Greatest 3D Printing Filament in 2023: PLA, ABS, PETG and extra


You’ve got acquired the finest 3D printer you should buy, however with out supplies, you’ll be able to’t get printing. When you selected a fused deposition modeling, or FDM, printer — the most typical sort of 3D printer for hobbyists — you may want just a few rolls of particular plastic. The fabric we use for FDM 3D printing is named filament and it is a straightforward materials to choose up. There are, nevertheless, several types of filament, every good for sure tasks and horrible for others. You will wish to be sure to’re utilizing the very best filament for the job at hand, or it could fail.

I’ve put collectively this primer of the several types of filament in addition to selections of the very best filaments from my favourite manufacturers. This might be up to date usually and comprises some nice selections so that you can begin.

A collection of awesome 3D printing models!

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It is vital to decide on each the precise sort of fabric and the precise model of that sort, be it PLA, ABS or one thing extra unique. Listed here are the very best of every of the 5 most important filament varieties. 

Learn extra: Greatest 3D Printers

These classes are:

3D printed articulated snake

PLA is the best materials to make use of to make superior issues.

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Polylactic acid

Polylactic acid, or PLA, is the most typical 3D printing filament and the best to make use of. Not like most plastics, it is constituted of corn starches so it’s non-toxic and, in idea, compostable, although it takes an industrial composter to do it. PLA makes use of a reasonably low warmth — between 190 and 215 levels Celsius (or between 374 and 419 levels Fahrenheit) — to soften the plastic for extrusion so it’s the most secure of the filaments. Virtually each FDM 3D printer on this planet can print PLA. 

PLA execs

  • Unhazardous
  • No terrible scent
  • Simple to make use of for a newbie
  • Virtually universally usable on any FDM printer
  • Very low-cost

PLA cons

  • Can require a number of sanding
  • Can simply warp within the solar or high-temp environments
  • Might be brittle


Construct PLA from MatterHackers is nice for tasks that require ending (sanding, portray and so forth). I’ve about 12 rolls of it in my workshop, and use it for big tasks, together with my Mandalorian armor or cosplay swords. The dimensional accuracy — how constant the diameter is alongside the size of the roll — is sweet, although nothing mind-blowing. It is effectively throughout the candy zone.

Submit-processing is the place Construct Collection PLA shines. It’s easy to sand and holds paint effectively, so long as you utilize a very good primer and filler first. Like all PLA, it holds collectively effectively utilizing superglue and even takes putty and Bondo with out grievance. 


The colour of this PLA is difficult to explain, however it’s stunning. It has a purple-blue-green hue to it and appears like metallic that is been heated up so much. Proper now it is most likely my favorite-looking filament on my shelf.

It is also simple to print with, and due to the shifting colours it hides layer traces effectively. When you’re in search of a darkish filament that you just aren’t portray over, I would choose up just a few rolls of this right now.

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For one thing fully completely different within the PLA world, try Quantum by MatterHackers. Transitional filament, mixing a number of colours, has been round for some time, nevertheless it usually modifications coloration throughout the size of the fabric. This causes it to vary coloration because it goes additional up the mannequin.

Quantum is definitely two colours fused throughout the whole width, so that you get an incredible transition from left to proper. It is completely mesmerizing, and I really like utilizing it for all types of various tasks. From vases to massive articulated octopuses, it makes any mannequin look breathtaking. 


I’ve been which means to purchase a few of this stunning filament for a while now, and I am actually pleased I did. The colour is sort of precisely the identical as Mint choc chip ice cream and the tiny flecks of marble coloration improve the look much more. It prints nice, with a pleasant shiny end, and I discovered printing it at the next temperature brings out that gloss very well. 

Extra importantly than the print high quality although, I find it irresistible for the best way it makes me really feel. The colour simply makes me pleased and jogs my memory of days on the seaside with my youngsters. It is attractive.

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Sunlu is a type of filaments that’s very easy to pay money for and prints effectively each time you utilize it. It says its dimensional accuracy is +/- 0.02mm, however I have been fortunate to by no means have the variance above 0.01mm in hands-on use. 

Sunlu additionally is available in some stunning matte colours, which is a welcome break from extra frequent shiny filaments. Sanding and printing with it’s simple. When you’re new to 3D printing and want to extend your assortment of PLA, it is a low-cost option to do it.

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Rainbow filament tends to transition between colours very slowly. This implies you typically get just one or two colours per mannequin. Creality’s newest rainbow filament has a a lot shorter transition, so that you get a a lot nicer rainbow impact throughout your fashions. It seems nice on this superb dragon from Fotis Mint.


For tasks you’ll be able to showcase with out having to color them first, PolyTerra could be for you. The colours are vivid, and since they’re matte, you do not lose particulars within the reflections like with shiny filament.

PolyTerra additionally is available in recycled cardboard reels, and the creator, Polymaker, will plant a tree within the space the place the roll was purchased to assist offset the cardboard used. This filament remains to be plastic in fact, nevertheless it helps my conscience to make use of it.

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Ataraxia Artwork

On this article about this versatile PLA I defined how, though this is not technically PLA, it does print a lot simpler than TPU, a extra frequent versatile filament. I used it to print an incredible Mandalorian Blacksmith helmet for my 4-year-old. She will be able to’t break it as a result of it is so bouncy.

This is not for newbies, although. It took a number of trial and error to get the setting for my 3D printer proper, and since it’s so mushy the accuracy will be fairly wonky. However for one thing that is completely different from regular PLA, it’s value trying out. 

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Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene

ABS was one of many extra 3D printing filaments just a few years again, and it nonetheless has some wonderful makes use of. The largest draw back is the toxicity. You do not wish to breathe in ABS because it melts, so you may want a well-ventilated space. That apart, it is sturdier and extra heat-resistant than PLA. Most printers can print ABS, however you may want a heated mattress that may attain 100 levels Celsius for finest outcomes and defending your printing job in an enclosed printer is a good suggestion. 

ABS execs

  • Can stand up to a number of warmth
  • Simple to sand
  • Might be smoothed with acetone for an ideal shine

ABS cons

  • Its fumes are poisonous so it requires air flow 
  • It wants much more warmth to print than PLA
  • You have to an enclosure to get good outcomes


Inland makes good filament throughout the board and its ABS is not any completely different. I’ve by no means had points with the scale, and the ultimate product has constant layer traces. Sanding Inland ABS is a pleasure as the fabric will be wet-sanded to a easy end.

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Fillamentum is one in all my favourite ABS makers. The colours are at all times so vibrant, and whereas it prices slightly greater than the competitors, it retains that vibrancy even after the mannequin is completed printing. When you’re in search of ABS that you just needn’t paint, Fillamentum is a good place to begin.

Polyethylene terephthalate glycol

PETG is chemically much like the plastic that water and mushy drink bottles are made from, and is a good various to ABS. It has the heat-resistant properties of ABS with out the poisonous fumes and will be sanded very similar to PLA. Most FDM printers that may print PLA can print PETG, although it takes slightly extra effort to get proper.

PETG execs

  • Simpler to print than ABS
  • Holds a end effectively
  • Simpler to retailer than different filaments

PETG cons

  • Requires excessive temps, which may injury printer elements over time. 


This USA-made PETG has a wonderful glassy look that’s onerous to attain in melted plastic. The aqua coloration is delicate and provides the looks of a stained glass window when printed on the excessive finish of its temperature scale.

Printing with it was simple, although the roll is slightly massive for printers just like the Bambu Lab X1, that has enclosed filament system.


The Professional sequence filament from MatterHackers is a a lot nicer product than a number of normal PETG. Sure, it prices slightly extra, nevertheless it’s designed to assist cut back a number of the points that filament suffers from. It reduces shrinkage, so the half you make is as near the half you designed as attainable. This can be a nice materials for many who make 3D printed fashions for a residing, fairly than a interest.


Overture PETG is a favourite as a result of it is available in a cost-effective two-pack, making it superb for a number of or bigger jobs. I’ve used a number of Overture merchandise, together with PETG and PLA, and so they at all times print effectively. I as soon as printed an 11-foot-long Masamune sword utilizing Overture and it got here out trying superior.

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Thermoplastic polyurethane

TPU is a versatile materials that may make cool rubbery fashions. Most individuals use it to 3D print cellphone instances, however extra severe modelers typically use it to create connectors or versatile hinges to different supplies. It may be a tough materials to work with and is finest used on a direct-drive 3D printer such because the Prusa Mk3s, fairly than a Bowden printer just like the Anycubic Vyper. A direct drive printer locations the gears to maneuver the filament instantly on the print head, whereas a Bowden setup has them on the body of the printer. 

TPU execs

  • Versatile
  • Will not warp within the warmth
  • Accessible in enjoyable colours

TPU cons

  • Horrible for making stable prints
  • Laborious to work with on funds printers


MatterHackers Construct Collection Supplies sit within the good steadiness between usability and price. Sure, I’ve had failures with the Construct Collection, however when you get it dialed into your printer, you may make dozens of enjoyable, springy fashions. 

I like to make use of it to make enjoyable toys for my child’s preschool as they are often thrown round with no worry of breaking into small, sharp items.

Unique filaments

Unique filaments are ones which can be exterior the conventional 5 selections, or attention-grabbing variations on these selections. They’re typically PLA blended with carbon fiber or glow-in-the-dark chemical compounds and one thing that prints exterior the conventional parameters of a 3D printer. You will typically must improve your printer nozzle to make use of these. It is superior stuff, however I needed to point out you my favourite glow-in-the-dark filament, which is enjoyable to print with.

Amolen PLA

Glow-in-the-dark filament usually is available in a typical “radioactive” inexperienced, however this stunning roll transitions by way of a number of colours. It is merely attractive. 

It is also worthwhile to purchase some substitute brass nozzles on your printer as glow-in-the-dark filament can chew them up fairly rapidly as a result of the glowing materials is extra abrasive than normal colours. 

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Filament FAQ

What filament ought to I begin with?

When you’re shopping for a printer for the primary time, the only option of filament is PLA. It’s the best to print with, the most secure when it comes to fumes and essentially the most available. Take into consideration laying in a retailer of PLA if you first begin. A 1-kilogram roll looks like so much, however when you get the itch, supplies get eaten up rapidly.

Are there completely different sizes of filament?

Sure. There are two most important thicknesses of filament and when you get them blended up, your machine will not print. 

1.75mm filament is the most typical. It has been adopted by a lot of the 3D producers on this planet and in case you have an entry-level printer, it is more likely to run on 1.75mm filament.

Some 3D printers nonetheless use the thicker 3mm fashion, although, so be sure to know which one yours makes use of earlier than you spend some huge cash on the flawed materials.

When 3D printing with any filament, you will need to bear in mind that you’re primarily burning plastic. Inhaling that sort of factor is rarely going to be good, however not all filaments are equally dangerous.

Of the 4 most important filament varieties, ABS is well essentially the most poisonous. You should not take into consideration printing it except you might have a well-ventilated area away out of your day-to-day residing areas. I’ve a workshop with a full air flow system and the fumes can nonetheless be fairly dangerous.

Each PLA and PETG are thought-about unhazardous, although you continue to wish to hold your space ventilated as you utilize them. Each filaments are protected to print inside your private home and whereas the fumes can scent fairly dangerous, they are not classed as carcinogenic. Whereas different types of TPU will be poisonous, the filament you utilize for 3D printing is taken into account unhazardous and nonreactive so you have to be wonderful printing that as effectively.

Does the filament hold the identical coloration after printing?

Usually sure. In case your printer is not calibrated effectively, it might burn the filament, which might discolor it. However usually the colour accuracy is fairly shut. 

A particular word on clear plastics: You will be unable to get a very translucent print with filament. The character of the printing course of makes any clear plastic misty and infill makes it blurry as effectively. In case you are trying to print glass-like fashions, you will want a resin printer.

Calipers measuring filament

Having the precise diameter makes for a greater print.

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How we take a look at filament

The testing of filament is especially centered on just a few particulars: Dimensional accuracy, winding precision, and printing high quality. Winding precision is a visible take a look at the place I examine to ensure the filament works effectively on the spool, with none crossovers that may trigger snags whereas printing.

Print high quality is completed utilizing a CNET calibration take a look at that I exploit to check all the 3D printers I evaluate. When checking for filament high quality, I am in search of noticeable roughness and lacking filament the place moisture or different contaminants have interrupted the method of melting and cooling.

graph showing average lengths

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Dimensional accuracy is probably crucial take a look at because it measures the consistency of filament. As you progress alongside, the filament modifications in diameter will trigger the 3D printer to over- or under-extrude filament. This creates noticeable scarring in your mannequin, or worse, full failure. You need the fabric to have the identical diameter the entire approach by way of. 

To measure the accuracy, I take a 5-meter piece of filament from the start, center and finish of the roll and measure the diameter at 4 equally spaced factors. I then add all of these measurements up and divide the whole by 12 — the whole variety of measurements taken — to provide me a median throughout the roll. Most fashionable printers use 1.75mm filament so that you need the filament to be as near that as attainable. 

Nice filament has a variance of +/- 0.02mm, good filament is +/- 0.03mm and tough filament is something +/- 0.05mm. All the filaments now we have beneficial listed below are no less than 0.03mm on common.