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Prusa Mk3 vs Maker Select Plus: Which 3D printer should you buy?

While the Prusa Mk3 is the printer I would recommend for everyone, for some the price is just too high when you are starting out. The Maker Select Plus price is much more manageable but it comes with some sacrifices to speed and advanced systems.

Money matters but so does quality

When looking at the spec sheet below you may be lulled into thinking that the Prusa Mk3 and the Maker Select Plus are pretty much the same device. Sure the Prusa is a little bigger and with some sparkly features but the two are essentially the same, right? Actually, not really.

While the Maker Select Plus is a capable machine, it lacks a lot of the features you would need to really push your 3D printing into the realms of professional quality. Things like auto bed leveling and the filament sensor make a huge difference in not only the quality of the print but the success rate of your prints, and you just don't get that here.

A filament sensor will tell the Prusa Mk3 when the filament has run out and the Prusa will pause the print until you can change the filament safely. Without that, the Select Plus will just continue with the print even if there is no filament, leaving you with a lot of wasted material and unfinished model. The auto bed leveling and crash detection, as well as the power cut saving feature, elevate the Mk3 to greatness.

Maker Select PlusPrusa Mk3
Print size200x200x180250x210x200
Max resolution0.1mm0.1mm
Auto bed leveling✔️
Crash detection✔️
Heated bed✔️✔️
Filament sensor✔️
Filament TypeABS, PLA, XT Copolyester, PET, TPU, TPC, FPE, PVA, HIPSABS, PLA, XT Copolyester, PET, TPU, TPC, FPE, PVA, HIPS

Now that is not to say the Plus cannot get those advanced features — it can, but it will require added expense and expertise to get those features, which can be a lot of hassle if all you want is good prints. With the Maker Plus, you have to go into the purchase knowing that upgrades are needed and budget for that accordingly.

If you can afford the Prusa Mk3's $750+ price tag, then take that plunge.

Even with the upgrades, the Maker Select Plus will never reach Prusa levels of quality — it is, after all, a clone of the original Prusa, not the Mk3 Prusa — but for a starting price that's nearly half the cost of the Mk3, it isn't a bad place to start.

Like any hobby, the best 3D printer for you to buy is the one you can afford. When I first started I bought the old version of the Monoprice Maker Select and then the Plus and I don't regret it. If I had the money to buy the Prusa though, I would have bought that from day one.

The Prusa Mk3 is the superior machine and if you can afford the $750+ price tag then get it. If you can't, the Maker Select Plus is an excellent choice to get you started on your road to 3D printing addiction. Just be prepared to spend $100 - $150 on upgrades to really make the Plus shine.

James built his first PC when he was 13 and has never looked back. He can be found on Windows Central, usually in the corner where all the 3D printers are, or huddled around the Xbox playing the latest games.