Best 3D printers for beginners under $500

Modern 3D printers are easier to use than ever before. They are also more capable and reliable than the early options and even compared to commercial models when they first came out. Perhaps most importantly, it is now priced in such a way that anyone who wants it can afford it.

We’ve rounded up a selection of the best 3D printers under $500. Each one is highly rated by a good number of customers and has an advantage or two that sets it apart from hundreds of other 3D printers on the market.

Best 3D Printers for Beginners Under $500 - The Best

If you are not already familiar with the terminology of a 3D printer, we highly recommend reading: How Does 3D Printing Work?

Best for Large Prints: Creality CR-10 V2.0

The “biggest” problem with affordable 3D printers is that they tend to be very small. Which means if you want to print bigger projects than action figures, you have to pay a big pile of money for such a privilege.

Best 3D Printers for Beginners Under $500 - The Best

The Creality CR-10 V2 is at the upper end of our budget for this list and offers an extra-wide build size of 300x300x400mm. This V2 model features a number of upgrades over the original CR-10, including better build materials, a quieter start-up sound, and a print resume function if for some reason build should stop.

If you want to print a large, quietly, and reliable form at $500, there doesn’t seem to be much competition for this newly improved large printer from Creality.

The use of duplex materials for printing: QIDI TECH X-Pro

Most 3D printers have an extrusion machine (forming process) for one material, which means you can only print your project using one type of filament in one color. X-Pro offers a $500 duplex extrusion printer that can print in a variety of materials as well as two colors at once.

Best 3D Printers for Beginners Under $500 - The Best

The dual extrusion system allows for the creation of some really complex 3D prints. For example, you can print a form with both rigid and flexible materials, this is obviously more complicated than individual prints, but having a printer that can print with two independent materials at this price is important.

X-Pro has some smart features. Like magnetically attached bed and side panels. They also have a decent build volume, and since they are sealed, they must have a constant temperature during printing. If you want to get into multi-material printing, this is the cheapest option we realize.

Fast, space-saving vertical printer: FLSUN Mini Delta 3D Printer

Most 3D printers on the market, especially in the middle budget, are “Cartesian” printers. That is, it uses a 3-axis print head with XYZ coordinates inside the build volume. Delta robotic printers such as the FLSUN Mini Delta use a different method to deliver the print head to the desired location within the build volume.

Best 3D Printers for Beginners Under $500 - The Best

The print head is connected to three arms running on independent vertical rails up and down. By varying the height of each arm, the head can swing freely within the construction space.

Robotic delta printers like these are faster than Cartesian printers, can print long forms that would need to be cut into the form in Cartesian printers, and can do a better job of printing curved surfaces. The downside is that it can’t reach the same level of accuracy and quality as its equivalent options.

The Mini Delta comes at a great price, has a small footprint compared to the total build volume and offers a sleek all-metal design. If you need the specific features of a robotic delta design, this entry is good for the budget.

Best Resin HD Printer: LONGER Orange 30

It wasn’t long ago that Resin printing was booked for multimillion-dollar engineering facilities. Now Resin printers are firmly in the consumer space, and the Orange 30 is one of the best affordable models we’ve seen.

Best 3D Printers for Beginners Under $500 - The Best

The fine and detailed prints that can be obtained with Orange 30 are unbelievable. A 2560 x 1440 LCD screen is used to mask each layer of the print, allowing for the creation of intricate structures and stunning prints. It also uses an array of UV curing LEDs, ensuring uniform levels of UV light across the LCD screen.

LCD-based SLA (Stereolithographic Lithography) is a new method for creating traditional industrial prototyping that has been in use for decades. It’s a smart way to use existing consumer technology to achieve something new. If you don’t like to build structural models and are primarily concerned with aesthetics, this option should be near the top of your list.

Best printer for beginners: FlashForge Finder

The first 3D printer you could buy for home use wasn’t meant for the average user. It required significant assembly, installation and maintenance. We’ve had to create our fair share of 3D printers over the years, which is the main reason they haven’t been in the mainstream for long.

Best 3D Printers for Beginners Under $500 - The Best

FlashForge Finder provides a simple and easy to use printer experience. They are also designed to be safe to use, with rounded corners and free use of plastic when needed. The printer is operated through a color touch screen display with an easy-to-use graphic interface. It’s quiet, has a level of help to offer and works with WiFi, so you can put it anywhere. It is the perfect 3D printer for beginners.

Fast Resin Printer: PHROZEN Sonic Mini

The Phrozen Sonic Mini uses the same LCD processing system as the Longer Orange 30, but comes at a much lower price tag. The biggest trade-off is the lower print resolution, but the Sonic Mini can still achieve better fine detail than any extrusion printer in this price range.

Best 3D Printers for Beginners Under $500 - The Best

One of the great features of the Sonic Mini is its wide compatibility with Resin. You don’t have to stick with the first-party Resin or even the Resin LCD. This printer will even work with Resin DLP Projector Printer! PHROZEN rates their LCD monitors at 2,000 hours, so you’ll also likely get years of service from this entry-level device unless you decide to upgrade for other reasons.

Best All-In-One Printer for Everyone: Comgrow Creality Ender 3 Pro

Creality Ender 3 is the definition of “Good enoughWhen it comes to 3D printers. It is an open design machine that has all the most important features an extrusion type Cartesian printer should have.

Best 3D Printers for Beginners Under $500 - The Best

It’s an open source machine, which means those who love tweaking and customization can really get into the guts of the device’s firmware, or take advantage of community mods. Although it is semi-assembled to cut costs, assembly seems so easy that it is recommended as a project for children.

The build size is more than decent and you get premium and traditional features like resume printing at a great price. If you’re into 3D printing and want a good first experience with an essentially solid machine, the Ender 3 is like the right machine for the job.

Best mini printer for hobbyists: JGMAKER Magic

This under $200 3D printer from JG Maker straddles the line between a basic printer for more serious hobbies and hardware. It has an open bed design and a decent build size, so you should be in a position to print most useful items and not just the little things. Most importantly, it has a filament out sensor and allows you to resume printing. Great features for the price!

Best 3D Printers for Beginners Under $500 - The Best

You can also print forms from an SD card, which means the printer and computer don’t have to be near each other. It could have been provided with Wi-Fi which would have been a nice feature, but having a sneakernet solution is better than forcing you to connect the printer to the PC.

Adding $100 will result in good performance gains, build size, noise level, and overall experience. If this is for you, then JGMAKER Magic is an excellent choice.

Best Educational Printer: Creality Cr-100 Mini 3D Printer

Available in a red or yellow kid-friendly truck design, the CR-100 Mini is priced like any gadget in the classroom or bedroom of a young, precocious engineer. This printer does not require any assembly, it has automatic bed leveling and has a rather small build volume. It’s not a printer that you can really create hands-on items with, but it’s perfect for making toy models and teaching little ones the technology they’ll definitely have to use as adults.

Best 3D Printers for Beginners Under $500 - The Best

They are small enough to put out of unsupervised hands and cheap enough for schools to buy in bulk.

Most affordable Resin LCD printer: QIDI TECH Shadow 5.5 S

The Shadow doesn’t need much explanation. It is a high precision machine with small construction size. They are ideal for anyone who wants to make detailed shapes, models or prototypes that are not intended to be durable or durable.

Best 3D Printers for Beginners Under $500 - The Best

For this price, it falls into the impulse buying territory but will outperform most extrusion-type printers by several times the price. If you are looking to take your Dungeons & Dragons hobby to the next level, this is the best deal you will ever get!

Replication in the real world?

While we’re not quite that far yet when it comes to real-world replicas like the ones you’ve seen in Star Trek, it’s still amazing that you can buy what amounts to a desktop production facility from these best 3D printers for Less than $500.

Whether you just want to learn about the technology or have practical applications for your new 3D printer, there is no doubt that this is one of the coolest tools you can own today.

Do you have any great ideas when it comes to what a 3D printer can be used for? Share in the comments and tell us why you wanted a 3D printer or what you’ve done with your printer since getting it.

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