What to Consider When Buying the Most Reliable 3D Printers
If you are a first-time 3D printer buyer, chances are you need this guide more than anyone. Below we have listed some important things to consider when buying a 3D printer.
As mentioned above, if you are a newbie in 3D printers, you need to buy a 3D printer that is easy to use, doesn’t require much customization, and can be easily stored. But if you are a professional or student with specific features in mind, go for an advanced 3D printer that can also be modified.
There are 3 types of 3D printers, and all of them vary in their application and use. For example;
- Fused Depositing Modeling (FDM) 3D printers are used by beginners or hobbyists because they are the cheapest, easiest to use, and work by heating and exuding plastic.
- Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) 3D printers melt powder using a laser to create the print.
- Stereolithography 3D printers use UV light and photosensitive liquid, i.e., resin, to harden a material. This is considered best for professionals as the process can get messy and requires curing and handling chemicals.
Manual or Automatic
The type and functionality of the printing bed also play a huge role in your choice of the most reliable 3D printers. For example, the printing bed can be automatic or manual. Setting the printing bed is a challenging and time-taking process; thus, go for automatic bed-leveling.
Moreover, the type of printing bed depends on your use of the printer and material. 3D printer beds are heated and non-heated; PLA is used with non-heated beds, whereas ABS filament is used with a heated bed. So material matters too.
A 3D printer, no matter how modernized and equipped with advanced features, works with heated plastic. This can be dangerous if it comes in contact with the skin. Moreover, the fumes and chemicals used are also hazardous to your health. Thus, make sure you have proper space and a well-ventilated area in your workspace, home, school, or wherever the 3D printer will be placed.
Depending on the type of work you are doing, for example, making intricate jewelry or 3D sculptures, you need a 3D printer with high resolution and quality. A good quality 3D printer can print up to 50 to 70 microns, but the finer it is, the more expensive it will be.
Budget is also a defining factor when choosing the most reliable 3D printers. If your budget is less, you might miss out on a few advanced features, but generally, you will be able to get a good 3D printer for a good price due to their increasing demand and use.
Features of 3D Printers
To make the buying process a little easier, we are listing the defining and must-have features of the most reliable 3D printers.
3D printers, no matter how small, are still noisy. And each printing process can take up to a few hours, so you want to ensure that you have a proper well-ventilated and isolated spot for your 3D printer, especially if you are using it at home, or otherwise, the noise will be heard from anywhere in the house. Thus, keep your 3D printer on a solid flat surface or sound-dampening surface to reduce noise.
When you make an investment worth hundreds of dollars, you need a 3D printer that is not only precise but accurate and offers high-quality results. Finding all of this in one machine can be challenging but not impossible. Depending on what your work requires and what you value most, choose accordingly and test before buying.
Speed is often compromised because of accuracy; this might not be an issue when working with small designs. But for professionals or businesses, speed is as important as precision and accuracy. Slower speed can also affect the print quality and lead to stringing.
The evolution of 3D printers from large, bulky structures to smaller versions that you can now use at home has also changed their application and printing capacity. For example, large, industrial-sized 3D printers have a higher printing volume and space and thus can print large structures. In contrast, smaller printers have a lower printing volume and create mini structures. You would also have to divide your project into multiple parts and then join them together.
The material you are working with also determines your 3D printer choice. For example, some 3D printers can work with multiple materials, while some are highly specific. The different materials used are polylactic acid (PLA), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) filament, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and more.
As mentioned above, ABS requires a heated bed as it melts the plastic and emits fumes, whereas PLA uses a non-heated bed. Thus, the final choice depends on what material the 3D printer is compatible with, its spool size, printer bed type, etc.
10 Most Reliable 3D Printers
Original Prusa MINI
The Original Prusa Mini is a smaller and comparable version to the Prusa i3 MK3S 3D printer. It is one of the best and most reliable 3D printers and is quickly becoming a consumer favorite due to its easy use, manageable built, and exact hardware quality parts as other 3D printers of Prusa. The small size makes it perfect for homes and smaller workspaces. Don’t worry about its print quality; based on its size, the build volume is 7 inches, is compatible with geometric shapes, and provides premium-quality results.
The Original Prusa Mini is also equipped with an automatic leveling bed and a color touch screen, where you can choose a variety of colors easily. To make the process more seamless, you can also buy the PrusaSlicer for print preparation.
- High-quality print
- Easy to use interface
- Good for beginners and at-home projects
- Removable bed
- Can result in stringing for some fine prints
- Difficult calibration
- Limited print volume
Anycubic Photon Mono X
If you are looking for a resin printer, go for Anycubic Photon Mono X. These printers work with resin liquid and require a UV light setup to cure the final designs. Still, the extra work is worth it because the results are high-quality and professional-looking models.
It also comes with a slicing app, Photon Workshop, which offers a fast and simple slicing process. Moreover, it uses a masking LCD with 2K resolution, making sure your 3D print is high-quality. The build is angled to prevent the dripping resin on the sides from pooling or curing on the base, making it perfect for easy use and clean-up. Overall, the printer is easy to use and good for beginners.
- Easy to use
- Fast and accurate
- The Photon Workshop slicer is easy to use.
- Large build volume
- Uses a non-standard FEP film which is more expensive.
- The slicer isn’t completely accurate, so you need to keep an eye out for complex structures.
Creality Ender Pro 3
The Creality Ender Pro 3 is one of the cheapest and most reliable 3D printers available. It is easy to assemble and consists of a heated printer bed. The Creality Ender Pro 3 is a consumer favorite due to its customizability. For example, you can upgrade this 3D printer into a pen-plotter and engraver, or more with the help of readily-available upgrades.
It has a build volume of 220 x 220 x 250 mm, the same as the previous Ender 3D printers, but it does have multiple new features like slicing motor drivers, tool drawer, etc.
- Provides great value for money
- High-quality print
- The design and functionality can be modified
- Good for at-home use only.
- Very noisy cooling fans and motors.
Monoprice Select Mini
This is one of the best and most reliable 3D printers available. It might be a bit challenging to get the hang of, but you won’t be disappointed once you do. It is easy to use and provides high-quality print results. It is compatible with several filaments, such as plastic filament, composed wood, and more.
The Monoprice Select Mini is also a low-cost 3D printer with multiple advanced features. It has a build volume of 4.7W X 4.7H x 4.7D and 100 to 300 microns resolution. It is compact and can be easily stored on top of a desk.
- Low-cost, high-quality 3D printer
- Good for beginners and hobbyists
- Works with multiple filament types
- A bit difficult to set up initially
- Not for professional use
- Limited build volume
Nova3D Bene4 Mono
Nova3D Bene4 Mono is an underdog when it comes to resin 3D printers. Often overlooked, this 3D printer offers high-quality prints. It also offers convenience to its users and is thus considered the most reliable 3D printer. It has features like Wi-Fi connectivity (no need for USBs) and 8 GB onboard memory. The 3D printer has a build volume of 130 x 80 x 150 mm, higher than most portable 3D printers, and has a print resolution of 50 microns.
It is fast, accurate, and has a hinged tilt lid that provides access to the whole volume space. Although, the software isn’t up to par and can be improved.
- Faster cure times
- 2K Mono LCD
- Wi-Fi connectivity
- Works with Lychee, a third-party slicer
- The provided software is not good
The Voxelab Aries 3D printer comes fully assembled, and you can start printing in under an hour once you open the box. It is a low-cost, high-quality 3D printer that doesn’t compromise on resolution and quality just because of its size and price value. It has an easy-to-use LCD screen interface, which is ideal for beginners and hobbyists.
The build platform is a heated, removable glass platform with a 200mm x 200mm x 200mm build volume. The bed leveling is semi-automatic, and it offers convenience to its users by enabling USB and Wi-Fi connectivity. You can easily print tall, thin parts with this 3D printer.
- A partially enclosed frame provides more protection
- Fast Wi-Fi connection
- A 3-point bed leveling system
- Noisy cooling fan
If you are looking for a more professional option suitable for businesses, the Ultimaker S3 is a good fit. With a build volume of 230 x 190 x 200 mm and resolution between 20-600 microns, the Ultimaker S3 can be used by small businesses and professionals.
This 3D printer is a bit pricey, but the results speak for it. It provides high-quality 3D prints and consists of an in-built camera so you can monitor your prints without disrupting the process. It is easy to use, provides accurate results, and is one of the most reliable 3D printers available.
- Easy to use touch screen interface
- Swappable cartridge
- Wi-Fi, USB, and Ethernet connectivity
- Auto-leveling system
- Slow printing speed
- Pricier option
XYZPrinting da Vinci Jr. 1.0 A Pro
If you have multiple applications for your 3D printer, go for XYZPrinting da Vinci Jr. This 3D printer has a 6.9-inch square build surface and thus is slightly bigger than other 3D printers mentioned on the list. It is easy to use and is available in cheerful bright orange color. It can be upgraded for multiple uses, such as laser engraving and more.
This 3D printer is also compatible with multiple filament types, including the carbon-fiber filament. Although, it is difficult to set up and lacks many advanced features that are a must-have in today’s competitive market.
- Easy to use interface
- Bigger build
- No Wi-Fi connectivity option
- Difficult to set up
The Snapmaker 2.0 is a 3-in-1 3D printer that offers 3D printers, laser cutters, and CNC, making it a perfect tool for people who have multiple uses for their 3D printers. You have to swap between the 3 heads, and this swapping can be time-consuming and challenging to calibrate correctly. Although, that doesn’t affect its performance as it provides high-quality prints.
It is compatible with all majorly used filament types such as ABS, PLA, and TPU. It also has multiple other advanced features like Wi-Fi connectivity, auto-leveling bed, and more to make it one of the most reliable 3D printers of all time. It has a 350 x 350 x 350mm build volume and a resolution between 50 to 300 microns.
- Works with multiple filaments.
- Easy to understand software
- Touch screen interface
- Creates noise while printing
- Swapping takes time and expertise
Formlabs Form 3
The Formlabs Form 3 is a type of stereolithography 3D printer that uses liquid resin and is designed specifically for professional creators. It is one of the most reliable 3D printers because of its optics engine. The laser and optics are sealed and thus provide added safety and protect your model from external factors.
It has a build volume of 7.3 x 5.7 x 5.7 inches and a layer resolution of 300 to 25 microns. It provides fast, accurate, and high-quality 3D prints.
- Supports multiple users
- Offers faster printing speed
- Highly accurate
- Not compatible with 3rd-party materials
Choosing from those mentioned above most reliable 3D printers should depend on:
- What material you will be using
- What is your application for the 3D printer
- Are you a professional creator or a hobbyist
- Where is your workspace
- What is your budget
Once you have the answers to these questions, you can easily choose the best 3D printer according to your needs and requirements. Ultimately, it would help if you looked for a 3D printer that is reliable, easy to use, can be modified, and is pocket-friendly as well. We hope this article helped!