The best 3D printers for 2022

Even though affordable 3D printers have been around for many years, they’re still very far from mainstream.

There are a few reasons for this. First, not many people feel that they need a 3D printer. Unless you’re going to set up a side hustle 3D printing things to sell, you’ll probably struggle to think of half a dozen things you can usefully print.

The other is that they’re not exactly automatic. Unlike, say, an inkjet printer which you can plug in and immediately print a photo or a Word document, a 3D printer needs some fettling before it will successfully print anything at all.

There’s a third reason: consumer 3D printers are single-colour devices. They have one nozzle and can print one colour at a time. You can stop a print, load a different colour and continue, but because of the way that they print one layer on top of the previous one, colours can only change throughout the height of the thing you’re printing.

Printers with multiple nozzles exist, but they’re too expensive for most consumers to justify buying.

Then there’s the speed. Even a small object can take several hours to print and large ones a day or two.

Finally, until you’ve spent time getting to grips with a 3D modelling app such as Adobe Fusion, you’ll be limited to printing objects that other people have designed. There are lots of them, but if you want something bespoke, you’ll have to create it yourself, and that has its own steep learning curve.

As long as you’re prepared for this and don’t have sky-high expectations of being able to print intricate, articulated models from the off, 3D printing can be extremely rewarding.

We’re focusing mainly on FDM (fused deposition modelling) printers here, as this is the most popular type, but there are also resin 3D printers. Resin printers work very differently, and are designed for printing small, intricate models.

1. Anycubic Vyper


Auto levelling


Dual-gear filament feed

You tend to get what you pay for with 3D printers, and the Vyper sits right in the sweet spot. It ticks all the right boxes: (proper) auto levelling, a touchscreen, a PEI sheet and a decent build volume of 240x240x265mm.

It’s easy to assemble, prints reliably and offers good quality with minimal tweaking.

You’ll get better quality from Creality’s Ender 3 S1 Pro, but that’s more expensive, and you’ll forego fully automatic bed levelling.

For most people, the Vyper offers good-enough quality at a sensible price with reliable first layers every time.

Read our full
Review Anycubic Vyper

2. Creality 3D Ender 3 S1 Pro


Fantastic print quality

All the features you’d want


Auto-levelling requires manual input

Touchscreen interface could be better

The S1 Pro might not be the budget 3D printer you’d expect from an Ender 3, but that’s because it has had all the bells and whistles thrown at it.

Read our full
Review Creality 3D Ender 3 S1 Pro

3. Voxelab Aquila S2


Nozzle goes up to 300°C


PEI sheet


Manual bed levelling

No touchscreen

The Aquila S2 is a less expensive alternative to others here, but still has most of the features you’d want, including a PEI sheet that helps prints to stick while printing, but makes it simple to remove them afterwards.

You can print with a variety of materials, including PETG, thanks to the fact the hotend can reach 300°C and the bed 100°C.

Bed levelling, though, is manual, and there’s no touchscreen: the colour screen is operated using a knob.

When you’ve levelled it, though, prints are great: we had success with several print-in-place models, but like most of the printers here, you may find intricate models require a raft to succeed.

Read our full
Review Voxelab Aquila S2

4. Creality Halot One Plus


Easy to use & reliable

Works with various slicers

Great print quality


Fan runs constantly during printing

Requires post-printing cleanup + curing (like all resin printers)

More expensive than some rivals

The Halot One Plus is an easy-to-use resin 3D printer that has a good-sized build volume, prints reliably and at high quality. It’s quite expensive compared to rivals, especially in the UK.

The Halot One Plus is a resin printer, so is very different to the others here. Instead of using filament on a reel, it prints using liquid resin which is cured, layer by layer, using UV light.

Build volume is smaller than the FDM printers here, but it’s still relatively large for a resin printer, and the screen’s high resolution means models have lots of fine detail.

The Halot One Plus printed ultra-reliably in our tests, but if you are keen on a resin printer, bear in mind that you have to clean up prints afterwards, which usually means buying a separate washing and curing device that looks a lot like a resin printer and takes up the same amount of desk space.

Read our full
Review Creality Halot One Plus

5. Creality Sermoon V1 Pro



Very easy to use

Auto levelling


Small build volume


Most 3D printers are open, but the Sermoon is fully enclosed. This, and the fact it has a touchscreen interface designed for beginners, means it’s well suited to kids.

There’s a safety feature that pauses printing when the door is opened, but the enclosure also means you should be able to print with warp-happy materials more easily.

However, that isn’t quite the case as the heated bed can reach only 80°C, but you really need 100°C for ABS. 

The build volume of 175 x 175 x 165mm might put some off, but if you’re after a 3D printer that arrives fully built and is relatively simple to use – and you mainly want to print using the common PLA filament, it could be ideal.

The main issue is the high price, but if that’s not a hurdle, then it’s a decent choice.

Read our full
Review Creality Sermoon V1 Pro

3D printers: a buyer’s guide

Since printers all tend to look the same at first, here are some things you should look out for when choosing.

Auto levelling

Unless the surface on which objects are printed is perfectly level, prints won’t stick to it and will fail sooner or later.

Manual levelling is a chore you could probably do without, so go for a printer with auto levelling. But be careful. Some printers claim to have auto levelling, but rely on you to do a lot of the work. Which is why it pays to read reviews as well as knowing what to look for.

Heated bed

Almost all 3D printers have them, but a few still don’t. A heated bed will help prints to stick: don’t buy a printer without one.

PEI sheet

When prints do stick, they can be difficult to remove from the bed. A PEI (polyetherimide) sheet helps immensely.

Instead of a glass sheet, a flexible metal sheet with a textured coating is used, and held in place with a magnet the full size of the print bed. When the model finishes printing, you simply lift the sheet off, flex it and the model pops off.


The cheapest, most basic 3D printers  use a monochrome screen with a rotary dial. Go more up market and you might get a nicer colour LCD screen, but if you can, get a printer with a touchscreen as it’s so much quicker and easier to use.


A printer’s build volume tells you how big an object it can print. Assume that the actual volume is a bit smaller than the specifications, and go for one with a slightly larger volume than the biggest object you will need to print.

It can be hard to know this, and remember that a bigger volume means a bigger printer, which you’ll need space for.

Really large models have to printed in sections and glued (or otherwise fixed) together, but build volumes do vary.


Most people print using PLA, the most common type of filament. All 3D printers have nozzles that go up to the 220°C or so that PLA requires. But if you want to print with ABS, PETG or another type of plastic, be sure to opt for a printer that can go up to around 300°C.

Similarly, watch out for heated bed temperatures. Some won’t go beyond 80°C, but you’ll need 100°C or more for successful ABS prints.

Run-out sensor

With large models taking many hours to print and the fact that you can’t always know if there’s enough filament left on the reel to complete it, a run-out sensor can be a life saver. It does it what it says: detects when the filament runs out and halts printing automatically, allowing you to load a new reel and carry on printing.

Without one, the filament could run out and the printer will carry on printing thin air, and you’d be none the wiser.

About the author: SubSellKaro

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