You want a 3D printer, but you can’t justify a big price tag. You also don’t want the quality of your prints to suffer. There are a lot of duds out there in the budget printer world, and a lot of research needs to be done to find the best one.
Let’s address some things upfront. These aren’t the Ferrari’s and Porsches of the 3D printing world.
Sure, you might recognize some of the brand names on these 3D printers, but none of these printers will shock you. Just understand that these are budget 3D printers. These are the old Honda Civics of the printer world.
A lot of research was done to make sure there are no lemons on this list. You’re going to see affordable 3D printers that have decent performance and final print quality.
Whether you’re looking to minimize cost, maximize performance, or get a big build volume, you can find a printer for every need in the list below.
Table of Contents
- Best Affordable 3D Printers At A Glance
- What To Expect From A Budget 3D Printer?
- Things To Consider
Best Affordable 3D Printers At A Glance
Now for the important stuff! Let’s take a look at the best budget printers under $200. All of these printers have been carefully screened and honestly reviewed.
While you read on, keep in mind which features are important to you in a 3D printer. This will ensure you pick the best option for your needs.
Let’s get started!
1. Monoprice MP Select Mini V2 (Best For Beginners)
2. Creality Ender 3 (Best Overall)
3. ALUNAR I3 (Best For DIY And Educational Use)
4. XYZPrinting Da Vinci MiniMaker (Best Price)
5. Anycubic Mega Zero (Highest Quality)
6. Geeetech I3 Pro W (Best Performance)
Build volume: 120 x 120 x 120 mm | Layer Resolution: 100 mm/s
The first printer up is the Select Mini V2 from Monoprice.
As far as budget printers go, this one is the best for beginners. A lot of other printers need assembly or a deep understanding of 3D printing – but not this guy.
Monoprice made everything easy with the Select Mini V2.
Right from the box, the printer is ready to go. The UI is really straightforward and even gives you troubleshooting tips.
The build plate heats up, which makes it easier to start and remove a print.
The screen features a knob next to it to control it. This means less reliability since you don’t have to mess with a touchscreen.
From a functional standpoint, this printer is pretty solid. The reliability is great, and the final print quality is respectable.
Unfortunately, the print volume is pretty tight. The other negative is that this printer barely squeezed into this sub-$200 list. You’d expect a bigger build volume for this price, but it makes up for it in every other category.
All of these points result in an easier printing experience for the user. That’s why the Monoprice MP Select Mini V2 is the best on this list for beginners.
Build volume: 220 x 220 x 250 mm | Layer Resolution: 100 mm/s
Let’s take a look at the Creality Ender 3.
At first glance, you’ll notice how massive the build volume is on this compared to the other printers on this list.
This opens a whole new world of 3D printing for you.
The Ender 3 sells at exactly $200, and so it can offer more than the less expensive options.
For starters, the printer is open source. This means you can hack, upgrade, and tweak the printer to your heart’s content.
It also has an added feature that allows you to continue a print after losing power.
The build plate is not only huge, but it’s also heated. This allows for easier printing and lets you print tougher filament materials.
Out of the box, there’s a little bit of assembly you have to do before you can start printing. Once it’s set up, you’ll love how great your prints turn out.
The resolution is the same as others in this space.
Creality is a company that has a huge following in the 3D printing community. They have a number of forums devoted specifically to their printers. If you ever run into an issue, you’ll find the troubleshooting steps online.
On this list, the Creality Ender 3 is tied for the largest printing volume and has a great overall performance. The added features and print quality make it the best overall printer under $200.
Build volume: 150 x 150 x 150 mm | Layer Resolution: 100 mm/s
Here we have the ALUNAR i3. It’s a little known brand, but it’s great at what it does.
This is another printer that takes the brains from the Prusa i3 and clones it into their own printer.
You’ll see this printer a lot on the desk of a DIY-er, and in the classroom. The reason? It’s a barebones 3D printer that teaches you a lot about the 3D printing process.
The first thing you have to do with this printer is fully assemble it. That alone gives you great educational knowledge of 3D printers and how they work.
You need patience and passion when you’re working with this printer. The result is a deep understanding of the technology.
Any 3D printing expert will tell you that putting together a 3D printer is the best way to learn how they work. If you are willing to put in the time, the ALUNAR i3 will teach you a ton about 3D printing.
The printing speed goes up to 120 mm/s, which is pretty good for a printer of this price.
The other great thing is it uses Cura or Repetier-Host as its slicing software. If you don’t know, Repetier is the gritty slicer that will also teach you a lot about processing a file for printing.
The print volume is okay, and the resolution is standard.
This i3 clone has good reliability and print quality since it was born from the Prusa i3.
This printer isn’t for everyone. It teaches you a lot of hard lessons and gives you a better appreciation for the art of 3D printing.
For educators and DIY-ers, the ALUNAR i3 is a great option.
Build volume: 150 x 150 x 150 mm | Layer Resolution: 100 mm/s
Next up is the da Vinci miniMaker by XYZprinting.
No, this isn’t a Happy Meal toy, this is a fully functional 3D printer.
This printer is here to help kids fall in love with 3D printing – but there’s nothing stopping an adult from loving it.
The first thing to love is the price tag. It’s the lowest price on this list, but none of the features suffer significantly.
Keep in mind, since this printer was targeted for kids, it’s easy to use. If you can get past the bounce house aesthetic, there’s a lot to love.
It’s fully enclosed, which means it’s safer and will keep a constant temperature. This results in better final print quality and more reliability.
The setup is quick and easy, granted the instruction manual is lacking.
The da Vinci miniMaker also has an auto-leveling build plate! There are printers over $500 that don’t have this feature.
Now let’s get to the negatives. This printer only lets you use filament from XYZPrinting. It’s a bummer, but it’s not the end of the world. Additionally, the build volume won’t really excite you.
Looking at the performance of the printer will impress you. The accuracy is great, the resolution is standard, and the detail is really good – especially for a printer under $150!
The fact that this printer is made for kids makes it even better for adults. It’s safe, easy to use, and reliable. You can either buy it to get your kids into 3D printing, or you can enjoy it for yourself.
The XYZPrinting da Vinci miniMaker is the best-priced printer that’s worth buying on this list. It rings up under $150, and it delivers exceptional quality for that price.
Build volume: 220 x 220 x 250 mm | Layer Resolution: 100 mm/s
Now it’s time for the heavy hitter, the Anycubic Mega Zero.
This printer has many deliberate design flaws to make the price under $200 without sacrificing print quality.
The design flaws are all in the aesthetics and packaging departments. If you can live with an ugly printer that produces great quality, you’ll do fine with the Mega Zero.
The build plate is not heated, but it’s metal. The bed has big twist knobs for leveling, which makes calibration a lot easier.
Anycubic requires the user to do some assembly before the initial startup (to keep the price low). They give detailed instructions, and there’s a lot of troubleshooting online if you need it.
This printer also comes with an auto-resume feature that will continue a print after the printer loses power.
The build volume is tied for the largest on this list. On top of that, the accuracy is insane.
The resolution is on-par with the others on this list.
Additionally, this printer is very reliable. Every time you flip the switch, you can expect the printer to work fine.
The framework is metal, which means fewer vibrations.
This translates to a sturdier setup while printing and a better result.
The Anycubic Mega Zero makes some design cuts to make sure it’s the highest quality printer under $200. The result is a printer with great accuracy, build volume, and performance.
Build volume: 200 x 200 x 180 mm | Layer Resolution: 100 mm/s
The Geeetech Pro W is a clone of everyone’s favorite printer, the Prusa i3.
The fact that it’s built from such a strong performer means the Pro W is also here to perform.
They took the brains and motors from the i3 and slapped it on a wood frame. Sure, the wood might not look or feel great, but functionally it works just fine.
Keep in mind that this printer requires assembly before startup. It should take you around 3 hours to assemble, calibrate, and set it up.
Once it’s fired up, it’s ready to start knocking out prints.
The overall quality is about what you would expect, but the reliability is staggering.
Nearly every time the Pro W is turned on, it will print with no issues. You’ll notice that Geeetech used wood and sells this printer as a kit so it can squeeze in great reliability and performance while staying under $200.
The resolution is on par with other printers in this space. The build volume is pretty respectable.
The added bonus when you buy a Pro W is it comes with a spool of filament to start you off.
Overall, the Geeetech i3 Pro W is the best performer on this list.
What To Expect From A Budget 3D Printer?
It’s funny to think about. A few decades ago, no one even knew what a 3D printer was. A few years ago, they all cost thousands of dollars and were a serious commitment. Now we’re here looking at the best printers under $200!
Let’s address some things upfront. These aren’t the Ferrari’s and Porsches of the printing world.
Sure, you might recognize some of the brand names on these printers, but none of these printers will shock you. Just understand that these are budget printers. These are the old Honda Civics of the printer world.
A lot of research was done to make sure there are no lemons on this list. You’re going to see affordable printers that have decent performance and final print quality.
Most of the printers have at least one selling point that printers over $500 also have.
The thing to keep in mind is these printers are deliberately low-priced. That means that there’s something lacking and something that’s focused on.
For example, some of the printers have a great build volume but poor craftsmanship and user experience. Other printers are easy to use but have small build volumes and poor accuracy.
There’s a trade-off when you’re looking at budget printers. You probably already knew that, though.
On a brighter note, none of the printers on this list are terrible or wastes of money. They’re all very impressive given their price tags.
Things To Consider
All of these printers focus on a certain selling point, as mentioned earlier. So let’s briefly review some of these selling points.
You want to make sure the printer’s focus is aligned with your purpose for buying a printer.
This is one of the more noticeable features of these printers.
The printers range from 120 mm to 250 mm, and this is a noticeable difference.
If you’re not interested in printing large items, then you can survive on a smaller build volume. But, if you need to make big items, this is a feature you can’t ignore.
Sure, all of these printers are under $200. But a $20 difference in this list can mean a lot.
Are you willing to pay $200 for some extra features, or will a $145 check all of the boxes you’re looking for?
If you want your printer to work every time you turn it on, you need a printer that’s reliable.
It’s hard to find a budget printer with exceptional reliability, but there are surprisingly a few options on the list below.
Ease Of Use
The final consideration is how easy the printer is to use.
The easiest printer will come fully assembled, have a generous User Interface (UI), and a big community behind it to help you troubleshoot.
Other printers are purposefully harder to use so they teach you valuable lessons about the 3D printing process.
Picking out a budget printer is not an easy task. A lot of printers have a low price because they’re cheap and borderline useless.
If you stick with the printers on this list, you’ll get a great product.
Consider your needs when you pick out your printer. There’s a printer for everyone on this list; you just have to know what you want.