Cricut has been making strides in adding new and exciting products to the maker market. Last year, it released updated versions of its flagship vinyl cutter, the Maker 3, and its budget line,. This year, it’s delivered several accessories to make life easier, while also revising some of its mainstays.
While CNET’s Russell Holly was busy reviewing the Cricut Hat Press and the Bright 360 lamps, I spent time with the company’s update to its EasyPress lineup, the EasyPress 3 heat press machine. The EasyPress system lets you create cool projects on T-shirts, bags, totes, sheets, card stock and even wood. Basically any surface you can put a vinyl sticker on, the EasyPress will help you do it.
- The app tutorials are helpful
- Even heat across the entire plate
- One touch and you are good to go
- The app could have more functionality
- Not worth the upgrade if you already own an EasyPress 2
One of the first things I should note is that if you have a Cricut EasyPress 2, rushing out to upgrade isn’t necessary. Functionally, they’re the same product. They’re both heat tools meant for adding iron-on materials to your creative projects and will help you make awesome things with ease. However, if you’re using the EasyPress 1, or you’re looking to purchase your first EasyPress, then it’s worth going straight for the latest model.
The EasyPress system is similar to your home iron in that it’s a heated smooth plate that helps you press material. The difference is that the EasyPress doesn’t use steam, and it can be programmed to attach vinyl to cloth or help you dye materials using Cricut’s Infusible Ink system. Plus, its flat, slippery plate allows for even heat distribution across the entire surface, which means you get the correct temperature at every point of your vinyl, helping it stick correctly. I’ve tried using a home iron to create vinyl T-shirts, and I can tell you the EasyPress is much easier.
For this review, I got to use the bigger model, which is 12 by 10 inches and for very large projects. There is a smaller model that’s 9 by 9 inches, too. Both work the same way, but the smaller model might be a better fit for fun, smaller projects. I made mostly T-shirts and coasters for this review, but I have made a lot of different projects with EasyPresses over the years, and the process is nearly identical.
EasyPress 3 offers a simple experience that reduces the chance of making mistakes. The temperature of the EasyPress and the timer are visible on the main screen, and they can be adjusted manually with the side buttons. The entire machine is well made, with each of the buttons clicking in a satisfying way.
What sets the EasyPress 3 apart from its predecessor is the Bluetooth connection. You can connect your press to the new Cricut Heat app and use the app to set your temperature and timer. This isn’t as redundant as it sounds. Because there are a lot of materials out there, it’s often difficult to know what settings to use. Iron-on vinyl, for example, only needs 315 degrees F and 15 seconds, while Infusible Ink needs 375 degrees F and 40 seconds of contact with the T-shirt. So being able to choose instantly on the app is quite useful.
The app even comes with short tutorials on how to use each material that you’re trying to press. The tutorials are helpful, but it would be great if they were a little more in-depth. I also would have liked to see more from the app in general. For example, while it lets you select from an abundance of materials that you wish to apply to a surface (vinyls), you aren’t able to select many surfaces that it’s going to be applied to (blanks).
To be fair, the materials included on the app are all the Cricut-branded blanks, vinyls and Infusible Ink, and it does exactly what it’s supposed to do with those blanks, such as ceramic coasters. But I was hoping for variety — I would like the app to tell me how long it takes to safely press vinyl into a T-shirt made of 30% cotton and 70% polyester.
That small issue aside, the Cricut EasyPress 3 is a nice update to the company’s lineup. The app makes figuring out your timing and temperatures much easier, and it works just as well as its predecessor, the EasyPress 2.
I still wouldn’t recommend buying it if you already own one, but if you are new to the EasyPress and trying to decide between the 2 and the 3, it makes the most sense to get the latter. It works great, and the app can only get better over time.