Online community 3D Hubs has published its second annual 3D Printer Guide for 2016, based on reviews from 5,350 verified 3D printer owners of 441 different 3D printer models.
In all, the guide rated 146 machines, with "10" the highest ranking and "1" the lowest. The ratings include the top 20 machines in five categories and 126 printers that didn't make the top cut in their categories. Only machines with five reviews or more were included in the Printer Guide.
3D Hubs is a two-year-old Amsterdam-based startup that created an online distributed network as a marketplace for printing 3D objects. The network quickly grew to include more than 10,000 3D printer owners throughout the world.
Last year's guide included a list of the top 18 printers and an additional 58 that didn't make it to the top of their categories.
The 3D printer categories include "Plug 'N' Play," "Enthusiast," "Budget," Kit/DIY machines, and "Resin" or stereolithography printers.
The printers were ranked according to their reliability, print quality, ease of use, company support and value/cost. Each category valued those attributes differently. For example, "print quality" was seen as foremost importance in the "Enthusiast" category, while reliability was seen as more critical in the "Plug 'N' Play" category.
For the second year in a row, the Makergear M2 ($1,825) took the top spot with a 9.1 rating in the "Enthusiast" category, which is for intermediate and professional users. Other top machines in that category included the Lulzbot Taz 5 ($2,200), the Flashforce Creator Pro ($1,199), the Ultimaker 2 ($2,499), the Witbox ($1,999) and the Delta Wasp ($2,550).
The Craftbot, a $999 machine, took top honors in the "Budget" 3D printer category with an 8.8 rating. Also earning top spots were the Flashforge Creator ($999), the Up Mini ($599) and the Printrbot Simple Metal ($649).
In the DIY or "Kit" category of printers, which involves printers that you put together yourself, the 3.2-foot-tall Rostock Max ($999) received a 9.1 rating and the lead position. The three other printers in the top DIY/KIT category were the Ultimaker Original+ ($1,225), The Mendel 90 ($785) and the Prusa Steel ($500).
In the Plug 'N' Play category, the Zortrax M2000 ($1,990) was ranked the best with a 9.0 rating. Also included in the top honors spot were the Beethefirst ($1,690), the Cel Robox ($1,299), and the Lulzbot Mini ($1,350).
In the "Resin" machine category, the Form 1+ 3D printer ($2,799) took the top spot for the second year in a row with an 8.4 rating, followed by the B9Creator ($3,490); There are few stereolithography machines on the market.