Creality may be trying to phase the Ender 3 out in lieu of their new model, the Ender 3 V2. The Ender 3 is still available, though, so which one should you get? The tried and true Ender 3 with its budget-friendly pricetag or the newer, shinier version with upgraded features? Today we compare the Ender 3 vs the Ender 3 V2 to help you decide which is best for you.
In-Depth Ender 3 vs Ender 3 V2 Review
Ender 3 Basics
Things are going to look very similar here so we’ll keep it short. The Ender 3’s print volume measures 8.6″ x 8.6″ x 9.8″ over a heated aluminum print bed. This setup allows you to print in PLA, ABS, or TPU, though you may want to upgrade to a direct drive extruder if you plan to use a lot of flexible filament.
Max print resolution is set to 100-microns and out of the box, print quality is about what you would expect for a sub-$200 machine. Models look okay, but better once you dial in the right slicing settings and a tweak around with the printer itself.
Use either a microSD card or a USB cable to connect with this model and control the printer from a turn-knob interface. To get an more in-depth look at the Ender 3, check out or full review.
Ender 3 V2 Basics
Get ready for some déjà vu. The Ender 3 V2 also features a roomy 8.6″ x 8.6″ x 9.8″ build volume, basic 100-micron print resolution, and remains compatible with ABS, PLA, and TPU filament. Just like the Ender 3, the V2 comes with a direct drive extruder, so remember to upgrade for better results with TPU.
One main difference is the new textured glass print bed. It works a little better than the Ender 3’s aluminum plate, providing better adhesion and much improved model removal.
The Ender 3 V2’s user interface has received a small upgrade, however you’re still limited to microSD or tethered USB connectivity. Of course, both models also use all-metal construction and arrive partially assembled. For a deeper dive into the Ender 3 V2, read our full review.
Ender 3 vs Ender 3 V2 Comparison Similarities: Base Specs
As you’ve already read, Creality didn’t exactly reinvent the wheel when designing the Ender 3 V2. The V2 achieves the same basic milestones as the original and produces very similar results. Print quality is good but not great out of the box, the standard 8” x 8” x 9.6” build volume is exactly the same, and both print with the same filaments. You’ll still need to upgrade to an all-metal hotend for more exotic filaments, and the extruder setup is still a cheap stock model whether you buy the Ender 3 or the V2.
Even with Creality doing some of the work for you, the Ender 3 V2 is still extremely moddable. You should even expect to do some basic troubleshooting to get the results you want, whether that means adjusting screws and belts or fiddling with slicer settings. Both of these printers work fine out of the box but have a lot of potential depending on how much time you want to invest.
Ender 3 vs Ender 3 V2 Comparison Differences: Price and Overall Longevity
Let’s address the elephant in the room: the Ender 3 V2 is about $50-$80 more expensive than the Ender 3. So, what makes up this difference in price if the specs are all the same? To start, Creality designed the Ender 3 V2 with a textured glass print bed, which is much improved over the aluminum print bed found on the Ender 3. Adhesion and removal are both smooth experiences and the glass bed will last longer, too. Next, Creality upgraded the PSU to a Meanwell model and changed the positioning so that it’s located underneath the machine now. This is a neater and frankly safer design.
There are a few other quality-of-life improvements customers are sure to enjoy. The XY-belt tensioner makes maintenance a little easier and will extend the life of your belt. The Ender 3 V2 is also much quieter than its predecessor thanks to the upgraded motherboard and near silent stepper motors.
The Ender 3 V2 features an updated user interface, too, but we’re not as excited about this change. There’s still no touch screen, so you must use a turn-knob to browse settings. This new system isn’t ideal, though it’s at least prettier than the original. We’re not sure how much a touch screen would add to the cost of this model but considering that other low-cost printers use them (like the Anycubic Mega series), we expected something nicer from the V2.
Ender 3 vs Ender 3 V2 Comparison Verdict
It’s clear with the Ender 3 Pro and V2 that Creality are trying to phase out the original Ender 3. As such, the Ender 3 has never been cheaper, which is great news for anyone looking for a budget starter printer. For ~$200, we still feel the Ender 3 provides great value despite being an older model.
That said, we would suggest the Ender 3 V2 over its predecessor. The Ender 3 V2 is simply a better 3D printer and the upgrades are well worth the additional cost.
Of course, like the Ender 3, the Ender 3 V2 isn’t without problems. For example, the cheap compression springs can cause your bed to misalign over time. Expect some issues like this as the price of a budget 3D printer and be prepared to make some upgrades of your own over time. Overall, the Ender 3 V2 is our choice in this comparison and is clearly superior to the Ender 3.