Navigating the online 3D printer marketplace can be confusing and overwhelming for new 3D print makers. This guide covers what you should consider when picking where to buy your new Creality CR-10 printer.
Buying specialty machines like 3D printers requires hobbyists to search on online marketplaces rather than shopping in-person. When looking for a print giant like the CR-10, you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons of shopping with online mega-retailers like Amazon or AliExpress or smaller specialty stores like Tiny Machines and Matter Hackers. Not sure about which printer you want to buy? Check out our review here.
Buying Guide for Creality CR-10
Buying your printer directly from the manufacturer ensures that you will pay sticker price for working parts straight from the source. However, many 3D printing hobbyists avoid buying direct from the manufacturer and prefer third-party sellers.
Manufacturer prices are typically stable with few sales, so you are almost guaranteed to pay full price. You may have to pay tariffs depending on their country’s laws, so it is highly recommended to check this before ordering directly and checking whether you can choose the country from which the printer will be shipped.
Creality has a very transparent return and warranty policy. Defective parts can be replaced for free, and the printer can be returned within 30 days for a full refund. Keep in mind that Creality will not refund shipping costs unless the printer is broken or dysfunctional.
If you’re considering buying something on the internet, Amazon needs no introduction. It is a well-established, well-trusted resource for buying all tech and non-tech items.
Most printers listed on Amazon are from secondary sellers, so there is more price variation although prices remain relatively stable. There are few sales, and you’re likely to pay just a little less than full price for your printer. Most hobbyists consider printers off Amazon closer to the “expensive” end because of this, but you may find a good deal on a gently used printer.
Amazon has solid customer service and return guidelines with a 30-day return period for all new and unopened items. You should check with your specific seller to determine how shipping/handling costs will be dealt with.
3. Tiny Machines
Tiny Machines is a favorite retailer among 3D print hobbyists owing to their excellent customer service and pre-ship testing process.
Tiny Machines lists their printers at or just above the manufacturer’s price. However, freight costs are included, and the team assembles and checks your printer for you before it reaches your door and will let you know if the printer has any problems.
Both defective and non-defective unused items can be returned within 30 days, but returning working items incur have return shipping costs and a 15% restocking fee.
Online Chinese retailers: BangGood, Gearbest, and AliExpress
Depending on where you’re shipping to, getting a warehouse-direct shipment from a Chinese retailer can be cheap and relatively quick. However, prices and inventory tend to fluctuate often and intensely, so your window for making a purchase decision may be limited.
Be sure to check the shipping origin of your printer because it could get stuck in customs, meaning that you will have to wait up to an extra several weeks and pay international shipping and customs fees.
You may be able to find a warehouse in your area with your printer in stock, which can help you avoid extra fees and delivery time.
BangGood is very similar to Amazon, with an easy-to-navigate user interface and clear seller information. Among the large online sellers, hobbyists typically prefer to buy printers and accessories from this retailer.
Shipping fees vary according to the seller, and prices may fluctuate depending on what’s in stock. Like Amazon, there may be infrequent sales. Overall, a new 3D printer from a BangGood seller is likely to be notably less expensive than one purchased from Amazon or directly from Creality.
Buyers have a 7-day period to return a faulty printer for a full refund without paying return shipping. Otherwise, there is a 30-day window to return unopened items, and you’ll have to pay return fees.
GearBest is an online wholesaler that provides consumers with access to nearly any home good, appliance, or consumer electronic they may want. They also host a variety of specialty products like 3D printers and laser tools.
Like all large Chinese online marketplaces, prices tend to fluctuate notably. However, GearBest often hosts sales and discounts. Many items ship from their Chinese warehouse, so you should check all the shipping information and potential costs for getting the printer in your country.
Gearbest offers a 30-day return policy, but the buyer must pay return shipping if the item is fully functional. If the printer is defective, you will not have to pay return shipping.
AliExpress is a popular online retailer with the largest range of hosted products. Because it hosts a wide variety of items from sellers in many different areas, buyers should carefully check all seller information to ensure that there are no hidden fees or extremely long shipping times.
AliExpress is typically much less expensive than other sites, but you may have to pay tariffs depending on the shipping origin. Prices often fluctuate often as well. Some sellers often free shipping, but shipping prices may vary widely.
Buyers have up to 15 days after their order has been completed. Specific return information, such as return shipping costs or refund amounts, are dependent on which seller you purchase from. Sometimes, the cost of return shipping can be more than the product itself.
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Specialized Online 3D Printing Stores
While larger online marketplaces tend to have a good selection of cheaper printers, specialty stores are typically a better bet for ensuring that you’re getting a high-quality, warranty-backed product. Because these companies tend to be smaller, you should check where they’re shipping from and ensure that you won’t have to pay extra or wait too long for your item.
The California-based specialty online retailer MatterHackers is a widely used and community supported supplier of 3D printers, filaments, and accessories.
Because this is a smaller company, you’re likely to find semi-frequent sales and big holiday discounts, like those on Black Friday. They offer free shipping within the U.S.
MatterHackers has a fairly conventional 30-day return policy and charge a 15% restocking fee if the item isn’t defective.
Dynamism is another well-loved 3D printer retailer owing to its fantastic customer service.
Dynamism’s products are not often on sale, and prices remain relatively stable year-round. You’re likely to pay close to the manufacturer price.
Similar to Matterhackers, Dynamism offers returns within 30 days of receipt, but return shipping must be paid. A 15% restocking fee is applied for the return of non-defective items.
The verdict: Where should I buy the CR-10?
Before deciding on which retailer is best for your purchase, consider whether price, shipping speed, and customer service are most important to you. For Creality printers, most 3D print makers and hobbyists rely on Tiny Machines for their quality checks, good customer service, and moderate shipping times, being willing to pay just a bit more for benefits that come with shopping with a trusted, smaller retailer.