The 3D printer market is growing at an explosive rate, with new brands and styles of printing making an appearance each year. Where many 3D printers used to be huge, expensive machines, developments in technology and production now mean that many of the best options you can buy are increasingly affordable and can sit on a desk in your home without needing workshop space.
Naturally, this means there's now a massive choice of 3D printers that cater to all sorts of user needs and budgets. While this choice is excellent, picking the best 3D printer for your specific needs can be difficult. However, this guide can help, as we pick some brilliant 3D printers for all uses and budgets, with clear buying advice to help you determine which one you should buy.
Printing hardware has taken off in recent years, so while a handful of filament printers (otherwise known as FDM printers) were all that was once available, there's now a wide variety of different styles to suit your needs across a range of budgets.
Unlike office-style printers that just print ink onto paper, 3D printers turn digital models into real-world objects made from plastic, metal, and wood. FDM printers now come in all shapes and sizes and are well-suited to prototyping and crafting larger objects. At the same time, resin-based (SLA, MSLA, and DLP) allow for much greater detail, typically at a smaller scale, making them a fantastic buy for anyone looking to design jewelry or create tabletop miniatures.
You can use 3D printers to build complete products, make spare parts, or simply create things you’ll find helpful for your home, office, and workshop. And, since 3D printing technology (opens in new tab) is within the grasp of just about anyone, you don’t have to utilize one to your advantage.
Whether you’re just getting your feet wet or are an expert, here are the best 3D printers ranges to consider. Our picks wildly vary in price, size, functionality, and use case, so there should be something for you, whatever it is you’re looking for. Remember that the more expensive choices are better suited for professionals, while the best cheap 3D printers (opens in new tab) are ideal for those just starting.
The best 3D printers
This affordable open-frame 3D printer is small enough to sit on your desk and easy enough to assemble yourself without expertise. It comes in kit form and uses FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) to turn popular modeling materials such as PLA, PETG, ASA, ABS, and Flex into accurate printed products. There’s a Network LAN and USB port for simple connectivity and a user-friendly interface. This entry-level printer should be the first choice for crafters, modelers, and engineering enthusiasts. The Original Prusa MINI+ is a replacement for the Original Prusa MINI (minus the plus), the key advantage being that it now comes with a superPINDA sensor, which is not temperature dependent allowing the first layer calibration to be faster and more reliable.
Read the full review: Original Prusa MINI (opens in new tab)
CEL-UK is a leader in 3D Printer innovation, with the original Robox printers introducing many new features to the world of FDM 3D printers. The RoboxPro is Robox on a large scale with a feature set that reads like a 3D print wish list; auto filament loading, auto bed leveling, Wi-Fi, network printing, and swappable tool heads. The main focus of the machine is quality and reliability, designed for anyone wanting a printer that can realize product ideas and get them to market. The enclosed design makes it an ideal choice for commercial and educational use.
Read the full CEL-UK RoboxPro review (opens in new tab).
Having a predecessor with a decent reputation instantly puts pressure on the new model to perform. From the small amount of initial construction needed to build the printer to the outstanding bed leveling technology, the Ender-5 S1 proves to be a decent upgrade and on a completely different level of quality to the original Ender-5.
The cubed design might not be a true CORE XY printer, but the robust frame and tool head design's and precision enables a print quality that pits this printer against models that are at least twice the price.
The design is refined, the tool head completely overhauled, and with upgrade options such as an enclosure and laser head, there is plenty of scopes to expand your creativity. This is a printer designed for both enthusiasts and small business users.
Read our full Creality-5 S1 review.
This elegant delta design should get your attention if you’re looking for a professional 3D printer for fairly large and complex projects. It uses FDM technology to build 3D models from rolls of filament. Still, instead of the more common cartesian printers, the TRILAB DeltiQ 2 has a fixed round build plate with the extruder suspended between three arms that move the print head along three axes. It gives this model a fairly small footprint, while its high tower design ensures it can print some quite large pieces.
And unlike most 3D printers, it has two extruder options, one for standard PLA and PETG and the other for flexibles. It just requires a little retooling to swap between them. The TRILAB DeltiQ 2 uses some of the best components available in its construction, and the interface is a smartphone running a dedicated app. This handsome, high-end workshop printer would sit well in any laboratory, studio or classroom.
Read our full TRILAB DeltiQ 2 review (opens in new tab).
Prusa Research revolutionized the FDM 3D printer market, and this model looks set to do the same for SLA printers. While this printer uses stereolithography technology, it's a slight variant known as MSLA. This uses a monochrome LCD and UV LED to expose the resin, which is cheaper than precision lasers but just as accurate. The SL1S SPEED replaces the outgoing SL1, and as you might have guessed from that model name, it’s faster – around ten times faster and with a vastly improved print quality. The speedy new model looks set to lead the SLA market with support from the excellent PrusaSlicer software and a huge open-source community.
Read our full Original Prusa SL1S 3D printer review (opens in new tab).
If the world of 3D printing ever seemed too intimidating for you, look no further than the AnyCubic Vyper. While perfect for beginners with its auto-leveling feature and minimal assembly, seasoned printing hobbyists will also appreciate what it can offer, albeit with a few adjustments.
As the 'automatic leveling' might imply, the AnyCubic Vyper removes the need to align your build plate manually should you want to move the machine to a different location. It's fast and accurate, saving time when setting up your first print, which makes setting up and getting started a breeze.
Read our full AnyCubic Vyper review.
3D printing has come of age, and machines like the Raise3D E2 bring high-end FFF printing to the home, education, and business. This dual extrusion printer goes head-to-head with the RoboxPro and will fulfill most companies' design and development needs with slick business and network integration. Home and educational users will benefit from a simple interface and near-faultless reliability. The only drawback of this machine is its size and weight.
Read the full Raise3D E review (opens in new tab).
The Anycubic Photon M3 is the ideal entry-level resin printer to introduce you to 3D printing. It’s relatively easy to set up and operate, and the box includes everything you need to get started except for the UV resin. This compact model will fit easily on your desk in a well-ventilated room, though the build volume is somewhat limited at 180 x 163.9 x 102.4mm or 7 x 6.5 x 4-inches.
This modest machine can turn out surprisingly detailed models for printing small plastic parts or artistic pieces. The interface is a 7.6-inch panel, and the software will help you print your project and slice it. If you want to make larger models, you should consider one of Anycubic’s larger 3D printers, but this is a great place to start for $299 (about £275 / AU$480).
Read our full Anycubic Photon M3 review (opens in new tab).
A true 3-in-1 machine makes sense because 3D printers, CNC, and Laser cutters all use the same basic mechanics and technology. The original Snapmaker has a dedicated following, so it is no surprise that Snapmaker 2.0 builds on its predecessor's reputation and features. The A350 is the largest of three models and proves proficient in all disciplines. Swapping between the three heads and beds does take time to reconfigure and calibrate for the prince and features it's worth it.
Read the full Snapmaker 2.0 A350 review (opens in new tab).
Best 3D Printers: How did we test them?
3D printers are tested using a collection of bespoke benchmarks that help show the strengths and weaknesses of each model that, after time, can be compared against other products. These will differ depending on printer type, but a filament printer will be tested for stringing, bridging, and speed, as well as additional commentary on detail, achieved, and noise levels.
This will be done fairly, with dues given to different materials and printer types, with resin printers being subject to smaller, more detailed models to replace the stringing test. Design, price, and performance will also be explored as sections within the reviews.
All our tests are conducted from the perspective of the printers target market where possible, so expect to see a lot of tabletop miniatures and figurines alongside the usual 'benches' (test models that are also dubbed as 'torture tests' to see where a printer needs to be better optimized for future prints).
- We've also featured the best printers (opens in new tab)