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Best 3D Printer Under $500 2024: Top Mid-Range 3D Printer Picks

Start your 3D printing journey off right with one of the best 3D printers under $500!
Last Updated on January 25, 2024
Best 3D Printer Under $500

3D printers, despite sounding futuristic and high-class, are a much more accessible product than people may realize. If you’re after the best 3D printer under $500, it’s surprisingly easy to find. 3D printers have become far more commercialized, it’s even possible to get one for under $300. However, for the median between quality and price, we think 500 is a suitable starter price.

We’ve homed in on the very best 3D printers under $500. Factoring in as many specialist needs as we can while maintaining that price cap, we ensured that you’ll find the right specialist 3D printer for you!

Products at a Glance

How We Picked the Best 3D Printer Under $500

There were a few factors we considered to determine the best 3D printers under $500, with “quality” being the umbrella term: how well the printer creates models, how quickly, and how reliably. We looked at printers along the budget range, with various build volumes and filament capacities. We looked favorably on established manufacturers known for their quality.

Eventually, we settled on five 3D printers under $500: efficient machines that made printing easy and accessible without sacrificing quality. Read on, to see what we picked…




Our Recommended

Product Reviews

  • Excellent print quality for the price
  • Good build volume
  • Easy DIY upgrades
  • Self-assembly
  • No auto bed leveling

The Creality Ender 3 Pro tops our rankings of the best 3D printers for under $500, for the excellent price-to-performance value on offer. Creality are a highly-regarded 3D printer brand, and this plucky model highlights exactly why.

The Ender 3 Pro specifications include features you’d expect from pricier options, notably a fairly sizable build volume of 220 mm x 220 mm x 250 mm, a power recovery mode, a heated bed, and a tight filament pathway. The results speak to this with superb quality prints for the price. As an FDM printer using standard 1.75 mm filament, the Ender 3 Pro is ideal for those that want to keep costs down moving forward.

Creality does ship the Ender 3 Pro as an assembly kit, and while the build may take a few hours, it’s relatively straightforward. As kit assembly printers go, the Ender 3 Pro is among the simplest to get up and running. You have to factor in a bit of setting up and calibration, chiefly because it doesn’t include an auto-leveling feature, though. Despite what may be a drawback for novices, investing the time to set up the Ender 3 Pro correctly translates to excellent prints for a 3D printer under $500.

The Creality Ender 3 Pro is ideal for those who want to learn as they build, supported by a bustling community of Ender enthusiasts. It also has the added benefit of being exceptionally well geared towards tinkering and upgrades. As Creality bluntly puts it, the Ender 3 Pro is ‘hackable as hell.’

  • Large build volume
  • Good print detail
  • Easy assembly
  • Affordable
  • Limited filament compatibility

If you are looking for a large format 3D printer under $500, then look no further than the Creality CR-10 Mini. Don’t let the “Mini” part fool you: this 3D printer offers a generous 300 mm x 220 mm x 300mm build volume that you’d typically find on much pricier models. Though still smaller than the full-fledged CR-10 model, this printer delivers a lot with a little.

Besides the roomy print volume, the CR-10 Mini shines in other aspects. The build quality is more than respectable for an FDM printer, and, for the price, it even delivers excellent results when it comes to details. Unlike the Ender 3 Pro, the CR-10 Mini ships virtually assembled, with pre-assemblies that simply need joining together. Rather than hours, you’re looking at 20 minutes or so before you start printing. Other bonuses include an auto-resume function in case of loss of power, a heated removable glass bed, and a simple overall design that lends itself to easy maintenance should you encounter any issues.

While Creality advises the printer as suitable for a decent list of materials, it does struggle with even some basic filament variants such as ABS. Print success varies, so we’d suggest giving the printer a few tests before deciding to print anything too intensive. However, for large-volume prints at a low cost, the CR-10 Mini is the best 3D printer choice!


  • Fast
  • Easy to use
  • Pre-assembled
  • Resin printing exclusively
  • High noise

The Elegoo Mars 4 Max topped out our list of the best resin 3D printers, and for good reason. Combining excellent resin printing with an excellent price, this 3D printer creates incredible resin prints with ease.

Fitted with a 4K LCD screen and an above-average build volume for resin printers, the Mars 4 Max comes as a pre-assembled unit, which when paired with the ChiTuBox software, means almost instantaneous out-of-the-box usage. We can’t overstate how easy this printer is to use: if you need to use this at a hobbyist level for small resin designs or miniatures, you’ll get on very well. The results are nothing short of remarkable for a sub-$500 3D printer: fine details, blemish-less surfaces, and excellent all-round quality. The print speeds offered by the Mars 4 Max are surprisingly fast and easily dwarf competitor budget models and even pricier alternatives. This is thanks to Elegoo incorporating a monochrome LCD for the masking process, which drastically reduces the time it takes for the resin to harden up and cure. Compared to the previous Mars Pro, print times are more or less halved

Of course, you’ll be limited to only printing with resin should you choose the Mars 4 Max. Additionally, we do have an axe to grind about the noise this 3D printer gives off, as though these units are generally noisy by default, this one manages to up the decibels even further. This is a manageable issue, however, and we still highly recommend the Mars 4 Max as the best resin 3D printer under $500!

  • Quiet running
  • Fast
  • Vibration compensation
  • Bulky
  • Difficult to learn

Though the Mars 4 Max was too noisy, the Anycubic Kobra 2 Pro has the opposite problem: it’s so quiet that you can forget it’s running. Boasting a fast print speed and respectable build volume, this 3D printer is a bargain under $500.

A major selling point of the Kobra 2 Pro is its one-click vibration adjustment. The slightest of movements can have majorly detrimental effects on your 3D printer, but this unit utterly minimizes them. It’s also one of the only 3D printers under $500 to feature automatic leveling for even easier use. The magnetic build plate makes for easy removal of models, which can be made from filaments such as PLA, ABS and PETG.

There’s a reason that the Kobra 2 Pro doesn’t take the crown for “best 3D printer under $500”, however: the rudimentary control scheme makes it difficult for beginners, and unintentionally means that this entry-level 3D printer is harder to master. It’s also quite a bulky model, so isn’t ideal for those working with limited space. But for limited budgets and a gamut of automated features, the Kobra 2 Pro is still a superb 3D printer!

  • Highly automated
  • Decent build volume
  • Long term investment
  • Poor design

Closing out our guide is the Photon Mono, another resin offering from Anycubic. This minimalist unit balances affordability, ease of use, and quality print results into a package that oozes all-round value.

Under the hood, you’ll be treated to a roomy 165 mm x 80 mm x 130 mm build volume. As far as resin printers go, this unit is easy to set up and start with.  Paired with the versatile Photon Workshop slider, the 3D printer does most of the heavy lifting. Great-quality prints require little in the way of preparation, making it an ideal 3D printer for home use!

It’s not all good news with this SLA printer, however. Naturally, resin requires a more costly long-term investment than filament, which can make this 3D printer more expensive than $500 in the long term. Additionally, the plastic resin vat (which bears the brunt of the toxic resin) is not as durable as a metal alternative could be. This can vary depending on use, but is worth keeping in mind. At far under $500, however, the Photon Mono still compromises very little and we’d be happy to still recommend it!

Features and Considerations

If you’re looking at a different printer than today’s rankings, here are some things to consider before purchasing:


In an article titled “Best 3D printer under $500”, you can naturally expect a certain price cap. The technical nature of 3D printing means that quality is generally synonymous with a higher price. If you are new to 3D printing, we wouldn’t recommend spending more than this, especially considering the cost of additional materials.


3D printers are capable of printing with an array of different materials, from standard favorites such as PLA through to specialist materials such as Nylon. Depending on what you plan to make, ensure the printer that you buy is suitable for the material you need, or vice versa.


Packaged 3D printers come in many forms. Some are more or less pre-assembled with a few simple steps to make them print-ready, while others come in pieces and require a complete assembly. If you’re jumping into 3D printing for the first time and aren’t confident in your assembly skills, it may be best to opt for a printer that works pretty much out of the box.

Build Volume

Just like how regular printers can only print on certain sizes of paper, 3D printers have a limit to how large they can print. As a general rule-of-thumb, an enclosed 3D printer will have a far more limited build volume than an open-frame unit. Consider how large your typical print will be, whether it’s cosplay components or small models, and choose an appropriate build volume.


Resin vs Filament 3D Printing: Which is Better?

3D printing can get technical quickly, and throwing around acronyms such as “SLA” or “FDM” can get confusing quickly. In order to choose between a Resin or a Filament 3D printer, here’s what you need to know.

FDM or “Filament” printers work by heating up different materials and feeding them through an extruder, building the model layer-by-layer. They are generally more durable than resin prints, and this can be supplemented by using different materials such as carbon fiber filament. This is the more common form of 3D printing, however it can be less accurate and more difficult for beginners to learn.

On the other hand, we have Resin 3D printers, also called “SLA” printers. These have more of a reservoir of resin that is highly sensitive to light, and use a precision laser to selectively solidify it into the given shape. This leads to smoother surfaces with fewer imperfections, though the overall prints are less durable and require a lot more post-print processing. Resin printers can also only print with resin, which limits their versatility.

To answer which is the better type of 3D printer, we’d generally say FDM – though it is subjective. Beginners will find more options, and that they’re easier to experiment with. However, for extra detail, resin printers are the ideal!


How hard is it to learn 3D printing?

Learning 3D printing ranges in difficulty, from relatively easy basics like the setup of entry-level printers and getting to grips with slicer software, through to more difficult skills such as optimizing your printer for more specialist filaments. Hobbyists and professionals may progress to advanced techniques. While there’s a bit of a steep learning curve, 3D printer is a rewarding skill to develop!

Are 3D printers under $500 good?

Yes: We consider the $500 mark an appropriate middle-ground for 3D printing. There are models as expensive as $1000 or industrial models that push that price point even further, but entrants or journeymen models tend to hover around this mark.

Our Verdict

For the ideal balance of versatility and quality, the Creality Ender 3 Pro is our pick for the best 3D printer under $500. Reasonably-priced, yet reliable, and capable of delivering quality prints, the Ender 3 Pro’s pseudo-DIY approach should please those interested in tinkering or those happy to let the printer chug along. However, any of these other printers are highly reliable and robust options, sure to justify their expense!

If you’re looking for the kind of upgrade only money can buy, check out the next tier up with the best 3D printers under $1000!