In this article, we are going to put two powerful crafting machines toe-to-toe: Cricut Explore Air 2 vs Cricut Explore 3. If you’re reading this post you’ve probably already considered purchasing the Cricut Explore for your wedding DIY projects but are curious which machine is the best fit. These hard-working devices are a revolution in craft work if you’ve never used one before. They can cut many materials, including card stock, sticker paper, vinyl, etc.
Whether you are creating custom signs for your wedding stations or cutting card stock for the perfect wedding favors, no doubt you’re looking for the ideal craft machine to make it easy.
This leads to the ultimate question:
Is the Cricut Explore Air 2 or Cricut Explore 3 the Best Machine For You?
We’re not surprised if you already have a Cricut Explore Air 2. These little beauties have been out since 2016. Or you might be only now discovering the extraordinary DIY potential of a Cricut machine and debating between buying the older model or the latest 2021 release of the Cricut Explore 3. While the Explore Air 2 is undoubtedly more affordable, what are the fundamental differences, and – if you chose the older model, are you missing out on awesome new features?
Don’t worry – we’re taking an in-depth into the differences between the Cricut Explore Air 2 vs. the Cricut Explore 3.
Prettier On Your Craft Table with a Sleek New Look
Like the latest year of a favorite car’s make and model, the Cricut Explore 3 is a little prettier than the older Cricut Explore Air 2. The Explore 3 is all one color instead of a two-toned look and tends to appear in gentle mint green. Smaller than your average personal printer, both Cricut machines will sit neatly on your craft table and are easily portable to make room for the material sheets you run through. Whether you prefer the classic or the new model look is up to you.
Can the Cricut Explore 3 Cut More Materials Than the Explore Air 2?
In short, no. Both models of machines can cut more than 100 different materials including vinyl, cardstock, bonded fabric, and even glitter paper. What sets the two machines apart in terms of materials is the Explore 3’s capabilities around Smart Materials.
Handling Smart Materials for Faster, Longer Cuts
The Cricut Explore 3 also introduces Cricut’s latest innovation: Smart Materials. These materials have their own backing and load directly into the machine without the cutting mat. Because you don’t need the cutting mat, the Explore 3 can cut longer projects – up to 12 feet. Using Smart Materials, the Explore 3 can cut up to 2 times faster than the Explore Air 2 using fast mode.
You can cut long vinyl letters to create a welcome wedding sign or cut extensive projects in one single go. The Explore 3 even has a material length detection feature to let you know if you’ll need more material to finish the set job.
For inspiration and support, be sure to join our free Facebook community: Cricut DIY Weddings.
Comparing Cost of Cricut Explore Air 2 vs. Cricut Explore 3
Right now, a new Cricut Explore Air 2 costs about $200, or up to $270 for a machine with a complete starter kit of materials. That’s a pretty modest investment when you consider how much time and hand stamina you will save on precision cutting – and how many more cool handcrafted wedding items you can make with just a little bit of computer design work.
The Cricut Explore 3, still hot on the shelves, is closer to $320, or $420, with an everything-pack of colorful Smart vinyl, cardstock, and attachment parts. So it’s a little pricier, but the new bells & whistles might be more than worth the cost for your DIY wedding project plans.
Cricut Explore Air 2 or Cricut Explore 3; Which is Best for Your DIY Wedding?
When comparing the two handy crafting machines, the Cricut Explore 3 clearly has some design advantages over the previous Cricut Explore Air 2. However, both are still enormously time-saving workhorses for a DIY bride. Smart Materials are amazingly convenient to work with, and the faster-cutting speeds can help you save time on your wedding projects. Still, both are equally capable of helping you complete any quick precision cutting task you need for card stock, sticker paper, and all manner of vinyl materials for your DIY wedding.
Cricut Explore Machines: Side-By-Side Comparison
|Cricut Explore Air 2||Cricut Explore 3|
|Compatible Materials||100+ Materials||100+ Materials|
|Compatible Tools||Fine-Point Blade|
Foil Transfer Tool
Pens & Markers
Foil Transfer Tool
Pens & Markers
|Cutting Length||Up to 24 inches||Up to 12 feet*|
|Cutting Speed||Standard||Up to 2X Faster|
|Cutting Mat Required||Yes||No*|
|Cost||$199 – $249||$319|
Wedding Project Ideas Using a Cricut Explore
Whichever model you choose, be sure to check out our library of Cricut Explore DIY wedding projects:
Ultimate List of Single Line Fonts for Cricut
If you own a Cricut cutting machine, you may be familiar with single line fonts. We’ve crafted the ultimate list of single line fonts available to use for your next …
Stunning DIY Dusty Blue Wedding Invitations
Are you considering making your own dusty blue wedding invitations? If so, this post will show you how to create stunning dusty blue wedding invitations using a Cricut. Wedding invitations …
Simple DIY Rose Gold Table Numbers
Learn how to make rose gold table numbers for your wedding reception with this super easy tutorial! If you are planning to have a seating chart for your wedding reception, …
Learn to Address Envelopes With a Cricut
If you’re using a Cricut for your wedding, you are probably interested in creating your wedding invitations. One of the most frequently asked questions in Cricut wedding forums is, “how …
How To Make The Perfect Blend Wedding Favors
If you and your fiancé are coffee lovers, then these “the perfect blend” wedding favors are a great gift to share with your wedding guests. Using only a few materials, …
Easy DIY Welcome Wedding Sign
There are quite a few ways to create a wedding welcome sign. In this tutorial I will demonstrate how to create a wooden wedding welcome sign with just a few …
Easy DIY S’mores Wedding Favors
I love the idea of s’mores wedding favors because they are easy to make, and everyone loves them! Plus, it is such a fun and interactive way to incorporate dessert …
Easy DIY Bridesmaid Proposal Calendar (Free Download)
This tutorial has everything you need to create stunning bridesmaid proposal calendars – including a free design file download! Are you getting ready to ask your best gal pals to …
Easy Diamond Ring Drink Tags Using Cricut Foil Transfers
I was so excited to try out Cricut’s new Foil Transfer Kit to make these diamond ring drink tags! Over the last year I have been somewhat obsessed with trying …
DIY Sparkler Send Off Tags For Your Wedding Exit
In this post we are going to walk you through how to make super functional sparkler send off tags for your wedding In this post, we will walk you through …
DIY Our First Christmas as Mr. and Mrs. Ornament – Free SVG File
With the holidays finally here, it’s time to start creating your DIY Christmas project list! One item to add to that list is an ‘Our First Christmas As Mr. and …
DIY Do Not Disturb Door Hangers for Wedding Guests
LEARN TO MAKE DO NOT DISTURB DOOR HANGERS FOR YOUR OUT OF TOWN WEDDING GUESTS! These DIY do not disturb door hangers are the perfect addition to your guest welcome …
DIY Acrylic Place Cards for Weddings
Long gone are the days of stark white place cards printed on cardstock. Couples are getting more and more creative with incorporating place cards into their overall wedding decor. Acrylic …
Create the Perfect Signature Drink Sign
This project is perfect if you’re looking for a creative and personalized way to showcase signature drinks at your wedding. With just a few simple materials and some creativity, you …
Create Custom Wedding Drink Stirrers
Add a little flare to the bar at your wedding by creating custom wedding drink stirrers. This is one of those DIY wedding projects that will awe your guests and …
3 Amazing Ways to DIY Acrylic Wedding Signs
Using acrylic sheets for wedding signs is a trend that has been around for a couple of years. This tutorial will outline three solid ways to DIY acrylic wedding signs – …