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

There are hundreds of 3D scanners available on the market, from desktop 3D scanners to advanced 3D metrology systems. However, handheld 3D scanners have been gaining a lot of popularity over the past few years.

There are several key tendencies that may be behind this segment’s growth. Over the years, we’ve noticed that handheld 3D scanners and their software (which is often the most complex part of the process) are becoming much easier to use, with smoother workflows and improved design and ergonomics. New entrants – mostly from Asia– have driven prices down to overcome some of the market’s entry barriers, all while providing quality hardware and performance.

More generally speaking, handheld 3D scanners offer various benefits over other types of 3D scanners:

  • Ability to access hard-to-reach places
  • Relative ease of use
  • Portability

Their versatility makes them suitable for a wide range of industries, including automobile, aerospace, engineering, and design, and some can even be used for 3D body scanning.

From affordable handheld 3D scanners to advanced, industrial-grade portable 3D scanners, the market caters to almost every need. Our goal is to showcase the best handheld 3D scanners currently available for professionals for under $30,000.

This buyer’s guide is based on a combination of our own experience, in-house 3D scanner reviews, and feedback from our partners.

Note: Not sure if handheld 3D scanning is the right fit for your use case? Take a step back and learn about other types of 3D capture solutions (metrology-grade solutions, jewelry 3D scanners, dental …) in our all-round 3D scanner buyer’s guide.

Our handheld 3D scanner selection this year (under $30K)

The table below recaps our selection of some of the best handheld 3D scanning options. The goal is to provide a quick, visual overview of the market; there are of course numerous other factors to take into account (certifications, software, customer service, …) to get the full picture for each solution and eventually make the right choice.

BrandProductAccuracyCountryPrice
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary by region, over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
peel 3D
This brand is a certified partner from our network.
peel 2 0.1 mmCanada$ 8,090Quote
Shining 3D
This brand is a certified partner from our network.
EinScan HX
This product has been reviewed by our team.
0.04 mmChina$ 12,000Quote
Creaform
This brand is a certified partner from our network.
HandySCAN 307 (SILVER series) 0.04 mmCanada$ 21,900Quote
Shining 3D
This brand is a certified partner from our network.
FreeScan UE Pro 0.02 mmChina$ 24,000Contact
Artec 3DLeo 0.1 mmLuxembourg$ 29,800Quote
ScantechSIMSCAN
This product has been reviewed by our team.
0.02 mmChina upon requestQuote

*Accuracy: Results measured in ideal conditions. Note that 3D scanner OEMs do not always follow the same protocols to measure their products’ accuracy.

** Max. resolution: Refers to point-to-point distance. Learn more about 3D scanning resolution and accuracy here.

The products in the table are ranked by price (low to high).

TITRE:
BrandProductTechnologyOs compatibilityAccuracyMax resolutionWirelessWeightCountryPrice
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary by region, over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
peel 3D
This brand is a certified partner from our network.
peel 2Structured lightMicrosoft Windows0.1 mm0.5 mm0.95 kgCanada$ 8,090Get a quote
Shining 3D
This brand is a certified partner from our network.
EinScan HX
This product has been reviewed by our team.
Structured light0.04 mm0.05 mm0.71 kgChina$ 12,000Get a quote
Creaform
This brand is a certified partner from our network.
HandySCAN 307 (SILVER series)Laser triangulation0.04 mm0.1 mm0.85 kgCanada$ 21,900Get a quote
Shining 3D
This brand is a certified partner from our network.
FreeScan UE ProLaser triangulation0.02 mm0.84 kgChina$ 24,000Contact manufacturer
Artec 3DLeoStructured lightMicrosoft Windows0.1 mm0.2 mm2.6 kgLuxembourg$ 29,800Get a quote
ScantechSIMSCAN
This product has been reviewed by our team.
Laser triangulation0.02 mm0.025 mm0.57 kgChina upon requestGet a quote

Overview of the best handheld 3D scanners under $30,000

In this section, we give some more context and information about each 3D scanner from our selection.

http://peel%202%203D%20scanner
Selection This product is featured in a buyer’s guide.
By peel 3D
This brand is a certified partner from our network.
CountryCanada
TechnologyStructured light
OS CompatibilityMicrosoft Windows
Max resolution0.5 mm
Volumetric accuracy0.1 mm + 0.5 mm/m
Weight0.95 kg
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary by region, over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 8,090

Peel 3d is a subsidiary of Creaform, a leading 3D scanner manufacturer. They first created the original peel 3d (which we reviewed a while back) in order to tap into the entry-level 3D scanner market.

This second-generation peel 3D scanner offers a higher resolution than its predecessor, and is capable of capturing textures and colors. It is available with a smaller scan volume as the peel 2-S version was designed for parts measuring between 5 and 50 cm.

Peel 3D scanners are easy to use, even for beginners with little 3D scanning knowledge. The software that comes with the peel 2 is also intuitive and user-friendly, offering multiple editing functionalities.

http://Shining%203D%20EinScan%20HX%20main%20product%20image
Selection This product is featured in a buyer’s guide.
Tested This product has been reviewed by our team.
By Shining 3D
This brand is a certified partner from our network.
CountryChina
TechnologyStructured light
Max resolution0.05 mm
Volumetric accuracy0.04 mm + 0.6 mm/m
Weight0.71 kg
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary by region, over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 12,000

The EinScan HX is a follow-up to the first-generation EinScan-Pro, EinScan Pro HD, and later EinScan Pro 2X and 2X Plus. In this price range and at this level of performance, the flagship EinScan HX is unrivaled.

This portable 3D scanner features hybrid 3D scanning technology: its rapid mode is based on structured light, while the fine mode uses laser triangulation. The HX is capable of color and texture acquisition, too.

It is a powerful and versatile product that is capable of acquiring difficult surfaces (reflective, dark, or both) and adapting to parts of all sizes. Shining 3D also made great efforts in terms of weight and design; the HX is well-balanced and comfortable to use.

Read the full review: Shining 3D EinScan HX review

http://Creaform%20HandySCAN%20307%20SILVER%20Series
Selection This product is featured in a buyer’s guide.
By Creaform
This brand is a certified partner from our network.
CountryCanada
TechnologyLaser triangulation
Max resolution0.1 mm
Volumetric accuracy
Weight0.85 kg
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary by region, over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 21,900

The SILVER series is a mashup of old and new recipes, combining the HandySCAN 307/700’s excellent reputation with ongoing updates to an already highly capable software.

We reviewed the HandySCAN 700 (HS700) twice; it is identical to the HandySCAN 307 aside that it features a single laser line mode and offers a slightly higher accuracy (0.03mm versus 0.04mm).

In short, we believe that the HandySCAN SILVER Series is an excellent option with a well-rounded and professional software suite. We highly appreciate the fact that the software saves every bit of information from each scan before letting you decide (reversibly) what you keep and which mesh resolution you want.

Read the full review (HS700 version): Creaform HandySCAN 700 review

http://Shining%203D%20Freescan%20UE%20Pro%20laser%203D%20scanner
Selection This product is featured in a buyer’s guide.
By Shining 3D
This brand is a certified partner from our network.
CountryChina
TechnologyLaser triangulation
Max resolution
Volumetric accuracy0.02 mm + 0.015 mm/m
Weight0.84 kg
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary by region, over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 24,000

The FreeScan series is a step above the EinScan series, namely in terms of accuracy and repeatability. It is a recent upgrade to the FreeScan X, boasting a faster acquisition rate, larger scanning range, lighter weight, and more competitive pricing.

This blue laser 3D scanner offers metrology-grade precision and repeatability, all while being able to scan difficult surfaces in a wide range of environments and industries. Common industries and applications for this type of 3D scanner include the automotive industry, transportation, mould inspection, energy manufacturing, aerospace, and machine manufacturing, among others.

The FreeScan UE Pro offers three scanning modes: 13 laser crosses for quick scans or large objects, 5 parallel laser lines to scan fine details, and a single laser line for deep holes and pockets.

http://SCANTECH%20SIMSCAN%20portable%20laser%203D%20scanner
Selection This product is featured in a buyer’s guide.
Tested This product has been reviewed by our team.
CountryChina
TechnologyLaser triangulation
Max resolution0.025 mm
Volumetric accuracy0.020 mm + 0.035 mm/m
Weight0.57 kg
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary by region, over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
upon request

The SIMSCAN is extremely lightweight for a handheld 3D scanner, weighing only 570 grams. It’s also very compact– the absolute smallest in its class– with dimensions of 203 x 80 x 44 millimeters. Scantech earned a Red Dot Design Award in 2021 for the SIMSCAN’s disruptive design.

After using the SIMSCAN to 3D scan various types of parts, we can confirm it’s an excellent product that feels, looks, and works great. With a price of around €25,000, the SIMSCAN’s price-to-performance is outstanding. The only blemish lies in the software, but it receives updates regularly and you can export your scans to your preferred suite.

Read the full review: Scantech SIMSCAN review

http://Artec3D%20Artec%20Leo%202022
Selection This product is featured in a buyer’s guide.

Leo

CountryLuxembourg
TechnologyStructured light
Max resolution0.2 mm
Volumetric accuracy0.1 mm + 0.3 mm/m
Weight2.6 kg
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary by region, over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 29,800

The Artec Leo has been one of the only wireless 3D scanners on the market since its original launch in 2017. It features an onboard processor to capture all data locally, and a large screen that offers real-time 3D visualization.

For its five-year anniversary in March 2022, Artec3D revamped the AI-based Leo with a new processor, the NVIDIA Jetson TX2. It is said to double the Leo’s speed and overall performance. Artec3D now also sells the Leo with a calibration certificate to guarantee its accuracy.

The Leo 3D scanner is a great option, namely in hard-to-reach areas or wherever it can be complex to plug in the Leo and a laptop. However, for more standard use cases, keep in mind that the Leo weighs 2.6kg; that’s around x5 times heavier than the most lightweight portable 3D scanners.

Portable 3D scanner buying guide

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

Purpose: What do you need your 3D scanner for?

Today’s handheld 3D scanners are very versatile and can be used for multiple use cases in various industries. Nevertheless, there are a few questions you can ask yourself to help make the right choice.

  • How big or small are the parts you’re going to scan? This will determine your field of view. Some 3D scanners have multiple modes or fields of view to handle small, medium, and large parts, while some are specially designed for small pieces.
  • Are you already familiar with 3D scanning? If you’re new to 3D scanning, you may want to look out for streamlined workflows. Some brands have several product generations of experience and provide more intuitive software.
  • Do you need to acquire colors? Many recent handheld 3D scanners boast texture/color capture, but this feature isn’t standard. It is quite rare on 3D scanners that focus on metrology applications, as having color maps could be superfluous when you just want to inspect a part’s shape.
  • Will you be 3D scanning every day? Perhaps you’d prefer a 3D scanner that’s easy and quick to set up and put away.

3D scanning can serve an amazing amount of purposes– determine yours before you choose a handheld 3D scanner.

Handheld 3D scanner specifications

Accuracy

A 3D scanner’s accuracy is its ability to obtain exact measurements. In certain industries, like quality inspection, high accuracy is of utmost importance. Entry-level handheld 3D scanners generally boast accuracies around 200 microns, while more premium products can go down to 20 microns.

Resolution

Just like with photos or screens, the level of resolution will count more or less depending on the amount of detail you need. In 3D scanning, resolution is generally measured in point-to-point distance.

Speed

The speed factor is especially important when 3D scanning large objects and landscapes (where SLAM/iMMS scanners shine), or for 3D body scanning.

Large objects take a while to scan, and some 3D scanners require you to stand still for a few seconds before moving on to the next perspective. Keep in mind that you’ll be “pointing and shooting” with your handheld 3D scanner in your hand; the longer you carry it, the heavier it feels.

Nonetheless, some 3D scanners like the Go!SCAN SPARK or the EinScan HX allow you to easily pause and resume from anywhere thanks to efficient automatic scan alignment.

Budget

Last but not least, and as is the case for so many other products, budget is definitely something to take into account. There are cheap handheld 3D scanner options for under $1,000 if you’re willing to sacrifice accuracy and performance (see our “Affordable 3D scanner” selection here).

Industrial 3D scanners are the most expensive, with advanced 3D scanning technologies and prices around $100K. Unless you need a 3D scanner for 24/7 automated quality inspection or other very specific use cases, an entry or mid-level 3D scanner will suit you.

FAQ

How much does a handheld 3D scanner cost?

Mid-range handheld 3D scanners tend to cost between $10,000 and $30,000. There are affordable handheld 3D scanner options under $1,000, and high-end, metrology-grade handheld scanners priced at over $50,000.

How accurate are handheld 3D scanners?

High-end handheld 3D scanners can reach an accuracy up to 0.020mm. Entry-level, affordable scanners offer a scan accuracy of around 0.10mm.