Which Filament is Best for 3D Printing? Best PLA Filament & More


There are many types of filaments for 3D printing that people use to create their 3D prints. Some are better than others so I decided to write an article about which filament is best for 3D printing. I’ll also write about the best PLA filament out there.

The best filaments for 3D printing are PLA & PETG, being two of the most popular filaments out there. PLA is easy to use and has the highest success rates for 3D printing, while still maintaining good strength and versatility. PETG has great strength and resistance, being an ideal option for functional 3D prints.

Keep on reading through the article for more information about the best filaments for 3D printing.

Which Filament is Best for 3D Printing?

  • PLA
  • PETG

PLA (Polylactic Acid)

Polylactic Acid (PLA) filament is the most popular material used in desktop FDM 3D printing. PLA has ease of use in 3D printing, is safe, affordable and comes in a diverse range of composites. It’s also a great choice for most applications, whether for aesthetic or even for functionality.

PLA is a biodegradable, non-toxic filament that extrudes at temperatures ranging from 190°C to 230°C, being non-toxic and has a light smell that makes it easy to work with. It does not require the print bed to be heated for it to adhere to the build plate, but it is recommended.

If you use a heated print plate, keep it between 40°C and 60°C for the filament to attach properly.

Most 3D printers that come with filament for your initial test prints will come with PLA filament since it’s the simple and most effective choice for 3D printing.

Compared to other filaments, PLA is relatively low temperature and doesn’t experience the same level of failure or imperfections as other materials.

One example of a popular PLA filament would be HATCHBOX PLA from Amazon.

It comes nicely packaged in a vacuum-sealed bag to prevent moisture absorption, which reduces print failures.

Users have had a good experience with this filament, with some appreciating the nice sheen on the resulting 3D prints.

I have seen great reviews on this product, users new to 3D printing have had great success even with default settings on their Ender 3 or Cura printers.

Check out my article How to 3D Print PLA Filament Like a Pro – Ultimate Guide & FAQ.

PETG (Polyethylene Terephthalate Variant with Glycol)

PETG is another filament that is considered the best filament for 3D printing. It’s slightly more advanced than PLA, requiring a higher temperature to 3D print, and experiences issues such as bed adhesion and stringing.

The benefit that PETG has over PLA is how it’s stronger, more durable, and actually more flexible. It’s a semi-rigid material that has many functional uses and looks great for aesthetic models. A lot of PETG comes in transparent colors which is a nice change from the usual solid colors.

Another highlight is the temperature resistance of PETG, allowing you to 3D print objects that can withstand strong direct sunlight and UV radiation, unlike PLA.

The fumes from PETG are known to be fairly safe, which isn’t the same for other materials out there like ABS or Nylon. The usual printing temperature is usually anywhere from 220-250°C, with a bed temperature of 60-80°C.

A great PETG filament that you can get for 3D printing is OVERTURE PETG from Amazon.

 

OVERTURE PETG is a good quality filament that you can get for a relatively low price, having a great price-to-quality ratio. I highly recommend them for anyone looking for good-quality filaments at a bargain price.

Hatchbox PETG filament is gaining popularity as people realize how easy it is to print with. This filament is as good as many filaments that cost twice as much. A wide variety of colors and shades of these colors are available.

Some other brands of PLA & PETG are:

  • eSUN
  • SUNLU
  • Solutech
  • TECBEARS
  • SainSmart

A lot of these brands make multiple types of 3D printing filament.

I wrote more about How to 3D Print PETG Filament Like a Pro – Ultimate Guide & FAQ.

Which is the Most Commonly Used 3D Printing Filament?

PLA is the most commonly used 3D printing filament in the industry. It’s a versatile material that can even be altered to have different characteristics such as a more durable filament or even a flexible PLA. There are other types of PLA such as glow-in-the-dark, wood, color changing & many more.

PLA is a lot easier to use and still has an impressive strength and durability, especially when you implement the right settings with it.

The popularity of PLA makes it a good choice for 3D printing.

An example of just how popular PLA is from Amazon is how HATCHBOX PLA has over 18,000 reviews, along with other brands like eSUN and SUNLU which both have over 12,000 reviews.

ABS used to be the most common filament in the early days of 3D printing, but PLA quickly took over as it was easier to 3D print and more manufacturers started creating it. PETG is growing in popularity very quickly also.

The main downside of PLA though is its low temperature resistance, which can start deforming at temperatures above 60°C.

What is the Strongest Filament for the Ender 3?

Carbon Fiber Polycarbonate filament is the strongest printing filament for the Ender 3. It’s a hybrid filament that blends Carbon Fiber and Polycarbonate, two very durable materials. The stock Ender 3 can go up to 260°C and 110°C for the build plate, which falls in the range for this filament.

This specific filament isn’t as strong as pure Polycarbonate filament, but an Ender 3 can’t reach the higher temperatures required to print it.

You can get the PRILINE Carbon Fiber Polycarbonate Filament from Amazon for a competitive price.

PRILINE also released another version of this called PRILINE Superhard Carbon Fiber Polycarbonate, seemingly requiring the same settings as the original filament.

Although it’s more expensive than your usual PLA filament, you’re getting a much more durable and stronger filament that can hold up well to impact and force.

It’s even relatively easy to 3D print, with many users saying it has good bed adhesion and amazing dimensional accuracy. The layer adhesion during the printing process is known to be excellent, and support removal is simple.

Best PLA Filament on Amazon

Some of the best PLA filament you can find on Amazon are:

These filaments give you a very wide variety of colors, hybrids, and types of PLA. Some common favorites are silk filaments which give a really smooth and reflective finish.

Silk PLA filaments are high-quality and one of the prettiest PLA filaments out there. It produces stunning prints that feel very translucent with a lustrous silk-like finish. It is used for decorative and art, prints pleasantly crispy and smooth texture.

You can even get filament that changes color in two tones, or a multicolored rainbow filament which works well for larger 3D prints.

I’ve seen some great gold/silver/bronze/copper filaments that mimic the look and shine of these metals.

Check out the video below to see silk filament being 3D printed.

Temperature Color Changing PLA Filaments

These are special thermochromic materials that can transition the colors which can be warmed up in the hands or used for optical illusion.

It has similar heating ranges with the normal PLA of 200°C and has little issues with print imperfections such as stringing unless your retraction settings aren’t the greatest.

It allows a single print module to be seen in different shades and colors.

Though it has few practical uses, it has found place in kids’ toys, a cool gift, and mood rings.

Zhuopu Color Changing Temp Filament from Amazon is one that users have had great results with.

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