The best resin printer will be based on your size, resolution, and application requirements.
For most people, a small $200 printer is sufficient. Medium and Large MSLA (masked stereolithography) printers are available but are considerably more expensive.
The Z-resolution of most consumer printers is 0.01 mm and the XY-resolution varies. The XY-resolution of 0.05 mm is typical for most affordable monochrome screen printers on the market currently. XY-resolutions down to 0.022 mm are available at a premium; these printers are ideal if you need tight tolerances, want to make commercial items, are casting jewelry, or just have splash cash.
To determine the size of printer you need, we recommend downloading one of the free slicers and throwing in some STLs to compare build volumes.
Small Resin Printers
The Anycubic Photon Mono and Elegoo Mars 2 are nearly identical in components and specifications. The Photon Mono uses a pre-assembled FEP sheet, while the Mars 2 can use any FEP sheet - a universal Sovol vat can be bought for the Photon Mono. Elegoo typically has cheaper screens but there is not much of a difference for the smaller ones. For the Mars 2, there is little benefit in going for the Pro version since its only tangible benefit is the extra 10 mm in build height.
If you are torn between the two, just go for the cheapest one, and if possible purchase it through Amazon or AliExpress to get faster shipping and an additional layer of buyer protection.
As of June, 2022 it looks as though these printers are being phased out for the higher resolution printers such as the M3 series.
Between the next generation printers, the Mono 4K and Mars 3 are entirely appropriate as a first printer. The Photon M3 is ideal if you need a bump in build volume but want to avoid the price increases involved with a medium-sized printer. These printers all have a XY-resolution increase compared to the older Photon Mono and Mars 2.
Elegoo Mars 2
Anycubic Mono 4KAnycubicAmazonAliExpress
Anycubic Photon M3AnycubicAmazonAliExpress
Elegoo Mars 3ElegooAmazonMatterHackers
Phrozen Mini 4K
Resolution: 0.035mm (XY) 0.01mm (Z)
6.1" 4k Screen ($90)
Print Volume: 132mm (L) 74mm (W) 130mm (H)
Medium Resin Printers
The medium resin printers have nearly identical components and features to their smaller brethren. The increase in size is aligned with the higher initial and replacement component cost.
The Saturn slightly edges out the Mono X and Mighty 4K with its pre-installed screen protector and lower screen replacement cost.
If you are torn between the three, just go for the cheapest one that is available, and if possible purchase it through Amazon or AliExpress to get faster shipping and an additional layer of buyer protection. The price can vary quite a bit so make sure to compare sites.
Once the Elegoo Saturn 2 is fully released towards the end of 2022, it should be the best pick as a resin printer. At a price comparable to the original Saturn upon release, it brings extra resolution and build volume. Until this time, any of the medium printers are appropriate. The XY-resolution of the original Saturn and Mono X are perfectly fine for hobby use, especially if you plan on painting the prints. The increase in resolution carries diminishing returns and it is difficult to differentiate between comparative prints with the naked eye.
Elegoo Saturn S
Elegoo Saturn 2
Anycubic Mono X
Anycubic Mono X 6K
Anycubic M3 Plus
Phrozen Mighty 4K
Resolution: 0.052mm (XY) 0.01mm (Z)
9.3" 4k Screen ($135)
Print Volume: 200mm (L) 125mm (W) 220mm (H)
Phrozen Mighty 8K
Resolution: 0.028mm (XY) 0.01mm (Z)
10" 8k Screen
Print Volume: 218mm (L) 123mm (W) 235mm (H)
Large Resin Printers
The Anycubic M3 Max is is the best bang for buck large resin printer. The Phrozen Mega 8K is the largest resin printer on the market, but it does come with a bit of sticker shock. The Elegoo Jupiter could be a good option eventually - for the moment it is still under a pre-order period and the first units will not ship until May.
Anycubic M3 Max
Resolution: 0.043mm (XY) 0.01mm (Z)
13" 7k Screen
Print Volume: 298mm (L) 164mm (W) 300mm (H)
Photon M3 Series
Resolution: 0.051mm (XY) 0.01mm (Z)
12.8" 6k Screen ($200)
Print Volume: 278mm (L) 156mm (W) 300mm (H)
M3 Max vs Jupiter
Ultimate Resin Guide - compare resin printers, resin material, and equipment
Preparing for Resin Printing - setting up an enclosure, heating, ventilation, filtration, and cleaning equipment
FDM Printers Guide - comparison table and top picks for filament printers
Resin Properties or Filament Properties - comparison table and top picks for materials
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