PrusaSlicer vs Cura: Which Slicing Software is Best For You?

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A-3DBenchy-loaded-into-Ultimakers-Cura

PrusaSlicer and Cura are two of the most popular slicing software for FDM 3d printing. 3D printing enthusiasts and professionals alike widely use these popular open-source slicer programs.

The popularity of these 3d printer slicers may make you wonder which is best for you.

While Cura and PrusaSlicer boast a devoted user base, each offers slightly different experiences and compatibility options. Some users find PrusaSlicer more intuitive, while others prefer Cura’s extensive selection of settings.

In this PrusaSlicer vs Cura article, we’ll explore the key aspects that set each program to help you better decide which is the best 3D slicing software.

PrusaSlicer Vs Cura Overview

A 3DBenchy loaded into Ultimakers Cura

When considering which slicer software to use for your 3D printing projects, you’ll likely come across two top contenders: PrusaSlicer and Cura.

Both slicers offer a range of features and functions, providing robust and easy-to-use tools.

Cura is developed by Ultimaker and boasts a wide range of features and settings with an easy-to-use interface. It is the most popular 3D slicer on the market.

With its open-source nature, Cura Slicer supports many 3D printers and filament materials.

Some unique features of Cura include custom scripts, experimental settings, and the Cura Marketplace. Moreover, Cura offers an enterprise version, Cura Connect, that expands its capabilities with remote management and monitoring.

An octopus on prusaslicer

PrusaSlicer is developed by Prusa Research and offers a straightforward user interface and detailed settings. The software is actually a fork of Slic3r and was initially named Slic3r PE.

Despite its initial focus on Prusa printers, PrusaSlicer also supports a wide array of third-party printers.

Its unique features include conditional G-code, extensive connectivity options, and the print host upload queue. PrusaSlicer’s variable layer height and experience modes provide additional customization options for more advanced users.

Ultimately, the choice between PrusaSlicer and Cura comes down to your specific needs and preferences.

There’s no best slicer, but the one that works best for your needs. Both slicers have a strong user base and continue to evolve with ongoing updates and improvements.

As you gain experience with 3D printing, you may prefer one over the other based on the features that best align with your printing requirements.

Features Comparison

User Interface

A 3d benchy loaded in PrusaSlicer

While tools and features are essential, the user interface and experience can make or break software.

Both slicers have easy-to-use interfaces. However, Cura provides a cleaner and more modern interface, while PrusaSlicer looks a bit outdated.

Both softwares provide easy-to-use tools and simple navigation.

Cura

  • Design: Cura provides a more modern and cleaner user interface.
  • Organization: The layout is neatly organized. Despite many tools and settings, everything is organized under headings and dropdowns, making it easy to find what you need.
  • Print Estimations: Cura provides print time and filament estimations after you slice a 3D model. The estimates allow you to optimize your settings and orientation to minimize print time and filament.
  • Workflow: Cura divides the workflow into three stages; Prepare, Preview, and Monitor. The Prepare tab is where you set your print settings. After slicing a model, you can view the output in the Preview tab. Viewing the output before printing is helpful to check if you forgot something like infill or support. You can also view connected printers in the Monitor tab. This is especially useful for checking on long prints when you are away. 

PrusaSlicer

  • Design: PrusaSlicer uses a simple but intuitive design. While a bit outdated, Prusa organizes the settings in a way that’s easy to view and navigate.
  • Settings Level: You can alter the settings level based on your expertise, from beginner to expert. Adjusting the settings level allows you to cut through the clutter and hide advanced tools to focus on the most essential settings.
  • Smart Manipulation: Let PrusaSlicer automatically arrange the models on the build plate to optimize for space, print time, and filament usage. This setting is beneficial when printing multiple objects at a time.

Printer Support

Cura supports a wide range of printers from various brands, offering more flexibility and adaptability. Like Cura, PrusaSlicer is compatible with a wide range of 3D printers. But PrusaSlicer is best used with Prusa 3D printers.

To choose the slicer best suited for your printer, check if your printer model is listed in the slicer’s supported devices.

Slicer Settings

the advanced settings panel in Cura with a model octopus in the background
Cura’s slicer settings are neatly organized in tabs. The photo above shoes the advanced settings with hundreds of options to fine-tune prints.

Both slicers offer extensive slicing settings to help achieve optimal print results. Slicer settings like layer height, wall thickness, print speed, infill, and more adjust how the printer creates your model.

Small adjustments can significantly impact print quality, time, and filament usage.

Both offer all the basic printing settings, and you can get exceptional quality prints using either software.

Cura has more default profiles and tools, giving you more options to fine-tune your prints. They offer more features and functionality than any other slicer software.

The software offers all the essential tools you’d expect, plus several advanced tools for pro makers.

The experimental tools allow users to test new features and provide feedback. If the tools are popular, Cura may add them as default settings.

A tool like tree supports used to be an experimental tool in Cura. But after community feedback, the support setting became a standard setting. 

The settings panel in PrusaSlicer
The print settings panel is neatly organized. There aren’t as many tools, but PrusaSlicer does a lot of work behind the scenes to produce outstanding results

PrusaSlicer may have fewer tools, but they have everything you need to produce great prints.

The software gives you all the essential tools to fine-tune your printing.

The slicer is specifically tuned to work with Prusa printers. You’ll notice slightly better print quality when using PrusaSlicer with Prusa 3D printers. 

We also found that PrusaSlicer is faster than Cura when slicing files. PrusaSlizer also optimizes the nozzle path for faster print times – around 10-20% faster on average.

3D benchy test print sliced in cura with a 0.2 layer height
A 3D Benchy has a 1 hour and 18 minute print time with “Draft” settings in Ultimaker’s Cura slicer.
sliced file of a 3D Benchy in PrusaSlicer with the default settings
The same object has a 1 hour and 13 minute print time in PrusaSlicer with similar print settings.

The print speed is one of the primary reasons people switch to Prusa

One of the most significant differences with PrusaSlicer is the support for resin SLA 3D printers. Working with filament and resin printing is a considerable bonus for users with two sets of printers.

PrusaSlicer eliminates the need to use separate software by providing tools for both styles of 3D printing.

Overall, Cura has more tools and advanced features than PrusaSlicer, but PrusaSlicer works best for Prusa printers and resin printers.

Support Settings

a screenshot of regular supports in Cura
Regular supports in Cura

PrusaSlicer and Cura allow you to customize support structures for your prints.

Both software provides an easy-to-use toolset to create supports in your model.

Cura used to be a clear winner with their tree supports. But in 2023, PrusaSlicer added a similar support structure called Organic Supports.

A screenshot of a sliced model the preview tab in Cura with tree supports
Tree supports in Cura

Cura’s tree supports allow you to print complex models and minimize the surface imperfections caused by the supports.

The tree supports work best on small and intricate models that require fine details in the finished print.

a model with regular supports in PrusaSlicer
Regular supports in PrusaSlicer

PrusaSlicer introduced its own version of organic support with PrusaSlicer 2.4. Like tree supports, organic supports use less filament and print faster compared to traditional support structures like grids.

In my experience with both support settings, I’ve found that Prusa’s organic supports are smaller, more natural, and result in smoother finishes after removal.

Preview and Slicing

Both slicers provide a preview and slicing feature. However, Cura has a more detailed layer-by-layer preview of the print, which can help identify potential issues before printing. PrusaSlicer also offers a preview function, but it may lack the level of detail Cura provides.

Community

Both slicer software have large and active user communities, which can be a valuable resource for troubleshooting and learning from others. Cura has a slightly larger user base and has been around longer, but PrusaSlicer’s community is also growing rapidly.

System Requirements

Both PrusaSlicer and Cura have similar system requirements. While rendering and slicing 3D modes requires a lot of processing power, both software work on budget and lower-end computers.

Aim for a setup with at least 8GB of RAM and a dedicated graphics card for optimal performance. It’s always best to check the software’s official websites for their latest recommended and minimum system requirements.

Minimum System Requirements for Cura

  • Graphics: OpenGL 2 compatible (OpenGL 4.1 for 3D layer view)
  • CPU: Intel Core 2 or AMD Athlon 64
  • Disk Space: 550 MB available hard disk space
  • Ram: 4GB RAM
  • Compatible OS: Windows, MacOS, Linux

Minimum System Requirements for PrusaSlicer

  • Graphics: OpenGL version 2.0 compatible and newer
  • CPU: Multi-core processor
  • Ram: 4GB RAM
  • Compatible OS: Windows, OSX, Linux, Chromebook

Recommended System Requirements for Cura

  • Graphics: OpenGL 4.1 compatible graphics card for 3D layer view
  • CPU: Intel Core i3 or AMD Athlon 64 
  • Disk Space: 550 MB available hard disk space
  • Ram: 8GB RAM
  • Compatible OS: Windows, MacOS, Linux

Recommended System Requirements for PrusaSlicer

  • Graphics: OpenGL version 2.0 compatible and newer
  • CPU: Multi-core processor
  • Ram: 8GB RAM
  • Compatible OS: Windows, OSX, Linux, Chromebook

Pricing

Both PrusaSlicer and Cura are open-source and free to use. There’s no cost to download, use, or modify the software.

The open-source licensing makes both slicers ideal for hobbyists and professionals in the 3D printing community.

Cura also offers Cura Enterprise at $50 per month, with expanded tools for collaboration and enhanced security.

Pros of Cura

  • The most advanced tools
  • Easy-to-use software
  • Tree supports
  • Marketplace for addons
  • Massive library of printers and pre-set profiles
  • The huge user community for support
  • Free

Cons of Cura

  • Slow slicing

Pros of PrusaSlicer

  • Faster slicing times
  • May produce shorter print times
  • Works excellent with Prusa printers
  • Intuitive user interface
  • FDM and resin slicing
  • Free

Cons of PrusaSlicer

  • No tree supports
  • Small community and limited support

Final Thoughts

Both Cura and Prusa are powerful slicers with advanced features and easy-to-use tools.

Use Cura if you want advanced tools and better control for fine-tuning your 3d prints. We recommend using Cura for most slicing applications. It’s a powerful and easy-to-use software that’s become the industry standard for slicing 3D print files.

Just because we think Cura is better than PrusaSlicer doesn’t mean you should avoid it entirely.

Use PrusaSlicer if you have a Prusa 3D printer. If speed is essential, Prusa’s software is also faster than Cura regarding slicing files and print times.

If you still need to figure it out, take the time to test out both software and see which one you like better. Both are free, so there’s no financial investment to try them out.

Click here to visit Cura’s download page.

Click here to visit PrusaSlicer’s download page.

Mario De Lio
Mario De Lio

Mario is a Mechanical Engineer with experience working at one of the largest industrial printing companies in the country. He previously owned a rapid prototyping company specializing in designing mechanical parts for 3D printing applications.

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