The thing with any kind of technology is that the older it is the cheaper it gets. This is one of those things that are as immutable as the laws of nature. As is obvious, this is beneficial to you as a consumer and it’s only fair since Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) almost always stack the chips against consumers. In the case of 3D printing, devices began with price tags in the thousands. The best 3D printer, in those times, could knock you back a hefty $20,000. However, all that is changing now since you could probably get the best 3D printer in the market right now for only about a few hundred dollars.
How Do You Really Define The Best 3D Printer?
The problem in the 3D printing market is no longer high cost of technology or even lack of options as it used to be before 2010. The problem is setting standards. How do you reward the moniker of the best 3D printer to any single device in a market that is currently full of options that are actually multiplying like rabbits?
The only way to do something like this is to create groups based on specific characteristics. After all, while you may have the “moolah” to get the 3D printer with most features and highest performance levels, someone else may be looking for maximum value i.e. a blend of affordability, features, and performance.
For this reason, we’ve decided to split our list of best 3D printers in terms of the most affordable and the highest performing so as to cater to both ends of the spectrum of potential 3D printing enthusiasts amongst our readers.
The Cheapest 3D Printer
It is worth noting that the cheaper you go, the lesser the capabilities of your 3D printer will be. At the same time, if you’re a beginner, then these printers are perfect for you to try your hand at 3D printing before stumping up serious cash towards this hobby. Here’s our list of the most economical 3D printers in the market beginning from the cheapest 3D printer in the whole wide world.
The advancement in 3D printing technology has been such that the cheapest 3D printer in the market right now will cost you less than $100.
The Lewihe Play was launched by a Spanish manufacturer about one year ago and is currently priced at an unbelievable $98.93. The Lewihe Play is perfect for someone starting out with 3D printing because it comes in the kit form i.e. you will have to assemble it at home.
The kit format can be complex or simple but in the case of the Lewihe Play, it is as simplistic as it can get. This is beneficial because you can learn about the various components of your 3D printer while you’re assembling it. In case you were wondering, Lewihe delivers worldwide.
The Q3D OneUp and TwoUp models are priced at $199 and $279 respectively. Both of these 3D printers have an open Cartesian frame, with the TwoUp being the bigger version of the OneUp with respect to size. These 3D printers have a good build and decent print speed at 60mm per second.
The printers can be connected to a computer through a USB port or an SD card can be used as well. The heating bed, in case you’re a more advanced 3D printer, is an optional upgrade that you can go for.
These printers are available with their manufacturer Quintessential Universal Building Device or on Amazon.
If you want something on the cheaper side but still can’t compromise on print volume, then the He3D Delta DLT180 Kit might just satisfy all your needs.
Available for $269 at the time of writing, is larger than the other 3D printers mentioned by us till now. Like the Q3D printers, this one can also be upgraded with a heating bed.
However, this printer goes one step further in giving the user options as you’ll be able to add an extra extruder to print in two materials or two colours.
The Discovery 200 Kit is manufactured by a French company called Dagoma. This 3D printer can be had for approximately $332 which is quite low in the world of 3D printing.
The best part about this printer kit is that Dagoma claims anyone can put it together and technical knowhow is not a prerequisite. You’ll have to give up hopes of using a heating bed if you go for this printer though.
On the other hand, you’re getting one of the best 3D printer heads in the market with this 3D printer in E3DV6 hotend.
The Best 3D Printer
So, that list contained multiple options for someone looking for the cheapest 3D printer. Some people, though, are committed enough to put up a considerable amount of money into their hobbies. For these types of people, nothing but the best will do. Here’s a list that we think will help you home in on the best 3D printer you can get in the market right now.
The Cube series of 3D printers is manufactured by one of the oldest 3D printer manufacturers in the world – 3D Systems. Their line-up consists of all types of 3D printers you can think of including desktop, professional, and production 3D printers.
They even offer 3D scanners for the true enthusiasts. Cube 3D printers are designed to be as user friendly as possible. This means that they’re more or less plug and play and come with numerous features such as Wi-Fi connectivity.
You’ll even have the option of getting the Cube 3D printers in the colour of your choice. Buying any of the Cube 3D printers, though, will put you back thousands of dollars since their cheapest offering is worth more than $1000.
The modern day definition of the best 3D printer is a machine that is user friendly. Tiertime Up 3D printers fall into this category just like the Cube series mentioned above.
Manufactured and marketed by an American company, the cheapest of these printers is worth $599 while the machine at the top end of the line is valued at $1899.
The supposed goal of Tiertime is to make 3D printing available to the masses and they seem to be doing a good job of it too. The reason we say this is that the Up series of 3D printers possibly provides the best blend of performance and affordability.
If you’ve seen Star Trek, then the name Replicators probably excites you as much as the prospect of 3D printing. There are multiple models available in the Replicator line from MakerBot.
Any of these machines can be considered to be the best 3D printer in the world and is, indeed, treated as such by many 3D printing enthusiasts on the planet. This is the absolute high end of the line.
The MakerBot Replicators are capable of a number of feats including 3D printing objects with moveable components, high print speeds, 3D printing in multiple colours, and most importantly delivering high resolutions.
You can get the smallest Replicator (the Mini) for $1375, while the best 3D printer in this range will cost a whopping $6499.
No list of 3D printers will be complete without a mention of RepRap 3D printers. RepRap is a community project, which means that RepRap 3D printers fall in the open domain. This also means that the RepRap 3D printers are the most customisable and modifiable.
These are also the world’s first self-replicating 3D printers. This means that, once you’ve built them, you can actually use them to create more of them.
Practically speaking, you’ll be 3D printing individual components and will be assembling them to create new RepRap 3D printer models.
In our opinion, any of the 3D printer models listed above, in either category, can be considered to be the best 3D printer in the world. However, at the same time, you need to understand that the lists above can, in no way, be considered to be complete.
There are so many 3D printers out there from so many different manufacturers that it is downright impossible to create any kind of an exhaustive list. Moreover, we haven’t even considered the rate at which new 3D printer models are being launched. However, if you’re looking to buy the best 3D printer, then the models mentioned above should be a good start for you.