|1. Hatchbox||2. Overture||3. Tecbears|
So you got your new 3D printer and you’re ready to enter this new aspect of manufacturing. Now, the only thing you need, to be capable of manufacturing just about anything within the printer’s limits, are 3D filaments, and you’ll want to get the best 3D printer filaments to make the best prints. You can’t play baseball without a ball and a bat, similarly, you can’t do 3D printing without a 3D printer and 3D filaments.
Different Types Of 3D Printer Filaments
- Carbon Fiber
This list still goes on! 3D printer filaments differ with properties like flexibility, strength, price, and much more. So, depending on your 3D printer and nozzle type, you’ll have to choose the best type of filament suitable. On top of all these different types, you can get a wide range of colors in most types to make the most vibrant prints. PLA and ABS are the most popular types of filaments used among the list. This guide is going to mostly focus on the best PLA and ABS filaments, and also give some insights into the other types.
Top 20 Best 3D Printer Filaments 2021
1. Hatchbox PLA
Hatchbox 3D printer filaments are accepted by everyone in the 3D printing community. They provide high-quality filaments that are clog-free, bubble-free, and tangle-free. Hatchbox promises to offer the highest quality and performance possible.
Hatchbox offers all kinds of filaments suitable for any kind of project. They offer filaments that are heat resistant and durable, to filaments which are flexible and odorless at extrusion. Their catalog includes all the best, so many would say that Hatchbox offers the best 3D printer PLA filament.
Hatchbox’s most proud attribute is that they offer a wide range of bold and vibrant colors. They offer gloss, textured, sparkling, transparent filament colors, and wood and marble-mimic filaments too.
Each filament spool is carefully formulated and extensively tested to make your 3D printing experience enjoyable and error-free. All of this, to save you time and effort for your every print.
This PLA filament is a blend of plant-based material and polymers. This spool has 2.20 pounds (1kg) of white filament with a diameter of 1.75mm. The recommended printing temperatures are 180°C – 210°C (356°F – 410°F).
The filament will come in a very nicely packaged, recyclable cardboard box. Inside the product is sealed in a plastic bag with a desiccant pouch. Once you open the package, make sure you safely store the filament in a cool and dry place.
Hatchbox PLA is available in a wide range of colors, both in 1.75mm and 3.0 mm. With the right settings and 3D printer configuration, your prints will have a neat finish with a slight gloss.
2. Overture PLA
Overture is a 3D printer filament manufacturer that you have most probably heard of if you’ve been 3D printing for a while now. They offer good quality filaments at affordable prices. Their PLA filament is easy to print with, as it requires low printing settings. Their PLA filament is completely biodegradable.
Printing with this filament doesn’t require a heating bed. In fact, Overture provides a build surface plate with dimensions of 200 x 200 mm, which has a grid layout. Their PLA filament is less likely to warp, compared to the other filaments in the market.
This filament is completely non-toxic and it doesn’t emit any unpleasant smells or fumes while printing. Also, Overture provides a 100% guarantee with their exceptional support systems, to help you solve any issues.
Overture’s filament is known to be bubble-free, tangle-free, and clog-free. It is compatible with all FDM printers, whether it has a basic or advanced configuration. It will guarantee you a smooth and stable printing process and printing satisfaction.
The recommended printing temperature is 190 to 220 degrees Celsius (374 to 428 degrees Fahrenheit). If you are using a heating bed, then set its temperature anywhere between 20 to 60 degrees Celsius.
This 2.2-pound filament has a 1.75mm diameter and a print tolerance of +/- 0.05mm. It’s a great filament that works right off the bat. It doesn’t require you to do much tuning to the printer. Providing that smooth and unobstructed extrusion, it has all users satisfied.
3. TECBEARS PLA
When it comes to printing miniatures you want two things – A low shrinkage rate and an enhanced layer bonding. TECBEARS PLA filament has both of these qualities.
This filament is available in 20 different colors, so you can make the best and most suitable colored miniatures for your project. This 2.2-pound filament has a thickness of 1.75mm. This is the most ideal filament for miniature printing, as it is clog-free and bubble-free too.
The best thing about this 3D printer filament is its compatibility. One can use this filament in every FDM 3D printer, and it will always bring about the best results. TECBEARS PLA has an exceptional printing tolerance, you’ll be having the best dimensional accuracy one can find in the entire 3D printer filament market. The manufacturers have used self adaptive control and advanced CCD diameter to achieve a filament with a dimensional tolerance of 0.02mm.
The product comes vacuum-sealed with desiccant in a re-sealable nylon bag. The product is completely environment-friendly, as it is made with 100% natural materials. TECBEARS offer an 18-month warranty with all of their 3D printer filaments.
The recommended printing temperature is 200 to 230 degrees Celsius, and the heating bed should be at 60 to 80 degrees Celsius. These temperature ranges are risk-free ranges.
Since PLA is prone to moisture, make sure you store it in its package in a cool and dry place, preferably in an aluminum seal bag so it maintains its high performance.
4. Overture PETG
Overture PETG is the best PETG 3d printer filament in the market today. Unlike other brands, Overture delivers on what they promise. Overture PETG is as easy to use as their PLA filament. On top of that, it is as durable as ABS. It offers the best of both worlds.
Overture PETG doesn’t require a head bed to print on. It offers easy bed adhesion, so just make sure your printing surface is suitable like the printing bed they provide with the filament. Overture PETG is more advanced compared to its competitors, and this filament provides a glossy finish to the prints.
Overture PETG can resist high temperatures. PETG is not usually easy to print with, although printing with Overture PETG isn’t so hard too. They have designed and manufactured a patented PETG filament that is clog-free. This guarantees a smooth and stable 3D printing experience.
Overture takes its brand value very seriously. They’re extremely careful about their product packaging. As PETG is sensitive to moisture, they pack this product only after it’s dry for 24 hours, into a vacuum-sealed aluminum foil package.
Overture filaments are reliable and affordable. On top of all, they are compatible with all common FDM printers, including Ender 3, MK3, and Monoprice FDM printers. This brand’s PETG filament is the best when you consider performance, price, and quality.
5. TTYL 3D PLA
This is the ideal 3D printer filament if you are planning to make prints with different colors, specifically the rainbow colors. This filament gradually changes its color after 3-5 feet. This color change allows prints to get more color variation, much more compared to normal silk PLA in the market. One spool to print objects in many beautiful colors.
The TTYL 3D PLA gives the prints a smooth appearance and a silk gloss, perfect for art. This PLA 3D printer filament is compatible with all FDM printers.
This 3D printer filament is of premium quality. It’s extremely easy to print with. It is 1.75mm thick and has a high print tolerance. It doesn’t warp on the edges of prints. Since it is multi-colored, you will have a consistent printing experience. No need to change filament when you want to change the color.
The filament does not clog in the extruder, and it makes stable prints. The product is eco-friendly, and biodegradable. It is ideal to print with this filament indoors.
The recommended heat bed temperature is 50 to 60 degrees celsius and the recommended printing temperature is 200 to 220 degrees celsius. TTYL 3D has designed the filament to be tangle-free. Just insert the filament into the spool holes after you use it each time. When you are printing with this filament for the first time, decrease the print speed to 50%, similar to all PLA filaments.
This product comes with 10 0.4mm needles that are used for 3D printer nozzle cleaning. The 2.2-pound filament with a thickness of 1.75mm comes in a vacuum-sealed package, and they offer a zipper bag to store the filament once it has been used.
TTYT 3D takes consumer satisfaction really seriously. They reply to your concerns within 24 hours, and they will even assist you to send the product back and get a refund if you’re not happy with the product.
6. 3D Solutech PLA
Ever since the recent boom of the 3D printer filament industry, 3D Solutech has been a name heard often. This company is built by young 3D printing enthusiasts who are striving to become the best, by producing the best 3D printer PLA filament at affordable prices.
3D Solutech is clearly doing it right. Today, their fan base is growing all over the world and it’s mostly because of their PLA filament. The core reasons why they are becoming the best is because they offer economical prices, high quality, and different colors.
With pretty low prices, customers can buy multiple rolls at a time, and make the prints how they like it to be. Low priced filaments usually mean cheap quality, although 3D Solutech’s PLA is of standard quality that you stick with for a good amount of time.
For beginners, the recommended 3D printer filament to start with is PLA, and 3D Solutech’s PLA filament will be the most satisfying. It is easy to use and gives consistent results. The texture of this filament is nice and smooth, and that translates to the prints. Even its performance at the extruder is smooth.
This filament doesn’t emit a foul smell while printing. It doesn’t have much warping and stringing too. The finished pieces are strong and durable, they can withstand a good amount of stress. The prints are hard, and they bounce like chess pieces.
Though they don’t offer a wide color range like most of their competitors, 3D Solutech provides the basic colors – which sometimes may not match your expectations. For example, the white PLA filament is more of an off-white color rather than proper white. Apart from that, they have the best PLA filaments for beginners.
7. Amolen PLA
Amolen is a Shenzhen based filament manufacturer since 2017. The Chinese brand has become a well-known manufacturer of affordable filaments since then. They are most popular for their PLA and PLA variant filaments.
Amolen provides higher quality 3D printer filaments like PLA, TPU, PETG, and more. Their filaments are designed for high performance, and they leave no air bubbles or oil residue. This particular PLA filament by Amolen glows in the dark. These glow in the dark PLA filaments contain phosphorescent, this means they can glow without being exposed to a UV light source.
This PLA filament has no warping effect and it emits the least amount of odor while printing. The prints will not have any bubble, and they will not string too much either. This filament does not clog the extruder as well.
This filament is offered in two sizes – 1.75mm thickness and 3.0mm thickness. It comes in a spool with 2.2 pounds of filament. The recommended printing temperature is 190 to 220 degrees Celsius, and the recommended heating bed temperature is up to 50 degrees Celsius, although no heating bed is required for printing with this filament. The suggested print speed is 30 to 50mm/sec.
8. Gizmo Dorks PLA
Gizmo Dorks is one of the most popular filament manufacturers today. A group of childhood friends, who were all 3D printer enthusiasts built this company, and they offer a wide range of exotic 3D printer filaments.
Their PLA filament has good quality. It’s a decent PLA which has good strength and a nice finish. It might be tricky to get the perfect printer settings for this filament, although once you nail that, you’ll be getting consistent quality prints.
This particular product is a pack of four different color PLA filaments, each 200 grams, the total is around 2.2 pounds. The colors offered are red, green, yellow, and blue. Gizmo Dorks PLA is made from plant-based sugars – it even emits a semi-sweet smell when printing.
The recommended printing temperature is anywhere between 205 and 225 degrees Celsius. The recommended heating bed temperature is 60 degrees Celsius. This 3D printer filament is compatible with most FDM printers including Ender3, Monoprice Makers, and MK3.
9. Priline Wood Filament
Priline’s line of exotic filaments is great, and their infused wood filament is the best. Priline has infused wood powder into PLA and made two different variants – Dark Wood and Rosewood.
The filament thickness is 1.75mm, and the spools have 2.20 pounds of filament. The recommended printing temperature is 200 to 230 degrees Celsius – which is about 392 – 446 degrees Fahrenheit. The base plate temperature should be anywhere between 0 to 50 degrees Celsius, depending on your print.
To avoid clogging of wood or any other exotic filament material, it is best to have a nozzle with a diameter of 0.6mm. This filament has a dimensional accuracy of +/- 0.03mm. This filament is highly compatible with almost all 3D printers, such as Ultimaker, Zortrax, Lulzbot, BCN3D, FlashForge, Makergear, MakerBot, Prusa, CEL, Robo.
10. Dikale PLA
Dikale filaments are of good quality, and they are famous for their color options. This particular product is a set of 12 different colors of PLA filament. It is the best option if you want to buy filaments in bulk.
The recommended printing temperature for this PLA filament is between 190 and 230 degrees Celsius. A heated printing bed is not necessary; although if your print requires it, then don’t go for more than 50 degrees Celsius. The dimension accuracy of this filament is +/-0.02mm.
The offered colors are black, white, gray, silver, red, orange, yellow, blue, green, purple, brown, and glow-in-the-dark. This premium PLA is compatible with almost all FDM 3D printers.
The filament spools come in a resealable bag for easy and safe storage. Make sure the filaments are not exposed to moisture.
11. XVICO PLA
Similar to the TTYL PLA, XVICO’s PLA filament is also multicolored that gradually changes the color every few feet. The main colors are blue, green, purple, pink, light green, dark violet, and sandy brown. The total filament is 1080 feet long! So the color may not change so fast, but has a slow and gradual prominent change. It is recommended to use this filament for larger prints, so you can have at least 3 different colors.
This filament has a thickness of 1.75mm. It is suitable for a wide variety of FDM 3D printers and 3D pens. The recommended printing temperature is 180 to 240 degrees Celsius, and the print base does not require any heat.
XVICO has strict quality control. Their filaments do not bubble and do not tangle. It is very easy to use, with basic printer settings. This premium filament gives silk-like shine to the prints. Being multicolored and having a smooth finish will make your prints look much better.
12. Overture ABS
Overture once again enters our list of the best 3D printer filaments. We now introduce their ABS variant. ABS is a strong and durable filament that is resistant to heat. Overture ABS is made with a special bulk-polymerized ABS resin. This gives the filament a lower volatile property, which makes ABS great for temperature resistance.
This ABS filament delivers an amazing printing quality with odor-less printing and minimum warpage. This is all because of Overture’s strict quality control. They completely dry their filaments 24 hours before packaging, and they undergo numerous quality checks. The final product is then packed into their resealable aluminum cover, which is the pest package to store at home too.
This ABS filament is the best for engineering production and prototyping. It’s also the best filament for prints that require post-print processing like sanding, painting, gluing, and filling.
This strong and tough polymer thermoplastic is made with advanced CCD measuring and adaptive control systems. This gives the 1.75mm thick filament a diameter accuracy of +/- 0.05mm. The 2.20-pound filament comes in a spool.
Overture has more than 8 years of experience in this industry, and they do extensive R&D. This level of development has allowed them to offer the best ABS filament at affordable rates and with wide compatibility. This filament is reliable for most common 3D printers, such as MK3, Ender 3, Monoprice FlashForge, and more.
The recommended printing temperature is 245 to 265 degrees Celsius or 473 to 509 degrees Fahrenheit. Overture offers a gridded print surface. The heated bed temperature should be between 80 and 100 degrees Celsius. For the best prints, set the print speed to 30-70 mm/sec.
13. Sunlu ABS
Sunlu has been in the 3D printing business since 2013. Since then, they have extensively aided development in 3D printing consumables and technologies. They offer a wide variety of 3D printer filaments and also 3D printing-related products. Today, they are internationally known for their advancements in 3D printing.
Their ABS filament has a mixed review. It is currently the second-best ABS filament in the market. Hatchbox tops the list, and there is a significant difference. Although it is still a great filament to get the best ABS prints.
Their ABS filament is 1.75mm thick, and it has a dimension accuracy of +/- 0.02mm. They offer this filament in three different colors – black, white, and grey.
The recommended printing temperature for this filament is 230 to 240 degrees Celsius and it requires a bed temperature of 85 degrees Celsius.
Sunlu is quite considerate when it comes to customer satisfaction, as they offer a 30 day free trial period, where if you are not satisfied with the filament you can return it and get a full refund.
Make sure the filament is in a sealed bag, and is stored in a cool and dry place. The filament will get decayed if it’s exposed to moisture. Once you are done using the filament, insert the end of it in the spool’s hole to prevent it from getting tangled. In case the filament gets damped, bake it for a few minutes in the oven at 50 degrees Celsius for about an hour.
14. Hatchbox ABS
The best ABS filament for 3D printing is without doubt Hatchbox’s. The brand is known for producing the best of each type of filament, and they never disappoint. It is known and loved by everyone in the 3D printing community.
Hatchbox ABS filament is available in white, black, and red. The filament has a thickness of 1.75mm, and it is compatible with almost all FDM printers. The spool has 2.20 pounds of filament.
The filament requires a print temperature of 210 to 240 degrees Celsius, or 410 to 464 degrees Fahrenheit. It requires a heat bed temperature of 80 degrees for the best prints. This filament is clog-free, bubble-free, and tangle-free. Every spool is assured to have the highest caliber to make the best prints.
The filament will come in a very nicely packaged, recyclable cardboard box. Inside, the product is sealed in a plastic bag with a desiccant pouch. Once you open the package, make sure you safely store the filament in a cool and dry place.
Each filament spool is carefully formulated, and extensively tested to make your 3D printing experience enjoyable and error-free. All of this, to save you time and effort for your every print.
Hatchbox offers ABS filament at an affordable price and the best quality. They offer a 30-day return policy if you are not satisfied with the product.
15. Priline TPU
Priline’s TPU filament is the best in the market. It has the best ratings and reviews for a TPU filament in the 3D printing community. On top of being the best TPU filament quality-wise, it comes at an amazing price tag that’s quite affordable.
This TPU filament comes in ten different colors – white, black, grey, red, cyan, orange, purple, yellow, blue, and green. The price of the filament may vary with different colors.
The Priline TPU filament has a thickness of 1.75mm and a dimensional accuracy of +/- 0.03mm. It comes in a spool with 2.20 pounds of TPU filament. It has wide compatibility, and can be used in most FDM printers like Ultimaker, Zortrax, Lulzbot, BCN3D, FlashForge, Makergear, MakerBot, Prusa, CEL, and Robo.
The recommended print temperature is 190 to 210 degrees Celsius and it requires a heated bed temperature of 50 degrees. This is for better adhesion.
Priline TPU is a flexible filament material that is soft and elastic like rubber, similar to the Flexible TPE – but it is much easier to print with and the prints will be harder than TPE. These properties allow for prints with repeated movement and impact without cracking.
Priline offers a 30-day trial period – if you are not satisfied with the product then you can return it and get a refund. Customers reviews for this TPU filament are nothing but good, so this a TPU filament you can trust.
16. Priline Carbon Fiber Polycarbonate
When it comes to exotic filaments, carbon fiber is the most appealing. Carbon fiber is incredibly strong and lightweight. The Priline Carbon Fiber Polycarbonate is the best carbon fiber 3D printer filament in the market.
This filament is a composite blend of two high quality and durable materials. Together, they make for an efficient material that is easy to print with and has incredible properties. The dimensional stability is top-notch, and the strength to weight ratio is the best you can see in all filaments.
With this filament, you can expect warp free prints and easy adhesion. It has a high resistance to heat too. Your prints will be as durable as ever.
The recommended printing temperature is between 240 to 260 degrees Celsius, and the recommended heated bed temperature is anywhere between 80 to 100 degrees Celsius, depending on the print. Some prints may require a higher print temperature, but never go above 275 degrees.
Store the filament in a cool and dry place, sealed and not exposed to moisture. Once you are done using it, put the filament head in the spool’s hole to prevent it from getting tangled.
This filament comes in a matte black color. It has a thickness of 1.75mm, and a dimensional accuracy of +/- 0.03mm. It comes in a spool with 2.20 pounds of filament. Priline also offers PLA carbon fiber filament and PETG carbon fiber filament.
17. eSun Nylon
eSun is a very well known and respected 3D printer manufacturer that produces high-quality filaments of all types. Every user has given good reviews and loved their prices. Their nylon filament has that same customer satisfaction.
The 1.75mm thick filament is packed in a spool, which is a bit larger compared to others. The inner diameter of the spool is a bit larger compared to others, and this allows the extrusion to be more smooth.
This filament has a low shrinkage rate, plus it has a consistent diameter with a dimensional accuracy of +/- 0.05mm. This filament is high-quality nylon, that produces durable and strong prints – especially great for functional parts.
This filament is the best nylon filament in the market. The recommended printing temperature is 230 degrees to 260 degrees Celsius
The filament has a thickness of 1.75mm and the spool comes with 2.20 pounds of filament.
The nylon should be dry before you print with it. Nylon rapidly absorbs water and moisture in the environment, so make sure it is well dried. In case it is not dry, it makes a popping sound while being extruded.
18. Polymaker Nylon
Polymaker’s nylon filament is mind-blowing. Normally an exotic filament like nylon is kind of hard to print with, but Polymaker’s prints just like PLA! This high-quality nylon has great dimensional stability and rarely warps. It has a solid balance you would need to print mechanical parts that get the job done.
The diameter of the filament is consistent throughout the spool. This allows for the best extrusion while printing. Overall, it creates the least amount of problems while printing. The product comes in a resealable aluminum bag – which is best for storage and safety against moisture and other environments that cause decay.
The recommended printing temperature is 250 to 270 degrees Celsius, and the required temperature for the heated bed is between 25 to 70 degrees Celsius – depending on prints.
Polymaker’s nylon is much easier to print with, compared to the other nylon filaments in the market. This nylon is tough and has mechanical strength and durability, great for mechanical parts and prototypes. Polymaker’s is also the most heat resistant nylon filament in the market. It starts to become soft only at temperatures as high as 180 degrees celsius.
Normally, with nylon filaments, warping is the biggest problem. Not with this nylon filament though. Polymaker’s nylon is the best nylon filament for 3D printers.
19. Sunlu PLA
The second best PLA filament after Hatchbox’s PLA, is Sunlu’s PLA filament. It is one of the top-selling PLA filaments in the market. This is due to its good quality and economical price point.
Sunlu offers only four different colors of their PLA filament, which are blue, black, white, and red.
This filament has a diameter of 1.75mm, and it has a dimensional accuracy of +/- 0.02mm. It is compatible with most FDM printers like Ultimaker, Zortrax, Lulzbot, BCN3D, FlashForge, Makergear, MakerBot, Prusa, CEL, Robo.
This filament’s recommended printing temperature is between 215 to 220 degrees Celsius. The recommended print bed temperature is 70 degrees Celsius. Although most PLA filaments don’t require a heated bed, this one recommends it for better adhesion property and good layering bond.
The product comes on a spool with 2.2 pounds of filament. The best thing about Sunlu is that they offer a free trial period of 30 days, where if you are not satisfied then you can return the product and get a full refund.
With Sunlu’s PLA filament, you can make prints that are stronger than other PLA filaments, and have a nice finish. The filament produces good layer adhesion too. You may face some clogging and entanglement issues, although Sunlu is cheaper compared to other PLA filaments, so it is a trade off.
20. Overture TPU
If you’ve come this long into the guide, then you must know that Overture is one of the best 3D printer filament brands in the market. The Overture TPU filament is one of the best in the market. It’s a top-rated filament at an attractive price.
This filament comes in 5 different colors – red, orange, blue, white, and black. The filament has a thickness of 1.75mm, and it has a dimensional accuracy of +/- 0.05 mm. The prints with this filament are flexible, and have a smooth finish. It is impact resistant too, to a reasonable extent.
The Overture TPU filament has a recommended printing temperature of 210 to 230 degrees Celsius and it requires a heated printing bed with a temperature of 60 degrees Celsius. These ranges will get you the best prints.
The product comes as a spool with 2.2 pounds of filament. It is packed in a vacuum-sealed aluminum foil package with desiccants in it. This filament is compatible with almost all FDM printers like Ultimaker, Zortrax, Lulzbot, BCN3D , FlashForge, Makergear, MakerBot, Prusa, CEL, Robo.
If the user is not satisfied, then he/she can return the product and get a full refund. This is only applicable in the first 30 days from purchase.
Factors To Consider When Buying The Best 3D Printer Filaments
The factors to consider ultimately depend on what kind of prints you want to make. Also, it is based on whether you’re a beginner or more advanced. So, before you purchase 3D printer filaments, make sure the filament you buy is applicable for all the prints you plan to make.
1. Filament Size And Dimension Accuracy
3D printer filaments usually come in two sizes. These sizes are the thickness of the filament. The two thicknesses are 1.75mm and 3.0mm. Make sure you find out which thickness is required by your FDM printer before you purchase the filament. Each filament is also designed to have maximum dimension accuracy. This means the most of the filament will extrude beyond the instructed layer dimension. For example, if the dimension accuracy is +/-0.05mm, then the filament has a practical accuracy that may vary 0.05mm away from the perfect point of extrusion.
2. For Beginners
If you’re a beginner and ready to enter the world of manufacturing, then buying PLA filaments and/or PET-G filaments will be the best choice. These filaments are the best when it comes to getting acquainted with 3D printing. They are inexpensive and fairly easy to print with the standard configuration of 3D printers.
3. For Advanced And Professional Users
If you’re pretty advanced or even a professional at 3D printing, then you’ll have a rough idea of what are the best 3D printer filaments for your use. It should be one of these – ABS, TPU, or the more high-end wood, carbon fiber, nylon, etc. ABS and TPU are mid-level filaments that will allow you to print more complicated designs. The more high-end 3D filament materials are harder to print with, and you’ll need the necessary configuration of your 3D printer.
4. Printing Prototypes And Tools
A very common use of 3D printing is to print prototypes and tools that will help in manufacturing. PLA is great for making prototypes, as it’s just used to show people what the actual design will look like. If you want to print tools that will help facilitate manufacturing, you’ll need something stronger. PET filaments will do, but for more strength and flexibility, a filament like ABS is what you’re looking for. If you need something extremely strong and resistant to high and low temperatures, then carbon fiber is the best 3D filament.
5. Commercial Use
If you’re planning to make prints that are ready for commercial use, then you’ll want something durable and strong. A filament like TPU, or most mid-level filaments are the popular choice. TPU is quite flexible too, so if you need to print something that bends, then this is the best 3D filament. If you want more quality, then you’ll need carbon fiber or any of the more high-end material.
6. High-Stress Properties
Sometimes your prints may need to consider its application in high-stress conditions. The conditions could be its capabilities in high and low temperatures, whether it’s weatherproof, and resistance with chemicals. PP is a filament that can withstand any kind of environmental condition. PP and PA can also resist corrosive chemical substances. Filaments like ABS and PET-G are capable of withstanding high levels of heat. If you’re looking for something water-resistant, then PA and PP are the best 3D filaments.
7. Printer Compatibility And Settings
Every 3D printer filament in the market has a particular printing temperature range, and also a heated bed temperature range. Printing with the material in the recommended ranges of printing settings will give you the best prints. Also, most 3D printer filaments will say that they are compatible with almost all FDM printers. Almost all doesn’t mean all, so make sure the filament you chose to buy is compatible with your 3D printer.
Different 3D printer filaments have different weaknesses. For example, PLA and most 3D printer filaments can decay when exposed to too much moisture or water in the environment. That is why it is important to see the product’s packaging, as you can most probably store the product in the package itself for the best protection. Most filament spools come in a package that is resealable and great for filament protection. One example of good packaging is an aluminum foil package with a desiccant inside, provided by Overture and other top-rated brands.
Different types of 3D Printer Filaments
The polylactic acid filament is the most popular 3D printing material. PLA is a biodegradable thermoplastic, and it’s derived from renewable sources like sugar cane, cornstarch, and other plant-based materials.
Using PLA for 3D printing is more environment friendly compared to the other plastic materials. It also has low-toxicity features. All this makes it the most popular filament in the 3D printing community.
PLA material doesn’t produce toxic stink during printing, so it is much safer to use within classrooms and homes. It is the best 3D printer filament for beginners.
ABS filament is just as popular as PLA. Although, it’s preferred for users who have some experience. ABS filament is known for its high durability and capacity to withstand high temperatures. It’s tough and impact resistant. Do note, ABS uses high temperatures to print – and that could lead to a warping effect on your prints when they cool. So, be sure to print with a heated bed and a ventilated space.
The filaments are strong and slightly flexible, which will make your prints durable and of good quality.
3. PETG (PET)
PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is the most commonly used plastic in the world. It’s the plastic used to make plastic bottles and covers. Raw PET isn’t commonly used in the 3D printing community, although its variant PETG is increasingly becoming a popular filament.
This filament is less brittle, clearer, and much easier to print compared to PET. It’s a good trade-off for PLA and ABS as it is flexible, durable, and easy to print with.
TPU (Thermoplastic polyurethane) is a plastic filament with rubber-like properties. They are incredibly flexible, and essentially used to make prints that one could wear. TPU is a variant of TPE (thermoplastic elastomers), which is more rigid and also more flexible in cold temperatures. TPU has minimal warping and shrinkage properties. It’s extremely flexible and perfect for parts that compress. Although, it’s a bit harder to print with compared to ABS, PLA, or PETG.
Nylon, also known as polyamide is a popular synthetic polymer that has extensive use in industrial applications. This 3D printer filament is light-weight, flexible, wear-resistant, and it’s cost-effective. It is the best 3d printer filament for functional and mechanical parts, because of its high melting temperatures and its strength.
A unique feature of nylon filaments is that you can dye it. One can dye it before and after the prints. Although, it absorbs moisture, so make sure you store it in a cool and dry place. It is a great filament to make tools and prototypes.
High impact polystyrene (HIPS) is a plastic that combines the hardness of polystyrene and elasticity of rubber. It’s commonly found in containers and other protective packaging. In 3D printing, HIPS is used as support structures. As 3D printers can’t print onto thin air, users use HIPS, to make underlying structures to support printing the actual project. HIPS is an excellent support material with ABS for dual extrusion printers.
HIPS is a decent printing material on its own too. It’s stronger and more durable than PLA and ABS. It can easily be glued, painted, and sanded. HIPS is a good material to make prints that need to endure wear and tear.
Once you become a novice or a professional 3D printer, you might get bored and tired of making plastic prints. Well, now you can become more creative with wood-like filaments. These filaments can be used only in FDM printers.
Wood filament is not completely wood; it’s a blended mixture of recycled wood and binding polymers. The prints you make will look and even smell like wood.
Using wood filament is similar to using plastic filaments like PLA and ABS. The recommended temperature is 175C to 250C, to achieve the wood-like appearance.
8. Carbon Fiber
When carbon fiber is blended with 3D printer filament like PLA, ABS, nylon, and PETG – the resulting filament is extremely tough and extremely light-weight. The structural integrity of this filament allows prints to withstand a wide variety of applications.
Although, there is a trade-off – and it’s your printer’s nozzle. Printing with carbon fiber increases the wear and tear of your printer’s nozzle. If your nozzle is made of a soft metal like brass, then carbon fiber will definitely damage it. So when you use carbon fiber or other exotic materials, make sure you frequently replace your nozzle, so your prints won’t be affected.
Sandstone filament for 3D printing is a great material that’ll offer a unique finish to your prints. Sandstone filament is a blend of PLA and chalk powder, which results in color and texture like stone.
By changing the temperature, you can produce different surface textures to your prints, smooth and rough. For making prints with a sandstone finish, this the best 3d printer filament for the job. The printing temperature range is 165C to 210C.
Iron filament, also known as magnetic iron filament due to its magnetic properties, is made by infusing iron powder into a base material like PLA or ABS. The resulting material is also called magnetic PLA and magnetic ABS. This is a filament that you’ll enjoy printing with. It’s obviously helpful to create prints that need to be magnetic in nature.
Want to make prints that are a little bulkier and shinier? Metal is the right choice. Similar to all exotic material filaments, metal is not completely made of pure metal. Rather, it is a blend of metal powder, with base materials like ABS or PLA. But that doesn’t stop resulting prints from having the metallic look and feel. Even the weight is like metal, as the blend becomes denser with metal powder.
Brass, bronze, aluminum, and stainless steel are a few varieties of 3D printer metal filaments available in the market. For specific looks, you can polish, weather, and tarnish your prints without hesitation. In fact, a little post-print processing can make the print go a long way.
Make sure you replace your nozzle often when your printing with metal, as it wears and tears the nozzle. It increases the size of the nozzle – which then affects your prints. The most common metal filaments have a blend of 50% metal and 50% PLA or ABS, but some have 85% metal composition as well.
What’s Your Choice?
3D printer filaments are available in a wide range of colors and in different types, all with their unique properties. There’s plastic, metal, wood, nylon, carbon fiber, etc. You have all the materials to make your next print exceptional. All these different types come in a range of colors – so your next project will turn out to be exactly how you want it. Just make sure your printer is compatible with the filament material – and you’re all set to print. Any of the above filaments that are suitable for your 3D printer will change your 3D printing experience.
When it comes to 3D printing filaments, it’s better to go for a recognized good brand, rather than looking at the prices. For most users, especially beginners, it’s best to print with a good quality PLA filament or ABS filament. Both of these filaments are cheaper compared to others, and they are the easiest to print with. They’ll work well with most 3D printing projects.
The biggest challenge you’ll face when buying 3D printer filaments is getting the quality right. Most of the time, ruined prints are the result of low-quality filaments. That is why this guide only includes the best that come at different prices. Some manufacturers provide low-quality filaments at cheap prices. Don’t let that fool you – anything mentioned in this guide is good quality, and it won’t affect your prints if your CAD design and 3D printer configuration are perfect for the project. New filament manufacturers and filament types are entering the market, so don’t fall off the edge of the seat when the next best 3D printer filament releases.
FAQs on 3D Printer Filaments
1. What Material Should I Use To Print With?
The most common and popular choice of filaments for FDM home 3D printers are PLA or ABS. PLA and ABS are both plastic materials, with good strength and flexibility properties. These are the best 3D printer filaments for beginners and mid-level enthusiasts. LCD home 3D printers use liquid resin, which is also a plastic material that’s used for all beginners and professional LCD 3D printing.
2. What Colors Of 3D Printer Filaments Are Available In The Market?
3D printer filaments come in a wide range of colors. Each manufacturer doesn’t produce every color, but for each type of 3D printer filament, there will be color options available. You may not find color options when it comes to filaments like wood and carbon fiber, but you always have the option to paint them. Glow in the dark plastic filaments are available in the market too.
3. How Much Filament Do I Need To Use For A Print? How Will I Know Whether I Have Enough?
It ultimately depends on the design you want to print. When you design in CAD, you’ll adjust printing settings, like infill density and layer height, which change the consumption amount of the filament. Although for a rough figure, a 1kg spool can print about 9 figures with dimensions of 7 x 5 x 5 cm.
4. What Is The Quality Of The PLA Filament? How Long Can It Last?
Generally, it takes about 6 months for an object made with PLA to show signs of decay, like cracks. But time is not the deciding factor; many other factors come into consideration for the PLA object to decay. If PLA is exposed to too much moisture through air or water, it can get damaged quickly. If it’s at room temperature and under no pressure, the object can endure up to 15 years.
5. Can You Use PLA To Make Cups To Drink Out Of And Plates To Eat On?
This plastic is too soft for hot drinks, and it can melt if it’s extensively used in a microwave or dishwasher. ABS is the better choice if you plan to print plates and cups for you to use. But please note, it is not certified food safe to use these plastics, and these plastics have chemicals that are potentially dangerous if ingested.