3D printing is now more accessible than ever!
Whether you are looking to 3D print for personal, educational, or professional use, there is a 3D printer for you!
This guide will help you understand which 3D printer features are best suited for your application.
We compare the best 3D printers of 2020 (spoiler alert: the year 2020 is shaping up to be yet another exciting year in 3D printing!)
Looking forward we continue to see a decrease in the price of the technology. Likewise an overall improvement in 3D printer quality, reliability, connectivity, usability, and features!
The table below shows a comparison of some of the top rated 3D printers going into 2020.
|Best 3D Printers 2020||Dremel Digilab 3D45||JGMAKER Magic||Creality Ender 3 Pro||ANYCUBIC Photon||Creality CR-10S Pro||FlashForge Creator Pro||LulzBot Mini 2||Creality Ender 5 Pro|
|Print Volume||170 x 250 x 150 mm||220 x 220 x 250 mm||220 x 220 x 250 mm||115 x 65 x 155 mm||300 x 300 x 400 mm||225 x 150 x 150 mm||160 x 160 x 180 mm||220 x 220 x 300 mm|
|Dimensions||15.9 x 20.2 x 16.0 in||17.5 x 17.0 x 18.5 in||20.9 x 15.0 x 7.9 in||8.7 x 7.80 x 15.7 in||19.3 x 21.6 x 25.8 in||17.0 x 19.0 x 22.0 in||18.0 x 13.0 x 24.0 in||17.8 x 18.4 x 19.0 in|
|Weight||47.2 lbs||17.0 lbs||19.0 lbs||21.0 lbs||38.0 lbs||24.3 lbs||26.9 lbs||29.8 lbs|
|Number of Extruders||Number of Extruders||Number of Extruders||Number of Extruders||Number of Extruders||Number of Extruders||Number of Extruders||Number of Extruders||Number of Extruders|
|Best For||Best For||Best For||Best For||Best For||Best For||Best For||Best For||Best For|
There are constantly new 3D printers coming to the market…and the endless amount of options can make it difficult to decide which 3D print is best for you. To help in this process it is important to ask yourself a few important questions (continue reading).
First off it is important to set your budget for purchasing your 3D printer. When deciding on your price limit it is helpful to think in terms of the ranges <$300, <$500, <$1000, $1000-$5000. These categories seem to cover the spectrum of 3D printers fairly well and group similar types of options. Keep in mind that in addition to the cost of the printer you will likely want to purchase a few rolls of filament or bottles of resin to get you started. Filament typically range from $20-$50 a roll and resin is typically slightly more expensive for a similar amount of print material.
This question is also typically assisted by answering the question ” Why do you want to 3D print?”. Are you looking to 3D print toys, use for cosplay and props, create arts and craft, use for educational purposes, or prototype your next design? Are you a hobbyist, educator, student, tech-junkie, etc? Understanding your motivation for purchasing a 3D printer will guide you to a machine that will fit your needs.
Are you looking to 3D print a life-sized model of yourself? If so you are probably going to want a 3D printer with a large print volume. If you are planning to make jewelry you can probably get away with significantly smaller build volume. Keep in mind that 3D printers with large print volumes can still print small items, but printers with small build volumes can be limiting for larger models.
There is a large variety of types of filament / resins to choose from, and each has its benefits and downsides. For example for filaments there is PLA, ABS, PET, PETG, HIPS, Nylon, Wood-Like, Carbon-Like, Flexible/TPE, and others. Resins typically come in classifcations such as “High-Strength”, “Flexible”, and “High Temperature”. The material you select will be directly based on the application of the model.
Do you need extreme detail and the highest resolution and quality? If so then a resin 3D printer may be for you. If resolution is not as critical for you (or you plan to post process your print), then a FDM (or FFF) 3D printer might be your best bet.
If you are looking to print multi-materials in the same print then you will need to purchase a 3D printer with multiple extruders (typically dual). This allows you to print multiple colors on the same print, or use the second extruder for support material. There are some new printers coming out that allow multiple colors from the same extruder, but this technology is still very new and currently not very developed.
The print surface of a 3D printer is very important to ensuring your 3D print sticks to the bed and can be removed easily. First you must decide if you want a heated or non-heated bed. Typically having a heated bed will ensure the material stays warm and sticks to the bed although this is less important for enclosed 3D printers. Beds can made of Borosilicate glass, metal, flexible or magnetic materials. For beginner 3D printers it is recommended to select a heated bed option.
This question is answered by answering “Where will I keep my 3D printer?” An enclosed 3D printer will help to maintain a stable temperature of the 3D print which can help ensure a successful 3D print. An enclosure is important if the 3D printer is located in an environment in which the temperature may fluctuate often (in a garage, warehouse, near an exterior door / window). If the 3D printer is in a relatively constant temperature (inside an office, bedroom, etc) then an enclosure may not be necessary.
3D printers can be connected to in various methods including direct USB, USB stick, Bluetooth, Wifi, SD card and other methods. All of these options enable a successful print, it is simply a question of preference.
Some 3D printers require you to use the companies own software, although the majority of 3D printers allow the use of any 3rd party open source software. This software is typically called a “Slicer” and help transfor your 3D model in GCODE (a language that your 3D printer can understand and use to print your design).
Now that you have thought through the questions above and have a better idea of what features are important to you you can check out the overview of each of the best 3D printers of 2020 below.
Pros: PCMag Editors Choice. Very good print resolution quality. User-friendly printer and powerful software. USB, Ethernet, thumb drive, and Wi-Fi printing. Safe design. Relatively quiet. Enclosed design.
Cons: Touch screen responsiveness can be improved. Price is high (>$1000)
Bottom Line: The Dremel DigiLab 3D45 is featured-packed, prints accurately, and comes loaded with powerful software, making it one of the best 3D printers we’ve tested.
Pros: Entry level price point. Feature packed value 3D printer including a heated bed, filament run-out detection, power failure resume printing. Easy to use. Sturdy aluminum extrusion design.
Cons: Partial DIY kit for assembly. No touch screen. Can improve on company and community support.
Bottom Line: The JGMAKER Magic is a great value 3D printer packed with tons of premium features.
Pros: Very affordable 3D printer. Easy to assemble. Compact design. Can achieve high quality prints. Strong 3D printer community.
Cons: Visible power supply not aesthetically pleasing. Cooling fan cowl can be improved.
Bottom Line: The Creality Ender 3 Pro is a top rated entry level 3D printer for a reason. It is a dependable workhorse ready for your next print.
Pros: High resolution (25-100 microns). Very affordable compared to other resin 3D printers. Compact design. Complete setup, use, maintenance instructions.
Cons: Small build volume. Resin printing can be messy. Requires print post-processing. Requires gloves for handling resin and prints. Custom slicing interface.
Bottom Line: The ANYCUBIC Photon is a fantastic way to enter the resin 3D printing world. Its simple design, easy to use, and high quality prints make it a perfect beginner resin 3D printer for small models.
Pros: Very large print volume. Automatic bed leveling. High quality MeanWell power supply. Responsive touchscreen. Great company community. Driven by dual gear extrusion method. Resume printing.
Cons: Large desktop footprint. Cable routing can be improved.
Bottom Line: The Creality CR-10S Pro offers the ability to print very large prints at an affordable price. It includes high end printer features and is a great option for those looking to print BIG prints.
Pros: Affordable dual extrusion 3D printer. Enclosure maintains print temperatures. Durable metal frame.
Cons: Setup instructions could be improved. Can be a bit noisy depending on print settings.
Bottom Line: The FlashForge Creator pro is ideal for those interested in multi-material 3D printing quality prints comparable to higher priced printers.
Pros: Trusted by engineers, educators, and hobbyist due to its high reliability. Powerful software. Support a high variety of materials.
Cons: Smaller build volume. Less affordable compared to 3D printers of similar features.
Bottom Line: The LulzBot Mini 2 is one of the high rated Mid-Range 3D printers on the market and continues to grow its community base.
Pros: Great value for feature set. Sturdy aluminum extrusion build. Magnetic flexible bed. High quality metal extruder.
Cons: Wire management can be improved. No filament runout detection.
Bottom Line: The Creality Ender 5 Pro is a nice improvement from the already top selling and realiable Creality Ender 5.
This post was published on January 4, 2020