Which 3D printer should you buy this Black Friday?

Image showing 3D printers from Prusa, Anycubic & Creality
(Image credit: Prusa, Anycubic, & Creality)

It’s no secret 3D printing can be an expensive hobby to get into, so you might be wondering if it makes sense to buy a 3D printer, and if so, which one should you buy? Black Friday is a time for wide-spread sales and with it's arrival coming this November, it could be the right time to cash in. 

There's no harm in doing a little research before the biggest annual sales event of the year, in fact, we'd recommend it. We have guides for the best 3D printers and 3D printer deals which will definitely be worth checking out before making a purchase. While we can't say for certain, it is likely that the Black Friday will see prices drop below their usual point. 

At the bottom of this page, you'll find some of our favorite deals on top models, just for you to keep an eye on. It's also important to know what to expect and what it is you'll want to look out for on Black Friday, not just the biggest discount around. 

Unfortunately, the price of post-processing equipment is something else you may need to consider. A filament 3D printer may not require much equipment but a resin 3D printer will need numerous additional add-ons, which will make the total cost higher. Hopefully though, Black Friday will serve up a few tasty 3D printer deals which should drive the final cost down. 

Anycubic Kobra Max 3D printer - was $749.99, now $489 at Walmart
Black Friday Deal

Anycubic Kobra Max 3D printer - was $749.99, now $489 at Walmart

The Anycubic Kobra Max can build items up to 17 inches tall, and offers auto-leveling to ensure a consistent build. It is currently on sale for less than it was during Black Friday last year. 

What’s the difference between resin 3D printers and filament 3D printers?

Resin 3D printers and filament 3D printers are two different technologies that both utilize different specialized materials to produce printed parts. 

Resin 3D printers use a liquid photopolymer (commonly referred to as resin) that is hardened, layer by layer, to create detailed 3D prints. Resin is messy and can be dangerous to handle, so specialized equipment is necessary to wash and cure printed parts so they can be safely handled. Parts made on a resin printer can be highly detailed (like the models made on the Anycubic Photon Mono X 6K), but are often brittle and delicate.

Filament 3D printers use a heated nozzle to deposit filament onto a build platform, almost like a hot glue gun that is moving in three dimensions. This style of printer can create strong, durable parts that require little post-processing, but the dimensional accuracy and resolution are usually lower than comparably priced resin printers. 

When thinking about what style of 3D printer you’re interested in, it’s worth thinking about the post-processing. If you want a printer that allows you to pop models right off of a build platform and into a shipping box, a filament printer would likely be a good fit. If you don’t mind the clean-up and demand the absolute highest-resolution possible, a resin printer would be a great choice.

How much do 3D printers cost?

Less expensive 3D printers typically have smaller build volumes, software with less features, and lower resolution printing than more expensive machines. Always make sure you are comfortable with the build volume (max. build size) of a 3D printer before purchasing, as that’s a specification you aren’t able to easily change.

Anycubic Kobra Max 3d printer

The Anycubic Kobra Max 3d printer is an FDM printer (uses filament). (Image credit: Anycubic)

An inexpensive FDM (Fused deposition modeling)3D printer can run between $199 and $399, while larger models with more advanced features can be purchased for $999 and up. On the lower end, printers like the Elegoo Neptune 2 can usually be found for around $200, and Black Friday deals could possibly see that even lower. The massive Anycubic Kobra Max (one of the best 3D printers on our review list) lists at $750, but holiday promotions may reduce the price to even less – the Anycubic Kobra Max is currently $489 on their website (both the Neptune 2 and the Kobra Max are on sale). 

Anycubic Photon M3 Premium_ 3D printer in full

The Anycubic Photon M3 Premium is a 3D resin printer. (Image credit: Future)

Inexpensive desktop resin 3D printers can be found for as low as $149, while models with higher resolution and a larger build volume are typically in the $499 to $699 price range. The Elegoo Mars range of resin printers are great, and the company are currently offering some of the best prices on Elegoo resin 3D printers. The larger build volume and higher resolution Anycubic Mono X 6K is a larger printer with a retail price of $529 but we've seen it on sale for just $309, making it a printer worth keeping an eye on when the annual sales event kick off.

Is build volume important?

Anycubic Photon M3

(Image credit: Future)

Build volume is typically defined as the XYZ dimensions of a printer, and refers to the maximum available dimensions of a printed part on any particular axis. When you’re thinking about buying a printer, you’ll want to think about the size of typical things you want to print. If you mostly print small board game miniatures but occasionally want to make one large model, it may make more sense to buy a smaller printer and print the larger part in pieces instead of purchasing a larger printer with an underutilized build volume. 

Resin printers with smaller build volumes typically are capable of higher resolution, while larger build volumes offer a slightly lower resolution in exchange for the increase in available size. Filament printers with a large build volume tend to print more slowly than smaller volumes, as the build platform and other parts of the machine are typically larger and heavier.

Should you buy a 3D printer on Black Friday?

Anycubic Photon M3 Premium_ 3D printer in full with test prints

(Image credit: Future)

There’s never been a better time to get involved in 3D printing, and Black Friday deals make 3D printers even more affordable. With 3D printer prices starting at $150 (without being on sale), it’s easy to buy a machine and the accessories you need while staying within almost any budget. 

If you’re interested in large format 3D printing for making big models, printers like the Anycubic Kobra Max offer a huge build volume and can be assembled easily by novice users. In addition, they don’t require much additional specialized equipment to clean up printed parts. Currently on sale for $489, the Kobra Max is a printer you’ll want to keep your eye on this Black Friday.

If you are looking to make ultra-high resolution 3D prints and aren’t afraid of the typical resin 3D printer cleaning workflow, the Elegoo Mars 3 Pro 4K resin printer can be found for under $250 and a Wash/Cure station (the Elegoo Mercury Plus) can be found for right around $100. Just add some gloves, cleaning supplies, and isopropyl alcohol and you’ll have all you need to get started.

If you’re interested in buying a 3D printer this Black Friday, make sure to read through our list of the best 3D printers available. With multiple reviews available right here on Space.com, it’s easy to find great 3D printer deals.

3D Printer Deals Ahead Of Black Friday

Anycubic Kobra Max 3D printer - was $749.99, now $489 at Walmart

Anycubic Kobra Max 3D printer - was $749.99, now $489 at Walmart

The Anycubic Kobra Max can build items up to 17 inches tall, and offers auto-leveling to ensure a consistent build.

Anycubic Vyper 3D printer - was $429.99, now $219 at Walmart

Anycubic Vyper 3D printer - was $429.99, now $219 at Walmart

This compact 3D printer has plenty of room to build complex projects while offering key features like automatic shut-off. Now $210 off

Anycubic Photon M3 Max: Was $1099 now $959 at Anycubic

Anycubic Photon M3 Max: Was $1099 now $959 at Anycubic

Save $140 on this huge resin 3d printer. It has a 7K screen, 11.8 x 11.7 x 6.46 inch print bed and an auto-refilling resin tank. We reviewed the Anycubic M3 Plus, the Max's smaller (but still pretty big) cousin and we were super impressed - this is just am even bigger version.

Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K: Was $399 now $299 from Matterhackers. 

Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K: Was $399 now $299 from Matterhackers

Save $100 on a high-quality 4K 3D printer.  This compact printer is perfect for people who have limited space but still want to print stunning miniatures.

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Andrew Sink
3D Printing Writer

Andrew Sink has been enthusiastically involved in the 3D printing industry ever since he first used a 3D printer back in 2012. Filament, resin, you name it, he’s tried it. He loves working on new designs and experiments, having printed everything from a PB&J sandwich to a copy of his own brain from a scan. Andrew works as a Senior Applications Engineer at a leading additive manufacturing technology company and is always ready to learn and push the limits with this ever-evolving industry.