10 Best 3D Printers Under $500 – Rankings, Reviews and Deals

Few technologies hold more promise than 3D printing. Whether you are new to turning digital files into cool 3D objects or you have been a 3D printing fanatic for years, you may want to own your own printer. While printers can cost more than some luxury automobiles, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a decent one. Still, not every affordable printer on the market today is worth your money. That’s where we come in. We have reviewed several 3D printers in our attempt to identify the 10 best 3D printers under $500.

While 3D printers have been common for a long time, purchasing one can seem daunting without the right information. Use this review to determine which printer is right for achieving your 3D printing goals.

The Advantages of a 3D Printer

Before we share the best 3D printers under $500, let’s take a look at some advantages of owning one.

Quick Production

The main benefit of owning a 3D printer is quicker production compared to subtractive production and injection molds. Designing and printing your 3D creations is much faster if you own a unit you can use at the click of a button. It makes sense to purchase a 3D printer if you’re eager to test out a new object or business idea. In just a few hours, you have a tangible object to hold and analyze.

Creative Shapes and Designs

A 3D printer enables you to unleash your creativity and full potential. These units are powerful and intelligent enough to bring your ideas to life without the hassle of using expensive equipment. They’re also more reliable and generate exceptional results that you couldn’t achieve without a printer - unless you have a large budget to suit. 

Reduces Waste and Costs

These units allow you to create 3D objects without wasting valuable materials. Fortunately, 3D printers only use the materials needed for printing and nothing else. Alternatively, if you were to create 3D objects yourself, you’d have more waste, which would cost your company unnecessary money.

Safer Process

Allow technology to handle the finicky, unsafe tasks. By standing away from the machine and enabling the 3D printer to take over the creation tasks, you’re reducing your risks of injury than if you were to use equipment and accessories to create the results yourself. If you’re working to a deadline and creating the work manually, you’re more likely to rush and make mistakes. However, a 3D printer is designed for such stress.

How We Rank the Printers on Our List

When looking for the best 3D printer under $500, we carefully reviewed each device, considering all details and specifications. Because we want to provide you with the best information possible, we evaluated printers based on functionality, print quality, compatibility, availability and value. Of these criteria, we emphasize the following three:

  • Print Quality: Affordable printers have developed a reputation for delivering low-quality results. Still, a cheap printer that does not print well is not useful. Therefore, once we determine that a printer costs fewer than $500, we immediately consider print quality. If the affordable printer does not deliver, we rank it low on our list or remove it completely.
  • Compatibility: A good, inexpensive printer isn’t much use to you if it isn’t compatible with your existing technology. As such, we carefully evaluate the compatibility of the 3D printers on our list. Those that are user-friendly or plug-and-play ready rank higher than those that require you to purchase additional equipment.
  • Affordability: While all the printers on our list retail for under $500, we thoroughly research deals, rebates specials and other offers to find out which are the most affordable. The more affordable the printer, the higher it ranks.
Top 10 Best 3D Printers Under $500

After considering our criteria, we have ranked the 10 best 3D printers under $500. We begin our list with an overall champion and runner up. Then, we rank each printer in descending order, providing a rating for each one.

Overall Champion: QIDI TECHNOLOGY X-ONE

The QIDI TECHNOLOGY X-ONE printer tops our list of affordable 3D printers. Capable of layer resolution between 100 and 500 microns, the X-ONE is one of the highest-quality printers we reviewed. If you opt for this piece of equipment, expect smooth, accurate renderings when printing simple projects. With more complex projects, tiny lines and small seams sometimes appear, however. While this phenomenon is commonplace among printers under $500, buyers should be aware of quality issues with detailed print jobs.

Additionally, the X-ONE is strong and durable. With strength, though, comes heft. As such, this printer is not light or easy to move. Also, the X-ONE tends to be noisy when completing jobs. Still, the printer is a great all-around, affordable 3D-rendering device.

  • Who will love this 3D printer: anyone who wants a reliable, good-quality 3D printer. For fast, relatively detailed results, the X-ONE gets the job done.
  • Who will not love this 3D printer: anyone who cares about the look of a 3D printer. This boxy printer has an industrial appearance that may seem out of place next to more stylish equipment.

around

$499

at most retailers

around

$499

at most retailers

Runner Up: Monoprice 13680 Maker Select 3D Printer V2

Virtually tied with our overall champion is the Monoprice 13680 Maker Select 3D printer V2. This option is an all-around good printer, delivering good quality renderings on most projects. Like the X-ONE, the 13680 Maker Select struggles with highly detailed jobs, but, again, this is an issue with all 3D printers under $500. Quieter and more stylish than the X-ONE, this printer looks better in a home office or den.

The 13680 Maker Select allows users to select either ABS or PLA mode, depending on quality and resource objectives. This printer also is upgradable, making it a smart investment for those who are just starting with 3D printing. Still, the 13680 Maker Select requires some assembly, so it is not ready to use directly out the box. Assembly is straightforward after consulting with the enclosed manual, though.

  • Who will love this 3D printer: anyone who wants to save money on a reliable 3D printer.
  • Who will not love this 3D printer: anyone who would rather not assemble an electronic device.

around

$399

at most retailers

Printer #3: Anycubic i3 Mega 3D Printer

Even though the Anycubic i3 Mega 3D printer is third on our list, we like this printer a lot. Similar in size and design to the Monoprice printer in the number two spot, the i3 Mega has perhaps the best program screen of any printer on our list. The printer delivers good quality results but struggles with complex or detailed projects. That is, the same ridges that are common with most 3D printers under $500 are present here as well.

The i3 Mega shines in the software department. The software is intuitive and easy to manipulate. Some users complain about bowing or warping. Since many 3D jobs require linear results, this can be a problem. Still, not everyone experiences this issue, so it may only appear during printing of specialized projects.

  • Who will love this 3D printer: Anyone who wants a multi-purpose 3D printer with advanced capabilities.
  • Who will not love this 3D printer: Anyone who expects perfectly flat print jobs.

around

$370

at most retailers

Printer #4: XYZprinting da Vinci Mini 3D Printer

Just outside our top three 3D printers is the da Vinci mini 3D printer from XYZprinting. This option is the cutest printer we reviewed. It is also the most affordable. Even though this printer won’t bust your budget, it delivers relatively accurate renderings.

This printer features auto-bed leveling that makes 3D printing easier for novices. The da Vinci also eliminates complicated functionality that can confuse new users. Still, it has trouble with its Wi-Fi signal, and customers generally express displeasure with the included software. Nonetheless, with a low price and effective performance, the da Vinci is a standout.

  • Who will love this 3D printer: Anyone who is new to 3D printing and wants a user-friendly tool. The da Vinci is easy to set up and simple to use.
  • Who will not love this 3D printer: Anyone who enjoys toggling between a variety of features on a 3D printer. The da Vinci is essentially a one-trick pony. What it does, though, it does well.

around

$210

at most retailers

Printer #5: Creality3D CR-10S High-Accuracy Desktop DIY 3D Printer

Another standout 3D printer is the Creality3D CR-10S High-Accuracy Desktop DIY 3D printer. This device delivers excellent results for simple projects. With more advanced ones, some distortion is common. For those who are new to 3D printing, this printer is an optimal choice. The software is simple to understand, and the printer is quiet to use.

Unlike some other printers on our list, the CR-10S is customizable. With a moveable deck and decent printing speeds, this printer is fun to use. A drawback of the CR-10S is its size limitations. While the printer is appropriate for small and medium-sized projects, it struggles with larger ones. Some purchasers reported stalls in the printing process which are impossible to correct without scrapping the job and beginning anew. Also, this printer sells for close to $500, making it one of the more expensive printers on our list.

  • Who will love this 3D printer: Anyone who is tech-savvy and wants a printer capable of tackling a variety of moderately complex projects.
  • Who will not love this 3D printer: Anyone who wants to print large-scale jobs. While the CR-10S excels at smaller projects, it has difficulty with larger jobs.

around

$480

at most retailers

Printer #6: Monoprice Maker Select Plus 3D Printer

The Monoprice Maker Select Plus 3D printer is a more advanced DIY printer. This option has more features than the entry-level printers that appear on our list. The obvious benefit of the Maker Select Plus printer is its printing speed. Capable of completing jobs in half the time, this printer is optimal for users who have several projects to get through.

The Maker Select Plus 3D printer has a sleek, compact design, which we appreciate. Nonetheless, some users report problems with renderings. While some lines are ridges are to be expected, this printer often produces deeper fissures than other affordable printers. These mainly appear during complicated projects, though, so they may not be a problem for users who print simpler designs.

  • Who will love this 3D printer: anyone who wants a fast printer for basic 3D renderings.
  • Who will not love this 3D printer: anyone who demands high-quality results. While the Maker Select Plus printer is effective at simple projects, significant lines are common on more complex ones.

around

$400

at most retailers

Printer #7: Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer

Mini 3D printers aren’t right for everyone. Some users want a larger printer that can print plus-sized projects. Nonetheless, the Monoprice Select Mini 3D printer is worth a mention. This small device prints comparatively high-quality projects. It is also easy to customize, giving users the flexibility they need to handle unique print jobs.

The biggest problem with the Select Mini printer is its temperature control. Many consumers report overheating problems that contribute to melted results. Even if a project isn’t completely ruined, imperfections and bubbles can weaken printed projects. They can also cause surface roughness and unevenness.

  • Who will love this 3D printer: anyone who wants a small, cheap 3D printer. The Select Mini 3D printer is a good option for first-time 3D printers.
  • Who will not love this 3D printer: anyone who needs smooth, perfect results. The temperature-control problems with the Select Mini 3D printer cause it to fall to the seventh position on our list.

around

$200

at most retailers

Printer #8: CoLiDo DIY 3D Printer

The final three printers on our list are still good. Remember, there are hundreds of affordable 3D printers on the market, so ranking in the last three spots isn’t bad. Topping the final three is the CoLiDo DIY 3D printer. This printer is simple to assemble, strong and durable.

While the DIY printer delivers comparatively good results, it isn’t perfect. In fact, some users report distortion, unevenness and roughness in their print projects. This printer also doesn’t have a case, leaving its sensitive components vulnerable. If you plan to purchase an aftermarket case for it, finding one can be tricky. Also, the DIY printer is slow, but reliable. If you have time to wait for project completion, you can expect this printer to handle hundreds of jobs eventually.

  • Who will love this 3D printer: anyone who wants a 3D printer capable of handling high-volume print projects.
  • Who will not love this 3D printer: anyone who needs fast results. The DIY printer offers slow and steady printing.

around

$200

at most retailers

Printer #9: Anet A8 3D Printer

The Anet A8 3D printer is an exciting addition to our list. This printer can handle a variety of jobs, delivering fast results. Even better, the quality of projects is comparatively high with the Anet A8. To take full advantage of this printer, you can’t rely on its included parts. Purchasing upgraded components is the only way to achieve high-level results with this one.

Unfortunately, the A8 is not easy to assemble or calibrate. Many users complain about the technical nature of the manual. Once you get this machine going, it delivers a remarkable performance.

  • Who will love this 3D printer: anyone who wants high-quality results from a capable 3D printer.
  • Who will not love this 3D printer: anyone who has difficulty setting up a complicated device. The Anet A8 doesn’t offer much in the way of educational resources to help beginners figure out how to calibrate the device.

around

$280

at most retailers

Printer #10: Geeetech E180 3D Printer

The Geeetech E180 3D printer has similar capabilities to the Monoprice Select Mini, the seventh printer on our list. The major difference is the input mechanism, which is somewhat better than the Monoprice printer. Nonetheless, the E180 produces results with lower quality, causing us to rate it lower.

The major benefit of the E180 printer is its stop-and-start feature. If you begin a project, you don’t have to put your life on hold waiting for it to finish. On the contrary, you can pause the job until you are ready to resume it again.

  • Who will love this 3D printer: anyone who wants a flexible, entry-level 3D printer.
  • Who will not love this 3D printer: anyone who expects high-quality results from a 3D printer.

around

$250

at most retailers

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$399

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$370

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$210

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$480

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$400

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Buyer’s Guide

There is a great deal of affordable 3D printers on the market today. Of course, not every printer is worth your time or money. Before purchasing a 3D printer, you must be certain to consider a few factors.

The first consideration must be quality. As is clear from our rankings of the top 10 best 3D printers under $500, not every printer delivers top-notch results. Even if you want to purchase an affordable printer, you don’t have to sacrifice quality. Before purchasing a printer, be sure you look at some sample renderings. The best printers minimize lines and ridges, which are common in lower-end 3D printers.

You also must think about your printing style. If you need to move your printer frequently, avoid large, bulky printers. If you want to accomplish a variety of print jobs, be sure your printer has high-volume capabilities. Either way, by understanding exactly what you need your printer to do, you can likely eliminate options that fall outside of your printing goals.

Finally, you must consider your technological prowess. 3D printers aren’t necessarily the most user-friendly devices. In fact, some printers require significant know-how to set up and calibrate. Others feature plug-and-play potential that make them perfect for beginners. Some printers are customizable, while others are impossible to upgrade. While it may be tempting to purchase a basic printer, you may outgrow it quickly.

With a bit of effort, you can likely choose the perfect 3D printer for your printing needs. Remember, there are hundreds of good 3D printers on the market. Our list of the top 10 best 3D printers under $500 should help you narrow your search. Identify your 3D-printing objectives and invest in the right printer for you.

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