Last Updated On February 24th, 2021
3D printers are just one of the many staples of the ever-growing technology advancements of our society. Nowadays, 3D printing at home is more possible than ever with a range of beginner-friendly and professional-grade devices to choose from.
Your kids could make rooks for their chess game or you could create detailed models of your favourite characters, all from the comfort of your own home.
But how do you decide which one is the best 3D printer for you?
Our in-depth 3D printer review looks at all the details you should consider before making a commitment. We discuss the differences between a fused deposition modelling (FDM) printer and a resin printer, the specifics about print speeds and 3D printing software, and the importance of build volume and print quality. 3D printers can vary greatly between brands, so considering all your options is necessary for making an informed decision.
Read our reviews below to find out which of the ten best 3D printers currently on the market will fit your needs the best.
Best 3D Printer Reviews – Top 10 Picks
If building 3D printers completely from individual parts sounds daunting, but you still want to learn about how 3D printers function, the Creality Official Ender 3 Pro may be the right option for you. This recently released 3D printer comes semi-assembled with an easy-to-use setup kit and necessary tools for construction.
The Creality Official Ender 3 has one of the largest build volumes currently available on the market. The 8.7 x 8.7 x 9.8″ build area allows you to get creative with larger models than could be possible with other 3D printers today. The build surface also includes a removable and flexible magnetic printing bed to ensure the first layers of your print have adhered appropriately and consistently.
The UL Certified Meanwell power supply has the ability to not only heat your hotbed to 110 degrees in about five minutes, but it also protects your printer from unexpected power surges. If there does happen to be an outage, the Ender 3 Pro can resume printing from the last recorded extruder position. This time-saving feature helps you save on filament and makes it possible to finish your creations with Wi Fi, even if there’s an unexpected accident or power outage.
This may be the best desktop 3D printer on the market for its consistency, durability and power-saving features.
Unlike other companies, Creality decided to make its Ender 3 Pro printer with open-source software, which makes it possible to adjust and improve the printer with the best ideas from within the 3D printers world. You can modify your 3D printer with an auto bed levelling sensor or with software applications like OctoPrint to your liking. This is a great 3D printer for beginners for its ability to be customised.
Though the large build space is a highlight, we’re not sold on the overall quality of this model. Some quality control concerns mean that it may not last as long as our other best 3D printer picks.
Anycubic’s Photon S 3D Printer is an excellent choice for printing highly detailed items thanks to its improved UV-cured resin system which is ideal for high-fidelity scale models.
It has a good printing size of 115 x 65 x 165mm, with a slightly larger build space than previous models. It also boasts two z-axis rails for much greater stability ensuring high levels of precision.
Thanks to its large colour touch screen, the Anycubic Photon S printer has an easy to use UI, and includes USB connectivity. Slicer software is also included for fast and easy slicing, while bed levelling is straightforward. Furthermore, you can expect friendly customer service and a product repair warranty, as well as a 500g bottle of resin to get you started.
A good choice for any sized home, the Photon S is virtually silent during the printing process, so you won’t have to worry about it disturbing your family. It also features dual fans for improved ventilation and an activated carbon air purification system to reduce smells from the resin.
While the included software is fairly basic, it also supports self-developed slicer software. On the downside, printing can be fairly slow and the door hinge is a little fragile.
This entry-level 3D printer is simplistic enough for beginners but also guarantees a high print quality that entices experienced professionals, too. The Ender 3 3D printers not only includes the removable fibreglass feature, but it also includes the resume printing feature that sets many 3D printers above the rest of the printers available.
Like the other Ender 3D printers, these printers have state of the art technology that guarantees a fast and even heating of the hotbed to about 110 degrees in around five minutes. The patent technology reduces the potential for electrical damage of the machine and also reduces the risk of plugs and bad excursions while in operation. Additive manufacturing is also included with the patented technology
Adhesion is one big draw with this model because the removable fibreglass makes that step much easier than it is on some other printers. The printing quality is very high and remains consistent use after use.
V-Slow technology is also a perk specific to this model. The updated technology allows this printer to run smoothly and noiselessly every time it is in use. You can also download additional applications to supplement the software, and in fact, you might need to so that you get the most out of the printer.
The GeeeTech A10 3D Printer is a professionally crafted piece of technology that is both easy to assemble and relatively easy to use if you have experience with 3D printers.
This device features a filament detector, which is a relatively uncommon system that will alert you if the coil is empty or if the filament needs to be repaired. This small detail, coupled with the high adhesion and even heating features on the building platform, make a huge difference for the overall print quality and layer resolution.
With this device’s restore pause function, you are also able to save your print status in real-time and resume the print at a later time without sacrificing your print quality at all. The GeeeTech A10 also includes the Open Source GT2560 Control Board V3.0, which allows infinite modifications of the firmware at your will. These detailed features all aid this device in being called the best home 3D printer currently for sale.
The A10 motherboard is also equipped to support automatic updates if you use the optional auto-levelling sensor. This add-on sensor helps guarantee that the first layer of your 3D print creation has good, uniform adhesion and layer resolution.
Though this high-quality 3D printer is an excellent choice for experienced users, beginners may have difficulty understanding the wide range of nuances in the levelling system and sensors. You may need to contact the 24-hour tech support employees with specific questions about product set-up or instructions to achieve a high-quality 3D print.
If off-line printing, speed, and precision are big selling points for you, the ELEGOO MARS 3D Printer may be the best option. This photocuring LCD printer guarantees accurate, detailed creations that can be made even without a computer connection.
The 3.5″ colour touch screen uses the most recent ELEGOO ChiTu 5.0 system to make off-line printing easy and doable with the included USB physically inserted into the device. The LCD screen also allows you to see a real-time display of the printing process.
This specific printer uses a 2560×1440 2K HD masking LCD system to guarantee the most precise results every time. The latest version of the CHITUBOX Slicing Software is also included, which dramatically cuts down on the time required for every creation. CHITUBOX also includes an option to hollow out your model before slicing, which saves on the amount of resin used in the photocuring process without compromising the print quality.
The ELEGOO Mars has a sturdy build and is made with an all-aluminium fuselage. The 3D printer comes semi-assembled with tools and an instructional manual for easy and quick assembly. Within five minutes of completely assembling your printer, you will be ready to start creating prints in real-time.
Though the ELEGOO Mars has an excellent print quality and a very user-friendly touch screen, troubleshooting can be a bit challenging. Not to mention, it’s not the most portable choice for household printing, so you need a dedicated spot for setup given the size of the build area.
The Creality Ender 3 is an FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) 3D printer known for its large build volume and magnetic build surface. This is the best 3D printers option for someone looking to build large models and prints with Fused Deposition Modelling technology.
The 8.7 x 8.7 x 9.8″ build area is among the larger build areas for printers on the market right now, allowing you to create large, complex and more detailed 3D creations. The aluminium extrusion supporting the Y-axis base is extremely steady and resilient, which leads to consistency and precision during the print-making process.
The Ender 3 Pro “C-MAG” magnetic sticker is also a helpful feature for consistent printmaking. The build plate keeps an even temperature throughout its surface while in use and is easy to remove when the model is done cooling.
This fused deposition modelling printer, like many others, is shipped as a partially assembled device. Upon arrival, you will need to finish assembling the printer using the included instructions before attempting to print objects. The best 3D printers come with most of the parts already assembled, which allows you to learn a little about the process of 3D printing while finishing the construction of your device.
This device uses open-source software, so additional accessories and upgrades are commonly used to enhance this printer’s 3D experience. With the right tools, you can customise your printing process to your liking and create a range of quality prints with deep complexity and detail. The print speed of even the best 3D printers will vary with use, but this one boasts some of the best 3D print speed on the market.
There is not an automatic bed levelling system included with this model, which could lead to issues over time if the bed becomes unstable with use. There is also no filament breakage sensor, which means you will need to pay special attention to each of the parts to make sure they are working correctly after each use.
This version of the Comgrow Creality 3D printer is similar to the Ender 3 printer, but now with tempered glass on top of the hotbed. This additional feature makes model removal that much easier and keeps the hot bed from deforming over time.
This semi-assembled printer is another excellent choice for kids interested in learning about the process of 3D printing. As they assemble the rest of the best 3D printers, they’ll be able to understand the role each part plays in the creation of the things they are printing.
As one of the best 3D printers, the Ender-3X features a resume printing function and a branded power supply that ensures fast, even heating of the high-watt hotbed on the printing platform. The consistent and reliable heat source working with the FDM technology creates the best 3D high precision models every time. The upgraded extruder design also helps reduce the possibility of clogged nozzles or bad extrusions during layer resolution.
This printer can function both online or offline with an SD card in use. This edition of the Ender-3X also includes five additional nozzles with every purchase and a faster print speed than previous models.
Since it’s an entry-level machine, the drawbacks are understandable with the Comgrow Creality; the first print layer adhesion (and therefore layer resolution) isn’t optimal. And the materials overall aren’t as high a quality as consumers might hope for.
The user-friendly Anycubic 3D Printer is an easy-to-assemble 3D printer that uses photon UV technology to guarantee extreme precision and detail with every print.
This printer is only about 15 pounds and less than two feet tall, but the full standalone metal body and the CNC-made structure makes the device extremely sturdy and resilient against any outside damage.
Anycubic wants their customers to be able to use their devices quickly upon receiving them, which is why they made a simple 3-step process for setting up this 3D Photon Printer. Upon receiving your printer, all you need to do is assemble the build platform, level the printer and assemble the resin vat and you are set to start printing. Resin is not included with the purchase of this printer, but there are step-by-step instructions for assembly.
The biggest draw to this printer is the unmatched detail that is possible with the advanced resolution and the specially designed Anycubic slicer software. This printer has an XY resolution of 47 microns and a Z layer height of 10 microns, making it extremely possible to have very detailed prints. Some of the tiniest details are not even recognisable with the naked eye, making this the best 3D printer for minute detail work.
The interactive interface at the base of the printer is another detail that makes this device one of the best home 3D printers right now. The user-friendly screen allows you to monitor print status in real-time. This printer is also notably quicker than others on the market, with average printing speeds running around 20-30mm/h no matter the size of the object being printed.
All objects are printed upside down, which may take some getting used to if you are new to 3D printing. But our main concern is the need for frequent updates; make sure to scan for software upgrades before beginning a project.
The GeeeTech Acrylic Prusa 3D Printer is a valuable option for experienced users who won’t shy away from the challenge of assembling their printer from the ground up. Detailed instructional videos are included with the purchase of this printer, which makes this the best 3D printer for anyone who’s into the tech side of things.
This 3D printing option does require you to assemble the device yourself, not because of a lack of quality or possible print volume with the device but because you can learn about the device during the process. The GeeeTech original Prusa is currently the best budget 3D printer on the market.
The original Prusa I3 Pro B has a black, 8-mm thick acrylic body and wear-resistant stainless steel XYZ rods to guarantee resilience over time. You can use either a USB or SD card for connectivity, the latter of which supports off-line printing.
These printers came out in 2016 and have been sold all around the world. Original Prusa prints are made using fused filament fabrication and both PLA and ABS are supported filament types. There is also a 90-day warranty for the extruder of this original Prusa printer and a 6-month warranty for all other parts included with the purchase.
Our only complaint is that assembly can be a bear; make sure to clear your schedule. If you’re not very technically-oriented or are new to these types of printers, practice your deep breathing techniques, too.
This kid-friendly 3D printer is unlike any of the other larger and noisier printers. This small and lightweight printer is suitable for even the quietest working environments with its ultra-quiet operational design and easy-to-use screen panel.
The 3.5″ touch screen panel allows you to have a real-time preview of your 3D model files in action. The software includes 16 different languages and works with Wi fi and most Windows and Mac OX operating systems. The LCD display can also record geolocation data through device scanning, if necessary.
With no heating plate, no high-temperature components and no bare wires, this is the best entry level 3D printer for its guaranteed safe user experience. The build plate slides into and out of the device with ease and uses an auxiliary levelling system for consistency.
The plastic alloy body conceals all of the cables used in the device, which makes this printer a safer choice for children than other industrial options. This one device also uses significantly less energy than most other options with an operating power of only 65W.
Various filaments are supported with this device, including regular, wood and copper PLA filament, elastic filament and filament that changes colours with the change in temperature.
All of the tools and pieces you need to operate this device are included with the purchase. However, despite the easy setup, printing isn’t always a breeze; the small printing area is a bit of a drawback. The need for frequent updates is also a bit frustrating at times.
How to Decide Which 3D Printer Is Right for You
Picking a 3D printer can involve asking yourself what seems like hundreds of questions. How will the 3D printer be used? How often do you plan to make prints? How much money are you willing to put into maintaining the technology?
Instead of overwhelming yourself with the “what if” questions that come with any big purchase, you should consider the practical applications of this device. Once you’ve decided how you’ll use your 3D printer, you can decipher through the seemingly endless options.
Though there are many aspects to consider when making such a big purchase, there are a few factors that you should always pay attention to when shopping. The material of the device, the printing method of the device and the amount of build space included are three major points to look at before advancing to the check-out page.
Read below for our in-depth explanation of each of these three features so you’ll be prepared to make an informed decision that is right for you.
The physical material of your 3D printer and its parts says a lot about the quality of the prints you’ll receive when using that device.
If your 3D printer is made of lightweight plastic, your prints will likely be less detailed and consistent than you would’ve hoped. You want your printer to be sturdy and durable so it is able to remain completely still during the entire printing process.
Some of the most sturdy printers currently on the market are made of either a heavy aluminium, metal or glass. Most 3D printers are not very mobile, so the bulky and heavy body of the device should not be a problem for most households since the device should stay in place. The sturdier the base of the printer, the more effort can be focussed on the details and nuances of the individual prints.
No matter what type of printer you opt for, some of the pieces included with the purchase will likely get damaged or break over time. You should be prepared to purchase more additional materials to use with your 3D printer and you should know how to install those pieces when that time comes.
There are countless YouTube tutorials and online manuals for constructing and modifying 3D printers. Most 3D printer manufacturers also offer a 24-hour technology assistance helpline for all customers.
There are two printing methods commonly used in household 3D printing – fused deposition modelling (FDM) and resin. These two methods are referred to as FFF (fused filament fabrication) and SLA (stereolithography).
With the Fused Filament Fabrication option, thermoplastic filament is heated and pushed through a nozzle to create the print. Filaments can have a texture similar to wood or plastic and can be ordered in a variety of colours and sizes. Options for this type of printing are vast, making it the most popular choice for 3D printing at home or in small business settings.
Resin printers, like the Peopoly Phenom, utilise a process called vat photopolymerisation where a liquid polymer is hardened when purposefully exposed to ultraviolet light. The possible results of the SLA printers process are extremely complex figures that are capable of displaying extensive details. Resin-created products are often more durable than products formed with FDM because of more consistent layer resolution and higher print quality than available in the partners’ store.
3D printers that use resin are often much more complex than other 3D printers on the market. In our 3D printer review, we looked mainly at FDM 3D printers for their more practical uses. Some of the most popular desktop 3D and FDM printers are the Form 3, Makerbot, Da Vinci, Lulzbot Mini 2, Formlabs Form 3, the Creality Ender, the Peopoly Phenom, the Original Prusa i3 MK3s and the Prusa i3.
Consider the way you will be using your 3D printer before deciding on the printing method that would be better for you. Printing offline with an SD card is different from printing online with Wi-Fi, so take into consideration the products you plan to make. If you do not plan on using your 3D printer for extremely detailed or large-scale work, a Fused Filament Fabrication printer will likely meet your needs.
When you picture yourself using the best 3D printers, do you think of yourself making small, trinket-sized creations or larger, handheld masterpieces you can display in your living room? Your answer to that question should actually play a large role in the 3D printers you choose from to purchase.
3D printers vary greatly by the size of the machine but they also vary by the amount of space they offer for building your 3D products. The volume of the build space is what determines the size of your 3D objects, so it’s important to pay attention to the dimensions of this one area.
If you want to create the best chess pieces that are approximately 4 centimetres in size, you will be able to do so with the build area included with most of the 3D printers on the market. If you want to go much larger than that, you will need to look for 3D printers that boast a large build volume and big build area without sacrificing print quality. You can achieve a wide range of high-quality prints if you use one of the best 3D printers with an appropriately sized build area and print bed.
The best 3D printers with large build volumes, unlike the Form 3, Da Vinci Mini and original Prusa i3 MK3s, generally require a larger hotbed and other larger pieces to accommodate the size of even one print. The best larger prints will also require more filament for the layer resolution, so it’s useful if the 3D scanner has an option to let you hollow out your models before completing the process.
The best 3D printers are those that are very customisable with the build volume, layer resolution, hot end and print bed features. The Original Prusa i3 MK3S, the Da Vinci, the Peopoly Phenom, the Makerbot Replicator, the Lulzbot Mini 2 and the Formlabs Form 3 have all been rated among the best 3D printers in previous years.
Your Experience Level
Though there’s absolutely no shame in being a beginner in 3D printing, the amount of experience users have with 3D printers plays a huge role in determining which is the best 3D printer for their needs.
If you are completely new to 3D printing as a hobby, you may want to gravitate toward one of the more simplistic models, like a Da Vinci, Formlabs Form 3 or Lulzbot Mini 2 or Original Prusa, that includes a user-friendly touch screen. The best screens will often let you see your 3D printed creation as it’s being printed, which can help beginner printers enhance their ability to print and advance beyond the most basic moulds.
The best 3D printers are ones you can learn with, like the Monoprice Voxel, the Lulzbot Mini 2 and the Formlabs Form 3.
Novice printers and 3D printing enthusiast shoppers should also consider that some of the best 3D printers come partially assembled or unassembled completely. Assembling a 3D printer, whether from scratch or not, will help you learn the importance and role of each part in the device.
Familiarity with your device will also be beneficial if there is ever an issue with the printer or if the hot end fails to heat up, or some other problem arises. Print quality can lessen, even on the best 3D printer, so troubleshooting is essential.
If you are an extremely experienced and serious user, you should look at the audience insights and consider the more industrial models on the market. The best Resin 3D printers or best SLA printers offer the potential to create extremely complex and detailed prints in the comfort of your home. The Formlabs Form 3, the Lulzbot Mini 2, the Monoprice Voxel and the Makerbot Replicator have all been called some of the best printers for their potential for customisation.
Most of the best printers make it extremely easy to learn the process with consistent use. Even if you have some experience, purchasing a beginner-friendly printer can still be beneficial with the addition of optional applications and accessory parts.
Here’s to You Finding the Best 3D Printers!
Whether it is an original Prusa 3D printer, an extrusion printer, an SLA printer, a desktop printer or just a travel-friendly beginner 3D printer, working with your new equipment will no doubt be enjoyable and productive. But if you want the very best 3D printer on the market, we recommend the Creality Official Ender 3 Pro as it comes semi-assembled, allowing you to learn while you build.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about our 3D printer reviews, please contact us below.