The best portable and handheld 3D scanners in 2017

This article is sponsored by Creaform, a global leader in cutting edge portable 3D measurement and analysis technologies. Introducing the Go!SCAN 3D line of portable 3D scanners, enabling people to effortlessly capture the 3D shape of any object. The content of this article has not been modified from its original version.

What is the best portable 3D scanner on the market?

There are many 3D scanners available on the market, from desktop 3D scanners to advanced metrology systems. Handheld 3D scanners are gaining popularity in this fast-growing market, because they offer flexibility and allow the 3D capture of complex scenes or objects.

A wide variety of portable 3D scanners is available on the market today, from budget, entry-level handheld devices to advanced, industrial-grade portable 3D scanners. Our goal is to cut through the clutter and showcase the best portable 3D scanners currently on the market.

For this list, we focused on handheld 3D scanners with available reviews and ratings. This means that portable 3D scanners which have launched recently or have not gathered enough reviews from trusted sources may not be included in this list. The 3D scanners in this list respond to the following criteria:

  • Portable and handheld 3D scanner
  • Available on the market
  • Positive community feedback and, if applicable, internal test

Note: we strive to provide a comprehensive overview of the market. However, in completion of our lists and product pages, we still recommend searching for additional information. There’s plenty to go around in 3D scanning forums and discussion groups.

The 2017 list of the best handheld 3D scanners

3D scannerTechnologyCountryPrice range*Buy
Creaform HandySCAN 700laser triangulationCanada$50,000- $100,000
Quote
Creaform MetraSCAN 750laser triangulationCanada$50,000Quote
Creaform Go!SCAN 50structured lightCanada$30,000Quote
Artec Space Spiderstructured lightLuxembourg$30,000Quote
Artec Evastructured lightLuxembourg$20,000Quote
Shining 3D EinScan-Pro+structured lightChina$4,999
Quote
Cubify Sensestructured lightUnited States$419
Occipital Structure Sensorstructured lightUnited States$379
This table represents a non-exhaustive overview of the portable 3D scanners available on the market in 2017, ranked by price. The 3D scanners that we chose answer certain criteria, including positive feedback from the community and, when possible, a metascore. See more information in the next section.

*Price range: we provide a price range when the MSRP (manufacturer suggested retail price) is unavailable. Also, the final price may change depending on the country, configuration and other factors.



Our methodology: how we selected the best handheld 3D scanners

Available on the market

All of the portable 3D scanners in this list are widely available throughout the world. However, their availability may depend on the brand and the product. Furthermore, prices can vary a lot from one country to another due to import taxes. Contact us for accurate quotes.




Customer feedback and internal testing

We base our handheld 3D scanner selection on feedback from the community (users, partners and resellers). Additionally, we conduct our own internal tests and reviews on a variety of 3D scanners.

The price ranges and case applications are so wide that it’s difficult to exclusively use our metascore for this type of product. Plus, some great products are relatively new on the market and haven’t yet had the chance to be reviewed. This explains why some of the portable 3D scanners included in this list don’t have a metascore.

Overview of the best handheld and portable 3D scanners

The Artec Eva is one of the best handheld 3D scanners available on the market.

Artec Eva

  • Price: $19,800
  • Metascore: 4.4/5
  • Technology: structured light
  • Country: Luxembourg
  • Quote: Aniwaa

This 3D scanner is light (0,85 kg), fast and versatile. The Artec Eva uses the structured light technology to capture a wide variety of subjects and their textures (colors): objects, mechanical parts, people, vehicles and environments. The 3D scanner Artec Eva offers a very interesting price to performance ratio and can be used for different applications such as reverse engineering, body scan or museum conservation. The Artec Studio 12 is a great software and very powerful.

The occipital structure sensor is a high quality portable 3D scanner with an affordable price.

Occipital Structure Sensor

  • Price: $379
  • Metascore: 3.5/5
  • Technology: structured light
  • Country: USA
  • Seller: Amazon

The Occipital Structure Sensor allows you to turn your tablet or smartphone into a 3D scanner. This 3D scanner is natively optimized to work with iPads and can be adapted for iPhone 6. A stand alone Structure Sensor is also available. The Power Adapter Pro reduces cable clutter and saves space, and it’s essential for installations and work where both Structure Sensor and iPad are used for extended periods of time.

The Cubify Sense is one of the best handheld 3D scanners available on the market.

Cubify Sense

  • Price: $419
  • Metascore: 2.7/5
  • Technology: structured light
  • Country: USA
  • Seller: MatterHackers

The Cubify Sense is designed for individuals looking for a low cost solution. This portable 3D scanner is capable of producing textured (colored) 3D scans from a wide variety of subjects: small and medium sized objects or people. 

The Cubify Sense uses a structured light technology and is able to produce 3D files for 3D printing. It can be a good option for 3D scanning to 3D printing processes initiations or quick demonstrations.

The EinScan Pro + a a versatile, light and powerful 3D scanner among the best handheld and portable 3D scanners.

EinScan-Pro+

  • Price: $4,999
  • Technology: structured light
  • Country: China
  • Quote: Aniwaa

The Shining 3D EinScan-Pro+ uses a white structured light 3D scanning technology, based on LED lighting. This handheld 3D scanner offers the same advantages as its predecessor: it is light and portable with a weight of only 0.8 kg. Several different configurations are available in order to offer the best 3D scanning speed to resolution ratio. The main new features of the EinScan-Pro+ and differences with the EinScan-Pro are: a new HD capture mode, a larger 3D scanning area, a rapid acquisition module for faster 3D capture.

The Creaform HandyScan 700 is a very powerful and accurate 3D scanner among the best 3D scanners available on the market.

Creaform HandyScan 700

  • Price: $50,000- $100,000
  • Metascore: 5/5
  • Technology: laser triangulation
  • Country: USA
  • Quote: Aniwaa

This 3D scanner is very adapted to 3D scan a wide variety of mechanical parts, mockups and prototypes. This metrology-grade 3D scanner is suited for various uses cases such as reverse engineering, all steps of design and manufacturing processes, cultural heritage preservation, restoration, digital archiving and entertainment. This portable 3D scanner is one of the most effective product on the market for producing high quality 3D meshes.

Portable and handheld 3D scanner buying guide

Before choosing a portable 3D scanner, it’s important to take certain points into account.

Purpose

A great way to determine the purpose for a 3D scanner is thinking about what needs to be achieved, and then work backwards. Typically, 3D scanning is the first part of a project for collecting 3D measurements from an object.

Desired 3D scan results

Accuracy

A 3D scanner’s accuracy is its ability to obtain exact measurements. In certain industries, like quality car parts inspection, high accuracy is of utmost importance.

Resolution

Just like with photos or screens, the level of 3D scanning resolution counts depending on the amount of detail one needs.

Speed

The speed factor is especially important when 3D scanning persons, large objects and landscapes. Large objects take a while to scan, and humans tend to move slightly (even when trying to stand still). That’s why speed is crucial for those applications.




Type of object to 3D scan

Small objects

Small objects such as jewels, mechanical parts, and electrical components require high accuracy and high resolution for details.

Large objects

Generally, large objects require stitching 3D scans together to obtain one, large 3D model. This is true for example with cars, sculptures, buildings, and 3D body scanning.

User knowledge and experience

Some 3D scanner manufacturers insist more on user-friendly experiences that others. Choosing a more complex 3D scanner implies hours of training, and beginners may find it more interesting to get an easy-to-use 3D scanner.

Budget

Last but not least, and as it is the case for so many other products, the budget is definitely something to take into account. There are entry-level 3D scanners for under $500 if users are willing to sacrifice accuracy and performance. Industrial 3D scanners are the most expensive, with prices around $100K.

Find the perfect balance between all these factors with our 3D scanner comparison engine and its filters. We reference hundreds of different 3D scanners, and our database keeps growing daily.

More 3D scanning resources