Who would’ve thought we could transform spools of plastic filament into physical objects in the convenience of our homes? Did you know that even NASA has a 3D printer on the International Space Station?
3D printing is being used and adopted by entrepreneurs, physicians, hobbyists, engineers, and students all across the globe.
If you compare it with the traditional manufacturing methods, it is far less expensive and time-consuming. Just as 3D printing has become an element of digital manufacturing transformation, it has also become an economic trend across the globe.
Some of us may still believe in the “low-price, poor-quality” concept. But the extensive features that the most budget 3D printers provide is almost unbelievable.
After thorough research over the years, our team has picked the seven best 3D printers under $300, keeping in mind aspects like printing technology, print bed, built volume, and performance.
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Top 7 3D Printers Under $300
3D Printer Type: MSLA | Layer Resolution: 10 microns | Materials: 405um resin | Build Volume: 115 x 65 x 165 mm | Printer Size / Weight: 220 x 200 x 400mm / 6.6 kg
The Creality Ender 3 Pro is quite a well-packaged 3D printer. It comes with a pretty good selection of tools that help in the DIY assembly of the printer. It has an extremely innovative design that integrates all the classic elements in an almost seamless manner.
I like that the Ender 3 Pro has an upgraded fan embedded in its frame that thwarts the excess heat off the printer and provides an excellent printing efficiency.
Researches also show that it has excellent mechanical properties, providing overall strength to the printer. It has a pronounced printing speed of 150 mm/sec.
Quite unlikely for the price range, the Ender 3 Pro uses pretty advanced technology in its making. The magnetic base plate ensures user safety by maintaining a consistent temperature throughout the operation. You can also remove the base plate for a better view of the print.
I somewhat like the Ender 3 Pro safety measures. It is shielded with Mean Well UL Certified power supply, which really saves the printer from unexpected power surges or even excess heating. It is a useful feature as it subsumes the printing time and keeps the printer going for a while even after a power outage.
Ender 3 Pro has excellent printing quality, which is mostly due to the 40 x 40 cm aluminum extrusion at its y-axis base. It works pretty well with a thick layer of 0.1-0.4 mm. It also solves our problem with printing edges. The magnetic sticker adheres to the platform much better than any textured paper and glue. It is even more cost-effective.
The resume print function is another excellent feature. The Ender 3 Pro can resume printing from the last recorded extruder position in case of a power cut.
3D Printer Type: LCD | Layer Resolution: 10+ microns | Materials: 405 nm resins | Build Volume: 120 x 68 x 155 mm | Printer Size / Weight: 195 x 195 x 405 mm / 15 lbs
Anycubic has forever been recognized for its reliable yet affordable printers. Speaking of which, the Anycubic Photon DLP 3D printer is no exception and has created some real buzz in the market. I also quite like the fact that it comes almost pre-assembled in its packaging.
The Anycubic Photon is a DLP printer that works on technology far apart from the most commonly known FDM. DLP or SLA 3D printers generally use liquid resins instead of metal or plastic filaments. They are often preferred over FDM, given the exceptional detailing.
You can avoid the issues of leveling with this printer due to the presence of dual rails along the z-axis. Moreover, the LED UV light significantly improves printing accuracy and resolution.
While the built volume is pretty small, it works well for smaller, detailed objects. You may have to consider a bigger printer for large prints.
I should also mention that I somewhat liked the overall customer care support too. Although a lot of users complain about chemical odor, this has been taken care of by Anycubic. It uses embedded air filters and dual fans to provide maximum ventilation and prevent chemical odor.
The Anycubic Photon has an adjustable and removable base plate, which shifts downwards or upwards if you feel friction or resistance while printing. It has an enabled touchscreen for manual specification stings to give it a techier aspect.
3D Printer Type: FFF | Layer Resolution: 0.05mm-0.4mm | Materials: PLA, TPU, ABS, PETG, nGen, INOVA-1800, HIPS, HT | Build Volume: 160mm x 160mm x 180mm | Printer Size / Weight: 58.4cm x 45.7cm x 53.3cm / 26.5lbs
The Elegoo Mars is both prolific and affordable, making it yet another exciting addition to the range of budget 3D printers.
The Elegoo Mars comes with a pretty appealing and decent built volume and design. It has a removable UV blocking lid that is both good and bad for the printer.
If you consider the removal process, it is a bit of a mess to completely pull out the lid whenever you want to access the resin tank.
This Elegoo printer is pretty accurate in resolution up to 0.000185 inches or 0.0047mm. I also like the smooth finish it gives to the canvas after print. If you’d like, you can further enhance your printing experience using a 40W UV light and ELEGOO resin.
This printer additionally has a 2650 x 1440 2K HD LCD, where you can improvise your printing like design your impression or even preview the print.
ELOGOO, too, has its proprietory software named CHITUBOX, which can slice a file of 30 MB with STL extension in just about a minute.
This printer comes with a 1-year warranty and a correctly labeled instruction manual mentioning the usage and assembly.
Specs to Consider for Your 3D Printer
Printing speed varies from one device to another. But, mostly, there are three different speed settings for 3D printers, 40-50mm/s, 80-100mm/s, and the fastest at 150mm/s.
Printing speed is not really the rule book for 3D printers. It often happens so that higher speed significantly affects the detailing and precision of 3D prints. So, a lower and consistent print speed should be good enough for all purposes, whether personal or commercial.
While looking for a 3D printer, I suggest you look at the materials that it supports. Plastic filaments use materials like ABS, PLA, whereas resin printers use liquid resin.
It entirely depends on what you want to print on and not just the material it supports.
Most people use FDM technology, as it is both cheap and does not involve too many complicated procedures. There are about nine printing technologies, but the most commonly used ones are SLA, DLP, and FDM.
Dual Filament Support
Not that everyone needs dual filament support, but if you need more than one roll at a time, you should get a dual filament printer. Also, frankly, it is really hectic to work with multi-colored spools of filaments if your work is creative.
Who doesn’t want more?
Having the latest technology and specifications never goes out of trend. So, if you are spending a considerable amount on a 3D printer, you might as well look for some additional features.
I would really like a 3D printer to have print resume functions, an excellent user interface, a good heated bed that retains temperature, and also some axis adjustability.
You may think, given the new-age technology in 3D printers, it should be nothing more than a cakewalk to operate them.
I will correct you here. No, it is not!
There are way too many printers that could turn your world around to think it was a mere waste of money. So, I’d suggest that if you are a beginner, go for a printer that’s for beginners too.
High-end or professional 3D printers require a massive amount of expertise and experience. You don’t really want to battle a device that is not made for you.
After reviewing these products, I feel the Creality Ender 3 Pro is one of the best for beginners. And if you are a professional, the Monoprice Select Mini is the perfect option in its price range.