If you’re like us, you are probably amazed by the affordability and access to 3D printers in the modern-day. Just 10 years ago the mere thought of a 3D printer costing as little as a few hundred dollars would have been absurd.
20 years ago and they were almost science fiction. How things change!
3D printers are not only accessible to companies and corporate giants but you can get a top-quality printer today.
The 3D printing industry has grown exponentially over recent years with these machines becoming ever more popular with consumers.
Manufacturers can now produce 3D printers for a fraction of the cost and these cost savings have helped them become more affordable to us everyday folk.
Whether you’re a business looking to take advantage of the products 3D printers can produce or just want to use one for making car parts, fashion accessories, or smartphone cases, there is one out there for your needs.
There is no other way of creating objects and designs that these machines can make. If you try and produce objects without a 3D printing machine, you will have to use an abundance of materials that could take a long time to produce.
We know that 3D printers are generally pretty expensive. That has been the main drawback for many over the years but there is no need to worry about that anymore!
Unlike before, there are now hundreds of budget-friendly 3D printers available on the market but choosing the right one out of so many can be a difficult task.
That is why we have dived into the world of 3D printers and found the best 5 budget 3D printers available today.
Based on their reliability, price-performance ratio, and many more factors, we have reviewed each product to help you decide which one is best for you.
OUR TOP PICK
There is no surprise that Monoprice appears first on our list. This company is renowned for producing reliable printers that can create the best 3D items at a minimal cost.
Some 3D printers have an array of features that, if you ask us, are not needed. The Monoprice Select Mini V2 keeps its price down by not including unnecessary features that the average user wouldn’t need.
The fact you’re reading this means you are probably looking for your first 3D printer and the Monoproce Select Mini V2 is a great place to start for beginners.
This printer comes fully assembled and is calibrated at the factory before being shipped out. Along with PLA filaments and a MicroSD card with preinstalled models, this printer is ready to print as soon as you get it.
You may recognize this Monoproce printer as it is similar to earlier models. However, this version is an improved type of earlier Monoprice models with impressive features built-in.
They include 3D printer models to get you started on your printing journey and 3D printer filament to produce works of 3D art.
If you’re like many of us, you probably imagine a 3D printing machine to take up a corner of your room with just enough space left for your bed. This simply isn’t the case these days as you will see with this printer.
It is compact enough to sit neatly on any desktop. This is what makes it ideal for 3D printing novices as you can get to terms with how these contraptions work before moving to larger machines down the road.
What we found very impressive with this printer was how it supports all filament types. It has a heated build plate and a wide range of extruder temperatures that allow it to be compatible with all types of filaments.
This means your creative outlets will know no bounds. Fancy making some new mugs or plates for your household?
This will be no problem as this printer can be used with ABS and PLA filaments that make up many food-related items.
Whether it’s these filaments or more advanced materials such as wood and metal composites or dissolvable PVA, the possibilities are endless with the Monoprice Select Mini V2 3D printer.
- Beginner-friendly - This is a perfect printer to begin your 3D printing journey due to its minimum features and easy to understand controls
- Supports all filament types - Whether its basic filaments such as ABS or PLA to more advanced materials such as wood or metal composites, this printer will support all types so you can design different items on different materials
- Compact - Has a very small footprint with a basic, open-frame design that fits on any desktop neatly, and out of the way
- Comes pre-assembled - Fully set up and calibrated before being shipped out so you can start using it as soon as it arrives
- Additional accessories - Includes a PLA filament sample and a MicroSD card with preloaded files which is compatible with PC and Mac for an enhanced printing experience
- Unable to print large parts at once - Due to its modest size, you would have to print in stages if you wanted to achieve large scale items
Here we have another reliable 3D printer that is ideal for beginners who want to learn the ropes of 3D printing. You are here for budget-friendly 3D printers and this is exactly that.
Simply put, this is one of the most affordable desktop 3D models out there and you’ll be hard-pressed to find much better in this price range.
Many 3D printers come as a kit and this can raise alarm bells for many customers. This usually means you have to assemble the kit yourself and do a lot of hard work before you get your 3D objects.
Although you may be wary of 3D printer kits, you shouldn’t be worried about the Creality Ender 3 3D printer.
The assembly process is very straightforward and quick so you can delve into 3D printing mode sooner rather than later.
The balance of the print area and compact size with the Creality Ender 3D printer is very impressive. It may not be the largest or smallest on the market but it is certainly large enough for bigger-sized projects.
Its compactness means it won’t take up much space in your room or office so you won’t be cramped for space.
However, what it lacks in size, it doesn’t lack in features as this printer still contains an impressive amount to print many fun items.
If you’re like us, you will love the print quality the Ender 3 provides. One way in which it creates outstanding finished products is through its tight filament path.
This has fewer twists and movements for the filament to turn through resulting in a smoother print. This is especially evident when working with nylon.
One aspect in which the Creality Ender 3 stands out is through its open-source software. Out of all kit printers, this could be the best upgrade system out there.
You won’t have to worry about using this printer only to find it is incompatible with so many systems.
With Creality, you will be able to take advantage of all of their updates which happen almost daily. Every day, Creality are adding new updates to enhance the possibilities of this 3D printer.
Your creativity will have no limits as all you have to do is use the internet to find certain additions for your printing needs.
Furthermore, if you’re a genius behind the keyboard and like to play around with codes, you could create something incredible by adding your own personal ideas to the internet so you, and others can take advantage of new updates.
- Easy to assemble - Even as a kit, you will send a minimum amount of time setting this printer up so you can quickly get to printing anything from mini robots to robot arms
- Includes open-source software - Super upgrade system that is compatible with most machines. Able to add your own ideas to updates via the internet so you can create unique 3D printed items
- Compact - Small enough to fit on any desktop table without taking up room to leave you cramped
- Upgraded control board - Next generation “resume print” technology to resume printing your last recorded extruder position if you suffer from an unexpected power outage. This way you won’t lose work that you may have taken a lot of time on
- All tools included - Comes partially assembled with the lower base and all wiring completed in the factory. Perfect for those who want to learn more about engineering and the mechanics of 3D printers
- Uneven aluminum supports - Some customers have reported that one aluminum extrusion is around ⅛” shorter than the other resulting in defective 3D prints
You thought our previous entries were affordable? Wait till you see this 3D printer from Anycubic.
This is one of the cheapest 3D printers on the market but there is no compromise in quality. Coming fully assembled, the Anycubic Photon Mono LCD 3D Printer is very easy to get started.
You will be pleased by the lack of time needed in setting up before you can start printing to your heart’s content.
Although this is one of the cheapest 3D printers in the world, Anycubic has built this machine with a newer and more stable Z-axis with a screw motor and linear guide.
This will give you excellent print quality every time without fail. Are you into printing miniatures such as Dungeons and Dragon figures? If so, this is the machine for you.
It allows you to delve into the world of your favorite games as well as movie and cartoon characters. Make Spongebob Squarepants come to life in the confines of your own home!
This is a truly perfect choice for beginners as well as 3D printing enthusiasts. Sometimes, it is required to stop printing immediately due to an error in the design or malfunction.
This can damage some 3D printers as they are not designed to stop halfway through a task. With the Anycubic Photon Mono LCD 3D printer, there is no such problem.
This model’s cover can be opened easily for you to stop printing at any moment. Easy for beginners and powerful enough for enthusiasts.
Furthermore, this cover is transparent and blocks up to 99.95% of UV rays with a wavelength of 405nm.
This ensures your prints turn out successful with high rein solidification preventing any waste of resin. There isn’t much more you could want from a 3D printer!
If you’ve used 3D printers in the past, you have probably experience the long wait that comes with the printing process.
If you’re not a patient person, this can become very frustrating as you just want to see the final result as soon as possible.
Fortunately, the Photon Mono 3D printer’s printing speed is 2.5 x faster than regular 3D printers. Its rapid prototyping greatly improves its printing efficiency saving more time for you to enjoy the finished product.
With an excellent performance for 3D printing enthusiasts and an easy-to-use functionality ideal for beginners, the Anycubic Photon Mono LCD 3D printer has all you need to create intricate artworks and fun 3D items all day long.
- Easy to set up - Very simple design that requires minimal effort in setting up so you can begin printing sooner and not waste time trying to figure out how the printer works
- One month return and a 1-year warranty - You are covered in case of any manufacturing defects (excluding LCD screens and FEP film)
- Very fast printing - Prints 2.5 x faster than regular 3D printers improving printing efficiency and the overall product
- Lifetime technical support - If you are unsure of any technicalities or experience issues, there is lifetime support from Anycubic to help guide you through any problems and processes
- Multi-purpose - Ideal for printing games, miniatures as well as cartoon or movie characters
- The bed doesn’t always lower - On rare occasions, this occurs resulting in a poor first layer and poor quality finish
- Protective film on perspex is hard to remove - Leaves a sticky residue on the surface which is unsightly and unpleasant to touch
Unlike our previous entries on this list, the Elegoo Mars 2 Mono MSLA 3D Printer uses resin to print. We were amazed by how good this printer was for its lower price tag.
Its new resin printing technology is innovative, allowing you to get the same precision as stereolithography (SLA) printers.
If you’re unsure what SLA printing is, it’s a form of 3D printing technology used in producing models, patterns, prototypes, and production parts in a layer-by-layer fashion.
The fact that the Elegoo Mars 2 printer can match the capacities of this complex mechanism is astounding.
When we come to accuracy, the Elegoo Mars 2 printer achieves the minimum XY accuracy for precise and accurate prints. It is made with a 2K LCD projector reducing pixel distortion for better print quality.
It also includes a Chitubox slicer, especially for resin printing. A Chitubox slicer is a 3D printing tool to prepare your designs so you can edit and slice your 3D designs with a few clicks.
For fast printing and less maintenance, the Elegoo Mars 2 3D printer is outstanding. It only takes 2 seconds per layer exposure to cure resin, significantly improving your printing efficiency.
The fact that has a mono LCD means it should have a much longer lifespan with a more stable performance for long-term printing.
We love this printer’s new light source structure as it provides more UV light emission than ever before, and when you combine this with the 2K mono LCD, the details and precision of your prints become wonderfully improved.
You are guaranteed consistent printing success with this durable, aluminum-built 3D printer, and the interface is available in 12 different languages to help people around the world understand the printer’s operation easily.
If you experience any technical issues, the whole printer is covered by a 1-year warranty while the 2K LCD has a 6-month warranty.
The FEO film is excluded in this but Elegoo has a good reputation with customer service and helping with any manufacturing defects.
- Multi-language interface - Languages including Japenese, Korean, Dutch, French, German, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Turkish have recently been added so people around the world can easily understand how to operate the printer
- Very fast printing - Only takes 2 seconds per layer exposure to cure the resin to enhance your printing efficiency and save time for enjoying the finished product
- Durable - A sturdy aluminum body with a newly-design sandblasted build plate enables consistent printing for long-lasting use
- Saves you costs - Made for long term printing so you shouldn’t have to invest in another 3D printer any time soon
- Incredible detail and resolution - Perfect for intricate designs, especially art thanks to its use of resin
- Resin has a strong odor - This smell can be overwhelming for some users so it is recommended to use it in a well-ventilated space
- A little messy - Tends to leave some mess leftover from resin but this can be easily cleaned up
Some 3D printers can still be quite large and cumbersome. Trying to stick them in the corner of your room only makes them stand out more like robots watching over your every move.
Of course, this is not what you want when looking for a budget 3D printer.
Thankfully, the da Vinci Mini W 3D Printer is very compact in size and weighs less than 18-pounds. This means you should have no problem when transporting it to different spaces of your house or office.
The da Vinci Mini W was designed for beginners. Accompanying its stylish streamlined design is single-button printing for absolute ease-of-use.
It also connects wirelessly to computers meaning fewer cables will take up space in your room resulting in a tidier environment.
As well as this, the Mini W printer utilizes XYZprinting software which is both easy to use and allows for an easier print setup. Therefore, you’ll have more time for doing the things you love, like 3D printing!
You will receive a pretty standard 100 - 400 micron layer resolution with a top speed of around 120mm per second which is more than adequate for most printing tasks.
Its build volume is of an average size measuring 5.9” x 5.9” x 5.9” which is usual for mini 3D printers but large enough to print well-sized prints.
Did we mention the eco-friendly nature of this printer? It prints using only XYZprinting’s bio-compostable, non-toxic PLA filament.
This filament comes from natural minerals such as corn starch and sugarcane meaning you are supporting the environment while having fun with the printer.
It has gone through an array of different tests to make sure it is DEHP-free (family of harmful chemicals) as well as heavy-metal-free.
If you’re in the market for a reliable, solid, and highly consistent printing machine, then you are reading the right review right now.
Coming pre-tested, the da Vinci Mini Wireless 3D printer’s calibration has already been done before purchase so you can start printing right away.
Simply let it connect wirelessly to your home’s network for easy 3D printing in little time. This offers all the features you need for reliable printing along with a friendly price tag.
- Compact size - Weighing less than 18-pounds, this is easy to transport when required and keep neatly tucked away on your desktop
- Good print size - The aluminum print bed is large enough to print big, high-quality prints every time thanks to its reliable print quality
- Easy to maintain - Printer comes pre-assembled with auto-leveling software for an easy initial set up and ongoing maintenance
- Wireless - Connects to your home, office, or classroom network for efficient and easy printing
- Eco-friendly - Only used XYZprinting bio-compostable, non-toxic filament which is safe to use and good for the environment
- Reports you’re out of ink when you’re not - May need to replace the XYZ embedded chip of the spool misreports which can be quite costly
- Prints can go off line with extended use - Some customers have reported that the prints become misaligned leaving stringy filament behind
Frequently Asked Questions
How do 3D printers work?
There are a range of technologies used in 3D printing and every one has unique processes.
Having said that, the most basic and common concept of 3D printing is to slice any model or item into 2D cross-sections first. This is conducted with software known as a slicer.
After this, each cross-section is manufactured/created layer by layer. Each layer is added over the previous layer and this is known as an “additive” way of creating 3D prints.
The printer is then told where to move the 3D model by the g-code. Every 3D model that is sliced gets converted into a g-code which informs the primer what to do when manufacturing a single layer.
3D printers use the x, y, and z axes to move along adjusting their nozzle temperature and pressure along the way. These adjustments release the material that is being used to create the 3D printed model.
What are the benefits of using a 3D printer?
3D printers create blocks before cutting out certain areas to shape the model. This is known as an additive process and allows you to create complex designs that can’t be used when using a single piece of material.
Another main benefit is how these printers don’t have to cut out any solids so less waste is leftover with a lower cost of material.
3D printing can be used in all facets of life. These can range from medical purposes such as creating limbs to home building projects. 3D printers are versatile and although models differ from one to another, they all have one thing in common.
They lead to lower labor requirements, faster timelines, and much speedier results with projects. Industries such as medicine and aerospace are particularly thankful for the 3D printer’s fast timelines.
In aerospace, machines require multiple parts that need to be assembled over many months. 3D printing can significantly cut this building time down by printing most of these important components as single blocks so time is saved as well as material.
The manufacturing world has been changed forever since the advent of 3D printers. The current manufacturing process requires large quantities of products and 3D printers can provide these in a short amount of time.
They are especially useful when creating prosthetic limbs which must be custom-made for every user. 3D printing can customize any model easily and quickly, like never before.
Designers and engineers would probably agree that 3D printers have made their jobs and lives easier. These machines allow for much quicker prototype constructions so these specialists can shorten their design processes.
Therefore, customers and businesses receive the products in a much quicker timeframe than ever seen before.
What are the limitations of 3D printers?
As we have stated, 3D printing has many advantages and benefits. However, there are some limitations involved.
Firstly, size matters when it comes to 3D printers as smaller printers are limited to what they can create compared to larger models.
Budget models, as we have discussed above, won’t be able to produce objects or models that larger, more expensive printers can achieve.
Furthermore, 3D printing can take some time to produce results. Each layer that is built can take minutes, hours, days, or even weeks, depending on the printer and what is being created.
Some existing technologies may be able to create certain devices faster meaning 3D printing technology still has some way to go when matching various technologies.
Lastly, nearly all 3D printers can only print with one material at any given time. This lengthens the time it takes to manufacture something which requires more than one material because you will have to finish one job with one material before moving onto the next.
Do I need a certain type of filament for a 3D printer?
In most cases, 3D manufacturers produce machines that need their own, particular filament. By doing this, they get to monetize the purchase of the printer, ensuring you have to spend extra to use their 3D printer.
On the other hand, there are some 3D printer manufacturers that allow you to use filaments of other brands. This can give you more freedom in what you create and how you create it.
Always read the specifications of your 3D printer and manufacturer on which type of filament is compatible with the machine, as well as what isn’t.
If you use the wrong filament, the nozzle of the printer can become damaged, leading to added repair costs.
What features and factors should I consider when buying a budget 3D printer?
There are many factors to think about when investing in a 3D printer. Some of these include its build area, its build materials, and its print speed.
The build area refers to the maximum size of any object you can create with the 3D printer. As you now know, 3D printers come in all shapes and sizes meaning that some may have a wider or taller build area than others.
You can find many templates for creating items online and most of these should still fit all 3D printers but they may need to be rotated first. The bigger the build area, the better.
However, larger areas tend to mean larger price tags so consider what your budget is and maybe strike a balance between designing larger items and saving money.
Consider the filament type used. Most common are the ABS and PLA as these create temperature-resistant items that are highly durable. If you prefer one from the other, ensure your 3D printer can support that type.
Some printers can use other materials such as Sugru but these tend to be less reliable than standard filament-based versions.
You may be surprised by how slow 3D printing can be. Most low-budget printers work at a rate of about 50mm per second. This results in a longer waiting time for larger models.
On the other hand, speedy printers generally create a thicker layer which is more obvious in the final result.
Therefore, slow and steady usually wins the race for quality. There is an option to add an additional extruder (a nozzle) to some models of printer which can speed the printing process up.