HomeBest of3D printersBest 3D printer under $500: buying guide and selection
3D printers
Best Of

Best 3D printer under $500: buying guide and selection


If you’re not willing to splurge over $500 on a 3D printer, but looking for better quality than the cheapest ones on the market, then you’re in the right place! Here’s our buying guide for you to find the best 3D printers under $500 (and over $300).

What’s the best 3D printer under $500?

When you’re looking for the best 3D printer under $500, it can be difficult to know where to start. The rise in popularity of 3D printing means there are more options to choose from than ever before, which makes finding a good cheap 3D printer increasingly difficult.

Printers in this class all have a few things in common besides their price point and are typically geared towards new users looking to buy their first machine for home use. All are quite capable with PLA filament, have heated printing beds, and a similar set of tech specs as well.

Additional features and build quality are what separates the best from the rest in this class, and our guide will help you find the perfect 3D printer to suit your needs. We’ve listed some of the top-rated 3D printers using FFF/FDM (fused deposition modeling) technology.

Desktop 3D printers under $500

3D printerRating*Build volumePrice**Buy
Qidi Tech X-Smart4.7/5165 x 145 x 150 mm$399See offer
Creality Ender 54.4/5220 x 220 x 300 mm$349See offer
Creality CR-10 mini4.3/5300 x 220 x 300 mm$306See offer
TEVO Tornado4.3/5300 x 300 x 400 mm$339See offer
Creality CR-104.3/5300 x 300 x 400 mm$399See offer
Artillery Sidewinder X14.3/5300 x 300 x 400 mm$449See offer
JGAURORA A5S4.1/5305 x 305 x 320 mm$399See offer
Creality CR-10S4.1/5300 x 300 x 400 mm$459See offer
Geeetech A20M4.0/5255 x 255 x 255 mm$399See offer
Monoprice Voxel4.0/5150 x 150 x 150 mm$399See offer
This table represents our selection of some of the top rated 3D printers available between $300 and $500. They are listed by rating, from highest to lowest.

*Rating: user review score on Amazon at the time of publishing this article.
**Price: prices may change over time and/or from one country to another (shipping, taxes, etc.).
Note: We haven’t tested all of the 3D printers in this list. For more information on our methodology, see how we work.

Overview of the best budget 3D printers under $500

Below you'll find more details about each printer.

Qidi Tech X-Smart best 3d printer under 500

Qidi Tech X-Smart

  • Rating: 4.7/5
  • Build volume: 165 x 145 x 150 mm
  • Price: $399

Buy

The X-Smart 3D printer from QIDI technology is an interesting option for consumers that want a small but capable machine for their home. The CNC machined aluminum frame provides stability and their new extruder is designed to keep your prints cool, whether you’re printing with PLA, ABS, or PETG filament.

Other highlights of the X-Smart include a removable metal print plate, a 3.5-inch touch screen, and Wi-Fi connectivity. The enclosed build area is a major bonus for home use as well. This printer comes with a 6-month warranty and has solid customer support but a smaller online community compared to other brands.

More information: Qidi Tech X-Smart


Creality Ender 5 large cheap 3D printer

Creality Ender 5

  • Rating: 4.4/5
  • Build volume: 220 x 220 x 300 mm
  • Price: $349

Buy

Creality produces a wide range of affordable 3D printers, and the Creality Ender 5 is one of our favorites. This high-precision machine’s heated bed is fixed on the Z-axis, and the open metal frame design will allow you to upgrade or alter parts with ease.

The Ender 5 can hit speeds of up to 180 mm/s, and the Y-axis with dual shaft is another feature not commonly found on machines in this class. You won’t get automatic bed leveling on this model, but the bed is magnetic, and it’s a solid upgrade over the popular Ender 3 overall.

More information: Creality Ender 5


Creality CR-10 mini 3D printer for beginners

Creality CR-10 mini

  • Rating: 4.3/5
  • Build volume: 300 x 220 x 300 mm
  • Price: $305

Buy

The Creality CR-10 mini is another low-cost 3D printer from Creality and an excellent choice for beginners. Despite its moniker, the build volume is impressive at 300 x 220 x 300 mm. It also comes with all the standard features you’d expect, including auto-resume, a heated bed, and a memory card slot.

This high-speed printer can handle PLA with ease and has a heated bed with a maximum temperature of 100°C. While it shares plenty of similarities with the full-size CR-10, the mini is a bit sturdier due to newer parts used in the build.

More information: Creality CR-10 mini


TEVO Tornado desktop 3D printer cheap

TEVO Tornado

  • Rating: 4.3/5
  • Build volume: 300 x 300 x 400 mm
  • Price: $339

Buy

The TEVO Tornado is a direct competitor to the Creality CR-10. It’s another large, aluminum frame 3D printer with an ample amount of build space, but the all-metal E3D hot end allows this machine to reach a higher range of temperatures.

ABS, PETG, Carbon Fiber, and other composites are compatible with the Tornado along with PLA. We also think the Titan extruder and AC-powered heat bed are also noteworthy advantages of this user-friendly machine.

More information: TEVO Tornado


Creality CR-10 best-seller 3D printer under $500

Creality CR-10

  • Rating: 4.3/5
  • Build volume: 300 x 300 x 400 mm
  • Price: $399

Buy

The second budget 3D printer from Creality is the CR-10. This sturdy, well-built printer has an aluminum extrusion frame and V-slot wheels. It’s stable, and prints quietly with a large build area measuring 300 x 300 x 400mm.

This easy to assemble printer has a Bowden extruder and separate control box but is better suited towards PLA due to temperature limitations. It’s also one of the quicker machines to make our list with a top speed of 200 mm/s.

More information: Creality CR-10


Artillery Sidewinder X1 3D printer for beginners and affordable

Artillery Sidewinder X1

  • Rating: 4.3/5
  • Build volume: 300 x 300 x 400 mm
  • Price: $449

Buy

Artillery produced an eye-catching 3D printer with the Sidewinder X1. This belt-driven system has a clean design and a synchronized Dual Z system, which increases stability. The AC heat bed can reach 80°C in 2 minutes and comes with thermal runaway protection built-in.

The Artillery Sidewinder X1 is quieter than other printers in this range thanks to ultra-quiet stepper drivers. It’s one of the best 3D printers for beginners as it’s easy to use with a small touchscreen and incredibly easy to assemble as well.

More information: Artillery Sidewinder X1


JGAURORA A5S cheap 3D printer 500 $

JGAURORA A5S

  • Rating: 4.1/5
  • Build volume: 305 x 305 x 320 mm
  • Price: $399

Buy

From the 32-bit mainboard to the sleek design of the machine itself, there’s a lot to like about the JGAURORA A5S. The tidy nature of this 3D printer makes it an ideal choice for younger makers, and it’s extremely easy to assemble.

One highlight of this budget 3D printer is the 2.3” touchscreen, although filament run-out detection and power failure protection are included as well. We’re also fans of the clean cable system and the Black Diamond Glass heated platform.

More information: JGAURORA A5S


Creality CR-10S desktop 3D printer good cheap

Creality CR-10S

  • Rating: 4.1/5
  • Build volume: 300 x 300 x 400 mm
  • Price: $459

Buy

The Creality CR-10S is an interesting variant of the company’s popular CR-10 3D printer. While it’s just as reliable and comes with a heated bed and glass plate, this machine has double T-type screws that keep things running smoothly when printing at higher speeds.

The biggest advantage of this budget 3D printer is the filament sensor, however, and the auto-resume feature. Beginners will appreciate those features along the build volume and price point on this 3D printer.

More information: Creality CR-10S


Geeetech A20M good quality cheap 3D printer

Geeetech A20M

  • Rating: 4.0/5
  • Build volume: 255 x 255 x 255 mm
  • Price: $399

Buy

The Geeetech A20M is the most interesting machine to make our list of the best budget 3D printers considering it’s the only printer in this range that can print with multiple colors. That comes courtesy of a unique hot end, which allows you to print with single, dual, mixed or graded color.

Printing with dual colors opens the doors to new possibilities, but it’s not the only reason the A20M is a fan favorite. This low-cost desktop 3D printer has a filament detector, auto-resume, and the board is coded to accept auto-leveling sensors out of the box.

More information: Geeetech A20M


Monoprice Voxel top rated 3D printer under $500

Monoprice Voxel

  • Rating: 4.0/5
  • Build volume: 150 x 150 x 150 mm
  • Price: $399

Buy

If you want an enclosed printer in this class, the options are limited. The Monoprice Voxel is one of the few machines that is fully enclosed, and it has several other cool features that make in an option for the best 3D printer for under $500.

Auto-leveling and an auto-feed system for the filament are two reasons beginners will love this printer. Plus, it comes fully assembled. The flexible build plate is also removable, and the machine can pause prints when filament gets low. While it does have a smaller build volume than other printers in this range at 150 x 150 x 150 mm, it’s hard to argue with the features the Voxel brings to the table.

More information: Monoprice Voxel


Best 3D printer under $500 Prusa i3 MINI Original Prusa Research

Special mention: Prusa Research Original Prusa MINI

  • Rating: –
  • Build volume: 180 x 180 x 180 mm
  • Price: $349
For now, we haven’t included this printer in our main selection because it doesn’t have a rating yet. That said, Prusa Research is one of the most popular 3D printer manufacturers in the maker community. It was founded a few years ago by the creator of the original, open-source Prusa i3 3D printer whose architecture has been widely copied. Actually, many of the printers in this article (Creality CR-10, TEVO Tornado, …) are based on the Prusa i3 design.

The Original Prusa i3 MK3S, which is basically a larger version of the Prusa MINI, has earned many awards throughout the years and heads several of our own 3D printer lists. Hence, it’s safe to say that the Prusa MINI is one of the best 3D printers under $500 available on the market today.

It features a magnetic print bed and removable print plates, “one-click printing” with auto bed leveling and calibration, and is able to resume prints after a power failure. In terms of quality and customer service, you can’t go wrong with an original Prusa printer.

More information: Prusa Research Original Prusa MINI

How to find the best 3D printer under $500: buying guide

These are some of the things you should take into account when deciding on which 3D printer to buy.

What do you want to print?

It’s easy to become blown away by a slick-looking 3D printer or fall for cool new features that may or may not be useful down the line. Before you set your heart on a machine, the first thing you need to do is take a minute and think about what you want to create with your new 3D printer.

The level of detail you can get from a machine in this range is limited, so a budget resin 3D printer (from $199) may be a better solution if you want to print figurines or intricate works of art. Alternatively, if you just want to produce a custom case for your smartphone, prototype parts, or print a simple figure from sites like Cults3D, any FDM printer will do.

 

Build volume

There are a handful of specifications you’ll want to keep in mind with any 3D printer, especially budget 3D printers in this class. Build volume is the first thing you should look for, in our opinion, as this dictates how large of an item your machine can print. Even the best budget 3D printers rarely exceed 300 x 300 x 300 mm, although there are a few exceptions under $500.

Resolution and print speed

After build quality, you’ll want to consider the resolution and speed of the 3D printer. Resolution refers to the layer height, which is the minimum thickness of a layer produced by an FDM printer during a pass over the plate.

Printing speed is important as well, but only if you need to produce parts quickly and aren’t concerned about detail. If you print too fast, your prints can fail, so speed is more about finding the perfect settings than searching for the fastest printer.

Extra features

One thing that’s always made consumers leery of 3D printers is the learning curve. Improvements with hardware and software over the years have made it more simple to pull off the perfect print out of the box, even with 3D printer kits under $500. While we feel all of our picks are pretty easy to use, there are a few features that will make life easier.

Print resume and filament-run out detection are fairly common in this class along with heated beds, although the quality can be hit or miss. Any good budget 3D printer will have a memory card slot and manual controls, but you won’t find many that have Wi-Fi or a color touchscreen. 3D printers with enclosures and dual extruders are also possible in this class, but rare as you’ll see from our list.

Material compatibility

There are dozens of excellent 3D printers for under $500, but they do have drawbacks compared to machines in a higher class. The biggest issue that tends to disappoint makers that are new to the world of 3D printers is a simple one, however, as it usually comes down to material support.

Most affordable 3D printers in this range can print with PLA or ABS aside from a few of the cheaper printers, but you will run into trouble with some of the more exotic composites. To print successfully with Carbon Fiber or other composite materials, the print head and build plate need to reach certain temperatures and may require a special extruder or nozzle, which leads us to our next section.

Upgradability

One of the great things about 3D printers is the fact you can upgrade most of them in some way. Whether it’s through official parts and kits or third-party accessories, new users are often amazed at what an extra hundred dollars can do to a low-cost desktop 3D printer.

Unfortunately, not all printers in this price range are upgradable, so pay close attention to the frame, how the machine is built, and if the manufacturer has parts or upgrade kits available. You can build or buy an enclosure to keep your prints warm or swap extruders, but the frame or overall build quality can put a serious damper on any upgrade plans.

Community Support

Solid customer support is always a good thing to have, whether you’re buying a 3D printer under $500 or considering a large professional 3D printer. Support is an area where the results are mixed with budget-friendly 3D printers as you’ll find some manufacturers won’t even have an official website.

3D printers with excellent “official” support from the manufacturer always have an edge, but don’t overlook community support. There are subreddits, sites, and forums dedicated to brand and particular machines as well. In our opinion, community and customer support go hand in hand.

FAQ

Do all cheap 3D printers use PLA?

Yes, but some are capable of working with other plastic filaments like ABS as well. Heated beds need to reach 100°C to get good adhesion with ABS (and avoid warping), and the hot end needs to hit 210°C for materials like TPU.

Can 3D printers under $500 work with any software, or do I need to use the program provided with my printer?

With more expensive systems, you can end up tethered to a company’s software. That isn’t the case with cheap 3D printers, however, as most will work with open-source software like Cura.

More 3D printing resources

About this author

Ludivine Cherdo

Ludivine is Aniwaa’s Head of Content. Based in Troyes, France, she oversees the content strategy and ensures the content published meets the company’s strict editorial standards. Ludivine obtained her Bachelor’s from the ESC Troyes business school where she studied business administration with a special focus on Digital Marketing. She made the most of her gift for languages by completing part of her studies abroad, gaining valuable work experience in content production and branding along the way. She first joined Aniwaa in 2017 as an intern.