You’ve long fantasized about 3D printers, but your eyes roll at the obnoxiously high prices.
You just wanna get on to making cool stuff, but you wonder – are there any affordable 3D printers that are actually any good? Or do I need to kidnap a person and get a ransom to pay for one?
No, don’t kidnap anyone!
We’ll tell you a legal way to get cool 3D printers for super affordable prices.
Whether that be a resin printer, a delta printer, or a standard FDM printer (don’t worry if you don’t understand the 3D printing gibberish, we will explain this later), we’ve reviewed the best budget 3D printers under $300.
Let’s jump straight in!
Table of Contents
- Top 7 3D Printers Under $300
- Buyer's Guide: Definitions
- And the Winner is…
Top 7 3D Printers Under $300
3D Printer Type: FDM | Layer Resolution: 0.1mm | Materials: PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU | Build Volume: 220 x 220 x 250 mm | Max Print Speed: 180 mm/s | Heated bed temperature: 110℃
This cool 3D printer has it all. It’s affordable, makes great prints, and is beginner-friendly. The Creality Ender 3 Pro is the complete package.
In spite of its affordability, the Ender 3 produces prints as good as 3D printers 3x its price.
However, you’ll have to tinker with the settings to dial it in. If you’re looking for a plug and play machine then skip the Ender and look at the next two options below. That said after your printer and software settings are dialed in, operating the printer is simple and straightforward.
One thing we like is the print bed is magnetic and can be removed easily after the 3D printing process. This bed is also flexible and you can remove prints without causing damage (just make sure you let the prints cool off though before removing them).
The Ender 3 Pro also comes with an open-source software (great for the nerdy among you) which you can tinker with to produce more intricate prints and complex prints. Not only that but you can add performance mods and quality of life upgrades to turn this little machine into a beast.
Speaking of little, the Ender 3 has a low-profile and can be set on almost any desk in your house.
If you hate installing or building stuff, then setting up the Ender can be frustrating. You may find it challenging to put the pieces together if you are mechanically disinclined. No problemo, check the video below to help help you step-by-step A-Z through the whole process.
You can’t go wrong with the Creality Ender 3; it is one of the best budget 3D printers under $300, and we recommend it to everyone, both beginners and experts alike.
3D Printer Type: FDM | Layer Resolution: 0.1mm | Materials: PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU | Build Volume: 280 x 240 x 300 mm | Max Print Speed: 180 mm/s | Heated bed temperature: 100℃
The Sovol is the lesser-known brother of the Ender Pro 3. But don’t let its lack of fame fool you. The SV01 is as good as the Ender 3, probably better in many ways.
You can make large prints, thanks to its build volume of 280 x 240 x 300 mm. This is more than that of the Ender.
The 3D printer comes 95% assembled. For newbies, this is fantastic – they can finish the setup in a jiffy. So for those daunted by the Ender 3 setup, get the Sovol.
The Sovol comes with a direct drive extruder (as compared to Ender’s Bowden). This is suited for flexible and abrasive filaments like TPU. Direct drive also prevents excessive stringing from occurring. But the downside of these extruders is that the print times are slower.
The glass bed of the SV01 allows for better sticking during operation as well as better removal once the process is done.
If your spouse is someone who is sensitive to noise and throws a hissy fit, hurling dishes at you at the speed of light, you may want to reconsider this one. The Sovol can be noisy due to its loud fans. We’re giving this word of warning, as we don’t want this article breaking up any relationships.
But if you can dodge flying plates like Neo or if you found the Sovol interesting, we wholeheartedly give a huge thumbs up to this.
3D Printer Type: FDM | Layer Resolution: 0.05-0.3mm | Materials: PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU | Build Volume: 210 x 210 x 205 mm | Max Print Speed: 150 mm/s | Heated bed temperature: 100℃
Does watching the 3D printing process feel like watching paint dry? Then get the Anycubic Mega S printer, which is the fastest cartesian 3D printer on this list. Also, if you want to produce prints in bulk then this printer is perfect.
This is a beginner-friendly machine that doesn’t require a lot of tweaks. You can assemble the Mega S with your eyes closed; the whole set-up should not take more than 20 min. The Mega S doesn’t budge due to its stable structure which prevents it from shaking. This helps produce great print pieces without any defects.
Just like the Sovol, parts stick to the bed surface easily and can be removed just as easily once the printer cools thanks to its unique Ultrabase coating. The extruder is excellent and it helps churn out quality prints.
Now a word of caution, if you want bigger prints, don’t get the Mega S. The print volume is less than that of the Ender or Sovol.
In short, The Mega S is a super affordable 3D printer perfect for you if impatience is a condition you struggle with, and want your prints printed quickly.
3D Printer Type: LCD | Layer Resolution: 0.1mm | Materials: 405um resin | Build Volume: 115 x 65 x 155 mm | Max Print Speed: 20 mm/h
On the lookout for a resin/SLA 3D printer under $300? The Anycubic Photon S 3D printer was made just for you.
SLA 3D printers (resin-based printers) produce higher-resolution prints than standard FDM 3D printers. And with the super affordable price, The Photon S is a steal.
The Anycubic comes armed with a unique matrix-based UV lighting system and a fantastic 2K resolution LCD screen. This combination of the two techs produces prints of exceptional quality. The printing is also faster compared to a standard FDM 3D printer.
If you are a beginner with no idea about 3D printers, don’t worry. The setup is easy and using the touch screen is intuitive.
While this resin 3D printer is cheap, the actual resin costs almost 10x the price of standard filaments. This is not the only downside to resin-based 3D printers – resin has limited color options compared to other FDM-based filaments. And while the Photon S comes with a filter, we found the immediate area still had a smell. We still recommend following best practices for handling the resin.
But don’t let all this scare you, the Photon S is one of the best resin budget 3D printers under 300. If you do plan to buy one, make sure you buy it directly from the Anycubic site so you can save over $100.
3D Printer Type: FDM | Layer Resolution: 0.1-0.3mm | Materials: PLA, ABS, Wood fill, PC, TPU, PVC | Build Volume: 255 x 255 x 260 mm | Max Print Speed: 100 mm/s | Heated bed temperature: 120℃
The Tronxy XY-2 is a relatively rare printer is one of the best 3D printers for beginners. The setup is easy (takes anywhere between 15-30 minutes), using the printer is a breeze, and it is cheap.
The XY-2 comes with a touchscreen that is easy-to-use and intuitive. Do you know how to use a computer? Then you can use this device.
With a build volume of 255 x 255 x 260 mm, you can make fairly large prints. This volume is more than that of the Ender and the Sovol.
Another fantastic feature of the Tronxy XY-2 is its auto bed leveling. A sensor measures 26 points on the bed to check to see if it’s leveled or not. In case it isn’t, the interface shows you which of the knobs need to use to level the bed. The whole process is so much easier than manual leveling of the Creality Ender 3 Pro and the Sovol SV01.
Unfortunately, this 3D printer can be a noisy Nancy. If you want your printer to be a good, quiet little printer, then you may want to adopt another one.
Additionally, the print quality isn’t the best (many other 3D printers in this list make better prints). And the print surface isn’t good, removing prints can be troubling.
But that said we definitely recommend the Tronxy XY-2 for someone just starting on their 3D printing journey.
3D Printer Type: LCD | Layer Resolution: 0.01-0.02mm | Materials: 405um resin| Build Volume: 129 x 80 x 160 mm | Max Print Speed: 30-50 mm/h
Are you a nerd with a love for miniatures or action figures?
Then the Mars 2 Pro is a surprisingly affordable 3D printer that can print amazing figures at a criminally low price.
The Mars 2 makes prints with fine details. The resolution is 0.05 mm for the XY-axis and 0.00125mm for the Z-axis (as compared to Tronxy’s 0.1 mm resolution). This means the print quality is excellent.
If your ears might have suffered under machines like the Tronxy and the Sovol, it will let out a sigh of relief with the Mars 2. This is a quiet, little machine that just does its job without the whining.
The previous iteration of the Mars 2 Pro (Mars Pro) came with a layer curing time of 6 seconds. But the Mars 2 has a curing time of 1-2 seconds. So the printing is superfast. This is due to the monochrome LCD which lets through a greater intensity of Ultraviolet Light. In addition, LCD has almost 10x the lifetime of the Mars LCD.
The Mars 2 Pro also has a better build plate compared to the Mars Pro which we’re thankful for is it massively improves upon the printing experience.
Now a danger with resin-based printers is that the odors aren’t safe to inhale or touch. They can cause irritation to your lungs. In the long term, if your skin comes in contact with these resins, you can develop an allergy. Fortunately, the Mars 2 Pro has a built-in carbon filter which we noticed made any volatile odor go away.
The Mars 2 is a fantastic resin 3D printer for those who are kids at heart and have a passion for superheroes, tabletop gaming, comic book characters, and anime. You can create your favorite miniatures and characters in the comfort of your house.
3D Printer Type: Delta FDM | Layer Resolution: 0.1mm | Materials: PLA, ABS, PETG| Build Volume: 200 x 200 x 200 mm | Max Print Speed: 300 mm/s | Heated bed temperature: 110℃
Delta 3D printers are known for their speed of printing. They are faster than standard FDM 3D printers. And just check out the printing process on Delta printers.
In fact, a lot of people actually buy these printers because it is fun to sit back and watch a Delta 3D printer in action. It brings forth in you a certain appreciation and love for technology.
The FLSUN Q5 (why do these 3D printers have such weird names??) has a solid construction quality. It is a great budget 3D printer under 300 which is sturdy, which helps keep the machine stable when printing at high speeds.
The setup is easy and it takes about 30 minutes to set the whole thing up. You just need to fix a few screws, attach a few wires, and presto – your printer is good to go.
As you’ve seen before no 3D printer is perfect, and this one comes with its own set of flaws.
The build volume is pretty small (200x200x200), and this means that you cannot make large prints. The build volume is one of the smallest in this list, by quite a big margin.
The print quality is good- though not as good as that of the Ender 3 Pro. But it is faster as well as more affordable.
And lastly, it’s loud, with the sound at around 50 db, which is almost the same decibel volume as 2 people talking in a room. So this may be something to keep in mind.
But if you are looking for a delta 3D printer, look no further; the FLSUN Q5 is one of the best 3D printers under 300.
3D Printer Type: Dual Extruder FDM | Layer Resolution: 0.1mm | Materials: 4ABS, PLA, Wood polymer, PVA, HIPS, PETG | Build Volume: 220 x 220 x 260 mm | Max Print Speed: 120 mm/s | Heated bed temperature: 100℃
Have you been longing for a dual extruder, but your heart was let down by the cost? Or are you tired of monochromatic prints and you want a little color? Then you’ll adore the Geeetech A10M (see, yet another weird-sounding name), the best 3D printer under 300 for multi color prints.
Dual-extruders have several benefits compared to single-extruder 3D printers.
For one, you can switch printing material on the fly. A single extruder does not allow for this.
Secondly, you can create truly creative pieces that cannot be made on any other printer than the Geeetech A10M. You can make a model that is compact in some areas and flexible in others. For example, you can make a horse that has a sturdy compact face and flowing flexible hair.
The other cool thing about the Geeetech A10M is that you can print soluble supports that can be removed easily. The problem with supports on single extruders is that when you remove them, they can leave marks on the print surface. These marks need to be removed through post-processing to make the print look smooth, without blemishes.
However, with the A10m you can make a print using PVA as supports. These supports can be removed easily by dissolving them in water of 60°C. It is quite miraculous, you won’t see any evidence of the supports later.
With the A10M your whole model can be printed in whatever color you fancy. For example you can mix red and white in a certain ratio to make yellow. So with just 2 colored filaments, you can create a whole range of colors.
What’s bad about the printer is that the dual-extrusion has a steep learning curve, so it may take a while to fully unleash your creative genius and tap into the full capability of this machine.
Also, the fact that you need 2 filaments means that your expenditure is going to increase. So make sure your wallet is ready to handle this 3D printer, it’s a high-maintenance damsel.
Buyer's Guide: Definitions
The 3D printing market can be a confusing place, and so below are some explanations of the 3D printing terminologies to help you in making the right purchasing decision.
FDM vs SLA (Resin)
What’s with all these mumbo jumbo words?
Well FDM stands for Fused Deposition Modelling. In this type of printer, the heated filament (plastic) is deposited layer by layer to create a 3D print. FDM 3D printers in this list are:
- Ender 3 Pro
- Sovol SV01
- Anycubic Mega S
- Tronxy XY-2
- FLSUN Q5
SLA is short for Stereolithography Apparatus. Prints are built layer by layer using a liquid resin, which hardens by applying UV or focused light. These 3D printers include:
- Anycubic Photon S
- Elegoo Mars 2 Pro
The prints are constructed on the surface of the print bed. The bed is usually made of aluminum or glass.
Aluminum beds heat faster but are more susceptible to warping. Glass beds take longer to heat but they have several advantages. They are easy to clean, they are flat (which helps in better print quality), and they give your prints a smooth shiny surface.
The larger the build volume, the bigger you can make your prints. But a larger build volume also means the 3D printer is large. So make sure you have enough space on your table if you decide to purchase a printer with a larger volume.
The extruder is the portion of an FDM 3D printer that releases the filament to make the print. The extruder can be a Bowden or a direct drive type.
There are also dual-extruders that use two filaments instead of one when 3D printing. The benefits of a dual-extruder are that you can print support filaments, print in more than one color, and print similar small parts simultaneously.
You probably have come across different filament types throughout the article. We’ll give a quick description of each of them.
- ABS filament – This is the most common filament used in 3D printing. It is tough, impact-resistant, and moderately flexible.
- PLA – This filament is usually made from corn-starch and sugar cane. These are the safest filaments to handle.
- TPU – Thermoplastic polyurethane is an elastic polymer. It is very flexible and has high durability. Perfect for creating objects that require flexibility.
- PETG – This is a variant of PET commonly used in plastic bottles. These plastics are sometimes preferred because they don’t release odors during printing and are recyclable.
- Resin – This is a liquid photopolymer that uses hardens upon contact with a light source such as UV. It has similar properties to ABS.
And the Winner is…
So which is the best 3D printer under 300?
For the geeky among you, we recommend the ELEGOO Mars 2 Pro, so you can fill your house with action figures.
For those that want the best overall budget 3D printer that just gets the job done we suggest the Ender 3 Pro.
If you’re too cool and don’t want a mainstream 3D printer, but still want something super effective, then you will love the Sovol SV01.
For those looking for the best resin/SLA 3D printer, the Anycubic Photon S is a steal for its incredible value.
The 3D printing newbies among you will feel at home with the easy-to-use Mega S.
If you fancy a delta 3D printer, then the FLSUN Q5 is a great choice.
And finally, the Geeetech A10M is the best 3D printer under 300, if you want your prints to be a little more colorful.