Anycubic Photon M3 vs Mono 4K vs Mono X/6K

With Anycubic’s brand new Photon M3 MSLA printer now out in the wild and arriving factory-fresh on doorsteps around the world, we thought it worthwhile to see how it stacks up to the company’s previous-gen resin printers, namely the Photon Mono 4K, Mono X, and Mono 6K.

Is the Photon M3 the sleek upgrade touted by Anycubic’s well-oiled marketing machine or a drab refresh of the Mono 4K that’s not worth the extra spend? We’ve pieced together this comprehensive Anycubic Photon M3 vs. Mono 4K vs. Mono X/6K guide to hopefully point you towards the one that’s right for you.

Meet The Printers: Anycubic Photon M3 takes on the Photon Mono 4K, Mono X, and Mono X 6K

3DSourced is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Anycubic Photon M3

  • Price: $299.00 — Available at Anycubic here
  • Printing technology: MSLA Resin 
  • Build volume: 163 x 102 x 180 mm
  • LCD Size: 7.6’’
  • LCD Resolution: 4K +, 4098 x 2560
  • XY Resolution: 40 microns
  • Accuracy: 10 microns
  • Print Speed: 50 mm/h
  • Connectivity: USB
Photon M3

Swooping into the ever-expanding low-cost segment of the market, the Anycubic Photon M3 is a compact, user-friendly MSLA resin printer that dips below that symbolic $300 mark.

Touted as a replacement for the 2nd generation Mono 4K (hence the 3 in M3), the Photon M3 hit the market with a few enhancements. Size is always a big driver for these types of generational leaps, and the Photon M3 is no different, sprouting an above-average 163 x 102 x 180 mm, a 7.6’’ LCD, 4K + pixel count, high detail 40 micron XY resolution, and an ultra-adhesive checkerboard build plate.

Specifications lists are one thing but translated, this means the Photon M3 generates reasonably-sized figurines, minis, and models at a level of detail that should meet the expectations of anyone that’s dabbled with the Elegoo Mars 3 and Mono 4K.

For all its offers, $299 isn’t a price you’ll find many makers complaining about. This being Anycubic, expect the price to drop further as the company is partial to using any excuse to conjure up what feels like monthly sales events. At the time of writing, it’s currently available for $279.

We can’t mention the M3 without a word on the Photon M3 Plus and Photon M3 Max. These take the core design and features of the M3, then supersize them with larger build volumes and extra comforts, including an automatic resin feeding system on the Plus. Check out our dedicated comparison guide for a deeper dive into the similarities and differences between the Photon M3 trio.

Best Budget Anycubic Resin Printer
Anycubic Photon M3 Resin 3D Printer
$299
Anycubic Store here Amazon here
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Anycubic Photon Mono 4K

  • Price: $289.00 — Available at Anycubic here
  • Printing technology: MSLA Resin 
  • Build volume: 132 x 80 x 165 mm
  • LCD Size: 6.23’’
  • LCD Resolution: 4K, 3840 x 2400
  • XY Resolution: 35 microns
  • Accuracy: 10 microns
  • Print Speed: 50 mm/h
  • Connectivity: USB
Photon Mono 4K

Launched as recently as the tail end of 2021, the Anycubic Photon Mono 4K saw Anycubic jump on the pixel-pumping bandwagon by pushing its rather good Photon Mono to 4K with a competitive price tag to match. An entry-level printer built upon solid foundations then and one designed to see Anycubic join Elegoo and Phrozen at the big boys 4K table.

Under the 4K heavy name and marketing, the printer is pound for pound identical to the first Mono, housing a pretty average and possibly even dingy 132 x 80 x 165 mm build volume. However, it does manage to push a sharper 35 micron XY resolution courtesy of the jump to 4K.

Much like the M3, it’s very much aimed at novice makers, including those looking for the type of high-quality prints FDM machines simply can’t offer. Think miniatures, modest figurines, small decorative pieces, and jewelry with plenty of fine detail.


Anycubic Photon Mono X

  • Price: $759.00 — Available at Anycubic here
  • Printing technology: MSLA Resin 
  • Build volume: 192 x 120 x 245 mm
  • LCD Size: 8.9”
  • LCD Resolution: 4K, 3840 x 2400
  • XY Resolution: 50 microns
  • Accuracy: 10 microns
  • Print Speed: 60 mm/h
  • Connectivity: USB
Photon Mono X

Launched in late 2020, the Photon Mono X wasn’t just Anycubic’s first 4K machine but its first foray into large format resin printing. With the Mono 4K, Mono X 6K, and most recently the Photon M3, it’s lost some of its initial launch luster but remains worth considering, given it’s available pretty much steadily for as low as $379.

By MSLA resin printer standards, the Photon Mono X’s 192 x 120 x 245 mm build volume is generously-sized, giving makers more options for more ambitious prints such as figurines and even reasonably-sized terrain for tabletop gaming, for example.

Its 50 micron XY resolution is nothing to sneeze at, but it lags behind more recent Anycubic resin machines. However, the Mono X makes up for this with nippy layer cure times pushing up to 60 mm/h and a nowadays par for the course 4K LCD.


Anycubic Photon Mono X 6K

  • Price: $689.00 — Available at Anycubic here
  • Printing technology: MSLA Resin 
  • Build volume: 197 x 122 x 245 mm
  • LCD Size: 9.25”
  • LCD Resolution: 6K, 5760 x 3600
  • XY Resolution: 34 microns
  • Accuracy: 10 microns
  • Print Speed: 80 mm/h
  • Connectivity: USB, Ethernet
Photon Mono X 6K

Last but not least, we have the mighty Anycubic Photon Mono X 6K. As evidenced by the name, this large-format resin printer comes with a high-pixel 6K LCD covering a hulking 197 x 122 x 245 mm build volume – the best of the Mono bunch.

Other specifications read like a wishlist for an affordable resin printer: 34 micron XY resolution, up to 80 mm/h print speeds, 40 LED light matrix, Ethernet connectivity, and a competitive price tag. Elsewhere, it recycles much of what maker’s praised in the Mono X.

It prints all those go-to resin printer favorites like minis but also shows quite a bit of versatility when it comes to larger projects, especially prototypes for product development or general business ends. As always with Anycubic products, regular sales pull the price down to under $500, making it ever more value-packed.

Premium Pick
Anycubic Photon Mono X 6K
$689
Anycubic Store here Amazon here
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Anycubic Photon M3 vs. Mono 4K vs. Mono X/6K Comparison

Build Volume

  • Anycubic Photon M3 – 163 x 102 x 180 mm
  • Anycubic Photon M3 Plus – 197 x 122 x 245 mm
  • Anycubic Photon M3 Max – 298 x 164 x 300 mm
  • Anycubic Photon Mono 4K – 132 x 80 x 165 mm
  • Anycubic Photon Mono X – 192 x 120 x 245 mm
  • Anycubic Photon Mono X 6K – 197 x 122 x 245 mm

The build volume is the starkest differentiating factor between the Anycubic Photon M3 and Mono trio. With the growing appetite for larger capacities, the Photon M3 printers win out for the simple reason that they were released later.

Though the comparison isn’t perfect, each of the M3s beats the equivalent Mono. For example, even the low-cost Photon M3’s 163 x 102 x 180 mm offers substantially more print space than the Mono 4K’s comparatively meager 132 x 80 x 165 mm.

The pattern continues as we increase the price, culminating in the massive Photon M3 Max’s 298 x 164 x 300 mm, besting the Mono X 6K on the X-axis alone by over 100 mm. If print capacity lingers near the top of your list of features and your budget allows it, the Anycubic Photon M3 offers more value for your money than the Mono range.


LCD and XY Resolution

We’ll start by saying that regardless of which Photon you go for, these are resin printers and produce prints with vastly better detail than standard FDM 3D printers. That said, there are some differences between the models, which may be important for those planning to produce small, high-detailed minis.

It’s also worth knowing there’s a trade-off between pixel count and LCD size. The larger the LCD, the more the pixels have to ‘stretch’ to fill up the space, so ideally, a printer with a large LCD will have a higher resolution to match.

Top of the quality food chain, we have the Anycubic Photon Mono X 6K with a 34 micron XY resolution, 6K, 9.25″ LCD . Following close behind is the Anycubic Photon Mono 4K with a 4K, 6.23″ LCD, and 35 microns XY resolution. The Anycubic Photon M3 bumps this up to 40 microns and 4K+ 7.6″ LCD, while the Anycubic Photon Mono X sits at a higher 50 microns and a 4K at 8.9″ LCD.

With a 15 micron difference between them, we are clutching at straws when considering detail alone. It’s best to view it alongside price and, more specifically, what quality you’re getting for your money. In that sense, the Anycubic Photon M3 and Anycubic Photon Mono 4K offer the most value but have the smallest build volumes of the four printers as a trade-off.

We’d suggest avoiding the Mono X entirely. It’s getting a little long in the tooth, and the price is simply too high for the quality on offer.


Print Speed

  • Anycubic Photon M3 – 50 mm/h
  • Anycubic Photon M3 Plus – 100 mm/h
  • Anycubic Photon M3 Max – 60 mm/h
  • Anycubic Photon Mono 4K – 50 mm/h
  • Anycubic Photon Mono X – 60 mm/h
  • Anycubic Photon Mono X 6K – 80 mm/h

It’s important to note that advertised print speeds represent the theoretical maximum. Chances are you want to push any of these printers that far, but it’s nice to know the potential is there if you need it.

That aside, the Anycubic Photon M3 Plus pushes a blistering 100 mm/h, and in keeping with resin printers curing entire layers regardless of XY size on one go, you can churn out batches in no time at all. The Anycubic Photon Mono X 6K holds its ground with a swift 80 mm/h, which is superb given the large print capacity.

The Photon M3, M3 Max, Mono 4K, and Mono X dart between 50 and 60 mm/h. Reasonable speeds for a consumer-grade printer but nothing to steal headlines. Expect roughly two hours and a half to print a standard 12 cm miniature or a batch of similarly sized models.


Price

Aside from the Mono X, which is a little pricey in our opinion for what it offers, all the Photon printers offer excellent value. The Photon M3 and Mono 4K stand as well-priced starter printers for novices that want a reliable, hassle-free printing experience. For everything it offers, the M3 Plus packs plenty of bang for the buck.

Anycubic is partial to a good sale, with one popping up every month or so, so there’s a good chance you won’t pay anywhere near MSRP for any of these printers.


Availability

With the arrival of the new M3 trio, the older Photons are being phased out to make way for the factory-fresh newcomers. This means massive discounts likely to reduce availability very quickly and suggest it may be complicated to pick up a Mono X in six months time.

If you’re leaning towards one of the older models, we recommend making a purchase quickly as they won’t be sold for much longer.


Anycubic Photon M3 vs. Mono 4K vs. Mono X/6K – The Bottom Line

New is always better, but in the case of Anycubic Photon M3, that certainly is the case. Anycubic has done well to offer a printer for all budgets, each one packed with value. The older Mono 4K, Mono X, and Mono 6K still have their place for those looking to snap up a bargain.

For beginners, the Photon M3 delivers an easy first-timers printing experience at a great price. The Mono 4K is still a solid option for novices, especially as you’ll often find it heavily reduced.

For those looking for a large build volume, the M3 Plus and Max are great options, decked out with outstanding print speeds and modern comforts. However, the Mono 6K isn’t all that new, having been released less than a year ago, and it could be a thrifty way to save some money but still get a vast resin print capacity.

Other related articles: