The Sovol SV06 - Is It Still Worth Buying in 2024?

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The $299 Bambu A1 Mini has been shipping for a few months now. It is fast. You get so much for your money. It seems reliable. Bambu has great quality control. Its release was a huge blow to Sovol and all the other budget-friendly 3D-printer manufacturers. They all responded by lowering their prices, but are these new prices low enough?

Anbernic RG35XX with 3D printed grips on the Bambu A1 Mini

Now there is a $400 Bambu A1. It has every single feature of the Bambu A1 Mini, except it is bigger. Bigger than the Sovol SV06, but not quite as big as the Sovol SV06 Plus. Bigger than a Prusa MK4. The big Bambu A1 is half the price of a Prusa MK4 kit that you will spend most of the weekend putting together. These new Bambu printers are priced extremely aggressively.

What does this mean for Sovol, Creality, and Prusa Research?

Here’s the tl;dr

You don’t have to read my essay here that is attempting to justify what I think, and you don’t have to read a story about some cold winter night on a farm. I don’t want to artificially keep you here longer to make Google think you were happy with clicking here.

Bambu A1 Mini 0.2mm nozzle Benchy

12-mm tall Benchy printed with stock settings on a Bambu A1 Mini with a 0.2-mm nozzle

I think almost every printer that Bambu makes is priced well, and I think the Bambu A1 and Bambu A1 Mini are worth the extra $100 or so compared to the budget options from Sovol or Creality. Bambu has features that can easily save you $100 in frustration. Bambu’s printers are significantly faster, higher quality, and more reliable than anything else in their price range. Their output is also much higher quality.

If you can justify paying for a Bambu A1 with an AMS Lite, it is time to stop reading. Go make your purchase. If you are considering skipping the AMS Lite, then maybe read on, especially toward the end.

If $299 for the Bambu A1 Mini is stretching your budget thin, then you should definitely read on. There are plenty of good reasons to spend a little more on the Bambu A1 Mini. Some of them will only save you time, but some of them might save you some money.

Buying a budget printer from Sovol or Creality involves rolling some dice. I don’t know the weight of those dice, but I do know some small percentage of people, not exactly an inconsequential number, wind up having a lot of problems with their cheap printers.

Bambu Lab makes the most advanced consumer 3D printers

If you are buying your first 3D printer, and you have enough wiggle room in your budget, you should buy a printer from Bambu. It doesn’t matter which one. They are all fantastic.

I feel like a broken record when I say this, but it is absolutely worth repeating. The strain-sensor bed leveling used on the Prusa MK4, Prusa XL, and every single Bambu printer is a game changer.

Lil Trudy Judy

You don’t have to learn how to dial in your printer’s first layer. It does it for you. This is by far the most common problem that you will see posted on /r/FixMyPrint. Bambu printers do this for you. This feature alone is likely to save you a ton of time and frustration.

The Bambu A1 can detect tangled filament, and it will give you the opportunity to untie those knots and resume the print. It can also detect when you run out of filament, and if you are using the AMS, it can continue printing from another spool of filament with zero intervention.

This is all nifty stuff that helps a beginner tremendously. It is also enough to make a veteran rarely turn on his old printers.

The Sovol SV06 made a ton of sense 12 months ago

When I bought my Sovol SV06, it was such an amazing value! It ticks all the same boxes as the venerable Prusa MK3, but instead of paying $1,111 for a Prusa MK3 or paying $750 for a Prusa MK3 kit and spending a weekend putting it together, you could buy a Sovol SV06 for $260 and be ready to go in 20 minutes.

When you can buy three or four printers for the price of one, it makes it easy to ignore the potential problems with a Sovol SV06. Sovol’s quality control doesn’t seem to be the best, so there was a chance you’d get a dud from the factory, and you would have to wait for Sovol to ship you replacement parts. Not a big deal when you save $500 or more.

Big gridfinity bin on the Sovol SV06

Pushing the limits of the Sovol SV06 extruder a few cubic mm/s too hard resulted in a slightly imperfect but very usable Gridfinity bin

Sovol’s printers are made using the lowest quality parts they can get away with. I don’t mean for this to be a condemnation of Sovol. This was just the reality if you wanted to save $500.

If you got a Sovol SV06 that worked out of the box, you were golden. Once you replaced a bad part or two, you would also be doing well, and you’d probably be printing for years without significant trouble.

You were trading some of your effort to avoid paying Prusa Research an extra $500 for a somewhat comparable printer.

Let’s talk about my Sovol SV06 and my Bambu A1 Mini

So much of what I am writing in this blog is attempting to figure out just what sort of value you are getting for your money. Let’s ignore money for now. Let’s just talk about the two printers I am currently using. For what it is worth, my Prusa MK3S isn’t even plugged in anymore; it is just too slow to bother using!

My Sovol SV06 is bigger and, after a TON of effort, somewhat faster than my Bambu A1 Mini. That effort is definitely a cost. Not technically money, but time is money, so we aren’t going to go into that yet.

My Bambu A1 Mini and Sovol SV06 Being The Best Of Friends

UPDATE: I have since acquired the Bambu A1 nozzle assortment, and I am able to push the Bambu A1 Mini’s extruder to 24 or 25 cubic mm/s, while the Sovol SV06 peters out somewhere around 20 cubic mm/s. My Sovol SV06 is no longer my fastest printer!

My Bambu A1 Mini is obviously smaller, and it is marginally slower, but it is also more reliable, more accurate, and prints cleaner. It also has a handy automatic filament changer that we haven’t even mentioned yet.

I have turned on my Sovol SV06 twice since buying the Bambu A1 Mini. The Sovol has become my ABS printer, and I don’t print ABS all that often.

The price gap has gotten smaller

Paying one quarter the price of one of the best 3D printers on the market was awesome, but Bambu changed the rules. Now you can get an amazing, reliable little 3D printer for $299, and you can super-size it for an extra $100.

Bambu isn’t competing with Sovol. Their pricing makes it obvious that they are competing with Prusa Research. The Bambu A1 Mini with the AMS Lite costs as much as a Prusa Mini+, and the Bambu A1 is a bigger printer than the Prusa MK4 at about half the price of Prusa’s kit. The point here is that Bambu matches or beats the specs of Prusa’s printers.

Thick layer gridfinity

Left: 0.48-mm layers, 0.6-mm nozzle, 22 cubic mm/s Sovol SV06; Center: 0.56-mm layers, 0.8-mm nozzle, 24 cubic mm/s Bambu A1 Mini; Right: Default 0.4-mm nozzle settings Bambu A1 Mini

The Bambu printers don’t line up with anything in Sovol’s or Creality’s lineups. This makes the comparisons more complicated.

The Bambu A1 Mini costs 50% more than a Sovol SV06. That sounds like a lot, but the difference is only $100. For a lot of people, it was worth putting up with a slower, less polished printing experience when the Sovol SV06’s better competition was the $750 Prusa MK3S or the $700 Bambu P1S.

Everything feels different when you only have to pay an extra $100 for a premium experience.

The Bambu AMS Lite is amazing

I am so pleased that I bought the Bambu A1 Mini Combo that included the AMS Lite. It almost seems like a gimmick. The AMS lets you spend five or ten times longer printing the same trinkets, except those trinkets can be printed with four different colors.

I didn’t think I would use it that often, but I figured it would be neat to play with once in a while, and I definitely didn’t think I would really get $170’s worth of value out of it. I am beginning to think it will be worth every penny.

I tend to either be lazy, or I am in a hurry. Most of the time, I will just print using whatever filament happens to be loaded. If I have red PLA loaded, but a part would look better in black, I would probably just use red. It takes five or ten minutes of standing around by the printer to change filament on the Prusa MK3S or Sovol SV06. That is a lot of loafing around, for something that is often of such little consequence.

I always have a handful of colors loaded in the AMS Lite. When I send a job to the printer, I can choose which color I want to use. I don’t have to stand around waiting for the printer to heat up to unload filament. I just pick a color, and it loads it for me.

Not only that, but I can swap any of the other three spools while the Bambu A1 Mini is printing. I can just pull the lever, wind up the filament, and take it off the AMS Lite. Zero waiting.

If I save five minutes every time I need to swap filament, and I would have swapped filament once a week, then that adds up to four hours a year that I am not loafing around waiting for the printer. That alone is awesome!

I have yet to use the AMS Lite for a truly fancy multicolor print, but I have already used it a handful of times to add labels to Gridfinity bins. Changing filament for a handful of layers like that doesn’t add much time to the print, and it really spiffs things up.

I have also used the AMS Lite to print PETG support-interface layers, and that seems to work extremely well. Those have only been test prints so far, so they haven’t added any real value to my workflow. It will be surprising if I don’t run into a print this year where those stupidly easy-to-remove PETG supports won’t save me a ton of time and frustration.

So when in the heck is it worth saving money by buying something like a Sovol SV06 or SV06 Plus?!

This is the question that I have been struggling with. If you are in a position where you just can’t spend the extra $100 to buy a Bambu A1 Mini instead of a Sovol SV06, then there is a very good chance that you are in exactly the position where you can’t afford to roll the dice on a printer from Sovol or Creality.

You are maxing out your budget. You are spending every dollar you feel comfortable spending. You absolutely need your printer to work, and it needs to work well.

Stable Diffusion 3D Printer dude

I replied to a post in r/Sovol this week to try to help someone out with a problem printing silk PLA on their Sovol SV07. They were frustrated. They have been frustrated. They are still frustrated. We were asking for any sort of information that might help us help them out, but they just wouldn’t offer us any useful information. All they would do is gripe, swear, and complain.

I understand. They are at their wit’s end. They spent $300 on what was, at the time, one of the cheapest printers that could print a 20-minute Benchy out of the box.

If the Bambu A1 Mini had been available at the time, they could be printing 18-minute Benchies on a reliable printer.

For everyone fighting their Sovol, there are dozens or maybe hundreds of people just enjoying their Sovol printers. Maybe you will save $100 and be happily printing. Maybe you won’t.

There’s no replacement for displacement

I have disagreed with that statement for a long time. I used to very much enjoy driving a little car with way too much turbocharger, so I know there are replacements for displacement, but I couldn’t help myself. I had to use that heading.

If Bambu’s 256x256x256 build volume isn’t big enough for you, it just doesn’t matter how much it costs. When you need a bigger printer, you just need a bigger printer. The Sovol SV06 Plus has a build volume of 300x300x300, and it costs $150 less than a Bambu A1.

You know the caveats of the Sovol SV06 Plus by now, but if you just can’t print a helmet that fits your big ol’ noggin with a Bambu, then maybe you just need to print that helmet more slowly and more carefully on a Sovol.

Size, if you absolutely can’t live without it, is a good reason to buy a Sovol SV06 Plus.


This is a challenging conclusion to write because I don’t feel like I have come to an exciting conclusion. In fact, it is sort of disappointing. I don’t think anyone should buy a Sovol SV06, SV06 Plus, or SV07 in 2024. Bambu is bringing way too much to the table at a really nice price point now. Why buy a printer based on seven-year-old technology when you can spend just a little more and get a reliable, cutting-edge printer?

I hope Sovol and Creality find a way to compete. They need good, working strain-sensor bed leveling with perfect first layers. They need built-in WiFi connectivity. They need to ship a well-tuned slicer that lets you hit the “upload and print” button and not worry about anything. The bummer is that they also need to do it at a low enough price to choose them instead of Bambu, and that is going to be a tall order.

I believe they can do it. I am confident that it is possible to cut just the right corners to keep the prices low, but it will be tough. I wish Sovol the best of luck! I expect 2024 will be an interesting year for 3D printing!