This is my Elegoo Mars 2 Pro review after using it as my daily driver for one year. I predominantly use my 3D printers for tabletop games, so I have printed a lot of miniatures with the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro. If you intend to do that or print things that need high detail, my insights on this printer will likely be of use to you.
This will be an in-depth review based on my experience actually using this machine for the last year, printing actual things for my hobby. I am not a guy that has received a 3D printer for a review and tested it once without knowing anything about it (as other written 3D printer reviews can certainly feel like).
It will include my images, my thoughts on using the machine and printing models with it.
Long story short: I like the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro, but now that the price difference between it and the Elegoo Mars 3 (not to be confused with the Mars 3 Pro) it is less of a bargain. I would recommend, for most use cases, getting the Elegoo Mars 3 instead. You will get a better screen, more build volume and a few extra features for about 20-25% extra cost.
Read my Mars 3 Pro & Non-Pro Review for more information.
Full Disclosure: I bought this printer for my own money and for my own use. I might earn money if you buy through the links provided, but I have no connection with Elegoo in any other way (in short: Elegoo have no say in what I write or do in my Elegoo Mars 2 Pro Review).
Elegoo Mars 2 Pro Review: Printer Overview
The Elegoo Mars 2 Pro is a small resin 3D printer from Elegoo. It follows the success of the Elegoo Mars 1 and Mars 1 Pro. Elegoo is a very reputable firm in the resin 3D printing space, and the Mars 2 Pro is an often recommended printer for beginners – whether that is for printing miniatures or other smaller stuff
The Elegoo Mars 2 Pro was released in early 2020. While a lot has happened with the technology since the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro is still a workhorse. While it does not have that coveted 4k resolution of super crisp prints, it does have the needed mono screen to be able to compete on speed and quality of print.
The biggest selling point of the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro printer is by far the price point. Because the Mars 3 printer is out (and 4k screens are becoming standard in small resin printers), the Mars 2 Pro is really cheap right now.
I have owned an Elegoo 1 and that reflects quite closely in my observations of the 2 Pro (but I will wait until later with the exact differences).
The Elegoo Mars 2 Pro comes (almost) fully assembled and is ready to print models within just a few minutes. This “fully built” approach is very common with resin printers, but if you are used to FDM printers that might be something you expect (as they often come in kits that needs assembly).
You can get printing within only a few minutes with a resin printer like this.
Pros of the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro
Because this printer is being phased out, it can be had for a very low price. This is one of the best resin printers if you want to try it out without having to upgrade right away.
The screen is a mono screen, so you can expect a lot of hours of printing before the screen dies and this printer can print very fast while still printing great detail.
Good quality components
The quality of the screen, build plate, screws and casing is very good. Not expecting to repair or replace anything for the foreseeable future.
Very easy to use
Using the standard slicer and standard settings, this printer was up and printing great looking miniatures right away. Failed prints have been very rare with this machine. Great beginner machine.
Cons of the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro
Not a lot of extra features
The printer prints, but that is about it. You are not getting a lot of ease-of-use features or extra stuff here.
Not a 4K screen
While the print quality is very decent, it is not a 4k screen and the size of each pixel on the screen is quite big. 4K screens are becoming standard, so you might feel like you are missing out on detail.
Bad manual, noisy fans, poor UI, fiddly rubber seals and a scammy “active carbon filter” and cheap USB dongle. Corners have to be cut to keep the price this good but you will notice those cuts.
Not for big prints
If you want to print big pieces in one go (monsters, terrain or other big models) the very standard sized build area will not suffice. If you think printing 10 miniatures in one go is not enough, there are similar printers with much bigger build areas.
Screen, UV light, build plate and build volume of the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro
The Elegoo Mars 2 Pro is sporting a 1620×2560 pixel 6-inch mono LCD. The build volume is 129mm(L) x 80mm(W) x160mm(H). Spreading those pixels across the build volume means one pixel on the Mars 2 Pro is 50 μm (microns) or 0.5mm. This means that the printer will not print as precise as something that can print at 35 microns (0.35mm pixel size). The Pixel Per Inch (PPI) is about 492. That is quite a bit lower than say a Mars 3 wich has a PPI of 732.
Based on my experience, I can certainly see a difference when comparing it with a printer with a higher PPI, but the difference is not insanely massive. You will need to be very picky about details to notice them when printing at 0.2mm layer height. What you have to determine is if that extra detail is worth the extra amount of money you need to pay for it (check the video content below if you are in doubt).
If you want to print monsters or terrain, you will have to print them in smaller pieces and assemble them. The height is big enough to do some of that stuff, but the dimensions of the build plate make it hard to recommend it if that is what you are mainly going to print.
Because the screen is a mono LCD screen, about 2 seconds of exposure time is recommended for a layer height of 0.5. If you are going from a non mono screen, that is super fast (and with the right settings and resin you can even go with 1.2 seconds of exposure per layer).
All this to say: it prints way faster than your non mono LCD printer. It is such a big deal that no non-mono printer is being sold now and you should for sure upgrade if you still have a non-mono printer.
With this upgrade, I have gone from a miniature print taking 12-15 hours to taking 3-5 hours.
I can actually decide to print and have it done in the day I want it. Not to mention the amount of electricity I save!
Elegoo claims that the screen should last about 2000 hours of printing before you are expected to have to replace it.
I can comfortably fit about 10 miniatures on the build plate and print them in one go and that is with big supports and everything. Remember that with resin printers it is the height of the biggest thing on the build plate (the number of layers) that will be crucial in determining how long the print takes, so having a big build plate that you can pile extra miniatures on is just a big plus (as more minis will not add time to how long the print takes, which is very different from FDM printing).
The build plate has a nice rough texture, which has made it much easier for models to stick on the build plate. Actually, I have had some issues where prints were sticking too much to it and it was hard to get off, but that was easily solved by tweaking the first layers and exposure time overall.
The screws on the build plate were easy to tighten after levelling the printer, and even when I am somewhat rough getting prints of the plate, the plate does not move out of position. This means I have been able to do 10-20 prints without having to relevel the machine, which is something that was very hard to do with my older machines. I have had machines where simply applying a tiny bit of pressure would move the build plate out of position and force me to relevel after almost every print.
Overall build, resin tank and size of the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro
The printer dimensions are about 42cm high, 20 cm deep and 20 cm wide. It is not super big and can fit in many places. It will also be easy to get an enclosure for it, either for keeping a steady temperature or keeping the fumes away.
You have a small touch screen on the front for navigating and using the printer. The touch screen feels the same as the Mars 1 and Mars 1 Pro. It has that sort of cheap touchscreen feel. Not a major issue that it feels bad, since you are not fiddling around with a lot.
The USB port is moved to the front (was stupidly placed on the back before on the Mars 1). The power button is still on the back, which is all sorts of annoying for daily use.
The printer resin tank (the place where you put the liquid resin) has a little marker for the max amount of liquid resin you should fill. This is a welcome change from the previous version, where you just had to trust your own ability to gauge the maximum capacity of the resin tank. The resin tank holds enough resin to comfortably print a build plate filled with miniatures with some leftover liquid. The resin vat still slides into place in a way where I am nervous about scratching the FEP or the screen below. This is done better in other resin printers.
The body and resin tank is made of aluminium and feels very sturdy. It has the classic red cover for keeping UV light out of the resin you are printing with.
Shipping, package and extras in the box
I had my printer sent directly from the Elegoo Store (and you should as well because they give you the best price by far). It came snugly fit in the box. Everything was safe and sound. They used a bit much foam for my liking, but I guess saving the planet and printing with resin goes very poorly hand in hand. Still, this could have been better.
Besides the printer the box includes:
- Small rubber band to put on the bottom of the UV-cover
- Power cord
- A hanger for cleaning the build plate of excess resin
- The classic blue nippers
- Extra screws and tools
- USB dongle (low quality and should be changed)
- 2 masks (you should use something better)
- Some gloves
- Plastic scraper (pretty bad and you should use something better)
- Metal scrapper (kinda bad)
- Paper funnels
- A small cup
- Extra FEP for the vat
While it is nice that Elegoo provides some stuff to get going, a lot of this is pretty cheap and not worth your time.
I would immediately upgrade the USB, as it is super cheap and can give you problems with resin prints. For this review, I tried out the USB dongle and it died after 5 uses, and that was me handling it with care.
The masks are not enough protection for handling liquid resin, and you should get a much better mask. The plastic scrappers are not very good plastic scrappers and I would avoid using the metal scrapper as it can very, very easily damage your build plate.
I find the rubber seal to be a welcome addition to the printer, but also a bit weird. The seal comes off at times and does not fit perfectly on the printer. It seems to be something that has been thrown into the design at the last minute and is not a true part of the printer.
At the end of this article, we have some recommendations on what supplies to get with this machine or other resin machines.
Initial testing of the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro to print resin miniatures with
I quickly had my new Elegoo Mars 2 Pro set up and ready. The manual did an okay job of explaining how to level the bed. Levelling the bed was a bit easier than on the Mars 1 and the manual had no mistakes in how you should do it (but it could have been explained better, but stiller better than the Mars 1 where you should throw away the manual because of several critical mistakes).
To my horror, the fans are blazing from the instant you turn on the machine, which was one of my main gripes with my previous machine. Ohh well, you cannot have it all.
I decided against printing the standard test print model on the USB stick, since it is a useless model and not really good for testing anything.
I booted up Chitubox and filled the bed with premium miniature 3D printing files bought via Patreon. To my surprise, the Mars 2 Pro did not recognize the files. It turned out I had to do a firmware upgrade to be able to use the current version of Chitubox. This was not explained in the manual, but very easy to fix (download file on USB and plug it in). But as a beginner, that would have been a poor experience.
I know it might be hubris to print several models, and complex one at that, as the first test print. But that is just how rogue I am! I used the standard settings for the printer in the Chitubox slicer.
To my slight surprise, the miniatures come out nicely. They were very sticky on the build plate, which was quite a change from the Mars 1. After removing supports in hot water, cleaning the models in IPA and curing the models outside I was quite impressed with the result. This is the best “out of the box” experience I have had with any printer. Having models print out of the gate as a test print was great!
After that, I printed the bases for them. I printed them directly on the build plate and no supports, I was surprised just how stuck they were on the build plate.
Certainly, some settings could be tweaked for a better result, but the stock settings are very conservative and made for getting consistent finished print sticking to the plate.
Something I found was a pleasant experience was that after levelling, I could tighten the screw on the build plate soo much that it would not misalign when taking models of the build plate.
Noise of the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro
I found the noise of the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro quite jarring. The fans spin as soon as the power is on and the fans changes pitch while printing. In my ears, it makes a quite annoying sound from the fans. When the build plate goes up and down it also makes some slight noise and the suction from the FEP is also audible when close to the printer.
Sitting 3-4 meters with regular over-ear earphones on and listening to music was not enough to cover the sound from it while printing. With noise cancellation it was okay.
If I had to have my machine nearby me when printing (not recommended for several other health reasons) I would consider modding my machine so the fans stop when the printer is just idling and installing fans on it that are quieter.
Active Air filtration on the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro does not really work
One of the big selling points of this printer was the active carbon filtration. While it is true that it has a pre-installed filter that should help with odour, you will quickly realize that this is a bit of a scam.
The active carbon filter will over time need to be replaced in order to work, but there is no way of changing the filter without having to seriously take apart the machine (in ways I would not be comfortable doing and in ways that would likely void the warranty).
I found no decrease in nasty odour going from the Elegoo 1 to Elegoo Mars 2 pro. Not impressed with what they have done here.
“Tank clean” feature
A newer addition to these types of printers is the “tank clean feature”. If you have nasty failed prints you can press the button and it will cover the bottom of the resin vat. It will trap anything else that is cured and have gone to the bottom, making it easy to clean the tank for any tricksy bits (which you should totally get out before printing again).
On paper this sounds great, but I have found it less than stellar. The big piece of resin is hard to get off without doing damage to the FEP and it wastes a lot of resin. I think this is better on paper than in practice.
Levelling the Build Platform on Elegoo Mars 2 Pro
Levelling the printer was an okay experience. I am happy to say that I have had to relevel much less with this machine than I am used to. It uses the classic method of loosening the screws, homing the printer on a piece of paper, tightening the screws and setting zero on the printer. The manual explains it in okay detail and there have been no problems with it on this printer (unlike others I have tried).
I still find it weird that we a piece of paper is the recommended method. Why not give us something exact that fit the dimensions? Just a bit of a janky thing.
While levelling the bed is certainly important, so it making sure the printer itself is level. The printer has no mechanism to help with this or any way of tweaking it. I live in an old house where nothing is level, so I really wish I can shorten or lengthen the four legs of the printer to make it easier to level. For now, a piece of paper will have to suffice.
Thoughts on the printer after printing a lot of models (small pet peeves in this Elegoo Mars 2 Pro Review)
- One of the big selling points of resin is the quality of detail you can accomplish. So, is it any good? I am very picky about details on the miniatures I paint, but I am always happy to paint one of the models I have printed. It is crazy I can start the printer and have 10 miniatures ready to paint 4-6 hours later.
- Comparing the prints to more expensive printers, the print quality is not out of this world. But it is certainly comparable to miniatures you can buy in stores and leagues better than cheap miniatures from various board games.
- The noise I still find super frustrating, so I am thinking of replacing the fans with something that is more silent. There is no reason for this to be a very noisy printer
- I would love a way a better to angle the build plate after the print has finished. The small plastic thing is okay, but if you have to take the build plate out to put it in and risk spilling resin down the printer.
- The folder system/menu when selecting a printer is a crappy UI.
- Why is there a blue LED in the power supply? It annoys me and it is a waste.
- Having used other printers, I am beginning to find a USB dongle as a suboptimal way of moving files to the printer. But having the USB port on the front helps with this not being a major issue.
- The screen on the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro does not have any protective glass layer (like some other printers). The screen looks weirdly jammed in with some tape on the top. A bit cheap looking really.
- Getting the build plate in and out of the printer is sometimes troublesome. It can get a bit stuck, so wish the design was a bit better here.
- I would like it if there was some sort of counter on how many hours the screen has been running. It would make it easier to buy a replacement before it is going to break down on you.
Comparing the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro VS Mars 1, Mars 3 and similar brands
|Image of printer
|Build Volume (L, W, H)
|Size of Printer
|XY resolution (μm)
|Seen for $
|Elegoo Mars 2 Pro
|1620 x 2560 px
|129 x 80 x 160 mm
|20 x 20 x 41 cm
|Direct from manufacturer
|Elegoo Mars 3
|4098 x 2560 px
|143.43 x 89.6 x 175 mm
|22.7 x 22.7 x 43.85 cm
|Direct from manufacturer
|Elegoo Mars 1
|119.8 x 68 x 160 mm
|20 x 20 x 41 cm
|Out of Stock
|Direct from manufacturer
|Anycubic Photon 4k
|3,840 x 2,400 px
|132 x 80 x 165 mm
|22.7 x 22.2 x 38.3 cm
|Direct from manufacturer
The Elegoo Mars 2 Pro is placed in a market with a lot of similar printers. These small printers sacrifice on the size of print plate but compete on quality and features. The Elegoo Mars 2 Pro is mostly competing on price.
Mars 2 Pro Vs Mars 3 (and Mars 3 Pro)
First, it seems like the Mars 3 Pro is a trap compared to the regular Mars 3. You have to give $100 right not to get the Mars 3 pro version. The upgrades on the pro version? Carbon filter, slightly better light and some protective stuff on the screen. So let us not discuss the Mars 3 Pro, but focus on the Mars 3 instead.
The biggest difference between the Mars 2 Pro and the Mars 3 is the 4k screen, which will give a bit better print quality. It also has a few better features (power button on front, a bit better build quality, larger build volume, more efficient cooling).
The real question is: how much more expensive is it to get the Mars 3 instead of the Mars 2 Pro? When the price difference was $100 (50% more in price), that was too much for the upgrade. Now when the difference between the two is just about $50? Well, I actually think you should go with the Mars 3 instead. Now it looks like the better value pick and in this price bracket, it is all about value.
Also, the Mars 2 Pro is getting phased out. If you do not like owning a machine that is no longer for sale, you should not get it.
Mars 2 Pro Vs Anycubic Photon Mono 4k
These two printers are very similar in price, size and features. Even though the price difference is only very small now (and shrinking). But even though the Photon 4k has the better specs, I am biased in not liking Anycubic (got a bad model and got very bad support).
Mars 2 Pro vs Mars 1
Elegoo has made some great upgrades from the Mars 1 to the Mars 2. The screen, the overall build, the placing of USB port and so on. It is simply a much better machine and I would never recommend anyone to go with a non-mono-screen resin printer. The difference in quality is simply too big and the price difference is too small, so there is really no reason to delve further on this subject.
Pros of the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro
- Super cheap entry and a solid machine for beginners
- Out of the box good experience with printing complex models
- Good build plate that will help you get good consistent results (without a lot of failures)
- The Mono screen is very good and not super expensive to replace. Great UV light with little bleed.
- The build plate will be sufficient in size for most people
Cons of the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro
- Not a 4k screen and the 50 μm size of the pixels is a bit large compared to similar machines.
- Active carbon filtration is a bit of a scam
- Rubber seal not designed well
- The power button is still on the back
- Extra supplies are a bit cheap
- Constant fan noise that goes up and down in pitch.
- The price difference between this and better machines is shrinking every day
- The print volume is not enough for big models
Who should buy this printer? Elegoo Mars 2 Pro review conclusion
I have been super happy with my Elegoo Mars 2 Pro. I think there is plenty of print volume and do not feel like I need one of the bigger options out there (like the Elegoo Saturn). Also, keep in mind that you can print faster with a smaller FEP by tweaking the lift distance after each layer. So bigger is not always better.
When I bought the Mars 2 Pro I would have to spend 50% more to upgrade to the Mars 3 or a similar 4k resin printer. At that point, it was a no-brainer. Now the difference is more like 25% more in price, and at that point it is much less clear cut.
If you are mainly looking to print high-detail models I think you can do better than the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro for its current price of $169. While it is a nice machine, paying a bit more will get you a 4k screen and other great stuff. I would jump on board the Mars 3 if I can get it for around $210. You can try and check the amazon price history via Camelcamelcamel.com, but from my experience, the Elegoo Store beats it every time (they have constant sales).
If you do not really care for that detail level (if you are not into printing highly detailed miniature models), the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro have my recommendation as a great starter resin printer.
So the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro are for people wanting a great entry-level machine for resin printing and who are not super fussed about details or having a printer that is soon out of production.
What to consider before starting resin printing
- The uncured resin is super toxic. I tried to print inside the house but found it was not really a great experience.
- If you place it somewhere that the smell and toxicity are less of an issue, make sure you can consistently heat that space to around 20-25 degrees (or more for very specific resins).
- The post-process of curing the models is messy. Even if you get a curing and washing station it takes time and space.
- 3D printing is a new hobby. You might want to print things for another hobby, but know that this will actually end up taking time away from your other hobbies.
- Are you going to print big models (monsters and terrain)? Are you going to print a lot of models in one go? Then it is much easier to print them in one go instead of having to glue them together. For that it will require a printer with good print volume. The build volume on the entry-level printers is just not big enough, so consider getting a bigger machine like a Saturn.
What other supplies to get for 3D printing resin
When getting a resin printer there is a lot of extra supplies you need. Here is a quick list of things you need:
- IPA alcohol at 99%
- Wash and Cure station (but wait and try the manual approach first)
- Nitril gloves (expendable and a more durable pair)
- A silicone mat (where you take models of the build plate)
- A good plastic scrapper
- Some good jars for storing IPA
- Wet wipes
- Resin (just start with some standard stuff from the manufacturer of your resin machine)
Other great resources:
- Best 3D Printer for Miniatures
- Elegoo Saturn 2 Review
- Mars 3 Pro Review
- Best way to get miniature 3D printing files
- Beginner’s Guide to 3D printing Miniatures