There are loads of reasons why the best 3D printers are great investments. Not only are they some of the most exciting gadgets money can buy right now, but their potential is astounding. They allow you to whip up spare parts and even create full-fledged products right from the comfort of your own home, office or studio.
This may seem like some sort of sci-fi premise, where buying things from shops is a thing of the past. But, the future is here, and the best 3D printers are key to making it a reality. In fact, they make 3D printing technology increasingly accessible to beginners and students, as well as experts of industries.
If you're looking for the best 3D printers of 2020, then you've come to the right place. On this list, we feature expensive 3D printers for use in industrial settings, as well as some great 3D printers for students, artists and professionals. There’s also a variety of options here covering a wide range of sizes, prices and functionalities, from best cheap 3D printers to high-end items that may have high price tags, but offer unrivalled quality.
Better yet, we have clear and concise information on all kinds of 3D printers. There are, after all, a few factors to consider when picking the best 3D printers for you, which means spending quite a bit of time doing research is imperative.
Just bear in mind that because this list is so diverse – and the 3D printers on it are aimed at different use cases - we've not listed them in any particular order.
Best 3D printers on Amazon Prime day and Black Friday
Some of the best 3D printers of 2020 are bound to get price cuts on Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday. This means that you might be able to purchase a 3D printer on this list for much less, saving you more money to use for something else on your shopping list.
So, it would be wise to wait until these major deal events of the year, rather than investing a lot in a 3D printer right now. Luckily, with Amazon Prime Day likely to arrive sometime in mid-October and Black Friday rolling around the end of November, you won’t have to wait for long.
Best 3D Printers at a glance
- CEL-UK RoboxPro
- Ultimaker S3
- FormLabs Form 3
- Original PRUSA SL1
- TRILAB DeltiQ 2
- Raise3D E2
- CEL-UK RoboxDual
- LulzBot Mini 2
- Snapmaker 2.0 A350
- Original PRUSA i3 MK3s
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PRUSA Research is a dominant force in the 3D print community, with the MK3s being their flagship machine. Available as a kit, expert build or as a set of plans to build your own, there's plenty on offer here for ever level of user. The expert build refines everything that has come before and is widely seen as the best FDM 3D printer on the market. Print speeds are fast and using the latest Trinamic2130 drivers and a Noctua fan, this machine is as close to silent as you can get. Powerful enhancements such as filaments sensors, Bondtech extruder, P.I.N.D.A. 2 probe and market-leading E3D V6 nozzle ensure that the print quality is hard to beat. The features and print quality make the MK3s the best all-round printer available.