Welcome to our best 3D printer for resin review for 2021.
We researched and tested the top 23 3D resin printers on the market, and ranked them according to value, affordability, and print quality. Then we separated them based on budget so you don’t waste any extra time.
WARNING: Read carefully and only buy a printer that’s proven to work. We spent $300 on a resin printer once only for it to glitch and freeze halfway through. Guess how much help the customer service was?
That’s why we tested the top 23 best-selling models – to make sure they actually work.
Choose one of the top-rated models to make sure you get something that produces ultra-high quality quickly and easily.
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
- Best Resin 3D Printers At A Glance
- Budget Resin 3D Printers: Under $500
- Product Reviews: $500 - $1,500
- Product Reviews: 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
Best Resin 3D Printers At A Glance
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.
Budget Resin 3D Printers: 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.
Build Volume: 115 x 65 x 155 mm | Printer Type: LCD
The Anycubic Photon is the world’s #1-selling budget 3D resin printer, and our clear cut top choice for best budget model under $500. We were blown away by the usability and print quality for such an affordable printer.
It’s the only budget model at this price range that prints 3D-printed miniatures that are just as good as Hero Forge. You’ll get the same quality almost instantly without waiting ages for them to ship or risking damage.
And since it’s the world’s leading budget model, there’s a huge community of photon-aholics on the web ready to help you out. If you ever have any issues, there are a ton of resources out there (including a massive Reddit sub).
For example, if you run into some buggy software or it’s glitching, you just need to google for help and Redditors will walk you through the issue.
The only drawback is the low-ish build volume, which limits the size of prints you can make. Of course, it’s not going to print you a Death Star or something wild, but for the price it’s a steal.
If you need a larger build volume for bigger prints, skip down to #3.
There are a couple of different models of the Photon that might interest you. Let’s take a quick look at how they compare.
The Photon S, the upgraded version of the Photon, is hands down the best 3D printer for 28-30mm miniatures. On paper, there aren’t a ton of differences. However, the S has some huge mechanical upgrades.
It cost 50% more than the Photon, however, it might be worth it if you want a better touchscreen and an improved, more stable Z-axis. The Photon S has a dual-linear rails which means fewer vibrations. This translates to more reliable prints and higher precision (it reduces the dreaded “Z-wobble” that can cause prints to have strange lines although it wasn’t a huge concern with the original Photon and I’ve never experienced it). There are also fewer fumes, so it’s safer to work around.
The Photon S is more expensive, more reliable, and more accurate.
Photon Vs. Photon Zero
You’ll notice that the Photon 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 a more refined and sophisticated version. It will get more done for a higher price tag.
Build Volume: 120 x 68 x 155 mm | Printer Type: LCD
Our runner up performs almost as good as the Photon, but is a decent bit more expensive (there’s a sale at Anycubic.com). If it were the same price as the Photon, we’d have them almost in a tie.
The extra price comes with one big advantage: Extra build volume – just not much.
The ELEGOO Mars LCD printer is fast, accurate, and capable of churning out mid-sized figurines in a few hours flat.
Our team LOVED how easy it was to use. It’s as close to set it and forget it as possible in this price range. The build plate partially levels itself, so you can save all that extra energy for watching Netflix.
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. Mars is a great machine for the price.
Overall, it’s an excellent printer that’s super easy to use, super fast, and prints high-res products. However, it’s still not capable of printing big projects. So if you’re a mad scientists, skip down to #3.
Build Volume: 192 x 120 x 200 mm | Printer Type: MSLA
The Saturn by ELEGOO is the perfect budget printer for mad scientists, inventors, and world-domination enthusiasts… or just anyone who needs a massive print volume at a cheap price.
The first two printers are great for smaller details and miniature models. But the Saturn is meant for larger, less detailed prints. We don’t recommend it for figurines – we mean like large, more functional-minded pieces.
One of our team even used it to create some movie props (Thor’s Hammer? Hell yeah!).
And the MSLA is lightyears faster than most other printers. The Saturn can print a layer in less than two seconds in some cases. This printer is also insanely accurate and has great precision considering how large the volume is.
Build Volume: 115 x 65 x 155 mm | Printer Type: MSLA
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. Great for beginners.
Build Volume: 120 x 68 x 130 mm | Printer Type: MSLA
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.
Build Volume: 115 x 65 x 150 mm | Printer Type: LCD
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 another great solid option to consider.
Product Reviews: $500 - $1,500
With these 3D 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.
These are for more serious printers and commercial-grade customers.
If you’re looking for the best level of detail and speed, and have the money to spend, we highly recommend product #1. The other two are only for when you don’t have the budget. They are still great, but flawed compared to our top recommendation.
If you’re going to spend ~$1,000 +, you might as well get the best. If not, then you might as well just stick with a budget model, right?
Build Volume: 120 x 68 x 150 mm | Printer Type: LCD
The Prusa SL1 dominated this range of 3D resin printers, and is the best resin printer $1,500 and under.
It’s a big step up in every way from the last category. Ever driven around a cheap Honda Accord (great car by the way), then jumped in a $50,000 Lexus?
That’s the difference.
Everything about the Prusa is next-level compared to budget printers (including price…):
- More detail: We loved the ultra-high resolution LCD display. The detail really shows with a minimum .001m height (woah!).
- Better material: The Prusa is “the Rock” of 3D pinters. During testing, we noticed that didn’t vibrate at all, which means no printing slip ups.
- More options: The Prusa is totally open source, giving you access to more resins and FEP films. That means you have a ton more printing options and aren’t forced to buy overpriced proprietary supplies.
The only downsides are the higher price and low-ish build volume. If you’re looking for ultra-detailed miniatures, or creating jewelry for commercial purposes, this is it. If you need larger build volume, then you’ll have to move to the next price range or drop back and sacrifice some other features.
Build Volume: 130 x 130 x 180 mm | Printer Type: SLA
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.
3. Phrozen Shuffle 4K
Build Volume: 120 x 68 x 170 mm | Printer Type: LCD
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.
Product Reviews: Over $1,500+
OK, now it’s time to get serious. All the previous models are for budget-minded hobbyists, enthusiasts, and small-scale commercial use.
These top-line models are for serious 3D printers.
The kind of people who need to print large objects with deft precision, and need top-line software, auto-calibration, WiFi connectivity, and legit customer service from real experts.
If you need to print a massive garden vase, a life-size R2D2, statues, or even large invention prototypes, these are your top choices.
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.
Build Volume: 276 x 155 x 400 mm | Printer Type: LCD
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.
By far the world’s most popular large MSLA printer, and the undisputed king of the high-end resin printers. The Phenom is our #1 choice for best wax 3D printer.
It combines the speed and precision of other MSLA or LCD printers with a massive build volume – it’s the biggest home 3D printing model we know of.
It comes with 4 times the build volume of other comparable models (1 million cubic inches!!). If you really want to make your money back, rent this thing out on Airbnb for $100 a night and label it a luxury room in your home (…kidding).
We won’t waste your time with the nitty gritty details, but just know this printer is designed so that each layer gets equal treatment, creating a nice uniform look and accurate build. Most printers this size suffer from curing issues since the size means the resin takes a long time to cure. Peopoly created their own resin to solve that issue. With their resin – Delft – you have 0 to worry about.
As far as drawbacks, we hate that there’s no WiFi connectivity. We had to use ethernet like it was 1986 or something. And the lifespan of the LCD screen is estimated at 400 hours. After that, it costs $100 for a replacement. Not too bad, but we’d like to see extra life at this price.
Build Volume: 74 x 132 x 175 mm | Printer Type: LCD
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.
3. Formlabs Form 3
Build Volume: 145 x 145 x 185 mm | Printer Type: LCD
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.
What is a Resin 3D Printer?
A resin 3D printer is different from 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 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.
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.