There are a lot of options to choose from when buying a 3D printer. Below I have compiled a list of the top 3D printers for February 2017 based on hours of research and first hand testing.

Prices range from under $1000 for an intro level model to north of $4000 for a high end printer.



Formlabs Form 2

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For our first 3D printer we’ve started with something that budget orientated buyers will probably want to steer clear of at $4199.00 USD. The Formlabs Form 2 uses a 3D printing technique called stereolithography (SLA) to create incredibly detailed models.

It works by tracing a pattern with a laser until a solid layer is formed. When the layer is complete, the print bed moves and the process repeats. Some post processing is required with the Form 2, but Formlabs can sell you a finishing kit which includes a number of useful tools.

Formlabs have developed an intuitive software package that makes the printing process more streamlined. They also have a number of different resins, specifically formulated for different purposes. The company has a full list of these resins on their website and what their properties are.

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Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 35 x 33 x 52 cm (13.5 x 13 x 20.5 in)
  • 405nm violet laser
  • 250mW laser
  • Connectivity: Wifi, Ethernet, USB, Touchscreen.
  • Technology: Stereolithography (SLA)
  • Build Volume: 145 x 145 x 175 mm (5.7 x 5.7 x 6.9 in)
  • Layer Height: 25,50,100 microns
  • Material: Resin
  • Price: USD $4,199.00

FlashForge Creator Pro

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The FlashForge Creator Pro may be getting a bit long in the tooth now, but it’s still a solid machine. Based on the MakerBot Replicator 2, the dual extruder Creator Pro uses FDM technology to print objects. While the quality is nowhere near that of the Form 2, the Creator Pro can still produce prints that would be perfectly fine for the majority of users.

The multiple extruders on the Pro give users the ability create multi-material or multi coloured prints. Additionally, the Creator Pro has a massive community of users who can help you with any problems or modifications, which is a real plus to buying the printer.

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Specifications:

  • Build envelope: 225 x 145 x 150 mm
  • Build volume: About 5 liters
  • Layer thickness: 0.1-0.3 mm(adjustable) (100 to 300 microns)
  • Nozzle diameter: 0.4 mm
  • Material: ABS, PLA (other materials can be used as well)
  • Technology: FDM
  • Price: USD $899.00

Makergear M2

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The Makergear M2 is the highest rated 3D printer on 3D Hubs and for good reason. While there are other 3D printers out there for the same price that have more features and gizmos, there is something to be said for a simple machine that’s just built well.

Manufactured in the US, the M2 comes with a heated build platform and a metal chassis that gives the printer a solid feel. It has a build volume of 203 x 254 x 203 mm and users can make a number of modifications, including easily changing the nozzles and adding a second extruder.

User reviews show that not only is the M2 an extremely reliable machine, when things do go wrong Makergear support seems to be a cut above the rest. The community also looks to be well established which is always a major benefit.

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Specifications:

  • Build envelope: 203 x 254 x 203 mm
  • Layer thickness: 25 microns
  • Material: ABS, PLA, PET, Nylon (other materials can be used as well)
  • Technology: FDM
  • Price: USD $1,825.00

LulzBot Mini

lulzbot-mini-printer-review

Aleph Objects smallest FDM 3D printer has been a big hit with 3D printing enthusiasts and beginners alike. While the build volume is only 152 x 152 x 158mm, the Mini is more than capable enough with its 50 micron layer resolution and auto calibration abilities.

Like the Makergear M2 and the FlashForge Creator Pro, the LulzBot Mini has a strong community surrounding the company. The open source nature of the printer means that almost any 3D printing software programs can be used with it, including Slic3r, OctoPrint, MatterControl and many more.

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Specifications:

  • Build envelope: 152 x 152 x 158 mm
  • Layer thickness: 50 to 500 microns
  • Material: ABS, PLA, HIPS, Nylon, and many more
  • Technology: FDM
  • Price: USD $1,250.00

Zortrax M200

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The Zortrax M200 made its debut on Kickstarter, and unlike many other 3D printers on the crowdfunding site, it actually become a bit of a success. Not only was the M200 a hit on Kickstarter, the printer also gained fame when Dell ordered 5000 units.

Constructed from sturdy aluminium, the M200 has no problem creating quality prints straight out of the box. It is also known for its reliability and ease of use, which is a major factor that many first time buyers overlook when searching for a 3D printer.

It has an automated platform levelling system, making calibrating the printer quick and simple. The 200 x 200 x 185 mm build platform will be good for most 3D printing projects and the 90-micron layer height means that your prints will have plenty of detail.

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Specifications:

  • Build envelope: 200 x 200 x 185 mm
  • Layer thickness: 90 to 400 microns
  • Material: ABS, HIPS, ULTRAT
  • Technology: FDM
  • Price: USD $1,700.00

Ultimaker 2+

ultimaker-printer-review

While we know that the Ultimaker 3 is out now, we think the older Ultimaker 2+ deserves to be on this list instead. At the moment, the Ultimaker 3 is an extra $1,000 over its older brother and we don’t think the extra features are really worth the added cost for the time being.

Ultimaker’s printers have always been highly rated and the 2+ is no different. With a build volume of 223 x 223 x 205 mm and a minimum layer height of 20 microns, the Ultimaker 2+ will certainly be more than capable for the majority of home 3D printer users.

Like the majority of other 3D printers on this list, the Ultimaker 2+ is easy to set up and use. It is also reliable and has a massive community of users who can help you if any problems do arise.

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Specifications:

  • Build envelope: 223 x 223 x 205 mm
  • Layer thickness: 20 microns
  • Material: ABS, PLA
  • Technology: FDM
  • Price: USD $2,499.00

CraftBot PLUS

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The CraftBot PLUS from CraftUnique was built with the ultimate goal of being a 3D printer that could not only please beginners, but also experienced users alike. One of the PLUS’s main selling points is its ‘plug-and-play’, easy to use experience that will get you printing in minutes.

Not only is the CraftBot PLUS designed to be easy to use, but it is also designed to give some more expensive 3D printers a run for their money in the specs department. Featuring a build volume of 250 x 200 x 200 mm, a 100-micron layer resolution and the ability to print in many materials, the PLUS is certainly no slouch.

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Specifications:

  • Build envelope: 250 x 200 x 200 mm
  • Layer thickness: 100 microns
  • Material: ABS, PLA, HIPS, PETG, and more
  • Technology: FDM
  • Price: USD $1,099.00

LulzBot TAZ 6

lulzbot_taz_6-printer-review

LulzBot has made it onto our list for the second time. While the Mini is great for those looking for a cheaper machine with great specs for the price, the TAZ 6 is for the more serious user. Like the Mini, the TAZ 6 has a strong community surrounding it and it’s about as bullet proof as a 3D printer can be.

It features a large 280 x 280 x 250 mm build volume and can print at a minimum layer of 50 microns, which will make for some fine prints. Not only does it feature good printing specifications, the TAZ 6 also has self-levelling and cleaning features that simplify the printing process.

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Specifications:

  • Build envelope: 280 x 280 x 250 mm
  • Layer thickness: 50 microns
  • Material: ABS, PLA, HIPS, PETG, and more
  • Technology: FDM
  • Price: USD $2,500.00

CEL Robox

cel_robox-printer-review

After a successful Kickstarter campaign, the first Robox 3D printers CEL sent out to customers did have their issues. This seems to be a common trend among Kickstarter projects, but the company worked through those issues and now the Robox is a quality printer for newbies and experienced users alike.

The CEL Robox features an interchangeable print head, a build volume of 210 x 150 x 100 mm, and a minimum layer height of 20 microns.  Two print heads can be used with the printer and it features an auto-bed levelling system.

While there are still some concerns with the reliability of the printer and the small build volume, the Robox’s print quality, design and customer support certainly softens the blow of those issues.

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Specifications:

  • Build envelope: 210 x 150 x 100 mm
  • Layer thickness: 20 microns
  • Material: ABS, PLA, HIPS, PETG, and more
  • Technology: FDM
  • Price: USD $1,499.00

BEETHEFIRST 3D Printer

beethefirst3-printer-review

While we find the name of both the company and the 3D printer a bit strange, the BEETHEFIRST 3D printer from BEEVERYCREATIVE is a good machine for those looking for simplicity. Its plug-and-play nature is great for those who just want something that will print without worry. The printer also happens to look great with its metal/acrylic casing.

All up, the printer has a build volume of 190 x 135 x 125 mm and can print objects at a minimum layer height of 50 microns. Unfortunately, the only supported material is PLA, but users say it is easy to use and the customer services is great if you have any problems.

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Specifications:

  • Build envelope: 190 x 135 x 125 mm
  • Layer thickness: 50 microns
  • Material: PLA
  • Technology: FDM
  • Price: USD $1,699.00