3D printing opens up exciting possibilities for rapid prototyping, custom fabrication, and digital manufacturing. As a beginner, choosing your first 3D printer can seem daunting given the many options. In this detailed guide, we cover everything you need to know about finding the best 3D printer as a complete novice.
Which Type of 3D Printer is Best for Beginners?
There are several 3D printing technologies available today, but the most beginner-friendly is FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling). FDM printers work by heating and extruding thermoplastic filament layer by layer to build objects. Compared to Stereolithography (SLA) and DLP/LCD which use liquid resins cured by lasers or light, FDM printers tend to be more affordable, safer, and easier to operate for beginners.
The most common type of desktop FDM 3D printer uses 1.75mm filament on a spool and has a compact build volume less than 200 x 200 x 200mm. This makes them well-suited for home use with a small footprint. Larger format FDM printers are also available but the bigger build volumes and industrial features come at the cost of higher complexity for new users.
In summary, a desktop FDM printer gives beginners the best balance of affordability, approachable operation, and safety features. You can print diverse objects using standard materials like PLA, PETG, ABS, flexible filaments, composites like wood and metal filled, and more. Once you gain experience with desktop FDM technology, you can graduate to more advanced resin-based printing or industrial-scale FDM machines.
What Should I Look for in an Entry-Level Printer?
For your first 3D printer, keep the following features in mind:
Print Quality - Precision, speed, layer height all affect quality. Review sample prints from any printer you consider.
Reliability - Check reviews for out-of-box experience, longevity, and need for repairs. Less downtime is best.
Filament Type - PLA is common for beginners. If you want to 3D print with 3D printer filaments that are easy warping like ABS, ASA. You should better to buy a 3D printer with heat chamber.
Easy to use -For 3D printing beginners, the 3D printer should easy to use like a smartphone. So, the 3D printers should obtain the features in auto-level, direct-drive extruder.
Build Volume - Entry-level printers are under 200 x 200 x 200mm. Consider your print size needs.
Noise - Quieter stepper motors and fans make for a better user experience.
Community Support - Look for an active user community for troubleshooting help.
Brand Reputation - Stick with known, reputable manufacturers as a novice.
What is the Best Budget 3D Printer for Beginners?
You don’t need to spend a lot to get started with 3D printing. Excellent starter printers are now available for under $300. Our top budget pick is the Kingroon KP3S, an amazing value 3D printer costing only around $129.
Despite the low price, the Kingroon KP3S delivers impressive performance. The 180 x 180 x 180 mm build volume is adequate for small prints. It uses standard 1.75mm PLA, ABS, PETG filaments. The printer is compact at 8.6 x 8.6 x 9.8 inches, convenient for desk use. It has auto bed leveling, quiet steppers, and a user-friendly touch screen interface.
Reviews and user feedback confirm the Kingroon KP3S provides reliable, high-quality printing right out of the box. For new users, it’s an incredible starter 3D printer at an unbeatable price. If you’re not sure about investing a lot upfront, the KP3S is a fantastic way to start learning the ropes of desktop 3D printing.
How Much Does a Beginner 3D Printer Cost?
Basic desktop FDM printers designed for beginners typically range from $150 to $500. The lowest end models like our budget pick, the Kingroon KP3S, are available for under $200. Very popular beginner printers like the Anycubic Kobra, Elegoo Neptune, and Creality Ender 3 series are priced from $200 to $300. Higher-end beginner models from Prusa, FlashForge and Bambulab land in the $300 to $500 range.
Realistically, an excellent starter 3D printer that will provide a great learning experience does not have to cost a fortune. Focus on fundamentals like print quality, community support, and reliability rather than paying extra for advanced features you likely won’t use as a beginner anyway. With a basic yet high-quality 3D printer in the $200 to $300 range, you can master the fundamentals of desktop 3D printing.
Top 7 Recommended Beginner 3D Printers
Here are some of our top picks for the best 3D printers for complete beginners:
Bambulab A1 MINI- Reliable workhorse with full-auto calibration and fantastic community support (~$299)
The Bambulab A1 MINI is a compact, reliable desktop FDM 3D printer perfect for beginners. It delivers high quality prints thanks to its Full-Auto Calibration and Active Flow Rate Compensation. The A1 MINI has a 180 x 180 x 180 mm build volume, cover most of 3D printing objects. It's high-speed printing is up to 500mm/s. The printer comes pre-assembled and is very easy to setup. The 2.4” color Touch Screen and the APP remote 3D printing make your 3D printing more easy. For another $160, the A1 MINI can printing multi-clolor models. Overall, the A1 MINI is a great starter printer for novices.
Kingroon KP3S 3.0- Incredible value. Our top budget choice for new users (~$129)
With its incredibly low price of around $149, the Kingroon KP3S 3.0 is a top budget choice for beginners in 3D printing. Despite the low cost, it produces impressive print quality consistently. Same to A1MINI, its built volume also is 180 x 180 x 180 mm. With basic features like auto bed leveling and quiet steppers, it’s simple to setup and operate. Direct extruder make it 3D printing more reliable. Reviewers praise the KP3S 3.0’s value for money as a starter printer. It lets beginners achieve great results without complexity.
Anycubic Kobra Neo- Great all-around performance with ultra-quiet steppers (~$159)
The Anycubic Kobra Neo is a thoughtfully designed FDM printer perfect for novice makers. It delivers reliable performance right out of the box. Ultra-quiet stepper motors provide a pleasant printing experience. Auto bed leveling, power loss recovery and the 2.4” touchscreen make printing easy. With fast heating times and a printing speed of 100mm/s, projects finish quickly with the 0.4mm nozzle. Print quality is impressive for the price. Anycubic provides excellent support. Overall, the Kobra Neo hits all the right notes for first-time 3D printer buyers.
Creality Ender-3 V3 SE- Very popular with huge selection of modifications (~$199)
With a massive user community, the Creality Ender-3 V3 SE is a wildly popular entry-level 3D printer and a great choice for beginners. It delivers consistent quality prints with its 32-bit silent motherboard and Carborundum glass print surface. With the powerful chip, the printing speed of Ender-3 V3 SE is up to 250mm/s. Reliable performance right out of the box makes it easy to get started. Users have created an abundance of modifications to enhance capabilities. As a popular base model, beginners benefit from huge online knowledge resources. For new 3D printer owners, the Ender-3 V3 SE is a proven path to success.
Elegoo Neptune 3pro- Affordable Mid-Size 3D printer delivering superb print quality. (~$209)
The Elegoo Neptune 3pro 3D printer simplifies the experience for beginners with its 32-point auto bed leveling, touch screen interface, and Dual-Gear direct extruder. The quiet stepper motors provide smooth, reliable printing. Capable of printing at up to 180 mm/s with acceleration of 1500 mm/s2, it works fast. The Neptune 3pro is made with high quality components and uses a custom engineered dual Z axis for print stability. Backed by Elegoo's reputation and support, the Neptune 3pro delivers incredible value for novice makers.
Sovol SV06- Reliable printer with auto bed leveling and Dual-Gear direct Extruder.(~$209)
Delivering superb print quality for the affordable $209 price, the Sovol SV06 proves you don't need to spend a lot to start 3D printing. The direct drive extruder provides reliable filament feeding while the dual Z axis improves stability. The removable magnetic build plate lets models pop off easily. With fast heat up and auto bed leveling, it's quick to start printing. Sovol provides excellent customer support. For beginners seeking high performance without breaking the bank, the SV06 is an excellent choice.
AnkerMake M5C- Fast, smart, and safe 3D printer perfect for classrooms and families.(~$319)
As a 3D printer from trusted brand AnkerMake, the fashion M5C is designed for high-speed and simplicity, making it a top pick for classrooms and families with children. It featuring innovative PowerBoost 2.0 technology and a lightweight extruder that enable incredibly fast printing speeds of up to 500 mm/s with 0.1 mm precision. With built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, users can easily control the device, monitor prints, and transfer files from mobile devices. The M5C makes mastering 3D printing simple for novices through app connectivity and reliable performance. With quiet operation and high safety standards, the M5C lets anyone confidently explore 3D printing.
The world of 3D printing is now more accessible than ever for hobbyists thanks to quality, affordable desktop printers like the Bambulab A1 MINI and Creality Ender-3 V3 SE. By focusing on fundamental features like reliability, print quality, and ease of use, beginners can start experiencing the magic of digital fabrication right at home without breaking the bank. With the right mindset and device, 3D printing provides endless opportunities for invention and can serve as a fulfilling, empowering hobby.