The Top 7 3D Printers Under 1000 (2020 Update Reviews)

Just a few short years ago, finding a 3D printer that you could afford – much less fit on your desk – would have seemed like a pipe dream. 

Up until then, 3D printers tended to show up in industrial settings, and nowhere else. 

But as the technology has become more popular with regular folks, the price of new machines has dropped to meet this new market whilst the portability has increased in opposite proportions. 

Nowadays it isn’t uncommon to find 3D Printers under 1000 bucks.

Today we’re going to be looking at the best 3D printers the average person can afford. 

While we don’t all have $1000 sitting around to shell out on one of these machines, we’ve set that as our upper limit, and most of the machines cost a good deal less, whilst still maintaining good print quality.

Without further ado, here’s our list of easy to use variants!

Original Prusa I3 MK3S

Joseph Prusa is an inventor, hobbyist, (you guessed it!) founder of Prusa Research and creator of the Prusa i3 MK3S.

I’m going to preface this by saying that the MK3S is also our most expensive printer on the list, hitting (and exceeding, with tax included) the $1000 mark. 

However, for those willing to put in a little extra work, Prusa sells the kit version of this printer for significantly less

So that’s one to keep in mind!

What I love about this printer is the all-around quality of the machine. 

Prusa has built a name for himself as a real pioneer within the industry. 

More specifically, each new iteration combines feedback from the previous version – along with new technology and innovation – to create a product that’s objectively better than the last release.

Anyone at all familiar with tech knows how rare this is. 

We’ve all been disappointed with new phones, consoles, even electric razors, from companies we thought we trusted. 

But the seemingly exponential improvement of Prusa’s designs gives me a level of faith that’s pretty much unmatched across multiple industries.

The MK3S itself has some pretty awesome features. 

First and foremost, this thing is a beast. Too often stability and durability is overlooked for exciting new features, and you end up with a useless printer in the long run.

The printer is also quiet, and even comes with a patented “stealth mode”, allowing you to hang out in the same room without a good set of headphones. 

I can’t fathom how they managed to keep the process so quiet, while maintaining a faster speed than any other printer on the list.

Finally, the printer also introduces a new motherboard which senses shifting layers and missed steps in the 3D printing process. Which, when paired with the great speed and relative quiet of the machine, gives us one more reason to sing this MK3S’s praises.

As you can no doubt tell, there aren’t too many downsides to this machine. Overall, my biggest problem was the price, which is quite a bit higher than most 3D printing machines on the list. 

But, given how much you’re getting for the MKS3, I’m not complaining.

Also, the initial setup process – both on the physical and virtual side – really tested my patience. 

This is a precision machine and should be treated as such. That doesn’t make the tedious setup any less painful, but the payoff is definitely there if you’re willing to put in the sweat equity at the get-go.

What I liked about the Prusa i3 MK3S

  • Very quiet
  • Excellent speed
  • Strong, stable frame

What I didn’t like:

  • High price point
  • Long setup time

The Overall Takeaway

So this is our Editor’s Choice, meaning it was my personal favorite printer for under $1000. So as you can perhaps guess, I’d highly recommend this machine to just about anyone

Anyone who can afford it, that is.

Anyone serious about their 3D printing will be hard-pressed to find a better machine. But if you’re just getting started, or you aren’t too invested in 3D printing, definitely shoot for one of the cheaper options on the list.

Creality CR-10 V2 

China-based Creality 3D Technology Co has been around since 2014, and has made some great progress throughout the field since they burst on the scene. The company is quite prolific, producing many top-of-the-range printers for both industrial and desktop usage. 

My choice from their (long) catalog is the CR-10 V2, which finds the sweet spot between affordability and quality. 

To start, the original CR-10 had some issues with stability, but the redesigned V2 scrapped the original frame, and from my initial experience the new one is a lot better. 

Given this was the main issue with the original version – and that version still sold well and was generally well-regarded by other reviewers, the V2 has a lot going for it.

This thing is a workhorse. 

It’s advertised at 200 hours non-stop; I’ve come close to that a couple times, and I haven’t had any issues with filament clogging or otherwise. It’s hard to come by any machines that will outwork this one!

Beyond this, the biggest selling-factor for me was definitely its user interface. 

You can easily switch between filament colors and types, and the printer even has a feature that will resume your print job if the power goes off. 

I was skeptical about this last part, and tested it out for myself. Sure enough, the machine kicked back on and – after a slight delay – began where it had left off, without any errors.

The biggest issue I came across was the out-of-box assembly. While I didn’t have too much trouble with this myself – taking maybe twenty minutes altogether – it could be a potential pain point for less experienced users.

There are also some issues with the pre-loaded settings. They’re going to produce some lower-quality printing than you might want. 

Luckily, you can really improve the CR-10’s settings using tuned profiles found on the Reddit page.

What I liked about the Creality CR-10 V2

  • Solid price point
  • Excellent longevity
  • Improved stability

What I didn’t like:

  • Default settings are janky
  • Assembly can be tricky

The Overall Takeaway

The CR-10 V2 is the best overall printer for beginners, and there are a few reasons why.

First, it has a pretty easy user interface – poor interfaces can be a huge turn-off for people just starting to delve into the field. 3D printing can seem pretty daunting for people who don’t know much about it, and tricky UI isn’t going to do you any favors.

It’s also great because it’ll help introduce new users to the 3D printing community online, and the magic of open-source material. 

After all, you’ll need to tinker around with the settings, and using helpful online content will get you printing 3D in no time!

Artillery Sidewinder X1

A more recent addition to the field, Artillery hasn’t had the same time to improve their design as Creality or Prusa. 

So the fact that the Sidewinder is on this list should say something about the company.

Artillery has only been in the business since 2018…

but in that time they have established a solid reputation for themselves on the back of their first release; the Sidewinder X1. 

And it’s this debut product that makes me so excited to see what they’ll be cooking up for the next few years to come. 

What makes the Sidewinder such an excellent option is exactly what I mentioned earlier – a great price tag alongside some superior quality and design. 

Rookie companies often try to reinvent the wheel, resulting in some products that are amazing, and some that really fall a little flat.

Which is why I was really surprised when trying out the Sidewinder for the first time. 

If nothing else this 3D printer gave the immediate feeling of being designed with confidence and competence. 

And you can’t ask for much more than that.

To start, the Sidewinder is super easy to set up. 

From opening the box to starting my first job took just a couple minutes, and although you’ll need a bit of fine-tuning following your first projects, after a couple smooth runs you’ll be good to go!

The box also comes with several spare parts, including an extra nozzle. 

While it seems like a small advantage, having replacement parts can make your life a lot easier, especially given that they save you having to get in touch with the company, having parts specified, and shipped out, etc.

It also feels very solidly-built, unlike some of the more fragile machines on this list. 

As for the printing itself, you’re going to want to do some research on fine-tuning the machine before you plan anything too ambitious

However, once you’re through with that, the print quality is easily on par with the best machines on this list. Likewise, the print speed and volume are pretty remarkable, for a 3D printer in this price range.

But, like any other piece of tech, this one comes with its issues and quirks.

For one, the Sidewinder uses a ribbon cable, which seems initially helpful, but actually causes more issues than it remedies. 

Over the course of 3D printing, this cable can get jostled loose, potentially losing your connection or even shorting out your electronic systems. 

Luckily, there are some pretty easy fixes for this – including clips you can print.

And while this didn’t occur with my 3D printer, there are enough reports of bed warping that I should mention it here as well. 

In some cases, users have reported that their print bed was so badly warped that it impacted the quality of their prints, which could cause some long-term issues.

What I liked about the Artillery Sidewinder X1:

  • Solid price point
  • Excellent print volume
  • Easy UI

What I didn’t like:

  • Ribbon cables
  • Potential print bed warping

The Overall Takeaway

Though this machine isn’t a budget buy, per se, it is a lot less expensive than the first two machines on this list, while offering many of the same features – and some extras!

This machine is great for folks who are really getting into the field – and preferably have some experience with 3D printers already. After all, the machine does require some fine-tuning, which can get a little tiresome or confusing to people who are brand-new to the field.

Those who’ve been around for a while will be able to get the most out of the Sidewinder’s excellent build volume, and won’t have any trouble fronting the cable clips or other replacement parts.

Qidi Tech X Pro

Right out of the box you can tell you’re getting something different with the Qidi.

In the most literal sense, this 3D printer looks very different than the previous three on this list. Rather than being in the traditional “tower” form, the printer is cubic, and all of the 3D printing is completed inside the walls of the machine. 

But beyond the aesthetic looks of the Qidi, the intentions behind the machine felt a little different as well. 

When designing the Tech X Pro, it’s very clear that Qidi prioritized two things; print speed and print volume. 

As a result, some of the smaller, quality-of-life improvements in machines like the Prusa aren’t there. But as a result of this focus, the printer can really churn out finished prints. 

And the overall quality is through the roof.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. 

The first thing you should always look at is the price, and at $650 or therabouts, the Qidi is right around the middle of the pack for the 3D printers I looked at. You won’t break the bank on this one, but it’s enough bucks to make you do your research before buying.

For that very reasonable price, you’ll get a few standout features. 

Chief among these is the dual-extruder, which is a feature that’s normally reserved for very, very expensive machines. 

With this, you can print with multiple colors, materials, etc., really opening your world to some awesome possibilities

And while you might expect a drop-off in quality from Qidi, given how rare it is to see a dual-extruder in cheaper machines, this isn’t really the case. 

Overall print quality is still near the top of the list.

The Tech X Pro also comes with four very strong cooling fans. 

After a little research of my own, I’m pretty sure these are the biggest factors behind the machine’s insane print volume potential: the fans instantly cool the printing, speeding up the entire process. 

Finally, to round it off, the Tech X Pro had some of the easiest out-of-the-box assembly of any 3D printers on the list. The entire process took about 30 minutes, which is actually nothing when compared to some of the more finicky models. 

So where did the Tech X Pro fall short?

While the dual-extruder is still far better than it has any right to be – especially at this price – they both get clogged more than you might expect. I’m not certain what design flaw results in this, but it’s been irritating enough to mention.

Likewise, the magnetic base plate is a great idea, but was not implemented very well. It takes a bit more cleaning than usual, and can eat up more of your time with maintenance.

It’s also worth mentioning one of those missing quality-of-life features I mentioned earlier: noise prevention. 

This printer is loud. 

Really, really loud. 

This, combined with the potential for clogged extruders, means you’ll be dealing with a lot of noise, but you may not want to leave the room for too long while you’re 3D printing so you can keep a check on things.

What I liked about the Qidi Tech X Pro:

  • Dual extruders at a great price
  • Excellent cooling speed
  • Great print volume

What I didn’t like:

  • Extruders often clog
  • Fans are very loud

The Overall Takeaway

Ultimately, you should ask yourself whether you want a 3D printer with dual extruders. 

And if so, how much you’re willing to spend. 

This printer is absolutely the lowest price you can expect with two extruders, and it doesn’t compromise print quality as a result. 

But it does require some additional maintenance, which can be pretty irritating.

Monoprice Maker Ultimate

Monoprice makes just about everything – from outdoor gear to headphones, to, well, 3D printers. 

Which is one of the reasons I was so surprised by their Maker Ultimate 3D printer; it’s actually pretty damn good!

The printer is made with a dense metal frame

While this does make the machine heavier – post-unpacking and setup, the heft and durability is actually a big load off your mind. 

After all, you don’t want a machine that’ll shake itself apart or break quickly.

Setup was not the best, as this 3D printer can be tricky at first. 

However, if you’re not willing to persevere alone, the Monoprice tech support is top-notch, and they can walk you through any issues you have early on.

At the end of the day, this is the closest thing you’ll get to a real precision 3D printer at this price point, with excellent quality prints right out of the box

And with a little tweaking, you can improve your print resolution even further.

While the printer’s precision is probably its single best feature, it isn’t the only thing this machine has going for it. 

For instance, the Maker continues its all-metal theme by including a full-metal extruder, guaranteeing better performance and a longer lifespan for what is in effect the most important part of any 3D printer. 

Monoprice went one step further, too, and added anti-jam features that go a long way towards preventing filament hamming/ clogging.

And unlike the Qidi, the Maker is built with an open-airflow design, meaning the machine’s operations won’t cause uneven heating during the printing process. 

So you get all the stability of the four-corner design, with all the benefits of the open-air tower design.

But as usual, this isn’t a perfect machine, and I have quite few initial issues with this particular 3D printer – issues that keep it off the very top of my list.

To start, despite the all-metal extruder, there is a higher failure rate with prints from this machine than any other machine on the list. 

This, combined with the fact that the Maker isn’t the cheapest model on the list, is pretty problematic. After all, these machines are made to do one thing: print accurately and efficiently.

I’m not sure if the higher failure rate is linked to the better print details, or if it’s some unrelated design flaw. Either way, it can be extremely frustrating.

But that’s not all.

There are also some persistent issues with the fans, which have a nasty habit of jamming and/ or breaking. It’s possible to replace the fans that are included in the original 3D printer, but that’s not something most people would choose to deal with.

What I liked about the Monoprice Maker Ultimate:

  • Excellent details
  • Interesting design
  • Full-metal architecture and extruder

What I didn’t like:

  • Higher failure rate
  • Issues with the fan
  • Complex setup

The Overall Takeaway

I said it at the beginning, and I’ll say it again here: how important are the minute details?

With the Maker, you’ll be able to handle the most precise printing available within this price range, and for people who need this, the results may be worth the initial headaches. 

For everyone else… well, there are lots of other great machines on the list!

Anycubic Mega X

I had a very good first impression of the Mega X 3D printer, which I bought for a bit less than the average price on this list. 

Starting at the very beginning, the unpacking and assembly was easy. 

Like, really, really easy. 

All that’s required on the physical assembly side is a few screws, three cables, and then leveling your bed. 

You can finish this entire process in less than a half-hour, even if you’re pretty new to the field. 

The more 3D printers I use, the more importance I place on ease of use; if you’re new, you want to be able to figure out what’s going on, and if you’ve been printing awhile, you want to get right to it and not waste your time fixing tedious problems. 

Which is all to say that this 3D printer is very, very simple. 

From the first step, you feel like you’re in-control, and that’s important.

Also important: dependability. Whereas many of the other 3D printers on this list require near-constant maintenance and tweaking, this wasn’t at all the case with the Mega X. 

For instance, I carried the machine to a different room, and fully expected I would need to relevel the bed. 

On the contrary, it was completely level and I could get going on my next project straight away.

And when you do need to tweak something the Mega X is very, very accommodating. 

Levelling your bed is a piece of cake, as is cleaning your extruder – though you won’t need to do much of that either.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning again that the price of this 3D printer is super reasonable

It sits right between “cheap” and “mid-range” for me, and the quality of printing and ease of use makes this one of the best buys on the list.

So where did the printer fall short?

Well, it’s not completely fair, especially at this printer’s excellent price point, but the Mega X doesn’t really excel at any one category. 

It isn’t the fastest 3D printer on the list, it doesn’t produce the best details, it isn’t the cheapest, and it isn’t the most durable. 

It does have solid ratings in each of these departments, making it a jack-of-all-trades, but if you’re looking for any of these things specifically, there are better options.

There was also the issue of power-loss. The longer your job, the more likely you are to lose power at some point, and many 3D printers have installed some job-continuation features based on that. 

The Mega X doesn’t include any of these, so you may lose your project if you lose power.

What I liked about the Anycubic Mega X:

  • Very user-friendly
  • Quick and easy setup
  • Very reliable and sturdy

What I didn’t like:

  • Not the best in any category
  • Issues with power loss

The Overall Takeaway

This is the quintessential beginner 3D printer

If you’re just getting into the field, you’re going to have trouble finding a more accessible, better-quality 3D printer at this price.

The Maker X is easy to set up, and is pretty close to being capable of printing right out of the box. 

And it generally maintains its current state – meaning you don’t have to continuously tweak and adjust its features once they’re set.

Ultimately

…if you know what you want from a 3D printer, you can probably find a specialized printer that will outshine the Maker X in any given category. 

But if you’re just learning about the field, or want a good, utility 3D printer, you’ve found one right here!

The Best 3D Printer Under 1000

So you’ve made it this far (or maybe you just skipped to the end), you’ll know it’s time for me to unveil my #1 pick for 3D printers under 1000

If not, here it is again!

The Original Prusa i3 MK3S

To be honest, our last entry on the list gave the Prusa a run for its money. If your budget is any less than $1000, you could do a lot worse than the Maker X.

But at the end of the day, the Prusa is absolutely the gold standard for 3D printers, and its high price point is justified by the superlative quality of this 3D printer. 

Unlike the Maker X, the Prusa did excel in multiple categories.

Once everything is set up, configured and otherwise assembled, the Prusa effortlessly, silently, quickly and cleanly prints anything you want it to. 

As far as actual printing performance, this 3D printing powerhouse is off the charts!

True, its setup time left something to be desired. 

Pair that with its high cost, and you have a pretty demanding machine. 

But the effort you put into the Prusa will be paid back tenfold once you get rolling.

So there you have it: my personal list of the best budget 3D printers on the market today. 

We’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg for this field, and I’m plenty excited to see what companies like Prusa can put out in the next few years. 

We’re really entering a renaissance for this field, and it’s the perfect time to get started.

So go on, find the best 3D printer on this list, and start creating something innovative today!

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