Anycubic or Elegoo: Which 3D Printer Should You Buy?


I have been using, testing and reviewing 3D printers for the better part of a decade now, and I’ve seen a lot of 3D printer manufacturers come and go, especially those looking to capture the lower-end, budget sector. Two names have not only survived but flourished to become the leaders in this space.

Anycubic and Elegoo have always been part of the race to the bottom, and I don’t mean that negatively. Both of these Chinese companies have worked to bring as many advanced features as possible to 3D printers that are priced around the $300 mark. Auto bed leveling, power interruption alerts and material runout sensors were the purview of the best 3D printers, not the lower-end machines, until Anycubic and Elegoo started their contest. 

Anycubic and Elegoo Spec Chart

Anycubic Kobra 2 Elegoo Neptune 4 Anycubic Kobra 2 Pro Elegoo Neptune 4 Pro Anycubic Kobra Max 2 Elegoo Neptune 4 Max
Build volume (mm) 220 x 220 x 250 225 x 225 x 265 220 x 220 x 250 225 x 225 x 265 420 x 420 x 500 420 x 420 x 480
Nozzle max temperature 260C 300C 260C 300C 260C 300C
Build plate max temperature 110C 100C 110C 110C (segmented) 90C 80C
Official max speed 300mm/s 500mm/s 500mm/s 500mm/s 500mm/s 500mm/s
Typical speed 180mm/s 180mm/s 300mm/s 250mm/s 180mm/s 180mm/s
Supported material PLA, ABS, TPU, PETG PLA, ABS, TPU, PETG, nylon PLA, ABS, TPU, PETG PLA, ABS, TPU, PETG, nylon PLA, ABS, TPU, PETG PLA, ABS, TPU, PETG, nylon
Connectivity USB, Wi-Fi, App USB, LAN USB, Wi-Fi, App USB, LAN USB, Wi-Fi, App USB, Wi-Fi
Slicer Anycubic Slicer Elegoo Cura Anycubic Slicer Elegoo Cura Anycubic Slicer Elegoo Cura

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

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

So whichever brand you choose, Anycubic or Elegoo, know that your 3D printer will be a good one, and, to give you a little more detail on each, we have them listed below and why we like them.


  • Excellent price
  • Enormous build area
  • Decent print quality

Don’t like

  • Unstable at high speed
  • Slicer is terrible

Anycubic’s reputation for printers that are dead simple to use without being prohibitively expensive scales well to its updated Kobra 2 Max, making any large printing job a mostly set-and-forget affair. That said, the sheer size of this machine requires some consideration. In order to maintain speed with the massive build plate, this bed-slinger comes with some powerful motors, which caused even the sturdiest table in my workshop to wobble.

The gyroscope in the print head helps combat most of this, but if you’re printing something especially tall, be prepared for some imperfections. And as with any Anycubic printer, the software is nowhere near as sophisticated as its more expensive competitors. As long as you’re right with those minor compromises, you’ll get a lot of great prints out of this machine.

  • Material type: Filament
  • Build area (mm): 420 x 420 x 500
  • Official max printing speed (mm/s): 500
  • Dimensions (mm): 740 x 735 x 640
  • Price: $$$


  • Fast
  • Easy to set up
  • Excellent cooling

Don’t like

  • Can be wobbly at high speed

Like the Kobra 2, the Elegoo 4 series is an entry-level, budget-friendly set of machines that make it easy to start printing good-quality prints at a super-friendly price. The Neptune 4 Pro is the top end of these entry-level printers and has some advanced features for its price, including full auto bed leveling, a filament run-out sensor and even a full-width part fan to help cool at high speed.

  • Material type: Filament
  • Build area (mm): 225 × 225 x 265
  • Official max printing speed (mm/s): 500
  • Dimensions (mm): 389 × 389 × 457
  • Price: $

Anycubic Kobra 2 on an orange background



  • Excellent value
  • Huge part-cooling fan
  • Fast for the price

Don’t like

While not as fast as the P1P or the X1C, the Kobra 2 is around the same speed as the AnkerMake M5. It will happily produce prints at 250 millimeters per second, though the best quality seems to be hovering around 150mm/s in my testing. It also comes with a filament runout sensor and bed leveling, which works extremely well.

The big selling point for the Kobra 2, though, is the price. It has all the advantages of a faster printer with a sub-$300 price tag, which is astonishing. This is my recommendation for any first-time buyer or someone on a budget.

  • Material type: Filament
  • Build area (mm): 225 × 225 x 250
  • Official max printing speed (mm/s): 300
  • Dimensions (mm): 389 × 389 × 457
  • Price: $

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


The Anycubic Kobra 2 Pro is one of the few sub-$300 printers that can actually print at the speeds they say. Well, let me clarify; it can print at the 300mm/s they recommend, but it can’t print at the 500mm/s they say is the max. Even at 300mm/s, the print quality suffers, but if you were printing something like a bracket or a prototype, then 300mm/s at 0.3mm layer height would be fine.

Only the software lets this machine down, and I hope they can figure it out somehow.

  • Material type: Filament
  • Build area (mm): 220 × 220 x 250
  • Official max printing speed (mm/s): 500
  • Dimensions (mm): 435 × 463 × 486
  • Price: $

One word of caution

While I firmly believe all of these printers are worthy of your time and money, they all suffer from one glaring issue: the software. While Elegoo uses a version of Cura that it has reskinned for itself, Anycubic currently has profiles for Prusaslicer that don’t always work the best. Both company’s slicer solution is not perfect, and for a beginner, they can be frustrating. 

Anycubic and Elegoo need to spend some of their resources on making slicers they can be proud of or invest in heavy testing and working with Cura and Prusaslicer — two of the best 3D printing slicers — to produce quality profiles that are easy for users to understand and implement. It is the biggest barrier to entry for these budget-friendly 3D printers and one that can be solved with a bit of money.


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