Over the past several years, 3D laser scanning has proven itself valuable across many different industries. From construction and architecture to reverse engineering, 3D laser scanning is establishing a new standard for professionals working in industrial fields.
But when it comes to everyday use, 3D laser scanners are often more complicated than most people at home are prepared to handle. 3D scanning software is complex and can be finicky. Learning how to manually operate one can be a challenge. And if you’re thinking about starting up a 3D scanning business yourself, be prepared to climb a steep technological learning curve.
That being said, it’s important to take a step back and research the 3D laser scanner market before jumping ahead and purchasing one. This buyer’s guide will help you determine what kind of 3D laser scanner is right for your needs, as well as some of the top performing scanners for different price points.
What Can 3D Laser Scanners Do?
Since their creation in the 1990s, 3D laser scanners have been used to accurately measure large objects that would otherwise be difficult to measure manually. They do this by scanning objects and then converting that information into 3D models.
Specifically, in the case of a home under construction, 3D laser scanners can be used to take measurements of walls, ceilings, floors, and other large surface planes. These measurements can then be used to create precise 3D models to scale, making it easier for workers to visualize and track the progress of their construction.
There Is No ‘Best’ 3D Laser Scanner
On today’s market you can find hundreds of different 3D scanner models. Many come equipped with highly specific features, optimized for specific uses. There are scanners specified for treading tires, measuring large-scale city planning projects, medical applications, archeology, and inspection, just to name a few.
So when it comes to ranking every scanner out there on the market, it’s impossible to determine a ‘best’ one. Each 3D scanner is highly specialized and unique. So when determining which 3D scanner to purchase, you need to base your decision on the applications you’re looking to use.
3D scanners also come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some are completely mobile, and small enough for handheld use. Others require space for rigging, or connection to power and ethernet. Make sure to consider the size and location of the object(s) you intend to measure so that you choose a 3D laser scanner suitable for the task.
3D Laser Scanner Price Ranges
Below are a few different price ranges you can expect to see when shopping for a 3D laser scanner. Along with the price points, we’ve also included several noteworthy models to consider as you shop.
Inexpensive ($200 $1500): 3D laser scanners priced within this range tend to be more finicky, and require the user to do some work in order to properly operate its software. The V2 Matter and Form, priced around $449, is a good example of an inexpensive 3D scanner. It is small and foldable, but generally requires repeated scans due to comparatively lower scan quality.
Moderately Priced ($1500 $5000): 3D laser scanners in this price range tend to perform better and are generally easier to use. However, 3D scanners at this price point usually require the user to have some 3D file knowledge beforehand in order for smooth operation, so some learning may be necessary on your end. The Shining 3D Einscan SE, priced at $1600, is a good example of a scanner in this range.
Higher End (Above $5000): These 3D laser scanners are optimized, accurate, and easy-to-use, even for day-to-day activities. The Artec Eva and Artec Eva Light, priced respectively at $19,700 and $6,800, are prime examples of more costly 3D laser scanners.