Best Budget 3D Printers 2020 : Buying Guide & Reviews

The world of 3d printers was once very expensive to get into. Now it’s pretty affordable to buy a cheap 3d printer that performs well enough to get hundreds of hours of use. 3D printers range in price from a few hundred to hundreds of thousands. For 3D printer hobbyists who want to print a few 3D objects from places like Thingiverse its important to get the most from a few hundred bucks. We have picked the 3d printers which provide the most value for money and reviewed them.

The Best Budget 3D Printers Under $200

When i was buying my first 3D printer, resources were just not there yet. But now as 3D printers have developed and become more affordable than ever, more options are cropping up. Every year the number of 3D printers on the market doubles which makes it twice as hard to cut through the rubbish.

To make this guide we have tested 20 of the best budget 3D printers over the last few years and compiled what is, the best picks in 2020.

1.Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer v2

Print Volume: X | Print Resolution: X | Connectivity: X

Monoprice Select Mini V2 is the best entry level 3D printer for those who don’t want to jump into the deep end financially but want to try out 3D printing.

This particular model is an FDM printer AKA Fused Deposition Modelling . That’s just a fancy way of saying it melts and pushes the plastics through a nozzle which melt, get pushed out and then molded into shape. This is still a mini 3D printer though so its print bed is 120x120x120mm.

That’s about the same size as the height of a coke can. This provides exceptional quality that goes above and beyond its class. Coming with a pre-loaded test print on an SD card this is ready to go out the box.

This is certainly one of the best budget 3d printers on the list – if you’re new to 3d printing, invest in this!

No need to calibrate the print bed yourself. While the screen looks like a touch screen, its not but its still simple to use and you will get used to it in no time. The print resolution is about average for this type of printer. On sale you can find this surprisingly cheap

Specifications

  • Print Area 120 x 120 x 120 mm
  • Nice Screen with dial control
  • Print Resolution 100 microns
Features We Like
  • Value
  • Precalibrated

2.Comgrow Creality Ender 3

Another one to add to our best budget 3d printers list is the Comgrow Creality Ender 3.

This printer is one of the easiest to assemble, which can be done in less than one hour. This machine has a print volume of 220x220x250, so dont let the lower price think you are getting one of the smaller fdm printers. This can print larger than most prusa i3 clones. It has a heated print bed, a Bowden extruder and you can use either a usb or mini sd to load up the print instructions.

The ender 3 is better classed as a 3d printer kit as although it’s flat packed, it comes in quite a few more parts than most on this list with things like a separate power supply.

But this helps make it one of the best budget 3d printers on the market. While this is low cost it remains it has features similar to one of the best 3d printer kits, the original PRUSA I3 MK3S. But there are some awesome guides walking you through this process.

This would be made better with auto bed leveling and auto calibration but without those its still great, you just need to get some practice.

If your new to 3d printing and just want to get started, perhaps this isn’t the one for you.

If this isn’t for you, there are additional kits you can buy which add these features.

Specifications

  • Print Resolution 200 microns
  • Print Area 220 x 220 x 250mm
Features We Like
  • Large build volume for the price
  • Easy to build

The Best Budget 3D Printers Under $300

3.FlashForge Finder

Flashforge are one of the original 3D printer brands and continue to develop on those early products. The finder is a triple threat; value, performance and usability. this makes this a great choice for hobbyists who are looking to take a step up from the beginner or entry-level models but don’t want to spend too much money.

Since this model only uses PLA to print (Which you can find in so many colors and really cheap on amazon the open enclosure don’t effect the performance at all.

You will also love the 3.5 inch HD touchscreen display and the fact that it shows you previews of what you are going to print and real time updates like build time, extruder temperature and completion %.

The build area is also bigger than the entry level 3D printer we selected, the monoprice mini. Something which you usually only find on expensive machines is the clever leveling assistance system which helps you calibrate the bed height more precisely and faster.

You also have built in wi fi.

Features We Like
  • Ease of use – this is literally plug and play
  • Connectivity – USB cable, USB pendrive or WIFI
  • Display – the 3.5 ” HD Display

4.Comgrow Creality Ender 3 Pro

Creality, the Chinese company which made the ever popular cr 10 have continued to improve upon their designs. And good 3D printers don’t come more affordable than this!

This is a robust printer which offers bang for the buck making it an extremely attractive printer for those looking to take a step up or enter the 3D printing world.

With a host of beginner friendly features and overall ease of use its a no brainier for beginners who are looking for a 3D printer which offers a better resolution than some other starting models.

Just 10 minutes and you will have built your own 3D printer. Don’t let the minor assembly scare you off from this one. Other things that this printer offers you are customization.

The open frame style printer easily allows you to add mods and extras which help with print quality. The open design also gives you a bigger print bed which paired with the Bowden style extruder gives you bigger, faster and more detailed prints

Features We Like
  • Value
  • Leveling
  • Assemble is super easy!
  • Pre-calibrated
  • Bowden style extruder

The Best Budget 3D Printers Under $400

5.Monoprice Voxel 3D Printer

This is our pick for the best overall 3D printer. The monoprice voxel is so affordable you might expect this to be an entry level printer. However, the great print resolution and features easily put this on par with higher end machines in the 600+ price range.

This is the obvious choice for those looking to upgrade to more features and options while its ease of use makes this attractive for beginners with a larger budget. The user experience hits a sweet spot for a range of users which is partly why this is so popular.

This printer is pre-assembled and calibrated so you can use it out the box. The closed frame style has its benefits like, less noise, good safety (for pets) and less smell from ABS. This also has a touch screen and while its smaller than the HD display on the FlashForge Finder its still very easy to operate. You can print with both PLA filament and ABS filament to a high resolution of 50-300 microns.

Features We Like
  • Quick Change Nozzle – Easily change the nozzle without tools
  • Flexible Build Plate – This makes removing prints a breeze
  • Autofeeding filament sensor – Easily change and use filaments
  • Print Options – Print using Ethernet, WIFI or From USB

The Best Budget 3D Printers Under $500

6.Artillery Sidewinder X1

Artillery Sidewinder X1

The X1 is a huge printer but thankfully it ships with the gantry disconnected to keep the packaging as compact as possible. but you only need to attach a few wires and bolts to get this thing up and running. This is an credibly sleek 3D printer as it used ribbon cables instead of lots of wires.

This has a very generous build volume of 300x300x400mm. Its one of the largest printers of its kind. It also has a heated bed with a really great Bowden-style extruder.

The printed is made from glass and heats up extremely fast so you can get prints started pretty fast. On print surfaces like this, parts stick perfectly when the bed is hot and they self release when they are cold, almost like magic.

Getting this to work does require you to get a pretty perfect level and without any assisted leveling you need to master it yourself. Although aftermarket auto levelers can be bought separately and fitted to this which solves that problem. Like most things, you can throw money at it to make it perfect!

Other features which make this stand out as the best 3D printer under 500 are filament outage detection which paused the print instead of running our of printing material and power loss recovery which again pauses the print allowing you to resume printing instead of restarting. Both are a type of resume print function.

Features We Like
  • Massive Print Size – 300x300x400mm
  • Really fast print
  • SILENT OPERATING!! – one of the quietest 3D printers i have ever used.

7.EPAX X1

EPAX X1

This is a small form factor MSLA resin 3D printer and the only resin printer to make it on this list. Believe it or not for this price this is considered an entry level resin printer and like so many others on the market the epax X1 uses an lcd screen to selectively mask layers cured by a UV light source from below.

This printer has a print volume of 115x65x155mm and while this may seem small, this printer is more suited to smaller but very high definition prints.

The first thing you will notice about this printer is just how great it looks. And while it represents an industrial 3D printer it fits right at home on your desk. I actually think this is the best looking desktop 3d printer out there. And there is a wide range as you can see.

Resin printing is a little different but thanks to the factory leveling, meaning you don’t have to level this yourself, you can get going pretty quickly.

This is by far the best resin 3D printer for beginners. And with both a USB and Ethernet port, loading up print instructions is easy too. Selecting which model you are wanting to print is also really easy with the intuitive color touch screen. The cooling fans only spool up once the print begins and they shut off once it ends, so its also a relatively quiet printer.

Features We Like
  • Really fast print
  • High Quality Prints
  • Factory Leveled

How To Choose a cheap 3d Printer

First you should decide what your budget is. If it around $200 then you should consider if you are willing to buy a kit and assemble it yourself. If you are you will definitely get a better deal than buying a ready built 3d printer. 3D printer kits are just better value for the price tag.

3D Printing Technology

As 3D printers become more accessible and cheaper to produce, more technologies are developed to be innovative . The original hobbyist 3D printers use FDM and this is still the most common. FDM stands for FUSED DEPOSITION MODELING .

SLA 3D Printers

Stereolithography or SLA was one of the first 3d printers.

Filament

3D filaments are like the ink you would use in a 2D printer but for printing 3d objects. Each of these filaments are plastics called thermoplastics. Thermoplastics, once heated become flexible enough to be pushed through the printing nozzle and once they cool down they harden. The two most common types of 3D filament are ABS and PLA. But now there are a tonne of new filaments. Some even glow in the dark. here are a few;

  • ABS – acrylonitrile butadiene styrene – strong, tough and durable – Think Lego Blocks
  • Nylon – resistant to wear and flexible – industrial applications
  • PETG – Polyethylene terephthalate glycol-modified – food-safe plastic – Plastic Bottles and containers
  • PLA – Polylactic Acid – cheap nice finish – best used for prototyping
  • PVA – Polyvinyl alcohol – water-soluble filament – Used for supports which need removed
  • Wood-Plastic Composite – 70% polymer and 30% wood – aesthetically appealing and smells nice

DIY vs. Assembled 3D printer

Buying a 3D printer is an investment. But an easy way to save some money is to buy a DIY 3D printer. There are many of these 3D printer kits available but one of the cheapest 3d printers is the Comgrow Creality Ender 3 which you can usually get for around $200 (link to product)

Resolution and Speed

The resolution of a 3D printer is a measure of print quality. For great prints you want a good layer resolution which means a smaller layer thickness. This is measured in microns and these days 200 microns is the average. So if your printer can print at below this then it’s above average resolution. A great example is the Monoprice Voxel 3D Printer which can print to a resolution of 50 microns.

As you get better print resolution, printers tend to need to take longer per print. With slower print speeds for high quality prints, expensive 3D printers have focused trying to optomise for quality and speed. But just let it be known that you can chose if you want speed or resolution in your print instructions.

Build Volume or Print Size

Arguably the most important feature for an entry-level 3d printing enthusiast. Build volume is measured in length, width, and height. An example of this is for the Artillery Sidewinder X1 the build volume measures 300x300x400mm which is quite large. this represents the largest object you can print. You will often find this in either inches of millimetres.

FAQ

What is the best 3d printer for the money?

8.Comgrow Creality Ender 3 Pro

Comgrow Creality Ender 3 Pro

The best 3D printer for the money has to be the creality Ender 3 Pro. This printer combines excellent features with value for money parts and ties it all together with a little self assembly. The perfect printer for someone looking to get the most bang for their buck.

Pros
  • Value
  • Leveling
  • Assemble is super easy!
  • Pre-calibrated
  • Bowden style extruder
Cons
  • Bed adhesion

What is the best 3d printer for beginners?

9.Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer v2

Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer v2

The best 3D printer for beginners is the Monoprice select mini. With so many user friendly features and a ready to print out the box approach its perfect for first timers! This particular FDM printer is certainly on of the best budget 3d printers on the list – if you’re new to 3d printing, invest in this! Features like pre callibration, easy to use touch screen and no assembly means its the least messy to use as a newbie.

Specifications

  • Print Area 120 x 120 x 120 mm
  • Nice Screen with dial control
  • Print Resolution 100 microns
Pros
  • Value
  • Pre-calibrated
Cons
  • It’s Small

What is the best 3d printer under $300?

10.FlashForge Finder

FlashForge Finder

Flashforge are one of the original 3D printer brands and continue to develop on those early products. The finder is a triple threat; value, performance and usability. this makes this a great choice for hobbyists who are looking to take a step up from the beginner or entry-level models but don’t want to spend too much money.

since this model only uses PLA to print (Which you can find in so many colors and really cheap on amazon) the open enclosure don’t effect the performance at all. You will also love the 3.5 inch HD touchscreen display and the fact that it shows you previews of what you are going to print and real time updates like build time, extruder temperature and completion %.

The build area is also bigger than the entry level 3D printer we selected, the monoprice select mini. Something which you usually only find on expensive machines is the clever leveling assistance system which helps you calibrate the bed height more precisely and faster. You also have built in WI FI.

Pros
  • Ease of use – this is literally plug and play
  • Connectivity – USB cable, USB pendrive or WIFI
  • Display – the 3.5 ” HD Display
Cons
  • Unheated Print Bed
  • Limited to PLA filament
  • Small Build Volume

Honorable Mentions – Good But Not Best

Anet a8

Easy to assemble 3d printer kit. An older 3D printer kit which is low cost but not as good as the others mentioned above. Back in 2018 this printer was one of the first to be an affordable but feature rich option.

This was made so affordable by being just good enough to print parts that replaced itself. Seriously people were printing replacement parts and upgraded parts which improved itself. Its things like this that made this technology so fun and interesting to be involved with!

da Vinci Mini

Compact 150x150x150 build volume ready built 3d printer. Originally retailing for under $300 almost 3 years ago this printer has been left behind by the competition and now you can get better printers for that price point. Although if you can find this printer in the sub $200 price point then its well worth looking into more seriously. While it may be small, its feature rich and very easy to use. It’s also nice to look at with its clean orange and black design.

ANYCUBIC Photon Zero

LCD Resin 3D Printer. While this is a great printer its i just dont think resin printers at this price point make any sense. If you want to explore resin printers you should be looking at the 400-500 dollar price range. That said, there are many people who gets lots of enjoyment out of this printer. In my opinion you would be better off with a abs pla capable 3D printer.

Are 3d printers worth it?

3D Printers are the most affordable they have ever been. so if there is a time to get into 3D printing then the time is now. So yes, 3D printers are worth it if you are looking for a new hobby and have even a modest budget. The amount of competition has really driven up the value and quality you can expect. And with a wealth of resources from guides to print instructions you can get started right away.