Choosing between the Neptune 3, 3 Pro, 2, 2S, 2D, X, and whatever combination of letters and numbers Elegoo decides to use next is no easy feat.

The Neptunes are all aimed at entry-level filament printing. In actuality, though, they can serve you well past your first couple years of 3D printing.

But, to do that you’ll need to select the printer with the right blend of extruder type, quality-of-life features, and so on. You don’t want to outgrow your 3D printer too quickly, but you also don’t want to invest too much money in features you won’t use.

We’ll cover the price differences between all of these Neptune printers and how the money matches up to the exact differences in features. Plus, we’ll talk about who should be buying each type of printer and why– including the main selling points and drawbacks.

Neptune 3Neptune 3 ProNeptune 2Neptune 2SNeptune 2DNeptune X
Build Volume220 x 220 x 280 mm225 x 225 x 280 mm220 x 220 x 250 mm220 x 220 x 250 mm220 x 220 x 250 mm220 x 220 x 300 mm
Filament CompatibilityPLA, ABS, TPU, PETG, Wood, Marble, and similarPLA, ABS, TPU, PETG, Wood, Marble, and similarPLA, ABS, TPU, PETG, Wood, Marble, and similarPLA, ABS, TPU, PETG, Wood, Marble, and similarPLA, ABS, TPU, PETG, Wood, Marble, and similarPLA, ABS, TPU, PETG, Wood, Marble, and similar
Extruder TypeBowden ExtruderDirect Drive ExtruderBowden ExtruderDual-gear Bowden ExtruderTwo dual-gear Bowden ExtruderBowden Extruder
Automatic Bed-Leveling?YesYes (inductive probe)NoNoNoNo
Smart Cooling Fan?YesYesYesYesYesYes
Color Touch Screen?YesYesYesYesYesYes
Filament Runout Sensor and Resume Print?YesYesYesYesYesYes
Build PlateAluminum magnetic PEI sheet + spring steel sheetAluminum magnetic PEI sheet + spring steel sheetAluminum PEI sheetAluminum magnetic PEI sheet + spring steel sheetAluminum PEI sheetMagnetic non-metal flex plate
Max Extruder Temp260°C260°C 260°C 260°C 260°C 260°C 
Max Bed Temp100°C100°C100°C100°C100°C100°C
ConnectivityTF Card, Wi-FiTF Card, Wi-FiTF Card, Wi-FiTF Card, USB WireTF Card, USB WireUSB, TF Card, Wi-Fi
Assembly Time15 – 30 minutes15 – 30 minutes30 – 90 minutes15 – 30 minutes30 – 90 minutes15 – 30 minutes
Price$210$230$120$150$180$310
Elegoo Neptune 3 Pro vs 3 vs 2S vs 2 vs 2D vs X specs compared

Elegoo Neptune 3 Pro vs 3 vs 2S vs 2 vs 2D vs X– A Quick Summary

Elegoo Neptune 3

  • Price: Check latest price at ELEGOO here
  • Printing technology: FDM
  • Build volume: 220 x 220 x 280 mm
  • Filament compatibility: PLA, ABS, TPU, PETG, Wood, Marble, and similar
  • Layer height: 100 – 400 microns
  • Printing accuracy: ± 0.1 mm
  • Max extruder temp: 260°C 
  • Max bed temp: 100°C
  • Connectivity: TF Card, Wi-Fi
Elegoo Neptune 3

The Neptune 3 is an upgrade to the older (and incredibly elusive, since it’s periodically out of stock) Neptune 2. The Neptune 2 itself, though, was essentially another Ender 3 clone.

Bearing that in mind, the 3 is essentially a superior version that incorporates more upgrades and end-user features. It might be a bit more comparable to the Ender 3 V2 in that regard.

However, the Neptune 3 is actually larger on the z-axis than the Ender 3 V2 at 220 x 220 x 280 mm. It’s the same price– just over $200– and uses a Bowden extruder. Keeping in line with the Ender 3 V2’s standards, it has a max extruder temp of 260°C and a max bed temp of 100°C.

For those end-user features we mentioned, it has power loss recovery, a detachable touch screen, an intelligent cooling fan, and auto-leveling. All of these benefits make it very beginner friendly, but without dropping quality.


Elegoo Neptune 3 Pro

  • Price: Check latest price at ELEGOO here
  • Printing technology: FDM
  • Build volume: 225 x 225 x 280 mm
  • Filament compatibility: PLA, ABS, TPU, PETG, Wood, Marble, and similar
  • Layer height: 100 – 400 microns
  • Printing accuracy: ± 0.1 mm
  • Max extruder temp: 260°C 
  • Max bed temp: 100°C
  • Connectivity: TF Card, Wi-Fi
Elegoo Neptune 3 Pro

The ever so slightly more expensive Neptune 3 Pro makes a few key adjustments to its predecessor. Firstly, it uses a direct drive extruder instead of the Neptune 3’s Bowden.

This increases the weight on the printhead, but can simplify the extrusion system, which may result in fewer extruder-related issues. That’s definitely appealing if you’re new to the hobby, but we don’t think it’s a must-have. You still have access to auto bed-leveling; this time, it’s through an inductive probe.

The Neptune 3 Pro also includes a z-axis belt which can make movements more precise. Again, this is a nice-to-have and not a must-have.

We did notice that the Neptune 3 Pro has chunky feet on the bottom. The extra padding might be what helps keep this printer relatively quiet. Aside from that, it’s outfitted with the same quality of life features such as a touch screen and an intelligent fan.

It’s a minor upgrade all things considered, but it’s also a minor price increase from the Neptune 3.


Elegoo Neptune 2

  • Price: Check latest price at ELEGOO here / Amazon here
  • Printing technology: FDM
  • Build volume: 220 x 220 x 250 mm
  • Filament compatibility: PLA, ABS, TPU, PETG, Wood, Marble, and similar
  • Layer height: 100 – 400 microns
  • Printing accuracy: ± 0.1 mm
  • Max extruder temp: 260°C 
  • Max bed temp: 100°C
  • Connectivity: SD Card
Elegoo Neptune 2

The Neptune 2 is the printer that allowed Elegoo to break into the budget FDM space. It’s a clone of the Ender 3 by all means, including the standard 220 x 220 x 250 mm build volume and a Bowden extruder.

As an extremely cheap printer, it will need some fine tuning and adjustment. But Elegoo does have a decent fanbase, and combined with good customer service, you should be able to troubleshoot even as a beginner.

If push comes to shove, you can often use solutions for the Ender 3 for the Neptune 2. They’re that similar. Honestly, we feel that the Neptune 2 is a straight upgrade from the Ender 3 in price and functionality (a conclusion you might have come to, as well).

We have a complete comparison of the Neptune 2, 3, and the Ender 3 here if you want to learn more about how they stack up.

Elegoo’s Neptune 2 has a filament detection sensor and can resume printing after power outages. It also has a touch screen, which is a feature often reserved for more premium printers. All of that comes at a much cheaper price than the Ender 3.


Elegoo Neptune 2S

  • Price: Check latest price at ELEGOO here / Amazon here
  • Printing technology: FDM
  • Build volume: 220 x 220 x 250 mm
  • Filament compatibility: PLA, ABS, TPU, PETG, Wood, Marble, and similar
  • Layer height: 100 – 400 microns
  • Printing accuracy: ± 0.1 mm
  • Max extruder temp: 260°C 
  • Max bed temp: 100°C
  • Connectivity: USB, TF Card
Elegoo Neptune 2S

Kind of like the Neptune 3 Pro is for the Neptune 3, the Neptune 2S is like a cheaper, hassle free way to upgrade the Neptune 2. It’s only $30 more, which makes it an easy choice.

It has the same build plate as the Neptune 2, but with the inclusion of a magnetic base. These beds can usually be purchased for between $20 – $35. That on its own makes back the extra money you’d have spent upgrading the Neptune 2 in the same way.

The 2S also has replaced the standard plastic bed-leveling wheels with aluminum ones. This is another small upgrade that makes things a little easier, which will usually cost you between $5 – $15.

Interestingly, Elegoo also claims to have upgraded the PTFE tube (it’s now blue instead of white) so it’s more heat resistant. It might not be quite as good as a proper Capricorn PTFE– which is the typical PTFE tube upgrade people get– but it’s certainly something. A Capricorn will cost $12 – $15, for reference.

Essentially, the Neptune 2S is just a better version for a bit more money. The only question is if those upgrades were ones you were interested in getting to begin with.


Elegoo Neptune 2D

  • Printing technology: FDM
  • Build volume: 220 x 220 x 250 mm
  • Filament compatibility: PLA, ABS, TPU, PETG, Wood, Marble, and similar
  • Layer height: 100 – 400 microns
  • Printing accuracy: ± 0.1 mm
  • Max extruder temp: 260°C 
  • Max bed temp: 100°C
  • Connectivity: USB, TF Card
Elegoo Neptune 2D

A lesser known but truly unique printer in the Neptune lineup is the Neptune 2D. The main draw of this printer over any of the other Neptunes is that it has two extruders.

This is different from a dual gear extruder, which has to do with the inside mechanics of a singular extruder. It means that there are two separate extruders and two filament spools, allowing for two color printing.

The higher (but still budget) price is mainly for the privilege of having two extruders. It still lacks the same features as the Neptune 2, like no bed leveling. On the other hand, it keeps the touch screen and potential for greatness.

All things considered, the Neptune 2D could be an interesting option for hardcore tinkerers. But it’s not necessarily the best entry-level printer, especially if you’re not too familiar with the technology yet.


Elegoo Neptune X

  • Price: Check latest price at ELEGOO here
  • Printing technology: FDM
  • Build volume: 220 x 220 x 300 mm
  • Filament compatibility: PLA, ABS, TPU, PETG, Wood, Marble, and similar
  • Layer height: 100 – 400 microns
  • Printing accuracy: ± 0.1 mm
  • Max extruder temp: 260°C 
  • Max bed temp: 100°C
  • Connectivity: USB, TF Card, Wi-Fi
Elegoo Neptune X

The Neptune X isn’t the biggest Neptune upgrade when it comes to features, but it is quite literally the biggest in size. It has the same x and y-axes but a larger z-axis, at 220 x 220 x 300 mm.

Even though the build size is only increased in the z-axis, it’s enough to enable some creative prints. You might even be able to print cosplay pieces, like partial masks, fragile helmet mockups, and nesting swords.

It doesn’t improve the Neptune 2’s main drawbacks, like the lack of auto bed-leveling. It does, however, have a flash drive port instead of a micro SD card– definitely an improvement for anyone with sausage fingers.

The Neptune X is also the quietest Neptune printer out of the bunch we’re reviewing here. Especially since it has a magnetic flex plate and a touch screen, the Neptune X might be the faux-premium Neptune printer you’re looking for.


The Similarities

Since they’re all members of the same low-budget series, all of these Neptune printers share more in common than they have in differences.

As such, you should keep tabs on which features are the most important for you. If a cheaper Neptune model has all of them, then there’s really no need to buy something more expensive.

We compiled a list of the main similarities between every single one of these printers here so you can know what features you’ll get no matter what:

We listed in the basic similarities between the Mars 3 and the Mars 3 Pro below to keep you in the loop about what features are a certainty:

  • The same filament compatibility: PLA, ABS, TPU, PETG, Wood, Marble, and similar
  • 0.4 mm nozzle diameter
  • Max extruder temperature of 260°C
  • Max bed temperature of 100°C
  • X and Y-axes of 220 x 220 (although z-axis varies)
  • Layer height of 100 – 400 microns
  • Printing accuracy of ± 0.1 mm
  • Access to Elegoo’s version of the Cura Slicer
  • Same print speed range of 30 – 180 mm/s (normal range of 30 – 60 mm/s)
  • Color touch screen
  • Smart cooling fan that automatically turns off when nozzle temperature is below 50° Celsius
  • Filament runout sensor and resume print functions
  • Aluminum extruder with PTFE tubing

The Differences

Build Volume

  • Elegoo Neptune 3 – 220 x 220 x 280 mm
  • Elegoo Neptune 3 Pro – 220 x 220 x 280 mm
  • Elegoo Neptune 2 – 220 x 220 x 250 mm
  • Elegoo Neptune 2S – 220 x 220 x 250 mm
  • Elegoo Neptune 2D – 220 x 220 x 250 mm
  • Elegoo Neptune X – 220 x 220 x 300 mm
Elegoo Neptune 2 vs 2S vs 2D build volume

The build volumes of Neptune printers follow the blueprint left behind by the Ender 3, but that doesn’t mean they’re all the same. Only the members of the Neptune 2 series (Neptune 2, 2S, and 2D) have the standard 220 x 220 x 250 mm build volume.

If you upgrade to the Neptune 3 or Neptune 3 Pro, you’ll spend more for a larger build volume. It’s the same story but even more so with the Neptune X. Although none of these are giant printers, the difference in z-axis can allow you to print some interesting new pieces.

Elegoo Neptune 3 vs 3 Pro vs X build volume

For example, the Neptune X’s 50 mm extra is more than enough to print small masks, nesting swords (like lightsabers or other cosplay pieces), mini shelves, and creative vases that you wouldn’t be able to access otherwise.

The only way to know if the larger build volume is worth the much higher price is to look through print models and concepts to see what interests you. If you aren’t that excited about the larger models, then it’s probably not worth it.

Extruder

  • Elegoo Neptune 3 – Bowden extruder
  • Elegoo Neptune 3 Pro – Direct drive extruder
  • Elegoo Neptune 2 – Bowden extruder
  • Elegoo Neptune 2S – Dual-gear Bowden extruder
  • Elegoo Neptune 2D – Two dual-gear Bowden extruders
  • Elegoo Neptune X – Bowden extruder
Elegoo Neptune 2 vs 2S vs 2D Extruder

If you get a member of the Neptune series, chances are you’ll end up with a Bowden extruder. This is the same extruder type that is used in the Ender 3.

To put it simply, a Bowden extruder is mounted on the frame of the printer and not on the actual moving printhead. It’s connected to the printhead with a tube. A direct drive extruder compartmentalizes everything directly onto the printhead.

The only printer we covered that uses a direct drive extruder is the Neptune 3 Pro. Bowden extruders typically come with the benefits of improved mobility (since the printhead is lighter) and better accuracy because of that.

Regardless, a direct drive extruder will likely be the straightforward option with less things to go wrong. Like the name implies, it’s a very direct method that simplifies the process. It’s more beginner-friendly, as a general statement, but won’t ever need to be switched to a Bowden extruder.

There’s definitely a lot of debate between which extruder is ‘better’. Although they each have their own pros and cons, they’re both very functional and time-tested options. It’s also not hard to upgrade to a direct drive system.

We don’t suggest getting too caught up in which type you have– although the direct drive extruder on the Neptune 3 Pro is still worth considering as a benefit if you’re newer to 3D printing.

Elegoo Neptune 3 vs 3 Pro vs X Extruder

The other thing to consider is the fact that all of these Neptune printers use a PTFE tube. These tubes are eventually going to need replacing from natural wear and tear, which can be amplified by higher heats or abrasive filaments like wood.

The Neptune 2S has a stronger PTFE tube that will last longer. This could save you some money in the long, long run.

Although we did say that all of these printers have access to the same pool of filaments, it’s true that an improved PTFE tube will hold up better in the higher temps that some filaments enjoy.

We don’t expect this to be a major factor in most cases (after all, you’re still limited by the max temperature and the size of the nozzle), but it’s something to keep in mind if you plan on using abrasive filaments extensively.

Bed Leveling

  • Elegoo Neptune 3 – Automatic bed-leveling 
  • Elegoo Neptune 3 Pro – Automatic bed-leveling (inductive probe)
  • Elegoo Neptune 2 – Manual bed-leveling
  • Elegoo Neptune 2S – Manual bed-leveling (aluminum bed-leveling wheels) 
  • Elegoo Neptune 2D – Manual bed-leveling
  • Elegoo Neptune X – Manual bed-leveling

As you can see, most Neptune models aren’t equipped with a method of automatic bed-leveling. If this is a feature you’re set on, then you’ll need to get the Neptune 3 or 3 Pro.

All of the other printers have only manual bed-leveling. The Neptune 2S does have improved aluminum bed-leveling wheels that make the process a bit easier, but it’s not a significant change.

Keep in mind that it’s often good to know how to level a bed manually, especially if you plan on getting multiple printers and staying in the hobby long-term. If that’s not what you have in mind, then automatic bed-leveling will eliminate much of the trial and error of owning a 3D printer.

Build Plate

  • Elegoo Neptune 3 – Aluminum magnetic PEI sheet + spring steel sheet
  • Elegoo Neptune 3 Pro – Aluminum magnetic PEI sheet + spring steel sheet
  • Elegoo Neptune 2 – Aluminum PEI sheet
  • Elegoo Neptune 2S –  Aluminum magnetic PEI sheet + spring steel sheet
  • Elegoo Neptune 2D – Aluminum PEI sheet
  • Elegoo Neptune X – Magnetic non-metal flex plate

Most of the Neptune build plates are the same aluminum PEI sheet. The two older models, the Neptune 2 and 2D, don’t have the easy magnetized system. This makes it harder to effectively get your prints off of the plate.

Keep in mind that a magnetic bed can be purchased for $20 – $35. It could be a worthwhile upgrade to the Neptune 2 or 2D.

The Neptune X has the most unique build plate out of the bunch, with a magnetic non-metal flex plate. It seems like it makes the post-print experience the easiest, but not by a wide margin.

Assembly

  • Elegoo Neptune 3 – 15 to 30 minute assembly
  • Elegoo Neptune 3 Pro – 15 to 30 minute assembly
  • Elegoo Neptune 2 – 30 to 90 minute assembly
  • Elegoo Neptune 2S –  15 to 30 minute assembly
  • Elegoo Neptune 2D – 30 to 90 minute assembly
  • Elegoo Neptune X – 15 to 30 minute assembly

Although they’re cheap and don’t come pre-assembled, Elegoo’s Neptune printers aren’t difficult to set up. The most important factor is how experienced you are with setting up printers and assembling things out of the box.

The two older printers, the Neptune 2 and 2D, are definitely going to take the longest. In very rare cases, it could even take up to 2 hours– we expect most people to finish it within 1.

Not only are the box instructions clear and the setup straightforward, but there are plenty of online resources. Neptune printers are popular enough that it’s not difficult to find YouTube assembly videos, and Elegoo makes their own clean, professional videos on printer assembly.

Price

  • Elegoo Neptune 3 – $210
  • Elegoo Neptune 3 Pro – $230
  • Elegoo Neptune 2 – $120
  • Elegoo Neptune 2S – $150
  • Elegoo Neptune 2D – $180
  • Elegoo Neptune X – $310

There’s no denying that all of the Neptune printers are cheap. We can split them up into 3 price categories: $120 – $180, $210 – $230, and $300+.

The Neptune 2 and 2S have the fewest features, making them the cheapest. The 2D isn’t far off, with the increased price being the result of the dual extruder system.

Most of the price differences make a lot of sense. The Neptune 3 Pro is a slightly upgraded version of the Neptune 3, so you should just purchase the 3 Pro if you want to make those upgrades anyway. The same goes for the Neptune 2 and the 2S.

You’ll be saving money by purchasing the pre-upgraded versions.

The Neptune X is a bit of a wildcard. Although it has some meaningful features, the main price factor is a larger build volume.

Elegoo Neptune 3 Pro vs 3 vs 2S vs 2 vs 2D vs X – The Bottom Line

Each of these Neptune printers has their place, but they aren’t all equally worthy for everyone.

If price is your only factor, then the Neptune 2 or 2S are truly the best options. They’re solid, entry-level printers with a solid community to back them. The tradeoff is slower assembly time and more fiddling with settings to get things to print correctly.

You’ll have a much better time printing out of the box with the Neptune 3 and the Neptune 3 Pro. We suggest opting for the Neptune 3 Pro for the direct drive extruder if you’re really afraid of doing any tinkering. That being said, all of these printers are budget and may require troubleshooting.

The Neptune 2D and X are cheap specialty printers, at the end of the day. We don’t think you should purchase one of those as your first printer, especially considering the price increase on the Neptune X.

Unfortunately, the Neptune 2D’s two extruders complicate matters. We only suggest purchasing it if the tinkering part of 3D printing is exciting to you and you have some level of experience to leverage.

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