Pros / The MakerBot Replicator+ earned some of the best print quality scores in our tests; each print was flawless, smooth and accurate.
Cons / This printer is only compatible with MakerBot brand PLA filament.
Verdict / The MakerBot Replicator+ is a professional 3D printer with high-quality performance, a short start-up time and many helpful connection options.
The MakerBot Replicator+ is a good 3D printer for beginners. It took us less than five minutes to unbox the machine, and it requires little to no upkeep. Although it only prints with PLA filament, it printed some of the highest-quality models in our 3D printer comparison.
This 3D printer’s print quality rivals professional machines. To evaluate quality, we printed a miniature of the Empire State Building and a stress test model with bridges, arches, blocks, walls, ovals and other elements to strain the printer. We didn’t need to perform any post-print cleaning – each model was accurate and the spires were pointy, which indicates the machine maintained the correct temperature. Each surface was smooth without blemish, and the models didn’t have any awkward layer shifting. The maximum build size is about average for a 3D printer, and most projects should fit inside the 6.5 x 7.6 x 11.6 print capacity. Overall, we were impressed with the MakerBot’s print quality.
The biggest downside to the MakerBot Replicator+ is its limited filament options. This is a PLA-only printer, without a heated print bed. It’s odd for a 3D printer, especially a high-quality machine like this one, to not print with ABS or any other material. You’re also limited to proprietary MakerBot filament, as the cartridge size is unique. Using non-MakerBot filament also voids the warranty. The price is a bit steep for simple PLA, so replacement materials could drive up your cost over time, depending on your usage of course.
During our testing, it was easy to connect to this printer over Wi-Fi, with a flash drive, and using a USB connection to our computer. When you plug the printer into your computer via USB, also called tethering, you can unplug the cable once the print starts. This flexibility is wonderful and rare among the models in our 3D printer review.
The best 3D printers don’t require frequent calibration. The MakerBot Replicator+ did most of the work for us, so we didn’t spend precious testing hours calibrating and recalibrating the machine. After you unbox it, the printer doesn’t require much set up and assembly. In fact, most steps involve loading filament. The print head magnetically attaches, so you don’t need to connect wires, unscrew screws or do anything more complicated than stick it on. Before each print, this 3D printer auto levels, and we found the entire process, including preheating, took less than three and a half minutes.
For a home 3D printer, the MakerBot Replicator+ is rather large. It weighs more than 40 pounds and is constructed from aluminum, ABS and steel, which makes it a heavy but quality machine. The print plate isn’t traditional glass. Instead, a grip surface covers the removable print platform, which makes it really easy to remove prints. We had no problems removing prints during our testing, and the print plate is even flexible, so you can bend it to get your trickier models off.
Many of the 3D printers in our comparison have lengthy warranties and extensive service platforms. MakerBot provides six-month warranty, which is standard but shorter than the 12-month ones offered by other manufacturers. However, MakerBot has a one-, two- and three-year upgrade options if you want a longer warranty, technical support and extended hours for chat assistance. If you’re looking to keep costs low, regular email and phone support is free as are the user manual and video tutorials on the website.
- Max Build Volume
- Manufacturer Filament Cost
The Replicator is one of the best home 3D printers, as it has above-average print quality and is still easy enough for novices to use. It also has premium features, such as a webcam and wireless printing, that make it more enjoyable and easier to use than other 3D printers on our comparison.