Buyer’s Guide to the Best 3D Printers

by CT | Last Updated: April 18, 2021
Best 3D Printers 2019

Recently, I felt like getting a 3D printer for my office and I think you will agree with me if I say that at first glance, they all look so complicated if you’ve never used one before. There are so many different types of 3D Printers — industrial ones, those for educational purposes, for home use and then the small cheap ones.

I did some research and reached out to the global community of 3D Printing (i.e. mostly Reddit), and came up with this list.

Based on facts and verified reviews, I summed it all up in this one article and here in this article you will find everything about all the possible 3D printer categories as well as added a few extra ones priced under $1000 and $500 but yet efficient. I also included a buying guide at the end of this article to help you make your mind.

The Best 3D Printers of 2021:

This list below in total contains many options that made it to the list of Top 3D Printers for 2021, and each of these printers has a score of 50 in-depth reviews from experienced 3D printer owners.

Prosumer 3D Printers

Prosumer includes highly advanced desktop machines with a variety of applications that are best suited for professional designers and small businesses. The prosumer collection is best for authorities looking for a 3D printer with exceptional build quality that can produce high-quality parts, reliably.

1. Ultimaker S5 Extended

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Ultimaker is once more at the top of our prosumer division with the Ultimaker 3 Extended, with an overall brilliant rating of 9.2. The Ultimaker 3 Extended (UM3 Extended) provides users with an extra 10cm build top above the Ultimaker 3 but offering the same functionality. This conclusion was assumed in October 2016. Swappable “print cores” are used by UM3 Extended for optimization to build or soluble support elements. This help in clearing up the capability to print geometries that are not possible to print on single extrusion printers that use build material for support.

Here comes another unique lift that fosters the second nozzle up when not in use so that it allows smoother print. Joining it with the auto-bed levelling, the UM3 Extended is the much-guaranteed printer competent of running print after print with little to no preservation. Whenever in trouble, the Ultimaker guides and support customer, mention the huge Ultimaker community gets users printing again as soon as possible.

Ultimakers’ free “Cura software” users can slice impressions using optimized material profiles and send them to print wirelessly over wifi. In this way, users can watch their print live from the Cura software using the UM3 Extended in-built camera.

Besides this, as with the Ultimaker 2+, 100% of Ultimaker 3 Extended analysts said that they would advise their 3D printer to somebody else – recruits through to experts. In results, Ultimaker has thoroughly restored the printer since the Ultimaker 2+ with the UM3 offering auto-bed levelling, dual extrusion with soluble support, Wifi connectivity and a lot more.

As one user places it “If you fancy designing, click & print with ease, the Ultimaker 3 is for you.”



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2. Raise3D Pro2

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With 9.2 rating mark and 100% users recommendation, this is the very first machine to be highlighted in the best 3D Printer guide for Raise3D Pro2 making in Prosumer category.

Another machine specialized for professionals is Raise3D based out of Costa Mesa, California. Every device comes up with a complete enveloped design for advanced protection when printing in materials such as ABS in an office scene. N2 make of Raise3D machines appears with superior build quality, a hallmark frequently highlighted by its users. The enclosure is made up of aluminium holding materials like ABS, Acrylic, and Polycarbonate.

Appreciations to the frame and all metal hot-end you can design parts in PLA, ABS, PC, PET-G, Ninjaflex, T-glass, Alloy910 and a lot more. The all-metal hot-end and overall build quality have also meant that all users have advertised the N2’s sureness and print quality. One skilled 3D printing market owner reveals that “The Raise3D N2 is an excellent printer with the best quality, high accuracy, and authenticity.

I have had it for over a year it has been printing the same and almost non stop and has required no maintenance”. If your prints do fail or you have an unfavorable power interruption you can operate the devices print resume feature which will continue the print for you from where it left off. This highly recommended device starts at just over $2,800 with a sizable build amplification of 305×305×305 mm.

Large build volume of N2 means you can generate big prototypes or various components in one print. 84% of the users’ designated build volume as a privilege. Common impediment limits of N2 includes the two predominant areas of concern discussed are the size of the machine and software. The first being somewhat can be managed of a given when you think that the build volume itself is supposed to be a major help.

The latter was highlighted by one of its users “It’s a great machine that meets every standard of grading, though the touchscreen keyboard can be erratic in performance.” Wholly, the Raise3D N2 is a strong prosumer 3D printer that provides its users with the best print quality and a high-quality build finish. It works brilliant and also is a good choice for those who are looking to create engineering-grade prototypes or parts on a desktop machine.



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Workhorse 3D printers

Workhorse category includes 3D printers for such users who are looking for strong tools that can print uninterrupted with zero to none print failure.These are printers executed with authenticity in mind and are open to slight modifications and tinkering.

3. Dremel DigiLab

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4. LulzBot KT-PR0051NA TAZ

Another leading 3D printer in the Workhorse category is the Lulzbot TAZ. Manufacturer of Aleph Objects that has been available since May of closing year and has made an enduring impact is the maker of Lulzbot. Along with a large build envelope of 280×280×250mm, the TAZ 6 is self-leveling and self-cleaning machine that will produce high-quality prints stably.

The TAZ also comes outfitted with the v2 Hot End, competent of printing in a wide variety of materials ranging from general purpose plastics to conductive PLA and ABS, Nylon, Polycarbonates and Alloy 910. Commentators were particularly happy with the automatic bed leveling functionality supporting the Lulzbot to achieve its cosmic print quality best out of the box.

To quote one of our reviewers: “I have enjoyed my Lulzbot for more than a year, printing through over 50 rolls of the filament and it still prints marvelous. The price may be higher than some but you do get a well-built machine with great customer service, a huge print volume and a lot of selections. If you have the supplies, this printer should be at your place.”

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The price tag of $2,500 was listed as the main side note for this printer understanding as it’s positivity not that cheapest in its class. To close, the TAZ 6 is a decent machine approved for intermediates and professionals looking to increase their technical knowledge and tinkering inclinations. Buying this machine gets you a strong printer with upgradeability, large build volume, and flexibility built into the ground.



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Plug and Play 3D Printers

Printers in the Plug and Play class are proficient in printing straight out of the box with the smallest setup. These are estimated to be peaceful to use and are marked by regular print quality and great customer support. Tradeoffs include limited adjustment abilities and room to experiment with tinkering.

5. LulzBot Mini 2 Desktop 3D Printer

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The LulzBot Mini makes its appearance in the Plug ‘n’ Play section for the continues 3rd time. Built in Loveland, Colorado, Aleph Objects has massively secured its place in the market of 3D printers with their range of LulzBot 3D printers. Thanks to their prices as the low barrier to entry, the Mini is their entry level of FDM printer.

Stuffed with smart innovations such as an auto-levelling bed, a self-cleaning nozzle, and an all-metal hot-end, this 3D printer continues to be a great Plug ‘n’ Play machine. One reviewer’s proceeds on the Mini: “It’s one of the simpler to use printers, and there is no need for a whole lot of knowledge about 3D printing to get going and to sustain. It’s an excellent starter printer, best for those who feel too lazy to deal with the fixing of a printer on daily basis. Very reliable and it offers good quality.”

Lulzbot has grown a large online community, gratitude for the part to their open source approach. If the community can’t solve your problem, then there is always LulzBot excellent customer support, having been rated best in its category for the third year in a row. Brilliant Job! Customer service is all that we are looking for sometimes.

However, it comes without most of the shortcomings. It needs a constant connection to a computer, as one reviewer noted it as “Lack of a power interface on the printer. All prints must run secured.” The community seems to have found a workaround though by connecting the Mini to a Raspberry Pi that runs Octoprint. Besides connectivity, the noise level of this printer is an issue raised by our community but considered “fixable with some stepper motor damper.”

To reason the discussion, the Lulzbot Mini is a famous machine in its class, offering an easy way to get started with 3D printing. Every single Lulzbot Mini owner who participated in this review recommended this piece, which proves that Aleph Objects delivers on every part of their commitment. Our community thinks it is suitable for everyone. The Mini might not be for directing users or forward planners but besides them, it is highly recommended at times.



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Are you short on Budget?

Are you concerned with 3D printing but your money is limited? Do you want to own a 3D printing machine but you are afraid that you can’t afford it?

3D printers are not always expensive. If your budget is tight and you want to purchase your first 3D printing machine you are in the right place.

If “yes” to the questions above then you are looking for a budget 3D printer. You need no worry because there is a lot of cheap 3D printers for sale. It was also a time when 3D printers cost over $100,000. At that time, it’s too expensive to own one. But now they are in the trend, which makes the demands for 3D printers high. The supply of 3D printers remains high compared to its demand causing its price low.

Today, more brands are into creating the best 3D printers and there are already cheap DIY printer kits, so expect to find more inexpensive 3d printers on the market. Below are some of the top affordable 3D Printers under $1000 and $500.

The Best 3D Printer Under $1,000

1. FlashForge 3D Printer Creator Pro

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This 3D printer has a solid metal frame that is more stable than the initial wood frame used in its predecessors. It also has a piloting level aluminum plate and a completely flat surface to avoid warping during the heating process.

The metal platform support includes a 10mm guide rod to ensure a precise Z-axis movement and prevent platform arm from deforming. This 3D printing machine also comes with an enclosed chamber that insulates and protects ABS prints. For your peace of mind, FlashForge Creator Pro includes a full manufacturer’s warranty and lifetime support from the expert FlashForge technicians making it the best 3d printer for the money.

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2. Dremel Digilab 3D20

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If you want a ready to use the 3D printer, the Dremel Digilab is for you. It is pre-installed with an extruder and can be used straight out of the box. It is equipped with a full-colour touch screen for optimal object preview, a large build platform to cater to bigger projects and an easy to use software for simple customization of 3D models.

This 3D printer is celebrated with Dremel PLA filaments and works well for daily heavy-duty use. It can print layers up to 100 microns of resolution and can fabricate parts using a wide array of materials include ABS, PLA, t-glass, lay wood, HIPS, and flexible filament types. It comes with 24/7 customer support and a 6-month part replacement warranty.

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3D Printers Under $500

1. FlashForge Finder

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FlashForge Finder has a 3.5-inch full-colour touch screen with automatic icons for easy and smooth operation. It is also outfitted with a firm, plastic alloy construction and non-heated built plate for a solid print and safe operation.

It also comes with a slide-in build plate that allows for easy removal of the printed object and offers Wi-Fi, USB and flash drive connectivity. This 3D printing machine is user-friendly and smart making it one of the best affordable 3d printers that you can find out easily. This 3D printer is quiet, non-toxic and user-friendly. It offers easy-to-use features and is designed for home and classrooms.

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2. Monoprice Select Mini

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This 3D printer has an avid build plate and comes with a micro SD card and sample PLA filament. It has a compact design with a small footprint and an initial open frame design. Due to its heated build plate and a wide range of extruder temperature, also this 3D printer can work with any type of filament from the basic filaments to the more advanced materials. This 3D printer is fully gathered and can be used right out of the box. Considering its price and features, this model is one of the best value 3D printers on the market today.

3. Monoprice Voxel

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The Monoprice Voxel is a great 3D printer for all budgets, coming in under $500.

It comes with a quick change nozzle, which can save you around 20-30 minutes of work replacing the nozzle each time. This quick change option lets you replace it in seconds without needing special tools.

The removable build plate that comes with the Monoprice Voxel is also super easy to get off the printer. If it becomes damaged, you can quickly switch to another build plate and start a new project right away.

This 3D printer is ready to print right out of the box when it arrives. The Monoprice Voxel comes with auto-leveling and autofeeding with the filament sensor.

This is a great printer for hobbyists or those just getting started with 3D printing.

Guide to Buying 3D Printers

If you’ve made up your mind about buying a 3D printer, we urge you to read this guide before beginning shopping for the 3D printer best suited for your needs & budget or price ranges. There are many wonderful 3D printers out there that can make any builder’s dreams come true.

But for a beginner – What model should you buy? Where should you buy it from? How much should you spend to get your money’s worth? Well, you’ve come to the right place as all your queries will be answered in this guide.

Should I Even Buy A 3D Printer?

Before you start irresponsibly shopping, it’s essential that you first go over what you want to use a 3D printer for, & how often you’ll use it. Here’s our experience:

So, if we can rule out these possibilities, then you’re probably good to buy a 3D printer.

What Type of 3D Printer Should You Buy?

There are, as of 2020, nine major 3D printing technologies out there. You’re probably not in the market for a $500,000 metal 3D printer, so that leaves us with just two consumer 3D printer types, the FDM & the SLA.

Buy an FDM 3D Printer

The most common 3D printing method used by desktop 3D printers is FDM. In this method, a thermoplastic filament is heated & extruded through an extrusion head that deposits the molten plastic in X & Y coordinates, while the build table lowers the object layer by layer in the Z direction.

Typically, this type of method is a cost-effective way for product development & rapid prototyping in small businesses & education sectors, due to its capabilities in terms of fabricating robust parts reliably in a speedy fashion. It uses a variety of intriguing materials.

If you decide on buying an FDM 3D printer, you have a variety of brands you can choose from, there are at least 50 great companies producing the best 3D printers, with prices ranging from $300 to $5000.

Buy an SLA 3D Printer

The SLA resin printing method, which is less common, works by exposing a layer of photosensitive liquid resin printers to a UV-laser beam, causing the resin to harden & become solid.

Then, once the laser has swept over a layer of resin in the desired pattern & it begins to harden, the model-building platform in the liquid tank of the printer steps down the thickness of a single layer, & the laser begins to form the next layer. This way, each layer is built on top of the preceding one & so on.

Much like the FDM technology, objects with overhangs will require support structures while being printed. After the printing has been completed, the object must be rinsed with a solvent. Sometimes, it is also baked in a UV oven to finish processing. The pros of SLA are that it creates smooth surfaced, ergonomic objects with extreme detail, & it is increasingly popular in industries like jewellery & cosmetic dentistry for creating molds. The price range for an SLA 3D printer is somewhere between $3000 & $10,000.

Where should I buy my 3D printer from?

If you want to buy a 3D printer in 2020, you have a couple of great options to choose from. Here are some great 3D printer buying tips:

Buy a 3D Printer from Amazon

Amazon is a great place to buy a 3D printer. They ensure fast delivery, always update themselves to have most items in stock, & you can always count on their reliability & attention to obligation.

Buy a 3D printer for Less Money

If budget is an issue for you, there are still a couple of ways you can meet your needs & buy a great 3D printer. For instance, you can always opt to buy a second-hand 3D printer, which of course will have been used, so you’ll have to take that into consideration, but will still cost you significantly lesser than buying one in mint condition.

Another great way to meet a small budget when buying a 3D printer is to buy a 3D printer kit.

3D printer kits are a great option if you have some experience in building & assembling things, which you most likely do if you’re in the market for a 3D printer.

You’ll have to assemble the 3D printer yourself, of course, but this is most likely the best way to learn the most about your 3D printer, which is a benefit. The biggest benefit, however, is of course that kits cost significantly lesser than pre-assembled 3D printers.

Buy a 3D Printer on Kickstarter

To be honest, if you’re new to all this, then using Kickstarter probably isn’t the best way to buy your first 3D printer. Why? Well, first of all, the delivery isn’t quick by any means, you might have to wait several months before receiving your order. Secondly, there’s quite a risk in buying a seemingly great looking, dead cheap 3D printer through crowdfunding. There’s quite a lot that can go wrong, fraud being one of the possibilities.

However, if you know what you’re doing, or just simply want to risk it, then using Kickstarter is a great way to get a 3D printer for cheap. Many great companies also set base on Kickstarter.

CT loves marketing, entrepreneurship, and learning about the latest tech. She blogs about laptops has always been a nerd at heart from the young age of 8 when she got her first computer. She now owns multiple machines and spend 10-15 hours a day on them learning about tech and working from home.