PLA vs ABS vs PETG vs TPU vs NYLON? What Is The Difference?

3D printing technology has appeared for a long time, along with the various raw materials you can use to work on. Let’s focus on Pla Vs Abs Vs Petg Vs Tpu Vs Nylon debate to pinpoint the best materials!

It’s time to join me to discover and find out properly about five 3D filaments which are super popular that can meet your creative demands.


Short Brief of PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU, and Nylon

PLA/ Poly Lactic Acid is used popularly in 3D printing. This most common 3D filament is environmentally friendly with a low heating temp.

It is produced from renewable resources such as corn starch or sugar cane.

PLA filament is easy for printing, so it is ideal for newbies.

ABS/ Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene is in the second position of the popular list for 3D printing material just after PLA.

This filament exhibits high strength, flexibility, and resistance.

It is used widely for toys, the housing of electronics, gears, smartphones sleeves, etc.

PETG/ Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol-modified is also the most common plastic in the market, famous as the polymer used in bottles, food containers, and clothing fibers.

For more visual information on PLA vs ABS vs PETG, check this video!

Nylon is used in many industrial applications in 3D printing. Especially, Nylon is one of the perfect materials for strength, flexibility, and durability.

TPU/ Thermoplastic Elastomers – flexible plastic which comes with rubber-like quality.

I can say that TPU is incredibly durable. It is always used in medical supplies, household appliances, and automotive parts.

Firstly, please take a quick look at the five materials’ main features to see how different they are.

PLA vs ABS vs Petg vs TPU vs Nylon comparison chart:

Name PLA ABS PETG TPU Nylon
Printing temperature 180-230°C 210-250°C 200-260°C 190-245°C 220-230°C
Printing bed temperature 20-60°C 80-110°C 80-90°C 60-90°C 70-100°C
Printing bed Optional Necessary Optional Optional Necessary
Bed Adhesion Medium Medium Bad (use blue tape/PEI) Bad (use blue tape/PEI)
Fumes Few to none Harmful Harmful Few to none Few to none
Absorption of moisture
Strength Medium Good Very good Very good Good
Flexibility Bad Medium Good Perfect Good
Heat Resistance Bad Medium Good Good Bad
UV resistance Medium Medium Medium Good Good
Water Resistance Medium Medium Good Good Medium
Biodegradable Partly
Recyclable
Gluing and Painting Possible Possible Possible Possible Possible
Acetone Treatment Not possible Possible Not Possible Possible Possible
Colors Large selection Large selection Large selection Large selection Large selection

Now, let’s learn more about each material’s specific features to know in detail and determine what will be the right one for your needs.

PLA vs ABS vs Petg vs TPU vs Nylon Strength

Strength will be the most important thing to mention for 3D printing materials.

For PLA, the tensile strength is very high, it is not easy to warp, so this material is suitable for prototyping application.

The tensile strength of ABS is just lower than PLA only, and it’s still very high. ABS filament is a sturdy structural and pretty flexible material.

The exact usage of PLA is excellent for prototyping applications.

PETG strength is high enough to make it an excellent material for impact resistance.

Nylon strength is considered high, and it is also flexible to make it the perfect material for making structural parts.

TPU strength seems to be short compared to the four other materials.

However, it is mainly used as an additive for strengthening materials.

Durability

Thanks to the brittle properties, PLA is not as durable nor impact resistant compared to other materials.

In contrast, ABS is very durable and also impact and chemical resistant.

PETG is in the middle of PLA and ABS durability. This filament is not as brittle as PLA.

However, it can be scratched simply in comparison with ABS. Primarily, it is significantly more flexible than the others above.

Nylon makes for exceptional durability with a high melting point.

Additionally, it is also very resistant to abrasion.

TPU is super durable. It is resistant to abrasion, chemicals and also withstand impacts.

Flexibility

PLA is brittle. Hence, it is the least flexible filament compared to the four others.

ABS is just moderately flexible. It is the same as PLA; ABS is the thermoplastic that turns into a moldable and soft state when it is heated.

PETG is more flexible than the ABS and PLA. However, it is a little bit softer.

Nylon is a flexible and versatile material, and it makes these filaments tough to break.

TPU is the king of elasticity, and this material is famous for being easily stretched and bent without compromising the design, durability, and strength.

PLA vs ABS vs Petg vs TPU vs Nylon Easy Printing

PLA comes with low printing temperature, excellent bed adhesion, and a glossy finish. It has some wrap in printing.

Hence, PLA is ideal for 3D printing starters.

ABS has an odor during printing time, and it is easy to wrap.

To get ABS print quality, you need a heated print bed and Kapton tape.

PETG features the same printing setting as the ABS. In contrast, layer adhesion of PETG will be better than ABS.

Nylon filament is one of the hardest things among five printing materials.

Besides, it has high shrinkage. For nylon prin, the heated chamber and bed are super essential. Because nylon has high water absorption, the storage of filament is essential too.

TPU is easy to print, with good layer adhesion and low shrinkage.

Usage

PLA is the top contender as the most popular filament in the market.

Especially, it comes with bright neon color schemes, ideal for concept models, architectural mock-ups, and prototyping.

ABS – the second popular 3D filament, it is very durable and has strong heat resistance.

It is suitable for building legos, but it is also found in household tools and goods.

PETG is standing out when I mention its resistance, flexibility, and well-rounded strength.

This filament is helpful for some functional objects, such as mechanical parts.

Nylon also features a well-rounded balance of durability, flexibility, and strength.

Thus, it is perfect for mechanical parts, functioning prototypes, and creative tools.

TPU is the most suitable for creating objects needed to take a lot of wear.

It is an excellent material for toys, accessories, and phone cases.

PLA vs ABS vs Petg vs TPU vs Nylon Heat Resistance

PLA has a low heat resistance compared to other filaments.

Hence, it is susceptible to heat.

ABS is not as heat resistant as others because the thermoplastic properties make it malleable at a high temp.

PETG is properly heat resistant and durable.

ABS vs PETG, ABS features the harder structure, and it is more rigid. PETG is about 20% denser than the ABS, so it does not wrap quickly as the ABS.

Nylon lacks strength and structure.

It is durable and has a more robust impact resistance compared to ABS.

Safety

PLA is the same as plastics which are potent with chemicals that can be toxic when inhaled from the processing’s emissions.

However, I am sure that the proper ventilation and safety protocols can handle all.

The bright coloring of the material will indicate the additive, which is not safe. Hence, you should remember it.

ABS is the same as PLA, which can be toxic when it is in liquid or vapor form during the processing.

The fumes release the smell that can cause nose and throat irritation. However, the finished material is not a health hazard.

ABS is the building block of lego and household material. It is very durable, and it can be heat resistant to break it down quickly.

PETG also causes carbon emission during the processing. It is not closed as a health hazard as the ABS.

It does not come with an unpleasant smell from emissions, but its fumes can also cause nose and throat irritation.

The experts already confirmed that this material would not pose any serious health risk.

Nylon emits VOC, which is toxic when inhaled and also presents some damage to your respiratory system.

However, the chamber, well-ventilated room, and the safety protocols will lessen the potential health risks for these materials.

TPU is a plastic with high durability and safety to use.

However, as with the materials mentioned above, health risks can still be a big problem if the materials can not be handled perfectly or there are no safety protocols during the processing.

PLA vs ABS vs Petg vs TPU vs Nylon Price

PLA is the most affordable investment that is the reason why it is so prevalent in FDM printers.

It usually costs under $20/kg.

ABS is also widely used for 3D printing, which helps some particular models where the temp resistance and strength are essential. It also costs around $15 to $20/kg.

PETG is the alternative to ABS. This material is robust, durable, and easy to use.

It takes around $ 16 to $ 19/ kg.

Nylon is an excellent material for flexibility and chemical resistance which is perfect for fears and bolts.

Thus, its price is higher compared to PLA, ABS, or PETG.

TPU is a rigid, flexible, and strong material for 3D prints.

Its price is the highest among five from $87 to $100/ kg.

Accuracy

The accuracy of FDM printed components depends on the printer calibration.

The PLA material features a superior dimensional accuracy.

It has a lower printing temperature, making it easy to get susceptible to warping when it gets cooled.

ABS is the same as PLA with dimensionally accurate and trusted to use for strength and flexibility.

The material is more susceptible to warping compared to the PLA features lower printing temp.

PETG is very durable and flexible for making models.

The dimensional accuracy is top-notch, which makes it excellent for producing quality models.

Nylon is also incredibly durable and flexible, and it is highly hygroscopic.

Any exposure to the high humidity can affect the build of filament, which leads to inconsistency in the dimensional accuracy and its part strength.

TPU is similar to Nylon. It is flexible, but TPU has the added drawbacks in achieving accurate dimensional parts.

Besides, the malleability filament makes it softer than ABS and PLA.

PLA vs ABS vs Petg vs TPU vs Nylon Finished Surface and Post-processing

PLA requires sanding. Using many grip sandpaper will do the trick in smoothing out the surface.

It is not complicated to do, and you can cover the surface with liquid polish if you want to see a shiny layer.

ABS materials use acetone to smooth. The process will eliminate the visible lines and roughness to its layer and provide a clean and smooth finish.

It is also a good way of smoothing out for reaching the places in a 3D model.

PETG requires the combination of priming, coating, dissolving, and sanding.

It is the same as the combination of post processes in ABS and PLA. While dissolving parts is unnecessary, it is an effective way to smooth out hard to reach the place.

Nylon – while the hygroscopic of Nylon features drawbacks when it comes to warping after printing, this Nylon makes it easier to post-process because it can absorb spray paints and the fabric dyes.

TPU, with excellent elasticity and rubber light material, makes cleaning and smoothing the surface finish hard to achieve.

You can laser ablation is the perfect solution in diminishing the surface of roughness. The laser heat melt surfaces peak and provides the material a smooth finish.

1. PLA vs ABS vs PETG

ABS and PLA are the most common filaments for 3D printing technology.

These materials are thermoplastics, and they can be shaped in the hot state and can retain the shape after getting cool. Mainly, these materials also have many differences that you should find out.

Firstly, PLA is an excellent choice for every kind of 3D printings which doesn’t come with high strength, while ABS features higher strength.

Secondly, PLA is recommended for three-dimensional printing, which does not need a unique surface finish.

The prints made from they are less durable than the ABS. Thus, it is not recommended for printing parts that are to be bent. ABS is suitable for flexible three-dimensional prints.

Besides, it is not highly heat resistant, and you should not use it for 3D printings exposed to direct sunlight or some component connected to the heating device.

In contrast, ABS features high heat resistance.

PETG is a printing subset of polyethylene, which is cross between stronger than ABS and more heat resistant than PLA.

Moreover, it is not robust enough for all kinds of manufacturing environments.

What is stronger PLA or PETG? I can say that PETG is stronger in the tensile strength.

It is also more durable, flexible, and impact resistant.

Besides, the UV and heat resistance of PETG is better than PLA for outdoor usage.

What is the best PETG filament? (PLA vs ABS vs PETG vs TPU vs Nylon)?

Each material will own its perks.

Choosing the best and suitable materials will depend on your purposes of printing. PLA still is the most common for 3D printing.

It is friendly to use, with a low temp for making printing more accessible.

Thus, you can use it for different applications.

In addition, it comes with a wide range of colors that make it perfect for your creative needs.

2. Petg vs Nylon

Petg and Nylon are both common and strong filaments on the market, and it might be a big challenge for choosing between these materials.

These are the most excellent filaments for various uses.

Nylon is strong and flexible.

However, moisture intolerant, while PETG is chemically resistant, is easy to use and cheaper than Nylon.

Only it is low on durability.

Hence, if you need easy-to-use and chemical-resistant produce, PETG is the best choice if wear and tear is your big deal.

Petg vs Nylon Strength

PETG has a slight advantage at 50 MPa vs Nylon, ranging from 40-45 MPa.

However, there are high-strength versions for PETG and Nylon for increased tensile strength. It is possible to have strength Nylon which is stronger than PETG.

FAQs

1. What is the difference between PLA and PETG?

There are many differences between PLA and PETG. First, about the price, PETG is more expensive than PLA, while PLA features a wider range of colors.

It is easier for 3D print than PETG since it is more forgiving when coming to settings.

These materials come with minor shrinkage during cooling time, and these are foods; however, the small gaps between layers can cause some bacteria.

Moreover, these are friendly to users, Petg is stronger and more durable.

Besides, it is also more heat resistant.

2. What is better for 3d printing PLA or ABS?

PLA is perfect for 3D prints since its lower printing temp, which is easier for printing with, and it will be suitable for parts with fine detail.

ABS is ideal for applicants where flexibility, thermal stability, and strength are needed.

3. Can PETG be used outside?

Pete is a super tough material with outstanding thermal resistance, which uses universal, but it is suitable for mechanical parts both indoor and outdoor.

You can print large objects without any problems because it has no warping.

4. What temperature can PETG withstand?

Pete is suitable at a temperature of 90 to 110 degrees C. In this temperature range, dimensional and warping changes are significant.

5. Is Nylon stronger than ABS?

Nylon is durable with less strength and stiffness than ABS. Nylon is more challenging and more chemically resistant than ABS.

However, its low strength stops it from being used in many different manufacturing fields.

6. Is PETG safe for breathing?

The fume is not toxic. However, it is always the best for ventilating your printing room.

When printed with PETG, there are carbon emissions from fumes.

7. What is the difference between PLA vs TPU?

If you need the easiest filament for printing, you should use the PLA, which is more friendly to the environment and compostable than others.

However, if you need to add some flexibility to your prints, you can use TPU.

It is easier to use, so it is a better choice for beginners, while TPU will be more flexible and perfect for those needing to return to its original state.

8. What is the best filament?

First, the beginners should pick PLA, while some experienced people will choose TUP which is more difficult and requires experience.

You can use it for prototypes as this material is cheap and easy to print.

While if you have a heatable bed, you need to increase durability, then ABS will not let you down.

Besides, when you do not have a heated print bed but still want to print the heat resistant and some stable object, don’t forget to choose PLA-Tec.

PETG will be ideal for print vases and semi-transparent.

Conclusion

With all five filaments, each will deliver the merits and demerits. What you need to do is pick the one being suitable for your experience and application.

Hopefully, Pla Vs Abs Vs Petg Vs Tpu Vs Nylon will bring you enough information to make you confident to make your decision.

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