The best 3D printer for beginners turns on, prints, and is never any hassle. From the outside looking in, 3D printing can be intimidating. Browse a 3D printing shop and you’ll be hit with detailed descriptions of printer settings and the type of extruder or nozzle used.
This may not make much sense if you’re a complete beginner to 3D printing. You just want something you press print on and it works perfectly every time.
Best 3D Printers for Beginners
|Name||Max Print Volume (mm)||Price||Best Price||Alternative Purchase Option|
|Toybox 3D printer||70 x 80 x 90||$299||Toybox Store here|
|Prusa Mini+||180 x 180 x 180||$399||Prusa Store here|
|Monoprice Voxel||150 x 150 x 150||$449||Amazon here||Matterhackers here|
|Flashforge Creator Pro 2||225 x 145 x 150||$649||Amazon here|
|QIDI Tech X-Plus||270 x 200 x 200||$799||Amazon here||3DJake UK & Europe|
|Prusa i3 MK3S+||250 x 250 x 210||$999||Prusa Store here|
|Dremel Digilab 3D45||255 x 155 x 170||$1,899||Matterhackers here||Dynamism Store here|
|Ultimaker S3||230 x 190 x 200||$3,850||Matterhackers here||Dynamism Store here|
The learning curve, though not huge, is possibly the main factor holding back the mass adoption of 3D printing. It used to be price, but nowadays you can buy cheap 3D printers starting at just $100. 3D printers cost little enough that every household in the West could own one — yet they still don’t.
Why? Some view them as too technical, complicated, unreliable.
In recent years the ‘Plug & Play’ 3D printer has tried to bridge the gap between tech-savvy makers and more casual, curious fans of making things. And with some success. Yet 3D printing is still seen by some as a niche pursuit, yet to attain mainstream adulation.
In fact, the 3D printers we recommend have become so simple to use that even younger children can operate them, and they also make great 3D printers for kids.
What makes a good 3D printer for beginners?
The best 3D printers for a beginner are:
- Reliable: Not everyone can fix problems on the spot. Many do not understand how intricacies of circuits, nozzles, extruders, hot ends and auto leveling build plates — so the 3D printer must be reliable.
- Safe: High temperatures are used to melt filaments, and the resins used in SLA or DLP can be toxic. We haven’t recommended resin 3D printers because of the steeper learning curve and extra safety concerns. We gave bonus points for an enclosed build chamber and air filter.
- Comes pre-assembled, and easy to use: Clear interfaces and touchscreens get bonus points, as well as clear instruction videos or manuals. We have avoided most DIY 3D printers as beginners to 3D printing may not be able to build them easily.
- Automatically handles issues: Bonus points were given to printers with built-in processes for handling errors, such as end of filament detection and the ability to resume where printing stopped from a power outage.
- Auto-leveling: manual leveling is generally a hassle, and auto-leveling means you can get printing right away.
- Active community and good customer service: helpful communities can jump in and advise if you have issues, and good prompt customer service is also reassuring if you’re struggling.
Based on these points, these are the best 3D printers for beginners we recommend:
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Entry Level 3D Printers for Beginners
Toybox 3D printer — best 3D printer for beginners
- Price: Starter Bundle $299 / Deluxe Bundle $349 — Available on Toybox’s site here
- Print volume: 70 x 80 x 90 mm
Designed with simplicity and the shallowest possible learning curve to get 3D printing right away, we were very impressed when we tested the Toybox 3D printer. It’s perfect for adult beginners wanting to easily print their first models, as well as for younger kids to learn key basic engineering skills and print their own toys.
In fact, when you buy a Toybox 3D printer you also get access to their toy archive featuring thousands of fun prints — from mini F1 cars, to officially licensed Batman and Wonderwoman models, tanks, dragons, gift boxes, and many more. They’re all free, and you can even design your own models using their Toybox iOS and Android app.
Read our review: we reviewed and tested the Toybox 3D printer.
We printed some really cool things with the Toybox, in many different colors — made super easy by the easily changeable filaments, called 3D printer “food” by Toybox — and the printer comes assembled and ready to go. It’s also super safe to use, with hot parts hidden away and using lower-temperature PLA.
We were recently talking with Ben, Toybox’s co-founder and CEO, agreeing with how important it is for 3D printers to become more accessible so that more adult newcomers are encouraged to adopt 3D printing. To us, the Toybox makes 3D printing more accessible than ever, and it’s an ideal 3D printer for beginners.
The build volume is small, and if you want to print tougher and more professional filaments, then you’ll need to spend more on a prosumer 3D printer. But if you’re getting started and want a hassle-free, fun, and friendly introduction with an entry-level 3D printer for newcomers, the Toybox is for you.
Prusa Mini+ (preassembled version)
- Price: $399 — Available on Prusa Store here
- Print volume: 180 x 180 x 180 mm
3D printer beginner buying tips:
- Buy the pre-assmebled version — it’ll save you 6 hours of building, especially if you’re a beginner
- Buy the filament sensor — it’s a low-cost add-on that’ll save you if you run ouf of filament
Smaller than the Prusa MK3S, the Prusa Mini+ still offers a fairly large print area, as well as 50-micron minimum layer heights and self-calibration, all in a compact package.
It can’t handle super high-temperature filaments like the Prusa MK3S can, but can handle all beginner-friendly filaments like PLA, PETG, TPU and ABS, and can still print at the same 200mm/s speeds — ideal for beginners who want fast 3D printing.
The new Mini+ is upgraded on the previous Prusa Mini, now featuring Prusa’s SuperPINDA probe for fully-automatic mesh bed leveling. This ensures fantastic first-layer printing and adhesion, giving you crisp prints without you having to change anything yourself. This is a massive plus for beginners.
Prusa printers are known for their reliability, so anyone looking for an entry-level 3D printer that doesn’t break down often will enjoy the Prusa Mini. It’s a simple 3D printer without too many extras — you’ll need to upgrade it to have a filament sensor — but does the basics very well. It’s one of the best 3D printers for beginners under $500.
- Price: $449 — Available on Amazon here / Available on Matterhackers here
- Build volume: 150 x 150 x 150 mm
One of the cheapest enclosed 3D printers, the Voxel makes your 3D printing experience as easy and pleasant as possible. It comes fully assembled whereas many low cost printers come as a kit, and the enclosure and heated bed makes for easy 3D printing that minimizes any warping — especially for ABS — so your finished parts come out looking great with little hassle.
The build volume is enough for most beginner hobbyist projects like tabletop models and miniatures, and other fun printing adventures. And with 50-micron layer resolutions, your prints will come out looking smooth and detailed, too.
It’s one of the best user-friendly 3D printers, and if you have any problems, US-based Monoprice will help get you back to printing. The 2.8-inch touchscreen is easy to use, and though the Voxel is mostly for 3D printing ABS and PLA only, it’s a great basic 3D printer for beginners who don’t want a ton of extras — just a good, reliable machine that’s easy to use.
Flashforge Creator Pro 2 — Simple to use entry level 3D printer
- Price: $649 — Available on Amazon here
- Maximum print size: 225 x 145 x 150 mm
- Selling point for beginners: Stable and safe, with enclosed build chamber
The Flashforge Creator Pro 2 is the 3D printer version of the Land Rover Defender. All-terrain, and gets the job done.
It’s been significantly upgraded on the original Creator Pro, now featuring an IDEX dual extruder with four different modes:
- Mirror mode: for printing two mirrored designs
- Duplicate mode: for two identical prints
- Soluble support mode: for printing soluble supports
- Multi-material mode: for printing two materials, or two colors of the same material, on one print
These come in handy for many day-to-day printing projects, and the ability to print PVA and HIPS along with PLA and ABS as soluble supports is a massive plus for high-quality models. You won’t need to painstakingly post-process, sand, and remove supports, simply dissolve them off for a near-flawless print.
The enclosed metal structure adds key stability benefits: the printer is heavier and more anchored down, so there is less shaking or vibrating during printing, creating better quality and more accurate prints. Overall, it’s a good solid option for beginners, with a host of more advanced features for once you’re ready for multi-material printing.
The enclosed build chamber keeps sound in (mostly), heat in, and any bad fumes away from you while it prints. It also keeps temperatures carefully regulated so there is less warping during printing — also helped by the metal print bed — and is good for consistent ABS printing.
Flashforge provide free email support so if you run into trouble you can get in contact and they’ll try to help. It also comes with a full manufacturers’ warranty to protect you in some cases. The printer comes with 2 spools of filament which will last for several large prints, and also a 16GB SD card containing the 3D slicer software.
Overall, it’s one of the best first 3D printers for novices. It’s fairly similar performance-wise to the next 3D printer on this list, the QIDI Tech X-Plus, and they only cost $150 difference. The main differences are QIDI’s emphasis on customer service and the build size, so you can decide which one is best for you based on these factors. They’re both reliable printers, though perhaps the QIDI Tech X-Plus has the better reputation for being a workhorse.
It’s on the verge of tipping into a more expensive hobbyist 3D printer, but we will still call this an entry-level 3D printer as the ease of printing and reliability enhances its credentials for brand new beginners.
QIDI Tech X-Plus — Reliable 3D printer for beginners
- Price: $799 — Available on Amazon here / Available on Gearbest here / 3DJake UK & Europe here
- Maximum print size: 270 x 200 x 200 mm
- Main selling point for beginners: Reliable, safe and accurate — a real workhorse 3D printer
QIDI Tech 3D printers feature in a number of our best 3D printer rankings, including in our best dual extruder 3D printer ranking and FDM 3D printer buyer’s guide. There’s a reason why: they consistently release high quality and reliable 3D printers that make printing so much simpler.
The X-Plus can print large parts, and is very precise, able to print more accurately at 50 micron minimum layer heights. You can also use far more materials, including PLA, ABS, TPU, Nylon, Carbon Fiber, PC and more.
One major area that may persuade beginners to commit to buying this 3D printer is QIDI’s customer support. They promise to answer any 3D printing-related question you have within 24 hours, so if you ever run into trouble they’ll help fix it. You also get 1 year’s warranty with the 3D printer.
Moreover, beginners will enjoy features such as the X-Plus’ breakpoint printing: any point during a print can be saved so that printing can be resumed later without error. This helps enormously if there’s a power outage, or you need to leave the house but want to keep a close eye on the printer. The 3D printer automatically turns off after printing, keeping any safety risks to a minimum and saving energy.
Customers on Amazon consistently call the QIDI Tech X-Plus the easiest 3D printer they’ve ever used, and we agree; it’s great. It also comes with a 16GB USB to move 3D printer models across with, and is also accessible by WiFi. For an entry level 3D printer under $1,000 that prints reliably and safely, we absolutely recommend this 3D printer for beginners.
Prusa i3 MK3S+ preassembled — Reliable and durable 3D printer for beginners
- Price: $999 — Available at Prusa Store here
- Build volume: 250 x 210 x 210 mm
Buying tips for beginners:
- Buy the preassembled version for $200 extra and save 8 hours of building
- Consider the Multi Material Upgrade 2.0 when you’re comfortable with the printer
The preassembled Prusa combines beginner-friendly plug-and-play straight out the box with Prusa’s trademark reliability and durability for a fantastic beginner 3D printing experience.
The new MK3S+ features Prusa’s SuperPINDA probe for automatic mesh bed leveling, like the Prusa Mini, for effective first-layer calibration. There’s myriad other hassle-saving extras included, like the filament sensor, power loss recovery (it’ll save where you are if you have a power cut or other fault), and a number of effective safety features.
If you’re looking for a dual extruder printer, the Prusa doesn’t have that. However, you can buy the Multi Material Upgrade 2.0 for $299, which when fitted turns your Prusa 3D printer into a multi-color 3D printer able to print up to 5 colors simultaneously.
Overall, by buying the preassembled version, you combine Prusa’s reputation for reliability with this easy-access 3D printer, and it’s a great choice for high-quality printing that rarely goes wrong.
3D Printers For Beginners: $1,000 – $3,000 (Hobbyist printers)
Dremel Digilab 3D45 — Premium 3D printer for beginners
- Price: $1,899 — Available on Amazon here / Available on Matterhackers here / Available on Dynamism here
- Special education version with lesson plans and develop course available here
- Maximum print size: 255 x 155 x 170 mm
- Main selling point for beginners: Super reliable, and designed for education
Dremel have a huge amount of history in 3D printing and beyond, having been established back before the Second World War in the 1930s. They bring a huge breadth of engineering experience to 3D printing, and the Dremel Digilab 3D45, their top-of-the-range 3D printer, is fantastic.
The main selling point behind Dremel 3D printers is their reliability. Dremel personally put their printers through thousands of hours of printing to test whether they’re fit for consumers, so you can trust that the 3D45 really is a workhorse. It’s also very safe, with an enclosed build chamber and carbon filter to keep any toxic fumes away, as well as keeping temperature more constant to reduce warping of printed parts.
Dremel build their 3D printers with an eye 3D printing in education and schools. As a result, the Dremel Digilab 3D45 comes with articles and videos to help you in almost any situation, helping you set up and maintain your 3D printer.
They also have Midwest-based customer support you can speak or type to with your problems. They sell a specialized education version of the 3D45 for an extra $200 which features a whole range of education resources to help you learn 3D printing projects to try.
Overall, it’s another fantastic 3D printer for beginners, and makes life far easier with its settings and features. It’s also very accurate — up to 50 microns — and compatible with the main filaments like PLA, Eco-ABS, Nylon and PETG. It also has semi-auto leveling which takes some of the hassle out of setting up your 3D printer — and we recommend it for beginners looking to get into 3D printing.
- Price: $3,850 — Available on Dynamism Store here / Available on Matterhackers here / 3DPrima Europe here
- Build volume: 230 x 190 x 200 mm
A premium option for beginners willing to invest in a powerful starter 3D printer. Not only is this one of the best 3D printers for beginners, it’s one of the best 3D printers, full stop.
The Ultimaker S3 offers dual extruder 3D printing, meaning you can print with two different color filaments, or two different filaments entirely. This is extremely useful for printing supports with soluble materials like PVA or HIPS, as they can be dissolved off after printing to leave a perfectly finished part. Manually removing supports inevitably leaves small blemishes and requires more finishing, so this is perfect for beginners who want simplicity and less work post-print.
The large 4.7-inch touchscreen makes it an easy-to-use 3D printer, with beginner-friendly options to get you printing in no time at all. It functions fantastically as a good basic printer, and can also do so much more. It’s a good entry-level 3D printer, because it can do everything just so reliably and effectively — it’s just very not entry-level in price. In fact, rather than being used as a 3D printer for teenagers, or for hobbyists, businesses typically use printers like the S3 for creating accurate prototypes and other parts like architectural models.
Even 3D printing beginners will appreciate the fantastic quality the Ultimaker S3 brings. With up to 20-micron resolutions, intricate and delightfully detailed parts can be created, even of the smallest tabletop models and other intricate projects like jewelry. But even with all these extra features, the Ultimaker S3’s simplicity still makes it a great 3D printer for beginners.
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