Cricut Joy vs. Cricut Maker: Which to buy? (2023)

Cricut Joy vs. Cricut Maker: Which to buy? (1)

Cricut Joy vs. Cricut Maker: Which to buy? (2)

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Cricut Joy

the size of a pint

The Cricut Joy is a niche machine, perfect for beginners. It is also ideal for experienced craftsmen to use as a "companion" machine. It has some unique features that Cricut Maker does not.


  • Easier-to-use Cricut with exclusive app
  • You can make projects up to 20 feet long
  • Use with Card Mat for quick cards
  • Forget rugs with smart materials
  • cheapest cricut machine


  • Limited uses compared to other Cricut machines

Cricut Joy vs. Cricut Maker: Which to buy? (3)

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cricut maker

our choice

The Cricut Maker is Cricut's flagship machine. It is the most expensive and offers the most versatility in terms of performance. Serious crafters or anyone thinking of starting a crafting business will likely want the Cricut Maker.


  • Use for a variety of creative projects.
  • Cut, write, mark, engrave, emboss and more with over a dozen tools
  • Easy to use
  • Works with more than 300 different materials.


  • Caro
  • Design Space software could be better
(Video) Which Cricut is Best? Cricut Maker vs. Explore Air 2 vs. Joy | The DIY Mommy

If you are serious about creating and have the funds, I highly recommend thecricut maker. It's clearly the more capable machine of the two, but they're not really competing in the same space. The Cricut Joy is a niche Cricut machine designed specifically for certain uses. Depending on the type of boat you want to do, I can suggest theCricut Joyinstead, or even both.

Cricut Joy vs Cricut Maker: Key Differences

The Cricut Maker is the top-of-the-line, full-size Cricut machine. You can do almost any type of project you dream of with this machine. The Cricut Joy is the cheapest of the Cricut machines and the smallest. For someone just starting to create who doesn't want to spend time, money and space on a state-of-the-art machine, Joy is the way to go. It can also be a second machine for the experienced craftsman who wants to create on the go or do some niche projects. Let's see what both models can do.

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Cell Header - Column 0Cricut Joycricut maker
material compatibility50+300+
insertable tools212+
he writesSimSim
commercial grade performanceNoSim
print and then cutNoSim
Works with the Design Space appSimSim
Works with the Cricut Joy appSimNo
bluetooth connectivitySimSim
usb connectivityNoSim
material width5.5 inches12 inches
material length20 cake24 inches
Works with smart materialsSimNo
Works with cardboard mat.SimNo

Two clamps inside the Cricut Maker hold up to a dozen interchangeable tools, allowing you to cut, engrave, score, engrave, and engrave on over 300 different materials, including leather and even linden. You can use materials up to 12 inches wide and two feet long with the Maker.

On the other hand, only the Cricut Joy lets you use Smart Materials for baseless cutting, as well as Card Mat for quick and easy greeting cards. You can use materials up to 5.5 inches wide but up to 20 feet long with the Cricut Joy.

Cricut Joy vs Cricut Maker: How They Fit Into Cricut's Lineup

Cricut Joy vs. Cricut Maker: Which to buy? (4)

There are three Cricut models:cricut maker,cricut explore air 2, youCricut Joy. Serious craftsmen will see theCricut Maker e Cricut Explore Air 2, which are the mid- and high-priced machines, respectively. Many of the Maker and Explore Air 2 accessories, tools, and materials are interchangeable; while Cricut Joy has its own range.

All machines can be used by beginners and have room to grow with more complex projects, but the Cricut Joy is quite different from the other two. This little "companion" or beginner's machine has its own line of accessories, tools and materials. It's great for traveling or for anyone who doesn't want to devote a lot of space to their craft. It also costs the lowest of the three. In addition, it has some features that the other two lack.

Cricut Joy vs Cricut Maker: What do they do?

Cricut Joy vs. Cricut Maker: Which to buy? (5)

(Video) Cricut Joy vs Explore Air 2 vs Maker. Which Cricut Machine Should I Buy and WHY?!?

So what do you do with a Cricut machine? So far, I've made mug decals and iPhone cases, various cards, a wedding invitation, an intricate napkin and other paper cutout shapes, iron-on fabric projects, paper flowers, and Infusible Ink T-shirts. I'm a beginner who's barely scratched the surface; there's so much more you can create.

Make custom home decorations, banners, cards, stickers, decals, gifts, jewelry, bags and clothing. If you can think of it, you can create it with a Cricut machine,cricut tools, and acessories. As the Joy is a totally different size, you will need someaccessories for Cricut Joy.

All three machines connect to your MacBook, iPad and/or iPhone and work through Cricut's Design Space software. Additionally, the Cricut Joy has its own iOS app. It's more streamlined and easier to use than Design Space, although you can also use Joy with Design Space. There are many projects you can do for free, and you can even upload or create your own images and fonts on Design Space. In addition, you can subscribeCricut accessfor more designs. Design Space isn't the easiest or most intuitive software to learn, but once you get the hang of it, using the machines themselves is a breeze.

Cricut Joy vs. Cricut Maker: Cricut Maker does more

If you're a serious crafter, have a craft business or online store, or plan to do so, Maker is the way to go. The Maker is a full-size machine that lets you make projects up to 12 inches wide and 24 inches long. With Maker, you can create with six times as many different materials (over 300) as with Joy (over 50).

Print and Cut is a fun feature that lets you make stickers, cards, and more with your home printer and Cricut Maker. You have a lot more cutting tool options with Maker, like a knife blade and a rotary tool. With over a dozen plug-in tools, you can mark, stamp, and engrave with Maker. Unique to the manufacturer is the ability to cut leather, cardboard and linden. You can't do any of that with the Cricut Joy, as you only have two tool options: a blade or a stylus.

With Maker, you can create with six times as many different materials as with Joy.

Since you can cut leather with the Maker, you can use it to make jewelry and other leather accessories. You can even make clothes and costumes. Mat cutting means you can professionally paste your artwork; no need to take it to a framer. Basswood is too fine as wood, certainly not for furniture construction. But there are several creative applications, such as sculpture and even musical instruments.

You can cut fabric for sewing projects without backing material. Quilters will love not having to cut each piece by hand! There are over 500 digital sewing patterns and quilt blocks available (for purchase) from popular brands Simplicity®, Riley Blake™ and more.

Cricut Joy vs Cricut Maker: Cricut Joy has unique qualities

Cricut Joy vs. Cricut Maker: Which to buy? (6)

The limited width of the items you can make with the Cricut Joy, at just 5.5 inches, will put you out of the running for a lot of people. But if that's not an issue for you, keep reading. The Cricut Joy has some special qualities worth considering. You might even consider buying both!

While it can only do projects up to 5.5 inches wide, it can do things up to 20 feet.largo, while you are limited to two feet in length with the Creator. This is ideal for banners and signs, for example. Perhaps my favorite Cricut Joy accessory is the Cardboard Mat. It allows you to make cards so easily. Card Mat is only compatible with Cricut Joy.

The Cricut Joy app is much simpler than the Cricut Design Space. This app is pretty limited in what it can do, but for the handful of features featured in the app, it's easy to use. For a novice crafter, tackling Design Space can be intimidating. The streamlined Cricut Joy app makes it perfect for beginners. As you learn and grow, you can also use the Design Space app for more complex projects as long as they fit within the limitations of the Cricut Joy.

Smart Materials are specially designed to be used without the sticky mat you must use for all projects in Maker. Using smart materials lets you skip a step. That said, you're certainly not limited to smart materials - you can use dozens of papers, vinyl, infusible ink and other materials with Joy.

Cricut Joy vs. Cricut Maker: Which One Should You Buy?

When it comes to general crafting, the Cricut Maker is hard to beat. It does more overall as it is a full-sized machine. If you plan on doing a lot of projects, Maker can't be beat.

Here's my point for the Cricut Joy: It's great for beginners, with an easier learning curve than the Cricut Maker. You don't need an entire crafting room or even a crafting corner, as the Joy and all of its accessories are much smaller than the Maker. The Cricut Joy is also a great second machine for serious crafters who may already have a Cricut Maker or Cricut Explore Air 2.

It's portable, so you can take it with you when you're doing crafts with friends. And it makes these projects long, up to 20 feet long, compared to the maximum length of two feet for Maker projects. Let's not forget the smart materials and my favorite, the card mat. I am no longer interested in buying greeting cards as I can create my own in just a few minutes with the Cricut Joy.

Cricut Joy vs. Cricut Maker: Which to buy? (7)mini version

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Cricut Joy

(Video) Cricut Machine Comparison - Cricut Maker, Maker 3, Explore Air 2, Explore 3 and Cricut Joy Machine

small but mighty

Cricut's miniature machine is limited in some ways, but it does offer some special features that many will find appealing.

Cricut Joy vs. Cricut Maker: Which to buy? (8)main machine

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cricut maker

our best option

For the serious craftsman, or anyone looking to sell their work, this more expensive and extensive machine is probably worth investing in.

More articles to help you create

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Cricut Design Space para Mac(opens in new tab) (Free and Cricut)

This flexible software lets you create anything you can imagine for your Cricut machine.

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Cricut Design Space para iPhone/iPad(opens in new tab) (Free on the App Store)

Use your iPhone or iPad to create your Cricut projects.

Cricut Joy app icon (Image credit: Cricut)

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(opens in new tab) (Free on the App Store)

Accomplish multiple projects quickly with this streamlined, easy-to-use app.

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Cricut Joy vs. Cricut Maker: Which to buy? (12)

karen's free man


Karen is a contributor to as a writer and co-host of the iMore Show. He has been writing about Apple since 2010, with a year off to work at an Apple Store as a Product Specialist. She is also a contributor to CNET. Prior to joining iMore in 2018, Karen wrote for Macworld, AppAdvice, WatchAware. She's such an early adopter that she used to wait in long lines on launch days before pre-ordering made things a lot easier. Karen is also a part-time teacher and an occasional extra in films. She loves spending time with her family, traveling the world, and is always on the lookout for portable technology and accessories to work from anywhere.


Is the Cricut maker better than the joy? ›

Cricut Maker vs.

Compared to the Joy, the Maker can cut materials that are 12 inches in width while the Joy can only do 5 inches. What is this? The maker has the tools and ability to cut over 300 different types of materials while the Joy has the ability to cut through 50.

Is the Cricut Joy worth it if you have the Cricut maker? ›

Yes! A Cricut Joy is worth it even if you already own a Cricut cutting machine because of its cost, size, and capabilities.

What does the Cricut Joy do that the Cricut maker does not? ›

The only exception is Cricut Joy, which can cut Smart Vinyl and Smart Iron On without a mat – details below. Cricut sell a huge range of consumables (paper, card, vinyl, iron-on, fabric, felt, chipboard etc) to use with your machine – and I'd recommend you use them for the best results.

What is the best Cricut to buy for a beginner? ›

What is the best Cricut for a beginner? The best machine for a beginner on a budget is the Cricut Explore 3. The Cricut Explore 3 is Cricut's most popular machine, and for a good reason! It cuts over 100 materials: cardstock, vinyl, iron-on, and specialty materials like glitter paper, cork, and bonded fabric.

What is the best Cricut right now? ›

The best Cricut machines: available now
  1. Cricut Maker 3. The best Cricut machine for all materials and projects. ...
  2. Cricut Explore 3. The best cheap Cricut machine for big projects. ...
  3. Cricut Maker. The best Cricut machine for most people. ...
  4. Cricut Explore Air 2. ...
  5. Cricut Joy. ...
  6. Cricut EasyPress 2. ...
  7. Cricut EasyPress Mini. ...
  8. Cricut Mug Press.
Dec 6, 2022

Is the Cricut maker being phased out? ›

With the launch of Cricut Maker 3, many folks have wondered if the Cricut Maker being discontinued. According to my folks at Cricut, there are no plans to discontinue Cricut Maker any time soon, and support will continue.

What are the limitations of the Cricut Joy? ›

While it can draw and cut like the other Cricut machines, you are limited to designs that are no bigger than 5 inches wide. If you're a crafter that likes to dabble in design, the size shouldn't be too big of an issue. It can still cut vinyl the perfect size for coffee mugs, coasters and small projects.

Can you do everything with the Cricut Joy? ›

Cricut Joy cuts, writes, and draws for you so you can bring happiness to practical, everyday projects – from organizing your entire home to putting your personal touch on almost anything. Use the Cricut Joy app to get started quickly on projects such as labels, decals, and cards.

What is the Cricut Joy best for? ›

All in all, the Cricut Joy is a well built, nicely designed and portable cutting machine that while limited in scope beautifully does what it is designed to do – cut small-scale craft projects with accuracy and consistency.

What's the difference between a Cricut and Cricut Joy? ›

The biggest difference between the two machines is that the Cricut Joy can cut matless materials. This means that I can cut up to 20 feet of the smart materials from Cricut. This means that you are not as limited in length as you are with the Cricut Explore series. You can see more about how to make matless cuts here.

Why is Cricut maker better? ›

The Cricut Maker cuts about three times as many different materials as the Cricut Explore Air 2. There are also more than twice as many tools that you can put in the Maker, such as a Rotary Blade, Knife Blade, and more. You can also engrave and deboss with the Maker.

Can you make t shirts with Cricut Joy? ›

This craft is simple and the directions are easy to follow. Making a shirt with the Cricut Joy Smart Iron-On will change the way you start to do things. Since you have to many options in the design space as well as the choice to purchase one of my templates, the shirt you will make will be special and unique to you.

What is the Cricut Joy good for? ›

Cricut Joy cuts, writes, and draws for you so you can bring happiness to practical, everyday projects – from organizing your entire home to putting your personal touch on almost anything. Use the Cricut Joy app to get started quickly on projects such as labels, decals, and cards.


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