3D printers are the future. There’s no doubt about it. But they’re not the new technology they once were, and you don’t need to spend a fortune to buy yourself a new 3D printer. Sure, the best of the best will be expensive, but there are plenty of options out there that will cost you less than $500.
If you’re looking for your first 3D printer and don’t want to invest a lot of money in what may be a short-lived experiment, or even if you’re a pro who just needs something cheaper this time around, we’ve got you covered. We’ve made this list to help you find the best 3D printers while staying under a budget of $500. You’ll be making masterful 3D art pieces in no time, and you won’t even have to spend too much money.
Remember that most of the printers in this price range will be a bit smaller, which is fine if you plan on printing smaller projects, but if you want to work on bigger pieces then you might have to spend a bit more on a bigger printer. That being said, we will have a few printers for you that are a bit bigger and still stay within our budget.
Carry on reading to see our full list of the best budget 3D printers, followed by a quick breakdown recapping what each printer brings to the table. Or jump straight to our number #1 pick on Amazon here.
- What Should You Look For in a 3D Printer under $500?
- Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best 3D Printers Under $500
- How Limited Am I Staying Under $500 for My 3D Printer?
- Verdict: Your Best 3D Printers Under $500
What Should You Look For in a 3D Printer under $500?
New to 3D printers? While they’re becoming more common-place, I definitely don’t expect everyone to be an expert on these amazing machines. You might not know what to look for when you’re trying to separate a good printer from a bad printer. Don’t worry, we’re here to help. We’ve listed out our criteria for evaluating 3D printers below so you can understand how we made our list and so you can feel equipped to do your own further research.
Criteria #1: Materials – 3D printers have really changed the game and allowed everyone to create high-quality tools and art pieces with professional-level craftsmanship. The main reasons they were able to do that were by being affordable and by being versatile. A 3D printer that can only use one obscure type of material that you need to scour the Internet to find doesn’t really help you. A good 3D printer will be able to use a wide variety of different materials so you can use the perfect material for whatever it is you want to print and so you don’t feel limited when thinking up your designs. Some materials that different printers use are Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), Polylactic Acid (PLA), polyamide (nylon), and glass-filled polyamide. A really good printer will be able to use all of them.
Criteria #2: Noise Level – I’ve used standard paper printers that make a racket when they’re printing, so imagine how loud a 3D printer can get when it’s making an entire sculpture or tool for you. 3D printing, perhaps obviously, takes much longer than regular paper printing, so we definitely don’t want to deal with a whole lot of noise while the printer is running. We’re looking for something that will stay quiet, so you can enjoy your music or just hear yourself think and stay in a creative mindset while your printer is operating.
Criteria #3: Extra Features – As I said, 3D printers are the future. And in an effort to stay in-line with that, we expect 3D printer manufacturers to keep pushing the envelope and offer you a machine that does more than just 3D printing. The market is already expanding and becoming competitive, and there are 3D printers out there that will sync up with your smartphone or wifi, allow you to observe the entire printing process through an HD camera, or feature breakpoint printing which allows you to seamlessly start and stop a printing job in case you get interrupted. It’s nice to have all the extra bells and whistles, and even though we’re keeping things cheap, don’t worry and think that you have to rob yourself of all the hot new features when you buy your 3D printer.
Criteria #4: Price – We’re not here to make you spend a ton of money for no reason. Meeting this criterion is less about being cheap and more about justifying your price. We’d rather buy an expensive product that’s cheaper than it should be than waste money on a cheaper product that isn’t worth the money and that will just break on you or not perform well. Even with all the mystique around 3D printers, there’s no reason that you have to pay with an arm and a leg, if you don’t want to.
Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best 3D Printers Under $500
We measured the specs of the top products on the market against our listed criteria to see how they held up and if they’re worth buying. We then checked customer reviews, blog posts, and “best 3-D Printers Under $500” articles to see if the products on our list performed as advertised.
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And without further ado, here is our list – tailored to your specific needs – of the best 3D Printers Under $500.
#1: QIDI Tech X-Maker (Best Value – All-Purpose)
QIDI Technology is the biggest name in 3D printing right now, so it’s no surprise that they earned the number one spot on our list with their X-Maker 3D printer. 3D printers may still be fairly new, but don’t think this is going to be like when computers were first invented when one hard drive would take up an entire room. The X-Maker is a small box that’s measured at 6.69” x 5.9” x 6.29″, so you’ll have no problem storing it, when it’s not in use, or just finding a convenient resting place for it that doesn’t get in the way.
This 3D printer, which has new users and accessibility in mind, connects to your laptop through your wifi network and is able to give you a live breakdown and statistics while you’re printing, through a user-friendly touch screen on the base. It also offers two different editions of its slicing software – the education edition and the professional edition. The education edition features a much more stimulating and easy-to-use layout, while the professional edition has more features that you won’t want to start using until you know your way around the printer a bit more. Finally, the X-Maker 3D printing machine comes with an entire textbook to help students become masters and lets you print a 3D work of art as quickly as possible.
The QUIDI X-Maker 3D printer has a pull-rod design spool hold that releases your printing material while you print to make for a seamless experience that’s sure to limit jams and keep things efficient. It also has a removable build plate, which is flexible and magnetic, that helps you safely extract all of your 3D masterpieces as soon as they’re finished. And to wrap everything up, the X-Maker comes powered by the Adopt TMC2209 driver chip which helps this 3D printer run almost silently. It emits only 50 decibels of sound, which is even less than the normal speaking voice, so you’ll be able to keep on talking while printing. You’ll barely even notice the noise from the X-Maker.
The X-Maker’s cheap price and easy-to-use design make it one of the best cheap 3D printers for beginners, and it’s also a great, reliable, option for pros looking to stay under a budget and spend less than $500. It’s incredibly versatile and can print with all of the industry standards such as PLA, ABS, HIPS, TPU, PETG, and more.
Finally, everyone loves it. Customers on Amazon raved about this 3D printer’s affordable price, high print quality, and easy-to-use design. They also loved the clear instructions for the printer and how quiet it is. Whether you’re new to 3D printers or you’re a pro just looking for something new, this might be the best budget 3D printer out there.
#2: QIDI Tech X-Pro (Best Machine)
We said it – QIDI Technology is the leading name in 3D printers. They’ve managed to secure the top two spots on our list, so if you don’t fall in love with any of our 3D printers here, you might want to just go ahead and scour the QIDI catalog until you find something you like.
To give you an idea of how good the QIDI 3D printers are, one customer was able to print a 1:1 replica of a Ferrari with their X series printer. Our second QIDI printer is the QIDI Tech X-Pro, which comes from the same series as the X-Maker. The X-Pro is a little bigger than the X-Maker, and it pushes our $500 budget to its limit, but it comes with the horsepower to back up its price. If you’re willing to spend more, there are a few reasons you might decide to go with the X-Pro over its X-Maker counterpart for your budget 3D printer.
Reason #1 to Choose This Product: Breakpoint Printing
The world is becoming busier and busier, and distractions are everywhere now. As someone that was always a bit of a scatterbrain, it can feel like I just have no chance in the age of Twitter and Instagram and constant notifications on my phone. But with the X-Pro 3D printer, you don’t need to feel pressured to be able to sit and do a job all at once, so no worries if you’re a bit more distractable, or if you have a busy schedule and interruptions tend to come up unexpectedly.
The X-Pro 3D printer features breakpoints, you can save all of your work in the middle of a printing job, and the 3D printer will get right back to work whenever you want. Perhaps the best part of this feature is that it activates automatically in case of a power outage! Even if something goes wrong and your work is interrupted for a reason beyond your control, you’ll be able to pick up right where you left off with no damage to your newest 3D work of art.
Reason #2 to Choose This Product: Dual Extruder Assembly
In addition to being compatible with PLA, ABS, TPA, and PETG just like the X-Maker, and having the same removable build plate, the X-Pro features a dual extruder assembly system to give it improved accuracy and the best print quality possible. QIDI lists the print accuracy for this 3D printer to be between 0.05 and 0.4mm, so any flaws in your new design are sure to be invisible to the naked eye. The X-Pro 3D printing machine has a printing speed of 60mm to 150mm of printing per second. So, while you’ll have to wait a bit if you’re printing a full-scale replica Ferrari, you’ll get to watch smaller modules be printed right before your eyes.
On top of these features, the X-Pro is also durable and works at a high temperature that will let you print quickly. This printer is also just as quiet as our number one 3D printer, and it even comes with a 1-year warranty to make up for its higher price.
Just like with the X-Maker, this printer is highly regarded, and reviewers found it simple and easy to use. If you want to save some money and get the best deal, you should buy the X-Maker. But if you’re willing to spend more money on what might be the best 3D printer (just) under $500, you’ll want to buy the QIDI Tech X-Pro.
#3: FlashForge Adventurer 3 3D Printer (Best Small Printer)
If you’re mostly using your 3D printer for smaller projects like figurines and such, you may decide that it’s best to get a smaller 3D printer and save some space. If you’re looking to keep your desk clear and avoid any clutter, the FlashForge Adventurer 3 3D Printer is the best 3D printer under $500 for you.
With a frame that measures 5.9″ x 5.9″ x 5.9″, this FlashForge 3D printer is the most compact 3D printer on our list. Be warned, just because it’s small doesn’t mean it’s light. This 3D printer still weighs about 22 pounds, so you won’t be carrying it around the house any time soon. That being said, it’s compact enough to fit into a bag, if you want to bring it with you on a longer trip, and the nozzle is removable, which means you can make sure that nothing gets damaged when you pack it up.
And don’t worry that this product is some sort of gimmick 3D printer. It gets the job done. The FlashForge Adventurer has a removable and flexible heated build plate, offers cloud printing, and has a camera that you can monitor from your phone so you can wander around the house while the machine is printing. It’s compatible with a wide selection of materials, including ABS and PLA, and even wood.
This 3D printer starts off at a price that gives you some wiggle room with our $500 budget, and its size makes it perfect for home use. The fact that most of the parts are removable means it’ll be easier to replace anything that breaks, and you’ll be able to safely pack up the entire printer.
At 45 decibels, it’s even quieter than the 3D printers from the QIDI Tech X series. This printer will make so little noise you might have to double-check that it’s on.
Just like with our other 3D printers, reviews were very positive, and customers loved that this printer is basically fully-assembled right out of the box, so there’s almost no set up for you to worry about. This is a great, affordable 3D printer for anyone who doesn’t want a printer that will take up their entire desk.
#4: Creality Ender 3 3D Printer (Best Low Cost)
We promised you 3D printers under $500, and our next 3D printer is looking at that price point in the rear-view mirror. It costs less than half that amount. When it comes to affordable printers, it doesn’t get much better than the Creality Ender 3 3D Printer.
This DIY printer requires some assembly out of the box – about 2 hours according to Creality – but once you’re done, you’ll have saved yourself a nice sum of money, and you’ll be ready to embrace the future and use 3D printing technology while staying on a budget.
Despite the cheap price tag, this 3D printer gives you breakpoint printing to make sure none of your printing jobs are unexpectedly cut short and has an upgraded extruder design to help stop the nozzle from clogging. Plus, it only takes 5 minutes to heat up so you’ll be ready to print in no time.
Perhaps the best part of the Creality Ender 3 3D Printer is that it’s completely open-source, so you’ll have full access to the code, and you’ll have help from other 3D printing enthusiasts around the world when you’re trying to create your next masterpiece. This printer has a build area of about 8″ x 8″ x 9″, so won’t take up a lot of room either, but you’ll still be able to make some bigger creations.
The Creality Ender 3 3D printer has close to 3,000 reviews on Amazon, and almost all of them are positive. That being said, DIY 3D printers can be a little daunting if you’re new to them, so I probably wouldn’t recommend this printer to someone who’s just now experimenting with the technology.
Unlike the rest of our 3D printers so far, this printer features a completely exposed build, so you may feel a little nervous leaving it out if you have small children at home. If you’re a pro though, you’ll be rewarded for those hours of assembly with an excellent and cheap 3D printer. This DIY 3D printer is the budget 3D printer, and it’s one of the best cheap 3D printers out there.
#5: ANYCUBIC MEGA X 3D Printer (Best Large Printer)
We have the FlashForge Adventurer 3 3D Printer for anyone who wants to save space and buy a smaller printer, but what if you want something larger to turn the images in your head into reality? Well, if you want a larger 3D printer under $500, look no further than the Anycubic Mega X 3D Printer. The build area of this 3D printer is 11″ x 11″ x 12″, giving you plenty of room to print whatever you want.
The Mega X 3D Printer also has a Y-axis with a dual sideway design and a Z-axis with a dual screw rod design that greatly improve printing accuracy and stability. As is becoming the standard, this printer features breakpoint printing to save all your work and allow you to split one project into multiple sessions. Finally, this 3D printing machine supports all of the standard materials, such as ABS, PLA, HIPS, and TPU. This printer comes with a sensor that will automatically stop the printer if the filament runs out or snaps.
The Mega X is a DIY 3D printer just like the Creality Ender 3 3D Printer, but whereas the Creality printer has 20 screws that you need to fix into place, the Mega X 3D printer only has 12 plus 3 cables, so you should be able to assemble it a bit more quickly.
There were fewer user reviews on Amazon for this printer than for our other 3D printers, which shows this product is a bit obscure, but the reviews were overall positive. Think of the Anycubic Mega X 3D Printer as a cult favorite. Users loved the large build area that this printer provides and pointed out the nice structure and design. Plus, there’s the great print quality and, of course, the price. When looking at 3D printers under $500, it can be hard to find bigger 3D printers, which is what makes this printer such a stand-out.
#6: Labists Mini Desktop 3D Printer (Best for Beginners)
Even cheaper than the Creality Ender 3 3D Printer, the Labists Mini Desktop 3D Printer is just about one of the cheapest 3D printers out there. It offers a minimalist design that makes it perfect for beginners or as a gift to your young children to get them started on their 3D printing adventure. The reason that this printer isn’t our pick for “best low cost” is that, even though it’s the cheapest, it’s so barebones that it’s not really the best deal unless you know that you’re okay with getting a 3D printer that’s…well…worse.
That’s not to say that the Labists Mini Desktop 3D Printer is completely useless. This 3D printer, which is advertised as a DIY printer, comes in three simple pieces and takes just a few minutes to set up, so you’ll get started on your 3D printing almost as soon as you open the box. Plus, the nozzle of this printer reaches its operating heat in just 3 minutes. That means very little waiting when you open the box or when you start printing.
This printer is also very small, with a frame that measures at just 4″ x 4″ x 4″, which is great for beginners who want to start out by making smaller sculptures and who don’t want something that will take up a lot of room. Plus, this 3D printer has an easy-to-use, simple, 3-button design that lets you easily control the axes and will have you printing in no time. Finally, the motor of the Labists Mini Desktop 3D Printer has a cover on it that will prevent you from being burned, meaning that, even though it has an open design, this 3D printer is perfectly safe for children.
By far the biggest drawback of this cheap 3D printer is that it only works with the PLA filament. This means that you may have to go looking for a bit to find the right material, and even worse, you’re limited in what you can make, as it has to be something suitable for the specific traits of PLA. That being said, you might not be ready to experiment with different materials just yet anyway.
Not surprisingly, customers loved the price of this 3D printer and agreed that it’s great for beginners. Costing less than a quarter of our $500 budget, it doesn’t get much cheaper than this printer, so you can treat yourself a little with all the leftover money.
So what are you waiting for? Get a great gift for your kid that’s shown a bit of a creative spark, or get yourself started on a new hobby with the Labists Mini Desktop 3D Printer. It’ll barely cost you anything at all.
How Limited Am I Staying Under $500 for My 3D Printer?
The short answer is – not very. Don’t think that we had to include every printer that met the price point. There were plenty of 3D printers under $500 that simply didn’t make the cut, and you’re left with the best of the best budget 3D printers available. You can stay within this price range and have plenty of high-quality printers to choose from, and you may find a sleeper pick that we missed. That’s how many options there are.
Of course, as with anything, the absolute best printers will cost you a bit more, and a quick Google search of “best 3D printers” will show you some machines that cost as much as $3,000, which are also much bigger than the printers featured in our article. You’ll feel the most limited by our $500 price cap if you’re interested in really big 3D printers to make life-sized sculptures and creations. But if you don’t mind staying small, you’ll have absolutely no problem working within this budget.
Indeed, a search on Amazon of “3D printer” turns up a slew of results that are closer to $200 than to $500. You will also of course have more leeway depending on how strict you are on your budget. If you’re willing to go a bit over our budget and spend, say, $550, you may find that your options grow exponentially.
Verdict: Your Best 3D Printers Under $500
There you have it. We’ve shown you six of the best cheap 3D printers out there – all under $500. That might have been a lot of information at once though, so I won’t be surprised if you had a little trouble processing all of it. Not to worry, we’re going to give you a quick recap of all of our best budget 3D printers so you can refresh your memory and find the affordable 3D printer that’s perfect for you.
If you want the best value for money, pick the QIDI Tech X-Maker.
Our number one affordable 3D printer is just about the best deal you can find within this price range, and you’ll even have some money leftover. It works with all of the standard materials, including PLA, ABS, HIPS, TPU, PETG, and more, and it’s nice and quiet so you won’t bother anyone while you’re printing. It comes in a nice size that’s about 7″ x 7″ x 7″ and won’t feel limiting but also won’t take up your entire room. Finally, it connects to your laptop through your wifi network. You’re getting all of this in an accurate and precise 3D printer that won’t cost you a ton of money. This is the best deal for pros and beginners alike.
If you need a larger 3D printer, pick the ANYCUBIC MEGA X 3D Printer.
Most of the 3D printers in this price range are a bit smaller, so it can be discouraging if you want something bigger so that you can make truly impressive sculptures to show off to your friends. Not to worry though, the Anycubic Mega X 3D Printer has got you covered. This is just about the biggest 3D printer you can find at this price, and it has a large build area that measures 11″ x 11″ x 12″ which means that this printer provides you with a large print area to let you craft your next masterpiece.
It also features a Y-axis with a dual sideway design and a Z-axis with a dual screw rod design that help give this printer the best stability possible, so you can be really intricate with your printing projects. Finally, just like the QIDI Tech X-Maker, this 3D printer is compatible with all of the standard materials, so you can choose whichever one is perfect for your newest project. If you like to think big, you’ll have to buy the Anycubic Mega X 3D Printer.
If you want to keep the spending cheap, pick the Creality Ender 3 3D Printer.
There’s no beating Creality Ender if you’re looking for a budget 3D printer that doesn’t make you sacrifice in terms of performance, and the Creality Ender 3 3D Printer is one of their biggest accomplishments. Despite barely passing the 50% threshold of our price cap, this printer is a nice medium size compared to the other printers of this price, and it comes with all the specs and features you can ask for.
There is a catch. This DIY 3D printer isn’t exactly easy to set up, so your first project with this printer won’t be using it but just getting it to work. You’ll be rewarded for your efforts, though, with great savings and an excellent 3D printer. The Creality Ender 3 3D Printer is one of the best budget 3D printers out there, so if you feel more comfortable around these devices and are on the toolsy side of things, you’ll definitely want to take on the task of building this printer. There’s a nice reward in it for you once you do.
Remember to have your needs in mind and think about your priorities when you’re choosing your 3D printer. The best 3D printers don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg, but you need to know what you want. Are you a beginner looking for something a little simpler to get you started? Then you’ll want either our number one pick or the absolutely dirt cheap Labists Mini Desktop 3D Printer. If you’re willing to spend more money on the best product, then you’ll want to look into the QIDI Tech X-Pro, which is also on the bigger side of things and has all of the features you can ask for.
No matter what you’re looking for, we hope that our article has helped you find it. And if not, the brands we’ve mentioned might be a good place for you to start looking for something that suits your needs more. Good luck, and happy printing!