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Best PETG filament for 3D printing [Ultimate Review]

Ian M. 3d model
Ian M. 10:25 11-07
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In this article we’ll look at a different type of filament that you may well be aware of but haven’t yet used; PETG.  

What is PETG Filament?

PETG (Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol) is a durable, hardwearing polyester combination that can be used as a filament in FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) 3D printing. 

What is PETG Filament

Now, here’s the science part!

PET was first formulated in 1941 by the British scientists Dickson and Whinfield who patented their product for the manufacture of fibres. These fibres were intended to replace cotton as a source material for uses in textile manufacturing. It did however take until 1946 for PETG to be settled into the industry but it is still widely used today.

By 1952 use of PET had expanded into food packaging in the form of transparent film and then in 1976 in the use of rigid drinks bottles. Drinks with low oxygen sensitivity were particularly best suited such as carbonated soft drinks, mineral water, and beer. The significance of this can’t be understated as it made PET the most used plastic in the world.

PETG itself is a copolymerisation of the original PET. The addition of ethylene glycol (the “G”) made the PET less prone to crystallization and reduced its melting point. It also had a better thermal stability allowing it to be used to create flexible extruded parts as made by FDM 3D printers.

drinks bottles made from PETG

Why choose PETG Filament for 3D printing?

As a printing material PETG has excellent flexibility, durability, and chemical resistance. This makes it an ideal choice for 3D printing enthusiasts who may want to try more than just model making.

That being said, it is still a good choice for those modellers who need good impact resistance and additional strength in their creations. It’s also great for models requiring snap together or movable parts.

The use of PETG filament in 3D printing is much the same as that of PLA (Polylactic Acid); particularly if you are mainly interested in producing models for display etc. However, due to the properties of PETG mentioned previously, it is ideal for producing usable parts for machinery, medical devices, food containers and drinks receptacles. 

The most common uses of PETG for the hobbyist 3D printing enthusiast could include:

  • Cups – PETG is water resistant
  • Lunch boxes – heat resistance can help prevent wilted sandwiches!
  • Key fobs – good strength properties are ideal for an everyday item
  • Outdoor plant pots – temperature resistance and water resistance combined
  • Small handheld tools – pliers or handles for saws can be ideally suited
  • Moving parts for models – snap together parts or those needed for items such as RC cars etc.

The list goes on and it is only limited by the creativity of the user!

Considerations to choose a best PETG filament

When deciding to buy or use anything, it’s always worth taking a look at the Pros and Cons. In the case of PETG that’s no different and there are a lot of things to consider before you choose the brand that’s right for you. 

Lets’ then take a brief look at both sides of the coin!

Pros:

  • Strength and resistance to impact
  • Flexibility
  • Thermal resistance 
  • Water resistance 
  • Food grade 
  • Good adhesion between layers when printing 
  • Minimal deformation when printing
  • Resistance to wear and degradation
  • Low odour

Cons:

  • Can cause greater wear and tear to printer parts (nozzle, Bowden tube etc.)
  • Higher printing temperatures
  • Possible “stringing” issues when printing
  • Scratches more easily
  • Not ideal for supporting structures 
  • Can stick “too well” to build plates
  • Can become brittle 
  • Can be more expensive than other filaments
  • Lack of choice and availability

How to conserve PETG filament? How long is the shelf life?

With any product you might purchase external factors., you’re going to want to know how long it will last.  Now for most people who are enthusiastic about 3D printing, a spool of filament might not last longer than 24 hours before it’s been used up! However, in this case, we’re not talking how much you use and how quickly but more about how long the integrity and quality of your PETG will remain intact.

Once you’ve purchased a roll of PETG it will have a natural shelf life of about 2 years under normal conditions. Atmospheric conditions and how well you store the filament will have an impact on that time span so keeping it stored correctly will be to your benefit. Damp, humidity or exposure to UV light and heat will have an affect on the quality of the PETG and in turn, the quality of your prints. Apart from trying to ensure your print workshop keeps the perfect environmental conditions, there are a few options available to you in terms of storage which will help you to avoid these external factors.

  • Filament Drying Box: There are many of these on the market of varying types and cost and are basically electrical devices designed to dry and avoid humidity issues which may affect your filament. Have a look at this one from Creality which is a perfect example. You could also make your own drying box and there are a few YouTube tutorials online to show you how.
  • Vacuum Storage Bag: These are basically small, sealed bags specifically designed to fit a roll of filament and then use a vacuum pump to extract all the air. A small bag of desiccant is also added to help with damp. A good example of this is from e-Sun who make a kit specifically for this issue. 

Image: PETG can become brittle and fragile if not stored correctly (Source: EcoReprap) 

What is the best PETG filament?

There are many different brands of PETG available on the market, but we’ve picked out some of our favourites and had a look at what they have to offer in terms of quality, colour choice and price. 

1. Hatchbox PETG

This is possibly the best value PETG filament on the market and certainly of good quality. The colour range is impressive with a choice of 27 currently available. The standard 1.75mm dia 1KG roll retails at $24.99 direct from Hatchbox.

Hatchbox PETG

Image: Hatchbox PETG (Source: Hatchbox.com)

2. Polymaker PolyLite PETG

You may not be familiar with Polymaker products, but they are certainly prolific in producing quality 3D printing filament. Not as good value for money as Hatchbox, with a 1KG roll costing $29.99 and only 11 colours to choose from but still a good price nonetheless. Have a look at the options on the Polymaker site.

Polymaker PolyLite PETG

Image: Polymaker Polylite PETG (Source: Polymaker.com)

3. eSun PETG

eSun is another high quality and well-known product within the realm of 3D printing. Their PETG comes in a range of 16 different colours and usually retails for $30.00 a roll, so pretty much the same as Hatchbox. eSun boast that their PETG has been voted the “best of 2022” but its unclear from where that award has come! Have a look on the eSun site and judge for yourself.

eSun PETG

Image: eSun PETG (Source: eSun.com)

4. Prusament PETG

Prusa is the only company on our list that actually makes their own range of FDM printers and as such, their filaments are geared primarily to serving those machines. That being said, the PETG filament can obviously be used on any FDM printer, but the exclusivity is reflected in the price. A 1kg roll can cost between $25 and $40 and a 2Kg recycled roll is $45. Check out their choice of 26 colours and types on the Prusa site.

Prusament PETG

Image: Prusament.PETG (Source: Prusament.com)

5. Overture PETG

Overture is a popular choice of manufacturer for many 3D printing enthusiasts who say their products are high quality and produce good prints. With a choice of 19 different colours and priced at $21.99 for a 1kg roll, you can certainly see why. A nice “environmentally friendly” aspect of Overture filaments is that they now come on a recyclable cardboard roll. Have a closer look at the Overture site and see what you think.

Overture PETG

Image: Overture PETG (Source: Amazon.co.uk)

PETG filament near me: how to find a PETG shop

Probably the easiest way to purchase PETG filament is online; either direct from the manufacturer or via online stores such as Amazon. If you follow the links we’ve provided in the previous section, the manufacturers will give you a list of their preferred sellers if you choose not to buy direct from them. Searching online gives you a multitude of online retailers selling PETG filament so its just a case of finding the one that both sells the brand you want and ships to your region.

If, however you prefer a “face to face” shopping experience then your options may unfortunately be limited. Certainly, in the UK the presence of physical, walk-in stores is virtually non-existent but at least in the US you have the option of walking into a Microcenter store if you have one nearby. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to stock any of the brands we’ve looked at but it’s still a good option if you want to give PETG a try and don’t want to wait for shipping!

3D print shop

Image: A store selling PETG filament may be hard to find (Source:Printbox.London)

Conclusion

So, there you have it, a guide to PETG and all its properties both good and bad. As an alternative to PLA its definitely worth a go especially if you’re wanting to print hard wearing and weather resistant items.

The settings on your printer may take some time to perfect and there’s definitely a bit more wear and tear on the nozzle etc. but all in all PETG filament is a good choice for any 3D printing enthusiast.

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