In 3D printing, filaments are injected on top of one another in a synchronous manner. There are a lot of filaments in the market that are used to produce 3D-printed objects. One of the widely-used filaments for 3D printing is polylactic acid or PLA.
The best thing about PLA filaments is that they come in various tones, have faster cooling time, and bind stronger than most printing filaments. They’re also one of the cheapest in the market. They are used primarily as test printing filaments for 3D printing of objects that serve as prototypes. Nonetheless, they are excellent starter filaments if you have just begun printing with your 3D printer.
Things To Consider Before Buying PLA Filament
In choosing the best PLA filament for your 3D printing needs, you would want to consider these four important factors:
- Warp Resistance – It’s more on how the output looks like when they’re cooled down. As printing filaments are warmed up to melt and bind with the injector, they’re expanded and will print out as intended. However, when the finished object cools down, stress marks start to appear in it as cooling contracts the injected filament. As PLA filaments are non-petroleum bioplastics, most of them have high warp resistance, which means the printing outcome won’t produce stress marks brought by cooling. However, most manufacturers of filaments tend to add petroleum to PLA filaments for faster melting but this will eventually cool down and present dips and deformations in the finished product. So, it’s best to look at the warp resistance rating of the PLA filament you buy online to ensure a seamless 3D printing experience.
- Durability – Most PLA filaments aren’t durable, but those with high-quality polymer-based type have better flexibility without breaking it off. It’s something you should also look at when buying PLA filaments because a lot of them are only presented in its flexibility rating, but doesn’t include facts or relevant information of its brittleness when injected, bent, or even mishandled, which will affect pre-printing and post-printing of a 3D object.
- Use of heated bed – Heat beds are primarily used to sustain the post-printing warp resistance and cooling fissures. Although most PLA filaments produce excellent objects without heat beds, those with less warp resistance begin to display fissures or deformities once the printed object cools down. If the PLA filament you bought doesn’t mention the need for a heat bed, it means that they print as they are illustrated. Also, most 3D printers in the market don’t offer heated beds. So, if you’re using a printer without one and bought a PLA filament that requires heated beds, then you will surely notice deformities and inconsistencies in the printed output.
Other factors, like the types of PLA filaments, colors, and spool size, are also important in helping you choose the best filament for your 3D printing needs. It’s best to connect with the filament’s seller or manufacturer first to ensure the most compatible PLA filament for your 3D printer.
Top 10 PLA Filament In The Market
#1. HATCHBOX PLA 3D Printer Filament (Black Only)
A trusted name in 3D printer filaments, Hatchbox’s PLA spools are something that’s considerable for printing your next 3D project. Comes with bold, vibrant colors with minimal warping, this filament creates outputs with glossy shine and sturdy finish.
What I like about this filament is its material. Made from plant-based PLA and polymer, they’re sturdy yet eco-friendly. Although this is what makes PLA filaments stand out from ABS and PVC filaments, which are petroleum plastics, the ambient mix of polymer with this bioplastic filament gives it a sturdier, more adhesive hold but doesn’t hurt the environment.
Also, Hatchbox’s PLA filaments are multi-purpose and recyclable 3D printing filaments. They do minimal warping when printing designs. They also have a reliable filament hold and keep bold, vibrant true tones to make your projects almost realistic.
This filament is non-toxic, doesn’t emit any odor, and prints even without a heated bed. This filament is reviewed in its black tone, but Hatchbox also creates filaments with different colors to get your designs come to life. This is also excellent for printing parts of your projects and materials that you can mold or sand for better fit.
- Trusted brand in 3D printing
- Plant-based materials, polymer
- Non-toxic, low odor
- Multi-use printing filament
- Filament kinks easily
- Extremely brittle material
- Issues with delivery
#2. OVERTURE PLA Filament (Black + Color Options Available)
Overture’s PLA filaments are one of those considered as premium in the 3D printing filament market. With its clog-free, bubble-free technology, their filaments are one-of-a-kind in producing high quality 3D prints for your designs with any compatible 3D printers.
What I like about this filament product is its accuracy and consistency with spool dimensions. This would mean less sanding on the tip or pre-heating the filament for calibration and fitting on the 3D printer spool feeder. Fitting and setting up wouldn’t be a problem too when determining the proper settings when inserting the filament on the printer.
Also, this filament is excellent for beginners and those who are exploring 3D printing or creating prototypes before mass-producing their designs. Though under extrusion issues are found in the output, this still creates an excellent finish without wasting too much filament spools.
It’s also a biodegradable filament with low melting temperature, which makes it beginner-friendly. They come in a wide color options with true-to-tone hues. Build Surface is also included in every purchase for a more stable 3D printing of your designs.
- Clog-free, bubble-free
- Accurate, consistent dimensions
- Build Surface included
- Lots of color options
- Major under-extrusion issues
- Visible random filament bits
- Low-density filament
#3. TECBEARS PLA 3D Printer Filament (Black + Color Options Available)
TECBEARS’ Premium PLA Filament has an excellent and patented clog-free technology that creates beautiful prints without worrying too much on printing jams. Its larger inner diameter design fits well with spool feeders on many 3D printers and gets it moving perfectly to produce beautiful prints from your designs.
What’s best about this filament is its self-adaptive control system that makes it compatible with many 3D printers while ensuring strict tolerance through its advanced CCD diameters. This helps in keeping the filament spool moving inside the feeder without the clogs and jams.
This filament is also ductile and fluid enough to shape any design with no visible residues, bubbles, or kinking. If there is anything that holds me in buying this filament, it’s the spool arrangement and storage given that it gets easily tangled. If not set properly, this filament would create weak and brittle prints. Also, its quality is somehow inconsistent in every layer, but it does the trick in creating prototypes and less angular projects.
This filament comes in a wide variety of colors, which are true to its tone, and comes in a vacuum-sealed packaging that makes it secured when ordered online and delivered to your home or workshops.
- Premium PLA filament
- Larger inner diameter design
- Self-adaptive control system
- High strength and flexibility
- Tangled spools
- Weak and brittle prints
- Inconsistent print quality
#4. MIKA 3D Shiny Silk Gold Silver Copper PLA Filament Bundle (Multiple Shine Options)
This 3-in-1 metallic PLA filament from MIKA is a must-try for those who wanted to print metal-like objects and designs. It’s also one of the best package deals in the market and top-rated for its excellent finish and astounding prints from this bioplastic filament.
What I like about it is its strong compatibility with most 3Dprinters. I can actually admit that metallic PLA filaments are hard to manage but this one’s absolutely beginner-friendly. You can begin printing those designs that you wanted to shine like they’re really carved from gold, silver, or copper stones.
This one’s also eco-friendly bioplastic, non-toxic, and has little to no distinct odor. The only side track of these filament spools, though, is that they’re mini-spools and aren’t made for mass production. If you’re planning to create golden, silvery, or copper-like designs for constant production, then this one’s not for you. Otherwise, if you’re a hobbyist who wants to try printing your designs with metallic finish, you can give this a try.
While they require the correct setup for your 3D printer, they print smoothly and create no bubbles, kinks, or bumps. This also comes with an extra gift, depending on the available add-on from the seller, which makes it an excellent deal for start-up metallic design creations like yours.
- Popular silk metal colors
- Eco-friendly, low odor
- Strong compatibility
- 3-in-1 spool package
- Mini spools only
- Requires correct settings
- Poor surface finish, extrusion
#5. AmazonBasics PLA 3D Printer Filament (Solid Color Options)
Amazon’s homegrown hobby department, AmazonBasics, offers tons of materials for the artistic hearts – and one of these is this PLA filament. With a variety of solid color options, you can begin printing your designs with glossy finish minus the jamming and foul plastic odors.
What’s best about this filament is its built-in gauge. I know it has nothing to do with the filament’s printing quality but they are helpful when you want to know if you still have enough spools to feed in your printer. Otherwise, you will need to cut the spool and remove the handles to check it.
This filament is also engineered to reduce jamming. With its low melting temperature, you can begin calibrating your printer right away after feeding the spool on the injector. Plus, it’s compatibility with most 3D printers is also astounding that you don’t have to worry about settings and measurements. Although it isn’t the standard spool size, which causes some adhesion problems with the printing outputs, it does the trick in creating good quality prints that totally look premium and have good density.
- Low warp filament
- Odorless, glossy finish
- Low melting temperature
- Built-in gauge
- Poor packaging
- Non-standard spool size
- Adhesion problems
#6. 3D Solutech Real White 3D Printer Premium PLA Filament (White Color Only)
This true-tone, premium PLA filament from 3D Solutech is professionally manufactured for single color prints. With its high compatibility with most printers and ultra-smooth outputs, this filament can bring out the most astonishing finish for your designs.
What I like about this filament is its specific diameter variance. At 30 microns max, this filament should do fine with most 3D printers and reduces jamming instances when producing your designs in three dimensions. It’s also known to create little to no air bubbles, residues, or kinks when injected and layering the prints.
Its only catch is that it’s not indicated to need a heated bed. Although it’s more given that PLA filaments don’t generally need one, the reports of bad adhesion may indicate that it does have to be printed on a heated bed for a secure seal on every layer. Loose spools are also reported and under-extrusion may pose a challenge in keeping the design in its designated form.
Nevertheless, it’s an excellent choice for professional-grade PLA filament. It’s true-tone colors make prints almost life-like. The filament spools are also vacuum-sealed for transport and durability protection.
- Tangle-less technology
- Ultra smooth outputs
- High compatibility
- True-tone colors
- Bad adhesion
- Loose spool winding
- Under-extrusion isn’t good
#7. Tecboss 3D Pen/3D Printer Filament (Ten Color Pack)
This Tecboss PLA filament is the more exciting among the filament spools in this review. Given that they’re made for the 3D pen users, they come in a 10-in-1 pack with wider color varieties that remain true to their tones.
What I like about this filament is its eco-friendly composition that’s also non-toxic and produces no distinct plastic odor. This means it’s also safe for kid’s use in their 3D printing projects, too. Prints made by these filaments are ultra-smooth with no visible oily residues or breaks.
They’re also fast-forming and easy to mold and shape, which makes it a preferred filament product for 3D pen printing. While it does describe the product for 3D printer use, I don’t think it’s good for large-scale, complex design production, which makes it a downer because I like the vibrance of their color tones. They don’t also come in spool handles, so it’ll get messy when you open them up and store them somewhere.
They’re also one of the most affordable 3D pen filaments in the market and an excellent deal for starting hobbyists who are planning to reproduce their designs in three dimensions. They are also compatible with most 3D pen models and some small-scale 3D printers so you can have that multi-colored printing for your next 3D project.
- 10-in-1 color spools
- Ultra smooth, no oily residues/breaks
- Wide compatibility with 3D Pens
- Fast forming, easy to mold/shape
- Not for massive production
- Best for 3D pen use
- No spool handles
#8. Silk Copper PLA 3D Printer Filament (Metallic Metal Red Purple Copper)
A premium, high-class PLA filament from CC3D, this silk and copper filament is also one of the shiniest and portrays almost realistic finishes like they’re real metals. The smooth, true-tone finish of this filament makes it preferred by many 3D printers, both professional and amateurs alike.
What I like about this filament is its excellent print quality that resembles real metals without the abrasive features. Although it isn’t an easy-to-use PLA filament, this does the job in printing even the most complex designs. The prints also layer well with a heated bed, though it doesn’t need one.
As it isn’t easy to use, this filament has precise temperature and insertion settings that has to be accomplished before printing the design for a more precise finish. However, hard work does pay off with this filament as the results are truly astounding and totally shiny like they’re carved from real silver or copper.
They’re also well-packed in vacuum packaged with desiccant to keep moisture out and maintain spool strength. This is also well-wound so you’ll never find it tangling up when injecting this on your 3D printers.
- Shiny, glossy PLA filament
- Smooth, true-tone finish
- Well-wound spool
- Vacuum-packed with desiccant
- Not easy to use
- Has specific temperature settings
- Not beginner-friendly
#9. Gizmo Dorks PLA Filament for 3D Printers (Multi-color pack)
This PLA filament from Gizmo Dorks is simple and intuitive that makes starter 3D printing hobbyists able to practice printing their designs without costing too much money on spools. However, this doesn’t discount its quality and ability to make fine prints that are truly noteworthy and denser.
What’s best about this filament is that it’s easily molded, sanded, or machined to suit any 3D printers. While it’s best to check specs before injecting the spools on the printer, this filament still does the job in making excellent prints from small and medium-sized 3D printers. However, this isn’t recommended for big 3D printers or mass production of designs.
Also, one noticeable flaw in this filament is the inconsistent diameters of the spools, which will really pose problems in injection and steady flow of the filament during the printing process. This will also cause some jams on the printer when the filaments aren’t calibrated well or molded first before printing designs.
While the colors aren’t as lustrous or true to their tones, it does have a glossy finish. This filament is recommended for printing design prototypes and small projects. They come in a wide variety of colors that makes printing a more colorful experience for 3D printing hobbyists and designers.
- Smooth, consistent printing
- Glossy finish
- Easily moldable, sanded/machined
- Great starter for 3D printing
- Colors aren’t as described
- Inconsistent filament diameter
- Not good with big 3D printers
#10. eSUN PLA PRO (PLA+) 3D Printer Filament (Gray Only)
eSUN’s PLA biofilaments are also noteworthy for 3D printing. They have excellent layer bonding and high rigidity that allows you to print even the most complex designs with minimal kinks, breaks, or gaps in its output.
What’s best about this filament is its sturdiness. The density of the outputs are excellent and doesn’t feel too light or fragile to hold. Though it takes a little bit of cooling after printing with this filament, they do come out quite perfectly with strong, hard-to-break outputs.
Color tones are also true enough yet they have a glossy finish. The only downside is its consistency that requires your constant attention when printing designs on the 3D printer. Under-extrusions are also noticeable and periodic bulges can be seen in its outputs. Nonetheless, they are moldable, sandable, or machine-shined for better finish.
This filament comes in a variety of tones, packed in vacuum-sealed packages with desiccant to keep moisture out and destroy the filament’s durability. It’s high rigidity makes it a good starter filament for hobbyists wanting to print complex designs or develop design prototypes.
- Excellent layer bonding
- High rigidity filament
- Smooth, glossy finish
- Strong, hard-to-break prints
- Inconsistent filament spools
- Under-extrusions found
- Periodic bulges on prints
Frequently Asked Question’s On PLA 3D Printer Filament
Q: Are all 3D printers compatible to use PLA filaments?
Answer: No. Most filament spools have specific dimensions that are suited for the filament requirements of your 3D printer. Plus, you might want to know that 3D printers and 3D pens don’t use the same filament dimensions.
Q: Does filament thickness matter in choosing PLA filaments?
Answer: Yes. As this specification defines the filament size required by your 3D printer. Having too thick or too thin filaments injected in your printer will result in a poor output with multiple issues. If the filament is too thick, it’ll also jam your 3D printer injector as well.
Q: How about cooling? Does PLA cool faster than other printing filaments?
Answer: It depends on the PLA type. Most PLA filaments sold in the market have better warp resistance and fast cooling time. However, there are some types that take up more time in cooling to ensure durability of the finished product without showing visible warps or kinks.
Q: Why do some PLA filaments inject less than others?
Answer: It’s all about the heat resistance of the filament. This is usually determined by how much heat is produced by your printer injector to melt the filament and the temperature resistance of your PLA filament. Bigger and better 3D printers melt PLA filaments much faster than compact 3D printers. Other PLA filament types are also graded according to their uses, which determines the fastness of the melting and cooling on the 3D printer they’re injected into.
Q: Are there specific handling requirements for PLA filaments?
Answer: Yes. While durability is a question in handling filaments, managing the spools and keeping them wound up to their handlers or spindle is essential in keeping their quality in top conditions. Also, storage is a factor in keeping filaments, especially PLA filaments, sturdy and less brittle. Store them in room temperatures and don’t expose them to direct sunlight or anything that produces heat exceeding 140° F/60°C. It’s best to store them alongside their box packaging, if they come with it. Otherwise, a cabinet or a filament toolbox is excellent for storing your filaments.
While the filaments featured in this review presents different features and specifications, their quality and handling excellence helped in determining the best one to consider for your next 3D printing projects.
For single-colored PLA filaments, those from HATCHBOX and 3D SOLUTECH are a must-see and have better qualities that are also suitable for most 3D printers. For metallic finish, the filament from CC3D has better luster and topnotch quality for a smooth and shiny finish. Solid color filaments from OVERTURE, TECBOSS and MIKA also do well in displaying true colors for your renders, have better warp resistance, and produce excellent outputs.