Ender 3 S1 vs Anycubic Kobra

The Ender 3 S1 and Anycubic Kobra are two popular, mid-range printers for those of you who have a few hundred dollars to spend on a 3D printer, and want some extra features you wouldn’t get on a super basic $180 kit. They’re definitely some of the cheaper printers out there, but they also have enough features and functionality to make them very user friendly.

But although the Ender 3 S1 and the Anycubic Kobra are both great printers – either for your first foray into 3D printing or to add to your growing collection – there are some key differences between them.

We’ll be covering all of their differences and similarities, with an emphasis on usability features like extruder type, auto-bed leveling, and community.

Let’s get started!

Ender 3 S1 vs Anycubic Kobra: A Quick Summary

Ender 3 S1

  • Price: Check latest price at Creality here / Amazon here
  • Printing technology: FDM 
  • Build volume: 220 x 220 x 270 mm
  • Filament compatibility: PLA, PETG, ABS, ASA, TPU, HIPS
  • Layer height: 50 – 350 microns
  • Printing accuracy: ± 0.1 mm
  • Max extruder temp: 260°C 
  • Max bed temp: 100°C
  • Connectivity: USB, SD Card

The Ender 3 S1 is a true all-rounder. With the good name of Creality and the Ender series to back it, the S1 is essentially a collection of important updates to previous Creality printers. It has an unimpressive (but perfectly usable) build volume of 220 x 220 x 270 mm and is equipped with a PC magnetic base plate by default.

Just like prior Ender printers, it’s compatible with most of the regular filaments you’d want to use: PLA, PETG, ABS, ASA, HIPS, and TPU, among others. The bed can handle temperatures of up to 100°C, which is slightly on the lower side. It won’t get in the way of printing with the common filaments mentioned, but it does brush against the limits for filaments like ABS and HIPS. The extruder’s maximum temp is 260°C, which is more or less the same story.

As opposed to earlier Ender printers’ Bowden extruders, the Ender 3 S1 uses a dual-gear direct drive extruder. We’ll get into the details later on, but this essentially means that the S1’s extruder has better control, retraction, and responsiveness compared to previous Ender 3 models. That’s a huge help when printing with flexible filaments like TPU. 

Filament compatibility aside, the Ender 3 S1 has features that match printers in a similar price range– like the Anycubic Kobra. It uses CR Touch, which is a type of auto-leveling that uses a physical probe to level the print bed. It also has a filament run-out sensor, making it just that much easier for new hobbyists to use the S1.

Overall, the Ender 3 S1 is a great option for anyone willing to pay slightly more for quality upgrades. It’s not particularly loud (like some of the cheaper Ender printers), is quick to assemble, and doesn’t need much tinkering. Even if you do run into trouble, the huge Creality community will probably have the solution!

A Direct Drive Ender 3 3D Printer
Creality Ender-3 S1 3D Printer | Direct Drive | Auto Leveling 3D Printer
$379
Creality Store here Amazon here
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Anycubic Kobra

  • Price: Check latest price at Anycubic here / Amazon here
  • Printing technology: FDM 
  • Build volume: 220 x 220 x 250 mm
  • Filament compatibility: PLA, PETG, ABS, ASA, TPU, HIPS
  • Layer height: 50 – 300 microns
  • Printing accuracy: ± 0.1 mm
  • Max extruder temp: 260°C 
  • Max bed temp: 110°C
  • Connectivity: USB, SD Card

At a slightly lower price, the Anycubic Kobra is a strong competitor for mid-range FDM printers. Just like the Ender 3 S1, it comes across as a polished version of earlier, cheaper printers that were the most popular options a few years ago.

The Kobra has a standard build volume of 220 x 220 x 250 mm and can handle most filaments that you’d want to toss its way. With a maximum extruder temperature of 260°C and a bed temperature of 110°C, this includes PLA, PETG, ABS, ASA, TPU, and HIPS.

Anycubic is known for making resin printers, but they still managed to make the Kobra adhere with all the quality of life features that would be expected of the price. Just like the Ender 3 S1, it has a direct drive extruder – but this one has a single gear.

It also has automatic bed-leveling through an inductive sensor, a color touch screen, and an optional filament runout sensor. You can purchase the sensor quite easily as an add-on to the Kobra through the official Anycubic website, for a small fee. It’s included with most Amazon listings, too.

All in all, the Anycubic Kobra is a solid choice for either an entry-level or an intermediate 3D printer. Its pricing keeps it in the realm of budget printers, but it’s not really lacking in features as the price might suggest. Plus, it’s relatively quiet and takes little assembly. The main drawback is that it has an incredibly small community compared to big players like Creality.

Great Ender 3 Alternative
Anycubic Kobra 3D Printer
Anycubic Store here Amazon here
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Comparison Showdown

Build Volume

  • Anycubic Kobra – 220 x 220 x 250 mm
  • Ender 3 S1 – 220 x 220 x 270 mm
Build Volume-Creality Ender 3 S1 vs Anycubic Kobra

The Ender 3 S1 has a slightly larger build volume, but only by 20 extra mm. It’s actually in the Z (vertical) axis, too, which makes it pretty irrelevant when it comes to the print volume it can handle, unless you’re printing super tall models.

Both the Anycubic Kobra and the Ender 3 S1 have build volumes that are all but standardized for printers in that price range. That being said, there is a difference in upgradeability between the two.

Just like other Creality printers, the Ender 3 S1 can easily– if you have the money– be upgraded by using an Ender Extender kit. The Anycubic Kobra doesn’t have that option. Instead, you’re better off purchasing a larger Anycubic printer, like the Kobra Max/Plus.

Price

  • Anycubic Kobra – $299
  • Ender 3 S1 – $379

Unlike cheaper printers, the Kobra and the S1 don’t need any upgrades to be reliable. So, at face value, the Kobra is the clear winner when it comes to price. An $80 difference is really nothing to scoff at when the two printers have extremely similar features.

To be fair, you need to tack on the extra $18 for the Kobra’s filament sensor if you want the same functionality. The Ender 3 S1 includes it at base.

The Ender V2 Neo is actually priced the same as the Kobra: $299. As far as price goes, it’s a worthy contender.

Auto Bed-Leveling

Auto Bed-Leveling-Ender 3 S1 vs Kobra

Both the S1 and the Kobra have automatic bed-leveling, but they use different systems. The Ender 3 S1 and the V2 Neo use the common probe-style bed-leveling that was popularized with BLTouch. Of course, Creality calls the technology CR Touch, but the functionality is the same.

The Anycubic Kobra uses an inductive sensor for the same purpose, which has generally proven itself to be a reliable alternative. You also don’t have to worry about any part of the probe breaking.

The downside of the inductive sensor is that only certain bed materials are going to yield consistent results. An inductive sensor detects metal, so build plates made of glass or other non-metal material could render the sensor useless.

If the plate is thin enough and the underframe is made of metal, there’s a chance that the sensor will work with non-metal plates. Still, the Ender 3 S1’s CR Touch is going to be consistently versatile in the types of bed plates it allows.

Another issue with the Kobra’s bed-leveling is that it has completely removed the manual knob necessary to do it yourself. On the off chance that the inductive sensor fails, you won’t have the choice of doing it manually.

Filament Compatibility

Filament Compatibility-Creality Ender 3 S1 vs Anycubic Kobra

Since they have similar max temperatures, the filaments that are compatible with the Ender 3 S1 and the Anycubic Kobra are essentially the same. The main difference in compatibility comes from the auto bed-leveling features mentioned above.

Some filaments, like Nylon, have issues with adhesion unless you use a particular build plate. Glass or garolite (neither of which are made of metal) are the two best materials for working with Nylon. The Kobra’s metal-reliant inductive sensor could make working with Nylon and similar filaments a real challenge. 

There’s also significant community support on the side of all Creality printers, so you can rest assured that people will have guides for how they use finicky filaments. With those two factors combined, the Ender 3 S1 is going to be the better option if you want to use a wide range of filaments.

Extruder

The extruders on the Ender 3 S1 and the Anycubic Kobra are remarkably similar. They both stand out by being direct drive instead of Bowden extruders, and they’re both weakened by their PTFE-lined heat breaks.

Purchasing an extruder upgrade is a good idea for both extruders if you plan on using anything other than PLA. PTFE lining can’t withstand temperatures above 230°C for extended periods of time and will eventually degrade, so a PTFE heat break is a liability in the long run.

Extruder-Creality Ender 3 S1 vs Anycubic Kobra

For the Ender 3 S1, just like any other Ender printer, it’s easy to find replacement parts for the heat break. But the Kobra’s heat break is shaped in a way that makes it a little too unique. You’re going to have an easier time just replacing the entire extruder.

The Ender 3 V2 Neo is impressive in that it has a fully metal extruder, so you’re unlikely to need upgrades despite it being priced the same as the Kobra. The downside is that it uses a Bowden extruder.

If you were hoping to use a direct drive extruder to avoid stringing, clumping, and other extrusion problems, then you’re out of luck with the Neo.

Runout Sensors

Whether you get the S1 or the Kobra, you’ll have access to a runout sensor that will automatically stop the print if it runs out of filament. The Kobra’s runout sensor is technically an add-on, though. That means you actually have the option of skipping it to save a bit more money.

Either way, the Anycubic Kobra and the Ender S1 are a tie in this category. 

Control Screen

The Anycubic Kobra has a clear lead when it comes to the screen. The Ender 3 S1 has the same old control knob screen that most in the Ender 3 lineup (including the V2 Neo) are stuck with. It’s color, at the very least, but that’s all it has going for it.

Control Screen-Creality Ender 3 S1 vs Anycobra Kobra

On the other hand, the Kobra has an easy to use touchscreen– also in full color. Both screens are 4.3”. 

Print Speed

As is common with most 3D printers, the maximum speeds for the Kobra and the Ender 3 S1 are much higher than you would ever need to use. The Kobra caps out at 180 mm/s, and the S1’s maximum is 150 mm/s.

It doesn’t really matter that the Kobra can go 30 mm/s faster. In most cases, you’ll be using something closer to 60 – 100 mm/s anyway.

Assembly/Ease of Use

Assembly-Creality Ender 3 S1 vs Anycubic Kobra

The Anycubic Kobra has an impressively detailed and easy to follow build guide, but the assembly time is about the same as the Ender 3 S1.

Some people report it taking as little as 15 minutes to set up. More likely is that you’ll spend around 45 minutes setting it up for the first time, especially if you haven’t assembled a printer before.

Both printers are also relatively quiet. This is a big improvement from lower budget printers, which often need fan and/or motherboard replacements to help with the noise.

As for ease of use, it’s important to know that both printers might need some tinkering, upgrades, and troubleshooting to stay functional. It’s the price you pay for getting a budget printer.

Community

If there’s one feature that blows the Kobra out of the water, it’s the available support for the Ender 3 S1. Pitting Anycubic against Creality means that you have to acknowledge Creality’s huge community.

Any problem you have with the Ender 3 S1 and any upgrade you want to make has been experienced before and posted online. Between the multiple forums, blogs, and Youtube channels dedicated to Creality’s 3D printers, the community is a safety net for hobbyists of all experience levels.

The same can be applied to the Ender 3 V2 Neo. For the same price as the Kobra, you can have access to the Creality community.

Anycubic Kobra vs Ender 3 S1 – The Bottom Line

There’s no doubt that the Anycubic Kobra and the Ender 3 S1 are both good choices to add to your lineup. They’re also beginner-friendly, with quick assembly, low prices, auto bed-leveling, and runout sensors. You won’t go wrong with either printer so long as you’re willing to do a little tinkering.

But it’s clear that the two printers service different needs. If you know you’re going to make a lot of upgrades, the Ender 3 S1 is going to be easier to find parts and guides for. In the same vein, the S1 and the V2 Neo might be better options if you want to explore more difficult filament types.

Of course, the Creality community is another huge benefit of getting an Ender printer. There are some resources for the Anycubic Kobra, but it’s not anywhere close to the size of the Creality community. If you’re worried about having issues with your printer and lacking the technical knowledge to fix them, an Ender printer is probably the better choice.

The Anycubic Kobra is still a good printer if you don’t feel the need to experiment with unique filaments– maybe because you already have a printer that can handle them– and for people who don’t mind the lack of community.

It has a meaningful advantage in price, and the ~$80 you’d save from buying the Kobra could be put towards upgrades that make it even better than the Ender 3 S1.

So, it’s really a question of if the Ender 3 S1’s standout features are worth the extra cost to you. If they aren’t, then the Kobra is the printer for you.

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