Creality Ender-3 S1 Pro FDM 3D Printer Review


The Creality Ender-3 S1 Pro aims to be the ultimate medium format FDM 3D printer from Creality’s lineup. Packed with advanced features, the printer comes equipped with all the bells and whistles to take on the likes of the Prusa MK3S+ and does extremely well with very good print quality, reliability, and ease of use. 

At $479, the Creality Ender-3 S1 Pro finds itself in a bit of a challenging position. It competes fiercely with other printers like the Sovol SV06, Anycubic Kobra, and Elegoo Neptune 3, which offer similar print quality at a more affordable price point. Additionally, it faces stiff competition from high-end machines like the well-regarded Bambulabs P1P, which is just slightly more expensive. However, what sets the Ender-3 S1 Pro apart is its exceptional polish and user-friendly design. It’s a great option for customers who want a reliable, high-performance tool that works with little to no fuss.


Manufacturer: Creality

The Pros
The Cons
Picture of Paul Chow
Paul Chow

Co-Founder & CTO

Amazon.com Disclosure: As Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases.

This review features the 3D printer, which has been kindly provided to us by the manufacturer for the purpose of this review. While the manufacturer has supported us by supplying the printer, they have not influenced the content of this review in any way. Our assessments and observations are entirely our own, and we have conducted our usual thorough testing to ensure we provide an accurate evaluation of the product. At 3DGearZone, we are committed to transparency and honesty, ensuring that our audience can trust the content we produce.

The medium format FDM 3D printer market is the most hotly contested segment in the 3D printer space. Every major 3D printer manufacturer has at least one model available, and Creality itself produced a dizzying array of Ender-3s over the past several years. Creality first pioneered the budget-friendly 3D printer space by introducing the game-changing Ender-3. Priced at just $200, this barebones 3D printer delivered the essentials: good print quality and reliable performance. Very quickly, other manufacturers introduced their own Ender-3 style 3D printer, and Creality had to innovate to maintain market share. 

Iterating over several models, the Ender-3 S1 Pro bears little resemblance to the original bearer of its name, with an enormous arsenal of features that make even the most well-equipped 3D printer blush. This was primarily in response to consumer feedback that while the original Ender-3 produced great quality prints, it lacked many creature comforts and reliability upgrades that many of its much more expensive rivals possessed. 

Featuring a high-temperature capable hotend paired with a direct drive extruder, automatic bed leveling, removable PEI spring steel build sheet, color touchscreen, and LED light bar, the Ender-3 S1 Pro has all the trappings of an easy-to-use, reliable 3D printer capable of great quality prints. Our review sample even comes with an optional laser engraver module (sold separately for $99) to expand its creative abilities. 

In a vacuum, the Creality Ender-3 S1 Pro is a great choice for a 3D printer, able to go toe-to-toe with the Prusa MK3S+ at a fraction of its $799 starting price. But this market segment is extremely crowded with other feature-packed 3D printers like the Sovol SV06, Elegoo Neptune 3 Pro, and the Anycubic Vyper—all of which provide similar feature sets at a lower starting price. There’s also Creality’s non-pro variant, the Ender-3 S1, which keeps the majority of its features except the high-temperature hotend, spring steel sheet, and LED bar and drops the price by $100. Worse still is the newcomer on the block: the Bambulabs P1P. While priced higher than the Ender-3 S1 Pro, it features substantially faster print speeds with the capability to be enclosed. 

Can the Ender-3 S1 Pro compete in this heavily crowded market segment? Or has the king of budget-friendly FDM 3D printers given up its crown to its competitors? We ensured that every aspect of the Ender-3 S1 Pro is tested and analyzed to bring you the objective pros and cons of this machine.

Key Features To Look For In A Great 3D Printer

Medium-sized FDM 3D printers are a dime-a-dozen in 2023, with a new model released nearly every month. While the majority of these machines are a race to the bottom in terms of pricing and quality, the Ender-3 S1 Pro went the opposite way. Instead of compromising on quality, this manufacturer tried to make the ultimate Creality printer.

We want to make sure you get the right printer for your needs, so consider a number of things before making a purchase. The first thing you should look for is print quality. We rated the Creality Ender-3 S1 Pro a 9/10 for print quality, as it produced extremely high-quality prints with consistent extrusion, z-alignment, and good dimensional accuracy. After conducting experiments on the S1 Pro, we found little to no print artifacts, and users are going to be extremely happy with its print quality.

Users should also keep in mind the assembly process and overall print experience. We rated the Ender-3 S1 Pro 9/10 in both ease of use and setup, as it comes with an extremely detailed manual coupled with good and easy-to-use software.

Last but not least, don’t overlook the importance of maintenance and the availability of replacement parts. Creality’s extensive supply chain ensures that finding replacement parts is a breeze. You can easily source them from various 3D printer retailers, Amazon, and directly from Creality.


Overall Score

Learn more about our 3D printer review methodology.

How We Researched This Printer

The Creality Ender-3 S1 Pro belongs to the medium size cartesian 3D FDM printer category. In this segment, you’ll find some of the most sought-after machines that excel in print quality, print volume, ease of use, and affordability. It’s a highly competitive and crowded market with numerous options from Creality and other major 3D printer manufacturers, all vying to capture a significant share of the market.

We put the Ender-3 S1 Pro through a gauntlet of test prints to push it to its limits and more. Additionally, we delved into the online community to gauge its popularity and user experiences. To truly understand its standing, we pitted the Creality Ender-3 S1 Pro against several of its competitors, like the Prusa MK3S, Sovol SV06, Elegoo Neptune 3, and Anycubic Kobra.

Creality is one of the most recognized names in the 3D printer space. It even took the crown of best budget FDM 3D printer with the original Ender-3. Dozens of iterations later, the Ender-3 S1 Pro is squarely aiming at the higher-end of the consumer FDM market with its dizzying array of features like the Sprite direct drive extruder, automatic bed leveling, PEI spring steel sheet, and more.

Being part of the most served segment of the 3D printer market means there’s a high chance that any printer must be well-made, reliable, and full of features to survive. We spent hundreds of hours testing the Creality Ender-3 S1 Pro to let you have all the information you need to make the right purchase decision. 

Printer Setup

Assembling the Printer

The Creality Ender-3 S1 Pro comes partially assembled from the factory. The packaging is commendable, with each component carefully packed in foam and labeled bags. Creality has even included a well-written assembly manual that makes it quite easy to understand each component of the printer and how to assemble it. 

Creality has really stepped up its game, its unboxing and assembly experience compared to its previous generation 3D printers. When compared to competitors like Anycubic, Sovol, and Elegoo, Creality stands out as the clear winner in terms of assembly convenience. In the consumer cartesian 3D printer space, only Prusa Research has better documentation for their 3D printers.

If you’ve assembled modern consumer cartesian 3D printers before, you’ll feel right at home with the Creality Ender-3 S1 Pro. The S1 Pro comes shipped in three main sub-assemblies: the top gantry, base, and display module. Our team discovered that assembling the Ender-3 S1 Pro is slightly more involved than your typical consumer printer, as you have to attach the extruder and LED light bar as well. However, with its well-written manual, putting together the S1 Pro was an easy affair.

Leveling the Bed

Previously, the majority of budget 3D printers relied on users to manually level the bed before printing. However, many of the latest 3D printers come with some form of automatic bed leveling, and the Creality Ender-3 S1 Pro is no exception. It comes with a BL Touch style sensor (which Creality calls the “CR touch”), which handles the automatic bed leveling. But Creality doesn’t stop there—they also have reliable manual bed leveling knobs.

When first assembled, users manually raise and lower the build bed’s height using the leveling knobs on each corner and a piece of paper. This physically levels the bed plate against the tool head. The automatic bed leveling then compensates for any other irregularities in the bed plate. The CR touch runs before each print to create an accurate bed mesh, guaranteeing a reliable first layer and consistent printing results.

When we trialed this product, we found this combination of first manually leveling the bed and then utilizing the automatic bed leveling at the beginning of each print led to clean first layers and reliable adhesion to the build plate.

The Ender-3 S1 Pro’s Sprite direct drive extruder was a substantial shift away from the Bowden extruder used in countless other Creality printers, so we were pretty excited to test that out. After all, the sprite extruder promised improved print quality and the ability to print flexible filaments at speeds like TPU.

To put things to the test, we put the S1 Pro through our usual suite of test models that represent many objects that customers may print. This includes benchmarks such as the ubiquitous benchy, the calibration cube, and the z-banding tower. This is followed by figures and models such as the Mandalorian figure and the low poly Pikachu. Finally, we tested the S1 Pro’s ability to print flexibles (like TPU) by printing a cellphone case.

We tested the Creality Ender-3 S1 Pro in four major areas: its ability to resolve details, z-layer alignment, dimensional accuracy, and print repeatability. We used stock 0.2mm layer height settings shipped in Creality Slicer for all our tests.


Printing the benchy and calibration cube was an easy task for the Creality Ender-3 S1 Pro. Our investigations demonstrated that the new Sprite direct drive extruder was indeed a great step up from the old Bowden extruder, with the benchy showing consistent extrusion and no visual artifacts. This was also the case with the calibration cube with its sharp corners and smooth walls. We even noticed improved dimensional accuracy, as the 20mm calibration cube measured 20.2mm (l) x 20.2mm (w), which was on par with any modern direct drive extruder we tested.

Initially, we had reservations about the small 4010-part cooling fan located at the front of the extruder. After all, many high-end 3D printers come equipped with either multiple fans or a larger 5015 blower fan that improves cooling performance by moving a larger volume of air. However, during our testing, we found that the 4010 part cooling fan performed well at stock settings.


Next, we printed the Mandalorian figure, which puts the machine’s ability to print large amounts of details to the test. Unsurprisingly, the Ender-3 S1 Pro had no trouble faithfully reproducing the fine details in this model. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we printed the low poly Pikachu. Featuring large flat sections that exaggerate layer lines or inconsistent extrusion, we often use this test to observe any poor-quality extrusions. However, with the Creality Ender-3 S1 Pro’s Sprite extruder, we were pleasantly surprised to see exceptional print quality. There were no extrusion artifacts, and the low-poly Pikachu came out looking great.

To test the S1 Pro’s z-alignment consistency, we printed a 250mm tall tube in vase mode. This test helps us assess the quality control and design of the z-axis assembly, which can greatly affect the z-axis consistency in 3D prints. “Z wobble,” or ribbing artifacts may appear if the lead screw in the z-axis is off or bent even slightly. However, with the S1 Pro’s dual z-lead screws and well-done factory assembly, we achieved a smooth tube with no z-layer issues, indicating excellent z-alignment consistency.

Lastly, we tested the Ender-3 S1 Pro’s ability to print flexible filaments using TPU filament to print a cellphone case. Printing with flexible filaments can be challenging, but the S1 Pro’s Sprite extruder handled it with ease. Modern direct drive extruders, including the one on the S1 Pro, excel at printing these difficult filaments. Even at its stock settings, we were impressed with this machine’s ability to print TPU filament and produce great results.

As indicated by our tests, the Creality Ender-3 S1 Pro is capable of producing high-quality prints that rival some of the best consumer machines. Although the included Creality Slicer may be a bit outdated, it still gets the job done effectively, especially with the handy print profiles that make it easy to understand, even for beginners.

While the Creality Ender-3 S1 Pro performs impressively as an offline printer, many printers in 2023 now offer some form of online printing support. For instance, Bambulabs has its Bambu Handy app, which allows for direct uploading of print files from the slicer to their printers, offering a seamless experience. Creality also has its Creality Cloud app for online file transfer and control, but based on our experience, we do not recommend using it due to multiple security warnings during installation.

Print Speeds

The Ender-3 S1 Pro, at its core, is a cartesian “bed-slinger” FDM 3D printer. This means that its overall speeds are limited to how fast it can move its heated bed while it is in motion. By default, Creality Slicer has it printing at 50mm/s, which may seem slow compared to modern standards. The small 4010-part cooling fan, while sufficient for stock speeds, might struggle to cool effectively at faster speeds. In comparison, higher-end core XY machines like the Bambulabs P1P can print at speeds exceeding 100mm/s.

More experienced users can increase the Ender-3 S1 Pro’s print speeds up to 80-100mm/s with little to no issues.


The Creality Ender-3 S1 Pro is a little bit larger than the average 3D printer. At 490mm (l) x 455mm (w) x 625mm (h), this machine will probably take up a big chunk of space when placed on your 3D printer table or desk. It should also be noted that because of its top-mounted spool holder, you would need to have around 100-150mm of additional space above the printer to allow for a spool to be placed. This might become problematic if you plan to enclose the printer in a cabinet or closet.

The top assembly is constructed out of 2040 and 2020 extrusions, and the bottom assembly is a solid plastic base. The extrusions are flat with the usual grooves and channels removed except for the portions the v-wheels ride on. This gives the Ender-3 S1 Pro a very clean, minimalist, and professional aesthetic that sets it apart from all of its competitors. This is most apparent when contrasting it against the Sovol SV06. The SV06’s sheet metal, linear rods, and colorful injection molded plastic components give it a much more toy or hobby aesthetic compared to the flat black metal construction of the Ender-3 S1 Pro. 

All of this metal, however, does come at a major weight penalty. Weighing in at 11kg, the Ender-3 S1 Pro is amongst the heaviest printers in this segment that we have tested.

The Ender-3 S1 Pro also sports an average build volume of 220mm (l) x 220mm (w) x 270mm (h), which differs a little compared to the 240mm (l) x 220mm (w) x 250mm (h) of the Prusa MK3S+ and is slightly smaller than the Elegoo Neptune 3 Pro’s 225mm (l) x 225mm (w) x 280mm (h). However, unless a user intends to print edge to edge, they will not notice the slight differences in print volumes between all of these medium-sized printers.

Like many 3D printers, the wires connecting the hotend and x-axis to the base are wrapped in nylon sleeving. It’s important to ensure that these wires don’t get snagged on the moving bed during printing. We wish that Creality implemented clips or other parts to keep the main wires safely away from the heated bed.

A feature that we were happy to see Creality keep, however, is the tool drawer integrated into the base. This was a feature introduced in the Ender-3 V2, and not many other 3D printer manufacturers have integrated it into their designs.

Safety Highlights

Thermal Runaway Protection

One of the biggest concerns of 3D printing is the heater losing control and catching fire. This is why, like nearly all modern 3D printers, the Ender-3 S1 Pro features thermal runaway protection. With thermal runaway protection, the 3D printer is constantly monitoring its temperature to ensure it matches what the printer should be outputting. If it does not match, the 3D print shuts down the hotend to prevent overheating. 

Cable Relief and Cable Management

Cartesian FDM 3D printers like the Creality Ender-3 S1 Pro have multiple moving parts (such as the hotend and heated bed) that need to be connected for power and communication. Many modern 3D printers include some form of cable management to organize the many cables printers use and include some form of strain relief to protect them while they are in motion. The Ender-3 S1 Pro has its wires bundled in a nylon sleeve to protect them and give a much cleaner overall appearance. In our tests, the nylon sleeving alongside a plastic wire holder does a good job of keeping the wires away from most of the moving parts.

The wires connecting to the heated bed also feature strain relief, which we are happy to see. The heated bed uses the most power, and with it moving constantly, any wires would need strain relief for longevity and safety.

Our team discovered that the wires connected to the control board and PSU are properly terminated in ferrules. This is an extremely important safety upgrade from the previous Ender-3 S, as the older models featured tinned wire ends, which were prone to heating up and melting over time. Having properly crimped wire ends greatly reduces fire hazards when operating the Ender-3 S1 Pro.


Finding Replacement Parts

Creality has a highly well-established supply chain of parts, upgrades, and accessories for its line of printers. While the Ender-3 S1 Pro is among the newest of their FDM 3D printers, replacement parts such as nozzles, extruder parts, stepper motors, and more can easily be found on 3D printer retailers, Amazon, or directly from Creality.

Accessing the Control Board

Like most modern cartesian FDM 3D printers, the Creality Ender-3 S1 Pro has its electronics enclosed on the bottom. This protective design shields the sensitive control board from filament, debris, and any accidental tampering. While accessing the control board does require tilting the printer onto its side, our testing found this task to be straightforward and manageable for a single user. Removing a few screws reveals the control board, and there is ample space to maneuver around it if any wires or components need servicing or replacement.

Features & Upgrades

High-Temperature Direct Drive Sprite Extruder

High-temperature direct drive Sprite extruder is one of the most compelling features of the Creality S1 line of printers. This branded extruder stands out with its compact dual-gear direct drive design, offering faster and more accurate printing compared to the previous Bowden extruder used by Creality. The new Sprite extruder also excels in printing flexible filaments like TPU with increased speed and reliability. Notably, the Ender-3 S1 Pro even comes equipped with a high-temperature variant of the Sprite extruder, enabling it to handle materials with temperatures up to 300°C, including Nylon and Polycarbonate. 

Filament Runout Sensor

A staple of modern 3D printers, the filament runout sensor can detect when a printer runs out of filament, therefore allowing users to manually reload before continuing. The Creality Ender-3 S1 Pro is equipped with one such sensor. It’s located at the top near the spool holder—a welcome change from past printers, where it was placed near the extruder. The previous location of the sensor made it difficult for users to remove the filament due to limited space. With the new location, users have anywhere between 5 to 20 cm to grab on the filament when changing it out.

Automatic Bed Leveling with CR Touch

The Creality Ender-3 S1 Pro comes equipped with a Creality branded touch bed sensor that is extremely similar to the popular BL Touch. This sensor works by using a pin to touch multiple points on the bed, creating a mesh that ensures accurate printing. This style of automatic bed leveling is a proven and reliable method to ensure that the first layer of any print sticks reliably to the print bed.

The Ender-3 S1 Pro also features manual bed leveling knobs so that users can manually level the bed alongside the automatic calibration. Many experienced users, like us, prefer having both options as it allows for the most precision and control regarding bed adjustment, so the manual bed leveling knobs were more than welcome.

PEI Magnetic Spring Steel Bed Sheet

The Creality Ender-3 S1 Pro comes with a magnetic spring steel PEI sheet, a fantastic combination of excellent print adhesion and easy removal. First introduced by Prusa Research in 2017, this technology has become a popular upgrade for many 3D printers today. With a magnetic spring steel sheet, users can simply detach it to pop off completed prints easily. 

4.3” Color Touchscreen

Like many other printers in 2023, the Creality Ender-3 S1 Pro features a 4.3” color touchscreen. This upgrade makes the setup and monitoring of 3D printers much more enjoyable compared to older monochromatic LCDs and click wheels from the past.

Dual Z Lead Screws

Dual Z lead screws have become a standard feature in many FDM 3D printers, including the Ender-3 S1 Pro. This upgrade provides much more reliable Z-axis movement compared to the previous generation Ender-3s, which only had one Z lead screw. With the dual screws, the gantry is better supported, reducing the chances of sagging on one side and ensuring more consistent and accurate prints.

LED Light Bar

Creality included an LED bar on the top of the printer that can be controlled via a rocker switch on the right-hand side of the machine. This is a small but nice feature, as it can help illuminate the surrounding area when monitoring a print or working around the machine. Some users reported that they would have preferred having the LED bar be controlled via the touchscreen or software. However, based on our experience, we much preferred this manual switch as we typically only turned it on when inspecting the machine when it was not in use.

Optional Laser Engraving Module

Creality supplied us with their laser engraving module for this review. While it’s a convenient way to turn the Ender-3 S1 Pro into a fairly adequate laser engraving machine, this is still a paid optional upgrade. As such, this will not affect our overall review of the Ender-3 S1 Pro.

Community Support

The Ender-3 S1 Pro benefits from a thriving and extensive 3D printer community. Creality is known as one of the leading 3D printer manufacturers, and as a result, they have built one of the largest user communities in the industry at the time of writing. 

We can already find several reliable internet communities:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/602529180853579/
Creality Forum: https://forums.creality3dofficial.com/community/ender-3-series/
Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/Ender3S1/

Final Verdict

The Creality Ender-3 S1 Pro is a highly feature-rich 3D printer that has just about every bell and whistles a consumer would want in a Cartesian 3D printer. It prints exceptionally well with little issue, and Creality has done a great job of polishing up its overall print experience.

Unlike most of its budget competitors, the company has also done an extremely good job of packaging the S1 Pro. They even provided a detailed and easy-to-read instruction manual along with a good slicer software, putting the S1 Pro in the same class as the Prusa MK3S+ or the Bambulabs P1P.

We recommend the Ender-3 S1 Pro to educators and users who want an exceptional printing experience without any hassle or modifications required. It offers a print quality akin to Prusa and Bambu printers but at a significantly lower cost, making it an excellent choice for those seeking top-notch results without breaking the bank. If you’re seeking the best value in a 3D printer or looking for a machine to customize and upgrade, the budget-friendly Sovol SV06 or Elegoo Neptune 3 might be more suitable options.

Technical Specifications

  • Build volume: 220mm (l) x 220mm (w) x 270mm (h)
  • Printer size: 490mm (l) x 455mm (w) x 625mm (h)
  • Weight: 11kg
  • Enclosed print area: No
  • Display: colour touchscreen
  • Drive type: FDM direct drive
  • Filament capability: PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU, Nylon, Polycarbonate
  • Connectivity: SD card
  • Drivers: TMC 2209
  • Build Surface: PEI coated spring steel sheet
  • Heated Bed: Yes
  • Bed Leveling: automatic
  • Nozzle diameter: 0.4mm
  • Maximum hotend temperature: 300 °C
  • Maximum movement speed: 150mm per second
  • Maximum XY accuracy: 0.1mm
  • Minimum Z height: 0.1mm
  • Number of extruder(s): 1
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Supported materials: PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU, Nylon, Polycarbonate, 3rd party filament support: yes
  • Operating System: Windows, MacOS, Linux
  • Supported Slicers: CURA, Simplify3D, PrusaSlicer, Creality Slicer
  • Supported File Types: STL, OBJ, M3F

3DGearZone.com is a professional review site that receives compensation from the companies whose products we review. We test each product thoroughly and give high marks to only the very best. We don’t guarantee, however, that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services. 3DGearZone.com is independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own. 

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