2016 3D printer buying guide india

Every other day we see some new 3D printer being launched in the market with more or less the same set of features as the existing ones. The market potential for 3D printing is so high that many new players are entering the market and it is virtually impossible to keep track of all these players and performance of each of them. As the technical parameters of all these 3D printers are the same, it is very difficult to distinguish the quality by just seeing the technical attributes. Only when we use these printers and test them thoroughly by giving long continuous prints and making them undergo stress and endurance tests, will we know the true quality of a 3D printer.

At think3D, we spend lot of time testing various 3D printers at our office and an equal amount of time researching various new 3D printers entering into the market that we have a fair knowledge on these printers. Based on our know-how of the market, we have put together a list of best and most popular 3D printers in the market for all price points. This should help you narrow down your search. Just decide on the type of 3D printer you are looking for, budget you have, what you want to do with that printer and most importantly the kind of technical competency the person handling this printer has.

Before you go further, we would like to caution you that 3D printing requires some amount technical know-how. It can’t be used directly out of the box and getting fine quality prints require lot of expertise and know-how which definitely you can accrue overtime through practice. Also, this is exactly where think3D comes into picture. We have immense know-how on 3D printing technology and various 3D printers that we can advise, support and guide you through the printing process.  You need to get your hands dirty and you may mostly experience some failed prints initially. But once you cross that stage, you start appreciating the power of this fantastic technology.

You also need to know that there is no perfect 3D printer. Every printer has some advantages and some disadvantages. It all depends on your requirement as a user and the budgets you have. Finally, this technology is very fluid. Everyday some new innovation is sprouting up that it is hard to imagine where the industry will be 10 years from now.

ENTRY LEVEL 3D PRINTERS ($600 and Under)

Also read: Affordable 3D printers in India

Is this the first 3D printer you are planning to own? And are you looking for a low cost plug n play 3D printer? Then starter 3D printers are well suited for you. These 3D printers don’t give the best quality output and aren’t going to produce the best 3D prints, but these are a great way to get acquainted with 3D printing basics and learn how to do basics before you move on and upgrade to a higher quality printer.

PrintrBot Play

Printrbot Play is the best starter 3D printer on the market. It has the highest print quality in its class, thanks to its sturdy all-metal body and a beautiful design. Play isn’t really a plug n play 3D printer and isn’t the easiest starter 3D printer to use but once you are used to this printer, this will probably be the best 3D printer to use.

Printer Type: FDM

Material: PLA

Resolution: 50 Microns

Build Area: 100 x 100 x 130 mm (3.9 x 3.9 x 5.1 inch)

Pros: High-quality full metal construction, good quality prints, fast printing speeds

Cons: Small print envelope, loud while printing, no WiFi, needs third party software

XYZ Printing Da Vinci Jr. 1.o

Currently, XYZPrinting is world’s #1 3D printer manufacturer. They produce most affordable, diverse families of 3D printers and come up with new products on a very regular basis. The da Vinci Jr is their starter 3D printer that has been optimized for those new to 3D printing and those who are looking for a cheap, fun 3D printer to play with. The Jr 1.0w is the WiFi connectable version of their starter 3D printer. The print quality from XYZPrinting da Vinci Jr 1.0w is at par with various other 3D printers in the entry level and is an excellent introduction to the world of 3D printing.

Printer Type: FDM

Material: PLA

Resolution: 100 Microns

Build Area: 150 x 150 x 150 mm (5.9 x 5.9 x 5.9 inch)

Pros: Affordable, large build area, easy to setup and use, WiFi connectivity

Cons: Low resolution, plastic casing, proprietary filament, sub par customer support

M3D Micro

M3D Micro is the result of single most successful 3D printer Kickstarter in history. The printer is very robust and has a ton of clever features. It can be battery powered and can be easily carried around. The printing head has a motion sensing chip that keeps the printer working even while on the go without causing misprints or glitches. The body is made from carbon fiber rods and has a single piece body that sets it apart from all other 3D printers in this range. This printer isn’t the fastest 3D printer on the block and it has an oddly shaped printing area but at this price, this is the best one can get.

Printer Type: FDM

Material: PLA, ABS, Nylon

Resolution: 50 Microns

Build Area: Base: 109 x 113 x 74 mm (4.4 x 4.3 x 2.9 inch) – Above 74mm Base: 91 x 84 mm (3.6  x 3.3 inch)

Pros: Motion sensor chip prevents misprints, carbon fiber frame, injection molded body, auto calibrating

Cons: Proprietary software, odd-shaped build area, slow printing speeds, no WiFi

Flashforge Finder

FlashForge has been consistently launching some excellent 3D printers into the market. Their machines aren’t flashy, they don’t too many unnecessary features but they have plenty of great features usually not available on starter 3D printers like touchscreen controls, WiFi connectivity and an easy to use interface.

Printer Type: FDM

Material: PLA

Resolution: 40 microns

Build Area: 140 x 140 x 140 mm (5.5 x 5.5 x 5.5 inch)

Pros: Excellent print quality, quiet operation, WiFi, removable printing bed, user friendly, auto leveling bed

Cons: Bed leveling is time consuming, poorly translated assembly instructions, no heated bed option

UP! Mini

Up! Mini has an enclosed print area that allows it to use high-temperature materials successfully and it has one of the highest rates of successful prints of any printer on this list. This may be a starter 3D printer, but it’s one of the best, and is an ideal way to learn how to use advanced features that typically are only available on higher-end 3D printers.

Printer Type: FDM

Material: PLA, ABS, ABS+

Resolution: 200 microns

Build Area: 120 x 120 x 120 mm (4.75 x 4.75 x 4.75 inch)

Pros: Reliable, enclosed build area, very high print success rate, heated bed, quiet, easy to use

Cons: Low print resolution, closed source, proprietary filament

Printrbot Simple

Like Printrbot Play, Printrbot Simple is far more 3D printer than you would typically get for this price point and it has room for tons of great upgrades, including a heated bed and an extended build envelope. Not only will the Simple produce better 3D prints than many more expensive printers, it will do so reliably and without a lot of hassle. The full-metal body keeps everything stable which allows the Simple to print some great things at a great price without breaking the bank.

Printer Type: FDM

Material: PLA, (ABS, Exotic Materials with heated bed upgrade)

Resolution: 50 Microns

Build Area: 150 x 150 x 150 mm (6 x 6 x 6 inch)

Pros: Auto-leveling, high print quality, open source, solid metal construction

Cons: Loud while printing, no WiFi, needs third party software

LOW-COST 3D PRINTERS ($600 to $1,300)

Low-cost 3D printers are a midpoint between entry level 3D printers and the more advanced, high-end machines. These 3D printers are affordable, have lots of features that make 3D printing easier and offer a much higher level of quality prints.

Deezmaker Bukito

Deezmaker has various features that make it truly stand in a class to itself. Not only can the Bukito run on the go, it will produce perfect prints too. In fact, it’s actually very difficult to not produce a good print on a Bukito, and it’s so easy to use that this is a great starter 3D printer that will be your favorite long after you’ve moved on to bigger 3D printing pastures. And if you’re feeling adventurous, Deezmaker offers the Bukito as an assemble yourself kit for $50 less.

Printer Type: FDM

Material: PLA, PET

Resolution: 50 Microns

Build Area: 125 x 150 x 125 mm (5 x 6 x 5 inch)

Pros: Very reliable, portable, can run off battery for outdoor printing, no calibration needed, open source

Cons: No heated bed available, no WiFi, no on-printer controls

LulzBot Mini

LulzBot Mini is an award winning 3D printing with tons of features packed into it. LulzBot Mini can print with almost any filament type flawlessly and needs very little in the way of maintenance or tweaking. This may not be the prettiest 3D printer on the market, but it’s a workhorse that will keep going long after you’ve given up and gone to bed. And LulzBot has tons of upgrade options to allow the Mini to survive long past most comparable 3D printers’ typical shelf life.

Printer Type: FDM

Material: PLA, ABS, PETT, PETG, Nylon, HIPS, PVA, Exotics

Resolution: 50 Microns

Build Area: 152 x 152 x 158 mm (6 x 6 x 6.2 inch)

Pros: Print quality, customer service, large material selection, user friendly, open source, self-leveling bed

Cons: Utilitarian design, small build envelope for price, no WiFi

Printrbot Plus

Printrbot Plus is a fantastic 3D printer that is easy to upgrade, has a large printing area and is completely open source. If you are looking to upgrade from starter 3D printer but don’t want to pay too much then Printrbot Plus is a great option.

Printer Type: FDM

Material: PLA, ABS

Resolution: 50 Microns

Build Area: 250 x 250 x 265 mm (9.8 x 9.8 x 10.4 inch)

Pros: Auto-leveling, high print quality, open source, solid metal construction, large build volume, optional dual extruders

Cons: Loud while printing, no WiFi, needs third party software

Dremel Idea Builder 3D

Though Dremel Idea Builder looks very similar to FlashForge Dreamer in look and feel, it actually has lot of upgrades done in terms of component quality and simplifications. The printer is simplified to reduce maintenance needs and it has an increase in the printing area. The Idea Builder is quite dependable and durable and because it is manufactured by Dremel, Idea Builder has some of the best customer support around.

Printer Type: FDM

Material: PLA

Resolution: 100 Microns

Build Area: 230 x 150 x 140 mm (9 x 5.9 x 5.5 inch)

Pros: Easy to use, small footprint, good build volume, excellent customer support, enclosed printing bed

Cons: No heated bed option, no WiFi, closed source, proprietary filament.

Flashforge Creator Pro

If you’re looking for 3D printer with high-end-quality features without the high price tag, then the FlashForge Creator Pro is a good option. You can get a heated bed, dual extruders and an enclosed printing bed at a price point less than thousand bucks. You need to have a bit of 3D printing know-how to keep this printer running in top shape but once you are acquainted with that, Creator Pro will be a beautiful 3D printer to use.

Printer Type: FDM

Material: PLA, ABS, Exotic materials

Resolution: 100 Microns

Build Area: 225 x 145 x 150 mm (8.8 x 5.7 x 5.9 inch)

Pros: Heated bed, dual extruders, dependable, enclosed print envelope, affordable, open source, sturdy metal frame

Cons: Included software is outdated, noisy, no WiFi, not plug and play

Ultimaker Original+

When assembled and calibrated correctly, there are very few 3D printers that can match the quality of Ultimaker. If you’re looking for a chance to build your own 3D printer, but don’t want to worry about quality or support, then this is the perfect kit for you. And at less than a thousand dollars, it’s a steal.

Printer Type: FDM

Material: PLA, ABS, Exotic materials

Resolution: 20 Microns

Build Area: 210 x 210 x 205 mm (8.26 x 8.26 x 8 inch)

Pros: Print quality, open source, large community, affordable, high-quality software

Cons: Kit that needs assembly, wood body, noisy, needs regular tweaking and maintenance

HIGH-QUALITY 3D PRINTERS($1,300 to $2500)

These are the high-quality machines that require some know-how and technical skill to use them effectively. However, once you gain good technical competency, these are the printers that are most optimal for you. These 3D printers are most ideal for either a hobbyist or a small business looking for a desktop 3D printer capable of low-volume manufacturing or prototyping.

LulzBot TAZ 5

LulzBot TAZ found itself on top of just about every best-of list in 2015 and it is not hard to see why. The simple, solid build is strong enough to take as much printing as you need it to take, and it just keeps going. LulzBot’s custom version of Cura is widely considered one of the best available, and there are so many features and upgrade options available that the TAZ 5 could conceivably last for years, making it an excellent investment. With its large build area, customizability and with just about every filament available to it, the LulzBot TAZ 5 is truly one of the best 3D printers in this class.

Printer Type: FDM

Material: PLA, ABS, HIPS, PVA, Ninja Flex, Nylon, Exotic materials and almost everything else.

Resolution: 50 Microns

Build Area: 298 x 275 x 250 mm (11.7 x 10.8 x 9.8 inch)

Pros: Large build volume, supports dual extruders, prints almost any material, low maintenance, open source, metal body, customer service

Cons: No enclosed printing area, not for beginners, no auto leveling, no WiFi

Maker Gear M2

While the MakerGear M2 is not a 3D printer for newbies, if you know what you’re doing it will produce some of the most consistent and high-quality 3D prints around. The M2 is also a workhorse that will print as long as you need it to, and has a shockingly low failure rate. It’s almost impossible to find negative reviews for this 3D printer, from the durable metal construction to the excellent customer support to the ridiculously affordable price, the M2 gets high marks all around.

Printer Type: FDM

Material: PLA, ABS

Resolution: 25 Microns

Build Area: 203 x 254 x 203 mm (8 x 10 x 8 inch)

Pros: Reliable, high-quality prints, metal body, large build volume, customer support, good value

Cons: Noisy, not for beginners, needs regular calibration and maintenance, no WiFi, no dual extruder option

Ultimaker 2+

In terms of the perfect balance between usability and quality, it really doesn’t get any better than the Ultimaker 2+. When it comes to desktop 3D printers, not only does the Ultimaker 2+ find itself on just about every best-of list, but it is often voted as the most desirable desktop 3D printer model on the market. That is not an accident, that is because Ultimaker has built one of the highest-quality desktop 3D printers around, and the community that has built up around the company is more customer support than anyone would ever need. (Although Ultimaker has great customer support as well.)

Printer Type: FDM

Material: PLA, ABS, Exotic materials

Resolution: 20 Microns

Build Area: 223 × 223 × 205 mm (8.7 x 8.7 x 8 inch)

Pros: High-quality prints, fast, easy to use, customer support, helpful community, durable construction

Cons: Steep learning curve, filament feed system needs work, no dual extruder option, no WiFi

Zortrax M200

The M200 from Zortrax is the biggest thing to come out of the new but hugely influential Polish 3D printing industry. The M200 has widely been praised for its easy to use design, reliability and its focus on high-temperature materials. This is one of the best 3D printers available in this class, and for the price it is packed full of great features.

Printer Type: FDM


Resolution: 90 Microns

Build Area: 200 x 200 x 185 mm (7.8 x 7.8 x 7.2 inch)

Pros: Easy to use, reliable, build quality, heated bed, optimized for high-temp materials, company name sounds like a Superman villain

Cons: Proprietary materials only, customer service, no WiFi, no dual extruder option

MakerBot Replicator 5th Gen

MakerBot is probably the biggest name in desktop 3D printers, and certainly one of the most successful. The original MakerBot kit is largely considered the 3D printer that started the recent desktop craze, and since the company was purchased by Stratasys they have an excellent customer service network. While the Smart Extruder had a lot of issues at launch, the general consensus is that MakerBot has finally got the issue sorted and it works quite well.

Printer Type: FDM

Material: PLA

Resolution: 100 Microns

Build Area: 252  x 199 x 150 mm (9.9 x 7.8 x 5.9 inch)

Pros: Good print quality, customer service, easy to use, great software, WiFi-enabled, monitoring cameras, smartphone controllable

Cons: Extruder problems are common, high price tag, closed source, only prints PLA, noisy, inconsistent print quality

BCN3D Sigma

The Sigma from Spanish 3D printer manufacturer BCN3D is a relatively new printer on the market, but it has been getting extremely positive reviews for its high-quality build and easy to use controls. The dual printing heads move independently, which makes them easier to calibrate, clean and prevents part collisions and misprints. There are a ton of material options available, and because everything is open source, there are plenty of things that can be tweaked or upgraded.

Printer Type: FDM

Material: PLA, ABS, PVA, HIPS

Resolution: 50 Microns

Build Area: 210 x 297 x 210 mm (8.2 x 11.6 x 8.2 inch)

Pros: Independent dual extruders, high-quality prints, multi-material prints, reliable, heated bed, open source, quality construction and design

Cons: No WiFi, customer service, price


The industry is still trying to work all of the bugs out of All in One (AiO) 3D printers, but the ZEUS is a rare exception that manages to do just about everything right. The 3D scanning function is intuitive and better than just about every other standalone, turntable 3D scanner option available, and the 3D printing function is just as high-quality as other 3D printers in its class and price range. The ZEUS also has a huge range of 3D printing filaments available to it, and it is truly a plug and play 3D printer that can perform virtually every function via its integrated touchscreen controls.

Printer Type: FDM

Material: PLA, Wood PLA, Metal PLA, Conductive

Resolution: 80 Microns

Build Area: 150 x 204 x 145 mm (5.9 x 8 x 5.7 inch)

Pros: Integrated 3D scanner, reliable, WiFi enabled, auto-bed leveling, integrated 3D model search, integrated onboard STL editor, software support, onboard cameras, easy swap extruders, enclosed build area

Cons: Price, small build area, no heated bed, no option without 3D scanner, no dual extruder option

PROSUMER 3D PRINTERS ($2,500 and Up)

Prosumer level 3D printers are considered a step between desktop 3D printers and highly priced industrial 3D printers. There are several prosumer 3D printers that are highly sought after by smaller-scale companies looking for industrial quality prints and customer service. Prosumer 3D printers are also ideal additions to makerspaces and educational facilities due to their high build quality, long life and service contracts.

Formlabs Form2

While there have been a lot of advancements in resin 3D printing, there are still drawbacks that make it ill suited for use in most homes or smaller offices, however the Form 2 is a rare exception. The Form 2 was designed to be incredibly easy to use and has an extremely high build quality. The printing resolution is virtually unmatched, and it has a respectable printing envelope for its class. If you really need a resin 3D printer, then you absolutely cannot go wrong with the Form 2.

Printer Type: SLA

Material: Resin

Resolution: 25 Microns

Build Area: 145 x 145 x 175 mm (5.7 x 5.7 x 6.8 inch)

Pros: Very high-quality construction, high-quality prints, high-detail prints, easy to use, WiFi enabled, software, customer support, resin material variety

Cons: Proprietary resin materials, messy, high cost of materials

Fusion3 F400

The F400 is the newest model of the fantastic line of industrial quality FDM 3D printers made by Fusion3. The enclosed printing bed helps reduce any smells associated with certain materials, and there are HEPA filter options for use in low-ventilation areas. The F400 can use a wide range of materials, and the customer service is top notch. If you need an industrial quality FDM 3D printer, this is the machine for you.

Printer Type: FDM

Material: PLA, ABS, PETG, PMMA, Nylon, HIPS, Woodfill, Polycarbonate

Resolution: 50 Microns

Build Area: 360 x 365 x 320 mm (14.2 × 14.4 × 12.6 inch)

Pros: Fast print speed, print quality, large build area, enclosed build area, automatic bed leveling, easy maintenance, lifetime customer support, free Simplfy3D software, WiFi enabled with adaptor add-on, material selection, dual extruder option

Cons: Large footprint, cost, dual extruder option reduces print quality

Type A Machines Series 1 Pro

The Series 1 Pro from Type A Machines is a versatile, industrial quality FDM 3D printer that can use virtually any 3D printing filament on the market, has almost all of the features that you would expect a printer of this price range to have and comes with excellent customer support. The Series 1 Pro is also ideal for networking with other 3D printers for use as part of a 3D printer farm or a manufacturing workflow.

Printer Type: FDM

Material: PLA, ABS, PET, Nylon, IGUS, Exotic materials

Resolution: 50 Micron

Build Area: 305 x 305 x 305 mm (12 x 12 x 12 inch)

Pros: Large build area, solid frame, quality prints, preset printing temps and profiles for 50+ materials, heated bed, WiFi enabled, easily networked, onboard camera, customer support, modular construction, easy upgrade installation

Cons: Open build area, no dual extruder option, cost, noisy

Markforged Mark Two

The Mark Two by markforged is a solid and dependable industrial prototyping 3D printer that has been designed to exclusively 3D print high-strength parts. It uses a two 3D extruder system to combine Nylon materials with Carbon Fiber or other materials typically not associated with 3D printability, like Kevlar. This is a powerful industrial quality 3D printer that was made to be used almost exclusively for prototyping or the construction of lightweight but durable parts. This probably won’t find much use in a typical maker’s workshop, but there is no other 3D printer like it on the market.

Printer Type: CFF (Composite/FDM)

Material: Nylon combined with Carbon Fiber, Kevlar or Fiberglass

Resolution: 100 Microns

Build Area: 320 x 132 x 160 mm (12.5 x 5.2 x 6.3 inch)

Pros: Prints super strong objects, easy to use, excellent software, dual independent heads print composite materials, high-quality construction, fast printing speed, WiFi enabled

Cons: Cost, material cost, limited use beyond prototyping, large foot print, limited material colors

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