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The best portable 3D scanners in 2018

Creaform 3D scanners are optimized to meet the needs of product development and engineering professionals on the lookout for the most effective and reliable way to acquire 3D measurements of physical objects.

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 possible, metascore presence

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 2018 list of the best handheld 3D scanners

3D scannerTechnologyCountryPrice*Buy
Artec EvaStructured lightLuxembourg$20KQuote
Artec Space SpiderStructured lightLuxembourg$24KQuote
Creaform Go!SCAN 50Structured lightCanada$30KQuote
Creaform HandySCAN 700Laser triangulationCanada$50K - $100K
Quote
Creaform MetraSCAN 750Laser triangulationCanada$50KQuote
peel3d 3d ScannerStructured lightCanada$5,9KQuote
Shining 3D EinScan-Pro+Structured lightChina$4,9KQuote
Shining 3D FreeScan X5Laser triangulationChina$20K - $50KQuote
THOR3D DrakeStructured lightRussia$16,8KQuote
This table represents a non-exhaustive overview of the portable 3D scanners available on the market in 2018, ranked by alphabetical order. 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: 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
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 Artec Eva 3D scanner offers a very interesting price to performance ratio and is suitable for different applications. These include reverse engineering, body scan or museum conservation.
The Artec Space Spider is one of the best handheld 3D scanners available on the market.

Artec Space Spider

  • Price: $24,000
  • Metascore: 4/5
  • Technology: Structured light
  • Country: Luxembourg
This 3D scanner uses a blue LED structured light technology that is compatible with a wide variety of objects. Users can 3D scan small, detailed objects such as mechanical parts, jewelry and even body parts. The Space Spider offers high levels of precision and is also suitable for reverse engineering. See our hands-on experience with the Artec Space Spider.
The Creaform Go!SCAN 50 is a handheld portable 3D scanner for professionals.

Creaform Go!SCAN 50

  • Price: $20K
  • Metascore: 5/5
  • Technology: Structured light
  • Country: Canada
The professional Go!SCAN 50 uses structured white light 3D scanning technology. It is able to capture in 3D many different objects, including their textures (colors). This 3D scanner is easy to use and weighs just under one kilogram for easy manipulation. Objects require no preparation, users can simply “point and shoot” to 3D scan them.
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: $50K – $100K
  • Metascore: 5/5
  • Technology: Laser triangulation
  • Country: US
This 3D scanner is very adapted to 3D scan a wide variety of mechanical parts, mockups and prototypes. This metrology-grade 3D scanners suits 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 products on the market for producing high quality 3D meshes.
The Creaform MetraSCAN 750 is one of the best handheld 3D scanners on the market.

Creaform MetraSCAN 750

  • Price: $50K – $100K
  • Metascore: 5/5
  • Technology: Laser triangulation
  • Country: Canada
The MetraSCAN 750 by Creaform is a professional optical coordinate measuring machine (CMM). It is able to 3D scan objects ranging from 0.2 to 6 meters in size. The Creaform MetraSCAN 750 conveniently features multifunctional buttons in order to easily interact with the software. This 3D scanner is able to 3D scan difficult materials, including shiny surfaces whether they are black or multi-color. See our hands-on test of the MetraSCAN 750.
The peel 3d 3d scanner is a wireless portable 3D scanner.

peel 3d Scanner

  • Price: $5,900
  • Metascore: n/a
  • Technology: Structured light
  • Country: Canada
Peel 3d is a subsidiary of Creaform, a manufacturer that usually focuses on high-end, industrial 3D scanners. The peel 3d Scanner is an entry-level yet professional handheld 3D scanner. Users can benefit from wireless 3D scanning and peel3d’s user-friendly software. This 3D scanner features automatic shape recognition and is suitable for a large number of applications. These include education, body scanning, reverse engineering and more.
The EinScan Pro + is a versatile, light and powerful 3D scanner among the best handheld and portable 3D scanners.

Shining 3D EinScan-Pro+

  • Price: $4,999
  • Metascore: n/a
  • Technology: Structured light
  • Country: China
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 FreeScan X5 is one of the best handheld 3D scanners on the market.

Shining 3D FreeScan X5

  • Price: $20K – $50K
  • Metascore: n/a
  • Technology: Laser triangulation
  • Country: China
The FreeScan X5 offers an almost unlimited 3D scanning size. This 3D scanner’s light and narrow body allows users to 3D scan even in the most narrow spaces. The Shining 3D FreeScan X5 provides great accuracy and high speed 3D scanning. It’s 10 laser line array is Class II eye-safe.
The THOR3D Drake is a professional handheld 3D scanner.

THOR3D Drake

  • Price: $16,800
  • Metascore: n/a
  • Technology: Structured light
  • Country: Russia
This 3D scanner from Russia is able to 3D scan a wide variety of objects, from oil pipes to jewelry, and their textures (colors). The Drake is actually a 3-in-1 3D scanner, as it possible to change between 3 different lenses or “heads”: the Mini head for small objects, the Midi head for medium objects, and the Maxi head for big objects.

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