Best 3D Scanner in 2021 – Make Reality Your Playground

By Jovan Milenkovic November 25, 2021

There is a fine line between the real world and the virtual, and sometimes, even that can be blurred. With each passing day, advancements in technology make it increasingly easier to recreate the real world in virtual environments, with amazing detail. One technique that has made this possible is 3D scanning. 

3D scanning involves collecting data on objects, particularly on shape and color and then using this to recreate 3D models. The level of accuracy in recreating models that are in line with the real life counterparts is highly dependent on the type of scanner used. The best 3D scanner can capture a level of accuracy that is unmistakable. But picking just the perfect one can be tricky, considering the various limitations, as well as which are best for certain purposes or objects. What are the options available?

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3.5 Average
BQ Ciclop
Brand: DIWO
  • Bluetooth and USB connectivity.
  • Comes with Logitech C270 webcam.
  • Comes with an inbuilt app called the Horus.
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4.5 Great
HP Z 3D
  • 2D Scanning
  • Uses SLAM Technology
  • Live streaming compatibility
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  • HD CMOS Sensor with two lasers
  • USB 2.0 interfacing
  • Customized MFStudio Software + Quickscan
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  • Two unique scanning modes
  • Rotatable turntable for 360 degree scanning
  • Small and compact size
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5.0 Excellent
Shining 3D EinScan SE
Brand: EinScan
  • Easy-to-use EinScan software
  • Auto-meshing support
  • Two scan features
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bq ciclop model
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bq ciclop model
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3.5 Average

BQ Ciclop

Brand: DIWO
Max Height & Diameter Scan:
250 mm in diameter and 205 mm in height
Max Weight Scan:
3 kg
Accuracy:
0.5 mm
Scanning technology:
Laser triangulation
Compatibility:
Windows and Mac
Open/Closed System:
Open
Max Height & Diameter Scan:
250 mm in diameter and 205 mm in height
Max Weight Scan:
3 kg
Accuracy:
0.5 mm
Scanning technology:
Laser triangulation
Compatibility:
Windows and Mac
Open/Closed System:
Open

Looking for the perfect 3D  home scanner, the Ciclop is a great gadget for couch potatoes and home bodies with a flair for scanning and printing.The BQ Ciclop is completely open source, meaning users have the chance to become active parts of the 3D scanning open source community. You can contribute to 3D scanning technology with this home scanner. It is made up of 3D printed parts itself; ten of them, including a Logitech C270 webcam. It is simple and effective, and you can customize to your personal taste. 

Considering 3D laser scanner price comparison, the BQ Ciclop is actually one of the cheapest on the market with its pricing. However, despite its pricing and being suitable for almost anyone thanks to its simplicity, some aspects are best left for the advanced users. For example, using the BQ requires that you utilise various softwares to make your scans into printable files like the .STL format. 

That can be tricky sometimes if you have no background knowledge in scanning.

That could put a newbie off, especially if you’re just an average Joe looking to start off a rather simple and productive hobby. However, here is where the BQ Ciclop being an open source scanner has its benefits.The Ciclop has the best 3D scanner app for android; called the Horus. This app was designed by the BQ community for scanning on the Ciclop, and works to make scanning so much better. Software drawbacks aside, this is a great scanner for beginners and advanced users. It also comes with bluetooth and USB connectivity. With the BQ Ciclop, you get affordability, an open source community to connect and learn from other scanners; new and old alike. Not to mention, scanning at home probably never felt so good as it does with this scanner. 

hp z 3d camera scanner front
hp z 3d camera scanner left
hp z 3d camera scanner front
hp z 3d camera scanner left
4.5 Great

HP Z 3D

Max Height & Diameter Scan:
12 x 10”
Max Weight Scan:
N/A
Accuracy:
0.1mm
Scanning technology:
Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM)
Compatibility:
Windows
Open/Closed System:
Closed
Max Height & Diameter Scan:
12 x 10”
Max Weight Scan:
N/A
Accuracy:
0.1mm
Scanning technology:
Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM)
Compatibility:
Windows
Open/Closed System:
Closed

If you were looking for a scanner that would fit perfectly into the world of the Fast & Furious, or the Wild Wild West, then the Z is happy to oblige you. Very few scanners in the $0 to $1000 price range get the kind of recommendations that the HP Z garners for itself. It is no wonder that the Z is highly praised in 3d scanner reviews. It is interesting because the HP Z 3D Scanner is pretty much so nifty, it is basically an attachment to the top of your desktop. But it packs some huge power. 

The scanner costs under $600 and scans objects in under five minutes. That is not only fast, but for the results it produces in scans, it is also very efficient. It also scans in 2D as well, and can turn documents into various formats. The setup is also quite simple, requiring just a plug and use process. Weighing 1.2lbs, it uses SLAM technology, which helps to render objects in 3D in real time, without the need to go back and edit source data.

It is the best 3D scanner for users not looking for big sized scanners. Considering its speed and eventual results, users with a lot to scan can find solace in the HP Z. It can also be used for live streaming, so you can put it to use with work integration. It really is the one size fits all 3D scanners. 

mfs1v2 open best 3d scanner kommandotech
mfs1v2 closed best 3d scanner kommandotech
mfs1v2 side best 3d scanner kommandotech
generals choice
mfs1v2 open best 3d scanner kommandotech
generals choice
mfs1v2 closed best 3d scanner kommandotech
generals choice
mfs1v2 side best 3d scanner kommandotech
4.0 Great

Matter and Form V2 MFS1V2

Max Height & Diameter Scan:
9.8 x 7"
Max Weight Scan:
6.6 lbs
Accuracy:
Within ± 0.1mm
Scanning technology:
Laser triangulation
Compatibility:
Windows 7-10 (x64), MacOS 10.11+
Open/Closed System:
Closed
Max Height & Diameter Scan:
9.8 x 7"
Max Weight Scan:
6.6 lbs
Accuracy:
Within ± 0.1mm
Scanning technology:
Laser triangulation
Compatibility:
Windows 7-10 (x64), MacOS 10.11+
Open/Closed System:
Closed

Breaking the bank for a 3D Scanner is not necessarily important to attain good quality. You might think scanners below the price of $1000 are the definition of a low end, cheap scanner however they are anything but that, and The Matter and Form V2 proves it. If you are on the lookout for the best portable 3D scanner, the Matter and Form ranks highly, as it is easily foldable, and you can pack it up on the go

The scanner’s accuracy is up to about 0.1mm. It has a USB 2.0 interface for connecting to any Windows or Mac, so you can transfer your scans for 3D printing. It comes with a customized studio and software; MFStudio Software +Quickscan for editing scans. 

The 3D scanner scans objects that are up to 25 cm tall in size and 18 cm in diameter. With its software and laser technology, it works best for newbies as they can learn and quickly understand the basics of 3D scanning. The great part about the V2 is how it has the best 3D printer and scanner combo, as it is compatible with any 3D printing software, so importing and creating 3D models is a breeze. 

The Matter and Form 3D scanner is great for exporting scans in high resolution, specially built for accurate color representation. These can be used in any number or types of 3D applications. It also comes with a HD CMOS Sensor with two lasers. Purchases typically come with a plastic toy that you can use to test preliminary scans, as well as a threaded camera socket that can be used to attach a tripod for holding objects in place.

sol 3d scanner by scan dimension up
sol 3d scanner by scan dimension front
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SOL 3d scanner by scan dimension camera
sol 3d scanner by scan dimension up
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SOL 3d scanner by scan dimension camera
5.0 Excellent

SOL 3D Scanner by Scan Dimension

Max Height & Diameter Scan:
3.9 x 3.9” / 6.7 x 6.7”
Max Weight Scan:
4.4 lbs
Accuracy:
Within ± 0.1mm
Scanning technology:
Laser triangulation
Compatibility:
Windows 10 / Mac OS X 10.14+
Open/Closed System:
Closed
Max Height & Diameter Scan:
3.9 x 3.9” / 6.7 x 6.7”
Max Weight Scan:
4.4 lbs
Accuracy:
Within ± 0.1mm
Scanning technology:
Laser triangulation
Compatibility:
Windows 10 / Mac OS X 10.14+
Open/Closed System:
Closed

The SOL is a desktop 3D scanner perfect for capturing the details of small objects. It comes with a rotatable turntable that enables capturing of every object’s angle. In addition, it has two unique modes; near and far. Near mode scans objects 100 mm in diameter and 100 mm in height , while far mode is more suitable for scanning objects up to 170 mm in diameter and 170 mm in height. It’s got great accuracy even though it costs below $1000.

A 3D scanner best suited for small but very detailed objects, the SOL embodies the concept of small but mighty. Though it may weigh just about 7 pounds (just 3.2kg), it packs quite a heavy duty scanning punch. Moreover, the fact that it is a lightweight device means it does not have to be confined to just your desktop or any other one space. It is exceptionally easy to move around, so you really can scan anywhere and at any time. 

The SOL scanner comes with a patented software from Scan Dimension, with which you can scan objects, and import as STL or OBJ files for slicing and printing. Product reviews indicate it is one of the best 3D scanners for hobbyists who want to take up scanning and printing, and amakers as well. But it is also a great 3D scanner for business entrepreneurs, as they can scan their products and show them off in immersive 360 degree views. SOL also provides ways to easily share scans and prints with social networks like Facebook. 

Not one to limit its own use, SOL has also been reported to be great for educational purposes, especially in STEM education through the use of scanning and editing. So,whether it is business, education, or just a home hobby, the SOL is the perfect, all round fit for all these needs. And perhaps even more. 

shining 3d einscan se front
shining 3d einscan se side
shining 3d einscan se set
shining 3d einscan se front
shining 3d einscan se side
shining 3d einscan se set
5.0 Excellent

Shining 3D EinScan SE

Brand: EinScan
Max Height & Diameter Scan:
Fixed Scan - 700×700 mm / Auto Scan - 200×200 mm
Max Weight Scan:
5 kg
Accuracy:
≤0.1 mm
Scanning technology:
Structured Light
Compatibility:
Windows 7-10 (x64), MacOS 10.10.9
Open/Closed System:
Closed
Max Height & Diameter Scan:
Fixed Scan - 700×700 mm / Auto Scan - 200×200 mm
Max Weight Scan:
5 kg
Accuracy:
≤0.1 mm
Scanning technology:
Structured Light
Compatibility:
Windows 7-10 (x64), MacOS 10.10.9
Open/Closed System:
Closed

When it comes to the medium range scanner category, manufacturer Shining has a ruling stake. The Shining 3D EinScan SE is indeed one of the best 3D scanners in the medium range price range of scanners under $1500. Costing $1399, the EinScan SE is a valid entry into the world of quality desktop scanners, offering great quality scans for educators and newcomers in 3D scanning. 

Efficiency is a watchword, with the SE scanning objects in under 8 seconds and rendering a scan in about 2 minutes. It has two scan features, a fixed scan mode and the automatic scan which can perform 360 degree scans on objects. Its accuracy clocks in at about 0.1mm, which is great when you consider 3D printing. In other words, you get really great quality for your scans when you convert them into printables. 

Arguably the best 3D scanner for the money in its class, the primarily automatic features and accompanying softwares of the EinScan SE make it suitable for teaching, and it also supports auto-meshing as well. It is safe to say that for its price, the SE is a medium ranged god in 3D scanning. Accuracy, reliability, and ease of use are up for grabs when you opt for the EinScan SE. 

What is 3D Scanning?

Thanks to the best 3D scanners, the process of creating digital 3D models may seem magical. However, the truth is that there is a lot of know-how that goes into this high-precision technology which makes creating digital 3D models of physical objects possible. So, what is 3D scanning and how does it work? 3D scanning is based upon non-destructive technology used to digitally acquire the shape of real-life objects.

A 3D scan is a three-dimensional representation of an object’s surface, or just a part of that surface. Sets of 3D scans are used to create 3D models. Much like two-dimensional images are made up of pixels, 3D scans consist of tiny triangles called polygons. Polygons form a polygonal mesh, thus replicating the object’s geometry with high precision. The best 3D scanners for large objects can create the 3D model even if the object is more than a 100 meters away. 

From manufacturing to virtual reality and healthcare, 3D scanners are used in a wide range of industries. Conducting quality control of mechanical parts, retrofitting heavy machinery, creating customized prosthetic devices, developing characters for video games, designing visual effects for movies – all these projects are heavily dependent on the creation of high-precision three-dimensional digital models of physical objects. 

With so many product variations, finding the most suitable 3D scanner can be a difficult task. Before you decide to buy an industrial stationary or a small handheld 3D scanner, review each product using the following evaluation criteria:

Review Methodology

Cost

Given that the prices of 3D scanners can vary a lot, we made sure to evaluate the costs of the scanners over their performances. While starting price desktop and handheld scanners is under $200 for entry-level solutions, these devices can cost you up to $50,000 and $100,000 respectively if you opt for the most advanced high-end solutions. As far as the best industrial 3D scanner offerings go, these products will set you back at least a few thousand dollars – the most affordable options start at $1,000 and the prices can go up to $100,000 for the most evolved 3D scanners.

Accuracy and Resolution

No 3D scanner review would be complete if it didn’t take features such as accuracy and resolution into account. In their own ways, both of these factors determine the quality of the finished product. 

The accuracy of a hand scanner typically ranges between 0.01 mm and 0.1 mm. But what does it actually mean? In fact, accuracy refers to how close to the actual object we have come in replicating it virtually.

While accuracy is the measurement of an industrial, stationary, or handheld 3D scanner’s correctness degree, resolution represents the minimum possible distance between any two given points within a three-dimensional model. Resolution is normally expressed by millimeters, or microns. If your aim is to create an extremely detailed 3D model, you’ll need a high-resolution 3D scanner to acquire the object’s image. Choosing a device with excellent accuracy and resolution features is especially important for applications in quality control, forensics, VR and animation, heritage preservation, and jewelry creation. If you want to speed up your workflow by creating new parts that reference or incorporate an existing design, you’ll need the best 3D scanner for reverse engineering.

Scanning Technology

The type of scanning technology used by the scanners also determines functionality. There are quite a few different physical principles 3D scanners are based on. The most common scanning technology types include laser triangulation 3D scanning, structured light 3D scanning, photogrammetry, also referred to as 3D scanning from photographs, contact-based 3D scanning, and laser pulse. If you are looking for the best budget 3D scanner, we suggest you explore the three-dimensional scanning devices based on laser triangulation technology. 

Scanning Dimensions

A 3D scanner’s easuring capabilities of scanners also determines what makes a great scanner. Plus, scanning dimensions can help you decide exactly what type of scanner to opt for, depending on intended uses. 

3D scanners share several features with cameras – both device types have cone-like field of view and can only collect information about surfaces within their field of view. You may have the best 3D laser scanner but its high accuracy and crisp resolution capabilities won’t do you any good if the device cannot capture the exact size of the object you need virtually replicated.

FAQ

How much does a 3D scanner cost?

The price of a 3D scanner depends on what you intend to use it for. Industrial scanners usually cost more than home or desktop scanners, and DIY scanners come with the cheapest 3D scanner prices.

Where is 3D scanning used?

Thanks to their ability to capture and replicate the required data quickly and precisely, 3D scanners are commonly used in engineering, manufacturing, and industrial design. Without these innovative devices, measurements would have to be taken manually, in a much less efficient manner.

How accurate is a 3D scanner?

This also depends on the type of scanner involved. An accuracy spec for a tripod scanner might pale in comparison to that of the best handheld 3D scanners. However, portable scanners usually have an accuracy of between 0.01 mm and 0.1 mm. Professional scanners usually have higher accuracy, but they cost way more. 

Why are 3D scanners so expensive?

Scanning software is one hidden cost responsible for the high cost of a 3D scanner. It is actually the costs involved in the development of the software, that is, software developer salaries, that sometimes contributes to the costliness, as companies incur a lot in trying to settle these expenses. The best 3D scanner can cost a huge dime. Another reason is that manufacturers do not get the full payment for the scanners; it is shared by the distribution network. Warranty costs, research and development of scanners, marketing amongst other costs are also valid reasons for the high price of scanners.