Ender 3 S1 vs. S1 Pro | Comparison, Specs, Pros & Cons

Author: Martin
Besides many test devices, Martin now has his fourth own 3D printer running and prints as a hobby for friends, family and himself. He is happy to share his experience with each new article.

The Ender 3 series from Creality has been expanded with the Ender 3 S1*, a virtually perfect entry-level 3D printer. As you might expect, Creality has developed a pro version of the S1 with even more features in the form of the Ender 3 S1 Pro*

The Ender 3 S1 is ideal for beginners, the Ender 3 S1 Pro offers an improved print bed and a higher print temperature as well as a few “luxury” features with an LED strip and a touch screen that make it even more comfortable to use.

In this article, we will compare both 3D printers in detail so that you can make the right decision when buying.

Technical Specifications

Scope of Delivery & Setup

The Ender 3 S1 and Ender 3 S1 Pro both come with everything you need to get started, with the exception of a spool of filament. Both printers only include some filament for testing. You should order more filament when you buy the S1 or S1 Pro.

Otherwise, both printers come with everything you need for installation and operation.

The Ender 3 S1 and S1 Pro have an almost identical design. The additional features of the S1 Pro do not extend or complicate the assembly at all. For example, the LED strip is already pre-installed. Both printers can be easily assembled in a few minutes with the help of clear instructions.

Print Bed Leveling

The Ender 3 S1 and S1 Pro are both equipped with a CR Touch. This is an automatic print bed leveling sensor that automatically levels the print bed at the touch of a button. You only have to level the print bed once manually after the setup, because the sensor does not cope with too strong inclinations (here is a guide to the paper method). 

I have tested the CR Touch myself and am very satisfied with this sensor. With it, I had so far no problems with the print bed leveling. Both 3D printers are programmed to measure the Z0 position once with the CR Touch before each print. Nevertheless, you should repeat the automatic leveling from time to time, if the print bed should have shifted. 

An automatic print bed leveling system uses a sensor to measure the distance between the nozzle and the print bed. This information is used to calculate and adjust the height of the printhead, ensuring that each filament layer is applied evenly to the print bed. This helps to produce high-quality prints and minimizes the risk of warping and increases print bed adhesion.

Features

Both S1 Series 3D printers have several features that can improve printing results. The direct drive extruder ensures that there is less risk of filament jams, printing accuracy is increased and the filament sensor helps to avoid errors caused by leaking filament.

However, the Ender 3 S1 Pro has a few more useful features, such as the LED light bar that provides good illumination in the printing area and the touch screen that makes navigating the menus and settings easier.

In the following, the features of the two 3D printers are contrasted and compared.

Direct Drive Extruder

“Sprite” extruder (left) VS “Sprite Pro” extruder (right)

Both 3D printers are equipped with the Sprite Direct Drive Extruder. This extruder consists basically only of its individual components that are cleverly connected to each other without needing a heavy and clunky housing. This makes the extruder very light, which results in very little vibration during movement. This significantly improves the print quality. 

The Ender 3 S1 Pro is equipped with the Sprite Pro, which is an improved version of the normal Sprite extruder. Besides a few minor optimizations like weight savings of the already lightweight components, the temperature bridge between the nozzle and the cooler is made of metal. This allows the extruder to reach even higher print temperatures of up to 300 °C (the S1 only reaches 260 °C). This makes it possible to use other filaments with the Ender 3 S1 Pro than with the S1. 

In general, both direct drive extruders are very effective at ensuring a high print quality. They operate quietly and reliably and, unlike some Bowden extruders, minimize the risk of the stepper motor jamming and flexible filament getting tangled in the Bowden tubing. Therefore, the S1 and S1 Pro are great for printing flexible filaments like TPU.

Automatic Print Bed Levelling

  • Ender 3 S1: Yes
  • Ender 3 S1 Pro: Yes

There are several methods of leveling a print bed, but one of the most common and popular is using a sensor to measure the distance between the nozzle and the print bed. One of the best of these sensors comes from Creality themselves, the CR Touch.

The CR-Touch sensor independently measures the distance between nozzle and print bed. This information is used to calculate and adjust the height of the print head. The CR Touch is pre-mounted on the Sprite extruder.

In my eyes, automatic print bed leveling is one of the most important features to increase the usability of a 3D printer. The fact that the CR Touch is extremely accurate is an added bonus. 

As soon as you start the automatic print bed leveling via the menu, the print head automatically moves to several points on the print bed. There the CR Touch measures the height above the print bed or the distance of the nozzle to the print bed. This data is stored and used for all following print jobs, so that the inclination of the print bed can be compensated. 

Magnetic, Removable Print Bed

  • Ender 3 S1: Yes, PC spring steel (left)
  • Ender 3 S1 Pro: Yes, PEI spring steel (right)

Both the Ender 3 S1 and the Ender 3 S1 Pro are equipped with a magnetic, removable print bed. This print bed is made of PC spring steel for the S1 and PEI spring steel for the S1 Pro.

The print bed is held by magnets and can be easily removed from the printer. This makes it easy to remove prints from the print bed, even if they are large and stick firmly to the print bed. The spring steel of both 3D printers also ensures that the print bed is perfectly flat, resulting in high-quality prints.

The Ender 3 S1 Pro has a PEI coating on the print bed. This ensures that even filaments that are suitable for higher temperatures adhere well to it. In addition, it is not necessary to use a glue stick such as Magigoo or any other adhesive on the PEI coating, which further simplifies the printing process.

Filament Sensor

  • Ender 3 S1: Yes
  • Ender 3 S1 Pro: Yes

A filament sensor is a device used in 3D printers to detect when new filament is loaded into the printer. This allows the printer to detect when the filament is empty and pause printing so you can load new filament.

The Ender 3 S1 and S1 Pro both have the same filament sensor. It is a simple optical sensor that uses a light-emitting diode (LED) to detect when the filament is running low. The LED shines on the filament and is reflected back into a light-sensitive transistor. When the filament runs out, the light can no longer be reflected and the transistor turns off, signaling the end of the filament.

The fact that the sensor looks a bit wobbly is intentional – so it can adapt to the movements of the filament.

Touchscreen

  • Ender 3 S1 (left): No
  • Ender 3 S1 Pro (right): Yes

The Ender 3 S1 does not have a touchscreen, but the Ender 3 S1 Pro does. The Ender 3 S1 Pro’s touchscreen is easy to use and navigate. All menus and options are easily accessible, and you can customize your printing to suit your needs.

The touchscreen of the Ender 3 S1 Pro measures 4.3 inches diagonally. It looks very modern and resembles a smartphone that is clipped to the right of the printer. The touchscreen is also very sensitive and responds quickly and accurately to your touches. 

Theoretically speaking, I find the operation of the Ender 3 S1 via the rotary knob no less good than via the touchscreen on the Ender 3 S1 Pro. You can find all the menus and settings just as quickly once you get the hang of it. However, the feel of a touchscreen is still a bit more comfortable and gives a sense of quality. 

Resume Print

  • Ender 3 S1: Yes
  • Ender 3 S1 Pro: Yes

The Resume Print function allows you to resume a paused print job. This is useful if you want to pause a print job for some reason and resume it later. This feature is especially useful during unexpected power outages. The printer remembers the point at which it was interrupted and resumes printing at that point.

Both the Ender 3 S1 and the Ender 3 S1 Pro have this feature. In fact, every modern 3D printer has these features, making it a must-have standard. 

Belt Tensioner

  • Ender 3 S1: Yes
  • Ender 3 S1 Pro: Yes

Belt tensioners are an important part of any 3D printer. They ensure that the timing belt is properly tensioned, which in turn ensures accurate printing. If the timing belt is not tensioned properly, it can lead to problems such as inaccurate printing, skipped steps, and even damage to the printer itself.

Both the Ender 3 S1 and the Ender 3 S1 Pro have integrated timing belt tensioners. This simple device ensures that the timing belt is properly tensioned and you can easily change the tension.

Tool Drawer

  • Ender 3 S1: Yes
  • Ender 3 S1 Pro: Yes

The tool drawer is a useful feature of the Ender 3 S1 and S1 Pro. It allows you to store all your tools and accessories in one convenient place. So you can easily access and use them when you need them.

The tool drawer is located at the front of each printer and can be opened by simply pulling on it.

Closed Print Volume

  • Ender 3 S1: No
  • Ender 3 S1 Pro: No

A closed print volume increases the surrounding temperature of the filament and prevents annoying drafts. Some filaments require such conditions, as they can otherwise warp very easily or not adhere to the print bed in the first place. This includes ABS in particular. 

Without a closed print volume, this more demanding filament than PLA is very difficult to print. Neither the Ender 3 S1 nor the S1 Pro has a closed print volume. 

If you like to print with ABS, this is not a problem, because you can get a tent for the Ender 3 series from Creality quite cheap. I tested it with the Ender 3 V2 and was able to print ABS very well. It successfully prevented warping and it is even fire retardant. 

Print Bed Handle

  • Ender 3 S1: No
  • Ender 3 S1 Pro: Yes

The Ender 3 S1 Pro has the advantage over the Ender 3 S1 in that it is equipped with a handle on the print bed. This makes it easier to remove a finished print job – you no longer need to touch the hot print bed.

LED Strip

  • Ender 3 S1: No
  • Ender 3 S1 Pro: Yes

LED strips on 3D printers are not a necessary feature, but they can be very helpful. They provide visual feedback on the status of the printer and can even help with troubleshooting. The Ender 3 S1 Pro has an integrated LED strip that greatly enhances the design.

Operation

User Interface: The operation of the Ender 3 S1 Pro is slightly better than that of the Ender 3 S1. Especially the large touchscreen makes the operation more smooth and more comfortable. But other features like the LED strip also contribute to a user-friendly operation. Moving the print bed is also easier on the S1 Pro, as it has a handle. 

Printing: Overall, starting, monitoring and finishing a print is more pleasant, easier and faster with the Ender 3 S1 Pro than with the standard version. The additional features make the operation more pleasant and you can also, for example, monitor the print better via the LED strip and assess it at the end. 

Slicer: Both the Ender 3 S1 and Ender 3 S1 Pro are compatible with Creality Slicer, Cura, Repetier-Host and Simplify3D. Both 3D printers come with a pre-made profile on the SD card. However, the settings included there are only rough starting points from which you’ll need to tweak further. If you’re looking for the perfect settings for the Ender 3 S1, you can check out this article. And in this article you find the ideal settings for the S1 Pro.

Print Quality

There is a draw when it comes to print quality. Both 3D printers achieve pretty much exactly the same print quality. They also have almost the same extruder and share most of the rest of the hardware. So if you’re purely concerned with the print quality and only want to print with PLA or other filaments that require low temperatures, the Ender 3 S1 would be better for you than the Ender 3 S1 Pro. 

Conclusion: Ender 3 S1 or Ender 3 S1 Pro? – Which is Better?

The clear winner in the comparison between the two 3D printers is the Ender 3 S1 Pro*. It has significantly better features and can process more filament.

The normal Ender 3 S1* is only better for you if you mainly want to print with PLA and the extra features are not important to you. Only then the price-performance ratio of the Ender 3 S1 is better than that of the S1 Pro.