new Cricut Smart Materials or the Roll Holder attachment, which means you'll need to use a cutting mat and be restricted to creating smaller craft projects.
Yet the restrictions on what you can do, and the price (being older there are always good discounts), ensure Explore Air 2 is ideal for newcomers. 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 Explore Air 2 is not suitable for commercial cutting or pro projects, it’s a good Cricut machine for anyone at the start of their Cricut journey.
The best Cricut machine for ease of use
✅ Fully automated: with the new Cricut Heat app, this heat press is a one button machine.
✅ Perfect results every time: this heat press removes any trial and error from your designs.
✅ Easy setup: you don't need to stress, once connected to the app EasyPress 3 is plug and go.
❌ Is it worth the extra? aside from the automated app and Bluetooth, this is the same as EasyPress 2.
❌ Limited connectivity: this relies on Bluetooth, meaning there is no longer a USB cable port.
❌ Still a handheld device: a minor point, but EasyPress 3 is still a handheld device.
🔎 Cricut EasyPress 3 takes the stress and trial and error out of creating fabric designs, just hook the app and go. ★★★★★
EasyPress 3 is the latest heat press from Cricut and comes in two sizes, the large 12 x 10 inch device and smaller 9 x 9 inch model. In many ways this is similar to the older EasyPress 2, but it now has fully automated heat settings, connects to the new Cricut Heat app, for ease of use.
The level of automation is big difference between EasyPress 3 and EasyPress 2. Using the new Cricut Heat app ensures you really don't need to do anything except load your design, or create a new one in the mobile app, and send it to the heat press.
Some other makes of heat press can be hit and miss, or require you to add pressure by leaning on the material being used. The EasyPress 3 does away with all of this, its weight and automated heat ensures it transfers designs to a variety of materials with little fuss and adjusts the heat according to the material you've selected. It really is a dream to use.
The only issue is, do you need to spend the extra money when the older Cricut EasyPress 2 is on sale and regularly discounted, and can do much the same jobs? The thing to note, the older Cricut heat press doesn't have Bluetooth connectivity, and as Cricut is becoming more reliant on its new Cricut Heat app eventually you will need to upgrade. If you have the money, EasyPress 3 is recommended.
The best Cricut heat press for sewing
✅ Small and unique: the tiny size makes this easy to use and adaptable for many projects.
✅ Great for sewists: if you sew and need to iron flat hems and seams, this is ideal.
✅ Fast to heat up: it comes to temperature in seconds and has a smart heat proof stand.
❌ Not great for large projects: as you'd expect, this is only useful for small craft designs.
❌ Has been copied: there are many copycat versions on sale for less (but not as good).
🔎 Cricut EasyPress Mini while this tiny heat press has been designed for transferring small prints to materials with precision, it has found greater uses as a sewist's accessory for flattening seams. A craft essential. ★★★★★
The Cricut EasyPress Mini – which now comes in Zen Blue as well as Rasberry – is ideal for transferring designs to small items (shoes, socks, etc) but is also ideal for sewing.
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. Our reviewer, Julie Dean, makes designer quits for a living and this little heat press never leaves her side. In her review she wrote, "the Cricut EasyPress Mini is the best little craft device you never knew you needed".
Read more: Cricut EasyPress Mini review
The best Cricut machine for mug designs
✅ Simple to use: just drop a mug into the machine and it does the rest. Easy.
✅ Good results, every time: the automated process ensures every project comes out perfect.
✅ Designs last: because of the heat transfer process, these designs last many washes.
❌ You need a Cricut machine: the Mug Press is an accessory, so you'll need a Maker, Explore or Joy.
❌ Expensive materials: best results come from using Smart Materials, that cost more.
❌ Limited sizes: unlike traditional mug presses, here are limited to two sizes.
🔎 Cricut Mug Press is a great addition to your Cricut setup and is easy to use, but has its limitations. ★★★★
As the name suggests, the Cricut Mug Press is the best Cricut machine for making custom mugs. It enables 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 custom designs for the smaller stacking mugs.
Once you’ve cut your designs, 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.
As our reviewer, Julie Dean, wrote, the Cricut Mug press "does one thing – enables you to design and print professional-quality mugs – but does it better than you could imagine". If you want to create unique mug designs and don't need the stress of using a traditional machine, this is the best gadget available.
Read more: Cricut Mug Press review
The best Cricut machine for businesses and studios
✅ Consistent results: designed for pro crafters, every shirt comes out looking the same.
✅ Automated use: place your material and the machine does the hard work.
✅ Or take full control: you can program the Pod to quickly swap projects and settings.
❌ It's large and heavy: this is not designed for home use, but rather studios or craft rooms.
❌ Too much for most: unless you're making boxes of shirt designs, it's not essential.
🔎 Cricut Autopress a large professional heat press for a specific use. Not essential for everyone but a great product. ★★★★★
Cricut's latest heat press machine is the large Cricut Autopress, and it's a big 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 accordingly; the heavy lid can be closed easily with two fingers too.
The heat pan size ensures 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 if you're swapping between designs.
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 – read more in our detailed look, 'Cricut Autopress: everything explained'.
The best Cricut machine for hat designs
✅ Nicely designed: a unique curved heat plate for cap transfers.
✅ Well packaged: features a mould for perfect presses and a case for keeping clean.
✅ Very easy to use: uses the Cricut Heat app for easy design, and works in minutes
❌ Has one use: unsurprisingly, the Hat Press has one use.
❌ Costly materials: you're relying on Cricut materials for the best results, which are expensive.
🔎 Cricut Hat Press has one use but does it very well, and features the kind of good design Cricut is known for. ★★★★★
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, like sewing or heat transfers, the Hat Press, as its name suggests, is designed exclusively for transferring designs onto 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, a kind of moulding, that comes with the gadget, you can easily press on your designs directly onto a cap.
Because of the heat transfer process designs you transfer onto a cap will last, are washable, and wont' flake. For the best results you'll need to use Cricut's own materials, such as its infusible inks, which can be expensive.
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.
The best value Cricut heat press
✅ Affordable quality: it's an older machine, so often on discount.
✅ Consistent results: in our test we found designs transferred with no blurring or muddying.
✅ Lasting designs: the process means your designs are washable and won't flake.
❌ Not fully automated: unlike the new EasyPress 3 you'll need to refer to a guide for heat settings.
❌ No Bluetooth: the lack of Bluetooth limits its connectivity to devices and the new app.
🔎 Cricut EasyPress 2 lacks the automation of newer machines, but for the price, is excellent value. ★★★★★
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 2 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. In fact, our reviewer, Rachael Phillips, noted how the EasyPress 2 is ideal for pro crafters as "you can be sure your designs won’t peel off in the wash".
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 above).
Read more: Cricut EasyPress 2 review
The best Cricut machine for interior design
✅ Wide use: the Venture can be used with over 100 materials, and Cricut has special bundles on offer.
✅ Smart design: the near vertical design ensures this larger craft machine can fit into most rooms.
✅ Create large projects: ideally suited for large, professional craft projects from wallpaper designs to bags and signage.
❌ It's not cheap: aimed at design studios, the Venture is an expensive craft machine.
❌ Buy the extras: considering the price, it's a shame you need to buy the stand separately.
🔎 Cricut Venture is made for crafting large, long and wide projects, including wallpapers, artwork and more. An excellent machine suited to small studios or colleges. ★★★★★
The new Cricut Venture is a wide cutting machine designed for creating large craft projects up to 22.8 m (75 ft) and 25 inches wide. This means it's ideal for interior design projects, such as printing home made wallpapers, scoring and even writing. It can be used for creating large banners or running multiple prints of the same design for ease of use and speed.
The Venture is compatible with over 100 materials and Cricut already has its own brand rolls to choose from, as well as handy stand attachment for a more compact use - similar in design to a large format printer (you can even print designs from these larger printers, like the HP DesignJet T230).
Its unique 45 degree design means it cuts and feeds material at an angle and can be used in smaller rooms. The optional 'Docking Stand' features 'baskets' for capturing cut material for tidiness as well as storage for the machine's larger mats. There are smoothly running wheels with safety locks so you can move it around if needed, or to push out of the way when not in use. Given how useful and well-designed the stand is, it's a shame it's a paid-for extra (though Cricut does sell a Venture + Stand bundle.)
The Venture is a smartly designed large format cutting machine that takes Cricut's design know-how and applies it to a digital craft machine ideal for small business or studios. Hobbyists may want to try a Venture, but you may be better suited with the Silhouette Cameo 4 Pro, which is similar in length (but doesn't have the Venture's style).
US readers can buy the Cricut Venture from the official Cricut online store now, but UK and European readers will need to wait until Autumn when it arrives in localised online Cricut stores.
How to choose the best Cricut machine
The Cricut machines picked in this guide include some of the brand's most popular and latest devices. Also, it's worth noting the subtle differences in these machines and the newest or most expensive is not always the right one for you. My guide should hopefully help.
So 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 our guide to the best heat press machines. I've include Cricut's range of heat presses above, but in our broader guide we feature machines by other brands.
How we review the best Cricut machines
When we test craft machines we not only examine what a product can do, but also the value it represents. We like to review them in the context of how they may be used, the cost, as well as the tech they offer.
Our writers are crafters, some professional, and so they know what's needed from a new craft machine. Whether you're a hobbyist or a professional yourself you can rest assured we've put these machines through their paces.
Our reviewers test each machine on the basis of how it's intended to be used. This can mean a Cricut craft cutter will be used to make a project, or even multiple projects, from start to finish.
Read more: How we test and review craft machines
The best Cricut machine: frequent questions
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?
You need either a PC, Mac, smartphone or tablet to use a Cricut machine. That's because you need to prepare your designs on Cricut's own app, Design Space.
If you're using an iPhone or iPad, you can down the Cricut Design Space app from the Apple App Store. If you're using an Android phone or tablet, you can find the Design Space app in the Google Play Store. A new Cricut mobile app is available for Cricut Joy users, too.
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. Read our guide to the best Chromebooks for Cricut for more details.
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 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 (we cover more in our feature, 'the best Cricut 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 Cricut help page.
Are there alternatives to Cricut?
Yes, there are two main rivals to Cricut's craft machines. First there's Silhouette, a US company that produces machines that match up to Cricut in most categories. Take a look at our guide to the best Silhouette machines for more details. Secondly, sewing machine manufacturer Brother has a range of machines called ScanNCut; these differ in that they include a built-in scanner and CPU, so there's no need for a laptop (design, scan and cut directly in the craft machine). Read our Brother ScanNCut SDX2200D review for more info. You might also want to see our guide to the best vinyl cutter machines.
Is Cricut difficult to use?
No, the success of Cricut's best craft machines comes from their ease of use and accessible approach to craft cutting. The free Design Space app makes creating new projects simple, or you can download and use pre-made patterns and designs. Generally the machine, whether it's the high-end Cricut Maker 3 or the entry-level Cricut Explore 3 or Cricut Joy will automate a lot of the cutting process.
Can you make money from Cricut?
Yes, this is the whole point! Cricut machines offer professional, quality crafting from the home. Using a Cricut means you can create projects good enough to sell on marketplaces and in craft stores. More so, you can create and offer patterns and designs for sale inside Cricut's Design Space. If you end to learn more about selling your crafts, take a look at our guide to how to sell on Etsy.
What's Cricut Access and do I need it?
Cricut Access is the brand's subscription service that, for a monthly fee, unlocks new projects, fonts and designs to use with your Cricut machine. It also enables you to load projects and designs to Cricut Access where you can earn money from your work. Finally, the service offers regular discounts on materials and tools to save you money. Read our feature, '10 reasons to get Cricut Access' for more.