Creality Ender 3 S1 review and specifications
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Creality Ender 3 S1 Review: A New Standard

Creality Ender 3 S1 Review Summary
CONCLUSION
The Creality Ender 3 S1 is a great 3D printer with a number of features that weren't available before in 3D printers at this price point. Its few shortcomings are relatively minor complaints in the grand scheme of things, and overall we think the Ender 3 S1 is an impressive machine that offers good value for the money.
WHAT WE LIKE
  • Great print results
  • Powerful dual-gear direct extruder
  • Reliable auto bed leveling
  • PC coated spring steel bed
  • Relatively silent
  • Solid build quality
  • Easy to assemble
COULD BE BETTER
  • Poor quality instructions
  • No touch screen
  • Underdeveloped firmware
Features
Print Quality
Build Quality
Ease of Use
Value
OVERALL
4.0
EXCELLENT

With its Ender 3 series, Creality established itself as a reliable and affordable entry-level 3D printer manufacturer. The Ender 3 S1 is the company’s latest offering, and it looks to improve upon its predecessors by including a number of new features while still maintaining an attractive price point.

In this Ender 3 S1 review, we’ll take a look at what the S1 has to offer and see how it stacks up against the competition.

Creality Ender 3 S1 Specifications

Creality Ender 3 S1 Specs
Price Creality | Creality3DOfficial | MatterHackers | Amazon
Printing Technology FDM
Print Size 220 x 220 x 270mm
8.66 x 8.66 x 10.63 inch
Machine Size 487 x 453 x 622mm
19.17 x 17.83 x 24.49 inch
Print Precision ±0.1mm
Printing Speed 150mm/s maximum
Max. Nozzle Temperature 260°C
Max. Bed Temperature 100°C
Bed Surface PC Spring Steel Sheet
Layer Thickness 0.05-0.35mm
Nozzle Diameter 0.4mm
Supported Filaments PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU
Extruder Count 1
Extruder Type Sprite Direct Extruder
Filament Diameter 1.75mm
Bed Leveling CR Touch
Filament Sensor Yes
Resume Printing Yes
Screen Type Color, non-touch, control knob
Product Weight 9.1KG / 20.06LB
Slicer Software Creality Slicer, Simplify3D, Cura, Repetier-Host
Supported File Format STL, OBJ, AMF
Printing Method Type-C USB, SD card
Rated Voltage 115/230v 50/60Hz 4.5/2.5A
Rated Power 350W
Languages English, Chinese

Printing Technology

The Creality Ender 3 S1 is a 3D printer that uses fused deposition modeling (FDM) technology. FDM is what most hobbyist 3D printers use. It’s an additive manufacturing process in which a filament is melted and extruded through a nozzle to create a three-dimensional object layer by layer.

With this technology, you can 3D print objects in a variety of materials, including PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU, and more.

FDM stands in contrast with resin printing, which is the other main type of 3D printing technology. Resin printing uses a liquid resin that is cured with ultraviolet light to create objects layer by layer.

FDM printers, like the Ender 3 S1, are often favored over resin printers because of their easier operation, wider material choice, and larger print volume.

If your 3D printing requirements involve precision and detail, you might be better off with a resin 3D printer. If not, keep on reading this Ender 3 S1 review!

Ender 3 S1 Box Contents

The S1 3D printer in its shipping box

As is starting to become more common with hobbyist 3D printers nowadays, the Ender 3 S1 is shipped partially assembled in a foam-packed box. The benefit of this is that you don’t have to do as much work to get the printer up and running. However, it does add a bit to the overall cost of the printer since you’re essentially paying someone else to do part of the assembly for you.

The foam padding is more than adequate for protecting the Ender 3 S1 during shipping, and our sample arrived in perfect condition.

Included in the box, you’ll find:

  • Partially assembled Ender 3 S1 3D printer
  • Z-axis gantry
  • LCD screen assembly
  • Sprite extruder
  • Spool holder parts
  • Filament sensor
  • A variety of bolts
  • Optional Z end-stop
  • SD card with USB adapter
  • Manual and other documentation
  • Spare nozzle
  • A variety of tools (pliers, print spatula, hex keys, nozzle cleaner, etc.)
  • Sample filament
  • Power cable

In short, everything you need to get started with 3D printing is included in the box. The only thing you’ll need to purchase separately is filament. The included sample filament is a nice touch, but it is not going to last you very long.

An overview of the components from the Ender 3 S1 unboxing

Getting Started With the Creality Ender 3 S1

As we mentioned, the Ender 3 S1 ships partially assembled. The majority of the assembly work has already been done for you, which makes things much easier. However, there are still a few steps that you need to do in order to get the printer up and running.

Don’t worry, assembly is all straightforward and should only take you about 15-20 minutes. Anyone can do it, you don’t have to do any soldering or crimping, and all of the necessary tools are included in the box.

Assembly

Full assembly instructions are included in the manual, but we’ll give you a quick overview of what’s involved.

The first thing you need to do is attach the Z-axis gantry to the base of the Ender 3 S1. This is done by threading four M5 screws through the bottom of the printer base and into the gantry.

The installation of the Z-axis gantry in the assembly of the Ender 3 S1

Next, you need to attach the extruder assembly. This is done by clipping the extruder on the X-axis carriage and screwing in the included 4 M3 bolts to secure it.

An allen key used to install the

Now you need to install the spool holder. This is a quick and easy process, you just clamp it onto the top of the printer frame. We would have liked to see a more secure mounting system here, but it seems to stay in place well enough. Especially when it is weighed down by a filament spool.

A black plastic injection molded spool holder on the top of a 3D printer

Next is to install the LCD screen. First, attach its plastic mounting brackets with three included M3 screws, and then clip the screen into place.

The installation of a 3D printer LCD screen on its plastic mount

After that, it is a matter of plugging in all the wiring. The instructions for this are included in the manual, but they aren’t the most clear. Take your time and you should be able to decipher them, however.

The unclear equipment wiring instructions in the Ender 3 S1 manual

Lastly, make sure that the voltage selector switch on the power supply is set to the correct voltage for your region (230V or 110V). Having this set to the wrong voltage can damage the power supply and/or the Ender 3 S1 itself, so make sure to double-check.

A 3D printer power supply voltage selector indicating 230V

Once you’ve completed these steps, your Ender 3 S1 should be fully assembled.

Setup

There is a bit more to do before you can start 3D printing. To our surprise, these steps are not covered in the quick start guide. We highly recommend following the steps below to make sure that your Ender 3 S1 works optimally.

The first thing to do is to tighten the X- and Y-axis belts. This is easy to do with the pre-installed belt tighteners. Skipping this step can lead to sub-par print quality and artifacts in your prints.

A hand adjusting the belt tension on the Ender 3 S1 X axis gantry

On our Ender 3 S1, the belt on the X-axis gantry was not tightened at all from the factory. We found that we needed to tighten it by a couple of turns in order to achieve proper belt tension. The Y-axis belt, on the other hand, did have the correct amount of tension.

Next is to adjust the eccentric nuts on the X, Y, and Z axes to make sure the V-wheels make proper contact with the aluminum extrusion. You can do this with one of the included wrenches. The eccentric nuts can be recognized as hexagonal cylinders attached to the round black V-wheels.

On our S1, the Y-axis carriage was extremely loose. If we had run the printer like this, we would have experienced artifacts and poor print quality due to the carriage wobbling around during prints. After adjusting the eccentric nuts, the carriage was nice and snug.

A wrench being used to adjust the eccentric nuts on a 3D printer Y axis carriage

It is likely that our Ender S1 is not the only one that comes from the factory like this, so it is a bit concerning that these steps are not included in the manual.

Next is configuring the leveling and Z offset. The instructions for this are included on a separate paper in the box. Conveniently, that paper also has the right thickness to be used in the Z offset procedure itself.

A piece of paper used to set the Z offset on the Creality Ender 3 S1

This procedure was quick and painless. For reference, our nozzle offset ended up being -3.15mm.

A 3D printer LCD screen displaying a Z offset of -3.15mm

After this, your Ender S1 is ready for its first print.

Ender 3 S1 Features

The Creality Ender 3 S1 has several attributes that make it stand out over other entry-level 3D printers like the Ender 3 V2. These features have increased the cost of the new S1 series, but they also make it a more capable and user-friendly 3D printer.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most notable features of the Ender 3 S1.

Automatic Bed Leveling

A common trend in recent 3D printers is the inclusion of automatic bed leveling. This is a feature that used to be only found on more expensive printers, but the Ender 3 S1 now includes it as well.

Automatic bed leveling is a huge time saver. It eliminates the need to manually level the bed, which can be a tedious and time-consuming process. Instead, the printer does it all for you.

The S1 does the auto leveling with a CR-Touch bed sensor. This sensor is mounted on the Z-axis gantry and is used to automatically measure the build surface before each print.

A close-up of the CR-touch automatic bed leveling sensor on a

It does this by probing the bed at 16 points (a 4×4 grid). It then uses that data to compensate for unevenness in the print surface. As a result, you are practically guaranteed a perfect first layer and get fewer failed prints.

CR-Touch and BLTouch sensors are popular Ender 3 V2 upgrades. Now that a CR-Touch is included with the Ender 3 S1, there is no need to spend your time and money on an aftermarket sensor. A welcome addition, in our opinion.

The S1 does still have leveling wheels for manual leveling, but we recommend only using them if you need to make large adjustments to the bed level. The automatic bed leveling should take care of all your needs if the print bed is reasonably level to start with.

A close-up of a manual bed leveling wheel on a print bed

Dual-Gear Direct Extruder

The Creality Ender

Another notable feature of the Ender 3 S1 is its direct-drive “Sprite” extruder. This is an upgrade from the Ender 3 V2, which uses a Bowden-style extruder.

A direct extruder is generally considered to be superior to a Bowden-style extruder for several reasons.

Mainly, a direct extruder eliminates the need for long and fragile PTFE tubing that can become kinked or clogged. This is a common issue with Bowden-style extruders.

A direct extruder also provides more consistent and reliable prints. This is because it offers better control over the filament, resulting in fewer retraction issues.

Lastly, you can print with flexible filaments like TPU. With a shorter distance between the cold end and the hot end, flexible filaments are less likely to buckle and get stuck in a direct extruder.

With the Ender 3 V2, many users decide to upgrade to a Micro-Swiss direct extruder at some point. You can be sure that the Ender 3 S1 extruder is already capable of delivering great results out of the box.

The two chrome steel gears in the direct dual-gear extruder further improve the performance and reliability of the system. They ensure that the filament is always gripped firmly and prevent it from slipping. In our testing, we found the extruder to be reliable and had no issues with stripped filament, jams, or clogs.

Hot End

A close-up of the hot end of the Ender 3 S1

One limitation of the direct extruder is that it comes with a PTFE-lined hot end. This means that the nozzle temperature is effectively limited to around 250 °C. While this is enough for most filaments, it does limit your options somewhat.

Exceeding the 250 °C nozzle temperature for extended periods of time will cause the internal PTFE tube to degrade. This will eventually lead to clogs and leaks, so this is best to avoid.

If you want to print with a nozzle temperature of up to 300 °C, Creality does sell the Ender S1 Pro 3D printer. This version of the S1 comes with an all-metal hot end that can reach higher temperatures.

However, for most users, the regular Ender 3 S1 will suffice. It can still print with a wide range of filaments, including PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU, wood filaments, and more.

32-bit Mainboard

The mainboard of a Creality Ender 3 S1 3D printer

The Ender 3 S1 comes with a CR-FDM-v2.4.S1_v301 32-bit controller board with silent stepper drivers. This is an improvement over the loud V2.2.2 or V4.3.1 boards that the Ender 3 and 3 Pro used to be shipped with.

The ‘loudness’ of the mainboard is mainly defined by the stepper drivers. With four Trinamic TMC2209 drivers, the Ender 3 S1 is much quieter than older stock Ender 3-series printers.

These stepper drivers are considered silent because they use a technique called ‘stealthChop’. This means that they actively suppress the noise that stepper motors typically produce. The result is a printer that produces fewer vibrations and is much quieter.

We’ll cover the loudness of the Ender 3 S1 in more detail later, as the stepper motors are only a small part of the total equation.

Dual ZAxis

The dual Z-axis stepper motor and lead screw on the Creality Ender 3 S1

One of the most notable improvements that the Ender 3 S1 offers over the V2 is the addition of a second Z-axis motor and lead screw.

With two Z-axis motors, the S1 is much more stable when printing at high speeds. It is also less likely to experience ‘Z-wobble’, a common issue with single Z-axis machines.

A dual Z-axis setup is usually reserved for larger 3D printers. However, considering the extra weight of a direct extruder, it makes sense that Creality would include a second Z-motor on the S1.

Both Z-axis stepper motors are kept in sync via a belt and pulley system. This helps to further improve the stability and accuracy of the printer.

A timing belt and pulleys that synchronize the movement on a dual Z axis setup

For the belts, Creality has used Gates-branded ones. These are known for being high-quality and durable. This is an improvement over the no-name generic timing belts we often see on other 3D printers in this price class.

A close-up of a GATES power grip LL-2GT timing belt

In practice, we found the dual Z-axis system to work well. The printer was able to produce consistent results, even at higher printing speeds. It is definitely an improvement over the single Z-axis system of the Ender 3 V2 and helps to justify the increased price of the S1.

Powder Coated Magnetic Spring Steel Print Bed

A spring steel bed sheet being bent by hand

As a print bed, the Creality Ender 3 S1 uses a powder-coated magnetic spring steel sheet. This is a type of steel that is often used in 3D printer build plates.

The main advantage of using a spring bed is that it is easier to remove prints. This is because the springiness of the steel allows the plate to flex slightly, making it easier to remove prints that are stuck to the plate.

The magnetic sticker on the back of the bed is also a nice touch. It helps to keep the plate in place, while also making it easy to remove when needed. Gone are the days when you needed to use bed clips.

One thing we did notice is that the powdered coating of the print bed has some serious adhesion strength. It is key to dial the Z offset of the printer so that the first layer is not too close to the bed. Otherwise, you may find it difficult to remove your prints.

That said, the PC spring steel print bed of the Ender 3 S1 is still easier to work with than glass beds, as these often give warping without a bed adhesive.

Filament Runout Sensor

A filament runout sensor with gold filament running through it

The Ender 3 S1 comes with a filament runout sensor mounted at the top of the frame, near the spool holder. This is a useful addition that can save you a lot of time and hassle.

The way it works is simple. If the filament runs out or is broken, the sensor will detect it and pause the print.

This is helpful because it means you don’t have to constantly check on the printer to make sure everything is going smoothly. You can just set it and forget it.

Combine this with the Ender 3 S1’s power loss recovery and you have a 3D printer that prevents you from ending up with large failed prints.

Future Upgrades

Interestingly, Creality seems to have included the option for further upgrades to the Ender 3 S1.

For example, on the rear of the 3D printer you can find an extra expansion interface port. This can be used to add a variety of to-be-released upgrades.

A variety of connectors on the Ender 3 S1, with the 'expansion interface' port left empty.

Similarly, the X-axis carriage has a modular design. Swapping out the extruder with a different module can be done by only removing a couple of bolts.

An empty 3D printer X-carriage that can be used to install various modules on

The last piece of the puzzle is the firmware. There is a reference to something called “Switched Laser engraving”. This is likely a reference to a laser engraver upgrade that will be released in the future.

The 'Switched Laser engraving' menu setting that indicates a laser engraving option on the Ender 3 S1

We think that it’s great that Creality has included the option for further upgrades. It shows that they are committed to making the Ender 3 S1 a 3D printer that can grow with your needs.

FIND CREALITY ENDER 3 S1 AT

Ender 3 S1 Build Quality and Construction

The build quality of a 3D printer is important for two reasons. Not only does it affect the precision and accuracy of the machine, but it also affects the long-term durability.

You want your 3D printer to be able to withstand the rigors of extended use without components getting loose, rattling, and vibrating after a while.

Let’s see how the Creality Ender 3 S1 holds up in this department.

Frame

A front view of the smooth linear extrusion used for the S1 3D printer.

The frame of the Ender 3 S1 is made from aluminum extrusions. This helps to keep the printer stable and rigid, while also being light enough to move around when needed.

The use of aluminum extrusions is a common building method for 3D printers. It is a tried and true method that results in a rigid machine that gives more precise positioning of its moving parts.

Creality also included some nice touches, such as vibration-damping feet and cable management channels. These little details help to further improve the build quality of the machine.

One thing to note is that the S1 uses smooth extrusion for its frame. While this does give the 3D printer a nice look, it does make it more difficult to install some aftermarket upgrades. If you are planning on upgrading your machine, keep this in mind.

Wiring

Printed bed and power wires properly crimped with wire ferrules

We were happy to find that all high-current wires on the Ender 3 S1 are properly crimped. This is important because it helps to prevent electrical issues down the road.

This stands in contrast to the Anycubic Kobra we reviewed recently. That machine used simple tinned wires that are known to fail over time.

All of the Ender 3 S1’s wires are also neatly routed and secured in place. This helps to further improve the durability of the 3D printer.

The electronics compartment with wire channels in the Ender 3 S1

The print bed cable also has strain relief to prevent the wires from getting damaged or pulled out over time. An absolute necessity considering the amount of power that travels through these wires.

Another thing to note is Creality’s use of ferrite cores on the power cables. Ferrite cores help to reduce electromagnetic interference (EMI). This can be important in preventing electrical issues.

Power delivery wires wrapped around ferrite cores

It is clear that Creality is not cutting corners when it comes to the wiring of the S1. One of the most important aspects of any 3D printer is its safety. You want to be sure that you are not going to end up with a fire hazard in your home.

Power Supply

A Creality CMS-350-24 350W 24V power supply

The Ender 3 S1 uses a 350W 24V power supply. It has the Creality brand slapped on it, but it is actually a rebranded power supply.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. The power supply is more than powerful enough to run the printer, and in our testing, it has been reliable.

Sound-wise there is nothing to complain about either. Other 3D printer power supplies can be loud under load, this one is relatively quiet. It is definitely still audible, but it is not obtrusive.

Injection Molded Parts

A close-up of an injection molded plastic 3D printer component

All plastic parts of the Ender 3 S1 are injection molded. This includes the LCD enclosure, spool holder, and belt tensioners.

Injection molding is the preferred method of construction for plastic parts. It results in parts that are strong, precise, and consistent.

This is something we prefer to see in 3D printers instead of 3D-printed parts. You can still find these when buying a Prusa i3 MK3S+, for example.

It is good to see that Creality is using injection molded parts for the Ender 3 S1. This helps to further improve print quality.

Parts Drawer

An open tool/parts drawer on the front of the Creality Ender 3 S1

The Ender 3 S1 comes with a parts drawer that is designed to make it easy to store and organize spare parts. You can fill it with various items, such as spare nozzles, screws, and tools, that you would otherwise have lying around on your 3D printer table.

This drawer is a great feature, and we wish more 3D printer manufacturers would include something similar. The drawer itself is well-made and fits snugly into the bottom of the printer.

Build Volume

The build volume of the Ender 3 S1

The build volume of the Ender 3 S1 is 200x200x270 mm. This is a fairly standard print volume for cheaper machines. Despite the higher price, the S1 does not offer anything extra in this area.

Comparable 3D printers, like the Artillery Genius Pro and Creality Ender 3 V2, give you a 200x200x250 mm print volume. So the S1 only offers 20 mm more on the Z-axis.

In practice, this is a negligible difference. But if you are looking for a large 3D printer, the Ender 3 S1 should not be on your list of products to consider.

FIND CREALITY ENDER 3 S1 AT

Ease of Use

User Interface

The LCD screen with knob of the Ender 3 S1

Just like the Ender 3 V2, the S1 comes with a 4.3″ LCD screen with a control knob. We’re not entirely sure why Creality did not go with a touch screen here. However, considering that the Ender 3 S1 Pro does come with a touch screen, it might have been to differentiate the S1 from the higher-end model.

Even though the non-touch LCD screen feels a bit old-fashioned, it is easy enough to use. It has a brand new UI interface, is responsive, bright, and the menus are logically laid out.

After familiarizing ourselves with the interface, we found ourselves navigating quickly through the menus.

The user interface on the LCD uses a dark theme. Pleasant in the dark, but this can be a bit of eye-straining if you are using the printer in a well-lit room.

It would have been nice to see an option to change the theme to a light one. However, this is not a dealbreaker by any means.

On the front of the S1 you will find a USB-C connector and full-size SD card slot. Both are improvements over the microSD card slots and USB-B connectors that can be found on older 3D printers.

The full-size SD card slot and the USB-C connector on the front of a 3D printer

Firmware

The firmware of the Ender 3 S1 is something that Creality can improve upon. The firmware version shipped with our sample was V3.0.3, which has some shortcomings to it.

For starters, linear advance is not enabled by default. This is something that should definitely be enabled, as it can improve print quality significantly.

Another issue we can into is that the audible beep from the interface cannot be disabled. This can be quite annoying, especially if you are printing overnight.

Fortunately, both of these issues can be fixed later by flashing a custom firmware to the 3D printer. However, we do think it is better to have these things configurable right out of the box.

On the plus side, the firmware does let you configure the maximum speed/acceleration/jerk settings through the LCD screen. This is a feature that we really appreciate, as it makes it very easy to fine-tune the performance of the machine.

An overview of the speed/acceleration/jerk setting adjustment options in the Ender 3 S1 firmware

Repairability and Maintenance

It’s always good to know that you can easily repair and maintain your 3D printer. After all, the reality is that something will break at some point.

The Ender 3 S1 is a fairly straightforward machine to maintain. All of the main components are easily accessible, and there are not a lot of delicate parts that can break easily.

For example, the electronics compartment can be easily accessed by removing the panel on the underside of the 3D printer. This gives you quick and easy access to the power supply and controller board.

A demonstration of the ease of access of the Ender 3 S1 electronics compartment

It must be said that a direct extruder is more difficult to disassemble and work on than a Bowden extruder. Not only that, but the extruder on the Ender 3 S1 is also more challenging to work on than other direct extruders, like the one on the Anycubic Kobra.

Considering that you won’t need to disassemble the extruder very often, we don’t see this as a big issue.

Slicer Support

Our sample of the Ender 3 S1 came with Creality Slicer v4.8.0 included. This slicer is basically Creality’s fork of Ultimaker Cura.

Even though it works well, you are better off using the most recent version of Cura instead. Creality Slicer is always slightly out-of-date compared to Cura. If you want the most recent features, Cura is the way to go.

Aside from Cura, you can also use any other slicer you want, like PrusaSlicer. The Ender 3 S1 is not tied to any specific slicing software.

As of writing this, the latest version of PrusaSlicer (2.4.2) comes with a profile for the Ender 3 S1. The latest version of Cura (4.13.1) does not, but it is easy to create one by copying the Ender 3 V2 profile and modifying it with a maximum print height of 270 mm.

Testing Data

Print Speed

The recommended print speed for the Ender 3 S1 is 60-100 mm/s. We tested the printer at different speeds to see how it affected print quality and reliability.

At 60 mm/s, we did not encounter any issues. The prints came out well, with good layer adhesion and no noticeable defects. At 100 mm/s, print quality decreased slightly. There was more ringing and stringing, but the prints were still perfectly usable. You can find some print examples further down.

The maximum print speed of the S1 is listed at 150 mm/s. This is higher than that of the Anycubic Kobra, but this is understandable given that the S1 comes with a dual Z-axis setup.

You can expect significant decreases in print quality of your 3D prints at these speeds, however. We would not recommend printing faster than 100 mm/s unless you are willing to make sacrifices in this area.

Noise Levels

The Ender 3 S1 is a fairly quiet machine during 3D printing. Its power supply fan is less noticeable than the fans on other 3D printers, and the stepper motors make very little noise as well. As a result, there is little need for installing vibration dampeners on the steppers or replacing fans.

The most notable fan is probably the cooling fan for the electronics compartment. If you want to further reduce noise levels, you can replace this cooling fan with a quieter aftermarket variant, like the Noctua NF-A6x25 FLX. In our opinion, this is not necessary though.

A CHA-6024RL-15B brushless fan

We did not measure the loudness of the 3D printer in decibels, as this number is notoriously inaccurate without calibrated equipment and a sound-proofed environment.

However, the sound level of the Ender 3 S1 is similar to that of background music. It’s there, but you will quickly tune it out and not notice it unless you are actively looking for it.

Heated Bed Temperature Uniformity

The print bed temperature of the Creality Ender 3 S1 is surprisingly uniform considering that it does not have any insulation on the underside.

When set to 60°C, the temperature difference between the center and the edges of the bed is only about 2-3 °C.

This uniformity is great if you want to 3D print with filaments that require a consistent print bed temperature, like ABS or PETG. Having a big print bed temperature differential with these filaments can lead to warped prints. With the S1, there is little need to worry about that.

An infrared thermometer measuring a bed temperature of 61.3 degrees celcius.

An infrared thermometer measuring a bed temperature of 59.8 degrees celcius.

Heating Times

The heating times of the Ender S1 are on par with other 3D printers in this price range.

The hotend heats up from room temperature (25°C) to 200 °C in about 60 seconds. Reaching 240 °C takes 30 seconds more.

With the print bed, you’ll have to be more patient. It takes a bit under 2 minutes to reach 60 °C and close to 6 minutes to hit 100 °C.

These are not the fastest heating times we’ve seen, but they are not slow either.

FIND CREALITY ENDER 3 S1 AT

Ender 3 S1 Print Quality

The print quality of the Ender 3 S1 is very good, especially considering the price point. For our review, we printed a selection of test prints from Thingiverse and similar sites. All prints came out well, with no noticeable defects.

Bunny

A 3D printed bunny in silver PLA

This is the printed bunny GCode file that came with the SD card. The print quality is quite good. There is some minor Z-banding at the underside of the bunny that we suspect was caused by a slightly loose X-axis carriage. Adjusting its eccentric nuts solved it in future prints.

A 3D printed bunny in silver PLA

The front of the rabbit shows a couple of small gaps that we are think are caused by Creality setting the seam position to random when generating this GCode. There is also a miniscule amount of stringing present on the ears, but that is to be expected without dialing in any settings.

Jun: The Jungle Queen

A 3D printed

This river boat is a great print quality test. We are very happy with how the Ender 3 S1 did here. The overhangs and bridging on the boat are handled well by the S1. The same can be said for the retractions. We bumped the default retraction for PLA up from 0.8mm to 1.5mm to reduce stringing.

A 3D printed

Only positives to say about this 3D print. The details came out very well and the quality is more than on par with what you would expect from a $400 3D printer.

Articulated Shark

A 3D printed articulated shark in blue PLA

This articulated shark was printed with a higher print speed of 100 mm/s. There seems to be a slight decrease in print quality, but the print is still more than acceptable.

A 3D printed articulated shark in blue PLA

The articulated parts came out with good dimensional accuracy. After taking the print from the bed, the shark was able to articulate and open and close its mouth without any issues.

A model shark taking a bite out of a model river boat

Nom nom.

Birdhouse

To print this birdhouse we swapped the stock Ender 3 S1 0.4mm nozzle out with a 0.6mm E3D V6 nozzle. Both nozzles have identical M6 thread and are compatible with each other. The V6 nozzle is shorter than the MK8 V6 nozzle, but there is still enough clearance for the S1’s print cooling fan to not hit the model during printing.

A 3D printed bird house in green glitter PLA

At a 250 mm height, this print made use of almost the entire print height of the S1. Details came out very well, despite the fast print speed and chonky layer height.

A close-up of birdhouse 3D print with lots of overhangs that came out successfully
Near perfect overhangs everywhere, despite the S1 only cooling the print on one side. Very impressive.

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Similar 3D printers to the Ender 3 S1

Ender 3 S1 vs Ender 3 S1 Pro

As siblings in the same series, the Ender 3 S1 and S1 Pro have a large number of similarities. Both 3D printers have the same build volume, construction, mainboard, double Z-axis, and more. In fact, it would be easier to just list the differences.

The main difference between the S1 and S1 Pro is the extruder. The Ender 3 S1 uses the “Sprite” extruder with a maximum nozzle temperature of 260 °C. The S1 Pro uses the superior “Sprite Pro” extruder with a max nozzle temp of 300 °C.

Another difference between the extruders is that the “Sprite” is PTFE-lined, and the “Sprite Pro” is all-metal. The all-metal design is superior for reliability and filament compatibility. If you want to 3D print with Nylon or higher-temperature ABS filaments, the S1 Pro is the printer to go for.

The print bed is different too. The original S1 has a powder-coated spring steel print bed, whereas the S1 Pro comes with a PEI-coated version. We prefer the PEI-coated bed, as it is easier to remove prints from.

In terms of the bed temperature, the S1 Pro can reach temperatures of 110 °C. That is 10 °C than what the print bed of the S1 can achieve. Again, an advantage for the Pro version that is useful if you want to work with higher-temperature filaments.

The S1 Pro also comes with an improved interface. While both the LCD screen with knob and touch screen are responsive, the touch screen looks sleeker and is easy to use. Also included on the pro is an LED light strip to light up your work area.

The last difference is the price. The Ender 3 S1 is $80 cheaper than the Ender 3 S1 Pro. This is to be expected, as the Pro version is the newer and more feature-rich 3D printer.

Either version of the Ender 3 S1 is a great machine, but if you plan to work with high-temperature filaments, we recommend going for the Pro. The extra temperature range and quality of life features are worth the price hike in our opinion.

Ender 3 S1 vs Ender 3 V2

There is no debate that the Ender 3 S1 is a better 3D printer than the Ender 3 V2. The only reason you would choose the older V2 over the S1 is the price.

The 3D printer market is very competitive, and companies are constantly releasing new models that offer more features for the same price. The Ender 3 V2 was a great machine a couple of years ago, but it has been eclipsed by the S1.

The Ender 3 V2 has a similar build volume, LCD screen, and construction as the S1, but that is where the similarities end.

The Ender 3 S1’s direct-drive extruder is a big step up from the Bowden setup on the V2. The direct drive allows for better performance with flexible filaments and offers better print quality in general. Reliability is also increased with the direct extruder.

The S1 also uses a newer 32-bit mainboard with TMC2209 drivers. The new mainboard and drivers offer better performance, silent printing, and more features than the V2.

Assembly is improved as well. Because the S1 is pre-assembled, it is easier to get up and running than the V2. The main thing you need to do is install the Z-axis gantry, which takes a couple of minutes. The Ender V2, on the other hand, requires a more involved assembly process that takes hours.

The auto bed leveling on the S1 is another big step up from the V2. The S1 uses a CR-touch to automatically level the print bed, which is a significant improvement on the manual bed leveling process of the V2.

Other features you only find in the Ender 3 S1 are the dual Z axis, flexible magnetic bed, and filament runout detection.

The only area where the V2 still has an advantage is price. The Ender 3 V2 can be found for $259, whereas the S1 sets you back $399. That is a $140 difference that is significant for a lot of people.

At the end of the day, the Ender 3 S1 is a better 3D printer than the V2 and is worth the extra money in our opinion. If it fits in your budget, we recommend going for the S1.

Ender 3 S1 vs Anycubic Kobra

Anycubic and Creality are two of the most popular 3D printer brands on the market, and their printers are often compared to each other. Both the Creality Ender 3 S1 and the Anycubic Kobra are recently released, budget-friendly 3D printers that offer great value for the money. So, how do they compare?

Both 3D printers sport a direct drive extruder. Both are PTFE-lined and have an identical maximum nozzle temperature of 260 °C.

Build volume is similar as well, with the S1 edging out the Kobra by a few cubic centimeters. The Kobra has a build volume of 220x220x250 mm, whereas the S1 has a build volume of 220x220x270 mm.

Bed leveling is where these two 3D printers are similar too. Both have a probe-assisted leveling system that makes it easy for the 3D printers to adjust for unevenness in the print bed. The S1 uses a CR Touch and the Kobra an inductive probe, but the results are the same.

The S1 does have some advantages over the Kobra, however. And it is good that it does, given the $100 price difference.

The Ender 3 S1 comes with a dual Z-axis arrangement. This gives the S1 greater stability, which leads to better print quality. The Kobra only has a single Z-axis, which can lead to vibration and wobble at a higher printing speed.

The S1 also includes a filament sensor. This is a nice feature to have, as it will pause the print automatically if the filament runs out. The Kobra does not have this option.

On the other hand, the Kobra has a touch screen and support for sensorless homing. Both are small quality of life features that make 3D printing easier, but in practice, they only make a small difference.

The Anycubic Kobra is a great 3D printer, but in our opinion, the Creality Ender 3 S1 is a slightly better machine. It’s pretty close, however, and ultimately it is the price difference that is the most significant factor. The S1 costs $399 and the Kobra only $299, so it really depends on your budget as to which 3D printer is the better option.

Verdict: Who Should Buy the Ender 3 S1?

The Ender 3 S1 is a great 3D printer for anyone looking for the latest budget machine from Creality. It’s a significant upgrade over the V2 and is packed with features that weren’t available before in 3D printers at this price point. If you can afford the $399 asking price, we think the S1 is a great option.

Its lack of touch screen and overly sticky print surface are relatively minor complaints in the grand scheme of things. The overall package is very impressive, and we think the Ender 3 S1 is arguably the best 3D printer under $500 on the market right now.

However, if you prefer to save money where you can, the Anycubic Kobra is a great alternative that offers similar performance for $100 less.

If you want more headroom for high-temperature filaments, the Ender 3 S1 Pro is the better option. It comes with an all-metal hotend that can heat up to 300 °C, which is ideal for filaments like ABS and Nylon.

At the end of the day, all of these 3D printers offer great value for the money. It really comes down to your specific needs as to which one is the best option for you.

Creality Ender 3 S1 Review Summary
CONCLUSION
The Creality Ender 3 S1 is a great 3D printer with a number of features that weren't available before in 3D printers at this price point. Its few shortcomings are relatively minor complaints in the grand scheme of things, and overall we think the Ender 3 S1 is an impressive machine that offers good value for the money.
WHAT WE LIKE
  • Great print results
  • Powerful dual-gear direct extruder
  • Reliable auto bed leveling
  • PC coated spring steel bed
  • Relatively silent
  • Solid build quality
  • Easy to assemble
COULD BE BETTER
  • Poor quality instructions
  • No touch screen
  • Underdeveloped firmware
Features
Print Quality
Build Quality
Ease of Use
Value
OVERALL
4.0
EXCELLENT

  • Tim

    Tim is the founder of Clever Creations. He is passionate about building, repairing, and anything DIY related. When he is not busy writing about these topics, you can find him in his workshop.

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