Anycubic Photon Mono 4K vs Elegoo Mars 3 2 Pro

As far as head-to-heads in the 3D printing world go, Elegoo Mars vs Anycubic Photon is a classic showdown anyone scoping out the best entry-level resin printers has come across.

Both the original models have since been retired, and newer, more powerful versions released. We keep this article updated with every Elegoo vs Anycubic 3D printer release in the Mars and Photon range with our recommendations on which to buy.

In this article, we’ll get to know our contenders, and compare their top features and important aspects such as build volume, print quality, software, connectivity, and more.

Finally, we’ll call out a winner, helping you make an informed decision about which will suit your needs best.

BEST CONSISTENT PICK

Elegoo Mars 3

Available at:

BEST FOR BEGINNERS

Anycubic Photon Mono 4K

Available at:

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Elegoo Mars vs Anycubic Photon – The Printers

The original Elegoo Mars and Anycubic Photon printers aren’t competitive anymore, and newer releases have improved them greatly. Here are the printers we’ll cover from Anycubic and Elegoo.

Elegoo: Mars 2 Pro, and Mars 3

Anycubic: Photon Mono 4K

If you’re looking for a budget printer, focus on the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro or 3 vs the Mono 4K, and if you’re able to spend a bit more, look at the Mono X 6K – we also have an article comparing the Mono X vs Elegoo Saturn 3D printers.

Anycubic Photon Mono 4K

Bigger than the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro, but smaller than the Elegoo Mars 3, the Mono 4K offers a decent 132 x 80 x 165 mm build area. 

The main improvement over the standard Photon Mono is the 6.23” 4K LCD screen, making for better resolutions – 35 microns, the same as the Elegoo 3.

You can’t print super big or tall, but what the Photon Mono 4K does print is impressive.

The Mono 4K is our top pick for an affordable entry-level resin printer – it’s under $250 and does an amazing job. The only question is whether you’re comfortable with the build volume, in which case we recommend you go for a printer in the Mono X range, or an Elegoo Saturn, but these cost a few hundred dollars extra.

Elegoo Mars 2 Pro

It’s cheap, and there are newer, more powerful upgrades like the Elegoo Mars 3, but we were still impressed with the detail on prints we made with the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro, even down to the smallest details such as teeth and other features.

It’s easy to set up and use, and capable of superb print quality with little fuss, setting a benchmark for low-cost consumer resin usability that resonates to this day.

The 2K 6” LCD is good – and if you’re on a budget, you’ll still be very happy with the resolution. Yes, 4K or even 6K screens are even better, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t get more than adequate results on the Mars 2 Pro. You can see below the quality of prints we managed to print our our Elegoo Mars 2 Pro.

Elegoo Mars 2 Pro print, high quality resolution
Clank miniature from the Ratchet & Clank games, printed on the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro.

The 129 x 80 x 160 mm build volume is decent – again, more expensive resin printers offer larger. But for printing a few miniatures, it’s more than enough.

Beginners won’t be overwhelmed, but there’s room to experiment and tune based on your needs.

Read the full review: Elegoo Mars 2 Pro test

Elegoo Mars 3

The next level up is the Mars 3, with its 4K screen versus the Mars 2 and Mars 2 Pro’s 2K

This new extra resolution shows. While the Mars 2 Pro offers great results, the Mars 3 is even better, with 50% improved accuracy. The Mars 3 brings down the XY resolution from 50 microns to an astonishing 35 microns, especially considering the price range.

It also boasts superior heat distribution and a larger build volume. It also runs very quietly owing to the more powerful mainboard – at only 35-45dB.

The heat distribution makes finished resin prints easier to remove without affecting surface finish when scraping them, as well as improving adhesion to the build plate. This reduces errors – we all know the frustration of having a resin model adhere to the resin rather than the build plate causing it to fail.


Elegoo Mars vs Anycubic Photon – At a Glance

On the surface level, the Elegoo Mars 3 and Anycubic Photon Mono 4K look very similar.

Dive into specifics, as we’ll do below, and the differences become more apparent.

Overall, the Elegoo Mars 3 has a slightly larger build area, so if you want to produce more minis at once, you may prefer it.

However, there are many other subtle differences, which we’ll explain in more depth below.

Elegoo Mars 3 vs Anycubic Photon Mono 4K: Head-to-Head Comparison

LCD

We have two peas in a pod when it comes to the LCD.

The Anycubic Photon Mono 4K and Elegoo Mars 3 both carry a 4K mono LCD, and both are an improvement on their previous iterations, the Mars 2 Pro and Photon Mono, that had 2K LCDs.

There are also higher-spec versions: for the Anycubic range you have the Mono X 6K (6K screen), whereas for the Elegoo you have the Saturn (4K) and Saturn 2 (8K).

The Elegoo Mars 2K LCD screen

Both offer fantastic resolution for the price – they’re both the best-quality resin MSLA printers for the price, in our opinion.

Both feature a monochrome panel screen, rather than older versions that feature an RGB screen. This is a major improvement: not only are they more durable – with lifespans of several thousand hours – they’re also much faster.

Winner: Draw

Read more: the Anycubic Mono series comparison


Build Volume

Printer:Elegoo Mars 3Anycubic Photon Mono 4KAnycubic Photon M3
Build Volume:143.43 x 90 x 175 mm132 x 80 x 165 mm163 x 102 x 180 mm
Anycubic Photon vs Elegoo Mars build volume

Neither the Anycubic Photon nor the Elegoo Mars will blow you away with their build volumes. These are compact, entry-level resin printers aimed at small parts, miniatures, and models.

The Elegoo Mars inches slightly ahead with a 143.43 x 90 x 175 mm build volume compared to the Photon Mono 4K’s 132 x 80 x 165 mm. However, the Anycubic Photon M3, which costs around $50 more, offers an even larger 163 x 102 x 180 mm print area.

Read more: comparing the Anycubic Photon M3, M3 Plus, and M3 Max

You’ll have to decide whether those extra millimeters have enough merit to sway your purchasing decision, but the Elegoo Mars 3 takes the lead here.

Winner: Elegoo Mars 3


Elegoo Mars vs Anycubic Photon – Build Quality and Assembly

Both the Anycubic Photon Mono 4K and Elegoo Mars 3 feature robust frames, a compact footprint, and reliable parts, each with a distinct look and feel.

Both have overhauled their printers with new features, improving already solid builds with higher-quality parts with precision in mind.

The Anycubic Photon Mono 4K features a powerful 15 LED light matric with over 90% light uniformity, as well as a high contrast monochrome grid that enhances accuracy, able to more sensitively cure resin for smooth yet sharp surface finishes. The solid z-axis rail structure is hugely important for a precise and accurate final print, with a stable stepper motor able to handle the precisions required in such small layer heights and fine resolutions.

Printed on the 2K LCD Elegoo Mars 2 Pro. 4K is better quality, but you can still get good results with less.

The Elegoo Mars 3 upgrades the linear rails for better precision, smoother printing and a quieter 3D printing experience, as well as improving the build plate.

It’s now sandblasted, making your resin models easier to remove after printing (so you don’t need to scrape them hard, potentially damaging them), as well as making models less likely to fall off during print and fail. The new heat sink system is claimed to be 50% more efficient at dissipating heat.

Small things such as the larger 3.5″ inch touch screen on the Elegoo Mars vs 2.8” on Photon Mono 4K might make a difference to you – but for us they’re fairly minimal.

But overall, they’re largely the same. Both are two of the best-quality printers in the sub-$300 resin price range, and there isn’t a lot to separate them here.

Winner: Draw


Print Speed

If you’re looking to determine which is fastest out of the Anycubic Photon vs Elegoo Mars, it’s again very close. 

The Elegoo Mars comes in at around 30-50mm/hr, with 1.5-3 second layer cure times. The Anycubic Photon Mono 4K is around 50mm/hr also, able to cure around 12cm-tall models in 2.5 hours, with 1.5 second layer times.

So, if you’re looking to print 28mm-tall miniatures, expect it to take just over half an hour.

It may be that the Photon Mono 4K is slightly faster over a consistent amount of time, but for all intents and purposes, it’s equal.

Winner: Draw


Print Quality and XY Resolution

Both the Anycubic Photon and Elegoo Mars produce best-in-class quality for the price.

This high quality is especially noticeable if you’re accustomed to FDM printers. Smooth textures, accurate features, and fine details throughout – all the characteristics usually reserved for professional machines costing thousands only a few years back.

Print quality is indistinguishable between the two, chiefly due to vastly identical specifications.

Similarities also bleed into print precision as both hit an XY resolution of 35 microns. Though if you decide to save some money and get the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro instead of the Elegoo Mars 3, it has an XY resolution of 50 microns instead.

Winner: Draw


Connectivity

The connectivity options for our two contenders are identical, with both limited to a lone USB port.

For WiFi features, you’ll have to upgrade to a premium printer like the Anycubic Photon Mono X 6K

Winner: Draw


Elegoo Mars vs Anycubic Photon – Software

Both are compatible with ChiTuBox, a favorite in resin slicing. In fact, if you buy the Elegoo Mars 3, it currently comes with a year’s free ChiTuBox Pro, normally costing $150.

However, Anycubic have also developed their Anycubic Photon Workshop software, offering hassle-free out-of-the-box printing thanks to fine-tuned settings. 

These are a genuine lifesaver for novices printing for the first time. But, they leave a bit to be desired in terms of advanced features and overall interface.

A screen shot of the Anycubic Photo Workshop software
Anycubic Photon Workshop, the resin slicer used by Anycubic Photon 3D printers.

The Elegoo Mars’s ChiTuBox profile works beautifully. If you want to dive into a wealth of settings and fancy tools such as drain hole hollowing, support generation, and auto-layouts, there’s far more to play with than Photon’s software.

Personally, we’re big fans of ChiTuBox, but if you’re a beginner you may appreciate how easy Photon Workshop makes things.

Winner: Anycubic Photon for beginners, Elegoo Mars for advanced users


Material compatibility

The Anycubic Photon Mono 4K and Elegoo Mars range are both compatible with standard 405 nm photosensitive resin.

You can use both Anycubic and Elegoo’s respective resin or an equivalent third-party alternative with no discernible difference in print quality. Nor do Anycubic and Elegoo prevent the use of third-party materials like we’ve seen others do.

However, Anycubic offer an adjustable power feature on the Anycubic Photon Mono 4K, allowing you to switch between 30% and 100% power, so you can use it with other special non-405nm resins. This opens a range of other possibilities for your resin printing.

Winner: Anycubic Photon Mono 4K


Price

Since the first wave of Anycubic Photon and Elegoo Mars resin printers, prices have reduced over time as new models have hit the market.

As of writing, the Anycubic Photon Mono 4K is around $50 cheaper than the Elegoo Mars 3, with the Mars 3 costing around the same as the higher-spec Photon M3, which you may opt for. The Elegoo Mars 2 Pro is currently the cheapest of them all, hovering under $200 – but prices change so often that you should check the prices for yourself.

To save you time, the container below has direct links to everywhere you can buy the printers, so you can check the latest prices and get the best deal.

Winner: currently Anycubic Photon Mono 4K – but depends on sales.

BEST CONSISTENT PICK

Elegoo Mars 3

Available at:

BEST FOR BEGINNERS

Anycubic Photon Mono 4K

Available at:


Elegoo Mars vs Anycubic Photon: The Winner

Elegoo Mars vs Anycubic Photon – Best Overall

Both machines deliver unquestionable value and are a pleasure to use, offering all the precision and detail of resin printing at a fantastic price point. Both have everything you need to get started with resin printing.

If build volume is important to you, then the Elegoo Mars 3 is better than the Photon Mono 4K. 

However, you may prefer Anycubic’s software, and adjustable power for special resin printing, in which case go for the Anycubic Photon Mono 4K.

Elegoo Mars vs Anycubic Photon – Best Value

Since at the moment the Anycubic Photon Mono 4K is cheaper, we lean towards that as the best value pick. However, check the latest prices to see if any sales or price reductions have changed this – tough we try to update these as frequently as possible! 

The first time we wrote this comparison, the Elegoo was cheaper, so these things can change.

However, for the best value, you might consider the lower-spec Elegoo Mars 2 Pro, as despite the 2K LCD, it is so cheap now that it’s a great way to dip your toes into resin 3D printing for beginners or casual makers.

You might also want to consider the Anycubic Photon M3, the brand-new and larger resin option. It’s a around the same price as the Mars 3, and has slightly worse XY resolution (40 microns vs 35 microns), but the significantly larger build volume may suit you if you’re looking to print a bunch of miniatures at the same time, or just generally print larger resin models.

You can check the latest prices to see which is the best value below.

Elegoo Mars 3

Available at:

Anycubic Photon Mono 4K

Available at:

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