3D printing has exploded in popularity over the past several years. What was once a prohibitively expensive hobby is increasingly accessible. The Ender line of 3D printers in particular represents phenomenal value for money. In this guide, we’ll try to find the best filament for Ender 3 printers.
The best option out there for you will depend largely on the type of printing work you’re hoping to achieve. On this page, we’ll discuss the different types of printing filament available and how to know which will work best for you.
We’ll also touch briefly on the appropriate printer settings for each kind of filament. Read on to become a 3D printing pro!
First up is ABS filaments. This polymer has been in use commercially for many decades now and was one of the first filaments made available to 3D printers. It’s quite cost-effective, but does come with some potential drawbacks. We discuss them below.
One thing that many newbies don’t expect is the unpleasant chemical smell that ABS printer filament can cause. If you use your Ender 3 printer in a shared space at home, you might want to consider other options.
If you’re brand new to 3D printing, you might find ABS a little unforgiving. It can be fairly tricky to get consistent results at first. The Ender 3 printer is a fantastic little tool, but it’s not quite as capable as more premium options, so ABS might be better suited to more experienced hobbyists.
Three big advantages to using ABS filament with your Ender 3 printer are its durability, flexibility and resistance to impact. If your builds require these characteristics, it’s worth checking out our recommendations below.
Our brief settings tips are below:
- Try not to print faster than 60mm/s, lower settings are fine
- Keep things quite hot (around 230℃) and maintain a build plate temp of around 100℃
- Don’t worry about using the cooling fan – let things cool on their own
Hatchbox has built an excellent reputation in the world of 3D printer parts and materials. This ABS option is some of the best filament for Ender 3 printers available online. It can be picked up in a variety of different colors and is remarkably cost-effective in our opinion.
A 1KG spool currently costs around $22 on Amazon – that’s not bad at all. This 1.75mm filament gets a big thumbs up from us.
Overture has done a great job of combating odor problems here. While this 1.75mm filament will still smell more than other polymer types out there, it’s significantly better than comparable products on this page.
Expect excellent durability, an easy-to-use spool mechanism, and a price tag that’s unlikely to break the bank any time soon. If you’re a newbie who’s set on using ABS, we say go for this one.
Our last ABS recommendation is this option from Novamaker. The stability and durability on offer here are quite impressive considering the asking price of $20 per 1kg spool. You’ll have a choice of 10 different colors if you order through Amazon.
The one-month free trial and lifetime quality promise offered by Novamaker here lends a great deal of peace of mind to an already compelling package.
Another common filament type for printers like the Ender 3 is PLA. There are plenty of reasons to go with this option – check them out below.
This is especially noticeable when compared to ABS 3D printer filament. You won’t have to deal with unpleasant odors or toxicity here. This makes PLA a great option for shared spaces and environments with children or pets.
Always double-check toxicity guidance from your manufacturer for safety.
Some newbies benefit from PLA filaments when first starting out thanks to its relatively forgiving nature. You’re less likely to give yourself a headache when using this kind of polymer.
One thing to keep in mind with PLA is that it offers medium strength and durability. It’s also pretty brittle so can snap quite easily under pressure. For most general printing tasks, it works just fine. However, it can fall short when used for more heavy-duty projects.
As a very general rule, you might like to use the following settings with PLA:
- A printing speed between 50 and 60mm/s usually works great
- PLA can be a bit runny so turn on your cooling fan
- Around 200℃ usually works well
- Set your build plate temperature to around 40 or 50℃
There’s a ton of different colors available for this PLA filament. You’ll be able to dramatically improve your creative control when working with your Ender 3 printer. The materials, stability, and durability on offer here are all excellent in our opinion.
CCTREE has used an anti-tangle design with this polymer that goes a long way in making your prints simpler and less prone to accidents. You should also experience significantly less clogging and bubbles than with cheaper competitors.
This is a phenomenal value option if you’re hunting for a bargain. For less than $40, you can pick up 3, 1.1lbs spools of this high-quality PLA filament for your Ender 3 printer. It’s designed to be universally compatible and to deliver the consistent results you need.
The stability of this option should be more than enough for most everyday printing projects. For more ambitious builds, however, you might want to look elsewhere. Overall, this 1.75mm bundle gets a big thumbs up from us.
Last up in our PLA section is this excellent black filament from Hatchbox. The company has a pretty good track record with this kind of product, and this listing on Amazon is no exception. Expect reliable, consistent results every time you print.
Nozzle clogging and warping are two common complaints with this kind of filament. Fortunately, the materials used here significantly improve the situation. You should experience far fewer slow-downs when using this product with your printer.
This is another fairly common filament that can be used with your Ender 3 printer. Read on to learn more.
TPU filament is great for more flexible projects. The consistency of this material once printed is significantly bendier than filaments like PLA or ABS. The printing requirements for this one are a little different so check them out below.
One thing we love about TPU products is that they’re comparatively easy to print with. You should have far fewer problems with this kind of filament when building projects with your printer.
Two more things to keep in mind is that TPU stands up very well to both heat and general wear and tear. The durability and flexibility that comes with this filament makes it a great option for projects that might face more bumps or hands than usual.
- Slower printing speeds (around 30mm/s) are usually required
- Stick to a temperature between 220℃ and 240℃
- Set your build plate temp to around 60℃ if you’d like, but it’s not strictly necessary
- Keep your cooling fan on
We’re big fans of Gizmo Dorks; they usually deliver pretty consistent results with their printer filaments. This flexible TPU stays true to this reputation. It has a diameter of 1.75mm and is designed to work well with practically all relevant 3D printer setups.
Look forward to durable, bendy projects that last well into the future!
This option from ChamRun comes with 8 different color options to choose from. If you need something with a bit more artistic flair, this might be the right way to go. One great application for TPU filament is everyday objects like phone cases, insoles, and other flexible tools.
At just $20 for a spool, this is a steal in our opinion.
Last, but certainly not least, is this TPU filament from the company YOYI. Just like the ChamRun product above, it comes with a choice of 8 different colors. You’ll be able to customize your build’s colors to your heart’s content!
This filament offers odor-free printing, superior flexibility, and an ultra-smooth finish. If you’re looking to take your Ender 3 projects to the next level, it might be worth checking this one out.
Another filament type that’s grown in popularity over the past few years is PETG. Check out our overview below.
The great thing about fully PETG projects is that they can be recycled once you’re finished with them. It also releases fewer pungent smells than filaments like ABS. The environmental impact of 3D printing is an ongoing discussion, so materials like this are great to see.
In a similar vein to TPU materials, PETG offers great levels of both durability and flexibility. Your projects should be less prone to sudden snaps or chips when using this type of material.
If you need something that’s translucent or even transparent when building new projects, PETG is a great way to go. Its unique composition results in a clear, attractive finish that can really make certain builds shine.
You might need to engage in some trial and error when working with PETG. The specific temperature and humidity you’re working with can influence the final finish of your builds.
With a few trial runs, though, you’ll soon learn what works for your environment.
You might like to use the following printer settings when working with PETG filament:
- Somewhere between 50 and 60mm/s works well as a printing speed
- PETG responds well to temperatures around 230℃
- Set your bed temperature to approximately 50℃
- Turn your cooling fan on when working
There’s a staggering number of available colors for this product. For ambitious, multi-colored builds, Overture might just be your new best friend. The clear/ translucent finish of this filament looks great in most contexts.
As with other offerings from Overture, you can expect significantly fewer printer clogs and bubbling when compared to less premium materials online. When you consider the fact that one spool of this filament can be picked up for just $20, we think this one’s a no-brainer.
We featured this option from Tecbears largely because of its exceptionally affordable price tag. At the time of writing, this filament costs just $15 per spool. As with the Overture product listed above, there’s a wide variety of colors to choose from.
Despite the budget-friendly asking price, this material is equally resistant to bubbling, cloggs, tangles, and similar slow-downs. We strongly recommend taking a look at this one.
Related: how to change filament on an Ender 3
Keep in mind that the best filament for your Ender 3 printer is going to depend largely on your circumstances. The flexibility, finish, durability, and ease of use you’re willing to tolerate all come down to the builds you’re hoping to achieve.
It’s worth asking yourself what you hope to create with your printer. The clearer you are about your expectations, the easier it will be to find a filament that works for you. Whichever option you choose, we hope it serves you well!