|1. Creality||2. Monoprice||3. Kingroon|
3D printing is revolutionizing the world today. The applications of this machine meet and exceed our expectations. This outcome of combining two fundamental innovations – manipulation of digital formats, and additive manufacturing, is now a new field of study, full of opportunity.
This skill, like any other, requires practice. Today, buying a fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printer or an LCD 3D printer doesn’t cost a fortune. Equipped with advanced technology, you can get a good quality budget-friendly 3D printer that won’t burn a hole in your pocket. These budget-friendly printers are not as good as industrial grade ones, which cost a fortune, but they’re great for beginners and skill enhancement. This list has 10 printers, which are all potentially the best 3D printer under $300.
3D printing skills and needs differ based on individual requirements. Have a look at each printer and find the one most suitable for the prints you want to build:
Top 10 Best 3D Printers Under $300 2021
1. Creality Ender 3 Pro
Creality was founded in 2014, and focuses on the research, design, and production of 3D printers and all related products. Their team consists of professional researchers and skilled engineers, and their R&D is constantly working on creative functions for the best user experience.
This is the ultimate budget-friendly 3D printer. It’s a product of two major 3D printer manufacturers, Creality and Prusa I3. This new generation economical DIY printer has an extremely innovative design integrated with classic elements. It takes only 10 minutes and 20 screws to assemble this unit.
This FDM printer has a print size of 8.6×8.6×9.8 inches. It has a decent bed size, which should accommodate all your printing needs. The size of the machine is 17.3×16.1×18.3 inches, and it weighs 19 pounds.
The maximum traveling speed of the extruder is 180mm/ second, quite good for a printer under $280. The nozzle diameter is 0.4mm and the layer thickness this printer can print with is 0.1mm to 0.4mm. Being an open frame printer, PLA filament is the preferred, and 1.75mm is the recommended diameter of the filament. It can be modified to print other filaments as well.
The maximum hotbed temperature is 110 degrees Celsius, and it can reach that temperature in about 5 minutes. The power supply is safely protected and the printer has power cut functions to meet the needs of printing. The maximum nozzle temperature goes up to 255 degrees Celsius. It has microSD and WiFi connectivity. Creality does 24 hours of testing before they dispatch the products, and it comes with a 1-year warranty.
2. Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer V2
Monoprice was established in 2002, and since then it has offered 7000 high-quality electronic and accessory products at affordable prices. They have built a reputation for their products and customer service. Their business model eliminates all middlemen, allowing them to sell premium products at a fraction of its market price.
The Mini 3D Printer V2 has a very intriguing design. It’s a small and compact printer. But don’t let the size fool you. This printer comes completely assembled, and it is calibrated before it is packed in the factory. Although you must test to see if the bed is leveled since it can lose such calibration during shipping.
This printer won the ALL3DP Best Budget Printer Award for 2016 and 2017. It also won the Best 3D Printer under $300 in 2017. Though it’s an open frame printer, the Mini 3D Printer V2 is so advanced that it can support all filament types. From PLA and ABS to advanced filaments like wood and steel composites, conductive PLA, and dissolvable PVA.
This FDM printer has a print size of 4.75×4.75×4.75 inches. The print size proportion is good, considering the small compact design. The size of the machine is 11.3 x 7.5 x 13.5 inches and it weighs only 9.9 pounds.
The required filament size is 1.75mm, and the nozzle diameter is 0.4mm. The printer has a print speed of 0.55mm/second. The maximum extruder temperature is 250 degrees Celsius, and the maximum bed temperature is 60 degrees Celsius. This printer does not include a filament sensor and needs manual bed leveling. It has microSD and WiFi connectivity.
3. Kingroon DIY Aluminum Resume Printer
This DIY 3D printer is extremely easy to assemble and is affordable. It’s a basic 3D printer, and the design of this open frame is simple and straight to the point. This printer is made with fewer materials compared to others because of the design; however, it is equally effective.
This FDM printer has a print size of 7.8 x 7.8 x 8.3 inches. The print size proportion is good considering the small compact design. The size of the machine is 16.5 x 16 x 8 inches and it weighs only 17.55 pounds.
Though the design is quite minimal, it’s packed with features. The advanced technology in this printer includes a precision guide rail for accuracy and noiseless operation and an upgraded extruder that reduces bad extrusion and plugging risk. These not only allow the printer to run smoothly but also increase the efficiency and life of the printer.
This printer has a resume print function. In case of power failures, the printing will resume once the power comes back. The printer also includes assisted bed leveling. This makes the process of setting and adjusting the print bed much easier. The nuts at the corner of the heat bed are to be used to raise or lower the bed.
The screen of this printer is a touch screen. Other features include filament broken detection and linear guides. All parts of the printer are strictly tested before they leave the factory, and Kingroon offers lifetime technical support for all of their products.
4. Elegoo Mars
Elegoo is a popular technology company founded in 2015. The company is dedicated to the research and development, production, and marketing of open source hardware. They strive to offer quality products and excellent service. This company is based in Shenzhen, the Silicon Valley of China.
Elegoo, after years of experience, has finally developed its own 3D printer. The Elegoo Mars is their first photocuring LCD 3D printer that has been made using UV photocuring technology. This printer is user-friendly and has an industrial design. It’s suitable for anyone, even total beginners and laymen.
The enclosed frame printer comes semi-assembled. It hardly takes any time to set up, and you can start printing within 5 minutes. This budget 3D printer has the best user experience, as it comes with the latest version of CHITUBOX Slicing Software.
This LCD printer has a print size of 4.72 x 2.68 x 6.1 inches. It’s small but in good proportion to the size of the printer. The size of the machine is 15.75 x 16.54 x 7.87 inches and it weighs 17 pounds.
Note that LCD 3D printers use resin to print, not filaments. This printer has a print speed of 22.5mm/second. The layer thickness is between 0.01mm to 0.02mm. It has USB connectivity as well. The package comes with the printer, resin tank, build platform, tool kit, mask, gloves, funnel, scrapper, and just about everything you need to use and keep the printer in its best condition.
5. Anycubic Mega Zero
Anycubic is a well known 3D printer and an R&D vendor and service from Shenzhen. Since 2015, they’ve established sales, marketing, and service systems for their clients all over the world. Their professional technological services include 3D printing system operation services, rental of 3D printers, and personal 3D printing consultation. Anycubic satisfies basic 3D printing requirements and improves the user experience for everyone.
The Mega Zero 3D printer comes semi-assembled. It can be fully assembled quickly, in about 5 minutes. The printer has assisted bed leveling. Setting up the print platform is extremely easy, you just have to locate the 4 corners accordingly and adjust the nuts to raise or lower the bed.
This printer has a high print precision. The precision is improved because of the dual Y-axis sideway design. For a better printing effect, the full aluminum frame and closed-loop design offer more stability.
This printer is packed with functions. With the resume print function, you can resume the printing after a power outage with just a click. Double gear extrusion allows for a much stronger and smoother extrusion, compatible with TPU and PLA. It has an independent power adapter, to enhance safety and performance.
This FDM printer has a print size of 16.8 x 14.5 x 23.6 inches. It’s a large printer great for beginners and veterans. The size of the machine is 18 x 15.5 x 10.5 inches when it is packed and it weighs 20 pounds.
6. Anycubic Photon
The Photon is Anycubic’s LCD 3D printer. This printer has a unique industrial design, called the unique steel ball design. It is designed for quick assembly and can start printing even quicker because you only need the z-axis to return to zero and lock the leveling screw.
Being an LCD printer, it has an incredible resolution. You can now make tiny parts more detailed and smooth with more accuracy and quality compared to an FDM printer. Printing multiple models on the same bed doesn’t increase the time. If a large miniature takes 2-3 hours to print, 6 small ones would take the same time.
The color of this printer is black, made with metal and high-quality CNC. 405nm photosensitive resin is the ideal printing material for this model. The interactive interface provides all the details and monitors the print in real-time.
This LCD printer has a print size of 4.53 x 2.56 x 6.1 inches. This is a great LCD printer for beginners and veterans. The size of the machine is 21.25 x 11.5 x 11 inches and it weighs 19.65 pounds.
7. Longer LK4
Longer 3D is a National High-tech Enterprise in China. Founded in 2014, Longer 3D is focused on the study of 3D printing technologies and has been dedicated to providing 3D printing solutions for global users. They have their own R&D center and an abundance of patents. Their whole catalog has been certified by CE, FCC, and RoHS.
This FDM printer is 90% pre-assembled, and adding the rest hardly takes time. The cantilever, gantry, nozzle, and other complicated parts are assembled in the factory before dispatch. The open frame is very strong and sturdy for better printing quality.
The printer is completely user friendly. The 2.8-inch color touch screen is easy to operate. You can now preview the model and printing process on the screen. The printer has a feature that will resume printing after power loss. The filament run-out detection system automatically stops printing when the filament runs out.
This FDM printer has a print size of 8.6 x 8.6 x 9.8 inches. The heating bed heats up fast, up to 100 degrees Celsius in 4 minutes. The size of the machine is 42.5 x 40.2 x 50.5 inches and it weighs 19.3 pounds.
8. SUNLU S8
Sunlu was long known as a filament manufacturer till they made their first 3D printer – the Sunlu S8. The S8 is a budget-friendly purchase, coming in for a little more than $200.
The installation experience is interesting. The package comes with two assembled parts – you’ll have to install the 3D printer parts and debug the data. This process takes about half an hour. The Sunlu S8 has a generous printing space of 310 x 310 x 400 mm, which is enough space for large prints too.
This printer has Auto Filament detection for when the filaments run out and it has an auto-resume function. With this, you can continue printing with just one touch of a button when the current comes back from a power outage.
The printer is easy to assemble, calibrate, and print. And with a large printing bed, it’s a whole package perfect for 3D printing enthusiasts of all kinds. More space can improve your creative perspectives.
This FDM printer has a print size of 310 x 310 x 400 mm, with a larger build space for more creativity and innovation. The print speed is 20mm-100mm per second. Connectivity is present through a TF card and a USB cord. The size of the machine is 23.6 x 19.3 x 25.1 inches and it weighs 26.5 pounds.
9. Creality Ender 3 V2
The Ender 3 V2 is Creality’s prodigy 3D printer. It was released in 2020, with all the updated features and modifications making it the best 3D printer under $300. The new features include silent drivers and firmware updates.
This DIY printer is practicable, fun, and has high performance. Compared to Ender 3 and Ender 3 Pro, the V2 offers a different printing experience and it’s much quieter. This model has become the ideal printer for beginners, with a redesigned UI on its 4.3-inch screen.
The carborundum glass plate provides better adhesion, and it’s much easier to take prints off when cooled down. The new nozzle is made of brass and is heat resistant. Even swapping filaments in and out has become easier.
The print size of this printer is 220 x 220 x 250 mm. The layer thickness is 0.1mm to 0.4 mm. PLA, TPU, and PETG are the ideal filaments to use with this model. The size of this FDM printer is 22.13 x 15.12 x 7.87 inches, and it weighs 21.45 pounds.
This printer is packed with silence-optimized upgrades. It also provides a new and improved UI experience for printers, from beginners to veterans. The added extrusion knob makes it easier to feed 1.75mm filaments to the printer. The Ender 3 V2 includes a tool kit with all the tools, spare parts, and accessories that this printer requires.
10. Creality LD002R
The LD002R is Creality’s LCD Resin 3D printer. This printer is packed with all the latest technology in LCD printing and has a robust build quality.
The printer has anti-aliasing technology. Anti-aliasing is a digital process that reduces the effect of the UV light source on the surface of the prints. The LD002R also has quick leveling. The print plant features 4 hex screws that help align to the screen.
This printer is also equipped with an air filtering system. This system involves a small box on the back of the print chamber, which contains active carbon. Active carbon helps remove the stench of resin exposed to air.
The LD002R is easy to set up and after that, it’s much easier to choose the printing file and to see the progress with its advanced 3.5-inch full-color touchscreen. You can start printing within 5 minutes of assembling. It’s equipped with fast CHITUBOX Slicing Software. This software takes only 1 minute to slice a 30 MB .stl file, while other slicing software takes at least 10 minutes.
This LCD printer has a print size of 119 x 65 x 160 mm. This is a great LCD printer for beginners and veterans. The print speed is 20-30mm per hour. The print connectivity is through a USB port. The size of the machine is 8.7 x 8.7 x 15.8 inches, and it weighs 19.1 pounds.
Factors To Consider
1. Build Size
The build size, or build volume, is a crucial factor. If you want to print something with large dimensions, then you need a printer with a larger print bed. If your objective is just to learn and experiment around, then the build size of the printer shouldn’t be much of a constraint. Also, if you anyways need a larger bed size, might as well consider larger professional printers, it’ll be more economical.
3D printers use a wide range of materials to print with. The materials are quite diverse and each material has different variants. It depends on the type of 3D printer and how modified it is to use certain material. All of the budget 3D printers use plastic materials. These are alloys of different plastics molded into a thin tube (filaments) and liquid polymer (resin). LCD 3D printers use high detail resin, paintable resin, and transparent resin, while FDM printers use filaments like PLA, ABS, and TPU.
3. Open And Enclosed Frame
There are two kinds of designs for FDM 3D printers. Open frame and enclosed frame. Open frame 3D printers are, like the name suggests, open. A closed frame FDM 3D printer has protection surrounding it. This protects the 3D printing process from external factors like room temperature and forces of impact. It also reduces noise and emissions of melted plastic. Ultimately, it depends on the material you wish to print with. PLA will do fine with an open frame printer, although ABS might preferably be done in a more controlled environment of a closed frame 3D printer.
4. Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Kits And Pre-assembled Printers
If you like assembling parts and want the satisfaction of making something with your own hands, there are amazing DIY kits that include all the parts you need. All you need is a toolbox and it’s time to get your hands dirty. This kind of printer can be upgraded and modified with extra parts, including parts you can make with your 3D printer.
Today, the market is mostly filled with pre-assembled printers which just require you to assemble 3 or 4 parts. With a little 3D printing knowledge, anyone can build these printers.
Accuracy is a must while printing, and it can easily be lost. Many factors result in the accuracy of 3D printing – bed level, filament sensor, and power failure system. If you buy an automatic calibration printer, it will automatically level the bed, detect any problems with the filament sensor, and auto-resume if the power went off and came back again. A manually calibrated printer does none of the above; you’d have to manually tackle each problem for maximum accuracy.
6. 3D Printing Community
This new field of science and technology is very precocious and has maybe the widest range of possibilities. It’s a new era of technology. This subject is quite new and there are very few people in this field. There are many discussion groups and forums on online platforms where these people interact. Join them, to learn, and to share.
FAQs on 3D Printers Under $300
Q1. How Hard Is It To Get Into 3D Printing?
Learning to 3D print is not impossible, but just like learning anything else new – you have to start somewhere. You’ll first have to learn the basics of Computer-aided Design (CAD). With CAD, you’ll learn how to make digital designs and how to manipulate digital formats. Being good at math or even sculpting can give you an added benefit in CAD.
Then you get to the real deal. 3D printing is all about trial and error. The more you practice and play around with what you got, the more you learn. This skill has room only for improvement. So, it is not hard to get into 3D printing, rather it’s challenging. On top of that, it’s an expensive hobby to get into, so that might be a factor to consider.
You can also get a lot of open-source designs of commodities from sites like thingiverse.com
Q2. What Materials Do 3D Printers Use?
3D printers use a wide range of materials to print. It depends on the type of 3D printer and how modified it is to use certain material. The materials are quite diverse and the material has different kinds.
Plastic – Plastic is generally used for FDM 3D printers and comes in the form of filaments. These plastics are molded into a thin long tube (filament) which the printer melts and adds layers to the design. Some common plastic filaments are PLA, TPU, and ABS. These types of plastic filaments differ between strength, flexibility, and other properties.
Resin – Resin is used for LCD 3D printers. These printers use a UV light on the liquid polymer, resin, to create the prints. Compared to plastics, resin offers limited strength and flexibility. The types of resin available are high detail resin, paintable resin, and transparent resin.
Carbon fiber & Metals – None of the best 3D printers under $300 are printers that can make prints with carbon fiber and other metals like gold, aluminum, stainless steel, etc. To make prints with materials like these requires a high-end printer.
Q3. What Are The Applications Of 3D Printing?
Well to put it simply, your imagination and skill are the only limits to what you can do with a 3D printer. Today, 3D printing is a new aspect of every industry. From industrial goods to healthcare, mechanics, food, education, textile and fabric, aeronautics, and space, industries have started using 3D printing extensively. From making tools for any purpose to even printing cakes, the applications of 3D printing are being constantly explored.
3D printing has opened up a new way of thinking and it’s a huge development in this era of science and technology.
Q4. Are There Any Drawbacks Of 3D Printing?
Similar to any other process, 3D printing does have its share of drawbacks. These drawbacks are subject to your printer and the world of 3D printing.
- Limited resources – The material used to 3D print are all exhaustive. The more we use them, the sooner they get depleted. Let’s not forget, 3D printing consumes a good amount of electricity.
- Restricted Print Size – The size of what you’re printing is limited to the size of the print platform.
- Design Inaccuracies – Another issue with 3D printing is that there are a plethora of reasons for inaccuracies of the print. Your calibrations can be wrong, the heat bed could not be at the right temperature, etc.
- Affect on Manufacturing Jobs – With 3D printing being able to do the job of human labor, it can affect the jobs of many people. Buying and using a 3D printer can be cheaper than paying a group of people’s salary.
- Copyrighting – As 3D printing has become more accessible and popular, the possibility of people creating fake products is great. Some are skilled enough to make products look the same as the original.
Best 3D Printers Under $300 – Conclusion
The world of 3D printing is new and full of opportunity and skill. 3D printing has changed many industries, and now it is best for everyone to learn and practice this new process. Whether it’s a budget-friendly FDM or LCD 3D printer, they’re all going to help you learn and use them more.
Budget-friendly or low price is usually related to having poor quality, but that’s not the case anymore. All of the best 3D printers under $300 have a great value for money and they are all standardized printers. They’re all user friendly too, from beginners to veterans, anyone can 3D print today.
Whether you’re a small business owner or a hobbyist, different kinds of budget 3D printers are available to suit your needs. High performance, premium quality, and extremely user-friendliness are the main aspects of each printer in this list of the best 3D printers under $300.