, , or , that's the question! Learn the differences to find out which version is best for you.
Creality had become a significant force in the consumer 3D printing market, ever since the company released the, back in 2017, and its updated follow-up version the .
With the release of the, Creality sustained its hot streak when it comes to affordable budget printers.
Basically, packing the popular features from the Ender 3 into a larger, box-shaped, machine, the Ender 5 rapidly acquired a large fanbase within the community. Creality has remained true to itself, and released a Pro Version of the Ender 5, alongside the Ender 5 Plus, an enlarged iteration.
In this article, we compare the Ender 5 to its updated iteration as well as its bigger brother. Undoubtfully, they all have very similar features; however, there are still some aspects that differ, perhaps making you choose one over the other.
Let’s dig into the details!
At first glance, the Ender 5’s compact, box-like frame meets the eye, clearly distinguishing it from the manufacturer’s previous models. Even though this is not an Ender 3 vs. Ender 5 comparison, one can not get around to somewhat compare the Ender 5 to its “little brother” and precursor, the Ender 3.
While the X- and Y-axis measurements remained identical, the Ender 5 provides more room for the Z-axis, offering a total print volume of 220 x 220 x 300 mm.
While the boxed frame increases the machine’s actual size (440 x 410 x 465 mm), it makes the printer also very sturdy, resulting in less wobble during operation. To further eliminate wobbling, each of the axes is driven by a dedicated stepper motor, and the Y-axis motor drives both sides of the gantry at the same time. This so-called double Y-axis motion control system ensures significantly higher stability, and you get an overall smoother movement.
Additional useful features include a Meanwell 350W/24V power supply – battle-proven from the Ender 3 Pro – allowing for fast heating of the print bed up to 110 °C, as well as a resume print function.
While the Ender 5 misses some convenient features such as automatic bed-leveling, a filament runout sensor, or a durable print bed (we found the stock one to be rather flimsy and in need of constant releveling); it’s also where one of the printers strength lies: The hackability. There are several ways to upgrade the printer, from a BLTouch sensor for automatic bed-leveling, firmware updates, to various 3D printed add-ons.
Print quality wise, the Ender 5 was convincing. During our review, the Ender 5 scored 23.5 out of 30 points in the Autodesk Kickstarter Test, putting it even above the Prusa i3 Mk3. Even with printing speeds up to 80mm/s, there was no noticeable print quality loss. On top, the Ender 5 handled a variety of filaments surprisingly well, only struggling – as typical for Bowden Drive 3D printers – with TPU.
Frankly speaking, the Ender 5 is the Ender 3 we wished for. There is room for improvement, but with a little care, you’ll get great prints out of it. Overall, Ender 5 is an interesting and affordable tool for makers, hobbyists, tinkerers, who are willing to spend some time with it.
So how does it compare two its follow-up iterations? We’ll answer this question in the following Verdict section.
Please note: Unfortunately, we have not yet gotten our hands on an Ender 5 Pro to put it through its paces. So, the following we took from the specs sheet provided by the manufacturer. We will update this section as soon as we have some first-hand experience with the printer.
From what we can tell so far, though, the Ender 5 Pro is the pumped-up version of the stock Ender 5. Equipped with the same cubic frame, you get everything the classic Ender 5 has to offer, plus around $50 worth of useful upgrades.
For one thing, the Ender 5 Pro is equipped with a new V1.15 Silent Mainboard, with Marlin 1.1.8 and Bootloader installed, allowing for a quieter and more precise printing performance. Plus, thermal runaway protection is now enabled, providing additional protection in case the printer reaches critical temperatures.
Plus, the Creality Ender 5 Pro features a highly durable, metal extruding unit, ensuring a stable feeding of filament. The printer is equipped with an adjustable bolt, so users can tweak the pressure of the extruder gear to best fit whichever filament is selected.
Another useful feature that goes hand in hand with the above mentioned new extruder is the upgraded filament tubing on the Ender 5 Pro. While the Ender 5 still had the stock plastic tubing, the Ender 5 Pro is now equipped with a Capricon Bowden PTFE Tubing. The tight diameter prevents any wiggling of filament and allows for jam-free feeding. The addition of this high-end tubing, plus the new feeding system, make the Creality Ender 5 Pro better suited to print with flexible filaments and other exotic materials.
So, is it worth shelling out a few extra bucks for the Pro? We’ll answer this question in the following Verdict section.
As the name might suggest, the Ender 5 Plus offers a larger build volume. With 350 x 350 x 400 mm, it is by far the biggest Ender yet and putting in more in league with the CR-10 series.
As the machine’s measurements are already quite large – mostly due to its boxed-frame design (632 x 555 x 619 mm), Creality thankfully designed the printer so that no components are stored outside of the printer itself; the power supply and filament spool both are located within the printer’s frame.
Just like the Ender 5, the Plus also uses a Gantry design, meaning the print head is arranged at the top frame of the printer, with the print bed moving down on the Z-axis. Again, each axis has a dedicated stepper motor, and the Y-axis’ motor drives both belts at the same time – nothing much changed here. To provide sufficient stability to the Z-axis, the enlarged print bed is mounted on four rods and two lead screws, though, instead of the two rods used on the stock Ender 5.
Furthermore, the Ender 5 Plus is – finally – equipped with an Antclabs’ contact-triggered BLTouch proximity sensor. Well, at least three quarters the print bed, as the probe is mounted about seven centimeters left of the extruder and measuring of the whole print bed is mechanically not possible. A firmware upgrade promised to deliver a solution, but so far, the problem has not yet been resolved. That being said, Creality is known to iterate the machines very fast. Until then, it’s back to manual bed-leveling. At least Creality installs large knobs, allowing for an easy turning of screws.
Just like the Ender 5, the Ender 5 Plus is also equipped with the, nowadays commonplace resume print function and, unlike the Ender 5, also features a filament runout sensor.
In the Kickstarter Autodesk, the Ender 5 Plus scored an impressive 27 out of 30 points. But, in our 10-hour review, we found the printer to handle the physical dimensions of our test prints excellently, the visual inspection, however, showed some flaws. Reoccurring errors (like inconsistent layering) would require the user to dig deep and start experimenting with slicer settings. One thing is clear; some work is needed on the part of the user to achieve optically pleasant prints.
So, is it worth shelling out a few extra bucks for the Plus? We’ll answer this question in the following Verdict section.
If you are swaying between the stock Ender 5, the improved Ender 5 Pro, and the Ender 5 Plus, the best choice will primarily depend on your 3D printing needs.
Naturally, if you plan on printing big objects most of the time, the Ender 5 Plus might be suited for you. However, during our 10-hour review of the Ender 5 Plus, we did encounter several issues with the printer, biggest of all beeing the BLTouch Sensor only measuring half the bed. On the other hand, it did achieve a Kickstarter Autodesk-score of 27 out of 30, which to be fair is an excellent result, and probably the best we have ever tested. But from our overall experience with the printer, it shows that there is more to a printer than a good Autodesk Kickstarter test.
That being said, the Ender 5 Plus still has some potential. With some tinkering and fiddling on the part of the user, it is capable of producing not only physically, but also optically appealing prints. From our point of view, the Ender 5 Plus would need an updated version, to iron out its shortcomings (Ender 5 Plus Pro confirmed?!).
In case you do look for an affordable large build volume 3D printer and don’t mind getting your hands dirty before to get some good printing results, the Ender 5 Plus might be for you. Otherwise, you might consider the, which roughly plays in the same price range, provides an even bigger print bed and requires less tinkering.
That leaves us with a head to head between the Ender 5 and the Ender 5 Pro.
Pricewise, the Ender 5 Pro costs about $50 more than the Ender 5, which we find a rather fair increase for the notable upgrades. Having them, pre-installed saves you the hassle of retrofitting, if you maybe already plan on getting some of these upgrades anyway to get your printer to achieve the best possible printing results.
The Ender 5 Pro offers these possibilities, namely enhanced safety, a more silent printing performance, as well as – literally – flexibility when it comes to filament selection. It looks like the printer features just the right add-ons to make an already functioning printer just a tad more user-friendly.
However, other than those new features, the base Ender 5 model offers a majority of the same capabilities as the Pro version. Plus, with the Ender 5 Pro on the market, the stock Ender 5 is prone to be discounted. For those looking to make a bang for a buck, this might be an opportunity.
License: The text of "Ender 5 vs Ender 5 Pro and 5 Plus: The Differences" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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