8 Best High Resolution 3D Printers in 2023

When looking for a 3D printer, you look at features like build volume, extruder type, nozzle, build plate to suss out the best. 

But in the end, if we’re honest, all we want are picture-perfect prints printed quickly.

And that’s what this article highlights: the best FDM and resin 3D printers that produce the highest resolution prints in the shortest amount of time.

The Best High Resolution 3D Printers (FDM)

1. Creality Ender 3 V2 (Best for Beginners to Advanced Users)
2. Prusa i3 MK3S+ (Best Value)
3.
Dremel DigiLab 3D45 (Best for Education)
4.
Ultimaker S5 (Large Build Volume)

The Best High Resolution 3D Printers (SLA/Resin)

5. Elegoo Mars 2 Pro (Best Choice)
6. Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K (Beginner Friendly)
7.
Anycubic Photon Mono X (Prints Fast)
8. Phrozen Sonic Mega 8K
 (Premium Choice)

FDM 3D Printers:

3D Printer Type: FDM | Materials: PLA, ABS, TPU & PETG| Build Volume: 220 x 220 x 250 mm | Print Resolution: 100 microns

Cheap. Capable. Efficient. The Creality Ender 3 series is a 3D printing staple. And the upgraded Ender 3 V2 is one of the best budget printers, capable of churning out high-resolution prints.

This world-class budget machine (yes, I used world-class and budget in the same sentence – the 3D printer is a delightful paradox) is perfect for newcomers. Once you buy this printer, you don’t need to purchase any other printer because this machine handles it all.

Stuck setting up your printer? Printing issues chipping away your happiness? Then Creality’s vast user base would be happy to solve the problem for you. The official community can be found on this site. There are plenty of Facebook groups as well.

Silent stepper motor drivers and a 32-bit mainboard are just some ways the V2 leveled up over its older brother, the original Ender 3 model

The Bowden extruder in the V2 performs an admirable job of creating fantastic prints. The print resolution in the XY-axis and the Z-axis is 0.1mm.

The Ender 3 V2 comes with rare features at this price point, like a filament runout sensor and resume-printing option during a power cut. Coupled with a large build volume of 220 x 220 x 250 mm, it’s hard to find fault with this printer.

But alas, faults it does have. For instance, loading the filament into the Ender V2 was irksome. This was an issue we faced with the Ender 3 as well. And this high accuracy 3D printer requires assembly.

Don’t let the minor nitpick dissuade you, however. The Ender 3 is the best budget high resolution 3D printer.

Pros

Cons

3D Printer Type: FDM | Materials: PLA, PETG, ASA, ABS, PC, HIPS, Flex, Nylon, Carbon filled & Woodfill | Build Volume: 250 x 210 x 210 mm | Print Resolution: 50 microns

The Prusa i3 MK3S+, a 3D printing heavyweight and an upgrade over its previous MK3S iteration, is expensive. But you get what you pay for – the printer over-delivers in terms of quality.

The printer setup can be challenging, especially if you decide to save with the cheaper kit version. But the gorgeous and detailed handbook shipped with the printer guides you meticulously through the whole process.

Shipped with the 3D printer are premium components like a magnetic PEI-coated steel spring heated bed and a custom E3D V6 hot end.

The I3 MK3S+ now comes with Prusa’s in-house PrusaSlicer software. Based on the previous Slic3r tool, it replaces the earlier two software options — one for beginners and one for advanced users — with one simple-to-use package.

Though if you prefer Simplify3D or Cura, the printer also works with them.

For high-resolution prints, it’s necessary to dampen vibrations during printing. The sturdy aluminum frame of the Prusa stops any shaking with ease, leading to better prints. The machine handles whatever you throw at it without breaking a sweat. The layer resolution is 0.05 mm, and the print quality is better than most other printers in the market. Take a magnifying glass or a microscope, you’d be hard-pressed to find flaws in the prints. 

Another impressive characteristic of the Prusa is its incredibly fast printing speed of more than 200mm/s. Few FDM 3D printers can print so fast, although you probably won’t print in high resolution at those speeds. 

The Prusa I3 MK3S is a brand that never disappoints and delivers on all fronts.

Pros

Cons

3D Printer Type: FDM | Materials: PLA, ECO ABS, PETG & Nylon | Build Volume: 254 x 152 x 170 mm | Print Resolution: 50 microns

The Prusa got you excited, and now you want more premium 3D printers to ogle at before you take your pick? Then take a look at the Dremel DigiLab 3D45; it gives Prusa a run for its money. 

Large prints can be printed with ease with its large build volume of 254 x 152 x 170 mm. In addition, The DigiLab Slicer software uses the open-source Cura platform, which is suitable for both beginners and advanced users.

One of DigiLab’s unique features is its ability to handle filaments that most 3D printers can’t, like polycarbonate, Nylon, and EcoABS. 

The 3D printer is perfect for classrooms. In fact, it comes with a curriculum meant for students from elementary to university levels. Students can easily use the printer as the machine was designed for learning.

The DigiLab is safe for students. It is completely enclosed and it has a carbon filter, so you don’t have to worry about anyone inhaling toxic fumes. And there’s one more benefit with enclosed printers, they help regulate temperatures which result in higher resolution prints.

Just like the Prusa i3 MK3S, the 3D45 has an excellent resolution of 0.05 mm. And that reflects in the final prints, which look beautiful. And like the i3 MK3S, the printer excels at making high-quality prints consistently. Both printers are masters at their craft. 

If you want a cheaper but equally effective Dremel printer, go for the Dremel 3D40 Flex

The 3D40 does lack a couple of features, however – it can handle only PLA while the 3D45 can handle more (like I mentioned above). The 3D40 also lacks a camera for remote monitoring of prints, a heated platform to reduce warping, and a carbon filter to eliminate fumes. 

Even the best 3D printers have issues, and the 3D45 isn’t an exception. In addition to its hefty price, a major downside is its difficulty in handling third-party filaments. The Dremel works best with company-made filament. Similar to Apple, the printer is meant to function like a closed ecosystem. 

But also just like the Apple, the Dremel performs flawlessly and is worth the big bucks it asks for.

Pros

Cons

3D Printer Type: FFF | Materials: Tough PLA, TPU 95A, ABS, Nylon & TPU | Build Volume: 330 x 240 x 300 mm | Print Resolution: 0.25 mm nozzle: 150 – 60 micron, 0.4 mm nozzle: 200 – 20 micron, 0.6 mm nozzle: 300 – 20 micron & 0.8 mm nozzle: 600 – 20 micron

This 3D printer is for the true professionals; for those that don’t play around. With one of the biggest build volumes and a dual-extruder, this is an Olympic grade printer 

Make sure you have a desk dedicated just for S5, it’s humongous. The 3D printer is not meant for newbies, it’s meant for professionals and small business owners. There’s no better printer than this for creating functional prototypes.

The print bed comes with two types: a glass bed for everyday use and a special anodized aluminum bed for advanced materials (like polycarbonate and ABS). Both of these can be swapped easily. 

Ultimaker Tough PLA, is a special PLA for functional prototyping, tooling, and manufacturing aids. This PLA has similar impact strength to ABS and also has a higher stiffness. 

The feature that sets the S5 apart from other FDM 3D printers is its dual extruding feature. It comes with two printheads and two print cores.

The BB print core is meant only for PVA, whereas the AA print core is mainly for all other materials. If you want to print dual colors, use two AA cores. The PVA core is primarily used for support.

The user experience of the S5 is a delight. From the touchscreen to the loading filament, every aspect of the printer is intuitive to use.

If you want to squeeze the highest resolution possible out of an FDM 3D printer, then the S5 is the machine to get. It can reach incredibly low XY resolutions of 0.02 mm. The Z-axis resolution is 0.1mm. 

The pricing for the Ultimaker S5 can make people sweat. Luckily, there’s a cheaper version of the S5- the S3 (around $2000 cheaper. But it’s still pricey). 

Here are some of the features that make the S5 more expensive.

The Ultimaker is similar to the Dremel in that it’s preferable to use filaments from the company itself. If not, you could find yourself with poor-quality prints. 

If you want the best high resolution 3D printer in the FDM category, the Ultimaker S5 is a no-brainer.

Pros

Cons

SLA/Resin 3D Printers:

3D Printer Type: LCD | Materials: 405nm UV Resin | Build Volume: 129 x 80 x 160 mm | Print Resolution: 50 microns

A big advantage of resin printers is the high resolution they produce at a fraction of the price. And the Elegoo Mars 2 is an excellent example of this.

The Mars 2 Pro comes with a 6.08 monochrome LCD with a 2K HD resolution which plays a huge factor in the quality of the prints. 

The build quality is solid, with a CNC machined aluminum body. The 3D printer doesn’t budge, ensuring that the high-resolution prints maintain steady quality. Build size is small, as with most resin 3D printers. 

Another advantage that resin printers have over FDM printers is their printing speed. They take about 1-2 seconds per layer, only. The Elegoo Mars 2 inherits this speed gene from the family of resin printers.

It prints miniatures with amazing precision. The XY resolution is 0.05 mm and the Z-axis resolution is just 0.01 mm. 

You’ll find the 3D printer great for home use. Make sure to keep it in a ventilated space as resin fumes are toxic (luckily some of the fumes are mitigated by the carbon filter in the printer).

The Elegoo Mars 2 is the Creality of the resin world and is always a worthwhile buy.

Pros

Cons

3D Printer Type: LCD | Materials: 405 nm UV Resins | Build Volume: 165 x 72 x 180 mm | Print Resolution: 22 microns

4K resin printing used to be all the rage and a game-changer. Then 8K came along and changed the game yet again. So, Phrozen updated its Sonic Mini 4K to the Sonic Mini 8K.

It’s still the familiar Mini, it just comes with double the K’s (and an orange enclosure).

The 8K screen treatment has improved the Mini’s accuracy somewhat. Whereas the 4K version reached layer resolutions of 0.035mm at 722 PPI, the 8K screen takes the printer up to 0.022mm at 1,152 PPI.

It’s not as drastic a jump as going from 2K to 4K screens, but the difference is still noticeable to sharp eyes.

Otherwise, the Mini 8K remains mostly the same. The print speed sits unchanged at 80mm/h and the minimum layer height is the same old 0.01mm.

Both specs were already good so why change them?

Source: Youtube FauxHammer

Maximum print volume has expanded a bit to 165 x 72 x 180 mm thanks to the 8K LCD screen being bigger, which is welcome. At the same time, though, the printer is twice as heavy as the 4K.

The printer is still locked mostly to Phrozen’s own resins, which is a bit of a bummer. You can try third-party materials, but be ready to wrestle with your print settings for optimal results.

The price has unfortunately increased, too. Mini 8K is almost twice as expensive as the 4K version. But Phrozen still sells the 4K as well, so if you don’t need that slight increase in print detail, you can save your pennies.

All in all, Phrozen Mini 8K offers excellent miniature and jewelry 3D printing capabilities, much like its predecessor.

Pros

Cons

3D Printer Type: LCD | Materials: 405 nm UV Resins | Build Volume: 192 x 120 x 245 mm | Print Resolution: 50 microns

Most SLA printers are tiny. But Anycubic Photon Mono X breaks the mold. With its large build volume and high-resolution printing capability, it’s a highly desirable precision 3D printer on our list. 

The frustrating thing about most SLA printers is small build volumes, so it’s welcome when printers like the Mono X hit the market. 

Sometimes bigger is better (and more beautiful), and that’s exactly the case with this printer. Not to objectify printers, but the printer with its yellow acrylic lid is a looker.

When we compared prints between the Mono X and Phrozen Sonic Mini’s 4K version, we found that the latter is better in terms of print quality – but only by a margin. For 99% of people, the difference would be negligible. The Mono has a similar resolution to the Mini – 0.05 mm XY resolution and 0.01 mm Z axis resolution. The new Mini 8K has it squarely beaten, though.

The addition of the WiFi on this printer was a ridiculous option. With this, you can only connect Anycubic’s mobile app to the printer. You can’t connect the slicer on the computer to the machine. 

For those who have a business to run and who like to print fast, the printer is a speed-demon, with a printer velocity of 60 mm/h. 

Price withstanding, the Mono X checks all the boxes you’d want in a high resolution 3D printer for resin printing.

Pros

Cons

3D Printer Type: LCD | Materials: Compatible with Phrozen and 3rd Party Resins of 405 nm | Build Volume: 330 x 185 x 400 mm | Print Resolution: 43 microns

Did the Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K leave you hoping for bigger things? If so, you can’t get much bigger than the same company’s Sonic Mega 8K.

If you thought the Anycubic was huge, you’ve seen nothing yet. This absolute behemoth of a 3D printer comes with a mind-blowing 330 x 185 x 400 mm build volume.

Basically, you could print a baby with this thing.

But what’s possibly more stunning is that you’re not compromising high resolution or print detail for the build volume. Mega 8K has a resolution of 0.043mm, which you might notice beats Elegoo. That’s those 8K screens for you.

Source: Youtube Top 3D Shop Inc.

To top it all off, the printer is easy to operate. The print bed is pre-calibrated (although the screws to attach are annoying to attach) and the machine has USB and Ethernet connectivity. A Wi-Fi module would be nice, but that’d probably make the price astronomical.

Oh yes, let’s talk about the price.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the price tag of this machine matches the build chamber’s size. It’s not bad value, considering the volume and print detail, but you’ll still have to sink a lot of money into the Mega 8K.

It’s also designed to work best with Phrozen’s resins, which will add to the running costs.

But if you want to print massive high-resolution parts, you can’t do much better than Phrozen Sonic Mega 8K.

Pros

Cons

What is Resolution in 3D Printing? X, Y, and Z Resolution

Source: Youtube Miniac

The technical definition of resolution in 3D Printing is the shortest distance a 3D printer nozzle travels when depositing filament. 

If you’ve ever purchased a phone or television (or maybe you made your girlfriend/boyfriend get them for you), you’d have come across the term resolution frequently. You’ll know that a 1080p screen has better picture quality than that of a 720p screen. 

Likewise, in 3D printing, a high resolution 3D printer is by far the most important factor to consider when buying a printer if you want high-quality prints.

You’ll often hear terms like Z layer resolution and XY resolution in 3D printer reviews. The Z layer resolution is the height of a single layer in a 3D print. The X and Y resolution, on the other hand, is the shortest distance the nozzle travels in the horizontal direction.

Other Factors That Affect Print Quality

Source: Youtube NeedItMakeIt

Material

Not all materials print with the same quality: some materials produce higher quality prints than others. 

Printer Stability

Vibrations during printing can hamper 3D printing accuracy. That’s why a sturdy, stable printer is important. All metal printers are sturdier than plastic printers.

Type of Printing

Resin printing produces a higher resolution of prints than FDM printing. 

Temperature

Different plastics print better at different temperatures. For ABS, extrusion temperatures of up to 240-250°C are ideal for accurate prints. PLA on the other hand benefits from temperatures of 200-220°C.

Slicer settings

Slicer settings play a big role in print quality, so make sure you play with these settings to get the perfect print. The layer height will have a big effect on print quality and print speed.

Nozzle size

The smaller the nozzle size, the more accurate and high resolution the print.

When Do High-Quality 3D Printers Make the Most Difference?

Source: Youtube Miniac

High-quality 3D printers don’t make much of a difference on basic flat surfaces like a cube. A cheaper less accurate printer can even produce the same cube in a shorter period of time (because the nozzle diameter size is larger which means it deposits more filament in less layers). 

But if you love printing intricate miniatures, prints with curved or diagonal surfaces, or embossings and engravings, then the difference between a high resolution 3D printer vs a low-resolution printer is blatantly obvious.

Advantages and Disadvantages for High Resolution 3D Printers

High-quality 3D printers don’t make much of a difference on basic flat surfaces like a cube. A cheaper less accurate printer can even produce the same cube in a shorter period of time (because the nozzle diameter size is larger which means it deposits more filament in less layers). 

But if you love printing intricate miniatures, or prints with curved or diagonal surfaces, or embossings and engravings, then the difference between a high resolution 3D printer vs a low-resolution printer is blatantly obvious.

Source: Youtube My Tech Fun

 

Advantages

Print Quality 

Higher resolution printing naturally leads to smoother surfaces, finer details, and more accurate printing.

Efficient Workflows

High-res printing also leads to efficient workflows while being uncompromising on speed and quality.

More Variability in Creating Objects

These 3D printers can create the most intricate and complex of designs while maintaining quality. 

Picture a model or a sculpture in your head. You can make a real-life version of that with the help of a high res 3D printer.

Disadvantages

Slow Speed

It’s not all sunshine, rainbows, and popcorn with high resolution 3D printers. A piece that may take an hour with a lower res 3D printer will take four hours to print on a high-res one. 

More error-prone

The more layers in a print, the more time it takes to print, and the greater the chances of a printing error.

Requires Precise Calibration

Your printer setting game needs to be tight to get the highest resolution prints possible. The extrusion and bed temperatures must be just right, and the right nozzle must also be selected.

SLA VS FDM

Like we briefly touched on before, SLA (aka resin) 3D printers produce far more accurate prints than FDM printers. 

SLA printers use UV or laser to cure the resin. These two light sources have different spot sizes. Anycubic Photon Mono X, a popular resin printer, has an XY resolution of 0.05mm and a Z layer resolution of 0.01mm. The resolution of most high-end consumer printers falls in this range.

On the other hand, FDM 3D printers don’t compare to resin printers. For example, one of the best FDM printers, the Prusa i3 MK3S+, has a Z layer resolution of only 0.05mm.

Which is Stronger: FDM or SLA?

Source Youtube Hoffman Tactical

SLA might trounce FDM in detail quality, but when you start looking at part durability, the tables suddenly turn. FDM prints are much stronger and more durable than SLA prints.

Although SLA can produce extreme details, the prints are often brittle. They don’t withstand impacts and snap or break easily. You shouldn’t use SLA for parts that require any mechanical strength — its value is in the looks.

FDM thermoplastics, on the other hand, are generally used even in heavy industries for functional parts. That should tell you all you need to know about their strength.

The ultimate durability of FDM parts depends on the material, how you printed it, and which printer you used. But in general, FDM is much stronger than SLA.

What is the Effect of 3D Print Resolution on Speed?

Source: Youtube Phrozen 3D Printer

Speed is one of the main considerations in 3D printing, whether high or low resolution. When it comes to high-res 3D printing, you unfortunately have to sacrifice speed.

The general rule of thumb is that the higher the resolution, the lower the print speed.

That might be disappointing to hear, but it only makes sense. Just like it takes you longer to draw a more detailed picture than a stick figure, 3D printers take longer to cram in all the detail to high-resolution prints. 

That said, printer manufacturers are locked in a constant battle of finding the optimal ratio of resolution vs. speed. Many of the printers on this list will produce great results in a relatively short time.