At a glance

Expert’s Rating


  • Fast, reliable printing
  • Large build volume
  • Fully automated bed levelling


  • Rear-mounted spool holder is awkward
  • Some features exclusive to Creality’s slicer
  • No multi-colour capabilities

Our Verdict

The K1 Max is a seriously impressive 3D printer that delivers good print quality at high speed. It’s easy to use thanks to many automatic systems and has useful features such as a camera to monitor printing remotely. The only thing it doesn’t do is print with multiple colours.

Although it isn’t a brand new technology, CoreXY is something of a buzzword in 3D printing this year. The K1 and K1 Max are the first models from Creality to adopt this method of printing and boast of print speeds up to 600mm per second.

To put that in context, the majority of consumer 3D printers print at around 50-80mm per second as standard, so this is a big deal as it means prints are completed in hours instead of days.

Here, I’m reviewing the K1 Max which has a bigger 300x300x300 build volume than the K1’s 220x220x250. Both are fully enclosed which means they keep the ambient temperature warmer and more stable than “open” printers. And that’s handy if you want to print using filaments such as ABS, ASA and nylon which need those conditions.

But even if you’ll stick mostly to standard PLA, there’s a lot to like about the K1 Max. Let’s dive in.

Design and build

  • CoreXY
  • Dual-gear direct extruder with reverse Bowden tube
  • Smooth PEI build plate

First things first, yes, the K1 series is Creality’s answer to competition from Bambu Lab, Voron and others. With the Bambu P1P being such a popular choice, it’s worth pointing out that the K1 Max has a larger build volume (300mm cubed versus 256mm cubed. Bambu’s more expensive enclosed X1 Carbon has the same build volume as the P1P so the K1 Max will appeal to those wanting the option to print larger models.

This means the K1 Max is a big printer. That isn’t a criticism: it’s simply a fact. If you want a large build volume, you have to accept the printer will be big. Its 435 x 462mm footprint doesn’t include the reel of filament which hangs on a post that sticks out of the rear, so you’ll need a desk at least 600mm deep.

It’s 526mm tall, but you’ll want a space taller than that to remove the glass top each time you swap filament, because that’s the only way to access the release lever on top of the extruder.

The front door (and top) are made from tempered glass, but the sides are plastic and not removable. The whole unit weighs 18kg.

Creality K1 Max review - touchscreen

Jim Martin / Foundry

There’s a 4.3 inch colour touchscreen for controlling the printer directly, but you can also send prints to it remotely: there are both Wi-Fi and Ethernet connections. The screen is one of the only components you’ll need to install yourself when setting up the K1 Max: it arrives virtually ready to go.

The box even includes a full 1kg spool of Creality’s latest HyperPLA which has a slightly different composition to allow for faster flow rates required for high-speed printing.

The K1 and K1 Max are CoreXY printers. This isn’t the place to go into details about how it differs from traditional ‘bed slinger’, but it is important to appreciate that the main difference is that the bed in a CoreXY printer moves up and down, not forwards and backwards.

Creality K1 Max review - print head

Jim Martin / Foundry

This means the K1 Max needs a lot less space depth-wise than it would if it were a bed slinger. Also, the printhead moves in both X and Y directions and is controlled by two motors. That’s one of the main reasons the K1 Max (and any CoreXY printer) can print so much faster.

The printhead is lightweight and uses a proprietary Creality hotend (the part that heats the filament and includes the nozzle out of which it’s extruded) instead of an off-the-shelf component such as  Volcano. However, Creality includes a complete spare in the box along with a silicone sock and screws.

Creality K1 Max review - hotend

Jim Martin / Foundry

You can view this as generous, or slightly worrying if you wonder why the pre-fitted one isn’t enough.

The huge aluminium alloy bed is AC-powered (as opposed to DC) which allows it to heat up quickly: from room temperature to 60°C in around 90 seconds. It’ll reach 100°C in three minutes, but will go right up to 120°C – 20°C hotter than the K1’s bed.

Embedded strain sensors allow the K1 Max to build a ‘levelling mesh’ that compensates for any slight unevenness in the bed and helps to ensure the first layer is printed well. This all happens automatically: you don’t need to do anything – not even set a z-offset. It’s fantastic.

On top of the bed is a magnetic PEI build plate with a smooth surface. You remove and flex it after printing – a much easier way to detach models than using a scraper on a fixed bed surface. Creality includes a stick of glue for adhesion: you’ll want to use it because small parts will come adrift otherwise. The plate has two notches on the rear which make it easy to align it when you put it back onto the bed.

Creality K1 Max review - PEI

Jim Martin / Foundry

If there’s a criticism, it’s that it’s very awkward to reach behind the printer to check and change filament. For a start, you can’t see how much is left on the reel and second, it’s difficult to hang a new spool on an unsighted post, then feed the end into the long reverse Bowden tube.

Creality K1 Max review - bowden tube

Jim Martin / Foundry

A solution is to buy Creality’s Dry Box for around £50 / $50 and put that at the side of the printer. Or, because the company is clearly aware of the issue, print the spool holder that’s provided in the K1 Max’s 8GB of storage which does a similar job.

The tube is bent at quite a sharp angle as it enters the enclosure, then goes through a runout sensor and finally round to the extruder. It means swapping filaments takes a few minutes, not least because the Extrude / Retract functions take a while to do their job, so it pays to press the button before you get your new filament ready.

Features & apps

  • LiDAR
  • Camera
  • Creality Print and Creality Cloud

Printing at high speeds is great, but there are some drawbacks. One is that the print head causes the printer to vibrate a lot more as it shoots around, and that’s exacerbated when you have a bigger area to print.

So Creality has put in automatic motion advance which does its best to combat these vibrations so your models’ straight lines don’t become wavy. As long as you enable it in the settings, the K1 Max will print a zigzag pattern before each print and use the LiDAR bolted to the side of the print head to scan it for imperfections. It then uses this data to compensate when it’s printing.

Creality K1 Max review - LiDAR

Jim Martin / Foundry

Another handy addition over the K1 is a built-in camera. This lets you check how printing is going remotely (as long as your printer is connected to the internet) and also uses “AI” to watch out for problems such as objects accidentally left on the build plate or even if a bunch of spaghetti is forming because of a failed print.

Creality K1 Max review - AI Camera

Jim Martin / Foundry

As a bonus, the camera will also record time-lapse footage of each print. The results are certainly shareable, if not the best quality. The only way I could find to offload these time-lapses was to export them to a USB drive, and in the firmware version I was using this would fail almost every time leaving a .tmp file on the drive. Fortunately, it could be renamed to .mp4 and played, but only the portion of the video that successfully exported.

As a bonus, the camera will also record time-lapse footage of each print

The touchscreen itself is mostly great to use. It’s large enough, and the interface is intuitive. It could do with some polishing, as it isn’t always obvious if you can scroll down and see more or not. It appears to be based on Klipper, but it’s officially called Creality OS.

Although you can use your choice of slicer to turn 3D models into the gcode that the K1 Max can understand, Creality has developed its own: Creality Print. It’s actually pretty good, with all the options you’d expect to find and a fairly clean-looking interface.

Creality K1 Max review - Creality print - slicer

Jim Martin / Foundry

It’s designed to handle the entire process of preparing a model, including adding supports – manually if you want to – slicing and then sending the file to a printer on your local network.

There’s an alternative: Creality Cloud. You can access this via the web portal or mobile app and both let you choose a model, slice it and print it. The app has the look and feel of AliExpress, as the home screen shows models you can download (many of which cost money) and you’re bombarded with pop-ups, ads and nags to upgrade from the free to Premium version for $79.99 / £79.99 per year.

Creality K1 Max review - portal

Jim Martin / Foundry

It’s important to understand that most people do not need to do this. You can still monitor print progress and adjust settings as a free member.

My preference was to slice models in Creality Print and export the gcode to a USB drive and print from that.  You’ll have to make sure the build plate is clean and apply the glue stick before each print anyway.


A few test prints are pre-loaded onto the K1 so you can check print quality without needing to install any apps. One is a ‘speed Benchy’ which claims it will print in just under 17 minutes. This little boat is a benchmark file widely used to test 3D printers and typically takes an hour or more to print.

Creality claims on its website that the K1 Max can print a Benchy in 13 minutes, but even using the included HyperPLA it was slightly over its own estimate at about 20 minutes in total.

That doesn’t include the four-odd minutes the K1 Max spends probing, wiping and doing all its other pre-flight checks before each print, but I’d argue it’s worth leaving them all enabled to ensure a successful, good quality print, especially for prints that will take many hours.

Creality K1 Max review - benchy

Jim Martin / Foundry

It’s incredible to watch the K1 Max print at even 300mm per second: you can see small models such as the Benchy growing quickly – an effect you simply don’t get at 60mm per second.

Quality is surprisingly good too, with no zits or other undesirable things on the main hull and nice, clean edges. In fact, the K1 Max’s print quality at high speeds is noticeably better than many bed slingers printing five times slower, including Creality’s own Ender 3 S1 Pro. There was a little stringing as you can see in the photo above, along with a few dangling blobs at the top of the arched door but these are all quite minor complaints.

The K1 Max’s speed is a game-changer if you’re upgrading from a bed slinger

Creality claims “up to 600mm/s” but 400mm/s is the realistic top speed without compromising on quality. Even that is more than acceptable, and the K1 Max’s speed is a game-changer if you’re upgrading from an bed slinger.

I found that there was no need to add any brims, rafts or other bed adhesion in the slicer, but you do need to use glue on the smooth PEI surface for smaller parts to ensure they don’t come adrift after the first layer or two. You can see where a piece hasn’t stuck where no glue was used:

Creality K1 Max review - PEI bed

Jim Martin / Foundry

One of my favourite things to print is the cute octopus: a print-in-place articulated model whose eight legs have multiple joints. At the standard size, these joints are extremely small and they typically need a raft on most printers, even those with textured PEI beds.

Creality K1 Max review - octopus

Jim Martin / Foundry

Not the K1 Max. With the large bed, it was able to print two – one behind the other – with no issues whatsoever. The glue almost works too well, and I had to resort to using the included scraper to remove most models after printing.

There’s not a huge difference in quality between Creality’s new HyperPLA and its regular range when printing at high speed (using the profiles included in Creality Print). The new filament is formulated for higher flow and faster cooling, and does lead to cleaner prints. I printed a second Benchy using Creality’s rainbow PLA and the only area that didn’t print as well was the rear where some of the strands hadn’t cooled quickly enough and were sagging. If anything, there was less stringing using the standard stuff.

I also printed a few models using ABS and the K1 Max’s enclosure meant warping was much less of an issue than open printers. I didn’t have any ASA, so couldn’t test this, but the fact the K1 Max’s bed heats to 120C makes it very versatile in terms of what you can print with.

One of the big advantages of high-speed printing is that it makes big projects possible. I’d been waiting for a chance to review a CoreXY printer to print a guitar (the Prusacaster) and the K1 Max allowed me to print the six pieces in just a couple of days instead of a week.

Creality K1 Max review - print quality guitar

Jim Martin / Foundry

The great print accuracy meant the sections fitted together well. The only disappointment was warping on one piece, which meant it didn’t align as well, but this could have been down to not putting enough glue on the bed: other pieces were virtually perfect with no ‘elephant’s foot’. That’s where the lower few layers are wider than those above.

Most impressive of all, there wasn’t a single failure among the dozens of prints I tried on the K1 Max, barring the one where I didn’t apply glue across the whole area to be printed. That meant I didn’t get a chance to see the camera’s AI in action. Twice, it paused before even starting to print, displaying an error on the screen saying “A print quality problem has been detected and printing has been paused”. However, at the bottom of the screen a separate message says “Foreign object detected” so Creality needs to update the error. The foreign object was almost certainly my hand or camera, too.

In terms of noise, the K1 Max produces quite a lot of it. The enclosure helps a lot, but with so many cooling fans and the fast-moving print head, it’s not something you’ll want in your living space at home.

Price and availability

The Creality K1 Max costs £859 / US$899 direct from Creality’s website. That’s quite a lot more than the £579 / $599 K1, but you get more than simply a larger build volume.

Creality offers discounts fairly regularly, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for those: there was £60 / $60 off the K1 at the time of writing, but no deal on the newer K1 Max.

If this is too rich for you, do read our roundup of the best 3D printers for cheaper options.

Should I buy the Creality K1 Max?

I had high hopes for the K1 Max and certainly wasn’t disappointed. In fact, it exceeded my expectations and churned out print after print without drama.

If Creality’s proprietary tech puts you off, one bonus is that says it will open-source the code for the K1 and K1 Max in September. This means the community should be able to modify and add features, and is undoubtedly a good thing.

Creality K1 Max review - open source


One other thing to consider if you can live with a 256x256x256mm build volume is that Bambu Lab’s P1S Combo costs £869 / $949 and supports automatic multi-colour printing, a feature the K1 Max does not possess.

Overall, though, the K1 Max is a great choice if you’re after a CoreXY printer with a large build volume, are happy with single-colour printing and don’t fancy building a Voron kit (or have no idea what that is).