This is a simple question with a complex answer.
Consumer 3D printers have advanced tremendously in both price and reliability over the past few years, and produce really good results. The time that it takes to properly set-up current 3D printers have been reduced to almost zero out of the box (almost). The initial investment for consumer 3D printers is relatively low, and you have plenty of choices that will fit your needs.
1. On most cases, they are easy to use.
2. Prices are getting low.
3. For extrusion based 3D printers (Most common type you will find for consumers), there is a huge type of composite materials to use like Carbon fiber, Wood, Metal, Nylons, and so on.
4. There are several web-sites with thousands of 3D models to print.
5. They are starting to move out of the “hobbyist” area.
Now, there is also the not-so-positive side of things, and what makes Consumer 3D printer a niche, instead of a Main Stream product:
1. Not everything can be 3D printed: Due to how most Consumer 3D printers work (extruded plastic), there are several limitations of objects that can be 3D printed. Sure, there are other type of technologies available to the public (resin) but they are usually more expensive, and require more post-processing work.
2. Unless you have CAD experience, you are limited to print objects that other people have created.
3. Size is quite limited, usually you can print an object no larger than 6 inches.
4. Prints can take several hours, or even days depending on quality and size.
5. The layers on most printed objects is quite noticeable.
6. Too many small companies are saturating the field, and some of them will not last a year, and you may end up with a machine not supported.
At the end, 3D printers are not “project cars” anymore, since the tuning and adjusting has been reduced to a minimum, and most likely, you can start printing right out-of-the-box. The future is good for Consumer 3D printers.
Right now, my only problem is with people who are still calling 3D printing the “NEW” industrial revolution, and advocate how it will change the way we purchase products, that will not happen in the near-future, since the products we consume are a mix of plastic, rubber, metal, electronics, etc. Current consumer 3D printing technology is limited to either one or two plastic based materials. Sorry, no Next-Gen gaming console printing for you….