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Best Resin 3D Printers in 2022

Best Resin 3D Printers
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

As 3D printing continues to become cheaper and more accessible, resin 3D printers have become a popular choice for anyone interested in making highly-detailed models that wouldn’t be feasible using a filament-fed, FDM 3D printer. These MSLA (Masked Stereolithography) resin 3D printers typically only have a single axis of motion, and this simple mechanical system means these machines can regularly be found for less than $300. With so many models  on the market, we’ve made this list to help you find the best resin 3D printer for you.

The best resin 3D printers are capable of making high resolution models by curing a liquid resin using a UV light source. This MSLA process uses a masking LCD to selectively block the UV light on a pixel-by-pixel basis, allowing these printers to create models that have a resolution of down to .035mm on the XY axes. This high resolution comes at a price, as parts made on a resin 3D printer require post-processing after printing, and UV resin requires caution when handling. Because resin requires gloves and a mask to handle, we recommend beginners or anyone with young kids consider one of the FDM (fusion deposit modeling) printers on our overall best 3D printers page.

There are several factors to consider before buying one of the best resin 3D printers, so be sure to consider these questions before making a choice.

Shopping Tips for Best Resin 3D Printers  

  • Mono or RGB LCD? The type of masking LCD on your resin 3D printer can have the single largest impact on your overall print speed. Because they are commonly used in other electronics, RGB masking LCDs are cheaper, but slower because they don’t  allow UV light to pass through efficiently and need more exposure time per layer. For example, the RGB LCD on the Creality LD-002R requires 9 seconds per layer, while the Mono LCD on the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro requires only 2.2 seconds per layer.

  • How much build volume do you need? Most resin 3D printers have smaller build volumes than FDM 3D printers, so you may find yourself limited by this relatively small build volume. If you are interested in printing large parts, you’ll want to look at a large format resin 3D printer such as the Elegoo Saturn or the Anycubic Photon Mono X.

  • 2K, 4K, or Beyond? A resin 3D printer that uses a 6.08-inch 2K screen like the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro is capable of an XY resolution of .05mm as well as a layer height of .05mm. For context, this means even a relatively low-resolution resin 3D printer is still capable of making extremely fine details that simply wouldn’t be possible on an FDM printer. If you need even more resolution, a 4K screen is capable of making finer features, but is typically more expensive.

  • Post Processing Equipment? Resin 3D printers create parts that require post-processing before they are completely finished. Typically, this workflow involves rinsing the parts in a solvent to dissolve any excess resin on the surface of the part, followed by a cure cycle that uses UV light to fully polymerize the part. This process can be done manually by submerging the part in a solvent and using an inexpensive UV light for curing, but some manufacturers have created post-processing equipment like the Elegoo Mercury X that automate the process and reduce the mess.  

Best Resin 3D Printers You Can Buy Today

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

1. Anycubic Photon M3

Best Resin 3D Printer Overall

Specifications

Technology: Resin
Build Volume: 163 x 102 x 180mm
LCD Resolution: 4098 x 2560
LCD Size: 7.6-inch
XY Axis Resolution: .04mm
Connectivity: USB

Reasons to buy

+
Detailed 4K+ prints
+
Fast 2 second per layer exposure time
+
Effortless print removal
+
Roomy build volume for a small printer

Reasons to avoid

-
4-bolt leveling platform

The Anycubic Photon M3 is the best all around resin 3D printer we’ve reviewed. It produces crisp details with 4K+ quality that rivals more expensive machines and has a wide build plate allowing it to make larger models than competitors in its class.

The etched build plate works really well at holding models tight during printing, but also allows for easy removal when they’re done. The metal vat has a convenient pour spout, and Anycubic includes a screen protector for the LED light source to prevent accidental drips from ruining your printer. 

Retailing for $299 the Anycubic Photon M3 is a reasonable purchase for a beginner or an advanced maker wanting to add to their fleet. 

More: Anycubic Photon M3 Review 

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

2. Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K

Best High-End Resin 3D Printer

Specifications

Technology: MSLA
Build Volume: 165 mm x 72mm x 180 mm
LCD Resolution: 7500 x 3240
LCD Size: 7.1 inch
XY Axis Resolution: 0.022mm
Connectivity: USB Thumb Drive

Reasons to buy

+
Highest resolution on the market
+
Pre-built, unbox, calibrate and go
+
Laser etched build plate for superior adhesion

Reasons to avoid

-
Twice the price as competitors with a similar build volume
-
Build plate difficult to clean

The Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K packs more resolution into its 7.1 inch LCD screen than any other resin printer on the market, delivering an astounding 7500 x 3240 pixels and .022 mm XY axis resolution. It produces buttery smooth surfaces and excellent details with even ordinary resin. Fill it with Phrozen’s Aqua Gray 8K resin for extra crisp details in your model’s hair, wrinkles and creases. 

This printer is extremely stable with a wide metal base and twin rails to support the Z axis. Its all-metal vat has easy pour corners and feet to prevent damage to the FEP sheet when it's removed from the machine. Phrozen laser etched the build plate for an extra grippy surface that clings to models with ease.

The $599.99 price tag makes this a great second printer for experienced miniature makers and jewelry designers who are ready for ultra resolution. More budget minded consumers looking for a high resolution printer should look to the Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K, which still beats most printers on the market with its .035mm XY resolution for $349.00.

More: Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K Review

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

3. Elegoo Jupiter

Best Super-Large Format Resin 3D Printer

Specifications

Technology: MSLA
Build Volume: 277.8 x 156.3 x 300 mm
LCD Resolution: 5448 x 3064
LCD Size: 12.8-inch
XY Axis Resolution: .05mm
Connectivity: USB

Reasons to buy

+
Huge build volume
+
Easy leveling
+
Automatic resin feeder
+
Great build quality

Reasons to avoid

-
Competitors have higher resolution
-
Not available yet

It’s only available for pre-order right now, but when it’s available, Elegoo’s Jupiter printer will offer a combination of great quality and a huge build volume. And, despite its $1,300 price, the Jupiter is actually a great deal for its size, given that competitors cost closer to $1,000. 

Where the $499 Saturn provides a 192mm x 120mm x 200mm volume, the Jupiter provides a ton more, going all the way to 277.8mm x 156.3mm x 300mm. And the print quality is pretty good as we found when outputting a detailed model of the Notre Dame Cathedral.

We also love the Jupiter’s sturdy, all-metal chassis, which makes it feel like a premium product worthy of its premium price. We found the touch screen interface easy to navigate and the leveling process relatively painless.

More: Elegoo Jupiter Review 

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

4. Elegoo Saturn

Best Large Format Resin 3D Printer

Specifications

Technology: MSLA
Build Volume: 192mm x 120mm x 200mm
LCD Resolution: 3840 x 2400
LCD Size: 8.9-inch
XY Axis Resolution: .05mm
Connectivity: USB, Ethernet

Reasons to buy

+
Exceptionally large build-volume-to-price ratio
+
Rigid dual-Z linear rail system

Reasons to avoid

-
Difficult to find in stock

Combining the ease-of-use of the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro and the larger build volume of printers like the Anycubic Photon Mono X, the Elegoo Saturn is capable of printing large parts quickly just as easily as printing lots of small parts simultaneously. The .05mm XY resolution is on the lower side for most resin 3D printers, but the Saturn is still able to make smooth parts that require minimal post-processing.

Just like its smaller sibling the Mars 2 Pro, the Saturn uses a spring-loaded, self-leveling platform that makes calibration a breeze, something to be grateful for when you have such a large build volume. Replacing the FEP film on the vat is similarly easy, and the entire printing experience is designed to be as frictionless as possible thanks to the native integration with the Chitubox app.

The Saturn has a build volume of 280.46 cubic inches, a dramatic increase from the 100.81 cubic inch build volume of the smaller Elegoo Mars 2 Pro. If you’re looking for a resin printer that offers a large build volume, but you don’t want to compromise with a lower-quality print, the Saturn is an ideal solution. Originally very difficult to find in stock at release, Elegoo has since caught up with demand and the $499 Saturn is readily available at Amazon and on the Elegoo site.

More: Elegoo Saturn Resin Review 

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

5. Elegoo Mars 3

Best Resin 3D Printer for Beginners

Specifications

Technology: Resin
Build Volume: 143 x 89.6 x 175mm
LCD Resolution: 4098 x 2560
LCD Size: 6.6-inch
XY Axis Resolution: .035mm
Connectivity: USB

Reasons to buy

+
4K resolution
+
Fast 2.5 second per-layer cure time
+
Easy to level
+
Free year of Chitubox Pro

Reasons to avoid

-
Plastic base feels cheap 

If you’re looking for a reliable 3D printer to start your journey with resin printing, the Elegoo Mars 3 is a great place to start. The printer has outstanding 4K resolution for beautifully detailed models and a simple leveling system to get that first layer to stick perfectly.

Beginners should factor the high price of resin when considering their first printer, and the Elegoo Mars 3 only needs 350ml to fill its vat. The build volume is average for its class, with plenty of room for gaming miniatures and models.

The Elegoo Mars 3 comes with a free year subscription to Chitubox Pro, a leading paid slicer, for a premium experience.

More: Elegoo Mars 3 Review 

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

6. Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K

Best Resin 3D Printer Miniatures

Specifications

Technology: MSLA
Build Volume: 132mm x 74mm x 130mm
LCD Resolution: 3480 x 2160
LCD Size: 6.1-inch
XY Axis Resolution: .035mm
Connectivity: USB Thumb Drive

Reasons to buy

+
4K resolution provides highly detailed XY accuracy
+
Native integration with ChituBox slicer app

Reasons to avoid

-
Difficult bed leveling process
-
Review unit had some quality-related issues

The Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K offers a fast 2.2 second exposure time thanks to a 4K Mono LCD and plug-and-play compatibility with the Chitubox slicer app. The Sonic Mini 4K offers a best-in-class XY resolution of .035mm, making it a perfect fit for anyone interested in printing small models with high levels of detail and precision. 

The .035mm XY resolution provides extreme levels of detail for making intricate models without compromise. Unfortunately, the Sonic Mini 4K has a Z axis of 130mm, significantly shorter than most other resin 3D printers in this price range. In addition, the build platform uses a four-bolt leveling system that can be tricky to calibrate accurately, and our review unit had some machining-related quality issues that should have been caught before the machine shipped. 

Selling for $399 on Amazon and $349 direct from Phrozen, the Sonic Mini 4K is the perfect printer for jewelers looking to make highly detailed castable-wax prints, dentists interested in making accurate dental models, or anyone else interested in high-accuracy printing. If you’re looking for a slightly larger build volume and want to keep the .035mm XY resolution, the Elegoo Mars 3 offers both for about the same price. 

More: Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K 3D Printer Review 

With contributions from
  • gilahacker82
    FYI: You guys posted a summary of the Anycubic Vyper FDM printer under the listing for the Anycubic Photon Mono.
    Reply
  • JARGYLE
    Prices are incorrect and in my opinion there are much better options out there.
    This would be my list.

    Best Overall
    Epax X1-4k
    4K mono screen. They're built like a tank. The X1 platform is upgradable.
    Company headquarters are in the USA (much easier to get parts & support should you need either)
    $549

    Best High End
    Formlabs Form 2 (I prefer it to the form 3)
    $2400

    Best Large Format (there are a lot of good machines in the category)
    Uniz Ibee + Lychee Slicer
    Exceptional build quality & a superior light source to most other printers in it's class
    Can be found new for $400-$500. (frequent promotions) Retails for $1400

    Best High Resolution Machine
    If high resolution is what you're after hold off for now. New tech is just around the corner. Watch for these machines.
    Phrozen Sonic Mini 8k - 8k LCD machine, build quality looks to be much improved over last years 4k model.
    Anycubic Photon Ultra - DLP based machine. Actual resolution is quite low but the quality of the DLP light source is supposed to be a game changer.
    Mars 3 DLP - Another DLP based machine to look out for. I understand the resolution of this machine will be superior to the Photon Ultra

    Best $300 or Less
    Elegoo Mars 3
    Least expensive 4K mono machine. Seems to outperform the Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K.
    $300
    Reply
  • mogster
    I've considered getting one of these, but I'm wondering - how do you deal with the smell? As I understand it, the resin requires good ventilation, but I live in a small apartment with a couple windows on one side and a hot climate. I can't imagine having to deal with fumes for hours while something is printing.
    Reply
  • JARGYLE
    An apartment isn't the ideal environment for a resin printer. The smell isnt really what you need to worry about, there are a lot of resins that don't have a strong or unpleasant scent. Dangerous VOC's are the concern & the smell from these fumes may not be noticable. I know at least one resin manuacturer (sirayatech) says that the amount of VOC's released from uncured resin is quite low but VOC's will likely build up inside the printer. You're most likely to be exposed when you lift the lid after completing a print. If you have a window in the apartment you could make some modification to continually vent the fumes, or you could have a fan or something to exhaust them when you're most likely to be exposed. I'd invest in a vat cover to keep the VOC's from entering your living space while the printer isn't in use.
    Reply