Looking for a 3D printer? Have a specific budget you want to spend? To help you make your decision, we rated & reviewed 10 of the best 3D printers currently available at four different price points.
About 3-4 years ago consumer 3D printers exploded in popularity. There isn’t quite as much buzz around 3D printing now as there was back then, but 3D printers are still popular among the maker community (which is steadily growing).
If you’re in the market for a new 3D printer, this guide will go over 10 of the best 3D printers currently available. We’ve broken the guide down by price-point, so it’s not just a list of 3D printers that cost thousands of dollars.
In fact, one of the best options on this list comes in the $500-$1,000 price range (hint: it’s the QIDI TECH I).
The guide looks at 2-3 of the best 3D printers for under $5,000, under $2,000, under $1,000, and under $500.
*NOTE: This post will only focus on FFF (fused filament fabrication) printers. We will dedicate a separate post to resin 3D printers in the near future.
If you’ve got a large budget to work with and you need something that works more like an industrial-level machine than a consumer-grade machine, there are a few 3D printers for under $5,000 that you have to choose between.
Of them, my top pick is Raise3D’s N2 Plus. It is a very reliable printer that has an enormous build volume, and the ability to reach print resolutions as high as 10 microns. The Ultimaker 3 Extended, which is a bit more expensive than the N2 Plus is my next top pick, followed by the much less expensive LulzBot Taz 6.
Ultimaker 3 Extended
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If you’re looking for the best of the best among prosumer and high-end consumer-level 3D printers, then you have to check out the Ultimaker 3 Extended. The Ultimaker 3 Extended’s huge build volume, its ability to hit high-resolution prints, its dual extruders, its wifi connectivity, and its fast print times help it stand out as one of the best 3D printers currently available.
Ultimaker 3 Extended Overview
With a build volume of 9″ x 9″ x 12″, dual extruders, and the ability to hit print resolutions as high as 20 microns, the Ultimaker 3 Extended offers the ability to print large objects with high finish quality.
Of course, that combination of high print resolution, dual extruders, and large build volume comes at a premium. The Ultimaker 3 Extended is by far the most expensive 3D printer on this list.
However, for those who can afford and who need a reliable machine, the Ultimaker 3 Extended is a worthy option.
There is also the standard Ultimaker 3 as well. It is essentially the same machine, but it comes with a smaller 9″ x 9″ x 8″ build platform.
Both versions of the Ultimaker 3 draw a ton of praise for their ability to simplify the printing process as much as possible. And, part of that is the auto bed-leveling feature that comes with Ultimaker’s 3rd generation 3D printers.
The Ultimaker 3’s can also be connected via wifi (as well as by USB and SDCard) and they come with an onboard camera that will allow you to watch your prints live.
And, the Ultimaker 3 can print at speeds as high as 300 mm/s. Which also makes it one of the faster 3D printers on this list. (Faster isn’t always better, but the Ultimaker 3 can churn out quality prints at these higher speeds.)
Overall, the Ultimaker 3 Extended (and the standard Ultimaker 3) are easily among the elite when it comes to prosumer and high-end 3D printers.
Raise3D N2 Plus
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The Raise3D N2 Plus and N2 are real workhorse machines that offer some of the best specifications among consumer-grade 3D printers. The N2 Plus comes with an enormous 12″ x 12″ x 24″ build volume as well as the ability to hit maximum z layer heights (resolutions) of as high as 10 microns. Overall, the N2 Plus and N2 are the perfect options for enthusiasts and professionals who need a reliable printer that can deliver high-end prints.
Raise3D N2 Plus Overview
While the Ultimaker 3 Extended is one of the more well-known machines on the market, a slightly lesser-known 3D printer manufacturer, Raise3D, might have an even better option for power users.
The Raise3D N2 Plus offers a significantly larger build volume (12″ x 12″ x 24″) than the Ultimaker 3 Extended (and anyone else for that matter.) And, with a maximum z-layer resolution of 10 microns, the N2 Plus can reach print resolutions even higher than the Ultimaker 3 (20 microns.)
And, the N2 Plus does so for ~$500-$700 less (depending on whether or not you want a second extruder) than the Ultimaker 3 Extended.
Raise3D also offers a standard N2 (fourth picture in the table below) that comes with a smaller build volume of 12″ x 12″ x 12″, which is still one of the bigger build volumes out of the 3D printers on this list.
As mentioned above, both versions of the N2 come with the option to add a second extruder as well.
The N2 3D printers also come with a ton of connectivity options. You can connect the N2 and N2 Plus via WiFi, USB, SD Card, or by ethernet.
And, perhaps one of the coolest features of the N2 and N2 Plus is its integrated battery that allows the printer to resume printing a project even after power is lost to the machine. This is an amazing feature because nothing is more frustrating than getting 20-30 hours into a large print, having the power shut off, and having to start all over again.
The one downside of the N2 Plus and N2, though, is their enormous size. The N2 Plus weighs in at right around 145 lbs. and the standard N2 comes in at comes in at a bit under 120 lbs.
But, overall, if price is no concern and you’re looking for the best 3D printer on the market, I’d have to give the edge to the N2 and N2 Plus over Ultimaker’s 3 and 3 Extended, simply because of the bigger build volume, the higher print resolution, and the lower cost.
LulzBot Taz 6
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As a LulzBot Taz 6 owner, I can’t say enough about this printer’s reliability. In fact, the same can be said for any of LulzBot’s printers (I’ve worked with the Taz 5 and Mini, as well). The Taz 6 doesn’t quite stack up to the slightly more expensive Raise3D N2 and comes in at quite a bit more expensive than the MakerGear M2, but overall, the Taz 6 is a solid open-source option that has a ton of upgrade options and that is built by a reputable company.
LulzBot Taz 6 Overview
I own a LulzBot Taz 6 and I love it. I’ve used a Taz 5 as well as a LulzBot Mini, and the one thing I’m certain of with a LulzBot machine is its reliability. In fact, my Taz 6 has gone months in between prints and it still performs like new even without getting a lot of use.
The LulzBot Taz 6 isn’t perfect, though. One of the downsides of the Taz 6 is its open-air structure. This isn’t a horrible feature, but for printing in ABS, an enclosed printer helps to minimize temperature differential, which helps keep the ABS material from warping.
Fortunately, LulzBot does now offer an enclosure to help solve that problem.
The Taz 6 has a sizable build volume at 11″ x 11″ x 10″, which puts it right on par with the Ultimaker 3 Extended, and slightly behind the Raise3D N2 (not the Plus). And, the Taz 6 costs less than both of those machines.
LulzBot’s flagship printer can hit print resolutions as high as 50 microns as well. So, it can’t quite compete with Ultimaker and Raise3D in that department, but 50 microns is still solid in the grand scheme of things.
It has an average print speed of 30-50 mm/s and a maximum print speed of 200 mm/s.
Perhaps the biggest positive with the LulzBot Taz 6 are the features and accessories available, as well as the number of different filaments it supports. You can upgrade the Taz 6 to a dual extruder, an Aerostruder tool head (for better cooling), a MOARstruder (for faster printing speeds), or a single or dual Flexystruder (to print in flexible materials).
The Taz 6 supports printing in PLA, ABS, PVA, HIPS, wood filaments, Polyester, PETT, bronze, copper, stainless steel-based filaments, Polycarbonate, Nylon, PETG, and many others.
While LulzBot’s competitors make the Taz 6 a less attractive option, whether due to their feature sets, or because of their price, the Taz 6 is still a worthy buy if you need a reliable printer that has a large print volume, and that doesn’t cost over $3,000.
In the sub-$2,000 price range, the MakerGear M2 stands out above all others. It’s been one of the most popular 3D printers among the maker community for a while now and has become known for its reliability and print quality.
The less expensive LulzBot Taz Mini and CraftBot 2 are also worthy options. The Mini’s build volume is pretty low compared to competing printers in this price range, but it makes up for it by offering a truly plug-n-play experience, as well as being incredibly easy to use.
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MakerGear’s M2 3D printer is perhaps the oldest 3D printer on this list. That is a positive when you consider that the M2 still ranks highly among users for its reliability and print quality. It has a fairly large build volume, can hit up to 50 microns, and comes with excellent customer support. Ultimately, if you’re looking for one of the most reliable 3D printers under $2,000, the MakerGear M2 is likely it.
MakerGear M2 Overview
The MakerGear M2 has been around for quite a while and it still sits as one of the best reviewed and most reliable consumer 3D printers on the market.
It comes with a respectable 8″ x 10″ x 8″ build volume, the ability to hit resolutions as high as 50 microns, and a printing speed ranging from 80 mm/s to 200mm/s.
The M2 doesn’t come with dual extruders out of the box, but you can upgrade to a dual extruder configuration. The other knock on the M2 is that it isn’t quite as easy to use as some of the other options in this price range (or at higher price ranges.)
But, most users report that after the initial learning curve, the M2 is fairly easy to use.
Like the Taz 6, the MakerGear M2 also lacks an enclosure which makes it less reliable for ABS prints if you’re printing in an area where you don’t have good control over the temperature.
Overall, though, if you don’t have thousands of dollars to spend and you want a solid 3D printer that will consistently churn out good prints (once you get it configured properly), then the MakerGear M2 is probably your best bet. It’s time-tested and proven to be a reliable workhorse.
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The CraftBot 2 is a mid-range 3D printer that comes well-regarded by its users. It’s an easy-to-use 3D printer that has a fairly large build volume for the price you pay. It comes in at nearly $600 less than MakerGear’s M2 and if you don’t quite have enough to get the M2, the CraftBot 2 is a worthy alternative in this price range.
CraftBot 2 Overview
The CraftBot 2 is a newer 3D printer that has won over its users. The CraftBot 2 comes with a 10″ x 8″ x 8″ build volume, which is right on par with the MakerGear M2.
The CraftBot 2 comes in at nearly $600 less than the M2. And, really, it’s the CraftBot 2’s price that helps it stand out from the competition.
There are some downsides to the CraftBot 3D printer, though. For starters, it can only hit print resolutions of as high as 100 microns. And, it’s connectivity options are limited to USB only. So, you’ll need a computer nearby to print on this machine.
Its printing speeds aren’t overwhelming (50-200 mm/s), but they’re on par with the competition in this price range.
Another downside is that the CraftBot 2 does not come with dual extruders and there appears to be no option to upgrade to a dual extruder as well.
Overall, though, if you’re looking for a moderately-priced easy-to-use, and reliable 3D printer that has a large build volume, the CraftBot 2 is a worthy option.
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If you’re looking for a 3D printer with a large build volume, the LulzBot Mini is not the machine for you. However, if you’re looking for a 3D printer that is incredibly easy to get up and running, as well as a machine that is easy to use and that you can rely on to consistently churn out quality prints, the Mini is a machine worth considering.
LulzBot Mini Overview
I had the chance to review the LulzBot Mini back in 2015 and while its build volume (6″ x 6″ x 6″) is pretty small compared to the competition, the thing that impressed me was its ease-of-use.
This was one of the first 3D printers I had used where the time to get it up and running was not much longer than the time it took to get it unboxed and plugged into an outlet.
The feature I found most useful was its auto bed-leveling. Before each print, the Mini goes through a leveling process to ensure the bed is level. If you’ve ever played with cheaper 3D printers, you know that this process can be a pain to do manually—especially if you’re a beginner.
The Mini is essentially a smaller version of the Taz 6 (or, rather, the Taz 6 is a bigger version of the mini, as the Taz 6 came after the Mini) and comes with a lot of the same pros and cons as the Taz 6.
For the pros, there are a few different tool heads that you can upgrade the Mini, too. And, like the Taz, the Mini lacks an enclosure. However, you can purchase an enclosure as an add-on item directly from LulzBot or from Amazon as well.
One thing that the Mini is lacking, though, is connectivity options. Like the CraftBot 2, it can only be connected to via USB. Which means you’ll have to tether a desktop or laptop to in order to get this 3D printer running.
All-in-all, though, the Mini is a great option for beginner and intermediate users who want a machine that is quick to setup, easy to run, and reliable (and, who also don’t mind the limited build volume).
In the under $1,000 price point, my pick is the QIDI TECH I. Both printers listed in this price range are essentially the same machine as each other.
The only difference is that the QIDI TECH I comes in at ~$250 less than the FlashForge Creator Pro. Both are solid machines, though, and will serve well as options for beginners all the way up to advanced users.
FlashForge Creator Pro
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The FlashForge Creator Pro would be my top choice for the best 3D printer under $1,000 if it wasn’t for the fact that the QIDI TECH I is essentially the same exact machine for ~$250 less. If you’ve heard of the Creator Pro and you were considering purchasing it, I’d strongly recommend that you check out the QIDI TECH I first.
FlashForge Creator Pro Overview
The FlashForge Creator Pro is that it is essentially a knock-off of MakerBot’s old Replicator 2X. It literally carved out a space in the 3D printer world by offering a very similar machine to the Replicator 2X for a lower price.
Now, the QIDI TECH I is basically doing the same thing to the Creator Pro, that the Creator Pro did to the Replicator 2X. The QIDI TECH I is essentially a knock-off of FlashForge’s knock-off of the Replicator 2X.
The good news, though, is that both are very solid machines that come in at a very reasonable price.
The Creator Pro has a 9″ x 6″ x 6″ build volume, dual extruders, a heated print bed, and the ability to hit print resolutions as high as 100 microns. There are also plenty of community-driven upgrades and add-ons to go with the Creator Pro (and QIDI TECH I, as well).
The downsides of the Creator Pro are that, for the same machine, it costs over $250 more than the QIDI TECH I. It also doesn’t have a ton of connectivity options and it does take a bit of tinkering to setup.
Ultimately, the only thing you might get from the Creator Pro that you won’t get from the QIDI TECH I, is better support. And, that’s really only because FlashForge has been around for longer than QIDI.
QIDI TECH I
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The QIDI TECH I is my pick for the best budget 3D printer. At just under $650 the QIDI TECH I will give you a dual extruder printer that has a decent-sized build volume and can be relied on to churn out quality prints. It’s not the most polished printer on the market, but for the price and the upside, the QIDI TECH I is a great option for beginners all the way up to advanced users.
QIDI TECH I Overview
The QIDI TECH I is my pick for the best 3D printer under $1,000. For just under $650 you get a fully enclosed 3D printer with dual extruders and a 9″ x 6″ x 6″ build volume.
It’s pretty rare to find a dual extruding 3D printer for under $1,000, let alone under $700, but the QIDI TECH I offers just that.
Again, as I mentioned in the overview on the FlashForge 3D printer above, the QIDI TECH I is essentially the same machine as the Creator Pro. It just costs ~$250 less.
Some of the downsides of the QIDI TECH I (and Creator Pro) are that it doesn’t have a ton of connectivity options, and it does take some tinkering to get setup and running properly.
Also, QIDI isn’t as established as FlashForge and so customer support may be a concern. However, with nearly 400 customer reviews on Amazon, of which 90% are 4-star or higher, my guess is that you won’t have to worry too much about customer support.
Ultimately, if you’re a beginner to 3D printing and you are looking for a machine that takes a little bit of tinkering (which will help you get more familiar with the technology) and that also has the upside and features of a high-end machine, the QIDI TECH I offers a great option at an incredibly reasonable price. The machine will also serve intermediate-to-advanced users well, too.
If you’re looking for a 3D printer for under $500, you shouldn’t expect a hassle-free experience. When you get down under $500 there are a ton of options, but all of them will require some sort of tinkering, or adjusting, or regular maintenance in order to keep running at a high level.
And, while there are a lot of options to choose from in this price range, our picks are the HICTOP Creality CR-10 Prusa i3 kit for its enormous print volume, and the Monoprice Make Select V2 for what it offers for its very budget-friendly price.
HICTOP Creality CR-10
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What if I told you that the 3D printer on this list with the second largest print volume would only cost you ~$500? Well, that’s what the HICTOP Creality CR-10 brings to the table. The only printer on this list that has a larger print volume is the Raise3D N2 Plus. Obviously, the CR-10 isn’t going to be as polished of a 3D printer as the options listed above, but if you are a beginner looking for a solid budget-friendly machine with a nearly unlimited print volume, then the CR-10 is worth considering.
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HICTOP Creality CR-10 Overview
The HICTOP Creality CR-10 is an interesting 3D printer under $500. This is by no means a polished 3D printer. And, what that means is that it is going to take some tinkering to get set up and printing properly.
However, there is some upside to the CR-10. For starters, it’s really cheap. And, it comes in a kit form.
3D printer kits won’t be for everyone, but if you’ve never used a 3D printer and you really want to get engaged with the technology, I’d recommend going with a kit as your first printer. That will allow you to see all of the working parts of the machine, which will give you a better understanding of how the technology works.
It will also help you if you ever need to replace a part or upgrade your printer in the future.
The other upside of the CR-10 is that it has an insanely large print volume. And, when I say insanely large, I mean that the only other 3D printer on this list that has a large print volume is the ~$4,000 Raise3D N2 Plus.
Now, obviously, the CR-10 is not going to be as reliable of a machine as the N2 Plus (or as most of the machines listed above the CR-10), but to have the potential to print such large objects from such a small machine is definitely worth something.
So, if you’re looking for a cheap 3D printer that will allow you to go through the assembly process (to help you become more familiar with 3D printers) and won’t limit you on the size of the objects you can print, the HICTOP Creality CR-10 is an option worth looking into.
Monoprice Maker Select V2
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If you have a tight budget and you just want to see what 3D printing is all about, the Monoprice Maker Select V2 is an affordable option that comes with a decent build volume (8″ x 8″ x 7″) and a heated print bed. It’s a good option for beginners looking to get their feet wet, or for children/students for the learning experience.
Monoprice Maker Select V2 Overview
3D printers don’t have to be expensive. In fact, there are a ton of budget-friendly options out there that are perfect for beginners to use before they decide whether or not they can get into the technology.
The Monoprice Maker Select V2 is a sub-$300 printer that has a pretty amazing build volume (8″ x 8″ x 7″) for the price, as well a heated bed that will allow you to use ABS filament.
The Maker Select isn’t going to blow anyone away. But for under $300, it is the perfect 3D printer for beginners.
It’s important to note that you shouldn’t expect the world out of one of these budget 3D printers. But part of learning the technology is having to deal with the issues that come with some of these cheaper machines.
So, if you want to jump into 3D printing, or you want to get a cheap option for your kid or your students (if you are a teacher) to show them how the technology works, then the Monoprice Maker Select V2 is a really good route to go.
Which 3D Printer is Right for You?
This list barely scratches the surface of the number of 3D printers that are out there. We’ve included a few of the best options from each price range, but as there are so many different printers on the market, we don’t claim this to be the end-all be-all of 3D printer guides.
And, we plan on coming back regularly to update as new 3D printers emerge onto the scene.
But, with that being said, the 3D printer that is right for you will come down to your budget, and then from there, to whether or not you value reliability, ease-of-use, the ability to get set up quickly, and probably most importantly, print quality.
Ultimately, we think this list will help you find a 3D printer that fits your needs. If you disagree and have had a good experience with a printer you think should be added to this list, let us know in the comments below!