Inexpensive does not mean “not good” or “low quality” when discussing 3D printing. Your cheap 3D printer can boast some incredible features that used to be available in high-end devices in the past. Nowadays, the situation has improved, and ever the best budget 3D printer can let you create smooth and highly detailed 3D prints.
Gambody wants to discuss what to pay attention to when reading reviews of cheap 3D printers and share a list of affordable machines under $200-$300.
Cheap 3D Printer
When 3D printing technology was introduced, it was expensive to get 3D printers for home use. But as decades passed by, the machines went down in price and became affordable. And these modern inexpensive desktop devices often offer some stunning features.
Decades ago, the first desktop machines required you to coax the filament feeder to help your printer run the filament from spool to extruder. You had to manually align the bed, position the hot end or extruder, deal with projects stuck to the build plate, etc.
Today, even the cheapest 3D printer comes with painless features and if you come across any issues you can call the support. Manufacturers are willing to advise over the phone, chat, replace parts and help you set up your big or small 3D printer.
You might like to read Gambody’s reviews of some best budget 3D printers in 2022:
- Review of Voxelab Aquila 3D Printer: Cheap 3D Printer for Beginners;
- Anycubic Vyper 3D Printer with Auto-Levelling: Review, Specs, Price, Tests.
Best Budget 3D Printer: Things to Consider
The situation has changed for the best cheap 3D printer you can get in 2022. Many models come with an auto bed levelling option, filament detector and heated and flexible beds with easy removal of 3D prints. In other words, many of the common issues from the past are resolved by manufacturers.
Companies keep developing good cheap 3D printers with improved software, awesome yet affordable features and even support for open-source platforms like Cura.
However, when you choose a budget 3D printer under $300 over an expensive machine above $500, you will lack some things. For example, inexpensive 3D printers usually have a different type of frame, software, connectivity, small build volume, etc.
Enclosed vs Open Frame
When choosing among the cheap 3D printers, you should decide on enclosed vs open-frame devices. It is easy to distinguish between these two types.
An enclosed machine looks like a box with walls, top, front door or see-through window. Such a budget 3D printer comes with some nice advantages. For example, an enclosure helps to protect you from touching a hot extruder and reduce the odour if you are printing with ABS. But to enjoy these pros, you will have to work with mini build volume.
A cheap 3D printer of an open-frame type offers more building volume. It is usually noisier than enclosed machines and emits odours if you are working with particular plastic materials. Also, you should be careful and avoid touching the hot extruder, often spend time assembling and setting up your machine to make it run smoothly. But as a result, you can also create bigger projects quicker.
Thus, it is your decision which cheapest 3D printer type to get. Think of your budget and desires, then compare affordable 3D printers and select an open-frame or enclosed machine (or both).
Everyone who likes a mini 3D printer with a volume of under 4 x 4 x 4 inches will be happy with any low-cost machine that boasts such parameters. But those who dream of building life-size 3D prints can only be happy with a cheap 3D printer with a medium or large build volume. In other words, thus enthusiasts can look for a device with parameters of over 6 x 6 x 6, 10 x 10 x 10 inches and above.
Read also: Best Large 3D Printer 2022 for Making Big Objects
Often, an affordable 3D printer comes with a mini printing volume, especially if a machine is fully enclosed (comes with sides, top, door or window). At the same time, you can find an open-frame 3D printer cheap which boasts a nice big build volume.
Cheap 3D Printer Filament
The best value device is the one that offers your desired features and supports cheap 3D printer filament. Buying a machine itself will not help you make objects. You will need to use spools of filament for your collection of 3D prints. That is why it is so important to find the best budget 3D printer that can work with a big variety of filament brands.
The best low-cost 3D printers are usually limited in what 3D printing materials you can use. Many such devices can only print using PLA (and sometimes ABS).
PLA is the most popular and cheap 3D printer filament you can find. This polymer is biodegradable and plant-based. ABS, on the other hand, is nontoxic and durable but can emit a bad odour as the printer works.
While many machines are limited to this type of material, you can find a cheap 3D printer with a hot bed that supports other filaments. They give you more freedom to experiment and create wood- and metal-like models, and use water-soluble supports and flexible projects.
Inexpensive 3D Printer Software and Connectivity
Most modern 3D printers come with affordable 3D printer software or rely on Cura and other existing solutions.
Using good cheap 3D printers and reliable software, you can do miracles. It is possible to resize, rotate, duplicate, move a 3D printing file, slice it and then print it into a physical object. Modern processes are seamless and way easier than they used to be.
Even the cheapest 3D printer can let you use software with a big number of settings. Still, you should pay attention to the connection options that can vary from device to device. For example, some machines come with USB port support, others offer Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection while some are limited to microSD or SD card support only.
In other words, your best affordable 3D printer can have more or fewer choices, offer basic or more advanced connection options and use limited software or give you access to popular tools such as open-source Cura Slicer.
Frame and Printing Speed
Each type of cheap 3D printer has its advantages and disadvantages. Some machines move the bed over the Z-axis (the Ultimaker machines) and others over the Y-axis (the Prusa Mendel printers). The first type is believed to boast higher 3D printing speed and better accuracy. Still, the second type is believed to be more comfortable to maintain and lever more weight.
Also, it is better to choose an affordable 3D printer that is easy to calibrate and offers an automatic bed levelling option.
Besides, when a lowcost 3D printer works, it shakes and might vibrate itself off the surface if there is not enough weight to keep it in place. Thus, it is essential to look at the list of parts. Better avoid getting a machine with a flimsy or thin metal frame with a thickness of under 3 mm (0.12 inches). Instead, choose a firm device with heavy aluminium or wood frames.
Your best budget 3D printer is a machine that corresponds with your finances and expectations and offers reliable customer support through a forum, social group, phone, etc.
Which Affordable 3D Printer to Get?
As you search for your best inexpensive 3D printer, you need to decide how much you can spend, what options you need, which filament types, connections are supported, etc.
Some users might think of getting a 3D printer pen for under $50-$100. But while this toy in hands of professionals becomes a magic wand that helps build stunning projects, using a cheap 3D printer is easier because it guarantees well-structured results and repeatable copies based on a 3D printing model.
Focus on the features, and you will be amazed at how much the best budget machines can offer you. We reviewed some good cheap 3D printers in the guide below.
It is a great idea to see the 3D printed models and figurines made on affordable 3D printers. The finished works speak more than words and can help you decide which best budget 3D printer suits your needs and expectations.
10 Good Cheap 3D Printers
Below you will find the list of resin and desktop filament cheap 3D printers for under $200 and slightly above $300. While most inexpensive machines cannot boast the quality of costly 3D printers, they still deliver impressive results for newbies and advanced hobbyists.
Gambody made a selection of the 10 best budget 3D printers along with images of fantastic models made with them. Hopefully, it will ease your choice.
1. Anet A8 Plus Lowcost 3D Printer
This FDM machine is believed to be one of the cheapest 3D printers with excellent accuracy of 0.1 mm and stunning print quality for its price. The Anet A8 Plus is a self-assembly device made by the Chinese company Shenzhen Anet Technology.
This budget 3D printer features a bed of 300 x 300 x 350 mm (11.8 x 11.8 x 13.7 inches), an LCD screen, upgraded belt adjustment and an all-metal frame body. It can print offline, has an auto filament loading/unloading feature, and heated hotbed that goes up to 100 °C (212 °F).
Its aluminium alloy frame is believed to be stable. And the compatibility with different types of filament (ABS, PLA, PP, HIPS, Nylon) makes it possible to bring the most impressive models and figurines to life.
You can find this cheap 3D printer for under $220. But meanwhile, enjoy the fantastic 3D printed DeLorean time machine tires made in Ninjaflex on the Anet A8 by talented Gambody enthusiast Paul Krupa.
2. Creality Ender-3 3D Printer Cheap
Creality Ender-3 is the best value 3D printer that has many fans worldwide. This open-source, all-metal frame machine requires assembly. But don’t worry because the necessary tools are included.
The coated bed is 220 x 220 x 250 mm (8.6 x 8.6 x 9.8 inches). You will love the ‘Resume Print’ feature designed to eliminate failed prints, improved MK-8 extruder and fast heating speed. It takes about 5 minutes to heat the surface to 90°C (194 °F), which can go up to 115°C (239 °F). The low priced FDM machine can print with PLA, ABS, PETG and other filament types.
Often, it is possible to buy the Creality Ender-3 for as low as $189, and sometimes the price sticks to approximately $200. And, of course, be inspired by the stunning 3D printed models made by talented hobbyists Michal Morawski, Fabian Dobbeck and StudioAgrafka Sowiński on Ender-3. The level of detail wows!
3. Creality Ender-3 Pro Best Cheap 3D Printer
If you are not happy with your Ender-3, you might want to spend some extra bucks to get an improved Creality Ender-3 Pro version. This budget 3D printer is offered at under $240.
The printing bed is the same as in Ender-3, 220 x 220 x 250 mm (8.6 x 8.6 x 9.8 inches). But the build surface plate in Ender-3 Pro is removable, making it easier to remove the 3D printed models. The bed can heat to 100 °C (212 °F) in just five minutes. And you can work with PLA, ABS and other FDM filaments.
There is no need to worry about unexpected power outages because the cheap Creality Ender-3 Pro will resume printing. Now, it is time to enjoy the photos of 3D printed models made by Kiri Sute, Kurt Prieto and Jeremy Jochman on Ender-3 Pro.
4. Creality LD-002R Best Small 3D Printer
Not only FDM machines are among the cheapest 3D printers. You can also enjoy a mini 3D printer offered by Creality. The LD-002R resin version can be purchased at $159. This lowcost machine has an active carbon air filtering system to remove odour from resin.
The company promises simple assembly and easy operation. This cheap resin 3D printer comes with a 2k HD masking screen and powerful UV light to improve the printing speed for up to 4s per layer. You can build pieces up to 119 x 65 x 160 mm (4.7 x 2.6 x 6.3 inches) and print right from USB.
This cheap 3D printer can help you to breathe life into unique models. Look at the stunning Diablo figurine whose orange parts were made on LR-002R by Paul Krupa.
5. Creality Halot-One Small 3D Printer
The specs of the Halot-One resin 3D printer remind us of the LD-0002R. This cheap 3D printer boasts a slightly bigger print size of 127 x 80 x 160 mm (5 x 3.1 x 6.3 inches), lower engine noise of under 60dB, 2k LCD screen, 5-inch colour touchscreen and stunning Z-axis positioning accuracy of 0.01 mm.
The Halot-One lowcost 3D printer of a new generation can work via Wi-Fi connection and offline via USB. Creality releases it in a fully assembled state, meaning you can make your first 3D prints right out of the box.
The machine adopts the principle of refraction and reflection of light. Thus, the Creality Halot-One resin 3D printer promises to distribute light on each model’s dimension. It will lead to high-precision 3D printing. Also, the air purification system helps to filter out some of the odours from resin.
You can enjoy the Gambody and Creality Halot-One bundles for $259. So, go ahead and start making your favourite Gambody models in resin with this best affordable 3D printer.
6. Creality CR-10 Best Budget 3D Printer
Creality manufactures many inexpensive 3D printers. Its CR-10 Mini machine is an affordable FDM 3D printer with many features of Ender-3.
You can enjoy the ‘Resume Print’ option, all aluminium frame, manual levelling and simple assembly. However, this best value 3D printer comes with a bigger bed of 300 x 220 x 300 mm (11.8 x 8.6 x 11.8 inches).
It has cut noise, an upgraded control board and higher printing accuracy. You can work with ABS, PLA, Wood, TPU, Copper and many other cheap filament types.
Hobbyists 黃巽甫, Brian Nguyen and Jouko Salminen who print with CR-10 Mini enjoy fantastic results that are well worth the machine’s price of $360.
7. Monoprice Mini 3D Printer
This Monoprice Mini 3D printer is cheaper than the V2 Mini, but its print bed is also smaller, only 110 x 110 x 120 mm (4.3 x 4.3 x 4.7 inches).
This cheapest 3D printer has an auto-calibration feature promising no issues with bed levelling, steel and aluminium frames, support for both online and offline printing, PLA and ABS. It comes fully assembled and can be turned on as soon as you unbox it.
The low cost should not scare you away. Hobbyist Kyle Reiach proved how amazing the Monoprice Mini 3D printer can be in action and what great 3D prints it can build.
8. Anycubic Photon Mono 3D Printer Cheap but Good
Anycubic Photon Mono is another cheap resin 3D printer. You can find great deals on Amazon and other stores and get the machine for as low as $240.
The Photon Mono has a 6.08-inch 2K Monochrome LCD screen, impressive accuracy of 0.01 mm, offline-print support and other features. The possible print size is 130 x 80 x 165 mm (5.11 x 3.14 x 6.9 inches), and it takes about 1.5 seconds per layer to cure the resin.
The aluminium frame, upgraded UV light, excellent stability, fast printing speed make the device a perfect tool for hobbyists. Alex Schneider and Chuck Reaume who love working with resin achieved amazing results on this small 3D printer.
9. Qidi Tech X-Maker Budget 3D Printer
With up to $300 in your pocket, you can pay attention to the Qidi Tech X-Maker. This cheap 3D printer used to come with excellent discounts and could cost $299.
The machine’s bed is 170 x 150 x 160 mm (6.69 x 5.9 x 6.29 inches). This device was designed for educational purposes. It promises low noise, Wi-Fi printing, a touch screen, removable metal plate, a special spool holder for easier filament running, etc.
The stable bed and easy bed levelling can help you make fantastic 3D printed models. The works by Gambody hobbyist Bill Mattes finished on Qidi Tech X-Maker can motivate your future creations.
10. Artillery Genius Pro Inexpensive 3D Printer
If you search for a cheap 3D printer and have about $390 to spend on one, look at the Artillery Genius Pro. This inexpensive machine comes with a print bed of 220 x 220 x 250 mm (8.66 x 8.66 x 9.84 inches).
The Artillery Genius has an aluminium frame, 0.4 mm nozzle, LED touch screen, automatic bed levelling, filament runout sensor, fast heating bed and USB support. It boasts a fast printing speed that can reach 150 mm/sec. It takes two minutes for the heated bed to reach 120 °C (248 °F). Thus, it is compatible with ABS, PLA, Flexible PLA, HIPS and other types of cheap 3D printer filament.
This budget machine can help to make nice-quality 3D prints just like this Groot figurine brought to life by Koldo Valle.
Each cheap 3D printer on our list is worth your attention, but you can also check many other budget machines, such as Phrozen Sonic Mini 4k, Creality CR-20 Pro, da Vinci mini w+, Monoprice Select Mini V2, Duplicator i3 V2.1 and others. Decide if you prefer FDM or resin printers and create lovely prints to make you proud of yourself. Make sure to join Gambody 3D Printing Community on Facebook to share your new works.