2018 is the year of affordable 3D printers.
Last year 3 dimensional printers that were aimed at home based use reached an unprecedented low. Over the past few years, 3D printing has fully-fledged enough to become relevant to everyday users. Some brands like Monoprice have therefore been able to sell their printers at the price they produce it and moved on to focus on what can give them higher profits like a filament.
If you haven’t jumped on the 3D printing bandwagon, 2018 would be the perfect year to start out. You will find a lot of great printers on the market that comes at budget-friendly prices. Most of the prices are already close to the manufacture expenses these producers spend therefor it is highly unlikely they would further drop.
The pricing pattern of 3D printing is very much similar to that of most other new technologies. Just like we have witnessed with smartphones and then 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 try to introduce the product thus competing by trying to bring the product each time cheaper and better for the average homes consumers.
The past couple years could really be considered as phase 3. More and more companies are launching 3D printing machines that provide easy use like the Apple iPhone or the iMac. Users are not required to know a lot about these products and the user interface are easy to understand by everyday users.
If you got a printer last year it might have been in the form of a kit that had to be assembled before you could use it. This is because it has become much cheaper to sell a kit nowadays.
This year it is likely to change as big names in the business like Monoprice are busy updating their range of reasonably priced 3D printers. Delta Mini models have a starting price of $150. You won’t save money anymore if you are buying a printing kit and should only do so if you wanting to challenge yourself in terms of your constructing skills.
In this article, you will be introduced to the best value for money 3D printers that are currently available according to consumer ratings and their opinions on the product. No kit printers are included in the list. But instead, the ones that are included provide hassle free printing and assembly while giving you exceptional quality.
The maximum limit budget limit for the printers included in this article is $500. If you choose to buy a machine that costs within the $500 to $1000 price range, you will not gain much value. Paying anything above $1000 is up to you but the printers that will be reviewed below truly provide value for currency.
Best Cheap 3D Printer – Monoprice Select Mini V2
This printer by Monoprice can be considered a game transformator because it cost less than your typical Android handset.
This has opened the door to many curious individuals to find out and explore for themselves what the world of 3D printing entails.
If you looked at this type of 3D printer a year or two again you would’ve had to pay at least double what it cost and then have 3D objects that have comparable printing quality.
One of the main reasons this 3D printer can be considered a good value for money printer is because it provides the type of flexibility you would get on a much more expensive printer.
You will find with most 3D printers on the market that they try to limit you by the benefit of their technology used or the manufacturer would lock you to their make of consumables. When it comes to the Mini, however, you will be allowed to choose any filament you like. The software is also something you can choose for yourself and print with any filament material type that you desire.
This gives you room to test 3D printing and what works for you or don’t. If you choose to advance to owning this printer you should have a clear idea of what you want most in your upgrade.
Why it’s Cheap
You might know from experience that there is nothing such as a complimentary lunch and that the price of the Mini Select is cheap for a reason.
At first, you need to now that even though you will be allowed to print with different material other than PLA which is the most prevalent filament type in a 3D printer, it will require some time before you get good quality models out of your printer successfully.
The reason behind this lies in the temperature of the heating bed that just doesn’t give enough heat during the printing process.
You won’t be able to set and leave it with this model. At times the Mini Select just won’t do what you have instructed it to. This will require some investigating on you side by surfing through Google troubleshooting and using your DIY skills to get it functioning as per normal.
Is the Monoprice Select Mini the best budget 3D printer for you?
- If the higher prices are a bit intimidating to you
- If it doesn’t bother you from time to time if you have to fasten some bolts here and there
- when you are looking for a 3D machine that is prepared to work immediately after unpacking
- If you want to plug in and print without having any other diagnostic problems
It’s clear that the Select Mini will provide you with good value for cash. Looking back at just a few years ago you would’ve had to pull out over twice this amount of the features the Mini Select gets you.
Best Budget 3D Printer for families – XYZprinting da Vinci miniMaker
This 3D printer by XYZprinting cost a bit extra compared to the miniMaker but you get a machine that will require a lot less attention when printing good quality models. Forget about tinkering because this model is quite close to the plugin and play type. All that is required from you as the consumer is to get rid of the packaging including the tape that is used to secure it and then insert some filament into your printer.
You won’t have to calibrate the building plate-like with the Mini Select since this is a more fully automated process. The software that is included will walk you through the steps that are required. Pressing some buttons here and there when told so is the most that will be required from you.
Included in this model is a bunch of good features that this budget-friendly family printer comes custom. You get the option of using an SD card slit and it comes with onboard memory. This will permit you to upload your prints to the machine and walk away so that it can do its job without you having to permanently have your computer connected to the printer.
Some things are absent from the miniMaker that ships with other premium 3D printer and this is also the reason behind the less expensive price tag.
You won’t have any LCD screen for this printer. Furthermore, there are not many controls except the pause button that has a multi-colored LED telling what is going on with the printer. For example, the LED will give you an indication of whether or not the machine is on or having some problems.
XYZware will help you to control everything remotely from your computer. It’s quite intuitive for novices but will start to reveal its boundaries when you get used to 3D printing.
The word mini in several of the economical 3D printers shouldn’t scare you off at all. Build volume of this printer is supplementary for most users out there. The miniMaker will allow you print objects that are up to 5.9 x 5.9 x 5.9 inches.
If you need anything bigger then the above build volume it is recommended that you divide the part into several smaller parts and when its done glue it together.
Why It’s So Cheap
This printer is more aimed at children and teenager or those that are simply beginning to explore 3D printing. Adults can also get some fun from this printer but they have to keep in mind that there are some 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 have the type of freedom that is provided with more premium 3D printer software. Eventually, you will learn a lot from using this machine to know exactly what you need when you have to upgrade to something more advanced.
Its very clear that the miniMaker is designed for the family. There are no additional DIY skills required when you set the printer up or even to have it running smooth and reliable. You can think of it as a plug in and play type of 3D printer.
You will notice that this printer is also compact when you compare it to the Select Mini. It comes in below 15 inches in all directions. This means that it can without difficulty find a place on a desk somewhere.
The biggest difference would be the filament and the software flexibility compared to that of the DaVinci Mini.
Is the XYZPrinting DaVinci MiniMaker the Best Budget 3D Printer for you?
- When you are looking for a plugin and print machine
- If you don’t mind printing with PLA only
- When you need to try out the other filaments on the market like 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 however you will have fewer of these problems compared to the Mini Select.
The DaVinci is a fantastic 3D printer family and is something that could definitely be recommended for young children and teenagers trying out 3D printing.
Best Budget 3D Printer – QIDI Technology X-One 2
You most probably won’t often see such a beautiful box in which a 3D printer ships but Qidi does that extra effort for consumers. The box contains ample amounts of foam and whatever that can move around is strapped in place.
There most likely will go two things through your mind at first sight of this printer. Firstly that it looks to build more like a square tank. Secondly, you will be amused by the fascinating color this 3D printer is embodied in. The feel it has is more industrial than a home-based printer.
The first few steps are quite informal with the software guiding you every step of the way including the bed leveling. Your first part can already be ready to go in the first 30 minutes.
Compared to other printers in this value range it is very unlikely that you get another printer that ships with leveling paper included. This is very useful as you’ll learn.
The LCD display on the machine is responsive and provide you with a good intuitive experience. Something you will most likely only see on some higher end printers is present in this printer providing you a preview of the model you are building.
Cura is included as the preferred software for the printer. This means that you can go ahead and make use any Slicing software. Thingiverse objects can easily be used to print you a model because the printer accepts both obj files and g-code.
Parts are amongst the best that you can put on FFF printers today. You will get some of the best and most consistent prints out of all the 3D printer on this list when you use this machine. If you take into consideration the right build plate and all the other mechanisms its easy to understand why.
Why It’s So Cheap
One of the obvious reasons is that this product is manufactured in China. This might perhaps be the only motive because there is nothing to criticize about the bodily aspect of this machine. They provide the user with amongst the best customer care you can get. Responses to queries happen real quick and they are also very dynamic in their forum. This is much more than what most US-based 3D printer manufacturers are able to handle.
The features on this machines are very much close to that you get on the Select Mini. X-One has some major difference especially its work power. You’ll be able to print ABS, PLA, TPU and some other filament reliably years without running into any problems. Most of your time can thus be spend printing parts and less on troubleshooting and diagnosing problems on your printer.
When you take the Mini and DaVinci min into consideration by comparing it to this printer it surely isn’t something you would want to upgrade in a few year.
Although this is not such an important feature you will find that this printer weighs round 40 lbs. 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 Budget 3D Printer for you?
- If you are not looking to outgrow a rather limiting 3D printer
- If you’re looking to attempt using ABS or TPS filament for printing models
- If you look for something cheap to advance later.
- If PLA is the only thing you want to produce
This printer will be useful to you for a couple years down the line. Perhaps this is one amongst a few economical 3D printers with a steady build. The features that are included and the flexibility of the printer should be more than sufficient to keep you from needing to upgrade anytime soon. This is because unless you hunger for dual extrusion in your printer or maybe SLA printing.
Where can you buy these 3D printing pens?
All these budget-friendly 3D printers are available for purchase from the Amazon store. You can use the links below to buy your printer.
- Monoprice Select Mini V2 buy on Amazon from $220.00
- XYZprinting da Vinci miniMaker buy on Amazon regular price $249.99 you pay $189.95 *
- QIDI Technology X-One 2 buy on Amazon regular price $ 449.00 you pay $429.00 *
* You’ll get a special discount when buying this 3D printer using the link.