Top 3D Printer Controller Boards of 2023

Top 3D Printer Controller Boards of 2023

The controller board is an essential component within every 3D printer; without it, the printer would be severely limited and unable to do much more than turn certain components on manually. Controllers are responsible for all electronic commands related to 3D printing. 

Controller boards are the brains behind 3D printing, as they take care of the necessary logical computations for a successful build. Controller boards can parse G-code files and maintain temperature levels throughout a print, but one of the more important functions they have is controlling motion. This is very crucial in FDM 3D printing, where stepper motors need to be precisely regulated in order to move filaments into precise positions. 

Top 3D Printer Controller Boards of 2023

With the wide variety of 3D printer controller boards on the market, it can be difficult to determine which one is right for you and your needs. Luckily, there are several reliable and well-reviewed boards out there! Our team has put together a comprehensive list of some of the best-rated control boards currently available. 

We have also provided information such as features and compatibility that will help you pick the perfect one to fit your project. Whether you’re looking to upgrade or replace an existing board, our extensive selection of controller boards offers something for everyone.

Key Factors to Consider

What started as basic boards that powered the machines have now become more complex and powerful, with features such as better connectivity, increased accuracy and smoother performance. The new generation of controller boards makes 3D printing an altogether different experience compared to when they first came out.  

The objective of this article is to give the best advice and recommendations possible, so when making our selections, we considered 3 range of factors. The three primary considerations are:

  • Advanced features support: 3D printing technology is rapidly evolving, and the open-source firmware that powers our machines is one of the drivers of innovation. In addition to a steady stream of new features being added all the time, hardware is also playing catch-up with offerings available for even better control of your printer. Whether you’re upgrading or replacing your current controller board, it pays to look for those with progressive capabilities like 1/256 micro-stepping, UART Mode and Wi-Fi connectivity; all of which can add another layer of performance to your projects. 
  • Processor performance: 32-bit boards are surging in popularity due to the increased processing power they offer. By investing in one of these powerful processors for your 3D printer, you can rest assured that it will keep up with the advancements in firmware for the foreseeable future.
  • Popularity: Changing a 3D printer’s controller board can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. A good online user community is a great resource for anyone looking to make the switch – it can provide helpful troubleshooting tips, preconfigured firmware, and even detailed advice on how to make all the necessary connections. Additionally, popular controller boards become popular for good reason – they tend to be reliable, making them an ideal choice when purchasing a new controller board. 

With the recent microchip shortage and supply chain issues affecting the whole world, buying tech products can be a bit tricky. That’s why, in this article, we are presenting a selection of controller boards, with all the most important details included for each one. Furthermore, we have tried our best to update any prices pertinent to the boards and make sure they are current at the time of publication; nonetheless, due to continuing market changes and retailer competition, there may still be some pricing variation among retailers. 


Replacing a 3D printer controller board can be a difficult feat, especially for those feeling unfamiliar with the process. Open-source firmware like Marlin requires careful setup and code compilation, both of which are critical to ensure your 3D printer is functioning properly. It’s certainly not as intimidating as it sounds – many users have found success after tinkering around in the right places – however, some may find this process too involved and prefer to seek out help instead.

The Lerdge-Z is a fantastic choice for 3D printing enthusiasts, offering a seamless and easy experience. The controller board saves time and effort, making the setup process far simpler. By eliminating any coding or compiling tasks, users can just use the convenient touchscreen display to get the job done. Also,  it is compatible with different setups such as CoreXY and Delta printers, providing extra flexibility. 

It features a 32-bit processor and compatibility with TMC drivers, allowing for fast and reliable signal handling. However, due to its absence of UART and SPI support, it demands a 3.5-inch touchscreen display of its own. This feature sets the construction of the set-up apart from the older -X and -K models; purchasers are ensured that the power to customize the device is still in their hands while simultaneously receiving the connection with efficiency.

  • Microcontroller: STM32F407VET
  • Connections: USB, MicroSD card
  • Input power: 10 to 28 V
  • Built-in drivers: No
  • Price: ~$85 (with the 3.5-inch touchscreen display included)

Smoothieboard v1

The Smoothieboard takes 3D printing to the next level, going beyond what the vast majority of standard electronic boards can offer. With its 32-bit processor clocking in at an unbelievable 120 MHz, it’s infinitely faster than traditional boarding with ATMega chips that max out at 8 Mhz. 

Furthermore, its v1 features built-in Stepper Drivers (A5984), coming in three different versions that all essentially offer the same speed and capability, simply varying on the number of stepper drivers they include – ranging from three for the 3X model to five for the 5X version.

One area where the Smoothieboard really excels is its firmware. When it was first developed, no mainstream firmware such as Marlin or Repetier had been ported to 32-bit boards. Recognizing this, the creators of the board went above and beyond in developing an open-source firmware for their board – aptly named Smoothieware. Since then, many other 32-bit derivates have used the same firmware, giving additional access to powerful yet easy-to-configure software. 

  • Microcontroller: LPC1769
  • Connections: USB, Ethernet, MicroSD card
  • Input power: 12 to 24 V
  • Built-in drivers: Yes (A5984)
  • Price: $150+ for the 5X version

SKR Mini E3 V3

The SKR Mini E3 board from BigTreeTech offers the precision and features of a next-generation 3D printer without the time-consuming task of upgrading the current machine. Designed with Creality’s Ender 3 in mind, this 32-bit microcontroller board contains super-quiet TMC2209 drivers that allow for sensorless homing. It is a fast and accurate way to get started on your designs or prototypes. 

The V3 revision of the device is a great improvement on the thermal side. It boasts a powerful heat spreader block that can handle higher currents and longer periods of time without any risk of overheating. This means those who are looking to get more out of their device when it comes to speeds or accelerations will definitely appreciate the updates made. Also, a faster MCU means that the stepping frequency has been increased, providing extra power for firmware flashing tasks that require extra juice. 

Last but not least, The newly revised I/O module is truly one of a kind. Not only does it have an extra fan port for increased cooling, but it also features a diverse set of dedicated connectors that cater to LEDs, levelling sensors, and even power modules. Utilizing both 3.3- and 5-V SPI logic, this revised I/O module allows for extended support for a variety of components with ease. 

  • Microcontroller: STM32G0B1RET6 or STM32G0B0RET6
  • Connections: Micro-USB, MicroSD card
  • Input power: 12 to 24 V
  • Built-in drivers: Yes (TMC2209)
  • Price: ~$37


The Mini E3 is designed for Creality printers, but the SKR 3.0 has the exact opposite purpose. It offers versatility that stands out from the crowd. Increasing an output current of 5A enables perhaps the most impressive feature – the power to extend to support a whole host of modules, including a Raspberry Pi. Weighing in at 480 MHz clock speed and built off the groundbreaking Wifi-equipped SKR 2.0 platform, this 3rd generation motherboard is paving the way for easy adaptation with popular existing printers not made by Creality. 

As well as incorporating improved MOSFET cooling and thermistor protection, SKR 3.0 board is equipped with three addressable fans with adjustable voltage and a predisposed PT100 thermistor interface. No external module is required. This board has got it all, including Wi-Fi support (but an expansion module is needed to enable it). 

You can also take advantage of UART control for five Trinamic drivers (sold separately), as well as its dual extrusion capability right out of the box. For those looking for extra convenience, check out the EZ variant. This option boasts the same specifications but comes with an innovative driver mounting system that allows you to quickly interchange drivers in no time at all.

  • Microcontroller: STM32H743VIT6
  • Connections: 2 x USB, MicroSD card
  • Input power: 12 to 24 V
  • Built-in drivers: No
  • Price: ~$65

SKR Pro 1.2

The SKR Pro from BigThreeTech is something to behold. Its ARM 32-bit Cortex-M4 chip clocks in at 168 MHz and provides incredible precision, making it the ultimate 3D printing solution for even the most demanding tasks. This board not only offers superior hardware capabilities compared to other boards from BigTreeTech, but also comes packed with features such as a three-in-one connector cable for an all-in-one design, power filters for laser engravings, and more. 

This board has a wealth of features designed to satisfy the needs of a variety of users. Whether you’re looking to operate six motors, three extruders, three control fans or two displays it all can be done with this board. And if that’s not enough, the 20 expansion ports available offer limitless possibilities in connecting peripherals with support for PWM, ADC, UART and more. Plus you’ll have access to the conventional Wi-Fi expansion port too. 

Also, it is an impressive 3D printer board that has extensive hardware capabilities. The 12-24V power is broken down into individual lines, which evidence the complexity of this powerful machine. Not only are there separate lines for the motors and heated bed, but also a line specifically for the board itself. Despite its considerable power, however, some users have reported that documentation about setting up and running this board is not as in-depth or comprehensive as they would like.

  • Microcontroller: STM32F407VGT
  • Connections: 2 x USB, MicroSD card
  • Input power: 12 to 24 V
  • Built-in drivers: No
  • Price: ~$60

SKR Manta M4P

The Klipper and BTT collaboration has been highly anticipated since their announcement, with the promise of an innovative product that would bring together the best of both brands. That product is now here with the Manta M4P – a remarkable device that features two integrated components: a 32-bit STM32G0B0RE MCU and a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4. With this setup, users can connect instantly with Klipper installed on the CM4 directly via predisposed ports, without even having to plug in any USB cables.

These boards offer a great all-in-one solution for hobbyists, tinkerers, and makers. Instead of multiple cables and components needed to power, data, and control the Pi board, both the M6P and M8P simplify the setup with a single board. The board is designed to provide flexible connectivity options such as parallel cameras, SPI-supported screens or any other module that requires connection via GPIO or USB ports. The mini powerhouse even supports four additional drivers on its bigger brother (the Manta M8P).

BTT’s CB1 Compute Module board is an ideal choice for users who have trouble finding the compute module they need. It essentially performs the same task as the Compute Module and comes with a robust set of features which make it perfect for running Marlin or working completely independently of any Single Board Computer (SBC).

  • Microcontroller: STM32G0B0RE
  • Connections: 2 x USB, MicroSD card, Ethernet, 2 x CSI
  • Input power: 12 to 24 V
  • Built-in drivers: No
  • Price: ~$40

Duet 3 Mini 5+

The Duet 3 Mini 5+ by Duet3D is an upgrade that offers a lot of bang for your buck. With its new TMC2209 drivers, CAN-FD bus support, and three high-current PWM outputs, it promises to improve your experience in many ways. For those looking to switch over from the exceptionally popular Duet 2 WiFi, this model is both a friendly and cost-effective introduction to what the latest advancements in 3D printing can offer. This model is slightly less powerful than the higher-tier models in Duet3D’s lineup, however with its lower price tag comes fewer features that may remain unused for most casual users making the choice to sacrifice power for value an easy one.

The Duet 3 Mini 5+ is a meaningful upgrade over its predecessor with the inclusion of new TMC2209 stepper drivers, support for StallGuard 2 and StealthChop2 and a higher peak current of 2.4 A. Additionally, it boasts seven I/O connectors and four controllable fans to facilitate easier setup and operation. It’s also equipped with an external SBC configuration speed bus for connection via Wi-Fi or Ethernet. It is a perfect example of the promise of smart IoT technology giving makers versatility without sacrificing power or convenience.

If you are looking for a powerful and sophisticated controller board, the RepRapFirmware is an ideal choice. It comes loaded with cutting-edge features that support a wide range of movement systems. Hangprinter and multiple independent axes from BCN3D Sigma are just two of the many options available on this board. Also, its price reflects its superior capabilities and makes it an obvious choice for those looking to build complex machines without breaking the bank. 

  • Microcontroller: STM32G0B0RE
  • Connections: 2 x USB, MicroSD card
  • Input power: 11 to 25 V
  • Built-in drivers: Yes (TMC2209)
  • Price: ~$150


Upgrading a controller board might seem like a good idea in theory, but it can turn out to be more complicated than expected. It requires time and effort that many of us may not have to spend on something so small; think of the reading for documentation, configuring the software, and making sure that connectors are compatible. Luckily, Re-ARM was specifically designed as a drop-in replacement for the Arduino Mega and RAMPS combo  bypassing most of the tedious steps

The Re-ARM makes upgrading your 8-bit Arduino Mega incredibly fast and easy. Featuring a 32-bit LPC1768 chip, it’s fully compatible with RAMPS 1.4 and 1.6, so you can run open-source firmware for Marlin 2.0 or Smoothieware also and have the ultimate 3D printing experience. 

  • Microcontroller: LPC1768
  • Connections: Micro-USB, MicroSD card
  • Input power: 10 to 30 V
  • Built-in drivers: No
  • Price: ~$45

MKS Robin Nano V3.1

Although we’ve discussed high- and mid-range boards, we haven’t yet covered a cheap option for those who are interested in it. If you’re looking to upgrade from your ageing 8-bit mainboard but are on a budget, The Makerbase Robin Nano V3.1 is the perfect 32-bit controller to facilitate your upgrade, and with its scaled-down specs, it delivers just what you need without the added bells and whistles.

The 32-bit STM32F407VET6 processor clocked at 168 MHz is an impressive piece of technology, especially when considering the number of features it is able to support. Featuring two hot-end heaters and two fans, alongside a Wi-Fi module as well as five steppers, it provides users with extensive usability options. Additionally, the latest revision V3.1 also comes equipped with safety measures where each thermistor is protected with Schottky diodes and the power input has a TVS diode added for further protection. 

The board provides extensive support for a range of UART and STEP/DIR drivers, including the TMC2209 and the TMC2225. This allows users to make full use of their chosen driver, while also providing them with an interface to a variety of TFT screens.

  • Microcontroller: STM32F407VET6
  • Connections: Micro-USB, MicroSD card, Ethernet (optional)
  • Input power: 12 to 24 V
  • Built-in drivers: No
  • Price: ~$38

Octopus Pro V1.0

The Octopus Pro offers unparalleled control capabilities if you’re looking to expand your printer’s options. This hardware device also provides users with access to up to eight drivers, eight fans, six end-stops, four hot end heaters and five temperature sensors. This ensures that you’ll always have enough ports at your disposal when working on complex projects. On top of all that, the powerful 32-bit 180Mhz MCU is capable of running completely functional RepRap firmware along with 1MB flash memory for plenty of storage space. 

This board is specifically tailored to provide users with a variety of functions, from temperature sensors and Wi-Fi compatibility, to display screens and an up-to-60V stepper voltage. It goes beyond simply providing convenient tools, however, as special safety features have been implemented to protect the mainboard from any fault. This includes a 5V short circuit alarm and individual driver isolation chips to keep everything running smoothly – not to mention separate power lines for the board, motors and bed which allow each component to be powered from its own power supply unit if required. 

Its wide range of connections makes it even more user-friendly: USB-C and USB-A are included, along with a MicroSD card slot, and a CAN bus-enabled Ethernet port. For makers looking to tinker with the firmware, BTT has the Marlin, Klipper, and RepRap source files available on their GitHub page which is an invaluable resource for anyone wanting to tweak their settings or customize their printer even more!

  • Microcontroller: STM32F446ZET6, STM32F429ZGT6
  • Connections: 2 x USB, MicroSD card, Ethernet
  • Input power: 15 to 28 V
  • Built-in drivers: No
  • Price: ~$53


The Archim2 is a fantastic piece of technology, living up to its namesake by taking multitasking to the next level. Named after the famous Greek inventor and mathematician Archimedes, this board is designed for optimum performance, boasting an Atmel SAM3X8E 32-bit processor and integrated Trinamic TMC2130 drivers.

The Archim 3D Printer is a revolutionary machine with an impressive array of features. Not only does it support up to five motors, enabling dual extrusion capabilities, but the powered stepper motors are also capable of extreme precision with 1/256th micro-stepping. While the printer comes preconfigured with Marlin 2.0 and a branch known as Marathon4due, it’s rumoured that support for other firmware such as RepRapFirmware and Repetier may be added in the future, making this an even more desirable piece of tech.

  • Microcontroller: SAM3X8E
  • Connections: USB, MicroSD card
  • Input power: 10 to 24 V
  • Built-in drivers: Yes (TMC2130)
  • Price: ~$170
Bheema Shankar
Author | Website

I am Bheema Shankar. I have worked on SLS, CJP, DLP, SLA and FDM technologies at Think3D. Currently working as Process and application engineer at VEER-O-METALS PRIVATE LIMITED. I am always fascinated by the process of creating things layer by layer. This fascination led me to pursue a career in 3D printing technology. I am passionate about how 3D works and enjoy exploring new ways to improve the 3D printing process.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Enable registration in settings - general