The Top 10 3D Printers
The best 3D printers have user friendly software to make setup straightforward, a decent size printing area, and they should work efficiently to create strong smooth objects for their intended purpose. We’ve made a list of the top ten for the hobbyists and the professionals.
Overall Rank: 2
Largest Size Creator 3D Printer
Overall Rank: 7
Most Material Versatile 3D Printer
Overall Rank: 9
Most Affordable 3D Printer
Up first on our countdown of the top 10 3D printers is the UP! Plus 2 3D Printer from Tiertime. This is one of the more expensive 3D printers on our list, but it is also one of the easiest to use and most compact models. Weighing in at just 11 pounds, the UP! Plus 2 can be easily transported from place to place, whether you move it to a new spot in the office or home or to an entirely new location. This unit prints in both ABS and PLA and can fabricate objects approximately 5 inches cubed.
The XYZPrinting Da Vinci 1.0 3D Printer won an award at the annual Consumer Electronics Show for being the Most Affordable 3D Printer, and affordable it certainly is when in this context. The price is especially impressive when you consider that the Da Vinci 1.0 can print 3D objects as large as 7.8 inches in all 3 dimensions. The printer weighs more than 50 pounds, so once you have it setup, you won’t want to move it often, but for all that size, it’s not much louder than a standard 2D printer when operating.
The 3D Printing Pen from 3Doodler puts the power to create 3D objects right in your hand! Why draw using boring old pen and paper when you can draw using either ABS or PLA resins to create a three dimensional work of art, a model for building plans, or a unique gift. And given the low price of the 3Doodler 3D Pen, at least compared to full-sized 3D printers, it makes a great gift itself. The 3Doodler pen takes some time to master, but the fun starts right away.
Up next on the list is the 3D R1 Printer from ROBO 3D. This unit can create objects as large as 8 inches tall, 9 inches in width, and 10 inches in depth at a detailed resolution of as little as 100 microns. The 3D R1 can print using ABS, PLA, T-Glase, Laywood, HIPS, and Flexible Filament, making it one of the most versatile printers on the countdown in terms of materials. The price is right in the midrange of 3D printers, making this a fine choice for the smaller business or for the dedicated home hobbyist alike.
It’s little surprise that XYZprinting’s Da Vinci 2.0 Duo 3D printer offers many of the same features as their 1.0 unit. For the extra money you’ll pay for their next generation model, you’ll get a few welcome perks. And in fact, the price difference is far from staggering when you consider that the Da Vinci 2.0 uses a dual nozzle extruder, meaning it can print objects in two colors. It also comes with access to a massive “Cloud Library” database letting you select thousands of pre-designed models to enjoy as-is or to use for inspiration.
The Lay3r 3D Drawing Pen isn’t all that much different than the 3Doodler 3D Pen: it’s priced the same, it has the same basic functions, and in fact it only prints using ABS resin and not PLA. But its reviews and reported reliability among frequent users set it apart in the category as the 3D printing pen to beat. This pen can be used simply for fun, but in skilled, patient, and above all steady hands, it could even be used to “draw” replacement and repair pieces for some plastic objects.
LeapFrog’s Creatr XL 3D Printer is far and away the most expensive on our countdown of the top 10 3D printers. It can also fabricate the largest objects of any selection on the list. The Creatr XL can print models as tall as 23.6 inches, and nearly half that large in depth and width. For easy-to-grasp context, yes, that’s an object 2 feet tall fabricated before your eyes out of thin air. The Creatr XL can print using ABS, Laybrick, Nylon, PLA, and PVA filament.
The Simple Maker’s Kit Model 1405 3D Printer is the least expensive 3D printer on our list, and it’s the most basic option, except for the 3D pens, but it’s still an able 3D printer that will meet the needs of the hobbyist, and for about the price of a good printer, copier, and fax machine. The 1405 only prints using PLA filament and can only fabricate objects up to 4 inches cubed, but when you recall that it costs about 14 times less than the most expensive printer on our list, those stats look as solid as the model you’ll be able to create.
Dremel’s Idea Builder 3D Printer is a decent price, creates moderately large models, and works quickly and quietly. The Idea Builder can create objects as large as 9 inches by 5.9 by 5.5, giving it a slight edge over many 3D printers on our list. Its full color touch screen lets you interact with your project even without a computer hooked up, and as soon as you do connect a USB cable or plug in an SD card with a new model designed, the Idea Builder will be ready to fabricate it from the ground up.
FlashForge’s Creator Pro 3D Printer is one of the most expensive units on our list, but it’s a top-quality unit suitable for most professional or personal 3D printing. The Creator Pro 3D uses both PLA and ABS filaments and its dual extruder heads mean you can fabricate twin color models. The printer can make objects almost 9 inches tall and around 6 inches across, and it can be directed either via SD card or USB cable. The clear, heavy-duty acrylic cover allows you to watch the printing process while keeping you safely removed from the magic.
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