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Cricut Maker 3 Review: All You Need to Know!

The new Cricut Maker 3 is faster and more precise than ever. Learn all about the new machine in this Cricut Maker 3 review.

This post is sponsored by Cricut, however all opinions are my one.

I was so excited to get the new Cricut Maker 3! I’ve had my original Cricut Maker for a few years and really wanted to check out the differences between the two machines.

If you’ve been following my crafting journey for a while, you know I’ve been using Cricut machines for about 10 years. I started out back in the day when you had to buy cartridges and couldn’t design anything online, there was no software.

What a difference a decade has made! Cricut has continuously released amazing products that I have no problem recommending and teaching about because I LOVE them!

And the new Cricut Maker 3 is no exception! These machines just keep getting better and better and the new one has a few things that I really love about it.

cricut maker pin

Cricut Maker 3 vs the Original Cricut Maker

The new machine can do all the things that the original Cricut Maker can do. The Maker 3 can use all 13 Maker tools to make it the most versatile crafting machine.

It can still cut out over 300 materials including tons of fabric, thin wood, chipboard, leather, all kinds of vinyl, and cardstock. All of the Cricut Maker mats and materials work in the Cricut Maker 3. You will still use Cricut Design Space too.

So what’s new with the Cricut Maker 3? The technology has improved (as with every electronic thing we own!) and now the Cricut Maker 3 is about twice as fast as the original and 10x as powerful as the Explore. Precision has been fine-tuned for the small intricate designs!

There is also a USB port on the side of the Maker 3 to use as a charging port for mobile devices.

And my favorite supplies that Cricut released to use with the Maker 3 are Smart Materials! Oh yeah baby, no more mats when using adhesive vinyl, iron-on vinyl, and sticker cardstock!

cricut maker review holder

About the Cricut Smart Materials

You might have heard of Smart Materials if you have a Cricut Joy. The new Cricut Maker 3 Smart Materials can be loaded directly into the machines and cut without a mat.

cricut maker materials

Right now Maker 3 Smart Materials include Cricut Smart Vinyl (permanent and removable), Cricut Smart Iron-On, and Cricut Smart Paper Sticker Cardstock (no need to use glue with sticker cardstock!).

What’s amazing about the Smart Materials and the Maker 3 is that you can cut super long projects. Since no mat is needed, you are not too limited on how long you can cut. This would have come in really handy when I applied a large word art collage on a wall. And the vinyl and iron-on vinyl is super easy to weed and apply, I really like working with it.

The Smart Materials are 13 inches wide so you get a little extra width on images and then depending on the material there are varying lengths.

  • The maximum size you can cut with Smart Iron-On is 11.7 inches x 4 feet long! Smart Iron-On comes in rolls of 3ft and 9 ft and includes 8 different plain colors, glitter, and holographic.
  • The maximum size for Smart Vinyl is 11.7 inches x 12 feet!! You can purchase Smart Vinyl in boxes of 3 ft, 12 ft, 21 ft, and 75 feet!
  • The maximum size for Smart Paper is 11.7 x 11.2 inches.

When I first heard about the huge rolls of vinyl (21 and 75 ft!), I was not sure how easy they were going to be to use. But Cricut figured that out!

They released the Cricut Roll Holder which is probably by favorite part of the new machine! The roll holder keeps the vinyl together and has a built-in trimmer to ensure a straight line when the image is done cutting. I am not a neat and straight cutter so this was a game changer for me!

using the cricut roll holder
cricut roll holder trimmer

It fits right into two grooves of the Maker 3 and snaps in place. Everything is aligned and ready to go! The best part of the Smart Iron-on is the roll is already upside down so no more messing up by placing the material the wrong side up on the mat!

smart vinyl iron on
cricut maker

You can cut the Smart Materials and use them on mats for the Maker or Explore, but the Maker 3 and Explore 3 are the only machines designed to use them without the mat. (besides the Smart Joy materials for the Cricut Joy!)

Unboxing the Cricut Maker 3

So let’s talk about what comes in the box! You can watch my IG reel here of when I opened my Maker 3 box.

Included in the box is the Maker 3 machine, a blade housing and premium fine point blade (already in clamp B), accessory adapter in clamp A, quick start guide, some documents, a USB cable, power adapter and power cord (specifically for the Maker 3), and some bonus materials to get you started.

As I mentioned above, the power adapter is specific for the Cricut Maker 3. That is because it has been upgraded to allow for 3 Amps of output. This is the reason the new Cricut Maker 3 has ten times the cutting force as the Explore machines and allows for faster cutting speeds than the Maker.

The Maker 3 is powered to cut Smart Materials faster so there is no longer an option for Fast Mode for Smart Materials. The machine will automatically cut at top speed!

Setting up the Cricut Maker 3

Set up is super simple! Cricut Design Space does all the work for you.

Sign in to your account (all machines use the same CDS account so you always have access to your projects and files). Click on the 3 lines in the upper left corner.

Your profile will pop up. Click on New Product Setup.

new product setup cricut design space

Then on the Smart Cutting Machine picture.

smart cutting machine setup

Then select your machine. I selected Cricut Maker 3.

cds cricut maker setup

Then Cricut Design Space will give you some walk through steps with pictures.

cricut maker review

Plug the adapter cord into the machine and then into an outlet with the provided cord and adapter.

Then use the included USB cord to the Cricut Maker 3 machine and then to your laptop or computer.

setting up cricut maker

Click Continue and follow the on screen prompts.

To connect your machine to bluetooth, open your bluetooth settings and click on Add a Device. The Maker 3 popped up on mine (no code needed) and connected right away.

connect maker to bluetooth

Everything within Design Space is pretty much the same. The one main difference you’ll notice is the options screen that pops up after you click on Make It. You’ll get three options – Without Mat (for Smart Materials), On Mat, and Multiple Ways (you can choose for each mat). Simply click the one you are doing!

cricut maker cutting options

Cricut Maker 3 vs. Cricut Maker Speed Test

One of the main claims of the Cricut Maker 3 is the increase in speed, so I wanted to put this to the test!

I picked an image from Cricut Design Space and cut it out 4 different times to see if the machine was really faster. I picked an image of words that had some intricate details.

cricut speed test

First I loaded Smart permanent vinyl in my Cricut Maker 3. Loading is the one place where it does a few extra steps in gauging what it’s using so there’s a little pause.

cricut maker roll holder

I hit the start of my stopwatch at the same time I hit the blinking Go (play) button on my machine.

This is the time when it was done. Hmmm, is that fast? How does it compare to the original maker??

cricut maker speed

Next I cut the same image with my original Maker with the Fast Mode on. Setting to Premium Vinyl. And check this out?? Over 45 seconds faster!

cricut maker vs cricut maker

Then I tried it on regular speed of the original Cricut Maker and it was about 1 min and 20 seconds faster!

cricut maker vs cricut maker speed

Then I decided to check the speed when using regular adhesive vinyl on a mat with the Cricut Maker 3. The time was just a little bit longer. This didn’t surprise me too much because Cricut had said there was a slight delay before the cut even starts to measure the mat/material to ensure we have enough so that we have a successful cut every time!

cricut maker speed

So what about weeding the new Smart vinyl? I actually really like it. To me it was easier to peel off around the more intricate details.

weeding smart vinyl maker

Overall, I really like the new Cricut Maker 3. The Smart Materials are really easy to use and I LOVE the roll holder. It’s so nice not have to use mats and keep changing them for big projects (and buying new ones!).

cricut maker pinterest

I hope this Cricut Maker 3 review answered most of your questions about the newest machine from Cricut! If you are just starting out, make sure to check out my must have Cricut accessories to get you started!

Thanks for stopping by and have a creative day!

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