|3D printer category||Average 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+|
If you're wondering how much does a 3D printer cost. Or if a 3D printer is worth it. You're in the right place.
The good news is this: These days you can find almost any 3D printer for any budget.
And while the average 3D printer price across the market is around $400...
That average is pulled down because of the high volume of low-cost 3D printers sold.
So is it worth it to buy a 3D printer in 2022? If yes, what is the best 3D printer for the price? And are there price range “sweet spots” that you should look out for?
You can prepare yourself to answer these questions by asking yourself:
Am I looking for a hobby or a tool?
And you can get the full answers by reading below.
How much does a 3D printer cost? Low-cost 3D printer prices start from $100 to $400. Then hobbyist 3D printers will set you back by up to $1,000. The next level of enthusiast and professional 3D printer prices range between $1,000 to $10,000. After that, the sky’s the limit – with industrial 3D printer prices starting at $10,000 but quickly reaching $100,000 or $250,000 for specialist technologies.
DIY / Low-cost 3D printer price $100 - $400
Low-cost 3D printers are all about the novelty of the technology. They exist for newbies who want to say, "Hey – check out what I just 3D printed!" Almost all will come as kits that the buyer puts together. And while these machines might have beginner-friendly price tags... It won't be a beginner who can get them to produce a good 3D print. That's because manufacturing problems are too common to overlook. And these lead to a painful setup and user experience. Also, when asking how much does a basic 3D printer cost? This tier can save you money. But expect to pay more for modifications, upgrades, and repairs down the line. That said, if it's a choice between "having a 3D printer" and "not having a 3D printer", this tier offers the biggest bang for your buck.
The Ultimaker Original was sold as DIY 3D printer that you put together yourself
Hobbyist 3D printer price $400 - $1,000
3D printers at this price range can produce some great parts and models. But that's only after you have set them up and dialed in their settings. In this way, they are aimed at hobbyists. (People who are happy to spend time watching tutorials and tweaking settings to improve their prints.) This also limits your flexibility. Over time, you might be able to 3D print well with a basic material like PLA. But don't expect to switch filaments too easily. While these machines are often delivered as kits, manufacturing problems are less common.
Enthusiast / Prosumer 3D printer price $1,000 - $3,000
Up until this price range, almost all the 3D printers will have had an open design. But now you will begin to see more partially and fully enclosed printers that increase safety and print reliability. This also marks the end of the hobbyist range. And the start of 3D printing becoming a useful production tool. Therefore, the enthusiast and prosumer category is great for lower and higher education customers who want to avoid spending time on maintenance. Plus, they present a smart option to 3D print cheaply at home. These machines can 3D print a handful of materials with good reliability. However, these will often be own-brand filaments with carefully tweaked settings. The best enthusiast 3D printers include hardware and software features taken from the professional 3D printer price tier. On which note...
Safer, more reliable, and low maintenance – Enthusiast 3D printers are a great option for schools
Professional 3D printer price $3,000 - $10,000
A lot changes at this price point. Instead of being a technology to tweak and adjust, these 3D printers focus on easy use and adoption. They become one tool among many in an engineer's or designer's toolbox – giving a growing number of businesses a new way to innovate. And that's why, at this price point, FFF 3D printing is at its most disruptive. The only way this can happen is for the 3D printer to work – and for it to work hard. Expect a factory-tested machine that you can leave running over the weekend and come back to a finished part on Monday morning. Plus, prints start being repeatable. For example, if you 3D print the same part on the same printer in two or more locations...the part quality should be almost identical. The user also has more flexibility. You can choose to print with a build material and a support material in the same print (called dual extrusion), offering more design freedom. And you gain a growing range of engineering-grade material options. These can include materials reinforced with carbon fiber or even metal.
Professional 3D printers are workhorse tools for an increasing number of engineers and designers
Industrial 3D printer price $10,000+
3D printers that cost tens or hundreds of thousands are made to do a few things at a high level of quality. This includes production technology for specific materials, like high-temperature polymers or metal. 3D printing these materials with a high success rate often requires you to stay within a manufacturer's material portfolio and software stack. If you are in the market for an enterprise-level machine, this will rarely be the first 3D printer your company buys. And you will know what's required to make the investment: a strong business case, competitor analysis, and a purchase order. You or your company may be happy to pay extra for increased speed, accuracy, and reliability. But also know that, the higher you go in this price bracket, the more you chase diminishing returns.
Is a 3D printer worth it?
These five price tiers cover the majority of 3D printers sold today.
If you consider 3D printing as a hobby, 3D printing successfully will largely be paid for with your time and patience. If 3D printing needs to be a tool for you, then you will pay extra for a user experience that saves time and attention.
But it's also in this second category where 3D printing offers significant business value. And the right 3D printer can end up paying for itself with substantial time and cost savings.
The total cost of 3D printing
Finding the best 3D printer for the price, then, is not only about the machine you buy. The picture is bigger than just the initial price tag.
It's also about the software, accessories, materials, and service that go with it. Together, these contribute to an easy-to-use, time and cost-saving 3D printing experience.
The Ultimaker platform creates a seamless flow between hardware, software, and materials
For example, every Ultimaker 3D printer works seamlessly with Ultimaker Cura, which is updated every few months. They also ship with a suite of free online tools and e-learning courses. Together these resources transform your ability to click-and-print with up to 239 materials.
So it's no surprise that hundreds of leading companies – from Ford to L'Oréal – 3D print day and night with the Ultimaker platform to drive innovation and sustain their competitive advantage.
If you would like to do the same, click below to find out more.