3D Printers are state-of-the-art printing devices that allow businesses, designers, artists, and other enthusiasts to create a 3D model of their design or product. Finding the best 3D printers under $500 a decade ago was not possible, since you only had large industrial 3D printers, which cost a couple grand or more.
But now, with all the latest advanced technological developments in 3D printing, it is quite easy to find a handy 3D printer for $500, which you can accommodate even in your home or small office space.
This drastic turn of events in the past couple of years might have brought the prices of these 3D printers down, but it has also created a scenario where you are bombarded with a lot of options, and you never know where to start about finding the top 3D budget printer.
We have made your job easy through this discussion, so be sure to go through the article till the end to have a complete understanding.
3D Printing – Overview
The advent of 3D printer technology has only opened up endless possibilities available for creators, designers, and businesses involved in that front to bring their imaginative designs to reality with just a push of a button.
Now that the price points of entry-level or budget printers have come down to almost $200, it has become easy for individual designers to bring home a 3D printer, and with that, give a new dimension to all their existing and future design concepts they’d be working on their PC. However, finding the best 3D printer under $500 might be difficult purely because of the wide range of options available for the buyer.
Most of the 3D printers that fall under the 300 bucks range tend to have a lot of features in common; they have all the fundamental printing features and benefits, and from a new buyer’s point of view, every single model would look the same to the eye, even if they are from a different brand.
We have evaluated all the factors that differentiate the top 3D budget printer from the rest and have come up with a list of some of the best under $500. Let us look at these first and then move on towards the various factors that we evaluated in the process of arriving at this list.
List of 5 Best 3D Printers Under $500
1. Monoprice Maker Ultimate 2 3D Printer
Monoprice is one of the leading brands when it comes to 3D printers and they are offering a wide range of products under $500. The brand started its operations in the year 2002 and has been delivering premium quality products and services to its customers.
The Ultimate 2 sure is the best 3D printer under $500 and comes as a great improvement from its previous version. This one uses an enclosed design, which is preferred by some users. A strong build, lightweight, and modern design make it a great 3D printer for $500.
The main feature highlights of the Ultimate 2 include automatic neodymium glass bed leveling, door sensor, filament detector, printing compartment lighting, and it comes pre-calibrated and assembled, so you can unbox and start using the printer right away.
The build plate is also removable and you could print using multiple materials, such as ABS, ASA, TPU, etc. Some of its drawbacks are its noisy operation, lengthy technical user manual, and the small-sized bed.
2. ANYCUBIC Photon S Sub-$500 3D Printer
ANYCUBIC is one of the popular entry-level 3D printer manufacturing companies based in China and the company started its operation from the year 2015. Photon S, in particular, is one of their bestselling entry-level resin-based printer units, which is offered at an attractive price point.
If you are searching for an affordable DLP printer in the market, then Photon S is the right choice. Some of the major highlights of this machine are its user-friendly operation and premium quality 3D print outcome.
Apart from that, Photon S also uses dual Z-axis linear railing, which improves the stability of the printer greatly. It is also responsible for enhancing the printing precision and quality. The dual fan setup and carbon air filtration enhances air circulation and makes the surroundings less polluted.
Just like most of the DLP printers, even this one delivers strong high-speed performance without compromising on print accuracy. The build quality can be better, and likewise, constant cleaning between prints is necessary to maintain the device in its best condition.
Other drawbacks include the absence of sensors and a frustrating bed leveler. The company is offering a complete 1-year warranty, which is great, considering its price.
3. Comgrow Creality Ender 3 Pro Printer
Comgrow has got it right in terms of pricing this model for the features it delivers. 3D printing and accessories are the specialties of this brand, and they are the first authorized sellers of the product Creality Ender 3 Pro on many eCommerce platforms.
The Ender 3 Pro is the cheapest of the ones we have reviewed so far and is the best when it comes to print build area, as it is the largest offered at such an affordable price. Compared to its previous version, this one is a step above and the fact that it is already a widely bought model makes the package even more exciting for new buyers too.
The magnetic build surface is removable, thus making the print removal procedure efficient, and the overall build and construction are solid compared to the previous versions. One major complaint with most of the Ender series models was defective components, since the product is imported from China, and that says how poor quality control is with this brand.
The power supply is rated home use safe, so you can very well use it at home without any concerns. Apart from build leveling issues and irregularity in the printing quality, there is hardly anything to falter, especially considering the affordable price tag.
4. QIDI Tech X-Max 3D Printer
QIDI Tech manufactures professional high-quality 3D printers for its customers worldwide and their latest X-Max is one of the best large industrial-grade printers, which has received a lot of positive reviews from its wide user base.
The X-series of printers from this company are very popular amongst business and individual customers. One of the major highlights of this model is its multiple filament placement. This technology allows you to handle both enclosed consistent temperature printing and ventilative printing.
The 5” touchscreen display unit is intuitive, but it takes time for the user to get accustomed to the functions. A large build area gives you large 3D model prints, and the overall industrial-grade build quality makes it durable.
One year warranty is provided by the brand and their customer support is also excellent. The size of the printer is big, bulky, and the fact that you cannot make upgrades on it does limit the options for the user.
5. ANYCUBIC MEGA X 3D Printer
The MEGA X 3D is one of the best FDM medium-size printers available in the market. The ultra-fast heating bed is the main highlight, and this technology is ANYCUBIC patented too. Some of you might be frustrated with the sheer number of FDM budget printers in the market, and for those, this should be the best pick.
The complete metal frame gives it a sturdy and strong build quality, which is an essential factor determining any top 3D budget printer.
This product also comes with a 1Kg PLA filament as standard with the box. The unit can be assembled quickly and is very easy to operate too. It also uses the brand’s dual Z-axis screw rod and dual Y-axis sideway design, resulting in precision and clean 3D printing at all times.
The TFT touchscreen is a new touch and allows precision control of the printing process at your fingertips. This particular model is not suitable for using flexible filaments and the noisy operation is also a letdown. But, if you are looking for a large workhorse of a 3D printing device, then this is the one.
Buyer’s Guide to Find a 3D Printer Under $500
3D printers are cool, and the outcome that you get out of them is what makes them cool gadgets, making them an appealing device, that almost everyone you see wants to own one. But, to find the best 3D printer under $500, you need to consider the following factors seriously.
This is a simple guide and should pin-point you towards the direction of some of the leading 3D printers for sure.
Printing requirements – This is the most important question you need to ask yourself before making any purchase for that matter. The concept of 3D printing should certainly sound great for anybody, but the purpose of it might not be suitable for all.
Similarly, the features possessed by some of these printers might not be useful for some even in the long run. The type of print you’d like to get out of this printer should determine the printer you need.
Custom 3D printing duties can be handled only by an efficient feature-loaded 3D printer, which can be purchased for around $500 too. If you are looking for a printer just to make 3D prints of artworks and images, then you can buy a resin-based 3D unit, which should not cost more than $300.
Print Performance – 3D printers are generally known for their slow printing speed, which is quite understandable considering the 3D model that the printer is working on. When print performance or speed is your main concern, then you’d have to face the reality of obtaining a poor output print quality.
For some who have bulk printing demands, this might not be an issue, but for those looking to achieve the best print quality, speed might not play a role. Find a printer with the right speed setting to achieve the best results, because a balance of speed and print output is essential.
Printing size – When it comes to 3D printers, they can be classified according to the size of the prints you could get out of them.
If you compare this particular feature across most of the printers in the category, you’d find that most of those can deliver an output of just around 300 X 300 X 300 mm, apart from only a handful of printers under the $500 budget. So, if you are mainly into large 3D prints, then check out the ones that deliver them.
Build quality – When you are searching for the best 3D printer under $500, design and build quality should be right up there because most of the features are going to be the same across the board. By sorting out the solidly put together models, you are only going to buy a more durable and reliable 3D printer for $500, which is going to benefit you in the long run.
Compatibility – Most of the budget printers that are offered around $500 might not support all kinds of 3D printing materials, which only the expensive models do. Most of these printers won’t support carbon fiber 3D prints and other composite material-based printing.
ABS material is the standard printing material supported by most of the printers in this price range, which should be adequate for most of the buyers looking into the section.
Customer support – Regardless of what you pay for a product, what matters more is customer support; customer support both in the sales and technical end should be provided by the manufacturer. To your surprise, many manufacturers don’t even have an official brand website, so you cannot expect support from them.
In such a case, a strong 3D printer community support platform should be valuable. Some companies do have their very own brand support, which is the best form of support you’d ever need.
Future upgrades – Even some of the pro-3D printer users opt for the best budget 3D printers because they know the kind of upgrades and third-party customizations they could perform later on these machines. Plenty of feature upgrades can be done even for just $100 or $200, but the thing to note here is, most of the printers available in this price range do not support upgrades.
Be sure to check if the frame supports upgrades or kits, and also check if the manufacturer is offering some. A durable frame is also key to making the upgrades work consistently.
We hope to have given you all the details and information necessary to guide you in finding the best 3D printer under $500. Every printer model we have discussed has its own set of strengths and weaknesses; likewise, their purpose also differs, so make the wise choice by opting for the one that best fits your requirements and budget.
A good printer capable of delivering a solid 3D printing performance and quality can be obtained for an affordable price tag too.