Best 3d scanners

The 3D scanner market is a large and heterogeneous space of wide-ranging products, with devices of all shapes, sizes, functionalities and prices. While having such a wide selection is great, it makes the task of separating the worthwhile offerings from the uninteresting ones quite a challenge. In this article we will name the best 3d scanners, which will help you make the right decision when choosing a product.

Whether you are looking for the perfect entry-level scanner suitable for home and hobby use, or a device with more functional software and efficient processes, or an industrial 3D scanner that can handle demanding tasks such as quality control, reverse engineering or metrology, we are confident that you will find in our review the right scanner for your task and available budget.


Released and until recently supported by BQ, the Ciclop DIY 3D scanning kit is a fully open source project distributed under the GPL license. Following the RepRap philosophy, many of Ciclop’s components are printed themselves on a 3D printer. The electronics behind this 3D scanner can be purchased as a kit and consist mainly of a customized Arduino board and a Logitech webcam.

The processing of the data captured by this 3D laser scanner is done by a special Horus scanning kit, which is also open source.

HP Structured Light Scanner Pro S3

The HP Structured Light Scanner Pro S3, formerly known as the David SLS-3, uses structured light to capture objects, allowing for high quality results when combined with an industrial-grade HD camera. Despite being stationary, which some consider an uncomfortable limitation, the S3 boasts a modular expansion option that allows a second camera to be used for increased accuracy. Available as a complete package with two industrial-grade cameras, the S3, despite costing close to the upper end of the scanner spectrum in a similar class, is a solution that leads the way in terms of modularity and high quality results.

Artec Eva

Many consider Artec Eva the best 3D handheld scanner in its class. It is used in almost every field of work imaginable, from aerospace to orthopedics. Artec Eva is especially suitable for medium-sized objects (including busts), capturing accurate full-color scans quickly and reliably. More than one Artec 3D scanner can be set up in parallel to speed up or improve the process – an expensive solution, but one that makes the device even more versatile.

Because of the use of structured light as scanning technology, this product should be considered safe for scanning people and animals. Eva requires no calibration or warm-up time and is compatible with tablets, making the entire system more mobile. However, the proprietary editing software is not free and does not come with this 3D scanner (however, Artec Studio software is far from the best part of the Eva process). If Artec Studio isn’t for you, you can process your scans with any third-party software by using the export function from the 3D scanner.

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