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anycubic and elegoo printers on a blue background

Anycubic or Elegoo: Which 3D printer should you buy?

I’ve been using, testing and evaluating 3D printers for almost a decade now and have seen many 3D printer manufacturers come and go, especially those looking to enter the lower end price range. Two names have not only survived, but have even become leaders in the field.

Anycubic and Elegoo have always been part of the race to the bottom, and I don’t mean that in a negative way. Both Chinese companies have been working to integrate as many advanced features as possible into 3D printers, which cost around $300. Tasks included automatic bed leveling, power interruption alerts and material leakage sensors best 3D printersnot the lower priced machines until Anycubic and Elegoo started their competition.

Anycubic and Elegoo specifications table

Anycubic Cobra 2Elego Neptune 4Anycubic Cobra 2 ProElegoo Neptune 4 ProAnycubic Kobra Max 2Elegoo Neptune 4 Max
Construction volume (mm)220x220x250225x225x265220x220x250225x225x265420x420x500420x420x480
Maximum nozzle temperature260°C300°C260°C300°C260°C300°C
Maximum temperature of the building board110°C100°C110°C110C (segmented)90°C80°C
Official speed limit300mm/s500mm/s500mm/s500mm/s500mm/s500mm/s
Typical speed180mm/s180mm/s300mm/s250mm/s180mm/s180mm/s
Supported materialPLA, ABS, TPU, PETGPLA, ABS, TPU, PETG, NylonPLA, ABS, TPU, PETGPLA, ABS, TPU, PETG, NylonPLA, ABS, TPU, PETGPLA, ABS, TPU, PETG, Nylon
ConnectivityUSB, WiFi, appUSB, LANUSB, WiFi, appUSB, LANUSB, WiFi, appUSB, WiFi
slicerAnycubic SlicerElegoo careAnycubic SlicerElegoo careAnycubic SlicerElegoo care

As you can see when comparing the different models from Anycubic and Elegoo, each is essentially the same as the other. Each of them features a 0.4mm nozzle and direct drive extruder, as well as automatic bed leveling and filament runout sensors. The standard Kobra 2 and standard Neptune 4 are comparable, as are the Pro and Max versions of both. This means that no matter which of these printers you purchase, you will have a very similar experience.

While some may see this as a negative, I see it as a huge win for anyone wanting to start 3D printing. With the Neptune 4 and Kobra 2 series and their Pro versions, you have four 3D printers that can print well and quickly for under $300. They may not be as good quality as that best fast 3D printers These cost $600 or more, but for an entry-level printer they really can’t be beat. And then there are the Max versions, behemoths that can print huge models at high speed and good accuracy, all for $600 or less. It’s surprisingly good value for money.

So no matter which brand you choose, Anycubic or Elegoo, you can be sure that your 3D printer is a good one. To give you more insight into each printer, we’ve listed them below and explained why we like them.

How

  • Excellent price

  • Enormous building area

  • Decent print quality

I do not like it

  • Unstable at high speed

  • Slicer is terrible

Anycubic’s reputation for printers that are dead simple to use without being overly expensive meshes well with its updated Kobra 2 Max, making every large print job largely a one-off affair. However, the sheer size of this machine requires some consideration. To maintain speed with the massive build plate, this bed-slinger is equipped with some powerful motors that rocked even the sturdiest table in my workshop.

The gyroscope in the printhead helps combat most of this, but if you’re printing something particularly large, expect some imperfections. And as with any Anycubic printer, the software isn’t nearly as sophisticated as its more expensive competitors. As long as you’re right about these small compromises, you’ll get a lot of great prints out of this machine.

  • Material type: Filament
  • Construction area (mm): 420x420x500
  • Official maximum print speed (mm/s): 500
  • Dimensions (mm): 740x735x640
  • Price: $$$

neptune 4 pro promo

How

  • Fast

  • Easy to set up

  • Excellent cooling

I do not like it

  • May be wobbly at high speed

Like the Kobra 2, the Elegoo 4 series is an affordable entry-level set of machines that allows you to easily start printing high-quality prints at a very affordable price. The Neptune 4 Pro is the top of the range of these entry-level printers and has some advanced features for its price, including fully automatic bed leveling, a filament run-out sensor and even a full-width parts fan to aid in high-speed cooling.

  • Material type: Filament
  • Construction area (mm): 225×225×265
  • Official maximum print speed (mm/s): 500
  • Dimensions (mm): 389×389×457
  • Price: $

anycubic kobra 2 promo Anycubic

How

  • Excellent value for money

  • Huge partial cooling fan

  • Fast for the price

I do not like it

The Kobra 2 isn’t as fast as the P1P or the X1C, but it’s about as fast as the AnkerMake M5. It easily produces prints at 250 millimeters per second, although the best quality in my testing seems to be around 150 mm/s. It is also equipped with a filament run-out sensor and bed leveling, which works very well.

The big selling point for the Kobra 2, however, is the price. It offers all the benefits of a faster printer at a price under $300, which is amazing. This is my recommendation for any first time buyer or someone on a budget.

  • Material type: Filament
  • Construction area (mm): 225×225×250
  • Official maximum print speed (mm/s): 300
  • Dimensions (mm): 389×389×457
  • Price: $

The Anycubic Kobra 2 Pro with gray car print on a blue background The Anycubic Kobra 2 Pro with gray car print on a blue background Anycubic

The Anycubic Kobra 2 Pro is one of the few printers under $300 that can actually print at the advertised speed. Well, let me get this straight; It can print at the recommended 300mm/s, but not at the supposed maximum 500mm/s. Even at 300mm/s print quality suffers, but if you were printing a fixture or prototype for example, 300mm/s would be fine at 0.3mm layer height.

It’s just the software that lets this machine down, and I hope they can figure that out somehow.

  • Material type: Filament
  • Construction area (mm): 220×220×250
  • Official maximum print speed (mm/s): 500
  • Dimensions (mm): 435×463×486
  • Price: $

A word of caution

While I firmly believe that all of these printers are worth your time and money, they all have one glaring problem: the software. While Elegoo uses a version of Cura that it redesigned for itself, Anycubic currently has profiles for Prusaslicer that don’t always work optimally. Both companies’ slicer solutions aren’t perfect and can be frustrating for beginners.

Anycubic and Elegoo need to invest some of their resources into making slicers they can be proud of, or invest in extensive testing and collaboration with Cura and Prusaslicer – two of them best 3D printing slicers — Create quality profiles that are easy for users to understand and implement. It’s the biggest barrier to entry for these budget-friendly 3D printers and one that can be solved with some money.