- 1 Whether for personal, professional, or educational use, 3D printers are more affordable than ever. Check out what you need to know about the technology to get started printing, along with the top-performing models in our formal testing.
- 1.1 1- Dremel DigiLab 3D45 3D Printer
- 1.2 2- Formlabs Form 2
- 1.3 3- LulzBot Mini 3D Printer
- 1.4 4- MakerBot Replicator+
- 1.5 5- XYZprinting da Vinci Mini
- 1.6 6- LulzBot Mini 2
- 1.7 7- Ultimaker 3
- 1.8 8- XYZprinting da Vinci Jr. 2.0 Mix
- 1.9 9- Flashforge Finder 3D Printer
- 1.10 10- Robo R2 (2018)
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Whether for personal, professional, or educational use, 3D printers are more affordable than ever. Check out what you need to know about the technology to get started printing, along with the top-performing models in our formal testing.
1- Dremel DigiLab 3D45 3D Printer
Amazon Price: $1,599.00
Very good print quality. Easy to use. User-friendly yet powerful software. Prints via USB, Ethernet, and Wi-Fi, and from a USB thumb drive. Safe design. Relatively quiet.
Limited filament colors compared with competitors.Touch screen is not particularly responsive.
The Dremel DigiLab 3D45 is featured-packed, prints accurately, and comes loaded with powerful software, making it one of the best 3D printers we’ve tested.
In evaluating a 3D printer, we look at a number of factors, among them ease of setup and use, print quality and consistency, build volume, software, filament, connectivity, and price. Although no printer excels at all of them, the Dremel DigiLab 3D45 3D Printer ($1,799) comes as close as we’ve seen. It’s made primarily for product developers, engineers, and other professionals, and should also be useful in higher education. Although it’s priced considerably higher than consumer 3D printers, its ease of setup and use, and its ability to output quality prints with consistency, mean that it could also be a good fit for a tech-savvy hobbyist with some cash to invest. It easily earns our Editors’ Choice as a midrange 3D printer.
2- Formlabs Form 2
Amazon Price: $3,852.50
Superb print quality. Automatic resin feed. USB, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet connectivity. Touch screen. Several custom resin types available.
Printer couldn’t detect one resin cartridge in our testing. A few confusing error messages. Takes time to master printing.
The Form 2 offers magnificent print quality, a good selection of resins, and an improved user experience over the previous generation of Formlabs 3D printers.
The Form 2 ($3,499) is a marked redesign from the first generation of Formlabs 3D printers, from which we reviewed the Form 1+. Priced $200 higher than the Form 1+, the Form 2$3,852.50 at Amazon incorporates a wide range of improvements, including a larger build volume, a more powerful laser, a touch screen, Wi-Fi connectivity, an automatic resin-feed system, new resin types and cartridges, and a revised finishing system. In most respects, these updates improve the printer’s capabilities and the user experience, and it is a big step forward from its predecessor. The Form 2 is an impressive, professional-quality printer with magnificent print quality, and earns our first Editors’ Choice for 3D printers targeted to professionals.
3- LulzBot Mini 3D Printer
Amazon Price: $1,350
Easy to set up and use. Capable of high resolutions. Self-leveling print bed. Prints with a variety of filament types. Accepts third-party filament spools. Works with Windows, OS X, and Linux. Supports open-source hardware and software. No misprints in our testing. Easy to remove finished objects from print bed.
Inconsistent print quality. Only includes a small sample length of filament. Open frame increases risk of burns from a hot extruder.
The LulzBot Mini 3D Printer is amazingly easy to set up and use, can print with a wide variety of filament types, and made it through our tests without a single misprint.
The LulzBot Mini 3D Printer ($1,350) is intended for a wide audience, including home users, schools, and libraries, as well as businesses and institutions looking for a 3D printer for prototyping and production. It’s made by Aleph Objects, a Colorado-based company that has made other 3D printers, including the LulzBot TAZ 4 and the LulzBot Kittaz 3D printer kit. The company is committed to Libre Innovation, which means the hardware and software it creates is free to be copied, modified, and converted by all users.
4- MakerBot Replicator+
Easy to use. Very good print quality. User-friendly yet powerful software. Prints via USB, Ethernet, and Wi-Fi, and from a USB thumb drive. Safe design for an open-frame printer. Relatively quiet.
Printer setup through MakerBot Mobile app can be tricky. Somewhat pricey filament.
The MakerBot Replicator+ 3D printer is a marked upgrade over its predecessor, offering better speed, a larger build area, and workflow solutions for professionals.
You could think of the MakerBot Replicator+ ($2,499) desktop 3D printer as a souped-up version of the original Replicator$2,400.99 at Amazon, adding considerable improvements in speed, build volume, and design over its already-excellent predecessor. It also adds workflow features useful for the professional audience for which it’s primarily intended, and it’s quieter than the previous version. A very worthy successor, it’s our Editors’ Choice for high end, general purpose 3D printers.
5- XYZprinting da Vinci Mini
Amazon Price: $289.95
Very low price. Reasonably priced filament. Good print quality. No misprints in testing. Easy setup and operation. Quiet. Prints over a USB or Wi-Fi connection.
Occasional problems in trying to launch prints. Removing printed objects from the print bed is sometimes tricky.
The XYZprinting da Vinci Mini is a consumer-oriented 3D printer that provides a winning combination of low price, ease of setup and use, solid print quality, and smooth, misprint-free operation.
Best of the Year 2017The XYZprinting da Vinci Mini sells at a bargain price for a 3D printer, $289.95, but provides a more-than-satisfactory user experience for the newbies for whom it’s designed. The da Vinci Mini is easy to set up and use, and in our testing consistently printed objects of good quality for the price, with no misprints. Its build volume is modest, its software occasionally stumbled when I tried to launch a print, and completed prints were sometimes difficult to remove from the print bed, but none of these are serious problems. The da Vinci Mini’s combination of rock-bottom cost, easy setup, and good print quality and consistency are enough to make it our first Editors’ Choice consumer 3D printer.
6- LulzBot Mini 2
Amazon Price: $1,500.00
Easy to set up and use. Powerful software. Quiet operation. Supports a variety of filament types. LCD with SD-card slot. Self-leveling print bed. Easy to remove finished objects from print bed. Works with Windows, macOS X, and Linux.
Print quality inconsistent at times. No bundled filament. Open frame increases risk of burns from a hot extruder. Relatively sparse connectivity options.
The LulzBot Mini 2 is easy to use and works with a variety of filament types. It’s a good choice for schools and hobbyists, and anyone willing to invest in a powerful and versatile 3D printer.
The LulzBot Mini 2 ($1,500) bears a strong resemblance to its predecessor, the LulzBot Mini—our first Editors’ Choice mid-priced 3D printer—while increasing its print volume, and adding three key things: an improved extruder head, an LCD, and quieter motors. While it doesn’t quite unseat the Dremel DigiLab 3D45, our current Editors’ Choice, it gets kudos for its easy setup process, smooth
user experience, and wide range of supported filament flavors. This makes it a good choice for schools and hobbyists, as well as consumers willing to invest in a more powerful and versatile machine than entry-level models like the XYZprinting da Vinci Mini.
7- Ultimaker 3
Amazon Price: $3,495
Easy to use. Strong print quality. Reliable, misprint-free printing. Dual extruders let you print with two colors or filament types. Quiet. Several connection choices.
Long print times at default resolution.
The Ultimaker 3 has very good print quality for a 3D printer that prints with plastic filament, and its dual print cores let you print using two filament types or colors.
The Ultimaker 3 ($3,495) is a departure from previous Ultimaker 3D printers, most recently the Ultimaker 2+$2,499.00 at Amazon, in that it has two extruders, increasing the printer’s flexibility by allowing you to print an object using two filament colors or types. Print quality is improved over previous Ultimakers, and is among the best we have seen from a fused filament fabrication (FFF) 3D printer. These advances do come at a price: about $1,000 more than the Ultimaker 2+. Although the Ultimaker 3’sBest Price at Amazon print quality can’t match that of the Formlabs Form 2$3,852.50 at Amazon, our Editors’ Choice professional 3D printer, it’s easier to use and sticks to conventional plastic filament while the Form 2 prints with liquid resin.
8- XYZprinting da Vinci Jr. 2.0 Mix
Amazon Price: $449.95
Low price for a two-color 3D printer. Good print quality. No misprints. Quiet. Prints over a USB or Wi-Fi connection, or from an SD card.
Poor documentation makes the learning curve longer than it should be. Requires use of proprietary filament.
The XYZprinting da Vinci Jr. 2.0 Mix is great choice for a low-price consumer 3D printer, especially if you want to print in two colors.
Among 3D printers selling for less than $500, the XYZprinting da Vinci Jr. 2.0 Mix ($449.95) is a horse of a different color, or actually, two different colors. It’s one of the few budget models that lets you print with two different-colored filaments at once, and the only one we know of that can do so using a single extruder and nozzle. It did a credible job in printing both one-color and two-color objects in testing and has good print quality for its price. Although the Mix falls a bit short of unseating the XYZprinting da Vinci Mini as our Editors’ Choice consumer 3D printer, it’s an excellent option, especially if you want to print in two colors.
9- Flashforge Finder 3D Printer
Amazon Price: $299.00
Quiet. Good print quality. Connects via USB 2.0 cable, USB thumb drive, or Wi-Fi. Reasonably priced.
Some objects pulled off the platform during testing. Poor documentation. Modest build volume. Limited to printing with polylactic acid filament (PLA).
The Flashforge Finder 3D Printer is moderately priced and offers good print quality, but it proved tricky to get up and running in our tests.
The Flashforge Finder is a moderately priced ($499) home 3D printer that offers good print quality and a variety of connection choices. It has a modest build area and is limited to printing with polylactic acid filament (PLA), but neither of those are deal breakers at this price point. It proved surprisingly tricky to get up and running, as the first several test prints didn’t adhere to the build platform. After some troubleshooting, however, the Finder proved to be a reasonably reliable 3D printer that can produce good-quality print.
10- Robo R2 (2018)
Amazon Price: $1,445.42
Fine print quality. Supports printing with PLA, ABS, and a variety of specialty filament types. Versatile software suite. Mobile printing support.
Touch pad is somewhat balky. Printing process is noisy.
This revised and much-improved version of the Robo R2 3D printer, packing a roomy print area and support for multiple filament types, produces consistently good print quality.
When I first tested the Robo R2 3D printer in late 2017, it was problematic on several levels. It was time-consuming to calibrate, its print quality was uneven, and—worst of all—the touch screen often would not respond to even the simplest commands. The company recently approached me with a revamped version. It has a new operating system to make the printer more responsive and easier to set up, plus tweaks to the print bed and leveling sensor. I’m pleased to report that the user experience is considerably better. Print quality is improved, calibration is easier, and the touch screen is generally more responsive. Although it falls short of unseating the Dremel DigiLab 3D45 as our Editors’ Choice midrange 3D printer, the 2018 Robo R2 ($1,499.99) is a noticeable improvement over the original R2 and is, for the most part, a pleasure to use. It’s a good midrange choice when the amount of vertical printing area matters.