Mars vs Saturn sounds like a battle between Roman Gods, but in this case it’s two different resin 3D printers.
Although from the same manufacturer, there’s going to be an obvious comparison between the two.
The manufactures themselves are Elegoo who have built up quite a substantial reputation when it comes to producing quality resin or SLA 3D printers.
They also produce a good range of FDM printers as well, so there’s more than one string to their bow!
The company was founded in 2015 in the Shenzhen area of China, which has come to be known as China’s Silicone Valley.
The name of the company actually derives from a combination of the words electronic and googol. This isn’t a misspelling of the search engine but a number which is 10 to the power of 100 or the number 1 followed by 100 zeros.
This is in effect an infinite number and refers to Elegoo’s vision of the infinite possibilities with 3D printing.
Let’s move on to the Mars and Saturn printers that we’re going to compare and see what they have to offer.
Introduction of Elegoo Mars and Elegoo Saturn
As we’ve said, these are both resin printers and are in the low to mid-price range of Elegoo’s printer stable.
However, under each of these banner names comes a selection of different models to choose from.
For example, the Mars range has six different model types and the Saturn has four. All the printers are LCD resin machines but with different variations in terms of size, functionality expected print output.
For the purposes of this article, we’ll select the best from each range and see how they stack up against each other.
The main things we’ll be looking at when comparing the two will be:
- Build Volume
- Design and Build Quality
- Print Quality and Performance
- Software and User Interface
- Resin Compatibility
- Price and Value for Money
We’ll also look at user experiences and share with you their review and comments regarding both printers.
So, let’s now look at what you can expect from the Elegoo Mars.
The Elegoo Mars range of printers consists of six different models, but at the top of the range is the Mars 3 Pro.
This is the very latest addition to the Mars stable and is a 4K mono LCD resin printer.
The machine itself is much like most resin printers in terms of style and design. This particular Elegoo has definitely moved into more elegant curves than square box construction.
Looks aside though, what’s actually under the hood.
Well the Mars 3 Pro certainly isn’t all about looks. Unlike FDM 3D printers that mostly rely on either Marlin or Klipper firmware for their operating systems, Elegoo uses its own EL3D, which is currently on version 3.0.1.
The light source for the 6.6-inch 4K monochrome LCD screen consists of 36 UVLED lights with a 4098×2560 resolution, which is designed to give greater clarity of detail to the printed model.
The build volume is quite good compared to similar machines at 143.43 x 89.6 x 175 mm.
Connectivity for printing is via USB so, unfortunately, no Wi-Fi, but this is expected from a printer in this price range.
Every Elegoo printer comes with one-year subscription to the Chitubox Pro slicer.
These are just some main features of the Elegoo Mars 3 Pro. We’ll be looking at them further in our comparison later on.
Pros and Cons of Using Elegoo Mars
- Large build volume: This is in comparison to other similar printers from different manufacturers. The differences here aren’t massive, but worth noting if you’re comparing brands as well as printer models.
- 4K print screen resolution: This gives better light source coverage and provides more detail to the printed model
- Reasonably priced: For a resin printer of this type, the price is competitive when compared with similar printers.
- USB connectivity only: This isn’t a major issue, but one that’s worth noting if you’re used to being able to print remotely from your machine.
- Small and basic UI control panel: This is probably expected due to the overall size of the machine .
It’s always good when choosing to buy a new product to have a look at reviews that have come from actual users of that product.
Elegoo are refreshing in that respect as they show questions, answers and honest reviews from customers directly on their product pages.
The overall score from these reviews comes out at 4.8/5 from just 37 which is great! And includes comments such as “Amazing product…”, “High quality prints” and “Worked perfectly out of the box”.
There was only one 3-star rating and nothing below that, so a fairly good result overall.
The consensus of opinion from these users seems to be that the Elegoo Mars 3 Pro is:
- Easy to set up and use
- Gives good quality prints
- And is a valid upgrade from the previous Mars incarnation
It’s also worth looking further afield for reviews that haven’t necessarily been “selected” by the company to put their product in a good light.
Sites such as Facebook and Reddit are good sources for such reviews. Major retail sites such as Amazon can also deliver valuable insides from buyers.
Having looked at these as well as those on Elegoo’s site, it again provides pretty good reading.
Amazon’s overall score is 4.6/5 from 2647 reviews with most users finding the printer “Perfect for beginners” and “Easy setup, amazing print quality!”.
The percentage of scores below 3 stars was only 8% of this so 212 users.
- $ 270
As is the case with the Mars, the Saturn has a number of different models of printer under its banner.
We’re going to look at the top of the range version, which is the Saturn 2.
This may sound like a NASA mission from the 1960s, but the space age look of the Elegoo Saturn 2 doesn’t lie far away from that misnomer.
The Saturn is very similar in looks to the Mars with the distinctive red cover. If you were to put them side by side, the difference in size would become immediately apparent.
Its even much bigger than the original Saturn printer, so definitely an upgrade from the first machine.
To get an idea of the size, the Saturn 2 has a build volume of 218.88 x 123.12 x 250 mm.
This size of build volume is closer to that which you’d find on an FDM printer, so the possibilities of producing larger, detailed models are exciting.
The light source this time comes in the form of a 10-inch 8K monochrome screen lit by 48 UV LED lights with a resolution of 7680 x 4320. It is apparent that this is a step up from the standard resin printer.
The operating system is again Elegoo’s EL3D 3.0.1 with of course ChiTubox Pro one year subscription included.
This shouldn’t put you off though if you’re used to using another slicer such as Lychee as there is compatibility with that as well.
We’ll again look closer at the technical specifications lower down.
Pros and Cons of Using Elegoo Saturn
- Large build volume: Much larger than the standard and similar to a lot of FDM printers.
- 8K screen print resolution: Gives much better quality even on larger prints.
- Still reasonably priced: For the extras you’re getting, this still provides fair value for money.
- Not for the beginner: The set-up and controls are still fairly easy. Generally, a smaller printer could be a better starting point.
- Small and basic UI controls: The controls are touch screen, but basically the same as those on the Mars so could’ve been better.
- No Wi-Fi printing: As with the Mars, USB only print to printer file transfer, so not ideal for remote printing.
Elegoo has provided user reviews on the Saturn 2 product page too.
These are generally very positive, with an overall user score of 4.7/5 from a total of 196 reviews.
Some of the notable comments say “BEST Printer ever. Period”, “Amazing” and “First Time 3D Printing Ever and It Worked Great!”.
This last one kind of goes against the grain in terms of it being suitable for beginners, but it all depends on your confidence and general experience of new processes.
The general opinion therefore seems to be that the Saturn 2 is a great printer and provides good quality prints in a larger format than standard.
There were only 15/196 users that rated it 3 stars or below. This tends to be down to isolated issues with delivery or user compatibility.
If we move on again to reviews posted by Amazon customers, then the score is slightly lower at 4.6/5 from 1442 user reviews.
The users that rated it 3 stars or below were 9% so about 130 which is similar to those on the Elegoo product page.
So, in review, the Elegoo Mars 3 Pro appears to be very popular and exactly how users/buyers expected it to be.
Notable recent positive comments were:
- “Build Size and Quality Matches Commercial Agency Printing”
- “Stunning Printer – results speak for themselves”
It shows us that the Saturn 2 is very well received by the vast majority of users.
Comparison Between Elegoo Mars and Saturn
Before we get into the more detailed areas of quality and performance, let’s just have a quick look at the quantifiable aspects of the two different Elegoo printers.
|Printer||Elegoo Mars 3 Pro||Elegoo Saturn 2|
|Build Volume||143.43 × 89.6 × 175 mm||218.88 x 123.12 x 250 mm|
|Light source||6.6” 4K Mono36 UVLED lights/405 nm||10” 8K Mono48 UVLED lights/405 nm|
|Resolution||4098 x 2560||7680 x 4320|
|Print speed||30-50 mm/h||30-70 mm/h|
|LCD||3.5 Inch Touch Screen||3.5 inches touch screen|
|Dimensions L/W/H||227 x 227 x 438.5 mm||305.9 x 273 x 567.3 mm|
|Ideal Usage||Smaller parts, individual objects and miniatures.||Larger parts and printing in batches.|
So those are some of the more technical aspects of the two printers for comfortable comparison.
There are of course other aspects which we need to compare though that can’t just be explained with numbers in boxes.
Let’s therefore have a more detailed look at some other valid comparison points.
Design and Build Quality
Elegoo Mars 3 Pro
The design is sleek and compact and the build quality is excellent.
The main focus of a resin printer in terms of its usability is the cover and how easy that is to manage.
The cover will need to be secure when the printer is in use, but easy enough to remove when needed.
The Mars fulfills those criteria for its cover, and the build and design of the rest of the functioning parts of the printer are also of excellent quality.
The only downside is the control panel screen, which could be bigger and easier to use. This is of course limited by the available space on the printer’s base.
Elegoo Saturn 2
The design and build quality of Saturn 2 are beyond question, and every attention to detail has been taken to ensure the Saturn 2 looks good while performing its main purpose.
The Mars and Saturn printers have a very similar look, with the only real difference being the size.
The downside of Saturn 2 is also the control panel, which could’ve been better, but it’s functional and does all you need it to do.
Print Quality and Performance
Elegoo Mars 3 Pro
Print quality is a major factor with any 3D printer.
The 4K mono screen of the Mars 3 Pro delivers on that front.
The prints are smooth and detail is excellent, so ideal for intricate models, which is essentially what a resin printer does best.
The print speed is worth noting at 30-50 mm/h which is about average for a printer in this price range and size.
Elegoo Saturn 2
Print quality is improved even further with the 8K mono screen of the Saturn 2 and this can be seen in the example images shown above.
Prints are even smoother and fine details come out even clearer for a high-quality print finish.
The print speed is a bit better than the Mars as well, at 30-70 mm/h.
Elegoo produce their own range of resins which will be compatible with both the Mars 3 Pro and the Saturn 2.
Both printers are also compatible with other branded resins as well, but will require different print settings.
Unlike FDM printing whereby the settings are simply determined by the different types of filament (PLA, ABS, PETG etc.), resin printing settings are determined by a great number of factors in terms of the actual resin.
These factors include of course the type of resin you’re using, but also the color, opacity and so on.
All these settings can be found on the Elegoo website, which also gives settings for both its own and other brands of resin.
Value for Money
Elegoo Mars 3 Pro
At a price of around $300, the Elegoo Mars Pro provides good value for money against its competitors in the same price range and printer standard.
Elegoo Saturn 2
For the size of resin printer that it is, the Saturn 2 gives excellent value for money, both in terms of increased build volume and extra print quality.
As we’ve discussed, Elegoo provide high quality 3D printers at great value for money prices.
The build quality and design of their 2 most popular resin printers are exceptional and compare well against their competitors.
We’ve looked at the top of the range printer in both the Mars and Saturn groups but certainly, if you decide to go for one of the cheaper options of each, you won’t be disappointed and can expect the same attention to detail that Elegoo provide.