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|
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 (Winter Update)" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.