Creality Ender 3: 3D Printer Buying Guide for 2021
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 Ender 3 printer.
Buying Guide for Creality Ender 3
Because in-person stores don’t typically carry 3D printers, makers and hobbyists rely on online marketplaces to buy their printers and accessories. The Creality Ender 3 is a fantastic affordable 3D printer with novel features that set it apart from other budget printers. If this is your pick, you have four main purchase options: the manufacturer, Amazon, large online shopping platforms that are typically based in China, and specialty online retailers. Not sure about which printer you want to buy? Check out our review here.
Buying your printer directly from the manufacturer will allow you to feel secure in knowing that you’re not receiving any knockoff or dysfunctional parts. However, there are a few reasons that 3D printing hobbyists tend to avoid buying direct.
Manufacturer prices are typically stable, but you can expect to pay full price. While Creality has promotions and sales, you can’t guarantee that the price will be lowest when you are ready to purchase. The site warns that consumers may also have to face tariffs depending on their country’s laws, so it is highly recommended to check this before ordering directly.
Creality has a very transparent return and warranty policy. Some parts can be replaced for free if they don’t work upon receipt, 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 wasn’t fully functional.
Anyone considering buying anything online knows that this digital behemoth probably has what they’re looking for. Those seeking 3D printers are no different.
Because most printers on Amazon are sourced from secondary sellers rather than Creality, there is more price variation, and you’re more likely to find something that is a little less expensive than the manufacturer’s website. However, because Amazon tends to have its own sale schedules, you’re less likely to find the types of mega-discounts that are more common in online Chinese marketplaces. Expect to find your machine at full price to about $30 off. Depending on the seller, you may find a gently used printer for even less.
Amazon has robust customer service and a solid return policy, allowing for a 30-day return period for all new and unopened items.
Online Chinese retailers: AliExpress, Gearbest, and BangGood
Depending on where you live, getting a warehouse-direct shipment from a Chinese retailer can yield a great deal. Despite the likelihood for big savings, prices and inventory tend to fluctuate often and intensely, so your window for making a purchase decision is limited.
Be sure to check where your Ender 3 is being delivered from because it could get stuck in customs and be subject to extra fees and excessively long delivery times.
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.
AliExpress is a popular online retailer with a solid roster of 3D printers for sale. It has been subject to criticism for issues customers have had with not receiving exactly what they ordered or problematic communication with sellers, but most of these issues have been addressed by the company. We still recommend exercising caution and ensuring that the product you buy includes everything you need and has good reviews.
AliExpress typically has much lower prices than other sites, but you may have to pay tariffs depending on where the printer is coming from. Keep in mind that prices fluctuate often as well. Some sellers often free shipping.
Buyers can request a refund up to 15 days after their order has been completed. Any specifics—such as whether you have to pay return shipping or get a full refund—are fully dependent on which seller you purchase from. Sometimes, the cost of return shipping can be more than the product itself, so think twice about ordering if there is a possibility of returning the printer.
Banggood sells a range of products and ships internationally, functioning most similarly to Amazon in marketplace style.
Shipping fees vary, and the prices fluctuate depending on what’s in stock. Like Amazon, there are occasional sales, but you’re likely to find the Ender 3 at lower prices than those on the Creality website.
After receipt, you have seven days to return a faulty printer for a full refund and no return shipping. Otherwise, you have a 30-day window to return unopened items, but you’ll have to pay return fees.
GearBest is a well-known online wholesaler that lists everything from consumer electronics to kitchen appliances at budget prices.
Similarly to the other stores, prices tend to fluctuate. GearBest does have sales and discounts often. Many items ship from GearBest’s Chinese warehouse, so keep an eye out for longer shipping times and potential extra fees.
Gearbest offers a 30-day return policy but requires the buyer to pay return shipping if the item is fully functional. If the printer is defective, you will not have to pay return shipping.
Specialized 3D Printing Online 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.
California-based MatterHackers is a well-loved 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 Black Friday. They offer free shipping within the U.S. as well.
MatterHackers has a 30-day return policy, but they charge a 15% restocking fee if the item isn’t defective.
Dynamism is another widely trusted 3D printer retailer owing to its fantastic customer service.
Dynamism does not have many sales or discounts. Prices won’t fluctuate, but you can expect to pay close to full price year-round.
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 Ender 3?
When buying something as specific as a 3D printer, there isn’t one perfect store to purchase from. You should consider whether price, shipping speed, and customer service are the most important factors for you. Among the Chinese marketplace sites, BangGood has notoriously solid customer service, while buying direct from Creality will likely yield the quickest international shipping times. Most 3D print makers tend to prefer sites like BangGood for their low prices and decent average shipping time of only about 3 weeks.