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: How did we test them?
3D printers are tested using a collection of bespoke benchmarks that help show the strengths and weakness 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 be also be explored as sections within the reviews.
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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 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 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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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 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
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