best resin 3d printer ranking

Top 10 Best Resin 3D Printers 2021 (In Every Price Range)

Resin 3D printers use SLA, DLP or LCD technologies to cure liquid resin, creating crisp and high resolution parts at great speed. You’d be surprised how many industries rely on these machines, from jewelry to dental.

We therefore ranked the top resin printers in every price range, from $150 to $5,000+, so you can pick up the perfect machine for your hobbyist projects or business.

Resin printerPriceBest price atAlternative
Anycubic Photon Mono$249Amazon hereAnycubic Official Store
Phrozen Sonic Mini$269Amazon here3DJake Europe here
Elegoo Mars 2 Pro$250+Amazon here3DJake Europe here
Anycubic Mono X$700Amazon hereAnycubic Official Store
Peopoly Moai 130$1,395Matterhackers here
Prusa SL1$1,299 / $1,599Prusa (Preassembled) herePrusa (DIY) here
Peopoly Phenom$1,999Matterhackers here
Uniz Slash Plus$1,999Matterhackers here
Zortrax Inkspire$2,150Amazon here3DJake Europe here
Formlabs Form 3$3,499Dynamism store here

How does a resin 3D printer work?

Every type of resin 3D printing technology cures UV resin, they just differ in how they accomplish this.

Stereolithography (SLA) was the first additive manufacturing technology invented, with the patents granted to 3D Systems back in 1986, and SLA 3D printers use a UV laser and mirrors (called galvanometers) to selectively cure resin.

DLP 3D printing was pioneered by EnvisionTEC, and uses a projector in the same way a movie cinema projector works. LCD instead uses an LCD screen with individual LEDs turned on and off to selectively solidify certain areas of resin to form the final object. LCD is sometimes known as MSLA (masked SLA), such as by Prusa and Peopoly resin printers.

How much is a resin 3D printer?

Good cheap resin 3D printers start at around $200. Just a decade ago resin printers started at thousands of dollars, but with great advances — mainly in LCD printing — prices have come right down!

That being said, these budget resin 3D printers cannot compete with more professional, high resolution printers, such as the Form 3 ($3,499) or Peopoly Phenom ($1,999). They can still create accurate models, such as for miniatures and other fun projects, but as a resin 3D printer for a business, they may struggle.

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Best Cheap Resin 3D Printers (Under $1,000)

Anycubic Photon Mono — great low cost resin 3D printer

The newer Anycubic Photon Mono adds to Anycubic’s top-class reputation in the low cost LCD 3D printer space. Where once you’d expect to pay thousands for an entry-level SLA printer, now printers like the Mono offer great resolution at lower-than-ever prices. The Photon Mono brings new upgrades on previous models, including notably increased resin printing speed, and other precision improvements.

It features a high quality 2K LCD screen, more than enough for most hobbyist resin projects. But, for better resolutions and better quality for really intricate figurines or miniatures, we recommend going for the Anycubic Mono X for its 4K LCD — which we discuss in more depth later in this article.

Perhaps the most notably upgrade is the speed, up to a maximum 50mm/h from previous levels of around 20mm/h on older Photon models. Anycubic have also upgraded the Z-axis for stabler printing and better quality surface finishes with their new dual linear slide system.

Overall, we rate the Anycubic Photon Mono, as well as its competitors in the Sonic Mini and Elegoo Mars range, as the top cheap resin 3D printers around. But, if you’ve got a few hundred extra dollars and want better resolutions, go with the Mono X.

anycubic photon mono cheap resin 3d printer

ELEGOO Mars Pro / Mars 2 Pro — best cheap resin 3D printer

The Elegoo Mars is another cheap resin 3D printer, like the Anycubic Photon, that shocked makers with how good it actually was. With LCD 3D printing becoming more affordable, more precise and faster, the Elegoo takes advantage of this to deliver a cheap resin printer that delivers in quality and consistency.

This upgraded version, the Mars Pro, features improved precision thanks to a revamped Z-axis linear guide-way system that smoothens layers and makes each individual layer line less obvious — improving surface finish. There are also a number of safety improvements such as a silicone seal that prevents resin leaking on the 3D printer’s cover.

It features a 2K LCD projector, with a minimum layer height of just 0.01mm. The Elegoo Mars Pro comes with its own resin 3D slicer called CHITUBOX, and has a good maximum build volume of 115 x 65 x 150 mm. It’s also decently fast for a budget resin 3D printer.

elegoo mars pro

Phrozen Sonic Mini

One of the best-selling low cost resin 3D printers currently, the Phrozen Sonic Mini mixes fast printing and curing speeds with good precision at a good price.

Phrozen have been in the resin 3D printing sector for a few years now, having first released the Phrozen Shuffle, before now releasing the Sonic Mini. The 2.8” touchscreen is easy to navigate, and the Chitubox resin 3D slicer that it works with will be familiar to many people already.

At 50mm/hour printing speed, it’s fast. It’s also versatile, compatible with all third party LCD resins as well as some DLP resins, and with a fairly accurate minimum layer thickness of 0.01mm.

For the price, it’s an extremely interesting printer for those who prefer a fast 3D printer.

phrozen sonic mini

Anycubic Mono X — Great budget resin 3D printer

Anycubic’s original Photon budget resin 3D printer is still one of the most popular 3D printers in the world, and now the Mono X proves the company can cut it even with more premium machines. The Mono X can print 3x faster than standard resin printers, with speeds of up to 60mm/h, and with a 4K LCD screen can produce extremely precise and crisp details.

  • The standard Mono is available for $289 here.

Additionally, the Mono X’s upgraded Z-axis improves stability makes for smoother surface finishes unaffected by outside variables like vibrations. The results are jewelry models and miniatures that you can barely see the layer lines on.

Another great benefit is WiFi printing, so you don’t have to keep unplugging an SD or USB card when printing multiple models throughout the day. The large 3.5-inch touchscreen makes navigation easy, and with the larger build volume you can print several models jewelry models or tabletop miniatures simultaneously. Overall, it’s one of the best budget resin 3D printers.

anycubic mono x

Best Desktop Resin 3D Printers (Between $1,000 and $3,000)

Peopoly Moai 130 — Best DIY resin 3D printer kit

The Peopoly Moai is the only DIY resin 3D printer featured, offering fantastic quality at a far lower price than you’d expect for such a powerful resin printer. The only catch is you need to build it yourself, though you may find building your own resin 3D printer a fun and fulfilling experience that teaches you new skills.

It takes around 6 hours to build the Peopoly Moai 130, but the results are amazing. The laser spot size is 70 microns, several times more accurate than the average FDM 3D printer, with layer heights as low as 10 microns possible. It also prints quickly, so it’s ideal for quick prototyping or for printing dental or jewelry models.

The Peopoly Moai 130 set comes with a number of key upgrades. First, the FEP vat significantly cuts down on cleaning time as it prevents resin from adhering and losing its liquid state over time. There’s also upgrades to the heater modules, UV curing light, and an easy-leveling build plate for simple yet effective resin printing. Overall, it’s a great resin 3D printer kit.

peopoly moai 130 diy resin 3d printer kit
The only self-assembly resin 3D printer on our list, the Peopoly Moai offers great print quality for the price.

Prusa SL1

Prusa printers are known for being the best RepRap 3D printers. They’re so good that more than 150,000 have been sold, with founder Josef Prusa starting factories of his own printers just to make parts for more of them! Prusa-ception.

Now Prusa has moved into the SLA 3D printing sector, with the Prusa SL1 based on mSLA technologies: using LCD and LED panels to cure photopolymer resin layers. As mentioned previously, this creates advantages in scalability — multiple parts can be created simultaneously with no extra time cost — as well as strong precision.

As well as the printer, Prusa sell a washing and curing machine to aid with washing and curing prints, maximizing surface finish quality. The Prusa SL1 features a heavy aluminium body, designed to anchor the printer to the ground and make it more stable so printing is more accurate. I feel like the phrase “of course it’s good, it’s Prusa” is appropriate here.

prusa sl1 lcd 3d printer one of the best new printers 2020

Peopoly Phenom mSLA Printer — large resin 3D printer with huge build volume

We’ve already included the Peopoly Moai 130 on our list — a fantastic DIY SLA 3D printer kit. Now Peopoly are back with the Phenom, a large resin 3D printer that combines LCD and LED technologies.

The Peopoly Moai has a simply enormous print volume for a resin 3D printer, at 276 x 155 x 400 mm, in addition to 72-micron resolution. This virtually unheard of as resin printers typically have much smaller build volumes than FDM 3D printers. Peopoly recommend using their resins when 3D printing, which they sell for around $70 per liter.

Overall, it’s an impressive and accurate large format resin 3D printer.

We also have a buyer’s guide dedicated to large resin 3D printers

peopoly phenom msla 3d printer resin

Uniz Slash Plus — one of the fastest resin 3D printers in the world

Known for incredibly quick resin 3D printing thanks to its patented liquid cooling technologies, the Uniz Slash Plus offers industrial-speed resin printing at accessible prices. You may have seen short videos showing a Uniz 3D printer creating entire resin models in seconds before your eyes before, with Uniz’s technology making it one of the fastest 3D printers in the world.

  • Uniz resins are available here.

As well as its speed, the Uniz Slash Plus is easy to use and navigate, comes with its own custom resin 3D slicer, and utilizes a large 8.9 inch 2K LCD screen capable of excellent accuracy. This is evident as the Slash Plus is capable of 20-micron accuracy on the Z axis, with XY precision of 75 microns.

This makes the Uniz Slash Plus the ideal resin 3D printer for fast and accurate resin model production, such as in the creation of dental or other medical models, and in general rapid prototyping and manufacturing. Small businesses will love the speed the Uniz Slash Plus allows them to iterate at, and any committed makers with the money to spend on a Slash Plus will enjoy creating high quality resin parts at home.

uniz slash plus

Zortrax Inkspire

Zortrax are another well-known desktop FDM 3D printer brand who have pivoted and entered the SLA 3D printing market in recent times. Joining names such as Prusa, XYZprinting and Sharebot, Zortrax have released their own resin printer, making use of new and innovative UV LCD technologies that make resin printing more accurate and faster.

As with all Zortrax 3D printers, the Inkspire focuses on high quality 3D printing. It features a 50-micron XY resolution and a minimum layer height of 25 microns, precise enough for almost any application. The Inkspire also features a 4-inch easy-to-use touchscreen and can be connected to via WiFi, Ethernet or USB.

zortrax inkspire best lcd 3d printer

Professional Resin 3D Printers ($3,000+)

Formlabs Form 3 — best resin 3D printer

Formlabs have become a huge name in the 3D printing industry since their original Kickstarter campaign in 2012. The US 3D printer company sell the Form 3 SLA 3D printer for $3,499, and it has since become very popular in the dental and jewelry industries.

  • Formlabs resins are available here.

The Form 3 comes with a huge variety of new features. It comes with new LFS technology advantages as well as a new Light Processing Unit (LPU) to improve resin part surface finishes, as well as better layer registrations. The Form 2 was already fantastic, and these added features elevate the Form 3 to a whole new dimension within SLA 3D printing.

Additionally, the Formlabs Form 3 has an automated resin system and uses smart cartridges that automatically fill the resin vat. In addition, it has a scanning system for the resin tray after each layer, and automatically adjusts based on the type of resin used. Furthermore, its got a fantastic touch screen and can be operated remotely via a WiFi connection.

This uv has a very nice print volume of 145 x 145 x 185 mm, and is extremely precise with 25-micron XY resolution. The Formlabs Form 3 is also compatible with a large amount of resins, though Formlabs also sell their own high-quality resin materials.

Formlabs have cemented themselves as leaders in Stereolithography with the Form 3. It has received rave reviews, and is used extensively in the dental sector. Formlabs also sell an SLS 3D printer, the Fuse 1.

formlabs form 3

Uses of resin 3D printers

Budget resin 3D printers are typically used by hobbyists to make accurate figures and miniatures at details FDM printers just cannot reach. They’re commonly used for 28mm miniatures, D&D figures, and other similar projects for tabletop models.

See also: our buyer’s guide for the best 3D printers for miniatures.

However, these low cost options can sometimes be used for creating wax molds for jewelry casting. For better quality casting with precious metals however it is recommended to use a more professional resin 3D printer capable of better resolutions and precision.

See also: our guide to the best jewelry 3D printers.

Resin printers are commonly used in the dental, audiology, jewelry, and medical industries. For example, within dentistry resin 3D printers can print orthodontic models and implants, and within audiology, almost 100% of custom hearing aids are now 3D printed.

See also: 3D printing in the dental industry.

See also: how 3D printed hearing aids took over the world.

Resin 3D printing vs filament (FDM)

Hobbyists typically turn to resin 3D printing when they desire better precision, smoother surface areas and crisper details on small prints like figurines or miniatures. Though FDM is simpler, it can’t achieve these levels of precision or smoothness.

However, the tradeoff is FDM is that in terms of filament vs resin, filaments are cheaper, easier to use and re-use, come in more varieties of materials, colors and types, and are generally tougher.

Resins are typically more expensive (though LCD resins are far cheaper now) and more complex to use. They need to be carefully washed and post-processed, and more care must be taken when printing and during resin 3D printer post processing — wearing protective items among other things — as the materials can be corrosive.

Resin and filament are therefore used for different applications, rather than being in direct competition for the same uses. For unparalleled accuracy for cheap 3D printers, and for fast dental, jewelry and medical models, resin 3D printers are the way to go. But for tougher — perhaps with more than one color — basic prototypes, FDM works best.

See also: our complete buyer’s guide for 3D printer filaments.

See also: our guide to FDM vs SLA.

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