Marilyn knows how to present the dullest topic in an interesting and easy-to-read way. When she’s not teaching English Literature at a local school or writing for our site, Marylin loves to knit and bake for her two grandchildren.
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Last updated: March 13, 2021
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Are you interested in joining the exciting, self-fulfilling world of 3D Printing? Whether you would like to develop new skills to enter a booming industry, or just a hobbyist looking for a new project, an entry-level 3D printer can be a fantastic investment. 3D printing is an incredibly creative hobby with lucrative professional opportunities and can be used for anything from fixing your house to making toys to creating the next million-dollar invention from your garage.
Here we will be outlining some choices for the best 3D printer for beginners. We will be considering crucial product features such as size, weight, build volume, heating time, and warranty, along with price and performance specs to help you in your selection. There are many beginner 3d printers on the market, so it is important to know what to look for and how certain designs and features will serve you and your goals.
The Official Creality Ender 3 3D printer is a fully open-source, quick to assemble, and easy to use beginner 3D printer at a low price. Sold by Comgrow, this 3D printer has its own Advanced Extruder Technology, which greatly reduces the risk of a clogged nozzle and bad extrusion when printing. It also features a Resume Printing Function, which comes in handy in the event of a power outage.
What we liked: This 3D Printer offers many bells and whistles such as the Resume Printing Function, in the event of a power outage or unexpected stoppage the Ender-3 3D Printer has programming to resume right where it left off once turned back on. The 5-min heating time and branded power supply make it quicker to fire up and get to work. The price, around $206.99 USD, is a budget point for most individuals to get started in beginner 3D Printing. The 2-hour assembly that requires only 20 nuts will be great for any buyers who want a hassle-free unboxing. Finally, the Ender-3 is open source, which means you will find plenty of projects to put your beginner 3D printer to work.
What could be better: As light-weight as it is, this can compromise stability in certain situations. The compact nature of this printer also slightly limits build volume, the overall size of your print, when compared to other beginner-friendly 3D printers. Additionally, the vendor has no specified warranty at this time.
The Dremel Digilab 3D20 3D Printer is a beginner 3D printer geared towards “hobbyists and tinkerers.” The Digilab 3D20 is already assembled in the box, making it a plug and play 3D printer for beginners. Dremel offers great customer support and their industry’s best 1-year warranty. Known by the Dremel name to be extremely reliable, this 3D printer works right out of the box and gets you started in minutes with their free print models or your own preferred CAD software.
What we liked: The Digilab 3D20 is among the best beginner 3D printers with it’s easy to use, full-color LCD touch screen and its fully enclosed frame. Being fully-enclosed means the device’s more delicate components are not exposed to potentially damaging compounds or breakage, making it safe to be around children and pets. Dremel’s software gets you started in minutes and offers world-class support from local representatives, alongside a 1-year warranty for the product. At around $679 USD, this device is a mid-cost beginner 3D printer that will get the user started quickly and offer plenty of free prints for hobbies and tinkering projects.
What could be better: Compared to many of our other best picks, the Digilab 3D20 is on the expensive side. This may not be ideal for certain hobbyists at the beginning.
The SainSmart x Creality Ender-3 PRO 3D Printer is an upgraded version of our Editors’ Choice, the Ender-3. With a new power supply and redesigned aluminum extrusion, the Ender-3 Pro boasts the same outstanding performance as the Ender-3, but with more durability and ease of operation and at a reasonable price of about $259.00 UD. Overall, this model serves as an improved version of our Editor’s Choice for a little more money and with a few minor inconveniences.
What we liked: The Ender-3 Pro offers a “C-MAG,” magnetic sticker designed for the product. This magnetic sticker is completely removable and adheres to the platform, allowing a finished print to effortlessly be removed from the printing surface. Like Ender-3 PRO’s predecessor, there is an additional consideration for power outages and a resume printing mode. The Ender-3 PRO is heavier overall, and more stable when printing, but still offers a 5-minute heating time to get you going quickly.
What could be better: This model is a little heavier and requires a bit more assembly than its predecessor. With a new power supply and improved durability, it still doesn’t have a high building volume.
The ANYCUBIC Chiron 3D printer has an extra-large build volume of 15.75 x 15.75 x 17.72, offering you the ability to build larger models than many of its competitors and maximize creativity. With its semi-automatic leveling, the Chiron supports real-time adjustment compensation of nozzle height for extra accuracy and can resume printing in the case of a power outage. This means you are not sacrificing quality in exchange for this 3D printer’s unique building volume.
What we liked: With all of its features, this 3D Printer can print larger and more accurately than many on the market. It supports a large variety of filament options, giving you more options for printing materials. The Chiron only takes 5-10 minutes to assemble, making it one of the quickest and easiest setups, and has a responsive TFT touch screen with a friendly user interface. ANYCUBIC Advantage offers a 1-year warranty and lifetime technical support on the product.
What could be better: With the size and impressive build volume, this device by necessity is quite heavy coming in at over 20 pounds. It will also take up more space than many of its competitors, in order to accommodate its impressive build volume.
The LABISTS Auto Leveling 3D Printer DIY Kit offers a quick and easy way to get your start in 3D printing with a simple 5-minute assembly. The device a professional-grade extruder to reduce the risk of clogging like many of its competitors, and a few unique features like filament detectors that notify the user needs to add material, which can be very handy when the device is being used frequently.
What we liked: The LABISTS 3D Printer takes about 3-4 minutes to get fully heated up, which is just a bit quicker than popular competitors. A fully-automatic leveling tray offers accurate printing, and a large easy-to-use 2.8-inch touch screen makes it very user-friendly. This model also includes double fans that work together to keep your printer functioning for the long haul. At roughly $249.99 USD, it is in the lower-cost range with many of our other best 3D printer for beginners’ picks.
What could be better: For its limited build volume it is heavy and large. Additionally, the LABISTS 3D Printer supports PLA, ABS, and HIPS filament, where other models support several others as well as these. The manufacturer, LABISTS, also has no mention of any warranty at this time.
The ANYCUBIC Mega S 3D Printer is a device made for professionals, but friendly for beginners. The Mega S has a rugged metal frame to reduce shaking, and a high-quality Titan extruder. This beginner 3D printer also has sensors to record position in the event of a power outage and an alarm for when you run out of filament. The Mega S has a TFT touch screen that is very responsive and feels similar to a smartphone. While they do offer lifetime technical support, there is no specified warranty mentioned.
What we liked: At about $299.99 USD, the Mega S is a more affordable variation of ANYCUBIC’s Chiron. This beginner 3D Printer works out of the box with minimal assembly, just 8 screws and 3 cables included. This printer can hold up to professional use while still being a great 3D printer for those just getting started. The Mega S has a decent build volume, higher than many of its competitors.
What could be better: As is the cost with the higher build volume, this device is heavier than many of the others. ANYCUBIC at this time has no specified warranty on this product.
Made by XVICO, this 3D printer is an excellent Open Source, inexpensive choice for beginners. With a 30 Day Return and Money-Back Warranty and lifetime technical support at the price of $213.99, this is an excellent budget printer for the hobbyist or beginner.
What we liked: With similar features to its competitors and a large selection of filament options, the XVICO X35 3D printer is a great entry-level printer that offers the user maximum versatility. This printer has a unique lattice glass platform which helps to ensure constant surface temperature when printing. The Device runs on its own Open-Source Marlin 2.0 Firmware which helps to speed up the printing process and keep overall printing functions running smoothly. Additionally, the XVICO X35 3D Printer is widely compatible with different 1.75mm filaments like PLA, PETG, SILK, WOOD, and more.
What could be better: The XVICO X35 3D Printer is heavier than many of its competitors, to assist with the sturdiness of the product. While the printer is fully open source, it does require its own firmware that needs to be installed and will require a bit of learning to get running.
Things to Consider
Now we are going to break down how you can go about purchasing your very first entry-level 3D printer and get started at home.
Advantages of the 3D printer for beginners
Choosing to purchase a 3D printer for beginners gives you the opportunity to introduce yourself to the wonderful world of 3D printing for a fraction of the cost it would require for a commercial 3D printer. Whether hobbyist or inventor, you’ll be able to learn the ropes in no time and start your own projects with equipment made specifically for ease-of-use. Also, when it comes to entry-level machines like the ones on this list, the manufacturers have taken extra consideration to ensure there will be far less of a learning curve for anybody interested in getting started in 3D printing, which means you’ll be able to get started faster and have a much greater pool of resources in the long run of working with your new machine.
Features to consider before you buy a 3D printer for beginners
As you can see, there are several things to take into consideration when going to purchase your beginner’s 3D printer. Variables such as size, weight, build volume, heating time, and whether there is a warranty offered should all be considered before purchasing the best 3D printer for beginners.
You as the buyer want to ensure you’ve thought about the time you will spend using your new 3D printer and everything you may need the product to do for you. Here we will discuss these features and why they are very important when selecting the best 3D printer for beginners.
When choosing the best 3D printer for beginners, you need to take the size into consideration. Products like the Official Creality Ender 3 can be very low profile and weigh very little. This is ideal for a printer that will be frequently moved from place to place. On the other hand, if you intend to use your 3D printer in a single location, a larger product such as the ANYCUBIC Chiron 3D Printer may be worth it for you, as you can take advantage of an increased build volume without having to be concerned with mobility. Make sure that the place you have selected as the home for your new 3D printer is large enough for the device you are committing to buying. In addition to the overall size, you also want to consider the shape of the printer. If you plan on having your 3D printer in one place, safe from children, animals, or debris, then any of these choices should fit you just fine. However, if you are worried about the safety of the device, choosing a 3D printer such as the Dremel Digilab 3D20 3D Printer may be your best option. With a fully-enclosed 3D printer like the Digilab, you have far less to be concerned about as far as delicate components being mistreated accidently.
Just like the overall size, weight is also important when considering the mobility of your 3D printer. If you plan to move the printer back and forth between locations, a device like the ANYCUBIC Mega S 3D Printer or the 3D Printer with Heated Bed by XVICO may not be your best choice. If however, you intend to keep your printer in a fixed location, this weight should not be an issue. Remember that extra weight will lend extra stability in most situations, and extra stability will lead to more accurate print jobs. This extra weight may not be the most convenient, however, if you have a friend or co-worker with who you plan to share the 3D printer and will be required to move it over any significant distance by hand.
Additionally, think about where you live and where you’re going to put the 3D printer, be sure to note that the box the device comes in will be larger than the device itself, and will need to be moved to the place where it will be set up.
Build volume is absolutely crucial, and what fits you is completely dependent on what you intend to print with your 3D printer. Build volume is simply how large you can print a particular piece with your 3D printer. Small pieces, figurines, and toys can be easily created with smaller build volumes, so the Ender-3 or Ender-3 PRO will work just fine. With any of these 3D printers, you will be able to create a great variety of useful things and have a multitude of templates at your disposal.
Other projects, such as larger parts printed for replacement in household items, may require a larger build volume. You will want to think long and hard about what you plan to do with your new printer before making a purchase and do some research to ensure that the build volume of the device you pick will suffice your needs.
Heating time is also an important factor. If it is important for you to be able to start your machine quickly and print on command, you’re going to want something with a 4-5-minute heating time. Several of the products on our list meet this requirement, and if heating speed is extra important to you, try looking at products such as the LABISTS Auto Leveling 3D Printer. This 3D printer is not only very quick to heat but also creates very accurate prints. On the other hand, if you are patient and wouldn’t mind waiting an extra few minute each time you go to print something new, then you really shouldn’t need to be concerned and can pick freely from any of the wonderful 3D printers for beginners on this list with confidence.
For a machine such as a 3D printer, having a warranty is a huge plus. A warranty is the company’s way of accepting partial liability in the event of your device malfunctioning, and these are especially important in the case of 3D printers as they are very complicated devices with a lot of delicate components. If you are inexperienced with 3D Printers in general, having a warranty can save you the money that you invested if something is to go wrong. In addition to a warranty, when selecting the best 3D printer for beginners, you should also assure that the manufacturer has a good reputation for quality technical support and is known to respond to user’s issues in a timely manner. If you plan on working on some very important or time-sensitive projects and your device stops working, you are going to be calling tech support and you want to know that you’re in good hands. If you value having somebody to call and assist you quickly and efficiently, investing in a product like the Dremel Digilab 3D20 3D Printer may be the best choice for you, as you can be comfortable knowing you have access to industry-leading technical assistance with just a phone call.
At the very least, you will find comfort in knowing that you have a valid warranty and the device will be serviced or replaced if need be. If, on the other hand, you have some experience with 3D printers, or really enjoy learning new things and may want to work on your device on your own, you may not find a warranty to be the most important factor.
The most important thing is to follow directions and keep every piece organized. If you are worried about the assembly process, we recommend buying a 3D printer for beginners that has very low assembly requirements, such as the Ender-3 or the LABISTS. If you are extra concerned, it may be in your best interest to buy a plug-and-play 3D printer such as the Dremel Digilab, which is fully-enclosed and requires no assembly.
Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, but in general, there are a few basic precautions. You want to avoid making contact with any high-temperature components such as the print surface. You also want to be aware of the 3D printer’s pinch points, as you can easily get parts of your clothing, hair, or body stuck and can get seriously hurt. You should also treat the 3D printer like you would any other high-powered electronic device, and ensure you make no contact with liquids or flammables, and have everything properly connected before powering on. You will also want to make sure the outlet that you use is functional and has a surge-protector.
This will be included in the instructions and is very important. The one component of your 3D printer you will want to clean most frequently is the nozzle, and specific instructions for doing so will be included with your device. In addition to keeping the nozzle clean in order to reduce the chance of blockage, there are several general maintenance requirements that will be listed for your device by the manufacturer. Keeping your 3D printer clean will increase its longevity and keep you busy with projects for much longer without any issues.
We have looked at 7 of the entry-level 3D printers, and here’s what we found. Our Editor’s Choice, the Official Creality Ender 3 3D Printer is a powerful, inexpensive, and easy to set up 3D printer that will get you going making 3D prints in no time with all the crucial functions. Our Premium pick, the Dremel Digilab 3D20 3D Printer, is a fully-enclosed alternative that requires no assembly whatsoever. Coming in as our Best Value, the SainSmart x Creality Ender-3 PRO 3D Printer has all the performance of the Creality Ender-3 and more, at a higher price. For individuals looking to get started with some larger products, we recommend the ANYCUBIC Chiron 3D printer with its impressive build volume. For certain individuals who may want something a bit more rugged, we recommend taking a look at the ANYCUBIC Mega S 3D Printer. All in all, when making your choice you should additionally take your individual requirements into deep consideration to ensure you buy yourself the best 3D printer for beginners and can get right into the fun.