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How Much Do 3D Printers Cost? A Comprehensive Guide to Pricing

Patrick Phillipps | Last updated Sunday, July 9th, 2023

How much do 3D printers cost? This question has become increasingly relevant as 3D printers continue to gain popularity. Understanding the cost factors associated with these innovative devices is crucial when considering a purchase.

In this article, we will delve into the average cost of 3D printers and explore the various factors that contribute to their price tags.

How Much Does a 3D Printer Cost?

In today's market, there is a wide range of 3D printers available to suit every budget. On average, a 3D printer costs around $2,500, but this can vary based on factors such as the printer's technology, filament type, and size. When evaluating the price of a 3D printer, it's important to consider its intended usage.

For those on a tight budget, low-cost 3D printers are available in the price range of $100 to $400. If you're a hobbyist, you can expect to spend up to $1,000 on a 3D printer.

Moving up the ladder, the next category includes enthusiast and professional 3D printers, which typically range from $1,000 to $10,000. Beyond this point, the price range becomes limitless as industrial-grade 3D printers start at $10,000 and can quickly escalate to $100,000 or even $250,000 for specialized technologies.

3D printer categoryAverage price
Low-cost 3D printers$100 - $400
Hobbyist 3D printers$400 - $1,000
Enthusiast 3D printers$1,000 - $3,000
Professional 3D printers$3,000 - $10,000
Industrial 3D printer price$10,000+

1. Best Budget Low-Cost 3D Printer Price

The allure of low-cost 3D printers lies in their novelty. They cater to beginners and usually come in kit form.

Although these machines boast affordable price tags ranging from $100 to $400, they require more than beginner-level skills to achieve satisfactory prints. This is due to frequent manufacturing issues that hinder setup and user experience.

Additionally, when considering the cost of a basic 3D printer, this grade initially saves money. However, expect additional expenses for modifications, upgrades, and repairs in the future. However, when deciding whether to invest in a 3D printer or not, this grade undeniably provides the most value.

2. Cost of Hobbyist 3D Printers

Within the price range of $400 to $1,000, 3D printers offer the capability to create impressive parts and models. However, achieving optimal results requires proper setup and fine-tuning of settings.

These printers cater to hobbyists, providing a satisfactory level of performance. Yet, this category comes with limitations that restrict flexibility. Initially, you may master printing with basic materials like PLA.

However, transitioning between different filaments may prove challenging. It is worth noting that, although these machines are frequently sold as kits, manufacturing issues are relatively uncommon.

3. Cost of Enthusiast / Prosumer 3D Printers

As the price range climbs from $1,000 to $3,000, these 3D printers transition from open designs to partially or fully enclosed models. This shift enhances safety and print reliability.

Simultaneously, this marks the end of the hobbyist range and the beginning of 3D printing as a practical production tool. The enthusiast and prosumer category caters to educational customers seeking to minimize maintenance efforts while offering affordable home printing options.

These printers exhibit reliable performance with a selection of materials. However, they often rely on own-brand filaments with meticulously adjusted settings. The best enthusiast 3D printers incorporate hardware and software features from the professional tier.

4. Cost of Professional 3D Printers

The $3,000 to $10,000 price range brings significant changes to 3D printing. Instead of being a technology requiring constant tweaking, these printers prioritize ease of use and adoption. They become a valuable tool in the arsenal of engineers and designers, offering businesses new avenues for innovation.

This price point is where FFF 3D printing demonstrates its disruptive potential. The key is reliable performance and hard work from the 3D printer itself. You can expect a factory-tested machine capable of running continuously, providing finished parts by Monday morning. Additionally, print results become more consistent and repeatable.

For instance, printing the same part on the same printer in different locations yields nearly identical quality. Users also gain greater flexibility, such as the ability to utilize dual extrusion, enabling the printing of both build and support materials in a single print.

This feature expands design possibilities. Furthermore, there is an expanding range of engineering-grade materials to choose from, including those reinforced with carbon fiber or even metal.

5. Cost of Industrial 3D Printers

When it comes to 3D printers priced at $10,000 or more, they excel in delivering exceptional quality in specific areas. These printers focus on production technology for specialized materials such as high-temperature polymers or metals.

Achieving a high success rate with these materials often necessitates adhering to the manufacturer's recommended material portfolio and software stack. Typically, an enterprise-level 3D printer is not the first purchase for a company. Investing in such a machine requires a compelling business case, competitor analysis, and a purchase order.

You or your company may be willing to pay a premium for enhanced speed, accuracy, and reliability. However, it's important to understand that as you move higher in this price range, the benefits become increasingly marginal, offering diminishing returns on investment.

Average Cost of 3D Printer by Type

Below, we present a comprehensive price breakdown based on various factors such as printer type and country of manufacture, as reported by 3DInsider.com.

TypeAverage Price
FFF / CFF4999
Laser Stereolithography5000
Plastic Jet Printing1999
Plastic Jet Printing (PJP)1569
Sliding separation8490

Average Cost of 3D Printer by Manufactoring Country

When considering the purchase of a 3D printer, it's important to know that pre-assembled units come with a higher price tag, typically averaging around $2,700. On the other hand, if you opt for a DIY 3D printer that requires some assembly on your part, the average cost drops to around $1,500.

Building your own kit can be time-consuming, taking up to 8 hours due to the multitude of components involved. However, the advantage of assembling your printer is the invaluable familiarity you gain with its inner workings.

This familiarity proves advantageous when it comes to repairs, as it reduces the need for costly professional repairs. Just be cautious not to accidentally break any components during the assembly process!

It's worth noting that 3D printers come in various states, such as the "90%" state, which requires partial assembly. All these factors play a role in determining the final price. In general, the more assembly work you undertake, the lower the cost, as manufacturers save on labor expenses.

Made InAverage 3D Printer Price
Czech Republic$2,041
New Zealand$1,304
South Korea$699

How Much is 3D Printer Filament Per Kg?

When calculating the overall expenses associated with owning a 3D printer, it's essential to consider more than just the upfront cost of the printer. Another crucial factor is the cost of filament, which serves as the "ink" for 3D printers.

This ongoing expense significantly influences the total expenditure over the printer's lifespan. The more you print, the more filament you will consume.

To shed light on filament costs, 3DInsider.com and Ultimaker.com conducted surveys, providing valuable insights into the prices of different filament types. Below, you will find the detailed findings from their research:

Filament TypeUsesAverage Price
Generic PLA & ABSPLA and ABS stand out as the two most widely utilized filaments, offering remarkable versatility in crafting a wide range of objects.$25/Kg
Specialty PLA & ABSInnovative variations of PLA and ABS filaments involve incorporating additional elements to modify their properties. For instance, these filaments can be blended with materials like wood, metal, ceramics, and others. Such combinations can result in unique features like glow-in-the-dark effects, magnetic properties, or even electrical conductivity in the final printed object.$56.5/Kg
ASA FilamentASA has gained popularity for outdoor applications due to its superior weather resistance compared to ABS.$37.5/Kg
PETG FilamentFor those seeking a filament stronger than ABS, PETG proves to be an excellent choice. It boasts exceptional strength and minimal shrinkage, making it ideal for various applications.$35/Kg
Nylon FilamentNylon filament is highly favored by individuals seeking a thin and flexible material for their 3D printing needs.$95/Kg
Flexible FilamentsFor those in search of a soft and remarkably scratch-resistant material, TPU is an ideal choice. It offers a squishy texture and exceptional durability.$35/Kg
Polycarbonate FilamentRenowned for its remarkable strength and durability, polycarbonate emerges as an outstanding filament choice for various applications.$95/Kg

Which Shops Have The Best Deals on 3D Printers?

During our extensive price analysis across multiple stores, we discovered notable variations among them. It's important to mention that our cost of 3D printers evaluation excluded shops specializing in a single printer.

ShopAverage of Price
mUVe 3D LLC$1,199
Tinkerine Studio$1,399
3D Systems$2,164
Hyrel 3D$2,737
Airwolf 3D$2,935

Factors Influencing 3D Printer Costs

Various factors contribute to the price of these innovative devices, and understanding them can help potential buyers make informed decisions. Here are the key factors that influence the cost of 3D printers.

1. Quality and Specifications of 3D Printers

The quality and specifications of a 3D printer play a significant role in determining its cost. Higher-end printers that offer superior resolution, precision, and print speeds tend to be more expensive.

These printers often come with advanced features like dual extruders or heated build plates, allowing for more complex prints. On the other hand, budget-friendly printers may have limitations in terms of print quality and features, but they can still produce satisfactory results for less demanding applications.

2. Print Technology and Capabilities

The print technology used by a 3D printer greatly affects its cost. There are various technologies available in the market, such as fused deposition modeling (FDM), stereolithography (SLA), and selective laser sintering (SLS).

Each technology has its own advantages and limitations, and printers utilizing more advanced or specialized technologies generally come at a higher price point. For instance, SLA printers are known for their exceptional print quality but are typically more expensive compared to FDM printers.

3. Build Volume and Size Options

The build volume and size options of a 3D printer also impact its cost. The build volume refers to the maximum size of an object that a printer can produce. Larger build volumes are desirable for printing larger objects or multiple smaller objects simultaneously.

However, printers with larger build volumes often come with a higher price tag. Smaller printers may be more affordable, but they may have limitations in terms of the size of objects they can produce.

4. Material Compatibility and Variety

Another factor that affects the cost of 3D printers is the range of materials they can work with. Some printers are designed to work with a wide variety of materials, including ABS, PLA, nylon, and even metal filaments.

These printers are typically more expensive due to the advanced extrusion systems and temperature controls required. Conversely, printers that can only handle a limited range of materials tend to be more affordable but may be suitable for specific applications only.

5. Additional Features and Functionalities

The presence of additional features and functionalities can significantly impact the cost of a 3D printer. For example, printers equipped with automatic bed leveling systems, filament runout sensors, or touchscreens may come at a higher price.

These extra features enhance user experience, convenience, and print reliability but add to the overall cost. Buyers should consider their specific needs and priorities when deciding on the importance of these additional features.

How to Evaluate the Value Offered by a 3D Printer

When considering the purchase of a 3D printer, one crucial aspect is determining how much value it provides relative to its cost. Evaluating the cost-performance ratio helps users make informed decisions.

To begin with, the average cost of 3D printers can vary significantly depending on factors like brand, features, and print quality. It is essential to research the market and compare prices to understand the range of options available.

Furthermore, the functionality and capabilities of a 3D printer should be assessed in relation to its price. An expensive printer might offer advanced features, while a more affordable one might have limitations but still meet the requirements of many users.

Another factor to consider is the long-term cost of ownership, which includes maintenance, repair, and material expenses. Cheaper printers may require more frequent maintenance or use specific materials, which can affect the overall cost in the long run.

Balancing Cost and Performance Requirements Consideration

Balancing cost and performance is crucial when selecting a 3D printer. To make a well-informed decision, it is crucial to consider several key factors in the equation.

Firstly, it is essential to assess the intended use of the printer. If it is for personal or hobby use, a lower-cost option with basic features may suffice. However, for professional or industrial applications, investing in a higher-end printer with more advanced capabilities might be necessary.

Secondly, the desired print quality and resolution must be considered. High-resolution printers generally come with a higher price tag, but they are crucial for applications where precision and fine details are important.

Additionally, the printing speed and build volume should be evaluated. Depending on the project requirements, a larger build volume or faster print times might be necessary, but these features often come at a higher cost.

Tips for Choosing the Right 3D Printer within Your Budget

Choosing the right 3D printer within your budget requires careful consideration of your needs, a realistic assessment of your finances, and thorough research and comparison.

By understanding your objectives, setting a budget, and exploring the available options, you can find a 3D printer that fits your requirements and delivers satisfying results.

1. Identifying your specific needs and objectives for 3D printing

When considering purchasing a 3D printer, it is crucial to identify your specific needs and objectives. Ask yourself questions like, "What do I plan to use the printer for?" and "What level of detail and precision do I require?"

Understanding your goals will help narrow down the options and ensure you choose a printer that meets your requirements.

2. Setting a realistic budget based on available funds and long-term usage plans

Before diving into the world of 3D printers, it's essential to set a realistic budget. Consider both your available funds and your long-term usage plans.

The 3D printers come in a wide range of prices, from affordable entry-level models to high-end professional machines. Determine how much you are willing to invest in a 3D printer, considering not only the initial cost but also potential expenses for materials, maintenance, and upgrades.

3. Researching and comparing 3D printer options based on cost, features, and user feedback

To make an informed decision, thorough research and comparison are crucial. Start by exploring the market to see what options are available. Take into account the cost of different models and their features. Look for user feedback and reviews to gain insights into the reliability and performance of various printers.

Compare the specifications of different printers, such as build volume, resolution, print speed, and filament compatibility. Consider whether the printer supports the materials you plan to work with. Some printers are more versatile than others in terms of filament options, allowing you to experiment with different materials and colors.

Additionally, pay attention to the software compatibility and ease of use. Some 3D printers may come with user-friendly software, while others might require more technical expertise. Consider the learning curve and whether the printer's software aligns with your level of experience and comfort.

Remember that cost should not be the sole determining factor. While it's essential to stay within your budget, prioritize quality and reliability over a low price tag. Cheaper printers may require frequent repairs or produce lower-quality prints, which can impact your overall experience and productivity.

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