There are so many uses for 3D printers today, from using them in a business environment to simply purchasing one to have fun with in the comfort of your own home. However, because there are so many purposes and reasons that you might be looking at a 3D printer, there are many different printers that specialize in areas of their own. Of course, there are 3D printers that are friendlier toward beginners, whereas there are others that are ready to be installed in an industrial environment to be put to use. In this 3D printer buying guide, you will learn what to look for in your 3D printers, as well as some of the best printers of the year that you can consider.
What Should You Look for in a 3D Printer ?
Here are a few specific categories you should look at when you are searching for your next 3D printer. First, you will always need to consider your budget. 3D printers can range from just under $200 to being well over $6,000 and even more than that. Because of how wide this range spans, it is important to know what your own budget is, and how much you are willing to spend on a 3D printer.
This also ties into the next category you will need to consider. There are different levels of 3D printers, ranging from some that are incredibly beginner friendly and are considered entry level, to some 3D printers that are meant to be ready to use in an industrial facility. Whether you are simply planning to take on a new hobby or you are making an investment for your company, this will not only influence the budget you have to work with, but it will also influence the features that you will need to keep an eye on.
With that being said, the third and final category that you will want to pay attention to is the features of the 3D printer. Nobody wants to invest the money in a 3D printer, only to realize that it is not at all compatible with your current printing setup. Making sure that you read the reviews of each product you intend to purchase can also help you make the right decision about which 3D printer is best for your purposes.
Here are 10 of the best 3D printers of 2020, with each printer specializing in a different area than the next.
Our 5 Top Picks
This is a 3D printer that is well known for being well rounded and capable in numerous different ways. With several automated functions,such as auto-mesh repairing and auto-orienting for the optimal print, people who are newer to the field of 3D printing will be able to get started. In addition to this, the high resolution of this printer means that anything that you choose to print will be incredibly detailed, which is something that everyone wants to get from a 3D printer.
This printer is also considerably reliable, with its materials holding up for a long, long time. To put it simply, this printer is one of the best SLA 3D printers that you can get your hands on, although there are some printers that are better than the SLA ones. For the price of $1,999, you will get just about everything you need out of a 3D printer and then some. Because of the price,this is a printer that is better suited to professional use to get its money’s worth out of it.
While there are some 3D printers that are better suited to professional and industrial use, there are other printers that are better suited for hobbyists. Typically, these printers will be less noisy, and have an interface that is easy for anyone to access. These printers are also among some of the most reliable, with many features that can help ease beginners into the world of turning 3D printing from an interest to a hobby.
This printer is known for being fast at printing, especially with its FFF (fused filament fabrication) technology.
If you are looking for a hobbyist printer that can satisfy your needs, and that you are willing to dish out $1,500 for, then this is certainly a printer that you should be considering.
Another hobbyist 3D printer that you will want to keep your eyes on is this MakerBot Replicator model. This printer not only has a specialized “ecosystem” that allows for an easy-to-access user interface, but it’s also compatible with other MakerBot software. In fact, this product prides itself on the fact that it is perfectly suitable for both educational uses, or simple hobbyist home use. Something that the MakerBot offers that other 3D printer manufacturers don’t is high-quality customer service.
Especially if you are new to 3D printing and you aren’t always sure about what you are doing, being able to contact customer service is always a huge benefit.
This is especially important, as this printer is not one that is easy to fix, meaning that you might have to spend a lot of time repairing it if it does end up breaking. For the price of $2,499.99, this printer might seem more expensive at first, but it will pay off its costs with its professional-grade products.
Of course, everyone who has an interest in 3D printing has to start somewhere, but when you find yourself looking for a printer that can hold up to the standards of a professional work environment, you might feel at a loss as to what you should look for at first. However, this printer is one of the most capable that you can consider for any professional 3D printing work that you have.
No matter what you need to print, how many things you need to print, or how long you plan to use this 3D printer, you can rest assured knowing that it will take care of all your needs. The only major con to this printer is the price. At $5,995, it might be a hefty investment, but it will pay off its worth before you know it.
Out of all the 3D printers that you have seen so far, all of them have been well over $1,000. For most people, especially hobbyists and beginners, this kind of investment isn’t easy to make. This is where the FlashForge begins to make things easier. At $899, you can begin to experience what the world of 3D printing is, without having to break your budget in the process.
Being able to save up some money on this capable and compatible printer is important, as you might need help assembling the printer when it arrives, and it can be less than easy to fix if something happens to it. This printer is one that any hobbyist, or even the curious beginner can appreciate.
Generally, 3D printers are not small and can take up a fair bit of space, especially if you want the capacity to create large products. However, for hobbyists and beginners, while the extra space can be wonderful, it is not always needed. In fact, you can save hundreds, even thousands of dollars looking at the smaller versions of 3D printers. Despite the small size, they are still just as capable as any other 3D printer that’s aimed at a hobbyist. In fact, this particular printer prides itself on being easily accessible to beginners, which means that if you have an interest in 3D printing, this printer that is just over $1,000 will be perfect for you, as long as you do not mind using the manufacturer’s software.
While you might see this name and think that it is the same as the one above, the two are extremely different. While made by the same manufacturer, this version of the printer is even more friendly toward beginners, especially beginners who might not be ready to invest more than $800 into 3D printing. By sacrificing the ability to work with certain materials (although you can pay to upgrade the printer later, if you find that it is worth the investment), you can save hundreds more on your new 3D printer.
Coming in at $179.95, this is one of the least cheapest 3D printers that you can get, making it a very easy way to dip your toes into the world of 3D printing.
If you are looking for a versatile 3D printer that can be used anywhere from home to educational use in schools, and even some light use in work, this printer is a budget-friendly option for you. Coming in at just over $300, you will find that you can get the same beginner and hobbyist capabilities out of this printer as you would be able to with many other printers, at a fraction of the price. One thing that you will have to pay attention to, however, is that it isn’t the highest quality, and even a simple print can potentially take hours. On the other hand, if you are interested in dipping your toes in 3D printing and are willing to wait a long time to see the results, then being able to look at an inexpensive printer becomes more than worth it.
Most professional-level printers cost several thousand dollars, easily reaching past $5,000, depending on what you need. However, this 3D printer provides a solution that might be easier on the budget of your company. This printer comes in at about $1,499 meaning that it still isn’t a small investment to make, but it will be much easier for your company to recover from than some other printers. Unfortunately, this printer is not the cleanest, or the most efficient, which can cause some problems in a professional environment, but as long as you are wary of this, it can make the perfect printer for your professional needs.
Last, but most certainly not least, is this printer. You might recognize the name from one of the previous printers, and you would be correct in this assumption. While the previous printer was one that was meant for professionals, this version is designed to fit the needs and the budget of an enthusiastic hobbyist. Of course, you will have to assemble it yourself when it arrives, and disassembling it for repairs and maintenance isn’t the most enjoyable part of 3D printing, but aside from this, it is one of the most capable 3D printers of its category.