Can work w/ filaments specialized for wood, metal, and nylon as well as ABS and PLA plastics. Granular controls include dial temperature settings and adjustable hardening rates. Comes with a set of removable nozzles. Designed for a comfortable grip.
Expensive. Included filament colors may vary.
Our tester loved how easily the filament flowed out of this one. It goes to sleep when you do not use it, making it safer for you when you set down. This one's great for artists who want to experience a quality 3D Pen right off the bat, as well as those taking a step up from a starter pen.
According to our tests, this one's design could be more ergonomic.
Pen's speed changes with the touch of a button. Adjusts the temperature with precision for a wide range of functions. OLED display gives a quick view of the current settings. Includes starter filament.
Slow to heat up, and the power cord is a bit short.
It's not just the pen; it's the mat and filament, too. The plastic is more flexible for kids to play around with, and it won't burn them, either. We recommend this one for children who want to make accessories for their toys or learn the basics of sculpting. It's a hands-on educational tool, too.
Despite its kid-friendly design, our tester found this one too thick. The filament must be from 3Doodler.
The speed control lets you work at your own pace and add some variety to your work. It works with most PLA, ABS, and other 3D printer filaments, meaning you can customize the color and material to your current projects. Our tester recommends this as an all-encompassing 3D pen for adults and teens.
This one smokes and gives off a slight odor when you use it on the highest setting. It gets too hot for kids to use it.
After going through an intensive research process to narrow down our short list of top products in this space, we tested most of our top five to be sure that these products are worth your time. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter and test to verify manufacturer claims.
Arts and crafts projects can be the perfect activity to bring the whole family together. If your kids enjoy drawing and building models, a 3D pen is an ideal way to combine the two activities. Not only does it allow them to use their imagination to create anything they like but it also leaves them with a three-dimensional item to enjoy.
These pens are similar in design to glue guns, but instead of glue sticks, 3D pens melt plastic filament. The melted filament is pushed out the nozzle and the user is able to direct exactly where it goes. In addition to making art projects, you can also use the pen to create jewelry, make custom items like coasters and bookends, and fix household items like a broken pair of scissors. While children can have a lot of fun with a 3D pen, adults may find quite a few uses for one, too.
Wired: These 3D pens must either be connected to the USB port on your computer via a cable or to an outlet with an AC adapter. You never have to wait for the pen to be ready for use, but you do need to work near an outlet. One drawback with a wired model is that the cord can sometimes get in the way while you’re drawing with the pen.
Wireless: A rechargeable battery powers these 3D pens, so you don’t need to plug it in to use. You’re able to work with the pen anywhere even if there isn’t an outlet nearby. A drawback is that the battery could die while you’re using the pen, which means you’ll have to wait for it to recharge before finishing your project
3D pens melt plastic filament to create three-dimensional designs. The most widely used types of filament are acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polylactic acid (PLA). Most 3D pens can accept both types of filament. However, there are some models that can’t heat up high enough to melt ABS. If you want to switch back and forth between the two, make sure that the 3D pen you’re considering can use both types.
ABS: This filament is the more budget-friendly option, but it has a higher melting temperature. While most 3D pens can generate the heat necessary to melt ABS filament, the higher temperature can cause the filament to produce fumes that can irritate eyes and skin and make some users feel sick. It is very important to use ABS filament in a well-ventilated area. (The Material Safety Data Sheet on ABS can be found here.)
To make sure that a 3D pen can handle the type of filament you want to use, check what temperature range it can handle. PLA filament requires a temperature of approximately 160°C to 220°C (320°F to 428°F), while ABS filament needs a temperature of 180°C to 250°C (356°F to 482°F). A pen with a range of 130°C to 240°C (266°F to 464°F) is usually a good option.
Pay attention to the temperature controls, too. Some pens allow you to adjust in increments as small as one degree, while others use five- or ten-degree intervals. You may find some pens that don’t offer variable temperature controls. These pens only have a setting for each type of filament, which adjusts the temperature automatically.
You’ll have much more control over a 3D pen if you’re able to vary the speed that the filament emerges from the nozzle. For filling in large areas, you’ll want a faster speed so you can work more quickly. When you’re working on detailed portions of a project, a slower speed works better. Opt for a 3D pen that provides at least three speeds for the most control. It also helps to select a model that allows you to easily adjust the speed with a dial or button.
These pens aren’t designed to be used for extended periods of time and can overheat easily. To make sure you can finish your projects in a timely manner, opt for a pen that cools off quickly, so you don’t have to wait too long before you can use it again.
If you’re buying a 3D pen for children, safety is a priority. A 3D pen can get hot, so leaving it on can potentially mean burned fingers. Choose a model that turns off automatically after a certain amount of time, so you don’t have to worry about the kids forgetting to turn off the pen.
The nozzle on a 3D pen can sometimes get clogged with melted filament, which prevents the pen from working properly. Many pens don’t allow you to remove the nozzle, so you’re unable to clear out the clog and use the pen again. However, some models have removable nozzles, which allow you to clean it or replace it entirely. It’s a key feature if you want your 3D pen to last as long as possible.
Depending on the 3D pen you choose, you might also receive accessories that make the pen easier to use. Many come with a few colors of filament, so the pen is ready to use right out of the box. Others include finger protectors or a metal spatula to help keep your skin from coming in contact with the pen’s hot nozzle.
Most 3D pens range in price from $18 to $150, based on how much adjustability they offer in terms of temperature and speed, as well as what accessories they come with.
The most affordable 3D pens are fairly basic models that offer just one speed and general temperature settings based on filament type. These cost between $18 and $40 and are a good option for children or adults who are trying a 3D pen for the first time.
Pens that offer adjustable temperature settings and include accessories like several colors of filament or silicone fingertip guards are slightly more expensive, ranging from $40 to $75. These models may only have a single speed, but some offer multiple speed settings for more control.
The most expensive 3D pens have adjustable temperature settings, adjustable speed settings, and multiple accessories and are ideal for adults who are experienced at using the pen. These pens usually cost between $75 and $150.
Use templates. When you’re new to using a 3D pen, it helps to use a template to draw your projects. Many manufacturers include templates with their pens, but you can also find a wide selection online.
Start with a sketch. When you start a project with your 3D pen, it’s best to begin with a rough sketch. Once you finish the basic shape, you can go back and add smaller details.
Work on a silicone crafting mat. Many 3D pens can be used on a variety of surfaces, but it’s a good idea to create your projects on a silicone crafting mat.
A. They are usually safe for children who are eight or older. However, it’s important to remember that the pen gets hot, so you should always supervise kids while they’re working with it. It’s also a good idea to use PLA filament with children because it requires a lower temperature to melt and doesn’t produce irritating fumes.
A. Most models will last at least a year. Cheaper pens tend to have the shortest lifespan, but higher-end models can last two years or more.
A. Many 3D pens do offer some kind of protection, but it usually only provides one year of coverage. It's typically limited to manufacturing- and material-related issues, so you won’t be covered if you misuse the pen or it’s damaged in an accident. If this is something you're worried about, read about the protection offered before you buy.
Get emails you’ll love.
Learn about the products you’re wondering if you should buy and get advice on using your latest purchases.
BestReviews wants to be better. Please take our 3-minute survey,
and give us feedback about your visit today.