You’ve seen the YouTube print time-lapses, watched hours of unboxings and reviews of the latest Snapmaker or Creality 3D printer, and now you’re itching to buy a 3D printer online.
But while most 3D printers are great, picking the wrong one — or from the wrong distributor — can cause issues if anything goes wrong. And for more expensive and professional 3D printers, our top recommended sellers provide aftersales support to ensure everything goes smoothly.
So, which 3D printer should you buy online, and where are the best places to buy a 3D printer online?
We’ll first try and help you decide which type of 3D printer best suits your ambitions, the price range and level of 3D printer you need to achieve your goals, and then recommend based on those needs and which country you’re located in, the best places online to buy a 3D printer.
This article covers:
- Why you should (or shouldn’t) buy a 3D printer
- Which type of 3D printer to buy
- Which price range 3D printer you should buy
- The best places to buy a 3D printer online
Why You Should Buy a 3D Printer
3D printers are amazing. You can create almost anything, with almost any geometry (where CNC routers struggle) and from so many different materials.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to buy one. Some technical knowledge is required (or a willingness to learn), especially for cheap 3D printers that don’t come with auto-leveling and that will need parts replacing or upgrading over time.
So, before you commit to buying a 3D printer, think about whether you have the skills, or the time and a moderate level of dedication required to get the most out of it. If so, then buying a 3D printer will add endless creativity and fun (and potentially profit) to your life — you just need to decide which 3D printer – or type of 3D printer – to buy.
Which Type of 3D Printer To Buy
Within the 3D printer umbrella, there’s a range of different technologies. Most, like metal 3D printing technologies, are reserved for industrial uses and we won’t be recommending them here — this article is for hobbyist and small business 3D printers rather than industrial.
These 3D printers come in two main types: resin and FDM printers.
Buying an FDM 3D printer
FDM 3D printers are considered the cheapest, most accessible, and easiest to get started with. They’re the least hassle overall — and while things can (and probably will) go wrong, parts are more easily interchangeable and replaceable, which also opens up many possibilities for upgrading them.
Cheap FDM printers start at around $200, usually come as DIY kits, so you’ll need some basic skills (they’re SO much easier to make now than 5 years ago) and up to an hour to get it going, but this shouldn’t faze most people. They’re great for 3D printing almost anything, and most of the materials you can print are durable enough to make general household items and fun projects.
You can print a variety of plastics and other more exotic filaments like PLA, PETG, ABS, and wood-filled filaments, on nearly all FDM 3D printers you can buy online. More commercial FDM printers can print tougher filaments like PC (polycarbonate), Nylon, and high-temperature printers can even 3D print PEEK.
We’ll discuss more on what you can expect within each price range further on, but generally the more you pay, the less hassle (auto-leveling, filament sensors, better touchscreens, WiFi) and the better quality prints you get, larger build volumes, and faster printing. You can also buy a dual extruder 3D printer for printing two different materials, or two colors, at the same time.
Buying a resin 3D printer
The other type of 3D printer you can buy online at a decent price are resin 3D printers. These are typically LCD printers (or MSLA) or DLP printers, using a variety of different light sources to cure and solidify liquid resin.
They’re much more accurate than FDM 3D printers, and at high resolutions, you’ll barely be able to see the layer lines on your finished model. This makes them popular for 3D printing miniatures and figurines with intricate details, as well as castings for jewelry molds.
Like FDM printers, the cheapest resin printers start at around $200, but more reliable, accurate and powerful printers like the Form 3 will set you back a few thousand.
What price range do you need?
Another factor in buying a 3D printer online is how much you’re willing to pay – and also what you can expect in terms of features and performance, for your money.
For a full rundown: how much does a 3D printer cost to buy and maintain?
For the lowest end, you can buy usable FDM kits and resin 3D printers online costing around $200. You likely won’t get any extra functionalities, such as auto-leveling or a built-in enclosure on an FDM kit, or super high resolutions and reinforced z-axis for stability on a resin 3D printer, but they’re absolutely still good enough for fun hobbyist projects, such as 3D printing keychains, small-ish cosplay props (FDM), or fun character models (best in resin).
At around $500, you can expect WiFi connectivity which generally saves you time and improves your workflow, you may get an auto-leveling 3D printer such as the Anycubic Vyper or Creality CR-10, and you can expect better accuracy and reliability. They increasingly have touchscreens for better monitoring of nozzle and bed temperature and quicker settings adjustment.
From $1,000 to $7,000, most of the extras are in larger build volumes, better setup for rapid prototyping and 3D printing in a small business (better analytics and monitoring, and more materials for tougher filament printing), and even better accuracy (such as the Formlabs Form 3 for resin, or the Ultimaker S3 or S5 for FDM).
They work like workhorses, offer large build volumes (such as the Raise3D Pro2 Plus), rarely fail prints, and can be operated remotely, as well as integrated into a larger workflow as part of a 3D printer factory, if you’re printing on many printers at once. You also typically get aftersales support with these, whereas for low-cost printers you may have to wait 24-hours for email support if something goes wrong.
The Best Places to Buy a 3D Printer Online
Now you’re better equipped to decide which type of 3D printer best suits your needs, and your budget, here’s some of the best places to buy a 3D printer.
Amazon are everpresent, and you’ve probably got an Amazon Prime account. 3D printers are routinely available on Prime for super-fast delivery, and they’re also competitively priced (though read on for tips to save money by buying direct from manufacturers).
They have a wide selection of popular low-cost 3D printers to buy online, as well as a few more commercial 3D printers, though some prefer to buy these 3D printers from dedicated distributors for better aftersales service.
Some great 3D printers available online on Amazon include:
- Creality Ender 3
- Elegoo Mars (and other versions)
- Flashforge Adventurer 3
- Anycubic Mega S
- Anycubic Mega X
- Anycubic Photon Mono
- Anycubic Photon Mono X
Read more: we have a full list of the best 3D printers on Amazon
While most Creality 3D printers are available on Amazon, you can sometimes get a better price by going straight to the source. Creality make some of the world’s most popular 3D printers, including the Ender 3, CR-10 range, and more.
3D printers you can buy online with Creality include:
Prusa — best place to buy a 3D printer kit online
Prusa are known throughout the 3D printing industry for making some of the best 3D printer kits around. The Prusa i3 range have become the most popular RepRap kits, and the newer Prusa Mini, as well as the Prusa SL1 resin 3D printer, are all considered some of the best printers in their price range.
You can either buy them as a kit and build them yourself, or pay a couple hundred dollars extra and have it sent pre-assembled.
Prusa 3D printers you can buy online include:
Anycubic have come to dominate the low cost resin 3D printer market as well as the low cost FDM kit scene. Their Anycubic Mono range became instant best-sellers for high-quality, low-cost resin printing, and their Mega S and X printers offer large build volumes and good reliability at a low price point.
Anycubic 3D printers you can buy online include:
Matterhackers is one of the largest online 3D printer stores, mostly focusing on more commercial printers by Ultimaker, Makerbot and more, though they also have lower-cost 3D printers by brands like Monoprice, as well as CNC routers and laser engravers. They have a wide range of supporting blogs and videos for common problems like nozzle clogging to help troubleshoot common 3D printing problems, and their team are on hand to help if you need it.
As well as selling printers, they’ve already released their own printer, the Pulse XE, a Prusa clone designed specifically for printing tough filaments like NylonX and carbon fiber — but at a far lower cost than other compatible printers.
Some great 3D printers you can buy online include:
Dynamism sell some of the best-quality commercial 3D printers around, by brands such as Ultimaker, Formlabs, Makerbot, Raise3D, EnvisionTEC, and more. These range from mid-range small business and hobbyist commercial printers like the Ultimaker S3 and Dremel 3D45, to more industrial 3D printers like Desktop Metal’s metal fiber 3D printers.
Dynamism have been leaders in 3D technology since 1997, with 20 years of success and innovation in 3D printing — and have recently launched their own 3D printing service for getting parts made on-demand. They pride themselves on their service and support, and as well as 3D printers, also sell Glowforge’s range of industrial laser cutters.
You can buy 3D printers online including:
Snapmaker — where to buy a 3D printer that can laser cut and CNC
Snapmaker made headlines when their second release, the Snapmaker 2.0, raised an incredible $8.5 million on Kickstarter to become the most-funded technology project of all time.
Read our review: we tested the Snapmaker 2.0 3D printer
The Snapmaker 2.0 has since released, a 3-in-1 3D printer that can be easily switched out to a CNC or laser engraving module, and you can also buy the 4-axis rotary module to give yourself another dimension for the laser and CNC tools.
Snapmaker 3D printers include:
Toybox — best place to buy a 3D printer for kids
Toybox specialize purely in making 3D printers for kids — though they’re also great introductions to 3D printing by adults who want an easy route into the more technical parts.
They’re great; super simple to get started and use, and you have the option to print your own toys with Toybox’s partners, including Batman and Wonder Woman prints!
Toybox 3D printer: Available here
Read our review: we tested the Toybox 3D printer
3DJake – where to buy a 3D printer in UK and Europe
3DJake’s online 3D printer range include:
For any Europeans looking to buy a 3D printer, 3DJake service UK, France, Germany and the rest of Europe with a wide range of hobbyist 3D printers.