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Not too long ago, 3D printers were expensive and scarce to come by. But in recent times, the industry has witnessed an explosion in consumer options at very low price points. More interesting is the fact that these budget models can give you high-quality outputs with nearly zero effort on your part.
To be clear, you are not likely to get the exact output from a 3D printer under $200 as you would expect from a high-end option. But any of the models listed here will do just fine if what you need is purely for home use or small personal projects.
Whether you prefer filament or resin printing, you will find products that suit you in this quick review. But in case you don’t know the difference, be sure to read the last section of this article for better understanding.
Now let’s get on with reviewing a few of the best 3D printers under 200 currently on the market.
LONGER LK4 3D Printer
Many 3D printers have one drawback – they offer a rather limited printing capacity, making it difficult to let your imagination run wild. Fortunately, you can print large objects using the Longer LK4 model, thanks to its wide space and capacity.
To cut down assembly time, the device ships almost fully pre-assembled, allowing you to be ready to start printing as quickly as possible. The compact-built 3D printer also comes with a 2.8-inch colorful touchscreen function.
Other impressive features (for its price) include a built-in safety power supply, fast heating hotbed (goes to boiling point in only four minutes), and resume-printing function, so you don’t have to worry even if there is a power outage mid-printing.
- Heat bed with plugs (replaceable), heats up pretty fast
- Comes with a glass bed
- Prints a wide range of filaments
- Can be quite noisy
- Tricky access to USB and SD card (featured in the back of the device)
QIDI TECHNOLOGY Shadow 5.5s 3D Printer
If you prefer resin printing, you may want to check out Qidi Technology’s Shadow 5.5s 3D Printer. It definitely ranks as one of the best 3D printers under $200 in the resin category.
Qidi did an amazing job with the construction of this model. Unlike other options, this one features a double Z-axis linear guide that gives the device greater stability, making the printing process more accurate and resulting in excellent print quality.
The stylish 3D printer comes with removable covers to give you all-around access. You can even save the resin and make the slice faster using professional slicing software.
The resin odor during 3D printing can make the surrounding area quite smelly. But the folks back at Qidi Technology figure out how to effectively deal with the smell. A built-in dual-fan and activated carbon air filtration system considerably reduces the odor.
The Shadow 5.5s comes with virtually everything you need to start printing immediately. Your purchase comes with a scraper, mask, screwdriver, gloves, manual, and “how-to” videos on a memory disk.
- Solid mechanical construction with dual-Z for improved stability
- Straightforward interface with highly-responsive touchscreen
- Excellent print quality
- Excellent customer support service
- Prints rather too slow compared to many other models
- Might be tricky to troubleshoot for a complete beginner
Creality LD002R LCD Resin 3D Printer
No, Creality is not a typo; it’s a household name as far as top-ranking 3D printers are concerned. The brand might be only seven years in the business, but it has established itself as a leading name in the industry. Little wonder its LD002R LCD model is considered one of the best 3D printers under $200.
If you find the Shadow 5.5s too advanced or tricky to operate, you will like the LD002R LCD Resin model’s beginner-friendly functions. Even if it is your first time operating a resin 3D printer, you will get the hang of this option in no time.
You can print all the little action figures you want with this model, making it the perfect gift for your school-age kids. The product comes complete with a glove, mask, FEP film, extra USB stick, and just about everything to start printing ASAP (except for resin).
Here’s something to keep in mind if you choose this machine. It is best to search for information online if you ever need help because the instructions that come with it leave more to be desired.
- Excellent resin 3D printer for beginners
- Very fast printing with high precision and resolution
- Fast slicing software
- User manual not very useful
- Not the best choice for printing engineering prototypes
Monoprice Mini SLA LCD Resin 3D Printer
Here’s another 3D printer from Monoprice, but this option uses the resin printing method. The Mini SLA LCD Resin model from Monoprice comes with an improved Z-axis and rails system to provide increased stability during curing and printing. There are fewer chances of failed prints with this model due to the upgrades in the bed’s ball joints.
The device comes with a built-in web user interface that effectively slices and prints model files, even if you don’t install any other software. All you need to do is to connect it with your Wi-Fi and add resin.
There is no need to worry about leveling the build plate with the vat as the printer is designed to automatically do that for you.
- Ready to print right out of the box
- Auto-calibration for each printing, ensuring accurate output every time
- Regular firmware updates are available to improve the printer’s performance
- Kit doesn’t come with a metal or plastic scraper for cleaning
- Possible issues with slicing software
LABISTS Mini Desktop 3D Printer
Now for something that kids can truly and easily use. The LABISTS Mini Desktop 3D Printer is designed with pre-teens in mind. It will get your older kids started on the right footing for their science and technology projects.
Setting up the machine is easy-breezy, and operating it is equally a walk in the park, thanks to the user-friendly design.
If you are looking to get into 3D printing, this model is a great choice to get you started. It might not give you the same print quality as some of the high-end options, but it’s definitely worth it for its price.
- Compact build and portable design; easy to carry about
- Quick and effortless setup and easy to disassemble
- Relatively quiet operation compared to other models
- Print quality is a bit rough
- Sketchy software and might come with some bad parts
BlueMaker Large Size 3D Printer
If you need to build larger models, you should consider the BlueMaker Large Size 3D Printer. It does exactly what the name says, letting you print large workpieces due to a broad build area. The triangular frame ensures the stability of the platform, leading to better output during printing.
If printing is interrupted due to a power outage, the resume function will pick up from the last place it stopped once power is restored. This allows you to print confidently, even if there is a possibility of interruptions.
BlueMaker included LED lights in the printer design, making it possible to use the machine in any light condition and still see your pieces clearly. The machine operates silently without bothering the entire household.
- Silent motherboard produces low noise during printing
- Can resume printing after unexpected stoppage or power outage
- Supports large printing
- The X-axis design can be better
- Assembly can take some time
Resin Versus Filament 3D Printing: Which Should You Choose?
You have two options when buying a 3D printer, regardless of price. These are Stereolithography Apparatus (SLA) and Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM).
Here’s a quick summary of how both printers work.
SLA printing involves using curable photopolymer (liquid resin) to build models one layer at a time from top to bottom. The printing process focuses ultraviolet light on the resin to harden it and form the desired 3D project.
What you get with the cheap SLA printer models is an LCD display that beams an ultraviolet image into the resin. The print bed continues to rise slightly after each layer is printed, allowing the next layer to cure.
Using a resin printer usually results in models with greater and finer details, which mostly reduces the need for post-printing finishes.
However, producing larger pieces can be difficult with SLA printers due to their build plates’ small size. Besides, the model is generally slower.
FDM printing uses thermoplastic materials to create 3D objects. The material (or plastic filament) passes through an extruder, and at the right temperature, it is heated and deposited in several layers to create the 3D piece.
This type of 3D printer is quite popular partly because of how easy it is to set up and use and the low cost of purchasing filaments. The wider build plate also means you can produce larger workpieces.
However, this is not your best choice if you want objects with finer details, especially if you are buying the budget options.
When to Choose a Resin 3D Printer
Generally, it is more expensive to print using resin. Therefore, you should consider choosing this 3D printer if:
- You plan to create molds that allow you to mass-produce objects (such as toys or jewelry)
- You want to produce models with an exceptionally smooth finish and intricate details
- You intend to print miniature objects for board games
- The durability and strength of the model is not of utmost importance (as continuous exposure to sunlight may affect the final product)
There are a few budget resin 3D printers you can choose from that allow you to achieve printing smooth surfaced objects while highlighting very fine detail. You will find that this technology is faster than FDM and can prove to be better because of the improved layer to layer adhesion. It is possible to find a good desktop resin printer for as low as $179 in some cases.
When to Choose a Filament 3D Printer
An FDM or filament printer is most suitable if:
- You want to build low-cost models
- You want rapid prototyping
- You want to produce large-scale models (helmets, armor, etc.)
- Surface finish and precision are not too essential
- You are a maker or hobbyist
There you have it – the best 3D printers under $200 drawn from both SLA and FDM models. The LONGER LK4 3D Printer tops this list for its incredibly fast heat-up time and compatibility with a wide range of filaments. The Shadow 5.5s is another great choice, especially for users who prefer or who want to try a resin printer.
3D printers are now more affordable than ever. So, determine what kind of 3D print you want to do and then find an affordable printer that offers you the features you need. Look for higher-quality features like a heated bed, large build volume, and an easy to use interface.
Hopefully, you have found this review helpful. At least you can now find a good-quality and affordable 3D printer for your home or personal use without putting a huge hole in your wallet.