Just a decade ago, a 3D printer cost more than $100,000. Today you can easily find a good cheap 3D printer for under $500. That’s amazing.
Of course, the lower you go in price, the greater the limitations. Some of the 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?
Important Note: Each cheap 3D printer on this list comes fully assembled. If you’d like to spend even less money — but invest more time and effort — then take a look at 20 Best Cheap DIY 3D Printer Kits 2017.
Did we miss your favorite affordable 3D printer? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll add them in a future update.
Perhaps the best cheap 3D printer on this list is the Monoprice MP Select Mini. Why? Because it’s an impressive machine with a smart, compact design that’s retailing for an unbelievable 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.
The heated build plate and wide extruder temperature range are incredibly good value here, because it means this cheap 3D printer can work with most types of filaments; from basic filaments like ABS and PLA to more exotic or dissolvable materials like conductive PLA, wood and metal composites, and PVA.
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.
Best Cheap 3D Printer: MP Select Mini Key Features
The M3D Micro 3D Printer has raised more than a few eyebrows since it debuted on Kickstarter, when this budget machine was marketed with the unbelievable price tag of $349.
It has a 109 x 113 x 166 mm build volume, and comes in several different colors. It features “Micro Motion Technology”, which the company describes as a series of next generation innovations to create precision prints at a fraction of the cost.
Today, this cheap 3D printer is available to buy for even less than the original asking price. You can buy the retail edition direct from the company for $249, and it comes with a 12-month warranty. Pre-orders are also open for the new and improved “pro” edition.
Best Cheap 3D Printer: M3D Micro Key Features
The da Vinci Mini is a solid attempt to make 3D printing truly user-friendly, with a single-button print design and 5 colored LEDs to indicate the status of your print job. Moreover, this best cheap 3D printer features wifi connectivity so it can be managed over the network in your home, office or classroom.
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.
Best Cheap 3D Printer: XYZprinting da Vinci Mini Key Features
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.
Best Cheap 3D Printer: Monoprice Maker Select V2 Key Features
From young upstarts New Matter, the MOD-t is an intriguing proposition with smooth lines and a clean design. This cheap 3D printer features wireless network connectivity so you can select, customize, and print wirelessly from your computer, tablet or smartphone. It also has a clear cover that projects the 150 x 100 x 125 mm build space and reduces noise. But really, it’s the $299 pricetag that captures the attention. All in all, this affordable 3D printer is an absolute bargain.
Best Cheap 3D Printer: New Matter MOD-t Key Features
The Printrbot Play is a popular choice for budget-conscious makers in the education sector. This is a low-cost 3D printer that’s reliable, robust, and manufactured almost entirely in metal.
Don’t Miss: Printrbot Play Review: Ideal for Beginners
The Printrbot Play has a build volume of 100 x 100 x 130 mm, and is easily one of the most portable systems around. This cheap 3D printer features the company’s Alu Extruder v2, a powder-coated steel and aluminum body, and a micro SD card slot for standalone operation.
Another nice touch with the Play is that you can add a heated bed and expand the Y axis for a greater build volume, with upgrade kits available direct from Printrbot.
Best Cheap 3D Printer: PrintrBot Play Key Features
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.
Best Cheap 3D Printer: Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus Key Features
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.
Best Cheap 3D Printer: FlashForge Finder Key Features
So what’s so special about the da Vinci Jr. 1.0 Pro? This is a brand new model from XYZprinting, adding topline features to their entry level range with support for 3rd party filaments and faster printing speeds.
There’s also the appeal of auto-calibration, an enclosed build chamber with a unique cooling duct, and a free upgrade to a 0.3mm nozzle for high detail prints. Overall, this is a cheap 3D printer with a great value package.
Best Cheap 3D Printer: XYZprinting da Vinci Jr. 1.0 Pro Key Features
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.
Best Cheap 3D Printer: XYZprinting da Vinci Jnr. Mix 2.0 Key Features
This is the flagship machine of the Printrbot empire, the Printrbot Simple. It’s got a distinctive open design with a sturdy aluminum frame, and a build volume of 150 x 150 x 150 mm. This is a fuss-free cheap 3D printer available fully assembled at a very good price; as your skills advance, you can also upgrade the components to add a heated bed or extend the build volume on the horizontal plane.
Best Cheap 3D Printer: Printrbot Simple Key Features
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.
But even more attractive are safety-conscious features like power failure protection — so the print can resume after an abrupt stop — and built-in HEPA air filtration to maintain a healthy working environment. There’s also automatic nozzle height detection, and a separate, enclosed spool container to prevent the material from spoiling from exposure to moisture in the air.
Overall a very tidy package. It’s just a pity that the 120 x 120 x 120 mm build volume is so puny.
Best Cheap 3D Printer: UP mini 2 Key Features
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.
Best Cheap 3D Printer: Monoprice Maker Select Ultimate Key Features
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.
Best Cheap 3D Printer: Robo C2 Key Features
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.
Best Cheap 3D Printer: Wanhao Duplicator 4S Key Features
The Polar 3D sits in a different category from every other cheap 3D printer on this list. It’s built around a polar coordinate system, resulting in a machine with a spinning bed, plus a print head that can move up, down, left and right.
The big advantage here is that it can function with only two stepper motors, so it’s more power efficient. Also, it has a greater build volume of 203 x 152 mm within a smaller desktop footprint (because there’s no need for an XYZ framework to move around).
Nominal pricing is $899, but special educational discounts mean this cheap 3D printer can be purchased for as little as $599.
Best Cheap 3D Printer: Polar 3D Printer Key Features
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 it’s reliability, versatility, and ease of use.
Best Cheap 3D Printer: FlashForge Creator Pro Key Features
The Idea Builder 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.
Best Cheap 3D Printer: Dremel Idea Builder Key Features
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 $999.
Best Cheap 3D Printer: Printrbot Simple Pro Key Features
This is one of the best 3D printers you can buy, period. All parts are open-source and part of the Rep-Rap project, so there are a lot of clones around… but none are as good as the original.
The Prusa i3 Mk2 comes with a heated bed that compensates cold corners, self-calibration, and solid documentation. It is extremely versatile when it comes to filament and prints materials like PLA, PET, HIPS, Flex PP or Ninjaflex with ease.
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 only drawback is that if you want one, you’ll have to wait for roughly two months. The company can‘t keep up with demand.
Best Cheap 3D Printer: Prusa i3 Mk2 Key Features
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