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Creality 3D CR-10S Review

If you are searching for a solid printer on a budget and don't mind doing a little tinkering, then this model is the perfect choice
Creality 3D CR-10S
Credit: Creality 3D
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Price:   $600 List | $439.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Great value, large build area
Cons:  Nonexistent support, little harder to use
Manufacturer:   Creality 3D
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Feb 26, 2018
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64
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 14
  • Print Quality - 40% 7
  • Ease of Use - 30% 6
  • Print Capabilities - 20% 8
  • Support - 10% 2

Our Verdict

The Creality 3D CR-10S is our top pick for those shopping for a 3D printer on a budget. It delivered exceptional print quality — almost matching that of our top pick overall, the Ultimaker 2+. The CR-10S holds its own against models that cost nearly four times as much. It has an impressive set of printing capabilities, such as its absolutely massive build envelope and a filament sensor to detect an empty roll on large prints. Unfortunately, it is a little more difficult to use and has pretty much non-existent customer support. However, there are plenty of forums and other resources online to help you troubleshoot if the need arises, so this printer is a great bet if you are looking to save some cash and aren't afraid of a little DIY tinkering.

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Price $600 List
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Great value, large build areaCompact form factor, excellent prints for FFF, easy to useFully enclosed, integrated camera, easy to useGreat budget buy, solid printing capabilities, decent print qualityExceptionally detailed prints, solid capabilities
Cons Nonexistent support, little harder to useSupport could be better, a bit more assembly than other printersLimited filament compatibility, so-so customer supportFinicky with ABS, can require a bit of tinkeringPrints require cleanup, much messier
Bottom Line If you are searching for a solid printer on a budget and don't mind doing a little tinkering, then this model is the perfect choiceIf you're seeking a great value option, it's hard to beat this user-friendly machineIf you are searching for an enclosed and easy to use option that won't break the bank, then this is a great optionIf you are looking for an inexpensive bare-bones printer and don't mind making some adjustments to it, then this model is an exceptional choiceIf you value detail above all else and are looking for a printer for high-quality miniature models, then this is our all-around favorite
Rating Categories Creality 3D CR-10S Creality 3D CR-10S... FlashForge Adventur... Creality 3D Ender 3... Elegoo Mars 2 Pro
Print Quality (40%)
7.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
10.0
Ease Of Use (30%)
6.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
2.0
Print Capabilities (20%)
8.0
8.0
5.0
7.0
5.0
Support (10%)
2.0
5.0
4.0
6.0
5.0
Specs Creality 3D CR-10S Creality 3D CR-10S... FlashForge Adventur... Creality 3D Ender 3... Elegoo Mars 2 Pro
Build Volume (XxYxZ) 300x300x400mm 300x300x400mm 150x150x150mm 200x200x250mm 130x80x160mm
Maximum Extruder Temperature 260ºC 260°C 240°C 255°C N/A
Layer Cooling Fan? 2 1 1 2 N/A
Heated Bed Yes Yes Yes Yes N/A
Build Plate Material Glass Aluminium build plate with an adhesive printing sheet Removeable and flexible plastic with sticker Aluminium build plate with a magnetic course plastic sticker Aluminum
Maximum Bed Temperature 135ºC 110°C 100°C 110°C N/A
Compatible with Third-Party Materials? Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Included Nozzle sizes 0.4mm 0.4mm 0.4mm 0.4mm Not applicable
Print layer resolution 0.1 - 0.4mm 0.1 - 0.4mm 0.1 - 0.4mm 0.1 - 0.4mm 0.025 - 0.1mm
Filament Size 1.75mm 1.75mm 1.75mm 1.75mm 405 nm resin
PLA? Yes Yes Yes Yes N/A
ABS? Yes Yes Yes Yes N/A
Network Printing No No Yes No No
Standalone (SD card or USB drive) Printing Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Creality 3D CR-10S.
The Creality 3D CR-10S.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Performance Comparison


To see which 3D printer is truly the best, we purchased the top models available on the market and tested them head-to-head to find the best. In total, we printed dozens of models on each printer and compared them to determine scores, as well as looking at the effort associated with changing filament, setting up and calibrating each printer, and its capabilities. These tests were divided up among four weighted rating metrics — Print Quality, Print Capabilities, Support, and Ease of Use — with the sections below describing the performance of the Creality CR-10S and how it stacks up against the rest of the printers in the group.

A sample of prints from the CR-10S.
A sample of prints from the CR-10S.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Print Quality


Accounting for the largest portion of the total score, the Print Quality metric is responsible for 40% of the final score. To score the Creality, we printed a suite of models in both PLA and ABS and compared the finished prints side-by-side to the rest of the prints. We used the default setting, only making minor tweaks if necessary to get the model to print. The Creality did very well, meriting a 7 out of 10 for its showing.


The first model that we evaluated was a small tugboat known as 3D Benchy, which is commonly used as a 3D printer "torture test". This printer got off to a great start in this series of tests, creating a great Benchy in both PLA and ABS. There were only some slight aberrations in the overhanging sections and the text on the base layer lacked some definition, but it was otherwise an essentially perfect little boat.

There was almost nothing wrong with this print.
There was almost nothing wrong with this print.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Next, we scored some of the most difficult to print models in the group: the Eiffel Tower and a spiral bridging test. The CR-10S made an amazingly high-quality bridge model in PLA, with very smooth layers. There was only a minuscule amount of sag in the longest bridge, with only a few additional strings. The quality dropped a little in the ABS version, with a bit more sag in the longer bridges and the entire print displaying some warpage.

The Eiffel Tower in PLA was mediocre, matching that produced by the Monoprice Maker Select. The ABS version kept failing and breaking apart.

The ABS bridging was great, but the sides of the print warped some.
The ABS bridging was great, but the sides of the print warped some.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The next three model we evaluated were our bridging and nickel tests, as well as an articulated elephant model. The PLA elephant was exceptionally well done, with very clean ears and other details. The articulated joints were totally free and unobstructed, with almost no effort required to initially break them free. The ABS version came out a little worse, due to some layer separation, but the legs still moved freely. The Creality is reasonably dimensionally accurate, with the nickel test piece only coming out a tiny bit larger than the nickel in both types of plastic.

The overhang test model produced by the CR-10S in PLA was absolutely perfect, with exceptionally clean overhanging faces. It came out a little more disfigured in the ABS version, exhibiting some substantial undulations on the steeper overhangs.

The PLA (green) overhang was perfect, the ABS version...
The PLA (green) overhang was perfect, the ABS version struggled once it reached the 65 degree overhang mark.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Next, we scored the hollow cube and the articulated platform jack. The PLA wireframe cube was excellent, with only a minuscule amount of wobble, but the ABS version suffered from severe layer separation, with the top breaking off of the cube with the lightest tap. The PLA platform jack matched the quality of the Ultimaker, moving very freely with hardly any print defects. The ABS version still articulated, but had a decent amount of layers separating, hurting its score slightly.

The platform jack closed and opened with ease and the PLA cube was...
The platform jack closed and opened with ease and the PLA cube was excellent.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The next two prints are of a pair of low-poly figures from popular video games. The CR-10S did a phenomenal job creating both of these models in PLA, matching the showing of the Ultimaker. However, there was a decent amount of layer separation in the ABS versions.

Low-poly prints from the CR-10S.
Low-poly prints from the CR-10S.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Continuing on, we looked at a trio of test prints. We looked at a spiral vase, a tall tower, and a support test. The Creality again produced an excellent PLA spiral vase, but the ABS version did show some layer separation. The support test turned out great in both PLA and ABS, with relatively smooth supported faces and a support matrix that was very easily removed. Both the tall towers also came out great, with only a tiny bit of Z-axis wobble present.

The supports created by the CR-10S were just as easy to remove as...
The supports created by the CR-10S were just as easy to remove as the Ultimaker 2+.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Finally, the last two prints we evaluated were a threaded jar and lid.

The PLA jar and lid fit together like they were made for each other.
The PLA jar and lid fit together like they were made for each other.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The PLA jar came out exceptional, with its corresponding lid right behind it. The lid had decent resolution, but did show some errors. However, it still easily threaded on the jar. The ABS jar and lid weren't quite as nice, with some layer separation and the lid having plenty of strings.

The interface of the CR-10S was easy to use.
The interface of the CR-10S was easy to use.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Ease of Use


Our next metric, Ease of Use, is responsible for 30% of the total score. We ranked and scored each printer on how much effort it took to unbox and setup, as well as how much work it took to change filament and level the build plate. We also evaluated how you connected to the printer and the quality of the display on each one. The Creality performed reasonably well, earning it a 6 out of 10.


The initial assembly of this printer is definitely a little on the complex side. The included documentation isn't the best and is split between digital resources on the included SD card and printed instructions that aren't very easy to follow. You need to first attach the vertical frame to the horizontal frame, add the glass to the print bed, then connect all the wires, then mount the spool holder, and finally attach the filament sensor.

The CR-10S included a filament detector.
The CR-10S included a filament detector.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

We definitely had to search online for some additional information to aid in putting it together. It's not an impossible task — even for the complete 3D printer novice — but definitely is far from a turnkey printer.

The printed instructions were hard to follow and they left out...
The printed instructions were hard to follow and they left out information, check the SD card.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Thankfully, leveling the bed is a much easier task. The process is semi-automatic, with the Creality automatically moving the nozzle to the correct location, then leaving you to manually turn the knobs to correctly set the height.

There are 4 knobs used to level the bed.
There are 4 knobs used to level the bed.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

This is very similar to the Ultimaker, with the main difference being that the Creality will time out and return to the home screen if you take too much time before moving onto the next step.

It's decently easy to swap filament, though the process is not automatic. You need to set the extruder to heat up, then manually pull the old filament you. You can then feed in the new filament while holding down the extruder lever or engage the motor to do it for you. We did find that it usually took a few tries, as the filament would get hung up, and we would have to pull it out and straighten it before trying again.

This printer uses a microSD card.
This printer uses a microSD card.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Files can be sent to the Creality by USB cable or microSD card — no wireless options.

The display is easy to read and shows you a progress bar while...
The display is easy to read and shows you a progress bar while printing.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The display is decent, showing the time elapsed, percentage completed, and a few other metrics while printing.

The CR-10S has a very large build volume: 300x300x400mm.
The CR-10S has a very large build volume: 300x300x400mm.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Print Capabilities


Accounting for 20% of the total score, our Print Capabilities metric is based on the build envelope, the quality of the build plate, the temperature and filament capabilities of the printer, the number of cooling fans, and the software used. The Creality scored exceptionally well in this metric, netting one of the best scores that we have seen.


The Creality has an absolutely massive build area, measuring in at 11.81"x11.81"x15.75" (300mmx300mmx400mm). This is the largest of the group by far, allowing you to create some absolutely massive prints. The print bed is glass, with some included masking tape that you can use, though we primarily used either hairspray, blue painter's tape, or an ABS acetone slurry to improve bed adhesion.

This printer works with 1.75mm filament and isn't restricted to a proprietary brand. Its extruder can reach a maximum temperature of 260°C, making it suitable for a wide variety of filaments, such as ABS, PLA, TPU, wood fill, or PETG. The bed can reach a temperature of 135°C and it has both an extruder and layer cooling fan.

The documentation recommends using Cura as a slicer, but also mentions that it is compatible with Repetier-Host. These programs are both free to download. This printer is also compatible with Simplify3D — a slicer that offers increased performance and control, though it costs about $150. We used Cura for our testing.

Manufacturer support was nonexistent for us.
Manufacturer support was nonexistent for us.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Support


Finally, we graded the quality of the customer support for each printer. This metric accounts for the residual 10% of the total score. The Creality scored very poorly, earning a 2 out of 10 for its paltry performance.


Essentially, there isn't any customer support for this printer and you are on your own. We never managed to contact them and the only online videos we found were posted by other users, not by Creality itself. Supposedly, this printer has a 1-year limited warranty, but as we weren't ever able to contact them, the benefits of this are somewhat suspect.

Value


This printer is a fantastic value, holding its own with printers that cost 4-5 times as much.

Conclusion


All in all, if you are searching for a 3D printer on a budget, you can't go wrong with the Creality CR-10S. This inexpensive printer has an enormous build area and produces prints that are exceptionally high-quality. However, the customer support is pretty much nonexistent, so you should be prepared to troubleshoot any issues you have yourself or by searching through forums and other resources online to find the answer.

David Wise and Austin Palmer