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Best Cricut machines 2022

Cricut Maker 3 Loading Smart Iron On
Cricut Maker 3 Loading Smart Iron On (Image credit: Cricut)

Cricut makes a number of useful machines for makers, creators, and crafters. Cricut machines help you create custom decals, greeting cards, apparel, and much more. Whether you're a hobbyist or you make items to sell, the best Cricut machines will help you achieve your goals.

Cricut makes three different cutting machine types: the Maker, the Explore, and the Joy. The Maker line is for serious hobbyist crafters and professionals who sell what they make. The Cricut Maker 3 is Cricut's flagship cutting and crafting machine; it has the most features and cuts the most materials. But Cricut's other cutting machines are also worth a look.

Design just about anything you can dream up and upload it into the Design Space app on your Mac, iPad, or iPhone. From there you can create it on your Cricut. Each Cricut machine has interchangeable blades and pens so you can cut, write, draw, and more. You'll probably want to check out one of Cricut's heat presses if you're working with iron-on materials; we've detailed our favorites below.

Best overall: Cricut Maker 3

Cricut Maker 3 Lifestyle Hero

Cricut Maker 3 Lifestyle Hero (Image credit: Karen S. Freeman / iMore)

The Cricut Maker 3 is the ultimate Cricut machine. It cuts over 300 different materials ranging from paper and vinyl to fabric, leather, and even balsa wood. You can use up to 13 interchangeable tools for different types of cutting, writing, scoring, foiling, debossing, engraving, and more. Create projects up to 13 inches wide.

The Cricut Maker 3 replaces the Cricut Maker as Cricut's flagship model. Frankly, there's not a lot of difference between the Cricut Maker 3 and the Cricut Maker, except that the Cricut Maker 3 utilizes Smart Materials and is a bit faster. Smart Materials can be purchased in large rolls, so you can make enormous projects up to 12 feet long, whereas the Cricut Maker only makes projects up to 24 inches long and 12 inches wide. If you're not going to do long projects, the Cricut Maker is a great way to get most of the functionality of the Cricut Maker 3 for a lot less money.

Cricut Maker 3

When only the best will do

Reasons to buy

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Can use over 300 different materials
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Over a dozen tools for cutting, writing, scoring, engraving, and more
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Makes projects up to 13 inches wide
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Can use Smart Materials for projects up to 12 feet long

Reasons to avoid

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Pricey

The flagship Cricut machine can create just about anything you can dream up. The only limit is your imagination.

Best value: Cricut Explore Air 2

Cricut Explore Air 2 Accessories Blanks Hero

Cricut Explore Air 2 Accessories Blanks Hero (Image credit: Karen S. Freeman / iMore)

The Cricut Explore Air 2 is a full-sized, full-service machine that will do much of what the Cricut Maker 3 can do for a lot less money. It will cut over 100 different materials. Your projects can be up to 12 inches wide and nearly two feet in length. Swap out up to six different tools for cutting, writing, scoring, and foiling. If you're planning to work primarily with paper, vinyl, iron-on, Infusible Ink, and the like, you don't need to pay more for a more upscale machine.

Note that the Cricut Explore Air 2 isn't the newest Explore model, that would be the Explore 3. Comparing the Cricut Explore Air 2 with the Explore 3, the biggest difference is that you can use Smart Materials (up to 12 feet long). The Explore 3 is also faster and gives you an extra inch in width for your projects.

Cricut Explore Air 2

Great functionality for less

Reasons to buy

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Can use over 100 materials
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Six interchangeable blades for cutting, writing, scoring, and more
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Well-priced

Reasons to avoid

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Cannot cut certain materials such as leather, fabric, and wood
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Cannot use Smart Materials

Get a lot of the Maker functionality without the Maker price tag.

Best compact machine: Cricut Joy

Cricut Joy Infusible Ink Project Load Infusible Ink Transfer Sheet On Mat Into Machine

Cricut Joy Infusible Ink Project Load Infusible Ink Transfer Sheet On Mat Into Machine (Image credit: Karen S. Freeman / iMore)

Though the Cricut Joy is more limited in what it can do, it might just be my favorite of the Cricut machines. It's tiny and it's easy to use. The Cricut Joy is perfect for beginning crafters, people with limited crafting space, or anyone who might like a second machine to take on the go. I've made decals, labels, greeting cards, T-shirts, and even wedding invitations and decor with it. It does utilize Smart Materials, so you can make longer projects of up to four feet long. Since it is a smaller machine, the widest projects you can make will be 5.5 inches. Note that most materials and accessories for the Explore and Maker lineups will not be interchangeable with the Cricut Joy materials.

Cricut Joy

A joy to use

Reasons to buy

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Use up to 50 different materials
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Use up to three tools for cutting, foiling, and writing/drawing
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Use Smart Materials for projects up to four feet long
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Nice price

Reasons to avoid

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Projects have limited width (5.5 inches)
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Can't use as many different materials and blades

This is the ideal Cricut machine for beginners, small projects, small spaces, and crafting on the go.

Best for iron-on: Cricut EasyPress 2

Cricut Joy Infusible Ink Project Apply Heat With EasyPress Or Iron

Cricut Joy Infusible Ink Project Apply Heat With EasyPress Or Iron (Image credit: Karen S. Freeman / iMore)

The Cricut EasyPress 2 is like an iron but better for crafting. You can certainly do iron-on and Infusible Ink projects with a regular iron, but the Cricut EasyPress 2 can be set for a specific temperature and a specific length of time. This gives you more consistent results every time without the guesswork. The heat is evenly distributed throughout the entire heating plate. Choose your size: 9-by-9 inches or 12-by-10 inches, depending on the size of the projects you plan to create.

Cricut EasyPress 2

Consistent results

Reasons to buy

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Takes the guesswork out of iron-on and Infusible Ink projects
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Set it for the exact time and temperature you need
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Heats evenly over the entire plate

Reasons to avoid

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Pricey

If you plan to do a lot of iron-on and Infusible Ink projects, this is a worthwhile investment.

Best for mugs: Cricut Mug Press

Cricut Mug Press Lifestyle

Cricut Mug Press Lifestyle (Image credit: Karen S. Freeman / iMore)

Infusible Ink has become one of my favorite materials to work with. Once you iron your Infusible Ink onto a blank, it won't ever peel, crack, or fade. It's literally infused into the item. If you want to make mugs, a Cricut Mug Press is a must. Create your design in Design Space, cut it on your Cricut machine, and then put it around your mug and slip it into the Cricut Mug Press. Secure it closed, fire it up, and the Cricut Mug Press does the rest. Out comes a mug designed by you! It will be dishwasher safe; the design is infused into the mug forever.

Cricut Mug Press

A must for mugs

Reasons to buy

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Customize mugs easily
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Works consistently well
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You can use several different mug sizes

Reasons to avoid

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One-trick pony
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Pricey

If you're going to customize mugs, this is a worthwhile investment.

Bottom line

The Cricut Maker 3 is our favorite overall machine for the sheer breadth of projects you can make with it. You can cut fabric and leather, which means you can make clothing and costumes. You can cut balsa wood, which opens up a whole category of projects. And as with the other Cricut machines, you can make greeting cards, decor, signs, decals, labels, stencils, iron-on designs, Infusible Ink projects, 3D flowers, and much more.

However, if you're looking for something simpler and less expensive, you have plenty of options. The Cricut Explore Air 2 is a happy medium model and a great value. The Cricut Joy is a "mini-Cricut" that is perfect for beginners due to its ease of use. It's also a perfectly portable second machine for travel, and it's great for people who don't have a large dedicated crafting space. In addition to cutting machines, Cricut's heat presses help you ensure consistent results. Additionally, there are many Cricut accessories you can use to create a huge variety of items.

Karen S Freeman
Karen S Freeman

Karen is a contributor to iMore.com as a writer, social media manager, and co-host of the iMore Show. She’s been writing about Apple since 2010 with a year-long break to work at an Apple Store as a product specialist. Before joining iMore in 2018, Karen wrote for AppAdvice and WatchAware. She’s an early adopter who used to wait in long lines on release days before pre-ordering made things much easier. Karen is a wife and mom (and dog mom) who is also a part-time teacher and occasional movie extra. She loves to travel the world and is always looking for portable tech and accessories so she can work from anywhere.