Anet A8 vs Creality Ender-3 In-Depth Review
Anet A8 Basics
The Anet A8 is an unassembled 3D printer kit that comes in dozens of pieces and must be built from scratch. It requires a solid Sunday afternoon to build, taking most users between 8 and 10 hours to construct. Once built, this cheap 3D printer kit produces solid printing results with decent specs for the price.
Starting with an 8.6” x 8.6” x 9.4” build volume, the Anet A8 is large enough for most projects and won’t limit you like some other cheap 3D printers. You may upload models via either tethered USB or SD card, and from there select from resolutions between 100 and 300 microns and print speeds up to 100mm/s. Connect via either tethered USB or SD card to upload models.
This 3D printer comes with a heated aluminum print bed that heats up to 100°C and an extruder that heats up to 250°C. Despite the sales page’s claims that the Anet A8 can print with high temp filaments like PC and nylon, we don’t recommend this as the extruder is lined with PTFE tubing. You need an all-metal extruder if you want to print with anything more exotic than ABS or PLA.
Creality Ender-3 Basics
Like the Anet A8, the Creality Ender-3 is also a DIY build kit. The difference, however, is that the Ender-3 is much easier and quicker to build. You need very little building experience and just 2 hours to build the Ender-3. That makes this 3D printer a smarter choice for beginners.
Once built, the Creality Ender-3 boasts an 8.6” x 8.6” x 9.6” build volume, similar to the Anet A8. Print speeds are a bit quicker, maxing out at 200mm/s, though both machines operate best under 50mm/s. Also similar to the Anet 8, the Ender-3 reaches resolutions down to 100 microns and gives users the choice of either PLA or ABS filament out of the box. Predictably, connectivity options are also the same. Connect to your Ender-3 through tethered USB or SD.
Anet A8 vs Creality Ender-3 Similarities: Value and Basic Specs
The most obvious similarity between the Anet A8 and Creality Ender-3 is price. Both of these printers are incredibly affordable on almost any budget. Of course, these printers also look similar as they are both essentially cheap Prusa i3 clones.
With that in mind, these two machines also share almost identical specs. They share large build volumes, maximum resolutions, aluminum print beds, and filament compatibility. In fact, you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that the A8 and Ender-3 are basically the same machine! While there are some key differences we discuss in the next section, it’s true that these 3D printers have a lot in common. Indeed, both the A8 and Ender-3 also share poor, difficult-to-use interfaces and lack some convenience features like automatic bed calibration.
Anet A8 vs Creality Ender-3 Differences: Build Time and Construction Quality
Not all DIY 3D printer build kits are the same, and there’s no greater example of this than the difference between the A8 and the Ender-3. The A8 requires some technical skill and care to build, especially since it requires some light electrical work. You don’t need to solder anything, but you do have to make secure, correct connections. It takes 8+ hours to build the A8, and expect to employ some creative problem solving due to the sometimes incomplete or confusing directions.
The Ender-3, on the other hand, takes just a couple hours to complete. With the A8, you must construct the frame and install the hardware and wiring. The Ender-3, on the other hand, requires only that you piece together the frame with a few screws and install components like the extruder. It’s a very simple process almost anyone can do.
Another major point of difference is overall construction quality. The A8 uses an acrylic frame, while the Ender-3 uses a sturdier aluminum frame. By using aluminum, the Ender-3 remains relatively light while offering superior stability during prints. This results in better print quality.
Anet A8 vs Creality Ender-3 Verdict
Although these two printers are both super affordable, the Anet A8 is actually quite a bit cheaper than the Ender-3. The result is that the A8 cuts corners the Ender-3 doesn’t have to. Unless you’re really set on the idea of building your own 3D printer from complete scratch, there’s no real upside to choosing the Anet A8. The Ender-3 produces better prints “out of the box” and without modification, which appeals to those who just want to buy a working printer. It’s still highly modifiable, however, and print quality can be improved even more with some small upgrades.
The same can’t be said for the Anet A8. Not only does the A8 take longer to build, which leaves more room for error, but the print results are just average compared to the Ender-3. Whether this is due to shoddy hardware, the tricky build, the acrylic frame, or all of the above, the bottom line is that there’s no reason to suffer any of it since the Ender-3 actually costs less than the Anet A8.
The Anet A8 and the Creality Ender-3 may look like very similar 3D printers, but we think one is the obvious choice. Pick the Ender-3 unless your heart is set on building a 3D printer from scratch.