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How Much Does a 3D Printer Cost? | Price Ranges

So how much does a 3d printer cost?

The average 3D printer price is around $750 per unit. The cheapest 3D printers cost around $200. High end 3D printers can cost anywhere from $1500 to $5000.

The answer ranges from a couple hundred dollars to several thousand. Fortunately, prices have been trending downwards in recent years as the printing technology is improving. In this article we will be looking at the various price groupings and categories of printers for people trying nail down exactly how much is a 3d printer.

The aim is to help a potential owner figure out where their priorities are in terms of 3D printer cost and expected functionality. Below each category heading you will find a helpful table for you to review and compare the core features of each printer in the respective price category.

Just briefly, here are some general price guidelines:

How Much Do 3D Printers Cost? 3D Printer Price At a Glance

Basic Entry Level Desktop 3D Printer $300-800
Advanced Desktop 3D Printer  $1500-4500
Professional Desktop 3D Printer
DIY / Open Source 3D Printer Kit $200-500

Basic Entry Level Desktop Printers

The first category – and most affordable category – of 3D printers is your basic desktop printer.

Most of these machines are aimed at beginner to intermediate level printers on a budget. Since 3D printers can quickly become prohibitively expensive, these are among the most popular 3D printers on the market. They are leading the way in making 3D printing affordable for regular people and small businesses. In recent years, we have seen vast improvements for the features and capabilities of these machines.

In the past, it was rare to find dual extruders (two nozzles printing simultaneously), decent build areas, or the ability to print multiple materials for printers in this category (more about filament types here). Luckily, most of these features are becoming the new standard in this price range. It is becoming harder to tell the difference between the basic and advanced printers when just looking at the technical specs of 3D printers.

The layer resolution for this price range tends to cap out at around 100 microns. For very detailed and/or ornate projects, this might be an issue. The higher up the price range you go, the more detail you can expect.

What you do get is a good entry point into 3D printing. Some of these budget machines are actually quite capable and reliable, although always be prepared to get your hands dirty at any level with still emerging market of 3D printers.

3D Printer price in this category ranges from the downright affordable da Vinci Mini Wireless at $209 to around $700. 

Entry Level 3D Printer Reviews and Comparisons

Advanced 3D Desktop Printers

In the advanced category of desktop printers, you will be getting enhanced functionality, reliability and precision for a higher entry price point.

This category is ideal for someone who has at least limited experience with basic 3D printing, additive manufacturing, or who has a strong desire/drive to learn the nuances of 3D printing. These tend to be more expensive – and hence a bit riskier – investments.

Many of these printers are being used in small enterprises and design studios, with generally more precise layer by layer quality and larger build platform area (heated print bed and large build plate). The industry is evolving rapidly, so many of these advanced desktop printers are doing what only industrial printers could do 3-4 years ago, just at a smaller scale.

At this price point, you can expect sturdier, better hardware and see layer resolution increase significantly. In many cases the layer resolution can be lower than 100 microns while print speeds (time to print for rapid prototyping) can top out at higher rates and build areas tend to be larger than the basic 3D printers. For more precise, ornate, and detailed products, these are the best machines.

In this category, you get what you pay for.

Advanced 3D Desktop Printer Reviews and Comparisons

There is a wider price range in this category. Expect to pay north of $1200 for a mid-range advanced desktop printer, capping out at around $4000 for the top of the range. 

Our Pick
We Prefer the Dremel Laser Cutter | Matter Hackers

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DIY 3D Printer Kits

My favorite answer to “how much do 3d printer costs” is “Just build one!”

Another popular category of 3D printers are DIY kits. DIY printer kits are usually more affordable and more customizable than the pre-made versions. For tinkerers, hobbyists, and experimenters, 3D printer kits can be the perfect solution. Adventurous builders will also be able to push their machines to the limit in terms of functionality and performance.

The downside is that there are risks associated with building things on your own. If things go wrong, you likely won’t have a factory warranty to fall back on or customer service to walk you through solutions. However, for a smaller up front investment, this risk can easily be worth the reward.

3D printer kits come in many shapes and sizes. All of the systems are – by default – open source systems from software to hardware. This means that most everything is able to be custom-fitted as needed. Looking for a larger build volume? No problem!

Of course, within the 3D printing kit spectrum there are some kits that are easier to build and more complete systems than others. If you are truly looking to build a 3D printer from scratch, you will have to source your own materials. The nice thing about DIY kits is that everything you need for a basic functional printer comes in one box with instructions. The chart below details what you receive in the kit for each printer, but remember that just about everything is customizable for these DIY 3D printers.

DIY 3D Printer Price ranges are all over the place, starting at around $200 to $600 per kit.

Industrial 3D Printers

These are mostly out of reach of the average consumer, but for larger B2B operations, these can ultimately be the most reliable for additive manufacturing. For fabricating complex designs in masse, this can be a worthwhile investment. Keep in mind, your 3D printing software costs may also be higher depending on the type of technology (FDM printer, SLS, etc..).

Some good options here include:

  • Fusion 3 F410 Professional: This one is a good fit for smaller assembly lines for FDM printing, ideal for business and education applications. This clocks in at roughly $4,599.
  • Statsys Objet1000 Plus: The grand-daddy of them all, starting at around half a million dollars.

Frequently Asked Questions About 3D Printer Price

Is 3D Printing Cheap?

3D printing is surprisingly affordable, especially when you consider expensive alternatives to custom manufacturing. This list has lots of printers with great prices for those looking for cheap 3D printing!

Is 3D Printing Profitable?

3D Printing can certainly be profitable! If you are looking to monetize your 3D printing, you can sell prints on Etsy or create prototypes, just to list 2. We have many more ways to make money with your 3D printer as well!

Douglas Beatenhead

Saturday 25th of August 2018

Can various metals be 3D printed?

Sam Westin

Friday 14th of December 2018

I guess it depends on your definition of metal. At a certain point it starts to get more towards CNC processes. The average desktop printer cannot print durable metal.