Single extruder printing packs in hours of fun and is a marvelous way for newcomers to get to grips with the nuances of carrying a clever design idea from the drawing board to a fully-fledged 3D part. For many, it’s more than enough for all their printing needs.
If you’ve dabbled with single extruder machines, hit somewhat of a creative roadblock, and want to take your printing to the next level, then dual extruder 3D printers are the next logical step. Two extruders inject versatility into the printing process by using multiple colors, multiple materials, and the support structures necessary for more elaborate and ambitious designs.
Choosing the right dual extruder 3D printer can be tricky due to an ever-swelling roster of options from manufacturers big and small. Specifications, brands, features – all these can blend into an incomprehensible jumble that can have you second-guessing whether you’ve made the right choice.
Below, we’ve recommended some of the best dual extruder 3D printers out there, covering popular designs, features, and budgets, to help ease the buying process.
While there are good and bad dual extruder printers out there, picking the right one depends to a certain degree on personal preference and 3D printing goals. Still, as a general rule, there are several core factors to consider that can help narrow down your choices. These factors include build quality, ease of use, assembly process, print quality, print speeds, support for various materials, connectivity, and, of course, the price point.
Aiming for printers that score high in each category, we slimmed down our selection to five dual extruder 3D printers. Keeping up with the breakneck speed of innovation in the 3D printing space can be challenging, and the lexicon of terms and technologies balloons almost constantly. As such, you’ll find a straightforward review for each dual extruder 3D printer recommendation below, free of as much of the confounding jargon as possible.
Here are five of the best dual extruder 3D printers available right now.
Best Dual Extruder 3D Printer in 2021
100 micron resolution
Heated aluminum bed
Sturdy metal frame
227 mm x 148 mm x 150 mm build volume
A favorite among dual extruder connoisseurs, the FlashForge Creator Pro tops our list of the best dual extruder 3D printers for competently blending plug-and-play ease of use with fantastic print quality and an enviable feature set.
The headlines are the dual extruder setup consisting of two patented Flashforge nozzles, a 6.5 mm heated aerospace-grade aluminum build plate, a sturdy metal frame, and a fully enclosed chamber with an acrylic cover.
The FlashForge Creator Pro fares well printing different colors, support structures, or two different filament types. A heavy-duty z-axis guide rod and 100-micron resolution boost the accuracy of prints, which come out great with next to no setting adjustments.
Although Flashforge markets the FlashForge Creator Pro is compatible with a wide range of materials, in our experience, the printer is in its element when working with ABS and PLA, and can confidently adapt to the requirements of each material with the removable top, side, and front covers.
The FlashForge Creator Pro’s 227 mm x 148 mm x 150 mm build volume leans on the small side compared to other similarly priced dual extruder 3D printers, which imposes some limitations on the size of prints.
A souped-up version of the Creator Pro – aptly called the Creator Pro 2 – also exists, replacing the single print head for a more versatile independent dual extrusion system with two print heads. The upgrade balloons the price tag by a further $400. Unless you desperately need an IDEX setup and are certain to make full use of its capabilities, we recommend sticking with the FlashForge Creator Pro to keep the cost down.
Tempered glass build plate
2-in-1-out dual extruder hot end
280 mm x 240 mm x 300 mm build volume
TMC2208 Silent Board
Availability and shipping costs
The second effort from the erstwhile purveyor of printing accessories and filament, Sovol, the Sovol SV02 builds upon the strong foundations of the SV01. It implements a few meaningful upgrades, not least a 2-in-1-out hot end that effectively morphs the SV02 into a capable dual extruder 3D printer, attractively priced at under $300.
The 2-in-1-out hot end allows you to feed two different filament spools to create dual-color objects. The print results are best described as extremely clean with few blemishes, smooth curves, and excellent color transitions. The Sovol SV02 also scores points for reliability with next to no adjustments or tinkering needed to pump out high-quality print after print.
Other improvements baked into the Sovol SV02 over the SV01 include an intuitive 4.2-inch color touch screen and a built-in silent motherboard with TMC2208 stepper motor drivers, which emit virtually no sound at all. The printer isn’t completely silent, though, due to the three-fan cooling setup on the extruders.
As for other specifications, the Sovol SV02 features 100-micron resolution, support for PLA/TPU/HIPS/ABS/PETG/wood fill, a decently-sized 280mm x 240 mm x 300 build volume, resume printing function, a Meanwell PSU, dual z-axis with two stepper motors, and an Ultrabase-style tempered glass build plate.
A further notable attribute of the Sovol SV02 is just how prepped it is for upgrades. Sovol offers optional add-ons such as a mixing hot end if you are partial to gradients and mixing colors, a BL Touch sensor for automatic on-the-fly bed leveling, and a flexible magnetic plate. All these are available at reasonable prices and, in keeping with the simplicity of use that permeates the printer’s design, are easy to install.
One thing that’s worth noting: with the whole pandemic hellscape outstaying its welcome, sourcing a Sovol SV02 is no small feat, and shipping costs can stack up quickly depending on your location.
CNC machined aluminum heated bed and magnetic build plate
Fully enclosed print chamber
50 micron resolution
Ease of use
Small 230 mm x 150 mm x 150 mm build volume
Dual extruder 3D printers with a two nozzle setup ask makers to cough up a substantial sum. With the Qidi Tech X-Pro, Qidi has successfully brought the price point down to under $500 and even managed to squeeze in a coveted fully enclosed print chamber.
Without a doubt, the highlight is the dual nozzle setup, which prints dual color and material objects and supports structures at much faster speeds (up to 150 mm/s) than single nozzle variants. Alongside, the Qidi Tech X-Pro feature set includes a 6 mm CNC machined aluminum heated bed, a removable magnetic build plate, detailed 50-micron resolution, power outage function, and support for PLA, ABS, TPU, PETG, and HIPS 1.75 mm filament.
Thanks to pre-assembled shipping, simple guided bed leveling, a user-friendly 4.3-inch touch screen, and Qidi’s rather versatile Qidi Print slicing software, notably the auto-slice mode, the Qidi Tech X-Pro couldn’t be easier to use and is ideally suited to cautious newcomers testing the waters with their first 3D printing machine.
Print quality is generally good with the occasional dud here and there. Still, we found that venturing beyond the safe confines of the initial simplicity of use and toying around with the settings in Qidi Print can substantially improve the Qidi Tech X-Pro output. Doing so leads to smooth transitions and cuts down significantly on blemishes and flaws.
Much like the FlashForge Creator Pro, the Qidi Tech X-Pro suffers from a relatively poky build volume, which measures 230 mm x 150 mm x 150 mm, small by industry standards, especially at this price point.
Fully enclosed print chamber
Small build volume
Poor touch screen user interface
Based solely on the BIBO Dual Extruder 3D Printer’s blocky, outdated DIY design, you may be tempted to spend your money elsewhere. However, this unassuming dual extruder 3D printer stands tall as one of the best fully enclosed options currently on the market.
Print quality and results, notably for dual-color objects and projects using support structures, are clean, aesthetically pleasing, and leave very little to nitpick in terms of flaws and imperfections, even when scrutinized by the most critical makers.
A boon for beginners and those with little time to spare, the build plate arrives factory calibrated and works beautifully out of the box. Bibo’s also integrated assisted manual leveling in case it veers off after heavy use. Quality of life features in the same vein include a filament detection sensor and a power outage resume function.
Other welcome features include Wi-Fi connectivity, a copy printing mode, a 6 mm thick CNC machined aluminum frame, removable glass bed, support for ABS, PLA, PVA, HIPS, TPU, PETG, Nylon, PC, carbon fiber, and 50-micron resolution.
What’s more, the BIBO Dual Extruder 3D Printer has one novel feature that sets it apart from the competition: the inclusion of a laser engraving module that lets you etch designs onto materials like cardboard and wood.
As for the negatives, the build volume is a little cramped, and the user interface on the touch screen feels extracted from another era but still perfectly serviceable. At roughly $800, the BIBO Dual Extruder 3D Printer isn’t the most affordable dual nozzle closed chamber printer out there, either.
2-in-1 single nozzle dual extruder setup
255 mm x 255 mm x 255 mm build volume
100 micron resolution
Modular three-step assembly
Optional auto-bed leveling
If you’re aiming to pick up a dual extruder printer at a reasonable price, then the Geeetech A20M is one of the best of the budget bunch. The printer employs a 2-in-1 single nozzle dual extruder setup similar to the Sovol SV02 above but also incorporates what Geeetech calls ‘mix-color,’ or in other words, the ability to blend colors to make gradients or steady transitions between colors.
Specification-wise, the Geeetech A20M includes a good-sized 255 mm x 255 mm x 255 mm build volume, 360-degrees print head ventilation, a high-performance gear train, power outage resume function, plug-and-play modular extruder wiring, 100-micron resolution, compatibility with ABS, PLA, wood fill, PVA, HIPS, PETG, and an open-source GT2560 mainboard.
While manually leveling the bed is relatively straightforward, we’d have liked to see Geeetech include its optional 3DTouch automatic level sensor add-on installed as stock with the Geeetech A20M, especially as it only costs an extra $15 bought separately. We were also a little disappointed with the instructions, which omit several crucial steps, a potential hurdle for beginners setting up a 3D printer for the first time, and one that dampens the hard work put in by Geeetech with the printer’s modular three-step assembly process.
Things To Consider
Benefits of Dual Extruder 3D Printers
Multi-color printing – One of the main advantages of dual extruder 3D printers is printing multiple colors to create patterns, layers, and even different hues, gradients, and blends without pausing the printing process to swap in a separate color filament spool.
Multi-material printing – Another key advantage is the ability to incorporate two different filament types into an object. Applications range from adding structural strength to a print or using a tougher filament type for mechanical or functional portions of a printed object.
Supports – Dual extruder 3D printers can pair a common filament type with water-soluble supports. This not only saves time because a single nozzle doesn’t have to print both the object and supports but also conserves expensive filament for the actual object and generally results in cleaner prints as the supports aren’t printed using the same non-soluble filament. These dissolve quicker compared to filament supports that require a lot of post-printing cleanup.
Types of Dual Extruder 3D Printers
A dual extruder 3D printer doesn’t automatically incorporate two nozzles. Single nozzle dual extruder printers essentially feed two different materials from two extruders through the same nozzle at different intervals in the printing process to create layered colors or blends.
Dual nozzle dual extruder 3D printers can print two different filament types or colors simultaneously (or one filament type and supports).
Within the dual nozzle dual extruder 3D printer space, nozzles can be mounted in two different ways. In a dependent dual extrusion system, the two nozzles are stuck side by side on the print head and move in unison. In an independent dual extruder system (IDEX), the two nozzles function, move and print independently of one another. IDEX systems offer more versatility and can produce more complex prints and print two objects simultaneously via duplication and mirroring print modes, which can significantly speed up the printing process.
Features To Look Out For
Build volume – build volume determines the size of the objects you’ll be able to print and effectively place a cap on what you can hope to make with a particular 3D printer. Larger volumes commonly incur a higher price tag.
Material support – Most dual extruder 3D printers support at least popular filaments like ABS and PLA. If you plan on using more exotic or abrasive materials like carbon fiberfill or nylon, make sure the printer supports these.
Heated bed – a heated bed ensures the printed filament adheres well to the platform, substantially increasing the chance of a quality final result. We also recommend removable plates because these make extracting prints from the bed a breeze.
What is the purpose of dual extruder 3D printer?
A dual extruder printer expands your 3D printing efforts both in terms of the number of different materials you can use as well as making multicolored creations a possibility. It also allows you to create ‘supports’ for your 3D creations that are rounded in nature simultaneously to ensure no warping or breakage.
Essentially, a dual extruder 3D printer opens up far more possibilities than a single extruder 3D printer allowing you to create more complex models that could also be stronger depending on the mixture of filaments you use.
Are dual extruders worth it?
If you’re looking to make multi-colored or more complex 3D prints, a dual extruder 3D printer is certainly worth the extra cash you’ll need to spend. It’ll make your life a whole lot easier and open up more possibilities for more interesting and aesthetically pleasing models.
However, for the more casual user, a single extruder 3D printer could be enough for your requirements, especially if you’re wanting single color creations or miniatures ready for painting. If you think this might change in the future, it’s down to you whether you want to spend that bit extra now and have more functionality at your disposal, or simply wait until you’re at the point when it’s absolutely necessary.
Do dual extruders print faster?
Dual extruder 3D printers don’t technically print any faster than single extruder variants as they both follow the same process but it could save you a chunk of time in other areas.
Having those dual extruders speeds up the process significantly when you look at setup and replacing filaments. This is simply due to the fact that you have two spools at your disposal thus allowing you to leave the machine running rather than having to go in and add more filament. This can be particularly advantageous when it comes to multicolored 3D printing as with a single extruder machine you’d have to finish one color then put the next filament hue in but with a dual setup, you can put both on at the start and away you go.
Can the Ender 3 do dual extrusion?
Yes, the Creality Ender 3 3D printer can in fact do dual extrusion but this doesn’t come with the stock version of the machine. If you want a dual extrusion version of the Ender 3, you’re going to have to do a little work to get it going.
First, you’ll have to obviously buy the parts necessary to add another extruder to the Ender 3 setup but in addition to that, you’ll also have to replace the actual control board as the stock one simply doesn’t have the capabilities to do the job.
If you have an Ender 3, it could certainly be well worth the upgrade if you want to take advantage of dual extrusion as it’ll be less expensive than going out and purchasing a whole new 3D printer and you’ll already be familiar with how it operates.
When weighing up the merits of dual extruder 3D printers, it’s difficult to overlook the FlashForge Creator Pro. Ease of use mixes with superb print quality and plenty of desirable features such as a fully enclosed print chamber and heated build plate. If in doubt, the FlashForge Creator Pro is a sure bet.
While the Sovol may not have the reputation of offerings from manufacturers like FlashForge and Prusa, the upgraded and improved Sovol SV02 is an affordable, single nozzle dual extruder 3D printer capable of producing immaculate multi-color prints.
Jumping to dual nozzle dual extruder 3D printers, we highly recommend the Qidi Tech X-Pro. The simplicity of use makes it a strong choice for beginners, while advanced makers can tinker with the printer to create excellent multi-color and multi-filament prints.
The BIBO Dual Extruder 3D Printer takes the much-loved ABS-friendly fully enclosed print chamber design and pairs it with a versatile dual nozzle setup and even a laser engraving module. Not the most pleasing to look, it has to be said, but a workhorse nevertheless.
Lastly, the Geeetech A20M ticks all the boxes for those looking to maximize the money while still having all the color mixing capabilities of a dual extruder 3D printer.
Don’t hesitate to chime in with any questions, concerns, or recommendations in the comments section below.