Top 13 Best 3D Printer for Resin (2021 Update)

Welcome to our best 3D printer for resin review for 2021. 3D Painted Mandalorian

We researched and tested the top 23 resin 3D 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 3D printer once only for it to glitch and freeze halfway through. Guess how much help the customer service was?

Zero!

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.

Ready…

Set…

PRINT!

If you’re new to resin 3D printing then see our guide towards the end. We’ll learn more about resin printing and what to look for in a 3D printer. But without further ado, let’s take a look at the top resin 3D printers in the market.

Budget Resin 3D Printers: Under $500

Keep in mind that these budget resin 3D printers will lack the accuracy, build volume, and sophistication of the higher-priced resin 3D printers. These are options that are great for DIY-ers, hobbyists, and people starting out with resin 3D printing.

Build Volume: 115 x 65 x 155 mm | Printer Type: LCD

The Anycubic Photon is the world’s #1-selling budget resin 3D printer, and our top choice for best budget model under $300. We were blown away by the usability and print quality for such an affordable printer. 

Along with the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro and Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K, 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 one of the most popular LCD SLA 3D printers, 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.

Photon vs. Photon S

The Photon S, the upgraded version of the Photon, is hands down the best resin 3D printer for 28-30mm miniatures. On paper, there aren’t a ton of differences. However, the S has some huge mechanical upgrades.

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. It cost <$100 more than the Photon, however, it might be worth it if you want a better touchscreen and an improved, more stable Z-axis.

Check out our in-depth review of the Photon vs. the Photon S here.

The Photon S is more expensive, more reliable, and more accurate. 

Pros

Cons

Build Volume: 120 x 68 x 155 mm | Printer Type: LCD

If the Photon is 1A, then the ELEGOO Mars is 1B. Both offer great print quality and (from our experience, at least) the Mars has an even better success rate while printing.

The Mars also has extra build volume – just not much.

Check out our review of the Elegoo Mars vs. Photon here.

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.

ELEGOO customer service is also one of the best in the business which means peace of mind if you ever have any problems.

The only downside is the lack of features on the resin 3D 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 resin 3D 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.

Pros

Cons

Build Volume: 192 x 120 x 200 mm | Printer Type: MSLA

The Saturn by ELEGOO is the perfect budget resin 3D  printer for mad scientists, inventors, and world-domination enthusiasts… or just anyone who needs a massive print volume at an affordable price.

The first two resin 3D 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 resin 3D printer is also insanely accurate and has great precision considering how large the volume is. 

Pros

Cons

Build Volume: 134 x 75 x 130 mm | Printer Type: LCD

If you want exceptional print quality without breaking the bank then the Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K is for you. The biggest difference between the original Sonic Mini and the new and improved one is the LCD resolution.

Compared to other affordable resin 3D printers like the Anycubic Photon series and Elegoo Mars 2 Pro, we found the printing quality superior in the former. The XY layer resolution of the Mini 4K is 35 microns vs the 50 microns of those two printers. 

In all fairness, the differences between prints from the three printers weren’t pronounced. But in detail-packed miniatures and jewelry, you’ll notice the power of the 4K LCD.

The Sonic Mini 4K also prints faster – one layer in 2 seconds fast.

If you want a beginner-friendly resin 3D printer, then the Mini 4K is for you. It’s that easy to use. Just plug-in, level, and start printing. The default settings in Chitubox work without any adjustments although you’ll have to tweak it for certain designs.

In terms of printer noise, the Sonic Mini 4K is a bit noisier than the original the Sonic Mini. The noise mainly comes from Mini’s Z-axis stepper motor during the changing of layers. 

All in all, for 3D printing jewelry and miniatures you can’t go wrong with the Sonic Mini 4K. It excels where print details is a must. 

Pros

Cons

Build Volume: 115 x 65 x 155 mm | Printer Type: MSLA

The X1 by EPAX is another MSLA resin 3D printer with amazing print quality. 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. A great resin 3D for beginners.

Pros

Cons

Build Volume: 115 x 65 x 150 mm | Printer Type: LCD

The QIDI Tech Shadow 5.5 S is the most affordable 3D printer on our list and we’re surprised at how much you get for a machine that’s less than $180. If you’re new to resin 3D printing and not sure if it’s right for you then the Shadow is for you. You can test the waters and not break the bank.

The build volume is pretty much the same compared to the other resin 3D printers in this category. The accuracy and resolution aren’t that great, but the final print quality is is surprisingly good. This is due to the engineering efforts they put into stabilizing the z-axis.

A cool thing is this machine includes two charcoal filters so there aren’t any nasty odors. You don’t see this often in budget resin 3D printers.

Besides the resolution and accuracy, there aren’t a lot of bad things to say about this resin 3D printer. Overall, it’s a another great solid option to consider.

Pros

Cons

Product Reviews: $500 - $1,500

With these resin 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 like those who want to have the option of turning their hobby into a business. 

If you’re looking for the best level of detail and speed, and have the money to spend, we recommend printer #1. If you’re looking to print big, we highly recommend printer #2 the Anycubic Photon Mono X. The last two are great alternatives if exceptional print quality is your goal.

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 resin 3D 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 resin 3D 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 check the next 3D printer below or move to the next price range.

Pros

Cons

Build Volume: 192 x 120 x 245 mm | Printer Type: LCD

Still have plans for world domination because the Elegoo Saturn wasn’t up to the task? You have another shot at it, thanks to the Photon Mono X. (Just spare me though)

Both printers compete with each other because they target similar audiences. I’ll briefly talk about the Photon Mono X and then discuss the differences between them.

The Photon Mono X allows you to create large prints at a high resolution – thanks to its wide build volume and high-res 4K LCD. And because of the monochrome LCD, cure times are super fast, which means faster printing.

This screen also has the advantage of a longer life compared to the traditional RGB screens.

The build plate looks industrial and well made – the quality frankly astounded me. With the larger build plate you can 3D print terrain with ease. What was less astounding and mostly ridiculous was the Wifi option, however. With this, you can only connect Anycubic’s mobile app to the printer. You cannot connect the slicer on the computer to the machine.

The UI is top-notch, with a highly responsive touchscreen. It has plenty of menu options as well, like layer cure time and UV light strength, among others. 

You’ll need to tune the settings to get accurate prints, but once that is done, the printer is unstoppable. The Mono X is for you if you want the flexibility to 3D print larger with exceptional print quality

Let’s talk about the differences and similarities between the Mono X and the Saturn now. 

The build plate of the Mono X is slightly bigger than that of the Saturn. And with a speed of 60 mm/s, it races past the Saturn’s speed of 30 mm/s. Luckily for the Saturn, the print resolution is the same.

In the other features, both of them are pretty much the same. I don’t want to let Anycubic steal all the limelight though; I’ll have to admit that the Elegoo is cheaper and has better support.

Pros

Cons

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 SLA 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.

Pros

Cons

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 3D printing 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.

Pros

Cons

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 resin 3D 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 3D 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.

Pros

Cons

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 resin 3D 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 resin 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 resin 3D printer. Not a bad pick for a professional-tier 3D printer.

Pros

Cons

3. Formlabs Form 3

Formlabs Form 3_img_1

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 resin 3D 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.

Pros

Cons

What is a Resin 3D Printer?

A resin 3D printer is different from the standard FDM printers you’ve probably seen. Resin 3D 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 3D printing technologies: LCD, DLP, and SLA.
Let’s take a look at how these three technologies compare to one another.

What’s the Difference Between LCD, DLP, and SLA?

Stereolithography (SLA) is the most common type of resin printer. Digital Light Processing (DLP) and LCD resin technologies are pretty common to one another. All three of these resin 3D printing 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.
  • DLP 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 DLP uses a projector for illuminating, and LCD opts for a less-expensive LCD screen. 
  • All three have the same accuracy and precision. LCD and DLP are a little faster, and SLA is a bit less expensive.

How to Pick the Best Resin 3D Printers

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

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 (budget resin 3D printers), intermediate (when you want to take your 3D printing to the next level), and pro (3D printing for business or for prototyping). 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

Speed is another distinguishing feature between these resin 3D printers. Different 3D printing technology and mechanical upgrades lead to slower or faster speeds. MSLA resin 3D printers are the fastest, so if speed is important, you should focus on those.

Print Volume

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

Conclusion

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 resin 3D printing technologies, what you should look for in a 3D printer, then took a look at the best resin 3D printers on the market.

Ultimately, any of these resin 3D printers will get the job done. For budget resin 3D printers you can’t go wrong with the Anycubic Photon S or ELEGOO Mars. If you want higher quality pieces that you can sell on Etsy, then the Phrozen Shuffle 4K is for you. Lastly, if you want to use your 3D printer for prototyping or for your business then the Formlabs Form 3 is the best choice.

Pat Nathaniel
Pat Nathaniel
Printing Atoms was founded on a love of 3D printing. Our mission is to spread the word on the possibilities of 3D printing. I work as an engineer in my day job. In my free time, I print mods for my Ender 3 Pro (it's a beast), design cool prints, & share my research here.
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