3D Printer Guide 2017

We know it can be difficult to decide which 3D printer to buy, which is why we created our 3D printer pages. 3D printer pages is a place where Pinshape community members can leave honest reviews of their 3D printers. We created three categories of printers — Hobbyist, Prosumer, and Professional — and took the top reviews from each to make this 3D Printer Guide. Although some printers may cross over into multiple categories, we put them in the category we think they fit best.

If you are in the market for a 3D printer, we hope this guide is useful and helps inform your decision before you buy. If you want to check out more individual reviews for 3D printers, we suggest checking out our 3D printer pages. We have over 500 3D printers listed with reviews. If you want to leave a review for your 3D printer, please do so we can include it in next year’s guide!

Professional 3D Printers

This category is best suited for professional use in environments like the office, classroom, lab, or workshop. These machines are built to provide high quality prints with high levels of reliability to match. The quality does come at a price so these machines tend to run higher than hobbyist or prosumer alternatives.

Formlabs Form 2

44 Reviews

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Formlabs was one of the first companies to bring stereolithography to the desktop with a price point far more accessible than most other machines using the same technology. Their flagship product, the Form 2, produces parts with a quality that rivals industrial grade SLA printers. Formlabs produces a full suite of materials ranging from dental resins, to engineering grade materials, to castable resins for jewelry. They also offer a full wash and cure kit to expedite post-processing and provide unparalleled support for their products.

Formlabs Form 2

Top Reviews

“This is one of the best 3D printers available on the market” — rkaegerer
“The software is simple and there's no tweaking to get it to work” — stevepeters09
“A fantastic and reliable SLA printer” — file2fab
“This is by far the best solution for high quality printed parts combined with optimal value for money” — diana
See Full Reviews

Pros

  • part quality, material availability, community

Cons

  • cost may be inaccessible to hobbyists, build volume

Ratings & Specs

Print Quality
Value
Ease of Use
Success Rate
Printer Type

SLA

Material Types

Resin

Print Bed Size

145 x 145 x 175 mm

Layer Resolution

25-100 microns

Printed with the Formlabs Form 2


Zortrax M200

14 Reviews

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The Zortrax M200 attempts to bring the plug n’ play aspects of industrial technologies to FDM printing. Featuring automatic bed leveling and a suite of materials from Zortrax designed to perform well with the machine, this printer works right out of the box. It comes at a price point higher than most other FDM machines but offers a sturdy aluminum constructions and exceptional print quality in a number of materials.

Zortrax M200

Top Reviews

“The most plug and play 3D printer I have ever used” — thebeastgoeson
“Print quality is amazing. Support removal is a breeze” — cancore3d
“The price is good in terms of performance” — CEM ONĞAN
“The maintenance of the printer is pretty easy thanks to how the printer is made and the support of Zortrax” — JohanL
See Full Reviews

Pros

  • ease of use, build quality

Cons

  • cost, difficulty using 3rd party materials

Ratings & Specs

Print Quality
Value
Ease of Use
Success Rate
Printer Type

FDM

Material Types

Z-ABS, Z-ULTRAT, Z-HIPS, Z-GLASS, Z-PETG, Z-PCABS

Print Bed Size

200 x 200 x 180 mm

Layer Resolution

90-400 microns

Printed with the Zortrax M200


Ultimaker 3

6 Reviews

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Building on Ultimaker’s history of producing quality FDM printers, the Ultimaker 3 attempts to bring dual extrusion to a larger audience. The two nozzles retract to prevent failures and allow you to print in two materials at once. Create support structures in dissolvable material and the rest of your model in a standard filament. Ultimaker has created their own line of filaments to work seamlessly with the printer and has adopted a modular design for ease of changing components.

Ultimaker 3

Top Reviews

“Super easy to use this printer, just upload your print and you’re ready to go” — Michael Trestka
“The printer was designs and built for professional quality prints and it definitely delivers” — Thomas Davis
“The attractive choice is the combination of main material and suluble supports from PVA. Higher price is balanced by quality and seamless user experience.” — Tom Vít
“The Ultimaker 3 is one of the most reliable 3D printers on the market. With the changeable nozzles and assisted bed leveling, it even improves the ease of use.” — Trideus bvba
See Full Reviews

Pros

  • dual extrusion, material availability, 2 year warranty

Cons

  • price, finish quality

Ratings & Specs

Print Quality
Value
Ease of Use
Success Rate
Printer Type

FDM

Material Types

PLA, ABS, Nylon, CPE, PVA

Print Bed Size

215 x 215 x 200 mm

Layer Resolution

300 microns

Printed with the Ultimaker 3


BCN3D Sigma

8 Reviews

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The BCN3D Sigma is unique in that it was one of the first machines to feature independent dual extruders. In many setups, the extruders are attached to each other leading to potential part defects. BCN3D’s independent extruder system ensures that the idle extruder is away from the part and unable to interfere. The Sigma features full metal hotends with swappable nozzles and a heated bed enabling you to print in a variety of different materials. The printer's noise levels have improved with their most recent update in February 2017

BCN3D Sigma

Top Reviews

“The machine is very precise with two independant extruders and simple guided calibration” — fabrizio_gurisco
“This printer has exceeded my expectations in almost every way” — Jim Betsinger
“This is a printer worth getting. The volume is great and the details on the model come out perfectly” — Phong_le
“Use with various materials. The extruders are accurate and very versatile.” — olivier.rey
See Full Reviews

Pros

  • dual extrusion, construction, size

Cons

  • cost, noise

Ratings & Specs

Print Quality
Value
Ease of Use
Success Rate
Printer Type

FDM

Material Types

ABS, PLA, Flexible, Composites, PETG

Print Bed Size

297 x 210 x 210 mm

Layer Resolution

50-350 microns

Printed with the BCN3D Sigma


Prosumer 3D Printers

For prosumer 3D printers, the most important rating factors are a combination of print quality, value, and running expenses. The price point of prosumer 3D printers are between $1,000 - $2,000 where professional printers are over $2,000. These printers are great for use in an educational setting, for home use, and for prototyping where moderate print quality and reliability are needed.

LulzBot Mini

15 Reviews

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Most people agree, the LulzBot mini is a great entry level 3D printer. LulzBot mini received high scores in value and is one of the more affordable 3D printers in the prosumer category. It is an intuitive machine with a heated bed and auto bed levelling system. The nozzle wiping system cleans off the nozzle before each print to help lay down the perfect first layer on every print. It prints well with a variety of materials and it is open source which allows users to easily source new parts or customize the 3D printer with upgrades. The recommended slicing program is Cura LulzBot Edition but it also works with other 3D printing slicer software.

LulzBot Mini

Top Reviews

“I love this little printer. I picked this one because of the self leveling and heated bed” — jsmart79
“The LulzBot mini is easily one of my favorite entry level printers” — Mizunoslove
“I have no complaints and think this is a great entry level printer” — darkside501st
“The LulzBots are built to last & be very durable when used properly” — Tim Postma
See Full Reviews

Pros

  • price, open source, print quality, service, community

Cons

  • small build volume, some issues with wires breaking

Ratings & Specs

Print Quality
Value
Ease of Use
Success Rate
Printer Type

FDM

Material Types

ABS, PLA, PET, Nylon, Polycarbonate, Flexible, Polyester and Co-polyesters, HIPS, PETG, PVA, Metallic and Wooden blends

Print Bed Size

152 x 152 x 158 mm

Layer Resolution

50-500 microns

Printed with the LulzBot Mini


CraftUnique Craftbot PLUS

12 Reviews

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The Craftbot by CraftUnique is an entry level 3D printer that comes equipt with a heated build platform and it’s own free slicing software called CraftWare. The most recent upgrade to this printer is the Craftbot PLUS. It is USB compatible which makes it easy to transfer files from your computer to the 3D printer. Craftbot receives high scores in reliability and quality of prints and supports a wide variety of filaments. For a tech savvy maker the setup and calibration is quite simple. Bonus features include a sturdy frame made of metal.

CraftUnique Craftbot PLUS

Top Reviews

“It’s best feature is USB printing. Just plug in a USB drive and go!” — Fekete Tibor
“Easy calibration. 20 minutes after unpacking I was already printing with good results” — JPD333
“We use them almost everyday since I bought them two years ago” — szkrisz
“Good price/quality balance” — ak
See Full Reviews

Pros

  • price, reliability, build volume, easy set up

Cons

  • not open source

Ratings & Specs

Print Quality
Value
Ease of Use
Success Rate
Printer Type

FDM

Material Types

PLA, ABS, PET, Nylons

Print Bed Size

250 x 200 x 200 mm

Layer Resolution

100 microns

Printed with the CraftUnique Craftbot PLUS


MakerGear M2

15 Reviews

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The MakerGear M2 receives full points for print quality. With a mid-range in the prosumer category, it delivers high quality precision and reliably printed parts. Its metal frame makes it a sturdy 3D printer workhorse. Unlike some of the other plug-and-play printers, it does not come with a bed sensor and auto-bed levelling. Having an intermediate knowledge of 3D printing will go a long way with this machine. It does not come with proprietary slicing software but is compatible with most open source options.

MakerGear M2

Top Reviews

“We have nine of these because they work and are running hard all the time” — james.tomich
“I am thrilled with my Makergear M2.” — sideshowtony
“Great overall build, really high quality print. Runs with no real problems” — yuri
“It’s one of the toughest and most precise prints I’ve seen” — neo.usagi
See Full Reviews

Pros

  • reliability

Cons

  • non-auto bed levelling

Ratings & Specs

Print Quality
Value
Ease of Use
Success Rate
Printer Type

FDM

Material Types

ABS, PLA, PET, Nylon

Print Bed Size

200 x 250 x 200 mm

Layer Resolution

50-250 microns

Printed with the MakerGear M2


LulzBot TAZ 6

7 Reviews

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The LulzBot TAZ 6 is the big brother to the LulzBot Mini 3D Printer. It is the most updated 3D printer in the TAZ family and is aimed at more experienced users. Although the price point is higher than other Prosumer 3D printers, many users say it’s worth it. It has an easy to user interface with an auto bed levelling feature. The build volume is also larger than most printers in this category and it prints reliably. The advantage of it being open source means it works with other open source slicing software and it works with all varieties of filament. The TAZ is also compatible with four additional tool heads to provide fast prototyping, dual materials, and even complex parts with flexible and stiff components-- all in one 3D print.

LulzBot TAZ 6

Top Reviews

“Not having to level the print bed is a dream come true” — john_stennett
“Overall the Lulzbot has been a great machine for this 57-year old guy” — dpotts
“The printer has a huge build volume and I love the auto leveling feature” — azhar_mohammed
“This printer was very easy to set up and print with. Would recommend this printer for anyone new to 3D printing.” — Amy Polanowski
See Full Reviews

Pros

  • Print quality, service, community, open source, auto bed levelling

Cons

  • price

Ratings & Specs

Print Quality
Value
Ease of Use
Success Rate
Printer Type

FDM

Material Types

ABS, PLA, PET, Nylon, Polycarbonate, Flexible, Polyester and Co-polyesters, HIPS, PETG, PVA, Metallic and Wooden blends

Print Bed Size

280 x 280 x 250 mm

Layer Resolution

50-500 microns

Printed with the LulzBot TAZ 6


CEL Robox

9 Reviews

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The CEL robox is praised for its ease of use and reliability. It comes equipt with bed leveling and a dual extruder system which is great for printing soluble support structures or printing in two colors. The print heads come with a needle valve system which closes the nozzle in between movements instead of retracting material which helps in the prevention of stringing or oozing material. Their HeadLock™ system allows you to easily exchange the single material head which has 0.3 and 0.8mm nozzles for the dual material head which is able to swap materials in less than 1 second without purging or dribbling.

CEL Robox

Top Reviews

“A fantastic printer, was printing within 20 minutes of opening the box!” — jamestoogood
“Excellent printer with a compact design. It’s easy to use and the support from CEL is second to none and they have lots of available support online.” — TAZIE
“The printer makes the process very simple and effective so you just have to worry about your design” — jjnm5
“I have been very happy with this printer. There were some "teething issues with the first Kickstarters, but CEL’s support has been very good” — terry_taylor
See Full Reviews

Pros

  • filament variety, heated bed

Cons

  • not open source

Ratings & Specs

Print Quality
Value
Ease of Use
Success Rate
Printer Type

FDM

Material Types

ABS, PLA, HIPS, PETG, CO-PET, Nylon

Print Bed Size

210 x 150 x 100 mm

Layer Resolution

No data

Printed with the CEL Robox


Hobbyist 3D Printers

Printers in this section pack impressive print quality at a price point accessible to hobbyists and those just starting out in the industry. The quality of hobbyist machines has improved significantly over the years with consistent upgrades to quality and reliability. Each of the printers in this section also come with large communities that help you to continue discovering, learning, and troubleshoot any issues you might run into.

Original Prusa i3 MK2

36 Reviews

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The Prusa i3 MK2 is produced by the original designer of the i3, Josef Prusa. It’s made of high quality components and includes powerful software that fully calibrates the machine prior to use. Prusa Research continues to innovate on existing FDM technology with products like an improved heated bed and new multi-extrusion system. They’ve also released their own 3D slicer which includes features like variable layer height unavailable in other free suites.

Original Prusa i3 MK2

Top Reviews

“I have been using the printer for several months now, and 99.9% of the prints succeeded” — RedsDuty
“This is my first printer and I’m very satisfied with it.” — Zsolt_roastas
“Print quality is excellent and I have reliably run 17 hour prints” — Darren Pruitt
“It sets a new bar for ease of use and quality of the print” — mech
See Full Reviews

Pros

  • part quality, reliability, construction

Cons

  • assembly required for the kit

Ratings & Specs

Print Quality
Value
Ease of Use
Success Rate
Printer Type

FDM

Material Types

ABS, PLA, PET, Flex, Composite, PET, Nylon

Print Bed Size

250 x 210 x 200 mm

Layer Resolution

No data

Printed with the Original Prusa i3 MK2


Monoprice Select Mini

32 Reviews

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The Monoprice Select Mini was one of the lowest priced printers to hit the market when it was released at $200. It nonetheless comes with an impressive set of features including a full LCD display and heated bed. As the name suggests, the build volume on the Monoprice Select Mini is relatively small at 12cm in all axis, but it’s capable of producing reasonable quality parts in a variety of different materials at a price that’s hard to beat for hobbyists.

Monoprice Select Mini

Top Reviews

“Solidly built and easy to operate, this printer far exceeds my expectations” — Carl Schellenberg
“Great value, does great work but with a few drawbacks due to price.” — bellclifford
“As a newby to 3D printing this is a well built printer to learn on” — gredmore
“PLA printed out of the box with great results.” — fixerdave
See Full Reviews

Pros

  • cost, community

Cons

  • build volume, construction

Ratings & Specs

Print Quality
Value
Ease of Use
Success Rate
Printer Type

FDM

Material Types

No data

Print Bed Size

120 x 120 x 120 mm

Layer Resolution

100-350 microns

Printed with the Monoprice Select Mini


Robo R1+

11 Reviews

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The Robo R1+ is the updated version of the Robo R1 system. It comes with an updated linear motion system and a quick release to make changing out the extruder faster and easier. It comes with a heated glass bed and auto bed levelling. The build volume size is bigger than most entry level printers which gives more freedom to print larger designs.

Robo R1+

Top Reviews

“The Robo3D R1+ was the lowest price large build area printer when I bought it. I've learned a lot with it” — randy_merrell
“I had mine set-up and running within an hour of getting it home. The robo community has proven to be invaluable for their help, and tips and tricks with this printer.” — powerzog
“The R1+ is an excellent worker that is usually extremely stable when it comes to prints.” — kelly_luck
“Wow..love it. It took two weeks to decide on the Robo R1 Plus, but was the best value for the money with all the features that it has” — mcox24
See Full Reviews

Pros

  • price, large build volume, auto bed levelling

Cons

  • requires some adjusting out of the box

Ratings & Specs

Print Quality
Value
Ease of Use
Success Rate
Printer Type

FDM

Material Types

ABS, PLA. PET, Nylon

Print Bed Size

254 x 228 x 203 mm

Layer Resolution

100-300 microns

Printed with the Robo R1+


Flashforge Finder

16 Reviews

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At a price point below $700, the Flashforge Finder is good value for what you get. It comes equipped with auto bed levelling and requires minimal setup. The bed size is a little smaller than other printers in this category but the print quality is great for what you pay. It is USB equipped for ease of transferring files. If you’re just getting started in 3D printing this is a great entry level printer.

Flashforge Finder

Top Reviews

“It a good buy for starters and it will surely boost your 3D printing Confidence.” — Taha Shahda
“I've had this printer for about 8 months now. I loved it from day one (printed the famous articulating elephant right out of the box with no issues) and it keeps amazing me.” — gmhoovler
“Great printer lots of fun comes with 1 spool of white filament. I would recommend you to use the flash drive it come with to load your print.” — Zane murasko
“I would sincerely say if you are considering 3d printing as a hobby, then this is an excellent printer to start with.” — neilhengist
See Full Reviews

Pros

  • price, print quality

Cons

  • only prints PLA, no heated bed

Ratings & Specs

Print Quality
Value
Ease of Use
Success Rate
Printer Type

FDM

Material Types

PLA

Print Bed Size

140 x 140 x 140 mm

Layer Resolution

100-500 microns

Printed with the Flashforge Finder