3D printers are capable of printing almost anything. And if you’re not very familiar with this technology, you’ll be amazed by what’s possible.
Basically, 3D printing is creating a physical object from a digital model. The first examples were in the 1980s, and it was originally referred to as ‘rapid prototyping.’ Companies were able to quickly produce prototypes to precise specifications.
This technology is now available for home use suitable for a range of budgets. So let’s go through the best 3D printers currently available and find out which is the perfect one for you…
- 1 Top 12 Best 3D Printers In 2021 Reivew
- 1.1 1 Monoprice Select Mini V2 – Best 3D Printer Under $200
- 1.2 2 Elegoo Mars UV – Best Resin 3D Printer Under $300
- 1.3 3 Anycubic Photon UV – Best Beginners Resin 3D Printer Under $300
- 1.4 4 Qidi Technology X-One2 – Best Enclosed 3D Printer Under $500
- 1.5 5 ADIMlab Gantry Pro – Best Large Build Volume 3D Printer Under $500
- 1.6 6 Qidi Tech X-Pro – Best Enclosed 3D Printer Under $1000
- 1.7 7 Dremel DigiLab 3D20 – Best Plug-and-Play 3D Printer Under $1000
- 1.8 8 FlashForge Creator Pro – Best Open-Source 3D Printer Under $1000
- 1.9 9 LulzBot Mini 2 – Best Workhorse 3D Printer Under $1500
- 1.10 10 Sindoh 3DWOX DP200 – Best Simple to Use 3D Printer Under $1500
- 1.11 11 MakerGear M2 – Best Robust 3D Printer Under $2000
- 1.12 12 Dremel DigiLab 3D45 – Best Business 3D Printer Under $2000
- 2 Best 3D Printers Buying Guide
- 3 But First…
- 4 So, What Are The Best 3D Printers?
Top 12 Best 3D Printers In 2021 Reivew
1 Monoprice Select Mini V2 – Best 3D Printer Under $200
Here we have the very entry-level of 3D printing. Through our experience, entry-level items aren’t always the easiest to use. This isn’t the case with the Monoprice. Affordable and user-friendly. What’s not to like?
Essentially this is a Chinese manufactured printer called the Malyan M200. It has been rebranded and packaged for the US market.
What can I actually do with this thing?
The Monoprice can print objects to a height about the same as a can of soda. It has a print resolution of 100 microns, which is 0.1 millimeters. Print speed is 55mm per second. But what does all that mean?
Resolution will determine how detailed the final product will be. The higher the resolution, the smaller each component of the finished product is. Print speed obviously determines how quickly the printer is capable of reproducing the model with accuracy.
Great features for a budget printer…
There were two features that really impressed us for a budget device. The first being the fact that you are not confined to proprietary software. This means you can choose your preferred software.
What also was a pleasant surprise is that you can use any standard 1.75mm PLA or ABS thermoplastic. Often budget products recover costs by locking you into using expensive parts. This is not the case here.
A perfect 3d Printer for the beginner…
If you are a beginner looking to learn about 3D printing, we would highly recommend this product.
- Affordable entry level printer.
- Not restricted by software or print material.
- Easy to use.
- Cannot print at fast speeds.
- Wireless features deactivated.
- Build plate is unprotected.
2 Elegoo Mars UV – Best Resin 3D Printer Under $300
Elegoo has managed to create a resin 3D printer at an affordable price. Filament printers heat the material, which is then fed out a nozzle. Resin printers use a liquid which is then hit by a UV laser that hardens the material.
Resin printers are able to produce a much higher resolution product. These have proved very popular with those wanting to create miniature figurines. Of course, there are several other possibilities besides figures.
Ideal for detailed smaller objects…
Print volume for the Elegoo is 120 x 68 x 155 mm. That is roughly the size of the average action figure. The print resolution is 2560 x 1440 pixels, capable of producing smooth looking detailed objects.
Compatible with 405 nm UV sensitive resins, there are many affordable options available. Unfortunately, there is none supplied with the unit. Make sure you don’t forget to purchase some along with the printer.
How does it perform?
We are highly impressed with the detail and accuracy the Elegoo is capable of. Print quality is just as good as more expensive models.
Elegoo uses ChiTu firmware and ChiTu print preparation software. ChiTu is reasonably user-friendly and intuitive to use. This isn’t proprietary, and other software can be used with this printer.
If you can afford it, we recommend moving up from a resin printer to filament. With such great, affordable models such as this, it doesn’t have to be too much of a stretch.
- Affordable resin printer.
- Compatible with other software.
- Fantastic print results for a budget printer.
- Needs reset after prolonged use.
- USB port in an awkward location.
3 Anycubic Photon UV – Best Beginners Resin 3D Printer Under $300
Just like the Elegoo, this is another budget resin 3D printer. It’s easy to see why budget resin printers are so popular. The Anycubic is one of the most popular, so let’s find out why.
Being affordable isn’t the only reason people love this printer. Print quality and ease of use are remarkable for this price range. That makes this appealing for both beginners and intermediate users.
Can a budget resin printer have excellent specifications?
As with most budget resin printers, the main drawback is the limited build volume. Measuring 115 x 65 x 155 mm, it’s not tiny. It’s not huge either, though. A print resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels results in accurate creations.
The layer thickness is where this machine stands out from other budget models. Capable of between 0.025 mm and 0.1 mm, this is what enables printing of such detailed objects.
What else can we expect?
Anycubic includes a great set of instructions that clearly explain setting up the machine. However, we were pleased to find the machine arrived mostly pre-assembled. There was more than just a printer in the box, too.
Included along with the printer are some handy accessories. A bottle of resin so you can get started quickly. A set of tools, safety gloves, and glasses are a nice touch, as dealing with resin can be dangerous.
Get’s you started…
The 8 GB USB stick has some preloaded models on there. We think this would make a great introduction to resin 3D printing with everything you need to get started.
- Everything you need to get started.
- Detailed printing.
- Easy setup.
- Limited build volume.
- Resin smell can be overwhelming.
4 Qidi Technology X-One2 – Best Enclosed 3D Printer Under $500
Next, on our reviews of the Best 3D Printers, Qidi produces this enclosed 3D printer. Besides being safer by offering protection from hot components, there are a few more benefits.
Due to being enclosed, higher temperatures can be used for both the nozzle and bed. Being enclosed also creates a sterile print environment free from dust and wind. In addition, a more solid and sturdy frame results in more accurate prints.
What are the capabilities?
This is a filament printer. Its build volume of 145 x 145 x 145 mm gives more possibilities than the first three machines. A resolution of 100 microns, or 0.1 mm, is decent but not as detailed as the resin printers.
Compatibility with a variety of filament types allows a range of printing options. A choice of PLA and ABS can be used without any need for adjusting settings. TPU, Nylon, and PETG can be used with a quick tweak of the settings.
How about the user experience?
No need to assemble anything with this unit. Simply feed the filament and level the bed, and you’re ready to go. The included step-by-step instructions for leveling the bed make this process easy.
Software is included from Qidi and is surprisingly user-friendly for proprietary software. This device is still compatible with third party software. We particularly enjoyed that noise is kept to a minimum thanks to the enclosure.
A great ready-to-go product suitable for those with children or working around people with inquisitive hands.
- Plug and play device.
- Low noise levels.
- Compatible with multiple filaments.
- Build plate can be sticky.
- Limited build size.
5 ADIMlab Gantry Pro – Best Large Build Volume 3D Printer Under $500
All the 3D printers we’ve looked at so far have had a limited build size. If you plan on creating larger pieces, you need a printer that is capable.
ADIMlab has created an affordable printer capable of an impressive build volume. Its measurements of 310 x 310 x 410 mm, allow for more creativity and possibilities. Given the size, some assembly will be required, though.
Big in size and possibilities…
ADIMlab’s Gantry Pro has a resolution range of 50 – 400 microns (0.05 – 0.4mm) and can print detailed items. A print speed of 120mm/s is not lightning-fast, but acceptable. We would prefer a little more speed, along with being able to print larger items.
It features a heated glass bed with an aluminum base. A heated base prevents the plastic from cooling too fast, therefore shrinking. Assisting in more accurate prints with less chance of warping occurring.
Is there anything else we should know?
The device does not come with any print software. This does, however, allow you to choose the software that suits you best.
There is extended compatibility with a variety of filaments. Choices include PLA, ABS, HIPS, TPE, and even wood. And you can track your filament with a nozzle light. A nice feature we don’t often see included in other 3D printers.
Great value for money for a printer capable of printing larger items at a great quality.
- Can create larger items.
- In-built nozzle light.
- Good value for money.
- No software included.
- Minor assembly required.
6 Qidi Tech X-Pro – Best Enclosed 3D Printer Under $1000
It wasn’t long ago we were amazed to be able to purchase a 3D printer for under $1000. Well, we have good news for you. Due to advancements in technology, for the same price range, you can now have something incredible.
We’ve already seen a budget model from Qidi Tech. The X-Pro is an enclosed model with some much more advanced features.
So what are these features?
This is the first machine to include a dual extruder. That means two nozzles, which also means the opportunity to incorporate two colors into your designs. These nozzles are used directly onto a heated aluminum bed.
There is a clever trick with the bed. The top plate is removable, magnetic, and flexible. This makes removing your objects much easier once they’re completed. A simple design idea we were most impressed with.
How about some specifications?
Build volume is at 230 x 150 x 150 mm, which is reasonably generous for an enclosed printer. With its resolution of 100 to 400 microns (0.1 – 0.4 mm), detailed, accurate creations are possible.
It’s compatible with various filaments up to 1.75 mm. These include PLA, ABS, and PETG. The software included is Qidi Print. Although easy to use, it lacks some more advanced features.
This is likely the best 3D printer for you if you’re looking for a reliable enclosed machine with dual-color capabilities.
- Create objects with two colors.
- Solid enclosed printer.
- Can connect with Wi-Fi.
- Manual bed leveling.
- Software lacks some advanced features.
7 Dremel DigiLab 3D20 – Best Plug-and-Play 3D Printer Under $1000
Dremel has created this little printer with ease of use in mind. This thing is almost ready to go right out of the box. All that is required is to feed the filament and level the bed.
Its small footprint makes it ideal for those who have limited space. In fact, it looks almost like a microwave. Also, being fully enclosed makes it safer for those with younger children.
Small in size, but how does it perform?
Even though the unit’s physical size is small, it has a build volume of 230 x 150 x 140 mm. A resolution of 100 microns (0.1mm) ensures detailed prints. And with a print speed of 100mm/s, that’s pretty quick for its size.
We found the Dremel one of the most accessible printers to use we’ve ever seen. It’s as easy as selecting the model you want to print, pressing start, and waiting for it to finish. This, of course, does have its drawbacks.
What’s the real story?
With the ease of use comes heavy restrictions. You are locked into the proprietary software that comes with the device. Although it works well, it means you lack the ability to do any form of advanced customization.
Another thing you’re locked into is the type of filament. Even though other brands will work, you can only use PLA type filament. The advantages of these restrictions, however, are more reliable and consistent results.
A great printer for introducing 3D printing to the family.
- Ready to go out of the box.
- Very easy to use.
- Takes up little room.
- Locked into proprietary software.
- Can only use PLA filament.
8 FlashForge Creator Pro – Best Open-Source 3D Printer Under $1000
FlashForge is another dual extruder enclosed 3D printer. The print heads are aligned, which results in quicker print times. Using a closed chamber system makes it possible to use two different materials as filaments.
Of course, being enclosed brings all the benefits like noise reductions, temperature stabilization, and a sterile printing environment.
Reasons to choose FlashForge…
For an enclosed device, the print volume is a respectable 227 x 148 x 150 mm. Resolution is also decent at 100 microns (0.1mm). The printing speed of 100mm/s will have your tasks completed in an efficient manner.
Being compatible with a huge range of filaments makes this unit great for experimenting. Filament compatibility includes ABS, PLA, HIPS, Flex, T-glass, and composites, including woodfill, copperfill, brassfill, and more.
Modify and upgrade…
The FlashForge comes with FlashPrint software; however, it is still compatible with others. Being open-source also means there is a range of modifications and upgrades available. Many that can be created on the printer itself.
Using a heated print bed ensures accuracy in those all-important first layers. Aluminum construction means heating without deforming. Plus, setting the bed is made easy with a three-point metal leveling system.
- Open-source means flexibility.
- Dual extruder system.
- Wide range of filament options.
- For more advanced users.
- Included software is limited.
9 LulzBot Mini 2 – Best Workhorse 3D Printer Under $1500
Now in our Best 3D Printers reviews, we start moving into the more serious 3D printers. Aimed more towards serious enthusiasts, professionals, and small businesses. This desktop 3D printer from Lulzbot is reliable and dependable.
Being a professional model doesn’t have to mean it’s complicated. Everything you need to get started is in the box. The printer arrives pre-assembled and has everything you need, including a tool kit and instruction manual.
What do professional specifications look like?
First of all, the build volume is 160 x 160 x 180 mm, which is decent for a desktop model called a mini. A resolution of between 50 – 400 microns (0.05 – 0.4mm) is fantastic for a filament printer.
Featuring the highest speed capability so far of 300mm/s, this thing can be incredibly fast. Less speed does mean more accuracy, though. If these specs don’t impress you, wait until you learn about the features.
We feel it’s worth mentioning the automatic bed leveling. One of the most challenging things to get right is done for you. Add to that the fact that this printer can work independently of a PC. Simply insert an SD card and hit print.
What about being able to swap filament materials without having to change nozzles? Did we mention that you can use pretty much any type of filament you can think of too? Oh yeah, and it’s quiet as well.
Expensive, but worth it…
Designed for professional use, but if you can afford it, you should buy it.
- Ready assembled in the box.
- Automatic bed leveling.
- Fast printing capabilities.
- More expensive.
- Quality varies between materials used.
10 Sindoh 3DWOX DP200 – Best Simple to Use 3D Printer Under $1500
This is a premium enclosed desktop 3D printer. If Apple ever made a 3D printer, we imagine it would be a little something like this. With simplicity and ease of use clearly in mind, Sindoh has created this little beauty.
You may not have heard of Sindoh. They’re a Korean company that previously made regular 2D printers. They became big players in the toner business and thought since they’re in the office equipment game, why not try 3D printers?
Can they go from 2D to 3D?
For a desktop printer, there is an impressive build area of 210 x 200 x 195 mm. The resolution is 50 microns (0.05mm), resulting in detailed builds. The maximum print speed is 200mm/s, which is very respectable.
These specifications sound very similar to some of the other printers we’ve seen. But the specs aren’t what make this printer different.
What makes it stand out?
User-friendly convenience is the goal here. So this printer has a cartridge system for its filament. Think of it like a big old floppy disk. It gets inserted into the printer and loads the filament automatically.
While easy, it does mean you’re locked to using only Sindoh’s filament. And they only use PLA, and ABS meaning your choices of material are also limited.
Sindoh decided to go with an automated bed leveler instead of automatic. Meaning it ‘assists’ you to level the bed. We wonder why they didn’t just go with a fully automatic system?
- Very easy to use system.
- Automated nozzle cleaner.
- Solid enclosed design.
- Automated instead of automatic bed leveling.
- Limited filament choices.
11 MakerGear M2 – Best Robust 3D Printer Under $2000
This printer looks like it means business. With its predominantly steel frame and powder-coated black finish, it looks solid, and it is. This is one of the highest-rated and universally owned devices in the 3D printing world.
One cool thing about this printer is that it has very few plastic parts. What’s even cooler is that those parts can be 3D printed and replaced. Almost like a lizard growing its limbs back.
What are its other strengths?
With a 200 x 200 x 250 mm build area, we feel that it is substantial for what’s classed as a desktop printer. A print resolution of 50 – 300 microns (0.05 – 0.3mm) helps to provide accurate, detailed prints.
The maximum print speed of 200mm/s ensures builds are completed swiftly. But the only filaments recommended for use are PLA and ABS. However, other users have had success with nylon and flexible PLA.
Can we trust it?
A key aspect of this printer is reliability. It’s not a problem to start a build in the morning and leave it running while completing other jobs around the house. You just know it’s going to work.
It may not have some features other printers have. For instance, there is no built-in LCD screen. And no Wi-Fi; you need to connect your PC or use a USB stick or SD card. But that’s not what this machine is all about.
It’s about doing what it’s supposed to do successfully and reliably, which it does.
- Extremely precise nozzle.
- Super reliable.
- Open architecture.
- Not great for beginners.
- No screen or Wi-Fi.
12 Dremel DigiLab 3D45 – Best Business 3D Printer Under $2000
Dremel has designed this enclosed 3D printer to be easy to use and reliable. In addition, the built-in safety features this machine possesses makes it suitable for schools and businesses. Not so great for those who like experimenting, though.
As we’ve covered, the trade-off for ease of use and simplicity usually means restrictions. Great if you just want something that will work correctly every time the way it was designed to.
What are the main benefits?
It’s compatible with advanced materials such as nylon, polycarbonate, and EcoABS. Having a reliable unit when using these filaments certainly does help. Using Dremel filament also utilizes an RFID chip that automatically sets the machine to the optimal settings.
Dremel has done a great job building an educational ecosystem. From mathematics to biotechnology projects, there is something for all academic levels. A useful filtration system has been integrated to protect users from toxic fumes, too. Perfect for a learning environment.
What kind of results can it produce?
With a build volume of 254 x 152 x 170 mm, some decent-sized builds can be accomplished. Detail and accuracy are achieved with a resolution of 50 – 300 microns (0.05 – 0.3mm). A print speed of 150mm/s is not the fastest in this range, but still acceptable.
Using the Dremel filaments, this machine is nothing short of impeccable. Safe, reliable, and accurate. Use a third-party filament, though, and, well, things start to fall apart. Although they can be used, it is ill-advised.
- Easy to set up and use.
- Safe, reliable, and solid design.
- Amazing education ecosystem.
- Almost incompatible with third party filaments.
- Restricted creativity.
Best 3D Printers Buying Guide
We have covered a wide range of 3D printers, from the budget entry-level right up to professional models suitable for businesses. You would be forgiven for having a little information overload.
We will now try to help you with selecting which 3D printer will suit you best. Usually, the first thing you need to think about is the budget. We broke each model down according to budget, to assist in that regard.
What Else Should I Consider?
What specific type of item are you trying to create? If you want to make a larger item, then you will need a printer that has a larger build area. That’s not the only thing, though. There are several other things to consider too.
Like what type of material would you like to use? We covered both resin and filament printers. Both resin and filaments can have different characteristics. Let’s talk a little bit more about those.
Resin and filament materials all have different properties and will give you a different result. There are many factors to consider. These include strength, stiffness, durability, density, flexibility, and resistance qualities.
These properties could all have an impact on which machine you buy. Not all printers are compatible with all materials.
In a nutshell…
If you want to try 3D printing as a hobby, we recommend one of the budget models that are both easy to set up and use.
However, if you wish to try something a little more advanced, there’s one crucial constant. Have some sort of idea about what type of items you wish to create. This will have a considerable influence on your decision.
We’re sure no matter what you choose, you will receive hours of fun and enjoyment. Next up, though, we have to choose. We will let you know what we think is the top 3D printer and why.
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Back to 3D printers…
So, What Are The Best 3D Printers?
With such a wide variety of printers and budgets, this decision was tough. The way we decided was by taking into consideration a combination of different criteria. Value for money, performance, flexibility, and ease of use.
The printer we feel performed best across all these different aspects is the…FlashForge Creator Pro
Around the middle of the price range, this printer delivers excellent results. It has an outstanding balance of being both easy to use and flexible. We, therefore, feel that it represents real value for money.