3D woven composites, due to the presence of through-thickness fibre bridging, have the potential to improve damage tolerance and at the same time to reduce the manufacturing costs. However, the ability to withstand damage depends on weave architecture as well as the geometry of individual tows. A substantial amount of research has been performed to understand in-plane properties as well as the performance of 3D woven composites exposed to impact loads, but there is limited research on the damage tolerance and notch sensitivity of 3D weaves and no work is reported on the damage tolerance of 3D weaves with a weft binding pattern. In view of the recent interest in 3D woven composites, the influence of weft binder on the tensile, open hole tensile, impact resistance and subsequent residual compressive strength properties and failure mechanisms of 3D woven composites was investigated against equivalent UD cross-ply laminate. Four different 3D woven architectures; layer-to-layer, angle interlocked, twill angle interlock and modified angle interlock structures were produced under identical weaving conditions. All the above mentioned tests were performed in both the warp and weft directions on 3D woven and UD cross-ply laminates.Stress concentration and yarn waviness due to through-thickness reinforcement led to lower mechanical properties compared with the UD cross-ply laminate. However, improved in-plane and damage tolerance properties of 3D woven composites under tensile loads were achieved by modifying the weave architecture. The influence of the weave architecture and binder yarn orientation on the notch insensitivity and damage tolerance of 3D woven composites was less significant for compressive loads. Despite the lower undamaged compression strength of 3D woven structures, their residual compressive strength was found to be superior to their equivalent UD cross-ply laminates. The lower rate of strength reduction in the 3D woven fabrics laminates was attributed to a crack bridging mechanism, effectively inhibiting delamination propagation.