Best 3D Printers Under $500 in 2020 (Reviews)

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Best 3D Printers Under $500: 3D printers still seem to be straight out of some science fiction book, but they are indeed used a lot in various fields. Moreover, they are constantly under improvement, so that they can be made better and more affordable as well. You can use a 3D printer to print anything you like. Although there are some considerations and factors which play a huge role in it, but more or less you can indeed make anything you want. 

Of the factors which affect 3D printers, the build volume, the technology used, the filament used, etc. are important factors to be considered. Once you have these factors sorted out you will be able to get yourself a 3D printer which can be used with ease. 

3D printers are costly for sure. If you want to get a 3D printer that you can use for business purposes, then you will need to invest a lot more than $500. But if you want a printer that you can use for fun and build small things, then you can indeed get consumer 3D printers within $500. 

But with so many manufacturers trying to make affordable 3D printers, how will you find one which is the best for you as well as comes within your price bracket? To help you out, here’s a list of the very best 3D printers within $500. 

Best 3D Printers Under $500 in 2020 (Reviews)

It is indeed possible to get good quality 3D printers for small projects under $500. You will be able to have fun with your children and family using these. Make what you like and then make something else. With 3D printers, you can bring your ideas to life and give them a solid shape. So here are the very best ones which are rated and reviewed well: 

1. ANYCUBIC Mega-S New Upgrade 3D Printer

  • Weight: 24.2 pounds
  • Technology: FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling)
  • Build Size: 8.27 x 8.27 x 8.07 inch (210 x 210 x 205 mm)

3D printers are a hassle to assemble generally, but that’s not the case with this one. You will be able to assemble it fast which will save you a lot of time and you can get on to printing straight away. The machine comes with a large build volume of 8.27 x 8.27 x 8.07 inches as well, so that you will be able to make a variety of things in it. 

This printer comes with a Taitan extruder. Such an extruder comes with a solid-filament drive. The overall mechanical-design makes it compatible with a lot of filaments. This also reduces the clogging issue and improves upon the printing accuracy. If you want to adjust the extruder then it can be easily done as well by adjusting the angled logo. The filament rack is suspended here. This means that it is a one-piece hanging style design that will help you save more space. It is also more organized. 

The printing platform in this machine comes with excellent adhesion. It is called Anycubic Ultrabase. This will be helpful while you are printing and keep the structure in place. Once the structure cools down you will be able to remove it easily, like it never was attached. The wire quality as well as the platform-play has been improved upon in this upgrade. 

The 3D printer comes with a filament sensor. This means that the sensor will stop printing when it will be out of the needed filament. Moreover, it will sound an alarm so that you are notified of this. To make it easier to operate the machine, it comes with a TFT touchscreen. It is not just in full colour but comes with a very user-friendly interface too. This will help you navigate the machine with ease. There are multiple languages to choose from as well, so that you get what you are comfortable with. 

Pros

  • Taitan extruder
  • Filament sensor
  • Great printing platform

Cons

  • Build volume could be better

2. QIDI Technology High-end 3D Printer

  • Weight: 47 pounds
  • Technology: FDM
  • Build Size: 170 x 150 x 160 mm or 6.69” x 5.9” x 6.29”

This is a high-end educational printer that is very easy to operate. You will be able to use this machine in schools, homes, and libraries. Other institutions that want to use these kinds of printers for getting production and prototyping done will find this model useful as well. The printer will give you superior and great print quality especially since there two kinds of slicing software that you can use with this. One is the educational edition. Here the blue will help you get marine and water colours. The other is the professional edition. This is the expert mode which you can use for getting personalized and professional printing done. Both are easy to use and operate. 

If you use the TMC2209 driver chip then the sound of the machine when it’s in operation will get lowered to 50 decibels. This will prevent you from getting irritated by the noise. Moreover, you will get to save power as well. If you are wondering about how you are going to get it done, then there’s no need to worry. There are specialized textbooks that are available with this that will help you master this machine. You will know about filaments, various printing methods, and more. 

You will also be able to follow instructions better on the 3.5-inch large touch screen. The interface is also user friendly and it will clearly state all the options that you have. The machine comes with the Wifi printing option which will name it easier for you to operate it.

The printer is equipped with a pull-rod filament spool-holder. This will ensure that if the filament does run out then it won’t happen abruptly. Additionally, the machine comes with a moveable curved-metal plate that you can use repeatedly. It will be very easy to remove the structure after you are done printing. As such there will be no damages of any kind. 

Pros

  • Double printing editions
  • Lower noise
  • Pull-rod spool design

Cons

  • The touch screen could be bigger 

3. ANYCUBIC Photon S 3D Printer

  • Weight: 19.36 pounds
  • Technology: Resin
  • Build Size: 4.53″(L) x 2.56″(W) x 6.49″(H)

The machine makes use of a software called Photons Workshop which gives it an edge over others. This enables you to get a new kind of slicing experience since it slices documents in photons and is indeed compatible with the Photon S and Anycubic Photon. 

You will even be able to upgrade the machine if you use matrix-UV lighting as well as the 2560*1440 screen with resolution. This will allow you to ensure that there’s a uniform distribution of the power as well as precision improvement. 

The machine comes with a dual linear z-axis rail design which helps in improving the entire stability of the Z-axis. It ensures that the surface is smooth and there’s a detailed reconstruction as well. 

To make the experience smoother, this printer comes equipped with two fans which ensures excellent ventilation. This air filtration system makes use of activated carbon to be able to effectively reduce or even eliminate odor. So you will be able to work with it for hours without feeling nauseous. 

Pros

  • New software
  • Great stable rail design
  • Useful UV lighting

Cons

  • The build volume could be better

4. Easythreed Mini 3D Printer

  • Weight: 3.3 pounds
  • Technology: FDM
  • Build size: 90*110*110mm 

The machine is very easy to assemble as well as use. To use this machine first you will have to press Starr for three seconds straight. You will see that the nozzle will rise to 10mm. What’s more, is that then you will have to put in the filament right into it and the nozzle will heat up to 2 minutes after that. Make sure to follow these instructions using the user manual while operating the machine. 

The printer is very small which makes it portable as well. ABS shell is also used in making this machine and this makes it lightweight. This will be helpful if you work in a school or other such educational institution and need to use a 3D printer there. This model is ideal for educational purposes. You can make small to medium models in its 90*110*110mm build size space. 

You will be able to do your very own slicing very easily. First, form the cutter model and then use the printer to print it out. This will be helpful if you want to foster imagination in kids or get them started on 3D modelling. The filament of this model is made using PLA material. It’s tasteless and non-toxic so kids can use it without worry. 

It comes with a lifetime’s worth of technical assistance as well as round the clock customer service. Along with this, the model itself comes with a full year warranty. So you will be able to use it without worries or complications. 

Pros

  • Easy to use and assemble
  • Great for educational purposes
  • Portable

Cons

  • Might be too small for many

5. FlashForge Finder 3D Printers

  • Weight: 24.2 pounds
  • Technology: FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication)
  • Build size: 140 L x 140 W x 140 H mm 

This model comes with a slide-in building plate. The advantage of this is that once the printing is done, you will be able to get in out of the printer so that you can remove the finished model with ease. This will help minimize damages to the model as well as the plate. 

This 3D printer comes with an intelligent and assisted leveling system. You will be directed to loosen or tighten up the leveling screws till a beeper sounds. It will then detect what the distance is between the nozzle as well as the build plate. This will help verify whether the leveling did is in the correct position. Once you get the first one leveled, you will be directed to the location of the next screw. The entire calibration process will be made easier due to this. 

To help you with the above as well as with anything else there’s a 3.5-inch touchscreen with very clear messages on them. This makes it easy to use, especially since the interface is user friendly and interactive. A very common issue that is faced while operating a 3D printer is the noise. But that isn’t an issue with this one since it comes with a printing design that keeps it quiet. The sound will be less than 50 decibels so that you can work without any problems. 

The printer is equipped with the wifi 2nd generation connection which allows for better and stable wireless transmission. With the help of this, you will be able to send 3D-files using your PC. Along with Wifi, this machine also supports the 3D-cloud feature. With this, you will be able to store, edit, share, and more. Along with this, you will also get access to a huge model database. 

Pros

  • Slide-in building plate
  • Wifi and cloud equipped
  • Intelligent leveling system

Cons

  • The build size might be small for some

6. ANYCUBIC Mega-S New Upgrade 3D Printer

  • Weight: 24.25 lbs (~11kg)
  • Technology: FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling)
  • Build Size: 8.27 x 8.27 x 8.07 inch (210 x 210 x 205 mm)

This machine won’t waste your time and energy in assembling it. Assembly is very quick and you will be able to save up your energy and better invest it in creating and then printing. All you have to do is follow 3 precise steps and it will be set up. You will have to use 8 screws to fix the printer up and it will be done within minutes. You don’t need to be an expert at all to carry this out. 

It comes with a filament sensor. This is a very useful feature since the machine will automatically stop the work once it runs out of filaments. As such you will be able to save power due to this as well. The machine comes with a TFT touchscreen as well. This is in full colour and comes with a very friendly interface that will guide you through the instructions. Along with this, the touchscreen comes in multiple languages so that you won’t have trouble understanding or accessing it. 

This 3D printer comes with a very high-quality extruder. The overall mechanical structure makes it more compatible with various filaments and this in turn reduces the clogging issues and risk. You will be able to improve your printing accuracy as a result of this. To adjust this you will have to just manipulate the angled logo. 

The machine also comes with ANYCUBIC Ultrabase which has excellent adhesion which keeps the structure stable when it’s being made. But once it’s done and the model has cooled off, it is easy to remove. This helps keep the base and model both durable. 

Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • High-quality extruder
  • Filament sensor

Cons

  • Touchscreen access could be better

7. Comgrow Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D Printer

  • Weight: 18.92 pounds
  • Technology: FDM
  • Build size: 220x220x250mm

This model allows for open-source fully. With the help of these users will be able to improve the printer and then you will be able to share those with the community as well. This will result in a more well rounded and improved overall experience. 

This 3D printer is pretty much perfect for kids and other educational purposes. You can give it as a gift to them since they will be able to use it to foster their creativity and imagination. Since the machine is also easy to construct so they will learn about its various parts too. 

It comes with Branded Meanwell which gives it the power supply. This ensures that the machine always has sufficient and stable power. As such it helps in heating the hotbed fast. To add to this, the machine comes with another useful feature where it resumes printing once power resumes after an outage. 

The machine also comes with greatly improved build surfaces. This helps in providing greater protection to the heated bed. Also, this makes it easy to finally remove the printed structure once they have cooled off. This prevents damage to the bed as well as the model. Along with this, the machine comes with a 40*40 Y-axis design frame design. This design frame helps in improving the stability and the printing-platform. So overall, with this feature as well, there will be less chance of damage with this. 

The extruder design has upgraded here and it helps in reducing the risk of having to deal with a clogged nozzle as well as bad extrusion. Both of these can make you loose filaments which tend to be very expensive. If you have any issues with operating the machine, then know that there’s 24-hour customer service available to help you out. 

Pros

  • Upgraded extruder design
  • Stable power supply
  • Great Y-axis frame design

Cons

  • Open source might not be favourable for some

8. Monoprice Voxel 3D Printer

  • Weight: 28.4 pounds
  • Technology: FDM
  • Build size: 150 x 150 x 150 mm

This 3D printer is easy to use for beginners and experienced people alike. You will be able to see the instructions for operating the machine on the full colour 2.8 inches IPS touch screen. Using this touch screen you will be able to monitor the filament levels as well. Do know that if the filament levels are low then the machine will stop working. 

There is also an assisted leveling design that comes with this system. This feature helps in reducing the calibration needed to just one tap right on the above touch screen. This will ensure that the print-nozzle gets swapped out fully within a few seconds. All of this will be accomplished without using any kind of tool. 

The machine also comes with tons of extra features that help in making this great. It comes with a WiFi radio, hotspot, a USB port, and 8 GB worth of great internal memory. Using the wifi you will be able to transfer data from your PC easily. If you want, you can use the USB port for the same purpose. Also 8 GB worth of memory means that you will be able to store your designs. This will be useful especially if you have to frequently repeat what you are doing. 

The machine is also Polar Cloud equipped. This ensures that you will be able to control the 3D printer from wherever you like using just an internet connection. Using this feature you will be able to even manage multiple such printers once. You will be able to slice models and queue up print jobs. 

The build plate over here is removable and flexible as well, which makes removing it an easy job. All you need to remove the model is to dislodge the plate. Since it is removable so if it gets damaged then you will be able to change it quickly and you will be able to swap this out for a second one easily. Another great factor is that this plate can be heated up to 60°C easily. This makes it easier to construct the models. 

Pros

  • Assisted leveling design
  • Removable build plate
  • Polar cloud equipped

Cons

  • Small touchscreen

9. Creality Open Source CR-10 3D Printer

  • Weight: 29.9 pounds
  • Technology: FDM
  • Build size: 12inx12inx15.5in

This open-source using machine is simple to operate, but it is also durable and exceptional. One standout feature is its build size. It has 12inx12inx15.5in worth of build volume which isn’t commonly found in other general printers within this range. So if you want more space for your educational or business projects then this will be useful. The heated up bed of this machine has an operational range that goes up to 115°C. This will give you all the necessary features to use experimental or exotic high-quality filaments.

This machine comes with oversized and extra-large leveling nuts to make the job of leveling the print bed easier. These nuts help in securing and holding up the hotbed right to the Y-axis of the printer. Along with this, these nuts help in fine-tuning. You will be able to get accurate adjustments that will in turn help you get higher quality prints. 

The frame is made from high-quality aluminum. The entire machine is almost a full metal construction. The aluminum frame provides structural integrity coupled with interoperability. All the metal pieces used are sturdy and don’t have any warping. This makes them very durable and perfect for long term 3D printing use. 

This machine makes use of thermoplastic in the wheels of the POM V-slot. As a result, the wheels are wear-resistant, stable, and are temperature resistant as well. So get silently operate without any issues in the moving parts of the structure. What this helps achieve is the lowering of the noise levels while printing is being done. Along with this dimensional stability also gets added while printing. Also since these wheels have done need maintenance done through grease or oil so the job becomes easier for you. 

Pros

  • High-quality aluminum frame
  • Thermoplastic wheels
  • Huge build size

Cons

  • The open-source feature might not be liked by all

10. ELEGOO Mars UV Photo-curing LCD 3D Printer

  • Weight: 16.76 pounds
  • Technology: LED Display Photo-curing
  • Build size: 4.53in (L) x 2.56in (W) x 5.9in (H)

This printer comes with a user-friendly system and a sturdy industrial design. It’s semi-assembled, but you face any trouble trying to fully assemble it. All it will take is a mere 5 minutes. It comes with a fast slicing software that takes only a minute to properly slice 30mb. If the model file being used is .stl then the entire slicing could take ten minutes as well. 

This machine lets you hollow the model before you begin slicing. As a result, your resin will get saved dramatically a lot too, especially during the photo-curing step. The printer comes equipped with great 40W UV-lights as well as ELEGOO resin so that you will get better printing results. 

To ensure accurate printing, the machine makes use of masking LCD that is 2560×1440 2K HD. This will give you a better and more accurate printing in regards to the XY axis and its resolution of 0.047mm. 

There is a touchscreen which is 3.5″ and is fully equipped with the latest 5.0 ELEGOO CHITUBOX system. This makes it easy for carrying out off-line printing. The printer’s build platform comes with steel-ball balancing inside structure lets you begin printing 5 minutes into completing the assembly.

Pros

  • Easy assembly
  • Masking large HD LCD
  • UV lights and resin for better printing

Cons

  • Slicing could be faster

Buying Guide

You can get great 3D printers within $500 easily. These come with a great feature that will help you get your job done. While they might not be suitable for business purposes but you can certainly use them for educational ones. 

Nowadays manufacturers are pushing for cheap and affordable 3D printers. But this doesn’t mean that all of them will be of great quality and worth your $500. So how will you recognize what you buy and what to leave? To help you out here’s a list of the features you need to check before buying a 3D printing machine: 

1. Printing Technology

3D printers are consumer-grade work on two kinds of technologies. One is FDM, which stands for Fused Filament Fabrication and the other is SLA (stereolithography) or resin-based. 

The former is more affordable and it works for general-purpose tasks. If you aren’t concerned about resolution like when making large parts, then this technology will suit you. The later one will be helpful if you need smooth parts that have fine details. 

2. Materials Used

FDM Printers generally work with PLA filaments. This is because it gives consistent and good results. It works well for most such printing jobs. But apart from this, ABS also works. Although that has higher shrinkage and is as such is somewhat more difficult to use. For Resin-based printers, cast-able resins are used in some fixed colours like white, black, and such. 

There are other materials which you can use like Nylon, PETG, PMMA and more. But know that if you don’t know how to use them then you can break the machine. So for beginners, it’s better to stick with reliable and safe options. 

3. Build Volume

Build volume or size means the largest size the printer can construct. Many might think the large the better is the motto here, but having as large as possible build size won’t work. This is because the larger the size the costlier the machine and the more materials it will consume. Moreover, it will also affect the resolution of the model. So make sure to get the build size, which will be useful for your task. 

4. Ease of Use

Know that all printers aren’t easy to use. A good 3D printer will have advanced software that will let you print easily. It will also have a screen that will help guide you ​through the steps of various processes. So buy those machines which at least have these two things as features. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Should you buy a 3D printer with an onboard camera?

An onboard camera will be very useful if you don’t work from home and need to monitor the work from elsewhere. An onboard camera will keep you updated on the progress and you will be able to pause it if needed as well. Of course, good WiFi connectivity is needed in this case. 

2. Where should you keep the printer?

You should ideally keep the printer in an air-conditioned room. This will prevent the machine from getting heated up fast. As a result, it will last longer. 

3. Should you invest in getting a 3D printer with filtration?

When the machine will use filaments to make the structure, there will be some kind of odour emanating from it. If you don’t like it or don’t have any means to dissipate it quickly using an external source, then do get a machine that comes with an air filtration system. It will help keep the room smelling nice. 

4. Is open source technology better for 3D printers?

Printers that use open source are certainly cheaper. Open source gives you more freedom when it comes to working with the source software. So if that’s what you want, then it’s certainly better. 

5. How big should the touchscreen be?

The bigger the better should be the motto here since it will allow you to see better, but generally, anything around 3 inches to 4 inches will be good. Don’t go under 3 inches or you will have trouble following the instructions written on it. 

3D printers under $500 might seem impossible to get especially when it comes to getting good working models. But it is indeed possible. These printers come with great build sizes, software, technologies, and more. You can use these to make your projects or use them in an educational space to teach children. Overall, these are versatile in their uses.