November 23, 2020
creality ender 3 3d printer review

Creality Ender 3 Review: Price, Specs & Performance

Main Specs

Creality Ender 3 Review: is it worth it?

The current most popular 3D printer in the world, the Creality Ender 3 offers good quality 3D printing at a low cost, as well as versatility in upgrades and different filament options.

Here is our review on the Ender 3, including all its features, differences between the Ender 3 Pro, pros and cons, and where to purchase the Ender 3 for the best price.

Ender 3 Features

Firstly, as impressed as we are with the Creality Ender 3, it is not the complete machine capable of the toughest, industrial 3D printer tasks. It is one of the best 3D printers under $300, but compared to mid-range FDM 3D printers, it misses out in some areas.

Firstly, the Ender 3 does not in its standard form calibrate itself, requiring manual calibration. However, even 3D printing beginners will have no problem with this, and it does not take more than a few minutes.

A useful feature is print resumption in the event of a power outage or connection failure. Though most good 3D printers have this feature nowadays, the Ender 3 still includes this life-saving feature despite costing just $200.

Rather than a touchscreen, the Ender 3 features a control panel with an LCD screen and a knob that you can turn to select your chosen option. This compact panel can squeeze in next to the printer if you need to fit it on a small desktop, and is relatively easy to use.

ender 3 lcd screen
As shown, the Ender 3 features an LCD screen controlled by a knob you turn underneath it, rather than a touchscreen.

To print your own 3D printer files and models on the Ender 3, connect via either USB or SD card. You export your sliced file from a 3D slicer such as Cura to the SD card, plug it into the Ender 3, and start printing in seconds.

The standard Ender 3 comes with a Bowden extruder. However, it can be modified and upgraded to a direct drive extruder if you prefer. The Bowden extruder keeps the print head light and allows for the fast 200mm/s print speed, but if not set up correctly can occasionally create problems with flexible filaments like TPU.

You can build your Ender 3 at home in around an hour – two hours maximum even if you have problems. And if you have any serious trouble, either assembling the printer or during printing, you can speak with Creality’s support team through either Facebook chat, or via their Email support. Additionally, there are thousands of dedicated Ender 3 fans in various communities that will gladly advise, assist or guide you if you have any issues.

Ender 3 vs Ender 3 Pro

The standard Ender 3 costs around $50 less than the Pro model, with the main differences being the Pro’s enhanced stability and print quality with a sturdier base for the Y axis.

The Ender 3 Pro also features an improved heated bed which is magnetic and detachable for removing and replacing it after printing. This makes it easier to remove prints, and reduces the likelihood of scarring prints from scraping off the build platform, but are not major changes that completely change your 3D printing experience with the Ender 3.

ender 3 vs ender 3 pro

Creality Ender 3 Pros and Cons

Ender 3 Pros

  • Good quality for the price: for such a cheap 3D printer, it offers some of the best precision and print quality in its price range.
  • Good print volume: many $200 3D printers can only print small models, usually with maximum build volumes of under 200 mm3. Its 220 x 220 x 250 mm build volume is enough for all but the largest projects.
  • Fairly quick to get started: it takes around an hour to fully assemble the Ender 3 DIY 3D printer and start printing, with only 12 steps described in the manual.
  • Open source & upgradable: as an open source 3D printer, you can tinker, modify and upgrade your Ender 3 however you want, with a wide variety of upgrades available online for different purposes.

Ender 3 Cons

  • Occasional adhesion problems: less of a problem with filaments like PLA, with tougher filaments such as ABS, more care should be taken with settings and build surfaces to ensure good adhesion.
  • Open build area: though you can buy an enclosure, the printer’s open build area can create difficulties and lead to more warping with printing tougher filaments.
  • Wobbling and stability: occasionally can wobble slightly which can cause tiny issues with surface quality.
  • Does not calibrate itself: needs to be manually calibrated, though this is simple with the Ender 3’s calibrating screws.

What extras does the Creality Ender 3 come with?

If purchased through any of our trusted partners, the 3D printer will come with:

  • A USB stick containing some basic 3D printer models to get you started, as well as an instruction manual.
  • Various tools for assembling the printer, including screwdrivers, bolts, screwdrivers and wrenches.
  • A small amount of filament to get you started (around 200g).
  • Replacement nozzles and a nozzle cleaner.
  • Scraper for removing prints after printing.

Full Specs

Technical Specs:

  • 3D Printer Dimensions: 440 x 410 x 465 mm
  • Ender 3 Weight: 8kg
  • Ender 3 Layer Resolution: up to 0.1mm
  • Ender 3 Print speed: maximum 200mm/s
  • Heated Bed: Yes
  • Nozzle Size: 0.4mm
  • Single or Dual Extruder: Single
  • Maximum Nozzle Temperature: 255C
  • Maximum Heated Bed Temperature: 110C
  • Connectable: by USB or SD card
  • Touchscreen: No, but has an LCD screen and turning knob for selecting options
  • Automatic Leveling: Upgradable

Material Specs:

  • Ender 3 Compatible Filaments: PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU, flexible filaments, carbon fiber filaments, wood filaments
  • Material Diameter: 1.75mm
  • Third Party Material Compatible: Yes

Software Specs:

  • 3D printer software: Cura, Slic3r, Simplify3D & more
  • Compatible File Types: STL file, OBJ, G-Code

Where to buy the Creality Ender 3?

Being one of the most popular 3D printers in the world, the Ender 3 can be purchased online all across the world.

North America: USA & Canada

Europe

Australia

Conclusion

To conclude, we are very impressed with the Creality Ender 3, with Creality turning out hit after hit following on from the very impressive CR-10 line. It’s reliable, fairly accurate, low cost and very upgradable and versatile.

If you’re a hobbyist looking to experiment with 3D printing, this is one of the best entry level 3D printers you could choose. However, if you’re a prosumer, run a business or need a high-resolution 3D printer for intricate designs, you will need to purchase a more expensive machine.

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