Best 3D Printer Picks for 2017 – Entry Level to Advanced

Welcome to our extensive guide on the top FDM 3D printer picks of 2017. Here you’ll find overviews for the best machines around at the time of writing. We’ve ranked them for their outstanding features within their given price range.


How We Rank These 3D Printers

We base our top 3D printer picks on the following conditions:

  1. Consumer reviews
  2. Expert opinions
  3. Personal reviews of certain products

3D printers and printing technology is forever evolving. Because of this, we’ll update our guide on occasions to reflect any changes. If you’re a novice looking for your first ever 3D printer, this guide is for you. If you’re a veteran who simply wants to keep up to date with the latest machines, this guide is for you too. If you fit somewhere between the two, keep reading.

The Price Range

3D printers are no different to any other technology in that you get what you pay for. But not everyone who wants to print in 3D needs all the bells and whistles of costlier machines. Therefore, price is not simply about budget, it’s also about needs and expectations.

Our reviewed FDM printers fit into the following price ranges:

Defining FDM 3D Printers

FDM stands for Fused Deposition Modeling. The technology is filament-based and relies on temperature-controlled heads to print. The 3D printer heads extrude thermoplastic materials straight onto the print bed, one layer at a time. Some 3D parts need water-soluble support structures (materials) during the printing process. These materials are easy to remove after the build.

The great thing about FDM is that it’s able to build 3D parts in just about any geometry. This is why a lot of private users and wide-ranging industries use the technology. You can find FDM prototypes and parts in aerospace, automotive industries, and many others. In short, FDM printers and filaments produce highly accurate, functional parts that are both durable and stable.

OK, let’s begin to look at the top 3D printer picks of 2017. We’ll start with the budget-end machines first, and then work our way up to the crème de la crème in high-end printers.

Best 3D Printers for Under $400

Working on a tight budget doesn’t have to mean settling for sub-standard 3D printers. There are a few great budget-end models that are more than satisfactory within this price range. Even if you have money to spare, it’s always a good idea to begin with an entry-level machine, and here’s why:

  1. You can invest in a kit and build your own 3D printer
  2. These machines can be stubborn to work with (that’s an advantage by the way)

Now you may be wondering why the two points above are advantages? The answer is simple. There’s no better way to learn about the technology than to build your own 3D printer from the ground up. And the second point means you have to sharpen your game if you’re to create impressive 3D parts. In other words, training on an entry-level machine is the perfect way to build knowledge and develop skills. Seriously, you will become a better 3D manufacturer as a result of the above learning curve.

Our 3D printers in this section are great value for money machines. Each of our picks here will provide you with a fun and invaluable experience.

#1 HICTOP Auto Leveling 3D Desktop Printer

Editor’s Rating: 3.8/5

hictop-auto-leveling-printer

This 3D printer comes in kit form and will give you a lot of bang for your buck. To begin with, it has an impressive build volume of 11″ x 8″ x 8. To put that into some perspective, this is equal to what you would find in printers over the $1000 price range. Printing is also more convenient, thanks to the HICTOP Desktop’s auto bed-leveling feature. This is useful because it saves you time by not having to mess around with screws and springs on the print bed. Auto bed-leveling also ensures your 3D printed parts are easier to produce and turn out better. Another special feature of this machine is its ability to print in specialty filaments. Some of these include materials like High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) dissolvable filament, and also nylon and wood materials.

Who is this the HICTOP Auto Leveling 3D Desktop printer for?

This 3D Printer is ideal for anyone who wants to learn about 3D printing from the ground up. It’s also a great choice within the budget price range. At the time of writing, this is the best price-to-performance model available on the market.

How easy is this printer to use?

This machine comes as a kit, which means the user has to assemble it. Building this 3D printer from scratch is not difficult for anyone who’s enthusiastic about learning the technology. It can take a while to configure and fine-tune any 3D printer in kit form, but that’s half the fun for enthusiasts. It also requires more maintenance than a pre-built machine, but again, it’s all part of the learning process.

What are the key attractions?

One of the key features of the HICTOP Auto Leveling machine is its control board. This supports a dual extruder which means no upgrade is necessary. The machine’s improved parts also make printing with this model more accurate and stable. The maximum printing size of 10.6″ x 7.9″ x 7.7″ gives the user more options to produce larger models. The auto-levelling feature does away with the need to manually measure and adjust the print nozzle to hotbed. This auto-levelling is yet another great feature that helps to save time and improve accuracy. And finally, this printer supports a whole range of interesting filaments, allowing the user more freedom to be creative

Tech SpecsThe Pros The Cons
Resolution: 100 microns

Volume: 11″ x 8″ x 8″

Filament: 1.75mm

Type: ABS/PLA

Weight: 16lbs.

Connect: USB/SD card

Quality 3D printer for under $500

Affordability

Tools included for printer assembly

Auto bed-leveling

Online YouTube tutorials available

The instruction manual could be better written

Extra tools needed for assembly (tape measure, wire strippers)

Kit form, which means it’s not ideal for all users

Price check for HICTOP Desktop 3D Printer Kit

#2 XYZprinting Da Vinci 1.0

Editor’s Rating: 4.0/5

xyz-da-vinci-1

From an aesthetics point of view, the Da Vinci 1.0 is a surefire winner for home users. But there’s a lot more to like than just good looks. It has a nice enclosed print space, yet still sports a good sized print area for the price. If printer assembly is not your thing, then this machine should definitely be on your shortlist. There’s also a choice of two colors, blue or gray.

In 2014, The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Editor’s Choice Award went to the Da Vinci 1.0. The award was for being the most affordable 3D printer in its class. This is without doubt a high-quality machine with impressive build volume and a nice enclosed print area. You won’t find another, capable, ready-to-use machine for this kind of money, at least not yet.

Who is the XYZprinting Da Vinci 1.0 printer for?

The Da Vinci 1.0 is a great entry-level, budget-friendly, plug-n-play machine. It’s a perfect choice for the hobbyists or small businesses. Anyone who doesn’t fancy the idea of building a 3D printer from scratch will want to consider this model. It’s pretty much ready to go straight out of the box. Users who are not yet keen to create their own digital models don’t have to worry either. XYZ Printing has 1000s of designs to choose from, ready to download and print.

How easy is this printer to use?

Although this printer is plug-n-play ready, it’s still necessary to read the instructions before using the machine. There’s a 300g ABS starter filament included to get you going. Both XYZ PLA and ABS are smart filaments. This means the cartridges contain chips to make the job even easier. These chips tell the 3D printer how much print material (filament) is available before the start of any print job. As long as the user follows the printing guidelines, this machine is as easy to use as it gets.

What are the key attractions?

There are plenty of key attractions for the XYZprinting Da Vinci 1.0. The fast print speed of around 150 mm per second is a real pleaser. The large print bed allows users to make printed parts up to 200 x 200 x 200 mm. There’s also a choice to print in the two most popular 3D print materials-ABS and PLA. And the machine’s heated print bed helps to prevent any warping during the print process.

Tech SpecsThe Pros The Cons
Resolution: 100 microns

Volume: 8″ x 8″ x 8″

Filament: 1.75mm

Type: ABS/PLA

Weight: 52lbs.

Connect: SD card/USB

Low price, value for money

Build volume

User-friendly machine

Heated platform

Great build quality for the price

Precision

Material availability

Software

Not open source

Price check for the XYZprinting Da Vinci 1.0

#3 HICTOP Prusa i3

Editor’s Rating: 4.1/5
hictop-prusa-i3

For under $400, the HICTOP Prusa i3 has an impressive build volume. This is yet another of those advantages of 3D printers in kit form. You can choose to use filaments in either 3.0mm or 1.75mm. This newer HICTOP printer also comes complete with a heated build platform. This is not something you would usually expect from a machine at the entry-level price range. Overall, this isn’t the best 3D printer, but it’s certainly has a lot to offer for the price it sells at, hence the recommendation.

Who is the HICTOP Prusa i3 printer for?

This is a great 3D printer kit for anyone looking to learn about the technology and develop their 3D printing skills. It’s also an upgradable model, which some users are happy about further down the line. It’s a great machine for anyone who wants to print bigger parts, thanks to the large print volume 270 x 200 x 170 mm. The HICTOP Prusa i3 is popular with kids too, under supervision of course.

How easy is this printer to use?

Using this printer is easy—building it can be less so. The assembly guide and video (included) are straightforward enough. At least they are for those who have some experience assembling mechanical products. For others, assembly may cause a few headaches and take some considerable time.

What are the key attractions?

There’s an impressive support community for this machine. This is great if you need help or just want to swap ideas with likeminded others. Users can print in both PLA and ABS with the HICTOP 3D printer. Another of its key features is the heated build platform. There’s also a choice to print in 1.75mm and 3.0mm filaments. The build volume of 8″ x 8″ x 8″ is impressive for a product in this price range.

Tech SpecsThe Pros The Cons
Resolution: 100 microns

Volume: 8″ x 8″ x 8″

Filament: 1.75mm

Type: ABS/PLA

Weight: 52lbs.

Connect: SD card/USB

Easy maintenance

Good support community

Material availability

Open source

Affordable price tag

Build quality is not the best

Precision

Assembly be awkward for the novice

Slow printing speed

Printer design

Price check for the HICTOP Prusa i3

#4 Geeetech Delta Rostock Mini G2s

Editor’s Rating: 4.2/5

geeetech-delta-rostock-mini-g2

The dual Geeetech Delta Rostock Mini G2s is another of our self-assembly 3D printer picks. A machine that has dual extruders is not easy to find in the under $500 price range. This reason alone is enough to include the Geeetech Delta Rostock Mini G2s in this guide. Most new users are not ready to print in two colors at the start. Even so, it might be something to consider if you plan to be more creative later on. Not only can you print in two colors, but the Mini G2s has the ability to print in various specialty filaments too. Some of these include wood and nylon.

Who is the Geeetech Delta Rostock Mini G2s printer for?

This is a 3D upgradable printer for the enthusiastic learner who relishes the thought of assembling their own machine. Although touted as an entry-level printer, a bit of prior knowledge and experience will go a long way with this particular model. It’s also a good choice for anyone working on a tight budget. If you want to produce parts in two colors and experiment with different filaments, put the Geeetech Delta Rostock Mini G2s onto your shortlist.

How easy is this printer to use?

Once the user has assembled the machine (manual and video tutorial included), this is a pretty easy device to use and maintain overall. It may take some adjustments to get it to print exactly how the user wants it to, but this is all part of the build and operating experiences of a 3D printer kit.

What are the key attractions?

For the money, the dual extruder is a main attraction for this 3D printer. Having the ability to print in two colors is something that appeals to a lot of enthusiasts. So does printing in specialty filaments like nylon and wood. There’s also an auto-leveling probe with the G2. The benefit of auto-calibration and auto-leveling probe means there’s no manual adjustments necessary before each new printout. The heated bed is another useful feature of this 3D printer. Heat beds help to improve print quality dramatically. They do this by keeping the extruded plastic at a warm temperature, and thus prevent warping. Printing high-precision 3D parts with this machine is quite possible with practice.

Tech SpecsThe Pros The Cons
Resolution: 100 microns

Volume           d: 7″ h: 8″

Filament: 1.75mm

Type: ABS/PLA

Weight: 22lbs.

Connect:   USB/SD Card

Dual filaments for two-color printing

Prints nylon and wood filaments

Revised build (easily outperforms its earlier version)

Not the easiest entry level printer

Assembly can be fiddly

May take a while to adjust settings

Auto-leveling feature not the best

Price check for the Geeetech Delta Rostock Mini G2s

This concludes our top picks for 3D printers in 2017 for the under $400 price range.

BEST 3D PRINTERS ($400-$700)

Next up is our only 3D printer pick in the $400-$700 price range. To be honest, it’s a kind of odd price tag for modern 3D printers. If you’ve read out top picks for the under $400 machines, you will have noticed some impressive features. Those entry level machines, especially the 3D printer kits, offer a lot of bang for your buck. We’ve seen good build volume, dual extruders, specialty filaments, and heated beds. Some of the $400-$700 price range printers don’t bring much more to the table than the under $400 models. To see notable improvements we have to look at the $700 to $1000 3D machines. The reason for this section is because there is one expectation. We’ve decided that the FlashForge Finder is the one product that’s well worth a look for the reasons outlined below.

#1 FlashForge Finder

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

flashforge-finder

The FlashForge Finder is easy on the wallet, user-friendly, and a good choice as a 3D printer for home use in particular. It’s a quiet and safe machine that’s pretty much ready to go right out of the box. Like most new printers, the FlashForge Finder comes with a spool of PLA filament. In general though it is (like all filaments that come with most new 3D printers) is sub-par. The included filament is fine for testing, but you will want to replace it with a better quality filament when it’s time to get serious. Better filaments matter because they result in improved print quality.

For users who need assistance, it is well-known that the company’s email support is outstanding. You may never need it, but it’s nice to know it’s there if you do. The FlashForge Finder used to retail at just under $700, but now it’s around $500, which makes it an even better buy.

Who is the FlashForge Finder printer for?

Home users, teachers, and small businesses will all enjoy this 3D printer. Anyone who wants a robust, reliable, 3D printing machine should consider the FlashForge Finder. It’s even more appealing now that the price has dropped by a few hundred dollars from its debut. It’s the perfect device for those who just want to get on with 3D printing without having to build a machine from kit form.

How easy is this printer to use?

One of the main attractions of this printer for home users and educators is that it’s very user-friendly. There’s no assembly to worry about or complex adjustments to get the parts printing how you want them. This is a quiet operating printer, and the slide-in, slide-out build plate allows for the easy and safe removal of 3D printed objects. All in all, this is about as easy as 3D printing gets.

What are the key attractions?

There are plenty of attractions for the latest FlashForge Finder 3D printer. Its new price is a great start, but there’s more to like than price alone. The 3.5″ color touchscreen has some nice intuitive icons that improve the user experience. The slide-in build plate allows easy access to printed objects. The plastic/alloy construction of this printer makes it nice and sturdy too. This ‘stability’ is something that also helps to produce consistent printed parts. Although there’s no heated build plate, this is not something that a lot of home users will need or miss. Furthermore, a non-heated build plate is also safer, which is a consideration if there are kids and pets around the machine. And finally, this model of 3D printer comes with WiFi, flash drive, and USB connectivity options.

Here are the FlashForge Finder’s tech specs, pros and cons at a glance

Tech SpecsThe Pros The Cons
Resolution: 100 microns

Volume: 6″ x 6″ x 6″

Filament: 1.75mm

Type: PLA

Weight: 35lbs.

Connect: USB/SD card

Works straight out of the box

Super quiet (it’s not much louder than a cooling fan.

Removable build plate

Good print quality and surface finish

Plate auto-levels

WIFI, USB cable and storage

Great after sales support

Clear, color touchscreen display

Manual controls on right of printer

Free easy-to-use software

Smallish build plate

Bed not heated (only prints PLA)

Spool holder smaller than standard


Price check for FlashForge Finder

OK, that’s our only recommendation for 3D printers in the $400-$700 price range. There are others, but they don’t offer much more than the cheaper, entry-level machines (see intro above).

BEST 3D PRINTERS ($700-$1000)

Most people moving on from the budget end of 3D printers and 3D printing technology will probably want to skip the $400-$700 machines. There’s a lot more notable value once you move up to printers in the $750-$1000 price ranges. As the technology and equipment advances, the costs continue to come down. Falling costs is great news for the serious hobbyists, small businesses, and schools, etc. You can view the 3D printers we look at in this section as the lower end of the high-end machines. It’s an area in 3D printing that takes you to a whole new level without breaking the bank in the process.

There are plenty of great printers in this price range, and what model suits you will depend on personal preferences and frequency of use. This review section lists the top six in this category.

#1 UP! Plus 2 – 3D Printer

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5

up-plus-2

The UP! Plus 2 fully-assembled 3D printer is what some refer to as small on size yet big on features. It might not look much at a first glance, but looks can be deceptive. This is a capable, affordable machine that’s easy to use. If you need a bigger build platform, though, you may want to skip this model. If you don’t, then keep reading. With the UP! Plus 2, you don’t have to mess about adjusting the printer and re-calibrating it once it’s set up. The best way to describe this machine is as a workhorse that will do exactly what it promises.

Who is the UP! Plus 2 – 3D Printer for?

The UP! Plus 2 is for anyone who wants a no-nonsense, user-friendly 3D printer that will produce quality parts with a minimum of fuss. There’s a one-year warranty with this model too, which tells you something about the confidence of the manufacturer. A lot of 3D printers have much shorter guarantees. If you’re going to buy a product in this price range and want a decent warranty, consider the UP! Plus 2. And finally, those looking for extra safety features will like this printer’s heat and wind shield that covers the extruder. This might seem like a minor detail, but it’s something that can help to prevent accidental injury.

How easy is this printer to use?

From entry-level to advanced users, this is a really easy printer to setup and use. There are none of the usual headaches that come with some assembled models and 3D printer kits. There are also the auto-level and auto-nozzle height functions that make printing even easier. This automation ensures the printer is always at the correct settings so that it layers the filament without faltering. In most cases, once you’ve uploaded your 3D model to the machine, it’s just a case of hitting the ‘Print’ button.

What are the key attractions?

The UP! Plus 2 is engineered in such a way that it provides reliable functionality and accurate 3D printed parts. Its main selling point is that it’s one of the easiest of all desktop printers to use. Another key feature is the inventive auto-leveling platform calibration and automatic height sensor. There’s also the new and improved 3D print-spooling rate. Add to this the feature-rich software that comes with the UP! Plus 2, and the result is a quality all-round product that offers great value for money.

Tech SpecsThe Pros The Cons
Resolution: 100 microns

Volume: 5″ x 6″ x 6″

Filament: 1.75mm

Type: PLA/ABS

Weight: 11lbs.

Connection: USB

Great build quality

Precision 3D printing

Ease of use (user-friendly at all levels)

Reliability

Heated build platform

Feature-rich software

Material availability

Lack of community support

Not open source

Price check for the UP! Plus 2

#2 The QIDI Tech I

Editor’s Rating: 4.8/5
qidi-tech-i

The first thing to point out about the QIDI Tech I is that it’s pretty much the same machine as the more expensive FlashForge Creator Pro. You can usually find the Tech I for around $300-400 less. These are both excellent 3D printers for under $1000, with the price being the main difference between the two. We’ve included the FlashForge Creator Pro in the next review, so at least you can make an informed decision based on your own preferences. The QIDI Tech I printer has a number of upgrade options for anyone who wants to be more creative. The machine offers a good sized build platform, dual extruders, auto bed-leveling, and a heated build platform as standard. The printing materials for this machine include ABS, PLA, and PVA.

Who is the QIDI Tech I printer for?

The QIDI Tech I is a 3D printer that pleases all, from total beginners to advanced users. This is because it’s consistent at what it prints from the very simple to the more complex 3D parts. One thing a lot of newbies to 3D printing look for is good customer support. A main plus point for the QIDI Tech I is the dependable after-sales support and replacement services it provides for users. Setting up can prove fiddly for total newbies though. But once it’s up and running, this is a reliable and robust machine that gives a lot of pleasure and creative options for those who use it.

How easy is this printer to use?

The hardest part to this 3D printer is getting it up and running. Once configured, there are a lot of great features to make the printing process as painless as possible. The surface of the aviation level aluminum plate will not warp during the heating process, which is a major plus point. The printer’s external metal frame makes it strong and stable, which helps with consistent printing. And the simple to use software allows for easy customization of all 3D models prior to printing.

What are the key attractions?

There’s a lot to like about the QIDI Tech I, the price tag being just one of its plusses. High quality and excellent customer 24 hour support—should you need it—are other attractions. From a technical standpoint, the duel extruder results in improved printing speeds. It also offers bi-color and bi-material printing choices for 3D printed parts. This printer supports the popular ABS and PLA filaments.

Tech SpecsThe Pros The Cons
Resolution: 100 microns

Volume: 9″ x 6″ x 6″

Filament: 1.75mm

Type: ABS/PLA

Weight: 49lbs.

Connect: USB/SD card

Affordable price

100% heat stable aluminum frame

Decent build surface 225x150x150mm

Dual extruders

ABS and PLA compatible

Excellent 24-hour support

Potentially long setup time

Instructions could be clearer

No option for an extended warranty

Price check for the QIDI Tech I

#3 FlashForge Creator Pro

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

flashforge-creator-pro

Most things with ‘Pro’ at the end are an upgrade on the model without it. The FlashForge Creator Pro is no different in this regard. It’s the enhanced version of the FlashForge Creator dual extruder 3D printer. It also bears a pretty close resemblance to the 3D printer ‘MakerBot’s Replicator 2X.’ The main distinctions between the Pro and Basic model is the sturdier metal casing and thicker build plate.

This is a nice capable machine, but it doesn’t have anything worth mentioning that the QIDI Tech I doesn’t offer for a few hundred dollars less (see above). So you may be wondering why the FlashForge Creator Pro has made it onto our top picks. The main reason is because it’s a well-established and tested brand/model. The QIDI is less so. Some people take comfort in this as older brands generally offer more certainty and better customer support.

Who is the FlashForge Creator Pro 3D printer for?

Like the QIDI Tech I above, the FlashForge Creator Pro is a great printer for any level, from beginners to advanced users. It’s ideal for anyone who wants to invest in a trustworthy brand with good support in place. Those who need a user-friendly, powerful 3D printer capable of printing large 228 x 148 x 150mm models should consider Flashforge’s next generation of 3D printer. Ease of use, a high level of precision, and good durability, are other selling points for a machine that enjoys an average 4.5 stars out of user 5-star ratings systems.

How easy is this printer to use?

This is a user-friendly 3D printer, something echoed in the comments of customer reviews. Flashforge have also created their own easy-to-use 3D printer software which they call Flashprint. Flashprint offers a friendly interface that’s easy for beginners to grasp. Here you can prepare, tweak and then send your designs to the Flashforge 3D printer. There are some nice video tutorials too, that show you how to use this simple software program. Users who come across any problems with their printer, print outs, or software can refer to Flashforge Learning Center. There’s also the Community Forum and Support Ticket System to fall back on. The 3D printer, manufacturer’s software, and support options all contribute to making this an easy and trusted 3D system to use.

What are the key attractions?

The key attraction for the FlashForge Creator Pro is that it belongs to a trusted brand. FlashForge have been active in the 3D printing market since 2011. Over this time, they have introduced a whole range of easy-to-use 3D printers to the market. The powerful user-friendly software—FlashPrint—is another popular feature with users. The ease of unboxing the machine and setting it up is something else that people like. This printer is pretty much on a par with the much cheaper QIDI Tech I above. The FlashForge Creator Pro printer, though, has the added benefit of great support and brand recognition for excellence. Technical attractions include a heated bed. There’s also a more compact and refined structural enhancement to the printer chassis.

Tech SpecsThe Pros The Cons
Resolution: 100 microns

Volume: 9″ x 6″ x 6″

Filament: 1.75mm

Type: ABS/PLA

Total weight: 49lbs.

Connect: SD Card/Micro-USB

Good build quality

Reliability

User-friendly

Dual extruder

Value for money

Excellent customer support

Noise level

Connectivity

Voltage setup

Price

Price check for the FlashForge Creator Pro

#4 ROBO 3D R1 Plus 3D Printer

Editor’s Rating: 4.0/5

robo-3d-r1-plus

The ROBO 3D R1 Plus is a big step up from the budget-end printers, but without a huge price increases—at least not in 3D printer terms. After the successful funding of the ROBO 3D Kickstarter campaign back in February 2013, this brand has gone from strength to strength. Just a few years on, and ROBO 3D has proved to be a competitive player in quality 3D printers for the under $1000 price range. The R1 is an affordable, open source model that very user-friendly.

Who is the ROBO 3D R1 printer for?

Anyone who wants a mid-range, affordable, and versatile 3D printer that’s capable of printing decent sized 3D parts should consider the ROBO 3D R1. It should definitely go on your short list if you plan to experiment with a variety of filaments other than the popular ABS and PLA. If aesthetics matter to you, this is a stylish 3D printer that won’t look out of place on any desk or workbench. It’s also a great choice as an affordable, open source printer for those who like to get involved in a community. The community around the Robo is very engaged. There’s a lot to like about the ‘better than average’ ROBO 3D R1, with its impressive build volume and excellent support service.

How easy is this printer to use?

Unpacking and setting up the ROBO 3D R1 is pretty easy right out of the box. Once everything is ready, the machine itself is simple to use. It’s also painless to replace parts if/when you need to. Once make things even simpler, this 3D printer includes its own 3D printing software called MatterControl. This allows users to take the objects they’ve designed in any CAD program and upload them to the machine. The self-leveling print bed is another feature that makes printing even easier.

What are the key attractions?

The Robo 3D R1 Plus offers many attractive features. Consistent operation and generous print area are two. The self-leveling print bed and versatile software are other attractions that matter to a lot of enthusiasts. And being able to work with filament types, other than ABS and PLA, gives this printer even more flexibility. There’s also a 6-month warranty, which is more than some other models offer.

Tech SpecsThe Pros The Cons
Resolution: 100 microns

Volume: 8″ x 9″ x 10″

Filament: 1.75mm

Type: ABS/PLA

Weight:   31lbs.

Connect: USB

Easy to use

Decent sized build area

Self-leveling print bed

Supports specialty filaments

Versatile software suite

Community

Price

Print quality could be better (especially at the printer’s default settings)

Printing speed

Prints sometimes difficult to remove from build platform.

Price check for the ROBO 3D R1

#5 Dremel Idea Builder 3D Printer

Editor’s Rating: 4.1/5

dremel-idea-builder

The Dremel Idea Builder is just about ready to use out of its box. New models arrive complete with a preloaded SD card, and a spatula tool (used to remove parts from the print bed). It has its own bed leveling tool and two adhesive build surfaces. Whatever you need to get started, you will find it in the box. The prints are good quality for the money, but they’re not what you might call exceptional, at least not at the default levels. So why mention it here? Well, the Dremel Idea Builder is a decent enough printer, and will more than meet the needs of a lot of users.

Another attraction is that a lot of big retailers carry Dremel’s products. This can be a major convenience when it comes to providing quick and easy service and supply for customers. This is not the 3D printer for perfectionists who like to push the envelope with creative designs. There is also a restriction on the filament as you have to use the company’s own products. The problem with their filament is that it only comes in 0.5kg—at the time of writing—which makes printing quite expensive.

Who is the Dremel Idea Builder 3D printer for?

If ease of use and reliability are at the top of your checklist, the Dremel Idea Builder could be the one for you. A potential downside is that this machine only prints in PLA. Not having a heated print bed means it’s not possible to print in ABS. This is not something that bothers everyone, but those who want the option to print in ABS should skip this model. It is, however, a good choice of 3D printer for those who want to buy a low-maintenance, consistent machine. It’s also fairly hassle-free and only needs a small learning curve. This is an excellent entry-level machine for those who can afford to start at the mid-range of 3D printers.

How easy is this printer to use?

In terms of ease-of-use, 3D printers don’t come much more straightforward than the Dremel Idea Builder. Being reliable as well as easy to use improves the user overall experience. Out of the box, this 3D machine can be up and running within the hour, give or take 10 minutes.

What are the key attractions?

The main attractions for the Idea Builder are that it’s user-friendly and easy to set up out of the box. The printer’s touchscreen UI is a nice design and very simple to navigate. As the premier US power tool company, Dremel, owns these machines, there’s plenty of local support should you need it. It also means you can pick one of these 3D printers up at a major retail store, which appeals to a lot of people. And being able to plug it in and start printing shortly after unpacking the product is a huge appeal—particularly for newbies.

Tech SpecsThe Pros The Cons
Resolution: 100 microns

Volume: 9″ x 6″ x 6″

Filament: 1.750mm

Type: PLA only

Weight: 20lbs.

Connect: SD Card/USB

Printer size

Ease of use (very user-friendly)

Material availability

Connectivity

Good customer support

No heated platform

Cost of company’s filament

Quite noisy

Not open source

Price check for the Dremel Idea Builder

#6 The FlashForge Creator 3D Printer

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5

flashforge-creator

The FlashForge Creator, not to be confused with the ‘FlashForge Creator Pro’ above, is a popular model for lots of good reasons. It’s a 3D printer that came about as a response to the original MakerBot Replicator, which it takes many of its features from. It continues to offer an open-source platform which a lot of 3D printing enthusiasts love. This means there’s a huge and passionate community to rely on for helpful support, upgrades, and the swapping of tips, advice, and ideas. The FlashForge Creator comes standard with dual extruders. This makes it one of the most affordable dual-extruder printers on the market in 2017.

Who is the FlashForge Creator 3D printer for?

This is a great choice of 3D printer for the home enthusiast, schools, and small businesses. The FlashForge Creator is a step-up from the entry-level FlashForge 3D printer, and a slight step down from its Pro version. It’s a fantastic model for anyone who enjoys 3D printers and 3D printing technology as much as creating the actual 3D parts. In other words, it’s a good all round serious printer to tinker with, learn from, and have fun at the same time.

If you need a mid-range 3D machine that’s well-built, offers great value for money, and produces quality prints, add the FlashForge Creator to your shortlist. Not only is it easy to upgrade, but the machine’s reliability and fantastic support is also impressive.

How easy is this printer to use?

The FlashForge Creator is a product that offers reasonably fast printing of 3D parts. Once it’s setup, this is an easy to use machine that allows printing in many materials. Be sure to check the voltage before connecting this printer to a mains socket. It may come preset at 230v. Anyone in the US must change this by flicking the small switch under the printer to 110v. Aside from the voltage, the printer should arrive almost fully-assembled. The only thing you’ll need to do is attach the extruder (electrics already prewired). To begin printing, it’s then just a case of adding the filament rolls to the back of the printer using its handles. That’s pretty much it for the basic setup.

What are the key attractions?

The FlashForge Creator has been around for a while because it’s robust, reliable, and great fun for 3D printing enthusiasts. Around 95% of people who have purchased this model recommend it. Some of its most attractive features are its affordable cost and stable quality. The 300 cubic inch print volume is another appeal, as is being able to print 3D objects in two colors. Having the option to tweak and calibrate the printer is a major attraction for enthusiasts. And of course, having good after-sales service and support is always something that buyers are grateful for.

Tech SpecsThe Pros The Cons
Resolution: 100 microns

Volume: 9″ x 6″ x 6″

Filament: 1.75mm

Type: ABS/PLA

Weight: 28lbs.

Connect: SD Card/USB

Heated platform

Dual extruder

Running costs

Value for money

Great 3D printer for learning 3D skills and technology

Printer documentation could be written better

Printer may need calibrating for best result


Price check for the Flashforge Creator

That concludes our top pics for 3D printers in the $700-$1000 price range.

BEST 3D PRINTERS ($1000-$2000)

It wasn’t so long ago that high-end 3D printers cost as much as a small family car. Well, things have changed in recent years and it’s all good. Most of you reading here are not expecting to invest in an industry-capable machine where you need to mass produce huge, complex parts. For superior 3D printing, there’s no need to spend more than $2000 to own a top machine. It’s not possible to list all the excellent devices in this price range as there are quite a few. We’ll highlight five of what we consider to be the best picks for 2017, starting with the LulzBot Mini.

#1 LulzBot Mini 3D Printer

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

lulzbot-mini-3d

The LulzBot Mini is a 3D Printer that offers a lot to a wide audience. Its main drawback—for some users—is the smallish build platform. This is only a problem for those who need a bigger build platform. Those who don’t can simply look past this detail. This is a machine that’s capable of producing high quality parts with impressive consistency. It also accepts third-party spools of filament and a range of filament types. The LulzBot Mini 3D model works seamlessly with MS Windows, Linux, and OS X. It also supports open-source software and hardware.

Who is the LulzBot Mini 3D printer for?

First and foremost this printer is best suited to those who only need to print small projects. Other than that, the parent company Aleph Objects, designed the LulzBot Mini with a broad audience in mind. This includes anyone from the enthusiastic home user to schools, from libraries to small businesses, and various institutions. In fact, it’s a machine aimed at any individual or organization that needs a quality 3D printer for prototyping and product creation.

How easy is this printer to use?

The LulzBot Mini 3D printer is ideal for anyone who wants an easy time of printing. It’s simple to setup and operate, and it supports a variety of alternative filaments. Printing becomes even easier thanks to the self-leveling build platform. The machine also prints direct from the user’s dedicated computer. Any printer that does all the calibrations automatically makes printing faster and easier. Before each new print job, the LulzBot Mini performs three crucial maintenance checks and adjustments. It tests the print height for accuracy, then it goes on to level the print bed if necessary, and it cleans the nozzle. These automatic checks ensure you get the best quality printed parts every time.

What are the key attractions?

Easy setup, ease of use, and the printer’s ability to produce high-quality parts quickly, has to be among its top attractions. Being able to print in a range of colors, and with various filaments like PLA, ABS, HIPS, and nylon, etc., also makes this a much sought after machine. The machine’s reliability, consistency, and low maintenance, are all things that contribute towards its wider appeal.

Tech SpecsThe Pros The Cons
Resolution: 50 microns

Volume: 6″ x 6″ x 6″

Filament: 3.00mm

Type: ABS/PLA

Weight: 26 lbs.

Connect: USB

Uses wide variety of filaments

Build quality

Ease of setup and use

Material availability

Open source

Great customer support

Small build volume

Printer noise level

Price

Connectivity

Price check for the LulzBot Mini 3D

#2 Zortrax M200 3D Printer

Editor’s Rating: 4.4/5

zortrax-m200

Many 3D printing enthusiasts and professionals love the Zortrax M200. Most will agree that it’s easily one of the best FDM printers on the market in 2017 within this price range. If you like the idea of a high quality plug-n-play 3D machine, you’ll want to keep reading. The reliability and output quality of the 3D printed parts are nothing less than outstanding with the Zortrax M200. Like all 3D printers, each model brings something different to the table. Let’s now take a look at this machine’s most impressive features.

Who is the Zortrax M200 printer for?

This 3D printer is for anyone who wants to print quality 3D parts with as little fuss as possible. Whether you’re a fervent hobbyist, an educator, designer, or company, Zortrax M200 should fit the bill. It’s a great machine for anyone who’d sooner not have to tinker with slicer settings and 3D printer hardware. This truly plug-n-play product comes equipped with useful side covers. Covers help to improve performance by maintaining a stable temperature during the printing. The side covers also improve user safety by protecting against potential injury from the machine’s heated bed and hotend. This is an ideal choice of 3D printer for those who want to produce parts with ABS.

How easy is this printer to use?

The builders of the M200 created this machine using sturdy metal, which makes it a something of a tank in the printer world. It’s a nice design too, and has a real feeling of quality about it. From a user perspective, this is an easy machine to operate, and pretty much ready to use right out of its box, with very little setup to worry about. Because the Zortrax M200 has an automated bed leveling system, calibrating is not only precise but effortless. All the favorable user reviews share a similar theme. They talk about how this is an accurate, reliable, user-friendly 3D printer that’s easy to operate and consistent at producing quality parts.

What are the key attractions?

There are many key attractions for the Zortrax M200. The side covers not only help to produce quality, consistent prints, but they add a safety aspect too. Safety around a 3D printer is of particular importance when there are kids around, or pets that might otherwise get close to the machine. This is a sturdy, well-built, functional printer, and one of the reasons it’s become so popular. Other attractive features are the printer’s large work area and its ability to use a variety of quality materials. There’s a lot for users to like about the Zortrax M200.

Tech SpecsThe Pros The Cons
Resolution: 90 microns

Volume: 8″ x 8″ x 7″

Filament: 1.75mm

Type: ABS/PLA/HIPS & others

Weight: 29lbs.

Connect: SD Card

Print quality

Build quality

Precision

Ease of use

Consistency

Reliability

Material availability

Connectivity

Not open source

No dual extruder

Price check for the Zortrax M200

#3 FlashForge Dreamer 3D Printer

Editor’s Rating: 4.8/5

flashforge-dreamer

This is another impressive 3D printer from FlashForge. It’s also another of their machines they’ve added to their closed-source range. As it’s not open-source, there are not the same opportunities to upgrade and tinker with the machine. Not every user wants open-source 3D printers of course, hence the company’s move into more closed-source solutions. The FlashForge Dreamer is a dependable, fully-enclosed plug-n-play 3D printer. It certainly deserves a place here as one of our top picks.

Who is the FlashForge Dreamer 3D printer for?

This is a perfect choice of 3D printer for anyone at any level. It’s easy for newbies to use, yet offers lots of flexibility for more expert users. The printer’s multi-language touchscreen supports 16 languages. This is something a lot of users find helpful if English is not their first language. The 3.5″ LCD panel is also user-friendly, giving you instant control over the machine with little fuss. The FlashForge Dreamer is a solid machine that gives a lot of enjoyment to those who invest in it.

How easy is this printer to use?

One of the key selling points for the FlashForge Dreamer is its ease of use. Not every person wants to be hands on and overly involved in the nitty-gritty of 3D printing. If you want to print without playing with settings and learning technological details, consider the Dreamer from FlashForge. Even the printer itself is unassuming on the eyes. The unique Flashprint software is straightforward too, and the touchscreen panel is child’s play. Despite its modest impression, the Dreamer is a serious contender in this price range of 3D machines, and it offers a lot of bang for your buck.

What are the key attractions?

Ease of use is a main attraction of the FlashForge Dreamer 3D printer. Another key feature is the two extruder heads, which opens up all kinds of creative possibilities. This dual extrusion technology is a must-have element for anyone who wants to print 3D parts in two colors. You can even print using a couple of different materials at the same time if you want to. There’s also a big build envelope with this machine. Those who need to create larger 3D models can print parts up to 230 x 150 x 140 mm.

Another of this printer’s key attractions is its high resolution and consistently high-quality. ABS printing is also possible thanks to the heated build platform. The fully-enclosed chamber not only improves safety, but also contributes to better prints. It does this by maintaining a stable temperature during the entire print process. Connectivity options are impressive too. They include SD-card, USB-cable, and Wi-Fi, which allows users to print from pretty much anywhere.

Tech SpecsThe Pros The Cons
Resolution: 100 microns

Volume: 9″ x 6″ x 6″

Filament: 1.75mm

Type: ABS/PLA

Weight: 24lbs.

Connect: Micro-USB/SD Card/WiFi

Ease of use

Reliability

Consistent

Heated platform

Dual extruder

Value for money

User manual could be better written

Noise level

Community

Lack of software options

Not open source

Price check for the FlashForge Dreamer

#4 MakerGear M2 3D Printer

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

makergrear-m2

Welcome to the fifth generation of 3D printer from MakerGear. The three things that came to mind while reviewing the MakerGear M2 3D Printer were its sturdiness, versatility, and reliability. The M2 has a tough all-metal frame which helps to prevent flexing at higher speeds. The heated platform adds to the machines capability to print using a wide range of 3D materials. This is also an upgradable printer should you want to change nozzles and opt for a dual-extruder. When it comes to value for money in an FDM 3D printer, the M2 takes some beating.

Who is the MakerGear M2 printer for?

Most of the 3D printers on this review page are perfect for users at all levels, and the M2 is no exception. It checks all the most important boxes that enthusiasts and professionals insist on. There’s excellent print quality and print volume of course. It’s also a consistent and reliable machine that offers good printing speed and real value for money. And most importantly for the entry-level enthusiast, the MakerGear M2 is fairly easy to operate. This really is a good all-rounder in the world of 3D printers.

How easy is this printer to use?

The earlier models in 2012 were a little clunky, but there have been a number of improvements since then. The latest version of the M2 is much easier to use. The printer comes with a ridged, yet easily adjustable 4-point leveling system. The starter kit includes an updated user’s guide, video tutorial, and quick Start software. As long as new operators follow the instructions carefully, even the novice will be printing quality 3D parts with this machine in no time.

What are the key attractions?

This is a good all-rounder 3D printer offering great value for money. You can buy this machine in either kit form or fully-assembled. Either way, it can be set up quick and easy thanks to the detailed, no-nonsense instructions. The MakerGear M2 has an impressive star rating (4.6 out of 5-stars on Amazon) from over 225 reviews. Other sites show a 94% recommendation rating from owners and independent reviewers. A key attraction of this printer is its consistency in producing quality 3D parts. Its ability to print using a variety of different materials takes 3D printing up to another level.

The M2 has a sturdy build and a nice design. It’s open-source too, which is another much-loved feature for a lot of 3Ders who like to release their creative instincts. But perhaps one of the main attractions is the outstanding support that surrounds this machine. Great technical support is an essential consideration for any 3D printer, and especially when paying for higher priced equipment. The excellent active and dedicated support community can also prove invaluable for users of the M2. Anyone who buys this 3D printer is not going to be alone.

Tech SpecsThe Pros The Cons
Resolution: 50 microns

Volume: 8″ x 10″ x 8″

Filament: 1.75mm

Type: ABS/PLA/PET, flexible, polycarbonate, others

Weight: 28lbs.

Connect: SD Card/ USB

Build quality

Precision

Reliability

Tough metal frame

Customer support

Community

Noise level

No dual extruder

Price


Price check for the MakerGear M2

#5 Sindoh DP200 3DWox 3D Printer

Editor’s Rating: 4.8/5

Sindoh is a South Korean company that’s been making quite a splash in the 3D printing industry. Their 3DWox 3D Printer is making all the right kind of headlines, and for good reason. With this machine, there’s a big emphasis on straightforwardness and ease of use for the end user. Despite the focus on simplicity, we still have a nicely designed 3D printer that many refer to as “sleek.” Another valuable endorsement for the 3DWox was when it achieved the sought-after Red Dot Design Award.

Who is the 3DWox 3D Printer for?

sindoh-3dwox-dp200

The 3DWox 3D Printer is for anyone who wants a high-quality machine that can be up and running soon after delivery. It’s also a good choice for the safety conscious as the printer’s enclosed structure shields all the moving parts from of harm’s way. The simplicity of the 3DWox improves the user experience as well as its design. Even changing filament is easy thanks to their Sindoh cartridge design. The cartridge means no more awkward cutting, retrieving, and insertion of filament into tiny openings. It’s a small thing, but one that makes a big difference to people who just want to get on with the job of 3D printing. If you want a quality machine that’s simple to setup and easy to use, you should consider the 3DWox. This is one of those rare 3D machines where you can walk away with confidence after hitting the ‘PRINT’ button.

How easy is this printer to use?

The Sindoh DP200 3DWox is almost ready to go the moment it’s unpacked. Once you plug it in for the first time, you have to level the print bed, but that’s about all. Thanks to the Assisted Bed Leveling feature, this is a simple job that won’t take long. The display panel will let you know how many turns to make for each of the bed-levelling knobs. There’s nothing to it.

The intuitive touch screen display makes this machine a joy to use. From the display panel you can see the object you’re printing, the level of material, and printing temperatures. The material bars are color coded, and what color displays depends on the type of filament in use. From the touchscreen, users can press the pause button to stop printing, and even switch filament if they need to. It’s then just a case of hitting resume to pick up where the job left off. This is 3D printing at its easiest.

What are the key attractions?

Having a quality 3d printer that’s almost ready to use out of the box is a major plus point for the Sindoh DP200 3DWox. This printer offers good, consistent performance and produces high-quality 3D parts. It’s also possible to print in either PLA or ABS filament, thanks to the 3DWox’s heated bed. The enclosed area assists better printing by maintaining the print temperature during operations. The printer software and the machines user-friendly interface make it one of the easiest 3D printers to use around. It’s a nice looking machine too, despite its minimalistic design. It will look great on any desk or worktop, unlike some of the hideous machines out there.

Tech SpecsThe Pros The Cons
Resolution: 50 microns

Volume: 8″ x 5″ x 5″

Filament: Cartridge

Type: ABS/PLA

Weight: 25lbs.

Connect: USB

Truly plug ‘n play

Easy to use in all areas of 3D printing

Closed build chamber

Assisted Bed Leveling

Auto filament loading

Monitoring camera

Removable bed

Silent mode

Internal light and camera

Simple slicing software

Closed filament business model (makes printing more expensive)

Price check for the Sindoh DP200 3DWox 3D Printer

BEST 3D PRINTERS OVER $2,000

Although this section reviews 3D printers over the $2,000 price range, we won’t look at anything over $5,500. 3D printers that cost as much as a small house are typically reserved for big industry. They’re not something even the most enthusiastic home user would find much use for, let alone space. What we list here are a few of the top consumer-grade models. Some of these machines will find their way into professional applications. Even so, they’re still high-quality printers for more every day, smaller scale usage. This will typically include ambitious enthusiasts and small businesses. You’ll also find some of them in schools, libraries, and various other organizations.

OK, let’s now take a look at our top five high-end picks for 3D printers over $2K.

#1 Leapfrog Creatr XL 3D Printer

Editor’s Rating: 3.9/5

leapfrog-xl

Inspired by the popular Creatr 3D machine, the Leapfrog Creatr XL is a professional 3D printer that anyone, at any level can use. Compared to the Creatr 3D, the XL is double the height. This extra dimension triples the max build-height for 3D printed parts. If there was nothing else to add, this extra build capacity alone is an immense improvement on the range of 3D applications. As you would expect from a product of this price and caliber, it has a tough chassis. Having a strong framework not only improves print quality but also increases the machine’s life.

Who is the Leapfrog Creatr XL 3D printer for?

The Leapfrog Creatr XL is a versatile and sturdy machine. It will please anyone who wants a high-end 3D printer that offers lots of options. Despite its high price tag, the Creatr XL also makes a great entry-level model for those who can afford it. It’s also a quality product for small businesses and for educational purposes. It’s a serious piece of equipment but with a friendly appeal. This is NOT a printer for anyone who doesn’t need the extra tall print volume.

How easy is this printer to use?

Anyone who knows the basics of 3D printing should be able to get the Leapfrog Creatr XL Desktop printer up and running in about 30 minutes after delivery. This is because it arrives fully-assembled and is also pre-calibrated. However, the size and weight of this printer will cause problems for some users because it will not sit easily on a lot of office-type desks. In this regard, it’s more of a bench-top printer than a desktop machine.

What are the key attractions?

There’s a lot to shout about when it comes to this quality—and remarkably tall—3D printer by Leapfrog, which has the largest build volume in its class. There are dual extruders which allow for bi-color and bi-material printing. Obviously it has a heated build platform and supports various materials. These include ABS, PLA, PVA, nylon, and brick filament. The all-aluminum exterior makes the Leapfrog Creatr XL sturdy, but then given its size it needs to be. You won’t find any wood or plastic parts in the construction of this beast. Another of its key attractions is that the printer comes fully-assembled and is also pre-calibrated. This means the printer is pretty much ready to use straight out of the box. Lifetime support is one more key feature that’s a welcome addition for a model of this caliber.

Tech SpecsThe Pros The Cons
Resolution: 50 microns

Volume: 24″ x 11″ x 9″

Filament: 1.75mm

Type:   PLA/ABS/PVA/nylon

Weight: 44lbs.

Connect: USB

Dual extruder’s

Huge build volume (perfect for tall 3D models)

High quality prints

Uses a variety of different print materials

Improved setup means less prep time and maintenance than previous models

Too big and heavy for average desks

Slow print speed

Noisy compared to some other models

Long pre-heat time (caused by printer’s open front)

Price check for the Leapfrog Creatr XL

#2 LulzBot Taz 6 3D Printer

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

lulzbot-taz6

The LulzBot TAZ 6 might not look like a lot for the money but don’t let appearance deceive you. This is a solid 3D printer with a sturdy metal frame. As you would expect in this price range, the Taz 6 comes complete with a heated build platform along with an automatic bed leveling system. Users also love the exchangeable extruder system. There’s an incredibly active community supporting this machine as well. The result of this is a plethora of creative modifications that are available. Being able to upgrade and modify this printer is something users welcome with enthusiastic fervor.

LulzBot is no stranger to 3D printing as anyone who’s been following the industry will know. With each new model come yet more game-changing innovations. These are all things that strengthen LulzBot’s reputation as an industry leader in consumer-grade 3D printers.

Who is the LulzBot TAZ 6 3D printer for?

Anyone who’s looking for a real workhorse in the 3D printer world needs look no further than the LulzBot TAZ 6. This is an open-source machine that never fails to delight the serious tinkerer. At around $2,500 it isn’t a cheap product, but it offers great value for money nonetheless. It’s a perfect model for serious 3D professionals who insist on high quality, versatility, and of course, reliability. Tinkerer’s are not interested in mundane tasks like bed levelling and cleaning, and nor do they have to be, thanks to the TAZ 6’s automation features.

For those who want to be truly creative, the open filament format allows users to experiment with all kinds of exciting new materials. The printer’s multi-software compatibility is yet another feature that delights the serious user. Whether you’re an enthusiastic newbie just starting out or a seasoned professional, this model by LulzBot won’t let you down.

How easy is this printer to use?

The TAZ 6 automated features and range of software options exist to make the entire printing process as stress-free and as easy as possible. This is a machine that works as well for dedicated beginners as it does experienced users. The previous version didn’t have such a wide appeal, but the TAZ 6 has raving reviews from both ends of the user spectrum.

What are the key attractions?

The self-cleaning technology and automatic bed leveling system are two of the printer’s main features. The open filament format and options for printer head upgrades are also popular, especially with more advanced users. Having multi-software compatibility and amazing versatility are other things that help to make this a significant contender in 3D printers over $2000.

Tech SpecsThe Pros The Cons
Resolution: 50 microns

Volume: 11″ x 11″ x 10″

Filament: 3.00mm

Type: ABS/PLA/HIPS/ nGen

Weight: 43lbs.

Connect: Micro SD Card/USB

High print quality

Build quality

Reliability

Customer support

Active online support community

Open source

Price

Noise level

No dual extruder

Price check for the LulzBot Taz 6 3D Printer

#3 AIO Robotics Zeus 3D Printer

Editor’s Rating: 4.3/5

aio-robotics-zeus

The AIO Robotics Zeus is a little different as it’s an all-in-one 3D printer and a truly plug-n-play machine. It’s good looking and compact, although aesthetics can be subjective. At the time of writing, this is the smallest all-in-one model on the market. Being an “all-in-one” means the user can perform a lot of functions from a single device. This includes scanning, editing, slicing, and of course printing, all with the touch of a simple button. Users also love the built in GUI (Graphical User Interface), and the safe enclosed build area. The production process is pretty fast too.

Who is the AIO Robotics Zeus 3D printer for?

If you want an all-in-one 3D printer combo, then consider the AIO Robotics Zeus. It’s particularly suitable for professionals who want to print prototypes, and for educational institutions. The intuitive and attractive touchscreen interface makes all features instantly accessible and inviting to use. The printer does have limitations in that it can only use PLA, so this has to be a non-issue for anyone who’s considering this machine.

How easy is this printer to use?

Not only printing, but scanning, editing, and slicing, are all made super-easy thanks to the simplistic design of the AIO Robotics Zeus. This is a truly plug-n-play machine in every sense of the word. Even a novice should be able to unpack this impressive machine and print their first part within 15 minutes. The user-friendly interface makes learning simple—at any age. Because it’s all-in-one, there’s no need for an external computer or third-party software of any kind, making the Zeus portable as well as easy.

What are the key attractions?

The all-in-one feature has to be the main attraction for the Zeus. And although it has a high price tag, it’s not a lot considering how much bang you actually get for your buck. This is not a machine that’s right for everyone, but it provides ideal solutions for those it does suit. As a 3D printer, the Zeus reaches resolutions up to 80 microns. The scanner has plenty to boast about too, with an ability to scan at 125 microns. With its good looks, ease of use, portability, and great support, this is a machine that’s now firmly on the radar as an affordable, all-in-one 3D printer combo.

Tech SpecsThe Pros The Cons
Resolution: 80 microns

Volume: 8″ x 6″ x 6″

Filament: 1.75mm

Type: PLA

Weight: 57lbs.

Connect: WiFi/USB

All-in-one capability (print, scan, edit, and slice)

Quality printing

Portability

Material availability (12 colors)

Customer support

Material restrictions

No heated bed

Price check for the AIO Robotics Zeus 3D Printer

#4 BCN3D Sigma 3D Printer

Editor’s Rating: 4.9/5

bcn3d-sigma

The BCN3D Sigma is a robust and attractive 3D printer that works as good as it looks. It’s reliable and problem-free independent dual extrusion is a key selling point, but there’s so much more on offer. It’s also a good, solid single-extruding FDM machine too. This printer prints amazing quality parts as you would expect in any piece of equipment priced around $2,500. It comes with an auto-calibration probe, high-quality tools, and a magnetic build plate. There’s also the very easy-to-use, efficient filament feed system. Although no 3D printer is without its faults, it’s pretty hard to find too much to gripe about with the BCN3D Sigma.

Who is the BCN3D Sigma 3D printer for?

This is another of our 100% open-source picks that so many serious 3D hobbyists insist on with quality equipment. Therefore, the BCN3D Sigma is a printer for people who love to tweak. With this machine they can hack and modify the hardware, software, and any supporting documentation that comes with the device. Although classified as a high-end 3D printer, it’s a great machine for entry-level users if money’s not an object. It can work just as easily as a simple machine as a capable, versatile, and complex 3D printer.

How easy is this printer to use?

The BCN3D Sigma is easy to setup out of the box, easy to print with, and simple to maintain at any level. However, it’s important to note that it’s not quite so easy to position. This is a relatively big and heavy machine so it won’t sit well on small or weak office desks. Unless you have a large and sturdy desktop, it’s better to place this machine on a more solid worktop or bench.

What are the key attractions?

The amazing independent dual-extruder system is one of the key attractions of the BCN3D Sigma. Users can print 3D parts without geometric limitations using various types of dissolvable support materials like PVA and HIPS. The dual-extruder also allows for the combining of different materials to create impressive, complex, multi-material and multicolor parts with relative ease. The printer’s heated bed, appealing aesthetics, high-quality, high-capacity, and its overall reliability, are just a few of its other main attractions.

Tech SpecsThe Pros The Cons
Resolution: 50 microns

Volume: 8″ x 12″ x 8″

Filament: 3.00mm

Type: ABS/PLA/HIPS/others

Weight: 38lbs.

Connect: SD Card/USB

Striking design

Excellent print quality

Build volume

Dual extruder

Auto calibration probe

Magnetic build plate

Independent dual-extrusion

Supported by major software

Noise level

Printer size

Connectivity (lacks wireless)

Price check for the BCN3D Sigma

#5 Ultimaker 3 Extended 3D Printer

Editor’s Rating: 4.4/5

ultimaker-3-extended

Ulimaker is no newcomer in the world of 3D printers. Still, they’ve made quite a splash with their upgrade to Ultimaker 3 with the much anticipated Ultimaker 3 ‘Extended.’ It works great right out of its box, and comes equipped with some very nice features like a camera and WiFi. The print quality is amazing, and it’s quiet while printing too, which is an important consideration for some. Ulimaker has optimized their special print cores (extruders) and redesigned print heads for printing in dual materials.

Who is the Ultimaker 3 Extended 3D printer for?

Anyone who wants a high-end, quality, 3D printer that’s easy to use straight out of the box should consider the Ultimaker 3 Extended machine. If you like the idea of auto material recognition, auto-leveling, and a quiet operation, put this model on your shortlist. It’s the perfect machine for those looking for cutting-edge FDM printing with flexibility in 3D print materials.

How easy is this printer to use?

Most 3D hobbyists would agree that the Ultimaker 3 Extended 3D printer offers impressive all-round quality. You don’t need to be experienced or a tech-head to be able to produce exceptional 3D parts with this amazing machine. Not only is the printer simple to set up and operate, but it also sports flexible and very easy-to-use software. The addition of a camera is great for monitoring 3D prints in progress, thus adding to the overall simplicity and appeal of using this printer.

What are the key attractions?

The extra height is a key feature as it offers an increases in the print area on previous models. Fans of this machine are raving about the redesigned print head with its interchangeable extruders (print cores). Having the ability to print to print using two colors or two different materials is fast becoming a must-have feature for serious 3D professionals. The heated bed assists smooth prints and is necessary for ABS printing. It’s a complex piece of equipment designed to be easy and reliable for the end user.

Tech SpecsThe Pros The Cons
Resolution: 20 microns

Volume: 8″ x 8″ x 12″

Filament: 2.85mm

Type: ABS/PLA

Weight: 24lbs.

Connect: SD Card/USB

Print quality

Build volume

Optimized cooling

LED status indicators

Dual extrusion (with soluble support-material)

Swappable print cores (extruders)

Heated build plate (includes active leveling)

Price

Price check for the Ultimaker 3 Extended 3D Printer

The Conclusion

Investing in a 3D printer today can be overwhelming to say the least. There are so many choices, price differences, functionality, and designs, etc. It becomes even more difficult as new names continue to join the 3D printer bandwagon. All this does is make an already overcrowded market even more crammed full of options. While this is great news for consumers they need credible sources to turn to for information. The purpose of our guide, therefore, has been to present you with the best 3D printer picks for 2017. We’ve cut through the hype so that you don’t have to. We’ve carefully reviewed each of our top picks in their respective price categories. After reading the introductions, the pros, the cons, and the key features for each machine, you’ll be in a much better position to make informed decisions.

Happy 3D Printing

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