Looking for the best 3D printer filament? Check out our selection of the best PLA, PETG, ABS, and flexible filaments available right now.
Due to the boom in 3D printing technology, there are countless different filament manufacturers, and continuously new ones pop up. Paired with the emerging of new materials and filament hybrids, the vast array of choices may be somewhat overwhelming for the end-user.
However, if you are wondering what’s the best filament for your project, there is not the best filament, you can simply point to for all intents and purposes. Rather it depends on the kind of object printed, its intended functionality, and lastly also your budget.
Luckily, the editorial team at All3DP tests filaments day in and day out. Using that insight, paired with research, we have compiled a list of filaments we deem to be most noteworthy. Ordered by material, but of no particular ranking, use the links below to dive in, or keep scrolling for the first entry.
Polylactic Acid, most commonly known as PLA, is a polymer made from renewable resources, mostly corn starch or sugarcane, and the go-to filament used in FDM 3D printing, due to its wide range of applications, and – even more so- because of its ease of use.
While PLA may not be as strong and durable as other filaments, it is very forgiving when it comes to temperature variations and other quirks.
PLA is biodegradable and most commonly used to print figurines, or plastic toys; enhanced PLA’s can even be used to 3D print functional parts.
If looking for a run of the mill filament for your everyday prints, the Hatchbox PLA is a sure shot.
Not for nothing did Hatchbox quickly rose to become the #1 filament seller at Amazon, with thousands of satisfied user reviews. Its filament convinces with its inherent properties and combines everything you would look for in a PLA: A great material tolerance, superb adhesion, vibrant colors, and an amazing detail resolution. On top, it has a sweet pancake smell when printed (as if that wasn’t selling point enough). And all that for a bargain price.
Hatchbox PLA is available in a large variety of colors and both in 1.75 mm and 2.85 mm in diameter. The spool comes packed in recyclable cardboard, but unfortunately in a non-resealable plastic bag, meaning you will need a suitable compartment to protect your filament from humidity. A minor drawback that can be tackled by finding a proper storing solution.
Matterhackers Build Series PLA is another run-of-the-mill filament for your everyday use. Whether you are a maker or tinkerer, the Build Series PLA accomplishes the balancing act between quality and price, making it suitable for both personal objects as well as professional prototyping.
Characteristics-wise, the Build Series PLA, spots a glossy texture, resulting in a nice surface finish, with few issues overall, except the occasional stringing. The dimensional accuracy is ±0.05mm, and a 1 kg spool is available as both 1.75 mm and 2.85 mm diameters and comes in a large variety of colors.
Please be aware that most Matterhackers products currently only ship to the US.
Creating one of the best FDM desktop printers just doesn’t do it for Josef Prusa and his team at Prusa Research. What’s the best printer if you don’t have the best filament to go with it. So Prusa Research became the first 3D printer manufacturer with a proprietary in-house filament production.
Prusament does excel when it comes to surface finish, potential flaws of the print are less visible due to its glittery surface. Besides the fact that it looks slick.
A 0.05 mm variance in diameter is generally the norm. Prusa managed to get it down to 0.02 mm, meaning prints are more accurate and will print more effectively. Furthermore, customers can inspect the testing parameters, such as the remaining weight and length, and the standard deviation in microns, of every filament spool by scanning the QR code on the product. Such spool-specific data is unique.
If you want to print functional parts, these quite often need a certain sturdiness PLA just cant give.
This is where PolyMaker comes into play. Its premium filament PolyMax PLA offers an enhanced impact resistance about nine times that of regular PLA. Making it, therefore, even 20% tougher than ABS while remaining the easy-to-print attributes of PLA, meaning, no warping, shrinking, and – most importantly – no toxic fumes.
When printing with PolyMax PLA, barely any stringing occurs, and the filament performs convincingly on overhangs and bridges. With its patented jam-free technology, it is available in 1.75 and 2.85 mm diameters and comes on 0.5, 1, or 2-kilogram spools.
Overall, PolyMax PLA is an incredibly easy-to-print filament with improved mechanical properties, making it an excellent alternative to ABS.
Fillamnetum is best known for its extravagant filament colors and regularly releasing new and marvelous colors under no less extravagant names such as Everybody’s Magenta or Flirty Plum. Besides its bright colors, the filament also convinces with ease of printing, combined with great visual quality and highly detailed printing.
Fillamentum guarantees high precision of filament dimensions within the tolerance of +/- 0,05 mm, which is strictly controlled throughout the production. The material – available in 1.75 or 2.85 mm diameter – prints with the same properties as regular PLA, and the spools are available in 750 g packages, or – ordering by request only- also in 2.5 kg spools. Note that Fillamentum does advise to use a 0.5 mm nozzle for best printing results.
Overall, the Fillamentum Extrafill PLA is a good PLA that shows no signs of warping, while only needing a slight bump in the retraction settings to produce spectacular prints in the fanciest color versions.
PETG is a Glycol Modified version of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET). Although PLA and ABS still sit atop the throne of 3D printing materials, PETG filament is quickly gaining recognition for combining the reliability of the former with the durability of the latter.
The material has become a popular alternative for makers looking to do away with printing difficulties of ABS, as well as those eager to take the next step up from PLA.
Some enhanced PETG’s give ABS a run for its properties. PolyMaker’s PolyMax PETG is one of them. Manufactured using Polymaker’s nano-reinforcement technology, it offers exceptional print quality and better mechanical characteristics than regular PETG, making it suitable for a wide range of applications.
By increasing the impact resistance, the material’s toughness is significantly enhanced, al the while remaining the ease-of-use characteristics of PLA. Heat resistance, for example, is improved up to around 80 °C, leaving you free of worrying about warping or shrinking while printing, and also ensuring dimensional stability of the prints with excellent layer adhesion.
The eSun PETG is another run-of-the-mill filament for your daily use. The Chinese manufacturer offers good quality 3D printer filaments for a great price, making it a sound budget choice.
eSun PETG is odorless as well as hydrophobic, meaning it will not absorb water and as such clog the extruders. It features outstanding toughness, high impact strength, and excellent flexibility, making it suitable for a wide variety of applications. However, to achieve the desired outcome, you need to get the settings right, as PETG, by nature, tends to ooze and warp.
Worth mentioning is the color palette the filament is available in. eSun offers 10 solid and opaque colors, with high transparency or a smooth gloss.
BASF, the worlds leading chemical producer, recently acquired Innofil3D, who was already a major producer of high-quality customized filaments.
Technically speaking, Innofil3D’s proprietary developed PETG is a PET. Nevertheless, it sports excellent printing properties pared with good mechanical characteristics and exceptional finishing detail with bright colors, unaltered by temperature. The filament is suitable for a wide variety of 3D printers in general and printing speeds in particular, due to it not warping at high temperatures and its large operating window.
Atop, the filament features a strong layer adhesion resulting in robust and sturdy models with every print. Non-stop prints of huge models over multiple days pose no issue with the Innofil filament. If a problem should appear though, you can rely on Innofil3D’s tech support to help you find the right settings, or even send you a replacement reel for free.
The dutch company Colorfabb is another producer of quality filaments. While its filaments are typically pricier, it is generally well worth your money if you are looking for a filament with high precision and very minimal diameter variance.
PET XT, ColorFabb’s variant of PETG, is more functional and durable than most PETGs. The filament is made from Amphora polymers and combining the benefits of PLA and ABS, making it very forgiving and suitable for beginning and advanced printers.
As custom to Colorfabb, the filament comes on 750 g and 2.2 kg bulk spools. Note that the 2.2 kg spool size is (naturally) pretty large — larger even than many standard printer spool holders can take. ColorFabb has shared a design for a spool holder, though, allowing you to 3D print an external filament holder.
3D printing veterans and aspiring ones will have heard about Filamentum, the company best known for its extravagant colors paired with high quality and ease of printing.
CPE is Filamentum’s take on PETG and developed for professional printing. In a nutshell, it does combine all the popular PETG features: offering excellent tensile and flexural strength, high impact resistance, high transparency in thin layers, an excellent interlayer adhesion, plus chemical resistance with the advantage of beeing food safe and 100% recyclable.
Furthermore, it’s prone to almost no warping or stringing. However, excessive stringing can occur if the filament is stored in a moist place, as CPE is rather moisture sensitive. Best store it in a protective bag or box if not used.
ABS is the second most popular 3D printing material, beaten only by PLA. With ABS, you can create parts that are impact-resistant, durable, and resistant to weather and heat. Outside of 3D printing, ABS is common in many consumer products, most notably Lego bricks.
ABS parts are also easy to post-process, with sanding, painting, and vapor bathing being all easy options you can use to get you the finish you want.
Printing with ABS is a bit more complicated, though, than printing with PLA and other filaments. As a result, it is important to buy from the best ABS filament brands available so that you don’t have to worry about clogs in your machine on top of getting the settings right.
Yes, ABS has gotten a bit out of style due to its somewhat delicate and challenging settings. Nevertheless, Hatchbox’s ABS filament is still one of the most sold and best-reviewed filament on the market. The general consensus is, be it at Amazon or Reddit; people love it. Hands down, Hatchbox’s ABS filament is the best for your everyday use, once you fiddled with the settings a bit.
And there is a good reason for that. Hatchbox’s ABS filament is available in vibrant colors and a high gloss finish. Furthermore, it tolerates the post-production use of acetone very well, and even without any post-processing, it is still one of the most glossiest and lustrous ABS filaments in that price range. The ease-of-use reflects itself in fact, that there is virtually no stringing or warping; however, precise settings are necessary to achieve flawless prints.
All in all, Hatchbox’s ABS filament is quite possibly the best ABS filament available at this price range.
The southern California based company MatterHackers is known to balance budget prices and professional quality with its filaments. The ABS Build Series is best for making durable parts that need to withstand higher temperatures, making MatterHacker’s ABS Build Series a great addition to any workplace.
Overall, the filament is easy to print with. It does not warp or detach from the print platform and not as picky about cooling than other ABS sometimes tend to be. Recommended extrusion temperatures are about ±230 °C to reduce possible stringing, but all in all, the prints have a smooth and clean finish.
Dutch filament manufacturer Formfutura convinces with great material properties, a large special filament offer, and its reliability.
TitanX is a high-end engineering filament with ABS as the main component. The formulation of TitanX is enhanced with added polymers, binding agents, and impact modifiers, resulting in an engineering filament with exceptional mechanical properties, making it up to 65% more impact resistant than regular ABS.
The filament is specifically designed to 3D print large objects, which is always a challenge with ABS. Formfutura has figured out how to keep the warping low and the quality high when printing big, with Titan X exhibiting no distortion and perfect layer adhesion. This means it shouldn’t even be necessary to have an enclosure for your printer to print successfully with TitanX. A characteristic usually unheard of in ABS. A side benefit is a reduction in smell emitted when printing, meaning that acrid whiff that typically accompanies printing with ABS is less intrusive.
Note that a 106% extrusion layer should be used, but Formfutura stats the exact settings that should be used according to each material in the provided leaflet.
Headquartered in the Czech Republic, Fillamentum is a well-established provider of high-quality 3D printer filaments.
Apart from the unique colors, the company’s ABS Extrafill filament ensures high accuracy of diameter dimensions, with excellent roundness and free from chemical impurities that would lead to reduced viscosity of the filament. It ships in a resealable bag pouch that protects it from moisture and UV rays.
Fillamentum ABS Extrafill prints easily, and can also be machined, polished, sanded, drilled, painted and pasted with extreme ease, keeping an excellent finish. Furthermore, it is exceptionally durable and has little flexibility.
Inofill3D, in cooperation with Polyscope Polymers, developed the special filament, ABS Fusion+, which has two outstanding characteristics. Firstly, it has excellent adhesion properties, something ABS usually tends to struggle with, and secondly, it works great with the water-soluble PVA support.
The filament is targeted at makers and prosumers in need of an engineering-grade filament with high heat resistance and high dimensional stability. Due to the improved bed adhesion printing directly on glass without any fluids or tape is possible, and due to no warping, technical and functional parts can be printed hassle-free.
The filament is available in three colors (black, natural, grey), and in 1.75 and 2.85mm diameter.
Flexible filaments, also known as Thermo Plastic Polyurethane (TPU) or Thermo Plastic Elastomer (TPE), are blends of hard plastic and rubber, capable of being used on any adequately equipped FDM 3D printer.
It is a medium-strength material with very high flexibility and durability, able to withstand much higher compressive and tensile forces than its more conventional counterparts PLA and ABS.
NinjaFlex is renowned for its extra squishiness and probably the best known flexible filament out there, as it quite often serves as an umbrella term for flexible filaments in general, outlining its market stance.
With a shore hardness of 85A, it is incredibly flexible, being able to be stretched up to 6.6 times its original size without failing. With the right settings, the filament allows for some fantastic prints. Nozzle temperature settings are best between 210 – 250 °C, while a heated bed is not absolutely necessary. Furthermore, NinjaFlex has a decent top printing speed of about 30 mm/s.
However, as some 3D printers – especially Bowden type extrusion setups – have a hard time handling the filament, Ninjaflex also released the, which is not as flexible (95A) as the regular NinjaFlex but can be processed easier by most 3D printers.
There should be no need to introduce Fillamentum filaments any more. The Czech company is a well-known, reliable filament manufacturer, and best known – you guessed it – for their fiery colors, they produce their filaments in, and their Flexfill TPU is no exception and worth a try.
Flexfill TPU is available in two grades, shore A98 & A92, which differ in elasticity, making it a bit stiffer than some of the other TPU filaments on this list, but also easier to print. Recommended print temperatures are between 200 and 220 ºC for the nozzle and 30 and 50 ºC for the print bed. Recommended print speeds are between 20 and 30 mm/s.
MatterHackers PRO Series is well known for its exemplary quality and properties, and its PRO TPU is no different. With a shore hardness of 95A, it is also on the stiffer side of flexible filaments, but this, on the other hand, allows for an easier and clean print experience, even for flexible filament novices.
Like most TPU’s, it does not require a heated print platform, and the recommended print temperature is something between 240 °C -260 °C. The filament offers an excellent layer to layer bonding. However, we do highly recommend storing unused TPU filament in a resealable bag with a desiccant pack to prevent moisture absorption.
FormFutura’s FlexiFil is a rubber-like high-performance and partially bio-based flexible thermoplastic co-polyester (TPC) with a shore hardness of 45D. Yes, FormFutura somehow uses its own hardness scale. Converting it to shore A, the filament spots a hardness of 92A.
Furthermore, FlexiFil has outstanding flexural strength properties or, as FormFutura calls it, “flexural memory.” Paired with a high impact resistance, the filament spots no deformation when being stressed or bend. Atop, it features excellent UV light, as well as chemical resistance. Color-palette wise though, the FlexiFil has just four different colors to choose from, and these also tend to differ from its description slightly. As the FlexiFil is ideally suited for functional parts, as well as prototyping, this drawback is neglectable.
Please note that printing speed should be kept around 20 mm/s to achieve the best results.
Colorfabb’s flexible filament, nGen Flex, is a co-polyester formulation and considered a semi-flexible material, making it easier to print compared to other flexibles. With a shore hardness of 95A, the flexibility of a printed part can be managed by adjusting the infill.
Due to the materials semi-flexibility, it can be processed easily by almost all printers, including Bowden type 3D printers, that usually can not handle flexibles rather well.
Colorfabb’s nGen Flex also stands out from other semi-flexible materials, when it comes to chemical and temperature resistance, making it an engineering-grade material that demonstrates excellent durability, toughness, and great layer-to-layer adhesion.
The filament is available on 650 g spools and 1.75 mm or 2.85 mm diameters.
License: The text of "2019 Best 3D Printer Filaments (Fall Update)" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Stay informed with notifications from All3DP.
You get a notification when a new article is published.
You can’t subscribe to updates from All3DP. Learn more…