NPD Group: Top 8 Best-Selling 3D Printers In 2016 Q2

3D Printers To Consider

The 3D printer industry is surging as the market transitions away from targeting consumers and toward more-profitable use cases in manufacturing, product design and life sciences, IDC reported this month. Global revenues for 3D printers are expected to more than double in the coming years, from a projected $15.9 billion in 2016 to $35.4 billion in 2020, according to the forecast from IDC.

In terms of the 3D printer makers that are driving this growth, three vendors dominated in the second quarter of 2016, as measured by sales through technology distributors. Those manufacturers are MakerBot, Dremel and 3D Systems, according to NPD Group, a Port Washington, N.Y.-based market research firm. (Vendors including HP do not appear in the ranking due to lack of presence in the distribution channel for 3D printers.)

Following are the eight top-selling 3D printer models in the second quarter, based on NPD Group's data from major technology distributors, leading up to the best-selling 3D printer. NPD Group's DistributorTrack sales database is comprised primarily of U.S. Global Technology Distribution Council members.

8. 3D Systems CubePro Trio 3D Printer

The top-of-the-line model in the CubePro series, the CubePro Trio, allows users to print in as many as three simultaneous colors and with three different materials. Build size is slightly smaller than on the CubePro Duo with a build volume of 7.89 inches width, though the height and length capabilities are the same--as is the ability to print in 70-micron layer resolution. The 3D Systems CubePro Trio is priced at $4,399.

7. 3D Systems CubePro Duo 3D Printer

The CubePro Duo from 3D Systems aims to stand out from the likes of MakerBot and Dremel 3D printers by bringing together many of the bleeding-edge features available in 3D printing in one place. For starters, the CubePro Duo offers 70-micron layer resolution, beating that of the Replicator Desktop and Replicator Z18. Large objects are also an option, with build volume of 10.6 inches length, 9.56 inches width and 9.06 inches height. And so is printing objects with more than one color and material--the CubePro Duo enables 3D printing in two simultaneous colors and with two different materials. The CubePro Duo is priced at $3,399.

6. MakerBot Replicator Z18 3D Printer

For those who like the freedom to build really big stuff with their 3D printer, however, the go-to product in the second quarter was MakerBot's Replicator Z18. The name comes from the 18-inch height capability offered by the machine, while the Z18 offers up to 12 inches on both width and length. The Z18 specializes in printing large industrial prototypes and can also print more than one object at a time, with 100-micron layer resolution. While the Z18's price is substantially higher than other MakerBot models, its incremental costs are held in check a bit by its use of MakerBot's low-cost PLA Filament. The Replicator Z18 3D printer is priced at $6,499.

5. Dremel Idea Builder 3D40 3D Printer

The 3D40 model is a higher-end version of the Dremel Idea Builder, with similarities including the 100-micron layer resolution, but with a number of differences including the ability to print larger objects. The build volume for the 3D40 is 10 inches length, 6 inches width and 6.7 inches height--compared to the 5.9-inch height capability of MakerBot's Replicator Desktop. The Idea Builder 3D40 is priced at $1,299.

4. MakerBot Replicator 2X 3D Printer

Targeted at users that are looking to experiment, the Replicator 2X is the only MakerBot 3D printer to offer dual extrusion. Those capabilities enable users to print 3D objects that feature two colors, which can be interlaced with each other. For instance, as MakerBot shows on its website, dual extrusion might let a user print a model of the earth with the water as one color and the land as a different color. The Replicator 2X 3D printer is priced at $1,699.

3. Dremel Idea Builder 3D Printer

Traditionally focused on producing handheld rotary tools, Dremel diversified into 3D printers with the Idea Builder, which is targeted as an easy-to-use machine that comes with an extruder pre-installed. The Idea Builder offers 100-micron layer resolution and build volume of 9 inches length, 5.9 inches width and 5.5 inches height--making it almost comparable to MakerBot's Replicator Desktop on build volume. And for a lower cost--the Dremel Idea Builder is priced at $999.

2. MakerBot Replicator Mini 3D Printer

For users whose space--or checkbook--is a constraint, the Replicator Mini was a favorite in Q2. The resolution (200-micron layer) is not as premium as on the Replicator Desktop, but the height capability of 4.9 inches is not far from what's offered in the Desktop version. The Replicator Mini 3D printer is priced at $1,375.

1. MakerBot Replicator Desktop (Fifth-Generation) 3D Printer

MakerBot calls its fifth-generation Replicator ’the new standard in desktop 3D printing’—and judging by Q2 sales through technology distributors, that may not just be marketing hype. The machine, which was the best-selling 3D printer in Q2, promises faster print times than previous versions, along with 100-micron layer resolution and an 11 percent larger build volume than in the past (9.9 inches length, 7.8 inches width, 5.9 inches height). Features include a new Smart Extruder that aims to make swapping and replacing printed parts easier than in the past. The fifth-gen Replicator Desktop 3D printer is priced at $1,999.