Top 10 Small Compact 3D Printers in 2021

If you’ve come to this page you most likely fall into one of these categories:

  • You’re tired of big-bottomed 3D printers hogging up your desk space. Now you’re looking for something smaller.
  • You’re a beginner and you just want a small, inexpensive printer that gets stuff done.
  • You have a child that you’re itching to get off your back, and after guitars, soccer, and books have failed, you’re hoping 3D printing would be a good distraction for them. 

Well, no need to worry. We’ve reviewed the best small 3D printers in the market. And none of them require you to earn your mechanical engineering degree.

The CR-100 Mini is Creality’s attempt at taking over the best small 3D printer market. And it has successfully fought its way into our list.

Right out of the box, this printer is ready to go. Setup is effortless – just add the spool, plug the printer into the socket and watch your creativity come alive (in plastic). 

Using the 3D printer is effortless; the printer comes with a touchpad with three functions – one to start the print, the other to stop, and one to regulate the temperature. No more complicated dials.

The CR-100 Mini works well without a heated bed (surprisingly). Parts pop off quickly once you’re done printing. This means that you don’t need to waste precious time waiting for the printer to heat up or cool down. 

However, you do lose the ability to print ABS it requires a heated bed to be printed well. 

But not all parts turn out like the Mona Lisa. Some of our trial prints did have warping issues. However, they were minor, and only a veteran 3D printing hobbyist would consider it unforgivable.

If you have kids, they’ll have a great time with the machine. Just make sure that they don’t climb on it, thinking it’s a truck!

Now don’t expect to make huge prints with this CR-100 (or any machine in this list for the matter). To state a rather obvious point – small 3D printers don’t have enough build space to create life-like replicas. At best, they’re suitable for miniatures. But look on the bright side, you’ll save up plenty of room in your house.

The CR-100 Mini does an excellent job in the mini 3D printer department, and I highly recommend it.

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The Select Mini V2 builds upon one of the best budget-friendly printers in the market –  the Select Mini. And it surpasses its predecessor in the process.

Monoprice is a company that resembles Creality; they make affordable mini 3D printers that perform well. And the Mini V2 is testament to this. 

Unlike the Creality CR-100, it comes with a printer bed that heats. This prevents the warping we mentioned in the previous review, as well as improves upon adhesion. In addition, the V2 includes a special BuildTak Mat, making it easy to pop prints out after printing.

However, the temperature on the print bed only goes up to 60°C; one that is not ideal for ABS prints.

The Mini V2 has a miraculous way of 3D printing with near-perfect accuracy. The machine had a Midas touch, whatever we threw at it turned out pure gold, metaphorically speaking. Sure, you can find flaws if you use a magnifying glass. But at the price point, the print quality is amazing.

This small 3D printer is heavy, with an all-metal body. This helps the Monoprice stand strong and not budge during printing. 

At 55mm/sec print speed, don’t expect the Mini V2 to beat Sonic the Hedgehog. If you’re an impatient sort, this printer is not for you.

Monoprice Select Mini V2 has a great community, and you can connect with fellow owners in good ole Reddit at https://www.reddit.com/r/MPSelectMiniOwners/. Any questions that trouble you on your 3D printing journey can be answered there. 

With a great cost-to-performance ratio, this 3D printer is ideal for those that want a great machine on a budget.

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Are you a new wanderer in this rich yet confusing world of 3D printing, and you can’t find your way around? Then pick up The Flashforge Adventurer 3 lite to be a starter guide on your journey!

It has a cube-like design that is unique and pleasing to the eye. If you have kids, this is one of the safest printers to have in your house, as it is completely enclosed. A closed space also helps control the temperature (hence better printing) and keeps children safe from toxic fumes.

The sibling of the Adventure 3 lite, the Adventure 3, has a camera – a feature the former lacks. So if watching your prints from afar is crucial to you, you may want to look into the latter. 

The touchscreen UI is clean and simple to use.

With the right settings dialed in, the prints turn out fine, with layer lines being almost imperceptible. There was only minor stringing that I noticed on some of the pieces. 

For the wanderers who don’t understand the 3D printing jargon above, suffice to say that print quality of the machine is great

The Adventurer 3 lite isn’t free from problems, however. Many users complained about loud noises as well as poor customer service.

Nonetheless, this compact 3D printer is perfect for ABS, unlike the Monoprice Select Mini V2 and the Mini V2. So if you want to print functional parts, there’s no better option than the Adventurer 3 lite.

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Cons

The Prusa Mini + is a small premium 3D printer that even 3D printing veterans sing songs about.

Due to its worldwide status and small size, this printer is superb for classrooms and laboratory environments. The machine has a unique look that is a head-turner.

The printer requires assembly, so this isn’t your standard plug-n-play small 3D printer. While beginners may object to this, potentially serious hobbyists will love learning about the machine during its set up. 

Installing the machine takes around an hour and a half of your time. You’ll find the process rewarding thanks to the clear instructions given.

A welcome upgrade from the older MK3S is the touchscreen. It’s intuitive for a newcomer and shows print completion time, material in use, etc. 

Like a typical human family, the Prusa is noisier than its elder brother MK3S (yeah printers can be dysfunctional too).

Print quality is just what you’d expect from a Prusa machine – freaking good. In fact, it’s almost as good as the MK3S (which is crazy considering that the MK3S is double the price). 

The Mini can handle ABS, PLA, PETG, ASA, and flex. Its filament versatility lies in the fact that it can even reach temperatures of 275°C.

The 3D printer comes with a medium-sized build volume of 180x180x180mm vs. the MK3S’s 250 x 210 x 210mm. 

Coming from a company that builds fantastic printers, this is one small 3D printer that you’ll never regret buying.

Pros

Cons

Monoprice threw yet another hat in the mini 3D printer ring with its Mini Delta. And it defeats its brethren, the Mini V2, in the process. 

The Delta comes with better components leading to a more reliable printer. It’s print bed also heats faster and retains heat for longer. And lastly, it has speedier printing speeds and better layer resolution than the V2. 

The 3D printer looks beautiful. Thanks to its fantastic construction quality, it’s sturdy. Right out of the box, the printer is ready to go: just connect the magnetic arms, auto level the bed, and start printing. 

With the Delta, you can print faster than the other standard Cartesian printers on this list. However, I recommend not to set the speed too high; it can lead to lower print quality. 

That brings us to print quality, which was impeccable (especially at low speeds). It was hard to notice the layers. This machine surprisingly prints better than some of the bigger printers in the market.

A small 3D printer it may be, this is not for children as the machine is open and there is no safety in place. 

You would think that its open nature would contribute to more noise, but thankfully the 3D printer just whispered away, troubling no one in the process.

Build size is small, so you can keep the compact 3D printer in your office easily (to the envy of your colleagues).

The Delta V2 has one of the best print qualities in the small 3D printing market space, and with its low budget, we highly recommend it.

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Don’t let its weird name throw you off. This compact 3D printer is better than most on this list.

The printer looks like a toy box (well, most mini 3D printers on this list look like that). But looks can be deceiving; the 3D printer is actually a mini beast. 

The Qidi X-One2 is factory assembled, so you don’t have to break your brain trying to set up the printer. It has a metallic structure, which makes the printer sturdy as a rock.

The printer can handle both ABS and PLA. The X-One2 has cool features like a print recovery, which allows you to resume prints after a power loss. 

Unlike some of the other introverted mini 3D printers on this list, this printer is quite loud. Thankfully, some of the noise is reduced thanks to the panels that cover the printer, 

The metal bed comes with a BuildTak-like surface which allows temperatures of up to 110C.

Mini 3D printers usually don’t print as well as bigger ones in the market. This is because companies cater to beginner audiences while designing these printers. Nonetheless, the Qidi X-one2 is an exception and it makes lovely prints (except for a few rough edges here and there). 

Another reason to get excited about the 3D printer is that its build volume isn’t as small as other 3D printers on this list (dimensions of 150x150x150mm). So if other printers put you off, the size should be yet another reason to get seduced by this printer.

This is a solid printer in the small 3D printer category, and I would say one of the best 3D printers on this list.

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Cons

Any 3D printer beginners here? STOP. You’re not going to find a better printer than the Flashforge Finder, so look no further. 

The Finder is a portable machine, thanks to its clean cube shape and small size. If you’re a tech exhibitionist who loves to put his tech wares on display, then you’d be happy to know that you can lug this around easily. 

As a beginner, it can be challenging to set up your 3D printer on your lonesome. The process can be daunting as well for a first-timer. Luckily, this tiny 3D printer skips the waiting line, and you can start printing within a few minutes of opening the box.

The touchscreen is also designed for ease of use. It also shows you a preview of the model before printing so you can confirm the print.

PLA is the most compatible material for this machine. The 3D printer is not suited for ABS because it lacks a heated bed. The print quality of the PLA prints was decent, and I was happy with the results. But I did find many prints were not as smooth as I would have liked, so that’s something to keep in mind. 

The Flashforge Finder is a quiet machine, even more so than the Monoprice Mini Delta. You can safely keep it in your bedroom and sleep without any disturbance.

If you’ve never dealt with 3D printers before, the Finder is a solid place to start.

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Cons

The Labists is an average mini 3D printer on this list, and is not much different from the other compact 3D printers we reviewed. But it’s a worthwhile addition because it’s one of the smallest 3D printers (if not the smallest) in this list.

The biggest draw of the tiny 3D printer is its incredibly low price. For those looking to dip their toes into the 3D printing world, this printer can be their gateway drug.

Assembling the printer is an easy affair. It comes in three pieces, and it takes just minutes to get started with your first print. 

Do you enjoy printing at night but don’t want to wake your family up? This mini 3D printer prints in stealth mode, no one will know when and how you printed.

The Labists Mini X1 is compatible with Cura, which has many 3D printing templates for you to kickstart your 3D printing career. 

While its light frame increases its portability, there’s a price paid in terms of stability. The 3D printer is susceptible to vibrations which can damage it in the long term.

If you’re looking for similar compact 3D printers, you can check out this printer. Here’s yet another cheap and identical printer. Both printers are similar to the Mini X, so feel free to choose the one you resonate with. 

As I mentioned initially, there aren’t many bells and whistles on these 3D printers, but if you’re looking for something cheap, these are great options.

Pros

Cons

All of the above printers were suitable for ABS or PLA only. But if you’re looking for a resin printer, then the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro is the best.

The Mars 2 Pro comes with a 6.08 monochrome LCD with a 2K HD resolution. Tech mumbo-jumbo aside, this just means that the printer is faster, more efficient than regular RGB LCD resin printers.

The build quality is solid, with a CNC machined aluminum body. Because of this, all movements in the machine are steady, which leads to precise prints. 

Prints created by the Elegoo Mars 2 have fine details and a high resolution. No other mini 3D printer in this review comes close. This might make the Elegoo Mars 2 feel all proud and haughty, but it’s just the nature of resin 3D printers to have better accuracy and resolution than standard FDM printers. Their prints feel smooth to touch and have a premium feel to them. 

Is speed an important quality while looking for your future partner? (sorry, um..printer?) The Mars 2 Pro is quick, again beating the other printers on this list in terms of speed.

Similar to the Qidi X-One2, this mini 3D printer is quiet.  

Approach resin 3D printing with caution, the fumes generated are toxic. Ensure that there’s sufficient ventilation in your room. Otherwise, the fumes can a) irritate your lungs and b) cause skin allergies.

Luckily the Mars 2 Pro comes with a carbon filter that protects you from some of the fumes during 3D printing. Despite this, we still suggest taking necessary precautions to protect yourself from harmful fumes. 

Tabletop gamers and comic book fans would be happy to know that the printer is excellent for building miniatures and action figures. 

The Elegoo Mars 2 Pro is a high-quality machine that is popular worldwide and is one of the better printers on this list.

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I know we’ve recommended the Creality CR-100 for kids before, but if you want the King of Kiddy printers, then read on about the WZTO Mini 3D Printer.

Don’t let its ridiculously low price and toy-like looks fool you, the printer does its job well.

The WZTO mini 3D printer is one of the smallest 3D printer. The settings are basic, and your kid can easily use the machine.

The tiny 3D printer doesn’t make a lot of noise, so you can add it in libraries, schools or in your house without it creating any disturbance. I mean who needs another source of headache in the house, huh?

Printer nozzle reaches a temperature of 180°C, which is suitable for PLA plastic. The heating of the nozzle is quick – it just takes 5 minutes. For those of you with impatient kids, you’ll be thankful for this.

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