The 10 best 3D scanners in 2021

The 10 best 3D scanners in 2021 Last update: February 16, 2021 By Martin Lansard Finding the best 3D scanner for your needs can be challenging. In this product roundup, we provide a hand-picked selection of some of the best and top-rated 3D scanners on the market, with both handheld and desktop solutions.   What […]

The 10 best 3D scanners in 2021

Last update:
February 16, 2021
By Martin Lansard
Finding the best 3D scanner for your needs can be challenging. In this product roundup, we provide a hand-picked selection of some of the best and top-rated 3D scanners on the market, with both handheld and desktop solutions.


What is the best 3D scanner?

3D scanners are less popular than 3D printers, but they are an important part of the 3D printing ecosystem. Many different types of 3D scanners exist, from desktop 3D scanners to handheld 3D scanners and advanced metrology systems.

3D scanners can be used for an extremely wide range of applications, from reverse engineering to 3D body scanning or even online retail. They are becoming much easier to use and are available at much lower prices than ever before.

However, given the low number of reliable 3D scanner reviews, it can be challenging to find the best 3D scanner.

With this selection of the best 3D scanners, our goal is to cut through the clutter and offer a short overview of what’s available on the market this year.

We also run through different 3D scanning applications (reverse engineering, 3D inspection, architecture, etc.) and provide concise explanations of the various 3D scanning technologies that exist.

Top 10 3D scanners in 2021

3D scanner Category Country Price* Buy
Shining 3D EinScan Pro 2X Plus Handheld China $6,899 Quote
Artec Eva Handheld Luxembourg $19,800 Quote
Creaform Go!SCAN SPARK Handheld Canada $38,000 Quote
Matter and Form 3D Scanner V2 Desktop Canada $749 See offer
NextEngine 3D Scanner ULTRA HD Desktop United States $2,995 Quote
Shining 3D EinScan-SP Desktop China $2,299 Quote
HP PRO S3 Desktop United States $3,400 See offer
Open Technologies Scan In a Box FX (SIAB FX) Desktop Italy $5,000 Quote
Polyga HDI Compact C504 Desktop Canada $19,990 Quote
Evatronix eviXmatic Desktop Poland $10K – $50K Quote

The above table represents our selection of the best handheld and desktop 3D scanners on the market this year. They are first ranked by category (handheld or desktop), and then by increasing price.

*Price: prices are subject to change over time and/or from one country to another. Contact us to obtain a precise quote.

Overview of the best 3D scanners

We have divided the 3D scanners into two categories: handheld 3D scanners and desktop 3D scanners.

Best portable and handheld 3D scanners

Artec Eva best 3D scanner selection

Artec Eva

  • Technology: Structured light
  • Category: Handheld
  • Country: Luxembourg
  • Price: $19,800

The Artec Eva has been a classic on the 3D scanner market for years now. It is Artec’s entry-level portable 3D scanner, which doesn’t stop it from being an excellent 3D scanning solution. The Artec Eva is one of the most lightweight 3D scanners on the market, too.In addition to being able to 3D scan different-sized objects (small, medium, and large), the Eva 3D scanner is able to capture colors and textures. It comes with user-friendly Artec Studio software and is even able to perform 3D body scans.

More information (full review): Artec Eva

Creaform GoScan SPARK professional 3D scanner portable and handheld

Creaform Go!SCAN SPARK

  • Technology: Structured light
  • Category: Handheld
  • Country: Canada
  • Price: $38,000


The Go!SCAN SPARK is one of the latest additions to Creaform’s highly regarded Go!SCAN product lineup. Creaform, which is based in Canada, is one the industry leaders when it comes to professional 3D scanners.This 3D scanner is one of the easiest scanners to use (it is a plug-n-play 3D scanner) and it features an interesting hybrid tracking scanning technology. You just need to point and shoot at the object to scan, and the software will instantly display your mesh in real-time.

More information: Creaform Go!SCAN SPARK

EinScan Pro 2X Plus professional 3D scanner affordable

Shining 3D EinScan Pro 2X Plus

  • Technology: Structured light
  • Category: Handheld
  • Country: China
  • Price: $6,899


Over the past few years, Shining 3D has shown significant progress in the 3D scanning field. They provide affordable 3D scanning solutions that are able to deliver great results.The EinScan Pro 2X Plus is a follow-up to their flagship EinScan series, and it comes with a special edition of Solid Edge software. When equipped with the dedicated Color module, the 2X Plus can capture colors and textures (useful for full-color 3D prints). Different scanning modes enable you to capture small, medium, and large objects.

More information (full review): Shining 3D EinScan Pro 2X Plus

Best desktop 3D scanners

Matter and Form V2 3D scanner low-cost

Matter and Form 3D Scanner V2 (MFS1V2)

  • Technology: Laser triangulation
  • Category: Desktop
  • Country: Canada
  • Price: $749


Matter and Form has been producing affordable desktop 3D scanners since 2014. The 3D Scanner V2 (a.k.a. MFS1V2) is, as its naming suggests, the second version of their flagship product, the Matter and Form MFS1V1 3D scanner.It boasts a great price-to-performance ratio and is able to quickly scan 3D objects while displaying results in real time. Matter and Form also manufactures the Bevel dongle for use with 3D scanning smartphone apps.


Shining 3D EinScan SE and SP (Elite and Premium)

Shining 3D EinScan-SP (Platinum)

  • Technology: Structured light
  • Category: Desktop
  • Country: China
  • Price: $2,299

This Shining 3D desktop 3D scanner is available in two versions, SP (Platinum) and SE (Elite). The Elite version is more affordable at $1,199, but offers less precision and a lower 3D scanning volume.The EinScan-SP comes with an automatic turntable, allowing users to scan small objects accurately and quickly. It takes under a minute to perform a full 360° scan.


NextEngine 3D Scanner ULTRA HD best 3D scanner

NextEngine 3D Scanner ULTRA HD

  • Technology: Laser triangulation
  • Category: Desktop
  • Country: United States
  • Price: $2,995


This desktop 3D scanner by US manufacturer NextEngine is another classic. The NextEngine ULTRA HD scanner comes with an automatic turntable, but it’s possible to use the scanner without the table in order to capture larger objects.NextEngine’s ULTRA HD 3D scanner is also able to capture colors. However, it isn’t the fastest scanner on the market, taking up to 10 minutes to complete one 3D scan.


Open Technologies SIAB desktop 3D scanner

Open Technologies Scan In a Box FX

  • Technology: Structured light
  • Category: Desktop
  • Country: Italy
  • Price: $5,100


The Scan In A Box FX, a.k.a. SIAB FX, is a desktop 3D scanner that requires only about five minutes to set up. The scanner itself sits on a tripod, and you can order an automatic turntable separately if needed.Open Technologies provides IDEA software alongside the SIAB FX, with powerful mesh editing features. This 3D scanner provides some good 3D scanning results.


Polyga HDI Compact C504 desktop 3D scanner

Polyga HDI Compact C504

  • Technology: Structured light
  • Category: Desktop
  • Country: Canada
  • Price: $19,990

The HDI Compact C504 is one of the best 3D scanners in its class when it comes to small objects. The Polyga HDI C504 is able to capture objects as small as 1 cm with a high level of accuracy and precision (6-micron details). Thus, the Polyga C504 is probably the best 3D scanner for miniatures.Polyga’s HDI Compact product lineup also includes 3D scanners for medium and large objects. They are all plug-n-play and come with FlexScan software.



HP PRO S3 Structured Light 3D Scanner

  • Technology: Structured light
  • Category: Desktop
  • Country: United States
  • Price: $3,400


Before HP acquired David Vision Systems, this workhorse of a 3D scanner was known as the DAVID SLS-3. Today it is branded as the HP PRO S3 and continues to deliver high-quality 3D scanning results with an accuracy of up to 5 microns.For added precision, a dual-camera upgrade is available as well as an automatic turntable. HP’s 3D scanning software allows you to align and merge meshes into watertight 3D models.


Evatronix eviXmatic best desktop 3D scanner

Evatronix eviXmatic

  • Technology: Structured light
  • Category: Desktop
  • Country: Poland
  • Price: $10K – $50K


The eviXmatic is one of the most recently launched 3D scanners on this list. It is an automated 3D scanning system mainly geared towards 3D inspection. It integrates a powerful software, Geomagic Control X, which allows you to compare 3D scans with a reference CAD model to detect potential part flaws.The 3D scanning part of this system is detachable for different use cases, and it’s also possible to replace it with other Evatronix 3D scanners.


Best 3D scanner special mention: Scan Dimension SOL

Scan Dimension SOL best 3D scanner special mention

Scan Dimension SOL

  • Technology: Laser triangulation
  • Category: Desktop
  • Country: Denmark
  • Price: $599


This affordable desktop 3D scanner is geared towards hobbyists and tech enthusiasts. The SOL 3D scanner is equipped with an automatic turntable to complement its hybrid 3D scanning technology (a combination of structured light and laser triangulation).Scan Dimension notes that this 3D scanner is easy to use, thanks to a simplified app that lets users avoid complex calibration and software manipulation.


Best 3D scanner special mention: Kinect sensor

3D scan with a Kinect sensor (Microsoft, XBox)

Both professionals and hobbyists have already been using Kinect sensors to 3D scan objects. Microsoft is now releasing a new and improved version of their Kinect sensor, called the Azure Kinect DK (developer kit, for developers and businesses). It is equipped with various AI sensors, and various SDKs will be made available (e.g. body tracking SDK), including an open-source SDK.

3D scanner buying guide

Which 3D scanner is the best for me?

3D scanning can be used in a large variety of fields. For every application, the features necessary to generate a great 3D model are different. The 3D scanner must be chosen according to your desired use and results.

What the best 3D scanner for you will depend on many factors, detailed below.

3D scanning field of application

The first thing to take into consideration is the field in which the 3D scanner will be used. It could be for example:

Professional use

  • 3D scanning small objects: dentists, jewelers, and other professionals can use 3D scanning to capture small pieces.
  • 3D scanning big objects: professionals such as architects and archeologists might need to 3D scan large objects such as statues, archeological fields, or buildings.
  • 3D body scanning is getting increasingly used in various professional fields such as healthcare and 3D figurines.

Personal use

  • 3D scanning objects occasionally: a person might need to use 3D scanning on rare occasions or maybe just one time.
  • 3D scanning objects on a regular basis: you can use 3D scanning for various things from making personalized objects to making a replica of yourself, friends, or family members.

3D scan jewelry to make a 3D model

3D scanned ring (source: protoforming).

Type of 3D scanned object

Dimensions and distance of the object (scan area and scanning range)

The recommended 3D scanner will change depending on the dimensions and the distance of the object to be 3D scanned. A desktop 3D scanner can’t 3D scan a 2-meter-tall statue, and a handheld 3D scanner might not be the best option to 3D scan a very small and precise piece.

The surface of the object

Not every 3D scanner is able to capture the attributes of an object’s surface, such as color and texture. It can also be challenging to capture objects with black, shiny, or reflective surfaces.

Desired resolution

Not all 3D scanners offer the same level of resolution. Therefore, depending on the quality you need, some 3D scanner models are more adapted than others. High resolution is required for reverse engineering, for example.

3D scanner recommendations

Desktop 3D scanners

Desktop 3D scanners can be ideal for both professionals and hobbyists that need to scan small parts. They tend to be more accurate since you aren’t holding and moving the 3D scanner around yourself. Also, many desktop 3D scanners come with (or at least optionally) an automatic turntable, which makes it much easier to get clean 3D scans.

Handheld 3D scanners

Handheld 3D scanners, sometimes called portable 3D scanners, can be used to 3D scan small to very large objects. These 3D scanners can also be used to reach hard-to-reach places. The precision and the ability to capture color and texture will depend on the 3D scanner model.

3D body scanners

3D body scanners can be used in very various fields.

  • Professionals: professionals might want to 3D scan a person to make a 3D figurine, prepare for surgical intervention, follow-up on a pregnancy or skin conditions, etc.
  • Individuals: 3D body scanners can be used to help with fitness goals and personal shape. These 3D scanners usually can’t capture color and texture but offer a high resolution.

3D scanning mobile apps

3D scanning mobile apps are designed for occasional users that are not willing to or are unable to invest in a 3D scanner. They are not as precise as most 3D scanners, but mobile apps are a great way to get initiated to 3D scanning. Check out our list of the best 3D scanning apps for more information.

Desktop 3D scanner or handheld 3D scanner?

3D scanner price

Desktop 3D scanner price

Desktop 3D scanner prices vary a lot from one model to another. It can go from a few hundred dollars, such as the bq Ciclop at $240, and can top out at around $50,000 for the more advanced 3D scanners.

Handheld 3D scanner price

The handheld 3D scanner price range is very wide. A handheld 3D scanner can cost less than $200 (XYZprinting’s 3D scanner, for example), and can reach up to over $100,000 for very high-end and advanced 3D scanners. There are plenty of great entry-level options for a couple of thousand dollars. Mid-range handheld 3D scanners tend to cost between $10,000 and $40,000.

Industrial 3D scanner price

Industrial 3D scanners generally offer more cutting-edge features and higher precision. Hence, their prices can be pretty high, ranging from $1,000 for the simplest ones to more than $100,000 for the most evolved ones.

3D scanning applications


Jewelers are starting to use 3D printing and 3D scanning to build casts in order to create amazing jewels. Read more on our 3D printing and 3D scanning for jewelry page.


Dentists and dental labs are using 3D printing to build and create various dental appliances. Find more information on our 3D printing and 3D scanning for the dental industry.


3D scanners are very versatile and can be used in many different ways in healthcare, from studies to making prosthetics or studying a person’s posture. Find more information on our 3D scanning and 3D printing for the medical industry page.

Dental scan

A dental 3D scan by our co-founder Pierre-Antoine.

3D figurines and 3D selfies

3D portraits or mini-me are increasingly popular! To make one, you get 3D scanned, and you can print your mini lookalike. To learn more about the subject, you can visit our 3D printed figurines, 3D selfies, and 3D portraits page.


realistic 3D figurines from a 3D scan

3D scanners can be used to make 3D figurines.


Architects can use 3D scanning to capture an area, building, or habitation and present it in a more efficient way to their clients. If you are interested, you’ll find more information on our 3D scanning and 3D printing for architects page.

Archeology and museums

Archaeologists, museum curators, and researchers are starting to use 3D scanning to get a better view and capture ancient pieces. To read more about this topic, you can visit our 3D printing and 3D scanning in archeology and cultural preservation page.

3D scan of Notre Dame 3d scanning for architecture

A dot cloud of Notre Dame.
Source: engadget

Reverse engineering

Reverse engineering, also known as back engineering, is the process of extracting information from anything man-made and studying it. 3D scanners can be used to capture all the parts of a disassembled object to create a 3D model. The user will then be able to digitally study it in 3D afterward.


Industries need to make sure their factories are producing perfect products that are perfectly in line with the products’ reference dimensions. 3D scanners can be used to efficiently measure potential discrepancies.

A high-quality 3D scan by Creaform.

A high-quality 3D scan of an industrial part by Creaform.
Source: Creaform/Ametek

Overview of 3D scanning technologies


Photogrammetry consists of taking measurements from photographs to recover the exact positions of surface points.

The principle of photogrammetry is to analyze several photographs of a static subject, taken from different viewpoints, and to automatically detect pixels corresponding to the same physical point.

Structured light

3D scanners using structured light project a series of linear light patterns onto an object.

The system is then able to examine the deformations of each line and to calculate the distance between the 3D scanner and the object’s surface. With this data, the software is able to build an accurate 3D model of the object.

Structured Light infographique. One of the most used 3D scanning technologies.

Structured light 3D scanning technology.
Source: Depth Biomecanics


A 3D scanner using triangulation technology will project a laser beam on the object’s surface and measure the deformation of the laser ray (similar to structured light, but with one or more lasers).


Contact 3D scanners probe the subject via physical touch. While the object is firmly held in place, a touch probe moves along its surface to record 3D information.

For more precise and detailed explanations, you can visit our 3D scanning technologies page.

3D scanning laser triangulation is a very used 3D scanning technology.

3D scanning laser triangulation technology.
Source: NeoMetrix


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