For all the people who have asked about filaments, here's my list, spread across 8 different posts. This list includes over a hundred filaments, with pictures, measurements, and impressions. All are 1.75mm. Please don't read too much into my opinions, there's a lot of variation in filament and printers, and my opinions apply only to the spools I have on hand. I try to be objective with these opinions, but my preferences and biases affect my opinion, so keep that in mind when browsing this list. Also be aware of the date, some of these filaments may no longer be available, or may be different from what is currently available. I sometimes describe how I use and print some filaments just to provide another data point, it's likely that your optimal setup will be different from mine.
PLA | ABS | PETG | FLEXIBLE | NYLON | METAL | WOOD | OTHER
Diameter - Diameter readings are taken at several angles, across a meter or more of filament, at whatever part of the spool is currently accessible. Sometimes the filament diameter variation is the result of variations in roundness, and may not have a significant impact on printing performance. I've noticed that I've become less tolerant of filament diameter variation as printers get more precise, inconsistent layers or banding tends to overshadow filament diameter fluctuation. One exception is with transparent filaments, where irregular layers aren't very visible.
Color - It's hard to know the exact color, transparency, and texture of the filament when you're buying online. I'm hoping these pictures along with the descriptions will help you know what you're buying. All the pictures were lit with the same basic setup (unless stated otherwise) so the colors should be somewhat consistent across different types and brands. I have my monitors calibrated, and I try to adjust the pictures to match the actual filament as accurately as I can (which is not very accurately). I don't put the same effort into the example photos or photos that contain multiple spools.
Transparency - Transparency makes a big difference in how these filaments print, but it's one aspect that I hard time getting reliable info on. I'll use the following terms when describing the spooled filament. This info is subjective, the surface finish of the filament will affect the perceived transparency, but it should give you a rough idea.
- very high - Perfectly clear as far as I can tell, ignoring any color.
- high - It's translucent, with a significant amount of fogginess or haziness.
- moderate - It's opaque enough that it doesn't appear to be transparent, but light shines through it fairly easily. If you press a bright flashlight against the spool of filament, about half of the spool will light up. Infill is usually visible through one or two shell layers.
- low - It's opaque enough that you probably won't see your infill showing through, but transparent enough to deemphaasize layer lines. If you press a bright flashlight against the spool of filament, you will see a large halo of light around the flashlight from the light filtering through the filament.
- none - Completely opaque. If you press a bright flashlight against the spool of filament, you will see very little if any light bleeding through the filament.
Printers - I use a Eustathios Spyder v2 and a Rigidbot, both running E3D v6 Hotends. The Rigidbot uses Printrbot gear head direct drive, the Eustathios uses a short bowden setup with a Bondtech extruder (160mm from gear to nozzle). Both are fixed gap, symmetric grip, high torque extruders, so for the most part, all the filaments listed feed without jamming or clogging, (there are a few exceptions, like running metal powder filament through a 0.3mm nozzle or trying to print with cleaning filament). I also used to own an Afinia H-Series Printer (US version of the Up! Plus), only a few of these filaments work well with that printer out of the box. All the example prints have been printed on these three printers. Keep in mind that filament isn't the only factors affecting print quality, choice of printer, experience, print settings, choice of slicer, etc. can have a bigger impact than the filament.
Environment - I'm not sure how much the ambient environment affects printing, but I live in San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA. Temperature and humidity is moderate, indoor temperatures range from a low of 45°F / 7°C in the winter to a high of 80°F / 27°C in the summer with normal temperatures around 65°F / 18°C. None of my printers are enclosed.
Links - There are affiliate links in this list, I may receive a small percentage of the total if you place orders soon after using the links (at no cost to you). I've marked all affiliate links with an asterisk (*). Many thanks to all who have been using these links! Normally I only link to products I'd buy again, but for convenience and completeness, I'm linking all the filaments I can find a reputable source for (even the really bad ones, so read the description). I usually link Amazon* when possible, unless I know of better sources for that particular item.
- More flexible and resilient than ABS or PLA.
- Little to no warping (though some formulations warp more than others).
- Excellent layer bonding, it doesn’t break along layer lines (as long as you print it hot enough).
- Flexible when thin.
- Can be used to create living hinges.
- Higher temperature resistance than PLA.
- No smell when printing.
- Works well with tapped or printed threads.
- Usually very glossy, more glossy than PLA (except for matte PETG from Atomic Filament).
- Overhangs and sharp corners may not print as well, PET is more likely to curl up.
- Support material can be more difficult to remove.
- While it is one of the stronger materials, thicker pieces can break catastrophically (don’t ask me how I know).
- Absorbs moisture more slowly (but still should be stored dry).
- Can be more stringy, but the strings are very fine and easy to remove.
- The strings can sometimes accumulate on the nozzle, then drop a brown blob into the print. (Before I start a long PETG print, I usually clean the nozzle with a brass brush, then wipe it with CLP*, which seems to help). This seems to depend on the formulation as I find some do this more than others.
- Really does not like mixing with PLA, layer adhesion is almost nonexistent if there’s some PLA still in the hotend.
PET+ and PETG has greatly expanded the usefulness of 3D printing. When I first received a sample (thanks to MadeSolid*), I was able create a bunch of designs that I had previously abandoned because they wouldn’t work the way I wanted in ABS or PLA. The elasticity, and flexibility allow for new designs that aren’t possible with ABS and PLA. The lack of warping makes it great for larger parts, or parts where you need dimensional accuracy. This is especially useful when PLA isn’t suitable because of its brittleness or its low heat resistance. The strength of the plastic and the strong layer bonding make it great for structural purposes, but for parts that will get a lot of abuse, nylon may be a better option.
- Hotend Temperature: 230°C – 260°C, temperature varies from one filament to another. Printed too cold, layer adhesion is very weak, too hot and there will be some bubbling, affecting clarity and the surface finish.
- Bed Temperature: 75°C
- Bed Adhesion: Aquanet hair spray on glass is usually sufficient, I’ll switch to Suave hair spray or gluestick if experiencing issues with warping.
Atomic Filament | Ruby Red Translucent | 2016
Diameter: 1.71 – 1.74 | Transparency: High | Origin: USA (California)
Very saturated red filament, slightly darker than some other transparent red filaments and accurately described as ruby red (I like the darker look). Prints better than the other PETG filaments I’ve used, and doesn’t seem to stick to the nozzle on longer prints the way some other PETG filaments do.
eSun PETG* | Transparent Magenta* | 2015
Diameter: 1.71 – 1.78 | Transparency: High | Origin: China
Color is somewhere between red and magenta. Looks more magenta when thin, more red when thick. Warps more than other PETG I’ve tried, less than ABS. I’ve had a hard time printing larger pieces with this filament. I bought one of the earlier batches of this filament so I don’t know if it’s improved since then.
MadeSolid PET+* | Solid Red | 2013
Diameter: 1.68 – 1.76 | Transparency: None | Origin: ?
Solid red color. One of the first batches of PET+. Layer bonding doesn’t seem as strong as with the transparent or later PET+ purchases, and I usually print it at higher temperatures than I print transparent PET+. While it worked well on the printer I had at the time, the filament diameter variation affects print quality on my current printer.
Atomic Filament | Solid Orange | 2016
Diameter: 1.71-1.73 | Transparency: None | Origin: USA (California)
Opaque orange color, not fluorescent like some other orange filaments.
eSun PETG* | Transparent Yellow* | 2015
Diameter: 1.70 – 1.77 | Transparency: High | Origin: China
Good warm yellow color. I had a hard time printing some larger parts with this filament due to warping. For meduium sized prints it works well and the warping isn’t noticeable.
Yasin PETG | Yellow | 2015
Diameter: 1.70 – 1.77 | Transparency: Low | Origin: China
Nice warm yellow color. I haven’t printed with it much. Bought at a trade show.
Atomic Filament PETG | Emerald Green | 2016
Diameter: 1.69 – 1.71 | Transparency: High | Origin: USA (California)
Transparent dark green color. Very saturated, but more of a natural green color. Prints very well, just like all the other transparent clear PETG from Atomic. There seems to be more variation in diameter between spools of Atomic PETG so it’s best to measure before use. Diameter consistency within the spool is still excellent and the best I’ve seen, but it isn’t as consistent from spool to spool as their PLA (which I rarely measure before use these days).
MadeSolid PET+* | Solid Green | 2013
Diameter: 1.67 – 1.73 | Transparency: None | Origin: ?
Bluish green color, not my favorite color. One of the first batches of PET+ and the layer bonding doesn’t seem as strong as with the later stuff.
3D Solutech PETG* | Transparent Blue* | 2015
Diameter: 1.70 – 1.76 | Transparency: High | Origin: ?
Dark cyan color. I prefer the darker transparent blue colors below.
Atomic Filament | Translucent Aqua | 2016
Diameter: 1.73 – 1.74 | Transparency: Very High | Origin: USA (California)
Very nice transparent aqua color, it’s nice to see some new colors, especially with PETG. This is the same color but more transparent than the PLA version of the same filament. It works great, as I’ve come to expect from Atomic’s filaments, and the few prints I’ve made with it so far have stood up to quite a bit of abuse.
MadeSolid PET+* | Blue | 2014
Diameter: 1.71 – 1.76 | Transparency: Moderate | Origin: ?
This blue is less opaque than the other opaque MadeSolid colors.
Atomic Filament | Sapphire Blue | 2016
Diameter: 1.72 – 1.74 | Transparency: Very High | Origin: USA (California)
Very transparent neutral blue, same shade of blue as the Atomic Sapphire blue PLA.
MadeSolid PET+* | Transparent Sapphire Blue | 2014
Diameter: 1.64 – 1.72 | Transparency: High | Origin: ?
Transparent blue, not as purple as the eSun blue PETG.
eSun PETG* | Transparent Blue* | 2015
Diameter: 1.71 – 1.75 | Transparency: High | Origin: China
Dark blue color, almost purple. Darker than the MadeSolid sapphire blue PETG.
MadeSolid PET+* | Black | 2013
Diameter: 1.68 – 1.75 | Transparency: None | Origin: ?
Very glossy when printed and the layer bonding seems weaker than the other colors, but I haven’t used it much.
Atomic Filament | Matte Gun Metal Grey | 2016
Diameter: 1.73 – 1.75 | Transparency: None | Origin: USA (California)
Matte PETG, the only one I know of (other than the exotics). It’s a very attractive, neutral dark grey color and comes off the printer with a matte / satin texture. Similar in color to the Atomic gun metal gray ABS and PLA. I haven’t used it extensively, but it seems to have slightly different physical and printing properties than the clear PETG filaments I’ve been using so far.
This filament remains matte at higher temperatures, unlike filaments that become more glossy at higher temperatures. It seems to prefer higher temperatures than usual if you need the layers to fully bond. It sticks to hairspray better than usual and I run with a lower bed temperatures to make it easier to remove. Spool provided by Atomic Filament.
MadeSolid PET+* | Gray | 2013
Diameter: 1.71 – 1.79 | Transparency: None | Origin: ?
Neutral middle gray color, it’s held up well.
MadeSolid PET+* | White | 2014
Diameter: 1.58 – 1.62 | Transparency: None | Origin: ?
Very opaque neutral white
MadeSolid PET+* | Clear | 2014
Diameter: 1.70 – 1.79 | Transparency: Very High | Origin: ?
One of my first spools of PET+, which greatly expanded the things I could do with my printers. I still use many of the parts I printed with this filament and it’s held up surprisingly well, even the parts that function by flexing. This filament has a slight yellow cast, but you can’t really tell from the spool picture since there is fluorescent yellow from the spool core is showing through.
Colorfabb nGen PETG | Clear | 2015
Diameter:1.76 – 1.79 | Transparency: High | Origin: Netherlands
I haven’t really used this yet, but it seems at least as clear as the other PETG filament. Comparison can be found here. Sample provided by PrintedSolid.
Yasin PETG | Clear | 2015
Diameter:1.72 – 1.75 | Transparency: High | Origin: China
Works well. It does have a slight yellow cast, which is only really noticeable with larger transparent prints. I got this spool at a trade show and haven’t seen it for sale elsewhere.
Sainsmart PETG* | Clear | 2015
Diameter: 1.71 – 1.76 | Transparency: Very High | Origin: China
This spool is almost empty, so you see the spool showing through. This plastic performs very similarly to the PETG from 3D Supply Source so I’ve been using this as my default clear PETG. Very neutral in color.
Taulman TGlase* | Clear* | 2014
Diameter: 1.65 – 1.81 | Transparency: Very High | Origin: USA
Good clarity, seems to perform a bit worse with overhangs and corners compared to the MadeSolid Clear PET+, but it may have just needed a different temperature. This is neutral in color, without any color cast. The spool is showing through in the picture.
Diameter: ? | Transparency: High | Origin: China
I don’t have any more of this filament to photograph or measure, but this was the least transparent of the clear PETG filaments I’ve tried (not necessarily a bad thing, it has a frosted white look when printed). Color is neutral, no detectable color cast. The filament warps more than others (I normally don’t notice any warping with PETG) so it did not work some prints where I needed accurate dimensions. When I re-ran the exact same gcode with 3D Supply Source PETG, I couldn’t detect any warping.
3D Supply Source PETG | Clear | 2014
Diameter: ? | Transparency: Very High | Origin: China
This is one of my favorite filaments, but I don’t have any left to measure or photograph (it’s out of stock and I ran out a long time ago). With some prints at 100% infill, it can be very clear (see picture). The filament itself is very clear without any visible color cast. For something similar, try the Sainsmart Clear PETG.
Atomic Filament | Extra Bright Glow in the Dark | 2016
Diameter: 1.70 – 1.74 | Transparency: Very High | Origin: USA (California)
Very clear glow in the dark PETG. It looks similar to clear PETG at first glance, but it glows brightly when activated.
Notes on filament brands:
Atomic Filament - They target 1.72mm as the average diameter of their 1.75mm filament (according to their FAQ) so that's usually a good default diameter for their filament, their PLA is usually consistent enough that you don't have to measure each spool. All their filaments are made in California (moved to Indiana in 2017) and they help support this site.
Colorfabb PLA/PHA* - The extra flexibility of PLA/PHA is great for thin, small, or flexible parts that would be too fragile to hold up with regular PLA. It also prints with a satin finish that looks better than the glossy finish I usually get with PLA. Despite the PHA content, I classified PLA/PHA with the other PLA filaments as these differences are fairly subtle and it prints with similar settings.
eSun* - eSun filament is sold and sometimes rebranded by a lot of different sources and I don't know if there are differences between them other than the different spool styles. For this list, I assume they're the same. Microcenter's Inland filament is currently eSun filament and the cheapest place I've found for it (if you don't account for shipping). They also sell Inland* filament on Amazon with free prime shipping. Most of the eSun filament in this list is from Intservo*, who sells on Amazon, but I have also ordered from Microcenter* and Prototype Supply*.
Inland Filament* - I assume all the Inland filament is from eSun (see eSun above) and I've mostly linked to Inland spools because it's cheaper and I prefer the solid black spools.
Honeycomb Drone* - Some spools are advertised as 3lb spools, but are standard 1kg spools. Prices fluctuate on Amazon, I've seen prices under 10 and over 40 USD. The spools I ordered were between 9 and 14 USD.
3D Solutech* - Proudly claims that "All our materials are purely grow and made in the USA", but the spools and the labels under their stickers are identical to other filament I own that came from China.
Places to buy filament:
Amazon* - One of the best places to buy filament, I believe they even accept returns if you don't like the filament (I haven't tried that myself, that's partially why I have so much of it).
Printed Solid - They only sell the good stuff (Colofabb, Taulman, Fenner Drives, Polymaker, etc.), and are kind enough to send me some samples to try occasionally. They sell filament samples which are great for trying out some of the more expensive filaments. They also have a store on Amazon*.
Atomic Filament - Good filament, free shipping, made in California. I check their site often as they're adding new colors / types regularly.
Microcenter - Good place to order eSun (branded as Inland) filament if you have a store nearby or are ordering large quantities (Shipping where I'm at starts at $6 and increases by $1 per spool). They also sell on Amazon* with free prime shipping.