With 3D printers now more affordable and powerful than ever, it’s a great time to get into 3D printing. But with so many options, technologies and brands offering great 3D printers, it’s difficult to know where to look. We’re here to help: we continuously update this best 3D printer guide with the latest 3D printer reviews.
Criteria examined to make these conclusions include print quality, build volume, reliability, price-performance ratio, number of materials you can print, speed, and many others.
Creality Ender 3 V2
Anycubic Photon Mono X
Prusa i3 MK3S+
Best Desktop 3D Printers (Under $1,000)
For new and experienced makers alike, finding the best 3D printer without breaking the bank is important. Here is our ranking of the best 3D printers under $1,000.
- We have a more extensive ranking comparing low cost 3D printers where we rank the best budget 3D printers
- For just printers using FDM, we have a separate ranking for the best FDM 3D printers
- For just printers using SLA, DLP or LCD technologies, we have a separate ranking for the best resin 3D printers
|3D printer||Price||Best price||Alternative|
|Elegoo Mars 2 Pro||$250||Elegoo here||Amazon here|
|Creality Ender 3 V2||$279||Creality Store here||Amazon here|
|Anycubic Photon Mono||$199||Amazon here||Anycubic Store here|
|Anycubic Vyper||$359||Anycubic Store here||Amazon here|
|Sovol SV04||$539||Sovol 3D here|
|Prusa i3 MK3S+||$749 / $999||Prusa (DIY) here||Prusa (built) here|
|Flashforge Creator Pro 2||$649||Flashforge here||Amazon here|
|Anycubic Mono X||$599||Amazon here|
|Qidi Tech X-Max||$1,099||Amazon here|
|Snapmaker 2.0 AT||$1,199-$1,799||Snapmaker here|
|Prusa SL1S Speed||$1,999||Prusa Store here|
|Dremel Digilab 3D45||$1,599||Amazon here||Dynamism here|
|Formlabs Form 3||$3,499||Dynamism here|
|Ultimaker S3||$4,030||Matterhackers here||Matterhackers here|
|Raise3D Pro2||$3,999||Dynamism here||Amazon here|
|Ultimaker S5||$5,995||Dynamism here||Matterhackers here|
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Elegoo Mars 2 Pro
Despite the low price, we were very impressed when we tried out the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro. It was easy to set up and get started, and the surface finish on our prints was fantastic.
It’s more durable and reliable than ever before, now built with a robust CNC machined aluminum body for stability and strength. The new build plate improves adhesion so you get better-looking parts, and a number of other smaller improvements that set you up for the long term when you buy one of these 3D printers.
The 6-inch monochrome LCD screen features 2K resolution, and it’s faster than ever — taking just 2 seconds to cure an entire layer. The Mars 2 Mono’s new light source makes for more UV light emissions, with this extra power, along with the 2K screen, notably improving intricate part quality, such as sharper edges, more pronounced ridges and bumps, and more.
And if you’re looking for a little more quality, go for the Mars 2 Pro Mono — with its slightly larger print area and other improvements, for an extra $100.
Creality Ender 3 V2 — best 3D printer for the price
- Price: $249 — Available on Creality Official Store here / Available on Amazon here
- Build volume: 220 x 220 x 250 mm
One of the leading 3D printers for $200, the Creality Ender 3 V2, like the CR-10, is a very powerful machine for the price. Another DIY 3D printer, it can be assembled in under an hour, and also features a heated bed.
- View the full specs in our review of the Creality Ender 3.
An affordable workhorse 3D printer, the Ender 3 V2 is known for its reliability, churning out part after part without issue. The open printing area means it isn’t ideal for tougher filaments like ABS or Nylon, but as a PLA 3D printer it works well.
The Ender 3 V2 features a number of small but useful improvements on the best-selling Ender 3. The print volume is the same, but the print bed is now carborundum glass mounted on an aluminum bed, improving adhesion and finished print removal over the previous magnetic bed. The HD screen is better than the original LCD interface, a small but pleasant quality-of-life improvement.
If you’re going to be spending $200 on a 3D printer, you can’t expect the quality to be flawless. The Ender 3 V2 prints fairly well, but cannot — and does not try to — rival prosumer $3,000 3D printers. It’s undoubtedly one of the best 3D printers for the price, and a great home 3D printer.
Toybox: Best For Kids & Complete Beginners
- Price: $299 – Available at Toybox Official store here
- Build volume: 70 x 80 x 90 mm
The Toybox isn’t your high-tech, workhorse 3D printer to start a business with, but it is one of the simplest and most accessible 3D printers we’ve ever tested – ideal for kids and beginners.
The build volume is small – just 70 x 80 x 90 mm, but if you have modest 3D printing goals to print miniatures and other fun characters, it’s a great choice.
Toybox have partnered with numerous big players to bring you a huge range of free models you can 3D print too, from Batman and Wonder Woman, to fun 3D printable dragons, tanks, cars, and so much more.
For kids it’s super safe: it only prints low-temperature PLA, and any hot parts are kept well away from prying hands. You get small spools of many different color filaments to print away with, and we found it to be reliable yet super accessible.
If you’re brand new and want a hassle-free run, or want to get your kids into 3D printing cheaply, the Toybox is great.
The full review: Toybox 3D printer review
For beginners: the best 3D printers for beginners
Anycubic Photon Mono
- Price: $199 — Available on Amazon here / Available on Anycubic Official Store here
- Build volume: 5.11” x 3.14” x 6.49”
Previously the Anycubic Photon S featured in our best 3D printer buyer’s guide, and now Anycubic’s new Photon Mono has taken its place. The newer model offers far faster printing speed, as well a numerous other improvements on this LCD printer.
LCD 3D printers make resin printing more accessible than ever before, with the Photon Mono a fast and accurate resin 3D printer under $300. The 2K LCD screen is capable of great accuracy — and if you want 4K, go for the Mono X, featured later on in this ranking! — giving you all the tools you need to 3D print miniatures, figurines, jewelry molds, prototypes, and more.
The Photon S had a 20mm/h print speed, which was still good, but the Photon Mono vastly improves on this, with speeds of up to 50mm/h achievable. The stabler Z-axis, via Anycubic’s innovative dual linear slide system, makes for fantastic finishes on models that look so smooth you’ll struggle to even make out the layer lines.
Overall, the Mono, along with the Elegoo range, are some of the best low cost printers around, and for a 3D printer you can buy for $250, it’s definitely up there for best 3D printer.
- Price: $359 — Best price on Anycubic Store / Also Available on Amazon
- Build volume: 245 x 245 x 260 mm
We were impressed with the Anycubic Vyper when we tested it last month. The build volume is impressive, and slightly larger than you’d expect for this price range — yet the printer is compact, and fits on most desktops.
The auto leveling makes life easier and can be done via 1 click, and the Vyper also automatically adjusts your nozzle height for optimum printing. The spring steel magnetic platform makes it easy to remove prints, and its magnetism means you can remove the entire plate, remove your model in a more convenient place, and then click it back into place for your next print.
Though we kept it at the standard 50-60mm/s during our test, Anycubic highlight how the Vyper’s innovative new double fan system lets you print at up to 100mm/s without creating issues. Still, if you’re going to use your printer as a speed demon, be careful when printing very small models.
The large 4.3-inch touchscreen makes printing a breeze, and the layout is intuitive and simple to operate. It doesn’t have WiFi connectivity, but it’s very easy to move models from Cura to the SD card and print them on the Vyper. Overall, it’s a good compact 3D printer for home makers.
You can read more about the Vyper in our Anycubic Vyper review
Sovol SV04: Best Low-cost IDEX 3D Printer
- Price: $539 — Available at Sovol store here
- Build volume: 300 x 300 x 400 mm
If you want a dual extruder 3D printer, and don’t want to pay more than a thousand bucks, then there’s only two games in town: the Sovol SV04 and the Flashforge Creator Pro 2.
The main difference is the Sovol SV04’s much larger build volume: it’s the same as the Creality CR-10, at 300 x 300 x 400 mm. This lets you print large objects with multi-colors, or even two fairly large models at the time using the IDEX dual extrusion features.
We tested the Sovol SV04 for a few days while reviewing it, and managed to print some really cool multi-colored 3D prints like the frog and cube shown below.
We also printed some great plant pots for some flowers and a cactus using the Copy Mode feature, with each extruder printing a plant pot simultaneously for double the productivity.
To be short: if you want a dual extruder 3D printer with a large build volume that works well, go for the Sovol SV04. The IDEX is a really handy addition (the Sovol SV02 isn’t IDEX) for quickly making multiple parts.
But, if you don’t mind having the smaller build volume, and instead prefer the enclosed build chamber to better print materials like ABS and Nylon, then go for the Flashforge Creator Pro 2.
Prusa i3 MK3S+
- Price: $749 as a kit — Available on the Prusa store here / $999 fully assembled — Available on the Prusa store here
- Build volume: 250 x 210 x 200 mm
This RepRap 3D printer is so good that it got its creator into Forbes magazine. Czech CEO Josef Prusa went from being a 3D printing fan to being one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 and selling over 100,000 3D printers worldwide! Known as the premier 3D printer to emerge from the RepRap movement, the Prusa i3 MK3S+ is packed with features that make it a great 3D printer for both makers as well as businesses.
The MK3S+, released at the tail end of 2020, features a number of small yet beneficial improvements over the MK3S. The new SuperPINDA probe improves mesh bed leveling and makes for better longer term durability, with other improvements including easier to mount bearings on the Y-axis that provide better support.
The magnetic MK52 heatbed can be used with replaceable PEI spring steel sheets, making removing parts far easier, and way reducing the need to use glue, ABS juice or any other kind of build surface. It can print almost anything, with an extruder temperature up to 300C possible — so even filaments like Polycarbonate are no issue.
If you want to print multi color parts, you can upgrade your Prusa i3 MK3S+ with Prusa’s multi material upgrade 2.0 kit, allowing you to print five colors or materials simultaneously, for $300. Moreover, the high-quality Bondtech extruder and E3D nozzle make for great quality prints as well as top workhorse-like reliability. It’s also a fast 3D printer, able to travel and print up to 200mm/s.
- You can purchase the Multi Material Upgrade Kit here.
You can buy your own Prusa 3D printer online for $999 for a ready-made printer, or save a couple of hundred dollars and assemble it yourself. Overall, it’s one of the top 3D printers for $1,000, and one of the best 3D printer kits around.
Anycubic Mono X
- Price: $599 — Available on Amazon here / Available on Anycubic Official Store here
- Build volume: 192 x 120 x 245 mm
The Mono X is a big upgrade on Anycubic’s lower priced LCD printers. It’s precise enough and fast enough to create molds for investment casting in precious metals like gold and platinum. This home 3D printer can print intricate tabletop or D&D models in fantastic detail, and is one of the best 3D printers for miniatures. It prints at a very respectable 60mm/h.
The 4K screen makes for incredibly precise layers for the price, and in fact you’ll barely be able to see any visible layer lines if you use more accurate print settings. Additionally, the upgraded double linear Z-axis improves stability, further improving performance.
The 3.5” touchscreen makes it easy to operated, and the Mono X works over via WiFi or USB/SD. Overall, it’s one of the best 3D printers for resin molds and models under $1,000, and a great 3D printer for resin.
Flashforge Creator Pro 2 & Creator Max 2
- Price: $649 — Available at Flashforge Official store here / Available on Amazon here
- Build volume: 200 x 145 x 150 mm
The Flashforge Creator Pro range are some of the best desktop 3D printers on the market. Featuring a dual extruder, the Flashforge Creator Pro is perfect for those who want a low-cost 3D printer that can print multiple materials simultaneously.
The newest version, the Creator Pro 2, upgrades to an IDEX 3D printer system, meaning that the two extruders can move independently on the Y-axis rather than being locked together. This opens up possibilities for both duplication 3D printing (printing two identical parts at the same time), and mirror modes (printing mirrored parts like two opposing shoe soles), greatly improving efficiency. This comes at the cost of some X-axis size, down to 200mm.
The Creator Pro 2 is an accurate 3D printer, with a minimum layer height of 0.05mm. Overall, it’s another terrific 3D printer, and a safe and reliable printer for the price. For an extra $70, you can upgrade to the Creator Max 2.
Best Mid-Range 3D Printers Under $3,000: ($1,000-$3,000 range)
Qidi Tech X-Max
- Price: $1,099 — Available on Amazon here
- Build volume: 300 x 250 x 300 mm
Qidi Tech’s top-range 3D printer, the X-Max, offers fantastic reliability, high quality printing and a huge array of filament options. Similar to the X-Pro but with a larger build area and a number of other upgrades, the X-Max is a best-selling 3D printer that is loved by makers around the world.
The enclosed build chamber allows for effective printing of filaments like ABS and Nylon, and with its ventilation system can also print without bad fumes from ABS. The durable metal frame anchors the printer down so parts are not affected by vibrations or other disturbances, leading to crisp and smooth parts that look fantastic.
- We also have a ranking for the best 3D printers with enclosures.
Not only can you print the standard PLA and ABS filaments, the X-Max can also comfortably handle TPU, PETG, Nylon, Carbon fiber, PC and many other tough filaments. You can print via WiFi, and if you’re prone to power outages do not fret, as the X-Max can pause where printing was stopped and resume from that point.
The large 5-inch touchscreen is easy to navigate, and the removable metal build plate makes removing finished parts much easier and reduces damage that can occur in scraping finished parts. Overall, it’s very reliable, consistent, and offers fantastic quality FDM 3D printing.
Snapmaker 2.0 AT (A250T and A350T): Best 3D 3-in-1 3D Printer
- Price: $1,199 to $1,799 — Best price on Snapmaker Store here / Also Available on Amazon here
- Build volumes: up to 320 x 350 x 330 mm
The Snapmaker 3D printers aren’t just 3D printers – you can switch the extruder module out and switch in the CNC carver, or the laser engraver module in just a few minutes and get working.
The 3D printer module stands on its own as high-quality – we were surprised by just how reliable, accurate, and effective it was when we tested it. It doesn’t feel like you lose anything on the 3D printing side when you add on the other options. The metal structure and linear rails are sturdy, retaining precision even on the largest A350T we tested.
You can 3D print all major hobbyist filaments like PLA, flexible filaments like TPU, and ABS. The smartphone-shaped touchscreen makes it really easy to operate, and the WiFi connectivity saves you hassle from constantly plugging in SD cards or USBs. You get a range of premium features — auto-leveling, filament run-out detection, dynamic print speeds via the intelligent software –generally making your 3D printing experience more pleasant and productive.
By default you get the weaker 1600mW cutting module which we still managed to laser engrave with nicely, as well as cutting through thin and soft wood (though it takes a lot longer than specialized lasers).
However, you can purchase the 10W high power laser for an extra $399, which can engrave anodized aluminum (check out our wolf engravingbelow), and comfortably cut through acrylic and wood – we cut out an entire rhino puzzle from black acrylic in under 15 minutes.
You can carve soft and hard woods, as well as carbon fiber sheets and acrylics. We also used the 4-axis CNC module to carve chess pieces from epoxy blocks, and the bit can comfortably carve most woods and similar materials.
We cut chess pieces using the v-bit carver, and the 4-axis rotary module add-on (this costs an extra few hundred bucks though) which lets you carve into cylindrical blocks like a lathe to create detailed characters. Snapmaker Luban software handles the four axes well, and it’s a very well-designed software and slicer generally (vs buggier 3D software like Revopoint’s RevoScan).
Read our full review: our Snapmaker 2.0 3D printer review
For more on CNC: read our Snapmaker 2.0 CNC and laser review
If you want to engrave contrasting images, you can use the laser engraver. It can engrave on woods, as well as leather, fabrics and acrylic. We engraved a few cylinder-shaped blocks to test the 4-axis engraving module, as well as using the laser cutter to cut through a thin piece of wood to make this gift box.
We recommend also purchasing the enclosure to improve your printing experience and keeping you safer — and you may want to also pick up some extras for CNC. Their wide range of extras and goodies are on their site, which you can visit here.
If you’re considering the newest A250T or A350T vs the standard Snapmaker 2.0, the newer version is upgraded for a faster and quieter 3D printing experience generally, with a newly designed 3D printing module as well as more intelligent fan speed adjustments and a more powerful power module. There’s even rumors of a dual extruder module coming soon.
Read more: the best 3-in-1 3D printers
Dremel Digilab 3D45 — Great Desktop 3D printer for beginners and schools
- Price: $1,899 — Available on Matterhackers here / Available on Amazon here / Available on Dynamism Store here
- Maximum build volume: 255 x 155 x 170 mm
Dremel have almost 100 years of history, and since entering the 3D printing industry have released a number of excellent 3D printers. Their most expensive 3D printer, the 3D45, is perhaps their most impressive. Featuring a large 255 x 155 x 170 mm build volume and the ability to print in not just Eco-ABS or PLA, but also Nylon and PETG, it really is a workhorse.
Moreover, its direct drive extruder, closed build chamber and heated plate all help improve quality, surface finish and minimize any prints warping. It’s super simple to use Dremel filaments since the 3D45 automatically adapts to the right settings, though you can also use third party filaments.
Depending on your needs, the Dremel 3D45 can print very accurately too — up to 50 microns. The 3D45 is also known for being reliable, very rarely failing a print with PLA (some have reported occasional issues with Nylon). Overall, it’s definitely one of the best mid-range 3D printers out.
Prusa SL1S Speed
- Price: $1,999 — Available on Prusa Store here
- Build volume: 127 x 80 x 150 mm
The SL1S Speed is an upgrade on the original SL1, featuring 25% larger build volume, even more improvements to part quality, and more speed than ever.
One of the fastest resin printers around, the SL1S Speed cures layers in 1.4 seconds, and can fill the entire 150mm-high build chamber in just 3 hours. The high-resolution mono 5.96-inch LCD panel accurately cures layers of resin with the UV LED array, with even very small parts retaining their quality and intricacy.
Another major benefit is Prusa’s commitment to open source — all Prusa printers are open source, and are compatible with third-party resins, though Prusa also sell their own high quality materials. And being a Prusa 3D printer, naturally it’s reliable and durable.
We recommend you also pick up Prusa’s wash and cure machine for post-processing your resin models. It washes, dries and cures your prints after the printing process, and costs an additional $599.
Best 3D Printer under $5,000 ($3000-$5000 range)
- Price: $4,080 — Available on Dynamism Store here / Available on Matterhackers here
- Build volume: 230 x 190 x 200 mm
Ultimaker are a Dutch fused deposition modeling 3D printer brand that have released some of the best 3D printers of the last few years. With a dual extruder and accuracy up to 20 microns, the Ultimaker S3 is a great 3D printer for rapid prototyping, and is used by small businesses, designers, and makers worldwide.
In addition, the Ultimaker S3 has a very decent 230 x 190 x 200 mm build volume, and includes a built-in camera for remotely monitoring your prints. You can connect to the printer via WiFi, USB or Ethernet very simply. Moreover, the Ultimaker S3 has an auto-leveling system for prints to make sure printing goes smoothly.
If you’re looking for the best 3D printer in terms of accuracy, ease of use, and equipment, and don’t mind spending $3,850, the Ultimaker S3 is the printer for you.
Formlabs Form 3
- Price: $3,499 — Available on Dynamism Store here
- Build volume: 145 x 145 x 185 mm
Retailing at $3,499, Formlabs’ Form 3 has become the resin 3D printer. It’s popular in both the dental and 3D printed jewelry markets due to its tremendous accuracy and for being significantly faster than traditional methods. The upgraded Form 3 has a number of improvements on the Form 2, including new LFS technologies and what Formlabs call a new Light Processing Unit which improves the surface finish of prints.
The build volume hasn’t drastically increased in the newer Form 3 (just 10mm taller Z axis), but it now boasts incredible 25 micron accuracy. You can buy Formlabs resins, or there are a number of third-party resins compatible with the Form 3 which we’ve linked below.
- For Formlabs official resin: you can buy 1 liter here
- For third-party resins (may result in loss of quality of print): 1 liter here for significantly cheaper, or 500ml here
Raise3D Pro2 & Pro2 Plus
- Price: $3,999 — Available on Dynamism Store here / Matterhackers here / Available on Amazon worldwide here
- Pro2 Plus price: $5,999 — Available on Dynamism here / Matterhackers here / Available on Amazon here
- Build volume: 305 x 305 x 300 mm
Raise3D are a Chinese 3D printer manufacturer that have won a variety of awards. Their previous printer, the N2 Dual, was so good that well-known 3D printing service Voodoo Manufacturing used them for creating 3D parts on-demand. The Raise3D Pro2 also comes with a dual extruder, allowing for multiple colors and materials to be printed simultaneously.
The main selling point that makes this one of the best 3D printers for the price is the Pro2’s build volume. Offering 305 x 305 x 300 mm maximum dimensions, far larger parts can be created than most other printers. In addition, offering a 0.01mm minimum layer thickness along with an easy-to-use 7 inch touchscreen, the printer is perfect for industry. Though not cheap, the $3,999 price tag is fairly reasonable for what it offers.
- Price: $5,995 — Available on Dynamism Store here / Available on Matterhackers here
- Build volume: 330 x 240 x 300 mm
Ultimaker’s newest 3D printer, the Ultimaker S5, is the Dutch company’s highly anticipated follow-up to the fantastic Ultimaker 3 – which still features on our ranking. It’s more expensive, moving away from the desktop 3D printer price range — $5,999 vs $3,499 — but features a number of improvements and new features designed to make the Ultimaker S5 a more viable manufacturing method for prototypes and small batch production.
Featuring a larger 330 x 240 x 300 mm maximum build size, this is certainly an advantage over the Ultimaker 3. This makes it a better 3D printer for larger prototypes, shown as the Ultimaker S5 has already been used in companies such as Volkswagen. Ultimaker have earned a tremendous reputation over the years for creating great machines, and we feel the S5 is no different.
Buyer’s Guide – Things to Consider When Buying a 3D Printer
Which type of 3D printer do you want? And which materials do you want to print?
Different technologies do different things. For accurate minis for D&D, go for a resin 3D printer (MSLA / LCD) – they can print with much finer resolutions and smoother surface areas. But for a simpler setup and generally more relaxed experience (no curing, no chemicals) with stronger prints, go for an FDM printer.
Within this, you need to decide which material – filament or resin – best suits your needs.
For many PLA filament works just fine as it doesn’t really warp, doesn’t require a heated bed or enclosure (but is still good if you have the choice), comes in a wide variety of colors and blends (even conductive, or glow in the dark!), and it’s cheap.
ABS is tougher despite being just as cheap, and still comes in a wide range of colors – but it can warp and crack if not printed under the right conditions, and requires a heated bed and chamber. Some consider PETG to be a happy medium: it’s great for adhesion and super tough – but its stickiness makes it difficult to print overhangs and supports.
For resins, you don’t have the same range of options as you would with FDM, in materials or colors. There are a few color options, but most use standard resins – though companies like Formlabs have developed dental, jewelry casting, tough ABS-like resins, and a few other types.
What size models do you want to print?
Don’t waste your money on an enormous 3D printer if you just want to print miniatures, but also don’t skimp on a smaller machine if you want to print huge cosplay swords.
Think about what you want to print right now – and what you might want to print in the future. With good 3D printers starting in the $300 price range, it can be an expensive decision to get wrong. Also consider the size of your workspace – 3D printers are deceptively big and you need to make sure it’ll fit.
Also, resin 3D printers typically have smaller build volumes than FDM printers, so if size matters, go FDM.
What do you want to 3D print generally?
Beyond size, think about exactly what you want to 3D print for your projects. If you’re not as fussed about perfect quality, go for a printer with high top speeds (delta 3D printers are generally better for this) – especially if you’re printing cubes and similar shapes that don’t have details.
But, if you want high-resolution, pick printers that can handle lower layer heights and take smaller nozzle sizes – or resin printers with the most precise XY resolutions.
For high-temperature filaments, either get an enclosed 3D printer like the Creator Pro 2, or buy an enclosure for your printer – Creality sell their own enclosures, and there are popular DIY projects for the Prusa and other best-selling printers.
If you want to print PC, Nylon, carbon-fiber mixes, and other abrasive blends, you’ll need a printer with a hot end that can handle these temperatures – either go for a Prusa or higher-spec printer, or buy a hot end upgrade kit.
And if you want to print flexible filaments like TPU, opt for a 3D printer that’s either a direct drive 3D printer, or has a direct drive kit like the Ender 3 range – though while you can use a Bowden extruder, it requires a lot more oversight to prevent issues coming up.
Do you want an easy 3D printing experience?
While you shouldn’t be discouraged if you’re a beginner, we recommend you pick 3D printers with features such as auto-leveling, WiFi connectivity, filament run-out sensors and print resume functions, and easy-to-use software and touchscreens to save you hassle if you’re newer or less technical.
Self-leveling is a nice extra that saves you manually re-leveling the printer every few prints, and should guarantee you crisp prints rather than janky blemish-full messes.
WiFi connectivity saves you from taking SD cards back and forth from your laptop to your 3D printer for every print, and is generally a nice addition to have that boosts print productivity.
Filament run-out sensors and print resume features (in case of a power cut or similar) are fairly ubiquitous now – even most entry-level 3D printers have them. But they can be a lifesaver, especially if you lose power during the latter stages of a 24-hour or longer print of a large prototype or cosplay costume piece.
For easy-to-use software, Cura should have you covered for the slicer, but some 3D printers have more intuitive interfaces than others. Most now have touchscreens (though turnable knobs on printers like the Enders and Prusas are fine), and we particularly liked the Snapmaker’s easy-to-use touchscreen interface and design.
Go for a trusted brand and model if buying on the cheap side
There are hordes of low-cost 3D printers in the $160-$300 range. Most aren’t that reliable, and we recommend sticking with FDM kits like the Ender 3 range, Anycubic entry-level printers, and Elegoo or Anycubic resin printers for lower price printers that actually work well.
The last thing you want to do is get burned and left with an expensive brick. Opt for a highly-reputed printer with large communities and active forums, in case you run into trouble – we recommend these here.
Do you want to print in multiple colors?
For fully multi-colored prints – as in, colored by the pixel (or voxel in 3D) – you’re going to struggle. XYZ made a full-color 3D printer a few years back but the colors looked washed out and it cost $3,500.
But you can get multi-color prints from a few other ways. You can pick a dual extruder 3D printer and print with two colors, or use a filament splicer like a Palette to print with up to four different colors simultaneously.
Color options for resin LCD or MSLA printers are very limited, unfortunately. To get multi-color resin prints, you mostly need to rely on post-processing.
If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy:
- Our guide to the best 3D pens
- Our ranking of the best 3D scanners
- Our ranking of the best 3D printers for beginners
- Our ranking of the best SLS 3D printers
- Our ranking of the best FDM 3D printers
- Our ranking of the best resin 3D printers
- 3D printer deals
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