Check out our buyer's guide to find the best 3D printer for your needs. See what's great about the best 3D printers in 17 categories with printer reviews.
After countless hours spent printing and tinkering with a large selection of desktop printers – and no small amount of haggling and debating among All3DP’s editorial team – we present our top picks for the best 3D printers of winter 2019.
Each best 3D printer top pick in a given category is our honest unbiased recommendation, but since there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, we also recommend a number of alternatives that are also fab for their own reasons.
Here’s a whistle-stop tour of the highlights this season:
But that’s only part of the picture. Read on for the full breakdown of our most recommended 3D printers this season.
|Best 3D Printer||Original Prusa i3 MK3S|
|Best 3D Printer Under $200||Creality Ender 3 Pro|
|Best Budget Resin 3D Printer||Elegoo Mars|
|Best 3D Printer Under $300||Creality Ender 5|
|Best Resin 3D Printer||Formlabs Form 3|
|Editor's Choice: #1||Elegoo Mars|
|Best Workhorse 3D Printer||Tiertime UP300|
|Best Large Format 3D Printer||Raise3D Pro2 Plus|
|Best Dual Extruder 3D Printer||Ultimaker S5|
|Editor's Choice: #2||BCN3D Sigma R19|
|Best All-In-One 3D Printer||ZMorph VX|
|Best 3D Printer for Beginners||Tiertime UP mini 2 ES|
|Editor's Choice: #3||Qidi Tech X-Pro|
|Best 3D Printer Under $500||Creality Ender 5|
|Best 3D Printer Under $1,000||Original Prusa i3 MK3S|
|Best 3D Printer for Schools||Dremel DigiLab 3D45|
|Best Kit 3D Printer||Original Prusa i3 MK3S|
At just shy of $1,000, the Original Prusa i3 MK3S offers exceptional value for money. Excellent print quality out-of-the-box — that in many cases outperforms printers multiple times its price — is empowering, and a wealth of inbuilt calibration routines and error detection and mitigation systems make it one of the most intelligent printers going.
It can’t print multiple materials and will struggle with hardcore engineering materials without some tinkering, but for sheer tech prowess, support documentation and following (owning a Prusa is virtually a badge of honor), it’s a winner.
The MK3S may have taken top billing (again), but check out our other top picks to explore the sheer granularity of 3D printing. We’re looking at the solutions for makers on a budget, professionals on the hunt for reliability, high detail, high detail on a budget, multi-material printing and more.
Balancing quality, reliability, and affordability, Creality’s Ender 3 Pro takes all of the good about the original Ender 3 and gently kicks it to the next level with a clutch of quality-of-life improvements. Now widely available for less than $200, it’s an easy recommendation to make over its marginally cheaper sibling and our previous under $200 pick, the Ender 3.
Ideal for hobbyists and makers looking to amp their creativity without spending too much, the Ender 3 Pro boasts a number of upgrades over its slightly cheaper predecessor; namely a magnetic removable print bed, a sturdier Y-axis assembly, a better extruder, new bearing wheels, and a name brand power supply.
And, as with the Ender 3, most of the enormous community teeming with information on tips, trick, upgrades, and hacks apply here, making the Ender 3 Pro the budget printer for go-getters.
Predating the Ender 3 Pro by quite a stretch of time, the Anycubic i3 Mega offers high-quality prints alongside unique features in the likes of its Ultrabase print bed. Once set up, the i3 Mega is as workhorse-like as you could ask, especially so at a price that continues to drop.
Our previous top pick for best 3D Printer under $200, the Creality Ender 3, while not as feature-rich as its “Pro” counterpart, still offers phenomenal value for money, and benefits from a huge and active community of users sharing tips and tricks online.
In a nutshell, the Elegoo Mars offers a simple, forgiving, and rewarding 3D printing experience at a combative price point. It’s a matter of moments from unboxing to printing, and we found the print results to be unfailingly great.
In some printers being simple can be a fault, but in our experience, this is our favorite thing about the Mars. Awkwardly positioned USB port aside, the Mars’ hardware does very little to get in the way of itself, allowing you to rattle off prints without skipping a beat. The software is stock ChiTuBox — a very capable slicer for LCD-based printers — and features all you could possibly need out of the box.
Enduringly popular and our previous top pick for best budget resin printer, the Anycubic Photon is still an exceptionally worthy machine. While the setup is marginally more involved and the default software is limited, the experience will be largely the same. The real benefit to the Photon comes in the enormous community of users online, with tips, tricks and troubleshooting solutions aplenty, plus its frequent price drops.
A recommendation with caveats, the Phrozen Shuffle 4K is a super-duper high detail printer that invariably works. Solidly constructed with heavy-duty parts, there are some quirks to the workflow of using it, but with weight and rigidity in all areas, from the frame to the motion system using an industrial ball screw. A solid workhorse of a resin printer, albeit one that requires you accommodate its quirks and bugs.
Love them or hate them, there’s no denying that Creality makes popular 3D printers. Dropping in price recently to be a pretty dependable sub-$300 purchase, the Ender 5 is one such printer.
At 220 x 220 x 300 mm, the Ender 5’s print volume runs above average. It’s not quite a patch on the likes of the CR-10S and its voluminous 300 x 300 x 400 mm printing area, but the Ender 5 offers a wealth of quality of life features, including a magnetic, removable print bed and branded power supply that made it an exceptional buy at $500, let alone its new price point under $300.
Shipping to you in a mostly-assembled form, the Ender 5 is a cinch to piece together, and you’ll be rattling off decent prints in no time at all.
Packing most of the good bits of the flashier Tevo Flash into an avocado-green hued frame and squeezing the price closer to $200 than $300, the Tevo Tarantula Pro is a highly capable budget printer, arguably providing a more upgradable platform than the Ender 3 Pro. For starters, it has a better mainboard. It also prints fast at high quality and can benefit from a number of plug-in upgrade options.
With the Form 3, Formlabs has reinvented the wheel so to speak by adapting the SLA technology that served its capable Form 2 so well and transforming it into an efficiency beast that favors the professional environment.
The print quality is superb and paired with the company’s extremely well-developed PreForm software, the entire print preparation workflow can be condensed into a single button click.
The Form 3 is stuffed to the brim with sensors for vital print feedback, and print queueing and web dashboard management shows the machine for the efficient production and prototyping solution that it is. We’re not trying to overplay this printer — it’s simply that good.
The budget resin printers have been a thing for a couple of years now, but few have managed to offer such a plainly easy experience as that of the Elegoo Mars. In testing, we found it performed reliably, outputting high-quality prints with the minimum of effort.
With a price tag that undercuts the majority of the competition, the Elegoo Mars stands apart as an assuredly solid starter resin printer.
In our estimation, the Tiertime UP300 deserves a lot more recognition than it gets. Out of the box print quality – printing the default material setup of ABS — is exceptional, and is where the unsung value of support structures and rafts that peel away in hand come to the fore.
A modular print head system accommodates the use of high temp, low temp, and flexible filaments, with respective removable print beds further enhancing the UP300’s utility. We’re also fans of the UPStudio software’s option to feed the physical dimensions of a print into a subsequent job, correcting for any minute dimensional inaccuracies.
In addition, it boasts wireless connectivity, print queuing, an in-chamber air filter and can print pretty quickly. Overall a highly competent printer we’d comfortably run for the long haul.
Offering possibly the slickest UI and desktop fused filament fabrication workflow we’ve seen yet, the Ultimaker S5, as the company’s flagship printer, is in every sense a workhorse. Unfortunately, you’ll have to pay through the nose to take a ride on this filly, but doing so also unlocks access to a sophisticated drop-in dual extrusion system that offers wide material compatibility, thanks to filament makers offering profiles through Ultimaker Cura’s marketplace.
Another dual extrusion printer to make our Workhorse category (let’s face it — multi-material is useful), the BCN3D Sigmax R19, offers something unique over the others on this list with its Independent Dual Extrusion (IDEX) system. Utilizing two independent hot ends that can print simultaneously across a large build volume, can amp your productivity up with half the workload of operating only one printer. The print quality is excellent, too.
In addition to offering dual extrusion as standard, we find that the Raise3D Pro2 Plus offers a potent combination of capability and exceptionally large build volume. Cutting an imposing figure at over a meter tall, within its fully enclosed frame — a boon for large and tall prints involving tricky materials — lies over 600 mm of build space in the Z-axis.
Not only does the Pro2 Plus print tall (and relatively wide with its 300 x 300 mm print bed area), but it does so reliably and with relatively little intervention on your part. In-depth print diagnostics keep you informed via the printer’s gorgeous 7-inch color touchscreen, mirroring the printer management options available to you in Raise3D’s Ideamaker software.
If printing big at the absolute minimum of cost is your priority, then you can’t go too far wrong with the Creality CR-10 S5. Touting a 500 x 500 x 500 mm print volume that pretty much defines it as a printer, it’s basic but really, really big. Expect to need to tinker and modify to get it printing at its best.
Produced by Ultimaker, custodians, and developers of the open-source Cura slicing software, it stands to reason that Cura should play best with the S5. And boy does it. Touting deep connectivity with print monitoring, remote connection, live viewing and print job assignment to networked printers, it is the cleanest integration and UI between printer and software that we’ve seen yet.
Add to this its highly capable dual extrusion system which uses a selection of easily swappable print cores to handle different materials, and the Ultimaker S5 truly is a professional printing solution
BCN3D’s Sigma R19 uses an Independent Dual Extrusion (IDEX) system for printing multiple materials in the same job, or, and here’s why it rules, simultaneously. Indeed for boosting productivity, the Sigma boasts a few print modes that put both print heads to work at the same time, increasing output without skipping a beat.
Something of a wildcard entry, the Original Prusa i3 MK3S is capable of true dual extrusion 3D printing, but only with the addition of the official multi-material upgrade (MMU2S). In fact, this orange box that piggybacks on the MK3S frame is capable of feeding up to five filaments into a single print. Technical savvy is required though, with the unit coming as a kit and, in our experience, some tinkering is required to get optimal results.
When it comes to a powerful, hassle-free machine, the BCN3D Sigma R19 has it all. This professional-grade 3D printer offers effortless printing, smooths out workflows and boasts an Independent Dual Extrusion (IDEX) system to boot. With features like duplication and mirror mode, your productivity can be easily doubled. The Sigma R19 also gives you the ability to build complex geometries using multi-material printing.
And, if you’re looking for a machine that will require minimal tinkering, the Sigma R19 offers exceptional performance straight out of the box and comes with guides and accessories for simple maintenance.
Packing a staggering amount of functionality into a relatively compact form factor, ZMorph’s VX feels premium and performs without skipping a beat. Changing tool heads is a cinch, and there’s no hint of instability in the build of the system at all — impressive given its CNC function driving a cutting bit through hard materials.
Backing up the VX’s versatility is ZMorph’s proprietary Voxelizer 2.0 software. Merging the multiple workflows (mostly) seamlessly, it also has a few tricks up its sleeve, including texture mapping imagery onto the surface of a print for dual extrusion printing.
Impressive high-end features help set the UP mini 2 ES apart from the rest. It gets a nod from us for its wireless connectivity, a dedicated material storage solution, fully enclosed build volume, removable beds and an air filter.
The print volume is a bit dinky though, so there’s a limitation there, but to get to grips with the possibilities of 3D printing with a reliable machine requiring little to no tinkering on your part, it’s a solid introduction.
Despite its years, the Flashforge Finder remains relevant thanks to its usability, quality, and approachability. Three characteristics that individually are great to have, but for an affordable printer to balance all three is exceptional. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, but on a budget, it’s enough.
Quietly powering its way through Amazon’s sales charts for 3D printers, Qidi Tech is building a reputation for affordable and easy to use printers. The Tech X-Pro is no exception, with a beginner-friendly setup and pretty modern features including a magnetic flexible build plate.
It’s frustratingly uncommon for budget 3D printers to work right out of the box – the Qidi X-Pro does. That, and it’s remarkably easy to setup and start printing. Based on Makerbot’s Replicator design, the Qidi Tech X-Pro offers a sturdy frame, good electrical and mechanical components, plus a full enclosure for better temperature management.
The build volume is not particularly large, but the magnetic build plate is something we really enjoyed. With a price tag currently around $650, the Qidi Tech X-Pro is an interesting, affordable entry into dual-extrusion printing.
What’s this? The same printer recommended for multiple budget points?
That’s right. We argued, cooled off, argued some more, and arrived at the conclusion that even though it’s available considerably less than $500 now, no other printer that we’ve used is quite as good as the Ender 5. If your budget is $500, stick with the Ender 5 and get an Ender 3 Pro as a second printer too. That, or save the money and be a fiscally responsible individual.
With that said, Creality did just release the, boasting of some quality part upgrades for little more money. That technically would be an option for under $500, but we haven’t gone hands-on yet.
A hot, red, intellectual-property-encroaching 3D printer, the fully decked out Tevo Flash, much like its DC Comics namesake, is pretty fast. Thanks in no small part to its Volcano hot end aiding in higher volumetric throughput of filament, the Flash also benefits from a gorgeous glass bed, auto-bed leveling and silent stepper motor drivers.
Many moons ago, the CR-10S was our top pick for under 500 bucks. And while some things change — the Ender 5 does present better value for money now — others don’t, such as the joy of printing something astonishingly big. At 300 x 300 x 400 mm, you can print _really_ big, and have a pleasant time doing it too. Simple setup, pleasing results.
You simply will not find a more advanced yet simple-to-use package for under a grand. Really, we could increase the threshold for this award and the Prusa would still win by some.
The print quality is exceptional, the printer practically holds your hand through myriad calibration checks, and perhaps most interestingly (for data nerds), there’s a degree of heritage to each and every Prusa printer; detailed diagnostics from factory testing accompany each printer out the factory door. Thorough.
While nothing else under $1,000 comes close to the Prusa for features, print quality, and sundry other details, there’s one area where the CR-10 S5 blows it out of the water and then some. Build volume. A whopping 500 x 500 x 500 mm print volume makes it _the_ choice making the biggest prints you can. Just expect to have to help it get there with an enclosure and some printing savvy.
Featuring a classroom-friendly HEPA filter and closed print chamber, the Dremel 3D45 also impresses with its connectivity and extra touches like a print monitoring camera and a large, easy to navigate touchscreen.
In our testing we found the 3D45 to offer superior performance with a number of quality-of-life benefits – that is, provided you stick to Dremel’s proprietary materials. Dremel also offers a library of resources for educators, including training and lesson plans incorporating 3D printing. All that, and it can handle trickier filaments such as nylon out of the box.
For many of the same reasons that we tout it for beginners, the Flashforge Finder is also worth a shout for educators on the hunt for a tough little printer that is reliable, prints well, and is easy to pick up — literally, and figuratively.
Sick of seeing this one yet? For the third time, Original Prusa’s i3 MK3S gets top billing, this time picking up the gong for best 3D printer kit. And what a kit it is.
Accompanied by what might as well be a novella of instructions detailing every nut, bolt, belt, and cable involved in putting together the company’s printer, few printers, if any, to have passed through the All3DP office gives quite the education into what makes up a fused filament fabrication 3D printer.
And perhaps best of all, each kit comes with a bag of gummy bears, for some sugary sustenance as you embark on the approximately eight-hour build. Yummy.
A Prusa i3 style printer that you may not know much about, theis an understated pick from Portugal that boasts colorful documentation punctuated with helpful tips and illustrations. Each page features useful things such as a ruler to double-check the length of screws you have in hand. Perhaps our favorite aspect is the skeletal metal frame that comes in sheet form, with parts attached to one another with metal sprues.
Selecting the best 3D printer for your needs is not an easy task. We want to make the process it a little bit easier.
If you are a newcomer to 3D printing, things can get overwhelming. Specifications and terminology may sound gibberish and intimidating. Best to resort to a dedicated printer for beginners, right? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. There are four traps you can fall into.
1. Careful with “beginner’s printers”: There are some printers on the market that claim to be suitable for beginners. While they come prebuilt, you will pay extra for the overpriced filament, get frustrated with poor build space, and get dubious printing results. To avoid this, it’s best to check some independent reviews of the chosen model.
2. Don’t buy too cheap. When looking for the best 3D printer for your money, the worst thing you can do is to waste it on a cheap, untested no-name printer. Don’t get us wrong, we don‘t want to talk you into spending more of your hard earned money – but there’s a huge difference between a no-name cheap printer and the Best 3D Printer Under $200 or $300. Again, reviews matter to get the best 3D printer available.
3. Kickstarter woes: So why not buy on Kickstarter? For starters, there isn’t really the option to ‘buy’ anything on Kickstarter. You are backing an idea, a vision. It’s putting money into the pot to help a company or person to try to achieve something. If a project is grossly mishandled and the money disappears, you get nothing in return. Should you back a product on a crowdfunding platform, you are likely receiving the first iteration of a product, which can often result in a buggy experience that is ironed out in subsequent production runs. It is basically gambling on the chance the receive an inferior version of a product before everyone else.
After so much advice, we recommend you to take a look at the categories Best 3D Printer Under $200, Best 3D Printer Under $300, Best 3D Printer Under $500, and — of course — Best 3D Printer for Beginners. You’re sure to find the best 3D printer for you in these categories.
If you consider yourself a tinkerer or maker who wants to tap into 3D printing, you won’t need the most expensive and flashy model available on the market. The good news is you can save a significant sum by buying a decent, affordable machine. If you buy a kit printer, you can also learn a lot by assembling the machine yourself.
The market for the 3D printing hobbyist is heavily populated, so you have a great variety of machines. The most difficult part is finding the best 3D printer for your needs. If you want to make sure to get the best 3D printer, we recommend you take a look at the categories Best 3D Printer Under $1000, Best 3D Printer Under $500 and Best 3D Printer Under $300. These will give you the best bang for the buck.
If you are already experienced in 3D printing and consider yourself a 3D printing enthusiast, you already have an opinion on the best 3D printer brands and their machines. You need some alternatives, not general advice.
If you are a professional that just wants to get the job done by 3D printing, you don’t care too much about brands. You need your prototype without having to tweak confusing settings. You need a 3D printer; one that works out of the box, that gives you hassle-free and reliable results. Also, the materials you can print with matter to you.
To properly test the various 3D printers we receive for review, we have a baseline selection of objects to fabricate.
First and foremost is 3DBenchy, the jolly 3D printing torture test. It’s specifically designed to be a calibration model — while also being cute as hell — and our workshop is drowning in them. Secondly we print another torture test called the Kickstarter Autodesk test. Thirdly is a freely chosen STL file by the reviewer.
Taken together, these three objects cover just about everything that a 3D printer is required to do effectively; sloping surfaces, dimensional accuracy, bridging, overhangs, supports, fine details, and more. If a printer fails to passably print any one of these objects, then it’s unlikely to rank as a best 3D printer.
After that, we will print more objects that specifically address the individual capabilities of the machine. If we have a large-volume printer, for example, we’ll be printing a — surprise — very large object. If it’s an SLA printer, then we’ll make fine detail models to take advantage of this particular production technique.
Other points of consideration for a best 3D printer; ease-of-use, supporting software, and repair options. If something goes wrong, how easy is it to fix the machine? Does the documentation or customer service provide adequate information? Does the software suite have regular update cycles?
We strive to answer all these questions and more in our quest to find the best 3D printer for you.
Also, All3DP is an editorially independent publication. Reviews and other editorial pieces are strictly unbiased and are not for sale. Every recommendation you read here is the result of countless hours printing, tinkering, and research.
When choosing your best 3D printer, you run into terminology that may be confusing. Here are explanations the most important terms.
License: The text of "2020 Best 3D Printers" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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