From the outside looking in, 3D printing can be intimidating. Browse the 3D printing subreddit and you’ll see complicated 3D printer kit mods, with detailed descriptions on printer settings and the type of extruder or nozzle used. None of this will make sense to you if you’re a complete beginner to 3D printing. You just want something you press print on and it works perfectly every time — the ideal 3D printer for beginners.
Best 3D Printers for Beginners
|Name||Max Print Volume (mm)||Price||Best Price?||Alternative Purchase Option|
|Monoprice Select Mini V2||120 x 120 x 120||$219||Amazon here|
|Flashforge Creator Pro||225 x 145 x 150||$690||3DPrintersOnlineStore here||Amazon here|
|QIDI Tech X-Plus||270 x 200 x 200||$849||Gearbest here||3DJake UK & Europe here|
|Dremel Digilab 3D45||255 x 155 x 170||$1,899||Amazon here||Dynamism Store here|
|Makerbot Replicator+||295 x 195 x 165||$1,999||Amazon here|
The learning curve — though not huge — is possibly the main factor holding back the mass adoption of 3D printing. It used to be price, but nowadays you can buy cheap 3D printers starting at just $100. 3D printers cost little enough that every household in the West could own one — yet they still don’t.
Why? Some view them as too technical, complicated, unreliable.
In recent years the ‘Plug & Play’ 3D printer has tried to bridge the gap between tech-savvy makers and more casual, curious fans of making things. And with some success. Yet 3D printing is still seen by some as a niche pursuit, yet to attain mainstream adulation. In fact, the 3D printers we recommend have become so simple to use that even younger children can operate them, and they also make great 3D printers for kids.
What makes a good 3D printer for beginners?
To be a good 3D printer for a beginner, a 3D printer needs to be:
- Reliable: Not everyone can diagnose errors and fix them on the spot. Many do not understand how intricacies of circuits, nozzles, extruders, hot ends and auto leveling build plates — so it is imperative that the 3D printer is reliable.
- Safe: High temperatures are used to melt and extrude filaments in Fused Deposition Modeling, and the resins used in SLA or DLP can be toxic. We have not included any resin 3D printers in our recommendations because of the steeper learning curve and extra safety concerns we have in putting an LCD 3D printer in the hands of someone new to the industry. We gave bonus points for an enclosed build chamber and air filter.
- Easy to use: The interface needs to be easy to navigate and print with, without technical jargon, and with auto leveling settings. We have avoided DIY 3D printers as beginners to 3D printing may not be able to build them easily.
- Easy to fix errors: Bonus points were given to printers with built-in processes for handling errors, such as end of filament detection and the ability to resume where printing stopped from a power outage.
- Price: This was the least important factor to us. Many beginners are willing to spend extra to avoid the stress of constantly failing prints. But we still took the beginner 3D printer’s price into account when choosing what to recommend.
Based on these five points, these are the 3D printers for beginners we recommend (in price order) who want to try out 3D printing:
Note: this guide is completely independent and we do not receive money to promote these printers — our recommendations come from our experience in 3D printing. In order to keep 3DSourced independent we have affiliate links which we earn a commission on, which link to the best place to buy the 3D printers we recommend.
Part 1: Entry Level 3D Printers for Beginners
1. Monoprice Select Mini V2 — Great Cheap 3D Printer For Beginners
- Price: $219 / £193 — Available on Amazon here
- Maximum print size: 120 x 120 x 120 mm
- Main selling point to beginners: Cheap, plug & play printer with heated bed
Starting with the cheapest printer we recommend, the Monoprice Select Mini V2 is the definition of an entry level 3D printer. There are no fancy extras, just a print bed and the necessary components to print — simplicity.
If you want to spend the least amount possible, the Select Mini V2 is for you. It still comes with a heated bed despite being such a cheap 3D printer, so you can print PLA and ABS depending on which filament you prefer. For some however, the small build volume will rule the Select Mini V2 out for them: it all depends if you’re printing big objects.
If you prioritize not having to do anything except print, there are some issues with the Select Mini V2. You will have to level the print bed yourself, and the printer cannot detect when filament has run out. But you do get a 3D printer that you can print with straight out of the box, is extremely simple to use, and for a low price. You can use Cura 3D slicer to easily slice models for printing.
Overall, if you want to print straight away, don’t mind the slower printing speed, and want to save money, it’s perfect for you. If you prefer a printer which can set itself up to reduce human error, keep reading as we will recommend printers more suited to you below.
2. Flashforge Creator Pro — Simple to use entry level 3D printer
- Price: $749 — Available on Amazon here / 3DJake UK & Europe here
- Maximum print size: 225 x 145 x 150 mm
- Selling point for beginners: Stable and safe, with enclosed build chamber
To me, the Flashforge Creator Pro is the 3D printer version of the Land Rover Defender. All-terrain, and gets the job done. It’s been significantly upgraded on the original Creator, with a heavy metal frame now rather than the original’s wooden frame. It’s also got a dual extruder for those who want to print multiple colors or materials simultaneously.
This new metal structure adds key stability benefits: the printer is heavier and more anchored down, so there is less shaking or vibrating during printing, creating better quality prints. The Creator Pro also has an upgraded 10 mm metal guide rod to support the X axis and keep it stable and precise.
The enclosed build chamber keeps sound in (mostly), heat in, and any bad fumes away from you while it prints. It also keeps temperatures carefully regulated so there is less warping during printing — also helped by the metal print bed — and is good for consistent ABS printing.
Flashforge provide free email support so if you run into trouble you can get in contact and they’ll try to help. It also comes with a full manufacturers’ warranty to protect you in some cases. The printer comes with 2 spools of filament which will last for several large prints, and also a 16GB SD card containing the 3D slicer software.
Overall, it’s a solid low-to-mid-range 3D printer for novices. It’s fairly similar performance-wise to the next 3D printer on this list, the QIDI Tech X-Plus, and they only cost $150 difference. The main differences are QIDI’s emphasis on customer service and the build size, so you can decide which one is best for you based on these factors. They’re both reliable printers, though perhaps the QIDI Tech X-Plus has the better reputation for being a workhorse.
It’s on the verge of tipping into a more expensive hobbyist 3D printer, but we will still call this an entry level 3D printer as the ease of printing and reliability enhances its credentials for brand new beginners.
3. QIDI Tech X-Plus — Reliable 3D printer for beginners
- Price: $849 — Available on Amazon here / Best price on Gearbest here / 3DJake UK & Europe here
- Maximum print size: 270 x 200 x 200 mm
- Main selling point for beginners: Reliable, safe and accurate — a real workhorse 3D printer
QIDI Tech 3D printers feature in a number of our best 3D printer rankings, including in our best dual extruder 3D printer ranking and FDM 3D printer buyer’s guide. There’s a reason why: the Chinese company consistently release high quality and reliable 3D printers that make printing so much simpler.
The X-Plus can print much larger parts than the Monoprice Select Mini, and is also more precise, able to print more accurately at 50 microns. You can also use far more materials, including PLA, ABS, TPU, Nylon, Carbon Fiber, PC and more.
One major area that may persuade beginners to commit to buying this 3D printer is QIDI’s customer support. They promise to answer any 3D printing-related question you have within 24 hours, so if you ever run into trouble they’ll help fix it. You also get a year’s warranty with the 3D printer.
Moreover, beginners will enjoy features such as the X-Plus’ breakpoint printing: any point during a print can be saved so that printing can be resumed later without error. This helps enormously for example if there is a power outage, or you need to leave the house but want to keep a close eye on the printer. The 3D printer automatically turns off after printing, keeping any safety risks to a minimum and saving energy.
Customers on Amazon consistently call the QIDI Tech X-Plus the easiest 3D printer they’ve ever used, and we agree; it’s great. It also comes with a 16GB USB to move 3D printer models across with, and is also accessible by WiFi. For an entry level 3D printer under $1,000 that prints reliably and safely, we absolutely recommend this 3D printer for beginners.
Part 2: Beginner 3D Printers for Hobbyists
4. Dremel Digilab 3D45 — Premium 3D printer for beginners
- Price: $1,899 / £1,350 — Available on Amazon here
- Special education version with lesson plans and develop course available here
- Maximum print size: 255 x 155 x 170 mm
- Main selling point for beginners: Super reliable, and designed for education
Dremel have a huge amount of history in 3D printing and beyond, having been established back before the Second World War in the 1930s. They bring a huge breadth of engineering experience to 3D printing, and the Dremel Digilab 3D45, their top-of-the-range 3D printer, is fantastic.
The main selling point behind Dremel 3D printers is their reliability. Dremel personally put their printers through thousands of hours of printing to test whether they’re fit for consumers, so you can trust that the 3D45 really is a workhorse. It’s also very safe, with an enclosed build chamber and carbon filter to keep any toxic fumes away, as well as keeping temperature more constant to reduce warping of printed parts.
Dremel build their 3D printers with an eye 3D printing in education and schools. As a result, the Dremel Digilab 3D45 comes with articles and videos to help you in almost any situation, helping you set up and maintain your 3D printer. They also have Midwest-based customer support to speak or type your problem so they can help you solve it. Additionally, they sell a specialized education version of the 3D45 for an extra $200 which features a whole range of education resources to help you learn 3D printing and projects to try.
Overall, it’s another fantastic 3D printer for beginners, and makes life far easier with its settings and features. It’s also very accurate — up to 50 microns — and compatible with the main filaments like PLA, Eco-ABS, Nylon and PETG. It also has semi-auto leveling which takes some of the hassle out of setting up your 3D printer — and we recommend it for beginners looking to get into 3D printing.
5. Makerbot Replicator+ — Best 3D Printer For Beginners under $2,000
- Price: $1,499 — Available on Amazon here
- Maximum print size: 295 x 195 x 165 mm
- Main selling point to beginners: Extremely reliable and made for schools / beginners
Similar to the Dremel 3D45, the Makerbot Replicator+ was designed with education and schools in mind, which makes it perfect for beginners. You can easily set it up within half an hour, and the Replicator+ can do all the major calibrating and setting up itself with auto leveling on each axis.
Makerbot have been making some of the best 3D printers for a decade now, and the experience shows. Their Smart Extruder+ means not only is changing equipment and extruders easy, but the 3D printer also has automatic print jam detection to prevent the negative effects of print jamming, and notifies you when filament has run out. These features make the Replicator+ much easier to use as a beginner to 3D printing, as it takes care of most of the difficult parts.
Moreover, for remote printing the Replicator+ has a camera which you can connect to via WiFi to remotely watch and check your print. So if you need to be somewhere else, you can still check in on your print via the camera, and take necessary action even if you’re not there, like pause or stop the print. Makerbot also own Thingiverse, so you can seamlessly import any of the millions of 3D printer models available for download.
Makerbot have designed their own education tools to go with the Replicator+ which you may find useful. Beyond that, it’s a great printer for beginners — not only is it precise, accurate and reliable, but it is designed with the most basic of users in mind, and does the heavy lifting for you. Do keep in mind that it cannot print ABS, though most beginners prefer to keep it simple and print PLA anyway.