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Best 3D printers of 2021: top choices for work and home use

Best 3D printers
Our list of the best 3D printers contains clear and concise information on all kinds of 3D printers. (Image credit: Future)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

The best 3D printers are the future, and the future is now. 3D printers are no longer stuff of science fiction. Whether you have a business that will benefit from one or you simply have deep pockets and want a new toy to play with, you’ll also be happy to know that they’re more accessible than ever.

Considering the current and potential benefits the best 3D printers bring to the table, there’s never been a better time to grab one. You can use them to build complete products, make spare parts, or simply create things you’ll find useful for your home, office, and workshop. And, since 3D printing technology is within 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 range 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. Just remember that the more expensive choices are better suited for professionals while the best cheap 3D printers are ideal for those just starting out.

Best 3D printers at a glance

  1. Original Prusa MINI
  2. Ultimaker S3
  3. FormLabs Form 3
  4. Original PRUSA SL1
  5. TRILAB DeltiQ 2
  6. Raise3D E2
  7. CEL-UK RoboxDual
  8. LulzBot Mini 2
  9. Snapmaker 2.0 A350
  10. CEL-UK RoboxPro

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Original Prusa MINI

Original Prusa MINI (Image credit: Prusa)

1. Original Prusa MINI

Small, affordable and remarkable 3D printer

Specifications
Print technology: Fused Deposition Modeling
Filament Diameter: 1.75mm
Build Area: 18 x 18 x 18cm
Minimum layer resolution: 50 microns
Maximum layer resolution: 200 microns
Dimensions: 33 x 33 x 38cm
Weight: 4.5kg
Reasons to buy
+Great value+Easy to use
Reasons to avoid
-Reel sits separately-Imperfect print quality

It is testament to how quickly this category is advancing that the latest model from Prusa is superior in so many ways to its previous model and yet half the price. The Original Prusa MINI, as its name suggests, is a smaller version of the Original Prusa i3 MK3s, but the print quality is comparable, while the dimensions are far more manageable. It comes in an easy-to-assemble 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 port 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.

Read the full review: Original Prusa MINI

Ultimaker S3

Ultimaker S3 (Image credit: Ultimaker)

2. Ultimaker S3

The best 3D printer for college education

Specifications
Print technology: Fused Deposition Modeling
Filament Diameter: 2.85mm
Build area: 230 x 190 x 200mm
Minimum layer resolution: 20 microns
Maximum layer resolution: 600 microns
Dimensions: 394 x 489 x 637mm
Weight: 14.4kg
Reasons to buy
+Class-leading print quality+Easy to network
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

Ultimaker has been one of the most desirable 3D printer manufacturers since 3the technology broke into the mainstream. The Ultimaker S3 is a next-generation printer with speed, quality and reliability at its heart. While the machine does make a small nod to Ultimaker's open-source foundations in looks, it breaks new ground when it comes to usability and business integration. The S3 is aimed at the education and commercial markets and offers a wide selection of accessories and materials to meet any designers needs. Standout features include the swappable cartridge hotends, market-leading touchscreen UI and the Cura slicer software.

FormLabs Form 3

FormLabs Form 3 (Image credit: FormLabs)

3. FormLabs Form 3

The best SLA Printer

Specifications
Print technology: Stereolithography
Resin type: Multiple
Build area: 145 × 145 × 185 mm
Minimum layer resolution: 25 microns
Maximum layer resolution: 300 microns
Dimensions: 405 × 375 × 530 mm
Weight: 17.5kg
Reasons to buy
+High-quality printing+Wide material support
Reasons to avoid
-SLA prints require cleaning

FormLabs focusing on resin-based SLA 3D printers and has been instrumental in pioneering and advancing the technology. Form 3 is the smallest of their machines but has wide appeal with the use of a high precision laser that ensures unparalleled print quality, far surpassing FDM printers. As with all SLA printers, a liquid resin is used rather than a solid filament so more time is needed in the preparation and finishing of prints which will not suit all users. However, the breadth of materials and technology makes the Form 3 one of the most versatile 3D printers on the market. Ideal for high-quality prototypes, jewellery, casting and production.

Original PRUSA SL1

Original PRUSA SL1 (Image credit: Original)

4. Original PRUSA SL1

The best MSLA Printer

Specifications
Print technology: Stereolithography
Resin type: 405nm
Build area: 120 x 68 x 150mm
Minimum layer resolution: 25 microns
Maximum layer resolution: 100 microns
Dimensions: 400 × 237 × 225 mm
Reasons to buy
+High-quality printing+Wide material support
Reasons to avoid
-SLA prints require cleaning

Prusa Research revolutionised the FDM 3D printer market and the SL1 looks set to do the same for SLA printers. While the printer uses Stereolithography technology, it's in fact a slight variant, know as MSLA. This uses an LCD and UV LED to expose the resin and is far cheaper than the high precision lasers seen in the likes of Form 3. While the component parts may be cheaper the results are outstanding and with support from the excellent PrusaSlicer software and huge open source community, the SL1 looks set to be game-changer in the SLA market.

Read the full review: Original PRUSA SL1

TRILAB DeltiQ 2

TRILAB DeltiQ 2 (Image credit: TRILAB)

5. TRILAB DeltiQ 2

The best Delta 3D printer

Specifications
Print technology: Fused Deposition Modeling
Filament Diameter: 1.75
Build area: 250 x 250 x 300mm
Minimum layer resolution: 50 microns
Maximum layer resolution: Dependent on nozzle
Dimensions: 410 × 500 × 810 mm
Weight: 10kg
Reasons to buy
+Cutting edge technology+Versatile and expandable
Reasons to avoid
-Complex machine

Delta 3D printers are very different from standard cartesian 3D printers, with the printhead suspended from three fully articulated arms. The approach means that the footprint of the machines can be far smaller and as the base is static complex models can be a printer with less support material. The DeltiQ 2's features include E3D hotend, Duet 2 Wifi control board, mobile control and interface and of course superb print quality.

Raise3D E2

Raise3D E2 (Image credit: Raise3D)

6. Raise3D E2

The best workhorse 3D printer

Specifications
Print technology: Fused Deposition Modeling
Build area: 330 x 240 x 240mm
Minimum layer resolution: 20 microns
Maximum layer resolution: 250 microns
Dimensions: 607 x 596 x 465mm
Reasons to buy
+High resolution+Touch screen interface
Reasons to avoid
-Huge and heavy

3D printing has truly 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 fulfil 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 the size and weight.

Read the full review: Raise3D E2

CEL-UK RoboxDual

CEL-UK RoboxDual (Image credit: Future)

7. CEL-UK RoboxDual

Best 3D printer for schools and business

Specifications
Print technology: Fused deposition modeling
Build area: 210 x 150 x 100mm
Minimum layer resolution: 50 microns
Maximum layer resolution: 500 microns
Dimensions: 410 x 340 x 240mm
Reasons to buy
+Very easy to use+Reliable
Reasons to avoid
-Advanced features require proprietary filament

There are few manufacturers who have focused as much attention on the 3D printing journey as CEL-UK. From the AutoMaker software that enables you to prepare and monitor the prints through to the printers special features and accessories that help with iterative design and production. The RoboxDual has been designed to adapt to any user level. SmartReel, Headlocks swappable tool heads, auto filament loading, and bed levelling make it ideal for use in schools. With the addition of the network enabling Root or Mote, it's also ideal for product design agencies and engineers working at scale.

Read the full review: CEL-UK RoboxDual

LulzBot Mini 2

LulzBot Mini 2 (Image credit: LulzBot)

8. LulzBot Mini 2

Another great 3D printer for beginners

Specifications
Print technology: Fused deposition modeling
Build area: 160 x 160 x 180mm
Minimum layer resolution: 50 microns
Maximum layer resolution: 400 microns
Dimensions: 457 mm x 339 mm x 607 mm
Weight: 9kg
Reasons to buy
+Very easy to use+Open-source
Reasons to avoid
-Open frame design

If you're looking for a first 3D printer to learn the ropes with, then the LulzBot Mini 2 is another excellent choice. It's available for a decent price and is easy to use, with version 2 improving on print speed and noise reduction. The hardware is open-source, which means it has a flexibility that propitiatory hardware lacks, as a committed community of makers can work together to create add-ons for the printer.

Snapmaker 2.0 A350

Snapmaker 2.0 A350 (Image credit: Snapmaker)

9. Snapmaker 2.0 A350

Best 3-in-1 3D printer

Specifications
Print technology: Fused Filament Fabrication, CNC, Laser
Build area: 350 x 350 x 350mm
Minimum layer resolution: 50 microns
Maximum layer resolution: 300 microns
Dimensions: 645 x 480 x 580mm
Reasons to buy
+3D printer, CNC, and Laser cutter in one+Solid design
Reasons to avoid
-Switching between uses takes time

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 the Snapmaker 2.0 builds on its predecessor's reputation and features. The A350 is the largest of three models and proves proficient at 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 review: Snapmaker 2.0 A350

CEL-UK RoboxPro

CEL-UK RoboxPro (Image credit: CEL-UK)

10. CEL-UK RoboxPro

Best 3D printer for commercial printing

Specifications
Print technology: Fused Deposition Modeling
Filament Diameter: 1.75mm
Build Area: 210 x 300 x 400mm
Minimum layer resolution: 50 microns
Maximum layer resolution: 500 microns
Dimensions: 513x508x605mm
Weight: 26kg
Reasons to buy
+Swappable print heads+Network ready
Reasons to avoid
-Large scale printer

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 levelling, 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 realise product ideas and get them to market. The enclosed design makes it an ideal choice for commercial and educational use.

Read the full review: CEL-UK RoboxPro