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best 3d printers

The Best 3D Printers in 2021

Author: Robert Wilson

Electronics & Peripherals Expert

3D printers not only impress with their ease of use, but also with first-class results. For our list of the best, our team has checked countless tests and comparison reports on the Internet and included evaluations in the areas of types, weight, layer thickness and much more.

Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D Printer

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QIDI TECH 3D Printer

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Dremel DigiLab 3D45 3D Printer

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FlashForge 3D Printer

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ANYCUBIC Mega S 3D Printer

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ELEGOO Mars Pro MSLA 3D Printer

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Dremel Digilab 3D20 3D Printer

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SainSmart x Creality Ender-3 3D Printer

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QIDI Technology Resin 3D Printer

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Frequently Asked Questions: 3D Printer

What is a 3D printer?

Most people today know the principle of an ordinary printer: With this, colors, shapes, images, fonts and more are printed on paper with the help of ink. As is well known, this allows documents, pictures, letters and much more to be printed out. The 3D printer goes a big step further. Because here is not printed with ink on paper, but with plastic on a surface – which creates objects. But what does that mean in detail?

This means that a three-dimensional structure made of plastic or other materials is built up during 3D printing. This is done in layers and, depending on the printer model, size and complexity of the desired 3D print, more or less quickly. A good 3D printer, suitable filament and suitable software are required for 3D printing.

Incidentally, the filament in 3D printing can consist of different materials. Most of the time, however, the printing material consists of thin threads made of ABS (a plastic mixture). By the way, we will come back to the different types of materials that are used in 3D printing in more detail later in this 3D printer test.

These threads are usually wound on a spool and, like an ink cartridge, can be used in an ordinary printer, in a 3D printer. For this reason, filament, which is part of the accessories of the 3D printer, can sometimes be found in the same range or in specialist shops in the same departments as ink cartridges or toner cartridges.

In the case of 3D printing, on the other hand, various layering techniques and thus also printing techniques are used. Most of the current and commercially available devices rely on so-called Fused Deposition Modeling (called FDM) or on Fused Filament Fabrication – but no matter what process it is, it is always layer melting processes that are used to achieve the desired printing result.

In addition, the software also plays an extremely important role in 3D printers – unlike other known types of printer. The software that is used for printing with an inkjet or laser printer is not even remotely comparable to the software that is needed for 3D printing. In most cases, computer-intensive CAD programs are required, which are only partially supplied by the printer manufacturers.

CAD software is, however, quite extensive across the board and represented by numerous providers. However, not every software is suitable for every 3D printer or for every printing project. Basically, the desired model that is to be printed is created in advance with the help of the CAD software – some models can now be found on the Internet, in specialist magazines and the like, but also models that only have to be opened with the software.

The 3D printer finally brings the workpiece represented or created in the CAD program “to life” – by bringing it into a tangible and usable form.

How does a 3D printer work?

The 3D printing takes place after the model is presented in the CAD program used and is created via a nozzle and with heated filament. Described in detail, the filament is pulled thread by thread by a small motor into the printhead and melted.

The molten material is then applied through a nozzle to a Plexiglas plate – layer by layer until the desired workpiece is created.

Nevertheless, even with the most modern 3D printer, it usually still takes several hours until a complex workpiece is completed. In addition, no matter which model is available today, the 3D printer is always limited to one color per print – even if the filament is now available in several colors. Nevertheless, modern 3D printers are used today for printing a wide variety of plastic objects. Things like tools, toys, decorative objects and even things like cell phone cases or dishes can be printed.

All that is needed for a print is, in addition to the 3D printer and the appropriate filament, suitable software and a suitable print model. This must either be created on the PC using the CAD software, or a usable model must be available.

However, already existing structures and objects can now be scanned in using a 3D scan and thus printed in any color and sometimes size. In addition, there are now many communities on the World Wide Web that have dedicated themselves to 3D printing and, in addition to advice and help with the use and setting of the 3D printer, also offer various templates.

However, it is not only the use of the 3D printer that poses a small hurdle for many new users. Even buying a 3D printer today is not simply done without numerous questions that arise.

Not without reason, because today 3D printers are not only represented by a wide variety of manufacturers and with a wide range of functions, but also in a wide variety of price ranges.

Our 3D printer comparison should make it easier for you to find and buy a suitable model. We introduce you to ten reliable and good devices that are really worth their price – but also tell you what to look out for when buying a 3D printer.

What are the advantages & use cases of a 3D printer?

It is well known that printing things yourself and not commissioning it or purchasing it in finished form has its advantages. In addition, for some things it is cheaper and more effective to print them and not to create them in time-consuming manual labor.

Many companies are also aware of this that today manufacture at least parts of their products using modern 3D printing. And the number of companies from industry, but also from the trade and more, who make do with a 3D printer in their everyday work and in their production is almost unmanageable today.

Screws, tools and parts of products are now again and again produced using 3D printing – and 3D printing has also left its mark on craft and the individual art scene.

Of course, useful things such as screws, tools, dishes and co. Can also be printed in the private sector and in everyday life – but also very idiosyncratic or artistic creations can now be made from paper into a tangible form using 3D printing. In addition, many users now use 3D printing to produce custom-fit and individual cell phone cases, picture frames, sculptures and more. And the ability to scan in existing objects using a 3D scan and print them out as often as you like has its advantages today. Because: Basically everything can be scanned and also printed – keys, storage boxes and even pieces of jewelry.

However, it is fundamentally up to each user how he wants to use his 3D printer. And how diverse and varied this can be is usually shown by a quick look at popular 3D printing communities – here you will find complete instructions for small plastic cities for the model railway hobby, a printed doll house including furniture and dolls for the daughter, unique toy cars for the son, individual Christmas decorations for your own four walls or complete board games for the whole family. All of this may be just a few clicks of a button away.

Modern medicine also shows how diverse 3D printing can be. Although the 3D printers – mostly still prototypes today – are not really comparable with the 3D printers that are known from industry or private use – but they already give you an idea of ​​what we are doing with 3D printing may be able to do so in the near or distant future.

Because organs, parts of organs, parts of tissue or even skin parts are already being printed with tissue fibers. These are used in a wide variety of medical fields – from organ transplants to plastic surgery.

What types of 3D printers are available?

Now it has been clarified what a 3D printer can do and how it basically works. However, not all 3D printers are created equal. Modern 3D printers can not only differ in terms of design, functionality and price – different types of 3D printers are now also represented.

Nevertheless, in our 3D printer comparison we have adopted a very specific type of 3D printer: so-called full 3D printers, in which only the filament has to be inserted for printing. However, in addition to comfortable and easy-to-use models, there are now also inexpensive kits that professionals and hobbyists alike try again and again. We would also like to introduce this type of 3D printer, and all other known types, for the sake of completeness and overview at this point.

3D printer - the convenient complete model

Today, 3D printers or 3D printers usually refer to complete printers, which often also have a scanner built in. Mostly, 3D printers have a print head that is equipped with a nozzle with which a printing process with filament is possible.

With the 3D scanner, however, small models can be scanned – and later printed out again if desired.

This means that copies of objects can be created in no time, but also templates in 3D. Templates can be found in abundance on the Internet today, where they can often be downloaded for little money or even free of charge.

Templates can also be created with a suitable CAD program, which was also shown in a test. These are now offered by manufacturers such as Makerbot, XYZprinting and Ultimaker.

3D printer to build yourself - 3D printer kits

3D printer kits are particularly popular with hobbyists and professionals – because these are often cheaper or can be designed more individually. Of course, there are also such and such sets here: some kits give the hobbyist more freedom than others. There are instructions for which each part and function can be determined by yourself.

But there are also ready-made kits that reduce the price a bit by assembling them yourself. Another attraction of doing it yourself is for many professionals and hobbyists the possibility of being able to better understand the function and functionality of the 3D printer by assembling it yourself.

Multiple 3D printers - the little all-rounders

As already indicated, not all 3D printers are created equal. A multiple 3D printer, for example, is currently the most functional all-rounder even in the field of 3D printing. Unlike conventional 3D printers, a multiple 3D printer does not only use one technology and one material – it uses several technologies and materials at the same time.

This will open up completely new possibilities in terms of 3D printing in the future. Because: At Cornell University in New York a complete and functional zinc-air battery was printed with such a printer. However, the processes of the multiple 3D printer are currently far too complex for use at home. So far, however, multiple usable models can only be found in research. In the near future, however, they will also find use in industry.

How useful is a 3D printer in private households?

3D printers are no longer reserved for professionals and industry alone. Many of the fascinating 3D object printers can also be found in private hobby studios. 3D printing is absolutely trendy among technology lovers. Devices for private users are available from around 400.00 dollars. Here you will find the 3D printers that performed particularly well in the current test.

For private households, 3D printers that work either with Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) or the layer melting process – Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) are best suited.

The devices work much like a hot glue gun. You melt the ABS or PLA plastic and press it through a nozzle. Layer by layer, the desired object is created on a building platform.

Professional 3D printers also sinter objects made of ceramic, glass or metal, for example. Here you will find a current overview of the best 3D printers on the market.

Construction and equipment

In terms of equipment and construction, there is an astonishingly wide range of 3D printers. Some models have a heated printing table, others an unheated one. Either a USB cable or WiFi  is used to communicate the template data to the 3D printer. There are devices with an open, half-closed or closed housing.

All 3D printers have a limited construction volume, which limits the maximum dimensions of the workpieces. The maximum construction volume is between 15 x 20 x 20 centimeters for the award winner XYZprinting3F20AXEU00D da Vinci and 28 x 18 x 18 centimeters for the JGAURORA Z-603 S.

If you also want to print larger workpieces, you don’t have to buy a larger device. With the appropriate software and a little skill, you can split larger 3D templates into several sections and print them.


Before an object can be printed out with the 3D printer, a sketch must be made of it. This is done with a special 3D printer software. In some printers, the software is already integrated in the device. If this is not the case, the software must be purchased additionally.

Files for 3D printing are usually saved in STL format. The surface of the object is described in the form of triangles. The saved models can be adjusted in alignment and size without a complicated CAD program.

They are converted into G-code templates for printing. The G-code is a machine code that is also used to control CNC milling machines, similar to the page description languages used for printing on paper. The 3D printing takes place in several layers, which the 3D printer places one on top of the other little by little.


You can create templates for print objects yourself or download them from the network. There are now numerous community platforms, e. B. YouMagine or thingiverse from the 3D printer manufacturer Makerbot.

A 3D printer can be used in a variety of ways in private households, for example for:

  • Things for hobby and household
  • Gadgets
  • Spare parts for cars and classic cars
  • Models
  • Fashion
  • Art
  • Toys
  • Tools

Household items and hobbies

Thanks to 3D printing, you can make many objects for the household yourself. For the bathroom, for example, these can be towel hooks, storage boxes or toothbrush cups. In the kitchen you can use cutlery, egg cups, bottle openers or bag clips that you have designed yourself. Objects from the 3D printer can be used in many private households, for example

  • storage
  • bathroom
  • office
  • decoration
  • garden
  • Pets
  • kitchen

Many machines and objects break after a short time. Often they are then simply thrown away and unnecessary waste is produced in this way. In the 3D printer you can easily produce many spare parts and even entire objects yourself. All you have to do is measure the object, design it virtually and finally print it.


Gadgets are technical gadgets that are new and special in their kind and that have an innovative design and innovative functions, for example

  • Drones
  • Housing of all kinds
  • Camera and smartphone holder
  • Smartphone covers
  • Tablet stand

Spare parts for cars and classic cars

3D printers are a blessing for all classic car fans and auto mechanics. You no longer have to order the expensive spare parts from the manufacturer, you can print out the parts yourself. This is especially wonderful for drivers of classic cars, as many spare parts for the older models are no longer manufactured. CAD files that you can find on the Internet.

The automotive industry is likely to fare similarly to the music industry soon with the ability to download online. The self-expression also eliminates annoying waiting times. Here you will find the best 3D printers that have achieved particularly good results in current tests.


Models are simplified representations of reality, whereby the simplification can either be objective or theoretical. Models are created in many areas:

  • architecture
  • High precision
  • Automobiles
  • Planes
  • Artificial creatures
  • Human figures
  • Furniture
  • Planets
  • Spaceships
  • robot
  • Animal figures


More and more items of clothing from the 3D printer are presented at fashion shows. With your own 3D printer you can design and print out your own fashion. Fashion does not only include clothes, but much more:

  • accessories
  • Spectacle frames
  • Gloves
  • Masks
  • Key chain
  • Jewellery
  • Shoes
  • Bags


There are hardly any limits to creativity in 3D printing. You can use it to print two-dimensional images in 3D, a sculpture of a famous star and much more. to press.

  • Logos and lettering
  • Coins and medals
  • trophies
  • Reliefs
  • Sculptures
  • stamp


A 3D printer is also ideally suited for making play figures, building blocks and other toys. Thanks to 3D printing, you can design and manufacture a lot yourself.

  • cars
  • building blocks
  • Board games
  • 3D puzzles
  • Dolls
  • Toy figures
  • cube


For many lifetimes we need tools such as hammer, pliers or wrenches.

Anyone who likes to do it yourself can benefit greatly from a 3D printer. You can print out many tools, screws and accessories yourself with the device.

  • Storage boxes
  • Buttons
  • machine parts
  • Screws, strips, etc.
  • Devices
  • Tools

How high are the printing costs of a 3D printer?

The printing costs of a 3D printer are made up of several factors:

  • Power consumption
  • Printing material
  • Wear & Tear

Power consumption

The basis for the power consumption is the wattage of the 3D printer, for example 200 watts. If the printer runs under full load for one hour a week at 200 watts, the power consumption per year is 10.40 kWh. With electricity costs of 0.30 dollars per kilowatt hour, annual electricity costs for the device are 3.12 dollars.

However, it is not the rule that the printer works permanently under full load. Even heating up the device consumes some energy. The power consumption for the movement mainly depends on the size of the model.

The larger the 3D object, the more the 3D printer has to work.

Printing Material

The printing material or filament is of course also part of the printing costs. You can usually push the filament in during the printing process. This significantly minimizes waste.

For example, the 1.75 printing material from NuNus costs around 24.00 dollars per kilogram. Most 3D objects weigh less than a kilogram. Therefore, it is best to calculate the material price in grams. In our example, this results in a price of 0.024 dollars per gram. Does your 3D model weigh e.g. B. 30 grams, the filament costs 0.72 dollars (0.024 x 30 = 0.72 dollars).

Wear & Tear

Last but not least, the wear and tear of the 3D printer is one of the printing costs. Then a part breaks and has to be replaced. At some point, it is also time to buy a new 3D printer.

How are 3D printer tested?

To make it easier for you to find a suitable 3D printer, a number of different 3D printers have been carefully examined in a practical test.

The test team consisted of men and women from different age groups and with different interests.

So professionals and hobbyists, but also completely normal occasional users, have tested. As a result, in this comparison and with our ten 3D printer products, which have performed very well in various tests, we ensure that every claim has been highlighted.

Below you will find the exact criteria according to which all 3D printers were tested in a 3D printer test.

How many connections does the device have?

USB as a connection type is in trend and also on the rise, but USB alone is not always the first choice. However, all of our comparison winners have at least one USB port, but mostly even two or more and also other connection options – such as an SD card reader or WiFi capability.

How fast does the 3D printer print?

3D printers are still a long way from being as fast as regular inkjet or laser printers, but they shouldn’t be too slow either. Especially for home use, skills are usually not demanded so much that the printer should print several hours or even days for every model, no matter how small.

And numerous manufacturers prove with their current models that it can be done in a few minutes. All of our 3D printer comparison winners were able to convince in a practical test with a fast and appropriate printing speed for the respective printing project.

What print materials can be used?

In addition to ABS, there are also other printing materials such as nylon, PLA and laybrick. We will explain later what exactly defines which material. In a test, all printers that work with several filament variants received a few extra points. Therefore, most of the 3D printer comparison winners work with at least two types of filament currently used or even with three types of material or more.

Is a software included?

Not all manufacturers equip the 3D printer directly with CAD software with which 3D templates can be created or read out and thus post-processed. Not all, but some. We also rewarded that with a positive rating in our comparison.

How easy is it to set up and use the printer?

No matter how high-quality and good the present 3D printer may be, if it is very difficult to operate or set up, it legitimately causes frustration – and in a 3D printer test there was a point deduction in the practical test. All of our comparison winners scored with good and simple operation and setup and often with helpful operating instructions.

What do I have to look out for when buying a 3D printer?

If you want to buy a 3D printer today, you are clearly spoiled for choice. Because 3D printers are available today from numerous well-known and lesser-known manufacturers, in a wide variety of designs and of course in a wide variety of price ranges.

Today a 3D printer can only cost a few hundred dollars or several thousand dollars – and not always cheap also means inferior.

However, you should consider a few things when buying a 3D printer – especially if it is a model that has not proven itself in a test or a device that comes from a previously unknown manufacturer.

However, there is one thing you should keep in mind from the outset when looking for a 3D printer – you will most likely not find what you are looking for with well-known manufacturers such as Samsung, HP, Epson or Canon. Because they only offer 3D printers for home use to a very limited extent. But what should you pay attention to across the board?


Regardless of which areas the 3D printer is to be used for in your home or business, it can still only be used with a PC, notebook or laptop that has a modern USB port.

This establishes a direct connection to the printer. However, some models also had connections such as USB or an SD card reader. External storage media can be connected to or in these.

This means that templates can also be printed in this way. When looking for the right 3D printer, you should make sure that the model you are considering has all the connection types you want.

Print Speed

3D printers also differ in terms of printing speed today. For example, some only need a few hours for a complex print, others almost half a day. But don’t let yourself be dazzled and compare the printing speed of a 3D printer with that of an ordinary inkjet or laser printer.

No 3D printer, however modern, produces a very complex or large 3D model in a few minutes or even seconds, which would be shown in a practical test. For private use, you can pay special attention to the printing speed, but you don’t have to. Especially if you don’t mind waiting a little longer for a good, high-quality 3D print, you can invest in other benefits or even a cheaper price.

Printing Material

ABS, PLA, Nylon, Laybrick and Laywood: These are the currently known filament types with which 3D models are printed. Each filament has its own advantages and disadvantages.
ABS, the most commonly used material today, is still quite easy to process, for example, even after printing.

PLA, on the other hand, is biodegradable because it is based on corn starch.

As most people should know, nylon is quite robust, but after printing it can only be processed with great ease.

Laywood consists mostly of wood and can be reworked like this and Laybrick is a sandstone-like material.

Nylon, laybrick and laywood in particular are more suitable for certain printing projects. In order to be able to use these filament types, the 3D printer must also be usable with them.


The installation space size indicates the maximum size of the finished workpiece. For this reason, you should keep an eye on them if you want to produce larger workpieces using 3D printing.

A space of 20 x 20 x 20 cm is usually sufficient for medium-sized print objects, but some devices only have a space of 12 x 12 x 12 cm, which is sufficient for small 3D models at most. For private use, however, an installation space of 15 x 20 x 15 cm is often sufficient.

Tips for buying a 3D printer

What should be printed?

Banal question, very clear: objects, of course.

But the size and shape of the objects is of course decisive for which 3D printer is bought. After all, the size of the print bed ultimately determines the size of the printed object. If the print bed is too small, it just won’t work. You can play around a bit, then the desired objects might fit diagonally on the print bed. But not much is possible, and at some point the only thing that helps in case of doubt is to make things smaller.

Those who are mainly interested in model making and who recreate the heroes and objects from their favorite film for the showcase may not be bothered by it. But if you design (board) games and print prototypes yourself or implement other things of your own design, you usually pay close attention to the right size.

In this case, the “what” also influences the “how”. Because not every plastic is suitable for everything. As noted, most home 3D printers use thermoplastics. In the meantime, however, there are also printers who use environmentally friendly and biodegradable plastics based on organic compounds.

Every plastic has different properties in terms of formability, stability, durability and color fastness. The manufacturers of the 3D printer provide information about which filament is suitable for the respective printer. Tests have shown that you should adhere to this information if you want to enjoy the device for a long time.

For beginners, this means: Better to be well informed first and, if necessary, try out a few projects in the Fablab or Makerspace. Because there are also experienced people there who can help. And advise.

Is the 3D printer even needed?

Whether you need a 3D printer or just think the technology is cool and want to try it out is often difficult to determine. Usually both are the case. But you don’t have to buy the printer right away. The consideration is very simple:

New devices on the market are expensive. Older devices are sufficient if you don’t print that often. But do you want to use an older (outdated?) Device? And above all: is the interest really in 3D printing or maybe more in touching the latest technology and playing with it? This is not a condemnation! But 3D printers are not that cheap after all, as the test showed.

Just think about how much will be printed in the next six to twelve months. The prices for printer, filament, taxes and postage should be added together. In addition, there is the cost of 25% misprints, which is a realistic assumption not only for beginners.

Based on this, you can see how much it would cost to use the Fablab or Makerspace nearby to implement the same projects. When will the break-even point be reached? If it is within the next six to twelve months, your own 3D printer can be “worth it”. Because that is a manageable period in which the technology is still developing moderately, most devices drop in price enormously during this period or are given cool new functions.

By the way, there is also the option of having your own print templates implemented by a professional 3D printing provider. Experience has shown that 3D printing service providers such as Sculpteo or Materialize (there are more) work professionally and cleanly.

3D Printer Accessories

Accessories area of ​​3D printing is both very large and very small. Because theoretically, parts such as control elements, spool holders and external or internal 3D scanners could also be counted as accessories.

These are used over and over again, especially in the case of templates or kits, where you can sometimes decide yourself how large the installation space or how high-quality the control element should be.

Actual accessories, on the other hand, are things like filament pens and other tools for post-processing or various printing plates. The latter can be placed in the installation space so that the printer does not print on the Plexiglas plate, but on it.

In some applications this might be desirable – or in the case of structures that might not be stable enough for static or other reasons to be lifted completely from the plate. These floor panels are available today in a wide variety of sizes.

The accessories also include small knives, pens, planes and more with which the object can be post-processed after printing. These tools are available in a wide variety of designs and for use with the different materials. And then there is of course the filament: Today it can be found in the types already explained, but also in different colors, in different quantities and with different dimensional accuracy.

3D Printer Alternatives

There are so-called 3D pens with which very small structures can be formed – or with which the object made with the 3D printer can be reworked.

In addition, there is now so-called stereolithography, in which resin is used. This is softened by light and then shaped into an object using a printing technique. How exactly the printer works in this case, however, depends on the temperature of the device and to some extent also on the ambient temperature.

Further “alternatives” are so-called hand-operated “3D printers”, with which structures can be created freely by hand. However, there are no other alternatives to the 3D printer today.

However, the various manufacturers who offer 3D printers in a wide variety of designs and also in a wide variety of price ranges ensure that a large selection of devices is represented – and that every potential buyer can find the right printer.

It doesn’t matter what is being searched for and what is required in detail from the 3D printer you are looking for – and the range is growing every day. In addition, there are also kits and templates, some of which are offered by the manufacturers themselves.

With the help of these, hobbyists can build a cost-effective or a custom-made 3D printer themselves, which fully corresponds to their own ideas and wishes.

4.9/5 - (10 votes)

Last product update on 2022-06-28 | Source: Amazon Affiliate