Top 10 Cheap 3D Printers (Oct. 2018): Reviews & Buyers Guide

Top 10 Cheap 3D Printers (Oct. 2018): Reviews & Buyers Guide

3D printers look like they have crawled out of the pages of a science fiction book, they are extraordinary technology that in the last few years has gone from hopeful dream to everyday reality. The possibilities with 3D printing are enormous. In industry, ultra strong machine parts that could never be made conventionally are routinely printed, in medicine customized bone and hip replacements can be printed, home users are creating everything from toys for children to the part needed to fix their washing machine. You can buy an affordable 3D printer without breaking the bank these days, meaning they have become a reality for a lot of people. You could be at the forefront of the printing revolution that is happening, right now. The best cheap 3D printer is capable of doing astounding things.

That’s why we have assembled this guide to the best cheap 3D printer. You’ll find a wealth of knowledge and expertise in our easy-to-read guide. We’ve compiled a research report you are free to read as well, so keep on reading and find the best cheap 3D printer on the market to ease your life!

Why Should You Trust Us?

We think you should trust us because our job is making reviews of things. That is what we do and how we work. We don’t take a cut from the manufacturers to advertise their products, we don’t have any loyalty or ties to any of the brands or products in our review. We review products on the market and tell you about it so you can make the best choices possible.

So far, we’ve tested more than 60 cheap 3D printers, and based on 55 hours of research and our dedicated community of testers, volunteers and staff, we’ve narrowed down the field down to the top 10. There’s something for everybody here, including our pick of the best cheap 3D printer.

Our process for discovering the best products has been honed in 4 years of exhaustive market reviews and testing of all sorts of products, we think we have a really good protocol for comparing and contrasting products to find the best out there. It’s worked so far, we’ve had lots of positive feedback.

As a result, we’ve come up with our guide to the cutting-edge but cheap 3D printers that are on the market right now. It’s taken a lot of work, and while we had a lot of fun testing and printing all sorts of cool stuff with the printers, we take our role as reviewers very seriously. After all, we know very well 3D printing is going mainstream much sooner than what we had expected.

Hopefully what you’ll find below is the definitive guide to the best cheap 3D printer.

What Is a 3D Printer?

Before we go any further, we should establish what a 3D printer is. That seems like a good idea.

A 3D printer is a machine designed specifically for printing 3D objects from a virtual, computerized model. Specialized software is used to create a program that will control a machine that extrudes a plastic filament in a way that it produces an object like the virtual one on the computer. The nozzle of the printer melts plastic dust and sprays it in a controlled manner onto a working plate, building the model up gradually, layer by layer.

3D printers can be enormous metal printers that make parts for airplane engines or small machines that fit neatly into an office to print small objects. The versatility of these machines and the software that controls them is increasing rapidly.

Originally pioneered in the 80’s, it is only recently that the required technology has caught up enough to make it a useful and viable way of making things.

Types of 3D Printer

  1. Stereolithography (SLA or SL) – is a type of 3D printing that uses a laser to melt and join together the polymers in a vat of photopolymer resin. As the resin hardens under the laser heat, the build platform lowers and more resin flows into place to be hardened by the laser in turn, creating the object.
  2. Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) – this is printing using a thermoplastic, which is heated by a coil and extruded through a nozzle onto the working plate, where it hardens. An additive process like the others, the object is slowly built up from layers and layers of plastic being added. A wide variety of materials can be used in this way for a large number of different results.
  3. Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) – using a laser to sinter (or fuse) small particles of materials to create a 3d object. There is a bed of whatever powdered material you want to form the object out of that is selectively targeted by the laser, which heats and hardens the material to create the shape.
  4. Selective Laser Melting (SLM) – a rapid technique that uses high powered lasers to fuse metallic powders into the desired shape, much like selective laser sintering. Generally not possible at a home user level. Yet.
  5. Electron-Beam Melting (EBM) – An additive manufacturing process for metallic parts. Metal wire or powder is placed in a vacuum and zapped with an electron beam, which fuses the particles. Very effective with titanium and produces very high temperatures.

Things You Need to Know Before You Buy a 3D Printer

Printers have different resolutions, this means the level of detail they can reach. Some can produce very delicate and intricate objects, others less so. So have an idea of what you might be making and be aware that it will cost more for a printer with higher resolution.

How the depositor works: can you make the objects you want with the nozzle or laser in the machine? Is it capable of it?

A good knowledge of SL and SLS technology is advised if you want to be able to use and maintain your machine properly. They sound like intimidating technologies but they are quite simple in principle, so don’t worry and read the manual.

What your 3D printer uses as a filament (if it uses one at all) is important, the different types all result in different products.

Building volume is an essential consideration, how much do you want to make? Smaller machines make smaller objects but are also cheaper; you have to balance what you need against cost.

What bed does the machine use? Is it extruding materials onto a plate or using a vat or container full of the material to be lasered and formed? Each has its own advantages in speed, material type, detail, and efficiency. A little homework is worth a lot when it comes to these choices.

Printing speed is a huge decider. While 3D printers have got much faster in recent years, they can still be very slow. Some can take days to complete their objects, others take much less time. Detail and price are the deciding factors here: more detail generally takes longer, and higher speed is generally more expensive.

Can it print different colors? If you don’t need many colors, you can buy a cheaper machine that does just that. Printing in many colors is great fun and expands your creativity.

Software can make or break a 3D printing experience. If it isn’t compatible with the program you’ve used to make your models, or doesn’t work efficiently and is full of bugs, you’re not going to want to use the machine. Big waste of money. So check your compatibility and user reviews.

How much information do you want the machine to be telling you on its display? A detailed display isn’t always necessary as you should have full control over your machine on your computer.

As well as printing in 3D, your printer should be able to scan objects and create 3D copies of them. This is pretty standard and extremely useful (not to mention fun). The level of detail the scanner is capable of is very important if you want to make good 3D models.

What Are the Qualities of the Best Cheap 3D Printer?

The following should be taken into consideration when it comes to making your low-cost 3D printer choice.

Specification:

the number of features for effective 3D printing is very important as the range of designs and capabilities is enormous. We’re looking at the best cheap 3D printer here so we can’t expect high-end specs. Instead, we’re looking at the basic features that cover the most ground within our budget.

For example:

printing resolution, filament type, build plate, building area, build quality, automatic voltage control, software compatibility, the efficiency of design, size, etc. These are most of the essential features that you should be looking for when looking for the best cheap 3d printer.

Addition features can include assembly and calibration services from the manufacturer, Wi-Fi connectivity, dual extruders, multiple lasers, higher printing speeds, quick printing and more. The cheaper range featured here have a wide variety of features that are made clear on our research report, which is yours to read for free.

The quality of the design is very important, it shouldn’t take up too much space or weigh too much. Being able to fit on a desktop is extremely convenient.

Build quality:

high build quality is essential, these are complicated machines and poorly made ones break very easily, so factor that in. Look for durable steel construction and high-quality plastics. Look for at least a 1-year warranty.
Performance: can it do what you need it to? The design and spec of the machine make a huge difference when it comes to performance.

Cool things to look for include cloud command (being able to operate remotely via the web), asymmetric 2-way laser scan technology, auto-clean functions, open source software and single button printing. All this is available at a low cost.

How We Picked and Tested

We sent out our team of volunteers and staff, who were all very excited to be trying out such a fascinating technology, to look for the best cheap 3D printer in the land. They came back with over 60 options for us to look at, of which we tried about 50.

This was a long process and we have lots and lots of little plastic gizmos we’ve printed littering the office. We can’t give them away, everybody we know has had at least one printed leaf, frog or teddy bear. It was a lot of fun though, we got very creative in the process and now everybody on the team wants a 3D printer to take home.

Not a single 3d printer we tested was perfect, but that was to be expected. The capabilities of the machines were very impressive, however, and we managed to find the best 10 3D printers for you lovely readers after a lot of wrangling and arguing.

The factors our team of volunteers was looking for included the design, build material, printing technology, printing speed, frame, built plate type, power supply, automatic voltage control, SD card and USB compatibility, software compatibility, size of build area, cooling fan for the nozzle, quick release, filament feeder, warranty and many more.

We have established over the last 4 years a very comprehensive system of comparison that we’re proud of. It seems to generate a very clear picture of the products we evaluate and from the feedback we’ve had from our readers, it helps people make great choices. Which is why we do it!

Based on our exhaustive analysis and comparison, we’ve come up with the top 10 best cheap 3D printer list out there. We think so anyway, you’ll have to read on to find out. See you there!

Our Top Ten Product List

40 of the most important features were analyzed in our process and we have compiled all that lovely data into an authoritative research report that should be able to help anybody make the best choice possible when it comes to buying the best cheap 3D printer. All you have to do to read our report is like any of our social media pages, then it’s all yours. Aren’t we nice?

Our Pick: Monoprice 115365 Select Mini 3D Printer 

Before we get to our review of this 3D printer, let’s take a quick look at why we made it Our Pick and the best cheap 3D printer on our list.

Why is this product our Pick?

  1. During our

    Great Features & Great Price

    Monoprice 115365 Mini 3D Printer

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    Great Features & Great Price

    Monoprice 115365 Mini

    This versatile printer from Monoprice lets you print a wide range of designs & materials such as wood, metal composites, PVA, and many more. It is well-made & has excellent customer support, too.

    research, we analyzed 40 different features for each product, and since this is a list of the best cheap 3d printers, we focused mainly on the features and price. The Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer with Heated Build Plate ticks both the features and the price boxes. On the one hand, it has the maximum number of positive features, as you can see in our research report. And on the other hand, it is available at a very affordable price. For example, it can operate with all current filament types and has a heated aluminum build plate. The design is compact enough for desktop use and it is fully compatible with Repetier, Xyzmaker, Cura and other popular 3D printing software. If your budget falls within $230, this is the clear choice for a versatile 3D printer.
  2. We compared the ratings frequency of each of our products on the web for the 30 most recent positive ratings and found this product received ratings at a very good rate. In the first 7 days it got the first 10, 4 days later it had 10 more and only 3 days after that the final ten had come in.
  3. The quick release steel gear filament feeder is a unique and extremely useful feature on this 3D printer. It also comes fully set up and calibrated. Have a look at our research report for more detail as to why this is Our Pick.

Detailed Review

best cheap 3D printer: The best choice for you

Our Choice is always a difficult one to make. Which product shows the right combination of affordability, desirable features, and high construction values? This time was no exception, but after a good deal of discussion and debate, the Monoprice Select Mini showed its colors and became Our Choice.

And here’s why: for the price (under $230), the versatility of the machine is almost unmatched. It supports all the current filament options, so you can print a huge range of material and designs. For the creative person on a budget, this is hard to beat. ABS, PLA, wood or metal composites, conductive PLA and even PVA can be used in this printer.

But it’s capability isn’t enough, the quality of the printing is essential. The Select Mini prints consistently to a very high standard due to its high-quality sensors and controllers. It has a resolution of 100 microns, or 0.1mm, good enough for smooth finishes and a high level of detail.

We had a look at the reviews on Amazon and found that it had a 50% 5* rating. While this isn’t as high as some 3D printers, it is still a good rate. A feature like a heated build plate is quite rare on a printer so cheap, and we were pleased to see it worked very well.

Small and light enough to fit on a desktop, this 3D printer has a surprising level of versatility. What is more, it comes fully set up and calibrated from the factory. This is a relief, especially for a first-time buyer, as 3D printers can be notoriously difficult to set up and calibrate properly. Some people have had some issues setting up, but if you follow the instructions you’ll be fine.

We always run a calibration first but found that it had kept its settings perfectly, even during shipping. It was easy to install and was fully compatible with our test range of software. A micro SD card slot gives a useful level of versatility, though we connected through Wi-Fi or USB because it’s easier.

On top of all this, it’s solid and well constructed from high-quality materials. So, you can make amazing items with this 3D printer without any difficulty.

Pros:

  • Cheap
  • Compatible with all filament types
  • Versatile
  • Good customer support
  • Well made
  • Good reviews
  • Quick release steel gear filament feeder
  • 100 micron resolution

Cons:

  • Doesn’t support multiple colors
  • Not as versatile as some

Verdict:

A well constructed, high-quality and extremely affordable 3D printer that comes packed with useful features, this is unbeatable for under $230. Good software and hardware, it can use all filament types at a very high resolution.

Budget Pick: XYZprinting da Vinci 1.0 3D Printer

Why is this product our Budget Pick?

Budget Pick

Award-winning Affordability & Features

XYZprinting da Vinci 1.0

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Award-winning Affordability & Features

XYZprinting da Vinci 1.0

This 3D printer from XYZprinting Da Vinci features an excellent software, easy to use interface, and comes fully assembled & ready to use. It’s a plug-and-play device that’s insanely affordable at $140.

This was almost Our Choice but was only beaten by the lack of versatility compared with the no.1. The XYZprinting da Vinci 1.0 has the lowest price of any of our top 10 but still comes with 6 of the most important positive features, including spaciousness, plug-and-play, easy installation, a closed system, auto software updates, print-bed detection, automatic nozzle cleaning and assisted leveling. This combination is quite rare at this sale price range and makes it the clear choice for our Budget Pick.

For within $140 you can pick one of these beauties up. That’s the cheapest on our list In the first 90 days, it got 10 positive reviews, 10 more in the following 94 days and the next ten in only 64 days. This is a good rate.

In terms of value, it is hard to beat.

Detailed Review

best cheap 3D printer: An award-winning & affordable 3D printer

An award-winning affordable 3D printer, not much compares at the low sale price of under $140. It’s staggering, actually, the amount of high-quality technology can be had for that kind of money. We were very impressed.

It has a 475 cubic inch build volume, making it capable of some pretty large objects (that’s 7.8 inches or 20cm a side). It comes with a free filament starter kit and the free software was pretty decent. While it only prints with 2 materials, ABS and PLA, that is enough for many users, especially given the price. Those are two of the most popular materials due to their versatility, so most users won’t feel too limited.

It comes fully assembled and just plugged and played, like it said on the box. We found it a pleasure to use, it has well-designed software and user interfaces that mean that even very young users (or the technophobes amongst us!) can use it. You can compare this machine by looking at our research report, which is free to view.

A closed system (the working mechanism is enclosed in a see-through box) makes it a very safe choice for those working with children, no little fingers will be burned on the extruder nozzle, or hair caught in the moving parts. The nozzle cleans itself well, meaning that there is little maintenance need for this machine.

A wide range of colored filaments are available for all sorts of fun tasks. The XYZ online community is one of the largest and most interesting, so you can use their software and share your designs. This is great for those who want to be inspired and receive feedback on their creations.

There is a 1-year limited warranty on the XYZ da Vinci 1.0, which is a good sign. The build quality is decent, while it has some flimsy-looking plastic on the cover, the insides all look well built and it doesn’t make strange noises that might indicate it will wear itself out too soon.

The reviews are varied. This is a very early 3D printer and is the cheapest, so there can be issues with the construction. Happily, the customer support is pretty good and it does come with that 1-year warranty.

Pros:

  • Very inexpensive
  • Good software
  • XYZ forums are great
  • Auto-cleaning nozzle
  • 100-400 micron layer
  • ABS and PLA compatible
  • Comes set up
  • Plug-and-play
  • Great value
  • Large online community
  • Safe

Cons:

  • Some bad reviews
  • Some issues with construction
  • Limited filament compatibility

Verdict:

Insanely cheap but decently capable, all while being very safe and easy to use. This would suit a child who has shown an interest in making their own models. The cheapest on the market with these capabilities.

Best Professional Choice: FlashForge 3d Printer Creator Pro

Why is this product our Professional Pick?

Professional Pick

Heavy Duty & Hi-tech 3D Printer

FlashForge 3d Printer Creator Pro

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Heavy Duty & Hi-tech 3D Printer

FlashForge Creator Pro

This printer from FlashForge boasts of a superb construction that delivers excellent construction & high quality design quality. It is easy to use, and is compatible with many different design software.

We rated this as our Best Professional Choice because it is one capable, heavy-duty and well-built machine. It is full of hi-tech features and suits a professional down to the ground with its consistent high-quality printing and highest quality construction.

This printer can be given a lot of work and it will be very reliable, just right for a professional for advanced use. The plate is 6.3mm thick aviation-grade aluminum plate, so it’s built to last. There is also a solidly built metal platform support and an insulated chamber with a 10mm guide rod that ensures a safe and convenient working experience. The thickness of the layer is fully adjustable and precise. All these features added up to it being the right choice for a professional.

On sale for under $900, this isn’t the cheapest around but you are paying for some serious quality here. The ratings frequency told us that it was well rated: 10 ratings in 42 days, 10 more in 10 days and 10 more in the next 52. Take a look at our report for more details of this printer.

Unlike the other products on our list, this has an automatic voltage control option, a real plus. A professional user needs a tool that will work and work at a high standard with a minimum of maintenance, as well as a high number of features and ease of use. This 3D printer fulfills those conditions. The higher price is justified in the genuine quality of the machine.

Detailed Review

best cheap 3D printer: This is the real deal!

This is the real deal. If you have the money, this is the one to aim for. Someone whose living was dependant on a 3D printer would find this machine ideal. The quality, the reliability, the precision and ease of use, it all points to a serious professional user.

At roughly 100 bucks shy of around 1000, it is expensive (not compared to some though!) but what you are paying for is high-quality construction and excellent design. As we mentioned above, the pate is 6.3mm thick aviation-grade aluminum, meaning it won’t warp or dent, messing up your designs.

We were very impressed with the quality of the print quality, there were no random blips and we found it extremely easy to edit and upload designs to the machine. We’ve made all sorts with this one! Great fun, if we could afford it we’d have one for the office.

A quick peek at the reviews on Amazon told us that we aren’t alone in regarding this machine as a pretty good one, there are loads of pictures of what it is capable (especially the lightsabre, that was too cool) and loads of people saying they have used and used the machine and it just doesn’t break down. We would have liked to use it more, but alas, it is not our job to play, it is our job to write reviews for you!

The machine is compatible with lots of different designer software and integrates very easily into existing systems, we loved the ease of use of this thing. While we think it is perfect for the professional user, it is also very suited to a beginner as it is so capable and easy to use. You won’t be limited by this printer. Our research report has plenty more features you can compare.

Pros:

  • Reliable
  • Superb construction
  • Easy to use
  • Versatile
  • Efficient
  • Really cool looking
  • Multiple nozzles
  • Thick build plate
  • Great software

Cons:

  • Expensive

Verdict:

Superbly suited to the professional 3D printer, this machine won’t limit you, you’ll limit it. It’s that good. Excellent construction, reliability, and precision all add up to it being a true workhorse.

Best Entry Level: Monoprice Maker Select 3D Printer v2 

Why we choose it as best for entry level?

Basic Pick

Best Entry-level 3D Printer

Monoprice Maker Select 3D Printer V.2

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Best Entry-level 3D Printer

Monoprice Maker Select V.2

This basic 3D printer is simple, inexpensive, & capable. It can support open-source software, which allows you to experiment and explore and even create your own program.

Although it is a fairly cheap 3D printer with basic functions, it is a perfect entry level machine for a number of reasons: firstly, it comes fully assembled and calibrated. No need to spend hours calibrating it, you can plug it in and go. Secondly, it has a compact design and handles really easily. Coming preloaded with a 2GB micro SD card, it is ready to print the moment it is plugged in. Thirdly, it can support both open source and commercial software. Perfect for the tinkerer or curious child exploring the world of 3D printing, experimentation is welcomed on a 3D printer like this.

Looking at the ratings frequency for the Monoprice Maker Select V2, we found that this product received ratings at a really impressive rate. In 9 days it got the first 10 positive reviews, 8 days later it had 10 more and in just 6 more days had the full 30 we use to compare. This is very favorable compared to many of the printers we’ve reviewed here.

The compatibility with open source software like 3DS MAX is what made us pick this for our Best Entry Level, other printers were capable of basically the same thing but lacked that little extra that makes it so appealing for the first time user or child. Open source means you can download or create any program you like to really get the most out of the printer.

Detailed Review

best cheap 3D printer: An ideal tool for the entry level

This is what we like to see: basic, inexpensive, simple but still acceptable quality standards. This is not a 3D printer to show off with, it isn’t covered in glowing lights. It doesn’t have a big shiny case, but what it does have is simplicity and capability.

All the standards are there: there’s a heated build plate, Micro SD card slot, PLA filament compatibility and an 8-inch by 8-inch build area, it’s not missing anything crucial. And that’s fine. It’s made to cost as little as possible while still maintaining great construction values, and it comes in at under $300 sale price, a fair cost for a machine this capable. Not the cheapest, but not the most expensive either.

The preloaded models are pretty cool, but we were interested in making our own, which was easy with any of the design programs we use here, including Cue, Repeater and Simplify 3D. It’s open source though, that’s the killer feature. It can really make a difference, having that freedom to do what you like and push the boundaries a little. Super cool!

There are big online communities of people generating software and models for 3D printing, and you know with this machine that if the filament type is correct, you’re going to be able to give it a go.

As an inexpensive entry level tool, this is great. It’s easy to use and set up, it calibrates successfully with no hassle and didn’t require any maintenance when we used it. This means you can just plug in and start experimenting. But past the entry stage, you’ll find this a capable and powerful machine that doesn’t boast, it just gets on with it. The potential of 3D printing is still only just being explored, so join in with this simple yet versatile machine. View our research report for free for more info.

Pros:

  • Affordable/inexpensive
  • Great construction quality
  • Simple yet versatile
  • Open source software compatible
  • Micro SD card slot
  • Carrying handle
  • ABS, PLA and PLA blends

Cons:

  • Some users will want more connectivity
  • No case
  • Not massively versatile

Verdict:

An ideal tool for the entry level, it isn’t so cheap as to be badly designed or fall apart but not too expensive or covered in gizmos to put some users off. Open source software might be the decider for many.

A List of 6 Other Products We Reviewed

No 5: FlashForge 3D Printer Review

Intuitive Pick

Best User-friendly 3D Printer

FlashForge 3D Printer

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Best User-friendly 3D Printer

FlashForge 3D Printer

This printer from FlashForge has a tough built that’s made to last, and has a simple and easy to use user interface, large buttons, a large LCD screen & a detachable build plate that makes printing a breeze.

Another great printer in the under $400 price range. The finder is very well reviewed on Amazon, getting a 4.5* average and few complaints. We concur with these other users, this is a very good piece of kit.

First trying it out, we got to grips with the 3.5 inch LCD screen very easily, the user interface is well thought out and intuitive to use, with big clear buttons. We like big buttons. We also like the sturdy construction: this is a machine made to last and designed to be tough but accessible. The sturdiness means the prints come out clearly as well, something pretty useful when printing at 100microns.

The screen is large enough to see previews properly, which is a feature lacking on some devices. The different languages available were all (the ones we knew anyway) well translated.

Fully accessible by Wi-Fi, USB and SD cards, you shouldn’t be limited by distance when sending designs to the Finder. The build plate isn’t heated, which is a safety plus as there are no sides to the machine, but also slightly limiting as a heated plate adds to the versatility of a machine. It is, however, removable, meaning you have easy access to your creations. This doesn’t look like a major innovation but we were all very pleased to have it. There are more great features in our research report.

Calibrating the Finder was necessary, it doesn’t come pre-calibrated, but it has a neat system of directing you when you’re turning the screws. Useful. There is a 90-day manufacturer warranty on the Finder, which isn’t a massive amount but as most faults are found quite soon after purchase, it should cover that period well. Not that it should need to, the construction quality is high and the design is clearly well thought out. We’d have no issues using this machine a lot.

Pros:

  • Accurate 100micron printing
  • Tough construction
  • Well rated and reviewed
  • Large LCD screen
  • Good user interface
  • Easy calibration
  • Removable build plate

Cons:

  • Non-heated build plate
  • No case
  • Quite expensive

Verdict:

Around $400, it offers a very positive set of functions, accessibility, capabilities, and uses. It looks good and works fast and accurately, we rated the construction quality as well.

No 6: QIDI TECHNOLOGY 3DP-QDA16-01 Dual Extruder Desktop 3D Printer QIDI TECH Review

Cutting-edge Pick

Great Value for Money

Qidi Technology 3DP-QDA16-01

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Great Value for Money

Qidi Technology 3DP-QDA16-01

This 3D printer from QIDI offers a wide array of advanced features such as high resolution, software that’s easy to use and can be used to customize 3D models, and aviation-grade heated aluminum plate.

We think this thing really looks like a 3D printer. When they were first developed in the 80’s, this is what we imagined our version would look like. It’s probably the cool lighting. Either way, it made us happy to use it.

Coming in at under $700, this isn’t in the cheap range of 3D printers, but what you get for the extra few hundred dollars is a whole load of cutting-edge technology. An aviation-grade aluminum plate that won’t warp during the heating process, fully internally regulated temperature for better ABS printing, an MET safety certificate and a full metal frame that gives excellent stability to precise printing.

QIDI Tech I can print triangle meshes, making it one of the more capable 3D printers we’ve reviewed. There are few things this can’t tackle with its 100micron resolution and wide software compatibility. It has 2 extruders, working with ABS and PLA filaments, giving a very comprehensive set of capabilities. This is a great choice for someone taking 3D printing more seriously.

While quite expensive, it offers good value for money, as our research report shows. The range of features on offer here is impressive and we couldn’t fault the construction. Very solidly built, it is capable of regulating the internal temperature so ABS printing is as consistent as possible. Combined with the heated build plate, this will mean your creations are as accurately printed as is possible with a 100micron printer.

We printed all sorts with this machine, though not by Wi-Fi, which it isn’t compatible with. USB and flash are fine, and given the larger size of this machine, it makes sense that it would be wired in for more permanent use. The software is good, as is the customer support.

Pros:

  • High resolution
  • Controlled temperature
  • Heated build plate
  • Good customer support
  • Solid construction
  • Good software
  • MET safety certified
  • 2 extruders

Cons:

  • Could be to expensive for some
  • No Wi-Fi

Verdict:

It might look expensive but there are few 3D printers that are as capable or offer such excellent design features as the internally controlled temperature, fast printing and ABS and PLA compatibility on the desktop.

No 7: QIDI TECHNOLOGY X-ONE 3D Printer with Fully Metal Structure,3.5 Inch Touchscreen Review

Practical Pick

Best for Office/Personal Use

Qidi Technology X-One QDXO2016-07

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Best for Office/Personal Use

Qidi Technology X-One

This QIDI 3d printer is the ideal printer for classroom or office use. It is sturdy & durable, delivers high quality prints, easy to use, and comes with a software that can be upgraded regularly.

This is a smart, tough and safe little machine. It is fully enclosed so you can operate it with children around, who are endlessly curious about 3D printing. Understandably, with a machine like this, you can print an enormous range of really cool stuff. It’s great to see their imagination made solid before their eyes.

Aimed at students, teachers, and beginners, this is a fine entry into the world of 3D printing that should keep your creations coming for years to come. It is very solidly built and if a little plain can be forgiven for that as it is so easy to use, reliable and consistent. The LCD screen isn’t as vibrant as some but has a great interface that is very easy to understand.

The build plate is 6mm thick aluminum, so it won’t warp during the heating process, the nozzle is 4mm wide and has a resolution of down to 100microns and the user interface is very easy to get to grips with. At under $400, this could make the perfect addition to a classroom, office or child’s den. Take a look at our research report, it has loads of information you can use.

It comes out of the box fully calibrated and only took us about an hour to get it all set up. The build volume is 15 cm by 15 cm by 15 cm, so large enough for many applications, if not as large as some. The free software is good and regularly updated, there’s also a large community of helpful people willing to answer questions online.

These are popular machines and come well rated and reviewed, achieving an astounding 82% 5* rating, something we rarely see during our reviewing process. So you’d be in good company with a QIDI X-One.

Pros:

  • Software compatible
  • Solid
  • Extremely well rated
  • Reliable
  • Easy to use
  • Good price
  • Safe
  • Great build quality

Cons:

  • Loud
  • Not very fast

Verdict:

The QIDI X-One is a really great piece of kit, not flashy at all but deeply practical and well designed. Perfect for a classroom or office, it has a wide range of capabilities and excellent construction.

No 8: ALUNAR 3D Desktop Printer Prusa i3 DIY High Accuracy CNC Self Assembly Review

DIY Pick

Unique Self-assembly 3D Printer

ALUNAR 3D Printer Prusa i3 DIY

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Unique Self-assembly 3D Printer

ALUNAR Prusa i3

This 3D printer comes as a kit that you get to put together as an exercise in creativity and resourcefulness. Although it lacks a protective case, it prints accurately in various materials such as wood, PLA, ABS and many more.

This is a perfect 3D printer for somebody’s first attempts and entry into the fun world of 3D printing. While it does not have a surrounding case for safety, it does have a great deal of capability and potential for massive creativity.

One of the unique selling points of this desktop printer is that it is self-assembly and comes as a kid with all of the parts that you need to make it. This is a fantastic opportunity for a child or adult who loves to know how things work by taking them apart or assembling them.

This 3D printer would be suitable for the home, in a business, or in a school. You can make tools or toys, it’s up to you. It can’t print 20cm by 20cm by 18 cm and has an accuracy of 12/4 microns.

There is a heated aluminum plate that will not walk and ensures high printing quality. For under 120 dollars, this is a difficult 3D printer to beat, offering precise printing, versatility, and value. It can print in PLA, ABS and more like wood and conductive PLA, giving you plenty of options in the classroom.

The lack of a protective case might put some educators or parents off, the advantage of a case being that little Hans cannot go inside and get burnt. However, most children are very sensible and can be educated about the risks of a machine like this. They are likely to be too fascinated by how it works to want to break it.

The construction process, which you can enjoy with your student or child, will teach them not only how the machine works but a respect for the delicate and potentially dangerous parts.

Ratings for this 3D printing are mixed, there appear to be some issues with reliability. There appear to be some issues with reliability. Given that this is a kit 3D printer, this is not surprising and if you have put it together you can probably fix it.

Pros:

  • Cheap
  • Fun to assemble
  • Great for children and students to learn
  • Precise
  • Versatile
  • Lots of printing options

Cons:

  • Issues with reliability
  • No case to protect children
  • Not everybody wants to assemble their own

Verdict:

This is a very affordable, capable, and fascinating machine. The appeal of putting together your own 3D printer and then watching it work will be the seller for many educators and parents.

No 9: XYZprinting da Vinci 1.0 AiO All-in-One 3D Printer Review

Versatile Pick

Best Intuitive 3D Printer & Scanner

XYZprinting da Vinci 1.0 AiO

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Best Intuitive 3D Printer & Scanner

XYZprinting da Vinci 1.0 AiO

This 3D printer from Da Vince lets you scan, edit, and print 3D models in easy & simple steps with its two-way laser scanner. With its large case, it lets you print large, detailed 3D objects easily.

Another fine entry from XYZprinting, the da Vinci 1.0 AiO All-in-one 3D printer isn’t the cheapest on the market but it is extremely versatile. You can buy one of these for under $500, and that gives you the winner of Tom’s guide best of Computex 2014 award.

The DaVinci is designed to make 3D printing as intuitive and easy as possible, with its 1-2-3 scan, edit, print features enabling most processes to be set in motion extremely quickly and easily. This is not just a printer, it has an asymmetric two-way laser scanner that can scan and upload 3-D objects into your software with a very high degree of precision.

The software that comes with the Da Vinci is fast and utilizes state of the art algorithms to get your 3D printing made real as quickly as possible. While there are many different software you can choose from, there would be no need because the XYZ software is comprehensive and powerful.

Coming with a solid and durable plastic casing and a clear LCD screen on the front, this is a safe machine that would be suitable for educational establishments. Your students can scan their ideas, load them into software and print them out in either ABS or PLA filament. The layer thickness is between 100 and 400 microns, the maximum build volume is 7.8 inches cubed, and it is relatively fast. Unfortunately, this machine is only compatible with the filament that XYZ sell.

When we tested it is worked flawlessly, however, we have looked at reviews on the internet and found that there are some issues with reliability. It is a complex machine and one of the early generations good of 3D printers. This means that there are some issues with consistency.

Pros:

  • Large and safe
  • Large print volume
  • LCD screen
  • Case
  • Good software
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Issues with reliability
  • Only uses XYZ filaments
  • Not as capable as some on the market.
  • Relatively expensive

Verdict:

A large, precise and capable 3D printer and scanner should enable students and businesses to print relatively large and very detailed objects with ease. Issues with reliability aside, it is a good buy.

No 10: XYZprinting da Vinci 2.0 Duo 3D Printer, Blue Review

Multi-colored Pick

Best Choice for Multi-colored Projects

XYZprinting da Vinci 2.0 Duo

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Best Choice for Multi-colored Projects

XYZprinting da Vinci 2.0 Duo

This high-precision 3D printer creates multi-colored objects as big as 20 cm by 20 cm in volume. It boasts of a clear LCD screen, an easy to use software, a tough plastic body and a price that’s affordable.

The next step up from the 1.0, The Da Vinci 2.0 offers dual extruders which allow the creation of multi-colored objects at a high degree of precision. For under $450, it is just out of the affordable range but is not extraordinarily expensive. It offers a lot for the money as well.

With a build volume of 7.8 inches by 7.8 inches by 5.9 in, or 20 cm buy 20cm by 15cm, very large 3-D objects can be printed inside the durable blue plastic casing. This casing will make it appealing to educators and parents are like as it gives an extra degree of safety away from prying hands. Some parts on 3D printers get very hot, for example, the aluminum build plate and the extruders, so the casing is reassuring to those concerned about their students.

As with many da Vinci models, there are some problems with reliability and the lifetime of the printer. It doesn’t appear to last very long without breaking in some examples. Although during our testing we had no issues whatsoever. It works very well for us. Most people seem to have a positive experience with this impressive piece of 3D printing kit.

The software that comes with the DaVinci 2.0 is well designed and gives a good degree of integration and ease of use. This is perfect for children and students who are learning about the 3D printing process. The display is clear, showing lots of useful data.

The self-cleaning nozzle measures 0.4 millimeters in diameter and can print to an accuracy of 12 microns. This is very acceptable for a printer this price and will cover most users’ needs and wants.

It puts an enormous amount of capability in the hands a large number of people. It has an auto-calibration system which works well, however only works with XYZ filaments.

Pros:

  • High degree of precision
  • LCD screen
  • Tough plastic case
  • Relatively affordable

Cons:

  • Breaks down easily
  • Only one nozzle
  • No scanning capability
  • Only compatible with XYZprinting filaments

Verdict:

Is it capable and relatively versatile 3D printing, lacking some features we might like but many designs and possibilities are available here. It would suit a classroom well.

3D Printer Maintenance

3D printers are very complex pieces of hardware, there isn’t much the average user can do if something breaks other than send it back for repair. That doesn’t mean that you can’t keep it in tip-top condition solving the common 3D printer issues and reduce the need for sending it back for repair, or the risk of it breaking.

So make sure the parts are lubricated as per the manufacturer’s instructions. It will say in the manual how the machine should be lubricated and always use the lubricant provided or recommended. The wrong one can ruin your machine.

Most filament nozzles are self-cleaning, but they can do with a regular look over to make sure they are doing OK. Again, the manual will tell you how to do this properly as each is different. Don’t stick anything into the nozzle.

All the gear needs to be kept clean, the filament dust and residue will build up and clog the works if you don’t give it a regular once-over.

If the diagnostics on the machine say replace a part, you need to replace it. If you don’t, you might be operating an unsafe machine, and given the temperatures involved, you don’t want anything to go wrong.

You can find the manuals online.

Final Thoughts

Here at Stuffoholics, we’ve hopefully shown that 3D printing is available at a low price that you can afford. There is so much potential with the best affordable 3D printer, so have a good look at our research report to help you make your choice. While you can spend thousands of dollars if you want to, you don’t have to spend much to buy a really capable, fun and creative machine for your home or classroom, or online.

And while they aren’t as high quality and lack some of the functions, 3D printers are now reliable and capable enough that anyone can buy one to get their designs out of their heads and into the real world.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our guide, we sure enjoyed making it. Any excuse to print stuff, right? We hope you buy the best cheap 3D printer as per your needs. Thanks for reading, come back for more guides and reviews!

I grew up with computers, literally obsessed with these magical devices. Once I came to age, I began to grasp the nature of its “magic” and learned how to call it “technology” instead. Then came the age of smartphones, opening up even a larger field for me to explore. Read More