The 3D printing technology is gradually changing the production of various products we are using on the daily. They work by adding materials layer by layer. According to one of the videos from the Mashable channel, not only these machines allow the creation of complex parts, but they also cut the time and cost of production of the products.
These printers, which were only available for industrial manufacturing purposes at first, are now being offered in very consumer-friendly forms to bring the technology closer to people of any kind. For as low as $500, it is now possible for anyone to own a unit for personal and small business purposes.
Under the said price range, the most common type you’ll encounter is FDM or FFF. It will allow the use of strong thermoplastic materials such as PLA, ABS, and PET. The most common application of FDM printers includes, but is not limited to, electrical lodgings, structure and fit testings, jigs and fixtures, and investment casting patterns. It is not as accurate and as complex as the SLA printers we also love, but FDMs are apparently great in printing large and simple parts.
Printers under $500 might be a little bit too limited when it comes to the features they can offer. Nonetheless, most of them make the cut which means they are still capable enough to do their jobs.
Whenever looking for one, it is to look for the key features of the printer. This includes the machine’s printing speed, build volume, and compatible filaments. One printer model that will suit most of your needs is the Creality Ender 3 Pro due to its quality build and great features. Some of them are the detachable magnetic heated bed and great improvements on its Y-axis.
There are other terrific choices available on the market such as those models produced by leading brands like Anycubic, FlashForge, and Monoprice. Nonetheless, choosing a 3D printer under $500 can be challenging. So to help you make your purchase, we've provided five of the best 3D printers under $500 to give you the most useful information before buying one. Here is a list of their most recent sales on Amazon. Just click the buttons below and get their best prices we specifically sought for you!
1. Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D Printer
220 x 220 x 250 cubic mm
≤ 180 mm/s, normal 30-60 mm/s with maximum print speed at 200 mm/s
ABS, PLA, Wood
The Creality Ender 3 Pro is the most exceptional 3D printer for its price. It has a revamped version of the iconic Creality Ender 3 budget printer, with some tweaks to boost its reliability. It boasts its new C-Mag magnetic printing bed that ensures more flexibility. It has a textured surface that helps to stick the first layer on the bed and helps you to immediately remove the end products upon cooling. It provides a sufficient temperature of 110°C to prevent the material from becoming too soft and too flimsy.
Another excellent thing about the Ender 3 Pro is that it is a fully open-source system that will allow great upgrades and tweaks and extend them to the broader user community. It also offers a useful resume printing feature, which allows users to easily resume printing right away and at the last registered point in the event of a power failure or any other disturbance. Thanks to the branded Meanwell power supply. It is a UL-recognized power supply that is focused on the standard SPS market. Hence, this printer is protected from sudden power surges.
With the printer’s decent build volume, a removable magnetic heated bed, and a power recovery mode, reality Ender 3 Pro is extremely phenomenal and an all-in 3D printer at a very affordable price.
2. Anycubic Mega S 3D Printer
210 x 210 x 205 cubic mm
20 - 100 mm/s (suggested 60 mm/s)
PLA, TPU, ABS, HIPS, PETG, Wood
Anycubic Mega S is one of the newest models from the brand, which reflects almost the same features as Anycubic i3 Mega. It is equipped with a sensor detector that alerts you when your spool runs out of filament. It’s clever enough to prevent interruptions in your printing process.
There is a suspended spool holder added to the side of the 3D printer to improve usability. It also has a powerful, mechanically designed filament drive compatible with the majority of filaments, which reduces the possibility of clogging and increases print precision.
To complete the 3D printing process, it includes a Titan extruder, which helps you with reliable extrusion. For the best combination of speed and accuracy, its 3:1 gear ratio is at the best. This upgrade makes this model be more compatible with flexible filaments like TPU. Also, the device comprises a printing surface covered by a patented microporous layer which enables good adhesiveness.
3. Creality Ender 3 3D Printer
220 x 220 x 250 cubic mm
≤ 180 mm/s, normal 30-60 mm/s (maximum printing
PLA, ABS, TPU
Creality Ender 3 boasts great features. Some of those things that deserve to be highlighted are its split-type design, industrial PCB, and linear pulley system.
As compared to other 3D printers, Creality Ender 3 offers a unique motion design among 3D printers under $500. Its X, Y, and Z axes are supported by small wheels that run while the printer moves. The movement is excellently flawless. It results in a smoother and more quiet printing experience and this is where this machine excels at.
As to other features, the technological advances in its extruder drop off the risk of clogging and assure consistent and uniform extrusion during the printing operation. It also has a fast heating bed that reaches about 110°C in just five minutes which is beneficial for printing PLA materials. Combining this with the printer’s 250° C nozzle temperature, the PLA filament will stay smooth.
With this, it is no doubt that Creality Ender 3 offers class, distinction, and few equivalent alternatives comparable to high-cost 3D printers.
4. FlashForge Finder FFF 3D Printer
140 x 140 x 140 cubic mm
For younger enthusiasts, students, and beginners in 3D printing, Finder is the best to purchase as an initial investment. At a low cost, compact and smooth printing is achieved via the machine’s best features.
It has a 3.5-inch full-color DH IPS touchscreen with an intuitive smartphone interface. A range of settings adjustments is allowed to operate through the screen - starting from homing, pre-heating of the extruder, filament loading/unloading, up until the point of monitoring and printing. It is also safe to use by children because of the non-heated build plate, non-toxic PLA, and enclosed printing area.
The FlashForge Finder 3D Printer also has a slide-in build plate that makes it easier to remove completed 3D prints from the printer. It has an easy-to-use calibration detection system that assists in leveling. All you have to do is tighten or loosen the leveling screws before a beeper click which indicates that it has detected the difference between the nozzle and the build plate and has verified that the leveling is in the proper place. Once the first spot is leveled, the same operation is applied to the next two screwing places. The printing operation is at ease citing the fact that throughout the operation, clear instruction on the touchscreen display will guide you.
5. Monoprice 121711 Select Mini 3D Printer V2
120 x 120 x 120 cubic mm
Metal, ABS, PLA, Wood, Steel, Polyvinyl Alcohol
Monoprice 121711 Select Mini 3D Printer V2 arrives fully assembled and has been tested and configured by the manufacturer. Right out of the box, you simply have to carefully assess if your print bed is already leveled, reload the included microSD card, fill any filament and begin printing the preconfigured template. You won't find a 3D printer that's ready to use straight out of the box with such an affordable price elsewhere. Furthermore, it comes with an all-metal nozzle, an insulated heated build plate, an advanced cooling system for the nozzle and the mainboard, a 3.7-inch color screen, and Wi-Fi compatibility.
Moreover, it is unbelievable that a 3D printer like this exists at a price that’s lower than $500 due to the wide range of materials that are compatible with Monoprice Select Mini Version 2. This is all possible through the wide temperature range of its extruders allowing the use of conductive PLA, wood and metal composites, dissolvable PVA, and more complex filaments. Truly impressive for its price and, most of all, size!
Best 3D Printers Under $500 - Buyer's Guide
Always consider what you want to make with your 3D printer, this is the first thing to know before buying one. Two of the most popular 3D printers are Stereolithography (SLA) printers and FDM. SLA printers use resins as their primary filament and form a highly precise layer of the end product. However, it costs more than the FDM printers.
Build volume decides on the capacity of your 3D printer. At $500 or less, the build volume of a 3D printer seldom exceeds 300 x 300 x 300 mm, but please take note that some models are still good at an average build volume.
Printing speed is also significant if you only have to print parts rapidly and often don't give a stuff about details. If you want to have a fast printer under $500, we recommend Creality Ender 3 and Creality Ender 3 Pro. Both of these Creality printers are capable of printing at a maximum speed of 200 mm/s. For common FDM printers, it is usually ranging from 50-150 mm/s.
One factor that contributes to the special ability of Creality printers as to the printing speed is that they have a 0.4 mm brass nozzle. It’s a great all-rounder nozzle size and the brass material is compatible to use for printing non-abrasive materials such as PLA, ABS, TPE, and more.
There are amazing 3D printers for less than $500, but keep in mind that they have limitations versus high-class 3D printers. Normally, material compatibility is the biggest concern. Most 3D printers under $500 can print with PLA or ABS and other basic filaments. Keep in mind that some of the more advanced materials can cause problems with your 3D printing. For a budget 3D printer with multiple filament compatibility, we recommend the Monoprice 121711 Select Mini 3D Printer V2 as it can cater to a handful of different 3D filaments.
Best 3D Printers Under $500 - FAQs
Most 3D printers use PLA. You can even find certain 3D printers that fit quite well with ABS and other filaments. See the Monoprice 121711 Select Mini 3D Printer V2 if you need a 3D printer under 500 which has a wide range of compatible filaments. You can also find some 3D printers under 500 that use resin as printing material.
Yes, the majority of 3D printers come with software that enables them to be operated from a device. Some printers such as the FlashForge Finder even have additional features like wireless file transmission and 3D Cloud features for easy control of the CAD.
Computers, (desktop or laptop) with a minimum AMD 64 processor as well as an 8 GB RAM are commonly used for any 3D printer. However, it is still possible to 3D print without a computer at hand. There are 3D printers that are capable of reading SD Cards. These types of printers have their own control panel which you can use to manipulate the printing process. Other methods for printing can also be done through a browser or application.
Yes. However, bear in mind that printing a more complex product may not have been as achievable as it does with the expensive models. Most entry-level and hobbyist 3D printers are priced at $200 - $500.