3D printing is evolving rapidly. The dedication of the community and the open-source software used keeps everyone engaged. Hardware is also adapting to the needs of the consumers and the first thing that has been on everyone’s mind is the price of a new 3D printer. They used to be very expensive but now, newly released models are actually quite affordable. The technology used is not that complicated at least for the consumer-grade models. There are still some 3D printers that are designed for enthusiasts and cost several thousands of dollars.
For a regular person, a simple 3D printer should do. For beginners, it is better to go for a cheaper model but just because it is inexpensive it does not mean it is not good. The biggest difference between them is the printing resolution. Printing resolution is used as a metric for quality just like for regular ink printers. The higher the resolution, the more detailed the result will be. At the same time, higher resolution 3D printers cost significantly more.
Best 3D Printers in 2021
There are a few other aspects worth looking out for but we will get to them later on. For now, let’s have a quick look at our list of the top 10 best 3D printers in 2021.
Last update on 2021-01-23 / Affiliate links / Price / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
10. FlashForge 3D Printers: Finder
FlashForge is a relatively new brand that makes quite a few 3D printers. The Finder model is a mid-range product with decent performance. It is not the fastest printer but it has a good printing resolution and some useful additional features such as printing over USB or Wi-Fi.
9. LulzBot Mini Desktop 3D Printer
LulzBot Mini Desktop 3D printer is a good pick for the ones that have a budget of at last $1000. It is a bit more expensive but it offers excellent performance that justifies the higher price tag. It has a good resolution that can be adjusted and works with ABS and PLA filaments.
8. Reprap Guru DIY Prusa I3 3D Printer Kit
Reprap Guru Prusa is a rather interesting 3D printer. It comes disassembled. The user will need to put it together. It sounds quite scary at first but the instructions are very helpful. As for the performance of the printer, it is nothing mind-blowing but it is decent enough for the price.
7. XYZprinting da Vinci mini 3D Printer
XYZprinting has been around since the inception of 3D printing. Their da Vinci mini 3D printer attempts to fill a gap in the market by providing an affordable price with decent performance. It is far from being able to compete with its bigger brothers but it gets the job done well and should be appreciated especially by beginners.
6. ALUNAR 3D Desktop Printer Prusa i3
If the budget is a problem, then the ALUNAR 3D is a great choice. It is one of the most affordable 3D printers in our list but it is far from being the worst out there. It does have a high failure rate but that is to be expected for such a price tag. Printing speed is good but not great. It is still a worthy purchase for a beginner.
5. LulzBot Mini Desktop 3D Printer
LulzBot Mini desktop 3D printer will be fooling anyone who might assume that it is an overpriced small model with mediocre performance. Despite its compact form factor, it offers excellent performance and a reliable dedicated software. It is one of the more expensive models but it is more than great for domestic use.
4. Qidi Technology 3DP-QDA 16 3D Printer
The Qidi 3D printer is a model. This also means that it offers a large printing bed and it is tall enough to print large projects. Unlike other models in the same price range, the printer is made using a metal frame and mostly metal parts which makes it much more sturdy and reliable. Printing quality is also not disappointing and the price tag enables it to compete with more expensive models.
3. XYZprinting da Vinci Jr. 1.0w 3D Printer
The XYZprinting da Vinci Jr. 3D printer is one of the few successful attempts to make 3D printing something affordable. It is an inexpensive 3D printer that offers good performance in a compact form factor that is perfectly suited for regular home use. In terms of features, the printer does have some perks that make it a rather appealing purchase while the dedicated software makes everything simple and straight forward.
2. Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer with Heated Build Plate
Monoprice Select Mini 3D printer is the perfect choice for a beginner. It is a good printer to start exploring and understand how they work. The price tag makes it a very convincing option while the quality is good enough. The overall package is good but there are some things about the printer that could have been done better.
1. FlashForge 3d Printer Creator Pro
FlashForge managed to develop one of the most popular 3D printers that offer the same quality as much more expensive models. It is fairly large and quite heavy but it is reliable and does not fail all that often. It is far from being affordable but for the price, it delivers excellent performance.
Things To Keep In Mind When Purchasing A 3D Printer
3D printers are still not ready for mass consumers. There is some progress in terms of technology but a few years have to pass until 3D printers will become just as popular and easy to use as inkjet printers. It is pretty much the same story as with laser printers which are now much more affordable. Reliability of the prints is something that still needs some fine tuning. Here are the key things to think about when looking for 3D printers:
- They are still not easy to use. Even if some of them come with dedicated software, there are still plenty of bugs and compatibility issues.
- The 3D printing community is very supportive. There are a lot of forums dedicated to 3D printing and there are a lot of people that are willing to help beginners.
- Printing 3D objects are easy as there are thousands upon thousands of free templates on public websites.
- All current 3D printers have a failure rate. The failure rate comes from the fact that sometimes the mold does not stick properly to the printing surface. Also, there are a lot of imperfections that need to be removed or cleaned once the object is done.
- 3D printing is still quite slow. Usually, it can take several hours for an object to be printed which means that it will increase the energy bill since 3D printers are not very energy efficient yet.
While all of the above points are more or less of a concern, 3D printers are still not very affordable. The cheaper models are good for a few weeks after which, a beginning user will understand their limitations and might wish for a more advanced model. Maybe it is a better idea to start with a mid-range model.