10 Best 3D Printers for 2020

For beginners and pros alike.

3D printing is a fun and exciting development! But there are options for professionals, hobbyists, and educators – how are you supposed to find the best 3D printers for you? 

That’s where we come in. We’ve looked at the top 10 best 3D printers available in 2020 for beginners and pros and evaluated them for:

  • 3D printer price
  • Style of printing
  • Suitability for different tasks
  • Print quality
  • User-friendliness

Our 3D printer reviews and guides are here to help you get the best 3D printer for you.

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1. Dremel DigiLab 3D45

Looking for the best FDM 3D printer? The Dremel DigiLab is an excellent option. It has all the connectivity you need, excellent resolution on those prints, and the closed box design - it's handy, safe and relatively quiet. Its user-friendly and powerful software only adds to its already impressive specs. It’s also in contention for the best ABS 3D printer. One of the top 3D printers for all-round functionality. Full Review

  • Good print quality
  • User-friendly
  • All the connectivity methods
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Looking for the best FDM 3D printer? The Dremel DigiLab is an excellent option. It has all the connectivity you need, excellent resolution on those prints, and the closed box design - it's handy, safe and relatively quiet. Its user-friendly and powerful software only adds to its already impressive specs. It’s also in contention for the best ABS 3D printer. One of the top 3D printers for all-round functionality. Full Review

Price

$1,899

Printing Type

FDM

Resolution

50 Microns

Connectivity

USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, USB thumb drive

Dimensions Inches

15.9 x 20.2 x 16

Build Volume Inches

6.7 x 10 x 6

Supported Filament

Dremel PLA, Eco-ABS, Nylon

Software

DigiLab 3D Slicer

2. Original Prusa i3 MK3S

One of the best DIY 3D printers, Prusa has a loyal hobbyist fanbase and for good reason. The i3 MK3S is roundly considered one of the best rated 3D printers at its price point. It’s ideal for those that like to tinker with their hardware as it comes in a cheaper set or a $999 pre-assembled set. Its supported filaments are endless, and you can run the machine extra quietly in stealth mode. Full Review

  • Great print quality
  • Pause prints
  • Easy to use software
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One of the best DIY 3D printers, Prusa has a loyal hobbyist fanbase and for good reason. The i3 MK3S is roundly considered one of the best rated 3D printers at its price point. It’s ideal for those that like to tinker with their hardware as it comes in a cheaper set or a $999 pre-assembled set. Its supported filaments are endless, and you can run the machine extra quietly in stealth mode. Full Review

Price

$999 assembled, $749 kit

Printing Type

FDM

Resolution

50 Microns

Connectivity

USB, SD Card

Dimensions Inches

17.71 x 17.71 x 19.68

Build Volume Inches

2.5 x 2.1 x 2.1

Supported Filament

PLA, Nylon, ABS, PET, HIPS, more

Software

Cura 4.0 or PrusaSlicer

3. MakerBot Replicator+

MakerBot Replicator+ is what you need, if you’re looking for all round functionality. It has full connectivity options, great software, and although it is open frame, the frame itself is sturdy and unlikely to lead to any accidents. It also has a large build volume making it suitable for professionals. It has become the best 3D printer for architects according to many other reviewers. Full Review

  • All connectivity options
  • Safe sturdy open frame
  • Relatively quite
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MakerBot Replicator+ is what you need, if you’re looking for all round functionality. It has full connectivity options, great software, and although it is open frame, the frame itself is sturdy and unlikely to lead to any accidents. It also has a large build volume making it suitable for professionals. It has become the best 3D printer for architects according to many other reviewers. Full Review

Price

$1,999, RRP $2,799

Printing Type

FDM

Resolution

100 Microns

Connectivity

Wi-Fi, USB, USB thumb drive, Ethernet

Dimensions Inches

16.2 x 17.4 x 20.8

Build Volume Inches

6.5 x 11.6 x 7.6

Supported Filament

PLA, New Tough PLA

Software

MakerBot Print and Mobile App

4. Ultimaker S3

Ultimaker is quickly becoming a leading brand in 3D printing and the Ultimaker 3 might just be considered their flagship. Its dual 3D printer extruder allows you to combine colors and even types of filament for detailed and unique designs. Furthermore, it has top of the line resolution and loads of filaments supported. It’s also able to do all of this relatively quietly, making for one of the best 3D printers still on the market in 2020. Full Review

  • Easy to use
  • Dual extruders for multiple combinations
  • Relatively quite
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Ultimaker is quickly becoming a leading brand in 3D printing and the Ultimaker 3 might just be considered their flagship. Its dual 3D printer extruder allows you to combine colors and even types of filament for detailed and unique designs. Furthermore, it has top of the line resolution and loads of filaments supported. It’s also able to do all of this relatively quietly, making for one of the best 3D printers still on the market in 2020. Full Review

Price

$4,190

Printing Type

FDM with dual nozzle

Resolution

20 Microns

Connectivity

Ethernet, USB, Wi-Fi

Dimensions Inches

15.3 x 13.46 x 14.96

Build Volume Inches

7.9 x 8.5 x 8.5

Supported Filament

ABS, PLA, Nylon, Copolyester (CPE), Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)

Software

Ultimaker Cura

5. Monoprice Select Mini V2

The concept of taking an often-cumbersome manufacturing process and miniaturizing it has become a huge success for Monoprice and its Select Mini V2. This high resolution FDM 3D printer is one of the best 3D printers for beginners who want to 3D print at home or teachers who want an easy to use printer that can fit on a desk. And, at just $219.99 these are simply the best budget 3D printers on the market. Full Review

  • Extremely well valued
  • Great for newbies, classrooms
  • Easy to use
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The concept of taking an often-cumbersome manufacturing process and miniaturizing it has become a huge success for Monoprice and its Select Mini V2. This high resolution FDM 3D printer is one of the best 3D printers for beginners who want to 3D print at home or teachers who want an easy to use printer that can fit on a desk. And, at just $219.99 these are simply the best budget 3D printers on the market. Full Review

Price

$219.99

Printing Type

FDM

Resolution

50 Microns

Connectivity

microSD card, USB, Wi-Fi

Dimensions Inches

3.5 x 11.3 x 7.5

Build Volume Inches

4.7 x 4.7 x 4.7

Supported Filament

ABS, PLA, TPU, PETG

Software

Cura

6. Creality Ender 3 V2

Arguably the best beginner 3D printer, the Creality Ender 3 V2 should be high on your list if you also have a tight budget. Unlike the ‘mini’ models on the 3D printing marketplace, this is practically full size and can produce a respectable 100 microns resolution. It’s easy to set up and you’ll get good print quality out of the box. Overall, one of the best 3D printers under 300 dollars! Full Review

  • Best for price
  • Easy to use
  • Good print quality
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Arguably the best beginner 3D printer, the Creality Ender 3 V2 should be high on your list if you also have a tight budget. Unlike the ‘mini’ models on the 3D printing marketplace, this is practically full size and can produce a respectable 100 microns resolution. It’s easy to set up and you’ll get good print quality out of the box. Overall, one of the best 3D printers under 300 dollars! Full Review

Price

$269

Printing Type

FDM

Resolution

100 Microns

Connectivity

Built-in touchscreen/microSD Card

Dimensions Inches

18 x 18.5 x 24.4

Build Volume Inches

8.6 x 8.6 x 2

Supported Filament

PLA, TPU, PETG

Software

Creality 3D

7. da Vinci Color

There is a reason why this printer is named after one of the greatest painters of all time. The da Vinci Color 3D printer is all about color variety. Ii is most certainly the best 3D printer for that purpose. but it offers so much more. With full connectivity by USB, thumb drive, or Wi-Fi, an assortment of filaments including carbon fiber, and useful auto calibration, and a modern interface and intuitive software, it certainly presents a winning formula. Full Review

  • Modern interface
  • Feature rich
  • Lots of color options
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There is a reason why this printer is named after one of the greatest painters of all time. The da Vinci Color 3D printer is all about color variety. Ii is most certainly the best 3D printer for that purpose. but it offers so much more. With full connectivity by USB, thumb drive, or Wi-Fi, an assortment of filaments including carbon fiber, and useful auto calibration, and a modern interface and intuitive software, it certainly presents a winning formula. Full Review

Price

$2,899

Printing Type

FDM

Resolution

100 Microns

Connectivity

USB, USB Flash Drive, Wi-Fi

Dimensions Inches

23.6 x 22.8 x 25.2

Build Volume Inches

7.9 x 7.9 x 5.9

Supported Filament

PLA, Tough PLA, PETG, Carbon Fiber

Software

XYZ Maker Suite

8. Ultimaker S5

Ultimaker can’t seem to make bad 3D printers and the S5 is probably the best of the bunch. It achieves 6.9 / 6.9 / 2.5 micron resolution on XYZ respectively. Print quality itself is nothing short of exceptional and you can combine different filaments for more detailed designs. It's arguably the best 3D printer for flexible filament TPU. The remote printing via the open source Cura 3D printing software is another great bonus that makes S5 stand out. Full Review

  • Exceptional print quality
  • Combine different filaments
  • Large build volume
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Ultimaker can’t seem to make bad 3D printers and the S5 is probably the best of the bunch. It achieves 6.9 / 6.9 / 2.5 micron resolution on XYZ respectively. Print quality itself is nothing short of exceptional and you can combine different filaments for more detailed designs. It's arguably the best 3D printer for flexible filament TPU. The remote printing via the open source Cura 3D printing software is another great bonus that makes S5 stand out. Full Review

Price

$5,995

Printing Type

FDM

Resolution

6.9 / 6.9 / 2.5 microns

Connectivity

USB, USB Flash Drive, Wi-Fi

Dimensions Inches

19.5 x 23 x 30.7

Build Volume Inches

13 x 9.4 x 11.8

Supported Filament

PLA, Tough PLA, ABS, CPE+, Nylon, TPU

Software

Ultimaker Cura

9. Formlabs Form 3

Stereolithography (SLA) is not so common in three-dimensional printing but many proponents argue that it produces better results. The Formlabs Form 3 is the perfect example. With a high 25-micron resolution, their patented resins are capable of creating everything from dental models to detailed figurines. In fact, it could be considered the best 3d printer for jewelry. The Form 3’s introduction of low force printing improves what was already a great printing quality. Full Review

  • Improved print quality
  • “Low Force” printing not a gimmick
  • Safe closed body
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Stereolithography (SLA) is not so common in three-dimensional printing but many proponents argue that it produces better results. The Formlabs Form 3 is the perfect example. With a high 25-micron resolution, their patented resins are capable of creating everything from dental models to detailed figurines. In fact, it could be considered the best 3d printer for jewelry. The Form 3’s introduction of low force printing improves what was already a great printing quality. Full Review

Price

From $3,499

Printing Type

Stereolithography SLA

Resolution

25 Microns XY

Connectivity

Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB

Dimensions Inches

15.9 x 14.8 x 20.9

Build Volume Inches

5.7 x 5.7 x 7.3

Supported Resin

Standard 5 Colour, Engineering, Dental, Jewellery

Software

FormLabs With CAD Integration

10. Peopoly Phenom

It looks great, it’s affordable, and it’s deservedly rated as the top SLA, or more accurately, MSLA printer on the market. Meet the Peopoly Phenom. It’s exceptional because it uses LED lighting to flash completed layers at the resin tank via an LCD not a projector. It also has a good build volume, great user interface, and for the price the print detail is exceptional. If you’re going the resin route, then this is one of the best 3D printer brands. Full Review

  • Good size build volume
  • Easy bed levelling
  • Intuitive User Interface
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It looks great, it’s affordable, and it’s deservedly rated as the top SLA, or more accurately, MSLA printer on the market. Meet the Peopoly Phenom. It’s exceptional because it uses LED lighting to flash completed layers at the resin tank via an LCD not a projector. It also has a good build volume, great user interface, and for the price the print detail is exceptional. If you’re going the resin route, then this is one of the best 3D printer brands. Full Review

Price

$1,999

Printing Type

MSLA (LCD + LED)

Resolution

72 microns

Connectivity

Ethernet, USB, USB Drive, SD Card

Dimensions Inches

20.7 x 15.5 x 30.7

Build Volume Inches

10.8 x 6.1 x 15.7

Supported Resin

Peopoly Deft Resin

Software

Chitubox

The Best 3D Printers for Beginners and Pros in 2020

3D printers do different things for different people. So, we took a closer look at what features each printer on our list excelled at:

  • Dremel DigiLab 3D45 – Best professional 3D printers for engineers and designers
  • Original Prusa i3 MK3SBest DIY 3D printer kit
  • Formlabs Form 3Best professional 3D printer for dental and jewellery 
  • MakerBot Replicator+ Best 3D printer all-rounder
  • Ultimaker 3 Best dual extruder 3D printer
  • Monoprice Select Mini V2 Best cheap 3D printer
  • Creality Ender 3 V2 Best budget 3D printer
  • da Vinci ColorBest multicolor 3D printer
  • Ultimaker S5 Best resolution 3D printer
  • Peopoly PhenomBest SLA 3D printer

Detailed Reviews

Dremel DigiLab 3D45
Dremel DigiLab 3D45

BEST FOR

Professional 3D printers for engineers and designers

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  • Good print quality
  • User-friendly
  • All the connectivity methods
  • Safe frame and quiet

The Dremel DigiLab 3D45 is a high-quality 3D printer that is easy to use and has excellent supporting software. It’s also very versatile, allowing you to print over USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and from a USB thumb drive. Compared to lots of other 3D printers it is also relatively quiet, which is a big plus if you intend to do a lot of printing at home. It is among the best large 3D printers so keep in mind you’ll need a dedicated space.

It’s also arguably the best plug and play 3D printer in its class. If you are an educator, we have great news – it’s considered one of the best 3D printers for education. It does the job well at just under $2,000, which is quite hefty on the home consumer side of things. But, unlike a lot of the early entries, this printer is consistently high-quality, and you won’t be stuck wasting your time trying to diagnose errors. For that, we think it’s worth the price tag.

The printer itself is closed-frame, with a see-through plastic lid allowing you to see the inner-workings. This allows you to easily access the printer when needed but keeps things safe when it’s doing the job without sacrificing your view. At 15.9 by 20.2 by 16 inches and 47 pounds, you’ll want to give it its own dedicated table or workbench space. In terms of build volume, it’s competitive, allowing you to print objects at 6.7 by 10 by 6 inches. 

The 5-inch touchscreen panel is a nice feature, allowing you to load the filament, set printing jobs from the USB thumb drive, and other tasks, though it’s not the most responsive and takes some time to learn how much pressure to give you taps.

The 3D45 now has a fair color range for its PLA filament, allowing 11 choices: white, black, red, blue, pink, orange, gold, silver, green, purple, and translucent white. This is still less than some of the competition but enough to get the job done. Loading the filament is a straight-forward process and the instructions will guide you. While they offer Eco-ABS, there’s no 3D bioprinting option.

We particularly liked the DigiLab 3D Slicer software, which is easy enough for beginners. It lets you print in Dremel’s native 3gdrem format or the well-known G-code format, and resolution can range from 300 to 50 microns. It’s also simple to slice or manipulate a file, save a file, launch a print job, or send a file to Dremel’s cloud slicer. 

If you’re looking for a consistent 3D printer without errors or misprints, the Dremel DigiLab 3D45 is a top choice. It’s also one of the best 3D printers on Amazon.

Original Prusa i3 MK3S
Original Prusa i3 MK3S

BEST FOR

DIY 3D printer kit

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  • Great print quality
  • Pause prints
  • Easy to use software
  • Stealth mode for quieter prints

Prusa’s updated i3 MK3S is a great addition to the 3D printer market. While it remains an FDM with a .4 nozzle, its advancements are in its ease of use and consistent high quality. It can be picked up cheaper in parts that you can build yourself. You can also get a pre-built system ready to use out of the box for beginners, making it one of the best 3D printers under 1000. Prusa makes some of the best cheap 3D printer kits.

The Mark 3 stays faithful to the original model’s open design and allows advanced users to do as much tinkering as they wish. However, as standard, it remains one of the best 3D printers on the market. This time around you’ll get an easier to use and maintain Extruder, an upgraded fan, and a hybrid filament sensor that combines an optical sensor with a mechanical switch. This fixes problems when printing on transparent filaments. 

Filament loading itself is a piece of cake – just put the filament into the extruder and once it’s detected by the sensor the machine does the rest. Removing your finished prints has also improved thanks to a magnetic HeatBed instead of the previous glass plate and bull clips.

When it’s doing the work it’s surprisingly quiet. There’s even a ‘stealth mode’ if you need to be even quieter. Furthermore, quality control is top-notch, allowing you to resume prints if you lose power, as well as the ability to detect skipped layers.

The i3 MK3S is fairly light, at 15.4 pounds and measures 50×40×55 cm (L x W x H), allowing it to fit on most work surfaces. It utilises a non-touch screen LCD interface and click wheel at the front for its controls, including re-calibration or aborting erroneous prints. You can even swap filaments during the printing process. Its print volume is a respectable 25 x 21 x 21cm. The removable print surface is a great feature for product rapid prototyping.

Performance-wise the printer does well on lattice tests and you’ll only experience rough edges or whispering on the most complex shapes. It remains one of the most consistent 3D printers on the market. It’s also known for being the best 3D printer for D&D figures.

Software-wise Prusa uses the common Cura 4.0 and its own PrusaSlicer 2.0 slicer software, which works great. It features over 110 premade profiles, SLA functionality, automatic variable layer height, custom supports using modifier meshes, multi-material support, and much more.

At less than $1,000, the Original Prusa i3 MK3S is an affordable, feature-rich 3D printer, that works consistently and is relatively easy to use. In terms of sales, it also remains the best 3D printer for home users.

MakerBot Replicator+
MakerBot Replicator+

BEST FOR

3D printer all-rounder

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  • All connectivity options
  • Safe sturdy open frame
  • Relatively quite
  • Good in-house software

The MakerBot Replicator+ is an impressive looking and performing FDM 3D printer that has improved speed, build volume, and overall design. It definitely deserves its place in our Best 3D printers list.  

It’s a large 16.2 by 17.4 by 20.8 inches and 36 pounds, with a sturdy open frame, and a 6.5 by 11.6 by 7.6-inch build volume. Out of all the 3D printers we’ve reviewed here, we found this one to be the most silent. Though no 3D printer is quiet enough for continual home use, so it’s a bit of a moot point.

The PLA filament comes in 2lb spools for $48 if you want the standard colors and $65 if you want something a bit more vibrant. This measures 1.75mm and is easily loaded into the extruder as instructed by the control panel. When it’s far enough in the gears will automatically grab it and put it into the correct position for printing. The ‘smart’ extruder will also let you know when you’re out of filament and will pause printing so you can replace it without starting the whole process over.

In terms of using third-party filaments, MakerBot wouldn’t be the first to try and limit such use, and in this case, doing so would risk bad prints anyway. The company itself has actually recently introduced a new ‘Tough PLA’ for even better results, so it’s best to stick with that and not void your warranty.

The Replicator+ now comes with what consumers expect in terms of connectivity – that is, Wi-Fi, USB, Ethernet, and USB thumb drive. It also comes with its own MakerBot mobile app to set up your printer and perform other tasks but it’s far from perfect and the traditional controls are good enough to not need it. In the future, it will probably be a great companion.

Overall, print quality is good. Many geometric tests have proven that the Replicator+ can accommodate most people’s printing requirements. If you do run into any misprints and you are using one of the non-wired methods such as the thumb drive, it’s worth trying again over a regular wired connection. Some users have reported thumb drives potentially corrupting the print files.

As far as open frame printers go, there’s always a bit of a safety risk, but the frame is very solid and rigid, and you’d really have to insist on being dangerous before anything could go wrong. The machine itself is very safe and not known to cause any problems, be that due to faults or user error.

The bottom line is, the Replicator+ is a high-performance 3D printer in an ever-growing market. It’s very user-friendly and thus ideal in educational fields or for those that know what they will be producing. The creative types who like to greatly experiment will be better off elsewhere because there’s not much tinkering you can do to it. There’s also no support for third party filament. The price falls between $2,000 and $2,800 depending on sales, so makes for the best 3D printer for small business pick.

Ultimaker S3
Ultimaker S3

BEST FOR

Dual extruder 3D printer

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  • Easy to use
  • Dual extruders for multiple combinations
  • Relatively quite
  • Good connectivity options

At a competitive price, great performance, and some unique touches, the third edition of the Ultimaker 3D printer should be high on anyone’s best 3D printer list. While no 3D printer is out of the box and ready to use for beginners, it comes pretty close. The consistent printing quality with very few misprints is exactly what buyers are looking for.

Ultimaker 3 really stands out with its unique implementation of dual extruders – you can thread through two different color filaments. Of course, there are some design limitations, but the end result is surprisingly effective. 

It runs quiet as well, but part of the trade-off is a fairly long print time even at the default resolution. But unless you’re running an intensive factory floor production line (which you wouldn’t be for a consumer 3D printer) we don’t think it’s such a big deal.

The base price hovers around $4,000 – it’s on the pricey side, but in action, it’s worth every cent if you have the budget. 

Why? 

Well, the fused filament fabrication (FFF) rivals the Formlabs Form 3 but without needing liquid resin.

Initial setup is simple, a bit like following flat-pack furniture instructions to get a handful of loose components attached and ready to use. There’s a display and dial to further guide you along before your first print. 

Software-wise the Ultimaker 3 uses the popular Cura open source solution. It’s powering most of the best printers today. In this case, it’s had a bit of a branded facelift for Ultimaker but it works just as well for beginners and experts alike

Ultimaker has given users lots of filament choices, including: 

  • acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)
  • the common polylactic acid (PLA)
  • nylon for durability and abrasion resistance 
  • copolyester (CPE) for added toughness and chemical resistance
  • polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) for water-soluble components. 

It should be noted that instead of the standard 1.75mm filament thickness, the Ultimaker 3 has opted for a thicker 2.85mm which makes it more logical to go to them instead of a third party. At 1.7lb a spool, you can get ABS, PLA, and Nylon for $49.95, CPE for $59.95, and PVA for $99.95. An NFC chip will verify a filament’s authenticity.

In terms of resolution, the highest is 20 microns, followed by 60 microns, Normal mode is 100 microns, Fast (150 microns), and Draft (200 microns).

Overall, if you don’t want to work with resins like with the Formlabs models, the Ultimaker 3 is a great choice.

Monoprice Select Mini V2
Monoprice Select Mini V2

BEST FOR

Cheap 3D printer

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  • Extremely well valued
  • Great for newbies, classrooms
  • Easy to use
  • Good print quality for price

They’re not just the best cheap 3D printers, the Monoprice Select Mini V2s are also among the top small 3D printer products.  With a build volume of just 4.7 x 4.7 x 4.7 inches, you aren’t going to be printing a garden chair, but it’s still capable of detailed figurines and geometrics. This small stature coupled with their ease of use makes them the perfect educational tool and arguably the best 3D printers for schools. They can sit upfront for demonstrations or on the students’ desks themselves when it’s their turn to print their creations. Its ease of use also makes it one of the best beginner 3D printers.

The USB, microSD Card and Wi-Fi connectivity further add to its use within the classroom. Of course, they’re also one of the best 3D printers for home use because you aren’t taking up a huge amount of space and the sound realty isn’t that loud either. 

The onboard software is controlled by a nice-looking display and dial. This couples well with the desktop-based version of Cura, the powerful open-source slicer that can pre-configure this particular printer for you. 

Performance-wise, it is consistent and high-quality, with very few failures or misprints. This is partially down to the heated bed and overall solid design. You’ll still need extra support if you want to get the best out of it. 

Although the Mini V2 is a small desktop 3D printer, it’s not shoddily made. The entire device has been constructed from metal and other durable parts. Plus, the company is very involved, releasing software updates and responding well to customer queries. We believe the V2 will have a long shelf life if you look after it. We also expect Mini V3s and 4s in the future as well thanks to its success.

So, if you have a few hundred dollars, want a reliable 3D printing machine, but don’t want a giant one, there really aren’t many other choices in this segment. We say, go for the Mini V2 – it’s the best personal 3D printer.

Creality Ender 3 V2
Creality Ender 3 V2

BEST FOR

Budget 3D printer

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  • Best for price
  • Easy to use
  • Good print quality
  • Open source and ‘hackable’

Whereas the Select Mini V2 uses its small size as a selling point, the Creality Ender 3 V2 is a medium size 3D printer. It is one of the best low-cost 3D printers for the performance you get. It also stands out for its open-source and ‘hackable’ approach, allowing owners to tweak and tinker until their heart’s content. That being said, it works well out of the box and is in contention for best starter 3D printer.

Compared to previous models the Ender 3 looks much more professional, with a lot of its components now hidden behind a nice-looking casing. You get an acceptable 8.6 x 8.6 x 2-inch build volume, Bowden extruder, and support for offline printing via microSD card. 

The addition of TMC2208 stepper motor drivers allows for finer and smoother motion by the motors, which translates to better prints and an overall quieter machine. The only thing you will really hear is the cooling fans, so if you’re used to a desktop PC, this isn’t much different. 

Printing-wise it does well out of the box but can be fine-tuned via Cura fairly easily. And, its textured glass print bed is great for cooling that heated filament without causing any sticking. 

The only real downside is that loading the filament can be frustrating. It’s hidden right next to the leadscrew and opening the slot is a pain even if you have child-sized hands. It’s an issue that dates back some time with Creality. There’s no excuse not to give it a bit of a redesign. They managed to add a drawer, which is not exactly a necessary feature.

Other design oddness is the detachable display that still needs to be wired… which defeats the purpose of doing it in the first place. It should also be noted that the display is not a touchscreen, you have to use the dial, but it feels familiar and works well. 

Ultimately, the Creality Ender 3 V2 is a good 3D printer. At less than $300, it’s an absolute steal. One of the best home 3D printers on the market for newbies or interested families.

da Vinci Color
da Vinci Color

BEST FOR

Multicolor 3D printer

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  • Modern interface
  • Feature rich
  • Lots of color options
  • Auto calibration

XYZ’s highly touted da Vinci Color 3D printer lives up to the hype. That makes it one of the best 3D printers for miniatures. However, what was an ambitious project has only really partially met its goal. 

Yes, you can use dual-extruders to mix an endless amount of colors. This is accomplished by using a colorless filament and then essentially painting on your choices with CMYK inkjet cartridges – sometimes known as powder bed and inkjet head 3D printing. It has just not quite been perfected, though. The vibrance and color replication is always just a little off. You will, however, get waterproof prints, so whatever the end product looks like it won’t wash away. Of course, you will need to buy your filament and ink from XYZ but it has competitive pricing and added customer support

All that said, it’s a very formidable product in the 2020 lineup. Printing is fast and consistent considering its unique process. There is a sensor to detect if a filament is running out and you can easily pause and resume print jobs for any reason. It also looks like a very professional 3D printer in its black box case with front touchscreen and side-loading filament wheel. 

For software, you get their own XYZmaker where you can import PLY and OBJ files to manipulate the textures and colors of your model. Furthermore, the mobile app for iOS and Android allows you to do some controls from the comfort of your couch.

Overall, if you want a solid 3D printer that will wow with colors, the da Vinci Color is for you.

Ultimaker S5
Ultimaker S5

BEST FOR

Resolution 3D printer

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  • Exceptional print quality
  • Combine different filaments
  • Large build volume
  • Print remotely with Cura

As far as 3D printer brands go, Ultimaker keeps knocking it out of the park. The S5 is one high-resolution 3D printer, delivering 6.9, 6.9, and 2.5 microns respectively. We consider this the high-end of 3D printing technologies, but for such great quality comes great price. One of these will set you back upwards of $5,995. 

It’s also not something you’d want on your home or school desk as the huge build volume of 13 x 9.4 x 11.8 inches and overall build takes up considerable space. Durably built with an enclosed print bed that you open with glass doors; you’ll find the touchscreen display. Inside there is also a removable glass print bed so you don’t have to take off the prints themselves right away. 

The S5 supports a wide variety of filaments and materials including PLA, Tough PLA, CPE+, Nylon, TPU, and is arguably the best 3d printer for abs. The glass plate, which heats to 280 degrees Fahrenheit makes it ideal for the nylon. Dual extruders allow for multiple filaments.

That lovely touchscreen is not the only way to control the S5, you can also use their smartphone app or the ever-popular Cura on your PC or Mac. All of these can handle prints, whether your source is a USB cable, USB dongle, Ethernet or Wi-Fi/Data itself. The only downside is that we think beginners will be a bit overwhelmed without any extra guidance on how to it.

The fun starts with the printing itself, which is first sliced by Cura, sent to file and then ready to begin. You can watch the entire process on your phone thanks to Ultimaker’s built-in cam. This allows you to see any errors on the horizon if the machine’s own sensors miss them. Using the app, you can pause and resume as needed.

Formlabs Form 3
Formlabs Form 3

BEST FOR

Professional 3D printer for dental and jewelry

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  • Improved print quality
  • “Low Force” printing not a gimmick
  • Safe closed body
  • Competitive SLA price

The Form 3, SLA 3D printer from Formlabs is a great looking machine that offers not only looks, but great performance as well. Unlike other SLA printers and plastic filament printers, it uses a unique low force type of resin printing that vastly improves print quality in many areas. However, it is going to set you back over $3,000, which will be out of reach of many people’s budgets.

You’ll be immediately struck by its impressive enclosed box design, with a touch screen display that allows you to access all of the maintenance and system information, as well as several stored prints. It has that polished look that has been lacking from the 3D printing market. 

Unlike FDM, SLA printers use a liquid resin that gets hardened and shaped by ultraviolet light. The Form 3 has advanced the process with two new mechanisms: a flexible resin tray combined with a new light processing unit which moves the laser back and forth. This allows for a much better finish and removes the restrictions associated with the traditional supports. Compared to the Form 2, the Form 3 now also uses a hot air blower instead of the heat tray, providing more thermal printing and an overall faster process. The print quality is great, with smooth finishes and fine details. You’ll rarely see the lines unless you do something particularly complex. 

The only known glitch is that if you’re printing certain curved objects straight up and down, you can experience minor artifacts. Furthermore, you are restricted to using the company’s supplied resins. Using third party resins is somewhat doable but will void the warranty.

The Form 3’s build volume is 5.7 by 5.7 by 7.3 inches. It’s also quite light, coming in at 9.921 lbs.

For connectivity, you can print via Wi-Fi, ethernet, and USB. They all work flawlessly, and can support multiple users and multiple printers on the same network.

Overall, the Form 3 is so easy to use it’s almost plug and play, and the process is clean and hassle-free. The lack of tweaking and calibration is surprising. If you’re not that experienced with 3D printing and have the budget, it is an ideal choice. More experienced users can probably get away with similar results using cheaper printers that are a bit more hands-on.

Peopoly Phenom
Peopoly Phenom

BEST FOR

SLA 3D printer

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  • Good size build volume
  • Easy bed levelling
  • Intuitive User Interface
  • Detailed prints

One of the few MSLA resin printers on the market, Peopoly Phenom are considered them the best 3D printers of their kind. For just under $2,000 you’ll get a large print bed, user-friendly interface, and extremely detailed resin prints.

How the Phenom differs from traditional Stereolithography (SLA) technology is that its UV light hardens the resin’s entire layer in one go via LED shining. By doing this one full layer at a time as opposed to small elements of a layer, you get faster output.  The Phenom also utilizes a 4K resolution LCD screen to aid with even-light distribution and to block infrared heat from the lamps from affecting the resin. 

While the 4.3-inch touchscreen is not 4K, it is responsive, allowing you to control the printer and view information during ongoing prints.

One of the main downsides to the Phenom is that although it supports USB and Ethernet, there is no Wi-Fi connectivity. It also lacks any kind of indicator that you are low on resin which is a bit of a disappointment considering the price and the performance of the machine.

Setting things up is as close to plug-and-play as you’re going to get with a 3D printer. It’s leveled out of the box, so all you have to do is put in the resin, mount the print bed and you’re away.

Printing is detailed and fast for an MSLA, and the Deft resin from Peopoly is reasonably priced.

For software, the company now uses ChiTuBox, which functions much like an FDM slicer, but you can also hollow your model and set a wall thickness. This actually increases print speed and reduces the likelihood of a failed print. Ultimately, the software is easy to use and even beginners can simply follow the prompts and guides to get things going.

As a resin printer, this is for users who are already experienced and want to go high-end.

What Is 3D Printing?

3D printing can be better understood as simple product manufacturing. It’s just that because of emerging technologies it has reached the consumer level. On this page we deal with the consumer level rather than large-scale manufacturing, on-demand printing and Electron beam melting, etc.

Whereas your normal computer printers print ink on to paper, a 3D printer prints plastic filament, resin, or other materials on to a special surface into a 3D shape predefined by its associated software or ‘slicer’. 3D printing compatible files can be downloaded from the web and manipulated to your liking to varying degrees of detail before printing.

The most common type of 3D printing is known as Fused Filament Fabrication (FDM). Here a spool of plastic filament gets extruded through a hot nozzle, where it melts and is drawn on to the print bed before cooling. The filament looks like a thick string, comes in different colors, and is stored in spools that it essentially wraps around. Spools are attached to or otherwise positioned nearby the printer and the filament is fed through the extruder or multiple extruders. 

Depending on the printer, you may control it with buttons and dials on the side, a touchscreen, or a mobile app. Various sensors monitor print jobs, how much filament is left, whether a job has failed or should be paused and adjusted etc.

SLA and MSLA printers replace filament with liquid resin that is hardened by a laser or LED, sometimes called laser printing.

3D printing allows individuals, educational institutions, small manufacturing businesses, and product developers to easily and affordably create small 3D models to varying degrees of detail and quality.  You can also just find the best 3D printer for figurines that you like.

From volumetric printing to entire building printing, the future for 3D printing is bright.

What Can You Create With a 3D Printer?

The possibilities are endless, but the detail and complexity depend on the quality of the printer itself. A lot of people like to print fun figurines and models, not too dissimilar to the toy soldiers of years gone by or model cars and planes. If you’re looking for the best 3D printer for printing miniatures, we have something for you in our reviews.

Some like to test the limits of their printer with complex 3D geometric patterns and this is often part of the calibration process, much like a test print on a home computer.

You can create ornaments, plastic plates and utensils, phone cases, jewellery, shoes, product prototypes, and even important models in medicine or dentistry. People even search for the best 3D printer for cosplay accessories.

Most shapes can be 3D printed within reason, so what you can create is up to your own creativity.

Where Can I Find 3D Models for Printing?

There are many online sources for finding the files needed for your home 3D printer. Certain 3D model file types will only work with certain 3D printers, but the most common type is STL. Here are some of the best free sites in 2020 that we can recommend for a good starter 3d printer.

  • ThingiVerse.com – ‘Digital Designs for Physical Objects’. Home to over 2.8 million STL files.
  • CGTrader.com – Nearly 230,000 3D printable models can be found here.
  • PrusaPrinters.org – Aimed mainly at the model of 3D printer itself, this site has over 20,000 models.
  • YouMagine.com – Partnered with the Ultimaker 3D printer brand, this site has 17,000 free models to download.

If you have a particular idea for an object you’d like to print, Googling it followed by ‘3D print model’ will usually turn up a free or reasonably priced solution.

What Should I Know Before Buying a 3D Printer?

Buying a good 3D printer can be a costly endeavor. Here are some common things to consider so you can compare 3D printers:

Price

Before you buy 3D printer products, most aren’t cheap, so you are going to need to drop at least $1,000. If you don’t have that budget, you might consider the best entry-level 3D printer like the Monoprice Select Mini V2 or Creality Ender 3 V2, both under $300.

Maintenance Costs

Just like regular printers you are going to have to often buy more filament, resin or other materials to print with. Standard PLA is upwards of $25 per kg, while nylon can be as high as $95. How often you buy new material also depends on how often you print. 

You also need to consider replacement parts from your chosen printer’s manufacturer in case something breaks or gets worn out. 

Size

In our reviews, we have listed the dimensions of the printers themselves and the build volume, which is the size of the object the printer can create. Before buying a 3D printer you need to consider where you will store it and if it’s big enough for the models you wish to print.

Noise

3D printing is a noisy process. If you are in an environment where you could receive noise complaints, seek out a 3D printer that is quieter than most or has a quiet setting like the Original Prusa i3 MK3S ‘Stealth Mode’.

Quality

All of the printers in our list are high quality else they wouldn’t have made it, but a closer read will reveal those that are particularly high-end. One measure to look out for is resolution, known as Microns. In this case, the smaller the number the better the resolution.

Kit or Assembled?

A lot of 3D printers can be purchased in kits for cheaper than you assemble yourself. However, if you are looking for the best beginner 3D printer it would be better to go with assembled. Perhaps the best first 3D printer that comes as a kit or assembled is the Original Prusa i3 MK3S.

Safety

Safety is important when 3D printing, especially if you are in a workplace or educational environment. Material and components get heated up, so you must be careful not to touch things when a printing job is running. Some models are considered safer because they are enclosed behind a screen or door, while others are entirely open and can easily burn an errant child’s hand. Watch out for cabling and where you will put it, in case anyone is prone to trip. The best 3D printer for kids due to safety and classroom use is the Monoprice Select Mini V2.

Fumes

Many 3D printers give off fumes, so it is important to operate them in a well-ventilated area. Purchase extra fans and funnels if things get too overwhelming.

User-Interface and Software

Most people who can operate a computer or smartphone and basic tools in programs like photoshop can operate a 3D printer. Be sure to look out for reviews about how user-friendly the printer’s interface and associated software and digital modeling and fabrication are.

The Community

Before buying your printer it’s also wise to check the associated online community or official website for a knowledge base in case you need to get your questions answered.

A Beginner’s Guide to the World of 3D Printing – Terms Explained

When searching for the best 3D printer for beginners you must be aware of the following terms:

What is RepRap? – RepRap is a self-replication project where users build kits that form a 3D printer. That printer can then 3D print its own parts to do it all over again – a self-replicating machine.

What is Open Source? – Open Source refers to software whose code is open to the public and allows input from other developers and use within applications. Cura is an open-source 3D printing software.

What is STL? – Standard Triangle Language (STL) is a file format used in 3D printing. You can download an STL file that contains a 3D model for printing.

What is a slicer? – In 3D printing, a Slicer is a software program that converts 3D models into the correct format for your printer to begin the printing process.

What is a Micron? – The measure of resolution in 3D printing is called a micron, this can also be viewed as its accuracy. The lower the number the more accurate the print. 

What is Resin? – A liquid material used in SLA and MSLA 3D printing methods. The process hardens the resin into the desired shape. Sometimes this is done via continuous liquid interface production.

What is SLA? – Stereolithography or SLA is a form of 3D printing that uses layering and hardening or resin.

What is PLA? – Polylactic Acid (PLA) is a plastic and the most common type of filament, bought in spools, for 3D printing.

What is Dual Extrusion? – Extrusion is the process in which the 3D printing material is heated and comes out the nozzle on to the print bed to take shape. Dual extrusion simply means there’s two of these for more efficiency and often to help with multiple color filament. 

What is Direct Drive? – This is when the extruder is mounted on the print head and pushes the filament directly into the nozzle. This puts strain on the print head.

What is Bowden? – This is when the extruder is mounted on the printer’s frame and is often faster, quieter, and higher quality in output. 

What is an Extruder? – The part of the 3D printer that ejects the material out of a nozzle to create the shape.

What is a Hot End? – This is the part of the printer that melts the filament ready for extrusion.

What is a heated bed? – In some 3D printers the base where the material lands and takes shape is heated to further help the model take shape.

What is G-Code? – This is the internal language used by 3D printers. What you press on the interface inwardly commands the printer in this code. 

What is Filament? – Filament is the catch-all term for the material you are using in your FDM 3D printer, like ink in a PC printer.

What is FDM? – Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) is the most common type of 3D printing and is good for the best intro 3D printer. FDM refers to the process of feeding filament through an extruder. This is a trademarked term.

What is FFF? – Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) is the generic term for the above FDM.

What is DIY? – This refers to do-it-yourself 3D printing; the process of sourcing the parts to build your own 3D printer. The Original Prusa i3 MK3S is one of the best 3D printer kits.

What is AMF? – This is another file format used by 3D printing software and stands for Additive manufacturing file.

Wrap-Up

Whether you are looking to test out 3D printing as a hobby, want to start a manufacturing business, need to build prototypes as a product developer, or want to introduce 3D printing into the classroom, we can help. Our reviews and information will point you to the best 3D printers for your requirements.

What are you waiting for? Jump right in!

 

You may also be interested in:

Best 3D Printing Software

FAQ

What is the best 3D printer for home use?

If you want to use a 3D printer at home in a ‘computer room’ type setting, that isn’t too noisy and doesn’t take up too much space – the Creality Ender 3 V2, or the Monoprice Select Mini V2 are the top choices. If you have a larger dedicated space like a basement or garage, any from our list are suitable as the best 3D printer for home use.

What is the most popular 3D printer?

Some of the most popular 3D printers in terms of sales and online communities from our list include the Original Prusa i3 MK3S, which is known as the best 3D printer for D&D miniatures. The Monoprice Select Mini for its size and portability, Peopoly Phenom for resin, and the Creality Ender 3 V2 as the best value 3D printer. Although it was beyond the scope of these reviews, the best all in one 3D printer goes to the Snapmaker.

What is the best 3D printer under $500?

The best 3D printers under $500 are the Creality Ender 3 V2 at $269, and the Monoprice Select Mini V2 at just $219.99.

Can you make money with a 3D printer?

While the best consumer 3D printers are aimed at individuals they can easily be incorporated into the manufacturing process of a business. E.g. dental models are made using many regular 3D printers. If you are creative enough to make objects that people will buy or if you incorporate it as part of an existing product development business for prototyping, you can absolutely make money.

Are cheap 3D printers any good?

We chose the best inexpensive 3D printers to review because they have high-quality output and useful applications in spite of their cheap price. In many ways, they are as good as more expensive printers. Many other cheap 3D printers produce acceptable results for hobbyists but are perhaps not good on a professional level. A good tip is to search for the best 3D printers under 200.

Do more expensive 3D printers print faster?

There is no hard rule between the price and print speed of 3D printers. In fact, some more expensive 3D printers do the process slower because they are taking more care and adding more detail. It’s better to read reviews to learn more about the speed of any particular 3D printer.

What is the best 3D printer in 2020?

So, you want the best 3D printer in the world? If budget is no issue, the overall best 3D printer for consumers in 2020 in terms of performance, capabilities, and user-friendliness goes to the Dremel DigiLab 3D45. For enthusiasts and hobbyists with the budget, the Original Prusa i3 MK3S comes a close second. Read our reviews to find the best 3D printers based on numerous criteria and a list of 3D printer manufacturers.