The best 3D printer can make your dreams a reality. If you’re in business, you’ll appreciate the fact that 3D system printers can help you go through the transformative phase of concept design to the production of the final item.
However, with so many models in the market to choose from, it can be daunting trying to settle for the best 3D printer under 500. Fortunately, we’ve made your work easier.
Here’s a comprehensive review of some of the top 3D printers that have the latest printing technology. Also, read our guide on what to look for when shopping for a 3D printer.
How We Chose Our Ratings
Before listing the top 3D printers in the market, we looked at multiple online reviews. Our research also examined critical factors like print speed, materials used, and the quality of printing. The printers listed are budget-friendly and they have essential additional features which make your 3D printing enjoyable.
Top 8 Best 3D Printers under $500
Here are the top 3D printers under $500 in 2019. With this price range, you can get semi-closed and enclosed 3D devices.
Qidi Technology is a Chinese Company known for its excellent 3D printers and incredible support service. The X-One2 features quality build that requires an hour for the initial set up, which includes bed standardization and printing.
Also, it features a touch screen system on the bottom, unlike most printers that have a knob-operated screen interface. The touch screen display is easy to operate. With the X-one2, you can expect a heated printing base with a surrounded set up which allows you to create ABS.
The base has fantastic adhesion which improves printing. On the downside, the device lacks a large construct volume as it’s big as most 2D printers. This aspect makes it difficult to handle specific tasks.
The X-one2 is an excellent machine with a fantastic reputation and impressive printing quality. It’s also reasonably priced and simple to use, which makes it a winner.
The FlashForge Finder printer is easy to use and one of the best budget machines in the market. It’s also an excellent machine if you don’t have any knowledge of 3D machine installation. You can expect the device to be up and running under half an hour.
With the Finder, you can expect exceptional printing quality with minimal problems; it works like other 3D printers that are over $700. Another feature is that this printer doesn’t produce noise from the mechanical components.
The inclusion of a beginner-friendly and the responsive touch screen display system contributes to its smooth operation. You also get USB and Wi-Fi connectivity options. You’ll love the detachable build plate which allows you to remove the produced items.
While the FlashForge Finder printer may not be appealing to people looking for additional features, it’s an excellent unit with an integrated PLA filament and impressive print quality.
The XYZ Printing Da Vinci 3D printer is a reasonably priced unit that doesn’t sacrifice on quality and functionality. The machine comes with an easy to use software that is suitable for both beginner and advanced users.
The device has a 1.75 diameter PLA filament that is cheap to replace. You can adjust the printing resolution from a hundred to four hundred microns. Furthermore, the machine is portable as it only weighs 25 pounds.
The Monoprice Maker Select Plus requires under held an hour for the setup. It comes in an open body with a spool holder, which makes it a durable unit. Also, you don’t need to link it to a different control box as the unit comes with the box.
Unlike the previous Maker Select Version, the plus version comes with a high-end touch screen interface and a faster printing speed. It also has an easy setup and features an excellent quality build.
Other features are that the machine can use various filaments and works with both USB and microSD card, which allows you to transfer your prints from a PC.
The Anet A8 is a reliable machine capable of producing quality prints. Moreover, it supports various filaments. The heated bed enables reliable ABS processing. You can customize it with other available parts in the market to get the most out of it.
Other notable features include a 100 microns resolution, MicroSD connectivity, and a weight of 16 pounds.
Unfortunately, the Anet is challenging to set up as it takes approximately four hours to assemble and calibrate it to the required settings. Also, the included manuals not as helpful, you’ll need to watch YouTube videos to understand how to construct this unit.
It’s not suitable for beginners and the first filament advertised is false.
The Geeetech E180 features a contemporary input mechanism and a 3-inch full-color touchscreen that is easy to use and responsive. You don’t need any technical skills as it’s a plug and play 3D printer. Being easy to calibrate, you can be sure of a unit that requires minimal tinkering.
Another fantastic feature is that the E180 comes with a cloud-based Easy Print 3D app, which allows remote operation and gives you access to different free models. You can expect a break-resuming functionality with the Kickstarter-backed mini 3D printer.
You can pause the printing and go back to it when you need. It’s also beginner-friendly and produced excellent quality objects.
On the downside, the E180 lacks a heated bed and is limiting as it only allows you to use PLA filaments. The small build plate can also be a hindrance to some people printing large items.
The Printrbot Play 3D printer is an easy to use printer that comes pre-assembled. It’s suitable for beginners without any technical skills. You can expect consistent and accurate print quality from a fast machine.
It also comes with a covered fan shroud and extruder for extra protection. Also, the machine has a different filament holder that you can place on the device. Although it’s an uncovered printer, it has an all-white finish which makes it appealing.
Some of the disadvantages with the Printrbot Play printer is that it has a short filament and the small build size is a limiting factor.
The BIBO printer features excellent features which offer value for money. Despite being a budget-friendly printer, the BIBO delivers exceptional print quality thanks to its build size and the heated printing bed.
Other notable features include a filament indicator, Wi-Fi and USB connectivity, a responsive touchscreen, and an SD card slot. Moreover, it comes with a laser engraver, a feature only found on high-end printers.
Although the BIBO printer is not an attractive printer in the market, it’s inexpensive and offers excellent print quality and fantastic additional features that make your printing simpler.
In this buyer’s guide, we’ll look at some essential factors to consider when buying the best 3D printer under 500. The guide will help you find a printer that meets your needs and your budget.
Find a printer that meets the quality you expect and one that can produce what you want. Before purchasing any printer, look for a machine that print items you’d want in the future. There are nine 3D printing technologies in use mainly:
- Material jetting
- Selective laser sintering
- Digital light processing
- Laminated object manufacturing
- Selective laser melting
- Digital light processing
- Fused deposition modeling
- Binder jetting
The most affordable and favorite 3D technologies for home users are the Stereolithography and Fused Deposition Modelling.
Find a Printer That Meets Your Needs
It’s essential to understand that not all 3D printers are equal. You don’t want to go home with a machine only to discover that it has substandard quality or it’s small for your needs. As a home user, you may need a printer that can help you create standard items.
However, if you’re in business, you need a machine that produces high quality items with intricate details. For this reason, you need a printer with the right resolution and the best speed. Print speed of 80-100mm/s is ideal for quality objects.
When deciding on the print speed, understand your object’s size and its complexity, to help you settle on the best machine. The layer height is another factor that determines the print speed. Also, printing at a higher resolution means that you’ll need to wait for an extended period than when printing at a lower resolution.
Understand that Different 3D printers Work with Various Materials
You can find a variety of materials that work with different 3D printers. As a home user, you’re likely to use a consumer-oriented machine that uses a plastic filament. Some popular materials include PLA, ABS, and PVA.
Polylactic acid also PLA is an environmentally friendly material that you can use for various uses. Favorite items that use PLA include diapers, food packages, and more.
Polyvinyl alcohol also PVA is a water-soluble plastic material found in different types of packaging and fish baits. Sometimes PVA provides support structures to 3D items during the building process.
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene is a material that creates Lego bricks, toys, musical instruments, and kitchen appliances.
Before settling on a specific material, check to see the filament diameter. Some printers accept diameters of 3mm and 1.75 mm, while a few won’t work with both sizes. The filament depends on the weight, with most weighing 2.5kg, 1 kg, or 750 gm.
Size of the Print Bed
You can find both heated and non-heated 3D print beds. The print bed holds the items steady, which determines the outcome of your 3D printed part. You need to adhere the item to the 3D printer bed to still the object during the build.
Some of the ways to do this are by preheating the bed or by using glues. When using an ABS filament, you need a heated bed. With a PLA filament, either you can use glue or heat as the material is flexible. Choosing a 3D printer with a large print bed means you can print larger items.
Check for Additional Features
3D printers provide other features other than printing 3D objects. The features help to make your printing experience seamless and enjoyable.
Connectivity is a valuable feature if you need to print your items via a wireless router. Most printers have a type B USB connection which allows you to print an object from your computer by using the slicing software.
Also, specific printers allow you to print via a Wi-Fi connection or Ethernet. A few printers have an SD card slot, which means you don’t need a PC during the process. You need to have a visual display of the items you’re looking to create. Most printers have a touchscreen, colored LEDs, or graphical LCDs.
You can find other additional features like a camera and automatic material recognition. A camera helps you monitor the printing to get an idea of what the final print looks like. Some printers display the kind of material the printer is using.
All in one 3D printers allow you to print, copy, scan and fax in one machine. The feature comes in handy when you need to perform these functions at a go, something that saves time.
Decide on the Printing Software to Use
Most printers have their slicing software that can print and open STL files. The standard file format allows you to print your 3D model into a physical item. It has all the data you need to produce an object through different layers.
Nonetheless, if you’re looking to design and create your items, you require a 3D modeling software. Some are free, while others come at a price. Some of the available options include Autodesk inventor’s fusion, Sketchup, and 123D Design.
Price of the 3D printer
Selecting the best 3D printer under 500 is similar to finding any other household device, you need to find a machine that fits your budget. A higher price doesn’t always guarantee quality 3D printing.
Nonetheless, some expensive 3D printers have excellent features and produce high-quality prints. The printers range from $250 to some going to over $3000.