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How to Choose a 3D Printer: All 30 Factors You Need to Consider

Choosing the right 3D printer is crucial for anyone venturing into the world of digital manufacturing. Whether you’re a hobbyist looking to bring your creations to life or a professional seeking precise and reliable printing capabilities, understanding the key features and specifications of 3D printers is essential. This guide aims to arm you with all the knowledge needed to make an informed decision on the best 3D printer for your needs.

What Do You Need to Print?

Before you invest in a 3D printer machine, it’s crucial to understand specifically what you intend to print. This initial step will significantly influence your choice of 3D printer, as different printers are suited to different tasks.

For instance, are you looking to create small, detailed models such as jewelry or dental prosthetics? Or are you interested in larger, more robust items like prototype parts or artistic sculptures? Identifying the nature of the objects you plan to print will guide you in selecting a printer with the right capabilities, from the type of materials it can use to the precision and print quality it can achieve.

What to Look For When Choosing a 3D Printer?

Choosing the right 3D printer involves evaluating a multitude of factors to ensure it meets your specific needs. Here’s what to consider:

Type of Filament

The type of filament you choose plays a fundamental role in the success of your printing endeavors. Different filaments cater to different needs, ranging from aesthetic qualities to functional requirements.


Filaments are the most common materials used in Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printers.

It’s a thermoplastic feedstock for fused deposition modeling 3D printers. Available in spools, these filament materials are melted and extruded layer by layer to create a three-dimensional object.


Common types of filaments;

  • PLA (Polylactic Acid): Known for its ease of use and environmentally friendly properties, PLA is ideal for beginners and is commonly used for low-cost prototyping.
  • ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene): Offers greater durability and heat resistance, making it suitable for more functional applications that require strength, such as mechanical parts or automotive components.
  • PETG (Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol): Combines the ease of printing seen in PLA with the strength and durability of ABS. It is also moisture resistant and produces minimal odors.


  • Filaments like PLA are easy to use and environmentally friendly, making them ideal for beginners and those looking to print household items.
  • ABS is known for its toughness and heat resistance, suitable for creating durable items.
  • PETG is resistant to both UV light source and water, making it suitable for outdoor uses.


From prototypes to functional household objects, filaments can be selected based on the specific requirements of the project.


Filament costs can vary, with basic materials like PLA being relatively inexpensive, while specialized filaments like flexible or composite materials may cost more.


Resin in 3D printing is a liquid polymer that hardens under ultraviolet light, layer by layer, to form solid objects.


Standard resins are used for general printing, but there are also specialized resin printing for specific applications, such as:

  • Tough resins for durable parts.
  • Flexible resins for objects that require bendability.
  • Castable resins for making molds for jewelry and fine arts.


  • Offers excellent surface finish and detail resolution, making it perfect for intricate designs that require fine details.


  • Commonly used in the dental and jewelry industries, and for any application where detail is more important than structural strength.
  • Resin printing is used in Stereolithography (SLA) and Digital Light Processing (DLP) printers, known for their high precision and detail.


Generally more expensive than filament, with costs increasing for specialized resin printers designed for specific properties like high temperature or flexibility.

Types of Printing Technology

3D printing technology has evolved rapidly, offering multiple printing methods that vary significantly in process, material compatibility, and the applications they best serve.

FFF Printers

FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) printers work by extruding the thermoplastic filament, such as ABS or PLA, through a heated nozzle, melting the material and applying it layer by layer to print objects. This technology is characterized by its adaptability and ease of use, making it a prevalent choice among both hobbyists and professionals.

Suitable Use Cases

  • Prototyping: Ideal for designers and engineers who need to produce affordable and quick iterations of their designs.
  • Educational Purposes: Schools and universities use FFF for teaching students about manufacturing and design principles due to its safety and accessibility.
  • Customization Projects: Excellent for custom toys, household items, and cosplay accessories.

Check our guide on choosing an FDM printer for more specific information on this technology.

SLA Printers

SLA (Stereolithography) printers operate by curing a layer of photosensitive liquid resin with a UV laser that traces the desired shape across the surface of the resin pool, solidifying it layer by layer. This method is renowned for its precision and ability to produce smooth, detailed finishes.

Suitable Use Cases

  • Dental and Jewelry: Due to its precision, SLA is perfect for industries requiring intricate detail like dental appliances or jewelry.
  • Prototypes and Models: Designers looking for high-quality finish and complex geometries often prefer SLA for detailed prototypes.
  • Artistic and Decorative Items: Artists favor SLA for complex, smooth designs that require a high level of detail and a fine finish.

SLS Printers

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) printers fuse small particles of polymer powder using a high-power laser. Unlike SLA, SLS doesn’t require support structures as the unsintered powder supports the item being printed, allowing for more complex geometries.

Suitable Use Cases

  • Industrial Components: SLS is ideal for creating durable and robust parts for engineering and manufacturing due to its strength and versatility.
  • Functional Prototypes: Designers and engineers utilize SLS for producing functional prototypes that can withstand stress and testing.
  • Fashion and Design: Increasingly used in fashion, SLS allows designers to experiment with complex, durable designs not possible with traditional fabric and materials.

DLP Printers

DLP (Digital Light Processing) technology uses a digital projector screen to flash a single image of each layer all at once. Because the entire layer is projected, DLP can be faster than point-by-point methods like SLA, depending on the complexity of the print.

Suitable Use Cases

  • Dental Industry: DLP is widely used for its precision in creating dental appliances and models where detail and speed are crucial.
  • Jewelry Making: The ability to achieve fine details makes DLP ideal for intricate jewelry designs that require a smooth finish.
  • Rapid Prototyping: Designers benefit from DLP’s speed to iterate design concepts quickly, making it a preferred choice in dynamic development environments.

SLM Printers

SLM (Selective Laser Melting) involves fully melting the metal powder, layer by layer, with a high-power laser beam in an inert atmosphere, allowing the creation of durable and complex geometries that are fully dense and structurally sound.

Suitable Use Cases

  • Aerospace Components: The aerospace industry utilizes SLM for parts that must withstand extreme stress and temperature variations due to its strong and lightweight outcomes.
  • Automotive Industry: SLM is beneficial for producing lightweight yet sturdy parts that improve fuel efficiency and performance in vehicles.
  • Medical Implants: The medical field values SLM for creating custom implants that are biocompatible and tailored to individual patient needs.


The price of 3D printers can vary widely depending on the type of technology and the intended use. Here are some average price ranges you might encounter:

  • Desktop Printers: These are generally the most affordable, ranging from $200 for basic print models up to $4,000 for advanced versions.
  • Hobbyist Printers: These models offer more features and better durability, typically costing between $300 and $1,500.
  • Professional Printers: Designed for commercial use with higher precision and reliability, their prices range from $1,500 to over $20,000.
  • Industrial Printers: These are the top-tier expensive printers used for manufacturing applications, with prices starting from around $20,000 and can go up to several hundred thousand dollars.

Total Cost of Operation

Beyond the purchase price, the ongoing cost of operating a 3D printer includes several factors that can affect your total investment over time. These costs include:

  • Filaments and Resins: Depending on your printing frequency, the cost of materials can add up. Filaments for FDM printers can cost anywhere from $20 to $100 per spool, while resins for SLA printers might range from $50 to $200 per liter.
  • Power Consumption: 3D printers vary in their power efficiency. Smaller models may cost a few cents per hour to operate, while larger industrial models could cost significantly more.
  • Maintenance and Repairs: Regular maintenance such as part replacements and servicing can cost a few hundred dollars annually for basic printers, but high-end models might incur higher costs due to their complex components.
  • Software Updates: Some high-end 3D printers require paid software subscriptions or purchases to access the latest features and improvements.


Selecting the right brand when purchasing a 3D printer is not just about going with a well-known name; it’s about ensuring reliability, quality, and support. A reputable brand often guarantees:

  • Quality Assurance: Established brands maintain rigorous quality standards, ensuring that each printer delivers consistent performance and durable prints.
  • Support and Service: Good brands provide comprehensive customer support, which includes troubleshooting, parts replacement, and detailed documentation.
  • Innovation and Updates: Leading manufacturers continually invest in research and development to offer advanced features and upgrades, enhancing your printing experience over time.

However, choosing the wrong manufacturer can lead to several drawbacks:

  • Lack of Support: Lesser-known or lower-quality brands may offer limited customer service, making it difficult to resolve issues or find spare parts.
  • Inferior Quality: Printers from less reputable brands might compromise on build quality to cut costs, which can affect the longevity and reliability of the printer.
  • Software Compatibility Issues: Some brands may not support standard slicing software, limiting your ability to customize or optimize print jobs.


The size of the 3D printer you choose directly impacts what you can create and how effectively you can work. Here’s a breakdown of the average bed sizes and their suitable applications:

  • Small Printers (150–300mm): These are ideal for small-scale projects, detailed figurines, and intricate jewelry. Perfect for hobbyists and educators, these printers fit well in compact spaces.
  • Medium to Large Printers (350mm–500mm): For enthusiasts or professionals looking to create larger scale models, prototypes, or parts, a medium to large printer is necessary. This size allows for greater flexibility in printing sizable objects or multiple parts simultaneously.
  • Industrial-Scale Printers (500mm and above): These are used primarily in a commercial or industrial setting to produce large components or batches of items efficiently. They represent a higher investment but offer the ability to work on ambitious projects with fewer size constraints.

Space Requirement

When selecting a 3D printer, space consideration is paramount. The physical footprint of the printer should match the available workspace while also allowing for easy operation and maintenance. Larger printers, necessary for extensive projects, require more robust setups, including dedicated space for the printer, storage for materials like filaments or resins, and adequate ventilation. For smaller printers, which are suitable for personal or educational use, you might only need a small desk or table. However, always ensure there’s enough room around the printer to handle materials and maintain the device without constraints.


Resolution in 3D printing refers to the level of detail a printer can achieve, typically measured in microns. The smaller the number, the higher the resolution, and the finer the details your printer can replicate.

  • Standard Resolution: Most consumer-grade printers operate at a resolution of around 100 microns, providing a good balance between speed and detail, suitable for most hobbyist applications.
  • High-Resolution: Advanced printers, especially those using technologies like SLA (Stereolithography) or DLP (Digital Light Processing), can achieve resolutions as low as 25 microns. These are ideal for applications requiring intricate details such as jewelry design or dental modeling.
  • Variable Resolution: Some printers offer variable resolution settings, allowing users to choose lower resolutions for rough prototypes and higher resolutions for final models. This flexibility can be beneficial for balancing detail, speed, and material usage.


In the context of 3D printing, speed refers to how fast the printer can lay down the material. Measured in millimeters per second (mm/s), print speed can vary widely depending on the technology used. Typically, speeds range from 40mm/s to 100mm/s. It’s crucial to balance speed with the quality of the prints. Faster speeds might seem advantageous for productivity, but they often compromise the intricacies of the final product.

  • Lower Speeds (40-60 mm/s): Ideal for projects requiring high precision and fine details. Lower speeds allow for better adhesion of each layer, resulting in smoother finishes and more detailed prints.
  • Higher Speeds (up to 100 mm/s): Suitable for larger, less detailed objects. These settings increase throughput but might not capture intricate details perfectly.

Layer Height

Layer height, also measured in microns, indicates the thickness of each layer that a 3D printer deposits during the printing process. The typical range for layer height is from 0.1mm to 0.32mm. The choice of layer height is a trade-off between print quality and time:

  • Lower Layer Heights (around 0.1mm): Produce high-resolution prints with smooth surfaces and fine details, suitable for intricate models like miniatures or detailed props.
  • Higher Layer Heights (up to 0.32mm): Allow for faster printing at the expense of some detail, ideal for rough prototypes or when the finish is not the primary concern.

Noise Levels

The noise level of a 3D printer is an important consideration, especially if the printer will be located in a living space or a quiet office. Modern 3D printers typically operate at around 50 decibels (dB), which is comparable to the hum of a refrigerator. In contrast, older or less expensive models may run as loud as 65 dB, which can be as noticeable as a conversation in a restaurant. This difference might seem small, but it is significant enough to affect concentration and comfort.

Additionally, factors such as printer settings and maintenance can impact noise levels. For example, a well-lubricated machine or one with new bearings tends to be quieter. This makes regular maintenance not only a matter of operational efficiency but also of environmental comfort.

Single vs Dual Extruder

Choosing between a single or a dual extruder setup depends largely on your printing needs:

Single Extruder: The standard choice for most users, single extruders are less complex and more affordable. They are ideal for printing one material or color at a time, which suffices for most basic projects and beginner users.

Dual Extruder: Allows for printing with two different materials or colors simultaneously. This is particularly beneficial for creating prints with complex geometries that require soluble supports, or for multicolor printing. However, dual extruders can be more expensive and may require a steeper learning curve to operate effectively.

Print Quality

Print quality in 3D printing is predominantly influenced by the resolution or layer height, which is measured in microns. The standard layer height ranges from 100 to 300 microns, where a smaller number indicates a higher resolution. Here’s how different settings can impact your results:

Higher Resolution (100 microns): This setting is excellent for detailed prints, producing smooth finishes with fine details visible. It’s ideal for small figurines, intricate jewelry, or parts that require precise dimensions.

Lower Resolution (300 microns): Faster and more cost-effective, this setting is suitable for rough prototypes or parts where detail is less critical. The layers are more visible, giving a ribbed texture to the surface.


In 3D printing, accuracy refers to the precision with which a printer can replicate the dimensions of the digital model in the physical print. For desktop fused filament fabrication (FFF) printers, the typical accuracy is around ±0.5 mm. This level of precision is suitable for general hobbyist projects and consumer-level models. On the other hand, industrial FFF printers, which are used for professional-grade prototypes and end-use parts, boast a higher accuracy of around ±0.2 mm. This improved accuracy ensures that even the minutest details are captured, which is crucial for engineering applications and intricate designs.


Advanced printers utilize a color mixing technology that can produce prints in up to 16.7 million colors, leveraging the CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key or Black) color model similar to traditional 2D printers. This feature is particularly valuable in fields such as artistic design and consumer goods where visual presentation is key. By allowing precise color blending and shading, these printers enable the creation of more realistic and vibrant objects without the need for painting post-printing

Print Capacity/Build Area

The print capacity or build area of a 3D printer defines the maximum print size of objects it can produce. This dimension is typically represented in XYZ format—X for width, Y for depth, and Z for height. Most consumer-level printers offer a build area that ranges from 150mm x 150mm x 150mm to 300mm x 300mm x 400mm, accommodating a wide variety of print sizes from small gadgets to larger components like cosplay elements and home decor pieces. For those looking to create particularly large items or batches of multiple parts simultaneously, choosing a printer with a large print volume, such as 350mm x 350mm x 400mm, is critical.

Build Envelope

The build envelope of a 3D printer refers to the maximum area available for printing objects. It is usually defined in terms of dimensions along the X, Y, and Z axes. The size of the build envelope determines the maximum size of objects you can print with the printer. This feature is particularly important for users who need to create large-scale models or parts. For example, architectural firms or hobbyists involved in large model fabrication will require most printers with a larger build envelope to accommodate their specific project needs.

Post Processing Requirements

Post-processing refers to the steps required to finish printed objects, and achieve the desired quality and functionality. These steps can include curing, sanding, painting, and assembly. The type of 3D printer you choose directly impacts the amount of post-processing needed. For instance, printers that use resin, such as those utilizing stereolithography (SLA) or digital light processing (DLP), often require washing and post-curing. In contrast, models created with fused deposition modeling (FDM) might need sanding to smooth out layer lines. Selecting a printer that aligns with your capacity to handle these post-processing steps is crucial, especially in professional settings where time and labor have significant cost implications.

Supported Materials

Printers vary widely in the materials they support, from basic plastics like PLA and ABS to more advanced composites that include carbon fiber or metal-infused filaments for added strength. Some advanced printers can handle multiple materials simultaneously, providing significant advantages for creating complex or functional parts that require varied material properties. For example, using a printer that supports water-soluble PVA as a support material can greatly simplify the creation of intricate parts with overhangs or internal structures.


A printer built with a sturdy metal frame generally offers greater stability and longer-lasting performance compared to those with plastic components. This robust construction minimizes vibrations during printing, which can affect the quality of the prints. Durability is crucial not only for the consistency of print jobs but also for reducing the need for frequent repairs and replacements, ensuring that the printer remains a reliable tool in your creative or production arsenal.

Required Part Strength

Different printing technologies affect the strength of the finished objects. For instance, fused deposition modeling (FDM) printers are excellent for creating durable parts with thermoplastic filaments like ABS or PETG, which are known for their strength and flexibility. On the other hand, stereolithography (SLA) printers provide parts with high detail and smooth finishes but may require post-processing to achieve the desired strength. The choice of technology should align with the specific strength requirements of your projects to ensure the printed parts meet the necessary functional specifications.

Required Part Aesthetics

SLA printing is renowned for its ability to produce parts with fine details and smooth surfaces, making it ideal for models that require a high-quality finish. Meanwhile, FDM printing produces vibrant, multicolored parts with varying textures, which can be beneficial for consumer-facing products. The level of detail and finish will depend on the printer’s resolution settings, which in turn affects the layer height and print speed.

Nozzle Size

Common nozzle diameters range from 0.2 mm to 1 mm. A smaller nozzle size, like 0.2 mm, allows for high precision and incredible detail, making it ideal for intricate models and detailed artwork. On the other hand, larger nozzles, such as 0.8 mm or 1 mm, facilitate faster printing by extruding more material. They are best suited for larger, less detailed objects or for rough prototypes where speed is more critical than the intricacy of details.

Ease of Operation and Maintenance

Features like auto-calibration, easy filament loading, and user-friendly software significantly enhance the user experience. Additionally, look for printers with readily accessible customer support and a robust warranty which indicates a manufacturer’s confidence in their product. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning the nozzle and lubricating the moving parts, is essential for the longevity and reliability of the printer, making ease of maintenance a key consideration.


3D printers, especially those using methods like fused deposition modeling (FDM), can emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ultrafine particles that may accumulate, particularly in poorly ventilated spaces. If you’re using the printer in a small, enclosed space like a home office or classroom, it’s crucial to consider models equipped with effective filtration systems. Look for printers with HEPA and activated carbon filters, which help mitigate the release of these particles. Furthermore, understanding the filter’s lifespan and replacement costs is vital to ensure continuous protection against potential air quality issues.

Software Support

Many 3D printers come with open-source software platforms like Cura and Repetier, which are favored by hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts for their high configurability and powerful features. However, these programs can be complex and may require a steep learning curve to utilize their full potential.

It’s essential to check if the 3D printer manufacturer offers free software downloads, regularly updates the software, and invests in its development.

Raise3D Example:

Raise3D offers robust software solutions through ideaMaker and RaiseCloud. ideaMaker is a user-friendly 3D model slicer that allows users to modify and print model files easily. It integrates with the ideaMaker Library, enhancing resource sharing and access to a variety of printing profiles. RaiseCloud extends these capabilities with its web-based management system that enables remote monitoring of the printing process. Together, they streamline workflow and improve efficiency.


Features such as enclosed chambers, automatic nozzle cooling, and resume print functions contribute to safe operations. It’s advisable to seek printers with built-in safety features that prevent accidents, particularly in environments with children or everyday office scenarios.

Check Reviews

Reviews can highlight common issues, user experiences with software and customer support, and real-world print quality outcomes. They are invaluable in gauging the operational efficiency and lifespan of the printer models you may be considering.

High Repeatability

Repeatability in 3D printing refers to the printer’s ability to consistently replicate movements and positions during the printing process. High repeatability is critical because it ensures that each layer of the print aligns precisely with the previous one, maintaining the integrity of the final product. For instance, a desktop Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) printer typically maintains a precision level of around ±0.1 mm, allowing for detailed and reliable prints.


A comprehensive warranty can cover everything from parts to labor, ensuring that any manufacturing defects or operational failures are addressed without additional costs. This can be especially important for expensive or industrial-grade printers, where repairs might be costly. When examining warranties, look for terms that cover a significant period and pay attention to what specifics are included, ensuring they align with your expected usage and the printer’s operational demands.

Look for Active User Community

Communities, whether found on forums, social media platforms, or through the printer manufacturer’s own channels, can offer support, advice, and shared experiences that are invaluable for troubleshooting, tips on best practices, and modifications. For example, popular models like the Creality Ender 3 have vast online communities where users share customized settings, modification plans, and even their own upgrades that enhance the printer’s capabilities.

What Features Are Most Important When Choosing a 3D Printer?

When looking at potential 3D printers, various additional features can play a significant role in achieving your desired outcomes. These features can impact everything from the quality of your prints to the ease of use of the printer.

Heating Bed

A heated print bed is crucial for print materials that are prone to warping, such as ABS or PETG, as it keeps the material warm throughout the printing process, ensuring that each layer adheres properly without curling. The heating bed maintains a consistent temperature, which is vital for dimensional accuracy and print integrity. This feature reduces the likelihood of having to reprint parts, saving both time and resources. While not always necessary for less temperamental materials like PLA, a heating bed offers versatility for those looking to experiment with a wide range of materials.

Filament Detection

This technology pauses your print if the filament runs out or if a jam occurs, which can be a major advantage during long print jobs. By detecting these issues, the printer allows you to fix the problem without losing the progress of your print. This feature is particularly useful in maintaining the quality of prints and in reducing waste, making it a valuable addition for both novice and experienced users alike.

Wifi/USB/LAN Connectivity

Models equipped with WiFi (wireless printing), USB, and LAN options provide various ways to send print jobs directly from a computer or mobile device. This connectivity ensures that users can easily integrate the printer into their existing networks, making it accessible for multiple users or from different devices, enhancing the printer’s usability in collaborative environments or educational settings.

Integrated Software

Integrated software solutions streamline the process from design to print, offering tools for model slicing, customizable print settings, and real-time adjustments.

Look for printers that offer software solutions with intuitive interfaces, robust support, and regular updates to stay compatible with the latest printing technologies and materials

Auto Bed Leveling

One of the more tedious aspects of 3D printing is ensuring the print bed is perfectly level. An uneven print bed can lead to poor adhesion, misprints, and failed projects. Some printers require manual calibration, which involves adjusting the bed’s position using paper as a gauge—a process that can take upwards of ten minutes and needs to be repeated periodically.

Advanced models, like those in the Pro3 Series, incorporate automated bed leveling technologies. These systems automatically adjust the distance between the nozzle and the print bed, accommodating even minor variances in the bed’s surface. This feature not only saves time and reduces the manual effort involved in setting up prints but also increases the likelihood of consistent, high-quality outputs by ensuring optimal bed adhesion across the entire print area.

Air Flow Manager

The Pro3 Series boasts an innovative Air Flow Manager positioned at the back of the printer, which optimizes heat dissipation and enhances air circulation within the print chamber. This feature not only stabilizes the internal environment but also significantly reduces potential overheating issues, which can affect print quality. Moreover, the inclusion of a HEPA air filter within the Air Flow Manager plays a crucial role in purifying the air by trapping fine particles and fumes emitted during the printing process.

Smart Assistant Preloaded with Common Printing Problems and Solutions

The Pro3 Series is equipped with the EVE assistant—a smart, integrated system designed to streamline the troubleshooting process. This smart assistant comes preloaded with a database of common printing issues and their solutions, enabling users to quickly identify and resolve problems without extensive downtime. Furthermore, EVE reminds users of scheduled maintenance tasks, ensuring the printer operates at optimum efficiency.

Live Monitoring HD Camera

Enhancing the user experience further, the Pro3 Series includes a high-definition camera that monitors the printing process in real time. Connected through RaiseCloud, the camera allows users to remotely watch their print jobs, no matter where they are, adding a layer of convenience and security. This feature is invaluable for long print jobs or for use in educational settings where teachers need to monitor student projects without constant physical supervision. The upgraded CMOS sensor ensures that the video feed is crisp, allowing for close inspections of the ongoing print job, which is essential for catching any issues early on.

Power Loss Recovery

The Pro3 Series addresses the problem of power loss effectively with its second-generation power loss recovery system. This system not only detects a power failure but also saves the printing status at the moment of the outage. Once power is restored, printing resumes from exactly where it stopped. This feature is complemented by a filament run-out sensor, which alerts you when the filament is low, ensuring that your print job is never halted unexpectedly.

Automatic Door Detection

The Pro3 Series enhances safety with its automatic door detection feature, which pauses the print job immediately if the machine’s door is opened during operation. This precaution prevents accidents and ensures the print process is not exposed to environmental factors that could compromise print quality.

Direct-drive Extruder vs Bowden Extruder

A direct-drive extruder, which integrates the extruder mechanism and hotend in a single assembly directly above the print head, offers precise control of the filament push into the nozzle. This setup is ideal for printing with delicate materials that require careful handling, such as flexible filaments. On the other hand, the Bowden extruder, positioned away from the print head, reduces the weight on the moving parts, allowing faster and more agile movement.

Easy Swap Print Heads

The flexibility to switch print heads easily is a significant advantage in 3D printing, allowing you to adapt to different project requirements swiftly. The Raise3d E2 printer exemplifies this with its Easy Swap Print Heads. This feature allows for quick removal and replacement of print heads, which is invaluable when needing to change to heads with various nozzle types for different materials.

You can prepare multiple spare print heads with hardened nozzles or different sizes—0.4, 0.6, and 0.8 nozzles—and switch them effortlessly, minimizing downtime and enhancing your productivity.

What is the Best 3D Printer for Beginners?

For beginners, the Raise3d E2 emerges as a standout choice, priced starting at $3,499.00. This desktop 3D printer is equipped with independent dual extruders (IDEX), enabling advanced functions like Mirror Mode and Duplication Mode, which are ideal for professional-grade 3D printing.

The Raise3d E2 is particularly user-friendly thanks to features such as Easy Swap Print Heads, which simplify maintenance and routine printing tasks by allowing for quick and easy changes between different print heads. These heads can be prepared with various nozzles—0.4, 0.6, and 0.8—offering flexibility and ease of customization according to the printing task at hand.

Moreover, the printer includes an Auto Bed Leveling system and a BuildTak FlexPlate, both of which enhance the usability for newcomers by simplifying the setup process and improving the quality of prints. The E2’s capability to print with a variety of filaments, including flexible materials like TPU, ensures high-quality prints across a broad range of 3D printing materials.

The Raise3d E2 also integrates seamlessly with ideaMaker, Raise3D’s proprietary slicing software, and RaiseCloud, a cloud-based management platform. These tools offer an intuitive user interface and access to a library of print files, making it easier for you to start your printing projects.

Honorable mention goes to the Prusa i3 MK3S+, another excellent option for beginners looking for a reliable and versatile 3D printer.

What is the Best 3D Printer for Small Businesses?

For small businesses, the Raise3D DF2 stands out as the ideal solution, starting from $4,999.00. This Digital Light Processing (DLP) 3D printer is optimized for rapid printing and excels in delivering smooth surface finishes and fine details, which are critical for engineering prototyping, manufacturing aids, and low-volume production.

The DF2 is compatible with a wide range of high-performance engineering resins, enhancing its utility in professional settings. The integration of RFID technology streamlines the workflow, allowing for traceable printing, washing, and curing process, which significantly cuts down labor time and reduces costs.

Honorable mentions include the Formlabs Form 3L, known for its larger print volume and precision, making it another excellent choice for small businesses.


Choosing the right 3D printer is crucial for anyone looking to dive into the world of 3D printing, whether for personal projects or small business applications. A reliable printer like the Raise3D E2 and DF2 not only offer exceptional quality and versatility but also come equipped with features that enhance usability and efficiency, which are vital for producing same quality prints consistently.

At Raise3D, we are committed to advancing 3D printing technology and making it accessible to a wider audience. Our printers are designed to push the boundaries of what’s possible, offering tools that are not only reliable but also capable of creating a successful print. With features like high-resolution printing, multi-filament capabilities, and user-friendly interfaces, Raise3D printers are engineered to help you “Think Bigger” and explore new possibilities in additive manufacturing.