Best 3D Printers for Beginners in 2021 – Detailed Review – Get started with 3D Printing

Hey there Maker! When the Colbert report covered 3D Printing, everyone hyped it up of being the Star Trek Replicator that creates whatever you want. Though 3D Printers haven’t got to the level of Star Trek Replicators, they are certainly moving fast in that direction. So, owning a 3D Printer and having the skills will bear fruit in the long term as the whole world seems to be moving to 3D with Augmented reality and Virtual Reality which are other emerging 3D technologies seeming to disrupt the world.

If you are looking to buy a 3D Printer in 2021, I’m pretty sure that you’re overwhelmed by the choices out there! Trust us, we have been there. Especially in the past year, the market has seen a surge of 3D Printer scams and duplicate products being sold left and right on the internet. But don’t worry! That’s the main reason why we came up with this list! 

But first, how should one choose a 3D Printer?
 

Assuming that you are a beginner, enthusiast or professional looking for a desktop 3D Printer to use it for your hobby or learning, here are key factors to look for before buying a 3D Printer.

  • Technology: Being a beginner or hobbyist, an FDM (Plastic Filament) based 3D Printer will be the one that’s best suited as it is the most user-friendly, pocket-friendly and safe among other technologies like DLP, SLA (Resin based). Even though 98% of hobbyist 3D Printers are FDM based, there’s no harm in confirming this before you buy.
  • Build Volume:  Maximum size of the object you can 3D Print with your 3D Printer. Usually represented in X inches / mm *Y inches / mm *Z inches / mm format. 
  • Material Compatibility : In FDM 3D Printers, there are two types of materials that are primarily used around the world — PLA and ABS. PLA is a biodegradable plastic made out of corn starch and is easily printable. ABS is your typical industrial plastic that requires high temperatures and some expertise in printing but is stronger and functional than PLA. If you are just starting with 3D Printing or buying one for your kid, a PLA only 3D Printer will work just fine.
  • Support / Service : All 3D Printers have many moving parts prone to wear and tear and malfunctioning. Yes, it happens even to the latest and greatest 3D Printers. So, make sure that the vendor or 3D Printer company provides support and service in some form.

Now that we are equipped with the basics, let’s dive in the top 5 3D Printers in 2021

Top 5 3D Printer for Beginners in 2021

1. FlashForge Finder ( Build Volume: 140mm *140mm *140mm )

Hands down, the most reliable 3D Printer in the world. If you are a complete beginner and want a proper plug and play 3D Printer, you cannot go wrong with the Finder. Ready to start 3D Printing out of the box, Finder is a domestic FDM 3D Printer with advanced features like:

1. WiFi — Transfer files directly from PC to 3D Printer via Wifi
2. Automatic Bed Levelling
3. Full-color Touchscreen Interface — User-Friendly Navigation
4. Removable Build platform — Easily remove the object from build plate without any hassle.
5. Filament Runout Sensor — Large Volume printing? No worries. Print pauses when filament runs out. Resumes when a fresh filament is loaded.
6. Internal memory — 4 GB of internal memory allows you to store files in the machine.

Many of these features are still not present in most high-end 3D Printers which makes this machine all the more tempting, especially at its price range.

Finder comes with its own proprietary slicing software called the FlashPrint and the machine has a build volume of 140 mm * 140 mm * 140 mm which is smaller than others in this list but is ideal for a beginner to get started with.

Being in the scene for more than 5 years now, Finder is still the most popular entry-level 3D Printer which is truly a testament to its reliability. The print quality of this 3D Printer is better than most in this price range and can print in the print quality resolution of 80–300 Microns.

Finder can print materials like PLA, PETG, Flexible and other PLA composites with a maximum extruder temperature of 240 degree Celsius.

It also comes with an extensive starter guide which makes it easier for anyone to get the machine set up in no time.

Key Specs of Flashforge Finder:

  • Technology: FDM
  • Build Volume: 140 mm * 140 mm * 140 mm
  • Bed Leveling: Automatic
  • Max. Extruder temperature: 240 Degree Celsius
  • Heated Bed: No
  • No. of Extruders: One
  • Filament Compatibility: PLA, Flexible, PLA Composites, PETG

Pros ( The Good )

  • User Friendly.
  • Advanced features at affordable costs.
  • Most silent 3D Printer. (Less than 50 dB)

Cons ( The Bad )

  • Small build volume
  • Cannot print ABS.

Our Final Verdict:

If you are a complete beginner with little to no idea of how 3D Printing works and want something that’s basic and reliable, you cannot go wrong with the Flashforge Finder.

2. Creality Ender 3

If you are a maker/tinkerer and want to try your hand at 3D Printing, Creality Ender 3 might just be the 3D Printer for you.

With the largest build volume of 220 mm * 220 mm * 250 mm in its price range, the Ender 3 also packs professional features like Resume Print from Power Failure and ABS material compatibility. The machine also boasts the most attractive pricing given its features and seems to be one of its major advantages.

With the Ender 3, its strengths are also its weaknesses — the open system build of the machine gives the chance to users for hacking, experimentation and evolve it into their own Frankenstein monster and can be used with any 3D Printing slicing software like Simplify 3D, Cura.

But the open system also poses a high possibility for wear and tear given that the parts used in the build are only of average quality. Not to mention the safety factor with having an open system with open SMPS and a heated bed switched especially if its printing throughout the night.

The machine is also delivered in a semi-assembled form and has a DIY element to it which can be a hurdle to many who are completely new to 3D Printing or the maker culture. Even if you manage to assemble it, there is always a difference between a factory calibrated machine and a DIY machine which might affect your print quality.

Key Specs of Creality Ender 3:

  • Technology: FDM
  • Build Volume: 220 mm * 220 mm * 250 mm
  • Max. Extruder temperature: 255 Degree Celsius
  • Bed Leveling: Manual
  • Heated Bed: Yes
  • No. Of Extruders: One
  • Filament Compatibility: PLA, Flexible, PLA Composites, PETG, ABS

Pros ( The Good )

  • Large Build Volume
  • Resume Print from Power Failure

Cons ( The Bad )

  • Semi-Assembled Kit
  • Average Quality parts which can wear out soon.

Our Final Verdict:

Creality Ender 3 is a better fit for the makers and 3D Printing enthusiasts who have some experience with 3D Printing or DIY hobby projects who would like to get a low-cost 3D Printer for their hobby use cases.

3. Bibo 2 Touch Laser

Yep, you read that right, it’s no typo. The Bibo 2 Touch is much more than a 3D Printer. Yes, it also doubles as a laser engraver capable of engraving wood, cutting paper and cardboard thanks to its 500mW laser. No other 3D Printer in its price range and specs have this feature which makes BiBo all the more unique and gives it an advantage over others in this list.

Now let’s dive deep into its 3D Printing capabilities, shall we?

BiBo is a dual extruder 3D Printer with a build volume of 214 mm * 186 mm * 160 mm which suits most domestic or hobby 3D Printing needs and is also just about enough for commercial FDM 3D Printing needs.

Other than just being able to 3D Print in dual colors and multi-material, BiBo is also known for its Copy Printing feature — this lets you 3D Print the same object simultaneously using the dual extruders for different colors or material combinations. When 3D Printing parts for big and extensive projects, copy printing is quite a handy feature that’ll save a lot of time and effort.

With its max. extruder temperature of 270 degree celsius and a heated bed, BiBo can print with not only PLA, PETG, ABS, HIPS, Flexible but also industrial materials like Polycarbonate, Nylon.

With a full-color touchscreen to navigate the interface and having four ways to transfer files to 3D Print — WiFi, USB Cable, USB Flash Drive, SD Card, BiBo makes sure that you have a top notch user experience and not limited with options.

The filament runout detection feature comes in quite handy with large volume 3D printing making sure that you do not run out of filament midway through the print by pausing the print and resuming when a fresh filament is loaded to the machine.

Unlike closing down the ecosystem to proprietary slicing software like other 3D Printers, BiBo lets you use advanced and powerful slicing software like Simplify 3D, Cura but Repetier is the one recommended by BiBo.

If the price seems to be a dealbreaker for you, don’t worry. BiBo has got you covered. BiBo has customized three other alternatives which cost less:

  • BiBo 2 Touch — Without Laser Engraver
  • BiBo 2 Maker  — Without Touchscreen and laser engraver
  • BiBo 2 Maker Laser — With laser engraver but without the touchscreen.

Note: Models with no touchscreen has a dot matrix LCD display with scroll wheel navigation.

Key Specs of BiBo 2 Touch Laser:

  • Technology: FDM
  • Build Volume: 214 mm * 186mm * 160 mm
  • Max. Extruder temperature: 270 Degree Celsius
  • Bed Leveling: Assisted / Semi-Auto
  • Heated Bed: Yes
  • No. Of Extruders: Two
  • Filament Compatibility: PLA, Flexible, PLA Composites, PETG, ABS, HIPS, PC, Nylon, PVA

Pros ( The Good )

  • Laser Engraver
  • Copy Printing
  • Filament Runout Detection, WiFi
  • Nylon, PC material compatibility

Cons ( The Bad )

  • Heavy due to the strong aluminium build
  • Assisted leveling not automatic

Our Final Verdict:

A 3D Printer that’ll find a place in any workshop, makerspace or hobbyist hands because of its powerful features and laser engraving add-on. If you’re looking for a versatile FDM 3D Printer — this is it!

4. QiDi X-Pro

The QiDi X-Pro is a powerful Dual Extrusion 3D Printer which allows you to 3D Print in single and dual colors.

With dual extruders, X-Pro can not only 3D Print in dual colors, but can also 3D Print complex geometries with the help of dissolvable support material like HIPS printing in tandem with ABS.

The build volume of 230mm*150mm*150mm is an ideal size and will fulfil most of your requirements. The 3D Printer itself has a strong build made out of Aluminium.

By the way, have you experienced something similar to this? I’m certain you’d have! — eagerly waiting for your Xbox to load and when it’s around 90%, Arghh! A power failure! Frustrating right? I know! It sucks. But you don’t have to worry about it here. With the Breakpoint Printing feature, even if your print stops at midway due to a power outage, X-Pro can resume print from the point it left out saving you time, effort and material.

The Full-color touchscreen interface of the printer with good UI helps you navigate the printer with ease and makes you comfortable soon. Besides your typical print interface of USB and SD Card, X-Pro is also WiFi -enabled, so you can transfer files directly to the printer from your laptop/PC.

The advanced four fan cooling system ensures high-quality 3D Printing reducing issues like overhanging and enables top-quality bridging.

The Flexible and Magnetic removable build surface makes the machine more user-friendly since you won’t need any sharp objects like scrapper or knife to remove the 3D Print out of bed, which makes it ideal for kids to use.

The printer is delivered to work out of the box immediately with an extensive setup guide and solid tech support videos. You’ll also get two complimentary filament spools free along with the machine.

With its maximum printing temperature of 240 degree Celsius, fully enclosed design, and a heated bed, QiDi can print materials like ABS with ease.

X-Pro also has a proprietary slicing software — QiDiPrint optimized to work seamlessly with the printer to ensure high-quality slicing and printing.

Key Specs of QiDi X-Pro 3D Printer:

  • Technology: FDM
  • Build Volume: 230 mm * 150mm * 150 mm
  • Max. Extruder temperature: 240 Degree Celsius
  • Bed Leveling: Assisted / Semi-Auto
  • Heated Bed: Yes
  • No. Of Extruders: Two
  • Filament Compatibility: PLA, Flexible, PLA Composites, PETG, ABS, HIPS

Pros ( The Good )

  • Magnetic and Flexible build plate
  • Fully Enclosed Design
  • Dual Extruders
  • Detachable windows (Enables High Cooling for PLA and enclosed heating atmosphere for ABS)

Cons ( The Bad )

  • Not Compatible with Third Party Slicing software.
  • Assisted leveling not automatic

Our Final Verdict:

If you are looking to invest in a reliable commercial 3D Printer that is futureproofed for the next 2–3 years and produced good quality outputs in the long term, QiDi X-Pro is a good choice.

5. Monoprice Mini V2

Do you have a birthday coming soon for your kids, niece or nephews? Monoprice Mini V2 is an excellent choice! Ideal for beginners, Mini V2 is built for users who are looking into invest in an affordable 3D Printer JUST to get started.

Though the low budget 3D Printer has a small build volume of 120 mm * 120 mm * 120 mm, it does possess a heated bed and has the capability to 3D Print with PLA and ABS.

Unlike other 3D Printers in its price range which are DIY kits, Mini V2 is completely assembled, ready to 3D Print out of the box and is factory calibrated. After the inital setup which requires some time, the machine is completely user-friendly and easy to use.

Mini V2 can be accessed with a Full Color LCD display — scroll wheel mechanism and a microSD to transfer and print files. The microSD card that comes along with the printer is preloaded with some model files to help you get started immediately.

The print quality of the printer is just about average but works flawlessly every time without any issues which are not the case in many low budget 3D Printers.

The All in One Sturdy and compact design makes the Mini V2 easily portable and also comes in two colors — black and white. The Slicing software is open source, so you can use any slicing software like Cura, Repetier, Sli3r to slice the model for 3D Printing.

Key Specs of Monoprice Mini V2 3D Printer:

  • Technology: FDM
  • Build Volume: 120 mm * 120 mm * 120 mm
  • Max. Extruder temperature: 240 Degree Celsius
  • Bed Leveling: Assisted / Semi-Auto
  • Heated Bed: Yes
  • No. Of Extruders: One
  • Filament Compatibility: PLA, Flexible, PLA Composites, PETG, ABS

Pros ( The Good )

  • Compact & Portable
  • ABS material compatibility
  • Extremely Affordable

Cons ( The Bad )

  • Small build volume
  • Average print quality

Our Final Verdict:

Perfect gifting option for kids, Ideal 3D Printer to get started with 3D Printing with little investment.

Our Conclusion:

Buying a 3D Printer online can be confusing. Top branded fancy 3D Printers are never affordable and budget 3D Printers are easily faked and scammed. That is why we made sure that our list takes all the key specs and performance of the machines into consideration which helps us provide the best choices for you. 

Our personal recommendation would be the Bibo 2 Touch Laser which has all the features you need and more. Even though it is priced a little higher, you’d have bought a solid machine which is guaranteed to serve you well in the long term. If you’re looking for just an entry-level 3D printer — look nowhere beyond Flashforge Finder.