3D printing, which is also known as additive manufacturing, enables users to create real-life components from 3D CAD models. 3D printing is a fun, new way to make things, but with so many 3D printers on the market, it can be difficult knowing which one is best for your purposes. When it comes to Elegoo Mars vs. Anycubic Photon, there are not a lot of differences. 

The Elegoo Mars 3D printer is great for people that want an LCD-equipped model that is easy to set up and has a slightly larger build volume. The Anycubic Photon, on the other hand, comes pre-packaged with resin and has a far more community support. 

There are quite a few differences between these 3D printers. In this article, we will compare and contrast the Elegoo Mars and Anycubic Photon 3D printers. We will consider value, quality, and reliability. 

The Anycubic Photon and Elegoo Mars are two of the most popular choices for an LCD-equipped 3D printer. So, which one is better?

For the longest time, makers on a budget were restricted to desktop FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling)machines. Stereolithography, or SLA, on the other hand is a resin-based 3D printing technique that provides far superior print quality when compared to FDM machines. Until recently, these machines cost thousands of dollars and were mainly reserved for professionals and hobbyists with deep pockets.

Well, a few years ago that changed. In those few years many desktop-sized resin-based 3D printers showed up on the consumer market. Now, for the first time, budget-minded makers can access high-quality resin 3D printing.

The Anycubic Photon and Elegoo Mars have each gained enormous success in the market for being capable of producing surprisingly high-quality 3D objects on a budget. If you aren’t familiar with the various 3D printer technologies, it may be a struggle to decide when it comes to Anycubic Photon vs Elegoo Mars.

To help make matters a little clearer, we’ve assembled an overview of Anycubic Photon vs Elegoo Mars. In the overview, we will go over how the two machines rate compared to each other.

Anycubic Photon – Overview and Specs

The Anycubic Photon was one of the first desktop LCD 3D Resin Printers to break the $500 barrier. As far as print quality goes, the most important aspect of an LCD-based 3D printer is its screen resolution. The Anycubic Photon has a 2K panel, which is great considering the machine’s cost.

It does have a pretty small build volume, at just 115mm  by 65mm  by 155mm. So, users are somewhat limited in what they can produce with the Anycubic Photon. It is an affordable and accessible way, however, for makers to gain experience with LCD-based 3D printer technology without having to make too big of an investment.

One of the not-so-bad parts about having such a limited build volume is this makes the Anycubic Photon is a very compact machine. It comes with a 2.8 inch full-color touchscreen mounted under the build chamber. The build chamber is composed of a resin vat and a build plate that rises to make the next layer. The 3D printing process is visible via a front-facing window.

The Anycubic Photon will arrive completely assembled, and will require minimal effort and just 20 or 30 minutes to get up and running. Once it’s all set up, you will be able to prepare 3D models with the included slicing software. This makes it really easy to get printing without having to speed up too much time adjusting the 3D printer’s settings.

Technical Specifications

  • Technology: LCD
  • Input rating: 110V/220V AC
  • Working Voltage: 12V DC
  • Printer Dimensions: 220 x 220 x 400 mm
  • Build Volume: 115 x 65 x 155mm
  • Layer Resolution: XY resolution: 47 micron/Z-layer resolution: 10+ microns
  • Connectivity: USB, SD Card
  • Touchscreen: 2.8-inch color touchscreen

Elegoo Mars – Overview and Specs

The Elegoo Mars is not a new device. It was released back in 2017 and it took quite some time before the Elegoo Mars resin 3D printer was finally fully introduced to the market. It’s got a compact 120mm by 68mm by 155mm build area, but this small volume is made up for the machine’s consistent production of high-quality prints.

The Elegoo Mars is equipped with a 2560×1440 resolution masking LCD. This provides a stunningly high accuracy when printing, resulting in a resolution of 0.047mm in the X and Y axis. Reviews of the Elegoo Mars state that it is effortless to use and is as great as a budget-priced resin 3D printer could be.

Like the Anycubic Photon, the Elegoo Mars build plate utilizes a ball-jointed mechanism to level it. The Elegoo Mars features a 3.5-inch color touchscreen and a red, UV-blocking lid that covers the build chamber. This makes it so the printing process can be observed from any angle.

The Elegoo Mars doesn’t come with any proprietary slicing software, but it does come with ChiTu firmware and ChiTu Box print preparation software that is pre-calibrated for your printer’s settings. This slicer has some interesting features like model hollowing, which helps save resin during the photocuring stage.

Technical  Specifications

  • Technology: LCD
  • Touchscreen: 3.5-inch color touchscreen
  • Input rating: 110V/220V AC
  • Build Volume: 120 x 68 x 155mm
  • Layer Resolution: XY resolution: 47 micron/Z-layer resolution: 10+ microns
  • Connectivity: USB, SD Card
  • Working Voltage: 12V DC
  • Printer Dimensions: 401 x 419 x 200 mm

The Elegoo Mars and Anycubic Photon are pretty similar, but there are some distinguishing features that set these LCD 3D printers apart from each other. Below you will find a breakdown of some of the most important features that will help you figure out which option is best for you.

Build Volume

At a glance, you might not notice the build volume differences between these two LCD 3D printers. The Elegoo Mars, however, has an ever-so-slightly larger 120mm by 68mm by 155mm build volume as compared to the Anycubic Photon.

The Z-axis measurements, though, for both of these 3D printers are the same. But remember, the Mars has an additional 5mm on the X-axis and another 3mm on the Y-axis compared to the other printer.

Print Quality

Usually, the print quality that you can get from resin 3D printing is indistinguishable to the naked eye.

This Anycubic Photon and Elegoo Mars are no exceptions in the respect. Both of these 3D printers provide XY resolution of 47 microns and a Z-layer resolution that can be as fine as 10 microns. So, in regards to print quality, both of these machines provide excellent results.

Price

Like most budget 3D printers, the price of the Anycubic Photon and Elegoo Mars can vary from retailer to retailer. For example, the Elegoo Mars has an MSRP of $369 on the manufacturer’s website but you can get it for almost $100 less on Amazon.

In contrast, the Anycubic LCD printer is priced at just $249 without resin or $289 if you opt for a kit that includes resin.

The price delta between the two will be dynamic and likely remain pretty variable depending on what outlet it’s purchased through. This is where the Photon has somewhat of an edge. This is because the Elegoo Mars doesn’t come with any starting resin, the Anycubic Photon includes 250ml of starting resin.

Assembly

Another thing these two machines have in common is that they are both plug-and-play 3D printers. Both devices are mostly entirely pre-assembled and require only a tiny bit of tinkering by the user before they can start a print.

For both machines, the most important step is the insertion of the vat and the attachment of the print plate. The Anycubic Photon does, however, require a few more steps than the Elegoo Mars.

Once you put it together, the process for leveling the bed is very similar between these two 3D printers. also remains largely the same. As mentioned before, both the Anycubic Photon and Elegoo Mars are essentially plug-and-play 3D printers.

It is important to note, however, that the Elegoo Mars is the easier and quicker of the two to get up and running.

Under The Hood

The technology that makes the Anycubic Photon and Elegoo Mars work are essentially the same. Both of these LCD 3D printers use 2560×1440 masking LCD. That is the device that regulates where the resin-hardening light is projected, layer by layer, into the resin vat.

The Elegoo Mars does have a larger touch screen and build volume, but only slightly. Otherwise, mechanics are essentially the same.

The exteriors of these two machines, on the other hand, are much distinct from one another, especially when considering the red UV-blocking lid that the Elegoo Mars equipped with. This contrasts with the limited view of the front-facing window of the Anycubic Photon.

Elegoo Mars Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Almost ready to use out-of-the-box
  • Easy-to-fill resin compartment
  • Excellent print quality
  • Simple operation
  • User-friendly slicing software

Cons

  • Poor USB port location
  • Mass printing can be unreliable from a software standpoint

Anycubic Photon Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Compact and light design 
  • Easy start-up
  • High print quality
  • Intuitive slicing software

Cons

  • Noisy fans 

3D printing technology is advancing more and more each year. As a result, the market for available 3D printers is growing exponentially. The two in this review are some of the best LCD-based resin 3D printers you can get.

Both models work using a method called stereolithography. Essentially, stereolithography is the act of solidifying liquid materials.

The Elegoo Mars and the Anycubic Photon both use DLP (Digital Light Projection) technology and UV light to cure the printed objects.

Both 3D printers employ suitable slicer software that assists with the production of objects that need supporting structures during printing.

Both pieces of software are intuitive and easy to use, which makes them both well suited for beginners. Also, both 3D printers are almost entirely assembled and neither require any technical knowledge to set them up. 

The Anycubic printer does have a loud ventilation system that a lot of reviewers criticize. It is important to note, however, that the Elegoo Mars gets the same complaint, albeit much less frequently. In this way the printers are mostly on par with each other, but the Elegoo Mars is definitely the quieter of the two.

Both these printers really are excellent in terms of the results they deliver, especially considering that the price of these 3D printers are both well under 500 dollars. At that price-point these machines deliver an extremely accurate print quality that is rarely matched by comparably-priced (and sometimes even more expensive) 3D FDM printers.

With both printers, the individual layers of the object cannot be seen with the naked eye. Also, the printed objects feel smooth to the touch, flawless.

When it comes to print quality, it would be difficult-to-impossible to find any difference between the same object printed by each printer. The average user will more than likely not be interested in the deviations that one could only find under the microscope, but even still, differences between the two printers are hardly noticeable.

The Anycubic Photon comes with a USB port and an SD card slot, so does the other printer but this one has more accessible connections than the competitor’s model

The Anycubic Photon comes in only slightly ahead in batch processing. When it comes to printing many jobs in a row, the Elegoo Mars may experience a firmware error. It’s rare but it happens. It’s important to consider, however, that these errors can then be easily prevented by restarting the printer every few printers or so. This problem simply doesn’t happen with the Anycubic Photon.

Conclusion

There is no clear winner when it comes to Elegoo Mars vs Anycubic Photon. Both of these 3D resin printers are examples of excellent price-to-performance ratios. They are both affordable and have reasonable feature sets that don’t include unnecessary bells and whistles. Moreover, they are both easy to set up and are quick to get up and running.

When deciding between one of these printers or the other, the most important thing to keep in mind is going to be your personal preferences. If you want to have a large build-volume and don’t mind dealing with software quirks here and there, the Elegoo Mars is the printer for you. 

But, if you are OK with the smaller object volume and you don’t mind a louder operational noise level, and you want to transfer your object files via USB or SD card, then the Anycubic Photon is the best choice for you.