The Top 7 Best PLA Filament Brands
Printing with low quality PLA is a waste of time and money. It jams or warps, and sometimes the diameters are so far off the mark that entire spools are unusable. But thankfully, there are way better PLA filaments out there. If you use any of the following high quality PLA filaments, you can drastically improve your printing experience.
In a rush? Check prices of PLA filament.
We’ve put together a list of the top 7 best PLA filament brands out there. If you buy PLA from one of brands, you are pretty much guaranteed to have a good time. Your prints will be the highest quality possible. The prices for most of these brands are high too, but we’ve also included some tips for finding good deals so that you don’t break the bank.
Looking for ABS? Check out the ABS reviews here
The Top 7 Best PLA Filament Brands
ColorFabb PLA Filament
ColorFabb is a premium Dutch filament manufacturer. It really is one of the best brands in the world. And their PLA is directly responsible for that. ColorFabb PLA Filament has a not-so-secret ingredient that makes it super strong: PHA.
PHA, which stands for Polyhydroxyalkanoates, is a polyester that is created by bacteria during the natural process of fermentation of sugars. As a result of the added PHA, ColorFabb PLA is stronger and more durable than other PLAs but also still biodegradable and very easy to print with.
As far as technical specs and quality control goes, ColorFabb PLA filaments are top-notch. They have awesome tolerances. They never clog or jam. And the spools are always perfectly wound. It really doesn’t get much better than this.
The price point is one downside to ColorFabb. Colorfabb is definitely at the top of the price range. But as you will see, most of the other premium quality PLA filament brands are also expensive.
One trick to getting a discount on ColorFabb is to check out their customizable 16 spool pack. If you are willing to buy in bulk, you can get 16 ColorFabb PLAs for a group rate that is half of what you would pay for each individual spool, shipping included. That’s not a bad deal for some of the best PLA filament on the planet. Read more about ColorFabb filaments here.
Faberdashery PLA Filament
Faberdashery is a classic filament brand. The founders have close ties to the reprap project and are located in the same part of England. Claire Cunningham, the CEO, even claims that the father of the reprap project himself approves of Faberdashery filament. Nice.
Faberdashery PLA filament is an incredible product. And it better be, because Faberdashery only makes PLA! Why do they only make PLA? Well, according to Claire, it all has to do with environmental sustainability. Like many in the 3D printing world, Claire strongly believes that PLA is the best material to print simply because it is biodegradable.
Faberdashery nails all of the key indicators of a high quality PLA. The tolerances are fantastic, which means no clogging. The melt temperatures are within the normal range of 190ºC to 210ºC, which means that purity is high. And it is strong, with a nice matte surface finish.
One of the more unusual aspects of the Faberdashery business model is that they sell their filaments mostly by the meter. That means you can buy exactly the amount of filament you need and no more. It also means that you will have to check directly on the Faberdashery website or their US supplier fbrc8.com for exact prices.
But to give you some idea, a 100-meter coil of PLA costs as much as an entire 1 kg. spool of regular quality PLA. 100-meters of PLA is about 310 grams, so that’s not much PLA for the price. But remember, Faberdashery is the best of the best, so it is bound to be expensive. You can read more about Faberdashery in our full brand review.
Ultimaker PLA Filament
Here is yet another high-end Dutch filament company for you to consider. Ultimaker PLA filament is easily in the same quality class as the other PLAs on this list. It has fantastic tolerances and great strength.
In fact, Ultimaker PLA is almost too strong. It has been known to stick to printer beds and support materials so well that you might have to apply serious force to get the stuff off. But this strength also means that you can expect a high detail resolution from your prints.
Ultimaker PLA also has a fairly mild odor, which is an added perk. The one thing to keep in mind is that it is a bit more expensive than the other brands and sells in .75 gram spools on fbrc8.com.
But if you look around a little, you can get Ultimaker filaments from other third party vendors for much lower prices. It just takes a little bit of hunting. And PLA isn’t the only product that Ultimaker makes well. Check out our full review of Ultimaker products.
MakerBot PLA Filament
Finally, a US brand! MakerBot is somewhat infamous in the 3D printing community and definitely one of the most controversial companies to come out of the 3D printing boom in the last 10 years. They make fantastic printers that are generally considered a little over priced. But they can charge what they want because they are the best.
MakerBot PLA filament is also some of the best PLA filament available today. Yes, it costs twice as much as a regular 1 kg. spool, just like the rest of the high-end filaments on this list. But it is made in the US and comes with the absurdly high quality control standards of all MakerBot products. The thing that really makes it outstanding is that there is no warping with this PLA. None.
If you aren’t interested in spending so much on a spool, you can still try MakerBot filaments for smaller .2 kg. spools. But if you are sure that MakerBot filaments are the filaments for you, definitely check out the jumbo XXL 10 lb. spools of PLA that MakerBot sells for discounted prices. With these bad boys, you won’t have to swap out spools for a long time. Learn more about them in our full MakerBot review.
Proto-pasta PLA Filament
Proto-pasta’s superb PLA filament is produced at the ProtoPlant in Vancouver, Washington, USA. Founded by a bunch of materials scientists in 2013 who set out to make the best filament in the world, Proto-pasta has gained wide popularity for it’s super high quality and reliable tolerances. In fact, the Proto-pasta team has been focused on material quality so heavily over the last few years that they only recently released aesthetically pleasing filament: it smells good, looks good, and performs perfectly.
Proto-pasta is filament by makers, for makers. They are super focussed on making new materials for 3D printing in order to keep things fun and exciting. If you want to try out a regular Proto-pasta PLA filament, a spool will be quite pricey. But there are many specialty spools of filament available for sale on the Proto-pasta website and Amazon that will make up for the high prices.
Have a look around to see what weird materials you might like to try next.
IC3D PLA Filament
IC3D PLA filament is a premium filament manufactured in Ohio, USA. The quality control standards at IC3D are super high. That means that there are almost never any tolerance issues and no warping. Some printers have even been able to print without using a bed adhesion material, which is pretty rare for PLA.
The best part is that it is cheaper than the other premium brands. You can get a 2 lb. spool for a really good price on Amazon and the IC3D website. IC3D also sells 5 and 10 lb jumbo sized spools so that you don’t have to constantly swap out smaller spools and recalibrate between prints.
Polymaker PLA Filament
Polymaker is a large Chinese filament manufacturer with offices in Europe, Japan, and the USA.
Like MakerBot, Polymaker is one of the privileged few filament brands that were listed in the Natureworks 2016 filament brochure. That is a big deal. Natureworks LLC is the worlds largest distributer of high quality PLA. By listing Polymaker as their preferred Chinese filament distributer, Natureworks essentially said to the other 3D filament brands, “Hey, check these guys out, they are better than all of you.”
And it’s true. Polymaker makes amazing PLA filaments and specialty filaments. Their Polymax PLA filaments are 9 times stronger than regular PLA (measured by impact resistance tests) and have better overall mechanics than ABS.
However, like the other filaments on this list, Polymaker isn’t cheap. Expect to pay twice as much as the normal stuff for a single spool. But if you buy in bulk you can get a few dollars off the spool price. Buying in bulk might not be a bad idea either considering that you are probably going to want to print a lot with these filaments.
So there you have it. These are the 7 best PLAs because they are strong and have fantastic tolerances. Notice how there is only one Chinese brand on the list? Most Chinese filaments just can’t compete with the quality control standards that European and US brands have. Except for Polymaker, Chinese brands tend to clog your printer because of bad tolerances. But the tolerances of the brands on this list are impeccable, especially the Dutch brands.
The only thing that you have to keep in mind is that premium quality costs a lot of money. The filaments on this list aren’t cheap, even on Amazon. Check prices on Amazon We’ve tried to give you some hints about finding deals, though. And the last filament on the list, IC3D, sells high quality PLA for around $30. So there are ways around the higher prices.
If you feel that we’ve missed any premium brands that should be on the list, leave a comment below. Happy printing!