It’s been a while since they were introduced, but 3D printers still feel like something straight out of science fiction. They keep getting better all the time, too. Newer models make the units that impressed us a few years ago seem like something out of the stone age.
If you’re interested in 3D printing, there’s never been a better time to get started. Not only are they better than they’ve ever been, but prices are coming down too. You can still spend a lot of money on a 3D printer, but you can also quality models fairly cheap.
Best 3D Printer Under $500:
As the largest model on this list, this is the best 3D printer in this price range if you have big plans. To be specific, the ANYCUBIC Chiron prints to a maximum size of 15.75 x 15.75 x 17.72 inches. This gives you room for some serious builds.
This model is also surprisingly full-featured for its price, with a built-in TFT touch screen, filament detection, and automatic print resume on power loss. It can also print using a wide range of filaments, with support for PLA, ABS, HIPS, Wood, and TPU.
Best Small 3D Printer Under $500:
Monoprice Voxel Adventurer
Monoprice is known for selling high-quality products at low prices, and its 3D printers are no exception. The Monoprice Voxel Adventurer packs in features found in printers sold at a much higher price. It even arrives calibrated and ready to print out of the box.
A heated flexible build plate makes removing your model easy once it’s finished. You won’t have to wait too long either since the Voxel boasts a printing speed of up to 60mm per second. Finally, it also has a quick change nozzle which lets you swap nozzles in seconds, as opposed to the 20+ minutes it might take with other printers.
Best Resin 3D Printer Under $500:
As the only resin 3D printer (also known as SLA printers) on this list, the ELEGOO Mars might be a surprise to see included here. This type of printer is generally known for being more expensive than filament-based (also known as FDM) printers, which make up the rest of this list. That’s another sign of prices coming down across the board.
Not only can this 3D printer create nicely detailed models, but it’s also somewhat easier to use than many other models on this list. There are fewer settings to adjust that have any impact on the end product, which is nice for beginners.
Best 3D Printer Under $300:
Like its more expensive cousin higher up on this list, the ANYCUBIC Mega-S has a heavy-duty look to it. While it may look like it belongs in a factory, it’s both easy to use and much more affordable than its appearance suggests.
This model has more than its share of handy features. A built-in filament sensor detects when you’re running out of filament and pauses printing. It also has a patented printing platform which ensures models stay put while printing but are easy to remove once they’re done.
Alternative Best 3D Printer Under $300:
3D printers aren’t known for being quiet. If you’re looking to print models in the middle of the night without waking anyone, this might be for you. The FlashForge Finder prints as quietly as 50dB, which is about as loud as a subdued home conversation.
This model also has a slide-in build plate, which makes removing models easy. It has an assisted leveling system too, which guides you along to set up a perfectly level surface for printing. It’s limited to PLA filament, but if you’re just getting started, this won’t be a problem.
Best 3D Printer for the Money Under $300:
Comgrow Creality Ender 3
The Comgrow Creality Ender 3 packs more than its fair share of features, but there’s a small catch. This printer ships as a kit, and you’ll have to put it together before you can start printing. That said, as long as you take your time, this is a great way to ensure that your printer is solidly built.
Looking at the features, this model only needs five minutes for the hotbed to reach printing temperatures, meaning you can get started quickly. It also features the same auto-resume feature as some of the other models on this list. This means you don’t have to worry about a power outage ruining your partially completed model.
Best Semi-Assembled 3D Printer Under $300:
Comgrow Creality Ender 3 Pro
This isn’t a mistake—we didn’t accidentally put the same printer on here twice. The Comgrow Creality Ender 3 Pro is an upgraded version of the model above. For starters, it’s mostly assembled out of the box, so there’s less setup time. It also has some added features.
The main upgrade here is the build surface plate, which helps keep your 3D printer protected and makes it easy to remove models once they’re cooled. This plus the 10-minute setup time make this worth the premium over the standard model.
Best Mini 3D Printer Under $300:
Monoprice Select Mini Pro
Depending on your needs, you may not even want a larger 3D printer. If you’re printing miniature figures for board games, for example, you don’t need much. There are a few great options for smaller 3D printers, but the Monoprice Select Mini Pro is one of the best.
This model has many features found on bigger, more expensive printers. These include Auto Bed Leveling, which lets you get a level printing surface quickly, as well as a removable magnetic build plate. This model also arrives fully assembled, letting you focus on printing.
Alternative Best Mini 3D Printer Under $300:
da Vinci Mini
If you prefer your 3D printing to be environmentally friendly as well as small, the da Vinci Mini is a great pick. This model can print PLA, and PETG but it also comes with a proprietary filament. This is made from corn starch and other biodegradable materials instead of the commonly used plastic.
This model is also extremely light at less than 18 pounds. If you think you may frequently need to move your printer, this is a definite bonus.
Best Affordable Mini 3D Printer Under $300:
Monoprice Mini Delta
Despite being the most affordable model on this list, the Monoprice Mini Delta still offers many of the same features of its larger siblings. This model is constructed entirely from metal for a solid build, and arrives fully assembled and calibrated.
Because of its small size, the Mini Delta can also print very quickly. You get print speeds of up to 150mm per second, meaning you can get through several prints in just a short session.
Looking to Learn More About 3D Printing?
With the above models, you should be able to find something to get you started regardless of budget. Actually getting your hands on a printer is only the beginning, though. Do you know what you want to print? What about the type of materials to use for certain builds?
If you’ve got a lot of questions, don’t worry, we can help you out. For everything you need to know as a beginner, look no further than our ultimate guide to 3D printing.