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Top 10 strongest 3d printer filaments

A filament 3D printer, or FDM, allows you to print out a variety of materials. Aside from simple yet stiff  PLA, depending on the printer, you also have the option of using the popular plastic in typical manufacturing, ABS, as well as more exotic polymers such as PPS, PEEK, or PEI. However, if a project's creator does not provide any preference when it comes to filament, finding the right filament for a project can be challenging. The following sections will help you determine that.

What does ‘strong’ mean for 3D printer filament?

There are several mechanical properties used to measure plastic in the industry. For 3D printer filament, manufacturers send their products to professional testing organizations to obtain a data sheet. This data sheet typically includes values for Young's Modulus, Tensile Strength, Breaking Elongation Rate, Flexural Modulus, Bending Strength, and Impact Strength. Young's Modulus and Flexural Modulus can be considered primary indicators of strength, while Breaking Elongation Rate serves as a secondary indicator.

1.Young's Modulus: Young's Modulus measures a material's stiffness by quantifying how much it deforms under tension or compression. It is a fundamental property that indicates how resistant a material is to elastic deformation when a force is applied.

2.Flexural Modulus: also known as the bending modulus, evaluates a material's stiffness when it is bent. It indicates how much a material will bend under a given load, providing insight into its rigidity and structural integrity.

3. Breaking Elongation Rate: Breaking Elongation Rate, or elongation at break, measures the extent to which a material can stretch before it breaks. It is an indicator of a material's ductility and flexibility, showing how much it can elongate under stress before failure.

These three properties, among others, are crucial for printing high-resilience and flex-tolerant models. You need to balance these properties based on your specific 3D printing application. Consider factors such as tensile strength, bending strength, wear hardness, impact toughness, and more. Each type of 3D printer filament has different characteristics, so it's important to choose the one that best fits your 3D printing needs.

This article will introduce 10 3D printing filaments known for their balanced properties and review some key concepts to keep in mind when designing with them.

10: PLA

Poly(lactic acid) (PLA) is a widely used polymer in the field of 3D printing. It is relatively rigid, although less so compared to other materials in the same category. However, its temperature resistance is considered to be one of its drawbacks.

Advantages of PLA

  1. Printability: PLA can easily be printed in the open air and with a decent amount of cold air. However, it doesn’t like to be enclosed in some circumstances and will likely clog the nozzle if printed as such.
  2. There is a slew of PLA varieties, ranging from multicolored to wood, metal, and even stone-filled filaments.
  3. Stiffness: PLA is decently stiff, though not as much as most of these other filaments.

Disadvantages of PLA

  1. Temp resistance: PLA can’t handle anything more than 40℃ unless annealed.


Carbon fiber filled PETG is stiffer than regular PETG, but able to withstand the same temperature without melting or warping in your bag. However, printing it in an enclosed printer may make the layers bond a lot better, giving the part extra strength. While this type of filament may initially appear to be available in only one color, several companies have recently introduced a variety of color options for this type of filament.

Advantages of CF-PETG

  1. Its stiffness: CF-PETG’s tensile modulus is three times as high as normal PETG, and its tensile strength is double. But like any FDM print it can be weaker on the layer lines, but can gain strength when printed enclosed without clogging the hotend.
  2. Color choice: unlike most carbon fiber-filled filaments, CF PETG has an ample array of colors to choose from. So you can make your parts pop with whatever MMU you have

Disatvantages of CF-PETG

  1. Temp resistance: CF-PETG doesn’t handle much more than regular PETG, which is about 70℃. While generally enough to be in the sun, even in a car, it might not be enough for parts on an enclosed printer.
  2. Moisture absorption: regular PETG absorbs moisture in the air due to hydrolysis. But, like any carbon fiber-filled filament, CF-PETG absorbs more due to capillary action from the carbon fiber.


The structure of PCTG is very similar to that of PETG, although PCTG has certain advantages over PETG. Namely, it has a greater chemical resistance, but it's also more durable than PETG. However, unlike PETG, it does require a hotend with an all metal heatbreak to print with, but most printers these days have one.

Advantages of PCTG

  1. Chemical Resistance: PCTG has a higher chemical resistance compared to its predecessor.
  2. Durability: PCTG is more durable compared to PETG
  3. Layer adhesion: There have been some conflicting sources on this one. Some say it’s stronger on the layer lines, while test results from CNCKitchen show it’s not isotropic like some manufacturers claim.
  4. Temperature resistance: PCTG can handle ups upwards of 75℃

Disadgantages of PCTG

  1. Stringing: Much like PETG, PCTG can suffer from stringing.
  2. Rigidity: PCTG is somewhat flexible, so it's not viable for parts that need rigidity unless you use a tool changer.


Carbon fiber-filled ABS is known for its high rigidity, offering an alternative to the typically flexible and amorphous nature of regular ABS plastic. However, it does have two drawbacks when compared to regular ABS. Firstly, it is only available in one color, and secondly, it has a higher moisture absorption rate due to capillary action.

Advantages of CF-ABS

  1. Rigidity: CF-ABS is 1.5-2.5 times as rigid compared to its regular counterpart.
  2. Temp Resistance: ABS can typically deflect ~85℃, but can withstand 100℃. Adding carbon fiber helps it not deform as badly in heat.

Disadvantages of CF-ABS

  1. Moisture absorption: like all carbon fiber-filled filaments, CF-ABS absorbs moisture due to capillary action
  2. Toxicity: ABS can release Styrene fumes, which are toxic in high amounts to a human. But they might be fatal in small amounts to birds and some reptiles.
  3. Warping: Although to a lesser extent than most ABS filaments, CF-ABS can still warp due to drafts. So an enclosure or a draft shield is recommended.

6: PC

Polycarbonate is known for its strength and temperature resistance, surpassing ABS in these aspects. However, it has limited color options and can be challenging to print. To address the latter issue, some filament manufacturers combine it with PETG, selling it as PC+, which is designed to improve its printability.

Advantages of PC

  1. Temp resistance: PC can handle temps upwards of 120-150℃. Making it perfect for parts in high temp 3d printers
  2. Impact resistance: PC is very resistant to impacts. Meaning that if its something that gets dropped a lot, it won’t easily break.
  3. Flexibility: PC can be bent without breaking, making it good for parts that might bent a bit.
  4. Chemical resistance: PC can handle most alcohol including high purity IPA. Acetone might crack it though.

Disadvantages of PC

  1. Food safety: Although the FDM process is generally not food safe, PC only compounds this in some blends because it can contain BPAs.
  2. Chemical resistance: Some cleaning agents can ruin polycarbonate, including Trichlor and acetone.
  3. Warping: Pure PC warps quite a lot, often requiring a 40℃ chamber, like in a Voron, and some kind of adhesive.

5: PC + PBT

PC + PBT is a type of plastic alloy that combines polycarbonate and polybutylene terephthalate, or PBT. This alloy is easier to 3d print compared to its individual components, and it offers enhanced durability and high-temperature resistance. However, it only ever comes in white or black.

Advantages of PC + PBT

  1. Temp resistance: This alloy can handle up to 140℃
  2. Printability: though some manufacturers claim that you need a heated chamber upwards of 100℃, 3rd party sources say it’s easier to print than regular polycarbonate.

Disadvantages of PC + PBT

  1. Warping: Though not as badly, a brim or raft might be needed.
  2. Color choice: Unless you run the white through a color blender, you don’t have a lot of color options.

4: CF-Nylon/CF-PA

Nylon, also known as polyamide or PA, is a robust and temperature-resistant filament, particularly after annealing its carbon fiber filled versions. However, it is highly hygroscopic, and the addition of carbon fiber exacerbates this trait. Nylon comes in various types, with PA6 and PA12 being the most popular, which is distinguished by their carbon atom count. This will be focusing on CF-PA12

Advantages of CF-PA12

  1. Low shrinkage: You’ll barely have to adjust the part in your slicer for shrinkage with PA12-CF at least, so long as it's dry.
  2. Temp resistance: PA12-CF can handle temps of up to 150℃. And it can handle even more after annealing. Like regular nylon, it can also handle the cold down to near-freezing
  3. Stiffness: PA12-CF is extremely stiff, even along the layer lines.

Disadvantages of PA12-CF

  1. Warping: while small parts won’t necessarily do this. Bigger parts will warp quite a lot. An enclosed chamber is recommended.
  2. Creep: nylon parts can creep and bow over time. So they’re not ideal for anything under load.
  3. Moisture absorption: nylon very easily absorbs moisture and carbon fiber doesn’t make it better. You pretty much need to print it out of a dryer unless you want to deal with an ample amount of stringing and expansion.


Polyphenylene Sulfide (PPS) is highly resistant to chemicals and can withstand sulfuric acid and most solvents below 200℃. It can also handle temperatures slightly over twice the boiling point of water. The addition of carbon fiber makes it easy to 3D print, comparable to PLA. However, PPS is super hydrophilic and requires a higher drying temperature than most 3D printing filament spools can tolerate.

Advantages of PPS-CF

  1. Chemical resistance: PPS can handle sulfuric acid, making it ideal in an industry where most acids and solvents are used.
  2. Temp resistance: PPS-CF can handle temps upwards of 230℃.
  3. Stiffness: carbon fiber will make any filament stiff and this is no exception.
  4. Wear Resistance: PPS-CF has high wear resistance: making it a good option for gears.
  5. Printability: PPS-CF is as easy to print as PLA if your printer is able to get up to the temperatures needed.  You don’t even need an enclosure

Disadvantages of PPS-CF

  1. Moisture absorption: PPS-CF is super hydrophilic, and can’t be dried in a consumer dry box.


PEEK is a highly rigid polymer, and adding carbon fiber further increases its stiffness. Despite its impressive performance characteristics, PEEK is notoriously challenging to 3D print, even under optimal conditions. However, the addition of carbon fiber can improve the printability and overall quality of the material, though the conditions needed don’t change much.

Advantages of PEEK-CF

  1. Temp resistance: PEEK-CF can be continuously used in temps up to 240-260℃
  2. Stiffness: PEEK is extremely stiff on its own. Adding carbon fiber only increases that.

Disadvantages of PEEK-CF

  1. Printability: PEEK-CF needs a 130-160℃ bed and a 400℃ extruder. It also likes to stick to metal so purging out the material after finishing the print is imperative. You may also need an actively heated chamber for this filament.

1: TPI

Kapton, also known as TPI, is a high-strength and exceptionally chemical-resistant filament. It is one of the toughest filaments to print due to its requirement for an extremely high-temperature nozzle, bed, and chamber.

Advantages of TPI

  1. Chemical resistance: TPI can handle all organic solvents
  2. Temperature resistance: TPI can handle temps around 235℃

Disadvantages of TPI

  1. Printability: TPI needs a 420-445℃ extruder, 180-220℃ bed, and a chamber that can go over 80℃. Kapton on the bed and a part cooling heater might help as well.


Selecting the right 3D printer filament involves understanding the specific requirements of your project and balancing various mechanical properties such as Young's Modulus, Flexural Modulus, and Breaking Elongation Rate. Each filament type offers unique advantages and disadvantages, from the rigidity of PLA to the high-temperature resistance of PEEK-CF and the chemical resistance of TPI. By carefully considering these properties along with factors like printability, temperature resistance, and moisture absorption, you can choose the filament that best suits your application. Whether you need a material that excels in stiffness, durability, or flexibility, the top 10 strongest 3D printer filaments listed in this article provide a range of options to meet your needs. With the right filament, your 3D printed models can achieve the desired performance and resilience, ensuring the success of your projects.

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