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3D Printers in 2021: Choose from the Best

3D Printers in 2021: Choose from the Best | 3D Printing Spot

Updated by

William Stone

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September 16, 2021

Whether you want to buy a 3D printer for personal home use or industrial end-use production, you are always on the lookout for the best product in the market. We bring you a list showcasing the best 3D printers in 2021.

The article will highlight the features and showcase the specifications of 11 of the best 3D printers in 2021 for all types of users aiming to buy a budget, desktop, industrial, or large-scale 3D printer. Choose from the best of the lot.

According to ASTM, all 3D printing technologies can be classified into seven categories, namely, Material Extrusion, Vat Photopolymerization, Powder-bed Fusion, Material Jetting, Binder Jetting, Sheet Lamination, and Directed Energy Deposition.

The scope of this article is limited to polymer material extrusion types to list the best FDM 3D printer choices in 2021.


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Table of contents:

Choose the Best FDM 3D Printers in 2021

For choosing the best FDM 3D printers in 2021, we will be dividing the 3D printers into four categories namely: Budget, Desktop, Industrial, and Large-Scale. 

Budget

Remark: Most affordable DIY 3D printers

Ideal For: Enthusiasts, Hobbyists and Students 

Budget: $99 to $499

Desktop

Remark: High-precision desktop 3D printers

Ideal For: Professionals

Budget: $500 to $7499

Industrial

Remark: Larger Desktop printers with the highest accuracy and precision

Ideal For: Office and factories

Budget: $7500 to $49,000

Large Scale

Remark: Huge build volumes

Ideal For: Aerospace, Automotive sector

Budget: $50,000+

Budget FDM 3D Printers in 2021

The budget category is the most affordable range of FDM 3D printers. Their price ranges up to a few hundred dollars. Since they are the lowest priced the printer often has simple and basic features. To save costs, companies offer these printers in DIY kits that can be easily assembled at home. 

This category sees a dearth of new and lesser-known brands trying to penetrate the market with low-priced models. The competition is huge and that also serves well with the customer as they have multiple options to choose from. 

The budget printers are characterized by ideal features, basic functionality, and a minimalistic design to offset the prices and still offer a good 3D printing experience. Such 3D printers are mostly bought for personal use.

Creality Ender 3

The Creality Ender 3 is a highly popular 3D printer. Though it was launched a while ago the company has regularly upgraded it to the company’s newer mainboards. The Ender 3 is the perfect budget 3D printer to start with.

Creality Ender 3 comes with all the basic features of budget 3D printers. Additionally, it has a heated bed measuring 220 x 220 x 250 mm. It also has a print resume feature that can be used in case of a power failure. This is an affordable printer that delivers impressive print quality. One interesting thing about the printer is that it has a tight filament path that can improve its compatibility with flexible filaments.

It is available in DIY kits but is easy to assemble. A lot of YouTubers have also posted videos on assembling the Ender 2 and so it isn’t a big cause of concern for new learners as well. 

Moreover, the Ender 3 also has a huge active community that is quite supportive and helpful and so if anyone buys this printer and faces a problem, the community can resolve most of the problems with easy tips and tricks. 

Lastly, with all its advantages, it also has one major drawback relating to wobble issues experienced by many users affecting the bed leveling. 

Price: $179

XYZ da Vinci Nano

The XYZ da Vinci nano is one of the most compact 3D printers offered by XYZprinting. It has a build volume of only 4.7 x 4.7 x 4.7 inch3. This size makes it an ideal candidate for use at home and in school used for basic learning and small-time tinkering.

The XYZ da Vinci Nano is a safe 3D printer as it comes with an enclosure so that kids don’t put their hands inside the machine accidentally. The enclosure gives the printer a classy look making it all the more attractive. To make the printer user-friendly, it comes with an LED light to display the print status - Green signals ‘Standby’, Red signals ‘Stop’, and Orange signals ‘Printing in Process’

This printer is targeted as a product for the entire family to gather around and have fun on weekends by making new things together. A tool that the family can use to learn, educate the kids, and have fun as a plaything. 

The 3D printer is compatible with XYZmaker Mobile which is an easy-to-use 3D modeling software. Even kids can learn and design toys in the software application. The software has in-built toy designs that can be downloaded, customized and 3D printed to play with.

This one of the best FDM 3D printers for kids and new learners on a budget. 

Specifications of the XYZ da Vinci nano

  • Company: XYZprinting
  • Model: Nano
  • Print Technology: FDM/FFF 
  • Build Volume: 120 x 120 x 120 mm
  • Layer Resolution: 100 - 400 microns
  • Printing Software: XYZmaker Suite
  • Supported File Formats: STL, .3W, 3MF, OBJ, IGS, STP
  • Max. Printing Speed: Max. 70 mm/s
  • Material Compatibility: PLA, Antibacterial PLA, PETG, Tough PLA
  • Filament Diameter: 1.75 mm
  • Nozzle Diameter: 0.4 mm 
  • Number of Nozzles: Single
  • Print Bed: Removable Glass
  • Bed Leveling: AUTO

Price: Approx. $239

Toybox 3D Printer

As the name suggests, the Toybox 3D printer specifically caters to the user that wants to 3D print toys. Kids are the target customers and there is none better than Tpybox to print toys. 

The Toybox 3D printer is developed with kids in mind. It is targeted as a tool to be used by kids to tinker on it. Recently, Toybox partnered with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to provide their customers the ability to 3D print Batman, Wonder Woman, and other characters from the DC universe and some movie franchises. 

The Toybox is a small 3D printer with a build volume of only 3 cubic inches but as it is only designed for a very specific purpose it doesn’t matter much. The printer is easy to learn, use and operate. Even kids can learn how to 3D print pretty fast. The printer maker Make.Toys include a selection of free toy templates to get started with 3D printing. The designs are modifiable and if the kids design their toys then those can be uploaded and 3D printed. 

However, since the hotends are unprotected kids should operate the 3D printer under the supervision of an adult. 

Specifications of the Toybox 3D printer

  • Company: Toybox
  • Print Technology: FDM/FFF 
  • Build Volume: 70 x 80 x 90 mm
  • Layer Resolution: 200 microns
  • Supported File Formats: STL, OBJ, gCode
  • Max. Printing Speed: 60 mm/s
  • Material Compatibility: PLA non-toxic plastic
  • Filament Diameter: 1.75 mm

Price: Toybox Starter Bundle costs $399

Anycubic Mega X

The Anycubic Mega X is an easy-to-use and reliable printer with a good reputation. It is built upon one of its predecessor the i3 Mega. The printer comes with a metal framed modular design that is mostly assembled and the rest of the printer is easy to assemble within minutes. It offers good quality prints with various materials like PLA, ABS, TPU, High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS), and wood-filled polymers. 

The i3 Mega has a print resume function that enables the printer to pause upon any power issues and it resumes the print wherever it stopped once the power resumes. It boasts of an Ultrabase heated bed having a big build volume measuring 300 x 300 x 305 mm. The Ultrabase provides strong adhesion and also aids in easy removal of the prints. 

The bed leveling knob is convenient to grip and thus makes it easier to level the bed. 

Besides this, the printer also delivers improved performance due to its dual Z-axis stepper motors and dual-rods to steady the Y-axis carriage and a Titan-style extruder underpins the extrusion system’s performance

Specifications of the Anycubic Mega X

  • Company: Anycubic
  • Model: Mega X
  • Print Technology: FDM/FFF 
  • Build Volume: 300 x 300 x 305 mm 
  • Layer Resolution: 50 – 300 microns
  • Supported File Formats: STL, OBJ, DAE, AMF
  • Max. Printing Speed: 100 mm/s
  • Material Compatibility: PLA, ABS, TPU, HIPS, Wood, PETG
  • Filament Diameter: 1.75 mm
  • Nozzle Diameter: 0.4 mm 
  • Number of Nozzles: Single
  • Print Bed: Ultrabase

Price: $399

Desktop FDM 3D Printers for 2021

After the Budget range targeted for the new learners, enthusiasts, students, and for academic use, the next range is the Desktop 3D printers. These are professional 3D printers mostly used by office users that have continuous requirements for rapid prototyping. These 3D printers can churn out high-quality parts and use a wider range of materials.

These typically start from a few thousand dollars to less than ten thousand dollars.

Let us see some of the best 3D printer choices in this range for 2021.

Original Prusa i3 MK3S+

One of the most affordable desktop 3D printers available for professionals is the Original Prusa i3 MK3S+. The printer delivers exceptional performance and is a value-for-money printer. Its strong advantages include its high-quality print output, advanced print monitoring, and calibration, supportive after-sales support, and highly active community. All these combined deliver the best 3D printing experience to the user.

The 3D printer is available as a kit for makers while as an assembled unit for businesses and professionals. 

The Original Prusa i3 MK3S+ comes with an upgraded SuperPINDA probe for improved first layer calibration, added high-quality Misumi bearings, and various useful design tweaks to make the printer easier to assemble and maintain. 

Prusa has also ensured that all its proven features of the previous models are present in this version as well. The removable PEI sheets with a heated bed, filament sensor, power loss recovery (or the print resume function), auto mesh bed leveling, support for a wide range of materials like PLA, ABS, PETG, ASA, PC, and PP, slicer support with PrusaSlicer, and other safety features are a default part of the printer. 

Specifications of the Original Prusa i3 MK3S+

  • Company: Prusa
  • Model: i3 MK3S
  • Print Technology: FDM/FFF 
  • Build volume: 250 × 210 × 210 mm 
  • Layer height: 0.05 - 0.35 mm
  • Nozzle: 0.4mm 
  • Filament diameter: 1.75 mm
  • Material Compatibility:  PLA, PETG, ASA, ABS, PC (Polycarbonate), CPE, PVA/BVOH, HIPS, PP, Flex, nGen, Nylon, Carbon filled, Woodfill and other filled materials
  • Max Extruder Temperature: 300 °C
  • Max Bed Temperature: 120 °C
  • Extruder: Direct Drive, Bondtech gears, E3D V6 hotend
  • Print surface: Removable magnetic steel sheets 

Price: $749 (Kit) & $999 (Assembled)

Dremel DigiLab 3D45

Dremel is a relatively lesser-known name in the 3D printing space. It is an American brand of power tools, focusing on home improvement and hobby applications but has expanded to develop 3D printers. 

Their 3D printers are quite powerful but are built mostly for professionals and educational purposes. They are costly but they provide high-quality results that justify the costs if you are a business. 

The Dremel DigiLab 3D45 can tackle highly demanding prints and can use professional materials like Nylon, PC, and EcoABS (A specially formulated version of ABS manufactured in an environmentally sustainable manner). All these materials are in addition to the basic materials like PLA, ABS, HIPS, PVA, PETG, etc. 

It comes with many interesting features that help in a better 3D printing experience. One of the popular features of this printer is the RFID reader. This reader automatically recognizes the filament type and adjusts the printer settings eliminating the manual task of making changes in the slicer. However, this is only possible through its proprietary materials.

The printer comes with an integrated camera to monitor prints on multiple machines at the same time. 

Specifications of the Dremel DigiLab 3D45

  • Company: Dremel
  • Model: DigiLab 3D45
  • Print Technology: FDM/FFF 
  • Layer Resolution: 50-300 microns
  • Build Volume: 255x155x170mm
  • Extruder Max Temperature: 280 °C
  • Print Bed Max Temperature: 100 °C
  • Build Plate: Heated Glass
  • Material Compatibility: PLA, PETG, Nylon, Eco-ABS
  • Software Options: Dremel Digilab 3D Slicer, Dremel Print Cloud, Simplify 3D, Polar3D
  • File Type Accepted By Slicer: STL, OBJ, 3mf, BMP, .g, .gcode, GIF, JPG, JPEG, PNG, x3d
  • File Type Accepted by Printer: GCODE, G3DREM, .g

Price: $1899

Ultimaker S5 3D Printer

The Ultimaker S5 is the most advanced 3D printer yet from Ultimaker. It is a powerful industrial-grade printer built for office use. It is known for its reliability and versatility with best-in-class features. The S5 improves upon its predecessor – the S3. While S3is a low-cost solution for production, the S5 packs in immense power. S5 comes with increased build volume, high-quality output, and unprecedented reliability. 

S5 has a sleek, clean, and stylish look suited to every office. It consists of an enclosed structure with tinted glass doors to ensure stable enclosure temperatures for better print quality. 

The S5 comes with s sleek, intuitive touchscreen that gives it a premium look and feels and makes it a worthwhile tool in any office environment. It supports a wide range of materials including its proprietary and other third-party materials. Its dual printing ability through two extruders makes it an effective machine since both extruders can use different materials. 

One of the most important benefits of using this printer is its compatibility with the range of end-to-end software solutions offered by Ultimaker. The high level of compatibility enables users to leverage the printer to its max and produce high-quality output, manage multiple printers, control printers remotely, slice models, optimize every print with specific materials all the while eliminating menial tasks to focus only on the most productive activities. 

Specification of Ultimaker S5

  • Company: Ultimaker
  • Model: S5
  • Print Technology: FDM/FFF
  • Build Volume: 330 x 240 x 300 mm
  • Layer Resolution: 20 – 600 microns 
  • Max. Extruder Temperature: Up to 280 ˚C
  • Print Speed: < 24 mm³ /s
  • Extruder: Dual Extrusion 
  • Build Platform: Heated Build Plate 
  • Bed Leveling: Automatic
  • Material Compatibility: PLA, Tough PLA, Nylon, ABS, CPE, CPE+, PC, TPU 95A, PP, PVA, Breakaway, Third-Party materials
  • Software Options: Cura, Enterprise solution, Digital Factory

Price: $5,995

Industrial

Industrial 3D printers are mainly used for end-use applications. They are the most accurate, precise, reliable, and oftentimes costly of all the categories. They are developed for use in office spaces, industries, or factories. 

We list down three of the best 3D printers to choose from in 2021.

Stratasys F120

Stratasys is one of the earliest 3D printing companies in the world. They were the patent holders of the FDM technology and over the years have developed multiple technologies like the Stereolithography (SLA) Polyjet and ColorJet and even their newest one called Selective Absorption Fusion (SAF). Their printers are some of the most reliable and high-performance printers in the market. 

One such extrusion-based 3D printer is the Stratasys F120 3D printer which belongs to the F123 series of printers. It is their most affordable industrial-grade 3D printer that brings the professional production quality technology closer to a desktop arena. It is more than a desktop version and more like a table-top printer. It is known for its reliability and longevity. 

Like all Stratasys printers, the F120 also delivers accurate results, a user-friendly workflow, and high-performance output. It is faster than most desktop printers. It also requires significantly low maintenance than most industrial printers. It is rigorously tested for a continuous printing sequence of more than 250 hours. 

With the F120, users can print with a wide range of industrial-grade materials offered by Stratasys. It can also print with materials like PLA, ABS-M30™, ASA, PC-ABS, TPU 92A, and SR-30, a support material. 

The printer comes with GrabCAD Print machine control software which helps in simplifying the printing workflows.

Specification of Stratasys F120

  • Company: Stratasys
  • Model: F120
  • Print Technology: Extrusion
  • Build volume: 254 × 254 × 254 mm
  • Extruders: Dual Extrusion 
  • Build Plate: Heated
  • Build Chamber: Enclosed and Heated
  • Material Compatibility: PLA, ABS-M30™, ASA, PC-ABS, TPU 92A and SR-30 (support material)
  • Software: GrabCAD Print

Price: $11,999

MarkForged X3

Markforged is an industrial composite and metal 3D printer manufacturing OEM. The Markforged X3 is its industrial-grade 3D printer specifically developed for printing micro carbon fiber-filled nylon parts. The printer combines precision-built hardware with advanced sensors and its proprietary best-in-class software to deliver accurate and reliable parts repeatedly. This is by far one of the best desktop-level carbon fiber 3D printers in the market.

The printer features a reinforced precision-machined gantry and a precision ground print bed that can be removed and replaced with 10um repeatability. The filament extrusion hardware is designed in such a way that it will not wear by the continuous flow carbon fiber-filled nylon filaments. Even the print quality will not be affected over longer periods of printing.

Specification of Markforged X3

  • Company: MarkForged
  • Model: X3 
  • Print Technology: Extrusion
  • Build volume: 330 × 270 × 200 mm
  • Layer Resolution: 50 - 200 microns
  • Print Bed: Precision Ground Composite
  • Material Compatibility: PC, Nylon, Onyx, Onyx ESD, Onyx FR
  • Software: Eiger

Price: $36,990

Large Scale

This category is defined by the size of parts it can produce. These printers do not have a resolution as fine as the other categories but they still are highly accurate and precise. The ability to create a continuous large object is often the ideal way to produce a part. 

We will see two of the best 3D printer to choose from in 2021.

Delta WASP 3MT Industrial from WASP

The Delta WASP 3MT Industrial 3D printer is designed and developed by WASP, an Italian 3D printer manufacturer. WASP is known for its big Delta 3D printers and the 3MT industrial is one of their biggest offerings. The Delta WASP 3MT is capable of a printing volume of 943 liters. And unlike many other delta printers, this printer comes with a range of industrial tools to create huge high-resolution parts.

The printer has a metal frame with strong steel belts for stability and features thermal and acoustic insulation. It has a camera for remote monitoring of prints. The printer comes not only with the traditional filament extruder but also can be switched for a pellet extruder and Liquid Deposition Modeling (LDM) extruder for thick fluids for ceramic printing.  It is interesting how much more this printer can do with the additional tools. 

Specifications of the Delta WASP 3MT Industrial

  • Company: WASP 
  • Model: Delta WASP 3MT Industrial
  • Print Technology: Extrusion
  • Build Volume: Ø 1000 x h1000 mm
  • Layer Resolution: 100 micron
  • Build Chamber: open
  • Build Plate Temperature:: 120 C°
  • Build Plate: Rectified aluminum
  • Filament Nozzle Diameter: 1.75 mm
  • WASP PELLET Extruder Nozzle Diameter: 3 mm  
  • LDM WASP Nozzle Diameter: 2 mm, 4 mm, 6 mm, 8 mm
  • Material Compatibility: PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU, Polypropylene
  • Slicing software: compatible with Cura, SLic3r, Simplify3D®, etc.
  • Supported File Formats: STL, OBJ, GCODE

Price: $36,000

BigRep ONE

BigRep is a German Large-scale 3D printer manufacturer. The BigRep One is its largest 3D printer with a build volume of around one cubic meter. It has an open design and has a frame and structure without an enclosure. The printer is specifically designed to print massive industrial parts generally not possible in many small desktops and industrial 3D printers. The printer delivers high-quality output for large objects and this is one of its biggest USPs.

Even with the open structure, the printer is quite safe with embedded features in the printer. Its smaller moving parts are enclosed and portal motion is protected by two pressure sensors attached to the frame at its top and bottom to ensure operator safety.

The printer is flexible in its approach wherein both the extruders can spread far apart and two smaller prints can be printed simultaneously. 

To ensure consistency and efficiency, the heated build platform is coated with a polyimide foil that provides optimal adhesion throughout the printing process. The print bed is leveled through a semi-automatic system to streamline build platform calibration and ensure peak performance and consistent prints.

Specification of BigRep One

  • Company: BigRep 
  • Model: ONE
  • Print Technology: Extrusion
  • Build volume: 1005 × 1005 × 1005 mm
  • Layer Resolution: 0.1 - 1.4 mm
  • Max. Extruder Temperature: 250 °C
  • Filament Diameter: 2.85 mm
  • Build Plate: Polyamide
  • Build Plate Temperature: 80 °C
  • Extruder: Dual Extrusion
  • Material Compatibility: BVOH, HI-TEMP, PETG, PLA, PLX, PRO HT, PVA, TPU

Price: $62,000

About THE AUTHOR

William Stone

William Stone

William has spent 20 plus years in the custom manufacturing industry as a COO, CEO and Owner of various custom product businesses. His experience has exposed him to all types of manufacturing from die cast, die struck, injection molding, CNC machining, laser etching, engraving and of course 3D printing.

Learn more about William Stone

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3D Printers in 2021: Choose from the Best

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