- What is the best cheap 3D printer under $300?
- The 10 best cheap 3D printers under $300
- Overview of the best budget 3D printers under $300
- Buying guide for cheap 3D printers under $300
- What about all of the Prusa i3 clones?
- Methodology: how we selected the best affordable 3D printers under $300
- What about low-cost Kickstarter 3D printers?
What is the best cheap 3D printer under $300?
Finding a 3D printer on a low budget may prove to be challenging with the flurry of cheap 3D printers available on the market. So we scoured the web to find the 10 best cheap 3D printers under $300 and share our final selection in this article.
As in many industries, users are increasingly looking for affordable 3D printers and lately, we noticed a “race-to-the-bottom” trend where 3D printer prices are drivent down as a result of many startups and (mostly Chinese) manufacturers competing to make the cheapest 3D printers on the market. Low prices used to often be synonym with poor quality, however it’s no longer the case: the budget 3D printers in our list all provide a great value.
3D printers under $300 are typically not professional-grade machines and often require a good dose of technical knowledge and patience to be assembled and fine-tuned. Especially those coming as kits to be assembled are recommended for tinkerers, makers with 3D printing experience or entry-level users with a small budget (and a lot of patience!).
Here is a quick overview of which factors we based our list on:
- Under $300 and available (no crowdfunding projects)
- Metascore (our rating indexed from reliable sources)
- Community feedback
- Passes the YouTube test
After filtering through our comprehensive 3D printer database to get this list, we sorted the 10 best cheap 3D printers under $300 by metascore in the table below. Enjoy!
The 10 best cheap 3D printers under $300
|3D printer||Metascore*||Build volume (in mm)||Build||Price (MSRP**)||Buy|
|Qidi Tech X-One 2||4.6||140 x 140 x 140||Assembled||$279|
|Geeetech A10||4.3||220 x 220 x 260||Kit||$229|
|Creality Ender 3||4.2||220 x 220 x 250||Kit||$239|
|FlashForge Finder||4.2||140 x 140 x 140||Assembled||$299|
|Monoprice Select Mini V2||4.0||120 x 120 x 120||Assembled||$179|
|FLSUN Delta Kossel||3.9||Ø 180 x 300||Kit||$229|
|Anet A8||3.9||220 x 220 x 240||Kit||$179|
|Geeetech E180||3.8||140 x 215 x 130||Assembled||$299|
|Monoprice Mini Delta||3.4||110 x 110 x 120||Assembled||$159|
|XYZPrinting da Vinci Mini Wireless+||3.4||150 x 150 x 150||Assembled||$179|
*Metascore: rating based on indexed review scores from reliable sources
**MSRP: Manufacturer suggested retail price
Note: if you would like to get a full overview of the 3D printer market, you can use our 3D printer comparison engine. Our database includes over one thousand 3D printer models, all in different price ranges. If you’re willing to invest a bit more into a 3D printer, we also have a list of the 10 best 3D printers under $1,000.
The Qidi Tech X-One 2 is #1 in our ranking of the 10 best cheap 3D printers under $300.
Overview of the best budget 3D printers under $300
Best DIY 3D printer kits under $300
Full specs: Creality Ender 3
The FLSUN Delta Kossel is among the most famous Delta 3D printers under $300. It is based on the Kossel open-source design, part of the RepRap project. Delta 3D printers typically offer faster 3D printing than standard cartesian extrusion 3D printers and deliver accurate prints. This 3D printer is open source and can therefore be tweaked and upgraded at will. The latest version of the FLSUN Delta Kossel has been upgraded with many features including a heated bed, a double fan cooling system and an aluminum frame.
Full specs: FLSUN Delta Kossel
Full specs: Anet A8
Best assembled budget 3D printers under $300
Full specs: Qidi Tech X-One 2
Full specs: FlashForge Finder
Full specs: Monoprice Maker Select V2
Full specs: Geeetech E180
Full specs: Monoprice Mini Delta
Full specs: da Vinci Mini w+
Buying guide for cheap 3D printers under $300
Under $300, the only technology available is currently extrusion (FFF/FDM) 3D printing. Some resin 3D printers have been developed at prices under $1000, but they cost more than $300. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, since FFF/FDM technology is by far the less complicated and most user-friendly 3D printing technology.
Print quality highly depends on layer thickness and XY resolution; with our comparison engine it is possible to compare these characteristics side-by-side for different 3D printers. To learn more about different 3D printing technologies, here is a list of 3D printing technologies and processes.
Unassembled Anet A8 parts.
Pre-assembled 3D printers vs kits and DIY
Cheap 3D printers are often delivered as kits to be assembled– much like a well-known Swedish brand’s furniture. After assembly, even if it seems that everything has been perfectly put into place, there is still the possibility that the 3D printer will require further tinkering. Just one loose screw can generate messy prints, so it’s important to keep calm and not get frustrated!
DIY 3D printer kits can often be upgraded with 3D printed extra parts. 3D printer kits are great for learning more about how a 3D printer works- but they can be intimidating for newbies. This being said, we included a few pre-assembled 3D printers under $300 in our list, for those who don’t feel like drowning in anything too technical. Those are ready to print almost right out of the box.
Enclosed versus open frame
One must learn to tame 3D printers to get decent 3D prints, especially with open-framed machines. Many things can interfere with 3D print quality, such as ambient temperature and room drafts. For basic protection it is possible to add makeshift “walls”, with cardboard for example, around an open-framed 3D printer. Closed frame 3D printers protect the 3D printing process, prevent smelly fumes (yes, melted plastic unsurprisingly smells like melted plastic) and help reduce the 3D printer noise.
As one may assume, low prices lead to high volumes of 3D printers sold, which often translate into large and active user communities. This can be a good and a bad thing. The negative side to this is that manufacturers may not be able to handle many after-sales customer requests, so it is important to check out their website and comments to get a preview.
On a brighter note, help and frequently asked questions can be found on specialized forums and dedicated discussions groups for specific 3D printer models (there are plenty on Facebook). Our list of the best general 3DP communities provides extensive information about those forums and groups.
The build volume, or maximum size of a 3D print, is an important spec to consider. If the goal is just to discover and experiment with 3D printing then the build size isn’t too critical, unlike if specific parts need to be printed with certain dimensions. For those who are looking for bigger build sizes, we have an article on the 20 best large volume 3D printers.
3D print accuracy can easily be thrown off if the print bed is the teeniest bit lopsided. Some 3D printers offer automated bed leveling, but a lot of others require manual calibration. Manually making sure that the bed is perfectly leveled can be challenging and time-consuming but it is something that gets better with habit.
What about all of the Prusa i3 clones?
Methodology: how we selected the best affordable 3D printers under $300
All of the budget 3D printers listed in this article follow the criteria below.
Under $300 and available
As indicated in the title, these are entry-level 3D printers under $300; their cheap prices make 3D printing accessible to more consumers including schools. Most of them are available on Amazon, otherwise these 3D printers are purchasable directly via the manufacturer.
This is an essential factor- we index overall 3D printer review scores from four reliable sources (3DHubs, Pinshape, Amazon and Make:) to calculate a metascore.
To be included in our list, the 3D printers must be the subject of at least one reliable review on YouTube (similar to the reddit Youtube test). We feel that this is an important benchmark, as it is reassuring to see an actual person “proving” the existence of the 3D printer and demonstrating its capacities.
We selected 3D printers that have an active online community of users. We realize that it is hard to evaluate wether a brand is reliable or not. However, we get feedback from users, partners and 3D printing YouTube channels and websites, so we do our best to summarize these observations and incorporate them into our lists.
Opinions may change over time and not everyone has the same point of view, so we always recommend looking for information in Facebook groups, Google+ circles, proprietary brand forums, Reddit, etc. to avoid lonely despair in the 3D printing world. For starters we have a list of the best 3D printing forums.
What about low-cost Kickstarter 3D printers?
Top cheap Kickstarter 3D printer fails
3D printer startups tend to promise amazing products through expensive marketing campaigns to get as many pledges as they can. This is not an unusual goal, but when too much effort is put into advertising there is not much left for logistics, if the business model is not well prepared.
TIKO 3D Tiko
- Price: $199
- Amount pledged: almost $3M in March 2015
- Number of backers: 16,538
- What happened<: they simply promised too much for too little and found themselves left with no more funds to fulfill their orders. The first backers received their 3D printers, but many remained Tiko-less.
- More information: Tiko 3D Tiko
Rinnovated Design Peachy Printer
- Price: $100
- Amount pledged: over $650,000 after its launch in September 2013.
- Number of backers: 4,420
- What happened: one of the two founders embezzled about half of the Peachy Printer funds to build himself a house, forcing the company to lay-off its workers and collapse.
- More information: Rinnovated Design Peachy Printer
- Price: $300
- Amount pledged: just under $1.5M, and an additional $2M by private investors
- Number of backers: 3,520
- What happened: Pirate3D drowned in their initial success with too many products to deliver and not enough staff. They roguishly started to retail-sell their 3D printer before trying to own up to their backers (which they didn’t).
- More information: Pirate3D Buccaneer
For more videos, see our list of the best 3DP YouTube channels.
We hope that we have provided helpful information for anyone who wishes to leap into 3D printing without spending too much money, or for those who are simply curious about what is available on the market.
What is the best 3D printer for beginners?
The best choice of 3D printer for beginners is an assembled, plug-n-play 3D printer such as the da Vinci Mini w+ or the FlashForge Finder. Such 3D printers are easy to operate and offer a great first experience with 3D printing.
Best cheap 3D printer kit?
The best cheap 3D printer kit (to be assembled) is the Geeetech A10, with a metascore of 4.5/5 on Aniwaa. It is easy to assemble and offers great print quality and reliability.
Cheap 3D printer for sale?
There are plenty of affordable 3D printers for sale on Amazon, with prices starting under $200 for assembled 3D printer.
More 3D printing resources
- Want to invest a little more? Here are 15 low budget 3D printers under $1,000.
- Do you want to compare all existing 3D printers? Check out our 3D printers comparison engine, we have more than 1000 3D printers listed.
- Overall, what’s the best 3D printer on the market? Find out with our ranking of the best 3D printers in 2018.