Are you a 3D printing enthusiast who is looking to explore the technology? Or a small company looking to give the technology a shot? If yes, you’ve come to the right spot. 3D printers used to be expensive machines that could only be afforded by large organizations. However, thanks to the many improvements in technology, there are now 3D printers under 500 bucks. While this doesn’t mean that you’ll get the features that come with printers in the $20,000 range, many printers under $500 can still offer you some professional-grade features you’re bound to love.
With the right 3D printers, even small companies will have the ability to show off their creativity. Fortunately, we’ve created a list of the best 3D printers under $500 you can buy. These products come with different features and some of them even come with the capacity to provide you with a well-finished product. Additionally, we’ve included a guide below that talks about the important factors to look out for when choosing a 3D printer, including print speed, volume, resolution, and more. With this guide, you’ll be able to make an informed buying decision. Without further ado, let’s get into it:
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TD;LR - Best 3d Printer under 500:
- Comgrow Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D Printer
- FlashForge Finder 3D Printer
- ELEGOO Mars UV Photocuring LCD 3D Printer
- ANYCUBIC Photon UV LCD 3D Printer
- Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer V2
- QIDI Technology X-Maker 3D Printer
- Creality Open Source CR-10 3D Printer
- ANYCUBIC Mega-S New 3D Printer
- FlashForge Adventurer 3 Lite FDM 3D Printer
- Monoprice Voxel 3D Printer
1. Comgrow Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D Printer
Best Overall 3D Printer Under $500
The Comgrow Creality Ender 3 Pro is one of the best 3D printers under $500 you can choose. Tailored to meet the needs of beginners and create a fun, STEM educational experience, this printer is easy to use and install. It serves as an upgrade to the already popular line of Ender printers. The Ender 3 is more reliable, comes with a name-brand power supply, and features a huge surface area that allows you to bring your creativity to life. Also, its improved mechanical properties such as better bearing wheels to help reduce friction and stiffness, and some broad rubber feet to minimize the noise level are some of the reasons why it's our best 3D printer under $500 for 2020.
It's designed with a removable magnetic surface plate that ensures all-round protection while providing the entire build surface with a consistent temperature. And since the surface plate can be removed, users will be able to enjoy better print removal. Additionally, the Ender 3 Pro features a new Y-axis design as well as a resume print function that can be quite beneficial when you have power outages.
While this 3D printer isn't fully assembled as it's a semi-assembled machine, installing and assembling the parts isn't a difficult task. If you're looking for a budget 3D printer under the $500 price tag, the Comgrow Creality Ender 3 Pro is one of the topmost products you can choose.
2. FlashForge Finder 3D Printer
Compact and Flexible
The FlashForge Finder is another inexpensive 3D printer you're going to love. While it doesn't come with the Ender 3's large design area, it sure comes with amazing features that make it worthy of being our second best 3D printer under $500. Beginner-friendly and easy to use, this printer has remained popular thanks to its quality, flexibility, and usability. Unlike the Creality Ender 3 Pro, this little guy comes fully assembled right out of the box. It's a silent printer that runs quietly and only becomes chatty when it's turned on or there's an issue with it.
You get awesome prints as well as WiFi, flash drive, and USB connectivity. What the FlashForge Finder seems to lack is capacity. Its print bed is small and although this 3D printer can ease you into the 3D design world, you'll definitely need to upgrade to a larger machine when you start making huge prints. Additionally, even though it comes with an intuitive full-color LCD touchscreen that makes operation easy, it lacks some important features, such as automatic bed leveling and filament detection which are important features for beginners.
However, that doesn't take away from the fact that it's a great 3D printer for beginners. If you're a beginner who's looking for a safe, compact, and reliable 3D machine under $500, the FlashForge Finder is one of the best machines you can choose.
3. ELEGOO Mars UV Photocuring LCD 3D Printer
Best Resin-Based 3D Printer
Are you looking for the perfect resin-based 3D printing machine under $500? Look no further than the Elegoo Mars UV Photocuring LCD 3D Printer. This machine offers a simple and interesting 3D printing experience that isn't present in many machines in the same price range. It guarantees high-quality prints even with the smallest effort. This 3D printer uses masked stereolithography to provide a quiet and peaceful printing experience. You don't have to deal with the filament wrangling, nozzle crackling, and messy hot ends that come with desktop fused deposition modeling.
The CHITUBOX slicing software it comes with slices 30Mb .stl model file in 1 minute and allows you to hollow out your model before slicing. The ELEGOO is well-built and well-designed. While this 3D printer is heavy, you sure get a well-balanced build that slides around easily whenever you need it to. The Z-axis assembly comes with enough clearance that makes it easy to sling the lid on and off without affecting the printer in any way.
And since the entire lid can be lifted off, you get unrestricted access to the resin tank plus you'll be able to remove your prints cleanly than you do in other printers. Endowed with a build size of 120 x 68 x 155mm, this may not be the largest printer on our list but it's one of the topmost, user-friendly 3D printers under the $300 price tag. Enthusiasts and hobbyists are surely going to have fun using this 3D printer.
4. ANYCUBIC Photon UV LCD 3D Printer
Best Surface Finish And Resolution Printer
When it comes to budget DLP printers, there are many different options to choose from. However, many of them don't come close to the Anycubic Photon UV LCD 3D printer in features and appeal. Sitting at the $300 price range, this budget 3D printer is reliable, low-cost, and ideal for those looking for DLP/SLA desktop 3D printing. It's no longer news that resin printers offer the most reliable print quality. However, this 3D printer makes it evident that even budget printers can create noteworthy prints.
Also, while there's a learning curve for beginners and those who haven't used an SLA/DLP printer, the clear documentation, online resources, and helpful community associated with this machine helps you overcome this issue easily. The Anycubic Photon UV LCD 3D Printer comes with its own downsides too. The build volume is small though it comes with enough space to create most projects.
Also, you'll have to worry about the common problems associated with resin 3D printers, including material-handling, post-processing, sticky resin, etc. Affordable and capable of producing high-resolution prints, this 3D printer is still one of the most ideal printers for beginners who are looking to delve into resin 3D printing.
5. Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer V2
Awesome Value for Money
The Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer V2 is another incredibly low-cost printer you're bound to love. With a price tag just a little above $200, this 3D printer comes with a feature set that makes it worthy of being on this list of top 3D printers under five hundred bucks. It is a hackable piece of gear, which means that you can pop it open and make your own upgrades. The Select Mini produces well-made prints that are comparable to what you get on expensive printers.
It comes with a 120 x 120 x 120mm build volume, a 55mm/s printing speed, and a heated build plate. This 3D printer is also compatible with many slicing software such as Cura, Simplify3D, and Replicator-G. Its standard 1.75mm spool uses both ABS and PLA filament and models can be loaded via a USB port or a microSD port. The Monoprice Select Mini, however, comes with its own downsides. It tends to run at unstable temperatures when the hot end is in use.
Also, the calibration process isn't straightforward and the power brick isn't high-quality. Additionally, the machine tends to fail when it's run at incredibly high speeds plus the WiFi option is deactivated for no reason. However, given the fact that it features a low price tag and it churns out reliable and consistent prints once it's up and running, this machine one that you'll love more than you hate.
6. QIDI Technology X-Maker 3D Printer
Best Educational 3D Printer
Entry-level creators and those who are looking for an educational 3D printer should consider choosing the Qidi Technology X-Maker 3D printer. Featuring a 170 x 150 x 150mm build volume, this compact 3D printer offers a resolution of 50 to 100 microns. It comes with a print bed that has a maximum temperature of 120 degrees Celsius and a heated nozzle with a max temperature of 250 degrees Celsius. Just like the Comgrow Creality Ender 3 Pro, this 3D printer comes with a print resume function that allows you to continue printing from where you left off after a power outage.
It's a silent machine and it supports multiple filament types, including ABS, PLA, PETG, and TPU. Thanks to its fully closed red and black frame as well as its rounded edges, this 3D printer is considered to be one of the safest printers for beginners and students. The Qidi Technology X-Maker also comes with two different slicing software, a student version and one made for professionals.
Its WiFi connection is quite stable and you even get a textbook that's endowed with helpful information for beginners and students. While the brand has discontinued the onboard camera function, it has upgraded the main system, ensuring that users get better print quality. If you're a student or a beginner who's looking for the best 3D printer under 500 dollars, this is one of the right machines to work with.
7. Creality Open Source CR-10 3D Printer
Well-Built and Affordable
The Creality Open Source CR-10 3D Printer is a large Cartesian-style printer with a build volume of 300 x 300 x 400mm. It comes with go-faster stripes, a separate control box, and is very easy to assemble. Sitting at the $400 price point, this budget 3D printer offers more build size than many other printers in its price range. It's compatible with many standard slicing software and allows you to make huge prints easily. You get a full-frame that allows for more stabilization, and thanks to the fact that the control box is separate from the machine, the heat bed won't be overheating your control board.
The Creality Open Source CR-10 3D Printer also eats up filaments easily. It handles TPU and PLAs quite well with a little bit of spool tangling on the PLA side. This machine also produces modest prints for a semi-assembled machine, but with the right tweaks, you're sure to get awesome results. It's hackable and can be modded with different parts to produce a better printing result.
The machine has its downsides though. For instance, it doesn't seem to do well with materials that require consistent temperatures, such as ABS, and the print bed also takes time to get heated up. However, putting these annoyances aside, this 3D printer can easily become your daily driver.
8. ANYCUBIC Mega-S New 3D Printer
Best 3D Printer Under $500 With Amazing Print Quality
The Anycubic Mega-S New 3D Printer is a cheap 3D printer that offers an incredible print quality at a low price point. Serving as an upgrade to the i3 Mega, this machine comes with many enhancements that make it a worthy contender on this list of best 3D printers under $500. It comes with the same design and sturdy all-metal frame the i3 is known for. Both the design and frame are an important part of why it produces great print quality. Unlike the i3 though, the Mega-S has its name inscribed on its forehead.
The huge base is home to a full-color touchscreen and a robotic mascot that looks like Ironman. Featuring a build volume of 210 x 210 x 205mm, this cheap 3D printer starts the first layer of each print on the popular Anuycubic Ultrabase heated bed, ensuring that the print remains on the bed and comes off easily when the job is done. The Anycubic Mega-S New 3D Printer is semi-assembled, which makes it a great option for creators and beginners who aren't looking to build their machine from scratch.
Sitting in the $300 price point, this machine comes with some new upgrades that aren't featured on the i3, such as filament run-out detection and power recovery loss. It also features a spool holder that's suspended on the side of the machine as well as a new filament sensor placement that helps enhance usability.
The extruder is now compatible with materials like TPU and users can now enjoy WiFi connectivity as well as automatic calibration. If you're a beginner who doesn't want to mount a spool holder or filament sensor, or an intermediate creator looking to experiment with flexible materials like TPU, the Mega-S is one of the most ideal 3D printers you can buy.
9. FlashForge Adventurer 3 Lite FDM 3D Printer
The Flashforge Adventurer 3 Lite is a watered-down version of the FlashForge Adventurer 3. Sporting a price tag $70 cheaper than its big brother, this small and compact printer comes with almost everything embedded in the Adventurer 3 except the built-in camera and automatic filament run-out detector. You get a 3D printer with solid connectivity options, including Ethernet, WiFi, and USB. It also comes with the brand's ClouPrint feature that allows you to remotely control your printer.
These extra features are quite uncommon in budget 3D printers. Thanks to its enclosed design, creators can easily work with tricky materials like ABS. You also get an enclosed space to hold your filament spool and although the filament capsule doesn't work with all spool sizes, you can simply create an external holder to resolve this issue.
Quiet and super easy to use, this printer features a removable print bed that also allows prints to pop off when the process is completed. And since the print bed is heated, you can use materials other than PLA to make your prints.
10. Monoprice Voxel 3D Printer
Bang For Your Buck
Monoprice is one of the largest forces in the budget 3D printing industry. They provide some of the market's top printers, including the Monoprice Select Mini up in our review. The brand tends to focus on two main factors when making their products; usability and affordability. These two factors apply to both the Voxel and the Select Mini printers, which is why they are some of our top picks for the best 3D printer under 500 bucks. Endowed with WiFi connectivity, the Monoprice Voxel features an intuitive LCD screen and a simple installation process that allows you to be up and running in minutes.
Although this machine shares many similarities with the FlashForge Adventurer 3, it manages to stand out, differentiating itself from other cheap printers on the market. The Monoprice Voxel comes with a 150 x 150mm build volume, which is ideal for creating moderately sized prints. The build plate is flexible as it allows you to remove your prints without using any sharp tools. You get built-in LEDs that illuminate the insides and the clear plastic sides allow you to see what your machine is up to.
The Voxel also comes with a built-in camera that allows you to remotely monitor your printing process via a cloud app known as the Polar Cloud. Configuration and usage are easy thanks to the touchscreen and the FlashPrint MP software. The only con with this device is that it doesn't support the standard G-code out of the box. You can work around this by using popular options like Slic3r or Cura, but they aren't officially supported and the FlashPrint MP software is limited in functionality.
3D Printer Under $500 Buyer’s Guide
Shopping for the ideal budget 3D printer can be a little daunting as there is an endless array of options to choose from. Many of them are capable within their range, but without proper research, beginners can find themselves making mistakes and choosing subpar products. This is why we’ve created a simple guide below that talks about some of the important features to consider when choosing a 3D printer.
What You Intend To Print
Many beginners ask the question, which 3D printer is best? The right answer to this question depends on what your printing goal is. Simply choosing a 3D printing machine because it looks beautiful is certainly not the most logical thing to do. You need to be sure of what you want to create before making a buying decision. The level of detail provided by most budget printers is limited. Therefore, it’s advisable that you choose your device according to what your printing aim is. For instance, while resin-based printers are ideal for creating works of art and figurines, FDM printers are perfect for creating things like phone cases, prototypes, etc.
Print Speed and Resolution
Otherwise known as the layer height, the resolution of FDM printers refers to the minimum thickness of a layer produced by the machine when the layer passes over the plate. The printing speed, on the other hand, refers to how fast the machine creates its models. If you’re not concerned about getting the details right but simply want to make your prints quickly, you can run your device at the fastest settings. However, note that if your machine is too fast, your prints can fail and you may end up losing time and effort. It’s only right that you find the ideal settings instead of trying to get the fastest machine.
Another important factor you want to keep in mind is your machine’s build volume. This factor indicates the size of the item your machine can produce. Although there are a few exceptions, many 3D printers under $500 rarely go past the 300 x 300 x 300mm mark.
There are many 3D printers under 500 dollars but most of them have significant drawbacks when compared to high-budget printers. Material support is one of these major drawbacks. While many cheap 3D printers can run PLA and ABS quite fine, they tend to have issues with other exotic composites. For instance, in order to print carbon fiber or some other composite material, you may need to get a specialized nozzle or extruder or set your machine at a certain temperature, which is a feat many of them aren’t capable of.
This is a really important factor to consider. While it’s true that many 3D printers are upgradable, not all of them are. Ensure that you pay attention to how your machine is built, what the frame is made of, or if the brand offers upgrades. While you may be able to swap your extruders or buy enclosures to keep your prints warm, you may not be able to do more due to how your machine is built or the type of frame it comes with.
We understand that choosing the right printing machine under $500 can be a little difficult with the many different options available on the market. It can be even more challenging if you’re a beginner or a student who is new to the 3D printing world. The products we’ve reviewed above are some of the top 3D machines under 500 bucks. Simply consider their pros and cons, what you want to use them for, and make your selection.
Most of the 3D printers in our review are geared towards beginners, hobbyists, enthusiasts, and students. You’re bound to find the right choice among them. And if things seem to be a bit difficult, check out our guide above. We’re sure you’ll find some useful information in there. Be sure to check out our guide to the best 3D printers under $300.If you liked our article on 3d printers under 500, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.