The Best Cheap 3D Printers

A 3D printer is as close as you can get to the Star Trek replicator. Luckily, 3D printing technology has become incredibly powerful and cheap. So it's the perfect time for you to jump in and start creating fantastic objects out of thin air! To make finding your 3D printer easy, we've reviewed 25 different products and selected the best ones. Each printer shown here has great features and is affordable.

Best Cheap 3D Printers Under $500
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What to look for when buying your 3D printer

3D Printer Material ABS PLA

Printing Material

There are two main materials for 3D printing, called ABS and PLA. Both are modern thermoplastics which become malleable when superheated which allows your 3D printer to extrude them. ABS is the same plastic that's used in LEGOs. It is sturdy but required a 3D printer with a heated surface and ventilation, because of its fumes. PLA is an organic material made from corn. It's shinier, smoother, and doesn't smell, however it is slightly weaker than ABS. In short, if you want to build sturdy items use ABS, otherwise PLA.

3D Printer Build Volume Size

Build Volume

Your 3D printer's build volume (also known as printing area) is an important spec. It defines how big you can make the largest 3D printed objects. We have included the measurements for each printer reviewed here in inches (width x depth x height). In general, a larger build volume is better since it allows you to print bigger objects. However, in practice most build areas were totally sufficient in our real-life tests to make statues, moving parts, phone cases, art pieces, and many other 3D objects.

3D Printer Layer Thickness

Layer Thickness

Your 3D printer's layer thickness is essentially it's vertical printing resolution. It's the minimum thickness of each layer that is printed. The smaller this value, the finer the details that can be printed vertically. Another way to understand this is that it's similar to the 2D measurements of DPI for traditional printers and pixel resolution for monitors - except this one is vertical, in three dimensional space. The thickness can often be adjusted upward in your software for faster printing speed, so play around with this setting.

Buying Guide: The Best Cheap 3D Printers

New Matter MOD-t 3D Printer

New Matter MOD-t 3D Printer

Material:
PLA

Volume:
6 x 4 x 5"

Thickness:
0.1mm

The MOD-t 3D printer offer a lot of valuable features for a low price. It's one of the best beginner 3D printers because of its print quality and how easy it is to use right out of the box. We liked the clean, minimalist design which makes it a nice addition to any home and office. The Matter MOD-t is also WiFi enabled so that you can send 3D objects wirelessly from its browser-based printing software. The clear cover reduces printing noise and prevents accidental touching of moving parts. We highly recommended!

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Alunar Prusa i3 3D Desktop Printer 

Alunar Prusa i3 3D Desktop Printer

Material:
ABS + PLA

Volume:
8 x 8 x 8"

Thickness:
0.05mm

Another very competitively priced 3D printer is the Prusa i3. It supports a large range of filament options, including ABS and PLA, plus wood and nylon! The black laser-cut case gives it a techy, garage-built feel which really makes it stand out. The print quality was also flawless. Unlike the MOD-t, this printer is a DIY kit which means you assemble it following an easy step-by-step guide. It's actually really satisfying to build your own 3D printer, so if you like building things yourself this 3D printer is a great choice.

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WER Delta Rostock mini G2s DIY

WER Delta Rostock mini G2s DIY kit

Material:
ABS + PLA

Volume:
6.5 x 6.5 x 8"

Thickness:
0.1mm

If you're looking for an  intermediate, affordable 3D printer check out this one! The WER Delta mini GS2 sports two extruders which can handle both ABS and PLA, plus nylon and wood. The double extruders give you the flexibility to mix different materials. Besides the great 3D print quality we really liked the auto-leveling and auto-calibration features which made printing easier. Keep in mind that this is another DIY kit which you assemble before the first use. The included assembly instructions were easy to understand.

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FlashForge 3D Printer

FlashForge 3D Printer

Material:
PLA

Volume:
5.5 x 5.5 x 5.5"

Thickness:
0.1mm

The FlashForge is one of the best 3D printer kits. It offers amazing print quality and an excellent 3.5-inch, full-color touchscreen which makes operating it simple. We really liked that this 3D printer comes with a slide-in build plate so you can take out finished prints easier. Additionally, it supports WiFi, USB, and flash drive to load print jobs. This is a nice feature as it gives you lots of flexibility, depending on which computer you use. Given its many premium features this is definitely one of the best budget 3D printers around.

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RepRap Prusa I3 DIY Kit

RepRap Prusa I3 DIY Kit

Material:
ABS + PLA

Volume:
8 x 8 x 7"

Thickness:
0.05mm

The RepRep Prusa I3 doesn't just have a geeky name, it also has that DIY-tech look to go along with that. It was very reliable and printed high quality objects in all of our tests (from a fishing reel, to a whistle, to a vase). While no soldering, cutting, or drilling is required please keep in mind that this is another DIY 3D printer kit that you assemble. We recommend it for people comfortable with tools and building products. A great choice if you're looking for a DIY 3D printers for sale.

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HICTOP Desktop 3D Printer

HICTOP Desktop 3D Printer

Material:
PLA

Volume:
10 x 8 x 7.5"

Thickness:
0.1mm

The HICTOP Desktop is similar to the RepRap Prusa I3, except that it features a slightly larger build area (while only printing in PLA filament). It comes as a DIY kit, safely packaged in a solid foam box. It was easy to build and performed very well in all of our printing tests. While the included assembly guide was simple, we'd still only recommend it to people with some experience putting together mechanical products. But once it's set up, you'll love how well it works!

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Monoprice Maker Select 3D Printer

Monoprice Maker Select 3D Printer

Material:
ABS + PLA

Volume:
8 x 8 x 7"

Thickness:
0.1mm

The Monoprice Maker is a great, affordable 3D printer. Unlike some other products reviewed here, this one comes ready to go. All you have to do is attach the filament holder and put in four screws to secure the frame to the base. The entire setup was very simple and we were ready to print in 10 minutes. The printer comes with a micro SD card that's pre-loaded with printable 3D models, a very nice touch! Overall, this is one of the best affordable 3D printers you can get. It's fun, easy to use, and offers great print quality!

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XYZprinting Da Vinci 1.0 3D Printer

XYZprinting Da Vinci 1.0 3D Printer

Material:
ABS + PLA

Volume:
8 x 8 x 8"

Thickness:
0.1mm

The Da Vinci 1.0 3D printer can proudly call itself a great 3D printer for several reasons: It's affordable, offers great print quality, comes pre-assembled, and has a large build area. Because of its front safety cover it's also a smart choice for kids (under supervision). Additionally, it offers automatic software updates, automatic leveling, and downloadable cloud-powered designs. There's a LOT to like here and the price is fair for all the included features. We highly recommend it, especially for beginners and for kids!

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HICTOP Prusa I3 3D Printer

HICTOP Prusa I3 3D Printer

Material:
ABS + PLA

Volume:
10 x 8 x 8"

Thickness:
0.1mm

The HICTOP Prusa I3 3D is an excellent desktop 3D printer. It convinced with high printing accuracy, a large build area, a low price, and a sleek DIY workshop design. It took us a few minutes to set it up and calibrate it, but once it was up-and-running it was a lot of fun to use! We recommend playing around with the different settings to maximize print quality, especially for small details. The HICTOP is the ideal choice if you're looking for a printer that's a learning tool. It teaches both the mechanics of how to set it up and also allows room for manual print adjustments.

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HICTOP Prusa I3 Auto-Level

HICTOP Prusa I3 Auto-Level

Material:
ABS + PLA

Volume:
10 x 8 x 8"

Thickness:
0.1mm

Another HICTOP printer made our list. Coincidentally, it's the Prusa I3's bigger brother (with the same name). This version offers better overall accuracy and also has useful auto alignment. Please note that both HICTOP printers reviewed here are DIY, meaning that you'll assemble them once they arrive. While DIY assemble is a lot of fun, it is technical and therefore not for everybody.  This printer supports a wide range of fillament 3D printing materials, including both ABS and PLA as well as HIPS, wood, and nylon. In short, it is a great budget intermediate 3D printer.

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XYZprinting Da Vinci Jr. 1.0

XYZprinting Da Vinci Jr. 1.0

Material:
PLA

Volume:
6 x 6 x 6"

Thickness:
0.1mm

This futuristic looking product is the Da Vinci 1.0 3D printer's little brother. It's one of the best home 3D printers we've reviewed but it doesn't skimp on quality. We were able to use it within 10 minutes (no assembly required). All that you need to do when getting the printer is to install the software, load the filament, and calibrate the "z offset" (that's the distance between the extruder head and print plate). That's it - a very easy setup. The Da Vinci Jr. produced consistently good 3D objects. We recommend it if you're looking for a very affordable product that's perfect for children (under supervision) and beginners alike.

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Yingjia 3D Printing Pen

Yingjia 3D Printing Pen

Material:
ABS + PLA

Volume:
Unlimited

Thickness:
1mm

What is this, you ask? Well, this review is all about affordable ways to get a 3D printer, so we didn't want to leave out a very popular budget choice: 3D printing pens. While a full-sized printer is the best choice for making large models, these pens are a lot of fun to use and cheap. The Yingjia 3D printing pen is the best one we've tested. It extrudes plastic so you can "paint" 3D objects, layer by layer. If you're looking for a cool gadget to start your 3D printing hobby or an amazing 3D printing gift idea, this is a really great choice. You'll have it set up in two minutes and will be ready to start printing amazing freestyle 3D objects!

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High Quality 3D Printer Filaments

Here are our recommendations for high quality 3D printer filaments. We suggest starting with PLA which is compatible with all printers reviewed above. It's also more eco-friendly and doesn't produce strong fumes. If you'd rather use ABS you can find great ABS filaments here. With lots of vibrant colors available for both materials, there is no limit to what you can create! Experiment with printing layers in different colors and printing separately colored parts. Have fun!

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