Best 3D Printers 2024: FDM, Resin and Sub-$250 Models (2024)

Best 3D Printers 2024: FDM, Resin and Sub-$250 Models (1)

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  • Best Premium
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  • Food 3D Printer
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  • Best Resin for Beginners
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Quick List

The list in brief
1. Best 3D Printer Overall
2. Fastest 3D Printer
3. Fastest Budget 3D Printer
4. Best 3D Printer for Beginners
5. Best Budget 3D Printer
6. Best 3D Printer for Kids
7. Best Multicolor 3D Printer8. Best Professional 3D Printer
9. Best Premium 3D Printer
10. Best Compact 3D Printer
11. Best Food 3D Printer
12. Best Medium Format 3D Printer
13. Best Resin 3D Printer for Beginners
14. Best Ultra High-Resolution 3D Printer
15. Best 3D Printer/Engraver Combo
16. Best 3D Printer for Cosplay
17. Shopping Tips

The best 3D printers can cost less than $250 (sometimes even less than $200), or you could spend a bit more for special features such as a larger build volume, higher resolution, or faster output. With the right 3D printer, you can make toys, tabletop models, custom accessories, 3D print parts for PC mods, or print a new case for your Raspberry Pi. For beginners, there's never been a better time to join the world of 3D printing or for experienced makers to upgrade to a new model.

The two types of desktop/home 3D printers are resin MSLA (Masked Stereolithography) and filament FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling). FDM printers are the best 3D printers for beginners or for kids. These use reels full of plastic filament that is fed into a hot nozzle and extruded out layer-by-layer to form a solid model. MSLA printers use a UV-cured resin material to form a model layer-by-layer as it rises from a vat of toxic liquid that requires very careful handling and post-processing.

Below are our picks for the Best 3D printers on the market today. We've tested over a hundred models and ranked them for discerning hobbyists and makers looking for top speed and output quality. Check out our 3D Printer Speed Hierarchy page for the speed benchmark results. For more low-cost options, see our list of Best Budget 3D Printers.

Quick List

Best Overall

1. Bambu Lab P1S

Best 3D Printer Overall

This impressive 3D printer delivers multi-color, high-quality output with blazing 500mm/s print speeds and an acceleration rate of 20,000 mm/s. At $699, it has all the premium features experienced makers are looking for. (AMS combo for $949)

Read more below

Fastest

2. Sovol SV08

Fastest 3D Printer

Sovol's SV08 surpasses the Creality K1C, our previous high-speed contender as the fastest 3D printer with an impressive top print speed of 700mm/s and a maximum acceleration rate of 40,000 mm/s². Available only at Sovol for $579.

Read more below

Fastest Budget

3. Creality Ender 3 V3 KE

Fastest Budget 3D Printer

On sale for $279, this speedster is a great choice for makers who are looking for fast printing on a budget. It's open source, has CR Touch for auto bed leveling, and has a max print speed of 500mm/s.

Read more below

Best for Beginners

4. Elegoo Neptune 4 Pro

Best 3D Printer for Beginners

The Neptune 4 Pro is a fantastic printer that offers all the premium features without the premium price. For $259, first-time users can enjoy high-speed quality printing. It's easy to assemble and easy to use.

Read more below

Best Budget

5. Creality Ender 3 V3 SE

Best Budget 3D Printer

A beginner's dream machine, this affordable bed slinger is selling for only $199. Despite its low price, Creality did not scrimp on deluxe features - it's easy to assemble, has auto bed leveling, and has a modern LED interface.

Read more below

Best for Kids

6. AOSeed X-Maker

Best 3D Printer for Kids

Specifically designed for kids, the X-Maker is shipped fully assembled and ready to use out-of-the-box. It also comes with passcode safety features and is preloaded with kid-friendly design programs.Price at $349 with coupon.

Read more below

Show More ⬇️

Best Multicolor

7. Original Prusa XL

Best Multicolor 3D Printer

Five toolheads are better than one — especially if you are looking to do multicolor prints easily. Prusa's XL allows you to use multiple materials like PLA, TPU and PETG in one print and with no waste. It comes with a premium price of $1,999 semi-assembled. Add on $500 for the fully assembled model.

Read more below

Best Professional

8. Bambu Lab X1-Carbon

Best Professional 3D Printer

This easy-to-use, fully enclosed, high-speed multicolor 3D printer adds smart features like LIDAR-assisted calibration and live video monitoring among its many premium capabilities. Also comes with a premium price of $1,449 for the combo.

Read more below

Best Premium

9. Prusa MK4

Best Premium 3D Printer

At $1099, the MK4 is quite the investment, but alternatively, you can get the kit for $799 and still enjoy all the benefits this reliable workhorse has to offer. Upgrade kits are also available for MK3 owners.

Read more below

Best Compact

10. Bambu Lab A1 Mini

Best Compact 3D Printer

This bed slinger may come with a small 180x180x180mm build volume but it has an impressive top speed of 500mm/s. Perfect for anyone who wants to try printing multi-color models without breaking the bank.

Read more below

Best Food 3D Printer

11. Cocoa Press Chocolate 3D Printer

Best Food 3D Printer

This is a unique DIY machine perfect for those who want to get into 3D printing chocolate at home or for business. It's super fun to use, but it's not cheap and requires some assembly.

Cocoa Press

offers material in the form of 65 gram chocolate cores

in dark, milk, and white variants.

Read more below

Best Medium Format

12. Elegoo Neptune 4 Plus

Best Medium Format 3D Printer

This FDM 3D printer features more build volume than the Neptune 4 Max but with the same high-speed capabilities. It offers all the bells and whistles you could ask for at a reasonable $350 price point.

Read more below

Best 3D Printers You Can Buy Today

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Best 3D Printer Overall

Best 3D Printers 2024: FDM, Resin and Sub-$250 Models (14)

1. Bambu Lab P1S

Best 3D Printer Overall

Specifications

Technology: FDM

Build Volume: 256 x 256 x 256mm

Build Platform: PEI Spring Steel Sheet, heated

Interface: LCD with D-pad selector

Bed Leveling: Automatic

Connectivity: microSD card, WiFi, Bluetooth

Reasons to buy

+

Blazing speed

+

Enclosure for high temperature printing

+

Simple auto bed leveling

+

All metal hotend

+

Optional 4 color AMS

Reasons to avoid

-

Pricey

-

Mediocre UI

Today’s 3D printers are all about speed, and Bambu Lab’s P1S delivers a whopping maximum print speed of 500mm/s, backed with an acceleration rate of 20,000 mm/s. How fast is that? Let’s just say its turbo button is labeled “Ludicrous Mode”. It can knock out a Speed Benchy in 17 minutes with good quality, and its normal print speed is around five times faster than old school bed slingers. It’s not the most budget minded printer, but it has the best out-of-the-box experience for both beginners and experienced makers.

The P1S is the “Goldilocks” of Bambu Lab’s lineup, offering everything you need for very good, very fast prints without going overboard on expensive features. It’s a Core XY machine, which offers both speed and smooth printing. It has an all metal hotend with a direct drive extruder, plus it's fully enclosed for handling temperature sensitive material like ABS and ASA. It’s one of the few “plug and play” 3D printers on the market, arriving 99.5% assembled. All you need to do is unbox and unpack the printer. It even calibrates itself.

The machine retails for $699, which may not fit everyone’s budget. But if you’re looking for a machine that just works so you can focus on the creative or business side of 3D printing, the P1S is for you. If you want the ability to print in a rainbow of colors, then the optional Automatic Multicolor System is a definite plus that you can only get with a Bambu Lab printer.

When we tested the P1S it did an amazing job, quickly printing colorful action figures, nylon gears for an RC car and ASA tools for around the house. It did have to slow down to print TPU, but the results were remarkably smooth and flawless.

More: Bambu Lab P1S Review

Fastest 3D Printer

Best 3D Printers 2024: FDM, Resin and Sub-$250 Models (15)

2. Sovol SV08

Fastest 3D Printer

Specifications

Technology: FDM

Build Volume: 350 x 350 x 345mm

Build Platform: Textured PEI steel flex plate, heated

Interface: LED screen with knob/Mainsail

Bed Leveling: Automatic

Connectivity: USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi

Reasons to avoid

-

Takes an afternoon to build

The Sovol SVO8 is an open frame, open-source, Core XY 3D printer and a “tribute” to the Voron 2.4. It’s the fastest 3D printer we’ve tested to date, with a top speed of 700 mm/s and an acceleration rate of 40,000 mm/s². We’ve used it to print a regulation Speed Benchy in an astounding 13 minutes and 25 seconds.

With a price under $600, the Sovol SVO8 is cheaper and easier to build than a Voron 2.4, which needs a few spools worth of DIY 3D-printed parts. We built ours in about an hour.

The SVO8 isn’t just speedy, but it’s also a large format machine, with a hard-mounted 350 x 350 mm bed. The tool head is mounted on a flying gantry with four independent stepper motors on belts that enable perfect bed leveling and buttery smooth layers. It finds its own Z offset with a pressure sensor attached to the nozzle and can perform input shaping thanks to a built-in accelerometer. It also comes with vanilla Klipper, a camera, and LED lights.

More: Sovol SV08 Review

Fastest Budget 3D Printer

Best 3D Printers 2024: FDM, Resin and Sub-$250 Models (16)

3. Creality Ender 3 V3 KE

Fastest Budget 3D Printer

Specifications

Technology: FDM

Build Volume: 220 x 220 x 240 mm

Build Platform: PEI coated spring steel sheet, heated

Interface: 4.3-inch Touch Screen

Bed Leveling: Automatic + Z

Connectivity: USB, Wi-Fi

Reasons to buy

+

Klipper firmware

+

Excellent Auto bed leveling

+

Direct drive

Reasons to avoid

-

Accelerometer not included

Speedy printers are no longer out of reach for makers watching their bottom line. The Ender 3 V3 KE has everything you need in a 3D printer and delivers it in a slim, stylish package that’s easy on the wallet. It currently retails at $299 and is on sale for $279.

The KE shares many parts with its Creality brethren and is Open Source, making it a 3D printer that is cost-effective to maintain and modify. Not that you need to modify this Ender: it comes with Klipper preinstalled, plus linear rails on the X axis, linear rods on the Y axis, and a high flow hot end.

It is extremely easy to use, with advanced auto-leveling that sets its own Z height for exceptional first layers. The tool head packs a one-two punch by pairing Creality’s best extruder (the Sprite) with the blazing fast K1’s high-flow hotend.

It has a top speed of 500 mm/s with an acceleration max of 8000 mm/s² and can print a Speed Benchy in 19 minutes and 48 seconds. Our only complaint is it doesn’t come with an accelerometer for tuning Klipper yourself, but the factory presets were pleasantly accurate on our test printer.

More: Creality Ender 3 V3 KE Review

Best 3D Printer for Beginners

Best 3D Printers 2024: FDM, Resin and Sub-$250 Models (17)

4. Elegoo Neptune 4 Pro

Best 3D Printer for Beginners

Specifications

Technology: FDM

Build Volume: 225 x 225 x 265 mm

Build Platform: Flexible PEI

Interface: 4.3-inch Color Touchscreen

Bed Leveling: Automatic 121 Point

Connectivity: microSD, USB, Ethernet

Reasons to buy

+

Powerful direct drive extruder

+

“Sport” mode part cooling fan

+

Linear rods enable fast printing speed

+

Synchronized dual Z-axis threaded rods

+

Textured PEI build platform excels at part adhesion

Reasons to avoid

-

Build platform leveling requires manual input

The Elegoo Neptune 4 Pro may look suspiciously like a typical Creality Ender 3 clone, but that’s where the similarities end. Equipped with a powerful part cooling fan, dual threaded Z-axis rods, automatic build platform calibration, and an extruder module absolutely packed with functionality, the Neptune 4 Pro jumped straight onto our Best 3D Printers list as soon as it was out of the box. For beginners looking for a capable machine with a fast start-up and a low entry price, the sub-$300 Neptune 4 Pro is our choice to recommend.

Common failure points for beginners include adhesion to the build platform, which can be caused by either a non-adhesive platform or a poor calibration. The textured PEI sheet on the Neptune 4 Pro keeps parts locked down during printing, but releases them after cooling allowing for an effortless part removal. The 121-point automatic calibration compensates for unevenness on the platform, and helps users to dial in the perfect print. Add in a direct drive extruder, linear rods for lightning-fast travel moves, an intuitive touchscreen, and suddenly the value of the Neptune 4 Pro becomes clear.

The Neptune 4 Pro is simple enough for a beginner to assemble in only a few hours, but has enough features and horsepower to allow users to grow with the printer. This Klipper-equipped printer is capable of easily hitting dizzying print speeds while the included part cooling module can lock the filament in place immediately after extruding.

More: Elegoo Neptune 4 Pro 3D Printer Review

Best Budget 3D Printer

Best 3D Printers 2024: FDM, Resin and Sub-$250 Models (18)

5. Creality Ender 3 V3 SE

Best Budget FDM 3D Printer

Specifications

Technology: FDM

Build Volume: 220 x 220 x 250 mm

Build Platform: PEI Spring Steel Sheet, heated

Interface: 3.2” Color Screen with Knob

Bed Leveling: Automatic

Connectivity: SD Card

Reasons to buy

+

Affordable

+

Easy assembly

+

Excellent Auto bed leveling

+

Direct drive

+

Easy Interface

Reasons to avoid

-

PC coated plate

There has never been a more user friendly, sub $200 3D printer than Creality’s Ender 3 V3 SE. Say goodbye to scratch builds and manual leveling. This machine takes no more than 15 minutes to assemble, then self levels and sets its own Z height. Its modern LED interface makes the machine simple to use and comes complete with guides to walk you through filament changes and more.

It’s faster than previous Ender 3s with a max speed of 250mm/s, which is mainly done by way of a robust build, with linear rods on the Y axis and dual Z axis, rather than speedy firmware.

Obviously Creality had to cut a few corners to produce this machine. It only has one Z stepper motor – the second Z axis is synced with a belt. The bed has a cheaper PC surface, and there’s no Wi-Fi.

More: Creality Ender 3 V3 SE Review

Best 3D Printer for Kids

Best 3D Printers 2024: FDM, Resin and Sub-$250 Models (19)

6. AOSeed X-Maker

Best 3D Printer for Kids

Specifications

Technology: FDM

Build Volume: 150 x 150 x 150 mm

Build Platform: Soft PC Magnet, heated

Interface: 3.5 Inch Touch Screen

Bed Leveling: Factory Set (Semi Auto)

Connectivity: WiFi, USB

Reasons to buy

+

Simple to use

+

Flexible build plate

+

Excellent print quality

+

Comes with kid friendly design apps

Reasons to avoid

-

Clunky software

3D printers are not toys, but that doesn’t mean kids can’t have a printer of their own. The AO Seed X-Maker is the best 3D printer I’ve seen made specifically for a child to run independently. It’s compact, it’s cute and it comes with its own suite of kid-friendly design software.

Unlike some printers for kids, this one is not “dumbed down.” It’s a fully enclosed 3D printer that can still be used with normal slicers like Cura or PrusaSlicer – which means it can grow to meet the needs of an advanced student or grownup. It’s simple to load, comes factory leveled, and has an informative graphic interface.

The X-Maker is fully assembled, and its software is packed with toys ready to personalize and print. Some of the apps are a little clunky, and the onboard slicer is limited, but it gets the job done. The best part is there are no memberships to buy or toys to unlock with tokens, everything is included. You can gift this printer to a child in the morning and have toys in hand before bedtime.

The software also provides a “walled garden” for children, so they do not need to access the internet at large to use it. However, those limits are placed solely in the software. If you want to use the X-Maker as a normal 3D printer, you can transfer files a via USB stick.

More: Anycubic Photon Mono 2 Review

Best Multicolor 3D Printer

Best 3D Printers 2024: FDM, Resin and Sub-$250 Models (20)

7. Original Prusa XL

Best Multicolor 3D Printer

Specifications

Technology: FDM

Build Volume: 360mm x 360mm x 360mm

Build Platform: PEI spring steel flex plate

Interface: 3.5 inch Color LCD screen with knob

Bed Leveling: Automatic

Connectivity: USB drive, LAN, Wi-Fi

Reasons to buy

+

Waste Free color swapping

+

Can mix various materials with different temperature needs

+

Fast color swaps

+

Large size

+

Core XY

+

Direct drive

+

Auto bed leveling

Reasons to avoid

-

Expensive

We’re finally seeing 3D printers catch up with Bambu Lab’s Automatic Material System, first launched in 2021, and capable of producing four color prints with a single unit. Prusa Research’s XL has surpassed the X1 Carbon with a five-spool tool changer system that is faster and far less wasteful. Because each spool has a dedicated filament path and its own hotend, the XL can rapidly change colors without having to load and unload materials. Instead, each color is on standby at 175° and only needs a quick heat up and prime before going to work.

This system is not only faster, but it doesn’t waste material. The Bambu Lab AMS system is infamous for piles of “filament poop” that plague users. Because the AMS system shares one nozzle, it has to be cleaned of melted filament with each color change. Only cold filament can go back on the roll.

This is not Prusa’s first attempt at color, having developed a multicolor attachment for their MK series as far back as 2017. Sadly, the MMU is quirky and never quite caught on. It did, however, allow Prusa to adapt PrusaSlicer to multicolor slicing and give them ample time to perfect the software before the XL launched.

The Original Prusa XL is a true “multi-material” 3D printer that can handle up to five different materials. Because each spool of filament gets its own hotend, users can mix and match filament types as well as colors, and adjust temperature and flow accordingly.

The only downside to the Prusa XL is the price, which is a hefty $3,999 when fully equipped with five tool heads and shipped assembled. Users can start with a less expensive two-head machine, and purchase more toolheads later as upgrades.

Read: Original Prusa XL Review

Best Professional 3D Printer

Best 3D Printers 2024: FDM, Resin and Sub-$250 Models (21)

8. Bambu Lab X1-Carbon

Best Professional 3D Printer

Specifications

Technology: FDM

Build Volume: 256 x 256 x 256 mm

Build Platform: Flexible Removable Magnetic Sheet

Interface: 5-inch Color Touchscreen

Bed Leveling: LIDAR-assisted Automatic Leveling

Connectivity: microSD, Wi-Fi

Reasons to buy

+

AMS features intuitive guided operations for loading and unloading material

+

Rigid steel frame, aluminum shell, and CoreXY motion system

+

LIDAR-assisted automatic calibration and inspection

+

High speed multicolor printing with AMS

+

Enclosed build volume

Reasons to avoid

-

Cool Plate and glue stick included instead of PEI Textured Plate

-

Default purging process involves wasting material

One look at the polished aluminum shell of the Bambu Lab X1-Carbon with AMS and it is immediately clear that this printer stands out from the competition. With a 256mm x 256mm x 256mm build volume, 300°C hot end, and four color AMS, the X1-Carbon brings a new level of polish to the consumer market. The first layer inspection alone is a feature that would justify the cost of this printer to professional users, and the rest is icing on the cake.

Bambu Lab has clearly listened to the feedback of the 3D printer market, and the LIDAR-enabled flow calibration, automatic bed leveling, and first layer inspection of the X1-Carbon are features individually worthy of a “Best Of” entry. Taking all of that and adding in a four color AMS system that can automatically change materials during printing, a fully enclosed build volume, and an intuitive slicer app results in a refreshingly powerful and intuitive machine.

The Bambu Lab X1-Carbon with AMS is a powerhouse of a machine, and the $1,449 price tag is at the high end for printers in the consumer market. While it’s not an inexpensive machine, the X1-Carbon impressed us at every turn during our review, and is likely to remain a popular selection for high speed multi-material desktop FFF 3D printing.

More: Bambu Lab X1-Carbon 3D Printer Review

Best Premium 3D Printer

Best 3D Printers 2024: FDM, Resin and Sub-$250 Models (22)

9. Prusa MK4

Best Premium 3D Printer

Specifications

Technology: FDM

Build Volume: 250mm x 210mm x 220mm

Build Platform: PEI spring steel flex plate

Interface: Color LCD screen with knob

Bed Leveling: Automatic

Connectivity: USB drive, LAN, Wi-Fi

Reasons to buy

+

Fully assembled or DIY kit

+

Faster than MK3

+

Direct drive

+

Linear rods

+

Dual Z axis

+

Auto bed leveling

+

PEI Steel flex plate

+

All metal hotend

+

Very quiet

Reasons to avoid

-

Expensive

As the sequel to the MK 3S+, the MK4 does not disappoint. Prusa's new flagship printer has maintained its reputation as the premium printer for makers of all levels.

At a price point of $1,099 for a pre-assembled machine and $799 for a DIY kit, the MK4 is one of the most expensive printers on our list. That price may sound exorbitant for some hobbyists, but for makers who want top-quality performance and stellar customer service, the MK4 is worth the investment.

From fully automatic bed leveling, dual Z axis, magnetic flex plate, and color LCD screen to a webcam, USB, and Wi-Fi connectivity - these are just some of the features that come with the Prusa MK4. It also has new firmware that allows for faster printing without any loss in print quality. We were also impressed by how quietly this machine operates.

Additionally, Prusa is offering an upgrade kit for MK3S+ owners for just $579.

More: Prusa MK4 3D Printer Review

Best Compact 3D Printer

Best 3D Printers 2024: FDM, Resin and Sub-$250 Models (23)

10. Bambu Lab A1 Mini

Best Compact 3D Printer

Specifications

Technology: FDM

Build Volume: 180 x 180 x 180 mm

Build Platform: PEI textured spring steel sheet, heated

Interface: Touch screen

Bed Leveling: Automatic

Connectivity: WiFi, Bambu-Bus, Micro SD

Reasons to buy

+

Speed

+

Quick change nozzle

+

Direct Drive

+

Auto bed leveling

+

Inexpensive AMS (optional)

Reasons to avoid

-

AMS takes up a lot of space

If you want to squeeze as much printing power into a small space (and tight budget) as possible then Bambu Lab’s A1 Mini checks all the boxes. It’s a bed slinger style mini 3D printer with the option of adding a “lite” AMS (Automatic Material System). It’s the fastest bed slinger we’ve clocked so far, and nearly as fast as Bambu’s larger Core XY machines.

Retailing at $299 for the printer and $459 with the AMS Lite, it packs more features than the competition for significantly less money. It has an intuitive color touch screen, quick change steel nozzles and a blazing 10,000mm/s² acceleration speed for fast, clean prints. The A1 Mini can level the bed and set its own Z height with the touch of a button.

The AMS for the A1 Mini spoils the compact footprint a bit, as it has to be set next to the printer rather than on top. It makes up for the inconvenience by being superior to the full sized AMS with sensors that detect tangles and a spindle for each spool that can accommodate filament with odd sized or cardboard spools.

More: Bambu Lab A1 Mini Review

Best Food 3D Printer

Best 3D Printers 2024: FDM, Resin and Sub-$250 Models (24)

11. Cocoa Press

Best Food 3D Printer

Specifications

Technology: FDM

Build Volume: 140x 150 x 150mm

Build Platform: Flexible Silicone Mat

Material: Dark, Milk, and White Chocolate

Chocolate Core Size: 65 grams

Bed Leveling: Automatic 25 Point

Connectivity: SD Card, USB

Reasons to buy

+

Prints chocolate with no post-processing equipment required

+

Best-in-class documentation and assembly guide

+

0.8mm nozzle offers sharp printed features

+

Open platform for experimenting with different materials

+

Rock-solid CoreXY-inspired kinematic system, quality LDO parts

Reasons to avoid

-

Lengthy assembly process may be a blocker for non-technical customers

-

65 gram chocolate cores feel a bit limiting in volume

-

Expensive

The Cocoa Press chocolate 3D printer is a unique machine on our Best 3D Printers list, as it is currently the only printer on the list designed specifically for printing chocolate. The latest chocolate printer from Ellie Weinstein, the Cocoa Press, is a DIY kit 3D printer that is priced at $,1499 for all the non-printed components (you can print your own or buy the parts as a bundle) and takes about 10 hours to assemble.

Using a custom Marlin firmware and a PrusaSlicer profile for printing, the Cocoa Press sits somewhere between a 3D printer and an appliance you’d find in a bakery. We were impressed with the printed parts made by the Cocoa Press, and found them to be as tasty as they were consistent.

If you’re interested in printing chocolate at home or for business and have a bit of experience with mechanical assembly, the Cocoa Press is an appealing option for expanding your capabilities. Similarly, 3D printing enthusiasts who are looking for a cartridge-based extrusion system to experiment with will be interested in the robust documentation provided by the Cocoa Press team.

More: Cocoa Press 3D Printer Review

Best Medium Format 3D Printer

Best 3D Printers 2024: FDM, Resin and Sub-$250 Models (25)

12. Elegoo Neptune 4 Plus

Best Medium Format Filament 3D Printer

Specifications

Technology: FDM

Build Volume: 320 x 320 x 385 mm

Build Platform: Flexible PEI

Interface: 4.3-inch Color Touchscreen

Bed Leveling: Semi-Automatic 121 Point

Connectivity: microSD, USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi

Reasons to buy

+

400W PSU for rapid nozzle and bed heating

+

Integrated Wi-Fi

+

Powerful part cooling fan module

+

Silent stepper drivers

+

5.2:1 dual gear direct drive extruder

+

Klipper firmware

Reasons to avoid

-

Custom nozzle currently not available

The Elegoo Neptune 4 Plus strikes a well-calibrated balance between large format printers that offer huge build volumes and speed machines that are designed for lightning-fast prints. With a build volume of 320mm x 320mm x 385mm and a max print speed of 500mm/s (recommended: 250mm/s), the Neptune 4 Plus targets users on the fringe of both of these markets without compromise. The flexible bed makes part removal a one-handed operation, and the large part cooling fan module results in high-quality parts even at fast speeds.

The integrated Wi-Fi module on the Neptune 4 Plus is a welcome addition, as the printer can be easily monitored or adjusted remotely using the Fluidd Klipper interface. Add in a USB webcam plugged straight into the printer and you can easily remotely monitor a print with visual feedback all from a slicer like OrcaSlicer.

The Neptune 4 Plus offers both larger build volume as well as faster print speeds without a dramatic increase in cost. With a debut price of $350, the Neptune 4 Plus is an easy choice for anyone interested in adding a larger machine to their printer fleet, with the added bonus of faster print speed as well.

More: Elegoo Neptune 4 Plus 3D Printer Review

Best Resin 3D Printer for Beginners

Best 3D Printers 2024: FDM, Resin and Sub-$250 Models (26)

13. Anycubic Photon Mono 2

Best Resin 3D Printer for Beginners

Specifications

Technology: Resin

Build Volume: 165 x 89 x 143 mm

LCD Resolution: 4096 x 2560

LCD Size: 6.6-inch Monochrome

XY Axis Resolution: 34 microns

Connectivity: USB Type A 2.0

Reasons to buy

+

Detailed 4K prints

+

Fast setup

+

Effortless print removal

+

Easy to navigate menus

+

Generous anti-scratch film to protect the glass

Reasons to avoid

-

Slippery feet on the base

-

Lightweight and cheap feel

The Anycubic Photon Mono 2 is a great and affordable option for anyone who is new to or want to get started with resin 3D printing. This printer is compact and light-weight so it won't take up a lot of space and can easily be stored away. It's shipped mostly assembled which makes setup a snap.

But don't let the size of this printer fool you, the Photon Mono 2 has a 20% larger build volume than its predecessor. In our testing, we were able to fit six presupported minuatures on the build plate at once.

This printer delivers very detailed 4K print quality, is great for miniatures and small models, and comes with its own custom slicer, the Photon Workshop V3.

More: Anycubic Photon Mono 2 Review

Best Ultra High Resolution 3D Printer

Best 3D Printers 2024: FDM, Resin and Sub-$250 Models (27)

14. Anycubic Photon Mono M5s

Best High Resolution 3D Printer

Specifications

Technology: Resin

Build Volume: 218 x 123 x 200 mm

LCD Resolution: 12K

LCD Size: 10.1-inch Monochrome

XY Resolution: 19x24 microns

Interface: 4.3-inch Touch Panel

Connectivity: USB Type A 2.0

Reasons to buy

+

Eye-popping 12K prints

+

Auto leveling

+

High speed printing

+

Smart sensors

Reasons to avoid

-

Release film has short life span

-

Specialty resin is pricey

When it comes to printing in detail, nothing comes close to the Anycubic Photon Mono M5s which features a whopping 12K resolution and achieves 19 micron X accuracy. It's also super fast. In our test, we were able to print a 3.5-inch model in less than an hour. Anycubic claims this printer has the ability to reach an average print speed of 105mm/hour, so if you are looking for a high speed, high res printer, the M5s has you covered.

Amazingly, the Photon Mono M5s doesn't require any manual calibration. This is the first resin printer we've tested that provides auto-leveling using mechanical sensors which not only saves time but also makes it super easy to set up. Just add resin and you are ready to go.

Anycubic has also come out with its own specialty high-speed resin (sold separately or included in bundle kits) which works with the M5s and is the secret sauce that helps to cut the time of your prints tremendously.

With all these and more "smart" features the Photon Mono M5s has to offer, it is a great option for makers looking for a mid-size high-resolution printer. Also, a smart buy as it is currently $40 off its usual $539 MSRP.

More: Anycubic Photon Mono M5s Review

Best 3D Printer / Laser Engraver Combo

Best 3D Printers 2024: FDM, Resin and Sub-$250 Models (28)

15. SnapMaker Artisan 3-in-1

Best Combo 3D Printer / Laser Engraver

Specifications

Technology: FDM, Laser engraver, CNC

Build Volume: 400 x 400 x 400 mm

Build Platform: PEI coated glass, heated

Interface: Color Touch Screen

Bed Leveling: Automatic

Connectivity: USB stick, Wi-Fi

Reasons to buy

+

Huge build volume

+

Great at printing, laser cutting and CNC machining

+

Included enclosure

Reasons to avoid

-

Very expensive

-

Huge footprint

-

Can't handle TPU Filament

We've seen a few 3D printers that double as laser engravers, but most of these products live up to the phrase "jack of all trades, master of none." The SnapMaker Artisan 3-in-1 does three different things really well: laser engraving, CNC carving and 3D printing. You'll pay a large premium of $2,899 for this product and you'll need a huge table to accommodate its 508 x 620 x 634 mm (20 x 24.4 x 24.9 inches) frame. However, if you want the features it provides, the Artisan 3-in-1 is a great choice.

When it operates as a 3D printer, the SnapMaker Artisan 3-in-1 delivers huge, detailed prints, thanks to a generous 400 x 400mm build volume. It also has a dual hot end, with two extruders that each can connect to a different spool of filament, allowing for dual color or dual-material prints. When we printed a black jar with red hearts on it, the output was sharp, and there was no bleeding or blurriness between the colors.

The Artisan had no problem printing a very tough RC car part in ABS, but flexible prints might be its Achilles heel. A TPU model of a bunny came out a little stringy.

The printer also has a number of premium 3D printing features, including built-in Wi-Fi, a build plate that's PEI glass on one side and plain glass on another, and automating bed leveling. Its dual extruders use direct drive.

The Artisan 3-in-1 comes with a large enclosure you can place it inside, which is good not only for working with difficult filaments but for protecting your eyes from damage when you are laser engraving with it. The laser can cut leather, wood, fabric or paper and engrave onto copper, aluminum, glass, stone and dark acrylic. We tested the laser and used it to create a model of a ruler and protractor that were burned into a 5mm sheet of plywood and found that the lines were clean and the marks and numbers on the ruler were sharp.

The CNC function works for carving wood, acrylic, soft stone, carbon fiber and even PCB. We used it to create a "Luban Lock," a 3D puzzle that the machine carved out of a piece of MDF (Medium Density Fiber) board. The model looked really good and only took 36 minutes to complete.

Read: SnapMaker Artisan 3-in-1 Review

Best for 3D Printer Props and Cosplay

Best 3D Printers 2024: FDM, Resin and Sub-$250 Models (29)

16. Elegoo Neptune 3 Max

Best for Cosplay

Specifications

Technology: FDM

Build Volume: 420 x 420 x 500 mm

Build Platform: PEI textured spring steel sheet, heated

Interface: Color touch screen, removable

Bed Leveling: Automatic, Inductive

Connectivity: microSD card, USB Type A

Reasons to buy

+

Direct drive printing supports TPM

+

Quiet operation

+

Easy to assemble

Reasons to avoid

-

Huge footprint

If you want a printer that can output models as big as your imagination, the Elegoo Neptune 3 Max is a great choice. Thanks to a massive build volume of 420 x 420 x 500mm, it can output the large pieces you need to build cosplay helmets and props. We were able to print a very detailed, 450mm Skyrim dagger by rotating it on the build plate and, in Inland Silver PLA+ filament, it looked good enough to bring to battle. We also outputted a 500mm tall purple dragon that would dominate anyone’s display case or mantle.

Like its little sibling, the Neptune 3 Pro, the Neptune 3 Max features a Direct Drive system that allows it to handle complex filaments such as TPU. In fact, using vase mode, we were able to output a flexible, translucent green TPU trash can. The textured PEI build platform did a great job of holding prints in place without the need for glue and yet made removing them easy.

Assembling the Neptune 3 Max is a breeze as we only had to screw in a few bolts to put the machine together and attach the touch screen base to the side. Leveling the bed is pretty easy, though you will have to start by manually leveling the surface, after which there’s a 63-point auto leveling feature.

The most difficult part of working with the Neptune 3 Max is that it takes up a lot of space. We had to sit it on our air hockey table and you may need to get a large table to house it. But that’s an inconvenience that’s inevitable when you want huge prints at excellent quality.

More: Elegoo Neptune 3 Max Review

Shopping Tips for Best 3D Printers

There are several factors to consider before buying the best 3D printer for you, so be sure to consider the questions before making a choice.

  • Resin MSLA or Filament FDM? The two most popular styles of desktop 3D printing, resin MSLA and filament FDM 3D printers offer various strengths and weaknesses, and choosing the style more suited for your application will help you get better results. For many , especially beginners, filament 3D printers are a better choice because they are easier to use and work with a wide variety of materials. They are also far safer for anyone with children or pets around.

    Resin 3D printers can provide a bit more detail, so they are popular among folks printing out game pieces. However, you need to handle toxic chemicals and wear a mask when setting up a print and, after the printing is over, you must wash and cure your prints. We have some resin printers on this list but also maintain a more detailed article where we name all of the best resin 3D printers.

  • How much build volume do you need? If you want to print out large parts in a single print, you’ll need a printer with ample build volume. This is usually directly tied to the price of the machine, so a larger printer is going to cost more money. Printers with a 100mm cubed or less build volume are on the smaller side, 150 to 220mm cubed are average, and 250mm inch cubed and above are considered large format.
  • Manual or automatic bed leveling? Leveling the bed of a 3D printer is an important but very annoying part of the process. Many printers have auto-leveling capability, which saves you most of the work and, considering that you can now find printers with this feature for less than $250, you should consider it a must-have.
  • What materials are you printing with? If you're buying an FDM printer, you'll want to use one of the best filaments for 3D printing so you can get good models. However, some substances require higher temperatures that not every printer can achieve. PLA filament, the most common type, can print on anything but more durable or flexible plastics such as PETG or TPU need extruders that can hit 220 to 230 degrees Celsius while ABS and Nylon require 240 or 250-degree heat. Also, note that if you want to print in TPU (a flexible material), you should get an FDM printer with a direct drive system that pushes the filament more directly through the extruder. Resin printers have fewer material choices.

MORE:Best Resin 3D Printers

MORE: Best Budget 3D Printers

MORE:Best Filaments for 3D Printing

MORE: How to Buy the Right 3D Printer

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Best 3D Printers 2024: FDM, Resin and Sub-$250 Models (30)

Anj Bryant

Anj Bryant is the Assistant Managing Editor at Tom's Hardware. She provides content layout and development support, and coordinates editorial initiatives for all the talented groups of freelancers, contributors, and editors in the team.

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15 CommentsComment from the forums

  • Thatoneguy7

    Recommending the Ender 3 Pro instead of the Ender 3 v2 in a list of the best printers in 2021 is silly.

    Reply

  • LolaGT

    The differences between the base non-pro 3 to the v2 is convenience(faster warm up, quieter running). There is not one bit of difference in print quality. There are literally dozens of comparisons and results videos online for the E3 line.
    The thing to determine is what one is willing to pay for the added convenience, quieter running, etc.
    I found a E3 Pro X(glass bed option included in the box, extra nozzles) for 200 bucks to my door. A v2 would be pushing well over 250 to my door.
    That is three kilos of good PLA for me for the same money, which is what I went with(pro x and the PLA).
    Regardless, the best printer is the one that fits one's needs, wallet, and makes them happy.
    If money was really tight the base plain non-pro Ender 3 is the best buy at 150 bucks right now. One can get a glass bed for a few bucks, and look up videos for the endless (basically free) mods for it and they would be good to go for a long time.

    Thatoneguy7 said:

    Recommending the Ender 3 Pro instead of the Ender 3 v2 in a list of the best printers in 2021 is silly.

    Reply

  • thisisaname

    Would have been better if you had included the price of them in the article.

    Reply

  • Mk 3D

    I have to say I'm concerned when I see superficial articles like this that don't really have nuance. There is a ton more nuance to FDM vs SLA printers. Like mSLA tends to be faster since it exposes a layer at a time. Or that mSLA printers are generally easier to fix due to less moving parts. Or that FDM prints tend to be a lot less brittle SLA resins. Or that print orientation affects physical properties of FDM but has less effects on SLA. Or SLA is more brittle. Etc. Also there are water washable resins that don't need alcohol for cleaning. Like either you assume people are experts and don't bring up the differences or assume people are beginners and give enough information for them to make an informed decision. This is in some no man's land in between.

    Reply

  • durahl

    A little bit of a wall of text... I guess? 😉

    So far, I've owned two Formlabs SLA 3D Printers ( a Form² and a Form³ ) a Prusa i3 MK3S with a MMU2S attached to it and as of recently a 350 sized Voron 2.4 that is planned to replace the i3 entirely once I built the Voron EnragedRabbit equivalent of the Prusa MMU2S.

    I never owned an mSLA 3D printer but from what I read about them, despite their ability to print faster than the SLA ones AND being a lot cheaper, I still wouldn't trade my two Forms in for one... Especially not the Form³ with the practically nonexistent suction force it has allowing for much greater flexibility in the parts selection - Everything works and with resins you bet you want things to work on the first try considering the mess you'll be dealing with when it doesn't. You'll also definitely want to buy an automated washing station - You'll never get a resin part as clean by hand than you'll with a washing station - Why I pull my washed parts out of the IPA bath they're almost ready to work with - Just some fanning with like a Hairdryer and you're done.

    Now as for the i3... It served me well as a workhorse - No doubt about that - But since owning a Voron 2.4 I honestly got to say that the i3 is a royal <Mod Edit> pain in the ass to do maintenance on. I already knew of that when I assembled my i3 but with it having been, at the time, my only DIY 3D Printer I couldn't compare it to anything, but boy did I have a 2nd awakening when working with the Voron 2.4.

    Toolhead disassembly for maintenance on the V2.4 is a 2min thing... Maybe less if you use power tools. Remove 1 screw to remove the Toolhead Cable Connectors Cover for disconnecting the Heater and Thermistor Cables, remove another 4 easily accessible screws to remove the Toolhead holding the Hotend for easier servicing at a more convenient location while the bulk of the 3D Printer remains at it work location and depending on Hotend another 2-4 screws to remove the Hotend from the Toolhead should that be necessary for a more in-depth servicing.

    On the i3... May the makers mercy on your poor soul. If the Hotend has an issue you'll basically have to disassemble the entire E and X-Axis plus free up the entire umbilical of cables coming from the control board to the E-Axis - It's at least a 30min job - Most likely 1h - to fix any problem related to the Hotend.

    3D printing all the ABS parts for my Voron on my i3 I practically melted the Hotend area and had to rebuild it ( i3 printed the parts for the Voron and the Voron printed the parts for the i3... what irony ) due to the elevated temperatures and PETG being used in the fabrication of the i3 forced me to go through the entire procedure ending up with a weird error where the recalibration wizard would tell me there being an error with the X-Axis - What error exactly? To long? To short? No idea... Everyone and the Manual told me to ensure the ZipTies around the Umbilical being tight enough for them not to collide during homing - I pretty much finished an art degree on ZipTie Bondage that day to no success until some random passerby told me to loosen the screws holding the E-Axis to the X-Axis - Almost having the entire Extruder just dangling around basically - Success!? Turns out the Linear Rails are super finnicky with pressure and the Limitswitchless Homing interprets the slightest bit of resistance during calibration as having reached the end of the rail causing the problem - This, IMHO, is bad design.

    I also noticed that the i3 has gotten a LOT louder over the years despite Stealth Mode being on - Probably the Bearings kicking the bucket - Again... Royal <Mod Edit> pain in the ass to do maintenance on them due to how the entire i3 is being assembled.

    Quite honestly, If you have the money for an i3 I'd rather recommend spending it on a Voron ( the Trident seems interesting ) - You can use the same PrusaSlicer AND you'll most likely learn a lot more about 3D Printing with FDM than the spoon-fed method of going with an i3 arriving with all the preset profiles - which you can still use if you want! - and your cap of how fast you can 3D print will also raise significantly - Just don't expect to go much past 300mm/s as someone who just built their first Voron and has never before used anything but an i3 / Ender. Those Videos about Vorons pushing 400-1000mm/s you'll not be doing anytime soon but printing 2-3x faster than on an i3 - Oh yes... It'll take a week or two of time to find the perfect recipe of Temperatures, Accelerations, Speeds, etc... but that you can do.

    Reply

  • Sophia John

    Nice Article. Very helpful for newbies looking for 3d printers online.

    Reply

  • samiup

    Umm... no. I bought into the hype and got an Ender 3 V2, and it works... that is if you are ready to spend 45mn calibrating it before every single print...
    The experience was frustrating at best, till the point where I decided it is actually useless and returned it.

    Reply

  • grrmisfit

    samiup said:

    Umm... no. I bought into the hype and got an Ender 3 V2, and it works... that is if you are ready to spend 45mn calibrating it before every single print...
    The experience was frustrating at best, till the point where I decided it is actually useless and returned it.

    a few minutes of research and one would see updating the firmware to a custom one and doing some minor maintenance makes it easier to maintain a proper bed level, one of the big selling points was the open source and modding of this printer so installing a custom firmware should come to no surprise. manual mesh available with that firmware helps alot. the ender has its quirks but some google foo goes along way.

    tho the artilce should mention the v2 now as its solves most of the cons listed with the pro

    Reply

  • comedichistorian

    You need to change "2021" to "2022" in that first big paragraph. Also, is the article about the best sub-$250 printers like the opening sentence states or is it a general list of the best 3d printers like the title of the article states? If it's the former then there shouldn't be two $450 printers on the list and if it's the latter, well, I don't know where to begin.

    Reply

  • comedichistorian

    grrmisfit said:

    tho the artilce should mention the v2 now as its solves most of the cons listed with the pro

    Hey you joined on my birthday 12 years ago. Is that fact interesting to anyone but myself and softheads? No. But I'm drunk and felt the need to point it out. Have a lovely evening!

    Also....if your birthday is June 26 I'll fill my pants.

    Also also....holy cats we've got the same number of points as well! WHAT IS HAPPENING?!

    Reply

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