If you’re thinking about giving the gift of 3D printing to a young maker, you’ve come to the right place! If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the plethora of options out there, fear not! I’m here to guide you through the top six recommendations for 3D printers suitable for kids…and one you might want to leave on the shelf.
This post is available on Youtube if you’d rather watch!
Before we dive in, you might be wondering why you should trust what I have to say when it comes to kids and 3D printers? As my kids have grown, I’ve gotten into new hobbies. Back in 2020, I received a 3D printer as a birthday present…and if you know anything about bloggers, is that we love to share our new crafts. I did a deep dive on 3D printers, started a blog, and then got picked up by Tom’s Hardware — a well-established consumer electronics website — where I now review 3D printers.
I’ve reviewed dozens upon dozens of printers, and I’ve always looked at them with a mom’s eye. Would an elementary aged kid be able to use this? What about a teen? Could this be a good printer to have in a classroom? Can a busy family keep this thing running?
I have used all the printers I’m going to recommend to you today. These run the range from an extremely affordable entry-level printer to slightly expensive – at least for a kid’s gift in this household! Your experience may vary.
This blog post contains affiliate links to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This means that if you make a purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
The Top Five 3D Printers for Kids
1. ToyBox 3D Printer
- Price: Starting at $299
- Link: ToyBox 3D Printer
The ToyBox is the Easy Bake Oven of 3D printers, designed specifically for young kids. With a sturdy metal frame, it can withstand even the clumsiest hands. Its simplicity shines through, operating through the Toybox website, which is isolated from the internet. Kids can choose from a library of parent-approved models and send them straight to the printer, making it an ideal starter for elementary-aged kids.
2. AOSEED X-Maker
- Price: $399 (Black Friday Price: $319)
- Link: AOSEED X-Maker
The X-Maker is perfect for elementary kids but offers room for growth. It’s a fully functional 3D printer with kid-friendly software and an easy-to-understand interface. Like the ToyBox, it includes a suite of software for making your own toys. With a build volume of 150x150x150 mm, it provides more space for creativity.
3. Bambu Mini
- Price: $299 (standalone), $459 with AMS
- Link: Bambu Mini
Ideal for older kids familiar with technology, the Bambu Mini is a compact, beginner-friendly printer. With a 7-inch build plate, it’s suitable for those ready for a “grown-up” printer without the hefty price tag. An optional AMS upgrade allows printing in four colors, making it versatile for advanced users or a whole family.
4. Prusa Mini
- Price: $459 (semi-assembled)
- Link: Prusa Mini
Another excellent choice for older kids, the Prusa Mini, offers a compact size with a 7-inch build plate. While not specifically designed for kids, its user-friendly features make it accessible. As a semi-assembled printer, it strikes a balance between simplicity and functionality.
5. AnkerMake M5C
- Price: $399 (Black Friday Price: $319)
Fast and appealing to teens, the AnkerMake M5C runs off your phone and offers an “easy mode” slicer for straightforward printing. While not explicitly made for kids, its speed and simplicity make it an attractive option for tech-savvy middle schoolers.
6. Creality Ender 3 V3 SE
- Price: On sale under $197
- Link: Creality Ender 3 V3 SE
The Ender 3 V3 SE is a beginner-friendly printer from the king of beginner printers, Creality. Priced under $200, it’s easy to use and simple to assemble. While not designed specifically for kids, a tech-savvy middle schooler will find it easy to operate.
The One to Avoid
MicroCenter’s $99 Ender
While a $99 Ender at MicroCenter might seem like a steal, it’s worth noting that these printers are older stock, specifically the Ender 3 V2. This model can be challenging to assemble and set up compared to the current budget Ender. If you’re considering this deal, check out my friend Brian’s assembly guide video for a smoother experience.
Choosing the right 3D printer for a young maker involves considering their age, technical understanding, and your budget. Whether you opt for a kid-friendly model or a beginner-friendly printer that can grow with them, the world of 3D printing awaits the next generation of creators. Happy printing!