Among the most affordable and efficient filaments, PLA tops the list. You might have also come across PLA+ and wondered how different is it from PLA. This PLA Vs. PLA+ guide will answer all the questions you might have concerning the two.
PLA and PLA+ are both great 3D printing filaments with many similarities. The main difference is in the ease of using and some advancements. PLA filament in itself is excellent. However, PLA+ was created to correct the negatives of PLA. Both filaments are compatible with most 3D printers, although people tend to have a hard time printing with PLA+.
In this article, I will discuss the difference between the two filaments. By the end of the guide, you will be able to choose the suitable filament for your 3D printing business.
PLA Vs. PLA+: Comparison Table
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the two 3D printing filaments.
|Large color range
|Less colors range
|Hard to store
|Easy to store
|Less temperature resistance
|Can handle high temperature
|Absorbs less moisture
|around $13 / kg
|around $23 / kg
|Ease of printing
|Easy to print
|Hard to use
|Compatible with many 3D printers
|Compatible with many 3D printers
Differences between PLA and PLA+ 3D Printing Filaments
If you are looking for high-quality prints, you should consider PLA+ filament. PLA+ filaments have more reinforcements that aim at correcting the wrongs of PLA.
You will need to adjust the settings on your 3D printer to print a smooth and fine finish.
PLA+ concentrates more on quality rather than colors. For this reason, PLA beats PLA+ in terms of color. Looking at prints created with PLA in Etsy, and Amazon listings, you can see prints made of PLA are so much more colorful than those made of PLA+.
Strength and Durability
From the time PLA+ was introduced into the market, people have been slowly moving towards it and neglecting PLA. This is because of its strength and durability. Most functional parts such as monitor mounts are created using PLA+.
PLA filament lacks the strength that PLA holds. It brittles faster, can melt under certain conditions such as high temperature. You can, however, adjust the settings to fit the use of PLA filament. I don’t the need to struggle when you have a filament that can work well under various conditions.
Prints made of PLA+ are more durable than those made of PLA filament.
One of the downsides of PLA that PLA+ corrects is the flexibility issue. PLA tends to be brittle under adverse conditions. It also easily breaks due to its rigidity.
PLA+ on the hand, has been reinforced to handle different conditions such as high temperature and pressure.
When printing using PLA+, so long as you adjust the settings, the filament can withstand high pressure, high temperature, and high printing speed.
When printing using PLA filament, you need to use low temperatures. PLA tends to melt under high temperatures. This is a disadvantage since some projects can only be printed under high temperatures.
In such situations, you should use PLA+. PLA+ can withstand high temperatures during printing without damaging the print.
Another disadvantage of PLA is in the aspect of moisture absorption. PLA absorbs a lot of moisture from the atmosphere and can be hard to use in this state.
Even if you store PLA filament properly before use, it is possible for the end product to absorb moisture after printing.
PLA+ on the other hand has reinforcements that protect the filament from absorbing moisture from the air.
Due to its high tendency to brittle under high temperatures and absorb moisture from the air, it might be hard to store PLA filament.
Companies that sell PLA+ prints carry the products in vacuum seals.
Storing PLA+, on the other hand, is relatively easy. PLA+ is quite flexible. It does not melt under high pressure or temperatures.
Ease of printing
Despite all the other pros, one con of PLA+is the complication of printing. PLA requires a low temperature to start extrusion. After heating the filament, the speed of the fluid differs. PLA+ high fluid flow after heating might cause clogging of the nozzle.
The price of the filament is another thing to consider when choosing a filament for your 3D printer.
Different companies use products to create PLA+ filament. This makes the prices differ.
Due to its added innovations, PLA+ is definitely on the pricey side. PLA+ costs at least $10 a kg more than PLA.
Similarities between PLA and PLA+
Both filaments are compatible with a wide range of 3D printers. Some 3D printers, like FDM printers, come with an already installed PLA filament.
You can decide to change the already installed PLA filament with PLA+ filament, and you will still continue printing.
Despite both being compatible with several 3D printers, you will have to adjust the settings to fit each filament. For example, PLA is a low- temperature printing filament. Using high temperatures might damage the print.
PLA and PLA+ are made of biodegradable materials. They are therefore environmentally friendly. Their biodegradability differs as more unknown products are used to reinforce PLA+.
When to use PLA and When to Use PLA+
Both PLA and PLA+ have a wide range of uses. You can use PLA+ instead as it has more advantages than PLA.
For example, due to its high moisture absorbency, it is not ideal for printing using PLA in humid areas. Prints like garden sculptures would last longer if made with PLA+.
When testing if your 3D printer is working properly, use PLA filament.
When printing, the more you print, the more heat buildup within the printer. For this reason, if you have a huge load of printing jobs, use PLA+.
PLA+ is resistant to high temperatures, cannot brittle under high pressure, and the finished surface is smooth and fine.
PLA+ does not absorb moisture and shrinks less. It is therefore ideal for projects that require accurate dimensions. An example is a television or other industrial parts.
So which is the best 3D printing filament between the two?
With all the pros PLA+ has, I would recommend you to use PLA+. Despite PLA+ being costly, its end products are quite durable and high quality.
PLA+ is resistant to heat, impact, moisture, and pressure. Therefore, making it ideal for printing industrial parts since they are printed under high temperatures and pressure.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Can I switch my filament from PLA to PLA+?
Both filaments are compatible with a number of 3D printers. You can therefore replace PLA filament with PLA+ if you want an upgrade.
For better results when using PLA+, do not adjust the settings. Use the same temperature range you were using printing with PLA.
- Is PLA+ Better than PLA?
PLA+ is an advanced PLA. Some additives are added to make PLA+ more durable, more flexible, and more strong.
You can use PLA+ to print products that require high temperatures. PLA+ products are easy to store since they do not absorb moisture. These reasons make PLA+ an ideal 3D printing filament.
- Can PLA+ clog the nozzle of my 3D printer?
PLA+ filament works best in temperatures between 180C-220C. If you use this temperature range, the chances of your 3D printer getting clogged are quite low.
PLA+ is also a high-quality filament. Unless you are using the wrong settings, then it is impossible for PLA+ to clog the printer.
- Is PLA+ material ideal for food storage containers?
PLA+ is strong and does not melt under high temperatures. It also has additives and among the additives added to filaments are antimicrobial formulas. PLA+ with this additive is also ideal for kids’ toys and PPEs.
- Are PLA+ and PETG the same?
PLA+ and PETG are not the same. PLA+ is polylactic acid with addition formulas aimed at strengthening the filament. Despite PLA+ having different properties from PLA, the end product of the print is still PLA.
On the other hand, PETG is a polyethylene terephthalate filament with added glycol to make it more durable and strong. PETG is mostly used in water bottles and other storage containers.
Printing using PETG requires high temperatures compared to PLA+. PETG is also less brittle and does not absorb moisture.
PLA and PLA+ are some of the most common 3D printing filaments. This is because they are compatible with many 3D printers. They, however, have a lot of differences brought about by the additives added to PLA when making PLA+. All the differences between the two have been discussed in the PLA and PLA+ guide above.
Before printing using any of the two filaments, ensure your printer is in the right condition.Do not increase the temperature range of your 3D printer. The filament might melt too fast and clog the nozzle.