Best budget 3d printer 2023

Best 3D Printer for 2022

In the last few years, 3D printing has crossed a rubicon into the mainstream consciousness. Schools and libraries often have 3D printers, and the barrier to entry for hobbyists is lower than ever, with inexpensive machines offering excellent out-of-the-box results.

Because 3D printing technology has come a long way in recent years, I've doubled down on being creative and gotten into 3D scanning and laser cutting as well, which lets you sculpt real-world designs from leather and wood. Advanced printers are also using resin machines that create amazingly detailed prints. 

Current 3D printers, which range from affordable (under $300) to high-end (over $4,000), are great gifts for a creative person in your life. Even better, they're great for you to craft your own personalized designs if you're looking to open an Etsy shop or something similar. 

These models by Fotis Mint are extremely detailed.

James Bricknell/CNET

We've taken a deep dive into many of the best 3D printers available today. This list includes both small and large 3D printers, with attention paid to print speed, the size of the build plate, the cost of PLA filament, the kind of print head included and other important details. And once you've decided to take the plunge into additive manufacturing -- that's what 3D printing essentially is -- there's an FAQ below.

Our top picks

Dan Ackerman/CNET

Creality Ender-3 S1

Best step-up starter printer

I'd avoided Ender-3 printers for a long while, because they came in kit form and required many hours of assembly, setup and fine-tuning to use. For just a little more than the kit versions, the newer Ender-3 S1 comes nearly fully preassembled, and with high-end features like a direct drive extruder and self-leveling bed. 

Print quality even out-of-the-box was excellent, although a lot of that comes down to having good models to work from. I'd love it to have a touchscreen and Wi-Fi, but apart form those missing features, this is a great way to get polished results from a $400 3D printer. 

Read our Creality Ender-3 S1 review. 

$399 at Amazon

Dan Ackerman/CNET

Anycubic Vyper

Best for out-of-the-box printing

The Anycubic Vyper FDM printer attempts to be both an affordable 3D printer and easy to use. It's a tricky needle to thread. Plenty of 3D printers offer automatic bed leveling and calibration to make sure prints come out even and firmly anchored to the print bed. This, however, is the first time I've seen a 3D printer run its bed leveling once, with zero manual input from me, and be totally good to go. I printed a 3D test file from the included SD card within minutes of powering on, and I've never seen a first print from a 3D printer come out so perfectly.

Read our Anycubic Vyper review.

$319 at Anycubic

$490 at Amazon


Anycubic Kobra Max

Best to make big projects easily

The Anycubic Kobra Max earned a 9 out of 10 in our recent review, in large part because it's one of the most enjoyable printers I've used in years. The build area is large enough to print entire helmets for cosplay, and the auto-bed-leveling system makes setting the machine up a breeze. The Kobra Max is the best choice for a large build area printer, bar none. --James Bricknell

Read our Anycubic Kobra review. 

$549 at Anycubic

Entry-level 3D printers

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

Sarah Tew/CNET

Anycubic Mono

Best inexpensive resin 3D printer

Resin printers are the next step up in rapid prototyping design technology when you want your printing to look as high quality as possible. Just be warned: The liquid resin is harder to work with, and it requires both good ventilation and a portable UV light to properly cure. This model is extremely popular with board game hobbyists who want to print pro-looking miniatures, and sometimes you'll see it fall in price. Note that you can save $20 at Amazon by activating the instant coupon on the product page.

$189 at Anycubic

$250 at Amazon

Dan Ackerman/CNET

Monoprice Mini Delta V2

Best for tiny desks

I had high hopes for this dirt-cheap 3D printer with a tiny footprint. It's usually under $200 and requires no additional assembly. And I do like it, but it's for a specific audience. This is not the great low-cost entry-level printer I was hoping for. It required some tweaking and troubleshooting to get up and running. The included microSD card was so cheap and corrupted it never worked, the built-in Wi-Fi was never able to connect to my network, and the machine's arms got caught on some poorly installed plastic wire covers (I just ripped the paper-thin covers off). 

But once I had all the problems ironed out, it was a reliable little machine for quick jobs. It would make a great second 3D printer, or if you need to fit one into a small space. I especially liked the auto-leveling, which worked well, and the color touchscreen, which is a feature that often gets chopped from low-cost models. If you're willing to put a little effort into getting it set up correctly, it's a great printer for the price.

$153 at Amazon

Midrange 3D printers


Anycubic Photon Mono X

Best for mass-produced gaming minis

Standard resin printers are fine if you want to print small items or miniatures. For more oversized cosplay items, practical models or collections of gaming miniatures, you're going to need a bigger build area.

Enter the Anycubic Mono X, a resin printer that solves that issue by having a build plate nearly three times bigger than the standard Anycubic models. For example, I managed to print the entire blade of a Dune Crysknife, something that would have needed to be split into three parts if it wasn't for the extra build volume.

The Mono X also prints at insane speeds. Because resin prints the entire layer in one shot, they tend to be quicker than traditional FDM printers in the first place, but the Mono X takes this to the extreme with layers printing in as little as 1 second. It's incredible to watch. --James Bricknell 

It's still cheaper to shop at Anycubic directly, but you can save $110 at Amazon by activating the instant coupon on the product page. 

$349 at Anycubic

$660 at Amazon

James Bricknell/CNET

Flashforge Adventurer 4

Best 3D printer for ease of use

The Flashforge Adventurer 3 has long been one of CNET's favorite midprice 3D printers. The updated Adventurer 4 brings a handful of iterative improvements that make for a winning evolution. The Adventurer 4 is a fully enclosed unit, which helps control the temperature and block drafts. The build area is 220 by 200 by 250mm, and it has a system for easily swapping out nozzles -- all good features to have in a mid-level to high-end printer. 

$849 at Amazon

High-end and professional 3D printers


Creality CR-30

Best for small biz or pro cosplayers

A word of warning; the CR-30 is not for the beginners out there. It is a complicated machine, and you will need some 3D-printing knowledge to really get the hang of it. It's also a very different beast, and instead of printing on a static-sized build plate, it uses a conveyor belt to create an "endless Z-axis." That lets you print very long things or lots of things over and over again.

If you are a cosplayer looking to make weapons or large armor pieces, the CR-30 gives you a lot of room to create. I've managed to print Squall's Gunblade from Final Fantasy VIII as well as the Whisper of the Worm from Destiny 2 (both were printed in two halves and attached together). It's great for small businesses looking to mass-produce small parts, and with just two CR-30s you could create a small empire on Etsy or Shopify. --James Bricknell

$1,100 at Crealty

$1,100 at Amazon

Sarah Tew/CNET

Glowforge 3D Laser Cutter

Best for woodworkers

I can't begin to tell you how much I love the Glowforge. Laser cutters can create projects from wood, leather, lucite and other materials, making it an interesting creation alternative to filament-based 3D printers. Even better, what would take a 3D printer hours to do takes just minutes in the Glowforge.

With it, I've created laser-etched LED lights, birch wood tool caddies, and even a three-tier box for my Nespresso sleeves. There's a robust community of makers creating and sharing files, but pretty much any line drawing you can create in something like Adobe Illustrator can be turned into a project. 

The software is all cloud-based, which adds a layer of complication (you need internet service to use it), but the ability to create amazing gifts and more from simple 0.125-inch or 0.25-inch cheap plywood is pretty empowering. 

See some of my laser cutter projects (and download my SVG files) here. 

$3,995 at Glowforge (Glowforge Basic)

$4,995 at Glowforge (Glowforge Plus)

3D Scanners


Revopoint Pop 2

Incredible details

While the software has a pretty steep learning curve, the end result is extremely detailed. I've really enjoyed using the handheld version to scan larger models while the included turntable makes scanning smaller objects a breeze. If you are looking for a professional-grade scanner and can spend some time on the software, the Pop 2 is a great choice.

$800 at Amazon

Sarah Tew/CNET

SOL Desktop Laser 3D Scanner

Best 3D scanner for easy replicas

Recreate pretty much anything by putting it on this 3D scanner, where a rotating base and built-in camera create a 360-degree copy, which is then editable in any 3D program and printable on your 3D printer. Simply scan the object, import the scan into your slicing software for cleanup, and print. The included software alerts you of next steps in the printing process with either sound or texts. Scan quality and print resolution are great, and setup is easy, although you might want to clean up your 3D model a bit in a 3D software app after.  

$614 at Amazon

3D printing FAQs

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. As a beginner, use PLA. It's nontoxic, 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. 

Which brand of PLA is best?

Generally speaking, Hatchbox has never let me down and runs about $25 for a full 1kg spool on Amazon. Some of the printers I tested only accommodate narrower 0.5kg spools. In those cases, I sometimes used a larger Hatchbox roll with a separate spool-holder. Other times, I had good luck with AIO Robotics 0.5kg spools, which are a little more expensive, at $14 for 0.5kg. Amazon Basics and Monoprice can also be good, but for any brand, weird colors like metallic or glow-in-the-dark filament can be hit-or-miss. Note that a 1kg roll prints a lot of stuff. 

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.  

Where do I find things to print? is a huge online repository of 3D files for anything and everything you can think of. Pokemon chess set? It's there. Dyson vacuum wall mount? You bet.

When you're ready to create your own designs, there are a ton of software packages to choose from, but it's easiest to start with the browser-based free TinkerCad app from Autodesk. 

Crazy things I've made on a 3D printer

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The Best Cheap 3D Printers for 2022

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.

More About Our Picks

Original Prusa Mini

4.5 Outstanding

Best Overall Budget 3D Printer

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

Read Our Original Prusa Mini Review

XYZprinting da Vinci Mini

4.0 Excellent

Best Budget 3D Printer for Schools, Community Centers

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.

Read Our XYZprinting da Vinci Mini Review

Toybox 3D Printer

4.0 Excellent

Best Budget 3D Printer for Children

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

Read Our Toybox 3D Printer Review

Monoprice Mini Delta V2 3D Printer

4. 0 Excellent

Best Budget 3D Printer for Beginners, Non-Techies

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

Read Our Monoprice Mini Delta V2 3D Printer Review

Anycubic i3 Mega S

3.5 Good

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

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

Read Our Anycubic i3 Mega S Review

Anycubic Vyper

3.5 Good

Best Budget 3D Printer for the Biggest Build Area Possible

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

Read Our Anycubic Vyper Review

Creality Ender-3 V2

3. 5 Good

Best Budget 3D Printer for Tinkerers and DIY Types

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

Read Our Creality Ender-3 V2 Review

Flashforge Finder 3D Printer

3.5 Good

Best 3D Printer for the Very Tightest Budgets

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).

Read Our Flashforge Finder 3D Printer Review

Polaroid PlaySmart 3D Printer

3.5 Good

Best Budget 3D Printer for Dabbling in Small Objects

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.

Read Our Polaroid PlaySmart 3D Printer Review

XYZprinting da Vinci Jr. 1.0 A Pro

3.5 Good

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

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

Read Our XYZprinting da Vinci Jr. 1.0 A Pro Review

Monoprice Voxel 3D Printer

3. 0 Average

Best Budget 3D Printer for Cheap Filament

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.

Read Our Monoprice Voxel 3D Printer Review

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.

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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.

The best 3D printers for home, office or studio

How often have you thought about buying a 3D printer? There is nothing surprising if such a thought periodically visited you. Today, 3D printing has gone beyond the geek toy it once was, and the 3D printer has become a truly useful device for many creative people. Such printers can be used not only to produce parts for all kinds of design projects, but also to print useful home appliances. In addition, the ability to print with consumables such as metal, rubber, or even biodegradable filaments means that finished products will be strong and durable. And if you are an experienced 3D artist or designer, you can combine your skills and the capabilities of a 3D printer to the maximum.

Be aware that not all 3D printers work the same way. Some use spools of plastic filament that is heated like a hot glue gun and then laid out in layers on the print bed. The print quality of such devices can be good, but some manual processing is often required to smooth out the layer lines. Some models use an LCD screen to shine light onto the resin, while other printers use a laser to solidify the melted resin.

If you do not want to do modeling, then the abundance of marketplaces with ready-made 3D models will allow you to get good results. Thingiverse, CG Trader and many other sites offer all sorts of models in .stl format that you can print with just a few clicks. Very often you can find free models.

Anycubic Vyper

Budget printer with good features

Price: $399.
Print volume: 245x245x260 mm.
Layer thickness: 100 µm.


  • self-levelling bed included,
  • excellent level of detail,
  • good print speed.


  • the need for self-assembly.

All Anycubic 3D printers are good options, but as the most affordable FDM printer, the Vyper is the best deal. It has features not found in more expensive options, and produces prints with great detail and clarity, while doing so with minimal noise. The heated self-levelling print bed is a great feature, but adding a magnetic spring steel sheet to make it easier to remove prints is a win-win.

Ultimaker S3

Best solution for general 3D printing tasks

Price: $4,080.
Print volume: 230x190x200 mm.
Layer thickness: 20 µm.


  • double extruders make life easier,
  • is an excellent self-leveling heated build platform.


  • not the cheapest option,
  • noise level is higher than some other printers.

Ultimaker printers come in a variety of sizes and capabilities, but the Ultimaker 3 is the model we deliberately included in our list of the best 3D printers. A 3D printer has most of the features you want from larger brethren, including dual extruders and nozzles of various sizes. This means that you can print models that would be difficult to print using PVA plastic, which dissolves in water. The Ultimaker 3 also has a print progress camera, a great touch screen interface and a solid build. If you need to master large volumes of printing, then choose the advanced version, which is a little more expensive.

Elegoo Mars 2 Pro

Best Resin Printing Solution

Price: $329. 99.
Print volume: 129x80x160 mm.
Layer thickness: 50 µm


  • excellent print quality at a reasonable price,
  • fast printing at 1-2 seconds per layer.


  • the need for self-assembly,
  • Printing smoke can be annoying.

Elegoo is relatively new to the 3D printing market, but the original Mars printer made a good impression on the community. Mars 2 Pro only confirms the serious intentions of the manufacturer. The new 6” screen prints a layer in less than 2 seconds with no loss of clarity or blur, making this 3D printer one of the fastest resin printers around. In terms of prototyping speed, it's hard to beat unless you need larger objects, as the only real downside to the Mars 2 Pro is the small amount of printed assembly. Smoke when printing is typical for this type of printer.

Makerbot Replicator+

Universal 3D printer with FDM

Technology: 4500 dollars
Press volume: 295x195x165 mm
Layer thickness: 100 μm


  • Building fees, Building Building Platform, Fitty Building Platform.
  • lots of connection options.


  • takes up more space than most competitors,
  • is not the cheapest option.

Makerbot has been around for a long time and is probably the best-known manufacturer of consumer 3D printers. Even Anna Kendrick used it in space in the movie Stowaway. Experience in this area has allowed Makerbot to maintain a similar area to previous models, but increase the volume of printing and reduce the noise level. This model provides a large number of connectivity options, including Wi-Fi. The Makerbot Replicator+ even has a camera so you can watch what's going on remotely. Printing results are good and need only a little manual refinement, because this is an FDM printer. The Replicator+ is a great and reliable option if you are looking to purchase a 3D printer for your home office, school or workshop.

Anycubic Photon mono SE

Best choice for printing 3D miniatures

Price: $449. 89
Print volume: 130x78x160 mm.
Layer thickness: 100 µm.


  • excellent level of detail,
  • smooth surface.


  • pairs of highlights during printing can be unbearable,
  • resin is expensive.
  • Anycubic's

Photo Mono SE is a great choice if you like custom toys, collectibles or action figures from PC games as the detail on this printer is fantastic. Like other monochrome printers, it is fast enough. It only takes about a second to print one layer. The resin may have an unpleasant odor, but you can place the printer under an air exhaust cabinet. This is a small sacrifice for such a productive machine, which is really worth the money spent.

Markforged Onyx One

Best Metal Printer

Price: $4,794.
Print volume: 320x132x154 mm.
Layer thickness: 100-200 µm.


  • reliable and durable prints,
  • all in one desktop case.


  • expensive,
  • metal filament spools are expensive.

Onyx One prints out of durable metal, but the parts are actually carbon fiber. The main reason for choosing this technology is that although powdered metal filaments are available, they instantly destroy extruder nozzles, making the production of metal objects prohibitively expensive. Markforged solves this problem with a best-in-class desktop solution. So if you're looking for durable and reliable parts, this printer should be on your list. Just remember that a spool of filament can be quite expensive.

Creality Ender 3

Best Budget FDM 3D Printer

Price: $223.
Print volume: 220x220x250 mm.
Layer thickness: 100 µm.


  • high quality components,
  • ease of use.


  • open chassis,
  • The typing sound can be quite loud.

Ender's line of 3D printers are renowned for their superior performance at an affordable price. And Ender 3 is a perfect example of this. At this price, you would think that Black Friday lasts all year round. Creality has somehow managed to inject some of the highest quality components into Ender 3. The printer comes in kit form, which may not be to everyone's liking, but the assembly process actually gives you a good idea of ​​how the printer works and can help with troubleshooting if there are any in the future.

Formlabs Form 3

Best SLA Printer

Price: $3499.
Print volume: 145x145x185 mm.
Layer thickness: 15 µm.


  • easy replacement of material cartridges,
  • no layer visibility.


  • expensive,
  • additional costs for obtaining a medical version.

Formlabs Form 3 and its predecessor Form 2 set the benchmark for SLA printers (3D printing technology based on the layer-by-layer curing of a liquid material under the action of a laser beam). And the FormLabs Form 3 is by far the best printer on the market. This is a rather expensive product, but the quality of the results speaks for itself. Products are obtained with invisible layers, and the printer itself is equipped with a system that allows you to remove the finished product without the use of cutters. In addition to the impeccable print quality, the big advantage here is the ease of use. Changing media is as easy as replacing a cartridge on a conventional printer. For a little more, you will have access to biomaterials for use in dentistry and medicine. Oh, and the PreForm software is simple and intuitive too.


Best Portable 3D Printer

Price: $49.99


  • you can take it anywhere,
  • No print volume limit.


  • expensive consumables,
  • print quality is up to you.

One of the biggest limitations for 3D printing is the fixed volume. But since 3Doodler is a 3D printing pen, here you can print projects of any size. The cost of consumables can be quite high, especially if you are trying to model a car in 1:1 scale. What's more, it's fantastic fun to pick up a pen from a table top and draw lines in the air with plastic ink. The threads come in different colors, so you can consider it an added plus. But the downside is that you will have to rely only on yourself for printing accuracy, since the extruder is entirely in your hands, and not on rails. Several models are available, including 3Doodler Start (for kids) and a Pro version.

EasythreeD K5

Best budget option, safe for kids

Price: $99.99.
Print volume: 80x80x100 mm.
Layer thickness: 100-400 µm.


  • affordable entry point to 3D printing,
  • fun and safety for kids.


  • tiny build platform,
  • medium print quality.

It's hard not to love the EasythreeD K5 for its attractive looks and ease of use. This model on our list of the best 3D printers won't cost you much more than a couple of weeks of buying coffee to go. This is an enjoyable first 3D printing experience, so the device can be forgiven for its tiny printable area.

where to study, where to work, salary


3D printing engineer is engaged in technical support, work with equipment, software, creation of 3D models. A specialist needs to have deep knowledge of engineering, programming, and mathematics. The profession is referred to the specialties of the future. By the way, the ProfGid career guidance center has recently developed an accurate career guidance test that will tell you which professions suit you, give an opinion about your personality type and intelligence. The profession is suitable for those who are interested in physics and mathematics (see. choosing a profession based on interest in school subjects). 9Ol000

  • Salary
  • October 2022 3d printing engineer salary
  • Professional knowledge
  • Examples of companies with 3d printing engineer vacancies
  • Brief description

    The profession of a 3D printing engineer has appeared quite recently, but its value and social significance cannot be underestimated. With the help of 3D printing, unique products used in medicine and industry are already being created today. Mathematicians and engineers are constantly developing more advanced technologies that make it possible to create blanks, anatomical models, souvenirs, houses, prostheses using this type of printing. And printers used for printing with biomaterials make it possible to create human skin, which has become a breakthrough in the treatment of wounds, injuries, and acceleration of the rehabilitation period.

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    Full control over 3D printing is carried out by an engineer who is an excellent programmer, technologist, biologist and even a chemist, because the profession forces him to know the composition and properties of different materials well. To work in this area, you must have a technical education, attending IT courses, lectures on modeling will be a plus. A specialist must be able to independently design a 3D model, select the necessary materials, calculate all the risks, and then print, creating products for the field of medicine, aviation, industry, etc.

    Occupation specifics

    3D printing engineers use different materials for their work, computer programs and industrial 3D printers. Today, medical centers, industrial, aerospace, engineering and other industries need these specialists. There are few specialists, their work cannot be called simple, because the duties of a 3D printing engineer include:

    • selection of new materials, testing;
    • using modern software to improve and adjust 3D printer settings;
    • preparation of layouts, development of raster images for subsequent printing;
    • full print control;
    • study of new technologies;
    • knowledge of certification rules, requirements that are put forward for 3D models and finished products;
    • documentation development, software debugging;
    • selection of new equipment, training of other employees;
    • equipment maintenance.

    Responsibilities vary by location, but a 3D Printing Engineer must be a multi-skilled professional who is ready to quickly learn new technologies at any time and then successfully apply them in practice. Employers put forward strict requirements for engineers, because the wages of such specialists are solid. They must have at least 3 years of practical work experience, the obligatory knowledge of a technical foreign language is important. A 3D printing engineer must know the basics of economics and marketing, because his duties include optimizing workflows aimed at reducing the cost and speed of printing.

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    Pluses and minuses

    1. An important profession that will help save millions of lives in the future, improve the environment, and allow the rational use of natural resources.
    2. 3D printing engineers are unique specialists today.
    3. Demand in various fields.
    4. A specialist will have no problems finding work in megacities.
    5. The salary is stable and high.
    6. An experienced engineer will be able to open his own production for the manufacture of souvenirs or other products.
    7. You can study in Russia by enrolling in a technical university.
    8. Lack of physical activity.
    1. Working sedentary, but not monotonous.
    2. Irregular working hours, because the creation of a large product can last for more than 5 hours.
    3. The cost of industrial 3D printers is high, so in order to organize your own production, you need to think about starting capital or finding an investor.
    4. Any mistakes made by a 3D printing engineer are associated with huge financial losses.
    5. Difficulties in finding work in small towns and villages.
    6. Work at the computer leads to a decrease in vision.

    Important Personal Qualities

    A 3D Printing Engineer has a lot of professional knowledge, so he must be an erudite person with an excellent memory. The character of this rare specialist should contain responsibility, curiosity, and creativity. An engineer is obliged to constantly study, a craving for both the exact sciences and linguistics is welcomed, because most of the instructions, books and technical documentation are still being created mainly in foreign languages.

    See also:

    3D printing engineer training


    • 4 years

      220,000 ₽/year

      15 budget places

    • 4 years

      48,500 ₽/year

      12 budget places

    • 36 200 ₽/year

      25 budget places

    • 4 years

      200,000 ₽/year

      25 budget places

    See also:

    Place of work

    3D printing engineers will be able to work in agencies engaged in the production of consumer goods. They are in demand in architectural companies, factories, medical centers and nanolaboratories, clothing design and manufacturing agencies.

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