Are you swaying between the Elegoo Saturn vs Elegoo Mars? What of the new Elegoo Mars 3? What sets them apart? Is the price worth it, considering you can get a classic Mars cheaper than an entry-level FDM printer?
We’re putting them through their paces in an Elegoo Saturn vs Mars showdown to help you make an informed buy.
We’ve previously reviewed and tested the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro, but with the Elegoo Mars 3 now released alongside the Saturn, we compare each model to help you make the right decision for your needs.
With biases and personal preferences shelved and locked up, we’ll get to know how their build volumes, usability, print quality, and other features set them apart. Lastly, we’ll pinpoint the type of maker and use case each printer serves best.
Let’s jump in.
Elegoo Mars 2 Pro
Elegoo Mars 3
Elegoo Saturn vs Elegoo Mars – The Specs
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Elegoo Mars Range
- Printing technology: Resin MSLA
- Build volume: 120 x 68 x 155 mm
- XY resolution: 47 microns
- LCD: 2K HD masking LCD
- Connectivity: USB
- Software: ChiTuBox
Despite being the oldest of Elegoo’s fleet of resin printers, the Elegoo Mars remains a plucky little machine that offers a painless and rewarding introduction to the marvels of resin printing. Choosing simplicity rather than suffocating makers with unnecessary extras, it gets the basics right, producing detailed, high-quality prints you’d be hard-pressed to dislike.
The underlying tech features a 2K HD LCD capable of a 47 micron XY resolution beaming onto a 120 x 68 x 155 mm build plate supported by an all-metal chassis. There’s a 3.5″ touch screen, USB connectivity, simple assisted manual bed leveling, and minimal setup. The Elegoo Mars also finds a worthy partner in the ChiTuBox slicer, one of the better and easier to use third-party resin slicers out there.
Originally priced at an affordable $250, the release of successors has nudged the price down to around $150 – a genuine steal for a competent and gratifying printing experience.
Speaking of subsequent Mars iterations, it’s worth touching on what came after. First, the Mars Pro, effectively a polished-up Mars with several usability-focused enhancements well worth the small premium, albeit for identical, ever excellent, print quality.
The Elegoo Mars 2 and Mars 2 Pro followed, transitioning to a 6.08″ 2K monochrome LCD (reducing per layer printing to 1-2 seconds), CNC machined chassis, incrementally bigger build volumes, better integration with ChiTuBox, and a shift to 50 microns XY resolution to accommodate the larger build volume.
Finally, the Mars 3 signaled Elegoo’s shift to 4K, bundling in a larger build volume, a superior light source structure, 35 micron XY resolution, and improved vat loading to highlight the biggest changes.
- Very cheap
- Spectacular print quality
- Easy and rewarding to use
- Back-mounted USB port
- Not the fastest Elegoo printer
- Printing technology: Resin MSLA
- Build volume: 192 x 120 x 200 mm
- XY resolution: 50 microns
- LCD: 8.9” 4K monochrome
- Connectivity: USB, Ethernet
- Software: ChiTuBox
What do you get when you take the same forgiving and rewarding printing experience as the Mars, then throw in a 4K LCD and a mid-sized build volume? The Elegoo Saturn.
The Elegoo Saturn crutches on a sleek 8.9″ 4K monochrome LCD and larger 192 x 120 x 200 mm build volume to carve out a berth in the ever-busy affordable resin printer segment. It pumps out a confident 50 micron XY resolution, sided by a nippy 1-2 second per layer cure.
Much like the Mars, it’s a breeze to use with both USB and Ethernet connectivity, a new, improved resin vat, and a well-tuned ChiTuBox profile for all your slicing needs.
In other words, it’s fast, prints big, and delivers all the polished detail we’ve come to expect from Elegoo’s resin printers. Put simply, the Elegoo Saturn has all the choice features we’d want from a large resin printer, but at a price those on slimmer budgets can afford.
- Large build volume
- Crisp 4K resolution
- Fantastic print quality
- Expensive compared to the Elegoo Mars
Elegoo Saturn vs Mars – At a Glance
Now that we know a little more about each printer, let’s find out which one is the best for your needs.
For value alone, the Elegoo Mars is still a solid entry-level option.
For a little more quality-of-life usability, the Mars Pro, along with the Mars 2/Pro, are good options if you have a little more money to spend.
If you want the best Mars experience yet, the Mars 3 comes highly recommended.
And, finally, if size matters, then the Elegoo Saturn outclasses the Elegoo Mars with a large build volume.
Quick overview out of the way, let’s jump into the specifics of how they differ from one another.
Elegoo Saturn vs Elegoo Mars – Head-to-Head Comparison
The classic Mars comes with a 2K HD LCD, an RGB one no less, which means a shorter lifespan than monochrome variants, the go-to option for most current MSLA resin printers. You’ll find the same LCD on the Mars Pro and identical 47 microns XY resolution.
With the Mars 2 and Mars 2 Pro, Elegoo moved to monochrome LCDs, 6.08″ 2K panels specifically, improving their longevity and cutting down cure times significantly. XY resolution is 50 microns.
The Mars 3 features a 6.6″ 4K monochrome LCD, while the Elegoo Saturn jumps to 4K as well with a 8.9″ 4K monochrome LCD.
The Elegoo Saturn sticks to 50 microns XY resolution, while the Mars 3 pushes for even more detail with 35 micron XY resolution.
The Mars 3 takes the crown here for marrying a 4K LCD with the best-yet resolution.
- Mars – 120 x 68 x 155 mm
- Mars Pro – 120 x 68 x 155 mm
- Mars 2 – 129 x 80 x 150 mm
- Mars 2 Pro – 129 x 80 x 160 mm
- Mars 3 – 143 x 89.6 x 175 mm
- Saturn – 192 x 120 x 200 mm
A clear winner here is the Elegoo Saturn, the best option for larger printing, outclassing all the Mars printers, even the Mars 3, which has the largest build area of the series.
All Mars printers rely solely on USB for connectivity. Aside from the vanilla Mars, all models have a front-mounted USB port, avoiding blindly rummaging behind the printer.
The Elegoo Saturn features USB and Ethernet for in-slicer printing and monitoring.
Print speed is measured in layer cure time. Here’s a breakdown of each Elegoo Mars and Saturn’s top layer cure time:
- Mars – 8 seconds
- Mars Pro – 6 seconds
- Mars 2 – 1-2 seconds
- Mars 2 Pro – 1-2 seconds
- Mars 3 – 1-2 seconds
- Saturn – 1-2 seconds
Aside from the Mars and Mars Pro, the print speeds are identical – fast, extremely so compared to older RGB LCD-fitted printers like the original Mars, let alone FDM printers.
If speed is essential, we recommend gravitating towards the Mars 2 Pro as a solid starting point, or spending the extra money on the Mars 3 or Saturn if you can afford it.
Across the board, Elegoo’s Mars and Saturn printers produce fantastic parts and models. If you’re transitioning from an FDM printer, not only is the experience smoother, but the level of detail is night and day in comparison.
You naturally get a boost in precision with the Elegoo Mars 3 and Saturn thanks to their 4K LCD, the former pushing a 35-micron XY resolution compared to the Saturn’s 50 microns. Even in an Elegoo Saturn vs Mars print quality comparison, only the most discerning makers will pick up on the difference, which is more or less indistinguishable to the naked eye.
Due to a larger build volume, the Mars 2 Pro features a 50 micron XY resolution, a 3-micron bump upward compared to the Mars and Mars Pro’s 50 microns. A trivial difference that doesn’t notably impact print quality.
Although all Mars printers and the Saturn are compatible with third-party resin slicers, Elegoo recommends ChiTuBox. A fine piece of 3D printing software, in our estimation, that strikes a nice balance between functionality and ease of use.
The functionality is essentially the same for all our printers, but Elegoo shifted to ChiTuBox’s revamped .ctb file type from the Mars Pro onwards. It’s understood to offer faster slicing, speedier transfer times, 90% smaller file sizes, improved anti-aliasing tools, and a higher print success rate.
The original Elegoo Mars is available for a frankly unmissable $150.
You can pick up the Elegoo Mars 2 for $200 or throw down an extra $35 for the Mars 2 Pro.
The Mars 3 generally sits around $300.
Lastly, the Elegoo Saturn sells for just shy of $500.
Sadly, the Mars Pro is virtually impossible to find at retailers, though you may have some luck on the second-hand market or refurbished via Elegoo.
The general pricing trend points downwards with good availability for the Saturn and most Mars models via Elegoo direct or retailers like Amazon. A far cry from the deflating ‘sold out’ notices of the past couple of years. For us, these are excellent prices across the board, and whatever printer you opt for, bang-for-the-buck is the running theme when it comes to the Elegoo Mars vs Saturn.
Elegoo Saturn vs Mars (2 Pro / 3): The Winner
Elegoo Saturn vs Mars – Best Overall
There’s no doubt in our minds that the Elegoo Mars 3 is the best of the bunch. Elegoo has taken all the upgrades and tweaks iterated since the original Mars to produce one of the best affordable resin 3D printers on the market today. The print quality is there, as is a larger than average build volume, and it churns out prints fast.
The Elegoo Saturn comes in at a close second in this Elegoo Mars vs Saturn comparison, chiefly thanks to a large build volume. But, it would be unfair to ignore the Elegoo Mars 2 completely. Price drops mean you’ll likely get it at a great price, a thrifty option if you want something a little more sophisticated than the straight Elegoo Mars.
Elegoo Mars 2 Pro
Elegoo Mars 3
Elegoo Saturn vs Mars – Best Value
Although not the sprightliest printer in the Elegoo stable, the Elegoo Mars remains one of the single most cost-effective paths into hobby resin printing. Simple, cheap, and reliable, it’s as endearing as ever and, most important of all, dirt cheap by resin printer standards.
Elegoo Saturn vs Mars – Best For Larger Prints
The Elegoo Satun is the uncontested winner with a solid mid-sized 192 x 120 x 200 mm build area for larger resin projects. Additionally, Elegoo has geared the Saturn as a slightly more ‘pro’ device, better suited to cost-effective prototyping and why not a modest print farm than the Mars range, which is well and truly targeting hobby makers working on custom prints.
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