The Best PLA Filaments in 2023 - Buying Guide
PLA (polylactic acid) has become one of the most widely used materials in 3D printing due to its balance of affordability, ease of printing, and diverse properties. Made from renewable plant sources like corn starch or sugar cane, PLA offers an eco-friendly 3D printing option.
With new developments in PLA technology, there are now countless varieties available with unique colors, finishes, mechanical properties, and technical capabilities. This makes selecting the right PLA filament for your specific application more challenging.
This buying guide provides an overview of factors to consider when evaluating PLA filaments for purchase. We’ll explore popular PLA types and discuss key traits that set top options apart. With the criteria provided, you'll be able to zero in on the ideal PLA filament for your next project.
What to Look for in a PLA Filament
With countless PLA formulations now available, it’s essential to understand key factors that impact performance to guide your purchases:
Dimensional Accuracy and Consistency
A filament’s diameter tolerance and roundness is critical for print quality. Tighter tolerances prevent uneven extrusion rates, slipping, grinding and nozzle jams. Diameter fluctuations as low as +/- 0.02 mm can make noticeable differences in extrusion consistency. Roundness affects how smoothly the filament feeds. For reliable, predictable printing choose PLAs with precision diameter control along the entire spool length.
Consider your application requirements. Standard PLA offers good rigidity and strength but is naturally brittle. Specialty blends provide enhanced properties like increased tensile strength, flexibility, abrasion resistance, chemical stability and impact toughness for durable functional parts. If standard PLA properties will suffice, blends are unnecessary.
Some PLA filaments are engineered with higher heat deflection temperatures up to 100°C for applications like enclosures and automotive parts. Others offer improved thermal stability during printing. Determine if thermal properties need enhancement over standard PLA’s 50-60°C limit.
PLA’s available in every finish imaginable - matte, gloss, silk, glitter, luminescent, translucent, metallic and more. If aesthetics are important, choose a PLA engineered specifically for visual qualities you want to achieve.
Lower purity PLAs emit unpleasant odors during printing from additives and contaminants. When odor is a concern, opt for higher purity options with less volatile compounds.
Reviews and User Feedback
Research third-party reviews and user feedback before purchasing. Real-world performance reveals strengths and potential issues that marketing claims may gloss over. Verify user experiences match claims from the manufacturer.
Higher-priced PLAs typically offer enhanced quality control and capabilities but good budget options exist. Weigh price against the expected performance level and properties needed for your application.
Geeetech PLA Filament Matte
If you’re looking for a quality matte PLA filament at a very reasonable price point, Geeetech PLA Matte is an excellent option.
The Geeetech PLA 3D Printer Filament Matte is a 1.75mm PLA filament that provides an ultra smooth, matte finish to 3D printed objects. Made from premium polylactic acid, this filament prints easily like standard PLA but results in models with crisp detail and barely visible layer lines. The matte black color hides layers exceptionally well for a polished look. Geeetech uses automated spooling and manual examination to prevent tangles and ensure consistent 1.75mm diameter along the 1kg spool. Vacuum sealed packaging with a desiccant protects the filament from moisture absorption before printing.
The Geeetech Matte PLA filament delivers premium matte finish prints that hide layer lines beautifully. It's an ideal material for makers seeking to print smooth, detailed matte surface models with standard PLA ease.
Geeetech PLA Filament Silk
Silk PLA filaments impart an elegant, shiny, almost metallic appearance prized for decorative prints and jewelry. Geeetech Silk PLA is a stand-out.
The Geeetech PLA 3D Printer Filament Silk is a special silver metallic PLA filament that produces stunning glossy prints with a smooth, shiny silver surface. Made of 1.75mm polylactic acid infused with tiny aluminum particles, this filament has a pearlescent sheen that results in eye-catching silver finishes. Great for decorative prints and cosplay props, the silk filament prints reliably with no warping, bubbles, or jams. It has tight diameter tolerances for accurate prints. Recommended print temperatures are 200-230°C. The vacuum sealed filament resists moisture absorption before printing. Compatible with all 1.75mm desktop 3D printers, the Geeetech Silk Silver PLA filament is perfect for makers seeking beautiful, glossy silver prints that really shine. The special metallic sheen effect lends prints an elegant, jewelry-like quality.
Reviewers love the eye-catching results of Geeetech Silk. The presence of metal particles results in a uniquely reflective, pearlescent finish. Prints really do resemble metal or silk. The vibrant colors are also accurately reproduced. For gorgeous decorative prints, this silk PLA can't be beat.
Geeetech PLA Filament Luminous
For 3D printing light-up functional parts or glow-in-the-dark creative projects, luminous PLAs are an awesome option. Geeetech Luminous PLA contains phosphorescent additives to absorb and emit light.
The Geeetech PLA 3D Printer Filament Luminous is a glow-in-the-dark green PLA perfect for printing decorative objects, props, and models that glow. This 1.75mm PLA filament contains phosphorescent additives that absorb light energy and emit an eerie green glow in the dark after being charged by sunlight or UV light. With just 30 minutes of charging, prints will glow brightly for hours with an amazing luminous effect. The PLA print material itself has the same ease of printing and strength as standard PLA. Carefully vacuum sealed with desiccant, this filament maintains low moisture and prints reliably with no nozzle jams.
If you want to create spooky Halloween prints, nightlights, glow stick props, or other glowing prints, the Geeetech Luminous Glow in the Dark PLA is an awesome pick for affordable luminous prints. The special phosphorescent glow effect opens new possibilities for dazzling 3D printed creations.
Geeetech Standard PLA Filament
For those seeking basic PLA in every color of the rainbow at unbeatable prices, Geeetech's standard PLA filament delivers.
The Geeetech PLA 3D Printer Filament is a 1.75mm silver PLA filament that provides vivid silver-colored 3D prints. Made from premium polylactic acid, it has tight diameter tolerances of +/- 0.03mm for accurate, reliable printing. The PLA can be extruded smoothly at 185°C to 210°C and adheres well with bed temperatures from 25°C to 60°C. This makes it compatible with all common 1.75mm FDM desktop 3D printers. The 1kg spool is sized to fit a variety of popular printer brands too. Carefully wound and packaged, the filament is protected from dust and moisture. Overall, the Geeetech Silver PLA Filament offers vivid metallic silver prints that match its online color accurately. With its strict tolerances and predictable performance, it's a great option for hassle-free silver PLA printing on any 1.75mm 3D printer.
According to happy customers, Geeetech standard PLA offers amazing print quality and vivid colors at prices cheaper than leading brands. Though not as strong as premium PLAs, print results still impress for the bargain cost. For projects not requiring exotic properties, this PLA provides incredible value.
Storage and Care
● Storage: Keep PLA in original vacuum sealed packaging until use. Once opened, transfer to an airtight container with desiccant packs to prevent moisture absorption which can degrade material properties. Store in a cool, dry location away from direct sunlight.
● Drying: Always dry PLA filament before printing, even fresh from a sealed package. Use a filament dryer or oven at recommended temps (typically 50-60°C for 4-8 hours). Install a filament sensor to monitor moisture levels. Follow manufacturer guidelines for optimal drying times/temps.
● Handling: Avoid contaminating filament surface that contacts hot end. Respool cleanly without overtightening. Load filament carefully to avoid scraping or grinding. Follow specific guidance for tricky materials like silk or metal fill PLA.
● Manufacturer advice: Check manufacturer website for recommended storage conditions, drying times, max temps, and handling guidance. Parameters vary for different PLA types. Seek advice on compatible slicer settings/profiles.
● UV light: Limit PLA's exposure to sunlight over time. UV radiation degrades PLA causing embrittlement, color changes, and loss of properties. Store per manufacturer guidance away from sunlight sources.
● Proper PLA storage and handling preserves print quality and maximizes shelf life. Follow these key points for optimal results.
If you want to learn more about 3D printer filament, refer to this buying guide titled Best 3D Printer of 2023.
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PLA filaments constitute some of the most versatile and affordable 3D printing materials. With countless varieties now available, it can be difficult to determine which PLA is right for your specific needs and budget. We hope this guide provided you with an overview of four of the top PLAs to consider in 2023. Factors like accuracy, finish, smell, and real-world performance should inform your purchases. For most users, the PLAs covered here provide exceptional results at accessible prices.
GearBerry is your trusted destination for high-quality PLA filaments. With a wide range of options available, including standard PLA, matte, silk, and luminous filaments, we have the perfect solution for your 3D printing needs. Our filaments are made from premium polylactic acid and offer tight diameter tolerances, ensuring consistent and reliable prints. Each filament is carefully packaged in vacuum-sealed containers to protect against moisture absorption. At GearBerry, we prioritize both quality and affordability, providing you with top-notch filaments at competitive prices. Choose GearBerry for exceptional results in your 3D printing projects.