Just a decade ago, an average 3D printer cost more than $100,000. Today you can easily find a good cheap 3D printer for under $500, $300, even $200!
Each presented 3D printer comes either pre-assembled or works straight out of the box. If you’d like to spend even less money, but invest a few hours in the assembly, check out: 15 Best Cheap DIY 3D Printer Kits of Summer 2018
See Also: 16 Best 3D Printers of Fall 2018
In each category, the top pick comes first, then the budget 3D printers are sorted by price. Please be advised that prices for these cheap 3D printers tend to fluctuate a lot so checking the price is necessary if you want to rely on them.
First of all, the 3D printer offers an impressive feature set. It comes with a heated print bed that measures 220 x 220 (with a Z-axis extending to 250mm), a marked improvement over the Ender 3’s predecessor, the Ender 2. Also, its ability to resume a print after losing power is a welcome feature seldom seen in other cheap 3D printers.
The latest iteration still retains its CR-10 vibe, with aluminum extrusions comprising the frame and a single leadscrew driving the Z-axis from the left-hand side of the frame. The preassembled machine is similar of the Wanhao Duplicator i3, which itself is a clone of the open source Prusa i3 (one of the most popular 3D printer kits on the market).
We and thousands of 3D printing enthusiasts found the Ender 3 painless to use and capable of producing astonishingly consistent quality results. Be prepared that it can become quite loud, though.
3D Printer Review: 2018 Creality Ender 3 Review – Best 3D Printer Under $200
Most of the cheap 3D printers on our list are Cartesian-style machines, we figured we’d introduce you to this little devilish Delta 3D printer by Monoprice. The Mini Delta is incredibly affordable and offers a unique twist to what most are used to seeing with FDM 3D printing technology.
A Delta printer consists of three arms on rails that move up and down independently to move the print head. This process poses various advantages over Cartesian, including a circular print bed that makes the machine portable (it even has a handle), a lightweight frame, and increased print speed.
While this type of printer is usually a bit more complicated to put together properly, Monoprice makes this tall task easier with this pre-assembled Mini Delta – just take it out of the box and start printing. Also, this Delta printer comes with auto-calibration, a heated bed, WiFi connectivity, and more all for priced under $200. Please be advised the print bed is tiny – so better take a look if it really fits your needs.
With the Ender 3 selling like crazy, Geeetech takes a stab at Creality’s most popular 3D printer. The Geeetech A10 throws some nice adjustments in the ring: it’s easy to build and offers a slightly bigger build volume (220 x 220 x 260mm). It also comes with the “Super Plate”, which is Geeetech’s take on Anycubic’s popular Ultrabase (review here).
If you look at the specs, the only drawback is the manual calibration – but once that’s accomplished, you have an interesting printer for a really good price. It even offers an optional Wifi dongle.
The BIQU Magician 3D is one of many newcomers to 2018’s 3D printing market. It’s often referred to as a “lipstick” sized printer for its small frame and cylindrical packaging, a boxed Biqu Magician does, well, vaguely look like a stick of lipstick. Slapped across the branding of the box, however, is a magician’s top hat, which better indicates the box of tricks you’ll find inside.
The printer is based on the Rostock Delta RepRap design. It comes with a derivative of E3D’s open source Titan extruder; a TFT touchscreen; an acrylic print bed with a textured removable disk of PVP serving as the print surface. The most important feature, though, it the bed-leveling system, that is a bit unusual: It’s a sensor that you stick to the cold nozzle and remove it after it has done its thing.
When the Monoprice Select Mini came out in late 2016, it really made an impact on the scene. For an astonishingly low price, this tiny 3D printer is capable of delivering decent 3D prints. It features a heated bed and, despite its closed looking frame is open enough for individuals to hack it into better shape.
Version 2.0 and 3.0 soon followed, bringing significant improvements. First, the advertised WiFi 3D printing finally worked. Also, the awful heat management for the bed was fixed. For $200, you get a reliable 3D printer that punches above its weight, delivering impressive results. Still, the build plate is tiny compared to our current winner, the Creality Ender 3.
3D Printer Review: Monoprice MP Select Mini Review – Great Value for Money
After a short, simple and well-documented build process, you’ll find yourself with an excellent and reliable Prusa clone at a fraction of the cost. At the All3DP offices, it’s a machine that hasn’t left the testing grounds since we have reviewed it.
Available across the internet around the $200-350 range, the Anycubic i3 Mega provides a sizable print volume, a great adhesive heated bed called “Ultrabase” (more info here), a decent hot-end – this is essentially a plug and play machine for PLA printing. This makes it a great option for beginners on a budget, particularly for those who don’t mind tweaking a bit to improve the overall outcome of their prints.
3D Printer Review: 2018 Anycubic i3 Mega Review – Best 3D Printer Under $300
Gearbest, one of the most active vendors of Chinese 3D printers, has launched its own 3D printer brand called Alfawise in cooperation with Tronxy, a popular 3D printer manufacturer. Since its launch, the Alfawise U20 has become an increasingly popular budget alternative to our pick of the “Best 3D Printer under $500”, the Creality CR-10.
We’ve reviewed the machine and ran into some (fixable) problems. It starts with the slicer: If you replace the old Cura 15.4.3 with a newer version or even Simplify 3D, you can squeeze our astonishingly good prints out of it – just be prepared to sink some time into testing to get to the best settings.
Our PLA test prints turned out good, whereas the Alfawise U20 tends to have some issues with more demanding materials like Nylon, TPU or even PET-G.
2018 is the year the prices come tumbling down on CR-10 clones. Anet has come up with a smaller model that is cheaper, offers nearly identical specs as the CR-10 but actually prints astonishingly well. Some owners have encountered issues with the user interface, and a print cooling fan that works a little too well. Minor issues aside you get a decent 3D printer for a competitive price.
It’s not perfect, though, but with some tender loving care, modifications and a good slicer program it will become your new favorite.
3D Printer Review: 2018 Creality CR-10 Review – Best 3D Printer Under $500
The Anycubic Photon stormed the resin 3D printing community when it came out in early 2018. Since then, this little black box has established itself as a solid introductory machine for DLP/SLA 3D printing. Sure, the build volume is a paltry 115 x 65 x 155mm — smaller even than the diminutive Duplicator D7. And it definitely can’t compete with the Formlabs Form 2, which delivers professional results with every print. But we found it to be great if you approach it with a “My First DLP printer’ mindset.
3D Printer Review: 2018 Anycubic Photon Review – Best Budget Resin 3D Printer
Compared to its predecessor, the A3, the JGAurora A5 offers a large build volume, a glass bed comparable to the Anycubic Ultrabase, new features like power recovery and a high-resolution full-color touchscreen.
The JGAurora A5, despite its distinctive styling, is clearly trying to capture the Creality CR-10 crowd. And while it has the ability to take on some monstrous prints, we’ve encountered some minor design flaws that hold it back a little.
3D Printer Review: 2018 JGAurora A5 Review – Underrated or Underwhelming?
When the Creality CR-10 was released in mid-2017, it became an instant hit. Now, its lower-priced little bother, the Creality CR-10 Mini offers all of the benefits at the expense of a slightly smaller build volume.
Sure, you lose the ability to print that big — the CR-10’s main USP, but if you don’t need prints as big as 300 x 300 x 400mm, you’re still getting a great machine in the Mini, capable of reliably delivering decent prints.
The CR-10 Mini, which comes with a heated bed and an auto-resume feature, has a strong and lively fan base. It‘s no wonder the Creality CR-10 (and Mini) can be pimped with a lot of interesting 3D printed modifications.
Read more here: 2018 Creality CR-10 Mini – Review the Specs of this 3D Printer
The Wanhao Duplicator i3 series has progressively improved over the years, resulting in some confusing naming conventions. The original Duplicator i3 was followed by the “Duplicator i3 Plus”, which was a major overhaul. Then the same printer had been marketed as “Wanhao Duplicator i3 Mark 2”. The latest iteration is the “Wanhao i3 Duplicator V2.1”, which adds some minor changes to the popular machine.
Still, it’s a decent derivative of the open source Prusa i3 and shares its looks with the Anycubic i3 Mega. Since 2016, the printer has improved significantly while the price has dropped (by some 30 percent).
Top line features of this cheap 3D printer include a build volume of 200 x 200 x 180 mm (adequate for day to day prints), a rigid steel frame, a bed leveling probe, an integrated electronics cabinet (whereas before it was housed in a separate brick), a full-sized SD card slot and a touchscreen control interface.
It’s big. It’s orange. And it looks very similar to the Creality CR-10. But look a little closer, and you’ll see subtle differences that set the Anet E12 apart from its competitor.
Firstly, it offers a dual stepper motor set driving its Z-axis movement leading to more stability and less likely failure when it comes to tall prints – one of the problems the CR-10 runs into more often. Second, you get an adjustable Y-axis belt, which is a feature you find rarely in higher priced machines.
More information here: Anet E12 3D Printer: Review the Facts Here!
Rebranded from the Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus, the printer comes with a generous print volume of 400 x 410 x 400 mm, a heated bed and a maker’s reputation of being a reliable workhorse. Like the Anycubic i3 Mega, it comes with a responsive touchscreen, which is a comfort you don’t want to miss after some prints.
Overall, a nice budget printer that does a lot of things right.
More information here: Monoprice Maker Select Plus: Review the Facts
The FlashForge Finder has been around for quite a while; its a cheap 3D printer that offers a build volume of 140 x 140 x 140 mm, which by today’s standards is a bit on the small side.
Features of note are the Flashforge Finder’s open-face design, full-color display and wireless connectivity. The package also includes starter filament and a USB stick, which is basically all you need to get printing right away.
3D Printer Review: Flashforge Finder 3D Printer Review: (Almost) For Beginners
Wanhao offers a bunch of interesting FDM printers – but this one is different. Like the Formlabs Form 2, it uses liquid resin, that can be cured using UV light. Although it has a much smaller build volume than other 3D printers, this resin 3D printer can produce small objects with amazing details.
Wanhao provides a range of resins for the Duplicator 7. Of course, you’re not stuck with the resins provided by the manufacturer. If you want to buy additional resins, make sure they are working with an active wavelength of 405 nanometers.
More on the printer here: Wanhao Duplicator 7 (D7) – Review the Specs of the 3D Printer
What really makes this 3D printer shine is its ongoing development and support. Founder Josef Prusa constantly adds new features, software and hardware bits for improvement — like multicolor 3D printing — that make 3D printers in the $1000-3000 range look mediocre.
The print quality is excellent, and if you dare to venture into exotic, hard to print filaments, this is the machine to go for. Needless to say, if 3D printing performance is a more important factor than price, look no further than the Original Prusa.
3D Printer Review: Original Prusa i3 MK3 Review – Best 3D Printer of Fall 2018
Advertised as “the simplest 3D printer in the world”, the Dagoma Neva Magis 3D printer can be controlled with just one press of a button.
The US-made printer really stands out in a world of Prusa and CR-10 clones. First, it’s a Delta 3D printer. Second, it offers plug-and-play operation for most features: For example, the “tap tap” extruder works by simply tapping twice on the print bed, ejecting the filament with no further prompting on your part. Third, 50 percent of its parts are 3D printed.
Read more here: Dagoma Neva 3D Printer: Review the Facts Here
So you want it all? A laser-cutter, a 3D printer, and a CNC mill? The Snapmaker has got you covered. The 3-in-1 machine started on Kickstarter, becoming the third most funded 3D printing project to feature on the platform. The Snapmaker utilizes interchangeable tool heads — usually, such machines cost more than $2000, but if you can live with a very small print bed, this machine could be a go-to multitool in your workshop.
3D Printer Review: 2018 Snapmaker Review – Best Budget All-In-One 3D Printer
So, it’s Prusa again? Yes, as the MK2S still is one of the best 3D printers you can buy, period.
All the parts and software are open-source and part of the RepRap project, so there are a lot of clones around… but none are as good as the original. The Prusa i3 MK2S comes with a heated bed that compensates cold corners, auto-calibration, and a great documentation. It‘s not exactly a cheap 3D printer but is extremely versatile when it comes to filament and prints materials like PLA, PET, HIPS, Flex PP, or even Ninjaflex with ease.
If your budget doesn‘t allow for the MK3 and you don’t need all the new features, this machine comes at a good price.
3D Printer Review: Original Prusa i3 MK2 Review: Best 3D Printer Kit of 2017
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before; the FlashForge Creator Pro closely resembles the Makerbot Replicator 2X. This cheap 3D printer is capable of dual extrusion and comes with a metal frame and enclosed chassis.
Other features include a platform-leveling system with a metal build plate and a guide rod to help with stabilization and durability. The design is starting to look a bit long in the tooth, but the Flashforge Creator Pro is held dear by the maker community for its reliability, versatility, and ease of use.
License: The text of "Best Cheap 3D Printer 2018 – Priced Under $200/300/500/1000" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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