The 10 Best Budget 3D Printers for Beginners Under $500 in 2023

3D printing technology has come a long way in recent years, with quality printers now available at relatively affordable prices. For beginners looking to dip their toes into the world of 3D printing without breaking the bank, there are many great options available for under $500.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ve reviewed the top 10 best budget 3D printers for beginners currently on the market. We’ve looked at key factors like print quality, build volume, speed, filament compatibility, and ease of use in making our recommendations. Whether you’re a hobbyist, educator, or small business owner, these accessible and user-friendly 3D printers will allow you to explore your creativity without costing a fortune.

An Overview of Budget 3D Printers Under $500

When looking for an entry-level 3D printer priced under $500, there are a few key features and specifications to take into account:

Print Quality

One of the most important factors is the print quality you can expect. Beginner-friendly printers often have layer resolutions of around 100 microns, which is sufficient for most applications. Higher resolutions like 50 microns are harder to achieve at this price point but may be offered on some models.

Build Volume

The build volume, or print area capacity, can range from just a few inches cubed up to around 8” x 8” x 8” on many sub-$500 printers. Consider what size projects you’ll be printing to choose an appropriate build volume.

Filament Compatibility

Most budget printers are designed for standard 1.75mm PLA/ABS filament. Some may offer flexibility for more filament types like wood, metal composites, flexible TPU, glow in the dark, or dissolvable PVA.

Speed

Average print speeds for entry-level machines are 30-60mm/s, with 100mm/s on the faster end. Speed vs quality is a tradeoff, so print times will increase for better resolution.

Ease of Use

Many budget printers now include touchscreen interfaces, WiFi connectivity, and smartphone apps for simplified setup and control. Look for features that allow easy calibration, leveling, printing from SD card, and more.

Keeping these factors and your particular needs in mind, let’s take a look at 10 of the top entry-level 3D printers available for under $500.

Reviews of the Best Budget 3D Printers Under $500

1. Creality Ender 3 V2

The Creality Ender 3 V2 improves upon the popular original Ender 3 design with key upgrades for better printing and reliability right out of the box. It retains the same excellent build volume of 8.7” x 8.7” x 9.8” but now includes a 32-bit silent motherboard, modular detached build surface, andMEAN WELL power supply for increased safety.

Key Features:

  • Build Volume: 8.7” x 8.7” x 9.8”
  • Layer Resolution: 0.1 – 0.4mm
  • Filament Type: 1.75mm PLA/ABS
  • Print Speed: 180 mm/s
  • SD Card Printing: Yes
  • Interface: 4.3” Color Touchscreen

The Ender 3 V2 is very easy to set up and delivers impressive print quality with excellent dimensional accuracy straightaway. It also has a large online community, so troubleshooting help is readily available. Overall it’s one of the best budget printers for those new to 3D printing.

Pros

  • Great print quality for price
  • Large build volume
  • Quiet operation
  • Easy to set up and calibrate

Cons

  • Manual bed leveling
  • No auto resume after power outage
  • No WiFi connectivity

Price: $259.99

2. ANYCUBIC Mega Zero 2.0

As an upgrade over the original Mega Zero, the ANYCUBIC Mega Zero 2.0 provides excellent value for money and impressive results right out of the box. It features a generous 7.9” x 7.9” x 7.9” build area, 1.75mm PLA printing, and 50-300 microns layer resolution.

Key Features:

  • Build Volume: 7.9” x 7.9” x 7.9”
  • Layer Resolution: 0.05 – 0.3mm
  • Filament Type: 1.75mm PLA
  • Print Speed: 55 mm/s
  • SD Card Printing: Yes
  • Interface: 2.8” Color Touchscreen

The Mega Zero 2.0 is very easy to set up and delivers quality, detailed prints reliably. The modular print bed is removable for convenience. It offers great performance for the price. Support and documentation for the printer is also very good.

Pros

  • Excellent print quality
  • Wider compatibility of filaments
  • User-friendly touchscreen interface
  • Good print speed for price

Cons

  • No heated print bed
  • No WiFi connectivity
  • Smaller build volume than some

Price: $209.99

3. ELEGOO Neptune 2S

The Neptune 2S from ELEGOO builds upon the popularity of the Neptune 2 with key upgrades for improved print quality, speed, and convenience. Notable changes include a dual Z-axis rod design for steadier print stability and a quiet TMC2209 driver board.

Key Features:

  • Build Volume: 8.7” x 8.7” x 9.8”
  • Layer Resolution: 0.1mm
  • Filament Type: 1.75mm PLA/ABS/TPU
  • Print Speed: 120mm/s
  • SD Card/USB Printing: Yes
  • Interface: 4.3” Color Touchscreen

This printer delivers excellent print quality for the price. The assembly is straightforward with detailed instructions. Dual Z-axis eliminates bed skewing issues some users had with the Neptune 2 model. It’s a great choice for beginners looking for faster, high-quality printing.

Pros

  • Sturdy dual Z-axis design
  • Supports flexible filaments
  • Fast 4.3” touchscreen interface
  • Reliable tangle-free extruder

Cons

  • Bed leveling takes some patience
  • Noisy part cooling fans
  • No WiFi connectivity

Price: $289.99

4. FlashForge Adventurer 4

FlashForge is known for high-quality enclosed 3D printers, and the Adventurer 4 is their latest entry-level FDM machine. It offers a compact 6.9” x 5.9” x 5.9” build volume perfect for tabletop use.

Key Features:

  • Build Volume: 6.9” x 5.9” x 5.9”
  • Layer Resolution: 0.1 – 0.4mm
  • Filament Type:1.75mm PLA/ABS/Wood
  • Print Speed: 100mm/s
  • WiFi Connectivity: Yes
  • Interface: 2.8” Color Touchscreen

This printer delivers excellent reliability and ease of use straight out of the box. It’s enclosed design limits noise and allows printing with ABS materials. The onboard camera and wireless connectivity make monitoring it remotely easy. Overall it’s one of the best budget printers for hobbyists and educators.

Pros

  • Reliable enclosed printing
  • printerRuns quietly
  • Easy WiFi setup and printing
  • Great technical support

Cons

  • Smaller build volume
  • No auto bed leveling
  • Limited to PLA/ABS filaments

Price: $499

5. Dremel DigiLab 3D45 3D Printer

Dremel is a trusted brand for hobbyist tools, and their DigiLab 3D45 is an excellent entry-level FDM 3D printer as you’d expect. It features simple setup from the Dremel 3D app and has a 5.9” x 5.9” x 5.9” build area for smaller projects.

Key Features:

  • Build Volume: 5.9” x 5.9” x 5.9”
  • Layer Resolution: 0.1 – 0.25mm
  • Filament Type: 1.75mm PLA
  • Print Speed: 55mm/s
  • App Connectivity: Yes
  • Interface: Full Color Touchscreen

This printer excels at delivering consistent print quality and precision thanks to its fully enclosed design. It’s very quiet when running. The Dremel 3D app allows easy printing and monitoring. Overall it’s great for beginners seeking a simple, compact printer for PLA projects.

Pros

  • Fully enclosed for reliability
  • High precision printing
  • Compact form factor
  • Extremely quiet operation

Cons

  • On the smaller side for build volume
  • Only prints PLA filament
  • App connectivity can be glitchy

Price: $449.99

6. Monoprice Voxel 3D Printer

Known for affordable electronics and accessories, Monoprice now offers the very reasonably priced Voxel 3D printer targeted at beginners. It has a 6.9” x 6.9” x 6.9” build volume and 0.125mm layer resolution capable of good quality prints.

Key Features:

  • Build Volume: 6.9” x 6.9” x 6.9”
  • Layer Resolution: 0.1 – 0.2mm
  • Filament Type: 1.75mm PLA/ABS/PETG
  • Print Speed: 150mm/s
  • WiFi Connectivity: Yes
  • Interface: 2.6” Color Touchscreen

Simple enough for absolute beginners, the Voxel printer is easy to setup and start printing with fast. While print quality doesn’t match more expensive machines, it’s very good for the price. There are also great additional features like a removable heated bed and onboard camera.

Pros

  • Extremely easy to setup and use
  • Heated removable print bed
  • Supports various filaments
  • Fast maximum print speed

Cons

  • Smaller build volume
  • Print quality not as detailed
  • No auto bed leveling
  • Noisy fans

Price: $399.99

7. QIDI TECH X-Max

With its all-metal construction, large print volume, and dual extruder, the X-Max from QIDI TECH is one of the most versatile budget printers available. It provides an 8.9” x 5.9” x 5.9” build area for medium to large prints.

Key Features:

  • Build Volume: 8.9” x 5.9” x 5.9”
  • Layer Resolution: 0.1 – 0.4mm
  • Filament Type: 1.75mm PLA/ABS/PETG
  • Print Speed: 200mm/s
  • SD Card Printing: Yes
  • Interface: 2.8” Color Touchscreen

This printer delivers excellent print quality and precision thanks to its rigid metal frame and fully-enclosed design. The dual extrusion allows printing with multiple colors or materials for more complex models. It’s a great choice for larger, higher-quality projects on a budget.

Pros

  • Sturdy all-metal construction
  • Enclosed design for controlled printing
  • Large build volume capacity
  • Dual extruder capability

Cons

  • No WiFi connectivity
  • Calibration can be tricky
  • No auto bed leveling
  • Small touchscreen interface

Price: $479

8. COMGROW Creality CR-10 Mini

For those wanting a larger 300 x 300 x 400mm build volume without spending a fortune, the COMGROW Creality CR-10 Mini is an excellent option. It provides great quality printing with a 0.1mm layer resolution and good 50-100mm/s print speeds.

Key Features:

  • Build Volume: 300 x 300 x 400mm
  • Layer Resolution: 0.1 – 0.4mm
  • Filament Type: 1.75mm PLA/ABS
  • Print Speed: 50-100mm/s
  • SD Card Printing: Yes
  • Interface: LCD Display

This printer reliably delivers good quality, medium to large sized prints thanks to its solid overall construction. The print surface is removable for flexible build plate options. While connecting and monitoring must be done over SD card rather than WiFi, it’s easy enough for beginners to master.

Pros

  • Excellent large build volume
  • Sturdy metal frame construction
  • Above average print speeds
  • Great value for money

Cons

  • No WiFi connectivity
  • Bed leveling is difficult initially
  • Non-touchscreen interface
  • No resume after power loss

Price: $379.99

9. TECHZERO Upgraded Ender 2 Pro

The TECHZERO Upgraded Ender 2 Pro 3D printer is an enhanced variant of the original popular Ender 2 model. It provides a 7.9” x 7.9” x 7.9” build volume, 0.1mm layer resolution, and good speeds up to 150mm/s for the price.

Key Features:

  • Build Volume: 7.9” x 7.9” x 7.9”
  • Layer Resolution: 0.1 – 0.4mm
  • Filament Type: 1.75mm PLA/ABS/TPU
  • Print Speed: 150mm/s max
  • SD Card Printing: Yes
  • Interface: LCD Display

This easy-to-assemble kit printer offers great value for money. Once built, it delivers quality prints reliably. The magnetic removable bed allows quick print removal. While the interface is basic, it’s simple enough for beginners to use and delivers results above its price range.

Pros

  • Sturdy metal frame construction
  • Above average print speeds
  • Supports flexible TPU filament
  • Excellent value for money

Cons

  • LCD interface not as user-friendly
  • No WiFi connectivity
  • Smaller build volume than some
  • Bed leveling is tricky

Price: $259.99

10. XYZprinting da Vinci Mini Wireless 3D Printer

XYZprinting have become popular for their range of entry-level, beginner-friendly 3D printers like the da Vinci Mini. It provides wireless printing through WiFi or USB and has an enclosed 5.9” x 5.9” x 5.9” print area.

Key Features:

  • Build Volume: 5.9” x 5.9” x 5.9”
  • Layer Resolution: 0.1mm
  • Filament Type: 1.75mm PLA/PETG/Tough PLA
  • Print Speed: 100mm/s
  • WiFi Connectivity: Yes
  • Interface: LCD Display

This printer offers great ease of use for beginners with its enclosed design and wireless printing options. It delivers decent print quality for smaller hobbyist prints. The printing software makes getting setup easy. Overall it’s a good starter printer primarily for PLA printing.

Pros

  • Fully enclosed design
  • Wireless and USB connectivity
  • Compatible with various PLA filaments
  • Intuitive printing software

Cons

  • Overall build quality lacking
  • Small build volume
  • Proprietary filament cartridges
  • No heated bed

Price: $249.99

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Budget 3D Printer Under $500

Investing in an entry-level budget 3D printer can be an exciting first step into additive manufacturing and unlock new creativity or productivity. While sub-$500 printers have limitations compared to professional machines, they can produce quality prints suitable for novices.

Follow this buyer’s guide to find the best affordable 3D printer for your needs:

Step 1: Determine Your Goals and Needs

First, think about how you plan to use your 3D printer. Are you a hobbyist wanting to make toys, art projects, cosplay props? An educator looking for classroom tools? Or a DIYer, crafter, or small business owner with practical printing applications in mind?

Consider what types of objects, parts, or prototypes you’ll need to print. This will help determine ideal build volume, resolution, and speed capabilities.

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Step 2: Consider Key Printer Specifications

With your goals clarified, you can start comparing printer hardware specifications:

  • Build volume – The maximum print size capacity. Entry-level printers range from 5” to around 8” cubed build areas.
  • Resolution – The layer height in microns. Look for at least 100 microns, with 50 microns optimal.
  • Filament – Most use 1.75mm PLA/ABS. Consider extra capabilities like wood, TPU, PETG if needed.
  • Speed – Average 30-60mm/s, though 100mm/s achievable on some models. Faster speeds often sacrifice quality.
  • Interface – Touchscreens offer easiest control. Some have LCD menus. WiFi enables wireless printing.
  • Reliability – Metal frames, enclosed builds, thermal runaway protection all improve reliability.

Step 3: Match Price to Printer Quality and Features

With your criteria and budget defined, you can start comparing printer options in your price range:

  • $200-300 printers like the ANYCUBIC Mega Zero or Ender 3 offer excellent value and quality.
  • $300-400 models such as the Artillery Hornet or ELEGOO Neptune 2S provide more advanced features.
  • $400-500 printers including the FlashForge Finder 2 offer great ease of use and connectivity.

Avoid the cheapest printers under $200, as quality and safety may be lacking. Carefully read reviews for any model to avoid pitfalls.

Step 4: Factor In Ongoing Costs

Remember to budget for ongoing costs of 3D printing:

  • Filament – Budget an extra ~$20/kg for good quality PLA or ABS filament. Buy
  • Electricity – These printers consume 50-150W when printing. Calculate extra electrical costs.
  • Maintenance – Replacement parts like nozzles, build surfaces, fans must be factored in over time.
  • Software – Many printers include software licenses. Some may require paid upgrades or subscriptions.

Anticipating usage costs will prevent unexpected expenses down the road.

Step 5: Prioritize Ease of Use and Support

Look for 3D printers that are simple to setup, have intuitive interfaces, and include good documentation and resources:

  • Auto bed leveling, filament loading, and calibration features make a big difference.
  • Responsive customer service and active user communities provide helpful ongoing support.
  • Many brands like Creality and ANYCUBIC have excellent first-time user experiences.

While ease of use comes at a premium on professional machines, budget printers should still deliver a reasonable user experience with some learning involved.

Following these steps will help you identify the best entry-level 3D printer matching your particular budget and needs as a beginner. With so many excellent options now available under $500, it’s easy to get started in this exciting world of digital fabrication.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I look for in a budget 3D printer under $500?

For your first 3D printer priced under $500, prioritize print quality, build volume suited for your projects, performance value for money, ease of use, and reliability. Avoid the cheapest printers and read reviews carefully.

What materials can these affordable 3D printers print with?

Most are limited to standard PLA and ABS filaments. Some also offer compatibility with wood, metal, TPU flexible, and dissolvable PVA materials, so check specifications.

What software do I need for an entry-level 3D printer?

Many come with their own basic software or apps to get started. Popular free options are Cura or Repetier Host. Paid upgrades provide more features down the road.

How safe are budget 3D printers for home and classroom use?

Look for important safety features like thermal runaway protection and enclosed builds on entry-level printers. Locate away from flammable materials and supervise operation.

Can these 3D printers make high quality prints suitable for business use?

While not at commercial quality, many budget models can create decent prototypes, end-use parts, tools, and models suitable for some professional applications.

What are the ongoing costs of 3D printing I should expect?

Filament, electricity costs, maintenance, and software subscriptions can add up. Budget ~$20-30/kg for filament and factor in other expected operational costs.

What technical support options come with budget 3D printers?

Many brands like Creality and Monoprice have active user forums and responsive customer service by email or chat. This peer support is invaluable for new users troubleshooting issues.

Can I get started with 3D printing for under $300?

Yes, extremely budget-friendly yet capable printers like the ANYCUBIC Mega Zero, Creality Ender 3, or ELEGOO Neptune 2 can deliver quality printing at under $300 for those on tight budgets.

Should I build my first 3D printer from a kit or buy pre-assembled?

Pre-assembled models offer easier out-of-box use for beginners. DIY kits help you understand the components better at the cost of setup time and potential issues.

How difficult is it to learn to use an entry-level 3D printer?

Today’s budget printers are designed for beginners. With some patience getting calibration and settings dialed in, they can be learned in a weekend. Start with simple test prints.

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