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The Top 8 3D Printers

Updated June 20, 2020 | Charise Rohm Nulsen

3D Printers

What is a 3D printer and how is it used?

Simply put, a 3D printer creates three-dimensional physical objects from a digital file. The finished object is solid and made up of thin horizontal layers which combine to create the finished product. You can create the 3D model yourself, or you can print one from a repository of 3D models. You can use 3D modeling software or free open source software to start.

3D printers can be used in many capacities ranging from simple models created by elementary school students to varied industry applications such as printing dental products, reconstructing crime scenes, making architectural models, and forming prosthetic limbs.

Our top choice

Our top choice overall is the ELEGOO Mars UV Photocuring LCD 3D Printer (Check price and specs). Our other top choices are:

If you want to look at our other top choices to see which best suits your own needs, read on. 

What to consider when purchasing the best 3D printer for your needs:

There is much criteria to consider when thinking about your 3D printing needs. Be sure to reflect on the following before making your choice.

Budget: There is a big difference in price when comparing high-quality 3D printers with more entry level printers being utilized at home for simple DIY projects.

3D Printing Volume: 3D print volume is the maximum size that an object can have in order to be printed. Hobbyists will have very different build area needs than scientists.

FDM 3D Printer or Resin 3D Printer: These are the two main types of consumer 3D printers. FDM is the most common desktop 3D printing type. Resin 3D printers are more challenging to use than FDM 3D printers due to the SLA, or stereolithography technology, approach.

Where to Buy a 3D Printer: Most consumers purchase a 3D printer from Amazon or through a Chinese online store. Amazon offers ease of use in the purchase and return process as it does for most items it sells. Chinese online stores offer fluctuation in price, so it’s possible to grab a great deal, but you really have to do your homework as prices can fluctuate from day to day.

Infoplease’s research process

We at Infoplease have a stated mission to help people find accurate, reliable information. We usually fulfill that mission by offering reference data, or by presenting educational articles. One area where there's a lot of confusion and misinformation on the internet is is consumer reviews. So, we've decided to offer some useful tips and some reliable data for consumers. 

As always, we want to give you the information you need. We’ve considered the experiences of people who use 3D printers and existing reviews on top websites. But, we want to focus in on expert opinions and on the hard facts about each product.

We are not sponsored by any 3D printer manufacturers or retailers, But, if you make a purchase through one of the links on our site, we may earn a small commission for it.

Here are our choices for the top eight 3D printers of 2020:

ELEGOO MarsELEGOO Mars UV Photocuring LCD 3D Printer with 3.5'' Smart Touch Color Screen 

The 3D Printer with the Most Bang for Your Buck

With a very low price point and a user-friendly system, the ELEGOO Mars is a printer that any hobbyist or beginner can easily use, and it is one of the best MSLA resin 3D printers. You can achieve high-quality prints and will appreciate how easy it is to set up. ELEGOO is a trustworthy brand, so beginners can purchase with peace of mind. If this is an addition to your home office, you will also appreciate how small it is.    

Reviews to Consider:

Windows Central via Amazon: “When I first used the Mars, I couldn't believe that a printer that cost so little could produce such quality prints. Even at 0.05, the tallest layer height you'll want to use, the layer lines are all but invisible to the naked eye. The models are so crisp, so smooth, that they could easily be mistaken for injected molded products, rather than the 3D printed models they are. Some of my favorite prints I've ever produced have been made on the Elegoo Mars.”

All3DP: “Across the board, the Elegoo Mars’ print quality is spectacular. Typically when printing with LCD 3D printers, any flaws in the Z-axis motion appear exaggerated given the smoothness with which resin prints usually turn out. We’ve seen little to none of that with the Mars.”

Specifications:

Price Point: $239.99

Dimensions: 15.8 x 16.5 x 7.9 inches

Precision: 2560x1440 2K HD masking LCD as to provide accurate printing with XY axis resolution of 0.00185inches / 0.047mm

Touch Screen: Yes

Warranty: one-year machine warranty (3 month warranty for FEP and 2K LCD consumable parts)

Check price and specs

 

LulzBot MiniLulzBot Mini 2 Desktop 3D Printer

The Best Portable 3D Desktop Printer

The LulzBot Mini 2 Desktop 3D Printer is another option that offers ease of use, though at a much higher price point. This printer can be moved easily, and users appreciate the quiet operation. This is a high performance 3D printer, and it can work in a classroom, and office, or a workshop. The LulzBot Mini 2 offers trustworthy self-cleaning and self-leveling technology.

Reviews to Consider:

PCMag: “The LulzBot Mini 2 is easy to use and works with a variety of filament types. It's a good choice for schools and hobbyists, and anyone willing to invest in a powerful and versatile 3D printer.”

Amazon Reviewer: “By far the easiest 3d printer to run, no bed leveling, no cleaning the nozzle, just load the SD card, select your model and hit print, it will clean the nozzle and calibrate the bed automatically every time. Loading and unloading filament was easy, and it's nice that with the Mini 2 I have such a wide variety of choices in materials now without changing the head etc. My prints have come out very clean with very little finishing needed which is a huge change for me coming from others that left strings between parts etc.”

Specifications:

Price Point: $1,775

Dimensions: 18in x 13in x 24in

Precision: Fused Filament Fabrication with Print Area of 6.30in x 6.30in x 7.09in

Touch Screen: No

Warranty: 1-year limited 

Check price and specs

 

FlashForge AdventurerFlashforge Finder Lite 3D Printer

The Best 3D Printer for Beginners

The Flashforge Finder offers all of the out of the box ease of use that your child could possibly need for fun with STEAM projects. The patented extruder structure lowers the risk of jams, the heated elements are protected from touch, and the printing material is non-toxic PLA so it’s an ideal setup for younger and inexperienced hands. The touch screen offers instant previews. Though perfect for beginners, the product and experience is also more than sufficient for industrial and mechanical design.

Reviews to Consider:

All3DP: “For an introductory 3D printer, or a 3D printer for kids, the Flashforge Finder covers almost all the bases. This little guy comes fully assembled and ready to (not) make some noise. It prints away quietly and only chirps merrily when it turns on or when other particularly noteworthy events occur. The printer even boasts WiFi connectivity, which is easy to set up and use and a generally more high-end feature. Its prints, too, are very good and are reliably churned out.”

AllThat3D: “It comes with a sturdy, slide-in build plate for easy set-up or removal. This also contributes to its stability and good print. This also comes with the FlashForge integrated assist leveling system for precise and easy calibration. It provides straightforward and easy to follow directions to tighten and loosen the leveling screws. As for the operation, this includes a full-color touchscreen with user-friendly control that is very simple and easy to use. It also shows the preview control, operates quietly and supports multiple languages.”

Specifications:

Price Point: $279.89

Dimensions: 420 mm x 420 mm x 420 mm

Precision: FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) XY: 11 microns [0.0004 in]; Z: 2.5 microns [0.0001 in]

Touch Screen: Yes

Warranty: 12 months

Check Price and Specs

 

Ultimaker S3Ultimaker S3 Extended 3D Printer

The Best Printer for High-End Flexibility

The Ultimaker 3 offers high-end printing technology with a price that reflects the quality, but if you are looking for the ability to print two colors or filament types, this is the one to go with. This 3D printer stands out from all of the other FDM printers currently available, and this is a professional 3D printer at its best. You will appreciate how little cleanup there is after printing, the dimensional accuracy, and the multiple connection choices.

Reviews to Consider:

PCMag: “The Ultimaker 3 has very good print quality for a 3D printer that prints with plastic filament, and its dual print cores let you print using two filament types or colors.”

DigitalTrends: “Between this stunning print quality, the UM3’s expansive build envelope, and its heated build plate, printing performance is off the charts good, and the fact that you can print with dissolvable PVA supports makes it even better. Typically, printing objects that require supports means that you’ll have to clean up the print to remove the evidence of support structures. This can sometimes be a long and tedious process, but dual-extrusion printing with PVA eliminates the need for it entirely. If there’s one feature that justifies the UM3’s exorbitant price tag, it’s definitely this one.”

Specifications:

Price Point: $3,850

Dimensions: 15.5 x 19.3 x 25.1 inches

Precision: Open filament system, compatible with glass and carbon fiber composites; down to 20 micron (0.001 inch) layer resolution.

Touch Screen: Yes

Warranty: 12 months

Check Price and Specs

 

Monoprice Select MiniMonoprice Select Mini 3D Printer V2

The Most Affordable Compact 3D Printer

This is another excellent, low-cost 3D printer. The Monoprice Select Mini can start printing right out of the box for those looking for ease of use. The compact design is perfect for a home office. It has WiFi connectivity, and it includes PLA filament and a microSD card. There are so many features packed into a mini machine for a more advanced user, but it can also easily satisfy a first timer as well.

Reviews to Consider:

3DPrintingIO: “Monoprice select mini is the smart and cost effective 3d printer that contained compact desktop design. Monoprice featuring select mini 3d printer with open frame design, it featured small footprints. The Monoprice select mini is pretty compact for any desk. Unlike other 3d printers, Monoprice does not produce ill-fitted parts and incomplete or poorly written documentation 3d printer’s box.”

All3DP: “The Monoprice Select Mini 3D printer is very impressive for the price. It has a heated print bed; it’s very simple to operate; and it produces reliable and consistent prints.”

Specifications:

Price Point: $219.99

Dimensions: 7.5 x 11.3 x 13.5 inches

Precision: 100 - 300 Microns

Touch Screen: Color LCD Screen Only 

Warranty: 1 year repair warranty for any manufacture defects

Check Price and Specs

 

Formlabs Form 3Formlabs Form 3 Industrial Quality Desktop SLA 3D Printer

The Best SLA 3D printer for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

The Formlabs Form 3 is an excellent choice for professional designers and artists. It can handle a heavy-duty workload and can support multiple users. This is a very expensive printer, but it is cutting edge with its speed and versatility. This is not a 3D printing experience that you need to manage; it’s a one touch experience. It is also extremely reliable and a long term investment.

Reviews to Consider:

All3DP: “For a small or medium business in need of a high-detail workhorse, the Form 3 is an easy recommendation. It expects nothing of you, and consistently produces high-detail prints (and thanks to new resins, large drafts) of the 3D models you throw at it. Some would argue that Formlabs’ consumables are on the expensive side, but for the reliability on offer, things probably balance out in an environment where time is money.”

Tom’s Guide: “The Form 3 from Formlabs is a high-end Stereolithographic (SLA) printer that uses a laser to zap liquid resin into solid form. It's a sophisticated printer that can produce excellent quality prints with little maintenance or tweaking, making it a great pick for those who want to do a lot of printing without hassle.”

Specifications:

Price Point: $3,499+

Dimensions: 15.9 × 14.8 × 20.9 inches

Precision: LFS Low Force Stereolithography; 25 - 300 microns; 0.001 - 0.012 in; 25μm XY resolution

Touch Screen: Yes

Warranty: Standard 1 year warranty

Check Price and Specs

 

MakerGear M2MakerGear M2 Desktop 3D Printer

The Best Priced Machine for Professionals and Hobbyists

The MakerGear M2 is a popular choice for experienced 3D printer users. The manufacturer is a small, Ohio-based business that has been around for over ten years and who has built a trustworthy reputation. The M2 is the signature printer for MakerGear. This is a machine best suited for artists and users who are willing to sit with the printer throughout set up and use.

Reviews to Consider:

Lifewire via Amazon: “The M2 from Ohio-based Makergear is a professional–level 3D printer praised for its all-round solid engineering. The M2 has a build area of 254 x 202 x 203 mm, and a minimum layer height of 20 microns. It’s a standard FDM printer best suited for ABS and PLA, and comes pre-assembled, but it also has a wealth of upgrades and potential tweaks that allows it to become your perfect 3D printer.”

Total3DPrinting: “The MakerGear M2 is a true optimum consumer-level 3D printer. Once the learning curve is defeated users can trustfully start a print in the morning and leave it unattended until finished.”

Specifications:

Price Point: $1,999

Dimensions: 24 x 21 x 16.5 inches

Precision: <50 micron to 0.25mm with a 0.35mm nozzle

Touch Screen: No

Warranty: 6-Month Limited Warranty

Check Price and Specs

 

Dremel DigiLabDremel Digilab 3D45

The Best 3D Printer for Schools and Universities

The Dremel Digilab 3D45 is easy to use, offers a color touch screen, and can handle multiple jobs at once. It has a built-in HD camera for remote print monitoring and automated 9-point leveling. It is designed for reliability and heavy usage.

Reviews to Consider:

3Dsourced: “Depending on your needs, the Dremel 3D45 can print very accurately too — up to 50 microns. The 3D45 is also known for being reliable, very rarely failing a print with PLA (some have reported occasional issues with Nylon). Overall, it’s definitely one of the best mid-range 3D printers out.”

Amazon Reviewer: “I recommend this printer to anyone who wants to get to work, out of the box. This printer has most of the features that people with some experience appreciate: a heated glass build platform, assisted levelling, the ability to use a range of filament materials, both layer and enclosure fans, a generous build volume, and an enclosure.”

Specifications:

Price Point: $1,895.81

Dimensions: 23 x 18.8 x 18.8 inches

Precision: 50 Micron layers (1/20th mm)

Touch Screen: Yes

Warranty: 1 year

Check Price and Specs