Tom’s Hardware is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more
By 28 October 2021
You can find a great resin (aka MSLA) 3D printer for less than $250.
As 3D printing continues to become cheaper and more accessible, resin 3D printers have become a popular choice for anyone interested in making highly detailed models that wouldn’t be feasible using a filament-fed 3D printer. These MSLA (Masked Stereolithography) resin 3D printers typically only have a single axis of motion, and this simple mechanical system means these machines can regularly be found for under $300. With so many models  on the market, we’ve made this list to help you find the best resin 3D printer for you. 
Resin 3D printers are capable of making high resolution models by curing a liquid resin using a UV light source. This MSLA process uses a masking LCD to selectively block the UV light on a pixel-by-pixel basis, allowing these printers to create models that have a resolution of down to .035mm on the XY axes. This high resolution comes at a price, as parts made on a resin 3D printer require post-processing after printing, and UV resin requires caution when handling. Because resin requires gloves and a mask to handle, we recommend beginners or anyone with young kids consider one of the FDM (fusion deposit modeling) printers on our overall best 3D printers page.
There are several factors to consider before buying a resin 3D printer, so be sure to consider these questions before making a choice.

A near-perfect balance between value and performance, it’s hard to find a better resin 3D printer than the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro. It’s fast, well-built, and provides reliable prints without any fuss. The slicer app Chitubox comes with a profile for the Mars 2 Pro that offers a 2.5-second exposure time, which lets this machine race ahead of competitors using traditional RGB LCD screens which can take 5-10 seconds per layer. 
The 129mm x 80mm x 160mm build volume of the Mars 2 Pro is a little on the smaller side, but the two-bolt leveling system used for calibrating the platform is so easy, it almost feels like cheating. Throw in an integrated air filter, a color LCD, and a solid metal base and you’ve got a 3D printer that can make accurate parts quickly and repeatedly.
Generally available for between $250 and $300, the Mars 2 Pro provides rock-solid construction along with a fast-curing Mono LCD screen to give users a smooth printing experience. If you’re most interested in the highest possible resolution and don’t mind a plastic base, the Elegoo Mars 3 offers a 4K screen and a slightly larger build volume for around $300. 
More: Elegoo Mars 2 Pro 3D Printer Review 

The Prusa SL1S is one of the smartest consumer resin 3D printers on the market, and it’s packed with features that make it the perfect choice for anyone who wants to get up and running with a resin 3D printer as fast as possible while still making quality parts. The tilting vat on the SL1S allows for blazing fast print speeds, and the color LCD touchscreen guides users through everything from unboxing the printer to calibrating the build platform. 
The Prusa SL1S advertises a jaw-droppingly fast per-layer exposure time of 1.4-seconds, and the native integration with the user-friendly PrusaSlicer app makes adjusting the various parameters of this printer a breeze. The 2K Mono LCD screen provides a .049mm XY resolution, which is more than enough to give parts made on the SL1S a smooth and high-definition appearance. 
With a retail price of $1,999 (or bundled with the optional CW1S Cure Wash station for $2,599), the SL1S is targeted towards prosumers or businesses and is unlikely to wind up on the desk of a hobbyist. For anyone interested in high-resolution printing at a lower cost, the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro and Elegoo Mars 3 both sell for under $300 and offer similar XY resolution at the expense of a slower print speed and a less-intuitive user interface. 
More: Prusa SL1S Speed Resin 3D Printer Review 

Combining the ease-of-use of the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro and the larger build volume of printers like the Anycubic Photon Mono X, the Elegoo Saturn is capable of printing large parts quickly just as easily as printing lots of small parts simultaneously. The .05mm XY resolution is on the lower side for most resin 3D printers, but the Saturn is still able to make smooth parts that require minimal post-processing.
Just like its smaller sibling the Mars 2 Pro, the Saturn uses a spring-loaded, self-leveling platform that makes calibration a breeze, something to be grateful for when you have such a large build volume. Replacing the FEP film on the vat is similarly easy, and the entire printing experience is designed to be as frictionless as possible thanks to the native integration with the Chitubox app.
The Saturn has a build volume of 280.46 cubic inches, a dramatic increase from the 100.81 cubic inch build volume of the smaller Elegoo Mars 2 Pro. If you’re looking for a resin printer that offers a large build volume, but you don’t want to compromise with a lower-quality print, the Saturn is an ideal solution. Originally very difficult to find in stock at release, Elegoo has since caught up with demand and the $499 Saturn is readily available at Amazon and on the Elegoo site.
More: Elegoo Saturn Resin 3D Printer Review 

The Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K offers a fast 2.2 second exposure time thanks to a 4K Mono LCD and plug-and-play compatibility with the Chitubox slicer app. The Sonic Mini 4K offers a best-in-class XY resolution of .035mm, making it a perfect fit for anyone interested in printing small models with high levels of detail and precision. 
The .035mm XY resolution provides extreme levels of detail for making intricate models without compromise. Unfortunately, the Sonic Mini 4K has a Z axis of 130mm, significantly shorter than most other resin 3D printers in this price range. In addition, the build platform uses a four-bolt leveling system that can be tricky to calibrate accurately, and our review unit had some machining-related quality issues that should have been caught before the machine shipped. 
Selling for $399 on Amazon and $349 direct from Phrozen, the Sonic Mini 4K is the perfect printer for jewelers looking to make highly detailed castable-wax prints, dentists interested in making accurate dental models, or anyone else interested in high-accuracy printing. If you’re looking for a slightly larger build volume and want to keep the .035mm XY resolution, the Elegoo Mars 3 offers both for about the same price. 
More: Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K 3D Printer Review 

The Anycubic Vyper is designed for high-throughput 3D printing, and impressed us with its rock-solid build construction and impressive list of features. Silent stepper drivers, dual Z threaded rods and a high-airflow part cooling system are just a few of the many features that make the Vyper an easy choice for anyone interested in printing out large quantities of parts.
The strain-gauge bed leveling system allows the Vyper to quickly and accurately complete an automatic mesh bed calibration. This form of calibration is ideal for anyone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of time tweaking or calibrating the printer, and it worked well during testing and didn’t require any further adjustments to get an even first layer. 
The Vyper isn’t the cheapest printer on this list, but it earned its place by providing a fast setup and trouble-free operation throughout our testing. The Vyper was designed with an impressive level of attention to detail, and the various areas on a 3D printer that would require adjustment (extruder, X/Y belts, etc.) are all easily accessible and adjustable. The included Cura slicer app is easy to use, but the printer profile that ships with the machine might require some tweaking that beginning users may struggle with. 
More: Anycubic Vyper 3D Printer Review 
Get instant access to breaking news, in-depth reviews and helpful tips.
Thank you for signing up to Tom’s Hardware. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.
Tom’s Hardware is part of Future US Inc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. Visit our corporate site.
© Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10036.

source