With each passing year, 3D printers are becoming more affordable.
Today, there are dozens of cheap 3D printers designed for home use that you can buy. The same can also be said of materials, although not to a large extent. The prices of 3D printer filaments and materials have not undergone significant fall like the machines.
If you don’t have a 3D printer yet, this year would be a good time to get one. There are dozens of budget-friendly 3D printers that you can buy.
The pricing pattern of 3D printing is very much similar to that of most other new technologies. Just like was the case with smartphones and later on tablets, new technologies usually go through three significant phases:
- Phase 1. Initially, only businesses use it commercially
- Phase 2. Early tech adopters try to have the technology in their hands, even if they have to deal with a few bugs
- Phase 3. Various companies will manufacture the product, thus competing against themselves by bringing the cost down and making the products better for the average home consumers.
The past couple years could really be considered as phase 3 for 3D printers. More companies are launching 3D printing machines that are easy to use interfaces. Even everyday users can easily get started with the 3D printers for beginners.
Some 3D printers are sold in the form of a kit that has to be assembled before use. This is because it is cheaper to sell 3D printer kits than fully-assembled units.
However, with 3D printers under $200 even available, there is no reason why you should get a 3D printer kit. Unless, of course, you want to challenge yourself and get hands-on with constructing the 3D printer.
Best Cheap 3D Printers
In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the best cheap 3D printers available on the market. No 3D printer kits are included in the list. All the printers we’ve selected are easy to use, come fully assembled and provide exceptional quality prints.
In this guide, we’ve only listed the best 3D printers under $500. Of course, there are other more expensive 3D printers. However, we only recommend them for intermediate and professional users. We’ve listed the printers in our guide: Best 3D Printers Under $1000
Let’s get started with the best cheap 3D printers on the market.
1. Monoprice Select Mini V2
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This printer by Monoprice is a gamechanger because it costs less than your typical Android handset. If you want to know what is 3D printing and have a small budget, this is the printer we recommend.
The 3D printer provides good value for money because it is flexible in terms of printing materials as other more expensive 3D printers.
Some 3D printer manufacturers try to limit consumers into using their proprietary technologies or consumables. A good example of this is Dremel, whose 3D printers (are designed only to use Dremel filaments.
With the Mini, however, you can use any third-party filament and slicer you like. Therefore, you can cheaply test 3D printing to see what all the hype is about. This is a good first 3D printer for beginners and kids.
Why it’s Cheap
But why is the Monoprice Select V2 3D printer cheap?
To begin, while you can print with different materials, it take’s some tweaking to get good quality models printed. This is because the heating bed that just doesn’t produce enough heat during the printing process.
You can’t be able to set and leave this printer to work on its own. Sometimes, the unit does not pick instructions. Therefore, you may need to search online to find answers to the problems you may be facing.
Is the Monoprice Select Mini the best budget 3D printer for you?
- If you want a cheap 3D printer
- If you are ready to do some repairs or fastening bolts here and there from time to time
- If you want a 3D printer that works flawlessly right out of the box
- If you want to print without having to deal with any diagnostic problems
The Select Mini provides good value for money. Read the full Monoprice Select Mini review.
2. XYZprinting da Vinci MiniMaker
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This 3D printer by XYZprinting require a lot less attention when printing than the Monoprice Select Mini. The model is quite close to the plug-and-play options. Therefore, you shouldn’t worry about tinkering with it.
When you receive the 3D printer, simply unpack it, insert some filament into the printer, and watch your 3D prints come alive. You can get some free STL files for 3D printing on sites like Thingiverse.
The XYZprinting Da Vinci Mini Maker’s build plate does not have to be calibrated manually. The process is automatic. Simply follow the guide on the software included to calibrate the print bed.
This budget 3D printer has onboard memory and an SD card slot. Therefore, you can upload your prints to the machine without the need of connecting your computer to it..
However, the printer is cheap since it lacks a couple of features that are standard in the best 3D printers for small businesses and home use.
For example, the printer does not have an LCD screen. Moreover, there are very few controls. You’ll only see the pause button that has a multi-colored LED that indicates going on with the printer. For instance, in case the machine has a problem, the LED will blink to indicate there’s an issue.
This 3D printer uses XYZware slicer. This is a proprietary 3D slicer by XYZprinting that lets you control everything remotely from your computer. The software is quite intuitive for novices. However, when you get used to 3D printing, you will realize that it’s limited compared to the best 3D slicers on the market.
The miniMaker has a build volume of 5.9 x 5.9 x 5.9 inches. If you need to print anything bigger than what is accommodated in the build volume, you will have to divide your model into several smaller parts. When done, you can glue all the parts together.
Why It’s Cheap
This 3D printer is aimed at beginners in 3D printing. In fact, it’s one of the best 3D printers for kids. Adults can also get some fun from this printer but will held back by its limits.
The software that is included provides a great intuitive experience. Unfortunately, after your first few prints, you will start to see the limitations that it has. You simply won’t the type of freedom that the best slicers for 3D printing offer.
Eventually, you will learn a lot from using this machine. You will know exactly what you need when you have to upgrade to something more advanced.
The miniMaker is designed for kids, teenagers and absolute beginners. There are no additional DIY skills required when you set the printer up or even to get it running. This is simply a plug-in-and-play 3D printer.
This printer is compact when compared to the Select Mini. It measures below 15 inches in all directions. This means that you don’t need the best 3D printer table for it. Simply place it on your home office desk and use it there.
The biggest difference between the Da Vinci Mini Maker and the Monoprice Select Mini is that the former is more flexible when it comes to using third party slicing software and materials.
Is the XYZPrinting DaVinci MiniMaker the Best Budget 3D Printer for you?
- If you are looking for a plugin and print machine
- If you don’t mind printing with PLA only
- If you want to try out the other filaments, such as ABS
- If you need to save a $50 and have to do some diagnostics by yourself.
Nothing dampens enthusiasm as much as a few failed builds. When you buy the miniMaker you will have fewer of these problems compared to the Mini Select.
The DaVinci is a fantastic 3D printer that we recommend for young children and teenagers trying out 3D printing.
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You won’t often see 3D printers shipped in such a beautiful box. QIDI goes above and beyond expectation in packaging. The box contains ample amounts of foam and whatever that can move around is strapped in place.
The QIDI Technology X-One2 looks like a colorful square tank. The 3D printer has a more industrial than a home feel.
When you switch on the 3D printer, the first few steps are simple. The software will guide you every step of the way, including the bed leveling. Your first part can ready for printing in the first 30 minutes.
Compared to other cheap 3D printers, it is unlikely that you will get another printer that ships with leveling paper. The leveling paper is very important in leveling the bed.
The 3D printer has a responsive LCD display that provides an intuitive experience. You can even preview the model you are building on the display.
Cura is also included as it’s the preferred slicer for the 3D printer. However, you can use any other slicing software you prefer. You can also easily print Thingiverse models because the printer accepts both OBJ files and G-CODE
Coming to print quality, you will get consistent prints from this printer than others our our list.
Why It’s Cheap
This 3D printer is manufactured in China and that may explain its cheap price. The company cares about its customers and responds quickly to queries.
The features of X-One are very much close to that you get on the Select Mini. However, it also has as some major differences, especially with regard to work power. With this printer, you can print ABS, PLA, TPU and other filaments without any problems. Therefore, you will be spending most of your time printing parts rather than troubleshooting and diagnosing problems on your printer.
Compared to the Mini and DaVinci Mini, you won’t really need to upgrade the QIDI X-One2 in a few years.
This printer weighs about 40 lbs. Therefore, finding the right spot for it might be a little challenging because it is not so much home friendly.
Is the QIDI X-One 2 the best cheap 3D printer for you?
- If you are not looking to outgrow a rather limiting 3D printer
- If you will be printing using ABS or TPS filament
- If you look for something cheap to advance later.
- If PLA is the only thing you want to produce
The X-One2 3D printer will be useful to you for a couple years. This is one of the few cheap 3D printers with a steady build. The features and flexibility of the printer are more than sufficient to keep you from needing to upgrade anytime soon. The only time you may want to upgrade is if you want a dual extruder 3D printer or want to try resin 3D printing.
Where to Buy the Best Cheap 3D Printers
All these budget-friendly 3D printers are available on Amazon as well as other 3D printer stores. Here are the links to the printers on Amazon.