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Best resin 3D printers of 2022



Published Aug 30, 2022 4:00 PM

From RPG miniatures to tool prototypes, resin 3D printers have changed the nature of many time-intensive hobbies. While they have a (somewhat unfair) reputation for being unwieldy and expensive, resin printers in recent years have become smaller, cheaper, and surprisingly easy to use. Whether you’re a Warhammer fiend who wants a top-of-the-line machine to print an entire opposing army or just a casual D&D player who wants to dip your toe into the hobby, there’s a model that will work for you. Still, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the options before you commit to anything, as there’s a lot to learn on the hunt for the best resin 3D printer.

How we picked the best resin 3D printers

As a tech journalist with almost a decade of experience, I know how to determine which products are best for every level of consumer, from entry-level to industrial. I’m also a longtime RPG enthusiast and game-master with my own collection of tokens, so I know what discerning fans are looking for in their 3D printers. In putting together these recommendations, we consulted personal testimonials, consumer reviews, and tests conducted by top-quality professionals to determine which resin 3D printer is right for you, regardless of your priorities.

Things to consider before buying a resin 3D printer

Buying a 3D printer can be pretty intimidating, especially if you don’t know much about the hobby. The best resin 3D printers cost anywhere from $200 to $2,000, so one is not a casual pickup. Before making your purchase, you’ll need to consider what exactly you want to use it for, as that will have a big impact on what printer you choose. For example, if you’re planning on creating large miniatures or tool prototypes, you will need a printer with a larger build volume. You’ll also need to decide what level of detail you need from the printer, as that has a big impact on its cost. While a 4K capable printer is fairly affordable these days, 6K will raise the price substantially.

Regardless of what printer you ultimately buy, you’ll need to determine how comfortable you are working with resin, as you’ll need special tools and gear (such as a UV light and nitrate gloves) as part of your production process. If you’re willing to shell out, you can buy a washing-and-curing machine, like the Elegoo Mercury, in order to save yourself some legwork. Finally, you’ll need to reckon with the fact that resin itself is a lot more expensive than the alternatives, such as filament. However, the final product is more than worth it.

Size matters

Build volume is a measure of how large a product a resin 3D printer can produce. For example, a common build volume is about 5.5 inches by 3.5 inches by 7 inches, which is well within the typical range of a Dungeons & Dragons miniature. If you’re looking to make something bigger than that, you will need to purchase a printer with a large (or even extra-large) build volume. Generally speaking, printers with large build volumes require a bit more fiddling (and can be more prone to user error) than their standard-volume equivalents, but you can learn the ropes with a bit of effort.

4K, 6K, or 8K, oh my

The resolution of the 3D printer’s LCD will determine the level of detail it can inscribe on your beautiful miniatures. A 4K printer is considered the standard these days for all but ultra-budget models, and it’s more than sufficient for most projects. Still, if you want those details to really sing, you may want to consider a 6K (or even 8K!) option.

Mono is better than RGB

Yes, it may seem counterintuitive, but a 3D printer with monochrome LCD masking is better than one with RGB (or color) LCD masking. Monos are better at letting the UV light pass through than their colored alternatives, which means that each layer is scanned that much faster. RGB 3D printers are cheaper than monos, but even mono printers are fairly affordable these days. As such, unless your budget is extremely constrained, we recommend you get a mono, as they’re between 3-5x faster on average.

The best resin 3D printers: Reviews & Recommendations

Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine which of the above features is more important to you. The following resin 3D printers each excel in one area or another, often in multiple. Regardless of whether or not you plan to go all out for an industrial-grade solution, or save a bundle in order to try crafting for yourself, one of these printers will probably suit your needs.

Best overall: ANYCUBIC Photon Mono X

Why it made the cut: The ANYCUBIC Photon Mono X offers the best vital features per cost of any consumer-grade resin 3D printer out there.

Specs

  • Build volume: 192mm x 120mm x 250mm
  • Resolution: 3840×2400 (4K)
  • Printing speed: 60mm/h
  • Printing accuracy: .01mm
  • XY axis resolution: .05mm
  • LCD: 6.23 inch Mono
  • MSRP: $480

Pros

  • Premium feature set
  • Reasonable price
  • Very fast

Cons

  • Not as easy to use as entry-level models

If you’re looking for the best overall bang for your buck in the resin 3D printer space, the ANYCUBIC Photon Mono X is your ticket. Though it’s technically the big brother of true entry-level machines like the Elegoo Mars 3—more on that later—ANYCUBIC is an extremely well-known manufacturer in the space and there are plenty of online tutorials on how to use its devices on enthusiast forums like Reddit. 

The Mono X’s feature set is a cut above the usual suspects in the 3D printer game, especially in the build volume department. At 7.5 inches by 4.7 inches by 9.8 inches, the Mono X’s build area is more than big enough for any miniature you’re likely to want to build, except maybe Cthulhu. It also offers fast speeds, 4K resolution, and better Z-axis support than similar models.

Its price may be several hundred dollars more than other options, but in our opinion, the difference is more than worth it.

Best for miniatures: ANYCUBIC Photon Mono 4K

Why it made the cut: The ANYCUBIC Photon Mono 4K excels at creating standard miniatures quickly and easily, and it’s not hard to master.

Specs

  • Build volume: 132mm x 80mm x 165mm
  • Resolution: 3840×2400 (4K)
  • Printing speed: 50mm/h
  • Printing accuracy: .01mm
  • XY Axis Resolution: .035mm
  • LCD: 6.23 inch Mono
  • MSRP: $250

Pros

  • Extremely competitive price
  • Fast, easy to use
  • Rich online community

Cons

  • Standard build volume
  • Touch screen issues

It might be smaller than its big brother, the Mono X, but it still packs a punch. The Mono 4K is the latest model of the ANYCUBIC Photon, one of the original resin 3D printers. Though it’s solidly in the entry-level price of $250 to $300, the Mono 4K is extremely similar to the X in terms of feature set. 

The 4K’s great resolution and standard build volume make it a very good option for users who want to make a large number of standard miniatures without much fuss. It’s quite easy to set up even for newbies and its compact size means that it can sit on a small end table without calling a lot of attention to itself. At 50mm an hour max speed, the 4K will spit out miniatures very quickly once you get it set up, which is quite easy thanks to its online popularity.

If you’re an average user who wants to build an army of detailed orcs as fast as possible without breaking the bank, the Mono 4K is a great option.

Best for beginners: Elegoo Mars 3

Why it made the cut: Arguably the most famous resin 3D printer out there, the Elegoo Mars 3 is a great option for both beginners and experts alike.

Specs

  • Build volume: 143mm x 89mm x 175mm
  • Resolution: 4098×2560 (4K)
  • Printing speed: 50mm/h
  • Printing accuracy: .01mm
  • XY axis resolution: .035mm
  • LCD: 6.66 inch Mono
  • MSRP: $380

Pros

  • Very popular and intuitive
  • Good resolution
  • Slightly larger build volume

Cons

  • Somewhat expensive for what it is

As the follow-up to arguably the most popular resin printer of the last few years, the Mars 2, the Mars 3 has big shoes to fill. In fact, if you search “resin 3D printer” on any search engine, the Mars 3 will probably be the first one to show up. Overall, the Mars 3 lives up to its reputation as the easiest resin printer to use out there, and it offers a robust feature set, too.

The Mars 3’s specs are a little bit better than its main competitor, the Mono 4K, in almost every meaningful category, especially its build volume. However, reviews suggest that it’s not quite as fast as the Mono 4K over time. However, due to its popularity, you can find an absolutely ridiculous number of tutorials on Reddit and YouTube on how to use the Mars 3, and that’s what gives it a slight edge in the “beginner-friendly” department.

Overall, the Mars 3 is comparable in price to more premium resin 3D printers, but its ease of use and reputation make it worth a purchase, especially if you’re intimidated by the hobby as a whole.

Best high-end: Original Prusa SL1S Speed Bundle

Why it made the cut: The Prusa SL1S Speed might be expensive but it’s the choice for resin-crafters who want to turn their hobby into a serious side hustle.

Specs

  • Build volume: 127mm x 80mm x 150mm
  • Resolution: 2560×1620 (2K)
  • Printing speed: 1.3 to 2.4 seconds per layer
  • Printing accuracy: .01mm
  • XY axis resolution: .049mm
  • LCD: 5.96 inch Mono
  • MSRP: $2,000

Pros

  • Extremely fast
  • Truly professional-grade
  • Supports easy post-processing

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Some dated features

In the world of resin 3D printing, there are hobbyists, and there are small businesses. If you’re looking to make a serious buck selling your miniatures or other products on a storefront like Etsy—and you already have some experience with resin printing—the Prusa S1LS Speed is a strong option. Thanks to its vat tilting support and ultra-fast scanning speed, the Prusa is suitable for both precise industrial work (such as dental molds) and cranking out miniatures as fast as possible. Testing suggests it’s nearly double the speed of the Mars 3, for example.

However, you get what you pay for. At $2,000, the SL1S Speed is about eight times more expensive than an entry-level resin printer like the Mars 3. While that is certainly quite a pill to swallow, this is a “prosumer” model that’s intended to compete with industrial scanners in the $5k to $6k range. (You can even get it bundled with the CW1S, a curing and washing machine that makes post-processing much more efficient.) For a $2,000 machine, you could certainly argue that the SL1S’s lack of 4K support and small build volume are major stumbling blocks, but many small businesses aren’t going to miss those features compared to the volume it can spit out.

If you’re in the market for a high-end resin printer, the SL1S Speed is a great option. It’s definitely not suitable for your average consumer, however.

Best for large prints: ANYCUBIC Photon M3 Max

Why it made the cut: The ANYCUBIC Photon M3 Max is a high-end resin 3D printer that supports massive builds at a fairly reasonable price.

Specs

  • Build volume: 300mm x 298mm x 164mm
  • Resolution: 6480×3600 (6K)
  • Printing speed: 60mm/hr
  • Printing accuracy: .01mm
  • XY axis resolution: .040mm
  • LCD: 13.6 inch Mono
  • MSRP: $1,300

Pros

  • Incredible build volume
  • Very high resolution
  • Massive screen

Cons

  • Large and unwieldy
  • Expensive

If “bigger is better” is your favorite mantra, the Photon M3 Max might be the resin 3D printer for you. Boasting a ridiculous foot-tall build volume and better than 6K resolution, this is a machine that can print a heck of a final boss for your D&D campaign. It’s also surprisingly speedy for its size, posting significantly better build times than smaller alternatives like the Mars 3 and the Photon 4K Mono.

However, its size has some downsides. The Photon M3 Max weighs more than 57 pounds, it has a much larger footprint than entry-level models, and its ultra-large builds are going to cost you a small fortune in resin. Also, its rated power of 120 watts is almost double that of smaller models, so watch that electricity bill. Its price point of $1,300 is definitely a step up from other printers, but considering everything it brings to the table, it’s fairly reasonable.

Overall, the Photon M3 Max is a serious machine for serious hobbyists and you probably already know if it’s the right resin 3D printer for you. If you’re in the market for a more newbie-friendly machine, you should look to its smaller cousins.

Best budget: Creality HALOT-ONE

Why it made the cut: The Creality HALOT-ONE is the perfect starter machine for price-conscious customers who want to try out a new hobby.

Specs

  • Build volume: 130mm x 82mm x 160mm
  • Resolution: 2560×1620 (2K)
  • Printing speed: 1-4 seconds per layer
  • Printing accuracy: .01mm
  • XY axis resolution: .050mm
  • LCD: 5-inch Mono
  • MSRP: $200

Pros

  • Ultra-low price
  • Decent specs

Cons

  • Can get better features for $100+ more

When you consider that even the cheapest 3D printers cost $400 to $500 only a few years ago, the $200 price tag of the Creality HALOT-ONE is pretty staggering to consider. But while it’s definitely a budget model, the HALOT-ONE has a robust feature set that’s perfect for fresh hobbyists or beginners looking to cut their teeth in the 3D printing game. Its 2K resolution is more than enough for most projects, and its standard build volume can fit a standard miniature. It’s not the biggest or the fastest, but for many users, the price probably matters more.

The main argument against the HALOT-ONE is that you can get 4K resolution and significantly faster speed from a Mars 3 or Mono 4K for around $100 to $150 more. However, that might be the difference in purchasing a resin printer or not if you’re on a tight budget, so it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether those features are worth it to you.

The HALOT-ONE is a nice little machine, and its price can’t be beaten. For many budding hobbyists, it’s a great place to start.

FAQs

Q: What’s the highest resolution resin 3D printer?

The current highest resolution resin printer on the market is the Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K and the Mega 8K. However, while they have great resolution, both of these printers have significantly worse consumer reviews than the above picks, which is why it did not make the cut.

Q: Can you reuse resin from failed prints?

Unfortunately, no, you can’t. Once the resin has been hardened, it will remain hard forever. You cannot melt it down and reuse it like you can with a filament 3D printer.

Q: Is resin printing toxic?

While resin printers are perfectly safe to use, you must use caution, especially when you’re first starting with the hobby. Yes, untreated resin is toxic to the touch—you must use nitrate gloves while handling it. You should also wear safety glasses or goggles when working with the machine to avoid eye damage from splashing.

Q: How long can a resin print sit before cleaning it?

Provided that it’s kept away from UV light—and from any action that might break it, such as a pet—a resin print can sit for as long as you need before curing or cleaning it. However, you should not get in the habit of leaving them lying around, as they can easily break.

Q: Are resin prints stronger than PLA?

No, resin prints are more brittle and breakable than their filament counterparts. However, resin as a material allows for far more detail than filament, so it’s a better choice for RPG miniatures and the like.

Final thoughts on the best resin 3D printers

3D printing is one of the fastest-growing hobbies out there and, while there’s certainly a learning curve, it won’t take you long to make the wizard of your D&D dreams. In general, newbies to resin 3D printers should stick to well-known brand names like Elegoo and ANYCUBIC due to their very large online communities and tutorial support. It might seem intimidating, but if you work at it, it’s not as hard as it looks.





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