Anycubic Photon M3 vs M3 Plus vs M3 Max: Compared

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Anycubic’s MSLA resin family welcomed three new printers in 2022, all under the brand new Photon M3 name and bearing the manufacturer’s now-signature yellow lift-off cover.

Much like Anycubic’s new Kobra FDM printer range, there’s little to separate the third-generation Photon trio to the naked eye other than an obvious price and size difference. Delve a little deeper, and quite a few features differentiate them.

To help you tell your Max from your Plus and hopefully give you a nudge towards a printer that’ll serve you for years to come, we’ve pieced together this comprehensive Anycubic Photon M3 vs. Plus vs. Max comparison guide.

BUDGET PICK

Anycubic Photon M3

Build volume: 163 x 102 x 180 mm 
Printing technology: MSLA Resin 
LCD Resolution: 4K, 4098 x 2560
XY Resolution: 40 microns
Accuracy: 10 microns
Print Speed: 50 mm/h
Connectivity: USB

Available at:

MID-RANGE PICK

Photon M3 Plus

Build volume: 197 x 122 x 245 mm 
Printing technology: MSLA Resin
LCD Resolution: 6K, 5760 x 3600
XY Resolution: 34 microns
Accuracy: 10 microns
Print Speed: 100 mm/h
Connectivity: USB, Wi-Fi

Available at:

HUGE PRINTER

Photon M3 Max

Build volume: 298 x 164 x 300 mm 
Printing technology: MSLA Resin
LCD Resolution: 7K, 6480 x 3600
XY Resolution: 46 microns
Accuracy: 10 microns
Print Speed: 60 mm/h
Connectivity: USB

Available at:


Anycubic Photon M3 vs Anycubic Photon M3 Plus vs Anycubic Photon M3 Max – At a Glance

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Anycubic Photon M3

  • Price: $299 — Available at Anycubic here
  • Printing technology: MSLA Resin 
  • Build volume: 163 x 102 x 180 mm
  • LCD Resolution: 4K, 4098 x 2560
  • XY Resolution: 40 microns
  • Accuracy: 10 microns
  • Print Speed: 50 mm/h
  • Connectivity: USB
Anycubic Photon M3

The Anycubic Photon M3 is the budget entry in the new M3 line-up, geared towards amateur makers that want an affordable, compact, and user-friendly introduction to resin 3D printing. It’s reminiscent of the Photon Mono 4K, not least in the hassle-free printing experience, but improves on its predecessor.

Despite its entry-level ambitions, the Anycubic Photon M3 is well-specced with an above-average 163 x 102 x 180 mm build volume, 4K LCD resolution, and more-than-respectable 40 micron XY resolution.

With these, the M3 capably produces good-sized minis, figurines, statuettes, and models with crisp, fine details and features. The print quality is nearly indistinguishable from what you’d obtain from 8K resin printers but at a competitive price. Compared to similar low-cost resin printers, the Anycubic Photon M3 delivers more print capacity than we’ve grown accustomed to, scoring points for versatility.

For tabletop gaming enthusiasts or makers who enjoy bringing their favorite cult characters to resiny life, the Anycubic Photon M3 won’t cost a fortune and pulls out all the stops to ensure a genuinely enjoyable and novice-friendly printing experience.


Anycubic Photon M3 Plus

  • Price: $699 — Available at Anycubic here
  • Printing technology: MSLA Resin 
  • Build volume: 197 x 122 x 245 mm
  • LCD Resolution: 6K, 5760 x 3600
  • XY Resolution: 34 microns
  • Accuracy: 10 microns
  • Print Speed: 100 mm/h
  • Connectivity: USB, Wi-Fi
Photon M3 Plus

The Anycubic Photon M3 Plus is the new line-ups mid-range offering, the sort that is likely to appeal to makers that want a machine with a bit more to offer than an entry-level printer.

Aside from slapping a Plus to the name, Anycubic has boosted virtually every specification. The Plus lugs around a roomy 197 x 122 x 245 mm build volume, 6K LCD, extremely fast 100 mm/h print speeds, automatic smart resin feeding system, Wi-Fi connectivity, and an ultra-fine 34 micron XY resolution.

It offers even better quality than the M3, with those 6 extra microns delivering marginally sharper, crisp detail in all the most popular resin projects like figurines, minis, and other high-quality decorative pieces.

Elsewhere, the Anycubic Photon M3 Plus bears an uncanny resemblance to the Photon Mono X 6K, presenting itself as a stay-in-place workhorse, ideal for makers needing to batch print copies of the same high-quality mini in one sitting.


Anycubic Photon M3 Max

  • Price: $1,099 — Available at Anycubic here
  • Printing technology: MSLA Resin 
  • Build volume: 298 x 164 x 300 mm
  • LCD Resolution: 7K, 6480 x 3600
  • XY Resolution: 46 microns
  • Accuracy: 10 microns
  • Print Speed: 60 mm/h
  • Connectivity: USB
Anycubic Photon M3 Max

Imposing in stature, the Anycubic Photon M3 Max ousts Elegoo’s $1,300 Jupiter juggernaut for sheer print volume alone – a hulking 298 x 164 x 300 mm. Supersizing also applies to the LCD, which pushes a 7K resolution – the best of the M3 bunch – capable of a 46 micron XY resolution, and max 60 mm/h print speeds.

While it’s not the largest capacity consumer-grade resin printer on the market (Phrozen holds that crown with the towering $2,200 Sonic Mega 8K), it’s the first truly large-format resin printer we’ve seen from Anycubic. In keeping with their company ethos of offering reliable printers at reasonable prices, the capacity-to-price ratio is excellent and unrivaled.

The size, capacity, and, more pressingly, the price position the Anycubic Photon M3 Max as a productive printer catering to small businesses and serious amateurs looking to power a small online shop without breaking the bank.


Which Anycubic Photon M3 3D Printer is Best For You? We Compare Over Every Spec

Build Volume

Photon M3Photon M3 PlusPhoton M3 Max
Build Volume163 x 102 x 180 mm197 x 122 x 245 mm298 x 164 x 300 mm
Available hereAvailable hereAvailable here
Anycubic Photon M3, M3 Plus, and M3 Max build volumes.

In each of their respective price ranges, the trio are outliers, each offering a print capacity above what we’d generally expect, so there is plenty of value, whichever one you lean towards.

The beauty of resin printers is that, unlike FDM printers, a larger X and Y volume doesn’t balloon print times. They cure an entire layer at once, whatever the size or number of models, meaning they are exponentially more productive.

The M3’s build volume beats Anycubic’s other similarly-priced Photon printers and models from competitors, such as the Elegoo Mars 3 and its 143 x 90 x 165 mm. With 163 x 102 x 180 mm, it has enough volume for all the go-to resin favorites, such as tabletop gaming minis and mid-sized display figurines. Small-scale batch printing is also an option.

Moving on to the M3 Plus, we see a sizable jump to 197 x 122 x 245 mm, perfect if you need more versatility for larger resin prints. The Anycubic M3 Plus’ overall footprint remains reasonable despite the capacity increase, hitting that sweet spot between volume and size. In other words, you won’t need to dedicate an entire desk or corner of your house to set up the printer.

Lastly, the M3 Max’ 298 x 164 x 300 mm build volume flirts with the likes of the pricey Sonic Mega 8K. In that sense, it’s very much an uncompromising, productivity pick for churning out the biggest resin prints and big volume batch prints.


LCD Resolution and XY Resolution

Photon M3Photon M3 PlusPhoton M3 Max
Build Volume4K, 4098 x 2560p6K, 5760 x 3600p7K, 6480 x 3600p

LCD resolution or pixel count isn’t always the best indicator of quality or surface finish. Instead, it’s the size of the pixels as dictated by how much space they extend to fill up the screen that determines the level of quality.

For example, a 6K LCD on a massive screen may only provide a level of quality on par with a 4K LCD on a smaller screen. It’s the XY resolution that truly matters if you’re trying to get a sense of a printer’s capabilities.

There’s also the fact that as we surge towards ever-higher pixel counts, we reach a point of diminishing returns where improvements to fine detail and features are hard to pinpoint with the naked eye.

A 4K LCD is what we’ve come to expect as standard from entry-level resin printers, and the M3 pushes a fantastic 40 microns XY resolution. With a jump to a 6K LCD, the M3 Plus prints at up to a 34 microns XY resolution, the best of the bunch here. Finally, the Max’ 7K LCD may offer the most pixels, but the larger 13.7″ screen drops the XY resolution to 46 microns.

All things considered, the Anycubic Photon M3 Plus rises to the top for offering the highest printer quality. However, the gap between the M3 and Max is so negligible as to be irrelevant for anyone other than the most demanding makers producing tiny minis. All three produce fantastic quality prints.

For us, far more critical factors separating the three, such as build volume and price, should carry far more weight in your decision.


Automatic Smart Resin Feeding System

Though much cheaper than the Plus and Max, the Photon M3 involves messy, manual resin refilling. The Anycubic Photon M3 Plus and Max include ‘Smart Resin Filling,’ essentially an automatic resing feeding system.

The system ensures the vat is topped up with resin as needed, funneling resin from a bottle mounted on the printer via a special tubed cap attachment.

It ensures no print is ever interrupted or ruined due to resin running out, especially useful for prints using the entire build volume of the two printers and print times tallying up to several long hours.


Print Speed

Photon M3Photon M3 PlusPhoton M3 Max
Build Volume50mm/h100mm/h60mm/h

With the lowest price tag of the three, the Anycubic Photon M3 is also the slowest, pushing 50 mm/h at its limit. It’s certainly on the lower end of consumer resin printers but by no means a snail’s pace – two hours and a half for a 12 cm miniature, for example.

The M3 Plus features a hefty speed upgrade over its siblings, doubling that of the M3 to a swift 100 mm/h and outclassing the Mono and Mono X family.

According to Anycubic’s marketing material, the M3 Plus can cure a 12 cm model in around 1 hour and 20 minutes if pushed to its limit. The time-saving and productivity advantage needs little explanation, and regardless of whether you’re printing one or five models in one sitting, the speed remains the same.

The Anycubic Photon M3 Max pulls back the speed to 60 mm/h to compensate for its size and the heightening of accuracy problems at higher speeds that come with slinging around such a large build plate. This is only a tad slower than the Jupiter and Sonic Mega 8K. Expect the M3 Max to take around two hours to complete a 120 mm model.


Connectivity

All three of the M3s feature USB as standard, but the Anycubic Photon M3 Plus also throws in Wi-Fi connectivity and, by extension, remote, cloud-based control and monitoring through the Anycubic Cloud software.


Price

Though there’s a major difference in price between the three printers, not least the Plus costing more than twice the M3 and the Max surging past that symbolic $1000 mark, they are all competitively priced and offer solid value in their specific ranges.

It’s Anycubic at its best – providing good quality machines at reasonable prices. You’d be hard-pressed to find similarly specced machines with comparable features and performance at the same price, even within Anycubic’s resin printer line-up.


Anycubic Photon M3 vs M3 Plus vs M3 Max – Overall Verdict

If money is your number one concern, then there’s no beating the Anycubic Photon M3 for value. Though undeniably a member of the race-to-the-bottom family of resin printers, we’re impressed with just how much Anycubic has packaged into this compact printer. It’s the perfect first-timer’s resin printer and hits all the right notes when it comes to print quality.

If you can stretch your budget a little further, then the Anycubic Photon M3 Plus takes all the sleek appeal and high-quality printing of its smaller sibling but boosts many of its most important specs for an altogether more competent machine. 

Though Anycubic markets the Photon M3 Plus as a mid-range offering, the M3 Plus is arguably the most value-packed of the three, besting the pricier Max in more ways than one despite the small print capacity. It’s one for makers who want more versatility and better quality prints than the standard M3 offers.

Though we can’t avoid comparing the Anycubic Photon M3 Max to the other M3s, its true appeal is more apparent when compared to other large-format resin printers such as the Phrozen Sonic Mega 8K and Elegoo Jupiter.

It more or less matches these jumbo printers in terms of specifications but does so at a more attractive price. For a small business producing large quantities of minis for tabletop gaming or decorative figurines for sale online, the Anycubic Photon M3 Max delivers the goods and then some.

BUDGET PICK

Anycubic Photon M3

Build volume: 163 x 102 x 180 mm 
Printing technology: MSLA Resin 
LCD Resolution: 4K, 4098 x 2560
XY Resolution: 40 microns
Accuracy: 10 microns
Print Speed: 50 mm/h
Connectivity: USB

Available at:

MID-RANGE PICK

Photon M3 Plus

Build volume: 197 x 122 x 245 mm 
Printing technology: MSLA Resin
LCD Resolution: 6K, 5760 x 3600
XY Resolution: 34 microns
Accuracy: 10 microns
Print Speed: 100 mm/h
Connectivity: USB, Wi-Fi

Available at:

HUGE PRINTER

Photon M3 Max

Build volume: 298 x 164 x 300 mm 
Printing technology: MSLA Resin
LCD Resolution: 7K, 6480 x 3600
XY Resolution: 46 microns
Accuracy: 10 microns
Print Speed: 60 mm/h
Connectivity: USB

Available at:

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