BL Touch, produced by Antclabs, and CR Touch by Creality, are popular automatic bed leveling systems. They measure and compensate for any unevenness in the print bed’s surface for better-quality prints. I decided to compare the main aspects of these systems to help you pick one.
The CR Touch is designed better and offers slightly better accuracy and durability than the BL Touch. However, the BL Touch is compatible with many printers, whereas the CR Touch is explicitly designed for Creality machines. They both cost around the same, so it’s mostly down to compatibility with your 3D printer.
These are some of the main differences but there are more details you’ll want to know, so keep reading for more.
BL Touch Vs CR Touch: Which One Should You Pick?
Below are some of the main factors that may influence the decision you make on whether to acquire the BL Touch or CR Touch:
- Hardware compatibility
- Firmware compatibility
The BL Touch and CR Touch do not differ too much in design. They both consist of compact plastic casings that house the sensor, a probing pin, and a connector for plugging your wiring into the control board.
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However, the BL Touch casing is white and slightly smaller than the CR Touch, which is black with a Creality logo.
Another notable difference is that the BL touch uses a replaceable plastic pin to measure the distance between the nozzle and the print bed. The CR Touch, on the other hand, uses a non-replaceable metallic pin.
The metallic pin produces more noise when it hits the print bed but is less prone to breaking. So, if you’re going for a quieter operation, you should choose the BL Touch. However, if you want a sensor with a more durable pin, go for the CR Touch.
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One user said the CR Touch was much better than the BL Touch due to its high-quality design. She added that the BL Touch gave her so many issues since the circuit board was on the outside, unlike the CR Touch, which was inside a hard shell plastic exterior.
Another user said that she did not like the BL Touch because they were lightweight, cheap plastic prone to getting stuck due to static electricity. However, after upgrading to the CR Touch, solid hardware with a metal probe, she got extremely accurate results and didn’t get stuck.
Here is a great video that MandicReally made comparing the BL Touch and CR Touch.
The CR Touch comes in a neat magnetically-closed box containing the sensor, other accessories such as mounting brackets, and a connecting cable. The BL Touch is also packaged in a decent-looking bulkier box with the sensor and other accessories in light plastic bags.
Installing both sensors is quite simple, and the process is quite similar. You’ll need to mount the sensor onto your 3D printer and ensure it is securely attached and aligned correctly and then plug the cable to your mainboard.
Next, you’ll need to update your firmware and load it to your printer. After that, adjust the distance between the nozzle and print bed (the z-offset) so that a sheet of paper can just fit in. Finally, start the automatic bed leveling.
One user said that the CR Touch was a great product that was easy to install when compared to the BL Touch. He had to unplug the Z-switch on the board, install the CR Touch, put the new firmware on his SD card, and load it.
After that, he auto-homed the printer, set the Z-Offset, and adjusted it a couple of times lower by 0.025mm until he had the right amount of squish, and he was good to go.
Another user, however, complained that the CR Touch had no support or online material for troubleshooting CR Touch issues. In comparison, there was plenty of literature on the BL Touch. He also added that his CR Touch had faulty wiring, which made the BL Touch a better alternative.
This video by MandicReally also shows how you can install the CR Touch and BL Touch.
When it comes to the mode of operation, the BL Touch and CR Touch are very similar. They extend the probing pin to the bed surface and retract it to determine the distance between the nozzle and the print bed. However, they both use different sensor technologies.
The BL Touch has a hall sensor that relies on electromagnetic fields to detect the end position of the probing pin to determine the distance between the nozzle and the bed surface.
CR-Touch operates the same, only that an optical sensor detects when the pin retracts into the sensor.
If you have other equipment that produces larger electromagnetic fields within the printing environment, I would advise you to use the CR Touch. This will help prevent interferences to the hall sensor, which will cause the BL Touch to provide inaccurate measurements.
One user was impressed with the CR Touch, saying it was much better than the BL Touch. It had an optical sensor to prevent interference from nearby magnetic items or electromagnetic fields.
Additionally, the pin in the CR Touch was less likely to drop because of the heavy shaking of the gantry. This was different from the BL Touch, which could drop, thus causing it to bend or break when the print head moves from the edge.
A user said he had to return to his BL Touch after using the CR Touch for a while. This is because the metal probe vibrated too much even after he had installed silent fans, stepper drivers, and more.
Both the BL Touch and CR Touch offer high levels of accuracy. However, many 3D printing enthusiasts who have tested these two sensors have noted that the CR Touch is slightly more precise. This is because it uses an optical sensor resistant to electromagnetic interference.
The test involves using the sensor to measure the distance between the nozzle and the print bed at selected points on the print bed. This is done several times while recording the results.
If the distances measured vary slightly or have a low standard deviation, the sensor has good repeatability and is more accurate. However, if the distances differ too much or have a high standard deviation, the sensor has poor repeatability and is less accurate.
One user asked which sensor to get between the BL, CR, and 3D Touch. Someone recommended the CR Touch, saying it was a bit more accurate than the BL Touch, although the difference was negligible.
A user said she was about to go for the BL Touch, but after talking to some people, she decided to go for the CR Touch. She did not regret the decision as it showed better repeatability than the BL Touch.
Check out this video by Dr. Igor of My Tech Fun that compares the accuracy of the CR-Touch and BL Touch.
The BL Touch is designed to be compatible with various 3D printer models from different manufacturers. It supports many printers, including popular brands like Creality, Prusa, Anycubic, Ender, and more.
The BL Touch is compatible with various printers thanks to the two-screw mounting system at the top of the plastic casing, which enables you to fit your sensor to any print head.
Creality designed the CR Touch to be compatible with all the Ender printers. It comes with different metal brackets for easier mounting on various models of Creality printers.
Check out my article on the 7 Best Creality 3D Printers That You Can Buy.
One user said they would recommend the genuine BL Touch over the CR Touch because it is more versatile and can be fitted onto other printers more reliably with mountings and wiring connectors.
Being the most popular sensor on the market today, the BL Touch is compatible with many firmware options commonly used in the 3D printing community. Some good examples include Marlin, Repetier, and Klipper.
Additionally, you can easily find support from these communities on configuring the BL Touch sensor. On the other hand, the CR Touch is designed to work flawlessly with the CR Touch firmware based on Marlin that Creality provides on its website.
This firmware is designed explicitly for Creality printers. You can also install other open-source firmware when using the CR Touch. However, the options may be limited compared to the BL Touch.
One user said it was difficult to find firmware that supports the CR Touch compared to the BL Touch after the one he downloaded from the official Creality website failed to work. He had to use third-party firmware to get it to work.
Another user said he would choose BL Touch over the CR Touch because it had better firmware support and was easier to use. In addition, all its specifications and instructions were readily available on Antclab’s website.
It is important to note that many different retailers and dealers sell the CR Touch and BL Touch, so the prices may vary slightly. Just go over all of them to ensure that you get the best deal.
Overall, I’d recommend going with the CR Touch because it is more accurate and its metallic probe is very durable.