Cricut Explore 3 Review: Should You Upgrade?


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The new Cricut Explore 3 is definitely turning heads in the crafting world!  In our review of this machine, we will let you know whether we think it is worth upgrading.

We thought that the upgrade Cricut made when releasing the Cricut Explore Air 2 was brilliant but the new Cricut Explore 3 is just amazing! Not only is the latest Explore 3 Cutter faster than the previous model, whilst still making beautiful intricate precise cuts, but it can now cut without a mat and up to 12 feet in length!

The Cricut Explore 3 has Bluetooth functionality, the ability to cut, draw and score which makes it one of the leading home vinyl cutters on the market. 

With the ability to cut over 100+ materials this is our favorite machine when it comes to affordable desktop vinyl cutters!

So is the Cricut Explore 3 Worth it? You bet it is!! 

Click here to purchase the Explore 3 



Cricut Explore 3 Rating

  • User Experience
  • Cutting Specs
  • Materials Supported
  • Software
  • Value for Money

Our Verdict

The Cricut Explore 3 is a top-rated desktop vinyl cutter machine. It features wireless connectivity, precision cutting, and easy-to-use software. With the large cutting capacity and speed, this machine is great for all crafters. If you are after an easy-to-use and super versatile machine, then this is the one for you!


Built-in Bluetooth connectivity, faster precision cutting, ability to score, draw and cut (on white and colored paper), cutting capacity of 13″x 12′, freedom to download fonts and create custom artwork to use, cuts over 100+ materials.


The machine is a bit noisy and you can only use the Design Space software that comes with the machine



Cricut Explore 3 Review

Below you will find our detailed Cricut Explore 3 Review.

I will outline the top features, specs, the pros, and the cons of the Cricut Explore 3 Cutting Machine. I will also give you suggestions of who this Cricut vinyl cutter would be perfect for; in order for you to help figure out if this machine is the right match for you!

You can see how this machine stacks up to other Cricut machines in our Cricut machine reviews and comparisons guide.


Cricut Explore 3 Features

Here is a list of our favorite features. All these features will help you to craft faster, easier, and with more precision.

Fast Mode


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When using Cricut Smart Materials, the Cricut Explore 3 is able to cut twice as fast as the Cricut Explore Air 2!  The increased cutting speed is only possible when using Cricut Smart Materials (vinyl, iron-on, and cardstock) but is a great addition as it drastically reduces the time it takes to create a project!  

This is brilliant news for small business owners as this means you can now create twice as much as you could before with the Air 2!

Find our post to see the differences between the Explore 3 vs Explore Air 2 here.


No Dial Required

Explore 3 buttons

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If you have used a Cricut Explore machine before you will know that it had a Smart Set Dial for the standard materials.

Cricut has removed the dial from the Cricut Explore 3 and replaced it with sleek recessed buttons. This gives you the option to choose your material settings within the Cricut Design Space software automatically working out the exact pressure required.  

The great benefit to this is that it will allow you to make fewer mistakes (such as forgetting to change the dial to a new setting).


Cricut Explore Bluetooth

Whilst the Bluetooth functionality is not new, it is worth mentioning that it has this nifty feature! I love the flexibility of being able to place my vinyl cutting machine well out of the way from my working desk space. So incredibly handy!


Docking Slot

Docking Slot Explore 3

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A great addition to the Explore 3 is a docking station for your tablet or phone. This new slot on the lid means you can pop your phone or tablet on the machine whilst waiting for your project to cut. 


Cricut Explore Blades

The Cricut Explore 3 comes with only one blade, a German carbide premium blade. If you wish to work with thicker materials you will need to purchase the Cricut Explore Deep Cut Blade additionally.

The Deep Cut Blade is truly affordable and will give you the flexibility to cut thicker materials such as a magnet, chipboard, stamp material, thick cardstock, stiffened felt, foam sheets, cardboard, fabric, and other thicker materials. The blade will provide clearance for thicker materials up to 2.0mm. 

You can also choose to purchase a bonded fabric blade if you wish to cut fabric that has been stiffened up. 


Matless Cutting

Explore 3 Matless Cutting

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Cricut released matless cutting with the Cricut Joy and the use of Smart Materials so it comes as no surprise that the Cricut Explore 3 can do the same. When using Cricut's Smart Materials you are able to cut without the use of a mat which makes those large-scale projects so much easier.


Draw, Score, and Cut


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This gorgeous machine has the ability to draw, score, or cut!  We love the double tool holder for cutting and writing or cutting and scoring, which allows you to do two things in one easy step. If you wish to draw, you will need to grab yourselves some Cricut Explore Pens

We also love the handy Cricut print and cut feature, where you can print an image that has registration marks, and then you can pop it in the Cricut machine and it will cut it out for you! With the upgrade Cricut has made to the Explore 3, you can now print and cut on colored paper as well – and not only white paper. This definitely is a great improvement.


Optional Roll Holder

As the Cricut Explore 3 can now cut projects up to 12 feet in length when using Smart Materials there is an optional roll holder for the machine.

You do not need to purchase the roll holder to use the new rolls of Smart Vinyl however we think that it definitely helps in making sure that vinyl remains steady when cutting. So if you plan on using the rolls of Smart Vinyl this is probably a great addition.


Click here to purchase the Explore 3




Cricut Explore 3 Specifications

Here is a quick list of the Explore 3 specifications.

What's in the Cricut Explore 3 Box

  • Cricut Explore 3 machine
  • Premium Fine-Point Blade + Housing
  • Welcome card
  • USB cable
  • Power adapter
  • Free trial subscription to Cricut Access™ (for new subscribers)
  • 100 ready-to-make projects online
  • Material for a practice cut


Dimensions & Weight

The size and weight are as follows for all Cricut Explore machines:

  • Height: 15.01 cm (5.91 in)
  • Length: 56.31 cm (22.17 in)
  • Width: 17.80 cm (7.01 in)
  • Weight: 4.98 kg (10.98 lbs)


What Can Cricut Explore 3 Cut?

This new Cricut Explore 3 is a great machine for those who wish to work with a wide range of materials.  It has the ability to cut over 100 materials; from thin vinyl to thick leather, metal & foam. 


Cricut Explore 3 Cutting Size

Large Scale Project Cricut Explore 3

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The maximum cutting size of the Cricut Cutter Machine is 13″ x 12′ long. This is a great improvement on the previous Cricut Explore Air 2.

For those crafters who do not cut large-scale projects, this may not carry as much gravitas but for many crafters, this is an awesome upgrade as now you can make multiple projects at once or cut projects that are long in length. 


Cricut Explore 3 Software

You will either hate or love the Cricut Design Space. Beginners will most likely love the fact that the software is super easy and straightforward to use!  

You can also use your own images and fonts for free or you can purchase images and ready-to-go projects from the Cricut store. The software also contains 3,000+ ready-to-make projects and quick cuts to help you get started ASAP.

The Cricut Explore 3 App is really nifty too, as it allows you to sit in front of the TV and work on your iPad, tablet, or mobile phone before sending your creations wirelessly to the vinyl cutter.  

Warranty & Support

Your Cricut Machine comes with a 1-year warranty. You will also have access to their Help Centre, their ‘How-To' tutorials as well as videos on how to set up the Cricut craft cutter properly.


Cricut Price

If you are wondering where to buy your Cricut Explore 3, we highly recommend purchasing the Explore 3 Machine directly from Cricut itself.

TIP: Sign up for their newsletter and they will give you $10 off your first purchase as a ‘thank you'.

EXTRA TIP: Sign up to become a Cricut Access Member, this will help you to save money on your machine.


Click here to purchase the Explore 3




Cricut Explore Air 2 vs Explore 3

Cricut has created this super handy chart to outline the difference between the Cricut Explore Air 2 vs Cricut Explore 3.



The Cricut Explore 3 Machine Review

Below you will find our Explore 3 Cricut machine review; focusing on the pros and cons of this machine together with information on who this machine would be perfect for.


Twice as Fast

The biggest selling point about this machine is that it now offers super speedy cutting.

Larger Cutting Capacity

With an increased cutting capacity the Explore 3 becomes a very attractive vinyl cutting machine option and begins to compete with commercial cutters.

Intricate Precision Cuts

This is the machine for you if you are after super intricate designs.  Its precision cutting is second to none and always delivers superior cuts!

Ability to 100+ Materials

This machine's remarkable ability to handle over 100 materials is definitely impressive!  It is also our top choice machine when it comes to working with thicker materials.

Print and Cut on Colored Paper

If you love to use the Print and Cut feature then the ability to now print on colored paper takes crafting projects with this feature to a whole new level.

Freedom to Download Fonts and Create Custom Designs

The freedom and flexibility of being able to download any font mean that this is one of the best vinyl monogram machines on the market. The ability to create custom designs is definitely a selling point as well.




The compromise of the faster cutting system means that the machine is slightly noisier than its predecessor. For us, not such a major issue, but if this machine will live in a workplace environment it might be problematic.

Limitations of the Software and the App

We would have loved to have seen flexibility in using other software with the machine.  

Print Then Cut Sizes Are Restrictive

Whilst the cutting size is decent for a desktop vinyl cutter, when it comes to the print then cut feature, the size becomes restrictive. Google Chrome: 5.5″ x 8″ and Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari: 6″ x 8.5″.


The Cricut Explore 3 Cutter is Perfect for All Crafters

This Explore 3 Cricut Machine is probably the best-selling vinyl cutter for desktop use. This machine excels in offering top-notch features and specs. The machine is perfect for a large variety of crafters.

The only reason why this machine will not be for you is if you prefer working with your own choice of software or if you wish to work with materials such as fabric, leather, and basswood.

If you wish to create signs, stickers, vinyl decal, HTV decals, cards and/or stencils, then this is a perfect machine for you.

You can click here to find the current best deals on the Explore 3 or explore the Cricut Explore 3 bundle sales here.



Q: What blade comes with the Cricut Explore 3?

A: It comes with a German carbide premium Fine-Point blade.

Q: How does it compare against the other Cricut Machines?

If you want to see how it compares against the Maker 3 or Cricut Joy, you can find our Cricut comparison guide here.




Cricut Explore 3 Accessories

Cricut Tools Craft Basic Set

Grab all the handy Cricut tools in one handy set! Includes the following Cricut Tools: Scissors with protective blade cover; Tweezers; Weeder; Scraper; and Spatula.



Cricut Explore Adhesive Vinyl

If you are after vinyl for the Cricut Explore 3, we cannot recommend this great vinyl bundle highly enough!  This cheap Cricut vinyl bundle includes 40, 12 x 12″ sheets in 30 different glossy colors, 2 matte colors, and 3 metallic colors.


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Charlene loves making craft projects with her Cricut machines. She uses the Cricut Maker and Explore machines as well as heat presses (Minipress, larger auto heat press, and mug press) when crafting. She has created many different items including customized t-shirts, infusible ink mugs, cosmetic bags, totes, gift cards, and stickers! She loves the creativity that crafting brings and sharing that with everyone.