3D printer cheapest price

The Best Cheap 3D Printers for 2023

While we'd hesitate to call 3D printing a mature technology, you might say it has reached its teenage years. Through their first decade-and-change, 3D printers have come down in price, grown easier to set up and operate, and become more reliable. And you may pay less than you expect: Many once-high-end features have migrated down to inexpensive models.

PC Labs has been reviewing 3D printers since 2013. Today, the state of 3D printing is strong, but that wasn’t always the case. For the first several years, it was often an adventure getting one of these printers up and running, let alone successfully through our testing regimen. Issues with filament-based—aka fused filament fabrication (FFF) or fused deposition modeling (FDM)—printers were abundant.

Filament feeders had to be coaxed into delivering filament from the spool to the extruder. Print beds had to be manually aligned. The extruder or hot end had to be positioned just right to minimize the gap between the nozzle and the build plate (the flat surface on which the object is printed). Objects frequently stuck to the build plate, and required careful, sometimes unsuccessful, efforts to pry them off. These and other issues required painstaking effort to resolve, often combined with calls to tech support.

Not so much anymore. While they can still be rebellious at times, 3D printers have grown up a lot, and achieving the 3D printer basics has gotten a lot less likely to end in a shouting match over small things. And they've gotten a lot more affordable, too, for curious DIY-ers and hobbyists to try.

If you're in the market for a beginner or low-cost 3D printer, it's important to know how lower-end models differ. Read on for mini-reviews of the top budget 3D printers we've tested. After that, we go into more detail on understanding the 3D printer specs and tech relevant to beginning buyers. Ready to take the plunge? Read on.

Deeper Dive: Our Top Tested Picks

Original Prusa Mini

Best Overall Budget 3D Printer

4.5 Outstanding

Bottom Line:

It requires assembly and calibration care (plus shipping from the Czech Republic), but the Original Prusa Mini is a compact, open-frame 3D printer that consistently produces superb-quality output for a great price.


  • Top-notch object quality
  • Supports a variety of filament types
  • Useful, professionally printed user guide
  • Great support resources
  • Versatile, user-friendly software


  • First-layer calibration can be tricky
  • Only includes starter packets of filament
  • Requires monitoring if young children or pets are around

Sold By List Price Price
Prusa Research $399.00 $399.00 See It (Opens in a new window)

Read Our Original Prusa Mini Review

XYZprinting da Vinci Mini

Best Budget 3D Printer for Schools, Community Centers

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

The XYZprinting da Vinci Mini is a consumer-oriented 3D printer that provides a winning combination of low price, ease of setup and use, solid print quality, and smooth, misprint-free operation.


  • Very low price.
  • Reasonably priced filament.
  • Good print quality.
  • No misprints in testing.
  • Easy setup and operation.
  • Quiet.
  • Prints over a USB or Wi-Fi connection.


  • Occasional problems in trying to launch prints.
  • Removing printed objects from the print bed is sometimes tricky.

Sold By List Price Price
Amazon $199.95 $199.95 See It (Opens in a new window)
Walmart $199.95 $199.95 See It (Opens in a new window)

Read Our XYZprinting da Vinci Mini Review

Toybox 3D Printer

Best Budget 3D Printer for Children

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

The Toybox 3D Printer works well as a model designed for children, offering reliable printing from a browser or mobile device and a few thousand toys to print, plus creative options to output drawings or photos. Just bear in mind the tiny build area.


  • Reliable, misprint-free printing
  • Easy setup
  • One-touch operation
  • Well-composed help resources
  • Access to more than 2,000 printable toys and projects
  • Lets you create your own printable designs


  • Tiny build area
  • Not ideal for importing 3D files created elsewhere

Sold By List Price Price
Amazon $299.00 $299.00 See It (Opens in a new window)
Toybox Labs $379.00 $299.00 See It (Opens in a new window)

Read Our Toybox 3D Printer Review

Monoprice Mini Delta V2 3D Printer

Best Budget 3D Printer for Beginners, Non-Techies

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

3D printing gurus will be intrigued by the Monoprice Mini Delta V2's use of the delta rather than Cartesian coordinate system, but beginners will just enjoy its low price, ease of use, and speedy printing.


  • Sub-$200 price
  • Quick, nearly misprint-free printing
  • Easy setup and operation
  • Sturdy steel-and-aluminum frame
  • Supports multiple filament types


  • Tiny build area
  • So-so print quality
  • Mere one-year warranty

Sold By List Price Price
Amazon $323.98 $323.98 See It (Opens in a new window)

Read Our Monoprice Mini Delta V2 3D Printer Review

Anycubic i3 Mega S

Best Budget 3D Printer With an Open Design, Big Build Area

3.5 Good

Bottom Line:

The Anycubic i3 Mega S, an inexpensive open-frame 3D printer, produced decent-quality prints in our testing. To get the most out of it, though, may require precise calibration.


  • Modestly priced
  • Large build area for an inexpensive printer
  • Supports a variety of filament types
  • Generally solid print quality
  • Uses well-known Cura software


  • Finicky print-platform alignment
  • Supported coils of filament are small
  • Poorly placed spool holder

Sold By List Price Price
Amazon $229. 98 $229.98 Check Stock (Opens in a new window)
AnyCubic $279.00 $279.00 Check Stock (Opens in a new window)

Read Our Anycubic i3 Mega S Review

Anycubic Vyper

Best Budget 3D Printer for the Biggest Build Area Possible

3.5 Good

Bottom Line:

Anycubic's modestly priced Vyper whips up large 3D prints on its open-frame design, and provides automatic print-bed leveling. Just know that some minor assembly is required—and printed objects may require a bit of cleanup.


  • Relatively large build area
  • Automatic bed leveling
  • Simple assembly


  • Short (one-year) warranty
  • Includes only a small starter filament coil
  • Using Cura software with the Vyper requires tweaking a couple of settings
  • Test prints showed some "hairy" filament residue

Sold By List Price Price
Amazon $339. 99 $339.99 See It (Opens in a new window)
AnyCubic $369.00 $319.00 See It (Opens in a new window)

Read Our Anycubic Vyper Review

Creality Ender-3 V2

Best Budget 3D Printer for Tinkerers and DIY Types

3.5 Good

Bottom Line:

Hands-on tweaking defines Creality's budget-price Ender-3 V2, an open-frame 3D printer that you build from a kit. It produces generally above-par prints, but its print bed can be tricky to keep leveled.


  • Inexpensive
  • Slightly above-average print quality
  • Good-size build area for its price
  • Supports several filament types


  • Manual print-bed leveling can be tricky
  • Setup instructions could be deeper, more legible
  • Questionable quality control on some parts

Sold By List Price Price
Amazon $299. 00 $246.00 See It (Opens in a new window)

Read Our Creality Ender-3 V2 Review

Flashforge Finder 3D Printer

Best 3D Printer for the Very Tightest Budgets

3.5 Good

Bottom Line:

The Flashforge Finder 3D Printer is moderately priced and offers good print quality, but it proved tricky to get up and running in our tests.


  • Quiet.
  • Good print quality.
  • Connects via USB 2.0 cable, USB thumb drive, or Wi-Fi.
  • Reasonably priced.


  • Some objects pulled off the platform during testing.
  • Poor documentation.
  • Modest build volume.
  • Limited to printing with polylactic acid filament (PLA).

Sold By List Price Price
Amazon $259.90 $259.90 Check Stock (Opens in a new window)

Read Our Flashforge Finder 3D Printer Review

Polaroid PlaySmart 3D Printer

Best Budget 3D Printer for Dabbling in Small Objects

3. 5 Good

Bottom Line:

The Polaroid PlaySmart 3D Printer is a compact, stylish 3D printer with above-par overall print quality, but, alas, a tiny build area for the money.


  • Small, lightweight for a desktop 3D printer.
  • Easy to set up and use.
  • Supports PLA, PETG, and wood composite filaments.
  • Multiple-color support.
  • Wi-Fi camera monitors print jobs.
  • Prints from USB drives, SD cards, or mobile devices.


  • High price for its capabilities.
  • Small build area.
  • Too-brief warranty.

Sold By List Price Price
Amazon $699.00 $699.00 See It (Opens in a new window)

Read Our Polaroid PlaySmart 3D Printer Review

XYZprinting da Vinci Jr. 1.0 A Pro

Best Budget 3D Printer With Closed Design, Roomy Build Area

3. 5 Good

Bottom Line:

The XYZprinting da Vinci Jr. 1.0 A Pro is a moderately priced closed-frame 3D printer with a large build volume and overall good performance, but a potentially balky filament-feeding system.


  • Spacious build area
  • Works with third-party filaments
  • Self-leveling print bed


  • Build plate is not heated
  • Limited to PLA- and PETG-based filaments
  • Guide tube is prone to detaching

Sold By List Price Price
Amazon $299.95 $199.95 See It (Opens in a new window)
Best Buy $449.95 $449.95 Check Stock (Opens in a new window)

Read Our XYZprinting da Vinci Jr. 1.0 A Pro Review

Monoprice Voxel 3D Printer

Best Budget 3D Printer for Cheap Filament

3. 0 Average

Bottom Line:

The Monoprice Voxel is an under-$400 3D printer that's easy to set up and use. It exhibits generally good print quality, but it was unable to print two of our test objects.


  • Easy to set up and use.
  • Budget price for printer and filament spools.
  • Supports PLA, ABS, and several composite filament types.
  • Versatile software.
  • Prints over Ethernet or Wi-Fi, or from a USB thumb drive.


  • Frequent misprints on certain test objects.
  • Slightly balky touch screen.

Sold By List Price Price
Amazon $449.99 $369.26 See It (Opens in a new window)
Walmart $429.99 $369.26 See It (Opens in a new window)

Read Our Monoprice Voxel 3D Printer Review

Buying Guide: The Best Cheap 3D Printers for 2023

How to Buy a Cheap 3D Printer

The biggest changes to 3D printers over the last few years have come to the cheaper models. Nowadays, many of those classic, ornery 3D-printing issues have been resolved (most of the time, anyway), even for consumer and bargain-priced 3D printers. Automatic print-bed leveling is the norm, and you can usually remove 3D-printed objects from heated and/or flexible build plates with a minimum of coaxing. And most 3D printer manufacturers have either developed and refined their own software, or have adapted an open-source printing platform such as Cura(Opens in a new window).

(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)

What separates more expensive 3D printers from cheap ones ("cheap" defined as $500 or less, for the purposes of this article) is often a select group of features. These include the build volume, the type of frame, the varieties of supported filament, the software, and the connectivity mix. Let's run through those in turn.

What's the Right Build Volume for a 3D Printer?

A 3D printer’s build volume is the maximum dimensions (HWD) of a part that it can print. (We say “a part” because a 3D-printed object can consist of multiple parts that are printed, then glued or otherwise pieced together.) While the smallest build volume of any 3D printer we have tested is 3.9 by 3.9 by 4.9 inches, we consider any build volume smaller than 6 by 6 by 6 inches to be small, any between that and 10 by 10 by 10 inches as medium, and any printer with at least one build dimension of more than 10 inches as having a large build volume.

(Credit: Molly Flores)

As a general rule, inexpensive 3D printers have small build volumes, while more expensive ones have larger build volumes. This depends in part on the type of printer. Closed-frame 3D printers—and most semi-open models, which have a rigid top, base, and sides but are open in front and, often, back—tend to have small build volumes, while open-frame printers, lacking as rigid a physical structure, often have relatively large build volumes for the price. You'll want to weigh the build volume against the kinds of objects you will print.

Should I Get an Open-Frame or Closed-Frame 3D Printer?

Which brings us to the frame "form factor" question: open-frame versus closed-frame. Closed-frame 3D printers are boxlike devices, with a rigid base, walls (with a see-through door in front), and top. Among their advantages? They muffle the operating noise, as well as reduce the odor from melted filament (which is potentially an issue with ABS plastic), and they provide some protection for people or pets who might inadvertently touch the hot extruder. A downside: They tend to have smaller build volumes than open-frame 3D printers, which have fewer (often, no) walls to constrict them.

(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)

Low-cost 3D printers include both open-frame and closed-frame models, as well as a few stereolithography printers. If a relatively large build volume is a priority, you’re likely to get more bang for the buck with an open-frame model. Open-frames do have some clear downsides by definition: They tend to be noisy, emit odors when certain plastics are melted, and provide little protection for someone who might touch the hot extruder.

(Credit: Molly Flores)

Also, recognize some potential negatives of open frames, depending on the model. Some require assembly, being essentially kits, and most require more setup care than a closed-frame printer, plus more maintenance to keep them running smoothly. Still, these very traits should not deter—and may even appeal to—hobbyists and DIY folks.

What Should I Look for in 3D Printer Software and Connectivity?

Gone are the days when tinkerers had to cobble together several different programs to get a 3D printer to run. Manufacturers either include their own 3D printing program or modify an existing platform such as the open-source Cura.

3D printing software performs three main functions: processing an object file (resizing, moving, rotating, and in some cases duplicating it), slicing it (into virtual layers, based on your chosen resolution), and printing it. These are almost universally combined into a seamless process. Some high-end printers have software that supports a wider range of settings you can tweak, but even the basic suites work at least reasonably well.

More likely to vary among the cheaper set is the array of connection options from model to model. Nearly all have a USB Type-A port to fit a thumb drive for printing from document files. Most also have a USB Type-B port for connecting directly to a computer, and some offer Wi-Fi, too (or as an alternative), while a handful let you connect via Ethernet to share the printer across a local network.

Some printers support storing 3D files on an SD or microSD card (which may also contain the printer’s system files). Most 3D printer manufacturers (even the discount ones) have a mobile app to launch and monitor print jobs, and a few provide access to cloud services from which you can print.

While high-end 3D printers tend to have an abundance of connection choices, discount models vary widely in their choices. Some are generous and some are basic, so it pays to assess what a given model offers.

What Should I Look for in Filament Support?

Filament support tends to be a key area that separates the cheaper models from the higher-end ones. (See our guide to understanding 3D printing filaments for more particulars.) Inexpensive 3D printers tend to support a limited number of plastic filament types, some of them only PLA and/or ABS.

Recommended by Our Editors

3D Printing: What You Need to Know

3D Printer Filaments Explained

(Credit: Molly Flores)

PLA (polylactic acid) is a biodegradable, plant-based polymer, while ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is the same tough plastic that Legos are made from. Objects printed from ABS are durable and nontoxic, though the material can be tricky to work with. ABS can emit an acrid, unpleasant odor during printing, and the bottom corners of objects being printed with it have a tendency to curl upward a bit, especially if you are using a non-heated print bed. This can lead to unsightly prints, and/or prints prematurely pulling off the build plate, ruining them.

Many entry-level and low-price 3D printers stick exclusively to PLA. If you want to experiment with a larger variety of filaments—which include water-soluble filament, wood- and metal-laced composites, and both tough and flexible varieties—you may have to pay more, although a few discount models support a wide range of materials.

Should I Consider a 3D Printing Pen Instead?

Although they aren’t printers per se, inexpensive 3D pens are close kin to 3D printers—using the same filament types and a similar extrusion system—and we include them in the 3D printing category. Rather than tracing out a programmed pattern, you use the 3D pen much like a normal pen, except that you draw with molten plastic. You can trace a pattern or draw freehand, and even draw in three dimensions as the plastic quickly solidifies and hardens once extruded.

(Credit: 3Doodler)

Most 3D pens cost less than $100, and some cost $50 or less. At a glance, 3D pens may appear to be toys, but some artists and craftspeople have taken to them, as it is possible to make quite complicated and beautiful objects with them. If your aim in 3D printing is something closer to freehand design and free expression than computer-centric, structured, and repeatable output, you might give one a try.

So, What Is the Best Cheap 3D Printer to Buy?

Buying a budget 3D printer needn’t mean a world of sacrifice. Plenty of capable and reliable models sell at less than $500, and while they may not be as feature-rich as their more expensive cousins, there's no sense in paying for things you don’t need.

Many casual 3D-printing experimenters will be fine with printing over a USB cable or from a thumb drive, and sticking to PLA may be the best choice for a starter 3D printer. If you focus just on the features you want, you may be pleasantly surprised at what you find. Below, check out a spec breakdown of the best under-$500 3D printers we have reviewed, paralleling our picks above. Also, for a look at the broader market, see our guide to our favorite 3D printers overall.

Best Budget 3D Printer: 8 Great Printers at a Price You'll Love

3D printing -- or additive manufacturing to give it its technical name -- has been around for a long time now. It's a fun way to create models that can be practical, or just for fun. You can print giant pieces of cosplay armor, or small statues to give as gifts. You can even buy a few printers, open your own Etsy store and make yourself a tidy profit.

It costs less than ever to get into 3D printing, with printers available for under $200. The catch is that these budget machines usually require some tweaking to get right. You'll save money, but it's a rough-and-tumble way to get started. The best budget 3D printers have a healthy balance between cost and usability, so that's what we are looking at in this list.

These budget 3D printers all cost under $500 (though prices can drift a bit month to month), and some are better suited to beginners than others. Our list of picks for the best 3D printer overall covers a much wider range of choices, but these are excellent for getting started -- or for buying several at once.

James Bricknell/CNET

Elegoo Neptune 3

Advanced smarts for a low cost

The Elegoo is one of my favorite ultracheap printers. When testing it, I kept expecting it to fail and it just didn't. It produced amazing results for the price, and continues to do so every time I use it. The latest update from the Neptune 2 to the Neptune 3 has added automatic bed leveling, making it the best choice for a budget printer. And because it's based on the popular Ender 3 (see below), it has a lot of mods available to make it even better.

$209 at Elegoo

Prusa Research

Prusa Mini Plus

Small but mighty

The Mini Plus is one of the best small-footprint printers you can buy. It has everything you would expect from a Prusa machine: Auto bed leveling, crash detection and great print quality, all for under $450. Building it with my son gave us a lot of good insights into how a 3D printer works, and potentially how to fix one.

$429 at Prusa Research


Creality Ender 3

Community favorite

The Ender 3 is one of the bestselling 3D printers of all time. Its under-$200 price removes a huge barrier to entry for anyone looking to spend as little as possible for their first machine. 

Its popularity means there is a huge community of people to help you get it set up and working -- it's not exactly plug-and-play -- and you may need to spend a fair amount of time tweaking the Ender 3 to get it to print well.

$189 at Amazon

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Anycubic Kobra Go

Entry level kit

The latest entry-level printer from Anycubic is surprisingly good. It comes in kit form, which gives you a chance to learn a little bit more about the machine. While that makes the setup more complicated, printing is much easier with auto bed leveling, something I have never seen in a $200 printer. It makes everything easier, believe me.

If you're looking to get into 3D printing and want to learn what each of the parts does, this is a great way to find out.

$220 at Amazon

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Flashforge Finder 3

Excellent out of the box

I've recently been working with the Finder 3 and I'm impressed with the quality it was able to produce straight from the box. It is easy to set up and comes with a flexible build plate that you can replace the glass bed with. It makes it far easier to remove builds. 

In my CNET torture test, the Finder 3 coped really well with overhangs, as well as the points of the towers. Ringing was minimal, though it did struggle with bridging.

Overall, the Finder 3 is a great printer for the price. It's perfect for a teacher in the classroom as the enclosure makes it stable, and the slicer can control multiple printers at once via Wi-Fi.

$340 at Amazon

$390 at Flashforge

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Dan Ackerman/CNET

Creality Ender 3 S1

Direct drive with advanced features

As Dan Ackerman said in his review of the Creality Ender 3 S1, "At $399, the S1 version of the Ender-3 is about $100 more than older versions but includes so many upgrades and quality of life features that it qualifies as a great beginner-friendly, plug-and-play printer. "

It's also a great budget-friendly Direct Drive printer, making it easier to use for materials such as TPU.

$349 at Amazon

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Resin 3D printers for beginners

Most beginner printers use a plastic filament to create models, but there are plenty of affordable resin 3D printers, too. Liquid resin is a little more difficult to use than standard 3D printing material and requires safety equipment. But it also produces amazingly detailed results.


Elegoo Mars 3

The best starter resin printer

This small resin printer is Elegoo's latest model in its popular Mars line. Because of the 4K monochrome LCD (these printers use light from an LCD to cure liquid resin) it can print much faster than older printers. The level of detail on models is something that standard 3D printing simply can't reproduce. At this price, the Elegoo Mars 3 is the best resin printer for the money. 

$274 at Amazon

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James Bricknell/CNET

Anycubic Mono X

When you need it bigger

This is expensive for a budget printer, but well worth it if you want a large enough print area to make something special. I have been using this as my main resin printer and it can handle anything I throw at it, from a D&D miniature army to highly detailed sculptures.

$530 at Amazon

James Bricknell/CNET

Frequently asked questions

What material should I use to print with?

Most home 3D printers use PLA or ABS plastic. Professional printers can use all sorts of materials, from metal to organic filament. Some printers use a liquid resin, which is much more difficult to handle but offers sharper details. As a beginner, use PLA. It's non-toxic, made mostly of cornstarch and sugarcane, handles easily, and is inexpensive. However, it's more sensitive to heat, so don't leave your 3D prints on the dashboard of a car on a hot day. 

What settings should I use?

Most 3D printers include or link to recommended software, which can handle converting 3D STL or other files into formats supported by the printer. Stick with the suggested presets to start, with one exception. I've started adding a raft, or bottom layer of filament, to nearly everything I print. It has cut down dramatically on prints that don't adhere to the bed properly, which is a common issue. If you continue to have problems, rub a standard glue stick on the print bed right before printing.

What are supports?

Your 3D models probably need some help to print properly, as these printers don't do well with big overhangs -- for example, an arm sticking out from a figure. Your 3D printer software can usually automatically calculate and add supports, meaning little stands that hold up all those sticking-out parts of the model. After the print is done, clip the supports off with micro cutters and file down any nubs or rough edges with hobby files. 

How we test

Testing 3D printers is an in-depth process. Printers often don't use the same materials, or even the same process to create models. I test SLA, 3D printers that use resin and light to print, and FDM, printers that melt plastic onto a plate. Each has a unique methodology. Core qualifiers I look at include:

  • Hardware quality
  • Ease of setup
  • Bundled software 
  • Appearance and accuracy of prints
  • Repairability
  • Company and community support

A key test print, representing the (now old) CNET logo, is used to assess how a printer bridges gaps, creates accurate shapes and deals with overhangs. It even has little towers to help measure how well the 3D printer deals with temperature ranges.  

James Bricknell/CNET

Testing resin requires different criteria so I use the Ameralabs standard test -- printing out a small resin model that looks like a tiny town. This helps determine how accurate the printer is, how it deals with small parts and how well the UV exposure works at different points in the model. 

Many other anecdotal test prints, using different 3D models, are also run on each printer to test the longevity of the parts and how well the machine copes with various shapes.

For the other criteria, I research the company to see how well it responds to support queries from customers and how easy it is to order replacement parts and install them yourself. Kits (printers that come only semi-assembled) are judged by how long, and how difficult, the assembly process is. 

Top 20 Inexpensive 3D Printers ($199 to $1000)