Article updated on November 17, 2022 at 6:00 AM PST

Saturn 2 3D Printer Review: The Machine to Buy When Details Matter

Upgrades in all the right places make this a great choice for resin 3D prints.

Our Experts

Written by 
James Bricknell
Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement
James Bricknell Senior Editor
James has been writing about technology for years but has loved it since the early 90s. While his main areas of expertise are maker tools -- 3D printers, vinyl cutters, paper printers, and laser cutters -- he also loves to play board games and tabletop RPGs.
Expertise 3D printers, maker tools such as Cricut style vinyl cutters and laser cutters, traditional paper printers Credentials
  • 6 years working professionally in the 3D printing space / 4 years testing consumer electronics for large websites.
Why You Can Trust CNET
Years of Experience
Hands-on Product Reviewers
Sq. Feet of Lab Space

CNET’s expert staff reviews and rates dozens of new products and services each month, building on more than a quarter century of expertise.

9.0/ 10

Elegoo Saturn 2

$671 at Amazon


  • large print area
  • Carbon filter is included
  • Stunning print quality


  • That lid is too big to lift off
  • Awkward USB placement

When looking to buy the best resin 3D printer there are several criteria: print quality, build quality and ease of use are some of the most important. The $670 Elegoo Saturn 2 hits the right notes on these, and I especially like the excellent print quality and large print area.

The Elegoo Saturn 2 on a table with doors behind it
James Bricknell / CNET

This is the second-gen model in this line from Elegoo. It takes everything that was good about the first one and tweaks it to almost perfection. It still suffers from some of the same issues that most midrange resin printers do, however, like bad USB placement and a lift-off top. 

Great quality prints

The Witch King of Angmar by Fotis Mint
James Bricknell / CNET

Those new to 3D printing or only using an FDM printer might not know how amazing the print quality on a resin printer truly is. Because 3D printers print in layers, the smaller each layer is the finer the detail. Resin printers, which cure liquid material in layers rather than stacking layers of melted plastic, are much better at this fine detail.

For example, an FDM printer, using a spool of material like PLA, normally prints at around 0.2mm per layer. The Saturn 2 prints at a 0.0285mm layer height, almost 10 times thinner. This all but eliminates layer lines and makes the models look like they're cast from a mold rather than printed. When you compare the two Treebeards from Fotis Mint in this image, you can see how much more detail the gray resin model has. 

2 Treebeard models showing off details
James Bricknell / CNET

The screen that cures the resin with UV light and produces the layers has also been upgraded to a 10-inch 8K monochrome screen. The size of the screen lets you print much larger models, or many more models in one go. Monochrome screens increase the curing speed, while the 8K resolution means the details will be crisp. Pixel density is important in resin 3D printers, as it determines how the edges will look. What you don't want are pixelated details, and you won't find them on the Saturn 2. The quality is spectacular. 

Having an 8K screen can often feel like a gimmick when you're making large practical prints, but when you're working on small models like tabletop gaming miniatures -- something a lot of resin 3D printers are used for -- that extra resolution adds details that even injection-molded models would be hard-pressed to beat.

Technically superior, with the same flaws

Charcoal filter in the back of the Saturn 2
James Bricknell / CNET

The Saturn 2 outperforms the original Saturn in almost every metric, including some quality-of-life upgrades. The new Saturn does have a larger physical footprint than the original, but the build plate is a whopping 43% larger, offering plenty of room to make models without needing to cut them up into separate parts. And because there's more room inside the Saturn 2, we can squeeze in an activated carbon filter to help keep the terrible resin smell from becoming too overpowering. 

While Elegoo has improved a lot of things, two recurring issues remain. These problems are not specific to the Saturn 2 but exist in most midsized resin 3D printers.

Saturn 2 versus Saturn 1

Elegoo SaturnElegoo Saturn 2
Screen size 8.9-inch10-inch
Layer height 0.05mm0.0285
Print volume 192x120x200 mm218x123x250 mm
Printer size 280x240x446 mm306x273x567 mm
Carbon filter YesNo

Most resin 3D printers have a removable acrylic cover to block out UV rays and keep the print safe, as any light that comes in can interfere with the process. Smaller machines have tops that can be lifted up over the machine and set aside. That's fine when the printer is only 17 inches tall, but the 24-inch Saturn requires four feet of clearance to remove the top. That severely limits the spaces you can install it in. Printers this size should have doors that open from the front, and the only reason they don't is because that would be a more complex, and therefore more expensive, design. 

The Saturn 2 also has a USB port on the side of the machine, far to the back. While this might be OK for someone who has it on a worktop, separate from anything else, it causes trouble when your printer is in a smaller space. USB ports should be on the front of a resin printer as a safety precaution if nothing else.

A gargoyle statue crouched on a pillar
James Bricknell / CNET

Those issues aside though, the Saturn 2 is one of the best resin 3D printers I have used. The entire machine feels well constructed and it offers print quality unmatched by anything I've tested in recent memory. If the most important thing to you is the quality of the final print, then the Saturn 2 is the printer to choose.

See at

More on 3D printing