Some 3D printers cost upwards of $1000, but if you’re just starting out, you might want to start with something a little more affordable, so you can experiment with settings and learn about the technology.
The good news is that you can get a really good 3D printer for under $200. We’ve had a good look at what 3D printers under $200 are out on the market today, and have identified our Top 5.
Our product reviews of these Top 5 3D printers are coming up shortly, and then we’ve got a buying guide for you, which goes through the different things you might want to think about before you buy.
Following that there’s a handy little section where we attempt to answer some of your most frequently asked questions.
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Best 3D Printer Under $200 - Comparison Table
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Best 3D Printer Under $200 - Reviews
This nifty little 3D printer from da Vinci is flying off the shelves at Amazon!
It works on 3 different types of filament, PLA, tough PLA, and PETG.
It’s printing dimensions are 5.9 inches by 5.9 by 5.9.
It’s a really good buy for people starting out in 3D printing, because you can download da Vinci’s XYZmaker 3D modeling CAD and slicing software, which is perfect for beginners, with it’s really user friendly interface. The software features 4500 free 3D model designs across a variety of categories such as toys and games and art pieces.
And it’s real popular with educators - students and teachers get free access to da Vinci’s online Curriculum Education Program
It’s really easy to use too, with a single button to start it printing, and colored LEDs to indicate printing conditions. And you need never adjust any material settings because it prints with XYZprinting filaments only.
It will connect wirelessly to your wifi throughout your home, office, or classroom, so you don’t have to keep it right by the PC.
If you want you can upgrade to the Hardened Steel Nozzle, which lets you use metallic PLA and carbon PLA.
Another thing we love about it is the technical support which is conducted via Skype or telephone for that human touch.
This FDM printer from Labists is great value for money, coming in at under $150.
The maximum printing dimensions are great, specifically 100 x 100 x 100mm in total.
It’s suitable for both beginners and professionals alike.
It heats up in just 3 minutes and has a quiet working mode. The 0.4mm aluminum nozzle and extruder provides high precision and is designed not to clog.
The stand out feature of this model is probably the low power consumption, which combined with the use of biodegradable PLA filament makes it great for saving the environment.
It’s easy to assemble, only takes about 5 minutes.
It comes with a TF card, so working offline is no problem. Simply insert the TF card and press the triangle button to start - easy.
The TF card comes preloaded with two slicing software apps, and the manufacturer has some great tutorials you can watch, which go a long way into demonstrating how to use it.
When the print out is ready, you simply pop it off - no scraping to worry about.
It makes a great educational gift for kids and youngsters - it can really let their STEM skills and artistic talents take off.
It comes with a warranty that lasts 2 full years, and the lifetime tech support is super friendly and helpful.
The Longer brand is a leader in LCD printing, which is a type of resin or SLA printing (see buying guide).
This budget resin printer is marketed as an entry level 3D printer, and is a good choice for those who are just starting off, but need the precision and attention to detail only provided by a resin 3D printer.
The other thing that makes it great for beginners is just how easy it is to use, with it’s intuitive full color touch screen.
You’ll be pleased to hear it comes already assembled and is easy to set up.
You can operate offline if you need to, either using a TF card of the 8GB internal storage.
It’s safety features are worth noting too. Should the UV LED temperature start to creep out of the required range, it will warn and automatically pause, and resume again when ready and safe.
Not only does the manufacturer offer a 12 month warranty, but you also get lifetime technical support, and community support via the Facebook page.
The customer feedback on this 3D printer is outstanding, with well over 200 Amazon customers rating it on average 4 stars out of a possible 5.
The only real drawback here is the machine’s dimensions, with a printing size of just 3.86" x 2.17" x 5.5". But you’re not going to get a bigger resin 3D printer at this budget. And anyway according to the manufacturer’s survey it’s big enough for more than 90% of users.
This FDM 3D printer from Tresbo has proved to be a big hit with customers. After well over 100 customer ratings the average customer rating comes in at a whopping 4 and a half stars out of 5.
It’s very easy to work and beginner friendly, with it’s one button printing. And with it’s low 12 volt wattage and flame retardant fuselage, you could even have a child use it. It arrives not only fully assembled but also ready calibrated.
And it comes with a spool of PLA filament, so you can get started as soon as the box arrives. Speaking of which, included in the price you also get a MicroSD card with preinstalled model designs.
The maximum printing dimensions are quite good, coming in at 100 x 100 x 80mm.
It heats up in just 1 minute and works in silence. And we love the magnetic self-adhesive platform, which provides real stability while you print, especially combined with the Intelligent leveling and automatic floating compensation.
The warranty is very good, lasting 2 whole years, and you get lifetime technical support thrown in too.
This is a great little FDM 3D printer from Anycubic!
The printing dimensions are really good, 504mm x 396mm x607mm.
It uses loads of different filaments - PLA, TPU, HIPS, Wood and PETG.
But it’s stand out feature has to be it’s dual Y axis sideway design which provides greater precision than the more traditional counterparts. You also get a powerful extruder.
You also get a more stable structure thanks to its full aluminum frame and closed loop design.
It also features assisted bed levelling which is a great help. And we love the double gear extrusion for stronger and smoother extruding.
And if someone switches off the wrong plug, the printer will just carry on where it left off when the power goes back on.
Although there aren’t too many customer reviews on it just yet on the Amazon page, the feedback has been really positive, with the average customer rating being 4 stars out of 5 at the time of writing.
We love that there’s lifetime technical support, and better yet, you always get a quick response (either same day or within 24 hours).
Best 3D Printer Under $200 - Buyers Guide
Since you’re specifically looking for a 3D printer that comes to under $200, we’re going to assume that you're relatively new to 3D printing, and take the buying guide from there.
There are 2 main types of 3D printer out on the market today, namely FDM printers and SLA, or Resin printers. Most of the printers you can buy for under $200 are FDM printers, but we did find an exception for you.
The most common 3D printing method currently being used in desktop 3D printing is FDM. FDM stands for fused deposition modeling.
With this type of 3D printing a thermoplastic filament, such as PLA (Polylactic Acid), is heated up and extruded through an extension head which then deposits the now molten plastic to your preprogrammed X and Y coordinates, while the build table underneath lowers the printed object layer by layer downward in the Z direction.
This type of printer is great for hobbyists, or for those who are just starting out, or who work in product development and need to quickly manufacture prototypes. They are smaller and easier to operate than their resin 3D printer counterparts. The liquid plastic used in FDM printers is also more widely available.
Unlike FDM printers, resin printers use stereolithography technology (SLA) whereby a layer of photosensitive liquid resin is exposed to a UV-laser beam so that the resin hardens and becomes solid. As the layer begins to harden, the next layer is built on top until the print is complete.
The SLA process creates smooth surfaced objects with extreme detail, and for this reason it’s highly popular in industries like jewelry making.
Generally speaking, resin 3D printers are harder to get to grips with than FDM 3D printers.
Size of the Printer
You will need your printer to be large enough to make your intended objects. Most 3D printers in this range however tend to be relatively small. To assist you in choosing a 3D printer, in our Top 5 3D printers, we have listed the maximum printout dimensions for each printer.
Filaments Supported for FDM printers
The filament is the thermoplastic used to make your printer’s final product. What type of filament you use determines the physical properties of the print out.
The most widely used 3D printer filament is PLA (Polylactic Acid). It has a relatively low printing temperature, doesn’t warp much, is biodegradable and is more or less odorless. It’s good for making prototype parts and low wear models or toys.
A budget 3D printer that only uses PLA may well suit your needs, but you might also want to consider a printer that can also use ABS filament. ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is a more durable material than PLA and produces a stronger sturdier print out.
There are many other filaments you can get besides but PLA and ABS are the main ones.
Most 3D printers generally access patterns and models by connecting to your PC via a USB cord, but that’s by no means the only method.
Some printers have wifi connectivity, some printers have their own internal memory for patterns, some have ethernet connectivity, some use SD cards or USB flash drives. Sometimes you can even download open-source models and patterns directly to your printer via direct peer-to-peer connectivity.
Ultimately this decision about which form of connectivity you want will rest with you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a 3d printer worth it?
So far in this article we have clearly demonstrated that you can get a good quality 3D printer for under $200 - that’s less than a quarter of the average American’s weekly paycheck.
And although these printers are much cheaper than some of the more higher end alternatives, you can produce prototypes and models that will last for years and years - especially if you use Tough PLA (as opposed to standard PLA) or ABS.
Perhaps the main benefit of getting a 3D printer is just how educational it can be for youngsters, and how it can help them prepare for a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (the STEM subjects).
They can go right through each stage of the product cycle, starting from brainstorming possible designs, right the way through to evaluating the completed product. They could even have a go at marketing and selling products - just think of the bragging rights!
What is the best 3d printer for a beginner?
For someone staring out in 3D printing it makes sense to start with a budget machine and then perhaps go and develop from there.
Most of the Top 5 3D printers under $200 that we identified earlier would be a really good printer for a beginner, but out of those 5 the best ones for a beginner are our number 1, the da Vinci Mini Wireless 3D Printer, our number 2, the LABISTS Entry-Level Mini 3D Printer, our number 3, the LONGER Orange 10 LCD Resin 3D Printer, and our number 4 3D printer, the Tresbro Creality Cr-100 Mini 3D Printer.
How much does the plastic cost for a 3d printer?
If you’re budget conscious, you’d be pleased to hear that the thermoplastic used in 3D printers is affordable and relatively inexpensive. You can expect to typically pay anywhere between $14.99 to about $26.99 for a 1kg spool for a standard PLA filament. You could potentially make about 50 different models with much filament, so it works out good value for money.
Is 3D printing environmentally friendly?
The most common filament used in 3D printing is PLA, also referred to as Polylactic acid. It’s made from corn starch and is non toxic and is 100% biodegradable, which means that it will decompose naturally over a long stretch of time. Thus it’s one of the most environmentally friendly 3D printer filaments out on the market today.
Unfortunately this biodegradability does not apply to all 3D printer filaments equally. ABS for example is not biodegradable.
On the flip side however, 3D printing does use energy and does have a carbon footprint. If you are environmentally conscious, the best 3D printer under $200 for you out of our Top 5 would, hands down, have to be our Number 2, the LABISTS Entry-Level Mini 3D Printer.
What’s the best software for 3D printing?
There’s a lot of great 3D printing software available that you can download, including a lot of budget and even free software.
One such piece of free software is Sketchup Make. It starts with a 30-day trial of SketchUp Pro, and after that, and on agreeing to the Terms of Service and you can then use SketchUp Make for free.
It’s a great piece of software for those starting off in 3D printing and who don't have too much knowledge about 3D modeling.
But whilst some 3D print software is tailored for beginners, other 3D modeling software can be a lot more sophisticated and advanced. You will have to determine which best suits your needs.
It’s worth mentioning here that some of the Top 5 3D printers under $200 in our Top 5 products actually comes with it’s own 3D design software, specifically our Number 1, the da Vinci Mini Wireless 3D Printer, and our Number 2, the LABISTS Entry-Level Mini 3D Printer,
What to expect from cheap 3D printers under $200?
We’re going to level with you here. You cannot fairly compare a budget 3D printer that costs under $200 with a higher end model that costs over $1000.
Most 3D printers that cost less than $200 will use only PLA filaments, and very few of the other filaments. This is because many of the other filaments require a heating bed to complete the print out, and this costs money.
That said, most 3D printers in this price range are put together with beginners in mind, and they tend to be easier to use, and the included software also tends to be easier to use too.