In many ways 3D printing is still in its infancy. But there are some areas where its use is expanding rapidly.
Production parts, bridge production, repair and maintenance, and in jigs, fixtures and tooling.
Whilst 3D printing has a wide range of potential uses, but it’s building blocks, the PLA and ABS filaments are all pretty similar in that they are essentially composed of some sort of thermoplastic.
However there are some notable differences between the different brands, and we’d like to share that with you now.
First we have some product reviews from our Top 5 3D printer filament brands, then we have a little buying guide for you, going over the main things you might want to think about before making your purchase.
Since we’re just demonstrating 5 products, we’re going to concentrate on PLA, and ABS. Most basic 3D printers are designed to exclusively use these filaments.
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Best 3D Printer Filament Brand - Comparison Table
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Best 3D Printer Filament Brand - Reviews
Hatchbox, a good American brand is a really good choice of brand for hobbyists, due to their combination of good quality and good value for money.
People buy it thinking “oh, this is cheap, I’ll give it a go” and then they’re really surprised at just how good the quality is.
This particular spool is flying off the shelves at Amazon, with it having received over 3000 customer ratings on the Amazon page. It has fared really well with customers too, the average customer rating comes out at a whopping 4 and a half stars out of 5.
The link on the Amazon page takes you to their black PLA, but it’s worth noting that they do other types of 3D printer filaments besides, including ABS, PETG and HIPS. And in a variety of colors too, making it quite an extensive range.
Their colors are nicely vibrant (not this black one obvs), and for a PLA filament it’s quite strong.
One thing you’ve got to love about Hatchbox’s PLA filament is it’s reduced carbon footprint!
You’d also be interested to know that there’s a thriving Hatchbox 3D printing community, where users gather to share their ideas, seek guidance, and offer answers to problems.
You get 1kg of filament on this particular spool, and at 1.75mm diameter, the full spool comes to 330m. It has really good dimensional accuracy of +/- 0.03mm. And it has a printing temperature of 180 to 220 degrees centigrade.
It comes to you vacuum sealed, free from any humidity.
Several different spools of Overture’s filaments come up on Amazon’s best selling 3d printer filaments, but this spool is hands down the most popular one. After over 2000 ratings the average customer rating still comes out at a staggering 4 and a half stars out of 5!
Overture has been in the business for over 8 years now, and are experts in the field. They also have a large scale production capacity, which is how they can bring you such good quality products at such an affordable price.
In addition to their standard PLA, Overture also do a silk PLA which looks gorgeous, and a toughness enhanced PLA, and they’ve also dabbled in producing PETG and TPU.
All their spools come with a small build surface to support the filaments which feature a grid layout which is really handy for resizing.
This particular spool gives you 1kg of filament, and has a 1.75 diameter. It’s dimensional accuracy is +/- 0.05mm.
What we love about Overture’s filaments is that they’re clog and bubble free, and they’re less likely to tangle, and therefore less likely to snap and break. There’s also less stringing and less warping - always a good quality to have in your PLA!
eSUN is very much a well established brand, having been involved in biodegradable polymers since 2002 before branching out into 3D printing material in 2007.
Their range includes not only PLA but also HIPS, PA, PCL, and PC filaments.
Although it hasn’t received the same number of ratings of other PLA filaments we’ve shown you, Amazon still classifies it as one of their best sellers.
The feedback from customers has been superb, with the average customer rating coming out as 4 and a half stars out of a possible 5, even after well over 300 ratings.
This particular spool is the standard 1kg of weight, with a 1.75 diameter, designed to be used in any of the common 3D printers. It’s Dimensional Accuracy is really good at +/- 0.05mm.
This PLA PRO filament is a better product than your standard PLA as it is several times stronger, and features superb layer bonding, and high rigidity. The finished printouts are smooth with no cracking or brittleness. And we just love it’s glossy finish!
It’s made from corn grain, so it's super eco-friendly. It’s odorless too.
It comes vacuum sealed, completely unaffected by humidity.
If you're after an ABS filament, this would be a good one to go for. Granted it doesn’t show as many customer ratings as the PLA filaments we’ve shown you, but that’s predominantly because Amazon customers are predominantly in the market for PLA filaments over ABS, as they’re mainly hobbyists.
That said there have been over 100 ratings for this filament and the average customer rating comes in at 4 stars out of 5, so the brand, 3D Hero, are clearly doing something right.
This spool has also earned the Amazon’s Choice award for black ABS printer filament at this diameter. This award is given only when a very good quality is made available at a good and reasonable price.
In addition to making ABS Filament, 3D Hero also makes PLA, and PETG filaments too.
But this particular spool really has a lot going for it. It has high tensile strength, it’s clog and bubble free, and there’s low shrinkage. And although it produces a very stiff product on printing, it’s sufficiently flexible to withstand breakage in the event of stress.
It’s a black, 1kg spool, with a diameter of 1.75 mm and a dimensional accuracy of +/- 0.02mm.
The service provided by 3D Hero is great - first off there’s a 1 year warranty, and within that year you get free technical support.
This PLA from SUNLU is also one of Amazon’s better selling 3D printer filaments. And customers certainly seem very happy with their product, with it scoring 4 stars out of 5, even after over 700 ratings!
Sunlu is an international 3D printing consumables company which has been around since 2013.
They sell both 3D printers and 3D filaments, but that doesn’t go to say you can only use their filaments in their printers - the spools are universal and can be used in any standard 3D printing machine.
They make a wide range of filaments besides PLA, such as ABS, HIPS, and PETG.
The standout feature of this particular spool, PLA Plus, is that it’s 100% tangle free, with no overlapping on the spool. This in turn makes it less likely to snap and break. It’s a standard 1kg spool, with a diameter of 1.75mm.
It’s dimension accuracy is really good at +/-0.02mm, and it’s printing temperature is 190 to 230 degrees centigrade.
It’s virtually odorless, which makes it great to work with.
There’s a few different color options available, all of which are nice and vibrant. The gold and silver might make a nice combo.
Best 3D Printer Filament Brand - Buyers Guide
Many buying guides on 3D printer filament brands bring up the cost of the filaments. However the filaments tend to vary in a fairly small area of price range, from $14.99 up to about $26.99.
So cost only really becomes an issue if you expect to go through a lot of it. The spools tend to be 1kg in weight, so if you’re using the typical thickness of 1.75mm of filament, you will get 330 meters worth of the stuff.
Of course, if you’re looking for fancy features like rainbow pigments or filaments that will glow in the dark, then you will have to pay a bit more.
Types of 3D Printing Filaments
Since we’re concentrating on only the 2 main types of 3D printer filaments in our Top 5 products, we’re going to keep this section brief, and just talk about PLA and ABS.
Please note however that this is not in any way a complete or comprehensive list.
The most popular 3D printer filament used across the board in FDM 3D printing is PLA (Polylactic Acid). PLA is the easiest filament to print with, since it has a lower printing temperature than ABS, (specifically 180 to 230 degrees centigrade) and it doesn’t warp as easily. This means you don’t need a heating bed for it.
Furthermore, as a biodegradable thermoplastic, and being made from renewable resources like corn starch, PLA is much more environmentally friendly than most types of 3D printer filament. It’s generally considered odorless too.
In sum, it has high strength, low flexibility, and medium durability. PLA is a good filament choice for creating models, prototype parts, or low wear toys. It should not be used for anything that might be dropped, so not for tool handles, phone cases, or high wear toys.
ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is the next most used 3D printer filament. Generally speaking, ABS products offer very high durability and can withstand some really high temperatures.
The drawback however is that it’s not as easy to print with as PLA. You will need to be mindful of the filament’s high printing temperature (210 to 250 degrees centigrade), and you must ensure that you use a heated bed kept in either a well ventilated space, or within an enclosure.
You should also be careful that it doesn’t warp during cooling.
ABS being the more durable material, can be used in situations where PLA just won’t do. These include tool handles, electrical enclosures, automotive trim components and even bicycle helmets.