ARTICLE – I asked the Gadgeteer team to share their favorite 3D printers of the last year or so and here’s what they had to say!
AnkerMake MC5 3D printer
Compared to some of the other people on this list, I am very much a newbie when it comes to using a 3D printer. I’ve reviewed a couple of printers over the years but they were more like toys than real functional 3D printers. That changed when I was offered the chance to review the AnkerMake MC5. I found this printer to be simple to assemble and setup, and fun/easy to use. I like that prints extremely fast while still resulting in excellent prints. It’s my first real 3D printer and I can tell that I’ll be continuing in this hobby because I didn’t immediately give it away after the review was completed. I even plan to make some little stocking stuffers for my fidget toy loving family members this year. Check out this little guy below.
Where to buy: AnkerMake and Amazon
Mingda Magician X2 3D Printer
I’ve reviewed several 3D printers over the last few years. My favorite is the most recent, the Mingda Magician X2. It’s a snap to assemble and couldn’t be easier to use right out of the box. The auto-leveling feature takes all the guesswork out of leveling the printer. Here are some other reasons why it’s my favorite 3D printer:
Quality: The printer produces fantastic quality prints.
Ease of use: The Magician X2 is marketed as an easy-to-use printer, perfect for beginners to 3D printing.
Reliability: The printer is reliable and continues to print without any issues. It is also very quiet, making it an excellent home-use choice.
The Mingda Magician X2 is a neat, reliable, easy-to-use printer that produces high-quality prints. These features make it my favorite 3D printer. Especially at its currently reduced price.
Creality Ender 5 S1 3D printer
I have reviewed three different FDM 3D printers. Each one was better than the last. A big part of that was due to the increasing popularity of 3D printers and the technology that supports them. My favorite and current 3D printer is the Creality Ender 5 S1. It is a direct-drive printer with self-leveling technology. It also has a cube frame that gives it extra stability. It also prints much faster than the other FDM printers I reviewed. I can honestly say that I have yet to have a failed print on the printer. It is pretty foolproof and required very little tweaking on my part to get great prints. My only complaint with the printer is that the slicer from Creality for Mac OS did not support this printer at the time of review. I see that they have released a new version of the slicer this month so I will have to check it out and see if it supports the printer.
Where to buy: Creality
AOSEED X-Maker 3D printer
After reviewing a couple of typical bed-slinger 3D printers, the AOSEED X-Maker was a pleasant surprise. It delivered the magical ‘it just works’ out of the box experience that made it such a pleasure to work with. While the bed is slightly smaller than others, I find it works perfectly for the majority of my 3D printing needs with minimal fuss.
Where to buy: Amazon
Elegoo Saturn 3 12K 3D printer
The Elegoo Saturn 3 12K resin 3D printer is my favorite pick for 2023. Although I only reviewed on resin printer this year, it has become a great little workhorse in my workflow. The speed vs size of the Saturn 3 produces great quality parts quickly. I’ve had several people ask my what printer I used for my parts, and that’s primarily due to the 12K resolution. The Saturn 3 does lack WIFI, but if that’s a concern there is an Ultra version available.
Where to buy: Elegoo
Mingda Magician Pro 3D printer
I have several 3D printers set up currently, but more often than not if I’m printing something out, I’m sending it to the Mingda Magician Pro 3D printer. It’s not the fastest in my printer farm, but it has a massive build volume, consistently good print quality, and excellent bed adhesion. I’ve been printing a lot of full scale helmets for cosplayers, and even though each one takes 2-4 days to print I have only had one failed print out of 10+ so far (which I think was a quality issue with the plastic spool I used and not the printer). Mingda has smaller models as well that we’ve reviewed here and also liked, so there’s an option for pretty much anyone looking for a good 3D printer that’s easy to set up and can pump out reliable prints.
Where to buy: Mingda
Sunlu S9 Plus 3D printer
I’ve been bitten by the 3D printing bug… Hard. Sometimes it stings, itches, and is generally unpleasant, but when it works, golly gee, it’s fun. I’ve had several 3D printers, but my favorite is the Sunlu S9 Plus. Since reviewing here about a year ago, I’ve made several enhancements (upgraded rollers, cable strain relief, nozzles…) and repairs (thermocouples, cables, Bowden tube…), but it keeps chugging along and making things I use every day. The combination of reliable performance, filament dryer, belt tensioning, and rigid supports was a winner from day one. And yes, my drapery rods are still in one piece, despite some curtain chicanery instigated by my cat. I design and print something new almost every week! Would I buy one again? You betcha!
Creality Ender 7 from Creality 3D printer
How do you pick a favorite 3D printer? Do you go by most reliable, or easiest to troubleshoot? Most upgradable or some other unquantifiable feature? I’ve only reviewed one to date for The Gadgeteer so It’s pretty easy to narrow down, but even then my favorite is not the model I reviewed. Much like computers and smartphones, technology can grow leaps and bounds in what has almost been 2 years. You can read up on my thoughts at the time in the link above.
I used the Ender 7 for a couple months before my son “borrowed” it for what ended up being a permanent amount of time to use at school. That ended up being a good call as he wound up getting deep into the technology and joining Yonder Deep at UCSD, a group that designs and builds 3D printed autonomous submarines for study of glaciers.
I ended up replacing the Ender 7 with an Ender 3 Pro that instantly felt familiar and yet seemed to be infinitely upgradable. The Ender 3 Pro has been my favorite to date as it’s allowed me to explore more, troubleshoot quickly and overall be less frustrated. It definitely doesn’t hurt that it’s routinely available at less that $200 on sale. That said, I hope to be reviewing a new machine soon and we’ll see what technological jumps have happened in the two years since the Ender 3 Pro was launched. #keep3Dprinting!
Also be sure to check out all of our 3D printer reviews.