3D printers grant you the ability to make anything you can dream of. However, as theyre fairly complex pieces of kit its often hard to decide which one is best for your needs.
Thats where we come in. Weve researched some of the best 3D printers on the market and broken them down by category. No matter your needs or budget, were positive that theres a 3D printer here for you.
In the short buyers guide below well explain a few things to look out for. This will help ensure that you find a printer that fits your needs and prevents you from feeling ripped off or otherwise disappointed in your new product.Now, before you spend any money, its important to know what the 3D printers specifications mean.
We know, we know, its a little boring but it CAN save you hundreds of dollars and a whole lot of buyers remorse, so taking a little time to compare different products is vital.
This one is really simple. The build area of a 3D printer refers to the maximum size of an object you can create.
Now, 3D printers come in all shapes and sizes, so some might have a taller or wider build area than others. You can still use most of the templates youll find online but you might have to rotate them first.
Generally speaking, bigger is better when it comes to the build area. Unfortunately, larger areas usually mean a higher price tag, so you should try and strike a balance between creating huge items and saving money in the long term.
Essentially, 3D printing works by heating a filament until its malleable and remolding it in the shape you need. However, there are several different filament materials on offer and not every printer can use every type.
The most commonly used filaments areABS and PLA. These make durable, temperature resistant items, but there are many other types available. If you want to use one in particular, make sure the printer supports it before buying.
There are even 3D printers that can use other materials, like clay or Sugru. The problem with these printers is that theyre usually less reliable than standard filament-based models. If youre an artist or want to use a printer for experimental use then have at it, but most people will be better suited towards a standard printer.
Heres the bad news: 3D printing is still very slow despite its many recent advancements.
Generally, most low-budget printers go at a rate of around 50mm per second. This means that larger models can take a long time to create. Theres another problem too: very fast printers usually create thicker, more obvious layers in the final product. This proves that sometimes, slow and steady really is the better option.
Some printers allow you to add an extra extruder (essentially a nozzle) to speed up the printing process. These have another benefit too you may even be able to use multiple materials at the same time. If this is something that you think youd like, consider purchasing a dual-extruder model.
While 3D printers still arent particularly cheap, there are several that come with a relatively low price tag. Weve located and thoroughly researched three of the best budget 3D printers on the market so that you dont have to.
Our first recommendation is theMonoprice Select Mini. At a little over $200, this model is an excellent choice for people looking to dip their toes into the world of 3D printing.
It has a 4.7build area. This isnt huge, but its still large enough to create models or little things for around the home. With a printing speed of 55mm/s, its slightly faster than others in this price range. Need a bracket for that cupboard door? No problem, just wait a few hours.
With its WiFi capability, MicroSD slot, and simple, intuitive interface, this product offers far more than you might expect. Plus, its low price makes it an absolute bargain.
Next, lets take a look at theNew Matter MOD-t. This is a futuristic looking printer that comes with lifetime tech support and wireless printing functionality.
It uses PLA filament and can print at up 80mm/s, although its speed is adjustable. This allows you to spend a little longer to create a smoother, more professional looking product or just get the job done quickly depending on the situation. Good, right?
It has a slightly larger build area than the Monoprice, and accordingly, costs a little more money. That said, we believe that the versatility of this product more than offsets the increase in price.
Lastly, in this category, we have theXYZprinting da Vinci Jr. This model has a 5.9build area and a maximum printing speed of 100mm/s, making it larger and faster than the two others weve seen.
Well, this printer uses a uniquely sized filament. Its a little less expensive than you might think, but your options for buying filament are very restricted. This can, in turn, lead to slightly more expensive refills.
That said, in terms of performance, this product far outshines the others weve seen so far. Its unfortunate that you cant use standard filament with this model, but if this doesnt bother you then the da Vinci Jr. would be an excellent choice.
At some point, a standard 3D printer just isnt going to meet your needs. Maybe youre considering starting a printing business or just have exceptionally high demand. Whatever you need, were positive that one of the two following models will fit the bill.
TheLulzbot TAZ 6is very well-known in the 3D printing community, but it comes with a substantial $2500 price tag. So what does this product do to justify it?
Firstly, it has a massive build area of almost 11 square inches. Secondly, with the TAZ 6, you arent limited to just the standard materials. In fact, it can handle more than30 different types of filamentincluding wood, metal, and stone composites.
Not only that but this model has a self-leveling and self-cleaning print head. This takes the hard work away and leaves you free to enjoy the design and printing process.
So is it still as slow as all the rest? Well, its dual extruder compatible. This means that you can hypothetically halve the time it takes to complete a model, although of course, as weve mentioned above, this will affect the overall look of the finished result.
All things considered, we think that this printer will likely be too expensive and too high-tech for most peoples needs, but for commercial printers or organizations who plan to use it a lot, its actually fairly reasonably priced.
The second commercial printer weve found is theHICTOP Creality CR-10. This is far less expensive than the TAZ, at around $500, yet provides an even larger build area.
This is due to this printers open design. Its not constrained by the same hardware and can freely create things much larger than most of its rivals could handle. This simple design means that this printer can be broken down into just three parts for easy assembly. What else is good?
This printer has a variable printing speed. At its base rate, it can run at 80mm/s but this can be boosted as high as 200mm/s if youre in a hurry. Layers can be as thick as 0.4mm or as thin as 0.5mm so theres a good degree of creative freedom with the CR-10.
You might expect the CR-10 to be a compromise considering its far more palatable price. However, nothing could be farther from the truth. Its a solid, fast 3D printer that can handle anything you throw at it.
Ultimately, if you dont care about using anything except PLA then theres no reason to spend any extra money on a fancy printer. Simply put, this model has everything you need.
If you work in a creative field, youll probably have been asked to create a rapid prototype of something. What if you could remove the hassle from this and create an even higher quality item while you were away doing other things?
Well, you can. The following 3D printers are packed full of features that make them invaluable to designers and were confident that youll find one you like.
First up we have theFlashForge Creator Pro. This is a pretty pricey printer but it supports printing with a huge range of different materials including wood and nylon. So how is it to use?
It does have a fairly small build area, but this is offset by its high speed. This means that you can create several smaller items and combine them later at the same time that creating a larger object would have taken.
This printer supports tetherless printing via SD card, but theres no WiFI functionality. Considering its the kind of product that would be best suited to a computer lab, this really isnt as big of an issue as it first appears.
Overall, while the FlashForge can seem a little overpriced considering its small build area, its actually pretty good at what it does. We particularly liked its wide material support this is something usually only found in far more expensive models and something were sure will come in handy.
Theres also a reasonably priced 3D printer fromQIDI TECHNOLOGY. It costs around $400 and has a 5.5build area. This is a pretty small chamber but considering this is a mid-budget pick, thats to be expected.
So what is this printers best feature?
One of the things we really liked about this printer is its ultra-simple interface. 3D printing can get pretty technical so having something thats easy to understand is a breath of fresh air and will help less experienced users feel more at home.
This printer supports both simple and advanced materials, although there are limits. You wont be able to print with wood, for example, but less common plastic composites will work just fine.
All in all, the QIDI printer is a decent middle ground between the functionality of an advanced model and the price of a budget one. For that reason alone, its a strong choice, but when you take the versatility into account, this printer becomes a no-brainer for any designer.
Maybe the products weve seen thus far are way more than youre looking for. Maybe you only want a 3D printer for occasional use or to help facilitate another one of your hobbies.
However, since youre not going to be a heavy user, it doesnt make sense to spend a lot of money. Below, youll find two 3D printers that are as versatile as they are inexpensive.
First up is another entry in XYZPrintings da Vinci line. TheXYZPrinting Miniis, as you might expect, a tiny little printer. It stands just 24 tall, 18 wide, and 15.5 deep. This makes it nice and easy to put away in a closet when you arent using it.
It has a build area thats a reasonable size given this models sub-$200 price and 5.9 is plenty of space to create most of the things youll want, plus you can always combine components if you want to make something larger. So, lets talk filament.
Like the da Vinci Jr., the Mini only uses a proprietary XYZPrinting filament. This is fairly standard PLA material but its a little narrower than other brands. This does mean that filament is slightly more expensive, but infrequent users will find that they dont have to buy extra filament all that often anyway.
Theres a lot to like here. This product has an incredibly simple interface: its a single button with LED lights to indicate print status. This helps make the Mini an excellent choice for people looking to experiment with 3D printing for the first time.
This printer takes the stress out of setup by automatically calibrating itself and with a maximum speed of 120mm/s, its more than capable of getting things done quickly when necessary.
So its perfect, right? Well, not exactly.
We did find that the Mini is a little loud, but thats to be expected at this price range. If youre planning to print overnight, wed recommend placing this product as far from the bedroom as possible because even if it seems quiet at first, it can quickly become distracting enough to keep you awake.
Apart from its noisy operation, the da Vinci Jr. is an exemplary little 3D printer. It comes with everything you need to get started and is unhampered by the extensive setup and configuration process that more advanced printers are.
If the Minis reliance on specific materials annoys you, you might be better suited to theALUNAR 3D printer. Its capable of using any standard filament plus some more advanced ones like wood or conductive materials.
This printer is a touch more expensive at around $210. That said, it comes with a 1000 hour motor guarantee, so you can expect it to work for a long time. So far, so good.
Now, a word of warning. This printer requires some assembly. For the most part, this is very simple but it does require some degree of common sense. For example, youll have to switch the voltage to either 100V or 220V depending on your input.
We really liked that this printer lets you pause your work at any time. This allows you to quiet it down after hours or catch any mistakes before theyre set in stone (possibly literally). Youll have to be quick, though: this printer can go as high as 100mm/s.
Again, the ALUNAR has a slightly more complex user interface than the Mini. It has five buttons and an LCD display for navigating its menu system. Rather than complicating things, this actually makes the user feel like they have more control, and with this new wave of tech, thats a benefit that cant be understated.
This is a printer that provides the best of both worlds. On one hand, it offers far more creative freedom than its rivals, and on the other, it does require some construction. Nonetheless, we still wholeheartedly recommend it.
The products above are great but lets say you dont fit neatly into any of our categories and just want to know whats available. Well, youre in luck! Weve created a list of the best all-around 3D printers in the mid-budget range to help you out.
Lets take a look at theFlashForge Finder. It costs around $400 and has a 5.53build area. But thats far from all this product has to offer.
This printer is exactly what you imagine when someone says 3D printer. It looks futuristic and sleek, featuring a small 3.5 LCD touchscreen interface. This keeps operation nice and simple while providing enough flexibility to navigate menus with ease.
The Finder offers two ways to import files. The first is the standard SD care and flash drive support, but it also features WiFi functionality for tetherless printing. This can be particularly useful if your computer is somewhere out of the way and you dont fancy running cables through your home.
The only issue with this printer is that its designed to work only withFlashForge PLA filament. That said, its also possible to use Hatchbox filament if you run it in from outside. Either way, your filament options are limited which may lead to slightly increased costs down the line.
One of the things we really liked about this model is its filament refill alert. It automatically detects when youre running low so you never find yourself halfway through a print and having to buy extra filament.
Our second pick is theQIDI TECHNOLOGY 3DP-QDA16-01. What it lacks in a catchy name, it makes up for in terms of functionality.
First up, it has a slightly wider than average build area at 8.8. This gives you the freedom to create ever larger items and given its price (around $650) this size is excellent. So what else does it offer?
Well, its almost entirely metal. This not only looks good but lends the printer added stability and structure. This is more important than you might think with temperatures up to 280 you need all the stability you can get.
It features a dual-extruder setup. This means that you can print models up to twice as fast as other models. There is very little range in terms of layer size, however. It ranges from 0.1-.2mm and while you might think that this makes layers noticeable, its actually not that bad.
We really liked that this model comes with 24-hour tech support and a turbofan cooling function to let you grab your items as soon as possible after its done.
Files can be transferred either via SD card or USB stick, and while theres no WiFi capability, this is just a bonus and isnt all that necessary.
Lastly, in this category, we have theRobo R1+. Sounds fancy, right? Well, youll be pleased to hear that its functionality lives up to its futuristic name.
This printer has aquick-change extruder systemand fast-feed filament setup. Finally a printer that can keep up with the fastest print speeds, In many ways, its designed for professionals with maintenance this simple, its no longer a chore.
Believe it or not, it gets better. This printer has an absolutely huge build area. For around $500 you can create items up to 10 x 9 x 8 in size. Thats incredible, but wait, theres more.
Lets say you run into trouble using the R1+. No problem just use the free 24-hour tech support. Ah but wait, what if the problem is your hardware itself? Relax! The R1+ is covered by a six-month parts warranty, so you can have it fixed at no additional cost. Good, right?
Our last point is a big one: this printer can use more than 30 different materials including carbon fiber PLA, rubber, and stainless steel. This provides unparalleled flexibility in terms of what you can create and frankly at this price range, thats amazing.
Okay, weve covered most of the popular basic 3D printers but what if you have a little more money to spend? Youll likely want printers with functionality that you cant find in lower price brackets, right? The printers below offer extra features, both in terms of ease of use and printing capability.
Our first high-budget pick is theRobo R2. This is priced at around $1500 so its not going to be for everyone. Those that can afford it, however, will find that it offers a lot of bang for your buck.
Did you know that this printer can print very thin layers? They range from 0.02mm to 0.3mm which is frankly crazy. This is far finer than any other printer weve seen and will result in a much more professional looking finished piece.
The build area is large but not as big as some due to the closed nature of the printer. Still, theres plenty of space available for those who like to create larger items. This printer can actually save you time: models that would have to be done in parts on other printers can be done in one go with the R2.
More than 30 different materials are supported and because you can add a second extruder, you can even print two at once for a more attractive end product. If youre not impressed yet, maybe this final point will change your mind.
The R2 comes with a years subscription to a professional level printing program, and theres even 24/7 customer support, as well as a years warranty on parts. Whats not to like?
Next, we have theJGAURORA printer. Its still considered a high-budget printer but costs about half as much as the R2. If you found the R2s high price tag too hard to justify, perhaps this would be a better choice.
Lets start with the basics. This printer works with any 1.75mm printing filament. Thats it there are no other restrictions. This makes it an excellent choice for those who want to build complex, multi-material pieces without spending over a thousand dollars.
It also features a switchable voltage so be sure to change this based on your power source. The frame is made of metal for added stability, plus the temperature can be controlled either by changing it directly or by using the built-in fan. So how is it for printing?
In a word: excellent. The layer thickness can be adjusted from 0.1-0.4mm which allows for some exceptionally high-quality models. These can be pretty large too since the build area is 11 wide, 7.9 tall and deep.
While this printer cant connect via WiFi it does come with an 8GB SD card and reader. To be honest, WiFi connectivity would have been a bonus, but its hardly essential. The only difference is that files have to be transferred across. On the plus side, an SD card can load data faster than WiFi so you can get started sooner.
Our final recommendation is theSindoh 3DWOX DP200. Now, you might be thinking how can I justify spending all this money on a product with a 18.104.22.168 build area. Well, this printer has a number of features that make it a strong contender, and well outline these below.
Take connectivity, for example. It can use Ethernet, USB, WiFi, or SD cards. Better still, it has an internal camera that can be viewed remotely. Want to check on its progress while at work? No problem!
This model makes it easier to begin printing, too. It can automatically load and unload filament and uses specialized technology to assist you during the bed-leveling process. The only way this printer could make your life even easier is if it sprouted legs and plugged itself in.
Now, this printer supports fewer material types than some of the others weve seen. That said, it still accepts the standard PLA and ABS filaments so the most commonly used types will work. Considering the layers can be as fine as 0.05mm, youll be able to create truly stunning, professional looking items.
Overall, we believe this printer to offer a good middle ground between performance and affordability. Although it has only basic material support, no other product on this list offers a camera or as many connectivity options.
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