Are you planning on buying a 3D printer this holiday season? You may want to check out the Makegear M2: According to the members of online 3D printing community 3D Hubs, it's the top-rated 3D printer for enthusiasts.
Drawing from community reviews of various 3D printers, 3D Hubs has assembled a ranked guide of the best models in five categories: Enthusiast, Plug'n'Play, Kit/DIY, Budget, and Resin. The rankings are based on 2279 user reviews of 235 different 3D printers.
According to 3D Hubs' users, the best 3D printer for enthusiasts is the Makegear M2 ($1475), an open-source printer with an extremely fine layer resolution of just 20 microns (0.02mm). With a 9 out of 10 rating, it's also one of the highest-rated 3D printers in general, according to 3D Hubs. In the enthusiast category, the other top scorers were the FlashForge Creator Pro ($1349), the $2,500 Ultimaker 2 (see review) and the Witbox ($2075).
In the Plug-n-Play category, consisting of easy-to-use printers that come fully assembled and ready to go, the winners were the Zortrax M200 ($1990) and the BEETHEFIRST ($2449), both with an 8.9. One 3D Hubs user even described the Zortrax M200 thus: "If my pickup lines were like Zortrax prints, I'd have fathered a thousand kids."
In the Kit/DIY category, whose assembly-required printers are geared toward more advanced users, the 3D Hubs community favored the Rostock MAX ($999), a printer that got its start on Indiegogo and has a large cylindrical build area of 14.8 inches tall and 10.6 inches in diameter. The Rostock MAX is also one of the only printers on 3D Hubs that scored a 9 out of 10.
For new printing enthusiasts, getting a reliable and affordable 3D printer is important. In 3D Hubs' budget category, the winner was the Printrbot Simple Metal, a $599 printer that scored 8.6 out of 10 among 3D Hubs users. (See our review of the $349 wooden-bodied version of the Printrbot Simple.)
The final category consists of 3D printers that print using a smooth, waxlike material called resin, which allows for much higher-quality and higher-resolution prints. The winner in this category, according to 3D Hubs users, is the $3299 Form 1+ (read our review), with an 8.4 out of 10 rating.
The full user-generated rankings can be found on 3D Hubs' website. Do you agree with the choices?
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Jill Scharr is a staff writer for Tom's Guide, where she regularly covers security, 3D printing and video games. You can email Jill at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter @JillScharr and on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.