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Elegoo Mars Vs ANYCUBIC Photon: Which Printer Is Better?

Elegoo Mars Vs ANYCUBIC Photon: Which Printer Is Better? | 3D Printing Spot

Updated by

William Stone

/

September 16, 2021

Amongst the 3D printers available on the market, the Elegoo Mars and the Anycubic Photon 3D are hot items. If you’re into the world of 3D printing, you probably have heard mention of these two treasures at least a time or two. Because the Elegoo Mars is relatively new on the scene, you may wonder what the hype is all about and which is better: Elegoo Mars or Anycubic Photon?

The Elegoo Mars is the best in terms of affordability paired with quality. However, Anycubic Photon easily outcompetes Elegoo Mars in its precision and detail found in the finished product.

Both printers are incredible machines with tremendous potential, and they’re worth every penny spent. However, if you’re debating between purchasing an Elegoo Mars or Anycubic Photon printer, there are some notable differences between the two.  Depending on what you’re looking for in a 3D printer, it’s a good idea to do some thorough research before you decide which is right for you. Keep reading for a comprehensive comparison of the Elegoo Mars and the Anycubic Photon.

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Table of contents:

HOW DO THE ELEGOO MARS AND ANYCUBIC PHOTON 3D PRINTERS COMPARE?

This is a great question. We’re so glad you asked! Honestly, they are pretty comparable products at first glance. Many individuals, particularly those just entering the field, often have a difficult time deciding which to purchase because of their basic similarity.

Below is a table we’ve compiled to give you side-by-side comparison of the two products that (hopefully) simplifies things for you:

*This price is listed on the website to purchase the machine alone. The resin would have to be purchased separately, unless you upgraded to differing amounts of resin, ranging from 500 milliliters – 1 liter.

PRINTING WITH RESIN IS A MESSY PROCESS

As a quick note, caution should always be taken when handling the resin used in both of these 3D printers.

Manufacturers often recommend wearing protective gear, such as gloves and safety glasses, when handling resin – especially when cleaning the machine. It is also a good idea to operate the machine in a well-ventilated space.

This also extends to handling the resin.

You will also need to wash/soak the finished product in isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol to remove any remaining uncured resin and then finish curing it by placing it in UV light. It takes a bit more time, and is somewhat labor intensive, but in the end, your finished product is well worth it.

PROPER PRINTER MAINTENANCE

As we just mentioned, printing with resin is messy. One critical step to your printing process is making sure that your printer’s nozzle is free of any debris.

If your printer nozzle gets clogged, or even partially clogged, you will end up with defects in your products and wasted materials.

To clear your printer nozzle of debris, first use a hot air gun to warn and soften the clog. Afterward, you can use:

  • A brush to remove the resin from the outside, and the tip of the nozzle, and then
  • A pin or a needle to push the resin out of the interior of the nozzle.

NOT DONE YET

Now, before you jump to any conclusions after scanning the previous table, stay with me for a minute. There’s more to the story. It might seem that hands down, the Anycubic Photon is the route to go based on a quick look.

Sure, it makes sense based on the price (which we’ll get into later), but there are several key details you may have skimmed over. Now, let’s take a closer look.

Although you might not care about the size of the touchscreen (although some of you with larger hands or those who enjoy having more room to play with the design might enjoy the extra space), take a look at the minimum layer height.

Sure, we’re talking millimeters here, which may seem incredibly small and insignificant. But, listen – millimeters matter in the world of 3D printing.

  • They matter when scaling the plans to where you want them.
  • They matter when considering the build volume you have.
  • And they certainly matter when it comes to the thickness/height of each layer.

The thinner the layers you make, the more you will need and vice versa.

The number of layers that go into the design determine the printing speed. So if you’re printing a relatively large object (remember the build volume we’re working with here) with less attention to detail, go ahead and increase the layer thickness.

However, if your design is very detailed, this added flexibility pays off in the end, resulting in a quality final product.

Just remember, decreased thickness = more layers = more print time.

In other words, be sure your project requires that level of detail. If it doesn’t, especially on the Elegoo Mars, go for thicker layers. Chances are you won’t be able to tell the difference in the appearance of the finished product, but you will in the time it takes for it to complete.

ANTI-ALIASING FEATURE

One feature that both the Anycubic Photon and the Elegoo Mars have updated to run with their software, is anti-aliasing.

Why does this matter? To some, it might not. However, it’s still important to understand what it does and why it’s such a key feature for the companies to introduce.

In general, anti-aliasing is used to smooth the appearance of otherwise jagged lines, and in general give a more realistic look.

It is used to reduce a “pixelated” or “grainy” appearance, creating a smoother and more aesthetically pleasing surface on the product.

On the other hand, unless the products are compared side-by-side, most cannot distinguish the difference between the anti-aliased and non-aliased (especially depending on the degree of anti-aliasing). Therefore, this is a purely optional feature, although very nice to have.

In our personal opinion, it enhances the quality of the product, but it varies based on the preference of the user.

THE ELEGOO MARS OFFERS INCREASED BUILD VOLUME

In addition to offering the operator more precision when printing a job, the Elegoo also just barely usurps the Anycubic Photon in terms of build volume.

Again, millimeters matter, even if it’s an additional 5 mm on the X-axis and 3 mm on the Y-axis. This allows for slightly larger objects to be printed if the user so desires.

Are you thinking the Elegoo Mars isn’t so bad after all? In fact, many individuals have found it to outperform the Anycubic Photon, but we’ll get into that more later. Keep reading to find out more about both products.

PROS AND CONS OF THE ELEGOO MARS AND THE ANYCUBIC PHOTON

Although both printers are powerful, they both come with several clear advantages – and of course, some drawbacks.

Anycubic Photon:

  • Pros:
  • Product generally comes with the option to purchase, at minimum, 250 mL of resin
  • Product comes fully assembled, minimizing start-up time for user
  • Highly detailed products can be produced
  • DLP (Digital Light Processing) printer
  • Easy leveling
  • Prints off-line
  • Very user-friendly
  • Solid construction
  • Cons:
  • 3D printing with resin is messy, and not necessarily ideal for beginners. In addition to having a strong smell, the pieces will also need to be washed and cured
  • Both machines are rather small, although the Elegoo Mars in marginally bigger in comparison. This limits what can be made on either machine to trinkets like jewelry, table-top knick-knacks, etc.
  • The touchscreen has a relatively slow response time
  • Requires several extra steps to set up the printer as compared to the Elegoo Mars
  • No computer connectivity
  • USB port located on the back

Elegoo Mars:

  • Pros:
  • Product comes fully assembled, minimizing start-up time for user
  • High success rate while printing
  • The chamber cover is one piece, giving the operator full-access (this may also be a con to some)
  • DLP printer
  • Full view of product while printing
  • UV-blocking lid
  • Great support community
  • Few moving parts
  • Cons:
  • Product is typically sold without resin (despite this, they actually sell some of the least expensive resins on the market at about $35 per L, which you can buy here.)
  • 3D printing with resin is messy, and not necessarily ideal for beginners. In addition to having a strong smell, the pieces will also need to be washed and cured
  • As mentioned above, both machines are rather small, although the Elegoo Mars in marginally bigger in comparison. This limits what can be made on either machine to trinkets like jewelry, table-top knick-knacks, etc.
  • The chamber cover is one piece, and so must be completely removed for access, meaning there is a risk that the chamber may catch on the machine. However, with time, and practice, this should no longer be problem
  • USB port is located on the back of the machine
  • Annoying beeping at the beginning at end of a print job, which can be turned off in the menu

WEBSITE RATINGS

When looking at the website for each printer, Anycubic Photon is well-rated, and while Elegoo Mars does not have a star rating system, customers also seem satisfied with their purchases.

Similarly, on Amazon, both products are highly rated. There are a marginally higher number of consumers that have purchased the Elegoo Mars on Amazon as compared to the Anycubic Photon. This is likely due to the heavy discounts the company consistently puts out to the marketplace to encourage newbies to try it out.

Here are a few comments from customers that have purchased them:

Elegoo Mars:

  • “Impressive entry-level printer for the price”
  • “Amazingly good quality printer and a super value”
  • “Less finicky than FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) printers…It’s very forgiving”

Anycubic Photon:

  • “Low-cost entry into resin printing; amazing print quality!”
  • “Excellent price for the fine detail it’s capable of printing”
  • “Fantastic for small detailed prints”

It’s definitely a good practice to thoroughly read the ratings (as well as the question and answer sections) of each product. We’ve embedded the hyperlinks to the amazon products above.

These could be of great use to you, either in solidifying your purchase decision or in helping you perform troubleshooting in the future.  Many of the customers left detailed descriptions of what they do and do not like, quirks they found, and how they worked around specific errors.

ELEGOO MARS: THE MOST AFFORDABLE 3D PRINTER

As mentioned before, the Elegoo Mars and the Anycubic Photon are in similar cost brackets – both are available under $500. And considering that the Elegoo Mars is also frequently discounted, even to prices as low as $140 in some instances, it’s a steal.

Most recently, we found it stocked on Amazon for $190, but that is only as long as those supplies last.

You might wonder the reason behind these significant discounts.

While there are several theories, it most likely is it’s recency on the market. This printer was originally unveiled in 2017 but wasn’t released until later in 2019. As the company seeks to grow its product’s popularity, market saturation by offering deep discounts is not an uncommon marketing strategy for startups.

So far, it has been working. Admirably, the quality of the product has not been affected by these severe price reductions, making it the superior product to purchase in this price range.

OFTEN OUT OF STOCK

Not long after the release of the Elegoo Mars, it’s popularity quickly flared. As a result, the company producing it, Shenzhen Elegoo Technology Co., Ltd., seems to be struggling to keep up with demand (although some skeptics theorize that it may be a marketing tactic to create the illusion of scarcity). Despite this, quality of the product overall has not been compromised and ratings remain high.

Not to worry. The company has been quickly producing/releasing more products and, at this point, the Elegoo Mars is generally not out of stock for significant periods of time.

A COMPANY WITH A HISTORY IN 3D

Shenzhen Elegoo Technology Co., Ltd. actually has a history of making 3D parts, and has been doing so since 2014. It was only in the recent past that they released their very own 3D machine.

Considering that many of the 3D printers on the market now, or previously, utilized the parts produced by this company, we can assume that, at the very least, the components of the machine are of a competitive quality.

THOUGHTS ON THE ELEGOO MARS BY REAL PEOPLE

While the Anycubic Photon clearly is a good 3D printer, it has been on the market for quite some time. Particularly at its most basic, it may be considered somewhat “outdated.” Particularly because there are numerous newer Anycubic Photon printers available, such as the Anycubic Photon S – sold at about double the cost of its predecessor.

That said, the Elegoo Mars was the first of its kind – and is consistently found at reduced cost.

This makes it an attractive option for many buyers, given its standard price point that rivals that of the Anycubic Photon S.

Elegoo even created an additional product in their Photon line, introducing the Elegoo Photon Pro following their initial product’s popularity.

If you use this link, you can read the thoughts of numerous individuals who made the switch from Anycubic Photon to Elegoo Mars. Here is an additional review from which you can view via YouTube. It’s given via a YouTuber specializing in 3D printing.

Of course, you can also read the hundreds of reviews left by (mainly) satisfied customers on Amazon.

OUTPERFORMED A $2,000 MODEL

When a Elegoo Mars, Mars Pro and Zotrax Inkspire (priced at $2,000) were put to the test, the Mars and Mars Pro outperformed hands down. This is partly because the Inkspire failed to perform at all.

On the other hand, between the Mars and Mars Pro, they performed fairly similarly with the Mars Pro slightly outperforming in terms of detail.

The primary reason for the development of the Mars Pro was to:

  • Move the USB port to the front of the device,
  • Improve ventilation, and
  • Manage the noxious fumes emitted from the resin.

Overall, it produces a very similar product to the original.

In general, if you want a reliable machine but are just looking to just dip your toes into the world of 3D printing, not quite ready to make the full plunge, the Elegoo Mars may be a good choice. Especially if you can find it while it’s discounted.

WARRANTY AND SERVICE

As with any new technological gadget, you will want to check out what kind of guarantee it comes with.

The Elegoo Mars happens to come with a pretty decent one, backing your product completely for a full year. You also have access to their technical support team regarding product operation and how to accurately use the software, which will certainly come in handy.

ANYCUBIC PHOTON: THE MOST DETAILED PRINTER

Up until now, you’ve probably thought we were going on and on about the incredible qualities of the Elegoo Mars. You’re right. We absolutely did, because it is a quality product for the price tag – especially when you can catch it at its discounted price – and therefore, it deserves a bit of the limelight. However, we’re now going to transition to another incredible machine.

The Anycubic Photon has been around in the 3D world for a bit longer than the Elegoo Mars. It was released to the market in 2018.

In fact, it now has an enhanced version of the original, the Anycubic Photon S – which offers an impressive print speed double that of the original for the same layer height.

The new model also has anti-aliasing, however the original still does not. Unfortunately, the build volume didn’t change much, but they did add 10 mm to the Y-axis.

INCREDIBLE DETAIL

The Anycubic Photon can produce 3D models that are so intricate, it will absolutely blow you away.

Seriously, the detail is just that incredible. If you don’t believe me, try googling Anycubic Photon 3D models – or better yet, check out this site with a great compilation of some amazing creations from the Anycubic Photon.

Thanks to its microscopic layers, dropping as low as 0.024 mm, it’s able to achieve incredibly detailed finished products.

In addition, with the improvement of the anti-aliasing feature, the printed object has a much more smooth appearance, reducing the voxelation (i.e. pixelated/textured look).

AN IDEAL SIZE

Despite its build volume being featured as a drawback, the size of the machine itself is actually quite compact and convenient.

This means it can be stored easily, and also fits comfortably onto a desk area. In theory, it also would transport well, but you would want to exercise caution if you do plan to transport it. Ensure the tank is completely empty of resin to avoid spillage and the emission of toxic fumes.

Overall, the Elegoo Mars has a very functional vibe. Although the design of the machine itself is very basic, it is made from quality materials such as:

  • Machined aluminum (build plate & resin tub) and
  • Stamped sheet metal (machine frame).

In addition, it comes fully assembled, so all that really needs to be done is to make a few adjustments before you’re ready for your first project.

HIGHLY USER-FRIENDLY

If technology and you don’t particularly get along, this printer is a good fit! Its user-interface and software are about as simple as it gets.

The touchscreen makes navigating a breeze, with minimal options (exactly 4) to avoid confusion from the operator. Novice users will likely find this printer incredibly approachable – more so than many others.

Despite the simple technology, you can still scale the print job, which is great if you want to have the same parts printed at the same time.

NO PEELING MECHANISM

Like the Elegoo Mars, the Anycubic Photon does not have a “peel mechanism,” meaning that it is more prone to some errors that appear as “squishing” in the product, or details that end up looking flattened. However, generally these errors minimal.

In addition, the Anycubic Photon does not have anti-aliasing. Therefore, it is prone to voxelation – i.e. pixilation, but 3D form. Thankfully, unless someone is looking for it, it really is not that perceptible.

A NUMBER OF AWARDS

Despite a few flaws, the Anycubic Photon is largely a great 3D printer with a decent price tag.

Impressively, it was actually one of the earliest pioneers in the Resin 3D printer market. Although its age now shows against its contemporary competitors which have both emulated, and in some ways, even exceeded it, when it was in its prime, it collected a number of awards or titles including:

  • “Excellent Detail” by Windows Central
  • “Best Resin 3D Printer” by CNET
  • “Best Resin Printer” by Exper Reviews

It is actually still rated #1 of 16 top resin 3D printers, according to 3Dnatives.

Not surprisingly, it outcompetes Inkspire from Zortrax, just as the Elegoo Mars effortlessly did. The review appears to have been done before the Elegoo Mars had been on the market for a significant period of time, or it likely would have been ranked up near the #1 slot as well.

If that isn’t enough to convince you, here is one man’s honest review of the Anycubic Photon 3D printer.

The Anycubic Photon also has a great community of users that swear by it and are great troubleshooting support group.

A GREAT GUARANTEE

When purchasing the Anycubic Photon from Amazon, you are guaranteed lifetime technical support.

This is great news, because any gadget like this is bound to have some complications at some point – whether it is user or mechanical error.

Be sure to take full advantage of this service to avoid some serious headaches in the future.

3D PRINTING AT THE END OF THE DAY

Whichever printer you decide to go with, you will be getting a quality 3D printer.

Both, the Anycubic Photon and the Elegoo Mars come with the benefit of an affordable price tag in the $200 range. It’s almost inconceivable that you will get such incredible precision and detail for the low price point.

If you’re still on the fence and having trouble making a decision, watch either this video that gives an honest review of both, or this longer one.

Our best advice is to just pick one and dive in! You can’t lose either way.

About THE AUTHOR

William Stone

William Stone

William has spent 20 plus years in the custom manufacturing industry as a COO, CEO and Owner of various custom product businesses. His experience has exposed him to all types of manufacturing from die cast, die struck, injection molding, CNC machining, laser etching, engraving and of course 3D printing.

Learn more about William Stone

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Elegoo Mars Vs ANYCUBIC Photon: Which Printer Is Better?

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