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Your Guide to Common 3D Printing Materials

Our 3D printing 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. Using this guide can help you determine the best 3D printer filament for your specific application.

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.


Print Temperature

Print Temperature

Bed Temperature

Bed Temperature

Glass Transition Zone

Glass Transition Zone



Print Performance

Print Performance



Best Used For

Best Used For

When Not to Use

When Not to Use

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.

ABS Print Temperature
ABS Bed Temperature
ABS Glass Transition Zone
ABS Fumes

210° – 240°C

80°C +


Mild odor

ABS Print Performance

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.

ABS Strength

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

ABS Best Used For

Objects that might be dropped or placed in hot environments.

ABS When Not to Use

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) 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.

PLA Print Temperature
PLA Bed Temperature
PLA Glass Transition Zone
PLA Fumes

190° – 215°C

40° – 60°C


Mild, sweet aroma

PLA Print Performance

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.

PLA Strength

Strong, but more brittle than other plastics.

PLA Best Used For

Biodegradable items; good for boxes, gifts, prototypes.

PLA When Not to Use

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 (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.

PETG Print Temperature
PETG Bed Temperature
PETG Glass Transition Zone
PETG Fumes

230° – 260°C

70° – 100°C


No smell

PETG Print Performance

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.

PETG Strength

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

PETG Best Used For

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

PETG When Not to Use

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.

TPU Print Temperature
TPU Bed Temperature
TPU Glass Transition Zone
TPU Fumes

220° – 245°C

40° – 60°C


Light to no Smell

TPU Print Performance

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).

TPU Strength

Good resistance to oils, solvents, oxidation and ozone.

TPU Best Used For

Flexible objects like phone cases.

TPU When Not to Use

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.

PLA/PHA Print Temperature
PLA/PHA Bed Temperature
PLA/PHA Glass Transition Zone

190° – 230°C

60° – 90°C

50° – 60°C

Mild, sweet aroma

PLA/PHA Print Performance

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.

PLA/PHA Strength

Somewhat flexible, durable, easy to print.

PLA/PHA Best Used For

Objects that could be dropped.

PLA/PHA When Not to Use

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.

PVA Print Temperature
PVA Bed Temperature
PVA Glass Transition Zone
PVA Fumes

200° – 220°C

90° – 110°C

50° – 60°C

Light to no smell

PVA Print Performance

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

PVA Strength

Water-soluble and must be kept dry.

PVA Best Used For

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

PVA When Not to Use

As a non-support material.


Nylon filament is an extremely tough, semi-flexible material that is highly impact- and abrasion- resistant. Its low friction coefficient and high melting temperature make it an ideal material for an array of engineering specific applications.

Nylon is most prevalent in fabrics and fibers but can be found in a myriad of other products due to its toughness and flexibility. Other applications of nylon include automotive components, manufacturing tooling & fixtures as well as food packaging.

Nylon filament is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs moisture from the air. This can affect print performance as well as the overall strength of the final product. It should be stored in an airtight container with desiccant after opening and between uses. Many nylon filaments require extruder temperatures to reach 250°C and above, while some formulations can be printed at 220°C. Higher temperature nylons pose an issue with most printers as most extruders will not reach the required print temperature without an upgraded extruder.

PVA Print Temperature
Nylon Bed Temperature
PVA Glass Transition Zone
PVA Fumes

240° – 290°C

110° – 120°C


No smell

PVA Print Performance

Although hygroscopic and prone to warping, nylon can be manageable and produce excellent results with attention to a well-optimized printer setup and environment.

PVA Strength

High impact and abrasion resistance while maintaining a degree of flexibility.

PVA Best Used For

Engineering specific applications such as gears or parts that need to have a high degree of abrasion resistance.

PVA When Not to Use

Do not use on applications where there is a chance for high moisture content or in a high humidity environment.


Polypropylene (PP) is a widely used thermoplastic material made from a semi-crystalline polymer. It is semi-rigid in nature and has excellent fatigue resistance, making it ideal for packaging and storage applications where a tough but semi-flexible material is needed.

Polypropylene has many applications but is mostly prevalent in the automotive and packaging industries because of its cost-effectiveness and ability to flex without breaking. It is ideal for bumpers and high fatigue parts as well as containers and consumer packaging.


Because polypropylene is a semi-crystalline polymer it is prone to warping as it cools. This creates a steep learning curve for those new to 3D printing. For the best results, it requires a well set-up printer, print surface and chamber to regulate temperature, mitigating any potential warpage.

PP Print Temperature
PP Bed Temperature
PP Glass Transition Zone
PP Fumes

210° – 230°C

85° – 100°C


No fumes

PP Print Performance

Has difficulty adhering to build surface with potential to warp when not using a proper set up.

PP Strength

Lower strength compared to rigid materials, but has excellent fatigue resistance.

PP Best Used For

Applications needing flexibility with resistance to fatigue such as food containers or living hinges.

PP When Not to Use

Not an ideal material for high strength applications.


Polycarbonate (PC) is a thermoplastic material known for its strength, durability and optical clarity (transparency). It has a high impact resistance and can withstand high temperatures, making it ideal for engineering specific applications.

Known commercially as Lexan®, polycarbonate has many applications, including CDs, DVDs, bulletproof glasses, sunglass lenses, scuba masks, electronic display screens as well as product packaging.

Polycarbonate filament is hygroscopic like Nylon, meaning that it absorbs moisture from the air. This will affect print performance as well as the overall strength of the final product. Like Nylon, it should be stored in an airtight container with desiccant after opening and between uses. Polycarbonate is a high-temperature resistant material, and it requires being printed at high temperatures with special attention given to the ambient temperature within a heated chamber and build surface. This also means that cooling fan speeds need to be lowered to ensure the proper layer-to-layer adhesion occurs.

PC Print Temperature
PC Bed Temperature
PC Glass Transition Zone
PC Fumes

280° – 3100°C

110° – 120°C


Mild odor

PC Print Performance

Although hygroscopic and prone to warping, polycarbonate can be manageable and produce excellent results with attention to a well-optimized printer setup and environment.

PC Strength

Very high tensile strength with enough flexibility to withstand shattering.

PC Best Used For

High strength applications.

PC When Not to Use

Not for novice hobbyists.

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