Just a decade ago, the average 3D printer cost more than $100,000. Today you can easily find a good cheap 3D printer for under $1000 or $500, even $300! That’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?
Important Note: Each 3D printer on this list comes assembled. If you’d like to spend even less money — but invest some time and effort — then take a look at this article: 20 Best Cheap DIY 3D Printer Kits in Spring 2018
Of course, the lower you go in price, the greater the limitations. Some of the cheap 3D printers on this list won’t have a heated print bed, for example, and the build volume will be smaller. Plus, the print quality simply of most cheap 3D printers cannot compete with the more expensive machines out there.
But with some patience and tinkering, it’s possible to fabricate quality objects with a cheap 3D printer costing less than half the price of a flagship smartphone. How cool is that?
To help you stay afloat in this widening sea of cheap 3D printers, we’ve put together a list of the best 3D printer under $300, $500, and $1000, along with a boatload of alternatives that will also get the job done without breaking the bank.
Did we miss your favorite budget 3D printer? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll add them in a future update.
The best cheap 3D printer under $300 on this list is the Monoprice MP Select Mini V2. Why? Because it’s an impressive machine with a smart, compact design that’s retailing for an unbelievably low price. It has a quick release steel gear filament feeder, a nozzle cooling fan, a color LCD, a heated build plate, plus microSD and USB connectivity.
For those brave folks who are unconcerned about voiding their warranty — and at this price why would you be? — the unit is also easy to hack for upgrades like a new hot-end, glass bed, and wi-fi connectivity.
Monoprice will release a new and improved version of this highly popular cheap 3D printer soon.
But there’s a limitation with the print dimensions, which are ridiculously small at 120 x 120 x 120 mm. This small size will be keenly felt as your printing ambitions grow.
Just from a first glance, it’s easy to see that the da Vinci miniMaker is an attempt to market 3D printing towards children and education. This cheap 3D printer is designed to be as user-friendly as possible, equipped with a single-button print design and 5 colored LEDs to indicate the status of your print job. Moreover, this cheap 3D printer features wifi connectivity so it can be managed over the network in your home or classroom.
Although the low price makes this machine a worthwhile addition to our best cheap 3D printer list, the miniMaker is quite limited in functionality and size.
As is customary with low-cost XYZprinting machines, the filament is proprietary — which means you’ll have to buy additional consumables from the same manufacturer. A proprietary filament is roughly 20 percent more expensive than a regular one. But the company tries to take the sting out of the tail by asserting their non-toxic PLA credentials.
Another cheap 3D printer with a strong reputation is the Monoprice Maker Select V2.
This machine is a rebadged 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). But all that you really need to know is that the printer is painless to use and can produce consistent results.
A unique design feature of the Maker Select V2 is that the power brick and control panel are housed separate from the main body of the printer, and it features a huuuuge build volume of 200 x 200 x 180 mm. Oh, and it’s extraordinarily good value for money.
Relatively new to the market is the E180 Mini from Chinese company Geeetech. Similar in design to the Monoprice Select Mini, this budget 3D printer features wireless network connectivity, which you can use to control it via a computer, tablet or smartphone. Reviewers comment on its ease-of-use right out of the box, labeling it an ideal machine for beginners. All in all, this affordable 3D printer is an absolute bargain.
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 uses space more effectively, 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. This machine is brand new, and so it’s just now coming to the market. Although we haven’t had much hands-on experience, we can’t help put salivate at the idea of a Delta printer with auto-calibration, heated bed, WiFi connectivity, and more all for under $200.
Learn more: Monoprice MP Mini Delta: Review the Facts Here
After the M3D Micro 3D Printer raised more than a few eyebrows when it debuted on Kickstarter a few years back, the 3D printer manufacturer M3D has been working on bigger and better models, all while trying not to increase the initial $300 price tag.
The company seems to have succeeded in that goal with the Micro Plus, an improved version of its predecessor that costs the same price.
The first thing that will catch your eye with this printer is the sleek and compact design, which comes in many color options. It has a 109 x 114 x 167 mm build volume, and is essentially an enhanced model of the first Micro.
The Micro Plus includes a more advanced ARM processor core, which doubles the print speed and makes the printer more compatible with third-party software. While M3D produces its own line of filament, you can still use third party filaments without worry.
You can buy the most recent Micro edition direct from the company or Amazon for $299, and it comes with a 12-month warranty.
Much like the TEVO Tornado, the Anycubic i3 Mega doesn’t come fully assembled, but most of the printer is put together by the time it reaches your doorstep. After spending a little bit of time with the finishing touches, you’ll find yourself with a decent Prusa clone at a fraction of the cost.
Available across the internet around the $300-400 range, the Anycubic i3 Mega provides a sizable print volume, a heated bed, and is essentially a plug and play machine. 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.
Key Features: Anycubic i3 Mega
The Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus is a major enhancement of their popular Wanhao Duplicator i3 (which in turn is a derivative of the open source Prusa i3).
Topline features of this cheap 3D printer is a generous build volume of 200 x 200 x 180 mm, a steel frame, an integrated electronics cabinet (whereas before it was housed in a separate brick), a full-sized SD card slot, and a touchscreen control interface.
The FlashForge Finder is one of the newer models on list; its a cheap 3D printer that offers a median build volume of 140 x 140 x 140 mm.
The new Finder has a compact, open-face design, with a 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.
When it comes to popular Chinese 3D printer brands like TEVO, Anet, or Creality, most of these 3D printers come in the form of grueling DIY kits (which is why most of them didn’t make the cut). These unassembled machines are better suited for 3D printing enthusiasts or hobbyists seeking a challenging weekend project.
However, TEVO does offer an almost fully assembled 3D printer–95 percent according to the company–and so we thought the Tornado deserved to twist its way onto our cheap 3D printer list. With a similar style to the Creality CR-10, the assembled TEVO Tornado takes about 20 minutes to setup for printing.
With a sturdy aluminum frame, a generous 300 x 300 x 400 mm build size, and wide ranging filament compatibility, this 3D printer is ideal for those who are on a strict budget but don’t want to face the usual limitations that cheap 3D printers present.
If you’re willing to spend a bit more tweaking to find the perfect print, the TEVO Tornado could be the cheap 3D printer for you. However, if you end up owning this 3D printer, be prepared to rely on the TEVO community to help solve potential problems.
The 3D printer manufacturer XYZprinting has a huge range of low-cost machines on the market. And while the value is appealing, sometimes it can be difficult to tell them apart.
We like the XYZprinting da Vinci Jr. Mix 2.0 for a radical feature; the ability to print with two filaments and mix them into color gradients. It’s a sophisticated 3D printing technique rarely available at this price point, and one that’s worth exploring if you’d like to move on from single filament extrusion.
For this cheap 3D printer, however, there’s a bit of a catch. The filaments used for the da Vinci Mix are proprietary. That means you’re locked into buying replacement filaments directly from XYZprinting, and third party suppliers are off limits.
Forget just being an affordable option, the Original Prusa MK2S is one of the best 3D printers you can buy, period. All parts 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.
Although the Czech 3D printer manufacturer recently released the new Prusa i3 MK3, the assembled version is just outside of our list’s price range. Fortunately, you can still purchase the equally capable MK2S for under $1000.
The Prusa i3 Mk2S comes with a heated bed that compensates cold corners, auto-calibration, and solid documentation. It is extremely versatile when it comes to filament and prints materials like PLA, PET, HIPS, Flex PP, or even Ninjaflex with ease.
Needless to say, if 3D printing performance is a more important factor than price, look no further than the Original Prusa.
The Monoprice Maker Select Ultimate is a curious beast, fusing design elements from two of the leading brands in 3D printing today — Zortrax and Ultimaker. Specifically, it features the perforated aluminum print bed that we have previously seen on the Zortrax M200 — which is beneficial for cooling without warping — and software interface pretty much identical to that used for the Ultimaker 2 — which is great for ease-of-use.
Where this best cheap 3D printer diverges, meanwhile, is on two critical points. Firstly, it dispenses with the Bowden tube setup for direct drive extrusion. That should make for more reliable operation and fewer failed print jobs (though perhaps at the expense of speed with the added weight on the print head). Secondly, it costs a fraction of the price of the top-shelf 3D printers it so obviously tries to emulate.
The UP mini 2 is a cheap 3D printer with some impressive high-end features. For starters, the touch screen controls and wifi connectivity are rare at this price point.
Overall a very tidy package. It’s just a pity that the 120 x 120 x 120 mm build volume is so puny.
The Robo C2 is a 3D printer with a small form factor and a dizzying array of connectivity options. Using a dedicated smartphone app, you can monitor the status of a print from a phone or tablet. It can also be connected to a Chromebook; thanks to an onboard slicing feature, users don’t need to download a program to print.
Perhaps most impressively, there’s integration with Amazon Alexa. Users can pause, cancel, and check the status of prints in real time using voice commands.
What else does this best cheap 3D printer offer? It can fabricate parts up to 127 x 127 x 150mm, with a print speed of 300 mm/s, and print resolution as high as 20 microns. The C2 also includes a built-in 3.5″ color touch-screen, filament run-out detection, automatic calibration and a removable self-leveling print platform. The only drawback is a non-heated bed, which leaves you with PLA filament and its derivates.
The Duplicator 4S is a dual extrusion 3D printer, and a clone of the classic MakerBot Replicator. Within the steel frame is a MK10 filament feeding mechanism that’s reputedly one of the easiest and the most reliable on the market, allowing for quick and easy loading and unloading.
Other features include a precision-forged drive gear, which feeds the filament to the hot end at a consistent speed. This cheap 3D printer comes equipped with 0.4mm precision nozzles fitted to ensure even and precise extrusion of filament.
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.
The Idea Builder 3D20 is a fully enclosed plug ‘n’ play 3D printer from home improvement specialists Dremel. This cheap 3D printer has a full-color touchscreen and a generous build volume, but unfortunately, it doesn’t have a heated bed. On the flipside, however, this missing feature makes it more child-friendly and suitable for use in the classroom.
The Printrbot Simple Pro is a substantial upgrade to the original Simple. It carries over the same open design that shows the printer functioning from every angle. And like its predecessor it’s compact and portable, with a sturdy metal construction to withstand dings and dents.
Where it differs is the addition of a built-in color touch screen, plus wifi connectivity and a free cloud service (which is optional) to simplify the printing experience. The Simple Pro is also powered by a 32-bit motherboard that provides a smooth and speedy motion. Remarkably, with all these advanced features it still qualifies as a cheap 3D printer with a low price tag of $699.
As we’ve noted with other XYZprinting 3D printers on this list, the Taiwanese company’s biggest downfall is lack of third party filament compatibility. However, the manufacturer seems to have taken this criticism to heart, leading to the da Vinci 1.0 Pro, the first XYZprinting printer that works with non-proprietary materials.
That’s not all… This cheap 3D printer also comes with a heated aluminum bed, auto-calibration, WiFi connectivity, and even the possibility to use laser engraving and 3D scanning.
This machine is a bit bulky, so it might not be the right choice for those with limited space. But for those primarily concerned with a budget, the da Vinci 1.0 Pro offers a banging build volume, third-party material capabilities, and versatility that is rare for cheap 3D printers at this price point.
The XYZprinting da Vinci 1.0 Pro 3 in 1 is perfect for novice makers who believe that the more features, the merrier.
License: The text of "20 Best Cheap 3D Printers Under $300, $500, and $1000" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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