You may have heard that the Ender 3 printer is one of the most popular entry-level 3D printers. But since the initial success of the Ender 3, Creality has released many different versions of printers that all fall under the name “Ender 3.” Here we’ll break down the differences between each version of Ender 3 printer to help you decide which one is best for your 3D printing requirements.
Read on to see the differences between the Ender 3, Ender 3 Pro, Ender 3 V2, Ender 3 Max, Ender 3 S1, and Ender 3 S1 Pro.
Differences Between Ender 3 Versions
|Ender 3||Ender 3 Pro||Ender 3 V2||Ender 3 Max||Ender 3 S1||Ender 3 S1 Pro|
|Build Size (mm)||220 x 220 x 250||220 x 220 x 250||220 x 220 x 250||300 x 300 x 340||220 x 220 x 270||220 x 220 x 270|
|Print Bed||Textured Plastic||Magnetic Plate||Glass||Glass||Steel Sheet||Steel Sheet|
|Max Print Temp.||240 ºC||255 ºC||260 ºC||260 ºC||260 ºC||300 ºC|
|Heated Print Bed||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅|
|Dual Cooling Fans||❌||❌||❌||✅||✅||✅|
|Auto Bed Leveling||❌||❌||❌||❌||✅||✅|
Released in 2018, the original Ender 3 printer was one of the cheapest 3D printers on the market at the time, and continues to be a great value FDM printer.
While the Ender 3 provides a good value for the price, there are a couple of downsides that come with the lower cost. The main issue with the Ender 3 is its cheap power supply. Looking around online, you’ll find several users reporting issues with their Ender 3’s power supply.
So even though you may save money by purchasing an original Ender 3 printer, you should consider the cost and hassle of replacing its power supply should it eventually have issues.
As opposed to later versions of the Ender 3, the original uses a plastic extrusion for the Y-axis base. This leads to less stability than later versions that use aluminum extrusions.
Ender 3 Pro
The Ender 3 Pro was released alongside the Ender 3 as a slightly more expensive and improved version of the Ender 3. We’ve compared the Ender 3 to the Ender 3 Pro before, but here are the main improvements over the original Ender 3 printer:
Better Structural Stability
The original Ender 3 used a plastic extrusion for the y-axis base. For an entry-level printer this was sufficient, but lead to a more wobbly base than a metal extrusion would have.
With the Ender 3 Pro, Creality went with all aluminum extrusions, helping with the printer’s stability and durability.
Improved Power Supply
Creality heard their customers’ concerns with the Ender 3’s power supply and equipped the Ender 3 Pro with a better power supply from MeanWell, a reputable power supply manufacturer. The improved power supply is thinner, quieter, and more powerful than the original Ender 3’s power supply.
Detachable Magnetic Printing Bed
While the Ender 3 and Ender 3 pro share the same textured printing surface, the Ender 3 Pro’s print surface is attached magnetically. This makes it quicker and easier to remove prints and re-attach the printing surface to the print bed.
Ender 3 V2
Just as the Ender 3 Pro improved on the Ender 3, the Ender 3 V2 further improves upon the Ender 3 Pro.
One of the first things you’ll notice looking at the Ender 3 is that it has a new, sleeker design. With the Ender 3 and Ender 3 Pro, the overall design was pretty good for a budget-friendly printer, but there were exposed wires peeking out in various places. With the redesign of the Ender 3 V2, the wires are completely out of sight once the printer is fully assembled.
Though the Ender 3 V2 still has a radial dial for making selections on its screen, the screen has been updated to a full-color screen with a new UI to make it easier to navigate through print settings and controls.
The Ender 3 V2 features a newer and quieter motherboard than it’s predecessor, making the motherboard nearly silent when printing.
Glass Print Bed
Though it took a step back from being magnetically attachable back to being attached with clips, the glass print bed is widely seen as superior to the textured plastic and C-Mag surfaces of previous Ender Models.
Ender 3 Max
Released 2 years after the original Ender 3, the Ender 3 Max expands upon the original’s success with a larger print volume and a few additional upgrades.
Larger Print Size
As the name might suggest, one of the main selling points of the Ender 3 Max is its significantly larger printable area. Its print volume is 300 x 300 x 340 mm.
While the Ender 2 V2 has a plastic extruder housing, the extruder housing on the Ender 3 Max is fully metal, making it much more sturdy and durable over time.
Dual Cooling Fans
Printed layers being able to cool fast is a necessity to print stringing and produce high-quality prints. Having two fans directly attached to the extruder assembly makes proper cooling much easier and was a great addition to the Ender 3 series printers first seen in the Ender 3 Max.
Ender 3 S1
CR Touch Auto Leveling
One of the biggest challenges when setting up 3D printers is making sure that the print surface is completely level. Leveling the print bed can be somewhat tedious and intimidating for those just getting into 3D printing, and it’s often difficult to get the bed completely level. The Ender 3 S1 helps with this by introducing “CR Touch” auto leveling the Ender 3 series. The CR Touch consists of a sensor that attaches to the printhead and measures the distance to the build plate in various places across the print surface. The printer then adjusts its distance from the print bed as it prints, meaning that even if the bed is slightly unlevel, the extruder will remain a constant distance from the build plate for the first layer.
Although, the auto leveling doesn’t actually adjust the build plate levelness, it can help avoid some imperfections if the build plate isn’t completely properly leveled.
Dual Z-Axis Lead Screws
The Ender 3 S1 is the first in the Ender 3 series to have two vertical lead screws. As opposed to previous printers, there is a lead Z-Axis lead screw on each side of the printing bed. This ensures that the extruder gantry is being evenly lifted and won’t sag over time. In combination with the auto leveling mentioned above, this leads to more reliable alignment and more accurate prints.
New Sprite Direct Extruder
Creality’s sprite extrude is a more powerful direct-drive extruder than used on previous Ender 3 printers, while also being lighter. The sprite extruder has dual gears, meaning that it can control the filament being pushed through it more precisely than previous extruders that only utilized a single drive gear.
Ender 3 S1 Pro
You may have guessed it from the name (which is kind of a mouthful): the Ender 3 S1 Pro improves upon the Ender 3 S1. In addition to all of the upgrades that the S1 introduced, the S1 Pro has the following improvements:
Of all the Ender 3 printers that have been released, the Ender 3 S1 Pro is the first to feature a touch screen display. Not having to scroll over each menu item one-by-one is a big improvement for usability.
Higher Printing Temperatures
With a max printing temperature of 300 ºC, the Ender 3 S1 Pro has the highest printing temperature in the Ender 3 series. With such a high max temp., there aren’t many materials that the S1 Pro is unable to extrude.
Overhead LED Light
Though it’s primarily an aesthetic change, the Ender 3 S1 Pro features an LED light over the printing bed. The LED can come in handy for filming your printing time lapses with better lighting throughout the day or overnight.