The Best 3D Printers On The Planet

formlabs 3d printer

Photo: Kickstarter

So you’ve decided to jump into the world of 3D printing. Time to pick out your hardware.With a number of different companies all hawking their product as the latest and greatest, it can be a bit confusing to know where to start.

The most recent issue of Make Magazine offers detailed reviews on a number of popular models of 3D printers, breaking down each of their strengths and weaknesses.

What’s the point of a 3D printer you ask? Well, you may not realise it yet, but printing real-world objects is going to be the next big thing in computing.

So which printer should you buy?


If you want a printer that's the best entry level device, get a Printrbot LC.

Printrbot is a newer company, but it's already carved out a niche selling what are commonly known to be among the best printers for 3D printing newbies. The Printrbot LC is expandable in every direction, meaning that if you're adventurous enough, you can build it out to print objects as big as you want.

Price: $549

If user community is your priority, get a Replicator 2.

Makerbot has been a driving force in the hobbyist 3D printing world. Its repository of 3D files, Thingiverse, has a hugely active user base where people offer files and ideas to help everyone get the most out of their printers.

Price: $2,199

If ease of use is your priority, get the Afinia H-Series.

This printer ships fully assembled and ready to rock. This is a far cry from most other printers, which often require a bunch of assembly.

Price: $1,499

If speed is your priority, get the Ultimaker.

3D builds can occasionally take a few hours (and sometimes even longer). The Ultimaker, however, makes short, speedy work of most builds while still turning out a quality print.

Price: $1575.24

If reliability is your priority, get a Cube.

Make mercilessly tested the Cube for an entire weekend, and at the end of testing, it was still performing as well as when it had originally started. This is not the case for many other printers, which often required recalibration to keep the quality up.

Price: $1,299

If price is your priority, get a Printrbot Jr.

There's no way you're beating the price tag on the Printrbot Jr. It's tiny, it's portable. and it even runs on battery power for printing objects anywhere you want.

Price: $399

If you want the highest possible print quality, get a Type A Series 1.

The Series 1 can print objects up to 9 cubic inches, which is larger than most competing printers. And the quality of the finished print rated a perfect 5 out of 5.

Price: $1,400

If you want the quietest possible printer, get a Felix 1.0.

Some printers are loud, but the Felix merely whispers as it extrudes plastic into your finished object.

Price: $1,186.05

If you want to ride the cutting edge, get the Form-1.

Where most printers melt plastic to create their objects, the Form-1 fires a laser at liquid resin to harden it into different shapes using a process called stereolithography. It produces prints at a much higher resolution than most other printers.

Price: $3,299

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