Best PLA Filament

Looking to buy the best PLA filament for your printer? This guide will help you select the right strands.

After buying a 3D printer, you will also have to think of ongoing costs in the form of filaments and other printing accessories. The cost of one filament reel can be anything from $20 upwards. Depending on your printing needs, the filament can last a few weeks or even months.

If you buy the best filament, you can relax as your jobs quietly finishes in the background. You won’t have to be always checking the filament to ensure it works as expected.

On the other hand, if you choose a poor filament, you may experience a nightmare when printing objects. The finished 3D models or parts may be of a poor quality.

The filament used plays an important role in the quality of a printed model. With that said, which is the best PLA filament on the market?

There are many PLA filament brands to choose from. Read on for the best PLA filaments you can buy.

Why Choose PLA Filament?

Why are Polylactic Acid filaments, otherwise known as PLA, the most popular filaments for 3D printing?

Most 3D printers for home use are designed to use PLA filament rather than ABS filament.

PLA is preferred for various reasons, such as:

  • It is durable and strong. The filament is appropriate for most uses
  • When melted, it rarely gives off an odor. And when it gives off an odor, it smells similar to cotton candy.
  • Can be melted at low temperatures i.e. 190-210°C.
  • You will not necessarily need a heated printing bed when starting your print since the material does not shrink when it cools down.
  • PLA consumes low warp
  • Is environmentally-friendly and biodegradable. Moreover, it is made of corn starch. Other filaments are made from plastic-like petroleum materials.
  • It is safe. For years, PLA has been used inside candy wrappings as medical stitches.

Not all PLA filaments on the market are created equally. Cheap PLA filaments produce poor-quality printed objects. Don’t waste money buying a cheap PLA filament.

How Do I Choose a PLA Filament?

Keep the following in mind when choosing PLA filament:

  1. Filament Diameter

Most filament strands measure 1.75mm in diameter. This diameter is the most popular with manufacturers.

Ideally, you want your filament diameter to vary by less than 0.05mm along the length. In the worst case scenario, the diameter could be variable on one reel.

For instance, the diameter could be 1.85mm at the jump of the spool and 1.63mm at the ending part. There’s not much you can do about this. At best, you could adjust the feed setting to fit the thread before each build.

The printer settings will have to be adjusted each time you buy a new reel or you change it. This is why you have to keep the slice of your PLA filament as near to a circle as you can. Cheap filaments have a more oval section shape, which can lead to frequent jams.

  1.  No Impurities

Cheap PLA filaments often contain some impurities. The impurities could be as a result of poor standards during the manufacturing process. For example, a company may add a plaster to make the product economical to manufacture. As a result, the filament could end up with impurities.

The impurities in the filament can block your printer’s nozzle because they don’t liquify in the same way PLA does. Moreover, you will not get a good-quality print.

  1. Color Consistency

Sometimes, you would want all your prints to be of the same color. For example, when you are building chess pieces, all of them should have a consistent color.

Poor filaments can produce parts that are differently toned when you switch reels. The filament will make the colors of the parts slightly mismatched.

Having consistent colors is especially important in the business world. When you create products you want to sell, customers will expect them to be consistent in quality and color.

  1. Reel and Winding

The filament should be wound neatly onto the spool to prevent tangles and problems with feeding it into the printer. If the filament is too tight closer to the ending of the spool, there may be some breakage.

Keep your wound just right, i.e., not too tight.

  1. Storage and Packing

When you pack and store you PLA filament, keep it away from any form of dampness or air. The filament can be negatively affected by these environmental elements.

The filament might also kink. Therefore, try to prevent physical damage to avoid breakage.

Sometimes, the filament might bend and jam your printer. To avoid this, invest in some good packaging to protect the filament. Filament manufacturers typically use a plastic wrap that contains desiccant on the inside and a cardboard on the outside to prevent tears.

  1. Manufacturer Support

In the filament packaging and website, you will find information on how to tune your 3D printer to work optimally with the strands. The information may also include support for various 3D printers on the market and technical specification, like the span tolerance and melting temperature of the filament.

  1. Country of Origin

This is an important factor to consider when purchasing filament. If you ship from China, it might take a few weeks for your reel to arrive. Therefore, if you have an urgent project, shipping PLA from China would not make sense.

PLA filaments also have to be warehoused correctly because they are affected by moisture. Therefore, if your product takes a few weeks to get to you, chances are that it would have been exposed to the elements of nature around it.

What is the Best PLA Filament?

Below is an overview of the best PLA filaments on the market:

#1. Hatchbox PLA Filament

Hatchbox is one of the best PLA filaments on the market. This quality filament produces prints with a nice gloss finish and no warping.  The material is eco-friendly and easy to use.

Hatchbox PLA filaments are strong, have adequate tolerance and no tangles. Moreover, they only emit a mild and quite pleasant odor.

Hatchbox is one of the best 3D printing filaments on the market.

Hatchbox PLA Filament

Brand/Product Name: Cras sed
Star Rating: 4.8
Colors available: Yellow, red, black, white, blue, purple, red, gold, glow-in-the-dark, and others
Size available: 1.75mm, 1kg (2.2lbs) spool
Print temperature: 180°C – 230°C | Bed Temperature (not essential): 50°C – 55°C
Price Check: Check on Amazon

#2. ColorFabb PLA Filament

ColorFabb PLA filament is a premium Dutch brand that is super strong. The filament is made from a unique ingredient, known as Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), which is simply polysetser.

While the filament is strong, it is easy to print with. Moreover, it won’t jam or clog your printer head since it is biodegradable.

The quality of ColorFabb PLA filament is backed by its slightly higher price.

ColorFabb PLA Filament

Brand/Product Name: ColorFabb PLA
Star Rating: 4.9
Colors available: Standard black, shining silver, Dutch orange, sky blue, and glow-in-the-dark
Size available: 1.75mm Diameter, 0.75kg spool
Print temperature: 190°C – 230°C | Bed Temperature (not essential): 60°C – 80°C
Price Check: Check on Amazon

#3. Ultimaker PLA Filament

Ultimaker also makes it on the list of the best PLA filament brands.  The PLA, from the company that manufactures the Ultimaker 2 3D printer, offers a consistent diameter, which helps in reducing jams. The filament is strong and have amazing tolerance.

The Ultimaker PLA filament produces prints that are highly detailed, smooth, and consistent. The material is easy to use and reliable.

Ultimaker PLA Filament

Brand/Product Name: Ultimaker 2 PLA
Star Rating: 4.1
Colors available: Silver metallic, black, blue, transparent, peal white, magenta, red, and others
Size available: 2.85mm, 750g spool
Print temperature: 190°C – 230°C | Bed Temperature (not essential): 60°C – 80°C
Price Check: Check on Amazon

#4. MakerBot PLA Filament

MakerBot PLA filament is specially designed for the MakerBot 3D printer. The filament is made in the USA and boasts of unmatched quality. The filament produces prints with no warping.

While the filament is designed for MakerBot 3D printer, it also works with any modern Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printer.

MakerBot PLA Filament

Brand/Product Name: MakerBot PLA
Star Rating: 4.1
Colors available: 30+ including red, white, grey, translucent, neon, and glowing finishes
Size available: 1.75mm, 1kg (2.2lbs) spool
Print temperature: 190°C – 230°C | Bed Temperature (not essential): 60°C – 80°C
Price Check: Check on Amazon

#5. Proto-pasta PLA Filament

Proto-plasta came into the limelight after its successful Kickstarter campaign. The PLA filament, which is manufactured by ProtoPlant, is stiffer than regular filaments. This filament also has better dimensional stability, which helps in ensuring that the prints come out warp-free.

Proto-plasta PLA filament adheres well to the later and is easy to remove. The high-quality PLA also has reliable tolerance and lets off a pleasant odor.

The Proto-plasta PLA filament is excellent for printing any kinds of electronics. The filament produces the black carbon fiber finish you will find with electronics.

Proto-plasts produces various filaments for different uses. For example, there is the gray, rustable magnetic iron filament that is suitable for printing 3D models that need to behave like iron, i.e., able to respond to magnets.

Proto-pasta PLA Filament

Brand/Product Name: Pro-pasta PLA
Star Rating: 4.1
Colors available: Black (carbon fiber), gray (stainless steel and rustable magnetic Iron)
Size available: 1.75 mm, 500g Spool
Print temperature: 195°C – 220°C | Bed Temperature (not essential): 50°C
Price Check: Check on Amazon

#6. IC3D PLA filament

IC3D PLA filament works on different printers available on the market. This affordable filament does not have common tolerance issues nor do its prints warp. Depending on the 3D printer you are using, you can print your models using the filament without having to put any adhesion material on the printer bed.

IC3D filament is easy to use and produces great prints. The filament can be used with the following 3D printers: Ultimaker, Solidoodle, Reprap, PrintrBot, Mbot, Makergear, MakerBot, LulzBot, Flashforge, Delta, Airwold, and Afinia. This filament is also compatible with 3doodler 3D pen.

IC3D PLA filament

Brand/Product Name: IC3D PLA
Star Rating: 4.1
Colors available: Black, blue, gray, natural, orange, red, and white
Size available: 1.75mm, 1.kg (2.2lbs) spool
Print temperature: 190°C – 240°C | Bed Temperature (not essential): 60°C – 80°C
Price Check: Check on Amazon

#7. Polymaker PLA Filament

The Polymaker PLA filament stands out for its high impact resistance that is more than 9 times that of regular PLA filaments. This feature may explain why the filament is a little bit costly.

Polymaker PLA Filament

Brand/Product Name: Polymaker PLA
Star Rating: 4.9
Colors available: Orange, yellow, blue, black, red, white, teal, green, gray, and purple
Size available: 1.75mm, 2.85mm, 750g spools
Print temperature: 200°C – 230°C | Bed Temperature (not essential): 60°C – 70°C
Price Check: Check on Amazon

Conclusion on the Best PLA Filaments

There are many PLA filaments on the market. We chose the 7 filaments above based on real user feedback and overall ratings. These PLA filaments stand out for their amazing tolerance and great strengths.

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