If you’re looking for a 3D printer that can produce high-quality prints without breaking the bank, the Ender 3 and Prusa Mini are two of the most popular options on the market today.
While both printers have their pros and cons, they are often compared due to their similar size and price range.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the differences between the Ender 3 and Prusa Mini to help you decide which one is right for your needs.
- Build volume
- Print quality
- User interface
- Ease of use
- Customer supports & warranty
- Customizations & upgrades
- Noise level
- Filament sensor
Prusa Mini Vs Ender 3 – Build Volume
First, let’s talk about the build volume. The Ender 3 has a larger build volume of 220 x 220 x 250mm, which means that you can print larger objects with it.
The Prusa Mini, on the other hand, has a smaller build volume of 180 x 180 x 180mm, which makes it more suitable for smaller prints.
For many users, it’s not a big deal, depending on what they want to make. However, those who tend to make larger prints (greater than 180mm) find that they can’t get much use out of Prusa’s build volume.
However, despite the smaller build volume, the Prusa Mini has a reputation for exceptional print quality, thanks to its advanced features such as automatic bed leveling, filament sensor, and magnetic removable print bed.
Prusa Mini Vs Ender 3 – Print Quality
Speaking of print quality, both the Ender 3 and Prusa Mini can produce high-quality prints. However, the Prusa Mini is known for its exceptional print quality, even when compared to other printers in its price range.
This is partly due to the advanced features mentioned earlier, but also due to the high-quality components and construction of the printer itself. While the Ender 3 can produce good prints, it may require some tweaking and adjustments to get the best results.
Many users say that with the Ender 3, you may end up with endless tinkering as it always has some random issue. But once you make it work well, you’ll eventually start printing the cool things that meet your expectations.
One reviewer who has both printers finds that the Prusa Mini is not only more reliable and faster but it can do better prints.
Prusa Mini Vs Ender 3 – Price
Another key difference between the two printers is the price. The Ender 3 is generally more affordable than the Prusa Mini, making it a popular choice for hobbyists and beginners.
The price of the Ender 3 ranges from $100 from Microcenter in the US for a refurbished machine, up to around $200 for a brand new one. You can get sales throughout the year for the Ender 3 or even find a cheap used one online.
You the Ender 3 selling in various places like the Creality3DOfficial website or other 3D printer retailers.
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The lower price point also means that the Ender 3 is more accessible to a wider range of users. However, the Prusa Mini’s higher price point is justified by its advanced features and exceptional print quality. On the official Prusa website, the Original Prusa MINI+ Kit is priced around €380.
For many users, the price difference is one of the deciding factors. While it’s true that the Prusa Mini is a bit pricey, it is worth the cost.
Prusa Mini Vs Ender 3 – User Interface (UI)
Both the Prusa Mini and the Ender 3 have user interfaces (UI) that allow users to control various aspects of the 3D printing process, such as selecting and preparing files, adjusting print settings, and monitoring print progress.
However, there are some differences between the two machines in terms of their UI. The Prusa Mini’s UI is generally considered to be more user-friendly and intuitive, while the Ender 3 offers more flexibility for users who want to customize their experience.
The Prusa Mini has a built-in LCD screen and a simple, intuitive interface that is easy to navigate. Users can control the printer using a knob and a series of menus that are displayed on the screen.
The UI also provides users with helpful tips and guidance throughout the printing process.
The Ender 3, on the other hand, has a basic user interface that is controlled via a single knob. The interface displays basic information about the print job, such as the temperature and progress, but does not provide as much detail as the Prusa Mini’s interface.
However, the Ender 3 can be upgraded with a variety of third-party UIs, which offer more advanced features and functionality.
This video explains how to upgrade the firmware of Ender 3 V2 with Jyers Extensible UI.
Prusa Mini Vs Ender 3 – Ease of Use
Ease of use is another factor to consider when choosing between the Ender 3 and Prusa Mini. The Ender 3 is relatively easy to assemble and use. However, it uses a Bowden-style extruder, which can make it more challenging to print with flexible materials.
The Prusa Mini, on the other hand, is designed to be user-friendly with intuitive software and easy-to-follow instructions. It also uses a geared extruder that allows for more precise control and better results with flexible materials.
If you’re a beginner and want to create high-quality prints out of the box, go with the Prusa Mini. Those who are interested in learning about 3D printers and who print frequently should choose Ender 3.
The following video explains what to expect and look for when comparing these two printers.
Prusa Mini Vs Ender 3 – Customer Support & Warranty
When it comes to customer support and warranty, the Prusa Mini has the edge over the Ender 3. Prusa Research is known for its excellent customer support and extensive online resources, including a dedicated support team and comprehensive documentation.
The Prusa Mini also comes with a one-year warranty, which gives users peace of mind in case something goes wrong.
In contrast, the Ender 3 has limited customer support and warranty from the manufacturer, although there are many third-party vendors and online communities that offer support and resources for Ender 3 users.
Check out the video below which compares Ender 3 and Prusa Mini regarding print volume, price, assembly, electronics, community support, and ease of use.
Prusa Mini Vs Ender 3 – Customizations & Upgrades
The Ender 3 is an open-source printer, which means that the firmware and design are available to the community for support and customization.
This has led to a vibrant ecosystem of upgrades and modifications, with many third-party vendors offering add-ons and improvements for the Ender 3.
In contrast, the Prusa Mini is a closed-source printer with proprietary components, which limits the range of upgrades and modifications available.
However, the Prusa Mini is designed to be a complete and fully functional printer out of the box, so users may not feel the need to upgrade or modify it. However, you can turn Ender 3 into a printing beast with proper upgrades and modifications.
This can make a big difference in printing. One user said that he has done several upgrades to make his Ender an excellent printer.
Here are some upgrades you may invest in:
- Capricorn PTFE Bowden Tube
- Micro-Swiss All-Metal Hotend
- All-Metal Dual Gear Extruder
- WINSINN Blower Fan
- Bed Springs and Leveling Knobs
- BLTouch Auto Leveling Sensor
The good news is that you can increase the build volume of the Ender 3 with the Ender Extender upgrade. Check out the video below to familiarize yourself with Ender 3 upgrades.
Prusa Mini Vs Ender 3 – Noise Level
Another factor to consider when comparing the Ender 3 and Prusa Mini is the noise level. The Ender 3 can be quite loud during operation due to the stepper motors and fans, which may be an issue for users who need to use the printer in a quiet environment.
This may be a consideration for users who need to use the printer in a shared space.
At nearly 60 dB, which is about the same as a conversation at a restaurant, Creality Ender 3’s are pretty loud. However, it can be much quieter after converting the certain parts like premium fans and stepper motor dampers.
In contrast, the Prusa Mini is designed to be quieter, thanks to the use of high-quality components and advanced features such as silent stepper drivers and fan control.
The working noise level of Prusa Mini printers is around 50 dB. This is considered an average noise level for a good modern 3D printer.
While the fans are very quiet, the bed movement is loud. If you increase the printing speed, it will get loud, but that’s normal. The steppers aren’t silent; however, they are not noisy either.
Prusa Mini Vs Ender 3 – Bed Leveling System
Another key difference between the two printers is the bed leveling system. The Ender 3 uses a manual bed leveling system, which can be time-consuming and require some skill to get right.
In contrast, the Prusa Mini features automatic bed leveling using a built-in sensor, which saves time and produces more consistent results. The automatic bed leveling system in the Prusa Mini makes it easier to get started with 3D printing and reduces the risk of failed prints due to uneven bed leveling.
This straightforward machine has automatic bed leveling and it comes with two PEI sheets that are removable, which is convenient compared to the glass bed. The combination of two PEI sheets and mesh bed leveling is the main selling point for many customers.
Prusa Mini Vs Ender 3 – Filament Sensor
Another factor to consider is the filament sensor. The Ender 3 does not have a filament sensor, which means that the printer may continue printing even if the filament runs out, resulting in wasted materials and failed prints.
In contrast, the Prusa Mini features a filament sensor that detects when the filament runs out and pauses the print, which prevents wasted materials and failed prints. This is an important feature for users who need to print large or complex objects that may require a lot of filament.
Besides the spring steel build plate and auto bed leveling, Prusa’s filament sensor contributes to a much better experience with its Mini+ 3D printer.
Prusa Mini Vs Ender 3 – Community
Finally, it’s worth considering the community and ecosystem surrounding each printer.
While both the Ender 3 and Prusa Mini have active and supportive communities, the Ender 3 has a larger user base and more third-party vendors offering upgrades and modifications. This can be a significant advantage for users who want to customize their printer or troubleshoot issues.
However, the Prusa Mini is known for its extensive online resources and excellent customer support, which can be a major advantage for users who need help getting started or troubleshooting issues.
Despite being a closed-source printer, Prusa Mini actively engages with the community and contributes back to its users. Instead of “community builds,” firmware gets updated from the factory all the time.
Prusa Mini Vs Ender 3 – Conclusion
In conclusion, the Ender 3 and Prusa Mini are both excellent 3D printers with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. The Ender 3 offers a large build volume and affordability, with a vibrant community of users and third-party vendors offering support, upgrades, and modifications.
The Prusa Mini, on the other hand, offers exceptional print quality and advanced features that make it ideal for professionals and serious hobbyists who demand the best results and support. It has an excellent customer support and extensive online resources as well.
Ultimately, the choice between the two printers depends on your needs, budget, and experience level with 3D printing.
If you’re new to 3D printing or looking for a budget-friendly option, the Ender 3 may be the way to go. But if you’re looking for the best print quality and advanced features, the Prusa Mini is definitely worth the investment.