As adding the functionality of auto bed leveling to most popular 3D printers, such as the Ender 3, requires the purchase of an auto bed leveling sensor, such as the BLTouch, many 3D printing enthusiasts end up not giving auto bed leveling a chance.
The fact that there are a lot of mixed opinions on the process of auto bed leveling also doesn’t make the decision any less challenging, with some members of the community swearing by auto bed leveling and others thinking that it’s not a necessary addition.
In today’s article, we will discuss whether the BLTouch sensor, which brings the functionality of automatically leveling the bed to the 3D printer, is a worthwhile purchase that improves the 3D printing process or not, a point of discussion that has a lot of mixed opinions in the 3D printing community.
So, is the BLTouch auto bed leveling sensor worth the purchase?
While the BLTouch auto bed leveling sensor is not a complete necessity for the 3D printing process, there is no denying that it solves the notorious problem of incorrect bed leveling without any effort or time spent on your part, which makes it worth the purchase, in our opinion.
Next up, we will analyze whether the BLTouch ABL sensor is worth the purchase or not in more detail, find out if the BLTouch improves the print quality in any way, and discuss how leveling with the BLTouch compares to manual bed leveling.
Is the BLTouch Auto Bed Leveling Sensor Worth It?
While the BLTouch auto bed leveling sensor being the first product that comes to mind whenever automatically leveling the bed is the point of discussion tells us a lot about its popularity, we don’t really hear about whether the purchase is worth it or not.
While whether a product is worth it or not is subjective, the BLTouch auto bed leveling sensor is definitely an addition that has been highly worth it for two reasons in our case: increased bed leveling consistency and not needing to go through the tedious process of manual bed leveling.
Increased bed leveling consistency, which means that the print bed will always be correctly leveled before the printing process, makes it so that we never have to worry about an unlevel bed causing our prints to fail.
Considering that it’s usually not possible to detect an unlevel bed until the printing process is already underway, which generally ends up with wasted time and filament, guaranteeing that the build plate is leveled correctly is, without a doubt, the most significant benefit of the BLTouch auto bed leveling sensor.
Adding to that, not having to go through the process of manually leveling the bed all the time, especially considering the amount of time and effort it takes, means that we can spend our time focusing on our project instead, creating a more enjoyable 3D printing experience.
Aside from the amount of time and effort it takes, it’s also worth noting that the manual bed leveling process is a very error-prone process that requires a lot of attention to get right, which creates an unenjoyable experience that we think doesn’t belong in 3D printing.
Finally, considering that the BLTouch only costs as much as 2 kilograms of PLA filament at most and is a permanent addition to your 3D printer, we don’t see any reason for not incorporating it into your printing process and enjoying the benefits that come with automatic bed leveling.
Does the BLTouch Sensor Improve Print Quality?
Improving the print quality of their prints is something every 3D printing enthusiast naturally strives for, as 3D printing is all about creating objects that can fulfill their purpose as best as possible.
Since 3D printing with a print bed that isn’t correctly leveled is a widespread problem that will drastically reduce print quality and even cause your prints to fail, we can indeed say that the BLTouch auto bed leveling sensor improves the print quality by increasing the bed leveling accuracy and consistency.
With the addition of auto bed leveling, standard bed leveling-related issues such as poor bed adhesion, warping, and uneven extrusion won’t trouble your prints anymore, creating a much better 3D printing experience.
On the other hand, it’s also worth noting that you won’t see any added benefit from the BLTouch if you can manually level the bed correctly in a consistent fashion (which is pretty rare), meaning that the improvement in print quality only comes from the improvements to the bed leveling.
BLTouch vs. Manual Bed Leveling – How Do They Compare?
We believe that comparing the automatic bed leveling process BLTouch offers with the process of manually leveling the bed side-by-side is the most objective way of weighing the advantages and disadvantages of both methods.
To start, let’s take a look at the advantages the BLTouch brings over manually leveling the bed:
- The BLTouch the bed more accurately than manual leveling.
- The bed leveling is consistent among distinct printing processes.
- No time or effort is required for leveling the bed other than the initial setup of the sensor.
On the other hand, here are the advantages of manually leveling the bed compared to using the BLTouch to level the bed automatically instead:
- Manually leveling the bed doesn’t come with any extra costs.
- We have more control over the bed leveling process with manual leveling.
With the unreliable results and the tedious process of manual bed leveling, automatic bed leveling is, without a doubt, a step up that makes the 3D printing experience way more enjoyable and consistent.
To quickly recap, we believe that the BLTouch is definitely worth the purchase for any 3D printing enthusiast who would like to achieve the highest print quality and enjoyment possible, as the auto bed leveling process always yields better results than manual leveling with no effort or time spent.
Considering that the BLTouch isn’t an expensive addition by any means either, it’s definitely a product that deserves its price alongside improving both the quality of your prints and the quality of your 3D printing experience.
Mike started his 3D printing journey with the Anet A8 when it first came out back in 2017, and has been obsessed with 3D printers ever since. Nowadays, he primarily uses his Ender 3 to print functional parts that make his life more convenient whenever possible.