Best PVA Filament: Dissolves Completely In Water
PVA is an attractive support material for a few reasons. It is water soluble, so when your print is finished, you can simply dunk the object you printed in tap water and watch the PVA supports dissolve away.
Our top pick for PVA filaments is Gizmo Dorks PVA for a few reasons:
- Excellent adhesion to other filaments
- No left over residue when it dissolves
- Fantastic support material
If you are in a rush: Check Gizmo Dorks PVA on Amazon now.
Best PVA Filament: Dissolves Completely In Water
Why use PVA filament? PVA dissolves in water.
Even though PVA is more expensive than HIPS, HIPS only dissolves in limonene, which is an irritant and not cheap. So a support material that dissolves in water is safer and cheaper to use overall.
But PVA also has several drawbacks. PVA tends to have trouble sticking to PLA and ABS, and can’t handle melt temperatures above 200ºC. In general, it can be hard to find the right settings to get PVA to stick to anything. Even when it does stick it it is often not not bonded very well and detaches prematurely when only a small amount of force is applied.
Also, PVA can be super stringy, which is sometimes ok, but can often be annoying when printing more printing complicated designs. Many designs will require an ooze wall to keep the PVA in place. And finally, if by chance you do leave the filament in the hotend for too long and it undergoes pyrolysis (similar to combustion), the resulting goop will clog up your extruder and be very difficult to remove.
That being said, PVA is still the support material of choice for many printers. We’ve listed the best PVA filament brands for you here. Most of them are available on Amazon. Click here to check prices on Amazon.
1. eSUN PVA Filament
eSUN makes decent PVA that gets the job done. It is also one of the more expensive eSUN filaments.
But eSUN PVA filament is also probably the most popular brand of PVA filament on the market these days. When people look for PVA, they usually go with eSUN.
That has more to do with the widespread recognition of the eSUN brand name than the quality of the PVA filament itself, but it is a good PVA nonetheless. It dissolves completely in hot water and also easy to remove by hand if needed.
eSUN PVA filament is very easy to print with and doesn’t leave a mess behind. In fact, this filament will save you a lot of time with cleanup after a print if you integrate it into your workflow because it simply disappears when you dunk it in warm water.
Again, this filament is expensive, but if you consider the amount of cleanup time that this filament saves, the cost becomes much smaller. Check it out
2. Gizmo Dorks PVA Filament
Gizmo Dorks makes a good PVA filament. It is a bit stringy, like other PVA filaments. But Gizmo Dorks sticks very well to PLA, which is the purpose of the material.
Gizmo Dorks is almost catching eSun in terms of popularity because of it’s price and quality. Due to the fact that PVA settings change from one printing environment tot he next, it will probably take some trial and error to find the right settings.
After all, PVA dissolves in water, including water in the air, aka humidity. So make sure that you store this filament in an airtight container, like these.
One thing to keep in mind is that it will ooze a bit no matter what retraction setting you use. That’s just the way it is. Otherwise, there’s no reason not to give this PVA a shot.
Check out this video to see Gizmo Dorks PVA in action:
3. SainSmart PVA Filament
SainSmart PVA filament is good quality and will print with basically the same results as any other PVA filament on this list. The main selling point of SainSmart’s PVA filament is that it is sometimes a bit cheaper than others and you can sometimes find it on sale.
Otherwise, it has all of the same specs as other PVA filaments:
- Dissolves in warm water
- Leaves no residue behind
- Accurate tolerances and easy to print with
- Bonds to many types of PLA
The main thing to keep in mind with SainSmart PVA is that it won’t bond with every type of PLA with same strength, especially if the PLA you are using has additives to enhance strength or surface finish.
Also, SainSmart packaging is often not the best packaging possible, and sometimes air gets inside. Because PVA is so strongly affected by humidity since it dissolves in water, you might have to dry this PVA filament out a bit when it arrives before you use it. Simply put the spool in a box with a desiccant or bake in the oven on a low heat.
Finally, if you leave PVA in the extruder when you are not using it, it will begin to absorbe ambient humidity and degrade. As a result, the roundness of the filament could change shape and no longer flow properly through the extruder, causing clogs.
Final Thoughts On The Best PVA Filament
While PVA is a good support material in theory, it is sometimes difficult to work with in practice. However, unlike HIPS, it is very easy to remove and works well with dual extruders.
Overall, the best PVA on our list is probably the tried and true eSUN brand PVA. If that one doesn’t work for you, you can also check out the Gizmo Dorks. Between these two, you should be able to find what you need.
And if all else fails, you can check out HIPS, which works very well as a support material for ABS filaments.
If we missed a brand that you would like us to include in our list or if you disagree with any of our conclusions, leave comment below. Otherwise, hopefully this list of the best PVA filaments helped you find what you are looking for.