The Best 3D Printer

It wasn’t all that long ago that 3D printing technology was nothing more than a product of science fiction. The kind of technology Capt. Kirk charges someone on the USS Enterprise to use to get them out of a sticky situation.

Today, however, the best 3D printer solutions aren’t just available to consumers – they are downright affordable and small enough to fit on a desktop. If you are in the hunt for one of these fantastic pieces of creation technology, you can’t go wrong with any of the five we highlight below.

best 3d printer
Pros
Cons
Bottom Line
Overall Score
Pros : Fantastic price for the technology you’re able to leverage. World-class print quality right out of the box. FBM materials available. 500 µm resolution.
Cons : This is a very loud 3D printer when it gets going.
Bottom Line : One of the most affordable, as well as one of the most feature-rich, 3D printers money can buy this is a smart investment in your creation technology laboratory.
Overall Score :
Print Speed - 9.8
Build Quality - 9.9
Precision - 9.8
Ease of Use - 9.7
Pros : Lightning fast printing technology. Supports all kinds of printing materials and plastics. Can print to 300 µm resolutions.
Cons : A little bit on the more expensive side of things. Can be finicky and less than reliable, particularly in longer print jobs.
Bottom Line : Representing a major upgrade over the Series 5 printer in this product line up, you’ll be blown away by the speed in which this printer can produce 3D objects but may be disappointed in its reliability.
Overall Score :
Print Speed - 9.8
Build Quality - 9.7
Precision - 9.7
Ease of Use - 9.6
Pros : Very affordable price point. Perhaps the easiest to use 3D printer right out of the box. Used filament fabrication capabilities.
Cons : Bundled software can be a challenge to maneuver. Removing completed 3D printed design can be tricky.
Bottom Line : When hunting for a budget 3D printer, you aren’t likely to find anything much better than the da Vinci. This is a top-tier product you can trust to get the job done right, even if it is a little bit finicky at times.
Overall Score :
Print Speed - 9.8
Build Quality - 9.6
Precision - 9.6
Ease of Use - 9.6
Pros : Blazing fast printing speed. Fused deposition modeling action. 100 µm/400 µm printing resolutions. Takes advantage of the Replicator design library.
Cons : A very expensive 3D printer.
Bottom Line : Capable of fantastic finished results, the price point of this 3D printer is what forces it to slide a little bit down our top recommendations.
Overall Score :
Print Speed - 9.6
Build Quality - 9.4
Precision - 9.8
Ease of Use - 9.5
Pros : Simple and straightforward to take advantage of. Utilizes SDM printing materials. 50 µm/500 µm resolutions. Takes advantage of open source software and resource libraries.
Cons : Slow as far as finished production is concerned. Very, very noisy during operation.
Bottom Line : Fantastic for beginners that are just getting the swing of things and want to produce their own 3D models.
Overall Score :
Print Speed - 9.4
Build Quality - 9.2
Precision - 9.3
Ease of Use - 9.1

Shopping Guide for the Best 3D Printers

A 3D printer transforms you into your own production laboratory, opening up a world of opportunity for you to experiment and create with.

This technology didn’t exist for consumers even just 10 or 15 years ago and is now starting to become affordable – so much so that almost anyone can add one of these to their technology collection. New products keep popping up left and right, cluttering and crowding the marketplace, and that’s why we put together this quick review of the top five options money can buy today.

These are the 3D printers you can trust most with your budget and your creative juices, and the kinds of 3D printers that are least likely to let you down when you turn your ideas into something real and tangible with this hardware.

Our Top 3D Printer Reviews

Best Overall 3D Printer

Why you should buy this:
While certainly not the least expensive 3D printer on the market today, this particular unit isn’t going to blow up your budget either – offering a high-level print quality without having to spend a small fortune.

  • Build Volume: 227 L X 148 W X 150 H mm; 8.9 X 5.8 X 5.9 in
  • Weight: 24.2 pounds
  • Layer Resolution: 100~500 microns; 0.0039~0.019 in

Who it’s for:
Ideally suited for those that are looking to just get into the world of 3D printing, as well as those that aren’t quite sure of how often they are going to use their new printer.

Why we picked the FlashForge 3D Printer Creator Pro:
The unique combination of high-quality components, incredibly advanced features, and an inexpensive price tag really helps to put this printer over the top. Other options come close to what this solution brings to the table, but none offer as much value.

FlashForge 3D Printer Creator Pro
  • Did You know?

This also happens to be one of the loudest 3D printers when it is really rocking and rolling, so you want to make sure that you have plenty of space for it to operate where it isn’t going to interfere with your productivity.

9.8

Print Speed

9.9

Build Quality

9.8

Precision

9.7

Ease of Use

9.8

Editor’s Score

FlashForge 3D Printer Review

The construction materials used to produce this particular 3D printer are nothing short of exceptional. A sturdy metal frame and fully metal enclosed chassis guarantees that you’re able to go through longer and more involved print jobs without any deviation, helping you to improve the accuracy and fidelity of the objects you are printing.

The inclusion of advanced platform leveling, dual printing extruders, a full metal build plate, and an extra guide rod to improve stability and durability really helped to put this 3D printer over the top. This is a workhorse through and through, and the kind of unit you are going to be able to depend on for years to come.

The fact that it utilizes open source software to handle the heavy lifting of its printing capabilities is another big benefit. You don’t have to spend a mountain of money on proprietary software just to get the most out of your new printer.

Best Industrial 3D Printer

Why you should buy this:
If speed is of the essence when you want to knock out a 3D printing project this is the unit you’re going to want to get your hands on. The fact that it can print up to 300 µm resolutions is another big benefit.

  • Build Volume: 280mm x 280mm x 250mm (11.02in x 11.02in x 9.8in)
  • Weight: 43 pounds
  • Layer Thickness: From 0.05mm to 0.50mm (0.002in – 0.020in)

Who it’s for:
Slightly on the expensive side of the fence, this is a 3D printer for those that are serious about the kinds of projects they are printing and want the kind of hardware that they can expect to last for years and years.

Why we picked the LulzBot TAZ 6 3D Printer:
We selected this 3D printer because it represents such a major update over the last iteration from this company. The new accessories, new features, and new build hardware really make this a game-changing piece of technology.

LulzBot TAZ 6 3D Printer
  • Did You know?

The ability to utilize a variety of different print mediums and plastics opens up a world of creativity and a lot of flexibility (particularly on the budget side of things) when you’re getting ready to print new projects.

9.8

Print Speed

9.7

Build Quality

9.7

Precision

9.6

Ease of Use

9.7

Editor’s Score

LulzBot TAZ 6 3D Printer Review

The people behind this particular 3D printer have always been about leveraging open source solutions in the 3D printing world, and this particular piece of hardware is a real testament to that focus.

This is a system that has clearly been created based upon the feedback the developers received from the community, and while it is a little bit more expensive than some of the other options on the market today the advantages it has to offer really helped to put it over the top.

Speed is the name of the game with this 3D printing unit, and its oversized build size capabilities are something special as well. Some have complained about needing to continuously adjust the unit while printing particularly large or long projects – that isn’t out of the norm with 3D printers in general.

On top of that, the auto calibration and self-cleaning print nozzle do a great job of handling most of the heavy lifting for you. The PEI print surface is another major reason to look closer at this unit.

Best "Cheap" 3D Printer

Why you should buy this:
Don’t let the fact that this 3D printer is so affordable for you into thinking it isn’t feature-rich or capable of “hanging with the big boys”. This is very much an advanced piece of hardware that you won’t be disappointed with.

  • Build Volume: 7.8″ x 7.8″ x 7.8″
  • Shipping Weight: 56 pounds
  • Resolution: 100 – 400 microns

Who it’s for:
This is an all in one style printer and 3D scanner, which means you are going to have an opportunity to streamline your workflow significantly. If you’re looking for a system that packs everything you need to 3D print projects in one unit, this is it.

Why we picked the Da Vinci 1.0 3D Printer:
Affordable, reliable, and about as simple land as straightforward to use as 3D printers get these days you’ll fall in love with the printing capabilities of this unit as well as the speed and accuracy of the 3D scanning solution built right in.

da Vinci 1.0 3D Printer
  • Did You know?

It’s important to know that this particular printer uses its own proprietary line of consumables and printing materials. You’ll have to use those products to get the kind of accuracy and consistency you are expecting from a print project, and you can’t swap out filaments in the middle of a run.

9.8

Print Speed

9.6

Build Quality

9.6

Precision

9.6

Ease of Use

9.7

Editor’s Score

da Vinci 1.0 3D Printer review

Far and away one of the most accessible and affordable 3D printer units on the planet today, you won’t have to worry about blowing your bank account into tiny little pieces when you get your hands on this system.

Very much a full-featured and advanced piece of technology, you’re looking at a platform that can quickly and efficiently print projects with a level of accuracy and fidelity that’s tough to find anywhere else close to this price point. A single extruder system, the printing process is fluid and dependable – though the requirement to use proprietary filaments and print materials is a handcuff that most people would have rather gone without.

The inclusion of a quality 3D scanner and not just a token unit is a major reason why so many people gobble up this printer when they have the chance. The 3D scanner is incredibly accurate, and because it has been designed in conjunction with this system it “just works” right out of the box.

Best DIY 3D Printer

Why you should buy this:
About as easy to use right out of the box as any 3D printer on the market today, this is one of the most user-friendly option money can purchase without cutting corners or removing any advanced features.

  • Build Volume: 11.6 L x 7.6 W x 6.5 H in [29.5 L x 19.5 W x 16.5 H cm]; 573 in3 [9492 cm3]
  • Shipping Weight: 51.1 pounds
  • Filament Compatibility: MakerBot PLA Filament, MakerBot Tough PLA Filament

Who it’s for:
This is the kind of 3D printer that those ultra-serious about their projects are going to want to look into, specially considering its price tag. But you’d be hard-pressed to find a more feature-rich or easy-to-use system them this will.

Why we picked the MakerBot Replicator+ 3D Printer:
The results that can be produced with this 3D printer are second to none, though the price point is going to hinder some people from getting the chance to take advantage of everything it has to offer

MakerBot Replicator+ 3D Printer
  • Did You know?

Some people are surprised at just how quickly this printer can produce finished results, especially considering the fact that it can use a variety of different print materials and mediums – including fused deposition modeling.

9.6

Print Speed

9.4

Build Quality

9.8

Precision

9.5

Ease of Use

9.6

Editor’s Score

MakerBot Replicator+ 3D Printer review

Plenty of 3D printers would like to be considered the very best of the best, but when it comes purely to feature set and usability there is only a handful that climbed to the top of everyone’s list – and this unit is definitely one of them.

Yes, the sky-high price tag is going to stop some people from getting their hands on this very consumer-friendly piece of technology. At the same time, however, this is an amazing system with the kinds of features you just don’t find in desktop style printers these days. This is about as advanced a piece of technology as you’re going to find in the consumer-friendly 3D printing world.

On top of all that, the ability for individuals to take advantage of the Replicator Design Library with any of the print projects they wanted to with this system is another major bonus. This is one of the most frequently leveraged resource libraries in the 3D printing world, and getting the chance to tap right into it as soon as you open the box is something special.

Best Mini Home 3D Printer

Why you should buy this:
If you want to get your hands on a capable 3D printer but do not have enough space for most desktop style 3D printers, this miniature model is going to be right up your alley.

  • Build Volume: 152mm x 152mm x 158mm (6in x 6in x 6.2in)
  • Shipping Weight: 25.6 pounds
  • Layer Thickness: From 0.05mm to 0.50mm (0.002in – 0.020in)

Who it’s for:
This particular 3D printer is ideally suited for designers, artists, and those that want to tinker with the possibilities of 3D printing, particularly hobbyists or those just getting started in the world of this technology.

Why we picked the LulzBot Mini Desktop 3D Printer:
Even though this is certainly one of the most compact 3D printing options on the market today, you’d be wrong to think that it is somehow lacking in features or capabilities. Nothing could be further from the truth.

LulzBot Mini Desktop 3D Printer
  • Did You know?

Plenty powerful enough to handle most 3D print jobs, including those that can get pretty sophisticated and convoluted, this is still a top-tier piece of technology that utilizes high-quality materials with high resolution print results.

9.4

Print Speed

9.2

Build Quality

9.3

Precision

9.1

Ease of Use

9.3

Editor’s Score

LulzBot Mini Desktop 3D Printer Review

The only real difference between this particular model and the other options from this manufacturer is the size of the actual system itself.

Anything but oversized or overstuffed, this is very much a streamlined and slimline style 3D printer that still has all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a premium model. The single extruder is capable of utilizing a variety of different 3D printing material and mediums, resulting in high definition prints that don’t need a lot of “touchups” to perfect after the project has been completed.

Saving space is the innovative design of having the extruder itself move left to right as well as up and down while the print bed itself is responsible for moving forwards and backwards. This cuts down on the mobility of the extruder a little bit, but it helps to save time while still allowing for extreme articulation of the printing solutions.

The built-in software that powers this 3D printer includes a variety of different settings to print nylon, transparent materials, polycarbonate, and even new “space-age” filaments that can give projects a bronze, copper, or even hardwood style effect.

It certainly doesn’t hurt that this model is capable of supporting an individual layer height of 0.005 mm – one of the finer layer depth settings of all the different 3D printers at this price point.

Last update on 2019-04-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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