Ender 3 V2 Review – Our Thoughts After 1 Year of Use

Updated

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An Ender 3 V2 printer on a wood table with a white background

Creality’s Ender 3 V2 is an upgraded version of the original Ender 3, offering several improvements like belt tensioners, a glass build plate, sturdier feet, and an upgraded 32-bit silent mainboard.

The Creality Ender 3 V2 is an excellent entry-level 3D printer with great print quality and easy-to-use features at an affordable price.

Ender 3 V2 Specifications

TechnologyFusion Deposition Modeling (FDM)
Machine Footprint475 x 470 x 620 mm
Build Volume220 x 220 x 250 mm
FilamentsPLA, ABS, PETG
Nozzle Size0.4mm
Accuracy0.1 mm
Layer Height0.1 mm
ExtruderSingle Gear
FeederBowden Tube
Max Nozzle Temperature260℃
Max Build Plate Temperature100℃
Print Bed MaterialTextured glass
Max Print Speed180 mm/s
Net Weight7.8 kg (17 lbs 3 oz)
Automatic Bed LevelingNo
Filament Runout SensorYes
CameraNo
Year2020
AssemblySemi-assembled
Recommended SoftwareCura

Assembly and Setup

Opening the box of an Ender 3 V2 3D printer

When opening the box, it’s clear that the printer is well-packed to avoid damage during shipping.

You’ll find all the necessary components and tools in the box, including Allen keys, crescent wrenches, and zip ties.

Unlike other Creality printers, the Ender 3 V2 requires a fair bit of assembly. Assembling the printer takes about an hour. In our opinion, the assembly process is part of the fun of 3D printing.

The instruction manual for an Ender 3 V2

The included instruction manual doesn’t provide much help. The instructions are vague, and the illustrations are difficult to understand.

If it’s your first time assembling a 3D printer, you may need to watch a YouTube video for instructions on assembling the Ender 3 V2.

The printer’s frame is solid, and the tensioning knobs make it easy to adjust the belt tension. A small storage compartment is a nice addon, but it’s not impactful for your printing.

All of the components that come in the box of an Ender 3 V2. Including the unassembled 3D printer

The single-gear extruder is a bit of a disappointment. We would’ve preferred to see an all-metal, dual-gear extruder, but the cheaper extruder is likely to keep the affordable price.

Once the assembly is complete, it’s time to set up your Creality Ender 3 V2 3D printer for its first print.

The Ender 3 V2 doesn’t offer automated bed leveling. Before running your first print, you must manually level the print bed.

Below the print surface are four large knobs, which make it easy to adjust the bed height.

Next, load the filament into the extruder and preheat your printer to the recommended temperature for the chosen filament type.

I find that filament loading is a bit finicky. The extruder has gaps that catch the edges of the filament, making it difficult to feed. It’s a minor inconvenience but an issue if you change filaments often.

Creality Ender 3 V2
4.0
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Technological Features

Close up of the hot end on an Ender 3

Display and Functionality

Ender 3 V2 comes with a new 4.3-inch LCD display, allowing you to navigate the printer settings and monitor the printing process easily.

The LCD screen is sadly not a touchscreen. You’ll need to use the knob to navigate the interface.

However, the user interface is well-designed and intuitive to navigate.

I initially thought the lack of a touchscreen would be a hindrance, but the well-designed interface makes the printer enjoyable to work with. It’s clear that Creality has put a lot of thought into the screen design so that it’s easy to navigate using a knob.

This interactive screen makes your 3D printing experience more enjoyable and user-friendly.

The screen is also detachable, but we’re not sure why. There’s no single reason we could think you’d want to use the detachable screen. The cord is too short to mount elsewhere, and detaching the screen provides no benefit to users.

Making the screen detachable feels like a feature created just to add another element. But it doesn’t provide any benefit or utility to the user.

Resume Printing

Sometimes, unexpected power outages can interrupt your printing process. However, the Ender 3 V2 features a resume printing function that allows your 3D printer to continue from where it left off once the power is restored.

The resume printing function came in handy during a power outage during one of my larger prints. Without the resume after a power outage, I could have lost two days’ worth of progress and a whole lot of filament.

Resume printing is a standard feature on newer printers, but one we appreciate nonetheless. It helps save time and resources by avoiding failed prints.

Glass Bed

A 3d printed cat on the glass bed of an Ender 3 V2

Unlike the Ender 3, the Ender 3 V2 is equipped with a tempered glass build plate. Glass build surfaces offer better heat distribution, which allows for better build plate adhesion.

Creality’s glass bed, the “Carborundum” coated glass print bed, also allows easy removal of your finished print once it has cooled down.

The only downside is the clips that hold it in place. The glass bed has two binder clips to secure the glass to the heated bed. At one point, the nozzle clipped the clip and shifted the bed, resulting in an awkward layer shift and a failed print.

I prefer to use a magnetic textured PEI spring steel sheet. However, the glass print bed is considered an upgrade over the Ender 3’s magnetic bed.

Upgraded Motherboard

One of the most significant improvements with the Ender 3 V2 is the upgraded 32-bit mainboard. This new board has silent stepper motors that ensure a quiet printing experience.

During our tests, the printer consistently measured under 50 sound decibels – considered average room noise. 

You can work on your projects during late-night hours without worrying about disturbing anyone’s sleep.

The mainboard is compatible with Marlin 2.0, so you can guarantee new features and improvements with regular updates. Creality has released several updates to the printer’s firmware over the year we’ve used the V2.

Creality Ender 3 V2
4.0
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Belt Tensioners

A 3d printed cat with an ender 3 belt tensioning knobs in the background

The Ender 3 V2 features built-in belt tensioners for the X and Y axes. These tensioners make it easy to adjust the belts to the appropriate tension, ensuring that your prints maintain high precision and accuracy.

Remember always to follow proper safety precautions and maintenance practices to prolong the life of your Ender 3 V2 and enjoy the best results from your 3D printing projects.

Printing Quality and Performance

The print quality on an Ender 3 using white pla filament

After one year of printing with the Ender 3 V2, it provides an easy and enjoyable experience.

The 3D prints come out with excellent precision and detail for a budget-level printer. Our test found that the Ender 3 V2 produced above-average print quality.

Our biggest complaint was the lack of a dedicated Ender 3 V2 print profile in Cura when the printer first came out. AT first, we opted for the Cura’s Ender 3 Pro slicing profile on the advice of Creality.

However, the default profile wasn’t perfect.

We could get consistently high-quality prints after some minor tinkering to the retraction and temperature settings.

A black PLA 3D benchy with a red petg benchy in the background

The lack of pre-defined slicing was a minor inconvenience. But it appeared to be an oversight on Creality’s part.

The latest version of Cura now offers a dedicated slicer profile for the Ender 3 V2, which offers incredible printing quality.

The Ender’s silent stepper motors and fans are barely noticeable during printing.

The quiet operation of the printer is a significant benefit over the old Ender 3. I can work long hours in the same room as the 3D printing machine without disruption.

A low poly wolf printed in white filament on an Ender 3 V2

Both the print bed and the nozzle heated up quickly during our tests. Preheating the printer is fast, taking around 2 to 3 minutes.

The V2 doesn’t use an all-metal hot end. That means you can’t print high-temperature materials like nylon. The single-gear extruder doesn’t work well on flexible materials like TPU.

However, we’ve used the stock Ender 3 V2 with PLA, ABS, and PETG without any difficulty.

Overall, the Ender 3 V2 offers excellent printing quality and performance, delivering precise and consistent prints. The quality it provides at an affordable price point makes it a popular choice for many users.

Comparisons

Creality Ender 3 V2
4.0
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Ender 3 V2 Vs Ender 3

The Ender 3 V2 is an upgraded version of the original Creality Ender 3, which was released in March 2018.

On paper, the two printers are very similar. They both offer the same 220 x 220 x 250 mm build volume, Bowden-fed extruders, manual bed leveling, and open frame designs. Even side by side, you’d be hard-pressed to tell them apart.

However, the Ender 3 V2 comes with a few key improvements:

  • Interface: The V2 has a more user-friendly interface with an upgraded color touchscreen.
  • Print Bed: The textured glass bed provides a better printing experience over the Ender 3’s magnetic build platform. When the glass cools, prints pop off with ease.
  • Silent operation: The V2 features TMC2208 stepper motor drivers, which make it quieter than the original Ender 3.
  • Build quality: The V2 has a sturdier frame and improved build quality, resulting in more precise prints.
  • Belt tensioners: The V2 provides belt tensioning knobs, making it quicker and simpler to tension the belts properly.

Ender 3 V2 Vs. Elegoo Neptune 3

When comparing the Ender 3 V2 to the Elegoo Neptune 3, a few differences stand out:

  • Price: The Elegoo Neptune 3 is cheaper than the Creality Ender 3 V2, making it a more appealing choice for those on a budget.
  • Build volume: The Neptune 3 has a slightly larger build volume than the Ender 3 V2 (220x220x250mm vs. 220x220x300mm).

However, the Ender 3 V2 boasts a few advantages over the Neptune 3, such as:

  • Community support: The Ender 3 series has a large and active user community, making it easier to find support, troubleshooting tips, and upgrades.

Ender 3 V2 Vs. Anycubic Vyper

The Anycubic Vyper is another popular choice in the 3D printing world. Here is a brief comparison with the Ender 3 V2:

  • Automatic bed leveling: The Vyper has an automatic bed leveling sensor, a feature missing in the Ender 3 V2.
  • Build volume: The Vyper has a larger build volume (245x245x260mm) compared to the Ender 3 V2.
  • Touchscreen: The Anycubic Vyper has a 

Despite these advantages, the Creality Ender 3 V2 remains competitive in areas such as:

  • Community support: With the Ender 3 series’ massive user base, you can access plenty of resources and support for your 3D printing journey.
  • Price: The Ender 3 V2 is more affordable than the Vyper. If you don’t need a touchscreen or automatic bed leveling, the Ender 3 is a better option.

Upgrades

Creality CR-Touch Installed on an Ender 3 V2

The Ender 3 became one of the most popular 3D printers thanks to its low cost and customizability. The ability to upgrade and modify the original Creality Ender 3 made it popular among hobbyists and makers.

The Ender 3 V2 incorporates many popular Ender 3 upgrades but leaves room for further customizations.

These upgrades allow you to customize your printer, improve print quality, and work with more difficult filaments.

One popular upgrade to consider is the hot-end upgrade. An improved hot end increases the overall print quality of your Ender 3 V2 while expanding the types of filaments you can use. An all-metal, dual-gear extruder is our choice because it provides more consistent filament feeding, allows for higher-temperature printing, and provides the ability to print flexible filaments.

Another valuable upgrade is the direct drive kit.

The filament spools location on the V2 makes it possible to convert your 3D printer to a direct drive system. Direct-drive extrusion motors provide more consistent extrusion and better retraction. The biggest downside is the vibrations created during printing, but the Ender 3 V2’s sturdy frame can withstand the increased shaking.

You can also upgrade the Creality Ender 3 V2 with a CRTouch. Crealilty’s CRTouch allows adding assisted bed leveling to the V2.

Adding an enclosure is a great way to protect your printer from environmental factors that can affect print quality. An enclosed printer is more suitable for printing with temperature-sensitive materials like ABS and offers an additional layer of safety if you have kids or pets around.

Final Thoughts: Should You Buy an Ender 3 V2

Front view of an ender 3 v2 printer

The Creality Ender 3 V2 is an excellent choice for anyone looking to start with 3D printing or upgrade from the original Ender 3. The printer delivers high-quality prints right out of the box thanks to the improvements, including a silent motherboard, glass print bed, and Meanwell power supply.

Assembling the printer is a bit difficult, especially if it’s your first time setting up a 3D printer. The complicated instructions and vague illustrations aren’t much help. But plenty of YouTube videos are available to walk you through the steps of setting up the Ender 3 V2.

Calibration is straightforward enough for beginners, but it also has plenty of room for more advanced users to customize and tweak slicer settings to improve print quality.

Considering its reasonable price point, impressive print capabilities, and large, helpful user community, I recommend the Creality Ender 3 V2 as one of the best 3D printers on the market. It’s a competent machine that can grow with you as you expand your 3D printing skills and projects.

Creality Ender 3 V2
4.0
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Marcello De Lio
Marcello De Lio

Marcello co-founded 3D Print Mentor to share his love of 3D printing. Marcello used to own an online 3D printing company, where he sold unique designs and customized novelty gifts. After closing the business, Marcello’s new passion is 3D printing replica movie props and cosplay items.

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