Best 3D Printers Not Made in China

Best 3D Printers Not Made in China

There’s one interesting phenomenon I’ve noticed while putting this site together. China tends to monopolize two kinds of manufacturing more easily than others.

The first kind of manufacturing are products (mainly electronics) that have been around so long that they’ve become commoditized. The two examples that come to mind are toasters and clock radios. Here’s the way it’ll typically work. Products like these used to be produced in the United States, but at some point brands decide that there’s no more innovation they can do to the product—all they want to do is manufacture the same product in mass quantities and profit off their cash cows. They go around asking for the lowest bidders, and of course China cheats. They undercut every other contractor with a combination of abundant (and polluted) raw materials, workers who will work at prison-wages (sometimes literally using prisoners), and a government who will not hesitate to tip the scales if they see contractors in any other country.

The second kind of manufacturing that China dominates is new technology. This is scarier than the first option. In the past (as in the scenario above) brands would do most of their manufacturing domestically and maybe move their most mature products or the low end of their product lines overseas. Now, so many corporate decisions are made by venture capitalists and hedge fund managers who want to see profits right away, so everything goes to China.

That’s why you see relatively recent technical innovations, like air fryers, drones, and 3D printers, going straight to China. China, of course, is the beneficiary here. I’ve already covered in other posts how China has set up an ingenious system where they don’t have to steal intellectual property—they get brands to eagerly give it to them.

You’ve seen my frustration in trying to find air fryers and drones not made in China, and I have the same frustration with 3D Printers. As with those categories, your only bet seems to either be to go very, very high end to find anything not made in China (there’s one exception, which I’ll highlight below as my #1 pick).

Here are some of the best you can buy.


Best 3D Printers Not Made in China

1. Prusa Original MK4 3D Printer

As MakerBot and Creality continue to sell out to China, and as China brands like Anker, Snapmaker, and Anycubic (a.k.a. shenzhenderuipatemaoyiyouxiangongsi) start the predictable push of undercutting them on price to dominate and eventually push them out the market, there’s one 3d Printer maker that seems to be standing firm. It’s Prusa.

A lot of people make the mistake of spelling it PrUSA. But Prusa is named after its founder, Josef Průša, who designed his first 3D printer in 2012 and released it commercially in 2015.

For those of you who haven’t been keeping up with geopolitics, the Czech Republic is one of the most freedom-loving countries out there, with a vibrant economy, a history of championing human rights, and importantly, a clear memory of what life was like under Soviet rule. When I talked to co-workers in Prague, that’s the one thing I remember as being completely different than talking to people in the United States. Americans simply have no concept of what life under a totalitarian socialist state means, which is why so many of them are pushing for one.

Okay, back to 3D printers. The Prusa MK4 has quietly become one of the most respected and well-reviewed 3D printers, named by CNET as the best for quality and by TechRadar as the best premium 3D printer. At $1100 it’s not cheap, but it easily surpasses MakerBot’s quality, probably thanks in large part to its stubborn insistence on keeping manufacturing in the Czech Republic.

When someone on Reddit asked if all the parts came from China, another Redditor replied:

The boards are ultimachine (US), hotend is e3d (uk), power supply is Delta (Taiwan), bearings are Misumi (Japan), extruder parts are Bondtech (Sweden), LDO motors (HK&China). Extrusion and other parts are made in country.

The Prusa Mini is slightly more affordable at about $950, and it’s also made in the Czech Republic.

2. LulzBot Mini 2

LulzBot makes a lot of high-end 3D printers, but the LulzBot Mini 2 is on the border of affordability at about $1500. It’s made in the USA of “imported and domestic parts”, so there’s a good chance that a lot of parts come from China, but at least they’re assembling them in the USA.

LulzBot was started by a company called Aleph Objects based in Colorado with a business model focused on open-source hardware. They were at the center of many innovations in 3D Printing, including the first functional 3D printed heart tissue in 2019. This model was named the best intermediate 3D printer by Tom’s Guide in 2019.

Sadly, they were unable to keep their company afloat, largely due to cheap China knockoffs flooding the marketplace (thanks vulture capitalists). They laid off most of their staff in October 2019 and sold their assets to Fargo Additive Manufacturing Equipment 3D in November 2019. What’s nice is that Fargo continues to produce LulzBots out of North Dakota, but sadly trade publications and review sites continue to foolishly swoon over China knockoffs like Bambu instead of the high quality LulzBot product that Fargo is still producing.

Fargo isn’t helping their own cause a lot…it looks like they’re not actively maintaining their Amazon listing, which looks like it’s been captured by people selling used, overpriced, or counterfeit items. On the other hand, I see that B&H Photo is selling them, so I’d suggest picking one up there.


These seem to be your only options if you’re looking for a consumer-grade model (under $2000). There are a lot more options for NMIC 3D Printers as you go to the higher end to industrial-grade models. Here are a few of them (some of these links are from MatterHackers, a pretty good site that specializes in 3D printers):

Fusion3 EDGE – Made in Greensboro, North Carolina

MarkForged Onyx Pro 3D – Made in Billerica, Massachusetts

Ultimaker S5 3D Printer – made in Zaltbommel, the Netherlands (watch them closely, as they merged with MakerBot in 2022)

Do you know of other 3D Printers not made in China? Please share it in the comments!

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