22 Feb 15 Best 3D Printers in 2022
Whether you’re looking for a new hobby or to expand your fabrication business, a 3D printer is a great investment. This new era of compact tech is changing the game by offering everything from homemade toys and custom gifts, to rapid prototyping and product refinement. If you want to get in on the act, then there’s never been a better time to take a look at what the market has to offer. The only difficulty is knowing where to start.
To help you out I’m happy to reveal that yours truly is a bit of a printing and materials geek. I’ve recently surveyed every printer on the market and compiled a shortlist of 15 of the best. If you have a spare couple of minutes why not work your way down my list? Because I have personally vetted every model, you can browse safe, in the knowledge that every product would make a great purchase. Let’s kick things off with the first entry on my list…
Best FlashForge 3D Printers
1. FlashForge 3D Printer Creator Pro
The Creator Pro is something I’ve heard a lot about, so I thought it was about time I took a closer look. With so many models on the market, it must be doing something right to get on this list.
10 mm guide rod offers some of the most precise z-axis movement I’ve seen
The guide rod is a significant advance that allows you to control the z-movement with even greater precision. It’s a smart little change to the way of doing things that actually makes a surprisingly large difference. I really liked the way it allowed me to calibrate with much greater accuracy.
Aerospace standard Aluminum plate never warps or bends
A warped build plate is something that can have a considerable impact on the quality of your prints. The problem is that the amounts we’re talking about are barely perceptible to the human eye. This means that you can be printing for months with a warped plate without even knowing about it. Because this one is aero-grade, you shouldn’t have any such issues folks!
The fully enclosed chamber provides perfect protection for ABS prints
ABS prints require a hearty dose of TLC to make them the best they can be. If you’re into your printing already, you’ll know that keeping contaminants and rogue airflows out of the way is absolutely vital. Because everything is fully enclosed, you can print with the peace of mind that only comes from knowing that all the variables are being controlled. Ideal for those of you who like to approach your work with scientific rigor at all times.
Robust metal frame ensures you can achieve best in class leveling and precision
The metal frame is a piece of precision engineering because it allows you to calibrate safe in the knowledge that everything is indeed level. That ensures that your print gets off to the best possible start. Ideal if you want to be able to run a whole batch series off an initial calibration. Highly recommended folks!
2. FlashForge 3D Printers, New Model Finder
The first entry on my list has a reputation for getting things done hassle-free. Let’s take a look for ourselves and see if it’s a justified viewpoint, or is it just hype.
Calibration system allows you to make short work of challenging leveling
The calibration system is mostly automated, and the little manual involvement is well explained. This allowed me to get my prints off to a great start and taught me how to use the device at the same time. Ideal for those of you that want to be able to learn on the job as you pick up a new skill.
A 3.5-inch touchscreen display makes inputting your design nice and easy
The touchscreen display was a nice touch that I got to grips with very easily. The backlit screen was easy to navigate and was well laid out. That allowed me to get my first few prints going with a couple of clicks and then take things from there. Well done guys, I think you’ve nailed this one!
Wireless file transfer makes things easier when you’re ready to get started
Wireless transfer is something I’m a big fan of because it enables you to get printing without having to spend ages fiddling with wires. That is particularly handy if you want to be able to print in a separate room so that you can keep your design office nice and quiet. I found no issues with the connectivity, and the WiFi setup that enables it to happen is super straightforward.
Slide-in build plate is perfect for quickly removing your latest creation
The build plate is like the foundation of the printer. Not only is it the part on which your print will be layered and heat treated, but it’s also the foundation for a successful leveling calibration. By being able to slide out your plate and easily remove your print, you’ll be able to get things sorted in no time at all. If you want to be able to turn over a large number of prints then this is ideal. I also think you’ll find it to be a helpful addition if you want to be able to make delicate copies. They require gentle handling and manipulation, so a slide-in build plate is just what’s needed.
Best Mini 3D Printers
3. Monoprice 115365 Select Mini 3D Printer with Heated Build Plate
Number two on this list has been making a lot of noise recently so I couldn’t wait to put it to the test. Here’s how it got on folks.
Supports all filament types to allow you to work with everything from ABS to PLA
The universal filament mount is a nice little addition even if you only have plans to work with one material. By being able to work with any material you like you’re just storing up flexibility for the future. It’s certainly worth investing in, and I’d recommend always shopping for a universal filament. Even if you have no plans to make full use of it at time of purchase, you probably will one day. A great way to keep your options open guys!
Desktop footprint allows you to get creative in any sized workshop or studio
The desktop footprint is good to see because it means you can get setup anywhere you like. If you’re starting small you can even set it up beside your computer: just leave enough room for cooling. That way you can get inspiration from your print in progress as you fiddle with your design on the computer.
The integrated cooling fan keeps your build plate at its optimal running temperature
The cooling fan is nicely made, and the bearings run super smooth. It keeps the build plate at its optimal temperature which is ideal if you want to avoid subtle changes from one print to the next during a batch run. It also runs quiet which in my experience meant that I could barely hear it even in a quiet office.
Ships fully assembled so that you can get started straight away
The self-assembly of 3D printers is an area where many models and manufacturers fall down. With such an intricate and finely tuned piece of tech most people just want it to work straight out of the box. These guys have taken care of that by allowing you to pull it out, plug it in, and never have to tighten a single bolt or screw. Ideal if you want 3D printing to enter the world of plug and play.
4. da Vinci mini Wireless 3D Printer
With a name inspired by one of the grand masters of the renaissance world, how could I not take a closer look? Here’s what I thought of it folks.
Unique single button print design is super easy to get to grips with
I totally got the single button approach the moment I set eyes on it. Once your design is uploaded and your options selected all you have to do is hit one button. That is simple because it ensures you can power through and get things optimized in the software without second-guessing yourself when you look at the hardware. I liked this approach because it allowed me to focus on the task at hand.
Wireless connection keeps things easy when you want to upload a new design
The wireless connectivity was quick and easy, and I’m certainly glad that it comes as standard with this piece of kit. It allowed me to get printing nice and quickly, even if I wanted to do it from another room. That is ideal for those of you who want the freedom to be able to work anywhere and don’t want to have to run long unsightly wires everywhere.
Updated precision is ideal for those of you looking to take your printing to new heights
The precision upgrade that this thing has undergone is indeed worthy of some serious praise. The first generation version wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, but this is a noticeable step up. With the axes well defined and the movements highly reproducible it allows you to focus on detailed prints in a way, few models can match. I really like this because it gives you more options to work with as you expand your printing repertoire.
Free printing tutorials are a great way to get up to speed if this is your first printer
The final thing I’d like to complement these guys on is how well they tackle the issue of user training. With an easy to follow manual and plenty of video tutorials, they’ve taken care of everything from what I can tell. That made all the difference to me as someone new to this brand. I was up and running within the hour!
5. da Vinci miniMaker 3D Printer
Da Vinci is making a name for itself in this niche so it’s no surprise there’s another one of their models on my list. Let’s dive right in guys!
100 mm per second printing speed is impressive, to say the least
The printing speed is what sets this thing apart from its rivals. With so much speed it would be easy to think that the resolution would suffer but that wasn’t my experience. The mechanical precision allowed it to move fast yet accurately. A match made in heaven when it comes to printing multiple batches if ever there were one. Job, well done on that one, I think!
Automatic calibration ensures you get your prints off to the perfect start
I loved the automatic calibration option because at the end of the day it was all about making my life easier. There are so many options to fiddle with and parameters to define when you get a new piece of tech. That’s precisely why it was nice for the device itself to take care of so many of them for me.
Comes with free XYZ design software to get you up and running nice and fast
The design software is impressive to say the least, and when you consider that it’s free it gets even better! There can be all sorts of compatibility and comms issues when you use third-party software. That’s why I was so pleased to see that this thing ships with in-house software as standard. A real triumph of software controlling hardware in the simplest possible way.
Colorful design that I thought looked great in my home print shop
The design of the casing is something that’s guaranteed to catch your eye. If you want to be able to install a piece of tech that does the job but also looks excellent then this could be it guys! I loved the colorful design as it hinted at the playful side that all creative tech should have. The desktop foot-print also makes it a great option for using on your own workstation so that you can keep an eye on things. A great way to show your customers that you’re all in when it comes to new tech!
6. XYZprinting da Vinci Jr. 1.0 Pro. 3D Printer
The da Vinci name makes its third and final entry onto my list with their Jr model. It may be a little smaller and compact than it’s big brothers, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still pack a punch.
Open source firmware allows you to be flexible with your setup
The open source nature of the firmware was a dream to see for a geek like me. If you want to be able to create bespoke batches of prints then modifying the code is a great option to have. That ensures that you can make the subtle changes that will make all the difference to your user experience. Perfect for ensuring that you can take care of everything when you come to set up your own print and design studio. Highly recommended by yours truly!
Variable temperature extruder enables third party filament compatibility
The filaments are what let down a lot of 3D printers. That’s why I was so happy to see that this thing can accept third-party filaments with no hassle or headaches. That makes it easy for you to find the right filament for a run of prints so that you can really bring your design to life. No other printer on the list has a better way to attach them, mark my words!
50-micron layer resolution is one of the best specs you’ll find on this list
The layer resolution of this thing is impressive, to say the least. There are some that go even lower, but I was amazed by how easy this spec was to achieve. It’s not one of these super unlikely best-case scenarios; it’s just what you get when you power it on and put it to work. That tells me a lot about the quality of the design, but also the attitude to customer service. By telling you what you can readily achieve, rather than what you want to hear, they’ve changed the game in my opinion folks!
7. QIDI TECHNOLOGY New Generation 3D PrinterX-one2, Metal Frame Structure, Platform Heating
It’s certainly a catchy name that allows you to get an idea of what it’s about. Here’s what I thought so you can make your own minds up!
Assembly within 1 hour is a nice touch
Being able to take it out of the box and get everything up and running in less than an hour was really refreshing. Too many printers come in too many bits that you spend hours on the phone to support trying to get them sorted out. That’s not what you want to happen when you spend your hard earned money on some new tech. And with one of these, it won’t be if follow the instructions like I did guys!
Print using PLA and ABS for adding flexibility
I love the idea of being able to print multiple materials which is a big reason this one made it onto my list. If you want to be able to print PLA and ABS with no issues, then this is worth taking a closer look at. This unit, I think, is ideal if you want to keep your options open.
The robust motor provided a smooth and maintenance-free experience from what I saw
The motor on this thing has to be seen to be believed. It was so quiet which was not only easy on my ears; it also tells me there is plenty of power in reserve. Sometimes manufacturers will put a cheaper motor on and mess around with the gearing ratios. That works well enough for the first few months but because the motor is straining it’ll soon fail on you. There’ll be no such issues with this one I can tell!
Impressive customer support that helped me a lot in the early days
The customer support was very impressive, to say the least. They were knowledgeable, helpful, and most importantly of all, friendly. That made all the difference for a new user like me looking to get to grips with things.
8. Comgrow Creality Ender 3 3D Printer
To say these guys know their printers would be the understatement of the year. Take a look at what I made of their latest model, and see if it’s the right one for you!
FDM may just be the way of the future
In my opinion, these guys are really onto something with their innovative deposition model. The fine details of it may not be of interest to anyone but the real geeks like me out there, but the results speak for themselves. If you need a printer that will get the job done in a whole host of different ways, then I think this is a great option. Add it to your shortlist and see for yourself whether you think it’ll get the job done.
The desktop footprint is ideal for getting set up in the smallest of workshops
I really like the desktop style that these guys have developed because you can use it anywhere. That is ideal if you want to be able to get started in even the smallest space. The only thing I would say is, to make sure that you leave enough space for ventilation. I didn’t experience any issues with heat dissipation, but it’s always worth double checking the specs. That way you won’t experience an unforeseen thermal cutout at a crucial stage of a print.
Settings can be saved, and it just carries on after you power it off
The great thing about the firmware is that it continually stores your last settings. That means that if you need to power it down to swap out a filament, it should pick up where it left off. Great news for those of you who want your tech to be simple and easy to manage. It also means that if you get a spike or dropout in your mains supply, your printer won’t have its memory wiped. Ideal for carrying on like nothing happened!
Best Big Size 3D Printers
9. Anet A6 High Precision Big Size Desktop 3D Printer
Anet know everything there is to know about printing, so I was super excited to see how they’ve continued to evolve. They are a great company and one whose products I’ve been excited about for a long time now. Here’s how it got on…
Intuitive assembly takes the hassle out of unboxing
The assembly is straightforward, and I’m pleased to say I experienced no issues with putting it all together. This was great from my point of view as it gave me the confidence to experiment with different settings safe in the knowledge that they were all working as they should. Ideal for getting to grips with a new piece of kit.
Video tutorials are a great resource to have by your side
I thought the video tutorials were fantastic and became a big fan of their simple approach to instruction. If you like to see products and techniques in action so that you can learn faster, then I highly recommend taking a look.
Comes with its own toolkit to ensure you never have to worry about maintenance
The kit was a nice touch because it put my mind at ease about the maintenance side of things. By being able to see what needed to be done and having the tools to do it I was able to learn about the printer as I went. That was great from my perspective as I love learning on the job as it reduces costly downtime. Highly recommended for those of you who have the practical mindset to pick things up nice and easily.
Aluminum hotbed ensures leveling is nice and easy in my experience
The hotbed was very well designed and machined from what I saw. It allowed for simple and comfortable PLA deposition and was very easy to setup and optimize. This makes it a stronger candidate for those of you who like your tech to just work straight out of the box.
10. Anycubic Upgraded Full Metal I3 Mega 3D PRINTER
With a catchy name like this, how could I resist putting it on my list so that I could take a closer look? Read on to see for yourself what I thought of it.
A plug and play approach to 3D printing that I loved playing with
Plug and play is the holy grail of tech installation because no one wants to have to fiddle with drivers and operating systems. By being able to plug this thing in and get printing within 10 minutes of it arriving, they’ve created something rather impressive. Highly recommended by yours truly.
UltraBase is more than just a catchy bit of branding from what I’ve seen
The base is an impressive piece of kit and a component that has clearly had a lot of time spent on it. It allows you to level everything virtually automatically which provides for easy reproducible print-ing with no difficulty. If you want to be able to run your designs over and over to create batches, then this is a real contender on your shortlist.
Auto pause function allows you to change filaments without the hassle
I love the auto pause function because it removes one of the potential pitfalls of a 3D printer. When the filament runs out, you can often end up ruining a print as the printer keeps trying to deposit residue and leftovers. Anycubic has cleverly got around this issue by adding a sensor to the filament feed. This means that you can print with piece of mind when trying something for the first when you’re not sure how much filament it will use up.
First class technical support that helped me out a lot
I have to say that the technical support was first class from beginning to end. The folks on the other end of the line had no issues with grasping what I was talking about and led the conversation by asking the right questions. Often when you phone for help you get someone reading off a script, not in this case though guys!
11. Monoprice Maker Ultimate 3D Printer
Moving on past the halfway point of my top 15 is this entry from the people at Monoprice. It was a new one for me but one I was excited to work with nonetheless.
20-micron layer resolution is right up there with the best on the market right now
The layer resolution that this thing offers really is second to none. 20 microns may be hard to grasp, so it’s worth knowing that the average diameter of a human hair is 30 microns! That gives you an idea of just how much detail this thing will allow you to incorporate into your work.
Excellent technical support that got me back on track a number of times!
The technical support was first class and deserves to be commended in my opinion. With so many potential pitfalls they were able to always ask the right questions in just a couple of minutes. If you’re new to printing or just want to have a bit of support, so you’re not alone, then I think you’ll love their team. They were friendly, knowledgeable, and most importantly always available when I needed them. Perfect for getting me back on track!
The heated print bed makes working with multiple filament types hassle-free
The heated bed is an excellent piece of design that has clearly been well thought out from day one. Different materials require different working temperatures, so a variable temperature bed like this one is ideal for giving you additional flexibility. I think it’s a great little piece of design that you’ll be glad you invested in because it gives you more options for the future.
The anti-jam feeder ensures mechanical errors don’t ruin your prints
The final thing I want to say is that the mechanical side of this thing was amongst the very best that I’ve seen on this list. By being able to trust the alignment and movement of the printer I was able to get to grips with it much faster. That was ideal for a relatively new user like myself who was looking to build their skills and their confidence concurrently.
12. RepRap Guru prusa 3D Printer
It’s a bit of a strange name, so I was intrigued straight off the bat. Here’s how it got on guys…
A printer that’s been designed with bespoke modification in mind from day one
The great thing about this printer is that it’s designed with modifications in mind. By that, I mean, if you want to build your own custom printer down the line, then you can. While this approach may not be for everyone, it certainly helps it carve out a strong niche. Highly recommended for the techies out there who love to fiddle and tinker.
A useful introductory kit printer for hobbyists and educators
The nice thing about a DIY printer is that it’s a great way to learn about the device as a whole. That makes it an ideal option for keen hobbyists or educators who want to get to grips with the fundamentals quickly. Perfect for those of you who love to understand how and why things work.
100-micron layer resolution is very respectable for a DIY 3D printer
The 100-micron layer resolution this thing offers will be beaten by some on this list, but it certainly isn’t left in the shadows. It’s offers a great spec for something you’ve built yourself and will allow you to do most things a more advanced printer can. A great way to get a solid all-around introduction to the printing world. It’s also a handy educational tool once it’s built due to its adaptable and flexible design.
Open source firmware allows you to keep your options open if you modify
The firmware is open source which is something that always puts a smile on my face. With so many companies locking you out of their code it makes modifying particularly tricky. These guys go the opposite way and give you the keys to the code the moment you open the box. If you then decide to go ahead and modify your printer this is great because it allows you to get really detailed. Perfect if you want to build the one of a kind printer you’ve been looking for but just can’t find on sale.
13. Pxmalion CoreI3 3D Printer DIY Kit
The Corel3 comes with a big reputation, and you know me; I loving testing those types of products the most! Here’s what I made of it guys!
Twin z-axis screws are coupled by a single stepper motor for added precision
The twin approach is very impressive and actually surprisingly simple in its conception. By being able to control both screws off of a single motor it instantly does away with complex synchronization issues. This means that you have one less thing to worry about when you want to power through your prints. A great way of thinking outside of the box!
Automatic leveling makes printing straightforward when fine margins matter
The leveling is a joy because the printer takes care of every step of it for you. This ensured I had the confidence that everything was set up right before I even started. That way I knew that any errors in the final print were due to other parameters or my design file. I loved how easy it was to get to grips with the calibration as it also taught me about how the printer works. This then allowed me to feed what I learned back into the second version of my designs.
The heated bed is optimized for use during PLA deposition
The print bed is optimized for PLA, and there’s no shame in that. While you can print with other materials, this is what it was designed to work with and what it does best. PLA is a highly versatile material that you can use for just about anything so you should have plenty of options. Ideal if you want to focus on getting your fundamentals right before moving onto more advanced settings and designs.
Automatically shuts off if you run out of filament mid-print
I love the automatic shut off because it can save you dozens of wasted hours over the course of your first few weeks of printing. Often, when your filament runs out, you’ll unintentionally ruin your print in a whole host of irreversible ways. When this happens, you’ve got no option but to run things back and start from scratch. With the automatic shut off installed as standard, I never had to worry about any of this. I just popped a new reel on when I noticed it had stopped and it just picked up where it left off.
14. Monoprice 113860 Maker Select 3D Printer
We’re into the final three now, so things are hotting up if you haven’t had your head turned yet! See what you make of this offering and then take it from there.
Heated build plate ensures you can work with a wide range of materials without the headaches
Having the freedom and flexibility to work with a wide range of materials is the secret to ensuring you have everything covered. If you want to be able to take care of a whole host of designs in a single afternoon then saving the temperature of your build plate will be crucial. Only then will you be able to hop between materials with ease!
Accepts a micro SD card to enable instant design uploads
Having an SD slot was a real bonus for me as it makes transferring large design files virtually instantaneous. If what you want is to design it on your computer and then print this one little slot will allow you to do that. Perfect for ensuring you never have to lose an afternoon to tedious connection issues.
LiveChat was a nice touch that I think you’ll find very useful and reassuring
I’m now a big fan of LiveChat after using one of these for a week! It was really refreshing to be able to speak to a real-life person thinking for themselves. Too often when you phone a tech support line, you’re just paying to hear someone read off of a script. Not in this case, however, folks; they seriously knew their stuff. If you want to experience this level of customer service and technical expertise for yourself, then go for it. You won’t regret it!
Ships with a PLA filament to get you off to a fast start folks!
I like that it ships with a PLA filament included. That is great because it allows you to get off to a fast start from the moment the unboxing commences. Perfect if you want to be able to power ahead with your new piece of tech and get printing the same day it arrives. Even I was able to do this, and I’m not a natural when it comes to some of the more fiddly aspects of printing. This think talked me through everything I needed to know and did it in a way that didn’t overwhelm me. Highly recommended!
15. LulzBot TAZ 6 3D Printer
The final entry on my list has finally landed folks! See what you make of it and then re-read this list to compile your own shortlist!
Self-cleaning technology made starting a new print nice and easy for me
Cleaning a 3D printer is something you won’t have thought about if you’re new to the game. But let me tell you; it can be a nightmare if the geometry of the printer makes it that way. This thing actually self-cleans, and does a great job of it! If you want to print with high throughput, then this could be just the sort of thing you need to make it happen.
A printer that prints itself? Are the rumors true?
This thing does indeed print itself, or more accurately: other versions of itself. While it can’t self-assemble (yet) it is used by the manufacturer in their factory which is really cool. If you want a printer that is the very definition of field-tested then this may be just what you need guys!
Software included as standard to get your new designs made quicker than ever
The software that this printer comes with is second to none in my opinion. By allowing you to get up and running from the moment the unboxing is over, it makes things super simple. Ideal for those of you who want to get up to speed and get printing in no time at all.
Desktop footprint allows you to get setup anywhere you like
The final thing that I would like to talk about is the absolutely cool nature of the desktop footprint. Not only does it allow you to set it up anywhere you like, but you can also make a feature of it. If you want to show your staff or your customers how much you value innovation, then the desktop is the way to go. I put mine, on show, and it helped with the creative process. There’s nothing like seeing your hardware do its thing when you need some inspiration for your next innovative design!