Did you know that resin 3D printers were the first type of 3D printers invented? Since then, they’ve had a ton of upgrades, and they’ve cornered the market in a lot of different 3D printing applications.
We’ve researched over 45 resin 3D printers and narrowed down the top 3 according to your budget:
Anycubic Photon – best budget resin 3D Printer
Peopoly Moai – best intermediate level resin 3D Printer
Formlabs Form 3 – best professional resin 3D Printer
If you’re new to resin printing then see our guide towards the end. We’ll learn more about resin 3D printing and what to look for in a printer.
But without further ado, let’s take a look at the top printers in the market.
Table of Contents
- Budget Resin 3D Printers: Under $500
- Best Intermediate 3D Printers: $500 – $1,500
- Best Professional 3D Printers: Over $1,500+
- What is a Resin 3D Printer?
- What’s the Difference Between LCD, DPL, and SLA?
- How to Pick the Best Resin 3D Printer
Budget Resin 3D Printers: Under $500
We’ve broken down the 3d printers into three categories. Options under $500, between $500 and $1,500, and over $1,500.
We’ll start with those under $500. Keep in mind that these budget printers will lack the accuracy, build volume, and sophistication of the higher-priced printers.
These are options that are great for DIY-ers, hobbyists, and people starting out with resin printing.
The Anycubic Photon was one of the first resin printers that made it big. It used to be the go-to when it came to resin printer.
You’ll actually see a lot of printers that look and act just like the original Photon on the market.
This leads to the first big point; there’s a huge community behind this printer. If you have any problems, questions, or issues, there are countless resources to help you.
There are a couple different models of the Photon that might interest you. Let’s take a quick look at how they compare.
· Great price
· Very popular
· Decent build volume
· Good resolution
· Quality needs improvement
· Some issues with reliability
Build Volume: 115 x 65 x 155 mm
Photon vs. Photon Zero
You’ll notice that this printer has a larger build volume than the Photon Zero. It’s more expensive and uses LCD instead of the SLA used on the Zero.
The Zero is around $80 cheaper and has a lower resolution.
The Photon is the more refined and sophisticated version. It will get more done for a higher price tag.
Photon vs. Photon S
The S is close to double the price, and the build volume is slightly larger.
On paper, there aren’t a ton of differences. However, the S has some huge mechanical upgrades.
The Photon S has a dual-rail x-axis, which means fewer vibrations. This translates to more reliable prints and higher precision.
There are also fewer fumes, so it’s safer to work around.
The Photon S is the upgraded version of the Photon. It’s more expensive, more reliable, and more accurate.
Let’s look at the Elegoo Mars. This is an LCD-type resin printer with a decent build volume.
The notable thing is how well it performs for such a low price.
The quality and resolution are really impressive.
Additionally, the Mars is super easy to use. The build plate partially levels itself, which gets rid of even more hassle.
Elegoo is a name you’ll hear a lot in the budget 3D printer world, and their resin printers are really impressive.
The only downside is the lack of features on the printer. Of course, that’s not a problem in this price category, but it’s worth noting.
The Mars is a great machine for the price.
· Great print quality
· Easy to operate
· Partially self-leveling build plate
· No bells or whistles
Build Volume: 120 x 68 x 155 mm
The next out-of-this-world printer is the Saturn by Elegoo.
This is near the upper-bound of this price category, and it has a lot of benefits over the other printers here.
For one, the print volume is much larger than the printers we’ve looked at so far.
Additionally, the speed associated with MSLA can’t be matched with the other technologies.
The Saturn can print a layer in less than two seconds in some cases.
This printer is also insanely accurate and has great precision.
· Very accurate
· Super precise
· Fast printing
· More expensive than others
· Not a ton of features
· Hard to find for sale
Build Volume: 192 x 120 x 200 mm
The X1 by EPAX is another MSLA resin 3D printer.
The price tag for this one comes in a hair under $500, so it just barely makes this category.
You’ll notice that the build volume is pretty comparable to the less expensive options, as well as the accuracy and precision.
The feature that doesn’t show up on paper is how much factory testing they do for the X1.
Out of the box, the machine is fully calibrated and ready to go.
The X1 is also super easy to use and requires very little experience to operate.
· Easy to use
· Ready to print out of the box
· Great quality control from EPAX
· Expensive option in this category
· Accuracy and precision aren’t that great
· Build volume is same as printer half the price
Build Volume: 115 x 65 x 155 mm
Phrozen Sonic Mini
Now let’s look at the Sonic Mini by Phrozen.
This one has a lot to love. The price is the first thing to talk about. One of the least expensive options on the market, the Sonic Mini won’t hurt your pockets.
Next is how fast the printer is. Since it’s an MSLA printer, it prints much faster than the other resin technologies.
Finally, the level of detail it achieves is remarkable. Its precision and accuracy are comparable to printers much more expensive.
All of this comes in a small, elegant package by Phrozen. It’s a great pick and outshines a lot of other resin 3D printers.
· Very inexpensive
· Decent build volume
· Great resolution
· Really fast
· Accuracy is remarkable
· Not as professional-looking as other printers
· No features worth noting
Build Volume: 120 x 68 x 130 mm
Monoprice MP Mini SLA
Next up is the Monoprice MP Mini SLA.
Like the name hints, this is a small resin printer.
This printer has a built-in web slicer, so you don’t need external software to get your print ready.
The printer automatically calibrates itself before each print, so there’s no wasted energy on your part.
The build plate is magnetic, which makes removal and cleaning easy.
The downside is the build volume is the smallest in this category. It’s not a huge difference, but it will definitely limit your prints.
The resolution and accuracy aren’t anything to brag about, but that’s expected with such a low price tag.
Overall this is a great pick for inexpensive resin printing.
· Lowest price on this list
· WiFi connectivity
· Built-in slicer
· Automatic calibration before each print
· Magnetic print bed
· Smallest build volume
· Resolution need work
· Accuracy isn’t great
· Some reliability issues
Build Volume: 118 x 65 x 110 mm
QIDI Tech Shadow 5.5 S
Let’s look at the QIDI Tech Shadow 5.5 S. Not only does it have a cool name, but it has some cool benefits, too.
The build volume is pretty much the same compared to the other printers in this category.
The accuracy and resolution aren’t that great, but the print quality is.
The final print quality is surprisingly good. This is due to the engineering efforts they put into stabilizing the z axis.
This machine is double filtered, so there aren’t any nasty odors.
Besides the resolution and accuracy, there aren’t a lot of bad things to say about this printer. Overall, it’s a great pick, and that’s why it made it onto this list.
· Price is good
· Double rail z axis
· Looks great
· Very fast printing
· Resolution isn’t great
· Accuracy needs improvement
Build Volume: 115 x 65 x 150 mm
Best Intermediate 3D Printers: $500 – $1,500
Now let’s step into the next price category. With these printers, you can expect more features, better performance, and a larger build volume.
These printers also have fewer reliability issues than the sub-$500 printers.
This price range is good if you’re more serious about resin printing or you’re looking to upgrade your machine.
Original Prusa SL1
It would be wrong not to start this category out with the Prusa SL1.
Prusa is one of the biggest names in 3D printing, and they’re a fan favorite in almost every category.
The SL1 is one of the best printers in this category. It is really quick, and super accurate.
This printer squeezed in right under the $1,500 limit of this category.
The precision is also remarkable on this printer.
The build volume is bigger than others, but not the largest – it’s still large enough to do a lot of work, though.
The aluminum body makes this printer like an anchor when it’s working. Fewer vibrations and motion means a better final print.
· Very fast
· Decent build volume
· Prusa has a huge following
· Precision and accuracy are great
· Less vibration due to aluminum body
· Expensive printer
· Font of machine doesn’t look refined or aesthetically pleasing
· Kit requires assembly before you can use the printer
Build Volume: 120 x 68 x 150 mm
Price: $1,400 (as a kit)
Next up is the Moai by Peopoly (not to be confused with the Moai 130 – that’s an upgraded version).
What you get in this printer is a lot of power and usability.
A minimum thickness of 5 micron is super rare for a 3D printer, and the Moai makes it look easy.
Additionally, the print volume is pretty respectable.
You get a lot of accuracy and precision with this machine, but the speed could use a little work.
Keep in mind that this printer is a kit and requires some assembly. Once it’s up and running, you have very little maintenance to worry about.
This unit is really reliable and easy to use.
On top of that, the metal framework keeps the vibrations low.
· Price isn’t bad for what you get
· Big build volume
· Very accurate
· Super precise and high resolution
· Easy to operate
· Have to assemble the kit
· Print bed is a little tough to level
· Some reliability issues
· Speed could use some work
Build Volume: 130 x 130 x 180 mm
Price: $1,200 (as a kit)
Phrozen Shuffle 4K
Now let’s look at the Phrozen Shuffle 4K – no it’s not a dance move, it’s a great resin printer.
This $1,400 printer comes fully assembled and looks futuristic and industrial.
The Shuffle 4K uses LCD technology and has really high resolution.
The accuracy is among the top on this list and is especially remarkable in this price category.
The print volume is a little disappointing, but the machine makes up for it in every other category.
Additionally, the reliability for this resin printer is unbelievable.
It can be hooked up via WiFi and has a touchscreen interface to make printing a breeze.
It’s a more expensive printer, but it pays you back two-fold with the final print quality.
· Fully assembled
· Incredible resolution, accuracy, and precision
· Final print quality is almost impossible to match with other printers
· Touchscreen is really convenient
· Expensive printer
· Build volume is not as large as you’d hope
Build Volume: 120 x 68 x 170 mm
Best Professional 3D Printers: Over $1,500+
The fun and games are over, now it’s time to look at the heavy hitters on this list. The printers below are all over $1,500.
This price category means you can expect the best mechanical performance. These printers should have very few reliability issues.
Just a note, the price won’t show up in the cons section for any of these printers. For customers willing to pay top dollar, the price shouldn’t negatively affect these professional-tier printers.
This category is for people who are serious printers. A great option for professionals or business-owners who use 3D printing in their operations.
First up is the Peopoly Phenom. It’s surely a shorthand way to write “Phenomenal”, because that’s the only way to explain this printer.
This LCD printer costs $2,000 and it looks exquisite.
Not only does it look great, but it also performs really well.
The build volume is enormous. This machine could probably double as a nursery for your kids when you’re not using it to print.
The accuracy and precision of this printer are admittedly a little underwhelming, but they aren’t necessarily bad. It’s just less than what you would expect for 2 grand.
Peopoly took a lot of care to make sure this machine works perfectly. They tweaked the way the printer operates to ensure each layer gets even exposure to the LCD light.
This means each layer is uniform and perfect.
With a build volume this large, you’d be concerned that each layer of resin would take too long to cure.
That’s why Peopoly put out their own line of quick-cure resin called Deft.
· Giant build volume
· Looks really professional
· Quick-cure resin makes printing even quicker
· Uniform layers leads to better final print
· Accuracy and precision are lacking a little
· Machine is heavy which means initial setup might be harder
Build Volume: 276 x 155 x 400 mm
The Zortrax Inkspire is a great resin printer.
If you can get past the small build volume, there’s a lot to love.
The first thing you’ll notice about this printer is how sturdy it is. The robustness leads to very few vibrations, which means a better final print quality.
This printer has a ton of different features.
You can remotely start a print and then remotely monitor the printer while it operates.
The Inkspire also comes with Z-suite, which is an optimized slicer software.
The slicer software optimizes the speed and allows for quick support removal.
The UI on this printer is great and looks professional.
The resolution isn’t great, but you the Z-suite helps with this.
Finally, it’s a really quick printer. Not a bad pick for a professional-tier 3D printer.
· Very fast print speed
· Comes with Z-suite (amazing slicer software)
· Remotely start and monitor prints
· Professional UI
· Reliable and highly accurate
· Resolution could use work
· Build volume is disappointing
Build Volume: 74 x 132 x 175 mm
Formlabs Form 3
The final entry on this list is the Form 3 by Formlabs.
You might recognize this name from the history of 3D printing, it’s one of the first big companies to start making printers.
You’ll notice that the build volume is enormous on this printer, but that’s not the best part.
The team at Formlabs put in a lot of engineering time and energy to maximize the speed and accuracy of this machine.
There’s also been added efforts into features that result in a better final product. Prints from this machine are super smooth right off of the build plate.
The system automatically detects resin, automatically fills the trough, and automatically changes what kind of resin is used on the print.
The Form 3 is basically like a robot that does all the work for you.
It’s fitted with a touchscreen and allows for WiFi printing.
Looking at the performance of this printer, it’s equally impressive.
The accuracy, precision, resolution, and reliability is unlike any other printer in this category.
If you need a professional resin 3D printer, it’s hard to find one better than this one.
· Big build volume
· Fast print speeds
· High accuracy, precision, resolution, and reliability
· Tons of features that result in easy use
· Exceptional final print quality
Build Volume: 145 x 145 x 185 mm
What is a Resin 3D Printer?
A resin 3D printer is different than the standard FDM printers you’ve probably seen.
These printers use liquid resin and some science to print.
Compared to FDM printers, they’re a lot more accurate, more expensive, and admittedly a lot cooler to watch. Additionally, the final product is much stronger and sturdier.
Resin 3D printers are available in three different technologies: LCD, DPL, and SLA.
Let’s take a look at how these three technologies compare to one another.
What’s the Difference Between LCD, DPL, and SLA?
Stereolithography (SLA) is the most common type of resin printer. Digital Light Processing (DLP) and LCD technologies are pretty common to one another.
All three of these technologies work in a similar way. They use light to cure liquid resin into a solid form.
SLA uses a laser to cure the resin. An alternate version of SLA is called MSLA, and it works the same but a lot faster by using advanced technology.
DPL and LCD will both use a screen and illuminate a layer of the print. The resin will cure on the illuminated parts of the layer.
The difference between these two types is subtle. The DPL uses a projector for illuminating, and LCD opts for a less-expensive LCD screen.
All three have about the same accuracy and precision. LCD and DPL are a little faster, and SLA is a bit less expensive.
How to Pick the Best Resin 3D Printer
Just like any other 3D printer, there’s a lot of specs associated with a resin printer. You might get confused with what really matters, so let’s discuss the most important features for you.
Everyone’s needs are different when it comes to resin 3D printing, but this is a good list to get you started.
After discussing important features, we’ll jump right into some product reviews.
Cost is arguably the most important metric when it comes to picking the best resin 3D printer for you.
It’s so important that the product reviews are broken up into three cost categories.
We found that resin printers fall into three categories: beginner, semi-pro, and pro.
These three categories correspond almost exclusively with the price bracket it’s in: under $500, between $500 and $1,500, and over $1,500.
Speed is another distinguishing feature between these printers.
Different printing technology and mechanical upgrades lead to slower or faster speeds. MSLA printers are the fastest, so if speed is important, you should focus on those.
The last thing to consider is how big the print volume is.
The print volume will limit how big of a piece you can print. In some cases, a small print volume makes it impossible to print the types of items you want to.
When it’s time to pick out the best resin 3D printers, you need to make sure you have enough information.
Hopefully, you learned enough from this list to make an educated decision.
We reviewed what resin printing is, the different technologies, what you should look for in a printer, then took a look at the best resin 3D printers on the market.