Who would’ve thought we could transform spools of plastic filament into physical objects in the convenience of our homes? Did you know that even NASA has a 3D printer on the International Space Station?
3D printing is being used and adopted by entrepreneurs, physicians, hobbyists, engineers, and students all across the globe.
If you compare it with the traditional manufacturing methods, it is far less expensive and time-consuming. Just as 3D printing has become an element of digital manufacturing transformation, it has also become an economic trend across the globe.
Some of us may still believe in the “low-price, poor-quality” concept. But the extensive features that the most budget 3D printers provide is almost unbelievable.
After thorough research over the years, our team has picked the seven best 3D printers under $300, keeping in mind aspects like printing technology, print bed, built volume, and performance.
Top 7 3D Printers under $300
#1 Creality Ender 3 Pro (Best for Beginners)
The Creality Ender 3 Pro is quite a well-packaged 3D printer. It comes with a pretty good selection of tools that help in the DIY assembly of the printer. It has an extremely innovative design that integrates all the classic elements in an almost seamless manner.
I like that the Ender 3 Pro has an upgraded fan embedded in its frame that thwarts the excess heat off the printer and provides an excellent printing efficiency.
Researches also show that it has excellent mechanical properties, providing overall strength to the printer. It has a pronounced printing speed of 150 mm/sec.
Quite unlikely for the price range, the Ender 3 Pro uses pretty advanced technology in its making. The magnetic base plate ensures user safety by maintaining a consistent temperature throughout the operation. You can also remove the base plate for a better view of the print.
I somewhat like the Ender 3 Pro safety measures. It is shielded with Mean Well UL Certified power supply, which really saves the printer from unexpected power surges or even excess heating. It is a useful feature as it subsumes the printing time and keeps the printer going for a while even after a power outage.
Ender 3 Pro has excellent printing quality, which is mostly due to the 40 x 40 cm aluminum extrusion at its y-axis base. It works pretty well with a thick layer of 0.1-0.4 mm. It also solves our problem with printing edges. The magnetic sticker adheres to the platform much better than any textured paper and glue. It is even more cost-effective.
The resume print function is another excellent feature. The Ender 3 Pro can resume printing from the last recorded extruder position in case of a power cut.
- New Viscous Platform sticker (no more warping issue)
- Pre-installed Mk-8 extruder that reduces the risk of lousy extrusion and plugging risks
- Provides high printing speed up to 150 mm/sec
- Safely protected power supply
- Can resume from last recorded extruder position
- A lot of users complain about the belt, which needs continuous adjusting
- It may get slightly noisy
#2 Geeetech A10M Dual Extruder Printer (Best Dual Extruder)
Dual extruders were typically reserved for high-end or expensive products earlier. But, not anymore. With some remarkable features, the Geeetach A10M clearly stands out in this lot for budget printers.
Quite obviously, the highlight remains on the dual extruder, but don’t mistake the Geeetech A10M for only that. The 360-degree ventilation design is also quite impressive as it massively helps in heat dissipation and leakage.
Also, I must mention the aluminum frame with V-shaped rails. These can make the operation much smoother and quieter.
While I agree that the built volume is somewhat smaller than the A20M, but it still does the job pretty well for most 3D printing projects.
The Geeetech A10M has an intelligent approach to the extruders. Instead of using two separate nozzles, it uses a single one. Not only can you mix colors with it, but you can also create gradient patterns.
One other feature is the heated printing bed. The bed uses silicon carbide glass, which is covered with a microporous surface. No one wants rigorously cleaning every time you get some prints done. This feature precisely serves you that better first layer adhesion and quick clean-up of finished prints.
Talking about its specifications, this Geeetech A10M has a certified CE/Fc power supply, filament detector, resume function, and upgraded motherboard, a rigid bottom plate, to mention a few.
- High printing speed up to 120 mm/sec
- EasyPrint 3D remote app for convenient operation on the smartphone
- Supports third-party applications like Cura, Simplify 3D, and Slicr3
- Premium FDM print technology
- Compatible with Windows, Mac OS X, and even Unix
- It provides 0.0025mm X-Y pointing precision
- Incredible print quality with minimal lines
- Users often complain about the length of cables like the ribbon cable which has no connector
#3 Monoprice Select Mini V2 (Best for Educational Use)
No one can really forget the revolution Monoprice Maker Select Mini brought the world. From the delightful price tag to the extensive feature-set, it was everything you wish in a 3D printer.
We have so much more expectations from the second version, which is equally affordable.
I am sure you are aware that most low-cost printers usually don’t come with complete assemble. The Monoprice Select Mini V2 is an exception here. It comes fully assembled and factory calibrated in the package. It does come with some essential and impressive add-ons from the previous generations too.
Monoprice has given nothing short of a makeover to the Mini V2 in terms of design and aesthetics. It hides all its mechanism behind the metal exterior but remains accessible.
The Monoprice Select Mini V2 scores pretty high in the user interface and software section. You can use both the onboard software and other slicer programs like Cura. Cura now includes a fair number of preconfigured profiles for many Monoprice printers.
Two of the standout features of this printer are the metal hot end and the insulated printing bed. These primarily prevent clogging and prevents warping.
The hot metal end, though, is quite impressive on its own. It lets you print with a relatively wide range of filaments while retaining the same temperature of 230.
Quite similar to the BuildTak, it also incorporates a unique pad material on the build surface. This helps in quickly removing the finished prints as well as boosts adhesion during printing.
Moreover, the 3.7 inches LCD screen is excellent for quick commands. The nozzle cooling fan is also quite reliable to prevent overheating of the bed and base plate.
Another useful feature of this printer is that it can print on some simple materials like ABS and PLA to solid filaments like wood, metal composites, or even dissolved PLA’s.
- Includes a 3.7 inches color LCD for its quick-commands
- Supports third-party apps like Cura, Repetier Host
- Clean, accurate and consistent printing
- Effortless assembly
- Comparatively low printing speed on only up to 55 mm/sec
- It requires manual leveling
- Pretty small build envelope
#4 Anycubic Photon 3D Printer (Best Resin/SLA)
Anycubic has forever been recognized for its reliable yet affordable printers. Speaking of which, the Anycubic Photon DLP 3D printer is no exception and has created some real buzz in the market. I also quite like the fact that it comes almost pre-assembled in its packaging.
The Anycubic Photon is a DLP printer that works on technology far apart from the most commonly known FDM. DLP or SLA 3D printers generally use liquid resins instead of metal or plastic filaments. They are often preferred over FDM, given the exceptional detailing.
You can avoid the issues of leveling with this printer due to the presence of dual rails along the z-axis. Moreover, the LED UV light significantly improves printing accuracy and resolution.
While the built volume is pretty small, it works well for smaller, detailed objects. You may have to consider a bigger printer for large prints.
I should also mention that I somewhat liked the overall customer care support too. Although a lot of users complain about chemical odor, this has been taken care of by Anycubic. It uses embedded air filters and dual fans to provide maximum ventilation and prevent chemical odor.
The Anycubic Photon has an adjustable and removable base plate, which shifts downwards or upwards if you feel friction or resistance while printing. It has an enabled touchscreen for manual specification stings to give it a techier aspect.
- Compact size and rigid structure
- Highly affordable in comparison to DLP/SLA printers
- Prints with accuracy and refined detailing
- Impressive 2K resolution
- Resin 3D printing can often be extremely messy and have difficult post-operation cleaning
- Erroneous flash drive support
Anet A8 Plus is an immensely popular 3D printer kit, which has overturned 3D printers’ affordability in the market. Some may believe it is a tweaked version of the former Anet A8, but it is significantly different in its design and specifications.
Unlike the Anet A8, the new version has an aluminum frame, which definitely adds to its sturdiness and stability. Also, I must agree that the Anet A8 Plus assembly is much smoother and more straightforward compared to A8.
Anet has integrated a far better motherboard, which provides short-circuit and over-current protection. Further to it, the aluminum heat bed is covered with a glass panel with an adjustable and removable plate. This printer works almost as a complete DIY kit.
All 3D printers suffer from the predicament of bad leveling. This printer provides a very tight Z-axis and Y-axis belts for the secure exchange of its tendril. On the other hand, the extruder offers an easy and smooth movement of filament without jamming the printer.
- Quick command LCD screen
- It supports ABS, PLA, and HIPS materials.
- Supports third-party software like Cura
- Can print up to maximum dimensions 300 x 300 mm
- It can retain a maximum bedplate temperature of 100 degrees Celsius and a maximum extruder temperature of 250 degrees Celsius.
- It supports a printing speed of 01 to 0.15 mm and supports a layer of thickness 0.1 to 0.3 mm.
- It can print the file with extensions STL, G-code, and OBJ.
- Customer support is not reliable
- X-axis belt doesn’t hold properly
- Stock parts need continuous maintenance
#6 Monoprice MP Select Mini (Best for Professionals)
Monoprice MP Select Mini is one of my favorite 3D printers because of its accuracy and layer precision. At the given price, it is almost unbelievable the number of features it comes with.
To start with, the build area of the MP Select Mini is pretty small but has a high print resolution of 100 microns, and printing speed@55mm/sec. It uses folded sheet metal to house the whole inner mechanism, almost like a mini tank.
Most users agree that it takes less than 20 minutes to set the whole thing up and running. You have the necessary instructions in the provided manual, and the tools come handy too.
The MP Select Mini provides a layer thickness of 50-300 microns. Additionally, it is an excellent one because of a magnetic extruder that quickly transforms into the Z-offset in its menu.
Also, the pre-wired connections in this printer quickly negate the wiring issue. The 0.4 mm nozzle can reach up to 230 degrees Celsius and retain the same temperature throughout the operation.
Moreover, the micro SD is preloaded with two printing models, a cat, and an elephant. And like you’d imagine, the printing quality is nothing less than a dream. It also does an excellent job when considering overhangs and retraction.
I also quite liked the removable base plate of this printer, which can easily print any material with dimensions 300 x 300 mm. It is also pretty easy to replace the outlets of this printer.
- Printing speed can be as fast as 100 mm/sec
- It can print up to 300 x 300 x 400 mm
- The nozzle and extruder provide a maximum temperature of 250 degrees Celsius
- Has an embedded touchscreen for manual settings input
- It supports online mode (Wi-Fi and mobile apps support) and offline mode (USB and SD card maximum of 8 GB)
- It works well on various hard materials like ABS, PLA, wood, and metal
- It can be pretty tricky to calibrate the printer
- Often shows difficulty at high-speed printing
- Inconsistent temperature
#7 ELEGOO Mars UV Photocuring LCD 3D Printer (Best for Miniatures)
The Elegoo Mars is both prolific and affordable, making it yet another exciting addition to the range of budget 3D printers.
The Elegoo Mars comes with a pretty appealing and decent built volume and design. It has a removable UV blocking lid that is both good and bad for the printer.
If you consider the removal process, it is a bit of a mess to completely pull out the lid whenever you want to access the resin tank.
This Elegoo printer is pretty accurate in resolution up to 0.000185 inches or 0.0047mm. I also like the smooth finish it gives to the canvas after print. If you’d like, you can further enhance your printing experience using a 40W UV light and ELEGOO resin.
This printer additionally has a 2650 x 1440 2K HD LCD, where you can improvise your printing like design your impression or even preview the print.
ELOGOO, too, has its proprietory software named CHITUBOX, which can slice a file of 30 MB with STL extension in just about a minute.
This printer comes with a 1-year warranty and a correctly labeled instruction manual mentioning the usage and assembly.
- It provides a layer thickness varying from 0.01-0.2 mm.
- It provides an XY-axis accuracy of 0.0047 mm while Z-axis accuracy of 0.00125mm.
- It uses the photocuring process for printing.
- The CHITU L 5.5 series is the mobile app used to slice the files with different extensions.
- Has an embedded LCD screen with UI
- Provides comparatively low printing speed maximum up to 55 mm/sec
Printing speed varies from one device to another. But, mostly, there are three different speed settings for 3D printers, 40-50mm/s, 80-100mm/s, and the fastest at 150mm/s.
Printing speed is not really the rule book for 3D printers. It often happens so that higher speed significantly affects the detailing and precision of 3D prints. So, a lower and consistent print speed should be good enough for all purposes, whether personal or commercial.
While looking for a 3D printer, I suggest you look at the materials that it supports. Plastic filaments use materials like ABS, PLA, whereas resin printers use liquid resin.
It entirely depends on what you want to print on and not just the material it supports.
Most people use FDM technology, as it is both cheap and does not involve too many complicated procedures. There are about nine printing technologies, but the most commonly used ones are SLA, DLP, and FDM.
Dual Filament Support
Not that everyone needs dual filament support, but if you need more than one roll at a time, you should get a dual filament printer. Also, frankly, it is really hectic to work with multi-colored spools of filaments if your work is creative.
Who doesn’t want more?
Having the latest technology and specifications never goes out of trend. So, if you are spending a considerable amount on a 3D printer, you might as well look for some additional features.
I would really like a 3D printer to have print resume functions, an excellent user interface, a good heated bed that retains temperature, and also some axis adjustability.
You may think, given the new-age technology in 3D printers, it should be nothing more than a cakewalk to operate them.
I will correct you here. No, it is not!
There are way too many printers that could turn your world around to think it was a mere waste of money. So, I’d suggest that if you are a beginner, go for a printer that’s for beginners too.
High-end or professional 3D printers require a massive amount of expertise and experience. You don’t really want to battle a device that is not made for you.
After reviewing these products, I feel the Creality Ender 3 Pro is one of the best for beginners. And if you are a professional, the Monoprice Select Mini is the perfect option in its price range.