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10 Best 3D Printers in Spring 2017 – Buyer’s Guide & Reviews

best 3D printer

Looking for a buyer’s guide to the best 3D printer in Spring 2017? Here’s the latest quality rankings from 3D Hubs, plus 3D printer reviews.

Don’t miss: 25 Best-Selling 3D Printers of the Month at Amazon

One of the leading lights of the 3D printing industry, 3D Hubs is an international 3D printing network with a registered user base spanning 6,900 3D printing services in 150 countries. The way it works is that you upload a 3D design, choose a material, and then choose a local 3D printing service.

End users are frequently invited to review the quality of the prints they have received. Collating this data every three months, 3D Hubs compiles a list of the best 3D printers available today.

These are the 10 best 3D printers according to the latest trend report from 3D Hubs. Their rankings only include machines that have received more than 200 ratings, so newer machines take a while to appear.

Please note is that the term “best” does not refer to 3D printers with the highest print resolution and whizz-bang features. It’s about the highest quality output, according to customer satisfaction. This is a subtle but important distinction.

We’ve also added some suggestions for best 3D printer alternatives, so you can find more ideas for machines not taken into account by the trend report.

Related: More research on which is the best 3D printer for you? Take a gander at the following categories.

10 Best 3D Printers in Spring 2017 – Buying Guide & Reviews

3D Printer Tech Build Volume (mm) Print Quality Ratings Category Price ($) Check Price
Original Prusa i3 MK2 FDM 250 x 210 x 200 4.87 500 Enthusiast 699
BCN3D SIGMA FDM 210 x 297 x 210 4.85 384 Enthusiast 2800 available at amazon
Form 2 SLA 145 × 145 × 175 4.83 1733 Resin 3500
PowerSpec 3D Pro FDM 145 x 226 x 150 4.82 321 Budget 1000
ORD Bot Hadron FDM 190 x 190 x 150 4.8 260 Kit 700
Zortrax M200 FDM 200 x 200 x 185 4.8 2715 Plug N Play 1850 available at amazon
Kossel FDM 260 x 260 x 275 4.79 495 Kit 650
LulzBot Mini FDM 152 x 152 x 158 4.79 518 Plug N Play 1250 available at amazon
FlashForge Creator Pro FDM 145 x 225 x 150 4.78 3005 Enthusiast 900 available at amazon
CEL Robox FDM 150 x 210 x 100 4.78 648 Plug N Play 1300 available at amazon

#1 Best 3D Printer 2017: Original Prusa i3 MK2

best 3D printer 2016

The Prusa i3 is a proven 3D printer design with a huge international user base. But because of its open source nature, there are a great many clones of varying quality. So it’s reassuring to see the Original Prusa i3 MK2 sitting pretty as the best 3D printer you can buy in 2017. This new unit was engineered by Josef Průša himself, and if you purchase one you’re helping to support its continued development.

Topline features of the Original Prusa i3 MK2 are a new MK42 heatbed, a PEI print surface, integrated leadscrew Z axis, full mesh bed auto-leveling, improved construction, faster printing and more materials with an E3D V6 hotend, plus improved firmware and printer self-test. And in keeping with its noble RepRap heritage, a substantial portion of this 3D printer’s components have been fabricated in sturdy ABS plastic.

Best 3D Printer Review: Original Prusa i3 MK2 Review: It Doesn't Get Any Better

“So let’s recap. The Original Joseph Prusa i3 MK2 is a €739 or $845.79 kit or an €999 or $1,087.79 assembled machine that punches way, way above its weight class. While it’s not your super-streamlined mainstream design 3D printer, it easily outperforms those with a form-follows-function approach, brings many innovative and actually useful features to the table and print like a champ.

Again, the Original Prusa i3 MK2 has the best and most consistent print quality – even straight out of the box with zero tuning – of any filament-based 3D printer I’ve ever seen. It’s literally got everything I’m looking for in a 3D printer right now. From now on, it will be my new benchmark which other printers will have to measure against when it comes to ease of use, features, and raw print quality.”

Best 3D Printer Features: Original Prusa i3 MK2

  • Technology: FDM
  • Material: PLA, ABS, PET, HIPS, Exotics
  • Build Volume: 250 x 210 x 200 mm
  • Min Layer Height: 50 microns
  • Extruder Head: 1
  • Open Source: Hardware & Software
  • Compatible with 3rd Party Material: Yes
  • Heated Platform: Yes
  • Filament Diameter: 1.75mm
  • Onboard Control Panel: Yes
  • Connectivity: USB, SD card

Best 3D Printer Price Check: Original Prusa i3 MK2 at Prusa Research

Best 3D Printer Alternatives: Because the price-to-value ratio of the Original Prusa i3 MK2 is so spectacular, the company is overwhelmed with demand. There’s currently a two-month backlog from purchase to shipping. This is the best 3D printer you can buy right now, so it’s worth the wait. But if there’s a pressing need then there are other FFF machines based on the open source template of the Prusa i3. A solid alternative would be the Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus, a clone which is also marketed as the Monoprice Maker Select Plus in the US.

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#2 Best 3D Printer 2017: BCN3D Sigma

bcn3d sigma verdict

Dual extrusion doesn’t have to be a pain in the ass. That’s the starting proposition with the BCN3D Sigma, and with the IDEX (Independent Dual Extruder) system it admirably proves its point. But the BCN3D Sigma also works exceedingly well as a single extrusion fused filament fabrication (FFF) 3D printer, providing quality prints that are frankly spectacular. The build space is generous, the operation is simple, and the industrial design is unique.

Minor niggles are that it doesn’t have wireless connectivity; the firmware has a few teething troubles, and frugal makers may be troubled by the waste product generated by dual extrusion. But these are trivial in comparison to the versatility and performance of the BCN3D Sigma. This is the best 3D printer we have used to date.

Best 3D Printer Review: BCN3D Sigma Review: A Fantastic 3D Printer

“The BCN3D Sigma is a large, semi open-frame 3D printer that’s geared for use primarily by hobbyists and professionals. It has an easy setup that’s comparable to the Ultimaker 2 series, which makes it a good fit for a general audience.

The Sigma can print large objects with reasonable detail, and small objects with intricate detail, and in both cases proved reliable in our testing. The switch between single and dual extrusion is seamless, and the IDEX system is a fantastic innovation by the open source community. Expect to see it adopted by other manufacturers in the near future.”

Best 3D Printer Features: BCN3D Sigma

  • Technology: FDM
  • Material: PLA, ABS, PET, HIPS, Exotics
  • Build Volume: 210 x 297 x 210 mm
  • Min Layer Height: 50 microns
  • Max Layer Height: 300 microns
  • Extruder Head: 2
  • XY Precision: 125 microns
  • Open Source: Hardware & Software
  • Compatible with 3rd Party Material: Yes
  • Heated Platform: Yes
  • Filament Diameter: 3.00
  • Onboard Control Panel: Yes
  • Connectivity: USB, SD card

Best 3D Printer Price Check: BCN3D SIGMA Price at AmazonBCN3D Sigma available at Amazon

Best 3D Printer Alternatives: Dual extrusion FFF machines are a small category, but there are two excellent alternatives to consider. First, there is the recently released Ultimaker 3, a machine which is also open source and has superb customer service and support. Secondly, there is the CEL RoboxDual, a small, compact unit which forgoes open source solutions in favor of user-friendliness and functionality (and based on our review, we think it’s a major contender for best 3D printer in 2017). But neither has the benefit of independent dual extrusion as pioneered by the BCN3D Sigma.

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#3 Best 3D Printer 2017: Formlabs Form 2

formlabs

The Formlabs Form 2 has the distinction of being the only stereolithography (SLA) 3D printer on this chart. In those terms, it’s the very best 3D printer in its category and price bracket. SLA works by curing resin in a tank with a high powered laser that draws each layer, providing solid objects with exceptional levels of detail.

This premium device is equipped with a peeling mechanism, a heated tank, a touchscreen display, wireless controls, and an automated resin system. It also has some cleverly designed software to make fabricating models as painless as possible, and the customer support is well established. Printed objects will require some post-processing, however, and the resin tanks are consumable components that must be replaced regularly.

Best 3D Printer Review: Formlabs Form 2 Review: The SLA 3D Printer Benchmark

“If you’re looking for a reliable, professional, high-quality SLA 3D printer, look no further. The Formlabs Form 2 is a workhorse that delivers stunning results.

This high-class SLA 3D printer isn’t aimed at the regular consumer who wants to dabble in 3D printing. It’s for people who have a clear use case and a budget — so we’re talking about semi-professional and professional users.

However, this SLA 3D printer is an excellent machine for prototyping. The Formlabs Form 2 can be a valuable addition to an engineer’s office, a dental lab or a jewelry designer — it really does turn your ideas into reality. It even can be used to manufacture (very) small batches.”

Best 3D Printer Features: Formlabs Form 2

  • Technology: SLA
  • Material: Resin
  • Build Volume: 145 x 145 x 175 mm
  • Min Layer Height: 25 microns
  • Max Layer Height: 100 microns
  • Open Source: No
  • Compatible with 3rd Party Material: Yes
  • Heated Platform: Yes
  • Onboard Control Panel: Yes
  • Connectivity: USB, Wifi, Ethernet

Best 3D Printer Price Check: Formlabs Form 2 at Formlabs

Best 3D Printer Alternatives: If you’re after a desktop SLA printer, there really is no better alternative to the Form 2. But for the sake of balance, let’s widen our scope to include DLP (digital light processing) printers. These are similar to SLA but for a crucial point of difference; they use light to project a complete layer of the object for curing in resin. The best 3D printer in the DLP category is either the Autodesk Ember or the MoonRay S, and they are worthy of further investigation.

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#4 Best 3D Printer 2017: PowerSpec 3D Pro

Best 3D printers in 2016: PowerSpec 3D Pro

The PowerSpec 3D Pro is a low-budget 3D printer, made in China, which bears a close resemblance to the first generation Makerbot Replicator 2X. The machine is capable of dual extrusion, and its high speed and reliability make it one of the best 3D printers on the market. But the flip-side is that the design of the PowerSpec Pro is rather ancient in technology terms, which may be an issue if you want to stay up to date with the latest innovations.

Best 3D Printer Features: PowerSpec 3D Pro

  • Technology: FDM
  • Material: ABS, PLA, PVA
  • Build Volume: 226 x 145 x 150 mm
  • Min Layer Height: 100 microns
  • Max Layer Height: 300 microns
  • Extruder Head: 2
  • XY Precision: 11 microns
  • Open Source: Hardware & software
  • Compatible with 3rd Party Material: Yes
  • Heated Platform: No
  • Filament Diameter: 1.75mm
  • Onboard Control Panel: Yes
  • Connectivity: SD card

Best 3D Printer Price Check: PowerSpec 3D Pro at Powerspec

Best 3D Printer Alternatives: If it’s a dual extrusion open source printer that you’re after AND you’re on a tight budget, then the best 3D printer here would be the new and improved PowerSpec 3D Pro 2. It’s around $200 more expensive, and the key difference in the specs is that it has a heated build plate.

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#5 Best 3D Printer 2017: OrdBot Hadron

best 3d printer 2016

The OrdBot Hadron is an open source 3D printing platform built around Makerslide aluminum rails, with bearing surfaces molded into each side. This improves frame stiffness, mechanical reliability, and print speed, but with a marginal increase in cost. The RAMPS 1.4 board also means it’s possible to upgrade the OrdBot with a second extruder or connect an SD port, LCD screen, servo motors, and more. This is the best 3D printer for serious enthusiasts who are not afraid to tinker.

Best 3D Printer Features: OrdBot Hadron

  • Technology: FDM
  • Materials: ABS, PLA
  • Build Volume: 190 x 190 x 150 mm
  • Min Layer Height: 100 microns
  • Extruder Head: 1
  • Printing Speed: 400 mm/s
  • Open Source: Hardware & software
  • Compatible with 3rd Party Material: Yes
  • Heated Platform: Yes
  • Filament Diameter: 1.75mm
  • Onboard Control Panel: No
  • Connectivity: USB

Best 3D Printer Price Check: OrdBot Hadron at RepRap France

Best 3D Printer Alternatives: There isn’t one. This appears to be the only FFF machine that makes use of MakerSlide beams. Perhaps the open source community will adopt this design as a template for new machines in the future, but currently the OrdBot Hadron is completely and utterly unique. That makes it the best 3D printer in a field of one.

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#6 Best 3D Printer 2017: Zortrax M200

best 3d printer

Zortrax is one of the enduring successes of the desktop 3D printing revolution, and justifiably so. Constructed from sturdy aluminum, the Zortrax M200 can print out of the box with very little setup, and it produces reliable and consistent results.

The Zortrax M200 has automated bed leveling, which makes calibration precise and simple, and a build area with a perforated platform to mitigate warping. This bed is a key feature and makes it the best 3D printer for working with ABS material. There’s also a growing range of additional materials from Zortrax providing different mechanical properties, plus optional perspex panels to enclose the build space and provide additional protection from atmospheric changes.

Best 3D Printer Review: Zortrax M200 Review: Easy to Use, Great Quality

“Our impression of the Zortrax M200 was altogether very positive. This Polish startup has done an excellent job. Assembly, operation and implementation are user-friendly and an appealing solution for all types of users. After running the test once, we found the printing results consistently good. Minor shortcomings: no USB cable, no side covers and heating and calibration take quite a while. However, these are not big issues, especially considering what it has to offer: The M200 is very close to being plug and play. If you’re looking for a good ABS printer, this would be a very good choice.”

Best 3D Printer Features: Zortrax M200

  • Technology: FDM
  • Material: ABS, HIPS, ULTRAT
  • Build Volume: 200 x 200 x 185 mm
  • Min Layer Height: 90 microns
  • Max Layer Height: 400 microns
  • Extruder Head: 1
  • XY Precision: 1.5 microns
  • Printing Speed: 100 mm/s
  • Open Source: No
  • Compatible with 3rd Party Material: Yes
  • Heated Platform: Yes
  • Filament Diameter: 1.75mm
  • Onboard Control Panel: Yes
  • Connectivity: USB, SD Card

Best 3D Printer Price Check: Zortrax M200 at AmazonZortrax M200 available at Amazon

Best 3D Printer Alternatives: For a very long time, the Zortrax M200 has been the undisputed king of FFF machines for working with ABS filament. But there is a best 3D printer alternative that has recently been released to market, the Wanhao Duplicator 6. This unit borrows design cues from Ultimaker and Zortrax, but utilizes a direct drive extruder and features the all-important perforated print bed for optimal ABS printing. It’s marketed in the US for a very attractive price tag as the Monoprice Maker Select Ultimate.

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#7 Best 3D Printer 2017: Kossel

best 3d printer

This is the only Delta style machine to make a strong showing in the best 3D printer chart. The Kossel is a DIY 3D printer kit from the RepRap stable, and it ships with an auto-leveling build platform and can print at a resolution of 30 microns. Because the project is open source, a multitude of custom upgrades can easily be found online, including a Kapton heated print-bed and an LCD control panel.

Best 3D Printer Features: Kossel

  • Technology: FDM
  • Material: PLA
  • Build Volume: 260 x 260 x 275 mm
  • Min Layer Height: 30 microns
  • Extruder Head: 1
  • Printing Speed: 320 mm/s
  • Open Source: Hardware & Software
  • Compatible with 3rd Party Material: Yes
  • Heated Platform: Optional
  • Onboard Control Panel: Optional
  • Connectivity: USB

Best 3D Printer Price Check: Kossel at RepRap

Best 3D Printer Alternatives: The Delta category of additive manufacturing is not as popular as its Cartesian cousins, and there’s a dwindling band of dependable vendors outside of the open source community. A best 3D printer alternative to the Kossel would be the BCN3DR DIY kit, a more compact machine with a fully metallic hot-end capable of up to 300ºC. It can produce items with a very respectable 50 microns resolution, but like the Kossel it lacks a heated bed so still limited to PLA filaments.

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#8 Best 3D Printer 2017: Lulzbot Mini

lulzbot mini review

The Lulzbot Mini is the smallest FFF 3D printer offered by Aleph Objects, and it’s a great little machine. Sure, it’s only got a six-inch square build volume, but the benefits are that the printing process is much easier when it comes to warping. And the print head can move and accelerate faster, which means it will finish faster, and give you cleaner results on the rim of a part with pointy corners.

Other reasons why it’s considered a “best 3D printer” is its reliability, easy setup, and the lively community surrounding the company. Overall, the Lulzbot Mini is proof positive that an open source philosophy and a great user experience don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Best 3D Printer Review: Lulzbot Mini Review: 3D Printer In-Depth Test

“Aleph Objects isn’t exactly a new player when it comes to 3D printers — in fact, they were already around when the hobbyist 3D printers were still mostly RepRap, as in ‘self-reproducing machines with mostly 3D-printed parts’.

The Lulzbot Mini still carries those genes — which you can clearly see in the fact that there are still custom 3D printed parts in here everywhere aside from standard parts and the frame, and I like that — functionally, they’re not any worse than molded parts, but with these printed parts, you also get the ability to modify them in whichever way you like and just reprint them.

The other thing that Aleph Objects is really big at is being open-source and not only releasing the design files for their products, but also actively supporting the free/libre projects that their (and most other) printers are based on — everything about the Lulzbot printers is open, accessible and free for you or anyone to use and modify.”

Best 3D Printer Features: Lulzbot Mini

  • Technology: FDM
  • Material: ABS, PLA, HIPS, PVA, Exotics
  • Build Volume: 152 x 152 x 158 mm
  • Min Layer Height: 50 microns
  • Max Layer Height: 500 microns
  • Extruder Head: 1
  • Printing Speed: 275 mm/s
  • Open Source: Hardware & Software
  • Compatible with 3rd Party Material: Yes
  • Heated Platform: Yes
  • Filament Diameter: 2.85 mm
  • Onboard Control Panel: No
  • Connectivity: USB

Best 3D Printer Price Check: Lulzbot Mini at AmazonLulzbot Mini available at Amazon

Best 3D Printer Alternatives: Ah, the wonderful Lulzbot Mini. For smart design and the capacity to satisfy the most demanding of 3D printing enthusiasts, this choice is tough to beat. But let’s take a punt on a worthy alternative in the same price bracket, shall we? May we recommend the Ultimaker 2 Go as a best 3D printer alternative? This is another premium mini machine with mature FFF foundations, is open source for hacking, and produces some mighty fine prints. Alas, there’s no heated bed, so the choice of filaments is more limited. But it’s much more portable than the Lulzbot Mini, and it doesn’t require tethering to a PC to operate.

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#9 Best 3D Printer 2017: FlashForge Creator Pro

Best 3D printers in 2016: Flashforge Creator Pro

Manufactured in China, the FlashForge Creator Pro closely resembles the Makerbot Replicator 2X. The 3D printer comes with a metal frame and enclosed chassis. Other features include a platform-leveling system with a metal build plate and guide rod to help with stabilization and durability. With over 3000 reviews, this machine is easily the most popular 3D printer on 3D Hubs. But is it the best 3D printer…? That’s hard to say when the design, feature spec and cost has since been eclipsed by other 3D printers.

Best 3D Printer Features: FlashForge Creator Pro

  • Technology: FDM
  • Materials: ABS, PLA, Exotics
  • Build Volume: 225 x 145 x 150 mm
  • Min Layer Height: 100 microns
  • Max Layer Height: 500 microns
  • Extruder Head: 2
  • XY Precision: 11 microns
  • Printing Speed: 40-100 mm/s
  • Open Source: Hardware & Software
  • Compatible with 3rd Party Material: Yes
  • Heated Platform: Yes
  • Filament Diameter: 1.75
  • Onboard Control Panel: Yes
  • Connectivity: USB, SD Card

Best 3D Printer Price: FlashForge Creator Pro at AmazonFlashForge Creator Pro available at Amazon

Best 3D Printer Alternatives: This is a tough one; the Flashforge Creator Pro has a great many fans with a whopping number of reviews testifying to its best 3D printer status on 3D Hubs. But it’s still an aging machine, and in today’s dynamic market we would hesitate to buy one. So what to do? Well, as with the PowerSpec Pro, we would look to the more recent product in the company range. The Flashforge Dreamer looks like a major step up, with a touchscreen interface and wifi connectivity while still offering dual extruders and an enclosed chamber.

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#10 Best 3D Printer 2017: CEL Robox

cel robox summary

The CEL Robox has a closed build chamber with a heated print-bed and automatic bed-leveling, plus dual nozzles and a proprietary extrusion system for fast printing with consistent quality.

Moreover, the Robox is potentially the best 3D printer for future-proofing, thanks to a set of modular upgrades that can enable more powerful features when you need them. With this eye on continuous development and easy accessibility, it’s a true Plug ‘n’ Play machine.

If you’re looking for an experience that is a whole lot easier than other, more bare-bones 3D printers, then you’re probably going to have a good time with the CEL Robox.

Best 3D Printer Review: CEL Robox Review: A Whole Lot Easier Than Others

“At first sight, the CEL Robox doesn’t look that different from other consumer 3D printers. It’s a medium-sized machine with a 210 x 150 x 100mm or 8 by 6 by 4 inches build space.

The Robox has a black aluminum frame with a few transparent bits and a hinged door on the front, and a spool of filament neatly stowed away in the side of the printer. And this is where the innovations begin.

The filament intended for the Robox comes on what they call ‘SmartReels’, a 600g spool with some re-writable memory that stores the exact type of filament, what printing parameters should be used, and how much of the reel you’ve already used up.

Which means that with all the official SmartReel filament from the Robox ecosystem, you’ll get a nearly plug-and-play experience without having to fiddle with temperature, speed, and cooling settings. That’s all been done for you already.”

Best 3D Printer Features: CEL Robox

  • Technology: FDM
  • Material: PLA, ABS, HIPS, PETG
  • Build Volume: 210 x 150 x 100 mm
  • Min Layer Height: 20 microns
  • Extruder Head: 1, 2 (optional)
  • XY Precision: 7.5 microns
  • Open Source: No
  • Compatible with 3rd Party Material: Yes
  • Heated Platform: Yes
  • Filament Diameter: 1.75 mm
  • Connectivity: USB

Best 3D Printer Price Check: CEL Robox at AmazonCEL Robox available at Amazon

Best 3D Printer Alternatives: The Robox is a unique proposition because it’s a closed source machine with an emphasis on usability and reliability. If you’re shopping around for more of the same, then you may also consider either a new MakerBot Replicator+ or an UP mini 2. They have the same philosophy. But then again, you may also want to consider the new RoboxDual, the next stage of evolution in the compact desktop machine. We’ve reviewed it, and we think it’s a strong candidate for best 3D printer in 2017.

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