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3D Printer Filament Comparison Guide

Our 3D printer filament comparison guide will show you valuable information for the most popular filaments, such as print temperature, bed temperature, glass transition zone, print performance, strength, fumes, when they are best used and when they are not to be used for optimal results. This guide is meant to give you comparisons such as PLA vs ABS, PETG vs ABS, ABS vs PLA, PLA vs PLA/PHA and ABS vs PETG. If you don’t find your answers here, feel free to contact us and we will provide you with our expert knowledge on 3D printer filament.

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Print Temperature

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Bed Temperature

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Glass Transition Zone

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Print Performance

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Strength

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Fumes

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Best Used For:

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When Not To Use:

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)


ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) is a commonly used 3D printer material. ABS filament is best used for making durable parts that need to withstand higher temperatures. In comparison to PLA, ABS plastic is less ‘brittle.’ It can also be post-processed with acetone to provide a glossy finish.

210° – 240°C

Heated bed at 80°C or more

105°C

Extrudes well. Can be printed quickly and resists stringiness. It shrinks as it cools which can cause issues with the print lifting from the bed and layers cracking/splitting.

Strong, somewhat flexible; will bend rather than snap when put under pressure.

Mild odor.

Objects that might be dropped or placed in hot environments.

Not for use on a non-heated bed or in a cool or drafty environment. Large or very long prints have a high likelihood of warping.

PLA (Polylactic Acid)


PLA (Polylactic Acid) is a commonly used 3D printer material. PLA is commonly used when a low odor or low emission filament is needed because of its corn-starch base. Although it is not a strong as ABS it can still be used for a myriad of printable applications.

190° – 215°C

40° – 60°C

60°C

Is sticky and can expand, which can create jamming in the hot-end. Lays on the print bed with little to no shrinkage. Can be used with open framed printers with little/no fear of warping, cracking, or prints lifting from the bed.

Strong, but more brittle than other plastics.

Mild, sweet aroma.

Biodegradable items; good for boxes, gifts, prototypes.

Parts that need to hold up in 60°C temperatures (prints will sag); parts that will be dropped frequently, or parts with thin portions (will break after bending slightly).

PETG (Poly-Ethylene Terephthalate Glycol)


PETG (Polyethylene terephthalate glycol-modified) has the benefits you would find in ABS (strength, temperature resistance, durability) with the printability of PLA. It has excellent layer adhesion and produces prints with less warpage and shrinkage.

230° – 260°C

70° – 100°C

88°C

The layer adhesion is excellent. Expect less trouble with warping or shrinking of prints. Material is highly impact resistant. Overheating regular PET makes it hazy and brittle. Not with PETG filament: The added glycol prevents the material from crystallizing and becoming breakable.

Strong, temperature-resistant, more durable than PLA, easy to print like PLA, impact-resistant.

No smell.

Objects that could be dropped or if dimensional stability is critical.

No heated bed or parts that must withstand high temperature.

TPU (Thermoplastic Urethane)


TPU (Thermoplastic Urethane) is a flexible 3D printing filament that can vary in degrees of hardness or flexibility. It boasts excellent layer adhesion with a shiny surface finish and can be used to create phone cases, belts, springs, bumpers/stoppers and much more. Printing with TPU will enable you to produce prints with qualities of soft rubber, but due to the nature of TPU it is recommended that you take a look at our printing recommendations for optimal results.

220° – 245°C

40° – 60°C

N/A

(Below Room Temperature)

Layer adhesion is normally excellent. Depending on the hardness of the TPU, the printability can range from easy to difficult. Lower hardness means more flexibility (our flexible material is 85A hardness and our semi-flexible material is 90A hardness).

Good resistance to oils, solvents, oxidation and ozone.

Light to no smell.

Flexible objects like phone cases.

If rigidity is a key characteristic or if the printer is not setup to handle flexible material.

PLA/PHA (Polylactic Acid/Polyhydroxyalkanoates)


PLA (polylactic acid) with PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate) gives you the characteristics and ease-of-use of PLA but with more durability. This blend results in a material that is easy to print like PLA but is tougher and less brittle. Our PLA/PHA is an excellent choice for individuals who are looking for an easy-to-use filament that provides more rigidity.

190° – 230°C

60° – 90°C

50° – 60°C

Dimensional stability that is similar to PLA and PETG with flexibility characteristics like ABS and PETG. Great layer adhesion and warping of print is low.

Somewhat flexible, durable, easy to print.

Mild, sweet aroma.

Objects that could be dropped.

No heated bed or parts that must withstand high temperature.

PVA (Polyvinyl Alcohol)


PVA filament (Polyvinyl Alcohol) is a water-soluble US made material that is primarily used for support material allowing you to make more complex prints with easy support removal. PVA’s low print temperature makes it a perfect match for using as a support material for PLA prints.

200° – 220°C

90° – 110°C

50 – 60°C

Low print temperature makes it a perfect match for using as a support material for PLA prints.

Water-soluble and must be kept dry.

Light to no smell.

Best used as a support material in conjunction with PLA prints.

As a non-support material.