Advances in technology, especially in the field of additive manufacturing, has led to the widespread availability of 3D printers. Without a doubt, these machines have certainly become more accessible to ordinary consumers. Gone are the days when industrial manufacturers had sole access to this type of technology.
Nowadays, you can now purchase your own desktop 3D printer for less than $1,000. While not as powerful as their industrial counterparts, just remember that these printers are perfect for consumer use. That said, there is certainly no shortage of 3D printers to choose from. There is a myriad of options available. With enough time and effort, you should be able to find the best 3D printer for you. This simply means looking for a printer that perfectly suits your needs as well as your price range.
That said, we are here to help and simplify your search. In this handy guide, we looked at several 3D printers at different price points. This way, you can weigh your options carefully and make an informed decision. Be sure to keep reading and take a look at the different 3D printers presented below to see which of them is right for you.
Best 3D Printer Under $200
First, we’ll be looking at the 3D printers under $200. Needless to say, this is the lowest price point we’ll be exploring here. Don’t let the affordability of these machines fool you though, these 3D printers pack a punch despite their price tag.
Creality Ender 3 (winner)
Let’s start with the best in this category. Without a doubt, the Ender 3 takes the cake in this category since this 3D printer is simply phenomenal. It brings Incredible performance and versatility in an affordable package.
The Creality Ender 3 brings a lot to the table as it sports several notable features. The fact that this machine is extremely popular is hardly surprising. For instance, It has a heated build plate as well as a build volume of 220 x 220 x 250mm. It even has a tight filament pathway which makes printing with flexible materials an ease. Take note that you would be hard-pressed to find features like these even among pricier printers
Not only does it consistently provide high-quality prints, but the Ender 3 can also handle significant print volumes. In terms of printing performance, the Creality Ender 3 definitely went far beyond our expectations. Users have even reported successfully printing with ABS, PETG, PLA, flexible and exotic filaments, despite minor issues.
In addition to all of that, this 3D printer also makes use of an incredibly compact design. Moreover, unlike other machines, assembly is such a breeze. It is extremely convenient due in no small part to its use of enlarged bed leveling knobs. While you have to go through the tedious process of manual calibration, the Creality Ender 3 is ultimately worth the effort.
Overall, we’d argue that Ender 3’s performance can rival those of printers in a higher price range. The fact that it is less than $200 is a huge bonus.
Anycubic i3 Mega
Another worthy option in this category is the Anycubic i3 Mega. It is perfect if you are desktop users and gives you more than you bargained for. One of the things that make this machine so great is its highly-customizable and accessible design.
For instance, it gives you a free and open-source slicer. The same can be said for its output software Needless to say, this provides users with minimal operating costs. That also means that you can save more time as you no longer have to deal with regular bug fixing upgrades and the like.
In addition to this, the i3 Mega also features an intuitive and easy-to-use interface. The printer makes use of a TFT or a thin-screen transistor. Making use of big buttons, the machine makes it easy for you to adjust your settings and make manipulations.
Another interesting feature we like with the i3 Mega is its filament detection. Basically, it tells users when the printer is running low on the filament. When combined with its built-in resume functions, you are given a better sense of control over the entire printing process. You can even start experimenting with these features as you get used to printing with this machine. For instance, we found that as the previous filament runs out, you can try switching filament colors to produce exquisite results.
Monoprice Select Mini V2
The Monoprice Select Mini V2 is the second-generation 3D printer from Monoprice. It is worth noting here that it has not only surpassed its predecessor, but it has also exceeded people’s expectations. It packs a bevy of functions and features while staying in this price range. Needless to say, that is quite impressive.
One of the most important improvements the Mini V2 brings is its all-metal hot end. This goes a long way in terms of improving the 3D printer’s heating. It also helps prevent clogging. In addition to this, the V2 also comes with a heated printing bed that not only minimizes and prevents warping but also enhances print adhesion.
It is also worth noting that setting this printer up is an incredibly smooth endeavor. With its plug-and-play features, you can commence printing in a matter of minutes. It looks like Monoprice made it its mission to ensure that everything is kept minimal and simple.
Best 3D Printer Under $300
The following machines are all under $300. All of these machines serve as a testament to the fact that you don’t have to break the bank every time.
Creality Ender 3 Pro (winner)
As with the previous category, the Creality Ender 3 reigns supreme here. This is because no other machine here can match its versatility and functionality. This, along with the fact that it is the perfect machine for beginners, makes it our top choice.
When you open the box, you will be greeted with the following:
- USB stick
- Hex keys
- Wire cutters
- Zip ties
- Assortment of nozzles
- Nozzle cleaner
- White PLA filament sample
The flash drive comes equipped with the requisite manual as well as a couple of test models. The extra nozzles and a nozzle cleaner also serve as a welcome, albeit unexpected, bonus. With its easy set-up process, it can give users a high-quality 3D printing experience as soon as you take it out of the box.
As previously mentioned, the Ender 3 features a 220 x 220 x 250mm heated print bed complete with a print bed sticker. These, along with its resume print feature, guarantees a smooth and streamlined experience with the machine.
Another noteworthy contender in this category is the Flashforge Finder. What makes this particular 3D printer stand out is its intuitive design. It is sleek and clean with a clear touchscreen and a removable build plate makes it incredibly easy to use. Moreover, it is incredibly quiet and consistently reliable.
The Flashforge Finder is a perfect introductory 3D printer, even kids would have an easy time using this machine. There is no need for assembly as the Finder is ready to go right out of the box. In addition to this, it even has WiFi connectivity, a feature that is altogether uncommon at this price range.
Of course, this is not to say that the Finder is perfect. Its tiny print bed is perhaps its greatest drawback as it puts a substantial cap on the size of prints you can make with it. That said, in time, you will look to upgrade your machine as you look for something more versatile and powerful. In the meantime, the Flashforge Finder can act as your training wheels.
Anycubic Mega S
The Anycubic Mega S is another printer we have to talk about. It has a build volume of 210x210x205 mm. Its substantial base also comes equipped with a full-color touchscreen. Similar to other Anycubic machines, it makes use of the Ultrabase heated bed which ensures that your prints stick to the bed.
As its name suggests, the Mega S is Anycubic’s update to its previous iterations. The most important updates would have to be the power recovery loss functionality and its filament run-out detection. In addition to that, the Anycubic Mega-S is also now compatible with TPU and other flexible filaments.
Don’t let that these updates fool you though as this machine retains the brand’s beginner-friendly trademark. For instance, this machine comes semi-assembled and ready to use. It also foregoes the need to install a filament sensor and a spool holder as those are already built-in. This means that newbies will no longer have to build a fully-functional kit from scratch.
Best 3D Printer under $500
Now, we have come to the highest price point covered in this guide. At less than $500, there should be no question that you are getting a terrific bargain with these 3D printers.
Original Prusa Mini
One of the things that make the Original Prusa Mini such a great choice is that it can be used by virtually anyone, regardless of their 3D proficiency levels. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, you should have no trouble operating this compact and sturdy machine. This is a worthy 3D printer if you are looking for something with decent performance at an affordable price.
Don’t be misled by its name though. Even though it is called the Prusa Mini, this machine is more than capable of taking on huge build volumes. While we wouldn’t recommend this as a primary printer, It would be the perfect great choice as a secondary or printer to use from time to time.
Creality Ender 5 Pro (winner)
The Creality Ender 5 Pro has a cubic frame with a build volume of 220 x 220 x 300mm. At first glance, it would be hard to tell it apart from its predecessor. The specs and its overall look are just too similar for our tastes. However, this is not a beauty contest. The most important thing is the printer’s performance. A strong and reliable machine, the Creality Ender 5 Pro is definitely the clear winner in this category.
It boasts incredible compatibility with a wide array of filaments thanks to its 260°C nozzle temperature. Moreover, its use of the Capricorn Bowden tube is innovative, in every sense of the word. Aside from that, it is also worth stating that, unlike other printers of its kind, the Ender 5 Pro barely makes a noise during the printing process.
Of course, all of that would mean nothing if it didn’t offer its users consistently great print quality. Thankfully, it delivers on that front as well. After all, the Ender 5 Pro has no trouble producing 100-micron print resolution objects.
Finally, there is the matter of unboxing. It would please you to know that setting up has been made as easy as possible. Most of the components come pre-assembled, so putting together everything could take less than an hour. This means that you can get on with your printing needs almost immediately.
Anycubic Mega X
The Anycubic Mega X is another intriguing entry in this list. Anycubic isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel with this printer’s design and they never really needed to. Like with their other machines, the Mega X looks sleek while retaining an air of sturdiness. Of course, the design goes beyond aesthetic purposes. Anycubic’s trademark all-metal frame design, as well as its tough chassis, plays a major role in ensuring the quality and consistency of the machine’s prints.
As its name would suggest, the Mega X is significantly more robust compared to its predecessors. Its 300 x300x305 mm build space is certainly larger compared to previous models. Interestingly, the Mega X has triple the build volume of the Mega S.
Of course, the printer is far from perfect. One of the major weak points of the MEGA X is that it isn’t ideal for flexible filaments. The Bowden extruder and the filament holder’s awkward positioning certainly doesn’t do it any favors.
Creality CR-10 V2
The Creality CR-10S V2 is certainly one of the best 3D printers at this price point. One of the features that set the machine apart is its incredible print volume. With a print bed that measures 30 x 30cm and a total print volume of 36,000 cubic centimeters, you should have no trouble making prints measuring as high as 40cm.
Aside from giving users high-quality prints, it is also incredibly powerful. This is made apparent by its use of a 24V/350W Mean Well power supply. This means that the bed should have no trouble reaching the desired temperature. Needless to say, it will also have no trouble maintaining the desired heat level for a long time.
There is still great room for improvement though. This is especially true when it comes to the set-up process. This is because the CR-10 V2 requires a bit of assembly before you can get started.
The Sovol SV01 is another noteworthy machine in this category. Interestingly, the SV01 is the manufacturer’s first foray into the world of 3D printers. In terms of features, the SV01 can certainly hold its own. It has a decent printing area of 240 x 280 x 300mm. In addition to this, it also has a titan-type Extruder in Direct Drive and a filament end detector.
In addition to that, this 3D printer also sports some handy functions including a resume printing option. This means that you can easily continue with your work even despite power failures or similar interruptions.
If you are a beginner, then it would please you to know that the SV01 comes partially pre-assembled.
Best Affordable Resin 3D Printer
The following are some of the best resin 3D printers in the market today. It is worth noting that they are wholly different from the 3D printers presented in the previous sections as those made use of filaments to do the job. That said, we made an effort to review the most affordable of the bunch so you can take a look at them.
The Anycubic Photon DLP 3D Printer has certainly become one of the most popular options in the market today. Its price and its functionalities serve as its greatest assets. Boasting a compact and efficient design, this 3D printer has no trouble producing high-quality prints on a consistent basis. You cannot help but be impressed especially when you realize that its prints have a resolution of 25-100 microns.
The printer is also incredibly easy to use and setup. The instructions are clear enough for anyone to get through the assembly process without much help. Needless to say, we’d recommend this machine for anyone interested in the science of 3D printing. It can even be used by both beginners and 3D printing veterans.
The Elagoo Mars is one of those Resin-based 3D printers that provide its users with incredible detail and smooth surfaces at an affordable price. It is sleek and easy-to-use with an impressive array of features to back it up. It virtually eliminates the need for any type of touchup after the fact. Put simply, the print quality offers some of the best quality prints around. The fact that it does so at this price range only makes it more amazing.
Users will also love the printer’s small footprint. This means that unlike most printers, the Mars doesn’t need to take up much space. Unfortunately, this also translates into a smaller build volume.
The Epax X1 certainly packs a punch. It should also come as a pleasant surprise that the X1 is ready for printing right out of the box. This is because the company calibrates the machine for its user before shipping. So, when it gets to your door, you should have a fully functional 3D printer.
We also found that Epax gives the X1 considerable versatility. This is because it allows users to make use of a wide array of resins for this machine. This includes everything from PLA Bio-resin and Esun resin to General Hard Resin. You can even use dental and castable resins.
It is also worth noting that the X1 can be easily up against a wall. This is a design choice that we simply found irresistible. It is also uncommon for printers in its price range to feature such a design. Aside from saving counter space, this design choice also makes cleaning up that much easier.
LONGER Orange 30
The LONGER Orange 30 is one of the latest entries on this list. Coming off the trails the company’s successful Kickstarter campaign, the Orange 30 is certainly interesting if nothing else. Luckily, LONGER was able to produce a formidable 3D printer that is highly competitive.
One of the things that stood out was the machine’s versatility. Currently, LONGER has 5 types of resins in several colors as well as a calcinable resin. However, it is also worth noting that you can also use other resins available on the market should you choose to do so. This is thanks to the printer’s open architecture. Of course, regardless of the resin, the Orange 30 is known to create high-quality prints.
Aside from the highly-detailed prints, users seem to love the Orange 30’s use of an upgraded LCD screen as part of its interface. Its 2K resolution also doesn’t hurt. It is also worth noting that LONGER’s use of a 72W power supply is simply brilliant. Ultimately, it is an economical choice that greatly reduces printing times.
There you have it, our brief guide to the best affordable 3D printers in the market today. All of the machines presented here have their own advantages and disadvantages. However, if there is one thing that they have in common, then it has to be the fact that they are all unbelievably affordable.
That said, be sure to read our guide thoroughly and explore your options carefully. This way, you can find the best 3D printer for you.