Best 3D Printer Under 500

I. Introduction

Hello fellow tech enthusiasts! Are you on a quest to find the best 3D printer that your money can buy, but don’t want to exceed a $500 budget? Well, you’ve hit the jackpot with this guide. As a fellow tech enthusiast, I’ve scoured the market, done the research, and compiled a list of the top 3D printer under 500.

II. Importance of a Good 3D Printer

Understanding Budget Considerations in 3D Printing

In the quest to find the best 3D printer under 500, it’s crucial to achieve a balance between affordability and quality, ensuring that your choice delivers both value and performance within this budget range.

  • Financial Prudence vs. Quality: It’s a common misconception that lower-priced 3D printers will always lead to compromised quality. However, the key lies in identifying models that offer the best value for money. In this price range, the focus should be on finding a printer that provides reliable performance without breaking the bank.
  • Long-term Investment: Opting for the cheapest model might seem like a good deal initially, but it can lead to higher costs in the long run due to maintenance issues, replacements, or limited functionalities. A good 3D printer under $500 should be seen as a long-term investment that balances initial affordability with ongoing reliability.

Key Quality and Specification Factors

To make a well-informed choice, let’s explore the key specifications of 3D printers and understand how they impact your printing experience, particularly when searching for the best 3D printer under 500.

  • Resolution and Speed: The resolution of a 3D printer affects the detail level of the objects you create. Higher resolution means finer details but often at the cost of printing speed. Conversely, a faster printer might reduce production time but can sometimes compromise on the intricacy of the output.
  • Build Volume: This refers to the size of the objects you can print. A larger build volume offers more flexibility in printing larger or multiple pieces simultaneously, but it may also mean a larger footprint of the printer itself.
  • Material Support: Different 3D printers support various printing materials. Some printers under $500 might be limited to basic materials like PLA or ABS, while others might offer more versatility. The type of material a printer can handle directly impacts the variety of projects you can undertake.
  • User-Friendly Features: For beginners or hobbyists, ease of use is a critical factor. Features like touchscreen interfaces, easy calibration, and reliable customer support can significantly enhance the user experience, especially for those new to 3D printing.

By considering these factors, you can find a 3D printer that not only fits your budget but also meets your specific printing needs and expectations.

III. Types of 3D Printers

As you delve into the realm of 3D printing, a pivotal initial choice is finding the right type of 3D printer. Each printer varies in its methods, materials, and applications, so comprehending these distinctions is crucial in picking the best 3D printer under 500 that aligns with your specific requirements.

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) Printers

  • Working Mechanism: FDM printers work by melting a plastic filament and extruding it through a heated nozzle. The nozzle moves in XYZ directions, layering the melted material to create a three-dimensional object.
  • Materials Used: These printers commonly use materials like ABS, PLA, and PETG, which are ideal for a range of applications, from prototypes to functional parts.
  • Popular for Home Use: Due to their affordability and user-friendly setup, FDM printers are a popular choice for hobbyists, educators, and small businesses.

Stereolithography (SLA) Printers

  • Precision Printing: SLA printers use a laser to cure liquid resin into hardened plastic. This process allows for high precision and fine detail, making SLA ideal for intricate designs.
  • Material and Application: The printers primarily use photopolymer resins. They are widely used in the dental industry, jewelry design, and for creating detailed prototypes.
  • Considerations: While offering high resolution, SLA printers require more maintenance and post-processing of printed objects.

Digital Light Processing (DLP) Printers

  • Speed and Efficiency: Similar to SLA, DLP printers also cure resin, but they use a digital light projector screen which cures an entire layer of resin at once. This makes DLP faster than SLA in many cases.
  • Applications: DLP is used for applications where speed is crucial without compromising too much on detail, such as in the dental industry and rapid prototyping.

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) Printers

  • Advanced Technique: SLS printers use a laser to sinter powdered material, typically nylon, to create solid structures. This method does not require support structures, as unsintered powder supports the object.
  • Industrial Applications: SLS is predominantly found in industrial settings due to its capability to produce durable, functional parts and complex geometries.

Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) Printers

  • Innovative Technology: MJF, developed by HP, involves laying down a layer of powder and then selectively applying a fusing agent. A heating element then fuses the powder into a solid layer.
  • High-Quality Output: It is renowned for producing high-quality, robust parts at a faster rate than SLS, making it a strong contender in rapid prototyping and manufacturing.

Understanding the Best Fit for Your Needs

  • For Beginners and Hobbyists: FDM printers are generally the best starting point due to their affordability and ease of use.
  • For Detailed and Precise Work: SLA or DLP printers are more suited for tasks requiring high precision and intricate details.
  • For Industrial and Professional Use: SLS and MJF printers are the go-to options for producing strong, functional parts and are commonly used in professional environments.

IV. Review of the Best 3D Printer Under 500

3D printing technology has revolutionized the way we create and manufacture. Whether you’re a hobbyist, an educator, or a professional, choosing the right 3D printer is crucial. Let’s dive into the pros and cons of four popular models to help you make an informed decision.Now let’s get down to business! Here are the best 3D printer under 500.

FDM 3D Printers Under 500

Artillery Sidewinder X2 3D Printer


  • Direct Drive Extruder: Advanced Titan extruder reduces filament clogging and ensures precise printing.
  • Dual Z-Axis System: Enhances stability and print quality, ensuring the X-Axis is parallel to the build platform.
  • Fast Heating: The hot bed can reach 110°C in 2 minutes, speeding up the printing process.
  • Resume Printing Function: Can resume printing after filament exhaustion or power failure.
  • Ultra-Silent Printing: Low noise operation is ideal for night-time printing.


  • Maximum Speed Limitations: Tops out at 150 mm/s, which is lower than some other models.
  • Size and Weight: Its dimensions and weight may make it less convenient for small spaces.

Creality Ender 3 V3 SE 3D Printer


  • High Printing Speed: Capable of printing at 250mm/s, significantly faster than many competitors, it’s efficient for large or complex models.
  • User-Friendly: Easy assembly in about 20 minutes and features like CR Touch auto-leveling make it beginner-friendly.
  • Versatile Extruder: The “Sprite” Direct Extruder supports a variety of filaments including PLA, PETG, and TPU, offering flexibility in projects.
  • Stable Structure: Dual Z-axis and Y-axis ensure high print quality and reduced wobbling.
  • Silent Operation: 32-bit silent mainboard provides precise control with less noise.


  • Size Limitations: With a print size of 8.66 * 8.66 * 9.84 inches, it might not be suitable for very large projects.
  • Power Supply Consideration: Users need to ensure the power supply is set correctly before use.

ELEGOO Neptune 4 Pro


  • Exceptional Speed: Reaches up to 500mm/s, ideal for rapid prototyping.
  • Precision Upgrades: Metal guide rails and U-shaped steel wheels on the X and Y axes enhance printing accuracy.
  • Energy Efficient: Segmented heating zones reduce power consumption and speed up heating.
  • Direct Drive Extruder: Offers powerful extrusion and smoother filament feeding, reducing clogging risks.
  • High-Temperature Tolerance: Can handle a variety of materials including PLA, PETG, ABS, TPU, and nylon.


  • Complex Setup for Beginners: The advanced features might be overwhelming for new users.
  • Size Considerations: While it has a substantial build volume, it might still be limiting for very large prints.

Anycubic 3D Printer Kobra 2 Pro


  • High-Speed Printing: A 10X boost in speed compared to mainstream FDM 3D printers.
  • Powerful Computing: High-performance processor ensures faster calculation and command execution.
  • Innovative Structure: Optimized extrusion and cooling systems for smooth filament delivery and layer formation.
  • Smart Features: LeviQ 2.0 Auto Leveling and smart Z-Offset adjustment for enhanced precision.
  • Intelligent Control: Supports remote control and monitoring via the Anycubic APP.


  • Weight and Portability: Weighing 8.4 kilograms, it may not be the easiest to move around.
  • Learning Curve: Some features may require a learning curve for optimal utilization.

FLASHFORGE Adventurer 5M 3D Printer

  • Automated Bed Leveling: Features one-click automatic printing for consistent, hassle-free bed leveling.
  • Rapid Printing Capabilities: Achieves speeds up to 600mm/s, ideal for quick and efficient printing.
  • Quick Nozzle Changes: Allows for nozzle changes in just 3 seconds, enhancing overall productivity.
  • High-Quality Printing: Dual-fan nozzles and multiple nozzle sizes ensure detailed and precise prints.
  • Reliable Customer Support: Comes with one month of free return and exchange, lifetime technical support, and a one-year warranty.


  • Bulky Design: Its size and weight of 23.8 pounds might be cumbersome for some spaces.
  • Price Point: At $439.00, it’s a significant investment, particularly for those new to 3D printing.
  • Advanced Feature Complexity: The range of advanced features may present a learning curve for beginners.

Each of these printers has unique strengths and potential limitations. Your choice will depend on specific needs like print speed, precision, material compatibility, and ease of use. Consider these factors carefully to find the perfect match for your 3D printing adventures.

Resin 3D Printers Under 500

Explore the world of resin 3D printing with these detailed reviews of popular models, each offering unique features and capabilities.

Creality Resin 3D Printer Halot-Mage


  • Large Printing Size: 8.97×5.03×9.05 inch build volume offers ample space for bigger projects.
  • Ultra 8K High Precision: Exceptional detail with 33,177,600 pixels and 29.7μm XY resolution.
  • High-Precision Light Source: Ensures uniform light intensity for efficient printing.
  • User-Friendly Design: Easy-to-use flip lid and odor-free printing environment.
  • Software Compatibility: Supports multiple slicing software options with free Chitubox Pro access.


  • Size and Weight: Relatively large and heavy, requiring dedicated space.
  • Niche Audience: Its advanced features may be overwhelming for beginners.

ELEGOO Saturn 3 MSLA 3D Printer


  • High Resolution: 10-inch 12K mono LCD for detailed and intricate models.
  • Generous Build Volume: Large printing size of 8.62×4.84×9.84 inches.
  • Advanced Light Source: Uniform and precise light emission enhances print accuracy.
  • Durable Build Plate: Laser-carved for better adhesion and success rate.
  • Efficient Software: Voxeldance Tango with multiple modes for improved printing efficiency.


  • Weight: At 33 pounds, it’s not easily portable.
  • Complex Setup: May require some technical know-how for optimal use.

phrozen Sonic Mini 8K S LCD Resin 3D Printer


  • Exceptional Resolution: Offers the highest resolution on the market at 22 µm.
  • Smooth Surfaces: Reduces layer lines for sleeker models.
  • Open-Source Compatibility: Works with most slicers.
  • User-Friendly: Simple operation suitable for all experience levels.
  • Ideal for Beginners: Affordable and easy to use, making it great for newcomers.


  • Small Build Volume: Limited to smaller projects.
  • Specialized Usage: More suited for detailed small models than large-scale printing.

ELEGOO Mars 4 Ultra MSLA 3D Printer


  • High-Resolution LCD: 7-inch 9K mono LCD for complex models with crisp details.
  • Powerful Operating System: Smooth and efficient operation with Linux OS.
  • Wi-Fi Connectivity: Easy file transfer and printer management.
  • Effortless Leveling: Simplified setup with a 4-point leveling system.
  • User-Friendly Interface: Intuitive touch screen with multilingual support.


  • Moderate Printing Size: Limited to medium-sized projects.
  • Learning Curve: Some features may require familiarization for optimal use.

ANYCUBIC Photon Mono M5


  • High-Resolution Screen: 10.1’’ 12K screen for ultra-precise prints.
  • Smart App Control: Anycubic APP for online slicing and monitoring.
  • Upgraded Slicer Software: Enhanced usability and model support.
  • Stable Print Structure: High precision dual linear rails for smooth operation.
  • Improved Print Success Rate: Laser-engraved printing platform for better adhesion.


  • Weight Consideration: At 19.18 pounds, it’s relatively heavy.
  • Targeted Audience: More suitable for experienced users looking for high precision.

Every one of these printers serves various purposes, whether you’re in pursuit of detailed miniatures, substantial build volumes, or straightforward functionality. To ensure a successful 3D printing experience, it’s important to assess your unique needs and select the best 3D printer under 500 that aligns perfectly with those requirements.

V. Filament Types for Different Projects

Filament Types for Different Projects

When it comes to 3D printing, particularly when looking for the best 3D printer under 500, choosing the appropriate filament is vital as it significantly affects the quality, durability, and visual appeal of your final print. Being knowledgeable about the different types of filaments and their characteristics is key to selecting the ideal material that complements the capabilities of a budget-friendly 3D printer and suits your project requirements.

PLA (Polylactic Acid)

  • Eco-friendly and User-friendly: PLA is a biodegradable thermoplastic derived from renewable resources like cornstarch. It’s the most popular filament for beginners due to its low printing temperature and minimal warping.
  • Ideal for: Hobbyist projects, educational models, and decorative items. Not suited for objects that require high heat resistance or strength.

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)

  • Durability and Flexibility: ABS is a strong, slightly flexible material that can withstand higher temperatures than PLA.
  • Printing Environment: Requires a heated bed and well-ventilated area due to fumes during printing.
  • Ideal for: Functional prototypes, automotive parts, and products that need to be durable and withstand higher temperatures.

PETG (Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol)

  • Combining the Best of PLA and ABS: PETG offers the ease of printing like PLA and the strength and heat resistance of ABS. It also has a glossy finish and is water-resistant.
  • Ideal for: Functional parts in mechanical projects, containers, and items requiring a blend of durability and aesthetic appeal.

TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane)

  • Flexibility and Elasticity: TPU is a flexible, rubber-like material, perfect for objects that need to bend or stretch.
  • Printing Challenges: More challenging to print than PLA or ABS due to its flexibility.
  • Ideal for: Phone cases, wearable items, and parts that require shock absorption or flexibility.


  • High Strength and Durability: Nylon is known for its strength, flexibility, and resistance to abrasion and chemicals.
  • Moisture Sensitivity: Requires dry storage as it absorbs moisture from the air, which can affect print quality.
  • Ideal for: Gears, hinges, and functional parts in mechanical systems.

Wood-Filled Filaments

  • Unique Aesthetic: These filaments blend PLA with wood fibers to create prints with a wood-like appearance and texture.
  • Special Considerations: May require a larger nozzle to prevent clogging and a bit of trial and error to achieve the desired wood-like finish.
  • Ideal for: Decorative objects, artistic projects, and items where a natural wood appearance is desired.

Specialized Filaments

  • Metal-Filled, Glow-in-the-Dark, and Color Changing: These filaments incorporate additional elements for specific aesthetic properties or functionalities.
  • Application-Specific: Ideal for projects requiring unique visual effects or specific physical properties.

Choosing the Right Filament for Your Project

  • Consider the End Use: Is the object for decorative purposes or functional use? Does it need to be heat resistant, flexible, or have a specific aesthetic?
  • Printer Compatibility: Check your printer’s specifications to ensure it can handle the filament type you choose, especially for materials requiring higher temperatures.
  • Experimentation and Learning: Sometimes the best way to understand a filament’s properties is through trial and error. Start with smaller projects to learn how each material behaves.

VI. Resin Types for 3D Printing

Resin Types for 3D Printing

In the world of 3D printing, especially when searching for the best 3D printer under 500, the type of resin used plays a crucial role in determining the quality, functionality, and aesthetic of the final print. Knowing the different resin types is essential for choosing the most suitable material that aligns with the capabilities of your sub-500 3D printer and meets the specific needs of your project.

Standard Resin

  • General Characteristics: Standard resins are the most commonly used in 3D printing and are valued for their ease of use and affordability.
  • Applications: Ideal for basic prototypes, art projects, and non-functional items. They offer a good balance of strength and detail.
  • Limitations: While versatile, standard resins are not suitable for objects that will be exposed to high stress or outdoor environments.

Tough Resin

  • Enhanced Strength and Durability: Tough resin, as the name suggests, is designed to mimic the strength and resilience of ABS plastic.
  • Ideal for: Functional parts that need to withstand stress, like snap-fit components, connectors, and parts subject to high impact or stress.
  • Considerations: This resin type may require more advanced printing settings and post-processing compared to standard resins.

Flexible Resin

  • Elasticity and Shock Absorption: Flexible resins are perfect for objects that need to bend or stretch without breaking.
  • Use Cases: Commonly used for parts like seals, gaskets, and wearable items. They are also great for parts requiring impact resistance.
  • Printing Tips: It can be more challenging to print due to its elasticity, requiring careful calibration and possibly slower printing speeds.

Water-Washable Resin

  • Convenience in Post-Processing: Unlike standard resins that require alcohol for cleaning, water-washable resins can be cleaned with water, making the post-processing simpler and safer.
  • Applications: Suitable for general use where ease of post-processing is a priority, but not recommended for parts requiring high strength or durability.

High-Detail Resin

  • Precision and Fine Details: High-detail resins are designed for prints that require very fine features and a smooth surface finish.
  • Best for: Miniatures, intricate jewelry, and dental models where detail is more critical than strength.
  • Printing Environment: Requires precise printing settings and careful handling during post-processing.

Medical-Grade Resin

  • Biocompatibility: These resins are specially formulated to be biocompatible, making them safe for use in medical applications.
  • Usage: Ideal for dental applications, surgical guides, and any application where human contact is involved.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Often compliant with specific medical regulations, making them a reliable choice for professional healthcare uses.

Castable Resin

  • Jewelry and Fine Art Applications: Castable resins burn out cleanly without leaving ash or residue, making them perfect for investment casting.
  • Common Uses: Ideal for creating detailed jewelry, artistic sculptures, and intricate parts that are later cast in metal.

Ceramic-Filled Resin

  • Heat Resistance and Rigidity: These resins are filled with ceramic particles, offering high temperature resistance and rigidity.
  • Applications: Suitable for parts that require heat resistance, such as molds, and for parts where a ceramic-like finish is desired.

Selecting the Right Resin for Your Project

  • Project Requirements: Consider the functional and aesthetic requirements of your project. Factors like strength, flexibility, detail, and post-processing needs play a crucial role.
  • Printer Compatibility: Ensure that the resin you choose is compatible with your 3D printer, especially in terms of the light source and resin tank.
  • Safety and Handling: Always follow safety guidelines for handling and storing resins, as they can be toxic and require proper ventilation and protective equipment.

VII. Conclusion

So there you have it! Three of the best 3D printers under 500 that cater to different needs and preferences. Each one has standout features that make them a valuable addition to any workspace. Remember, the best printer for you depends on your specific needs, so choose wisely!

VIII. Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What should I look for in a 3D printer?
    Look for factors like build volume, print speed, resolution, and material compatibility.
  2. Are cheap 3D printers worth it?
    It depends on the printer’s quality and features. A good budget printer can be a great investment.
  3. Can I use any material for 3D printing?
    Different printers support different materials. Always check the printer’s specifications.
  4. Do all 3D printers come with software?
    Most printers come with their proprietary software. However, you can also find third-party
  5. Is 3D printing expensive?
    The cost of 3D printing varies based on the material you use and the power consumption of the printer. Choose an energy-efficient printer to save on electricity costs.


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Daniel Brooks

Join me the author of Explore 3D Print, on an exhilarating journey through the captivating world of 3D. Discover the endless possibilities of 3D printing and immerse yourself in a vibrant community of enthusiasts. Explore, learn, and unlock the limitless potential of this fascinating realm.

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