As years go by, our level of technology and the development within it expands significantly. We can definitely ride that technological wave by getting in front of the trends that are going by. 3D printing is one of them.
When it comes down to getting a loved one a gift, whether for Christmas or a Birthday, a 3D printer is a great choice, seeing as many of them are making their way through schools, universities, libraries and more.
If you’ve made up your mind and are looking for a great 3D printer to buy a loved one, you’ve come to the right place.
This article will give you a list of 7 reliable 3D printers that are loved by many, as well as give you a quick ‘Buying Guide’ at the end to let you know a few things to look for when buying a 3D printer.
There are some that require assembly, some that are pre-assembled, different 3D printing technologies, and so on, but be assured, you’ll be guided properly in choosing a solid 3D printer.
I have included all the information about potentially best options and a buying guide too, so you get to chose from the best instead of the several brands of 3D printers out there. So, let’s begin with the list.
First on the list is the Ender 3 (Amazon) printer. If you are looking for an option that offers a lot of precision at one of the lower price tags of a 3D printer then this one is a great choice for you.
It’s no coincidence that the Ender 3 was actually my first 3D printer, setting me on a great path to continue my 3D printing experience positively. The print quality right out of the box was amazing, and I heard it even compared to some of the premium machines.
Most Popular 3D Printer Out There
When you really weigh up every 3D printer that’s on the market, you won’t find one that’s more popular than the Ender 3 and that’s for a good reason.
Although assembly can take a while (personally took me about 2 hours), once it’s built, the quality of the 3D prints that you can create are amazing. The Ender 3 is seriously on par with some 3D printers that are worth thousands of dollars.
Great Stability & Functionality
The aluminum extrusions, build plate, exttruder, power supply and rails are great quality parts that come together seamlessly. Most of the lower base is already assembled, requiring about 20 screws throughout the printer to put it together.
You can trust in the stability of the Ender 3, as well as the functionality. It’s a good idea to put this 3D printer together using a video guide to get it perfect. You’ll appreciate taking your time with the assembly to ensure reliable printing.
The main hardware component for producing prints is the MK8 extruder, which has been upgraded to ensure there is no unbalanced extrusion or clogging.
Completely Open Source
The Creality Ender 3 is totally open-source, so you have ample room for showcasing your creativity in modifications and upgrades. Due to being the most popular 3D printer, you’ll find no shortage of awesome changes you can make to this 3D printer.
Whether you want to 3D print some sweet upgrades such as a belt tensioner, a bed handle, easy-control knob, cable clips and much more, you can find several designs from like-minded users who design them.
The Ender 3 is widely-compatible with several types of software.
Specifications of the Creality Ender 3
- Modeling Technology: FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling)
- Build Volume: 220 x 220 x 250 mm
- Machine Weight: 8 kg
- Maximum Travel Speed: 180 mm/sec
- Filament: 1.75 mm PLA, TPU, ABS
- Layer Thickness: 0.1-0.4mm
- Precision: ±0.1mm
- Nozzle Diameter: 4mm
- Maximum Nozzle Temperature: 255° C
Pros of the Creality Ender 3
- Great quality prints right out the box
- High-quality power supply
- Suitable gift for kids
- Quick heat up for the print bed and nozzle
- Well-loved by thousands of users across the world
- Amazing value for the quality you are getting
Cons of the Creality Ender 3
- Assembly takes a while (up to 2 hours) , but you can make a fun project out of it
- Doesn’t have filament run-out detection
- Control screen is quite primitive and non-touchscreen
- Very noisy with the stock stepper drivers, but can be upgraded with a silent mainboard
Features of the Creality Ender 3
- Resume Print Technology
- Safety Protected Power Supply
- Low Friction POM Wheels
- Upgraded Extruder Design
- Two Fuses
I don’t think you can go wrong getting the Ender 3, unless you are really against doing your own assembly, but the DIY aspect of things is going to be part of the 3D printing experience anyway.
Building up the 3D printer yourself gives you a nice start into the world of the DIY mentality, starting with small projects, and moving onto large projects such as making a full Iron Man mask or creating DIY projects to help out around the house.
You can go really far with this simple, yet effective piece of machinery, so get the Ender 3 from Amazon as a gift for a loved one today!
Dremel is a well-respected company for many reasons, mainly due to their amazing professional quality 3D printers. You can get countless hours of flawless printing with a machine like the Dremel Digilab 3D20, which even comes with 0.5kg of filament.
It has a fully-enclosed design, top safety features, and follows with great Dremel customer support for any queries or issues you have in the future. This 3D printer also comes with a 1-year warranty.
Next, I have a 3D printer from Dremel to offer you. The price tag is slightly above $600 but this 3D printer will surely give you life experiences and you will have an amazing time creating and experimenting with innovation.
The Dremel Digilab printer is committed to providing you high-quality prints with the lowest chance of an error. All thanks to the strict testing standards at Dremel, this product has undergone several quality assurance tests before getting delivered to your doorsteps.
All praise to the entirely pre-assembled design that all your load is instantly shed. You don’t have to set it up or assemble it. It can give you a 3D print, right out of the box. For more convenience, there is a touch-sensitive screen.
However, the top is removable, so you get to access the internal parts.
The operation of the Dremel Digilab 3D printer is way too easy. After taking it out of the box, all you have to do is to plug it in and start creating amazing 3D models. It works silently so you don’t have to worry about disturbing people in the household.
Compared to the Ender 3, the volume is going to be significantly different.
Specifications of the Dremel Digilab 3D20
- Modeling Technology: FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling)
- Build Volume: 140 x 230 x 140mm
- Machine Size: 400 x 485 x 335mm
- Extruder: Direct Drive
- Machine Weight: 9kg
- Display Size: 3.5-inch
- Layer Resolution: 0.1-0.3mm
- Leveling: Manual
- Extruder Temperature: Up to 230°C
- Internal storage: 4GB
Pros of the Dremel Digilab 3D20
- Can get started printing in just 10 minutes, open-plug-print
- Professional-grade 3D prints
- Extensive testing to ensure amazing accuracy and reliability
- Extruder has great cooling so each PLA layer is evenly layered
- Easy access with the removable top
- Can go anywhere in the house and look great
- Family-friendly and a great Christmas gift
- Silent operation
- Innovative design
Cons of the Dremel Digilab 3D20
- Not compatible with USB
- Fairly expensive but worthy of its price
- Some have experience clogs in extruder, but most likely due to manufacture error and can be corrected.
Features of the Dremel Digilab 3D20
- Fully-Enclosed 3D Printer
- Non-Heated Build Plate
- 100% Fully-Assembled
- Full-Color LCD Touchscreen
- Optimal Printing for PLA
- Industry 1-Year Warranty
- Acrylic Build Plate
- UL Certified For Safe Printing
- In-Built Active Cooling Fan
- Removable build platform
- Pre-Installed Extruder
The Dremel Digilab 3D20 printer might seem an expensive option but if your loved one is a tech-person and into robotics, this as a gift will change a lot for them. It offers a lot of horizons to be discovered. So, don’t hesitate as it is a value-for-money option.
Get the Digilab 3D20 from Amazon today.
Now this one is a little different than the rest, as you can probably tell from how it looks. The Elegoo Mars (Amazon) is actually a resin 3D printer which uses an advanced UV photocuring technology to create very high quality models.
Rather than using plastic spools of filament, instead, the printing material here is actually a liquid photopolymer resin that hardens to strong beams of light to create each layer on a raising build plate.
It may sound confusing, but once you 3D print a few models, you’ll really get the hang of it. Resin 3D printers aren’t usually the recommendation for beginners, but as time goes on, they have become a lot easier to operate, especially with online YouTube tutorials.
Another fact to let you know is just how cheap you can get this for, at a price under $200.
High Precision & Resolution
The most notable feature of the Elegoo Mars is how it has very accurate printing in the XY axis, having a resolution of 0.047mm. This is achieved with the help of its 2560 x 1440 2K HD masking LCD, which provides amazing printing accuracy.
The UV photocuring technology emits strong 40W UV light to get you a better printing result.
Fast Slicing Software
This printer has the ChiTuBox 5.5 software that will redefine off-line printing by making it very easy and quick for the consumer. Also, it enables you to save a lot of resin by allowing you to hollow out your final model.
ChiTuBox has an advantage of time over other open-sourced slicing software that can take a lot longer to slice prints. ChiTuBox only takes around one minute to slice a 30MB STL file, where others can take up to 10 minutes.
Quick Start 3D Printer
The Elegoo Mars is semi-assembled, and from the time you open the box, you can get it started all within just 5 minutes. They provide you with test models to get your first resin 3D prints started, easily prepared by the ChiTuBox slicing software.
It also has a unique steel ball design which makes leveling very easy. You just have to return the Z-axis to zero by operating the simple touchscreen, then locking the leveling screw up to get your printer ready.
Specifications of the Elegoo Mars
- Printing Technology: LED Display Photocuring
- Light Source: UV Integrated Light(wavelength 405nm)
- XY Resolution: 0.047mm
- Z-Axis Accuracy: 0.00125mm
- Layer Thickness: 0.01-0.2mm
- Printing Speed: 22.5mm/h
- Build Volume: 4.72*2.68*6.1 inches
- Weight: 13.67lbs
- Power Requirements: 100-240V 50/60Hz
- Connectivity: USB
Pros of the Elegoo Mars
- High resolution prints that will surprise you and others
- Pretty easy to operate once you get the hang of it
- Low maintenance
- Great entry-level resin 3D printer
- Not as susceptible to printing failure like with FDM printing
- Quick setup
Cons of the Elegoo Mars
- Resin prints can get quite smelly, especially if they don’t have a filter
- The process to get the final 3D print takes a lot more steps and is harder
- Resin models are fairly brittle, but you can get stronger resin materials
- It’s a fairly messy process, so make sure you have the operating space and tools for cleaning
- Previously had quality control problems, but looks like it has now been corrected
Features of the Elegoo Mars
- 40W UV Lights
- 3.5-Inch Touch Screen
- Sturdy Aluminum Body
- Offline Printing
- Acrylic Cover for UV Protection
- ChiTuBox Slicing Software
- Unique Industrial Steel Ball Design
The fact that the printer gives a slight odor while functioning is a bit concerning. However, keeping in view the price and comparing it with the features being offered, it is all-in-all a good option.
You can find the Elegoo Mars 3D printer from Amazon
You may be wondering, you just recommended the Ender 3, so what is the Ender 3 V2? The Ender 3 was released quite some time ago, as a great entry-level FDM 3D printer, but since then, there have been many changes to standard printers.
I’ve got the Ender 3 V2 myself, and it is a great 3D printer to give as a Christmas gift for sure.
The difference between the Ender 3 & Ender 3 V2 is as follows:
- New 4.3-inch LCD control screen
- Power supply underneath printer instead of on the side
- XY axis belt tensioners
- Hidden tool box under the printer
- Filament run-out sensor
- Quieter printing operation
- Glass carborundum bed
- Rotary knob on extruder
For the increase in price and convenience of having these upgrades already done for you, it’s a great choice to get the Ender 3 V2.
Resume Printing Function
In case, there is an unexpected power failure, then by using the last recorded extruder position, the printing process can be resumed. So, you know there is no way anyone is stopping you from creating amazing models.
This feature also checks and reduces the number of failed prints, in turn saving money and time both.
The Ender 3 V2 operates at almost silent decibels. Apart from being silent, the motherboard has strong anti-interference and also supports a 4.3-inch smart color screen.
The design is very simple yet elegant. On the extruder, there is a rotary knob to simplify the process of loading and feeding the filament.
Carborundum Glass Platform
The hotbed of this printer heats up very quickly. This allows for quick and efficient functioning without much error. Also, you get a very smooth finish on the final product, and not only that but also the very initial layer is quite smooth.
Specifications of the Creality Ender 3 V2
- Machine Size: 475 x 470 x 620 mm
- Build Volume: 220 x 220 x 250 mm
- Machine Weight: 7.8kg
- Layer Thickness: 0.1-0.4 mm
- Print Precision: ±0.1 mm
- Filament Compatibility: PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU
- Filament Diameter: 1.75 mm
- Hotbed Temperature: ≤100°C
Pros of the Creality Ender 3 V2
- Very light in weight
- Secure design
Cons of the Creality Ender 3 V2
- Filament hard to come off the base
- Some people have had the print resume function fail, but it may be due to manufacture error.
- Not the best assembly instructions – find online tutorials on YouTube
- Bed leveling isn’t automatic
- No touchscreen operation
Features of the Creality Ender 3 V2
- UL Certified Meanwell Power Supply
- Self-Developed Silent Motherboard
- Extruder Rotary Knob Filament Feeder
- Resume Print Function
- Carborundum Glass Platform
- 4.3-Inch Smart Color Control Screen
- Integrated Toolbox Under Prrinter
I’d definitely recommend the Ender 3 V2 for a Christmas gift. The amount of value you are getting when you put this 3D printer together is top-tier, and has massive community of people who are ready and willing to assist.
You can join the official Facebook groups, check out Reddit forums, or browse through YouTube videos and find plenty of information about this 3D printer.
Fifth on the list and another potentially great techy gift for your loved one is the FlashForge Adventurer 3 (Amazon). It has a pretty good reputation for being a reliable 3D printer, along with a competitive price behind it.
The control and oepration aspect of this 3D printer is made a lot easier with the full-color touchscreen. It offers an intuitive user interfacefor simple tasks that you’d want to perform, as well as easy reading of the printer’s status.
On a side note, the precision and the print quality are very high and extremely refined. It gives tough competition to the expensive printers in the market while Adventurer 3 is itself very affordable.
The nozzle is detachable and is quite easy to remove. All you have to do is to perform three simple steps and voila, the nozzle is removed.
However, if you use an old nozzle or another company’s filament, the results will not be as astounding as FlashForge Adventurer 3D promises to deliver.
The operational platform is very flexible and has a quick heat buildup time. It escalates quickly up to almost 100° C. Also, it offers size flexibility. The platform accommodates almost all sizes of models.
Specifications of the FlashForge Adventurer 3
- Print Volume: 150 x 150 x 150mm
- Machine Size: 388 x 340 x 405mm
- Display: 2.8-inch Touch Screen
- Net Weight: 9kg
- Print Speed: 10-100 mm/s
- Layer Resolution: 0.1-0.4mm
- Print Resolution: ±0.2mm
- Extruder Diameter: 0.4mm
- Max Set Temp. of Extruder: 240℃
Pros of the FlashForge Adventurer 3
- Easy to use and change filament
- Can get started printing in less than 10 minutes
- Great print quality, even compared to the pricey Ultimaker s5
- Fully enclosed
- Silent operation at 45dB
- Optional filter fan
Cons of the FlashForge Adventurer 3
- Doesn’t properly support third-party filamnt, but a TUSH spool holder can be 3D printed to install to fix this.
- Quite small build volume at 150 x 150 x 150mm
- Fairly pricey compared
- Uses a proprietary file format which can make it difficult to use with other software
- Doesn’t have Cura, but can be adapted to use it by changing files to a .g file.
Features of the FlashForge Adventurer 3
- No Leveling Required Build Plate
- Bendable Heated Build Plate
- Filament Run-Out Detection
- WiFi Cloud Printing
- 2.8-Inch Touchscreen
- Filament Storage Area of 500g Spools
- Camera included
- 8 GB Internal Storage
- Detatchable Nozzle with Dual Button Press
- Less than 45 dB noise
The Flashforge Adventurer 3 is a great choice of gift for beginners due to its easy operation and unintimidating look. You can place this machine anywhere in the home and it looks professional.
The safety feature of being a fully-enclosed 3D printer is a good reason to choose this 3D printer for a younger student or child who is interested in technology.
Get yourself the Flashforge Adventurer 3 from Amazon today.
I had to bring in another resin 3D printer at a little more of a premium status, the Anycubic Photon Mono (Amazon). It has a whole host of features and upsides that you would appreciate if you had this by your side.
From the Dual Z linear rails to the print speed being 2.5 time faster than the previous version of the Anycubic Photon at 50mm/h.
Anti-UV Light Transparency Cover Design
2K LCD Screen
The Photon Mono has a sweet 2K black and white screen which gives it the ability to quickly cure liquid photopolymer resin. The matrix ultraviolet light has a high light transmittance, as well as a screen life of up to 2,000 hours.
This feature also translate to accurate and precise printing results, giving users models they can be proud of.
Unlike many FDM 3D printers that don’t make use of quiet stepper motors, this machine is very quiet. You wouldn’t want your sleep or work affected with a loud 3D printer, so this would be a great choice for a simple machine.
Dual Z-Axis Linear Rail
Compared to a single rail, a dual Z-axis linear rail will improve the overall stability of the 3D printer, resulting in better quality 3D prints. It eliminates the layer lines that are prevalent in FDM and single rail 3D printers.
Users can expect smooth surfaces and fine texture throughout their 3D printed resin models. It prevents undesired minor movements during the printing process, which can make a big difference in your models.
Specifications of the Anycubic Photon Mono
- Printing Technology: LCD-based SLA
- Build Volume: 130 x 82 x 165mm
- Printer Size: 227 x 222 x 383.6mm
- Operation: 3.5-inch touchscreen
- Software: Anycubic Photon Workshop
- Connectivity: USB
- XY Resolution: 0.051 (2560 x 1620) (2K)
- Rated Power: 45W
- Z-Axis Resolution: 0.01mm
- Layer Resolution: 0.01-0.15mm
- Max. Printing Speed: 50mm/h
- Printer Weight: 7kg
Pros of the Anycubic Photon Mono
- Produces amazing quality prints with no layer lines
- Comes with basically everything you’ll need for a resin 3D printer
- Setup is very easy and you can be printing within just 5 minutes
- Faster curing times leading to faster printing times than many other resin printers (2.5x faster than original Photon).
- Safety features in-built to protect the user
- Great stability and high precision for consistently good prints
Cons of the Anycubic Photon Mono
- It’s hard to see the progress of your print until the base raises up enough
- Resin printing can get messy
- Printing process is relatively longer than with FDM printing
- Slightly expensive
Features of the Anycubic Photon Mono
- Dual Z-Axis Rail Structure
- Anycubic Slicer Software
- Auto-Shutoff Door Open Detection
- Upgraded UV Light
- One-Piece Release Film
- Safe Power Supply
- UV-Blocking Top Cover
- Supports 8x Anti-Aliasing
Although the price is a bit high for the printer, the features are incredible and a must-have for anyone who is after some really great looking 3D prints.
Whether the user wants to print their favorite childhood heroes, action figure or figurines, you can expect amazing quality right out of the box.
Get the Anycubic Photon Mono as a gift from Amazon today.
Lastly, the Artillery Sidewinder X1 V4 is no 3D printer to look over. When an experienced 3D printer user thinks about what they want in a 3D printer, this very closely resembles something that would be created.
It has several features built into it and seeing that it’s a 3D printer which has had many upgrades, you can tell it is going to be fine-tuned to a point where the user can really enjoy the 3D printing process rather than the troubleshooting side of things.
I’d have to describe the Artillery Sidewinder X1 V4 as one of the best 3D printers on the market.
On each X, Y, and Z-axis, there is a separate inductive sensor. For speedy and stable printing, these switches offer their services. Their control is manual and not touch-enabled. They offer high precision and automatic calibration.
Power Loss Recovery
This one is essentially a very important factor as power shortfalls are unpredictable and if no recovery is offered, quite a lot of time, money, and effort is wasted.
Thankfully, the power loss recovery in the machine instantly resumes printing once the power returns. Also, when the filament finishes, the printing is automatically paused, and the user is immediately notified.
Quick and Precise Operation
It is needless to say that these two characteristics are always prioritized by the buyers but are rarely present together in a product. The SW-X1 is one such rare product that offers you all-in-one features.
The print speed is up to 150mm per second. Thanks to the Direct Drive Extruder, the prints are of high-quality and high precision.
Specifications of the Artillery Sidewinder X1 V4
- Printing Technology: Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM)
- Build Volume 300 x 300 x 400mm
- Machine Size: 550 x 405 x 640 mm
- Layer Resolution: 0.1mm
- Extruder Type: Titan Extruder (Direct Drive)
- Frame: Aluminum Extrusion
- Maximum Bed Temperature: 130°C
- XYZ Positioning Accuracy: 0.05mm, 0.05mm, 0.1mm
- Printing Filament: PLA, ABS, TPU, Flexible Materials
- Filament Diameter: 1.75mm
- Nozzle Diameter: 0.4mm
- Machine Weight: 14kg
Pros of the Artillery Sidewinder X1 V4
- Quiet operation
- Quick heating bed platform
- Stable and precise printing operation
- Fast and easy assembly
- Great adhesion on print bed
- Many safety features and automatic detections for a smooth printing experience
Cons of the Artillery Sidewinder X1 V4
- Z sensor might be problematic for first-time users
- No Wi-Fi printing
- Bed adhesion can be a little too good, so wait for the bed to cool down fully
Features of the Artillery Sidewinder X1 V4
- Exclusive Ultra-Quiet Stepper Driver
- Synchronized Dual Z System
- Direct Drive Extruder
- AC Heating Process
- New Flat Lattice Glass Platform
- Inductive Endstops
- Color Touchscreen
- Large Build Volume
- Power Failure Detection
- Filament Run Out Detection
- 95% Assembled
I’d definitely recommend getting the Artillery Sidewinder as a Christmas or Birthday gift for a loved one. The quality is top-level and you can skip past most of the assembly with the 95% assembled machine, leaving the user to be able to 3D print seamlessly.
Get the Artillery Sidewinder X1 V4 from Amazon today.
Buying Guide Best 3D Printer for Christmas/Birthday Gifts
There are a few things to keep in mind when buying a 3D printer, especially for someone else as a Christmas or Birthday gift, so I decided to write up a few factors that matter the most.
If you are looking for the best print quality or resolution for the 3D printed models, you are going to want the lowest number resolution, which corresponds to the layer height of each layer.
Resin printing or SLA 3D printing is going to give you the highest resolution, going anywhere from 50 microns up to just 10 microns. A great option for the best print quality is the Anycubic Photon Mono (Amazon).
Ease of Use
Resin 3D printers aren’t so great on this factor, being known as quite messy at times and requiring a longer process to finalize the 3D prints. If you want an easy-to-use 3D printer for a Christmas or Birthday gift, you might want to sway towards the FDM 3D printers.
3D printing is known as rapid prototyping because you can go from design idea to 3D model in a very quick time relative to other manufacturing methods.
The thing to know is that there are different print speeds between 3D printer brands and technologies.
If you want to get a faster 3D printer as a gift, you’ll most likely want to go towards the FDM 3D printers, although some SLA printers can be faster depending on what is being printed on the build plate.
You’ll be satisfied with the Ender 3 V2 for a good print speed.
Printing Material Compatibility
Some 3D printers have limitations on the materials they can print with, namely FDM 3D printers that use different kinds of filaments. Most 3D printer users that use an FDM 3D printer usually stick with printing with PLA because its very easy and durable.
3D printing with just PLA is usually more than enough, although after some time you might want to expand to 3D printing with more materials such as PETG or flexible filament.
Again, the Ender 3 V2 (Amazon) has a wide range of filament compatibility.
The Artillery Sidewinder X1 V4 (Amazon) is another great choice, which is also uses a Direct Drive Extruder, known for being better for printing with TPU.