Best budget renderer

I know this has been covered before but I’ve read all the threads and haven’t really got the answer I’m after.

I currently use Twilight Hobby renderer as my needs haven’t required much else to date and it produces relatively good images without huge amounts of input (ideal as I’m freelance and time is money). However, I’ve recently been asked for some higher quality renders so need to up my game and renderer.

I’m looking to spend as little as possible balanced against an easy learning curve (more important than cost) as 98% of my work is freelance design based (without rendering) or technical so I’ve got very little free time to spend learning new complicated software (I already use SU, AutoCAD and Revit, which is already too many).

I downloaded Podium last year to try but never got to try it as other work got in the way. When I went to give it a go the trial time limit kicked in. I contacted them to get another free trial week before purchase but they said they couldn’t help, which was far from ideal.

Any recommendations for an easy to use renderer which produces great images without hours of input and tweaking would be much appreciated.

I still use Kerkythea. It’s in the budget-friendly department, it’s more than powerful enough and although there was a bit of a learning curve at first, now it takes only a few minutes of set up, usually less than 5 minutes, and I let the render run. Rarely do I need to change the settings after the first set up. No matter what rendering program you use, you’ll need to get through the learning curve so you know how it behaves and where to access the settings.

My preference is for a stand alone renderer because I can turn it loose rendering an image while I continue to work in SketchUp.

Hadn’t heard of that one, and it’s free, amazing. I’ll give it a whirl over the holidays. Much appreciated.

I still find Raylectron to have the most user friendly interface/shortest learning curve. It is a true ray tracing app with basic features. The interface is similar to SU with a tray on the right.
It has open CL support and can run on GPU or CPU with Scatter compatibility.
Full version under $100 US.