Who has not dreamed of being able to print out the heroes of his childhood as a figure? By the ever-decreasing prices of modern 3D printers this is now possible. It goes even further. With a 3D printer, you can easily print various tools, cutlery, phone cases and everything else that comes to your mind.
You want that too? Then you are faced with a difficult task: selecting the right device. Because the price differences are as big with hardly any other product as with 3D printers. In addition, there are different functions and materials that the printers work with. To help you in your buying decision, we compared 15 different 3D printers for you and tell you what makes each device. In our subsequent guide, you’ll read what a 3D printer really is, how it works, and what to look for when buying it.
The best budget 3D printers
1. Anycubic I3 Mega 3D Printer – Kit of only two parts
The first product in our large 3D printer comparison comes from Anycubic. This is a 3D printer kit, so you have to assemble the device yourself. Since the printer comes in only two parts, which can be built with a total of eight screws, but this should be done quickly. The required tool is already included. In addition, the manufacturer provides you with all the important information you need for the assembly of your 3D printer through the user-friendly operating instructions. In the event of an unexpected power failure during printing, the Anycubic 3D Printer immediately resumes the process when power is restored.
The construction volume of this 3D printer is 210 x 210 x 205 cm. This is a relatively large device that gives you much more latitude and is not limited to making small models. The heated print bed with a special glass layer and the surface of the printer with its patented coating ensure optimum adhesion of the print materials.
Operation of the device is made easy with the 3.5-inch touch screen. Another advantage is that the Anycubic 3D printer automatically detects the filaments of the print materials. This will allow this unit to automatically stop operation when a filament has expired. You can resume the operation with just a few clicks.
2. ANYCUBIC Kossel Linear PLUS 3D with an improved power supply
Also with the next product from the house Anycubic, it concerns a kit, which you must first assemble yourself. There are a total of seven parts that you can assemble using the enclosed manual before you can use your new 3D printer. According to the manufacturer, you should plan for a period of between 2 to 4 hours. The Anycubic 3D printer features a redesigned and upgraded power supply that has a protective power supply holder and protects you from direct contact with the various connectors. Of course, this is a big plus in terms of security in handling this device.
This Anycubic 3D printer features automatic print bed auto-levelling. This will allow you to always expect flawless 3D models, even if your printing table is in an inclined position. In addition, the newly developed and ultra-light carbon rods ensure absolute precision and high speed in the printing process. In addition, this device has a built-in filament holder, which significantly improve the stability of the printer. Overall, this results in a very solid and practical 3D printer.
3. Geeetech 3D printer Acrylic Prusa I3 Pro B with FFF printing process
It continues with a 3D printer from Geeetech, which is more priced in the lower regions classified. Again, this is a kit that you have to assemble yourself before you can use your new 3D printer. For the low price, you have to take a little more time for the assembly. According to the manufacturer you should expect about 5 hours. However, the steps are quite user-friendly explained in the construction manual, which is why technology enthusiasts may bring the structure faster.
Despite the low price, the 3D printer from Geeetech can convince with its outstanding functionality. The FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) printing process, which successively overlays many individual layers of print material, results in a more accurate and cost-effective printing process.
In addition, the 3D printer from Geeetech is convincing due to its easy handling. With its small dimensions of 45 x 44 x 44 cm, the device occupies little space, so you will probably quickly find a suitable place for the printer. You can also enjoy CE and FCC certification when you purchase this product. The manufacturer also provides a 90-day warranty on the extruder. On all other components, you have 6 months warranty.
Next, let’s look at a little peculiarity – the Sculpto + 3D printer. This is a user-friendly 3D printer that is no bigger than a conventional coffee maker and can fit on any desk. With a print volume of five liters, the small device definitely has a very long breath and does not have to hide from other products in this category. In the Sculpto app, you can choose between hundreds of models or easily design your own 3D models.
In addition, this device has the so-called Thingiverse technology, which allows you to print your models in just a few clicks in the Sculpto app. You do not need more than your smartphone or tablet to use this 3D printer. The three modes allow you to create your models in a “fine”, “normal” and “fast” print quality. Thanks to the compact design of the Sculpto + 3D printer and the integrated carrying handle, you can easily transport it from one room to the other. As for the place of use, you are very flexible.
5. Dremel DigiLab 3D printer 3D40 – good customer service thanks to the Dremel hotline
The Dremel 3D printer 3D40 can be easily put into operation in just a few steps, which, in contrast to the first two products from our large 3D printer comparison, gives you a small advantage. So you have done the setup quickly. But does the 3D printer do what it promises? He does! Thanks to the maintenance-free push button with integrated blockage detection and automatic pressure stop in case of power failure, the printing process runs smoothly and without major complications. Thanks to the Dremel hotline you will enjoy permanent support from the manufacturer. Whether you have questions about how to get started or how to use the 3D printer, the Customer Hotline will solve your problems at lightning speed.
The 3D printer from Dremel has a closed work area with a goods function and a viewing window that allows you to monitor the printing process. This ensures the device additional security and reliable dust and noise protection. The modern and grey-blue design of the 3D printer from Dremel is definitely worth a look and gives this thoroughly solid device the finishing touch.
6. GIANTARM® 3D printer Mecreator 2 – a 3D printer for saving foxes
Are you looking for a very affordable 3D printer? Then the 3D printer Macreator 2 by Giantarm, which convinces by an excellent cost-benefit ratio, could be interesting for you in any case. Above all, the device is characterized by fast construction and easy operation. So, if you’re looking for a cheap product that you do not have to spend so much time building, the Mecreator 2 is definitely worth considering. Due to the low price as well as the quick setup and the simple operation, the Mecreator 2 is ideal for beginners who would like to get a taste of the world of 3D printing.
This 3D printer has very good filament compatibility. This means that you can easily use different filaments on this device, such as ABS or PLA. However, you have to accept for the low price that the printing speed of this device is relatively slow and the maximum print size is quite small. If you are planning to print very large models, you should look for another 3D printer.
7. Monoprice Select Mini V2 3D Printer – no assembly required
It continues with the Monoprice Select Mini V2, which is also available for a very reasonable price and is one of the best-selling 3D printers in this price range. Particularly striking here is that this 3D printer, unlike most other devices in this price segment does not have to be assembled first. But on the contrary. The device comes as a finished model to you and is ready for use with the supplied PLA filament and the included micro SD card.
In addition, this 3D printer supports all filament types with a thickness of 1.75 mm. So it does not matter if it’s PVA, PLA or ABS. This gives you the advantage that you are not dependent on a particular filament and can take advantage of all the types. Thanks to the small footprint and the open frame construction, this 3D printer fits on any desk. The bottom line is a solid and affordable device, which is especially recommended for beginners.
The next product in our large 3D printer comparison is again from Geeetech. What immediately catches the eye is the extremely low price. Again, this is a kit that you have to tinker before the first use. But Geeetech’s 3D printer has a so-called open filament system, which allows you to use both ABS, PLA or flexible PLA filaments. High layer resolution and low tolerances also ensure smooth surfaces and a stable object structure of your models. With a special WiFi module, you can even use this device to wirelessly 3D printing instructions. However, the said WiFi module is not included and must be purchased separately.
The Geeetech 3D printer is compatible with the EasyPrint 3D app. It offers you various printing and control features, a gallery of free 3D models and access to a 3D printing community. This app makes it easy for you to get started with your new 3D printer and allows you to interact with like-minded people.
Furthermore, high-quality, 6-mm thick wood panels provide increased stability and reliability of the 3D printer. Overall, you get a very versatile 3D printer that’s perfect for getting started in the world of 3D printing.
9. GEEETECH A10 3D Printer – Assembled in just 10 minutes
With the A10 3D printer, another product from Geeetech has made it into our 3D printer comparison. Again, this is a kit, which consists of only two parts. According to the manufacturer, you need about 10 minutes to install the Z-axis on the XY base plate.
Then all you have to do is connect the cables, which is very simple thanks to precise labelling. Another great advantage is the silicon carbide glass with a microporous surface as a construction platform. This material has excellent adhesion and prevents the problem of peeling off the first layer. Geeetech’s A10 3D printer has a print size of 220 x 220 x 260 millimetres. He uses the plate completely, which promises you maximum efficiency in your printing processes. Thanks to the open design, you have free access to the print object at all times.
To insert your filaments, the Geeetech 3D printer has V-slot layer systems that provide high precision and low-noise printing. During the printing process, you always have the option to stop it for changing filaments or for other reasons and start at exactly this point. This even works if, for example, the 3D printer was turned off unexpectedly due to a power failure. No matter what, you can be sure that your model is going to be printed.
10. ANYCUBIC Photon UV LCD Resin 3D Printer with Anycubic Photon Slicer software
With the Anycubic Photon UV LCD resin 3D printer, we are now dealing with a device from the slightly higher price range for the first time. A special feature of this device is the special printing process – the digital light processing method. In this case, liquid synthetic resin is cured under UV radiation layer by layer.
In order to maintain a uniform UV light over a longer period of time, a high-performance heat sink is particularly important for this process. Therefore, the Anycubic 3D printer is equipped with a high-quality 80 x 80 mm heat sink. Combined with the 2K display, you can expect stunning print results. For this device, the manufacturer provides you with the in-house software “Anycubic Photon Slicer”. This makes it easier for you to operate the printer and also allows a layman to operate the 3D printer without any problems. If you ever have problems with your 3D printer, the software has manual support, which can provide you with security quickly a suitable solution.
Otherwise, this device is primarily about the efficiency of the printing processes. In addition, the 3D printer from Anycubic has an easy-to-use USB mode and a “plug-and-play” function that allows you to use the device without the installation of special drivers.
If you are already familiar with 3D printing and you are used to FDM 3D printing in the first place, you have to adapt to a short period of getting used to it. And ready to dig deeper for your first device, the Anycubic Photon UV LCD Resin 3D Printer is definitely a good choice.
11. BIBO 3D printer – also suitable for laser engraving
The BIBO 3D printer is in contrast to most of the previously mentioned models something for experienced users, which can also be seen in the price of the mid-range device. Particularly noteworthy is the stepless colour touch screen, which allows you intuitive operation. In addition, the BIBO 3D printer features automatic filament detection and is compatible with many filaments such as ABS, PLA, HIPS and TPU.
In addition, the BIBO 3D printer with its two existing extruders can print two objects at the same time, which can significantly reduce the overall printing time. Furthermore, the printer automatically detects when the filament is consumed during printing and pauses automatically printing, so you can easily insert a new coil. A big feature of the BIBO printer is its ability to perform laser engraving. You can easily engrave objects made of wood, plastic or leather and even cut through even thin materials made of paper or similar materials.
You can also control the device via WiFi. Basically, however, the operation also works via SD cards, USB sticks or a normal USB cable. Another striking feature is the heated and removable print bed. The size of the machine is 467 x 357 x 374 mm. Compatible is this 3D printer with Windows, Mac and Linux.
12. Wanhao D6C Duplicator 3D Printer – compatible with different filaments
Wanhao’s 3D printer is also one of the products more geared towards more experienced users. The price segment is to be found as in the previous product in the upper class. The construction volume of 200 x 200 x 200 mm also offers you plenty of space for future models. The pressure strength you can vary between 0.1 to 0.5 mm. The maximum speed of the extruder is set at 160 mm per second.
The maximum temperature corresponds to 260 degrees Celsius over a short period of time, but the 240 degrees Celsius should not be exceeded during prolonged use. You also get 1 kilogram of a PLA filament shipped home from this Wanhao 3D printer. With the dual-track DTG portal system, this printer ensures that the unit vibrates during X or Y axis movements. This in turn ensures an increased printing speed. With about 100 different setting options, you can individually plan and execute your print to get the final product that fits your needs.
The crisp screen will make it easy for you to set up and operate the printer. In addition to the normal USB port, you can operate the device with an SD card. The total weight of just one kilo allows you easy transport and a quick repositioning of the printer. You can process PLA, ABS and PETG with this printer.
13. GEEETECH E180 Mini 3D Printer – always reachable customer service
The third product by Geeetech in our 3D printer mountain equals despite the slightly higher price in the beginner area. The break-resuming feature supports interrupt recovery, which makes it possible to continue working at precisely this point in the event of a sudden interruption in printing.
The colour touch screen also gives you an intuitive and sensitive way to operate the 3D printer. It summarizes important control parameters that you need to adjust and monitor the printing process. The modular extruder makes it extremely easy to swap the hot end. Geeetech’s award-winning after-sale service also applies to this product. This includes a constantly accessible customer service via WhatsApp, Facebook or Skype. Many technicians in your area are also available for technical support.
The FDM space size for this printer is 130 x 130 x 130 mm. Furthermore, this product has a printing precision of 0.05 millimetres and the printing speed ranges from 80 to 110 mm per second. The nozzle diameter is 0.4 mm and the maximum temperature of the extruder is 230 degrees Celsius. However, you are limited to the usable filaments on PLA.
The penultimate product in our 3D printer product comparison is the A5 produced by JGAURORA. In terms of price, this article is in the middle range. The exceptionally large construction volume of 305 x 305 x 320 millimetres offers you enough space to build larger models.
The extruder reaches temperatures of 180 to 240 degrees Celsius. In addition, the print bed can be heated to up to 100 degrees Celsius and cleaned by the black diamond glass without difficulty. Furthermore, this 3D printer has a layer thickness of 0.1 to 0.3 millimetres and a nozzle diameter of 0.4 millimetres. The machine will automatically alert you when the time comes to replace the filament. Unfortunately, this 3D printer is only compatible with PLA. The assembly of the JGAURORA printer will be very easy for you due to its modular design. The A5 comes with two large modules: the frame and the box for the Y-axis. According to the manufacturer, you do not have to plan for more than 10 minutes to install this 3D printer.
JGAURORA has a circumference of 536 x 480 x 543 millimetres and weighs just under 16.5 kilograms. The operation of the device is also made as easy as possible with the help of the touch screen. The quality guarantee gives you 180 days of protection for the spare parts and even two years for the entire printer.
15. Flashforge 1169 3D printer with 3.5-inch touch screen
The last article in our 3D printer comparison is 1176 produced by Flashforge, which, with its low price, is aimed primarily at newcomers to 3D printing. With the 3.5-inch touch screen, the operation is very easy to go by the hand. A special feature of the display is that it displays a preview of the respective model before printing.
The printing plate of this 3D printer is unfortunately not heatable, which is why this device is only compatible with PLA. The construction volume is 140 x 140 x 140 mm and has a layer thickness of 0.1 to 0.5 millimetres. The nozzle diameter is 0.4 millimetres and compatible operating systems are Windows 10, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 8.7 and Mac OX. The recommended extruder temperature is around 220 degrees Celsius. This 3D printer gives you the benefit of being exceptionally quiet, providing a quiet work environment. So you not only protect your own ears, but you can also make sure that the sounds of the printer from your fellow man are not bothersome.
The 3D printer from JGAURORA weighs in at a whopping 28 kilograms and is therefore relatively heavy. This is also reflected in the dimensions of 530 x 505 x 500 millimetres. The manufacturer offers you a 3-month warranty for the extruder and a 12-month warranty for all other parts.
What are 3D printers?
What a conventional printer can do, we probably do not have to explain to you. With it, you can bring colours, shapes, pictures, writing and much more with the help of ink on paper. A 3D printer goes one more step further. Instead of printing on paper with plastic, this prints on a special surface, which allows you to create virtually any object. But what does that mean exactly?
This means you can use 3D printers to create a three-dimensional construct made of plastic or other materials. This happens at different speeds, layer by layer, and depending on what you use for a printer model. For a satisfying 3D printing you need a powerful 3D printer, suitable filaments (your printing medium) as well as up-to-date and compatible software.
What is printed?
The filament of a 3D printer can be made of a variety of materials. In most cases, however, the filament is made of the material ABS, a special plastic compound that your model uses in the form of thin threads for the printing process. We will take a closer look at the different types of material in the course of this article.
These threads are usually wound on a spool and can be loaded into the 3D printer just like ordinary ink cartridges. As an accessory for 3D printers, the filament is usually found in the same assortment or in a speciality store in the same department as ink cartridges or toner cartridges.
During 3D printing, different cutting and printing techniques are used. However, most of the printers available on the market use Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) or Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF). Regardless of the method involved, 3D printing is always a layer-melting process that achieves the desired results in printing.
The necessary software
In contrast to conventional printers, the software is also essential for the 3D printer. The software you need to print with a standard inkjet or laser printer does not even begin to compare to the software you need to use for a 3D printer. This often requires very compute-intensive CAD programs (computer-aided design), but these are only partially supplied by the manufacturers. The 3D printer ultimately creates a three-dimensional object from templates created in the CAD program itself or implemented from different media.
CAD programs are very extensive and are offered by numerous providers. However, not every program is suitable for a 3D printer or for every single one of your printing projects. Basically, the desired model is previously constructed using the CAD program. Most of the necessary 3D print templates can be found on the Internet, in specialist magazines or comparable media.
How do 3D printers work?
The 3D printing is always made according to a template of a model from the respective CAD program. This is usually done with a nozzle that precisely layers the preheated filament. More specifically, the building material is melted and pulled by a small motor in a thread through the nozzle head.
Subsequently, the already melted filament is applied piece by piece with the nozzle on a special building board until the planned workpiece is finished. Depending on how big the model is, this process takes a few hours, even with the most modern 3D printers.
The printed objects currently include, among other tools, toys and items for decoration and even everyday objects such as mobile phone cases or dishes. All you need to do a printing job, besides a 3D printer and the right filament, is a suitable software and finally the designed print model. You have either made these models yourself on the PC or you have a template from the Internet.
However, already manufactured objects can be scanned with a 3D scan and reproduced in any colour and in other sizes. Furthermore, you will find on the Internet today numerous communities that deal with the topic of 3D printing deeper and you with advice and practical help. The filaments acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) or polylactides (PLA) are the most commonly used printing materials. These materials are characterized by cheap and easy processing. If you want models with better longevity, strength and heat resistance, you should opt for ABS prints. However, ABS is more difficult to process. You need a heated pressure plate and more than 220 degrees Celsius.
Not only the first time use of a 3D printer presents many novices with problems, but also the purchase of such a device. Our 3D printer comparison on supports you in purchasing a new model. We’ll show a selection of devices and tell you what to look for when you want to buy a 3D printer.
What should you look for when buying a 3D printer?
If you want to buy a one today, you have a choice between numerous models. Because there are now different manufacturers who have even more 3D printers from all possible price ranges on offer. Nowadays, a 3D printer is already available for just a few hundred pounds. If you want a high-quality model, but can quickly pay several thousand euros. Basically, however: Expensive is not always better. It depends primarily on the purpose for which the device is intended.
One thing you should consider right from the beginning if you are looking for a 3D printer: You will most likely not find models from well-known manufacturers in the field of printers such as Samsung, HP, Epson and Canon. Because these have an only limited 3D printer for private use in their repertoire.
You should pay attention to this in general:
The speed of printing
The material to be printed
The size of the installation space and the print size
Regardless of which area you want to use your 3D printer, whether at home or in a shop, the printer can only be used with a computer that has up-to-date USB ports. These allow a direct connection to the printer. Some variants have an SD card reader. This can be connected to external storage media, which allows you to use the printer without a computer.
So it is possible for you to print on a template on the respective medium. You should look for the right printer to make sure that the model of choice has the connectors you use.
The printing speed
As mentioned earlier, 3D printers have big differences in their printing speed. Some models only need a few hours to complete complicated printing, while others run the entire day. But you should not be confused and compare the print speed of a 3D printer with a normal inkjet.No current model makes you a large and complex 3D model within a few minutes, which can be quickly demonstrated in a practice test.
In particular, if you can put up with waiting for high quality and beautiful model a bit longer, you can neglect the print speed. So you can either invest in other important properties or just save some money.
Currently, known filament types are ABS, PLA, Nylon and Laybrick. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, ABS is the most commonly used filament and is relatively easy to machine even after printing.PLA is biodegradable because it is based on cornstarch. Nylon, however, is extremely durable but can be very difficult to process after printing. Laywood is mostly made of wood and works well. Lay brick is best compared to Stones and is accordingly robust.
Especially Nylon, Laywood and Laybrick are only suitable for certain prints. To be able to use these materials at all, the 3D printer must, of course, be designed for this. Whether this is the case is always specified by the manufacturer. There are also models that are suitable for all current materials.
Installation space size and print size
The installation space size indicates how much space the finished model can take up to the maximum in the printer. If you also want to make larger models with your 3D printer, you should pay special attention to the available space.
The space of 20 x 20 x 20 cm is sufficient for medium-sized models in any case. However, some devices have only a space of 12 x 12 x 12 cm, which unfortunately only offers space for relatively small models. For private use usually enough 3D printers with a space of 15 x 20 x 15 cm.
Advantages of 3D printers
Being able to print different items yourself is the biggest advantage of a 3D printer. For some items, it is even more cost-effective and effective to simply print them and not cumbersome ones by hand. This train of thought is also familiar to many companies that today try to produce as many products as possible with modern printers. The number of companies from the industry as well as the craft trades and numerous other industries that make life easier with 3D printers has grown enormously in recent years. Screws, tools and other parts of numerous products are now increasingly produced by 3D printers. Even in the craft industry or the quite individual art scene, those devices have left their mark.
Of course, privately practical items such as screws, dishes or the like can be printed. Even more creative models can be realized with the help of an appropriate program. In addition, 3D printers are also widely used to make custom-fit and custom phone cases or sculptures.
In addition, you also have the ability to scan existing objects by 3D scan and as often as you want to reproduce. In principle, everything can be scanned in, such as keys, cutlery or costume jewelery. The pros and cons of 3D printers, we have summarized again clearly for you:
With the help of the open-source hardware “RepRap” (replication Rapid-Prototyper), 3D printing has become much easier for users today. There are numerous software programs, such as “Tinkercad” and also some apps, such as “Autodesk 123D”, which facilitate the operation.
The application areas of 3D printers
Of course, it’s up to you how you want to use your 3D printer. That the application areas are very versatile and varied, you have already noticed. In 3D printing communities, you can even find instructions for plastic model cities that can be used, for example, for model railways. It is also possible, for example, an entire dollhouse along with furniture and dolls, individual Spielzugautos, unique decorations for Christmas, or even board games to print. Your imagination has no limits. All this is just a few clicks away with the right conditions.
How broad the spectrum of 3D printers is is also evident in modern medicine. The 3D printers that are used in this area, of course, are not comparable with devices from other industries or private use. Nevertheless, they already give an idea of the possibilities that still lie dormant in the future. Even today, tissue fibres are used to print out organ parts, tissue parts or even skin parts and are used in a wide variety of medical fields. This ranges from organ transplants to plastic surgery.
In summary, the application areas of 3D printers are: