cheap 3d printer ranking budget

The 12 Best Cheap 3D Printers 2021 (Starting at $100!)

Ten years ago, a 3D printer costing just a few hundred dollars would be considered impossible. 3D printers were mostly industrial machines costing thousands, and the only cheap 3D printer was a RepRap 3D printer you made yourself for $500 — and even then it could be unreliable.

But now? We are spoiled with hundreds of great, low cost printers from dozens of 3D printer companies across the globe.

Therefore, we ranked the best affordably priced 3D printers, based on their reliability, ease of use, price-performance ratio, and a range of other factors. Some are DIY 3D printer kits, and most use FDM (fused deposition modeling), though a couple resin 3D printers also made the list.

All the best budget 3D printers in 2020

3D printer name and brandType of PrinterBuild Volume (mm)PriceLowest price at:Alternative purchase option
Creality Ender 3 V2FDM Kit220 x 220 x 250$289Amazon here3DJake UK & Europe
Anycubic Photon MonoResin / LCD5.11" x 3.14" x 6.49"$269Amazon here3DJake UK & Europe
ELEGOO Mars / Pro 2Resin / LCD120 x 68 x 155$190-280Amazon here3DJake UK & Europe
Anycubic Mega SFDM210 x 210 x 205$299Amazon here
Tronxy X5SA ProFDM Kit330 x 330 x 400$369Amazon here
Prusa Mini+FDM Kit180 x 180 x 180$399Prusa Store here
Monoprice VoxelFDM150 x 150 x 150 $449Amazon hereMatterhackers here
QIDI Tech X-ProFDM230 x 150 x 150$469Amazon here3DJake UK & Europe
Creality CR10 V3FDM Kit300 x 300 x 400$529Amazon here3DJake UK & Europe
Prusa i3 MK3SFDM Kit250 x 210 x 150$749 / $999Kit available on Prusa store hereFully assembled on Prusa store here
Flashforge Creator Pro 2FDM200 x 145 x 150$799Amazon here3DJake UK & Europe
AnyCubic Mono XLCD / Resin115 x 65 x 165$829Amazon here3DJake UK & Europe
Qidi Tech X-MaxFDM300 x 250 x 300$1,099Amazon hereTop3DShop here

So, you want to buy a cheap 3D printer

Well, you’re in the right place. There are some lower priced 3D printers out there that do a fantastic job, reliably printing precise models in a variety of different materials.

However, the lower price you go, the less features, precision, and reliability you get. The cheapest 3D printers we recommend start at around $200-250, though there are options below this, but we have not found any that reliably print to the level we would recommend.

At a certain level, it is worth paying an extra $30 for the peace of mind and to avoid the headache of an inconsistent, often faulty printer. Therefore, we have included cheap 3D printers that still offer good reliability, quality and are not too difficult to use.

And if you only have $100 to spend, there are other options:

Recommended 3D printers are divided into three parts: best budget 3D printers under $300, under $500, and under $1,000. In order to stay independent we have included links to where the 3D printers we recommend can be purchased, which we earn a small commission on.

Part 1: Best 3D Printers Under $300

Bonus: 3Dsimo MultiPro 4-in-1 Printer Pen

Though technically not a 3D printer so we’ll call it a bonus listing rather than a full-fledged budget 3D printer, the 3Dsimo MultiPro 3D pen bridges the gap and offers a lower cost alternative to those who don’t want to spend over $200 on a 3D printer, but still want to create fun 3D models.

  • We also have a full ranking of the best 3D pens.

The difference between a 3D pen and a 3D printer is that a printer automatically prints, with very good accuracy, the 3D model as per the STL file you have chosen. With a 3D printing pen the results are down to your artistic skills; you physically move the pen and extrude the filament to create your own model.

3D pens are a great replacement for a 3D printer for kids and are great for artists, and some will find them more appealing than cheap 3D printers as they are lower priced. Both 3D pens and 3D printers use plastic filament, just you manually print with a pen instead of the machine printing your model on a 3D printer.

3dsimo cheap 3d printer pen
The 3Dsimo MultiPro 4-in-1 can be transformed into a wood burner, as well as solderer and foam cutter.

The 3Dsimo MultiPro 4-in-1 is one of the best 3D pens as not only is it very accurate and reliable, but it is also extremely versatile. As well as being able to print great, multi-colored models to unleash your creativity, you can also switch out the print head for a solder, wood burner or foam cutter. Create beautiful wood art or even decorate leather sneakers with the additional heads, shown above.

The 3Dsimo MultiPro is compatible with any 1.75mm 3D printer filament, for ABS or PLA, and ships with some filament to start you off with. The light weight (just 70g) means it will never strain your arms as you create a 3D model, and overall, we recommend it as the most versatile 3D pen on the market.

The pen is also reduced from $179 to $129 for a limited time, and we have been given a special offer by 3Dsimo exclusively for 3DSourced readers, offering 10% off all purchases over $100. Simply click the link in the bullet point above or click here and your code will be given to you to use at checkout.

3dsimo multipro 4-in-1
Create stunning handmade 3D models in multiple colors with the 3Dsimo MultiPro 4-in-1.

12 — Creality Ender 3 V2 — Fantastic Affordable 3D Printer

Creality make some of the world’s most popular low cost 3D printers, including the CR-10, Ender 5 and Ender 3 range. The Ender 3 is cheaper than the CR-10 and has a smaller maximum build volume of 220 x 220 x 250 mm, but there are many similarities in design and print quality.

The upgraded Ender 3 V2 is not too dissimilar from the hugely popular original: for $60 extra you get an improved carborundum glass bed for better print adhesion and print quality, and this bed also makes removing prints easier — lessening the chances of damaging the model during removal. The new HD screen is also a nice touch, and a pleasant extra to have. And if you would rather save the $60 and get a standard Ender 3, you can do that too.

For most makers looking to buy a cheap 3D printer, you want reliable, adequate printing on a machine that doesn’t give you a headache with its constant errors and faults. The Ender 3 V2 certainly fits the bill, with good quality printing that can generally be relied upon.

It’s also versatile, with a number of Ender 3 upgrades available, and the printer itself has had its 3D printer extruder improved so it doesn’t clog as much, for a less stressful 3D printing experience. There’s a reason why it’s currently the best-selling 3D printer in the world.

best cheap low cost 3d printer creality ender 3

11 – Anycubic Photon Mono

Just when we didn’t think LCD 3D printing could get any more affordable, Anycubic have done it again. One of the cheapest and most popular resin 3D printers in the world, the Photon Mono features a number of upgrades over previous Photon iterations.

Firstly, the upgraded dual z-axis slider notably improves z-axis stability, making layer lines even harder to spot and creating smoother surface finishes. It’s also quieter, so you won’t have problems running it at night.

The Photon Mono is simple to get started, coming fully assembled and without too much to do to get it ready to print. Despite the low price,it prints faster than previous Photon models, at up to 50mm/h. Therefore, if you’re looking for a good value 3D printer for miniatures, D&D models or other small prints, and if you want to create resin prototypes with even better accuracy for your small business, consider upgrading further to the more expensive Mono X, also featured in this ranking.

anycubic photon mono

10 — ELEGOO Mars / Mars 2 Pro

Another resin 3D printer on our cheap printer list, you may have seen us praising it on one of our other 3D printer rankings before. It simply shouldn’t be as good as it is for such a low price. Thank LCD 3D printing, the innovative new resin printing technology that allows you to get the precision of SLA at FDM prices, which the Elegoo Mars range does wonderfully.

As for accuracy, the minimum XY accuracy you can achieve with the Elegoo Mars is 47 microns — very precise. It’s got a 2K LCD projector and comes with CHITUBOX slicer built especially for resin printing. Overall, it’s a fantastic printer for such little investment — an almost unthinkably cheap price for a resin printer — and good 120 x 68 x 155 mm build volume.

elegoo mars cheap 3d printer resin lcd
The ELEGOO Mars cracks the market as an LCD printer priced at just over $200.

9 — Anycubic Mega S

Anycubic have made a name for themselves for making fantastic low cost printers for resin printing, but have also made a great budget 3D printer for FDM. The Mega S is solid, with a strong metal frame for stable and smooth 3D printing, and a good build volume for printing most hobbyist projects.

Beginners will enjoy how easy to put together and get started the Mega S is, with just a few screws and cables to assemble — and then you’re ready to print! If you are prone to power outages, have no fear, the Mega S can resume from where it left off so you’ll never be left with a half-finished print.

It’s a basic 3D printer with a lot of useful extras, including Anycubic’s patented Ultrabase print bed material that not only promotes good print adhesion for strong prints, but also makes it super easy to remove your finished models afterwards.

Overall, considering it’s a 3D printer under $300 it’s a very impressive cheap 3D printer, offering good reliability and stability.

anycubic mega s

Part 2: Best 3D Printer Under $500

8 — Tronxy X5SA Pro

One area that resin printers cannot compete with cheap FDM printers on it build volume. Even an expensive resin printer cannot print the sizes that the Tronxy X5SA Pro can — 330 x 330 x 400 mm! — so we recommend the Tronxy to anyone looking for a large 3D printer.

It competes with the Creality CR10 in a similar price and size range, and we rate both printers highly. The Pro version of the Tronxy X5SA is more stable, due to being built out of stronger materials — mostly aluminium rather than acrylic — helping print more accurate prints. It’s accurate to around 125 microns so it can’t compete with resin printers for accuracy, but that’s the tradeoff when you go for a FDM kit rather than a resin printer.

If you want to print huge vases or statues, definitely go for the Tronxy X5SA or Creality CR10 (or Creality CR10 MAX!). It’s a great kit printer, and one of the best 3D printers under $500.

tronxy x5sa pro cheap 3d printer kit

7 — Prusa Mini+

Following from the runaway success of the Prusa MK3 versions, their mini 3D printer version keeps most of the MK3S’ great features, but in a smaller package and at a lower price.

While you still keep the automatic calibration, 0.05mm layer heights, and up to 200mm/s print speed, the Prusa Mini+ can only reach slightly lower extruder temperatures at up to 280C, restricting the filaments you can print compared with the Prusa MK3S. However, you still have a healthy range of filament options, including PLA, PETG, ABS, ASA, and flexible filaments.

The Prusa Mini also comes with a magnetic heated and removable spring steel build sheets, making it extremely easy to remove finished prints by bending the build plate. The Mini comes with PrusaSlicer for preparing any STL files for printing, and if you do have any problems, Prusa’s support team are on hand 24/7 to help, via live chat or email.

prusa mini
Cheaper and more compact than the MK3S, the Mini still offers Prusa’s great precision and workhorse-like reliability.

6 — QIDI Tech X-Pro

The QIDI Tech X-Pro is a low cost dual extruder 3D printer that QIDI believe is perfectly suited for educating students on 3D printing. It can be easily connected to your WiFi to print wirelessly, or you can just plug in a USB.

Both beginners and experienced makers will prefer the simplicity the X-Pro offers. The large 4.3-inch touchscreen makes navigating printing options and using the printer painless and quick, and the innovative curved metal print plate makes for far easier finished model removal. Easier removal means less scarring to the print when scraping it off the build platform, and therefore better surface quality.

Most cheaper 3D printers won’t offer enclosed print areas or heated chambers, so the X-Pro sticks out for its enclosure. A fully enclosed printing area allows for far better maintaining of temperature while printing, and with keeping the heat in prevents parts from cooling too quickly — leading to warping and cracking. This makes for far better ABS and Nylon printing.

Overall, it’s a stellar low cost 3D printer and one of the best budget 3D printers with an enclosure.

See also: our buyer’s guide for the best enclosed 3D printers.

QIDI tech x pro x-pro cheap 3d printer

Part 3: Best 3D Printer Under $1,000

5 — Creality CR-10 V3 — One of the best low-cost 3D printers for 2021

There’s a reason the Creality CR-10 V3 keeps popping up in our year-end ‘best of’ lists every year — it’s fantastic! (This includes our complete guide to the 20 best 3D Printers 2021.) This reliable, inexpensive 3D printer made by Creality is a great DIY 3D printer which we personally assembled and started printing on in well under an hour.

The original CR-10 proved hugely popular, edging out almost all printers in its sub-$500 price range. Since then, the Creality CR-10 V2 improved stability with the new triangular frame for better quality printing less affected by vibrations, and the newest edition, the CR-10 V3, upgrades to more powerful firmware and switches over to a direct drive extruder.

This bargain 3D printer prints layers as thin as 50 microns, and offers a huge build volume for the price, at 300 x 300 x 400 mm. This great build volume, as well as its good reliability and precision, has made it one of the most popular 3D printers for makers and hobbyists.

creality cr-10 v2

4 — Anycubic Mono X

For those looking for a low cost yet powerful resin printer with better quality than the Elegoo Mars range of the standard Photon Mono, the Mono X is the printer for you.

Firstly, it has a much larger print area — especially able to print far taller prints — so if you have a tool prototype or character to print, the Mono X can handle it no problem. Moreover, the Mono X features a powerful 8.9″ 4K screen — compared to a 2K LCD on the standard Mono — for incredibly crisp and smooth models for overall high quality prints.

The improved Z-axis makes for even smoother prints and you’ll barely be able to spot the layer lines in the model. It prints at up to 60mm/h, 3x faster than the original Photon printers, so printing larger models is no issue either. Overall, it’s one of the best resin printers under $1,000 and a great option as an affordable 3D printer.

anycubic mono x

3 — Prusa i3 MK3S+

This wouldn’t be a valid list without including the Prusa i3 MK3S+. The most successful and popular printer to emerge from the RepRap philosophy, the Prusa i3 sports a print volume of 250 x 210 x 200 mm, and weighs just over 6kg. For an extra $300, you can upgrade it with Prusa’s Multi Materal Upgrade Kit, allowing you to 3D print in up to 5 colors simulatenously!

Prusa 3D printers are meticulously designed to be as simple and effective to use as possible. Accurate up to a layer resolution of 50 microns, the Prusa i3 is a precise, cheap 3D printer which dominates its RepRap 3D printer competitors. You can either buy the Prusa fully assembled for around $999 or build your own for around $749.

It’s also fast, able to print at up to 200mm/s, and is famed for its reliability and durability. Beyond standard filaments like PETG, PLA and ABS, you can also print trickier materials like Polycarbonate. Overall, it’s the king of 3D printer kits, and the Prusa is simply marvelous.

best cheap 3d printer prusa i3 mk3s
Costing under $1,000, the Prusa i3 printers are some of the best cheap 3D printers around.

2 — Flashforge Creator Pro / Creator Max / Creator Pro 2

3D printer manufacturer Flashforge are well-known for making some of the best cheap 3D printers of the last few years, including the Adventurer 3, Finder, Hunter, and now the Creator Pro range. The newest versions, the Creator Pro 2 and Creator Max 2, expand into new territory: IDEX 3D printing.

Whereas the original Creator Pro already had dual extruders, they could not move independently. Now on the Creator Pro 2, two print heads each feature their own extruder so they can each print concurrently, offering a range of new applications and opportunities.

With a minimum layer thickness of 0.1mm, the Creator Pro 2 is fairly accurate for the price. Owing to the new IDEX 3D printing system, this cheap 3D printer has a slightly smaller print volume that the original Creator Pro, at 200 x 145 x 150 mm, though still easily enough for casual printing. The Flashforge Creator Pro is overall a consistent and reliable option for anybody looking for a dual extruder 3D printer.

flashforge creator pro 2

1 — Qidi Tech X-Max

The larger and more powerful bigger brother of the X-Pro, for just over $1,000 you get a budget 3D printer capable of printing tougher more industrial filaments.

Firstly, the larger 300 x 250 x 300 mm build volume means you can print multiple parts simultaneously, or just print much larger models without having to glue or assemble them afterwards. The large print area is enclosed in a strong and heavy metal frame, preventing any other factors or vibrations during printing from affecting print quality.

Moreover, as it’s enclosed, it can more effectively print tougher filaments like ABS, ASA, and Nylon — and since it can reach higher extruder temperatures, it can also print tougher abrasive filaments like PC and carbon fiber. This makes it a great low cost 3D printer for rapid prototyping.

The 5-inch touchscreen makes for quick navigation, and the ability to print over WiFi significantly speeds up your overall workflow. 

Overall, it’s a great reliable cheap 3D printer that offers so much for the price, with quality, reliability, and consistently all in abundance. 

qidi tech x-max great budget 3d printer

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