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The Best 3D Printer - 2021

Last updated on March 4, 2021
Best 3D Printer

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Our Picks For The Top 3D Printers

Show Contents
Our Take
  Our Top Pick

Dremel Digilab 3D20 3D Printer

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval

Dremel

Digilab 3D20 3D Printer

Overall Take

For HobbyistsThis 3D printer is ideal for those getting started and tinkering around with 3D printing.

  Runner Up

Artillery Sidewinder X1 V4 Model Black 3D Printer

Artillery

Sidewinder X1 V4 Model Black 3D Printer

Overall Take

Power Failure ProtectionThis 3D printer ensures you can continue printing from where you left off if you stop.

  We Also Like

Comgrow Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D Printer

Comgrow

Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D Printer

Overall Take

Easy to Set UpThis 3D printer comes partially assembled so you can quickly finish putting it together.

  Strong Contender

Sovol SV01 5 x 0.4mm Nozzle 3D Printer

Sovol

SV01 5 x 0.4mm Nozzle 3D Printer

Overall Take

Stable PowerThis 3D printer has a built-in Meanwell power supply.

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Guide written by Anam Ahmed
Last updated on March 4, 2021

A 3D printer is a marvelous piece of technology that is taking businesses and home offices by storm. In a short amount of time and with the right designs, you have the ability to print almost anything. For example, you can print useful household items like bowls and plates if you accidentally break a piece of your dinnerware. You can print a planter for your new herb garden, or even a simple stationary holder for your desk. If you want to print a small set of cutlery for taking to work or school, you can print out a unique fork, knife and spoon from your 3D printer as well.

In addition to household items, a 3D printer can also print out toys for your kids. Whether they are into dinosaurs or blocks, you can find patterns to print for numerous playthings. From whistles to fidget spinners to toy cars, almost any toy can be created using a 3D printer at home. Plus, you can also print accessories for yourself, like a wallet or orthotics for your shoes. There are endless possibilities to take advantage of when you have a 3D printer.

There are several different types of 3D printers on the market, each with their own advantages. A fused deposition modeling (FDM) printer is a basic one that is loved by beginners to 3D printing. It works by heating a filament and shaping it along X, Y and Z axes. Within this category, there are two different types of FDM printers: cartesian and delta. A Cartesian FDM printer moves the printing bed on the Y axis, while the other two axes move with their own motors. Most FDM printers work this way as it is highly precise. A delta FDM printer has three motors on individual rods, which is not a common model.

Stereolithography (SLA) printers use a process that involves a chemical reaction to form layers of print. It is a highly precise result with smooth prints. This kind of model is perfect for printing items that require extremely fine printed details. A similar model is the digital light processing (DLP) printer. It works by using light, which targets a specific area of the resin and hardening it into a sculpture.

Both SLA and DLP models produce exceptionally smooth prints as compared to an FDM model, which can have rougher results. If you want to print industrial parts, then a selective laser sintering printer is a good choice. The process it uses involves laser precision, and is good for highly complex designs and detailed items.

In addition to the type of 3D printer you need, you’ll also have to consider what kind of printing materials are best for the objects you want to create. If you’re going with a printer that uses filament, you have a couple of options. Polylactic acid (PLA) is a kind of plastic made from plants. It can be useful for creating items for indoor use. However, it does deteriorate after a lot of sun exposure, so you shouldn’t use it for any items that are kept outdoors. Polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) is a food-safe plastic. If you want to use it to create items like plates or cutlery, you will still need to finish it with a food-grade epoxy. Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) is a a highly sturdy plastic that is perfect for items that will be used outdoors.

If your are going with a SLA or DLP printer that uses resin, then you can choose the quality of liquid resin you need based on what you’re making. Standard resin is a good option for small gadgets like pencil holders. Professional resin is best for engineering applications that will see high impact and high usage. Medical-grade resin is often used for making custom dental work or hearing aids.

The Best 3D Printers

1
  Our Top Pick

Dremel Digilab 3D20 3D Printer

This high-quality and easy-to-use 3D printer is perfect for hobbyists. It comes fully assembled and ready to use out of the box. The fully-enclosed design offers superior safety.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Dremel
Model
2
  Runner Up

Artillery Sidewinder X1 V4 Model Black 3D Printer

You won’t have to start all over again if the print is stopped mid-way through. This 3D printer has power failure protection, so you can resume exactly where you left off. The printer offers synchronized dual Z system and high precision.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Artillery
Model
3
  We Also Like

Comgrow Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D Printer

You can learn the basics of 3D printer construction while finishing the assembly. It comes partially set up so it’s almost ready to go. It features a resume print function and a safe power supply.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Comgrow
Model
4
  Strong Contender

Sovol SV01 5 x 0.4mm Nozzle 3D Printer

You will get stable and sufficient power with the built-in Meanwell power supply. This ensures that the nozzle and hotbed heat up fast. This printer is easy to assemble in less than 20 minutes.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Sovol
Model
5
  Also Great

FlashForge Finder Wi-Fi 3D Printer

You will have easy operations with this 3D printer, which features a full-color intuitive touchscreen. It is also safe to use and has a non-heated build plate. The printer is made with sturdy plastic alloy construction for stable prints.

Features


Specifications

Brand
FlashForge
Model

Our 3D Printer Buying Guide

A 3D printer is a marvelous piece of technology that is taking businesses and home offices by storm. In a short amount of time and with the right designs, you have the ability to print almost anything. For example, you can print useful household items like bowls and plates if you accidentally break a piece of your dinnerware. You can print a planter for your new herb garden, or even a simple stationary holder for your desk. If you want to print a small set of cutlery for taking to work or school, you can print out a unique fork, knife and spoon from your 3D printer as well.

In addition to household items, a 3D printer can also print out toys for your kids. Whether they are into dinosaurs or blocks, you can find patterns to print for numerous playthings. From whistles to fidget spinners to toy cars, almost any toy can be created using a 3D printer at home. Plus, you can also print accessories for yourself, like a wallet or orthotics for your shoes. There are endless possibilities to take advantage of when you have a 3D printer.

There are several different types of 3D printers on the market, each with their own advantages. A fused deposition modeling (FDM) printer is a basic one that is loved by beginners to 3D printing. It works by heating a filament and shaping it along X, Y and Z axes. Within this category, there are two different types of FDM printers: cartesian and delta. A Cartesian FDM printer moves the printing bed on the Y axis, while the other two axes move with their own motors. Most FDM printers work this way as it is highly precise. A delta FDM printer has three motors on individual rods, which is not a common model.

Stereolithography (SLA) printers use a process that involves a chemical reaction to form layers of print. It is a highly precise result with smooth prints. This kind of model is perfect for printing items that require extremely fine printed details. A similar model is the digital light processing (DLP) printer. It works by using light, which targets a specific area of the resin and hardening it into a sculpture.

Both SLA and DLP models produce exceptionally smooth prints as compared to an FDM model, which can have rougher results. If you want to print industrial parts, then a selective laser sintering printer is a good choice. The process it uses involves laser precision, and is good for highly complex designs and detailed items.

In addition to the type of 3D printer you need, you’ll also have to consider what kind of printing materials are best for the objects you want to create. If you’re going with a printer that uses filament, you have a couple of options. Polylactic acid (PLA) is a kind of plastic made from plants. It can be useful for creating items for indoor use. However, it does deteriorate after a lot of sun exposure, so you shouldn’t use it for any items that are kept outdoors. Polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) is a food-safe plastic. If you want to use it to create items like plates or cutlery, you will still need to finish it with a food-grade epoxy. Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) is a a highly sturdy plastic that is perfect for items that will be used outdoors.

If your are going with a SLA or DLP printer that uses resin, then you can choose the quality of liquid resin you need based on what you’re making. Standard resin is a good option for small gadgets like pencil holders. Professional resin is best for engineering applications that will see high impact and high usage. Medical-grade resin is often used for making custom dental work or hearing aids.

DWYM Fun Fact

You might not think of it at first, but safety needs to be a top priority when it comes to 3D printers. One of the most important things to note is that when you’re using a 3D printer, you are close to heated plastics. This means that the printing bed can be very hot while printing and shortly after. If you come into contact with the printing bed while it’s on, you can be burned badly due to the high temperature. Some printers have an enclosure around the heated print area, while others are open. Having an enclosure is a good safety measure to look for.

The placement of your 3D printer will affect how well the fumes are ventilated. If you are using ABS plastics, then you will want to ensure that the 3D printer is in a well-ventilated area. This is especially important if you plan on using the 3D printer frequently. You don’t want to be overwhelmed by the fumes and have them cause harm while printing.

Another factor to keep in mind when using 3D printers, especially when making household objects and kitchenware, is food safety. Some filaments are food-grade; however, there may be additional additives in them which are not safe. Items created by 3D printers are porous, which means that bacteria can collect on the surface of the objects. As a result, you shouldn’t use any objects created with a 3D printer without a proper food-grade coating if you want to use them in the kitchen.

The 3D Printer Tips and Advice

  • The type of 3D printer you need will really depend on the kinds of objects you want to print. That’s why it’s best to consider the range of needs you have before purchasing a printer. For example, if you primarily want to print household objects for indoor use, then you can use an FDM printer. For objects that you will be using outdoors, the type of filament is what will make a difference. You have to use an ABS filament that can withstand the sun. If your goal is to print artwork with your 3D printer, then it’s best to use a resin printer, which will be able to handle the delicacy of your designs, unlike an FDM printer. For tools, opt for an FDM for home use. For professional-grade tools, then you will need to use a resin-based 3D printer.
  • An important factor to note for 3D printers is resolution. The resolution for 3D printers is measured in a unit called microns. For example, an FDM printer, which is most common for individual use, has a resolution of 25 microns. Resin-based 3D printers, which are common for professional applications, have a resolution of 100 microns. This means that you will get much finer details on a resin printer. Consider the kind of details you need printed and how smooth the object needs to be. The higher the microns, the higher the precision of the printer.
  • In addition to the hardware of the actual 3D printer, you’ll also need software to create the printer files. The software program for your computer, on which you create the 3D printing files, is referred to as a slicer. Popular slicing software includes Cura and Slic3r. There are other slicer software options available as well. Be sure to read reviews online before landing on a 3D printing software for your computer.
  • Making a 3D printed object can take time. During the printing process, your printer may be interrupted by a number of issues. As a result, the object that you’re printing can be ruined in progress, wasting resources and time. In order to reduce the amount of unexpected interruptions during the 3D printing process, look for a printer that has a print resume feature. This will ensure that your print isn’t ruined partway through as a result of an issue. If the printer does have to pause, it can easily pick up where it left off with your object.
  • The first layers of your printed object are like the foundation of a house. Everything else rests on those layers, and it’s is critical that they are well-formed, stable and staying in place. In order to ensure that the bottom layers of your print are solid, you will need a heated bed. Different types of filament have specific temperatures they require in terms of heat, so you may need to experiment to find what is right for you.
  • An intuitive user interface will make all the difference on your 3D printer. If you have one that is manual, such as one with a rotary knob, it can be difficult to navigate. Even a touchscreen that is confusing can cause unnecessary problems with your printing process. Look for a streamlined touchscreen user interface that is easy to understand and doesn’t require complex instructions.
  • When you first start using your 3D printer, you may have to adjust the tension of the X, Y or Z axes by tightening or loosening them. Having a printer where the tension belt is easy to access and adjust will make life a lot easier. Otherwise, you will have to figure out how to remove specific components in order to access the tension belt, which require time and intricate knowledge of the printer hardware. Plus, if you aren’t able to put everything back in place the right away, it will cause further issues.

About The Author

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Anam Ahmed 

Anam Ahmed is a professional copywriter and essayist based in Toronto. She has been writing on technology, travel, parenting, and business for over 10 years, and works with a number of high-profile organizations. As a gadget junkie, she values finding the best products to make people's lives easier. Anam earned a master's degree from the University of Toronto and a bachelor's degree from Queen's University.