3D Printer are a fantastic invention that can offer you a whole new hobby for you given that you can design, print and show models that you have built either to your children or possibly sell. In this review we're looking at the best home 3d printer on the market in 2017 and not the overall best 3d printer as we have already reviewed these models in the past. In our experience it's not as easier a question as you might think. The problem with choosing the best home 3d printer is that you need take price into account and therefore it's not quite as as simple as popping across to Amazon.com and buying the most expensive.
Of course you could just pick out the most expensive model on Amazon.com and you're likely to have a great 3D Printer with all the latest features, however you're going to be upwards of $5,000 and possibly much more. It will also be highly complicated to build and run and also quite expensive to run with specialist types of filament costing hundred of dollars for each roll.
Realistically for many of our reader who are simply looking for a great 3d printer for their home, spending upwards of $5,000 is simply out of the question and not something they will be interested in doing. This is where the best home 3d printer reviews comes into play. We have split the market into three segments, the overall best 3d printer which you can read here, the best 3d printer under $500 and this review which will focus on the best home 3d printer.
How To Choose The Best Home 3D Printer?
In the past, 3D printers were big bulky units that had to be kept in a warehouse, however given that technology has increased so much over the last ten years that buying a desktop printer that can be use in your home is easily possible, however if you’re thinking to buy a 3D printer for your home, how do you choose between the models.
In this section we're going to be looking at some of the key features that you should be looking out for when you're buying a 3d Printer to use at home. Remember, the focus here is performance with value-for-money and therefore with other printers you will get better performance and many more features, but you will also get a much bigger price tag.
Resolution – this determines the quality and detail that you will achieve when you start printing. Whilst you’re not looking for a top of the range unit that print in super quality you should look out for the resolution that you printer can print at as this will also determine the speed. The bottom end of the market is around 150-400 Micron range, however realistically you need to buy something around the 50-250 range.
Extruder’s – this is the part of your printer that touches the model your printing and allows layer to be built up. One extruder will be fine for day-to-day use, but multiple extruders will help with both speed and allow you to print in a range of different colours.
Bed Size – This will determine the size of model that you’re able to print and whilst this really depends on your personal designs, for a home printer, we would not go much smaller than 8 x 8 x 8 inches otherwise you may find yourself restricted.
Heated Printed Beds – This is something that only really comes on the higher end models, but something that can really help you with your designs. Not having a heated print bed means that the minute the plastic touches the printer bed it will cool and we have seen some designs fracture easily as the layers are not cemented properly together.
Printer Types - You have a choice here, however realistically there is only one choice for a home 3D printer as the others are more common for big businesses and industrial users.
- FDM – This uses plastic that is melted down and typically comes in either ABS or PLA, however whilst PLA is much easier to print with, you will need to print in ABS if you’re looking to print in quality.
- SL Printers – This type of printer uses resin to print high-resolution prints that are really only reserved for professionals who are wanting to sell their designs
- Powder Printing – This type of Printer allows users to print in metal or glass and again are really only reserved for professionals and large businesses.
Printer Materials – For a home printer you’re going to use an FDM printer, which will allow you to print in, melted plastic, however you have a choice of either ABS or PLA. Ideally you should be looking at printers that can print in both PLA and ABS and potentially a selection of others.
- PLA (Polylactic Acid) is a very easy material to print with given that it’s both odorless and low-warp and does nto need to a printer that has a heated bed. That all said, it does not print quality designs that can be used and we have found that often models crack when put under a form of stress.
- ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) is still very easy to print with, but does require some specialist equipment given that it’s a petroleum based product, it does smell bad when being used to print with. That all said, it does make for a fantastic print material that can print durable parts that are much stronger.
Ready Made Vs. Build Your Own
This is really a personal choice given that both types of printer exists on the market place. The key advantage of building you own printer is that you will learn how to set it up and more importantly, how it works.
This means that if you’re printer does clog up you will easily know how to deal with the problem, however the key downside is that it can be quite difficult to build you own printer and very time consuming. Whilst all the manufactures provide detailed instructions on how to build your printer, it’s still a complicated process and one that can take a while.
What's best? Its really a personal choice. Do you like understand how things work or are you the type of person that simply wants to un-box your printer, download the software and get printing? If this is you then it's a much better idea to go with a ready-built printer.
Enclosed Vs Open Design
We would highly recommend that you only buy enclosed designs as they are much safer to use at home and don't require additional ventilation. The key problem with 3D Printing and this is especially common when you're printing with ABS is that the smell given off from heating the filament to melting point is terrible and does need ventilation if you're going to be using it at home.
This can be heavily reduced if you're using an enclosed design as the fumes will stay within the printer meaning that whilst you should be printing with the windows open if you your printing at home, but you will not require ventilation to print in ABS.
Given that we don't recommend that you buy an open design, the below models are all enclosed designs however if you're interested in buying an open designed 3d printer, then check out our 3d printers under $500 as most of those are open designs given the price involved.
The Best Home 3D Printer 2017
So what's the best home printer 2017? It's a difficult question, however below we have four of the top models from across the market. We love the QIDI Dual Extruder Desktop 3D printer which comes with a decent printing bed, dual printing extruders either for fast printing or to allow you combine your colours a printing resolution of up to 100 microns and some of the best support across the printing world. Not only do QIDI TECH guarantee their after-sales team will reply to your email within 24 hours, but there is also a lot of instructions on youtube and across the wider internet. It also seems that we're not the only ones who love the QIDI Tech as there are over 250 reviews on Amazon.com of which 75% are five star reviews. For a value for money printer, the QIDI Tech offers a fantastic 3d printing option.
If you're not convinced with the Qidi Tech, then try the Flashforge Creator Pro which whilst is slightly more expensive does offer great printing and with over 80% of reviews on Amazon.com being 5-stars, again it seems that we're not the only ones who like it. It's our second best home 3d printer simply because it's more expensive than the QIDI without any major performance upgrades or features.
The bottom two printers are the Dremel Idea Builder which was our firm favourite a few years ago and the Makerbot 5th generation which is more of a professional printer that you could use at home. Quite frankly the makerbot is probably the best printer here, but it's also firmly the most expensive.
The choice is your, but below's our thoughts.
Home 3D Printer Reviews
HD3D Printers Rating:
The QIDI Technology Dual Extruder 3D Printer is the best 3D printer for your home and offers brilliant performance, value for money and has been tried and tested by both professionals and home users alike who have all rated it the best home printer on the market. We have tested the printer extensively and have lent it out to our customers and have not found many people who do not like the this printer. If you're looking for a 3D printer to buy for your home then look no further and buy yourself a QIDI Technology printer and you will not regret it. We loved this printer and bought it to use at home given it performance and features.
The QIDI printer comes with a metal frame that offers both strength to ensure that operation is smooth, whilst at the same time allowing the printer to be completely enclose which means that you can use both ABS and PLA which the unit supports, indoors without serious ventilation. One slight problem, the unit does weigh in at over forty pounds which means that whilst it’s moveable, it’s not something that you can move around with ease.
Printing size is 8.8 x 5.7 x 5.9 inches which is big enough to print hobbyist items and models, whilst the print bed is around 140 degrees C and 280 degrees C for the extruder. Printer resolution is between 0.1 – 0.3mm however we have found that the best results are achieved using a resolution of 0.15mm that helps with both speed and accuracy. The dual extruder is a great add-on given that it gives you the choice of printing with two different colors or even materials, and whilst the printer does come with a printed heat bed, we have found that it works best to only turn the printer up to about 80% which helps with warping.
Overall we loved the QIDI Technology printer and think that it offers the best value for money printing whilst at the same time offering out of the box printing without any major problems. Print bed levels and printing calibration are both easy as is the instructions to get it working. One point, the printer does come with both fantastic instructions and customer service, the instructions are on the built-in SD card that inside the printer.
The Flashforge Creator Pro is a fantastic 3D printer that comes with a massive selection of usable features, a solid frame, screen cover and overall fantastic performance. The only real downside is the price which whilst is reasonable for a Home 3D Printer, it’s still pretty expensive. The printer has been designed as a step up from the original entry level Flashforge Creator and includes features such as a platform levelling system, heated metal build plate and adjustable stabilization plate. Printing size comes in at 320 x 467 x 381 mm which gives the printer enough size to print hobbyist items such as smartphone covers or printed models in either ABS or PLA given that this model supports both types.
It also comes with built in dual-extruder’s which both help with speed and flexibility to printer in different colors, or different materials. Printing is fast an accurate and most importantly safe and secure given that your printer is enclosed which stop any harmful gases escaping into your room. As an added benefit, the unit uses LED lights that look both fantastic and give you the opportunity to view you design as it’s been printed.
Overall it’s a fantastic printer that offers flexibility to print and design models that you can actually use. That all said, it’s not all perfect with common complaints being that there are issues with bed levelling and it’s quite noisy which might mean that it’s not perfect to use at home.
The Dremel Idea Builder 3D Printer is a fantastic printer that offers both superb value for money and exceptional performance, however it also comes with a couple of well known problems with whilst are not major problems, they are a complete pain to have to do each time you use your printer. Firstly the filament extrusions have trouble sticking to the supplied Dremel Sticker that means that you need to clean then each time you use it.
You also need to re-level the unit each time you use it by twisting the three knobs that control the axis. Again not deal breakers, but generally something that I don’t want to have to do.
The printer comes with a single extruder which does mean that you’re limited in your printing materials. What also is limiting is that you can only print in PLA which does mean that it’s great for home use where you might not have the ventilation to use ABS, but is again limiting to what materials and models you can design. At just over 19 pounds, with a printing size of 9 x 5.9 x 5.5 inches it’s small enough and light enough to fit on your desktop whilst at the same time being large enough to still print some decent models.
Overall the Dremel is a great 3D printer that offer fantastic performance and value for money. Yes it comes with some disadvantages, however it’s a buy, unbox and use printing that offers everything that you’re going to need to get yourself printing in a very short period of time. Additional points that we really like include;
- A Cooling/Heating fan that helps to prevent warping that usually occurs within 3D printing
- Easy to use software
- Great instructions use to your printer and fix any problems
- Great support
- Thousands of printable files on the Dremel Website
- Full One Year Warranty
The 5th Generation of the MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer is a brilliant printer and one that comes with four previous generations of experience in designing the best desktop printer on the market. There are a few problems with it, however the key problem is the price which is at the top end of a home 3D printer budget meaning that you’re going to need a serious think about whether this is something that you’re actually going to use or whether this is something that you’re only going to use once.
If you can put the price to one side the MakerBot Printer makes for a fantastic printer that offer fast, accurate printing straight out of the box. There is no fiddling around trying to adjust the filament and calibration, it’s all very easy allowing you to open the box and start printing.
The key benefit of this printer is that it comes with a smart extruder that helps with performance. Whilst we have had no real problems during our testing period with the smart extruder, we have heard stories across the world where these smart extruders do not work and offer more problems than they are worth.
Overall we do like the Makerbot replicator, however we think the price take this unit out of the price range for anything other than a serious professional. The key problems with the smart extruder also worry us about buying this design and we would probably recommend again buying this printer and instead buy the next model where it’s more that likely the majority of these problems will have been sorted out.