Best 3D Printers Under $500

Are you searching for a 3D printer that won’t break the bank? $500 can go a long way when purchasing a 3D printer. No longer are you looking at printers that take a week to assemble and can fall apart at a moment’s notice. Now you can get printers that can print professional quality parts and are large enough even to print a Mandolorian helmet in one shot!

Elegoo Mars 2 PRO


The best value small form factor resin printer currently on the market



The easiest and most cost-effective medium format resin printer out

Anycubic Photon Mono SE


One of the most refined and polished small form factor resin printers out

Anycubic Mono X


Mono X sports a 4k monochrome LCD producing excellent quality prints

Prusa Mini+


Mini+ has quality of life features that no other 3D printer in its price bracket can match

Paul Chow
Paul Chow

Co-Founder & CTO

Amazon.com Disclosure: As Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases.

It felt like it was just yesterday when the average price tag of a 3D printer was well north of $2000. Now we can find all kinds of great 3D printers at prices well below $1000. When looking at the $500 range, we’re no longer making compromises to achieve that price point. All of the 3D printers on this list can produce great quality prints and are quiet. Now we’re looking for more advanced features such as automatic bed leveling, direct drive extruders and larger build volumes. Narrowing down your research list of options can be difficult – this can be especially harrowing if you’re new to buying these products. 

Look no further than right here. We’ve gathered all the information for you, so look through this list of 8 different 3D printers that cost under $500. You’ll find the right printer that suits your every need. 

What To Look For In A 3D Printer Under $500


Reliability is one of the most important traits in a 3D printer. It doesn’t matter if the printer has all the bells and whistles in the world if it constantly jams, breaks or fails to print objects that you want it to. Thankfully, 3D printers have come a long way from the early days of wooden frames and instead feature sturdy metal frames and quality components to ensure that every time you press print, you can rest assured that it will spit out the right object.

Ease of Set Up

In the early days of consumer 3D printing, most printers came in a kit that users had to build it up. This required both time and expertise that turned away anyone who wasn’t a die-hard tinkerer. Modern printers now come in much easier-to-assemble sections which usually consist of screwing in a small number of bolts and connecting a few cables before powering the printer on and starting printing. Many of the printers on this list are already fully assembled and just require several steps before printing. You can rest easy that every printer on this list would not require an engineering degree and a week’s worth of time to get up and to run.

Print Quality

Print quality has improved by leaps and bounds over the past few years. Printers that are considered budget now rival the quality of printers that cost several thousands of dollars just a few years ago, with some prints rivalling those that came from injection molding. Resin printers take that a step further with prints that are indistinguishable from casted miniatures used in tabletop gaming.

Build Volume

If you’re looking to print large objects, then size does matter. While previously, most consumer 3D printers were very limited in build volume, many modern 3D printers are not so constrained. Some of these printers on this list are capable of printing objects such as helmets in one piece!

Extra Features

On more affordable machines, manufacturers had to sacrifice features such as better user interfaces or automatic bed leveling that would improve the overall user experience. However, when we increase the budget up to $500, we now have access to these types of features that used to be reserved for professional machines. 

Table of Contents

Top 3D Printers Under $500

FDM Printers

FDM or fused deposition modelling printers take plastic filament, melt it, and stack the extruded molten plastic in layers until the desired model is printed. Also known as filament printers, FDM 3D printers are the most common 3D printers used by both consumers and professionals alike. They combine versatility, build volume and ease of use at a low price point. 

What’s great about the printers we recommend is despite their relatively low price tag, they all punch much higher than their class, often rivalling printers several times more expensive in print quality. And not just print quality, several of these machines now have features like automatic bed leveling that was only reserved for those pricier machines.

Resin Printers

Resin 3D printers are perfect for users looking to produce miniatures for tabletop gaming or highly detailed objects that cannot be replicated on FDM printers. Until recently, resin 3D printing was reserved for professionals due to their extremely high price tag, but thanks to Anycubic and other manufacturers, resin 3D printing is now accessible to hobbyists and consumers. Resin SLA 3D printers are much messier to work with compared to FDM printers, requiring users to invest in cleaning equipment/chemicals and resin is substantially more expensive to buy compared to FDM filament. Additionally, with most of the printers featuring tiny build volumes, resin 3D printers are usually only recommended for users looking to make tabletop miniatures or jewelry. 

Since 2018, manufacturers rapidly iterated on their printer designs and as a result, the vast majority of current resin 3D printers share the same internals. Manufacturers have differentiated themselves by price and quality of life features. At $300, you would be limited to small form factor resin 3D printers, but at $500 you now have the option of larger format resin 3D printers. 

If you’re looking to start your resin or FDM printer journey for under $500, then these printers should be on your short list!


The Pros
The Cons

The ELEGOO Mars 2 Pro was among our top picks in our resin 3D printers for under $300 and returned to our list of top resin 3D printers for under $500. If you’re looking for a small form factor resin 3D printer, then the ELEGOO Mars 2 Pro is one of our top picks.

ELEGOO quickly set itself apart from the competition with quality-of-life features such as a charcoal air filter, an easy-to-level print bed and one of the lowest initial prices for a monochrome LCD printer. The ELEGOO Mars 2 Pro, like all resin 3D printers, produces excellent quality prints, which are often indistinguishable from cast resin miniatures.

Some users may take the issue that the lid has to be taken off to access the printer as it takes additional space to store the lid, however, we found this to be a minor issue in the office. The Mars 2 has an extremely small print volume of 129mm (l) x 80mm (w) x 160mm (h) which limits the printer to very small prints. Also, as of the writing of this article, the Mars 2 Pro has been superseded by the Mars 3, which features a larger print volume and higher resolution LCD screen, however, the Mars 2 is still much better supported with extremely cheap replacement parts available at many retailers.

The ELEGOO Mars 2 Pro features one of the largest resin 3D printer communities, which gives users a wealth of information if any issues come up. Coupled with ELEGOO continuing to support the Mars 2 Pro despite the newer Mars 3 being released, the Mars 2 Pro is easily a top-recommended resin 3D printer for under $500.

Read Review: ELEGOO Mars 2 PRO


The Pros
The Cons

Until the ELEGOO Saturn arrived on the market, medium to large resin 3D prints were out of reach for most hobbyists due to their high prices. Equipped with a large 4k monochrome LCD panel for quick and high-quality printing and an absurdly low price tag of $499, the Saturn quickly became the 3D printing industry’s equivalent of the 2020-2021 graphics card shortage. Prices quickly jumped to $700-800 due to demand, but thankfully fell back to under $500 in the last year due to supply catching up to demand.

The Saturn sports a much larger 9” monochrome LCD screen with an overall build volume of 192mm (l) x 120mm(w) x 200mm (h) which gives users a much bigger build volume to work around with. This often means that users can print 1:7 scale figures in 1 piece instead of several on smaller printers. Like all resin 3D printers, the Saturn can output excellent quality resin prints that rival injection-modelled tabletop miniatures.

However, users not requiring the larger print volume of the Saturn will quickly find themselves disappointed in the Saturn’s increased resin consumption and steeper learning curve due to the much larger build volume. For those users, we would recommend Saturn’s smaller brother, the ELEGOO Mars 2 Pro. For users looking for a high-quality, medium format resin 3D printer, we would happily recommend the ELEGOO Saturn if you can find one in stock. Anycubic’s Mono X is a viable alternative as they are virtually the same machine.

Read Review: ELEGOO Saturn

Anycubic Photon Mono SE

The Pros
The Cons

Like the ELEGOO Mars 2 Pro above, the Anycubic Photon Mono SE lands in our recommended list of both under $300 and $500 resin 3D printers. 

Sporting a monochrome LCD, it prints as fast and well as its competitors. However, the Photon Mono SE sets itself apart with its iconic gull-wing door design and updated bed leveling mechanism. Most consumer resin 3D printers use a removable top lid to access the print bed, which requires users to find extra room to place the lid aside while accessing the print bed. The Mono SE’s door design is a potentially huge advantage to users who are very limited in space for their 3D printing. Its spring-loaded leveling mechanism is our favourite method of leveling the bed plate as it ensures that the build plate is always perfectly level with the LCD screen.

While these pros would have made the Photon Mono SE an easy win on paper, we originally could not have recommended it due to its initial launch price and lack of software compatibility. It couldn’t have justified a launch price of 2x its closest competitor, the ELEGOO Mars 2 Pro, when the Mars 2 Pro produced the same quality prints. But its recent price cuts have dropped it to roughly the same price as Mars 2 Pro. Likewise, with its software situation, it initially was not compatible with popular slicers such as Chitubox and Lychee Slicer. However recent updates to both programs have put the Photon Mono SE on par with all other resin printers on the market. These 2 changes have made the Photon Mono SE an easy recommendation for a resin 3D printer for under $500.

Read Review: Anycubic Photon Mono SE 

Anycubic Photon Mono X

The Pros
The Cons

The Anycubic Mono X was Anycubic’s response to ELEGOO’s Saturn resin 3D printer. Internally, it was identical to the Saturn with some additional features such as a superior bed leveling mechanism and built-in WiFi. However, at launch, its higher price tag and lack of software compatibility made it a hard sell compared to the Saturn.

Like the Saturn, it sports a 4k monochrome LCD which produces excellent quality prints. However, it does feature a taller print volume at 192mm (l) x 120mm (w) x 245mm (h), which gives it an impressive 40mm height advantage over the ELEGOO Saturn.

We found the WiFi feature to be entirely useless, and despite the Mono X being available for a few years now, Anycubic has done nothing to ensure it works. However, that is not the case with slicer compatibility. At launch, it was not compatible with popular slicers like Chitubox and Lychee, but over time both programs included support for the Mono X, making the Mono X an easy recommendation for us.

Original Prusa Mini+

The Pros
The Cons

The Prusa Mini+ is Prusa’s first attempt at targeting the budget 3D printer market while maintaining the quality behind the Prusa brand. And it shows with the Mini+ sporting a laundry list of quality of life features that no other 3D printer in its price bracket can match while maintaining the print quality that rivals printers twice its price. Things such as a colour screen, automatic bed leveling, removable flexible build plate and upgraded extruder design are features usually found on printers with a price tag north of $1000. 

The best feature, however, is the enormous support provided by Prusa and its community. The included Prusaslicer, in-house filament and support has made the Prusa Mini+ an all-in-one ecosystem that is ideal for users new to 3D printing. We were not surprised at the great print quality the Prusa Mini+ achieved out of the box with no tuning.

However, it is held back by its higher than average price tag, relatively small print volume of 180mm (l) x 180mm (w) x 180mm (h) and lack of upgradability which makes it a turn-off to users who are interested in upgrading the Mini+. Additionally, the Prusa Mini+ is more difficult to assemble compared to other budget offerings, such as the Creality Ender 3 V2. The Prusa Mini+ is a top contender for newcomers to the 3D printing hobby looking for a budget-friendly and easy-to-use 3D printer. 

Read Review: Original Prusa Mini+

Creality Ender 3 V2

The Pros
The Cons

Creality made a name for itself as one of the first companies that offered an affordable and reliable FDM 3D printer. First, with their legendary sub $1000 CR-10 line and then followed up with their budget-friendly Ender 3 line. The Creality Ender 3 V2 took the fundamentals of reliability and affordability and added many upgrades to improve the overall user experience. You no longer need to spend several hundred of dollars to get silent stepper drivers and a non-monochrome LCD.

This printer also has a respectable build volume of 220mm (l) x 220mm (w) x 250mm (h), which allows it to fit 90% of prints most users would need and arrives mostly assembled in 2 major parts and can be assembled and printing in about 30 minutes thanks to its well-documented assembly instructions. We found that the Ender 3 V2’s print quality is among the best of the budget 3D printers, rivalling the print quality of our printers that cost over $1000.

While reliability and print quality are kings with the Ender 3 V2, it has few. First, despite being equipped with TMC silent stepper drivers, which ensure that the motion of the 3D printer is incredibly quiet, we found that the printer as a whole is loud due to the noisy, poor-quality fans that are always on. Many users might not prefer having a glass print surface as it does make print removal tricky without tools or cooling the print surface to release completed prints. And lastly, the Ender 3 V2 prints relatively slowly on its stock settings. Users can tweak and tune the settings to improve print times, but out of the box, the Ender 3 V2 is slower than many of its rivals.

What sets the Creality Ender 3 V2 apart from the competition and makes it one of our top budget picks is its community and retailer support. The Ender 3 V2 boasts one of the largest communities, and users will be able to quickly find answers to their questions and any number of upgrades to their printer to take it to the next level. 

Read Review: Creality Ender 3 V2

Anycubic Vyper

The Pros
The Cons

With Anycubic’s huge success with its resin 3D printers and when it retired its last generation Mega line, many people wondered if they would bow out entirely of the FDM 3D printer market. However, this was not the case with the Anycubic Vyper. The Vyper was Anycubic’s answer to the new generation of 3D printers, and it definitely has the fangs to take a bite out of its competition. Sporting many high-level features such as automatic bed leveling, a colour touchscreen, a dual drive extruder and a magnetic flexible build plate, it definitely aimed to take the crown away from Prusa as one of the most feature-packed consumer 3D printers on the market. It definitely did threaten Prusa with its great print quality, ease of set up and sub $500 price tag.

However, it was not a complete win for Anycubic. Users complained about the quality control of its dual drive extruder as some were flawless while others had print quality issues due to low-quality components within it. Its user experience was not nearly as polished as Prusa, as the software included was outdated and required some tuning from users before it fully realized its print quality potential. Finally, its community was very small compared to the Prusa community, making sourcing community help that much harder. Overall, from a value standpoint, the Vyper is one of the strongest contenders in the sub $500 category.

Artillery Sidewinder X1

The Pros
The Cons

Artillery was a relatively new challenger to the 3D printing space back in 2018, and it targeted one of the biggest companies in the Industry with the release of the Artillery Sidewinder X1. The Artillery Sidewinder is often recommended as the top contender for the best affordable large format 3D printer alongside the Creality CR-10S Pro. With a build volume of 300mm (l) x 300mm (w) x 400mm (h), it has the largest build volume on our list. 

At the time of its release, it was considered a huge upgrade over the competition due to its all-in-one design and colour touchscreen, which was unseen among the competition. We were thrilled with its extremely sturdy frame, ceramic coated glass bed, direct drive extruder and quiet fans, which resulted in quick, high-quality 3D prints while being amongst the quietest printers we have tested. 

We found relatively minor issues, such as the frustrating spool holder design, and found that the Sidewinder X1 went through multiple revisions due to quality control without customer consultation. Currently found at $499 or lower when on sale, it is amongst the most affordable large format 3D printers while maintaining high reliability and print quality. When picking an Artillery Sidewinder X1, users should be aware of picking up their V4 version, which fixes most of the quality control issues found on Artillery’s earlier models.

 Read Review: Artillery Sidewinder X1

Final Verdict

The $500 category is the sweet spot regarding print quality, user experience and value. Do you need a beginner-friendly printer that is easy to set up and easy to use? There’s a printer for you. Do you need a large printer to print cosplay parts in one shot? There’s a printer for you. Do you need a resolution printer for jewelry or scale figures? There’s a printer for you. 

Many of these 3D printers are also upgrade-friendly, making them an excellent gateway to printer modding and taking your 3D printing experience to the next level.

No matter what kind of 3D printer you’re looking for, you’ll make the right choice with one of these printers on this list! 

3DGearZone.com is a professional review site that receives compensation from the companies whose products we review. We test each product thoroughly and give high marks to only the very best. We don’t guarantee, however, that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services. 3DGearZone.com is independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own. 

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

1. ELEGOO.com, “ELEGOO, INC.” Accessed July 26, 2022.
2. Anycubic.com, “Anycubic 3D Printing” Accessed July 26, 2022.
3. Prusa3d.com, “Prusa Research a.s.” Accessed July 27, 2022.
4. Artillery3d.com, “Shenzhen Yuntuchuangzhi Technology Co., Ltd.” Accessed July 27, 2022.
5. Creality.com, “Shenzhen Creality 3D Technology Co., Ltd” Accessed July 27, 2022.

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