Creality Ender 3 Review: Best 3D Printer Under $400
Emmett Mansell

Creality Ender 3 Review: Best 3D Printer Under $400

The Ender 3 is a phenomenon: Never have so many people shown interest in a low-cost 3D printer – and rightly so! In this review, we’ll show you why.

The pre-assembled kit sits beneath the popular Creality CR-10 in terms of Creality’s 3D printer lineup. There’s also the Ender 3 Pro, which irons out some of the minor flaws of the Ender 3.

Pros & Cons


Incredibly affordable
Decent print volume
High quality prints are achievable
Open source
Tight filament path improves compatibility with flexible filament
Easy assembly
Compact design
Increasing number of upgrades available to 3D print


Slight wobble from uneven base, making it difficult to level
Adhesion sometimes needed to get prints to stick to bed
Manual calibration required
Flimsy bed needs to be re-leveled from time to time


Let’s not beat around the bush here. One of the most appealing features of the Creality Ender 3 is its incredibly low price point. While the cost slightly varies depending on the provider you purchase it from, this 3D printer can currently be found for under $199. At the moment, in some online stores, the Creality Ender 3 is cheaper than its predecessor, aptly named the Ender 2.

The differences in design between the Creality Ender 3 and Ender 2 are slight, but still worth mentioning. The latest iteration still retains its CR-10 vibe, with aluminum extrusions comprising the frame and a single leadscrew driving the Z-axis from the left hand side of the frame. However, unlike its forebear, which featured a cantilever style that left the X-axis rail projecting into thin air, the Creality Ender 3 completes the loop and closes the frame out.

The Creality Ender 3 features a modestly sized heated print bed that measures 220 x 220 x 250mm, which is nearly double that of the Ender 2. Atop the platform is a BuildTak-like print bed sticker, which should mean fewer prints coming unstuck from the bed mid-print.

Another impressive feature of the Creality Ender 3 is its ability to fully recover and resume a print after losing power or getting disconnected. This is a feat made popular by the Prusa i3 MK3 3D printer, but the fact that it was implemented into a sub-$400 3D printer makes it worthy of mentioning.

On the right hand side of the Creality Ender 3 frame is an LCD display with control wheel. Your typical interface setup for Creality’s machines, if you’ve used one of the company’s previous printers, this will no doubt be familiar territory. Still, unlike the CR-10, this control panel is attached to 3D printer rather than included as a standalone component, making the full package more compact and portable.

Creality recently made the Ender 3 completely open source – a first for a Chinese 3D printer manufacturer.

All of the features make the Creality Ender 3 sound pretty compelling, but printing speaks louder than words. So, we decided to put this 3D printer to the test by building it and taking it out for a test drive.

After spending a couple of weeks tweaking and printing on the Creality Ender 3, our impression seemed to grow fonder the more time we spent with this 3D printer. The experience did include a few speed bumps along the way, but none of the issues we had were insurmountable. All in all, the Creality Ender 3 is an extraordinary 3D printer when you take the sub-$400 price tag into consideration.
There are a number of features that make the Creality Ender 3 one of the most po

popular machines currently on the market. It has a build volume of 220 x 220 x 250mm, a BuildTak-like heated build plate, power recovery mode and a tight filament pathway that makes it easier to print with flexible materials. These are attributes that are difficult to find in even more expensive printers…

As for printing performance, the Creality Ender 3 exceeded our initial expectations. We experimented with PLA, PETG, ABS, flexible and exotic filaments, and while there were some adhesion and warping issues with ABS, along with some wood filament difficulties, we managed to print successfully with all of the materials at the end of the day.

The 3D printer is easy to assemble and–although it requires manual calibration–the enlarged bed leveling knobs make the process convenient. Once calibration is perfected (it might take a few attempts), the Creality Ender 3 ultimately became indistinguishable from printers that are closer to the $1000 range.

The most glaring issue presented by the Creality Ender 3 is the uneven base, which causes a slight wobble to the entire 3D printer. We were able to solve this by placing a wedge under one corner, but still, this initial problem was definitely a cause for concern as stability is a critical part to a quality 3D printer.

Otherwise, we didn’t have many other qualms with the Creality Ender 3. There were some bed adhesion issues with certain materials, such as ABS, but adding some adhesive solution to the build plate solved this rather quickly.

The Creality Ender 3 is an excellent option for beginners or makers on a budget. While this 3D printer does have its flaws, the affordability makes it a worthwhile investment. Unlike other budget options in this price range, like the Anet A8, the Creality Ender 3 is prepared for high-quality 3D printing right out of the box. On top of that, the growing community surrounding this 3D printer has led to more and more upgrades.

Creality also offers an “Ender 3 Pro”, which has a detachable magnetic heated bed and improvements to the Y-axis to achieve a better print quality. This makes the Ender 3 Pro more expensive. 

There are certainly better 3D printers available on the market, but none seem to fuse quality and affordable quite like the Creality Ender 3. It might require a bit of tweaking and patience to achieve the ideal print quality, but the high potential that this budget 3D printer offers makes well worth the battle.

Creality Ender-3 V2 High Precision 3D Printer with 220 x 220 x 250mm Printing Size UI Display Mute Upgraded Version



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