PETG vs ABS. What Should I Choose?

by Mike Brooks | Last Updated: September 24, 2021

Without a doubt, 3D Printing has popularly grown over the past two decades. Regardless, most people tend to question which printing filament to use on their 3D printer but the answer is quite diverse since you can pick from various choices.

PETG vs ABS

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However, there are two most popular 3D printing filaments: Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol (PETG) and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS).

Selecting a suitable choice between the two can be quite confusing since both are seemingly similar. Also, to make the right choice, you need to consider several factors.

We’ll explore PETG vs ABS, answering each question you might have, but first, read our detailed description to understand what these two filaments are.

ABS Filament

ABS stands for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene. It’s a terpolymer with three different monomers; acrylonitrile, butadiene, and styrene. These different filament materials influence different physical and chemical properties.

ABS is easy to synthesize and goes smoothly into the printing machine. This filament was developed in the 1940s and has been most popular ever since for industrial and domestic use. Abs are used to produce helmets and toys, making keyboards and medical devices, etc.

PETG Filament

Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol (PETG), also called copolyester (CPE), is an enhanced Polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

PETG portrays higher properties of heat resistance, UV resistance thermal stability because of the lower melting point. The filament is more adhesive because of its sticky nature. Plus, the glycol group added prevents crystallization. That makes PETG filament ideal for 3D printing.

PETG Vs ABS: 3D Printing Factors

Let’s dive into some detailed printing factors for each one of these two filaments.

Which of these two are considered easy to print? You need to consider this factor to determine which filament will offer a smooth printing process. In a nutshell, both ABS and PETG are easy to manage but ABS is easier.

Jamming is transitioning from a flowing state to a rigid state while clogging is the ceasing of matter through a bottleneck. When you conduct a long print that requires timely delivery, you’ll encounter a clog or a jam.

In that case, PETG has a higher chance of clogging and jamming as compared to ABS. Therefore, ABS outstands that factor.

You need to know which printer produces a low to no smell and the one with a slight to high printing odor. You have to prioritize your health because ABS thermoplastic emits irritating and harmful odors, toxic fumes, and particles that will deteriorate your health. While PETG doesn’t emit any odors.

Hygroscope is the ability of the 3D printing filament to take up and retain the moisture. Post-processing is editing the data captured by the printer to enhance the visibility of the 3D print produced.

PETG is more hygroscopic, while ABS has enhanced post-processing than others.

Is PETG Better Than ABS?

Yes, it is. To find out more on how we came up with this conclusion, go through our detailed comparison between ABS vs PETG.

ABS Vs PETG: Cracking, Warping, Heated Bed, and Adhesion

While you 3D print, your filament should stick to your print surface. Heated beds have a high melting point by 100 degrees or more since if you poorly heat your prints, they’ll break easily.

3D Print On Glass Bed

Moreover, they bend and warp dramatically, peeling off your bend plate due to the high melting points and rapid cooling. That’s because ABS has a challenge with sticking to 3D printing surfaces since ABS has poor layer adhesion.

PETG is more effective since it sticks easily to your printing surfaces. Warping is greatly reduced, and PETG filament requires only a bed temperature range of 50-80 °C. Plus, its bed adhesion is perfect; it tears chunks from the build surface at certain times.

When that happens, you can easily take care of this issue by coating your build plate using release agents like hairspray, glue stick, and more to guarantee a successful PETG print.

Hence, when you use PETG, it’s easier to eliminate the print defects related to temperature than ABS.

Temperature Requirements

From the above illustration, ABS demands a higher temperature than PETG for 3D Printing. These high-temperature requirements are disastrous for your 3D printer. Moreover, there are higher chances of print failures since some printers cannot sustain the extreme bed temperature requirement.

After the first few layers are laid down in PETG printing, monitor the printer for sudden or sustained application. PETG has excellent layer adhesion hence don’t worry about your printing surfaces.

PETG doesn’t require the high-temperature characteristic since its printing requirements require slightly lower temperatures.

ABS vs PETG: Particle Emission and Odour

PETG has a more pleasant odor than the other filament. As you print, PETG has reduced particle and VOC emission. The fact that PETG prints without releasing any unpleasant odor or toxic gases make it healthy to use.

ABS, however, has a slight to strong unpleasant printing odor. Plus, it has a heavy VOC and particle emission. Therefore, ABS poses a serious health issue compared to PETG.

ABS vs PETG: Post-Processing

ABS has the upper hand in post-processing because of its flexibility. You can use both ABS and PETG for metalworking. However, PETG is disadvantaged because it’s nearly impossible to print it. Therefore, PETG becomes hard to use.

ABS has high flexibility for post-processing. That’s because you can glue and paint ABS easily, especially if you intend to rework cosmetically large parts.

ABS vs PETG: Storage and Hygroscopicity

Storage of PETG vs ABS. ABS is an ideal filament easy to store because it’s tolerant of absorbing humidity from the air. Therefore, it’s safe to store on a shelf. Moisture destroys the materials and may ruin the filaments.

However, PETG is more hygroscopic and has more moisture intake than ABS. Hence it would be best if you had a special storage place for it. Hence, ABS has the upper hand because of its ease of storage.

PETG vs ABS: Durability and Strength

Over the past few decades, ABS filaments have been outstanding in strength and longevity. However, with the coming of PETG, that has been challenged in the following key areas.

ABS has poorer layer adhesion. Most users find ABS filament weaker than PETG when the layer lines align in the same direction with loads.

The newer material makes ABS’s Strength for 3D printing a mere myth because PETG outstands it in the strength test since PETG has better layer adhesion and it’s extremely durable.

Underexposure to direct sunlight ABS significantly weakens because it’s affected by the radiation of the sunlight. However, PETG copes much better under direct sun rays.

If you’re using the material outdoors, go for PETG since the filament lasts longer.

As we saw earlier, ABS is more temperature resistant than PETG; hence, if you want to sterilize your printer using boiling water, ABS is more durable in higher temperatures.

You might like: PLA vs. PETG. What Is the Best One?

What’s PETG Good For?

When dealing with alkaline or acidic substances, do not worry. PETG has incredible physical and chemical resistance. PETG is not susceptible to physical deformities with higher temperatures.

Due to UV resistance and impact resistance, PETG is good for outdoor use. Furthermore, PETG has reduced chances to warp or shrink and makes it easy to color your prints.

You can use PETG to make cooking oil containers and any other food container that you wish because it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Plus, the filament does not have irritating and harmful odors as you print hence ideal for health.

What’s more? PETG is among the most selling thermoplastics, meaning it’s widely used. Hence you can easily recycle after use, making this filament environmentally friendly.

Both ABS Vs PETG: Which Is Best For 3D Printing?

From the above analysis, we can safely conclude that PETG is best for 3D Printing. PETG produces clearer 3D

PETG is considered environmentally friendly and safe for storing food. The powerful layer adhesion makes it perfect for 3D Printing. This filament has reduced heat resistance but works well with your printer since it doesn’t require heated beds to print.

However, with PETG, you might still need a heated print bed, PETG print typically doesn’t require print beds. Plus, it’s resistant to basic and acidic conditions.

Moreover, if you are printing outdoors, PETG has increased UV radiation resistance while ABS cannot be suitable for use in the field. Generally, PETG is the best printing filament for 3D Printing.

What Are the Disadvantages of ABS For 3D Printing?

ABS is hard to operate. Consider the heated bed demands, and after the cooling process, the terpolymer shrinks to a great extent.

Producing quality products through ABS prints requires a great input of efforts that may not be suitable for a beginner.

The printing process requires extremely high temperatures that may not be manageable by some printers. During Printing, ABS produces toxic fumes with a bad odor. Plus, after the cooling process, the terpolymer warps and shrinks to a great extent. Moreover, this polymer is UV rays unresistant.

The Price Difference of PETG Vs ABS

ABS 3D printer filament costs around 25 USD, while PETG filament costs 28 USD per spool. However, you’ll find different qualities with different prices from different suppliers.

Note where you are buying your filament since some of the suppliers may appear legit only to sell you poor quality filament, which does not function as you would wish. When you spend extra, you can be assured to get quality filaments.

Print with ABS When…

You Need Extra Rigid with More Heat Resistance

For example, to store boiling fluids. ABS is a suitable container for handling boiling fluids because it is more heat resistant than PETG filaments and has more tensile strength.

Therefore, for storing heated fluids, consider using ABS over PETG because of the rigidity and ability to withstand heat

On a Budget

It doesn’t save much, but you can spare a few dollars when you stick to ABS because PETG is a bit expensive. However, as you’ve seen, there is a small price margin between their prices. plus, to finish an ABS print through an acetone vapor bath makes a smooth 3D print.

Print with PETG When…

You Want Something to Withstand Greater Impact

When subjected to stronger impacts, ABS filament may shutter and break easily. However, PETG experiences a greater impact; PETG filaments may deform but will remain intact. Hence, use PETG filaments for greater impacts to avoid unnecessary losses.

Printing Outdoor Use Projects

As seen above, can PETG withstand UV light rays and heat? Yes. Therefore, if your project is for outdoor use, consider using polyethylene Terephthalate glycol because a PETG print typically doesn’t require an enclosed print chamber.

You Want to Avoid Printing Issues

Most 3D printing gurus and hobbyists have opted for PETG because it combines the strength of ABS and is easy to operate. As discussed above, PETG filaments don’t warp and adhere smoothly to the printing surfaces.

While you print, there are reduced health hazards and PETG is a chemically stable plastic. Therefore, to avoid unnecessary printing issues, opt for PETG.

Related: PCTG vs PETG

How Flexible Is PETG?

PETG has increased density and high water, chemical, and temperature resistance. Therefore, you may use this thermoplastic in a variety of mediums without any worries because it essentially remains intact.

For all the mediums that you want to use it for, use the following printing tips that will help you obtain better results.

3D Printing Tips With PETG

Position the first layer properly; try out with different adhesion methods and beds until you come to the proper position as you adjust your printer settings.

Then print using blue painter’s tape (see on Amazon) works because it’s the best surface to print with since it delivers a smooth finish.

Get the right filament (see on Amazon) as you closely observe your project as you print. PETG filament is prone to clogging and jamming and might stick at the nozzle.

Conclusion

ABS (see on Amazon) has been a top thermostat filament over the years since its first development. However, from the overview above, PETG seems to have more advantages than ABS because of the enhanced Glycol group that gives PETG upper hand features and qualities.

In conclusion, most 3D printing gurus turn from ABS to PETG because of its durability and flexibility.

You can choose PETG also because it has more outstanding features than ABS. Some features like post-processing, heat resistance, clogging and jamming, storage, and hygroscopic ABS outshines PETG.

Michael Brooks is the founder of M3DZone.com. He sees a very bright future for 3D printing that's why his mission is to try and make this easy for everyone. Discover your hidden talent and creativity. You can follow here: Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest.