It’s no secret that 3D printers open doors for creativity that you didn’t even know existed. However, it’s also no secret that 3D printers are quite pricey.
Finding a good 3D printer that wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg isn’t an easy task. You need to find the perfect balance of build volume, precision, resolution, and you even need to make sure that it’s compatible with your filament of choice.
There are just too many factors you need to keep track of that makes picking the perfect 3D printer challenging. Well, luckily for you, I went on an expedition to find the 5+ best 3D printer under $500; here’s everything I came up with.
Top 3 3D Printers Under 500$
|Budget Friendly||Best Overall||Creality Ender 3 V2||
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|Budget Friendly||Runner Up||FlashForge Finder||
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|My Choice||For Multipurpose||FlashForge Adventurer 3||
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5 Best 3D Printers Under $500
1. Creality Ender 3 V2: Best Overall
I’m kicking off this list strongly with the Creality Ender 3 V2, which is quite a popular 3D printer. I have to agree with the public opinion because this 3D printer has everything you might be on the lookout for without breaking the bank, which is nearly impossible to find.
First of all, the Creality Ender 3 V2 has a printing volume of 220 x 220 x 250 mm, making it one of the largest 3D printers on this list. Such volume is a massive advantage because it allows you to print larger objects that most 3D printers under $500 can’t match.
Even though this 3D printer has a large printing volume, it’s still quite lightweight at just 17.2 lbs, so you don’t need to worry about portability if you plan to move your 3D printer around a lot.
This FDM printer is easy to navigate with its 4.3-inch color screen and the fact that it’s quite easy to assemble. I had it up and running within a few minutes, following the very straightforward instructions. So, even if you’re a newbie to the 3D printing world, you’ll have no issues with this printer.
Now, let’s talk numbers. The Creality Ender 3 V2 has a layer resolution ranging from 0.1 to 0.4 mm with a printing precision of 0.1 mm, so you’re guaranteed high-quality output where all the layers will blend perfectly together, leaving no streaks behind.
What’s more, this product supports PLA, TPU, and PETG filaments, so you have a nice range of options to choose from. Whichever material you go for, you’ll face no issues with the print bed that’s made from Carborundum Glass because it’s quite durable and stable.
Unfortunately, there’s one flaw about this 3D printer, and it’s the absence of auto-leveling. Although manually leveling the bed wasn’t at all difficult, it still would’ve been nice to have auto-leveling to take that pressure off our shoulders just like these 3d printer under 200.
- Resumes printing after power-off
- Quiet operation
- Excellent value for the money
- Large printing volume
- Impressive printing precision down to 0.1 mm
- Absence of auto-leveling
If you’re on the lookout for a high-quality 3D printer with a large build volume and unmatched precision, look no further than the Creality Ender 3 V2. Besides supporting different kinds of filaments, this FDM printer is quite easy to use, especially for beginners.
2. FlashForge Finder: Runner Up
Coming in second place is the FlashForge Finder, which is another excellent 3D printer. This printer offers excellent value for the money considering how budget-friendly it is, yet it has some advanced features that you don’t often see at such a price point.
The FlashForge Finder supports FlashPrint slicing software, which is so easy to use. The software is user-friendly and accepts most file formats, from STL and OBJ to PNG and JPEG, you name it, and this software can handle it similar to these chromebook compatible printers.
One of my favorite things about this printer is its removable glass bed. Having the ability to remove the bed makes removing your printer object painless. Did I also mention that it supports PLA, Wood, and TPU filaments? Because it does.
While the FFF printer doesn’t offer auto-leveling, it does offer assisted leveling, which is a welcomed addition. It shows clear instruction on the 3.5-inch touchscreen to guide you through the leveling process until the bed is in the perfect spot. Also, the printer comes pre-assembled, so set-up is a breeze.
The Finder offers a layer resolution of 0.1 to 0.4 mm with a printing precision of 0.2 mm, guaranteeing accurate measurements of your artwork.
With a printing volume of 140 x 140 x 140 mm, this 3D printer has the smallest print bed on the list. To be fair, having such limited space could be quite limiting if you’re planning to print larger objects. However, if you’re only interested in miniatures, this is the 3D printer for you.
- Removable bed
- Assisted-leveling with clear instructions
- Excellent slicing software
- Arrives pre-assembled for easy set-up
- Limited build volume
The FlashForge Finder is an excellent choice for those who will only print miniatures or smaller objects in general. Its removable bed makes extracting your final print a breeze, and its assisted leveling system will guide you through what you need to do to correctly level the bed. It doesn’t get more user-friendly than that!
3. FlashForge Adventurer 3: Best Build
There’s no doubt that the FlashForge Adventurer 3 is one of the best 3D printers under the $500 mark. Its build quality leaves nothing to be desired, from its modern, sleek design, to its removable nozzle and bendable build plate.
This 3D printer’s build plate has to be one of the best I’ve ever worked with. Not only is it removable, but it’s also bendable, so you just need to bend it to separate it from your print; it’s just so easy.
Also, the printer comes with a detachable nozzle, meaning you can easily detach the nozzle to clean it or replace it. You don’t have to throw away the whole printer if the nozzle gets clogged up.
The FlashForge Adventurer 3 uses the FlashPrint slicing software that we’ve talked about before. It’s an incredibly user-friendly software program. It’s also compatible with almost all file formats, so if you already have your drawing ready, you can just import it into the software with a few clicks.
While we’re on the subject of compatibility, it’s worth mentioning that this printer accepts PLA and ABS filaments. Additionally, if you’re running low on filament, the printer can detect that with its filament run-out sensor, and it’ll warn you that you might need to purchase or load more filament material.
The Adventurer 3 has a layer resolution of 0.1 to 0.4 mm, with a precision of 0.2 mm. On top of that, it has a build volume of 150 x 150 x 150 mm, which is good enough for most users.
Lastly, this printer arrives assembled, and it has a 2.8-inch touchscreen interface, which allows you to track your printing and easily navigate using your printer.
- Has a filament run-out sensor
- Flexible and removable bed to easily extract your prints
- Arrives pre-assembled and has a user-friendly touchscreen
- Resumes printing after power cut-off or filament run-out
- Has a built-in camera that allows you to track the printing process
- Leveling the bed is a little difficult
I know how much of a hassle it can be to remove your prints from the build plate, and the FlashForge Adventurer 3 completely eliminates that with its removable and flexible bed. Its slicing software, 2.8-inch touchscreen, and the fact that it arrives assembled make this printer easy to use and navigate.
The Creality CR-6 SE is as user-friendly as 3D printers can get. It offers many features that’ll make 3D printing a breeze, like being compatible with multiple slicing software programs and different kinds of filaments, as well as having heatsinks that help distribute the heat evenly across the bed.
I have to talk about the best feature about this printer, which is auto-leveling. The nozzle has built-in sensors that allow the printer to level the bed on its own, so you can start printing immediately. Did I also mention that it arrives pre-assembled? Because it sure does.
This FDM printer is compatible with PLA, ABS, PETG, and TPU filaments, making it the best printer for 3D printing enthusiasts who need a unit that accepts all kinds of materials.
Moreover, it is compatible with the Creality slicing software as well as the popular programs we all know and love like Cura, Simplify3D, and Repetier-Host.
With a build volume of 235 x 235 x 250 mm, a layer resolution of 0.1 to 0.4 mm, and a printing precision of 0.1 mm, you can easily print anything you can think of, from small miniature all the way to larger pieces and decoration items. The large build volume opens up a door for more creative work.
- Silent operation
- Durable Carborundum Glass bed with a large build volume
- Has auto-leveling for user-friendly printing
- Heatsinks evenly distribute heat
- Easy to set-up and use
- Subpar firmware
The Creality SR-6 SE is a 3D printer you can’t go wrong with. It has a large build volume that puts no restrictions on your creativity, and it’s compatible with most filaments and slicing software programs, so you can start printing immediately. Besides, it features auto-leveling, which is hard to find in below-$500 printers.
5. XYZPrinting Da Vinci Mini W+: Best Printing Resolution
The last 3D printer on the list is the XYZPrinting Da Vinci Mini W+ printer. As the name pimples, it’s quite a small 3D printer that’s also lightweight, making it the most portable option if that’s what you’re seeking in your next 3D printer.
First of all, the Da Vinci Mini W+ requires very little assembly that it’ll be up and running within minutes, making it a perfect option for beginners. Also, it features auto-leveling, so you don’t need to re-level it after every print; it does all the work for you.
The FFF printer has its own slicing software called XYZMaker Suite, which is easy to use. However, keep in mind that the software requires an Intel i5 processor or newer to run, which is a little restricting.
Moreover, the Da Vinci Mini W+ is compatible with PLA, PETG, and XYZCarbonFiber filaments. However, I have to mention that it has an NFC chip that only accepts XYZPrinting filaments. Still, there are ways to work around that, including purchasing an external NFC chip that allows the printer to accept third party filaments, so keep that in mind.
Lastly, this printer has a child volume of 150 x 150 x 150 mm, which is a decent volume for an average user. It also has a layer resolution ranging from 0.1 to 0.4 mm, and it boasts a printing precision of 0.1 mm, guaranteeing high-quality prints.
- Decent build volume
- Feature auto-leveling
- Required little assembly
- Lightweight and portable
- Doesn’t support third-party filaments out of the box
The XYZPrinting Da Vinci Mini W+ is a budget-friendly 3D printer that has everything you might need. You’ll be pleased to learn that it features auto-leveling and arrives mostly assembled, so you can start printing just minutes after unboxing the printer.
How to Pick a Budget-Friendly 3D Printer
Picking a 3D printer isn’t a stroll in the park because of how many features you need to consider. To make things a little easier for you, I’ve put together this guide to help you pick your next 3D printer. Here’s everything you need to know.
All the printers I mentioned throughout this list are FDM/FFM printers, and there’s a reason for that. FDM printing is the most popular printing technology out there because it produces high-quality prints and uses a wide range of filaments.
FDM printing produces an excellent surface finish because of how accurate it is. FDM printing works by laying one layer of material and then adding another layer on top, and so on until the whole object is printed.
Besides, FDM printing is a budget-friendly technology, and that’s why it’s found in most 3D printers below the $500 mark.
Compatible Filament Types
Each filament type results in a different output. If you’re new to 3D printing and you don’t know where to start, PLA is the most popular 3D printing filament because it’s a lot easier to work with, making it perfect for beginners.
Generally, try to opt for a 3D printer that is compatible with as many filament types as possible, which would allow you more freedom in testing and trying different materials.
A 3D printer’s build plate is where all the magic happens, and that’s why it’s a critical factor that you need to pay close attention to.
Going for a removable build plate is what I always recommend. Having the ability to completely remove the plate from the printer’s frame makes separating the prints from the plate much easier. You wouldn’t need to pull on the material, therefore, keeping your prints intact and your plate damage-free.
Moreover, flexible build plates are the way to go if you struggle with removing the printing from the plate, even if it’s removable. You can just bend the flexible plate, and your artwork will come right off.
Also, try to opt for a heated build plate whenever possible, simply because some materials require it and it just makes printing a lot smoother. Even though PLA doesn’t necessarily need a heated bed, it still helps with the printing process.
Printing Resolution and Precision
If you’re on the lookout for a budget-friendly 3D printer, you’ll notice that all the printers’ resolution and precision are around the same range, which is to be expected.
However, don’t let that scare you into thinking you need the best precision and professional-level resolution because you simply don’t. The printing resolution range you’ve seen in the products here, which is 0.1 to 0.4 mm, is more than enough to produce high-quality prints.
Further, you’ve seen some variation in precision where some printers have a precision of 0.1 mm and others 0.2 mm, so what should you go for?
Generally, lower precision means better output with less error, but that 0.1 mm difference isn’t that big of a deal, but if you want the best results, opt for the 0.1 mm printing precision.
Leveling and Calibration
It’s no secret that leveling is the most frustrating part of 3D printing. Having your bed even the slightest distance off might ruin your prints, and you’ll have to start over. It’s not a fun process, to say the least.
That’s exactly why going for a 3D printer that boasts auto-leveling is a no brainer. Auto-leveling lifts a weight off your shoulders as the printer has built-in sensors (mostly in the nozzle) that allow it to adjust the bed on its own, guaranteeing perfect positioning every time.
However, for 3D printers under $500, it might be a little difficult to find a wide array of options with auto-leveling. So, some printers implemented a feature called assisted-leveling, where it still uses sensors, but it can’t move the bed on its own.
The assisted-leveling guides you through what you need to adjust to reach the perfect position through the printer’s screen, which is quite impressive.
There are some extra features that you might like or need in your next 3D printers, like resume printing. Simply, resume printing allows the printer to continue where it left off in case of a power cut-off or if your filament runs out halfway through the printing process.
This feature is critical for areas where power cut-offs are often, so you wouldn’t have to start over every time your power cuts-off and waste precious time, effort, and materials.
Also, another feature that you should be on the lookout for is filament run-out detection. As you can guess, this feature means your printer will have sensors that can detect and warn you if you’re about to run out of filament.
Are There Any Good 3D Printers Under $500?
Of course! You can find some excellent 3D printers for much less than $500, so being on a budget isn’t really a restriction in the world of 3D printing.
Are Cheap 3D Printers Any Good?
Yes. 3D printers are like any other electronic device, you don’t need the most expensive smartphone out there or the largest TV ever made, and similarly, you don’t need a professional-level 3D printer. You can find great 3D printers at very low prices.
What Computer Do I Need for a 3D Printer?
You don’t need a specific computer for 3D printing; you just need a compatible slicer software. Before making your final purchase, check which slicing software your 3D printer of choice is compatible with, and double-check that the software is compatible with your computer and operating system.
Now that you’re at this point of the article, you should have a clear idea of what you need in your next 3D printer, and you might even have already picked your next printer! Either way, here’s a quick recap of my top three picks.
The Creality Ender 3 V2 easily took the top spot with its large build volume and durable Carborundum Glass bed. This printer offers excellent value for the money, especially with its printing precision of 0.1 mm.
The FlashForger Finder is the printer you should opt for if you’re looking for the most user-friendly unit out there. It features assisted leveling that guides you through the leveling process. Besides, it arrives pre-assembled.
Lastly, the FlashForge Adventurer 3 comes with a flexible plate that you can just bend to safely and easily separate your prints from the bed. It also has a detachable nozzle that you can remove to replace or clean.