It doesn’t matter if this is your first time shopping for a 3D printer or if you have a spec list for an advanced one, getting an affordable 3D printer is the first step in gaining experience within the field. We’ll review the best budget 3D printers that are known for their printing speed, quality, and functionality so that you don’t have to compromise the quality of your product to save funds. For shoppers on a budget, you’ve come to the right place.
Top 5 Best Budget 3D Printers
For even cheaper options, check out our Best Cheap 3D printer buying guide. The printers on this list are in no particular order since their different features can appeal to different people and one isn’t objectively better than the rest.
1. Monoprice Maker Select V2
If you want an inexpensive starter 3D printer that can help you learn the ins and outs of 3D printing, then the Monoprice Maker Select V2 is a great option. It’s a reliable entry-level 3D printer that brings a lot of value to the table.
Print quality is one factor you need to consider when looking for the best budget 3D printer. The Monoprice Maker Select V2 is accurate and polished, complemented by its fast printing speed. But like the majority of 3D printers, the project size and the amount of detail affects the project. The more detailed and the longer the project, the longer it takes to 3D print an object.
Among the improvements from its previous models, the Select V2 has a metal hot end. The all-metal hot end is used to prevent clogging and improves the heating, as well as an insulated/heating bed, which prevents warping and increases print adhesion.
This printer uses PLA and ABS tape in order to “ink” the print onto the object. You can decide which one is suited for your project. ABS is better than PLA because of its durability and strength. We suggest you use PLA for test projects and ABS tape for completed prototypes and final designs.
The Select V2’s exposed structure makes it a great 3D printer for modding – which is the most recommended option as it’ll help you get the most of it. Modding might cost extra, but with a 3D printer that can outperform other 3D printers 3 times its price, this 3D printer makes up for the cost.
And this 3D printer has a responsive online community which helps users share information and tips on how to fully utilize the machine. We suggest looking into the forums since the manual only contains information about the basics and nothing added on how to optimize the printer.
We suggest that you look into the Monoprice Maker Select V2 if you need an affordable machine to help with printing toys, prototypes, cases, and much more. Through using this 3D printer, you’ll find it easier to bring life to your first 3D model creations.
2. XYZ Printing da Vinci Jr. 1.0
Ranked second on our list is the XYZ Printing da Vinci Jr. 1.0. Built in an attractive white and orange case, the da Vinci Jr. 1.0 comes in neat packaging that tells you the manufacturer takes care of their products. This is a plug-and-play printer that takes only a few minutes of calibration before you can start printing. Specifically, make sure that the print bed and the extruder have the right amount of distance between them.
Adding to the 3D printer’s ease of use is its quick-release extruder and auto-feeding filament system. The filament system handles everything once the filament is completely loaded. The quick release extruder allows for fast removal of the extruder for additional maintenance.
When it comes to performance, the da Vinci Jr. 1.0 is a quiet, yet slow machine. The low noise means that you don’t have to worry about the machine distracting you while you take time to care for other things at your desk.
While quite large, the da Vinci Jr. 1.0 is lightweight for its size. Weighing in at 26 pounds, the 3D printer provides a lot of build space. Although you’ll have to free up a larger space for the printer, you won’t have any problem transporting it inside your workstation.
Designed for both classroom and home use, the da Vinci Jr. has a small interface that’s followed by a small set of buttons. Even users who aren’t technically savvy won’t have any problems using it. The software that’s included is easy to learn, making this a great entry-level gift for first time 3D printers who want to get their feet wet within the field.
3. Tevo Tarantula
We are used to most of our tech being assembled when we buy it, even though leaving final assembly to the manufacturer adds to the price. This is why 3D printer kits are popular among many new users as well as enthusiasts. Not only do you save money, but you also learn a lot more about the inner workings of these devices. Tevo Tarantula is one such 3D printer.
The Tarantula resembles most other desktop 3D printers because of its open I3 design. It features a bed that moves along the y-axis and an extruder that moves on both the x and z-axis. What sets this 3D printer apart from the other I3 is its exclusive Delrin rollers and v-slot extensions on its axis.
The Tevo Tarantula comes in a kit, which means you’ll have to use the included assembly manual to help you build the machine. The basic model comes with a heated bed that reaches up to 100°C to help support your exotic printing needs.
While there might be a few issues with the printers print quality, you can adjust the printing settings to your liking. To get the best printing results, change the printing speed to 45 mm/s, bed angling to 60 degrees, and the retraction to 3 mm in order to improve the quality of your prints.
Since its open source, the Tevo Tarantula is upgradable beyond what its main package offers. For instance, the standard Tevo upgrade includes a dual extruder, larger bed, flex material extruder, and an induction sensor auto leveling. Common modifications include upgraded electronics, dual z-screw, hotend swapping, and print cooling.
Overall, we believe that the Tevo Tarantula is one of the best budget 3D printers. Not only does it allow 3D printing enthusiasts to assemble it on their own, but it also comes with additional nuts and bolts included if you ever plan on upgrading the device. Thus, you should consider getting this printer if you want to have complete control over the print settings and final appearance of your 3D model.
3. Tronxy X1 Desktop 3D Printer
Ranked fourth on our list is the Tronxy X1 Desktop 3D Printer. The printer is a DIY kit, but the single-arm design makes it easier to assemble than other kits. Unlike some inexpensive DIY 3D printer kits, the Tronxy X1 comes with descriptive documentation.
The first thing that consumers notice about this printer is its compact size. For instance, the Tronxy has a 120 * 140 * 130mm printing size, making it suitable for beginners. Even though it’s a small printer, it has enough room in order for you to print small to medium 3D models.
Another reason why you should consider this product is due to its high precision MK 10 nozzle. We like the nozzle because its supports multiple filaments such as ABS, FLA, WOOD, HIPS, and other filaments to help finish your 3D printing projects.
For additional accessories, the X1 stores its SD card slot inside the external control box. With this printer, you’ll get a 100-micron resolution and a 150 x 150 x 150 mm build area. So, you’ll have enough space to make your printing models look detailed and polished.
All in all, the Tronxy X1 is definitely worth considering if you’re looking for the best budget 3D printer. Not only does it have good positioning accuracy, but it also is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS. For those wanting to have a quick and easy printer, then pick this one up.
4. RepRap Guru Prusa 3D Printer Kit
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to receive a quality 3D printer these days. Fortunately, competition amongst 3D printing manufacturers has made it easier for companies to develop better versions of yesteryear 3D printers. Once you obtain the Rep Rap Guru Prusa, you’ll have a high-quality budget printer whose performance meets the same requirements of a mid-range printer.
This printer comes with an 8″ x 8″ x 7″ build area. So you’ll have enough space to complete small hobby projects. Thus, making this printer a great starting choice for owners with children who would like to practice making quick designs with 3D printers.
One thing that makes this printer stand out is its filament versatility. The RepRap Guru Prusa 3D Printer allows users to use PLA, wood, PVA, and Nylon. So you won’t have to be stuck with using one filament option with this printer.
Users can run the unit on 110V or 220V voltage rating. If you live in the US, you don’t have to make any changes because this printer comes with a 110V Stanard Volt Outlet. You can adjust the voltage level on the switch placed on the side section of the kit.
The printer weighs in at 20 lbs with dimensions of 17″ x 18″ x 15″. Due to this, you can place the printer on the desktop table without having too much clutter. When using this 3D Printer, you won’t have any problem taking it along with you for quick mobile prints.
Basically, the RepRap Guru Prusa 3D Printer is one of the most affordable printers on this list. And it does a great job at remaining cool during printing; it can reach 230-240 degrees C when printing out models using ABS.
Still confused on what 3D printer you need to buy? Don’t worry – this section has you covered. The following features are to be considered with any 3D printer purchase but are especially important with the exact printer price range. Keep these features in mind when you’re shopping to increase the chances of getting a reliable printer for your home.
Finding a 3D Printer For Beginners
Most people start in 3D Printing by buying a desktop 3D printer. And beginner 3D printers are known for being easy to use, the quality of the 3D prints, and the ease of installation when using one. Features like self-leveling beds and filament reserve detectors are also helpful for beginners. Basically, managing the software will be enough of a challenge for a new user, so the less you have to worry about the hardware, the better.
Assembled or easy DIY kit printers
As a beginner, you should be looking for printers that are either fully assembled, semi-assembled, or have been confirmed to be easy to assemble because they can assure you that you’ll get started immediately. Partially assembled kits are viable because you can learn through the building process, as long as it’s not too complicated for a beginner and doesn’t require previous knowledge in the field of 3D printing.
When it comes to printing technique, look for a Fused Deposit Modeling (FDM) 3D printer. This is because they can work with filament materials and isn’t difficult to 3D print with. Luckily, most 3D printers use this technology so this isn’t much of a problem. ABS or PLA filaments are recommended because they are inexpensive and save money during your learning phase.
Durable enough to endure your newfound experiments
When you’re starting off, you want a printer that’s easy to use and can make small prints quickly. You will make some mistakes, so make sure that your printer is durable enough to handle small to mid-level projects along with the small mistakes you may make at first. All the features below are also to be considered, even for a beginner, though the issues mentioned here are the most important.
Finding a Good Hobbyist 3D Printer
These are some features you should consider if you’re a hobbyist or a semi-professional looking for your next 3D printer.
If you plan on making a bunch of different prints and are versed in the materials used, it’s best to get a 3D printer that can use multiple filament types (PLA, ABS, Wood, etc.). This allows you to utilize decorative filaments, standard 3D printing filaments, and a few industrial grade materials.
If you intend to make a lot of different prints for different uses, it’s important to have plenty of build space to work with. When creating gift items or commercial products, being able to change the object’s size whenever you need to can’t be overlooked. For those getting a mid-level printer, make sure that it allows you control over the build size of your final model.
The quality of your software will determine how you can utilize the 3D Printer. So getting one that’s intuitive and has all the necessary features will help you get the most out of your 3D printer. Many 3D printers will have control apps included to aid your printing experience.
A versatile and precise extruder
There is a multitude of extruder types that are available for 3D printers. For mid-level hobbyists, you’ll want a printer that has a versatile extruder nozzle when thinking about the multiple extruder features in the market. Many printers feature removable extruders to allow a more customizable printing experience.
Selecting the right print bed is an important part of your shopping process as it can determine if your 3D print will be successful or have to deal with mistakes such as non-extrusion, stringing, and warping. That’s why we suggest that you get a heated bed with self-leveling technology.
Industrial Printer Features
Since you have the budget for it, the industrial printer you choose is up to you. The most obvious feature to look for is print quality. If you’re creating industrial grade products, they will need to be able to print at a high resolution in order to pass the various testing standards for ISO commercial items.
It’s important to know that industrial 3D printing kits are either un-assembled or semi-assembled. This means that you’ll have to spend some time configuring the printer before you can start creating cutting-edge models.
The build volume for these printers has to fit the correct size requirements in order for it to be of value. So you need one that’s about larger than your average pet projects (i.e., at least 300 x 300 x 200 mm) for it to be of use.
Rapid prototyping plays a major role in industrial printmaking. Being able to change the speed based on the production cycle’s requirements is necessary. Thus, you need to get an industrial printer that has a variable speed setting so it can work properly.
Durability over time
First, you need to get a printer that can work for long hours without any damage to its moving parts. Your industrial 3D printer should be able to utilize a slew of different materials for the different prints you may require.
Types of 3D Printers
This table shows the most common types of 3D Printers you’ll see once you start shopping.
Cartesian FDM 3D Printers
Cartesian 3D printers are the most common type you’ll find in the market. The printer’s technology uses an x, y, and z- system to determine the printhead’s direction and the correct position.
Delta FDM Printers
After Cartesian 3D printers were made, two Swiss students made the Delta 3D Printer. Delta printers have a six-axis printer that uses Cartesian coordinates. These printers are popular because of their faster printing process. However, there are some that believe that the printer isn’t as accurate as the Cartesian printer.
Polar 3D FDM Printers
Unlike the Cartesian and Delta printers that are measured in x, y, z coordinates, Polar 3D Printers are measured by the length and angle. This means that the printer’s plate can move and rotate at the same time, with its extender moving vertically.
Robotic Arm FDM 3D Printing
Robotic arms are known for creating components in industrial production, especially in automotive plants. This new form of 3D printing is still in its development stage.
As its name suggests, robotic arm 3D printing is when a robotic arm (which is controlled by computer algorithms) recreates the 3D model that’s being printed. While it’s not always used in the printing process, the Robotic Arm FDM 3D Printers is starting to increase in use. It should also be noted that its final print quality isn’t as good as Cartesian printers.
When you’re out shopping, try to find the 3D printer that suits your needs the most. If you’re new to the field and need a simple printer, try going for a Delta or Cartesian 3D printer. For advanced users, a Polar or Robotic Arm (very expensive) might be of value. By doing this, you’ll find a printer that has the speed and efficiency to complete your daily printing operations.
To conclude, your 3D printing results are based on how well you research the 3D printer you’re planning to buy. By taking the time to notice its features and function, you’ll find it easier to utilize and make better 3D designs.
And these printers can help you get started. Each of them packed with features to help skip installation times and produce a high-quality result. If possible, try them out to see which one suits your needs the best.