Updated · Mar 30, 2023
3D Printer Price Ranges: How Much Does It Cost to Get One?
Updated · Feb 07, 2023
A 3D printer price varies depending on your specific needs. Home-use devices can cost as low as a hundred bucks, while professional models can reach thousands of dollars.
Curious to see where the difference comes from?
How Much Is a 3D Printer?
There are various 3D printing machines to choose from. Beginner models are simpler and cheaper. Professional ones are more expensive and sophisticated.
Let’s look at some guide prices:
- Low-cost 3D printers—between $100 and $400
- Hobbyist 3D printers—between $400 and $1,500
- Enthusiast 3D printers—between $1,000 and $3,000
- Professional 3D printers—between $3,000 and $20,000
- Industrial 3D printers—over $20,000
How Much Is a 3D Printer for Home?
Today, 3D printers are so mainstream that they can fit any budget. Price ranges differ between low and high-end models depending on:
- layering material
- design complexity
- surface finish accuracy
Low-cost 3D printers
Image credit: gonzafoles (CC BY 2.0)
If you are new to 3D printing but curious about it, start with a low-cost version. It’s the perfect way to get to know the technology and see whether you like it before upgrading to a more pricey model.
Entry-level 3D printers have limitations, though. They won’t let you print anything bigger than three to four inches in any dimension, and you’ll probably have to use only one filament.
You’ll get a slower and noisier machine for about $100–$400, but it’ll do the job. Don’t expect impressive quality, either. Anyway, it’s a good starting point.
If you’re looking for a 3D printer under $100, you might find something on sale. Since 3D printing became popular, prices have dropped considerably.
Hobbyist 3D printers
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Hobbyist 3D printer prices vary between $400 and $1,500. They are quicker than the low-cost models, provide a wider filaments choice, and can make larger parts of five to six inches in either dimension.
Although such hobby 3D printers are a step up from the basic models, their purpose is to create items for pleasure. They cannot stay on for too long due to overheating. If you’re not planning to use them very often, they’re the right choice.
Enthusiast 3D printers
Image credit: the justified sinner (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
If your hobby makes you enthusiastic about everything concerning 3D printing, you’ll probably need to step up your game.
The cost of a 3D printer for enthusiasts is between $1,000 and $3,000. Consider it an investment in a more serious level hobby. For that price, you’ll get a quieter and faster machine than the previous categories, a wider materials selection, and objects’ dimensions of eight to twelve inches.
However, enthusiast 3D printers aren’t suitable for mass production. Using them too often for too long can lead to frequent maintenance issues.
How Much Does an Industrial 3D Printer Cost?
If you aim for higher print quality and lower production times, you’ll need a more expensive 3D printer. Here we’re stepping into the land of advanced machines that differ significantly from the simpler home-use models.
Professional 3D printers
Image credit: TheDeepFryedBoot (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Professional 3D printers are for those who want to run a small business or have enough finances to spend on their hobby.
A cost of up to $20,000 is quite the splurge, so you better think twice before choosing a model.
Such professional machines can print high-quality details of about twelve inches in any dimension. You can use various colors and textures of print materials. Both speed and quality of printing are high.
Industrial 3D printer price
3D printers from the industrial category raise the bar pretty high and are intended for serious enterprises.
These machines are bigger and more complex design-wise. They are built of metal which makes them more durable.
The most expensive 3D printers cost over $20,000 and can reach up to $200,000. They produce the highest-quality parts for the shortest time. Filaments can be more pricey than the other categories.
Size and price are industrial 3D printers’ biggest disadvantages. Although there’s a niche market for them, their professional counterparts are on the rise due to better price/quality ratio.
How Much Does It Cost to 3D Print?
Now that we know the prices of every 3D printer category let’s look at other costs that may incur.
There’s a lot to consider in terms of additional expenses:
Image credit: Creative Tools (CC BY 2.0)
The cost of 3D printing material will be one of your biggest expenses in the long run. You need it to make stuff, so you can’t skip it. Different filaments cost between $3 and $1000, depending on what you print.
The most popular materials are thermoplastics and resin. Thermoplastics like ABS and PLA are used for hobby 3D printing because they are cheap—about $20 to $70 per kilogram. However, they don’t deliver a smooth finish and high-quality details.
Resin, on the other hand, can handle any complex project with the necessary quality. Basic resin costs about $50/liter but can get as high as $400/liter for a more professional alternative.
Image credit: fdecomite (CC BY 2.0)
Model volume and complexity also add up to the cost of 3D printing. The 3D computer model can tell how much material will be spent on printing. Denser designs require more material, hence, higher costs. That’s why it’s better to make the objects hollow whenever possible.
Complicated designs need human guidance no matter how sophisticated 3D printing software you use. Otherwise, you might end up with a poor quality result and a bunch of wasted material. When planning a computer model, you have to be careful and specific about every little detail of your project.
Maintenance and service
Some sellers include installation and support for a certain period. Others give you extended warranty options or an annual maintenance plan. Make sure you read those terms carefully to know in what cases service is covered.
Out-of-warranty service and maintenance can add up expenses to the initial 3D printer price, especially if you own a more sophisticated model.
A 3D printer’s energy consumption is another thing to consider before buying one. The electricity costs depend on its power and duration of use.
Basic home-use machines would use between 50 to 150 W when printing—equivalent to one or two incandescent bulbs, which is not that much. In comparison, an ordinary desktop computer consumes 100–450 W.
For more precise energy expenses calculations, you’d have to check the 3D printer’s power consumption, your likely usage, and the electricity price in your region.
Usually, the software is included in the 3D printer cost. Even cheaper devices have some basic software suite to download or a disk. 3D printing works with STL files that run on any CAD (computer-aided design) program. If you’re not into making 3D models yourself, you can always download free ones on the internet. They come with all needed print files.
If you’re confident in your 3D modeling skills, you can invest in proper software that suits them.
Image credit: #3DBenchy (CC BY 2.0)
3D printers using SLS and SLA filaments need post-processing peripherals which cost extra money. If you want clean and polished designs, you have to buy such a station. You can do it manually, but it’ll take more time and effort.
Generally, every 3D printed part might need some touchup to look good. If you pay more attention to the digital 3D model, you can spare yourself some post-processing work.
Note that some elements need to have support while printing so that they stay in place. It has to be removed afterward since it’s not part of the final design.
Now that you know how much a 3D printer is and what additional costs might occur, you can make an informed purchase decision. You can choose from different categories depending on your level of enthusiasm, skills, and budget.
How much does a good 3D printer cost?
How you’ll use the device determines what you’re willing to pay for it. A good beginner’s 3D printer won’t be suitable for an enthusiast wanting more features and design complexity. Low-cost 3D printers are between $100 and $400, while industrial models are over $20,000.
What is the cheapest 3D printer?
You can find 3D printers on Amazon for about $120–$150. It’ll be a low-cost beginner’s model suitable for simpler designs. If you have kids, it can be the perfect device to spend time together making stuff.
On the other hand, 3D pens are cheaper, and children love them. You can find some for under $20. Be careful not to leave the kids without supervision because some models can become quite hot. The same goes for 3D printers.
What is the average price of a 3D printer?
Since there are different levels of 3D printers, the average price depends on the category:
- Low-cost 3D printer— around $250 on average
- Hobbyist 3D printer— roughly $950 on average
- Enthusiast 3D printer— around $2,000 on average
- Professional 3D printer— can be found for $11,500 on average
- Industrial 3D printer—$110,000 on average.
Is 3D printing expensive?
Since 3D printing became a mainstream hobby, it’s no longer expensive. An entry-level 3D printer price is about $100 to $400, which is quite affordable. The filaments can cost between $3 and thousands of dollars per print. It depends on the material and the object’s size. Basic home models don’t consume much power because they aren’t used often and make small details.
Velina describes herself as passionate media savvy and a versatile individual with numerous different interests, most a result of her Media & Communications BA. She has also developed a keen interest in Digital Marketing and Advertising. Her never-ending desire to constantly learn new things and enrich herself and her ultimate dream to go around the globe before 45 are her driving forces.
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