Just a decade ago the thought of desktop 3D printers that could print reasonably sized models in basic filaments like PLA and ABS without much issue was unthinkable. Your own personal 3D printer, for $500?
But now, not only do they just about get by, but in fact the best 3D printers under $500 offer great printing results, with good reliability, range of printable materials, and precision and accuracy.
I’m sure you’re interested in finding out more about these low cost 3D printers. But first, here’s what you should expect in buying a sub-$500 3D printer.
|Name||Build Volume (mm)||Price||Where to buy|
|Creality Ender 3 V2||220 x 220 x 250||$279||Amazon here|
|Flsun QQ-S||255 x 255 x 360||$369||Amazon here|
|Ender 5 Pro||220 x 220 x 300||$399||Amazon here|
|Prusa Mini+||180 x 180 x 180||$399||Prusa Store here|
|Qidi Tech X-Pro||230 x 150 x 150||$469||Amazon here|
|Anycubic Mega X||300 x 300 x 305||$499||Amazon here|
What to expect in a 3D printer under $500?
More affordable 3D printers naturally sacrifice some of the advanced features commonplace on industrial 3D printers above $10,000. You also can’t expect the same flawless quality, speed, or reliability that professional 3D printers offer.
But, at this price range you can expect good quality FDM prints in PLA and perhaps a few other filaments.
Most of the best 3D printers under $500 should be able to print ABS, though many are not enclosed 3D printers which can cause difficulties with warping. You should expect reasonably quality: 100- or 50-micron minimum layer height maximum precision, and in the event of a power outage or other problem, your printer should be able to resume where it was stopped.
Based on this criteria for the best 3D printers under $500, these are the printers we recommend:
Creality Ender 3 V2 — for under $300
Some more expensive 3D printers nearer the $500 mark may outperform it in raw power and quality, but for the price the Ender 3 V2 offers unbeatable value. That’s why it’s currently the world’s most popular 3D printer.
The Ender 3 V2 is fairly similar to the original Ender 3, just with improved and upgraded firmware, an improved filament feeding system, carborundum build plate, as well as an HD color screen.
This helps improve your overall printing experience, able to print precisely, consistently and simply, with the corborundum glass build plate improving adhesion, heating up quickly and making it easier to remove prints after.
For $279 you get a high quality printer that prints reliably — it’s a sturdy machine. For that reason, we recommend it as it’s great value — though if you have $500 for a 3D printer other options may outperform it overall.
Flsun QQ-S — best delta 3D printer under $500
- Price: $369 — Available on Amazon here
- Build volume: 255 x 255 x 360 mm
It doesn’t look like it, but it’s actually the biggest 3D printer on our best 3D printer for $500 list. Offering especially large 360 mm maximum height, it’s fantastic for tall and thin prints, and being a delta 3D printer, it offers great speed.
The QQ-S takes around 45 minutes to assemble — we as a team of two took around 40 minutes, experienced delta 3D printer users will be even quicker. Auto leveling and getting it started was a breeze — and then all you need to do is get your files sliced, load them onto an SD card, plug it into your printer and press print.
The stable metal structure makes for very stable printing, and the user-friendly touchscreen makes it easy to use and simple to find the options you want. And in the unlikely event you run into issues, you can talk to Flsun’s customer service team who will help get you back to your printing adventures.
Creality Ender 5 Pro
Despite the large size, the Ender 5 Pro’s upgraded mainboard keep it quiet — it won’t wake you up from the next room along with its loud roaring.
Featuring Creality’s upgraded and new metal extruder, the Ender 5 Pro offers even better precision as the added strength makes for better targeted deposition and more precise forces to exert on filament during the extrusion process. The quieter mainboard and upgraded metal extruder are two crucial and underrated upgrades the Ender 5 Pro offers over the standard Ender 5.
As with all Creality 3D printers it’s easy to assemble, and shouldn’t take even beginner makers more than an hour. And in the event you do run into any trouble, you can contact Creality’s support team who will gladly help.
The cube structure makes it a stable, sturdy and anchored down 3D printer. This benefits your printing experience as the stability prevents any vibrations or any other forces from creating shaky prints with imperfections, leaving you with smooth and accurate prints every time.
The large size will be important to those looking to print big structures, or parts of even larger sculptures, characters or large-scale prototypes. Overall, the Ender 5 Pro is a great 3D printer under $500 with its size, accuracy and consistency.
- Price: $399 — Available on Prusa Store here
- Build volume: 180 x 180 x 180 mm
The mini version of the incredibly successful Prusa i3 range, if you want the reliability and workhorse-like ruggedness of the Prusa in a bite-sized package, this one’s for you.
Available either for $399 in a simple 3-piece assembly, or as a DIY kit if you want to save $50, it’s an ideal 3D printer for beginners looking to print straight away, as well as for seasoned makers or businesses looking to get printing or prototyping.
- The full-size Prusa i3 MK3S is also available if you’ve got the budget — Available on Prusa Store here
The color LCD screen makes it easy to navigate with clear color icons, and includes Prusa’s flexible print sheets that make removing finished prints easier than ever. It can’t reach the same temperatures as the i3 MK3S, but for a 3D printer under $500 you can’t expect industrial-level material printing.
The Prusa Mini+ is compact, and can fit neatly on they side of a desktop (or if you’re looking to put together a print farm, several can sit together without taking too much space), and you of course get Prusa’s signature reliability. Overall, as a small-ish 3D printer under $500, it’s one of the best out there.
Qidi Tech X-Pro — best 3D printer under $500 with enclosure and dual extruder
- Price: $469 — Available on Amazon here
- Build volume: 230 x 150 x 150 mm
Unusually for a 3D printer under $500, the Qidi Tech X-Pro is an enclosed 3D printer for much easier printing of tougher filaments typically more prone to warping, such as ABS. The military grade aluminum heated bed can reach 120C, more than enough for more filaments.
In addition, the X-Pro is rare in a 3D printer under $500 in that it features a dual extruder. Dual extrusion opens up a host of new opportunities, from multi-color 3D printing, to printing with dissolvable filaments like HIPS and PVA for perfect prints free from any damage that can occur from removing supports. With it’s large 4.3-inch touchscreen, it feels like a $1,000 3D printer.
Budget a little over an hour to assemble the X-Pro, but once built, it’ll work great. Overall, it’s one of the best 3D printers under $500, offering so much more than most printers in this price range.
Anycubic Mega X — best 3D printer under $500 for large prints
It is a 3D printer kit, though even beginners shouldn’t be intimidated — you just need to assemble the parts with 12 screws and a few cables before you’re ready to print.
The Mega X features the same Ultrabase patented heated bed as the cheaper Mega S that features in our best 3D printer under $300 ranking, able to reach up to 90C temperatures for printing most filaments. The material makes for much better adhesion during printing, and easier removal after you’re done.
As with most $500 3D printers, the Mega X lets you resume printing from where you left off such as after a power outage, and features a 3.5-inch touchscreen for a simple 3D printing workflow.
The metal frame is sturdy and heavier, anchoring the 3D printer down to prevent any shakiness or vibrations from printing affecting your model’s print surface or leaving any imperfections. Anycubic’s new Y-axis improvements make for better precision, in addition to a number of other changes that generally improve your printing experience.
Overall, the Mega X is a consistent, large and workhorse 3D printer that you can rely on to print for hours on end at home.