Looking for the best 3D printer under $500?
We have just the ticket here in our clever guide.
Though they’ve been around for a couple of decades now, 3D printers have only just reached the point where the average Joe can own his own.
After all, for many years, these machines were far too large and too expensive to fit into someone’s home or office setup.
But that’s no longer the case!
As you’ve seen in our other list, there are plenty of 3D printers out there for less than $1000, putting them within a reasonable price range for serious hobbyists and creators.
Still, that kind of money is definitely pushing it for people who aren’t yet invested in the field. $700-800 is still a chunk of change for someone who isn’t sure about the whole 3D printing concept, much less ready to dive in headfirst.
What if you could go even lower?
Table of Contents
- Top 3D Printers Under $500 At A glance
- 1. Artillery Sidewinder X1 (Best Value)
- 2. Creality CR-10S (Best for Large Volumes)
- 3. QIDI Tech X-Pro (Best Dual-Extruder)
- 4. Anycubic Mega X (Best All-Round)
- 5. FlashForge Finder (Best for Educational Use)
- 6. Anycubic Photon S (Best Resin 3D Printer)
- 7. Anet A8 Plus (Best DIY Kit 3D Printer)
- 8. FLSUN QQ-S (Best Delta 3D Printer)
- 9. Original Prusa Mini + (Best Miniature 3D Printer)
- 10. Anycubic Chiron
- My Top Pick
- Wrapping Up
Top 3D Printers Under $500 At A glance
II’ll be taking a look at some of the top 3D printers on the block, all of which cost less than $500. From there, you can figure out which will be best for your needs – whether you’re giving it as a present, looking to upgrade from your first affordable 3D printer under $300, or hoping to kickstart your 3D printing operation, or just trying to find out what all the fuss is about.
Let’s get started!
1. Artillery Sidewinder X1 – Best Value
2. Creality CR-10S – Best For Large Volumes
3. QIDI Tech X-Pro – Best Dual-Extruder
4. Anycubic Mega X – Best All-Round
5. FlashForge Finder – Best For Educational Use
6. Anycubic Photon S – Best Resin 3D Printer
7. Anet A8 Plus – Best DIY Kit
8. FLSUN QQ-S – Best Delta 3D Printer
9. Original Prusa Mini + – Best Miniature 3D Printer
10. Anycubic Chiron
Build volume: 300 x 300 x 400 mm | Layer Resolution: 0.1 mm/s | Print Speed: 150 mm/s | Printing FIlament: PLA, ABS, TPU, Flexible Materials | Printing Software: Cura/Repetier-Host
Artillery is well-known for making reliable and generally cost-efficient 3D printers, and the Sidewinder X1 is no exception. This 3D printer falls into the “tried and true” category, which is usually the safest bet when you’re shopping for something with a lower price tag.
What I liked best about this 3D printer were its reliable performance and excellent flexibility.
That said you’ll might have to play around with the slicer settings to get the most out of print quality. The key is matching the filament setting with the slicer. And bed temp, extruder temp, and print speed.
Once I matched the settings then I didn’t have stringing and surface artifacts. And once dialed in, print quality is top notch.
This 3D printer can handle a solid output – maxing out at 150mm/s – while remaining comparatively quiet.
That second part is one often overlooked by people interested in 3D printers. A loud 3D printer can dominate your space, making it difficult to concentrate even if you’re in the other room. On the other hand, more expensive 3D printers often come with sound-dampening features.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find another 3D printer that fuses quality and affordability quite like the Sidewinder X1.
Build volume: 300 x 300 x 400 mm | Layer Resolution: 0.1-0.4 mm/s | Filament diameter: PLA, ABS, TPU, Wood, Carbon fiber | Print Speed: 200 mm/s | Printing Software: Cura/Repetier-Host
So I cheated on this one a bit, but bear with me…
The CR-10S normally falls outside of this range, but Amazon has been offering a special that really drops the price on this 3D printer. Until they change the price back, I’ll still count my chickens.
Besides, like many things you buy, a 3D printer’s quality isn’t always entirely in line with its price. I was excited to see if this would be the case with the 10S.
Truth be told, you do feel like you’re dealing with a higher-priced 3D printer when you get started with the Creality.
Setup is a breeze, and at 200mm/s max print speed, this machine even outperforms the solid Sidewinder.
Likewise, it can print with everything the Sidewinder could handle… and more.
So for its current listed price, this is one the best-value machines out there.
Build volume: 230 L x 150 W x 150H mm | Layer Resolution: 100-500 micron | Filament diameter: PLA, ABS, TPU | Print Speed: 60mm-150mm/s | Printing Software: Cura/Repetier-Host
Our first dual-extruder on the list, the X-Pro has a unique design that sets it apart from many other 3D printers I looked at.
Typically, dual-extruders come with a much higher price tag, so it was surprising it even made this list.
However, the X-Pro has a lot going for it, despite its status as a budget printer. It has a reasonable build speed, maxing out at 150mm/s. It can also handle all of the same materials as the Sidewinder, with the added convenience of PETG compatibility.
Which is not to mention that the dual-extruder design lets you print in two colors – or with two distinct printing materials.
Build volume: 300 x 300 x 305 mm | Layer Resolution: 20-100 mm/s | Filament diameter: PLA, ABS, HIPS, TPU etc.| Print Speed: 60mm-150mm/s | Printing Software: Cura
The Anycubic Mega X 3D printer has a lot going for it.
While it doesn’t redefine everything we know about 3D printers, it still handles most of the fundamentals pretty gracefully.
Its design is reliable, sturdy, and efficient, which is a lot to ask for an under-500 price-point.
In particular, I liked how accessible this 3D printer was. Between comparatively simple software and a perfect setup process, the entire operation was much more painless than almost any other 3D printer on this list.
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.
Add in the fact that leveling your bed is a piece of cake, as is cleaning your extruder – though you won’t need to do much of that either.
Build volume: 140 x 140 x 140 mm | Layer Resolution: 100-500 microns | Filament diameter: PLA| Print Speed: 40mm-200mm/s | Printing Software: Flashprint
As you can see from all the 3D printers on this list already, there’s plenty of great printing to be done on a budget! But for some people – especially students and folks who are really just testing the water – something much less than $500 might be the best option.
That’s where the FlashForge Finder comes in…
Well under $500, this 3D printer can still compete with some of the best products on my list.
In particular, its max print speed is 200mm/s, which is up there with more expensive machines. It also comes with a nifty auto-leveling system that is usually reserved for significantly more expensive machines.
Build volume: 115 x 65 x 165 mm | Layer Resolution: 0.04 mm/s | Filament diameter: 406mm UV resin| Print Speed: 20mm-H max | Printing Software: Photon S workshop
Our first real resin printer, the Photon S, is both affordable and reliable. By far, it’s the best 3D printer I looked at when it comes to 3D printing miniatures, which is one of the go-to reasons for getting a resin 3D printer in the first place.
What I liked about this 3D printer was its ease of use right out of the box, and that leveling was a generally painless process.
The print quality is also off the charts for this machine, giving you some of the best minute details out there and making it stand out from other 3D printers under 500 notes.
Build volume: 220 x 220 x 240 mm | Layer Resolution: 0.1-0.3 mm/s | Filament diameter: ABS / PLA / HIPS| Print Speed: 120 mm/s | Printing Software: Cura, Repetier-Host
DIY 3D printers tend to cost quite a bit less than their pre-assembled counterparts.
And there’s a good reason for that: assembling a printer can be an intimidating, frustrating and time-consuming process.
However, once you’re up and running, it’s usually worth the effort.
The Anet 8 Plus 3D printer is an excellent example of why you should consider DIY 3D printers: it comes in at a very reasonable price and can hold its own in most of the essential specs. In particular, this printer has a really solid heat bed design, which creates very even heating across the entire surface.
Build volume: 260 x 260 x 320 mm | Layer Resolution: 0.05-0.4 mm/s | Filament diameter: PLA / ABS / HIPS / Wood / PVA | Print Speed: 30 – 300 mm/s | Printing Software: G-Code, OBJ, STL
Internationally, delta-style 3D printers have begun to define the market.
However, on the US side of things, cartesian styles are still the most popular by far, which was why I was pretty excited to try out the QQ-S, a delta printer that I’d heard some good things about.
Overall, you’re going to get all the benefits of a delta printer with the QQ-S.
This includes being able to handle taller objects, which can unlock some fabulous new creations.
At a max print speed of 300mm/s, this printer is head-and-shoulders above any of the other best 3D printers under 500 on the list as well. However, this does come with the downside of being a bit louder than you might expect from other 3D printers on the list. Also, be very aware of the fact that this 3D printer is not initially compatible with American power outlets, so you will need an adapter,
Build volume: 180 x 180 x 180 mm | Layer Resolution: 0.05-0.25 mm/s | Filament diameter: ABS / PLA / ASA / PETG / Flex| Print Speed: 200mm/s | Printing Software: Cura, Repetier-Host
Prusa has made its name as the gold standard for modern 3D printing technology, and there’s a good reason for that.
Their Original Prusa, in fact, is one of my favorite printers of all time, though it’s much too expensive to make it on this list. Luckily for all of us, their miniature version of the Original does fall below the $500 threshold.
This printer has a lot to offer, despite its considerably smaller build volume. It’s a very quick printer, able to handle up to 200 mm/s, which I always favor for anyone interested in longer print projects.
Another great advantage of the Prusa Mini is its ability to handle a wide variety of different filaments (ABS / PLA / ASA / PETG / Flex), which gives you the option to handle a ton of different projects.
Build volume: 400 x 400 x 450 mm | Layer Resolution: 0.05-0.3 mm/s | Filament diameter: PLA / ABS / HIPS / Woods / TPU| Print Speed: 100mm/s | Printing Software: Cura (old version)
Anycubic has a couple of excellent 3D printers in this range, including the Chiron.
The Chiron is their largest, with a bigger print volume (400 x 400 x 450mm) than any of their Mega printers (including the Mega X).
If you want to print big then check out our best large format 3D printers review.
Beyond its humongous print volume, this 3D printer is an excellent machine for beginners, featuring an easy setup, auto-leveling capabilities and one of the best print beds available on the market today.
Given how many issues tend to arise from the print bed, this particular feature sets the Chiron apart from most of the other affordable printers on this list.
While the majority of these printers have serviceable beds, none have the excellent balance of grip strength and immediate release of the Chiron’s Ultrabase Pro.
Awesome development from Chiron…
My Top Pick
So there you have it – my impressions of some of the best 3D printers under $500 on the market. But in all of my research, was there one particular printer that stood out from every other printer on the list?
There sure was!
What was my best 3D printer under 500 bucks?
The Anycubic Mega X 3D printer was absolutely the best value of any printer on the list for its incredibly affordable price. Here’s a bit more about this printer and why it made such a great impression on me.
If you’re into 3D printing miniatures and gaming terrain then the Anycubic Photon S is for you.
Starting at the very beginning, the unpacking and assembly for this printer were 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 3D 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 critical: 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.
Leveling 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 3D printing and ease of use makes this the best buy on the list.
So there you have it: our best 3D printers under 500 bucks.
3D printing in a nutshell – all without breaking the bank!
And while these 3D printers may not be decked out with all the fantastic features you’d find in more expensive models, any of the printers on this list can compete with models way above their pay grade.
Depending on what you had in mind, you’ll likely find what you’re looking for on this list. From there, your imagination is the limit of course!
Good luck and happy printing!