Most Underrated Filament Brands
These days, there are so many filament brands out there that it can be easy to overlook really good, underrated filament brands that don’t have a lot of hype around them. The field is crowded by low effort, middle quality filament brands. They all claim to be “fostering the future of local manufacturing technology” or “ushering in a new era of sustainable plastic.”
As a result, it can be quite easy to miss a brand that is genuinely trying to offer a good product to the 3D printing community. Customers often dismiss smaller high quality brand or middle quality brands that don’t look any more special than other brands. But some of the smallest brands simply offer a really good deal.
For instance, one of the most underrated brands is Lay Filaments. Check it out here.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of some of the most underrated filament brands that deserve a second look. They don’t have flashy logos and they are aren’t super well funded. But they are doing great work and offering good products that give more well known filament brands a run for their money.
Most Underrated Filament Brands
If you are a filament nerd like us, then you are probably wondering why this brand is on the list. After all, doesn’t everyone know about Kai Parthy? He’s the genius who invented wood filament and continues to create new and strange materials for 3D printers every year. The answer is, surprisingly, no. Many 3D printer owners have never heard of this man and know nothing about his incredible journey into the 3D printing world. As a result, Lay Filaments is possibly the most underrated filament brand in the world
Kai is one of the legends of 3D printing folklore. Having grown up in communist East Germany, he fled in the mid-1980’s, first to Bulgaria, then to Yugoslavia, and finally to West Germany. He spent years working in theaters and music clubs to make ends meet, until one day he came across a 3D printer at the 2011 Euromold Fair in Frankfurt. He bought it, and finding his options for printing material severely limited, he decided to create his own. In 2012, he made Laywoo-3D, the first wood filament, and the rest is history.
Since then, Kai has continue to create some of the most cutting edge 3D printer filaments in the world. He has created brick filament, leather filament, sponge filament, and ceramic filament, to name a few. (You can find more on his website) His knack for innovation and skills in engineering and materials science allow him to create filaments that push the boundaries of the 3D printing world. His filaments open up new, unforeseen applications for 3D printing and give us a hint at what the future of the 3D printing world might look like.
Just for fun, check out Kai presenting one of his inventions on a German TV show in 2009. He shows up at around 0:55.
BPR is either one of the most humble filament producers in the industry or they don’t realize how special they are.
One of the greatest promises of 3D printing technology is its ability to reduce the amount of waste plastic in our daily lives by recycling it into useful objects. Hundreds of companies have jumped on the idea of producing filaments that are ostensibly better for the environment than the plastic objects that we usually see on the shelves in stores.
But there are very few filament companies that have been able to produce a good quality, 100% recycled filament in the USA. BPR has done it with their recycled black ABS filament.
But it gets better:
Not only is this ABS filament 100% recycled, made in the USA, and decent enough quality that it is worth buying. But it is also one of the cheapest ABS filaments currently on the market.
BPR sells it on Amazon for the a low price that very few budget friendly brands come close to. Most of the brands that do are poor quality. But BPR manages to keep the quality standards high enough that you can buy several spools of the stuff without worrying too much about clogging issues. It’s definitely not perfect, but it’s good enough, and for the price and low environmental impact, BPR ABS is unbeatable.
Another budget friendly underrated filament brand is Dockwell. Dockwell is a small California based filament manufacturer. It has a very simple website and it’s spools are made of white plastic, which is a bit strange looking if you are used to the typical hard black plastic spools that most filament companies use.
But Dockwell is probably one of the best “second choice” filament brands around, right up there with eSUN brands like Inland.
What does “second choice” mean? It means that there are going to be times when you run out of your first choice brand of filament or you want to print something just for fun, and during those times you go to your second choice brand.
For most people, cheaper filaments from brands like eSUN or some no name brand off of Ebay are the usual choices in these situations. But Dockwell deserves to be considered in these times as well.
Here is the main reason why Dockwell is a good backup filament: the price to quality ratio. Dockwell filaments are cheap. At the same time, Dockwell filament are pretty good quality. They aren’t perfect, but they get the job done. The color range is a bit limited, and center spool hole is a bit small, but otherwise, for a small manufacturer, Dockwell does a great job.
There are tons of good filament brands that no one is paying attention to. Some of them are simply too small to compete for visibility in a market dominated by ColorFabb and MakerBot. But others might not realize how good they are. The filaments on this list have been overlooked and are undervalued for one reason or another. But all of these underrated filaments deserve another look. Check them out now.
We will continue to update this list as we find more overlooked brands. If you know of any filament brands that are doing something remarkable with little funding and recognition, post a comment below so we can check them out. And when you are ready to buy your next spool, remember to check out the brands above.