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|
|Monoprice Select Mini V2||120 x 120 x 120||$220||Amazon 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||225 x 145 x 150||$699||Amazon here||3DJake UK & Europe|
|QIDI Tech X-Plus||270 x 200 x 200||$799||Amazon here||3DJake UK & Europe|
|Dremel Digilab 3D45||255 x 155 x 170||$1,899||Matterhackers here||Dynamism Store here|
|Makerbot Replicator+||295 x 195 x 165||$1,999||Amazon 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 printer for a beginner must be:
- 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 in Fused Deposition Modeling, and the resins used in SLA or DLP can be toxic. We have not included any resin 3D printers in our recommendations because of the steeper learning curve and extra safety concerns. We gave bonus points for an enclosed build chamber and air filter.
- Easy to use: The interface needs to be easy to navigate and print with, without technical jargon, and with auto leveling settings. We have avoided DIY 3D printers as beginners to 3D printing may not be able to build them easily.
- Easy to fix errors: 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.
- Good customer service: Inevitably things can go wrong, and sometimes you just have to speak to an expert. We picked 3D printers by companies known for great customer support, documentation for self-diagnosing problems, and good communities of owners who may be able to help.
Based on these five points, these are the 3D printers for beginners we recommend (in price order) who want to try out 3D printing:
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Entry Level 3D Printers for Beginners
Monoprice Select Mini V2 — Great Cheap 3D Printer For Beginners
- Price: $220 — Available on Amazon here
- Maximum print size: 120 x 120 x 120 mm
- Main selling point to beginners: Cheap, plug & play printer with heated bed
Starting with the cheapest printer we recommend, the Monoprice Select Mini V2 is the definition of an entry level 3D printer. There are no fancy extras, just a print bed and the necessary components to print — simplicity.
If you want to spend the least amount possible, the Select Mini V2 is for you. It still comes with a heated bed despite being such a cheap 3D printer, so you can print PLA and ABS without issue. For some however, the small build volume will rule the Select Mini V2 out for them; it all depends if you’re printing big objects.
If you prioritize not having to do anything except print, there are some issues with the Select Mini V2. You will have to level the print bed yourself, and the printer cannot detect when filament has run out. But you can print straight out of the box, it’s extremely simple to use, and cheap. You can use Cura 3D slicer to easily slice models for printing.
Overall, if you want to print straight away, don’t mind the slower printing speed, and want to save money, it’s perfect for you. If you prefer a printer which can set itself up to reduce human error, keep reading as we recommend printers better suited to you below.
- Price: $399 — Available on Prusa Store here
- Print volume: 180 x 180 x 180 mm
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.
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.
Prusa printers are known for their reliability, so anyone looking for an entry level 3D printer than 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
- Company based: USA
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 — Simple to use entry level 3D printer
- Price: $699 — Available on Amazon here / 3DJake UK & Europe here
- Maximum print size: 225 x 145 x 150 mm
- Selling point for beginners: Stable and safe, with enclosed build chamber
To me, the Flashforge Creator Pro 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, with a heavier metal frame rather than the original printer’s wooden frame. It’s also got a dual extruder for those who want to print multiple colors or materials simultaneously.
This new 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 prints. The Creator Pro’s upgraded 10mm metal guide rod also helps to support the X axis and keep it stable and precise.
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.
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.
Makerbot Replicator+ — Best 3D Printer For Beginners under $2,000
- Price: $1,999 — Available on Amazon here
- Maximum print size: 295 x 195 x 165 mm
- Main selling point to beginners: Extremely reliable and made for schools / beginners
Similar to the Dremel 3D45, the Makerbot Replicator+ was designed with education and schools in mind, which makes it perfect for beginners. You can easily set it up within half an hour, and the Replicator+ can do all the major calibrating and setting up itself with auto leveling on each axis.
Makerbot have been making some of the best 3D printers for a decade now, and the experience shows. Their Smart Extruder+ means not only is changing equipment and extruders easy, but the 3D printer also has automatic print jam detection to prevent the negative effects of print jamming, and notifies you when filament has run out. These features make the Replicator+ much easier to use as a beginner to 3D printing, as it takes care of most of the difficult parts.
Moreover, for remote printing the Replicator+ has a camera which you can connect to via WiFi to remotely watch and check your print. So if you need to be somewhere else, you can still check in on your print via the camera, and take necessary action even if you’re not there, like pause or stop the print. Makerbot also own Thingiverse, so you can seamlessly import any of the millions of 3D printer models available for download.
Makerbot have designed their own education tools to go with the Replicator+ which you may find useful. Beyond that, it’s a great 3D printer for beginners — not only is it precise, accurate and reliable, but it is designed with the most basic of users in mind, and does the heavy lifting for you. Do keep in mind that it cannot print ABS, though most beginners prefer to keep it simple and print PLA anyway.
- 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 in soluble materials like PVA or HIPS, as they can be dissolved off after printing to leave a perfectly finished parts. 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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