Maker vs explore vs joy

Cricut Maker 3 vs Explore Air 2 vs Joy: The Champion?

Cricut Maker 3Explore Air 2Cricut Joy
Dimensions7.1 x 6.2 x 22.1 in22.17 x 7.01 x 0.5 in8.4 x 5.4 x 4.2 in
Weight23.3 pounds14 pounds3.9 pounds
ColorsBlue, rose, mint, champagne, and lilacBaby blue, pink, mint green, and goldTeal
Cutting force4 kg400g210g
Cutting size12.992 inches x 12 ft11.5 X 23.5 inches4.5 in x 4 ft
Cutting speed8inches/second2x fast modeN/A
Cutting materials300+100+50+
ConnectivityBluetooth, USBBluetooth, USBBluetooth only
Builtin storageYesYesNo
SoftwareDesign SpaceDesign SpaceDesign Space
Adaptive tool systemYesNoNo
Our ratings4.84.74.6
Recommended forBusinesses, Experienced crafters, Frequent useHobbyists, Small businessesBeginners, Occasional use
Quick comparison table of Cricut machines

Do you want to buy a Cricut cutting machine? 

Are you stuck between the variety of their machines?

Do you want to buy a Cricut cutter perfectly suited to your needs?

Then, you are at the right place.

This ultimate comparison of Cricut machines has been crafted after using each machine for 30 days.

Before we start, if you are a newbie, let me tell you what Cricut is, and why there is so much buzz about it.

Cricut is an American brand based in Utah. It is popular due to the quality of cutting plotters and heat press machines.

I have already used these 3 machines and reviewed each individually.

It’s now time to compare them.

Let’s begin.

Buy Maker 3
Buy Explore 2
Buy Cricut Joy


Cricut Maker 3 is available in blue, rose, mint, champagne, and lilac colors. Explore Air 2 is available in baby blue, pink, mint green, and gold colors. In comparison, the Joy is available just in teal color.

All 3 have the same shape and design. Personally, I like Air 2 as it looks sleeker than the other 2. Air 2 is easy to use. Maker also is more user-friendly than the others. However, we can’t ignore how cute the Joy looks. It all depends upon your personal preferences.

In short, Cricut Maker is available in various colors. You can easily match it with your room decor. It is a perfect choice if you want to choose a machine spending upon the aesthetics. 

Size and weight

Maker 3 weighs 23.3 pounds, Explore weighs 14 pounds, and Joy weighs 3.9 pounds.

The size of the Cricut Maker is 7.1 x 6.2 x 22.1 inches, Air 2 is 22.17 x 7.01 x 0.5 inches, and Cricut Joy is just 8.4 x 5.4 x 4.2 inches.

You can easily move these machines without unnecessary fatigue. All of them are portable and require very little space. However, you will need a sturdy table for Maker and Explore. You can place Joy on any flat surface.

If you want to choose a cutting machine having minimal size and weight, Cricut Joy will be your best companion.

Weight and dimensions comparison of maker vs explore vs Joy

Cutting force and cutting size

Maker 3 comes with a cutting force of 4 kg, Explore with 400 g, and Cricut Joy with 210g.

The Maker offers a maximum cutting size of 12.992 inches x 12 ft long. Explore offers 11.5 X 23.5 inches. Comparatively, Joy offers a cutting size of 4.5 in x 4 ft.

In short, if you are looking for a cutting machine with cutting force and size, Cricut Maker 3 beats all other Cricut machines by a great margin.

Maker 3 on Swing Design
Explore 2 on Swing Design
Cricut Joy on Swing Design

Cutting speed and noise

Maker 3 can cut up to 8 inches/per second. Explore has a 2x fast mode, while Joy has a normal cutting speed.

You can expect Maker 3 and Explore to be noisy when cutting at their maximum speeds. Cricut Joy, with its small size, can also be quite noisy.

If you prefer a machine with greater cutting speed, Maker is the answer. There is not even a close match when we compare the other two. However, you can expect it to be noisy with its great cutting speed.


You can connect all three Cricut machines through Bluetooth. Cricut Maker and Explore can also be connected via a USB cable. Cricut Joy, on the other hand, can only be connected via Bluetooth pairing.

If you are looking for a Cricut machine that can be connected through A USB cable as well as a Bluetooth connection, you can choose either Explore or Maker.

Cutting Blades

All these Cricut cutting machines come with a fine point blade and housing.

Cricut Maker can work with a rotary blade, knife blade, scoring wheel, foil transfer tool, debossing tip, engraving tip, perforation blade, wavy blade, and roll holder.

The Explore is compatible with a premium fine-point blade, a deep-point blade, a bonded-fabric blade, a foil transfer tool, a scoring stylus, and a roll holder.

Cricut Joy is only compatible with a fine-point blade.

If you are looking for a versatile cutting machine compatible with most cutting tools, Maker 3 is the answer.

Builtin storage

Both Maker and Explore come with built-in storage. You can use this to store the additional tools.

The Joy DIY cutting machine does not have any built-in storage option.

If you are looking for a Die cutter with built-in storage, you can choose Circut Explore or Maker 3. So, there is a tie between these two machines.

Cutting materials

The Cricut Maker can cut up to 300+ Materials. Explore can cut up to 100+ materials. In contrast, Cricut Joy can cut just 50 materials.

Here is a list of compatible materials by Cricut.

If you are looking for a machine that can cut hundreds of materials. Go for Cricut Maker 3.


All Cricut cutting plotters use Design Space software which is free to use. However, you will need to subscribe if you want to use the premium templates or images. Alternatively, you can also upload your own fonts and designs.

The best thing is Cricut Design Space is available for Windows, Mac, iPhone, and Android devices.

As mentioned in this cricut explore air 2 vs maker guide, all of their machines use Design Space, They also come with 30 days free subscription to their software. So, every machine is the winner when we talk about the software.


If you consider the buyer’s reviews before buying a machine, I have done the research for you.

Maker 3 scores 4.7/5 on Amazon. Both Explore and Joy score 4.8/5.

You can choose Explore or Air 2 if you are looking for high-rated cutting machines.


All Cricut machines are available in different bundles. So, the prices can vary depending on the bundle you choose.

Cricut Maker 3 prices range from $350-$450. Cricut Explore Air 2 can cost anywhere from $179 to $250. Moreover, Cricut Joy’s cost ranges from $159 to $220.

If you are looking for the cheapest Cricut cutting machine, Cricut Joy is for you.


The software subscription is a common disadvantage when considering the cost, which can jump quickly.

All Cricut cutting machines just come with a fine pointed blade.

You need Cricut materials to use the Cricut machines for the best results.

Currently, only smart materials can be used to cut large projects up to 12 feet in length when we talk about Maker 3.

The Air does not cut as many materials as the Maker.

The Joy does not cut as many materials as the Explore Air 2.

In short, Cricut Joy is best for beginners, Cricut Explore is best for home use, and Cricut Maker is best for businesses.


Which is better Cricut maker or Cricut explore air 2?

It depends on your personal preferences and requirements. If you need a cutting machine for business, Cricut Maker is the best. If you need a cutting machine for personal use, Cricut Explore Air 2 is the best.

Which is better Cricut joy or Cricut explore air 2?

If you run a small business or need a machine for frequent complex DIY projects, Cricut Explore Air 2 is better. If you do simple DIY projects once in a while, Cricut Joy is for you.

What is the difference between Cricut maker and Explore 3?

The main difference between the both is Cricut Maker has 4kg cutting force while Explore 3 has just 400g. Cricut Maker can cut more than 300 materials while Explore 3 can just cut 100 materials. Maker also has an adaptive tool system which is not available in Explore 3.

What is the difference between Cricut Joy and Cricut maker?

The main differences between Cricut Joy and Maker are the size, cutting force, and compatible tools. Cricut Joy can cut just 50 materials while Maker can cut more than 300 materials. The Maker is also bigger and bulkier than Joy.

Maker vs Explore vs Joy
  • Price
  • Portability
  • Ease of use
  • Safety
  • Supported materials
  • Cutting force
  • Cutting SIze
  • Software


If you run a cutting or printing business, you will need a machine with maxim cutting force and size. It should also cut multiple materials. Moreover, it should be compatible with different tools. Based on our comparison, we recommend Cricut Maker 3 for you.

If you run a small business or love to DIY more often, you will need a die-cutting machine that can efficiently cut different materials, we recommend Cricut Explore Air 2.

If you are a seasonal crafter or need to use a cutting machine once in a while, we recommend Cricut Joy for you.

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