Design Engineering

2015 3D Printer Guide offers purchase advice for would-be additive manufacturers

Mike McLeod   

Additive Manufacturing 3D printing slideshow

3D Hubs’ list of the most highly regarded 3D printers highlights relative unknowns in additive manufacturing market.

The M2, Makergear’s 3D 3D printer, won the Enthusiast category in 3D Hubs' 2015 3D Printer Guide.

The M2, Makergear’s 3D 3D printer, won the Enthusiast category in 3D Hubs’ 2015 3D Printer Guide.

To help would-be additive manufacturers make a purchasing decision among the growing number 3D printers available, online 3D printer network, 3D Hubs, has published its 2015 3D Printer Guide. In its day job, the site functions as a matchmaking service between those who want 3D prints made and local independent 3D print providers looking to hire out their machines.

The guide, therefore, is based on more than 2,200 reviews of 235 different 3D printer models, ranging from high-end machines down to crowd-funded prototypes, written by the site’s additive manufacturing providers. According to the site, approximately 317,000 test prints contributed to the 2015 ranking.

“A thorough and reliable 3D Printing Guide written by actual 3D printer owners was a missing resource for would be owners,” explains 3D Hubs CEO and cofounder, Bram de Zwart. “We’re making this relevant information freely accessible to everyone who is considering to buy a 3D printer.”

Organized into five 3D printer categories (Enthusiast, Plug-n-Play, Budget, Kits/DIY and Resin), the guide ranks printers in each grouping based on print quality, ease-of-use, build quality, reliability, failure rate, customer service, community support, running costs, openness, software and value for money.


While basically a popularity contest, the rankings surprisingly don’t include well-known brand names in the top spot for any particular category. In the Enthusiast group, for example, the $1,475 M2 printer by U.S.-based Makergear took the top spot based on its high precision and strong print/build quality. Similarly, the Zortrax M200 won top marks in the Plug ‘n’ Play group for its very low print failure rate and ease-of-use.

For the full ranking, including prices, machine specs and user reviews, as well as an index of all 3D printers considered, check out the 3D Hubs’ 2015 3D Printer Guide.


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