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2019 Best 3D Printers (Fall Update)

Matthew Mensley
Sep 26, 2019

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.

All3DP is an editorially independent publication. All product reviews and recommendations are the unbiased opinion of our editorial team, and can not be bought or influenced. To keep All3DP free and open, we finance ourselves through advertising and affiliate revenues. When you purchase using a shopping link on our site we earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
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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 fall 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.

Highlights

Here’s a whistle-stop tour of the highlights this season:

  • Taking the top billing this quarter (again) is the ever-present, effervescent orange RepRap to end all RepRaps, the Original Prusa i3 MK3S.
  • But it’s not all familiar faces. Also drawing our attention is a new entry for best budget resin printer, the ever-elusive (judging by its availability at Amazon) Elegoo Mars — an LCD masking resin printer that offers insane value for money.
  • Standing top of the pile for multi-material printing remains the ultra-premium Ultimaker S5, although the BCN3D Sigma R19 is nipping at its heels as with its extraordinary value proposition and productivity-boosting IDEX system.
  • And not forgetting the Creality Ender 5, which endures as an editor fave and our new pick for those on a budget of $500.

But that’s only part of the picture. Read on for the full breakdown of our most recommended 3D printers this season.

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Overview
CategoryWinnerCheck Price
Best 3D PrinterOriginal Prusa i3 MK3S
Best 3D Printer Under $200Creality Ender 3
Best Budget Resin 3D PrinterElegoo Mars
Best Resin 3D PrinterFormlabs Form 3
Editor's Choice: #1Creality Ender-5
Best Workhorse 3D PrinterTiertime UP300
Best Large Format 3D PrinterRaise3D Pro2 Plus
Best Dual Extruder 3D PrinterUltimaker S5
Editor's Choice: #2Elegoo Mars
Best All-In-One 3D PrinterZMorph VX
Best 3D Printer for BeginnersTiertime UP mini 2 ES
Best 3D Printer Under $300Creality Ender 3 Pro
Editor's Choice: #3BCN3D Sigma R19
Best 3D Printer Under $500Creality Ender 5
Best 3D Printer Under $1,000Original Prusa i3 MK3S
Best 3D Printer for SchoolsRobo C2
Best Kit 3D PrinterOriginal Prusa i3 MK3S
No matching records found.
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Best Overall Original Prusa i3 MK3S Best 3D Printer

Image of Original Prusa i3 MK3S: Best 3D Printer

Original Prusa i3 MK3S

What’s Great
  • Exceptional print quality
  • Advanced calibration and print monitoring
  • Excellent support and involved community

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.

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Best Under $200 Creality Ender 3 Best 3D Printer Under $200

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Creality Ender 3

What’s Great

  • Great bang-to-buck ratio
  • Wide filament compatibility
  • Simple assembly

The Creality Ender 3 is unquestionably the most popular 3D printer right now, and for good reason. With a near-throwaway price tag hovering around $170, it prints remarkably well and, as a side benefit of being insanely popular, every possible problem, query, and question about it have been answered a thousand times over by the enormous community that has coalesced around the printer online.

Since it comes partly assembled, the build process is relatively straightforward and, by nature of its open frame style, is eminently hackable. A very capable starter, or trusty second printer.

Best of the Rest: Under $200

A portable delta 3D printer, the Biqu Magician certainly hides a few tricks up its sleeve. It’s capable of exceptional prints out of the box and, perhaps most important of all, is bags of fun to use.

Similar in looks to our top pick, the Ender 3, the Geeetech A10 offers a larger build plate with a special adhesive coating. It’s very much like the Ender 3, but the community support is nowhere near as prominent.

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Best Budget Resin Elegoo Mars Best Budget Resin 3D Printer

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Elegoo Mars

What’s Great?

  • Excellent print quality
  • Minimal setup
  • Simple but effective

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.

Best of the Rest: Budget Resin 3D Printer

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.

A recommendation with caveats, we still look upon the Phrozen Shuffle favorably. The printer is an absolute unit, 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.

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Best Resin Formlabs Form 3 Best Resin 3D Printer

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Formlabs Form 3

What’s Great?

  • Excellent, holistic printer
  • Superb print quality
  • Makes printing trivial (in the best possible way)

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.

Best of the Rest: Resin 3D Printer

Not strictly a budget pick, but the Phrozen Shuffle XL fully justifies its premium price with a massive build volume, rock-solid build and overly capable motion system. Large resin prints are a cinch, though we will say the software/firmware is a bit finicky.
The original budget laser SLA printer, the Peopoly Moai offers an instructional experience, with deep access to laser control and other aspects of the SLA printing process. The kit version, while also being cheaper, assembles in no time at all, and gives a good look at the nuts and bolts of SLA in the process. The Peopoly Moai 130 is all this, plus a handful of usability enhancing hardware add-ons.

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Creality Ender-5 Editor's Choice: #1

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Creality Ender 5

What’s Great?

  • Reasonably priced
  • Consistently great PLA print quality
  • Hackable and upgradeable

As of autumn 2019, the Ender 5 is — without a doubt —  the crown jewel of Creality’s Ender series. The brains at Creality have ironed out many of the weaknesses of the Ender 3 (such as the ultra-narrow frame), included a magnetic print bed and updated the extruder system to be compatible with more exotic filaments.

Once properly set up, the machine was surprisingly pleasant to use. The PLA print quality was outstandingly good. Without a doubt, the Ender 5 is an interesting and affordable tool for makers, hobbyists, tinkerers — those that are willing to spend some time with it.

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Best Workhorse Tiertime UP300 Best Workhorse 3D Printer

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Tiertime UP300

What’s Great?

  • Solid all-round printing performance
  • Fully-enclosed print chamber
  • Thoughtful quality-of-life extras

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.

Best of the Rest: Workhorse 3D Printer

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.

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Best Large Format Raise3D Pro2 Plus Best Large Format 3D Printer

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Raise3D Pro2 Plus

What’s Great?

  • Strong software with a professional workflow
  • Fully enclosed print volume
  • Consistent high-quality prints

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.

Best of the Rest: Large Format 3D Printer

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.

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Best Dual Extruder Ultimaker S5 Best Dual Extruder 3D Printer

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Ultimaker S5

What’s Great?

  • Extremely easy to set up and use
  • Exceptional print quality through hot-swappable print cores
  • Well developed networking capability

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

Best of the Rest: Dual Extruder 3D Printer

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.

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Elegoo Mars Editor's Choice: #2

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Elegoo Mars

What’s Great?

  • Effortless setup
  • Reliable performance
  • Tiny price tag

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.

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Best All-in-One ZMorph VX Best All-In-One 3D Printer

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ZMorph VX

What’s Great?

  • Stellar build quality and rigidity
  • Software harmonizes different production techniques well
  • Idiot-proof tool changing

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 it’s 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.

Best of the Rest: All-in-One 3D Printer

Offering three production functions in on compact package, the Snapmaker is an excellent budget alternative to the VX. Swapping tool heads is a simple case of replacing four screws, and the provided software offers enough functionality to let your projects shine.

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Best for Beginners Tiertime UP mini 2 ES Best 3D Printer for Beginners

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Tiertime UP mini 2 ES

What’s Great?

  • Safe, enclosed design
  • Fantastic print quality
  • Easy to set up and whittle off prints

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.

Best of the Rest: Beginner 3D Printer

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.

Our budgetiest pick for beginners, the Creality Ender 3 Pro, offers the most one could want in a first 3D printer. It prints well, is relatively frustration-free in operation, and has somewhat exotic features for its price, such as a magnetic removable print bed. Know that this is a partially assembled kit printer though, so expect to spend a chunk of time building, and even more fine-tuning.

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Best Under $300 Creality Ender 3 Pro Best 3D Printer Under $300

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Creality Ender 3 Pro

What’s Great?

  • Easy assembly
  • Wide filament compatibility
  • High-quality prints

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.

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 mid-budget printer for go-getters.

Best of the Rest: Under $300

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.

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.

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BCN3D Sigma R19 Editor's Choice: #3

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BCN3D Sigma R19

What’s Great?

  • IDEX system boosts productivity
  • Simple maintenance
  • Exceptional out-of-the-box print performance

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.

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Best Under $500 Creality Ender 5 Best 3D Printer Under $500

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Creality Ender 5

What’s Great?

  • It’s easy to build and set running
  • It prints fast
  • Reliable results

You can’t begrudge Creality for offering 3D printers across the spectrum of budget price points. Sitting squarely in the upper-budget range of under $500, the Creality Ender 5 is a winning choice that blends build quality, performance, and speed.

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, but with a price drop putting the Ender 5 much closer to $300 than $500, it’s a no brainer. Especially keeping in mind the wealth of quality of life features the Ender 5 offers, including a magnetic removable print bed, and brand power supply.

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.

Best of the Rest: Under $500

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 it’s 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.

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Best Under $1,000 Original Prusa i3 MK3S Best 3D Printer Under $1,000

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Original Prusa i3 MK3S

What’s Great?

  • Exceptional print quality
  • Advanced calibration and print monitoring
  • Excellent support and involved community

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.

Best of the Rest: Under $1,000

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.

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Best for Schools Robo C2 Best 3D Printer for Schools

Image of Robo C2: Best 3D Printer for Schools

Robo C2

What’s Great?

  • Robust networkability
  • Compact design
  • Backed by MyStemKits curriculum

Robo’s C2 balances affordability with capability, with the company’s recent acquisition of MyStemKits offering educators a robust curriculum to accompany the machine. Overall it makes for a solid package suited to the classroom.

Wide connectivity lets it drop into a variety of class infrastructures, it’s pretty compact, and prints PLA well. A number of sensors and features mitigate the potential for disruption – such as filament out detection, swappable (non-heating) build plates and automatic bed leveling, to name but a few.

Best of the Rest: 3D Printer for School

Another printer on this list to feature classroom-friendly features in a 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. 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.

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Best Kit Original Prusa i3 MK3S Best Kit 3D Printer

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Original Prusa i3 MK3S

What’s Great?

  • Complex printer, simple build
  • Excellent instructions
  • Gummy bear ‘bribe’

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.

Best of the Rest: 3D Printer Kit

A Prusa i3 style printer that you may not know much about, the Beeverycreative B2X300 is 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.

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How to Select the Best 3D Printer for Your Needs

How to buy the best 3D printer

Selecting the best 3D printer for your needs is not an easy task. We want to make the process it a little bit easier.

Finding the Best 3D Printer for Beginners

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 $200Best 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.

Finding the Best 3D Printer for Makers

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.

Finding the Best 3D Printer for Enthusiasts

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.

The categories Best 3D Printer, Best 3D Printer Under $500, Best 3D Printer Under $1000, Best 3D Printer Kit, Best Workhorse 3D Printer and Editor’s Choice are most likely to meet your needs.

The Best 3D Printers for Professional Use

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.

If you feel you belong in this category, please check the Best 3D Printer and Best Workhorse 3D Printer. If you need high-quality details, you should also check the Best Resin 3D Printer.

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How We Test

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.

Part of our business model is to affiliate product links through which we receive a commission. For more details, please check out our Terms of Use.

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Glossary of Terms

When choosing your best 3D printer, you run into terminology that may be confusing. Here are explanations the most important terms.

  • ABS: Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, otherwise known as ABS, is a thermoplastic commonly used as the build material or ‘filament’ in FDM printers. It’s fairly strong, but it’s also a bit tricky to work with (and can give off nasty odors when melted).
  • FDM: Fused deposition modeling, otherwise known as FDM, is a 3D printing process that extrudes heated thermoplastic material through a computer-controlled nozzle to build an object layer by layer. FDM is actually a trademarked term, which led to the RepRap open-source community to coin the alternative term “fused filament fabrication” (FFF), but the two are interchangeable.
  • Filament: Filament is the base material that’s used to 3D print objects via FDM. Filament is usually a thermoplastic — such as ABS or PLA — that’s fed to a print head as a solid, then heated to melting point for extrusion through a small nozzle. Filament is commonly available in spools of either 1.75mm and 3 mm diameter widths.
  • G-Code: G-code is the language used to instruct your 3D printer to perform operations. In common usage, this is almost exclusively generated by software and is not written by hand. G-codes control specific actions like motion, speed, rotation, depth, and other related switches and sensors used in the operation of a machine.
  • Heated bed: This is a build plate which is heated so that the few layers of extruded plastic are prevented from cooling too quickly and then warping. A heated bed is essential for working with ABS  or PETG materials, but not so much with PLA.
  • Hot end: This is the heated nozzle that molten plastic filament is extruded through in an FDM/FFF printer.
  • PLA: Polylactic Acid, otherwise known as PLA, is a bio-degradable plastic that’s used as the build material or ‘filament’ in FDM printers. This material is easier to work with than ABS, and the smell is not so unpleasant, but the trade-off is that PLA is structurally more brittle.
  • SLA: Stereolithography is a 3D printing technology that works via a process called vat photopolymerization. Objects are built in layers using a Stereolithographic Apparatus, or SLA for short. This works using a laser beam to trace out and solidify each successive layer of an object on the surface (or base) of a vat of liquid photopolymer.
  • Slicer: 3D printing works by building an object layer by layer. A slicer is the software package used to divide a 3D model into flat layers, which are then printed one at a time. The output of a slicer is G-code that controls the path, speed, and temperature of the printer. Slicer software packages are available in both open-source and proprietary programmes, and they’re an essential tool for successful 3D printing.
  • SLS: Selective Laser Sintering, or SLS for short, is a technology commonly employed by 3D printing services for metallic objects. SLS is a powder bed fusion 3D printing technique that uses a laser to selectively fuse — or sinter — together with the granules of successive layers of powder.
  • STL: STL is the most popular file format for 3D printing. The STL file format represents a 3D object by describing the surface as a series of triangles. Strangely enough, information about what the letters STL actually stand for has been lost to the mists of time. Backronyms posited as an answer include ‘standard tessellation language’ and ‘standard triangle language’.

License: The text of "2019 Best 3D Printers (Fall Update)" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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