Cricut Explore 3: Everything You Need to Know!

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Introducing the all NEW Cricut Explore 3! The best-selling cutting machine is now smarter, faster, and better than ever!

Cricut Explore 3 on desktop with pink vinyl and "bride" shirt

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Have you heard the news? Cricut just announced a BRAND NEW version of it’s most popular cutting machine – the Cricut Explore 3!

(Actually, they just announced TWO new machines! You can read about the new Cricut Maker 3 here!)

Open Cricut Maker 3 and Cricut Explore 3 on wood work table

Cricut Explore 3 will be available online on June 10th and in stores on June 27th!

The Explore is Cricut’s best-selling cutting machine for good reason, and now, the brand new Cricut Explore 3 allows you to get even bigger and bolder than ever with your crafting!

The Cricut Explore combines the power of a professional machine with the simplicity of Cricut, and now, Explore 3 is even smarter and faster than ever! Let’s dive in and take a look at all of the features of the Cricut Explore 3what’s new? and what can it do?

Introducing the All-New Cricut Explore 3!

The power of a professional machine. The simplicity of Cricut.

Cricut Explore 3 with long cut of vinyl on wood work table

What’s New? How is Cricut Explore 3 Different than Other Explore Models?

First and foremost, Cricut Explore 3 can now cut MATLESS! 🎉🎉🎉

YES! You heard that right! With new 13″ wide Smart Materials like Smart Vinyl, Smart Iron-On, and Smart Paper, the Explore 3 can cut up to 12 feet in length without a mat! Simply load the Smart Material into the machine and you’re ready to go!

Smart Materials will be available in a wide variety of different colors and finishes in 3-foot, 9, 12, 21, and up to 75-foot long rolls!

Roll holder on Cricut Explore 3 machine with gold vinyl

The new Cricut Roll Holder (sold separately; compatible with both Explore 3 and Maker 3) holds large rolls of Smart Vinyl and Smart Iron-On in place during cutting and even has a handy built-in trimmer! The Roll Holder is not necessary for use, but it is extremely helpful for managing bulky, long rolls, keeping them in place and perfectly aligned while cutting long cuts.

Feeding blue Smart Iron-On into Cricut Explore 3

The new Smart materials also allow the Cricut Explore 3 to cut up to 2x faster than the Explore Air 2 at speeds of up to 8 inches per second when cutting Smart Materials! That’s super speedy!

svg file printed onto yellow t shirt

Faster, longer cuts means that you can create oversized projects with ease, or create a whole bunch of projects for your entire group in one simple pass! It’s so easy!

Of course, the Cricut Explore 3 will also still work with your classic cutting mats and over 100 different kinds of materials, too! (Enhanced cutting speeds are exclusive to the Smart Materials, though.)

hand grasping cricut fine point blade in cricut explore 3

What Can the Cricut Explore 3 Do?

Cricut Explore 3 can cut, write, draw, score, and foil with over 100+ different compatible materials!

The Cricut Explore 3 is compatible with the:

Six efficient and versatile tools + over 100 compatible materials = nearly endless crafting possibilities!

Click here for a full list of materials that can be cut with the Cricut Explore 3.

Need Some Cricut Inspiration?

Visit our Cricut Project Library for LOTS of project tutorials, inspiration, and tips, and learn How to Make Money with a Cricut Machine while you’re there, too!

Black and white welcome sign beside a red front door with wreath

Cricut Explore 3: Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Differences Between the Cricut Explore Models?

The key differences between the Cricut Explore Air 2 and the Cricut Explore 3 are speed, cut length, and the ability to cut Smart Materials without a mat. Cricut Explore Air 2 is limited to a 12″ x 24″ mat size for cutting, but the new Cricut Explore 3 can cut at lengths of up to 12 feet long with new Smart Materials! The Cricut Explore 3 cuts Smart Materials at speeds up to 2x faster than the Cricut Explore Air 2.

The Explore 3’s materials settings are now integrated into the software, which allowed Cricut to remove the dial from the machine for a sleeker and more refined body. Cricut Explore 3 also got a sensor upgrade, so it now has the ability to cut Print then Cut projects on colored paper in addition to white paper.

Why did Cricut drop “Air” from the Explore name? Can it no longer connect via Bluetooth?

Bluetooth connectivity has become standard for all new Cricut cutting machines, so the company felt that it was no
longer necessary to call it out in the product’s name. The Explore 3 will connect via Bluetooth as easily as ever!

Cricut Explore 3 on wood work table surrounded by assorted rolls of vinyl materials

What Types of Smart Materials Work with Cricut Explore 3?

The Cricut Explore 3 is compatible with:

  • Smart Vinyl (available in a wide variety of colors, effects, and material lengths in both removable and permanent adhesives)
  • Smart Iron-On (available in solids, glitter, and holographic varieties)
  • Smart Paper Sticker Cardstock (backed with double-sided adhesive that allows you to skip the glue for mess-free projects – just peel and stick!)

Cricut does not currently offer a 13″ wide Smart Material for Infusible Ink, but I hope that’s coming in the future!

Will I Lose My Cartridges, Projects, or Uploaded Images if I Upgrade to the Cricut Explore 3?

No. Your cartridges (image sets), projects, and uploaded images are linked to your Cricut ID in the Cricut Cloud, not to a machine. Use the same Cricut ID as usual and you’ll still have access to all your content with your Cricut Explore 3.

White woman and boy making cards with Cricut Explore 3

The new Cricut Explore 3 is perfect for beginning and advanced crafters alike, and now, you have even more ways to make each of your craft projects uniquely and creatively YOU!

I can’t wait to see what you’ll create with your new Cricut machine! What are you going to make first?

Image of text that says Heidi

Check Out These Other Cricut Project Ideas!

Don’t Forget to Pin This Post for Later!

cricut explore 3 cuts matless cuts up to 12 feet


  1. Hello!! I want to cut chipboard, however, it is not listed here anywhere😔😥😣 Is it at all possible for me to cut chipboard with my Explore 3 and if so how?? What blade is BEST AND I’m only interest in cutting 1.5 thickness???

    1. Hi Robin, typically for chipboard, your best bet is going to be the Maker or Maker 3 machine because the Maker line of machines has the ability to use the knife blade and it also is able to apply more force and pressure when cutting thicker materials like that.

      I just attempted a test to cut 1.5 mm chipboard on my Explore Air 2 using the Deep-Point Blade and had only marginal success with it (and the Explore Air 2 and Explore 3 are virtually identical in these types of cutting capabilities). I used the “Magnet Sheet .6mm” materials option since it won’t even allow you to select chipboard in Design Space when you’re working with an Explore since Cricut doesn’t consider it to be a compatible material, and I ran it through with 5 passes (do not remove the mat from the machine when the cut is finished – just click on the cut button again and again). If you are cutting a basic shape such as a bunch of circles or squares, I think you’ll be okay to do that with 5 passes, but I attempted to cut a basic butterfly shape, and there was a lot of tearing to the chipboard around the detailed areas.

    1. The Explore is not a printer, so you cannot print anything with it, but you will be able to cut colorful designs from iron-on (heat transfer vinyl), Infusible Ink, and other materials to make t-shirts.

  2. I heard that the explore 3 doesn’t work with 12 inch wide vinyl and only works with 13 inch. Is that true or is there a way to adjust as all the other vinyls that I use are 12 inch wide not 13

    1. Hi Sue, the Explore 3 can cut your 12-inch vinyl just fine! You will, however, need to use a cutting mat with the 12″ wide as only the 13″ wide Smart Vinyl can be cut without a cutting mat. Hope that helps! 🙂

      1. But 13″ vinyl is very hard to come by. DO not suggest buying the Explore 3 until this is worked out.

      2. 13″ vinyl is only necessary to do matless long cuts. You can still use any other vinyl along with the mat in the machine just like usual! 🙂

    1. The only real difference between the Smart Iron-On and regular iron-on is the Smart Iron-On’s ability to be cut without a mat. Weeding it, pressing it to your shirt/blank, and the final project will all be the same regardless of which one you use. Hope that helps! 🙂

  3. This is amazing! You are amazing! I am brand new here & I bought my Cricut Explorer 3 for Christmas & have yet to start using it really. I felt like I knew nothing as I have never even watched anyone use a Cricut machine, and even a bit overwhelmed. I just found your blog this morning and feel SO confident now! I’ve already downloaded some of your SVG files, read all your info for beginners, and just had to share that it’s been craft-changing for me 💕 lol seriously.. thank you for this. Thank you for what you do!!! Got you bookmarked and will be here often! (:

    1. Thank you so much, Katie! I’m SO glad you’re finding everything helpful, and that lovely comment just made my day! 🙂

  4. Good Morning can I use reg vinyl with the Cricut air 3 as well ? And do I still have the print and cut feature ?

  5. The Cricut Explore 3 is the first cricut product that I’ve purchased. I’m wondering if I can cut fabric on this machine. It looks like I can, I just need to purchase a mat. Also, will I need to change the blade to cut fabric?

  6. hi I’m new to cricut explore 3 I was wondering how you print and cut on cricut if you need a printer or it prints it 🤔 thank you

      1. Hello maybe you can help me; are you able to print and cut bigger than 9×6.75 with the cricut 3?

      2. Hi Lakesha, with the Explore 3, you are still limited to 9.25″ x 6.75″ for Print Then Cut. I’m REALLY hoping they’ll upgrade their software soon to do larger, but for now, it’s the same size restrictions for all machines.

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