When it comes to FDM printers (fused deposition modelling), there are few cons when you are looking at the Ender 3 range, especially if you are a beginner to 3D printing.
It is primarily designed for hobbyists, with a fantastic price range. They produce excellent results, and you can even customize them! How awesome!
The Ender 3 Pro and the Ender 3, are so similar they are also identical, with so many features that make them feel like a steal for what you pay for them. However, they do also have a few imperative features that make them differ.
In our comparison we will take a look at these differences, and so if you are torn between the two, hopefully this will help you figure which is best suited to you and your needs.
Personally though, we prefer the Ender 3 Pro, it has so many ‘pros’, showing how hard they worked on getting the faults out of the original version and bettering the whole package.
First of all, let’s take a gander into the primary differences.
Ender 3 Pro Vs Ender 3: The Main Differences
The primary differences between the Creality Ender 3 Pro and the Ender 3 are as follows;
- The Ender 3 Pro has a sturdier baseplate, whereas the Ender 3 does not have the same sturdiness.
- The Ender 3 Pro’s baseplate is flexible and stops it from sticking to your prints, in comparison the Ender 3 baseplate is a bit more troublesome to work with in these areas.
- The Ender 3 Pro is stronger and has a very stable base, in comparison the Ender 3 has a smaller and less stable baseplate.
The Creality Ender 3 Pro printer is a fantastic printer which is for sale for an incredible price, averaging at around $250.
It has some astounding features, which includes; a removable build surface plate, a resume printing function- a feature you will appreciate if you get a power outage and your print gets interrupted.
It also comes mostly assembled, which takes a vast majority of the hassle out of the installation process.
One of the best parts about this printer is that it is fully open source, meaning that even if you are an experienced user, you can improve your printer and share these changes you made for improvement, with a wide variety of fellow users.
It is also great for those who are looking to explore the world of STEM.
Moving on, lets check out some of its specs.
- 220 mm X-axis
- 220 mm Y-axis
- 250 mm Z-axis
- Maximum travelling speed.
- 180 mm per second.
- 1.75 mm ABS/PLA, wood, flexible carbon fiber.
- 0.1 mm to 0.4 mm
Diameter of nozzle
- 0.1 mm to 0.4 mm
- + 0.1 mm
Ender 3 Pro Features
The Ender 3 Pro, has many features that make it great, and a few more than the Ender 3 that make it stand out. For example, it has an aluminum extrusion for the Y-axis base, which makes the printing surface extra stable.
It also has a C-MAG magnetic printing fled, which is flexible and removable both, allowing you to remove your completed prints from the build plate without any hassle. This altogether avoids the issue of your projects getting stuck to the work surface.
The Ender 3 Series in itself is designed to be tinkered with, and many users will find that their experience using them is vastly improved by DIY upgrading.
This can be a bit of a tedium if you seek a printer that works a dream straight from the box, but it can certainly be worth it considering the costs.
It is perfect for those who like to make constant improvements on their machinery and who enjoy tinkering.
The assembly process for the Ender 3 Pro is supposedly pretty straightforward, since it comes semi-assembled. Creality name the installation process as a ‘fun STEM educational experience’.
Users tend to find that the Ender 3 Pro is a well packaged printer, with a selection of tools that you need, as well as helpful step--by step instructions.
That being said, the instructions are not 100% accurate which may lead to a little frustration when you are installing your printer.
Generally though, as far as the assembly process of a 3D printer goes, the Ender 3 Pro printer isn’t half bad, especially since you don’t need to completely assemble the whole thing.
The Ender 3 Pro has all these great features, one of these being a rapid-heating bed. It heats up crazy fast to 110 degrees in less than 5 minutes!
It also has a textured magnetic printing bed, which allows you to safely and easily remove your projects once they are cooled. This is helped by its degree of flexibility, so that you can bend it to ‘pop’ your project from the surface, so to speak.
It has large rubber feet that help to keep it in place, and also help to reduce noise during the printing process. It also has 40 x 40 extrusion for the Y-axis, making it extra stable.
The entire frame comes in a black aluminum and feels pretty sturdy given the low price.
Creality upgraded the extruder print head to the MK10 in this version, doing this to assist in reducing the chance of clogging, especially in the nozzle, as well as tackling uneven extrusions.
The V-slot with POM wheel assists it in a smooth movement, and a noiseless movement, although this is contested by some users.
Projects done with this printer, can be sent for printing either via the USB cable, or via a micro SD card.
As well as this it has a safety protected power supply, as well as that super cool feature of resuming prints even after a power outage.
Our final point on its hardware is that it comes with a one-year warranty, so if something goes wrong in the first year, you are completely covered.
Quality and Performance
Generally, users have found the Ender 3 Pro to produce stellar quality results especially considering its low price. With some tinkering even a beginner is able to create some absolute quality products.
It is compatible with any 1.75 mm filament, that does not require a temperature of higher than 225c to melt. This means that you can create a variety of different products.
However, one of the issues that people tend to have with the Ender 3 Pro is the amount of adjusting and tuning that needs to be carried out in order to get the results that you seek.
Although, it may be the case of a vast majority of budget 3D printers, yet the bed leveling and the belt adjusting takes a while, and it can take quite a substantial amount of fiddling and tinkering to get the correct accuracy.
It can also be rather noisy, even with the rubber feet, which is somewhat of a shame.
Then there is the interface, which is a small display screen that clearly shows you the information you need to know during the printing process, such as the temperature and the position of the axis.
Some users have mixed feelings on the swapping of the filaments, some find it a bit fiddly, and some also find that the wires are a bit messy also. It can also be rather noisy, even with the addition of the rubber feet.
However, despite all this, it is a great printer, performing well, and it can be worth the persistence and tinkering, especially for newbies to the 3D printing game.
Cura 3.0.2 comes with the printer, however, you can download Cura 3.4.1 online, which is a more up-to-date firmware version. These software products work with the Ender 3 Pro’s interface.
Cura is a slicing program, or slicing software, turning a 3D model and slicing it into layers, or G-code, so that the printer understands what it is it has to print.
The interface is pretty standard and simple really, and the best part of it is that there are hundreds of pre-made models that you can download online.
So if you are a beginner you can use these and test out these on your printer before you feel more comfortable moving onto your own.
Cura is a free download software, it is also open source, which makes it fully customizable.
The user community for this is very supportive, and you can find a whole treasure trove of tutorials and free-models online. They also output firmware updates as needed as well.
The Creality store sells replacement parts for the Ender 3 Pro, including extruder nozzles in various sizes for different extrusion needs.
They also sell filaments, including colorful PLA filaments, glow in the dark filaments, metallic filaments, and wood-aesthetic filaments.
The costs of the Ender 3 Pro 3D printer is around $250, making it a competitively priced printer.
In comparison, a printer that is much alike his one ‘The Josef Prusia MK3’, goes for around $900, talk about a bargain!
Although it has its flaws, you may find that these flaws are worth living through, simply because of the all round lower costs
Let’s have a little look at the best and worst parts of the Ender 3 Pro;
- It has a very competitive price point.
- It uses open-source software, allowing you to tinker with it, or even download community made projects.
- It has a flexible printing surface, heated bed, that allows you to easily and carefully remove your projects.
- You can restart a print in the case of an annoying power outage or an issue with power supply, you can just pick back up where you left off.
- It has upgraded printer extrusion.
- It is not the quietest of machines.
- The wires can be messy and get all over the place.
- Some users had issues with the belt having to adjust it, not a major issue but something to be mindful of.
- It can take some fiddling around to get the accuracy right on it.
The Ender 3 is a printer that is used and enjoyed by many 3D printing users, it is considered to be one of the best performing low cost 3D printers you can buy, for around $200 on Amazon.com.
This is a fantastically low price for a printer, but sadly, it does show it, since it has a few flaws that the Pro version ironed out, but linger in this version.
Let’s have a look at the specs.
- 220 mm X-axis.
- 220 mm Y-axis.
- 250 mm Z-axis.
- 180 mm/ s
- 1.75 mm ABS/ PLA, wood aesthetic, flexible carbon fiber.
- 0.1 mm - 0.4 mm
Diameter of nozzle
- 0.4 mm
- + 0.1 mm
Ender 3 Features
The Ender 3 is appealing to new users of 3D printers, mostly due to the excellent price point.
The only problem is that it is not all that easy to use right from the box, this is because it takes a lot of tinkering, tweaking, and adjustments to get it just right.
For the price you pay for it though, it does have a lot of fantastic features, including the build plate, power recovery modes, and a great filament pathway.
When you get the Ender 3 home, you will have to assemble it. Although it is pretty simplistic when it comes to putting it together, the process of doing so will not always be as easy as you would like it to be.
The bed leveling knobs will help, but the calibration takes a long time to get right.
But, it is not entirely impossible and there are a vast community of users online who may be able to help you out with that tricky calibration.
But nonetheless, much like the Pro version, it is not a tricky setup, for a 3D printer.
The hardware itself is astounding for the price. The frame sides are great and are fairly sturdy, very much similar to the Ender 3 Pro.
It also has the safely protected power supply. On the downside, the print bed area is rather flimsy in comparison to the Pro version. This can cause issues during the printing process.
Regardless of this, the Pro and the Ender 3 itself are very similar. It can come with a one-year warranty, so that you are covered for the first year for any problems.
Quality and Performance
There are three things you need to consider in this category. First of all you have to deal with the wobbly and uneven base.
Then with 3D printing you will need to keep the machine as still as possible to get an even and professional looking result.
If you can keep the machine sturdy, it will not make much of a difference, but it is a shame that this fault is present.
The second thing we want to look at is the bed. It is rather flimsy, which can be the cause of some issues during the printing, it will also need re-leveling often.
And, sadly, some materials and projects can often get stuck to the bed, a problem that was fixed in the Pro version.
All things considered, it is not all bad news. With much persistence and patience, you can still get good results from the Ender 3 printer.
As a matter of fact, many users are constantly impressed by the quality of results they have managed to get from this unique budget printer.
Similar to the Pro version, the Ender 3 works by using Cura, which is downloadable.
One other thing that is worth mentioning about Cura is that there is a growing community of people who use it on YouTube, so if you are a visual learner, seeking a tutorial on how to use this, there are a plethora of videos available for this purpose.
You can get an upgrade for the Ender 3 in the form of a surface tempered glass bed plate with a chemical coating, this is done to fix the issues that people have often had with the plate, as we mentioned previously.
At $25 on average, it still works out to buy this alongside the Ender 3 as an upgrade, than it is to buy the Ender 3 Pro.
Furthermore, you can buy filaments online, as well as replacement nozzles.
You can pick up the Ender 3 online for around a cost of $200, which makes it a very low budget 3D printer.
Let’s take a look at the best and the worst parts of the Ender 3 3D printer:
- Open-source nature makes it a great choice for more advanced users.
- Excellent price point makes it good for those who are on a tight budget.
- With a bit of tinkering and playing around, you can still get fantastic results.
- The base is a bit wobbly and uneven.
- It may require fiddling about with before you can achieve an acceptable accuracy.
- The bed plate is flimsy and can sometimes cause projects to get stuck.
The Ender 3 Pro is pretty much an improved version of the original Ender 3. A vast majority of the issues found with the Ender 3 are fixed in the pro version. There is only a $50 price difference between the two models.
It is pretty close competition, but let’s look at where these two machines differ in each category.
When it comes to the hardware of these devices the Pro wins the gold. The flexible base is a fantastic addition, as well as the sturdy, strong and level frame.
Once again, we have to give the Pro the gold medal here, although the Pro does take a bit of tinkering to get accurate accuracy from, it still has the advantage that it does not wobble, and you will not have to worry about your freshly printed models getting stuck to the base.
This is probably one of the areas in which the Pro improved the best on the original model.
Not an area in which the Pro wins, the Ender 3 wins this round. Its simply one of the tip-top best budget 3D printers out there, if you look at the right time and in the right place, you could even grab it for under $200.
Since they both use the same software, we will call this a tie, there is no winner here.
As a beginner, you do not want to get something that gives you a headache upon arrival and that you want to hurl out the window within an hour of using.
So, you probably want to know which is best for you. We would have to say that, the extra $50 for the pro model is worth spending here, since it eliminates a majority of the issues that you may come across that would be annoying as a beginner.
You will still have a bit of a learning curve if you are a total newbie to the 3D printing scene, so it is worth making the process as easy as possible for yourself by investing in the Pro model.
Frequently Asked Questions
How loud is the Ender 3?
The Ender 3 has been noted to be very loud, thanks to the fans and steppers which make a rather high-pitched noise.
That being said, there are a few ideas presented by fellow users online, on how to reduce this level of noise.
Can the Ender 3 print metal?
The Ender 3 can handle a temperature of up to 225 °C. But you should bear in mind the material of the nozzles on the machine.
The nozzles are made of brass which is fairly soft, so it is not really suited to printing metal.
If you shop around though you may be able to score yourself a resistant nozzle that can cope with printing metal. You can however get ‘Metal-like filaments’, which make for a great substitute.
To wrap things up, the Ender 3 series printer has made 3D printing accessible to low budget users who are looking for a printer that will fulfil their needs.
The fact that you can get great quality stellar prints from both of them is fantastic. We think that the Ender 3 printer is loved by so many, mainly due to its incredibly low price, especially if you snag it while it is on sale.
If you are on a budget, you could use the money you would save from not buying the Pro version, on filaments, allowing you to get started straight away.
However, it does have some issues, so it is very dependent on which is your main focus of preference and importance.
To us, the best option is to pay the extra amount to fix the issues with the Ender 3, by getting the Ender 3 Pro.
Since it fixed so many of the painstaking issues in the Ender 3, beyond even just a firmware update, as well as dealing with critical design flaws.
Both options make for a fantastic 3D printer, and it is brilliant to see budget-friendly 3D printers on the market, and being so loved.