In this work, the authors report the mechanical properties of three emerging materials in thin film form: single crystal silicon carbide (3C-SiC), ultrananocrystalline diamond, and hydrogen-free tetrahedral amorphous carbon. The materials are being employed in micro- and nanoelectromechanical systems. Several reports addressed some of the mechanical properties of these materials but they are based in different experimental approaches. Here, they use a single testing method, the membrane deflection experiment, to compare these materials’ Young’s moduli, characteristic strengths, fracture toughnesses, and theoretical strengths. Furthermore, they analyze the applicability of Weibull theory [Proc. Royal Swedish Inst. Eng. Res. 153, 1 (1939); ASME J. Appl. Mech. 18, 293 (1951)] in the prediction of these materials’ failure and document the volume- or surface-initiated failure modes by fractographic analysis. The findings are of particular relevance to the selection of micro- and nanoelectromechanical systems materials for various applications of interest.