Looking for a 3D printer for beginners? Check out our buyer's guide to the most beginner-friendly 3D printers on the market today.
Ease of assembly, use, proper documentation, and overall print quality are the considerations we have in mind when we think of the ideal 3D printer for beginners. Enough to yield good prints, with minimal hand-holding to acquaint oneself with the process.
For your consideration, here’s a list of the top 3D printers for beginners, sorted by their approximate price.
Boasting a fully enclosed design with HEP air filtration, removable print bed, large easy-to-use touchscreen, and wireless connectivity, the Up mini 2 ES is a solid, safe set-and-forget printer.
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|3D Printer||Build Volume (mm)||Materials||Check Price|
|FlashForge Finder||140 x 140 x 140||PLA, PETG (for small prints)|
|Creality Ender 3 Pro||220 x 220 x 250||ABS, PLA, HIPS, PVA, PETG, Nylon, Exotics|
|Creality Ender 5||220 × 220 × 300||ABS, PLA, PETG, Nylon, Exotics|
|Anycubic i3 Mega||210 x 210 x 205||PLA, ABS, HIPS, Wood|
|Tiertime UP Mini 2 ES||120 x 120 x 120||PLA, ABS, TPU|
|Original Prusa i3 MK3S||250 x 210 x 200||ABS, PLA, HIPS, PVA, PETG, Nylon, Exotics|
|Lulzbot Mini 2||160 x 160 x180||PLA, Natural and Metal PLA Blends, TPU, ABS, PETG, nGen, HIPS, Polyamide, Nylon, Polycarbonate, PC|
|Dremel Digilab 3D45 Idea Builder||1.75||Nylon, Eco-ABS, PLA, PETG|
Why it’s a good 3D printer for beginners: The Flashforge Finder is our alternative pick for the Best Budget 3D Printer of Summer 2019. Touting ease of use, clean design, and reliability, the FlashForge Finder is a beginner-friendly choice.
A bonus is the removable bed and excellent visibility of the print as it’s in progress. Also, its great connectivity, color touch screen, and simplified workflow are great for beginners. With a price of around $300, it’s still highly affordable.
Caveats: The constraints of a small print bed and limited material options may get old quick.
Why it’s a good 3D printer for beginners: Since its launch, the Creality Ender 3 Pro has garnered heaps of praise for its competitive price, print quality, and upgradability. For this reason, we deem the Ender 3 Pro a good option for those seeking a budget printer that prints well and reliably.
With a build volume of 220 x 220 x 250 mm and a flexible build plate, the Ender 3 Pro offers a lot of flexibility in what you print, with room to improve the machine alongside your skills. The bed leveling is a little finicky — all manual — but certainly no dealbreaker.
Caveats: The Ender 3 Pro can deliver stunning results if you give it some tender loving care. But it is not ‘Plug-and-Play’. Expect to invest a little time getting to grips with the vast collective community knowledge on the printer to get the most out of it.
Why it’s a good 3D printer for beginners: The Creality Ender 5 packs the features that the public loves the most from the Ender 3 in a larger format, more reliable machine. It also irons out some of the problematic design decisions from the Ender 3 (i.e. a narrow gap between the moving print bed and the frame).
Despite being a printer kit, its ease of assembly and removable bed make it a beginner-friendly choice worth considering. It is also accompanied by a high print quality and a low price tag for its dimensions (about $330). You can eventually even hack and upgrade it as your 3D printing knowledge increases.
Other benefits include the ability to print at high speed with constant quality as well as a magnetic bed to easily remove your prints. If money isn’t the issue, you are better off with the Ender 5 than with the Ender 3 Pro.
Caveats: Like all Enders, the Ender 5 isn’t for the casual newbie, but rather a serious beginner who is confident that they will need a capable machine to use for a long time.
Why it’s a good 3D printer for beginners: Our former pick for the “Best 3D Printer Under $300”, the i3 Mega combines a user-friendly design with a budget-friendly price. Its main advantages are ease of use and the quality of prints. But perhaps the USP of the i3 Mega is its unique heated Ultrabase bed — offering superior adhesion to prints, it near-eliminates the common issue of prints not staying put during a print.
As for the setup, even though the i3 Mega is technically a kit, the main clusters of the printer come assembled. This makes the building process a trivial matter of minutes, letting you get to the printing sharp.
We also like the color touchscreen, auto-resume feature, and filament run-out sensor. — all nice quality of life features. Moreover, well-written documentation and the inclusion of spare parts are reassuring should you encounter hardware issues.
Caveats: We found the Anycubic i3 Mega to be the perfect machine for PLA.. However, temperature-sensitive materials such as ABS and Nylon are no-gos without a good deal of tinkering.
Note that the recent revision of the i3 Mega, the Anycubic Mega S, didn’t meet our expectations, so be sure to get the original i3 Mega.
Read more: 2019 Best Anycubic i3 Mega Upgrades and Mods
Why it’s a good 3D printer for beginners: The Tiertime UP Mini 2 ES is our Summer 2019 pick for the Best 3D Printer for Beginners. It may not be the fastest or the cheapest, but it offers many features that make it an outstanding 3D printer for beginners.
This $600 printer focuses on excellent print quality within a safe, fully-enclosed frame. Some of its most significant features are:
Caveat: The limited build volume is drawbacks to consider. Another weak point is the documentation, which can be somewhat confusing.
Why it’s a good 3D printer for beginners: The Original Prusa i3 MK3/S outperforms most of the competitor, hands down. Per our quarterly review of the best printers available, we deemed it both Best 3D Printer Kit and Best Overall 3D Printer of Summer 2019.
While the price tag (pushing up on $1,000) differentiates this fully assembled printer from other ready out of the box printers, the Prusa i3 MK3S offers exceptional print quality.
Its suite of features tailored around ironing out the wrinkles of 3D printing just work. There are a nunber of feathers in its cap, notable: extensive autocalibration wizards, crash detection and print recovery, a removable magnetic print bed, easy to use slicing software, fast and knowledgeable customer support and, perhaps the make-or-break or any 3D printer, a large, enthusiastic and communicative community of users.
A kit version of the Prusa i3 MK3S is also available for some $200 less. Thankfully the build guide is excellent, and you have the added joy of learning where every single nut and bolt in your machine is located.
Caveat: If you buy the kit it will take at least one day to get the printer assembled and ready to print.
Why it’s a good 3D printer for beginners: Prioritizing reliability over a low price tag, Colorado-based manufacturer Aleph Objects is a veritable stable, offering a product lineup populated with workhorses. The company’s printers are easy to use and simply work, and the Mini 2 is no exception. It’s even one of our Editor’s Pick in our Best 3D Printers of Summer 2019 list.
This open-source 3D printer offers eye-catching features paired to reliability and a compact and sturdy design. The PEI coated print bed is great; prints stick with minimal effort. Quick calibration and quicker prints pretty much out of the box make it an attractive proposition for those wanting to hit the ground running with a printer.
As your expertise increases, 3D printing with advanced materials should be straightforward, although it’s here that the potential pitfalls of 3D printing (material changes and the like) can crop up. Thankfully online support materials on the Lulzbot website give helpful tips and tricks.
Caveat: It’s pricey. At $1,500 it’s one of the more expensive printers on this list. For the price, too, the build volume of 160mm x 160mm x 180mm is somewhat limiting.
Why it’s a good 3D printer for beginners: The Dremel Digilab 3D45 goes a long way to tightly controlling the safety aspects of 3D printing. A fully enclosed build volume eliminates contact with the hot end, while a HEPA filter removes potentially dangerous particles from the air inside the chamber. The machine uses a proprietary feeding system for its filament spools to give you repeatable results. A suite of monitoring systems give easy to digest feedback to the user, with bed leveling, filament changing, slicing, and general monitoring of the status of prints all simplified on the Dremel DigiLab 3D45.
This 3D printer is a viable option for beginners looking for a simple and full-fledged 3D printing ecosystem, or for a classroom that prioritizes safety and usability above all.
Caveat: A price tag rounding $1,699 places the 3D45 as the most expensive printer on this list. Furthermore, you will have to live with some material restrictions. Despite capable of achieving excellent prints with proprietary materials, results with 3D party materials have shown a lesser quality.
License: The text of "2019 Best 3D Printers for Beginners" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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