The 15 Best 3D Printers of 2021

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We are living in the age of rapid development of technology and a shining example of that are 3D printers. Under computer control, successive layers of material are forged to create a three-dimensional object. All these processes used in the synthesis of an object are governed by a device called a 3D printer. That is the basic idea of 3d printing. The industry behind this concept has been improving at an astounding pace and it’s finally ready to be embraced by the masses.

Nowadays this industry is really starting to take off and these devices are becoming more and more affordable that even basic consumers with a hobby in this area can start 3D printing. It’s no longer a technology reserved for big corporations or factories. A community project called RepRap sparked an open-source revolution when it started promoting the idea of making freely available 3D printers for the benefit of everyone. After an increase in affordability, these products became viable to be used by all sorts of professionals such as engineers, designers, educators and even people with a passion for the amazing potential of this technology.

If you feel like 3D printing would be a tempting endeavor for you then you can easily find yourself in a tight spot because of the different options and prices. You have to do some serious research because although it’s true that 3D printers are now cheaper than ever, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to treat it like a big investment. Before you go hunting for great deals, the first step is deciding what exactly do you need it for, what kind of printing do you intend to make. 3D printers are designed with a certain user in mind and can sometimes address some very specific needs so you’ve got to sit back and think a bit about this aspect carefully before making a decision.

This list has been designed to include the best 3D printers when it comes to value for the money. There are lots of good choices out there but finding the best can be tough. I prefer to use as an essential factor when determining if a printer is worth buying, the best balance between what you spend and what you actually get. So if you’re looking to buy a 3D printer these days make sure to check these top printers in their respective categories.

Also, I wrote two articles about CNC routers, drivers, and stepper motors and the best laser cutters and engravers, so you might want to check those out too.

1. FlashForge 3d Printer Creator Pro

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The next step after the original entry level FlashForge Creator, the Creator Pro is a very affordable 3D printer with multiple capabilities for manufacturing 3D objects. It’s intended for a more advanced user, like an intermediate level and it has some great overall features that make this printer one you shouldn’t miss if you’re in the market for one.

It’s built in a solid metal frame with an enclosed chassis. To help with stabilization and durability, it provides a z-axis guide rod and it features an upgraded platform leveling system. FlashForge learned from past mistakes on the previous models and so the new metal chassis is more silent, keeps vibrations to a minimum and to ensure the best precision of the print heads, it traps the heat in. This is a very nice improvement that adds much-needed stiffness considering the old wooden chassis and the alarming leaking of heat and noise. The printer also has a better build plate design to permit higher print speeds and to limit the number of errors and project failures. For more firmness, the manufacturer included small rubber feet to keep the printer stable and again, to reduce as much as possible the chances of project failures.

The all black design of the printer looks clean and professional, very smoothly finished. In the front of the device there is a clear and sleek acrylic panel that fills it, and inside there is a blue LED light which helps to get a better view of your project during printing. An observer can thus watch the process of turning raw ABS or PLA plastic into an object directly, making the process seem more cool and interesting. It’s a pretty neat little feature that adds to the experience of 3D printing. The FlashForge Creator Pro possesses a control interface on a shiny LCD panel to be able to see the state of the current operation. You can find it just below the acrylic panel together with a bunch of buttons for easy manipulation. We’ll talk about the software side for a bit but before that, let’s look at the actual manufacturing potential of this 3D printer.

With a reasonably generous size, the Creator Pro has enough space to build anything from prototypes to replacement components. The fabrication delivery mechanism is compatible with the two most popular thermoplastics used in the industry: ABS short for Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene and PLA or Polylactic acid. The layering process is fairly precise, the materials can be loaded on spools and then directed through the dual-extruder at a decent 30-160 mm per second. The deposits of 100-300 Micron thick are achieved by a high-quality system of guides and rods and thanks to a flat aluminum plate. This plate along with the steel chassis and dual-spool feeds allows for a quick and efficient way to remove any excess heat which grants the device the ability to produce high-quality objects in a short amount of time.

The machine’s software is very versatile and compatible with all the popular operating systems including Linux so no issues there as most people should be covered. The operations are realized through the open source Replicator G or MakerWare software. Some of the input file types supported are STL and gcode. For connectivity, there is an SD card slot and also printing can be done over a wired USB cable.

With so much potential for creativity and such efficient print chamber operations, the FlashForge Creator Pro has all the features to make the list of best 3D printers. With a more than fair price given its reliability and the high-quality standards for its construction and ease of use, this is a solid winner in case you are looking for an efficient 3D printer with a strong value for money ratio.

Specifications list:

  • FDM Printer
  • ABS, PLA and other materials
  • 100 microns minimum layer height and 500 microns max
  • 2 Heads
  • 11 microns precision
  • 40-100 mm/s speed
  • Open Source
  • Heated Platform
  • 1.75 Filament
  • USB SD card

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2. Official Creality Ender 3 V2 Upgraded 3D Printer Integrated Structure Design with Carborundum Glass Platform

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There are lots of well-designed 3D printers on the market but few can offer a comparable value for the money as the Creality Ender 3. This model is equipped with a self-developed motherboard that promises quiet noise levels. The 3D printing process goes smoothly thanks to the ingenious filament feed-in system aided by a rotary knob. This printer features a V-guide rail pulley for extra durability and long-term stability.

Creality made some upgrades in terms of this 3D printer’s user interface. This new version packs a more intuitive 4.3-inch color screen and smart UI enhancements to improve your printing experience. Aside from a brand new user interface, the printer also includes an improved injection tensioner to make more convenient adjustments. When it comes to the power supply, this model arrives complete with a UL-certified unit made by MeanWell carefully incorporated for safety reasons.

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3. Flash Forge Finder 3D Printer

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Considered the perfect starter 3D printer, The FlashForge Finder really has a lot to offer for a considerably low cost. Combined with the straightforward „plug & play” approach to printing, this is really the definitive choice for amateurs, hobbyists and 3D printing enthusiasts who love to experiment at home.

The body of this device is just like in the picture, square shaped like a box but with rounded corners and edges. It is compact with a minimalistic design, nothing too flashy or complicated. Despite the general plastic feel of the frame, the printer seems to be sturdy enough for all your printing experiments. The print bed also acts as a sliding tray which can be inserted and removed without much effort.

To make an intuitive user interface, FlashForge installed a colorful LCD panel where you can toggle different options like loading and unloading the filament or if you’d like to level the print bed automatically. This feature works great to simplify the calibrating process of the printer bed and setting the best resolutions for your printer by correcting any warping issues or imperfections which can occur on the PLA parts.

With this printer, you don’t have many options material-wise as this machine only accepts one type of filament, 1.75 mm PLA. This is perfectly safe and great around kids too because it’s completely non-toxic. The simplifying process goes further this way as the Finder does not require a heated print bed for more toxic materials such as ABS. The speed of the printing is fairly average, oscillating between 40 to 200 mm per second. One great feature of this 3D printer is the MK 10 brass nozzle combined with a thermal barrier guide tube which helps tremendously to make a more efficient extrusion process. No big issues with the noise level were detected which was going as low as 50 dB.

Connectivity for this device is also possible through Wi-Fi besides USB and that’s quite convenient if you intend to manage the FlashForge Finder over your local network. The onboard memory is 4 GB, spacious enough to transfer files using an USB cable and then simply untether the printer from the PC. Worth mentioning the fact that the special Flash Print the machine comes with is easy to use, designed for maximum accessibility.

The printing quality is on par with the reasonable pricing of this model which should not exceed any casual 3D printing enthusiast’s budget. It’s very clear that FlashForge made a lot of effort to simplify the printing operations and overall I’d say it was a successful attempt. To conclude, basically this printer has some promising qualities, an excellent value for your money and it’s highly recommended for any projects.

Specifications list:

  • FDM Printer
  • PLA, ABS materials
  • 50 min layer height
  • 1 Extruder
  • USB and WiFi

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4. ELEGOO Mars 2 Mono MSLA 3D Printer UV Photocuring LCD Resin

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One highly appreciated 3D printer, the ELEGOO Mars 2 stands out on the market thanks to its excellent accuracy and reliable construction. This model can easily take your 3D printing experience to a new level. It’s engineered with a CNC machined aluminum body with a redesigned build plate for consistent printing results. Accuracy is massively improved with the help of a new included structure that offers superior UV light emission.

The printer has been carefully designed to be easy to use. It’s equipped with a large monochrome LCD that contributes to printing efficiency due to its larger resolution and superior lifespan. Another great detail is the added support for more languages to make the printer more practical in the hands of international users. The machine has a replaceable resin tank crafted from degradable plastic. The best slicer software to use with this 3D printer is Chitu Box because it promises a very smooth printing surface.

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5. DREMEL 3D45 3D Printer

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If you’re looking for a high-end 3D printer that can tackle more heavy-duty jobs, check out the Dremel 3D45. This advanced machine integrates an impressive suite of features such as the large heated build plate, automated leveling system, and remote print monitoring. Although having extra features in a 3D printer can be appreciated by lots of users, the outstanding performance of this model is what truly makes it worth the money.

With its solid precision of 1/20th mm, it’s safe to say that you can obtain high-quality items when using this 3D printer. The machine went through rigorous testing procedures and UL safety checks to ensure maximum reliability. It’s designed to work with almost any operating system out there while also providing great network compatibility for easy connections. If you need a professional-grade 3D printer, you won’t be disappointed by the high-powered extruder and automatic leveling sensor in this unit.

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6. Creality Ender 6 3D Printer 250 × 250 × 400mm Stable Core

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Creality is a leading force in the world of 3D printers and has managed to develop a strong reputation in this competitive market. One of the company’s latest offerings is the Ender 6 model that brings some notable advancements to fans of this technology. It’s much more performant compared to conventional 3D printers thanks to the superior printing speed that doesn’t force compromises in terms of precision.

This machine relies on a stable structure with high-end components to let you print fast without having to give up on printing quality. Due to a semi-closed build chamber, the temperature can be controlled more effectively and you can take advantage of more choices when it comes to printing filaments. The unit can accommodate many larger designs and models with the help of its enhanced build volume. Another advantage is the use of a TMC2208 chip with a special German-built controller for significant noise reduction.

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7. ANYCUBIC Photon Mono 3D Printer, UV LCD SLA Resin 3D Printer

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With a stable platform and fast printing speeds, the ANYCUBIC Photon Mono represents a great candidate for a 3D printer. This reasonably-priced model is engineered for accurate printing thanks to its 2K monochrome screen and Z-axis dual linear slide. You can enjoy a smooth surface for your printed designs while the 50mm/h speed allows you to breeze through 3D printing jobs.

With the help of its special transparent cover design, there’s excellent UV light resistance while still letting the user see the process in action. The release film can be quickly replaced and the printer works in a quiet manner. When it comes to the build volume, you have a fairly large area at your disposal to complete various 3D printing projects. The manufacturer offers reliable slicer software to work with this machine. It’s also compatible with a wide range of resin materials.

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8. Voxelab Aquila 3D Printer with Full Alloy Frame, Removable Build Surface Plate

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The Voxelab Aquila is an affordable 3D printer for users without too many heavy-duty requirements. It’s optimized for silent and efficient printing while the kit is reasonably simple to set up. The printer is based on open source technology and makes use of a carbon crystal silicon glass plate. It’s designed for reasonable adhesion and reduced warping of the 3D print designs.

Similar to more high-end printers, this model takes a good approach in terms of safety. It minimizes the risk of accidents by keeping the wire harness incorporated into the structure of the machine. The resume printing feature could be very useful if you’re worried about power outages. Despite being inexpensive, the machine has some smart abilities such as not printing in case of filament breakage to prevent ruining projects. The fairly generous build volume coupled with the simple maintenance makes this printer worth the price.

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9. Dremel Idea Builder 3D Printer

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The Dremel Idea Builder is a 3D printer manufactured by the US-based company Dremel, an established brand of power tools. Although it only prints using PLA filaments this isn’t as bad as it seems because the device comes with some interesting features over its competitors that make this printer worth to check out.

Idea Builder is a great entry-level printer designed to produce quality prints in the most simple and efficient way possible. It promises to deliver a plug and play experience so let’s take a closer look at its ease of use first. Setting it up out of the box is a piece of cake and just like that, you can start printing immediately. After the first time you boot the printer you are greeted by a nice user interface on an easy to navigate touchscreen which will guide you through the loading and unloading process of the filament. The steps to begin printing are thus quite straightforward: plug it in, level the build platform, install the filament and choose a model. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. What’s interesting to mention is that the Idea Builder comes preloaded with lots of objects on the included SD card ranging from functional to structural pieces that can get printed before you even install the software.

The ease of use is one strong point of this 3D printer but what can be said about its structural design choices? As you can observe from the picture, the device is fully enclosed with panels on each side that you can remove and a front window that stays closed with the help of two little magnets. This way, the printer can operate more quietly and if this is not enough, it also comes with a top cover. There is programmable LED lighting inside the printer that adds a nice touch to the design. With a detachable build platform comes the added convenience of removing your finished project with more ease. Overall, the design of this machine is simple and easy to maintain clean and its size fitting for a home 3D printer if that would be your intended use.

There is no heated build platform but this shouldn’t be a big deal as the Idea Builder only uses PLA filament which remains a great option for everyday printing. The printer can hit standard resolutions around 100 microns so you won’t have any issues in terms of quality compared to similarly-priced printers. It can achieve fairly average printing speeds, up to 150mm/s which is decent enough. You are not going to use a printer at very high speeds anyway because of the degrading of the quality. Known for making quality power tools, Dremel took special care with the reliability of this 3D printer. It ranks very high because of the small chance of project failures. The printer acts like a powerful workhorse and deals with any arising problem efficiently. For example, if you run out of filament during a printing you can simply load a new one and the machine just goes back to work without having to start over or other complications. The reliability of the Idea Builder has great potential to exceed your expectations so keep this aspect in mind if you’re finding it difficult to make a purchase decision.

Dremel’s Idea Builder offers top-quality hardware at a very reasonable price perfect for those enthusiasts who are already familiar with the basics of 3D printing but also friendly enough to those new to 3D printing. The support options for this printer should cover all your needs through helpful tutorials and a comprehensive manual. This level of accessibility when it comes to getting the printer up and running make from the Ideal Builder a great budget option for any professional or home setting.

Specifications list

  • Only PLA
  • 100 microns min layer
  • Not Open Source
  • Not comapible with materials outside manufacturer’s supply
  • No heated platform
  • On-Printer Controls
  • USB and SD card

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10. FlashForge Adventurer 3 3D Printer

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Minimalist and compact, the FlashForge Adventurer 3 packs lots of innovations that can be attractive for fans of 3D printers. It includes a removable heated build plate and a detachable nozzle for bringing some extra convenience to the entire printing process. The machine heats up the nozzle quickly while the filament sensor will detect when more filament is needed to load it automatically.

The build plate doesn’t require leveling thanks to being calibrated in the factory. In terms of user interaction, the printer offers a small touch screen to operate and check the status of the machine. One interesting ability of this 3D printer is the integrated HD camera that makes remote monitoring a breeze. You can handle time-consuming projects more effectively. Thanks to the minimalist design and a completely enclosed body, this is an attractive 3D printer with a sleek square shape.

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11. Monoprice Voxel 3D Printer

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Anyone who wants a performant 3D printer at a reasonable cost needs to take into account the Voxel model made by Monoprice. This is a fully enclosed machine with a heated and flexible plate to build all your favorite models and designs. It features auto-leveling so you can always ensure correct and accurate printing results. The build plate can be removed for extra versatility and simple maintenance.

When it comes to software operation, the 3D printer works nicely with all the major operating systems such as Windows, Mac, and Linux. The latest software necessary can be downloaded from the manufacturer’s website. One notable ability of this 3D printer is the auto filament feeding to remove some of the hassles associated with this process. The machine takes a beginner-friendly approach to 3D printing considering its intuitive touch screen and internal memory to store models.

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12. Flashforge Dreamer 3d Printer

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Created by the Chinese manufacturer FlashForge which has proven themselves to be the leaders when it comes to good value entry level printers geared towards hobbyists and enthusiasts. Their newest addition in the world of 3D printing is called Dreamer and featuring a dual extruder and the same affordable price and robust design of their other models, this machine looks very promising.

The frame of the Dreamer is made from plastic/alloy and the fully enclosed design gives the printer at a first impression, the look of a microwave oven. Despite this fact, the construction is very rigid and the external aesthetics don’t seem so bad on further inspection, but actually, they can be considered fit for a 3D printer. It supports with ease ABS and PLA thanks to ventilated side panels and a removable lid and to watch your project take shape FlashForge equipped the printer with 12-LEDs that illuminates the print chamber in various colors. Don’t let the plastic feel deceive you, this is a very high-quality product. A slightly sturdier steel exterior would have been perhaps preferred but considering the price and the high precision of the interior and the quality of the parts I’d say this decision was justified.

Setting up this printer is a breeze. Just a few simple steps, some calibration and after you are finished loading the filament you can start printing. You will most likely find the print quality to your liking as the Dreamer works flawlessly on a level comparable to more expensive printers. The dual extruders make a huge difference because they allow the printer to design additional material acting as support that’s completely separate from the base material used for the rest of the printed item. Having dual extruders also means that you have the option to print multiple colored objects so this is a great plus if you want your projects to seem more alive. This feature of the Dreamer is actually quite a big selling point, you will hardly wish to ever go back to a printer with only a single extruder once you try this feature out.

One challenging aspect for some printers can be the use of its software which is often complicated and requires time-consuming effort until you get the hang of it. The Flash Print, the Dreamer’s software is surprisingly very simple to use. To be able to print something from Thingiverse, for example, you just complete a few easy steps like you load the object, adjust a few settings and then hit print. Of course, you can also just use the basic default settings which for simple projects can be more than enough. To better control the printer there is a 3.5” IPS LCD touchscreen display and for connectivity, you have loads of options like USB, SD Card, and Wi-Fi.

If you are looking for a practical and reliable 3D printer, the FlashForge Dreamer is more than a decent option to keep an eye on. A rich featured package for a reasonable cost, this 3D printer has enough potential to make this list of best 3D printers on the market and capture the interest of amateurs and professionals alike.

Specifications list

  • ABS and PLA materials
  • 100 microns min and 500 microns max layer height
  • 2 Extruders
  • 11 microns precision
  • Up to 200 mm/s speed
  • Not Open Source
  • USB, SD card and WiFi

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13. VOXELAB Proxima 3D Printer

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A very well-designed 3D printer for the money, the Voxelab Proxima has all it takes to become a favorite for those on a budget. This affordable model makes use of various upgrades and technologies to deliver consistent printing results and optimize your workflow. It includes a uniform UV light source to boost accuracy while the linear rail structure ensures better model smoothness.

One great feature of this 3D printer is the 2K monochrome screen that benefits from considerable improvements over previous models. The Proxima is provided in a pre-assembled state for the convenience of the user. It takes only a few minutes to set up the build platform and start printing your first project. There are two different slicing software provided so you can take your pick according to your needs. The printer is compatible with various resin wavelengths.

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14. Snapmaker 2.0 A350 Modular 3D Printer

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If you wish to get your hands on a highly advanced modular 3D printer, your best bet is Snapmaker 2.0 A350. This model takes your creative potential to a new level. It’s engineered to handle more jobs compared to a regular 3D printing unit. It’s also capable of complementing your projects with the help of laser engraving and CNC carving. You can think of it as a 3-in-1 machine for creating complex prototypes.

Thanks to its large workspace, this 3D printer lets you take full advantage of a generous build volume. The modular design boosts flexibility in terms of customization. You can bring in various add-ons or extra kits to create your ideal 3D printing workhorse. With the help of its 0.005mm repeatability, it’s safe to say that you won’t be disappointed when it comes to printing resolution. A special piece of software is provided to manage all the features of this versatile machine as well as develop new abilities depending on your customizations.

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15. Longer LK5 Pro 3D Printer

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Another reasonably-priced 3D printer comes from Longer. The LK5 Pro model offers a solid build size and an extra-stable design to minimize vibrations. It’s packed with a durable Teflon tube that can handle hot temperatures of up to 535 degrees Fahrenheit. This machine is focused on making the whole printing process more efficient. It features a lattice glass plate with an optimized structure for easier removal of the model.

In terms of user-friendliness, this 3D printer includes a basic interface based on a full-color touch screen that’s larger than what you’d expect at this price point. There’s not a lot of assembling work required for this unit considering that it’s mostly pre-assembled. For added stability, the printer relies on a triangle structure while the TMC2208 driver is surprisingly quiet. All in all, this is a solid 3D printer for beginners who want to explore this creative world.

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If you would like to know more about 3D Printers you can check out my articles: What do you need to know about 3D printing? and How 3D Printers Work? A complete guide or The economics of 3D Printers.