With a 3D printer in your home or office, you have the key to unlock a world of creative possibilities.
A 3D printer enables users to create various objects, design concepts, replacement parts, and even tools in a relatively easy and inexpensive manner. Entry-level models offer a great entry into the engineering realm for kids and students. More advanced offerings on the other hand, can speed up the development process of products by easily churning out prototypes and parts.
Best 3D Printers
Best for Beginners: Monoprice Voxel 3D Printer
Best for Experienced Enthusiasts: Dremel DigiLab 3D45 3D Printer
Best Budget: Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer V2
Best for Kids: 3Doodler Start 3D Printing Pen
Largest Build Volume: MakerBot Replicator + 3D Printer
Most 3D printers come with their own software for creating and uploading models. There are plenty of sources online with model files, so it’s easy to get started.
There are several important bits to consider when shopping for a 3D printer — build volume, filament options, and layer resolution. Build volume typically measures in inches or cubic inches. The larger it is, the bigger objects you can create.
There are two major types of filament options for 3D printers — PLA and ABS. The former is essentially biodegradable plastic, so it’s more commonly used. ABS filament is made of much tougher plastic that’s more widely used in manufacturing processes. Most printers in this roundup do only work with various PLA filaments.
Layer resolution is typically measured in microns. Lower micron number results in higher layer resolution. The higher the latter is, the more detailed objects the 3D printer can create.
Now that you know the basics, you can shop the best 3D printers on the market today.
BEST FOR BEGINNERS: FlashForge 3D Printer Creator Pro
FlashForge’s 3D printer is ideal for beginners, because it has a cool design, a rich set of features, a reliable printing performance, and intuitive controls at a reasonable price point. A Tom’s Guide review editor also praised the product for “delivering a lot of features, high print quality and fast printing for a decent price.”
The 3D printer has a versatile build-area that measures about eight inches. It has a print range between 100 and 500 microns, a removable build plate with auto leveling, an easy-to-replace nozzle, and a built-in color touchscreen. Wi-Fi connectivity and a built-in HD camera are also on board, allowing users to closely monitor the printing process.
We are really impressed that the FlashForge can work with multiple filament types. In addition to ABS and PLA, they include wood fill and copper fill, among others. There’s even a built-in filament sensor.
BEST FOR EXPERIENCED ENTHUSIASTS: ANYCUBIC Mega Pro 3D Printer
Mega Pro is both a 3D printer and a laser engraver. It can print items as thin as 0.4mm, but it’s fast — up to 100mm per second. The motor runs smooth and quietly, and if it happens to get shut off in the middle of a job it will automatically continue the printing instructions once you turn it back on.
BEST BUDGET: Official Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D Printer
Priced around $200, the Monoprice Select Mini 3D V2 printer is our favorite option for buyers on a tight budget. It has the ability to print layers as thin as 100 microns. The device can work with both ABS and PLA filaments — a rarity among budget 3D printers.
This pick also features a heated print bed, Wi-Fi connectivity, an SD card slot, and a convenient LCD display. We like that, unlike some of its similarly priced rivals, the product ships fully assembled and calibrated, allowing buyers to get started immediately.
BEST FOR KIDS: 3Doodler PRO+ 3D Printing Pen
As its name suggests, the 3Doodler Start 3D pen allows you or your child to add a whole new dimension to sketches. It extrudes low-heat plastic that hardens almost instantly so you can draw out of thin air.
Fun and intuitive to use, the pen doesn’t have any hot spots where you could get burned, either. The kit comes bundled with 15 strands of filament and an activity guide.
LARGEST BUILD VOLUME: MakerBot Replicator + 3D Printer
The Makerbot Replicator+ 3D printer has a build volume of 11.6 by 7.6 by 6.5 inches, which is the largest on this list. Such a capacity makes the product an excellent option for creating large objects.
Makerbot’s pricey offering is also fast and jam-packed with features. They include a native support for CAD files, touchscreen interface and Wi-Fi connectivity, a built-in camera, as well as the ability to arrange multiple build plates.
The Replicator+ works with an ultra tough PLA filament, so it’s well-suited for creating prototypes.