Hey all! I have a few printers now, acquired over the years, but any time anyone asks about a recommendation I send them right to https://www.prusa3d.com/. Whether you get it as a kit or buy it assembled, I think Prusa sells a well thought out, user friendly, reliable machine. They are always striving to make it better, with constant updates to firmware and hardware. If you have an issue they have great customer support, as well as 2 huge booklets that come with your printer that cover how to assemble and repair your printer. The step by step assembly booklet is amazing, again they have great attention to detail, and it's easy to follow. (Bonus! A haribo gummy bear pack to snack on while you build it!) I purchased the I3 MK3 kit, it took a full evening of building, but I feel like it's worth doing. You will learn much more about your printer, and thus have a good idea of how to diagnose issues when they inevitably rise up.
But! I get it. You have to start some where. If you're on a budget, you may looking at a Creality printer. My first printer was the CR-10S from https://tiny-machines-3d.myshopify.com/. It can be great, if you are prepared to do a lot of tinkering and fixing. I cannot attest to the most recent creality printers, but this CR-10S I spent a heck of lot of time fixing faulty parts, doing upgrades, and leveling the bed. It was a bare bones printer that is no longer sold, and I would not recommend to anyone starting out.
At any rate! The Prusa i3 Mk3 has some quality life things that I would recommend that the CR-10S did not have.
1. Automatic mesh bed leveling- no more fiddling with knobs trying to level your bed!
2. Power loss recovery- if the power goes out, not all is lost. You can continue your print.
3. A flexible pei sheet- It's magnetic so it sticks to the bed, but easy to pull off if needed. But honestly I never need to. I let my prints cool and they pop right off. No scraper, no muscles needed. And I never put any glue/hairspray on it either. Just clean it with a small amount of isopropyl alcohol every time and you're golden.
4. Easy step by step instructions on the LCD screen when operating it, along with lots of options for adjustments, and live Z adjusting so your first layer is sexy.
5. Easy loading & unloading filament. It will automatically sense when you put in filament and start feeding.
The Prusa Slic3r has treated me well, and I found that the support removal has been a breeze. This, too, is often updated and has preset profiles for a fair list of filament brands out on the market. And the filament I use most often has been hatchbox. It has been consistent, as well as a fair price for PLA.
Alas! I use both printers, and below here you can see I have created so many things. The helmet was printed on the CR-10S and the walkman & Groot on the Prusa i3 Mk3. In the end it all gets sanded, sanded, sanded, and painted!