Best 3D Printer Under $300 in 2023
With 3D printing technology reaching relative maturity since its DIY-Kickstarter origins, the barrier of entry has lowered considerably. The very best 3D printers stick cost a pretty penny. However some of the better and useful technology has trickled down to lower-priced options. No longer is it a case of making some serious sacrifices to build quality, functionality, and features to keep costs down. A novice maker testing the waters for the first should find plenty to like in a budget printer.
That said, buying a $300 printer needs to come hand in hand with the right expectations. These are cheap, humble 3D printers. The reality is that they simply won’t perform as well as more expensive options. Nor will you get the same convenient, user-friendly features, calibration, or versatility. Nevertheless, there’s plenty of value if you look in the right place.
To that end, we’ve trawled through the ever-swelling spread of 3D printers. We’ve picked out the very best priced under $300 and compiled them into this handy guide.
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Products at a Glance
How we picked the best 3D Printer Under $300
Ease of assembly, build quality and frame design, printing performance, build volume, calibration, connectivity, platform heating resolution, speed, and compatible materials/filament largely guided our decision-making process in our guide to the best 3D printer under $300. In other words, all the factors that anyone on the hunt for a 3D printer should take into account.
Needs and requirements vary from person to person. However, we’ve managed to whittle our choices down to five recommendations. The running theme among them is that they offer excellent value for money. Plus, they can handle modest, small-scale projects and produce prints of respectable quality. They are especially suited to first-timers or seasoned printers that want a reliable foundation to tinker and modify themselves.
Below, you’ll find a review for each of the five printers. Plus pros and cons for those that want a quick take on each. Let’s jump in.
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Best 3D Printer Under $300 in 2023
- Superb print quality for the price
- Ease of assembly and use
- Decent build volume
- Tricky filament loading
Creality is well known for producing low-priced but well-built 3D printers. Indeed, the original Ender 3 is one of the best-selling printers around. Creality follows in that tradition. The updated and improved Creality Ender 3 V2 tops our guide to the best 3D printer under $300.
What makes the Creality Ender 3 V2 a remarkable budget offering is the quality of the prints. This is irtually out-of-the-box (after the necessary manual bed leveling and assembly). Whatever the size or shape of the creation, or the supported filament types (PLA/TPU/PETG), the Creality Ender 3 V2 delivers.
A self-developed 32-bit mainboard and TMC2208 stepper motor drivers do much of the heavy lifting for more accurate, smoother movements. Plus noise levels down to 50 dB for virtually silent printing, barring the fans’ hum and drive train hops. With a 220 x 220 x 250 mm build volume, 100-400 micron layer height, and 100-micron printing resolution, the Creality Ender 3 V2 is also one of the more versatile printers under $300. It can churn out good detail in a range of sizes.
We also like the inclusion of a 100-degrees heated tempered carborundum glass print bed, sturdy all-metal body and concealed MeanWell power supply. There’s also a tool draw and 4.3-inch detachable screen (although not a touch screen). Plus the XY-axis belt tension knob is great for keeping the belts taut and in tip-top condition.
The Creality Ender 3 V2 isn’t without its faults, though. Chiefly, the filament feeding solution is finicky. Both the positioning and size of the opening are to blame.
- Print quality
- Filament sensor
- 50 micron resolution
- Loud printing
- Build volume
The Anycubic Mega S is another 3D printer. It successfully balances a sub-$300 price tag with impressive print quality and a generous feature set. Undoubtedly an entry-level printer, the Anycubic Mega S comes with its limitations. Still, there’s plenty here for beginners and even seasoned printers to sink their teeth into.
There’s a solid full-metal frame, three-step easy assembly, and a high-quality Titan extruder better suited to flexible filament. Plus there’s a suspended filament spool holder, and 50 to 400-micron print resolution. This delivers easy up-and-start printing (after manual bed leveling). The results are invariably reasonable, surprising even for a $300 printer. The open design makes the Anycubic Mega S particularly suited to modification and tinkering.
The Anycubic Mega S also boasts quality of life features that have trickled down from much pricier printers. These include a filament sensor that includes run-out detection, an auto-resume function after power loss, and Anycubic’s impressive Ultrabase heated print bed (strong adhesion and easy removal of finished prints). There’s also a full-color integrated touch screen.
As for the negatives, the Anycubic Mega S runs loud. Both the fans and stepper motors combine to make quite a din, unlike the Creality Ender 3 V2. The build volume lags behind the Ender 3 as well, with a 210 x 210 x 205 mm print area. Anycubic could have made some improvements here. However, these issues don’t take away from the fact that the Anycubic Mega S offers good print quality, excellent quality of life features, and broad material support (TPU, PLA, ABS, HIPS, Wood).
- Ideal for beginners and easy to use
- Removable build plate
- Ships completely assembled
- Limited to PLA filament
- Small build volume
The FlashForge Finder is a strong option for beginners. Or those wanting a fully-assembled plug-and-print 3D printer but worried about accidentally dislodging or breaking components (wires, nozzle, belts, etc.) . With a semi-enclosed open-frame design, the FlashForge Finder comes in a sleek, housed package. It is easily one of the more aesthetically cohesive printers in today’s guide, not to say safest.
Printing is smooth, reliable, and very quiet. The result is systematically very good for the price. The removable build plate is a nice touch that simplifies peeling off finished prints. Furthermore, the 100 to 500-micron resolution offers respectable detail. The FlashForge Finder bundles in broad connectivity through either USB 2.0, USB thumb drive or Wi-Fi. The 3.5-inch touch screen provides simple but responsive on-printer controls.
The FlashForge Finder does have its limitations, chiefly a small build volume – 140 x 140 x 140 mm. There’s no heated bed, no automatic bed leveling (although the leveling instructions are concise and easy to follow), nor filament detection. Filament support stops at PLA, with a bit of leeway for modest PETG prints.
For beginners experimenting for the first time, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue. However once you want to try your hand at more ambitious projects, you may find yourself outgrowing the FlashForge Finder. In that respect, experienced makers will struggle to find much to warrant buying the FlashForge Finder.
- Fully enclosed design
- Out-of-the-box printing
- Build volume
- No auto-bed leveling
- Limited connectivity
Another top plug-and-play 3D printer under $300 worth considering is the QIDI Technology X-one2. But unlike the FlashForge Finder, this one includes an almost fully enclosed-frame design (the top remains uncovered). This is ideal if you favor safety. Or if you want a controlled printing environment to manage temperatures and keep unpleasant ABS fumes contained to a certain extent.
Features include a resolution of 50 to 400 microns, MK10 extruder, a user-friendly 3.5-inch touch screen, a CNC aluminum alloy build, a heated build plate (110-degrees), support for PLA, TPU, ABS, PETG filament, and an SD card reader. Prints quality falls within a respectable range for the price. You can expect smooth, detailed creations to come out reliably.
Much like the FlashForge Finder, the QIDI Technology X-one2 sacrifices build volume for plug-and-print ease of use, with an underwhelming 145 x 145 x 145 mm build area. Similarly, the printer lacks auto-bed leveling. However the setup is reasonably straightforward. Feed-in filament, adjust a few screws to level the bed, and you’re ready to go.
- Dual extrusion
- Multi-color/multi-material printing
- Build volume
- Auto bed levelling
Rounding off our guide to the best 3D printer under $300 is the Giantarm Geeetech A10M 3D printer. Dual extrusion is usually reserved for pricier models. However, Giantarm has successfully managed to integrate the feature into the sub-$300 Giantarm Geeetech A10M 3D printer without compromising on other aspects of the machine. If anything, the printer boasts one of the best feature sets for under $300, which sees it flirt with the Creality Ender 3 V2 and Anycubic Mega S in terms of value for the money.
The main attraction is, of course, the dual extrusion, which allows printing in multiple colors (with different modes including graded color and mixed color) and materials (PLA, ABS, PVA, HIPS, PETG, Wood). The results are exceptional for the price, and even complex, graded color or patterned prints come out smooth and well-detailed.
Another area where the Giantarm Geeetech A10M shines is the inclusion of features that feel entirely out of place given its low price tag. Power outage auto-resume, filament detection, quiet V-frame rails, heated silicon carbide build plate, and auto-leveling – all excellent and desirable quality of life features that typically cost a lot more. Alongside, it features an A10M extruder with 360-degree ventilation for better heat dissipation, 220 x 220 x 260 mm build volume, 100-micron resolution, Wi-Fi, USB, and SD card connectivity, and LCD.
While the Giantarm Geeetech A10M ships part pre-assembled, setting it up is easy (connect wires and combine five parts) and well-guided thanks to clear instructions.
The only real complaint is the loud operation, and the open-frame design isn’t particularly suited to ABS prints.
Best 3D Printer Under $300: Buyers guide
To get the best 3D printer under $300, it pays to keep a few things in mind. Here’s our guide to finding the right 3D printer for you within this price range.
Ease of assembly
In the past, piecing together a 3D printer involved considerable time, trial and error. This especially applied to lower-priced models. Nowadays, manufacturers tend to ship out printers pre-assembled or at least with large sections pre-assembled. Assembling a 3D printer has never been easier.
If you lack in the manual dexterity and patience departments, or are a beginner, we’d suggest a complete, pre-assembled printer.
You’re looking at more or less out-of-the-box use. Should you prefer a bit more of a challenge or fancy improving those tinkering skills, we’d suggest a part pre-assembled 3D printer such as the Creality Ender 3 V2. Rest assured that novices can quickly assemble these hybrid kit 3D printers thanks to clear instructions in most cases. However, you need to factor in more time. In the long run, they offer more scope for upgrades, too. So definitely something to consider if you want a printer that can evolve alongside your skills.
Arguably, build volume is one of the most critical specifications of any 3D printer. It determines the maximum size of a print. In other words, it puts a cap on the size your creations can be.
Under $300, 3D printers generally have limited build volumes compared to mid-range options and massive industrial-grade printers. Howeverthere’s still some variety to be found in entry-level printers.
If you plan on making functional creations with set dimensions, look out for printers with a more generous build volume. Among our recommendations, the Creality Ender 3 V2 and Giantarm Geeetech A10M have the largest build volumes of the bunch. These come 220 x 220 x 250 mm and 220 x 220 x 260 mm, respectively. For beginners who’ll be buying a first 3D printer primarily for learning, build volume isn’t as crucial a factor.
Different filaments have different properties making them more suited for certain types of prints. Here’s a brief breakdown of the most common. If you have set projects in mind, look out for a printer that supports the correct type of filament.
PLA – polylactic acid is one the most popular 3D printing materials. It’s easy to use, environmentally friendly, cheap, and available in numerous colors. It’s suited to prototyping, models, and display toys.
ABS – Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene trails ever so slightly behind PLA in popularity. It’s favored for its durability and strength. Plus it is often used for creations such as accessories and toys that get a lot of use.
PETG – Polyethylene terephthalate glycol-modified is essentially your run-of-the-mill plastic modified to be more durable. It strikes a nice balance between ease of use, relative flexibility, and durability. It fares well for functional/mechanical prints subject to wear and tear.
Flexible (TPE, TPU, TPC): As the name implies, this type of filament is prized for its flexibility and durability. It’s best for creations that need a degree of flex or bend.
What is the best 3D printer to start off with?
For beginner hobbyists and amateurs, we recommend the FlashForge Finder. It produces high-quality results, with a simple user interface and straightforward steps to follow.
What is a reasonable price for a 3D printer?
A reasonable price for a 3D printer depends on what exactly you need it for. If you’re a beginner, up to $300 is fairly standard. But once you get your head around 3D printing, you might want to consider up to $1000. This is especially true if you are using it for commercial purposes.
Best 3D Printer Under $300 in 2023
Our top 3D printer under $300 is the Creality Ender 3 V2. A best seller for a good reason, it offers excellent print quality for the price. Plus it is easy to assemble, near-silent, and packages in a decent build volume.
Similarly impressive is the Anycubic Mega S. It delivers good print quality, and an enviable feature set including some choice quality of life specifications. Beginners and seasoned makers should find plenty of value in this 3D printer.
For plug-and-print ease of use, it’s hard to go wrong with the sleek FlashForge Finder. The filament range is limited. However, the printer makes up for this with reliable printing performance, superb connectivity, and plenty to please beginners.
Those looking for an enclosed 3D printer should consider the QIDI Technology X-one2. Safe, versatile, and reliable, it’s a strong option for novices that want easy out-of-the-box printing.
Finally, our dual extrusion pick, the Giantarm Geeetech A10M, is hard to beat. It has a feature set usually reserved for more expensive 3D printers, including auto-leveling and a generous 220 x 220 x 260 mm build volume for the price.
We’ll now wrap up our guide to the best 3D printers under $300. Feel free to drop into the comments section below with any questions or recommendations of your own.