Looking for the best PLA filament? Read our guide to 32 beautiful and exotic blends of PLA 3D printer filament on the market today.
Polylactic acid, in short PLA, is by far the most popular 3D printer filament. The diversity of blends, colors and even flavors of PLA filament is seemingly endless. That’s why we put together a list of the most exciting types you can buy. We didn’t include color variations because most colors of the spectrum are available.
All wood PLA filament blends on this list have in common that they can be post-processed very nicely. By using sandpaper, you will be able to give your prints nice, smooth surfaces with visible grain patterns from the wood fiber.
As for the metal powder infused PLA filament blends on this list, they can be polished up to a reflective metallic shine with the use of some steel wool. All gold and silver blends we found don’t contain particles of these metals. We didn’t put them on this list, as they are merely color variations.
Important Note: Please read the product descriptions carefully before you buy any of these filaments to make sure you have the right equipment and the advised setup. Not all of them are easy to handle.
Description: It’s green, environment-friendly, biodegradable and feels similar to sandstone. It needs less energy to 3D print this material because the printing temperature is lower than with regular PLA. And this best PLA filament is also stronger than most other PLA filaments.
Consists of: Polylactic acid and algae harvested from areas where its excess threatens the environment.
Special property: Sustainable.
Description: Aluminum is lightweight. This best PLA filament will give your 3D printed objects a cool aluminum look.
Consists of: Polylactic acid infused with finely ground aluminum powder.
Special property: Lightweight material. Can wear and tear your 3D printer nozzle.
Description: Bamboo wood PLA filament offers stunning looks and emits a nice wood smell into your printing workshop. 3D printed objects even feel just like bamboo wood.
Consists of: Polylactic acid and bamboo fibers.
Special property: Looks, feels and smells like bamboo wood.
Description: Have you ever imagined to 3D print with beer? No joke, it’s possible. This best PLA filament is manufactured using the byproducts of beer brewing that would otherwise go to waste. During and even after printing, it will smell slightly malty which makes it great for beer lovers and people who like to try out new materials.
Consists of: Polylactic acid and byproducts of beer brewing.
Special property: Smells malty (just what we expected).
Price: $49 at 3Dom USA
Description: When people think of birch trees, they often think of the nice hardwood that will fuel your campfire for hours or the thick water resistant bark used in the crafting of canoes. However, now you can 3D print with birch wood, too. This PLA filament is light brown in color and feels and smells like real birch wood.
Consists of: Polylactic acid and birch wood fibers.
Special property: Feels and smells like birch wood.
Description: Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. This makes it softer than bronze and copper. Therefore brass PLA filament must be treated with extra care to ensure best 3D printing results. It can be polished to a nice brass metallic shine.
Consists of: Polylactic acid and brass particles.
Special property: Looks and feels like brass. But be careful: it’s abrasive to 3D printer brass nozzles.
Description: Bronze is an alloy of mainly copper and tin. This makes Bronze PLA filament a little bit harder than the one containing brass. It can be polished to a nice metallic shine.
Consists of: Polylactic acid and bronze particles.
Special property: Looks and feels like bronze. Also, this is known to be a tough material to print. After some spools, you might need a new brass nozzle for your printer.
Description: The carbon fibers contained in this best PLA filament make the 3D printed object very rigid, making it an excellent choice for RC hobbyists and components that need that extra rigidity. However, the carbon fibers, will, over time, wear out the inside of your nozzle causing unexpected costs. It is recommended you use a hardened steel nozzle.
Consists of: Polylactic acid and carbon fibers.
Special property: Known for rigid 3D printing results.
Description: Cedar is a very aromatic wood. 3D printing with it will surely make your workspace smell like it. The cedar particles give this PLA filament a light red/orange color.
Consists of: Polylactic acid and cedar wood fibers.
Special property: Feels and smells like cedar wood (we love that smell).
Description: This best PLA filament is dark brown and looks and feels just like real coconut hardwood. Coconut wood PLA filament offers a great advantage: Coconut trees grow in a wet, tropical climate. As a result, the wood has become more resistant to moisture. This is great if you want to subject your wood prints to outside weather.
Consists of: Polylactic acid and coconut wood fibers.
Special property: Looks and feels like coconut wood.
Description: This best PLA filament emits a very pleasant aroma during the printing. The finished 3D printed objects show a grainy dark brown surface. The only PLA filament we found containing coffee is from Proto-pasta. Fortunately, at the same time, it withstands higher temperatures. (We like our coffee hot!)
Consists of: Polylactic acid and byproducts from coffee production.
Special property: Smells like coffee, especially when printed.
Description: Not sure what your favorite color is? This material changes its color depending on its environment. There are two types of color changing PLA filament. The first kind is heat sensitive, and the other one is UV sensitive.
Consists of: Polylactic acid and light sensitive particles.
Description: It‘s what you need if your 3D printing project requires some electrical wiring. Instead of running wires through your build, you can just print them. This PLA filament is a mixture of polylactic acid and usually some form of carbon; mostly graphene. It’s no substitute to a regular PCB, though.
Consists of: Polylactic acid and carbon.
Special property: Conductive.
Description: Looks like copper, feels like copper, can be polished like copper, but unfortunately, this PLA filament isn’t conductive like copper even if it contains fine copper powder.
Consists of: Polylactic acid and copper particles.
Special property: Looks and feels like copper. Be careful with nozzle abrasion!
Description: Cork fibers are mixed with the biodegradable polylactic acid to create a dark brown material that compliments the colors of other wood PLA filaments nicely.
Consists of: Polylactic acid and cork wood fibers
Special property: Looks like cork wood. Don’t print cork filament too hot!
Description: Ebony wood is especially beautiful and is often used for the fingerboards on guitars, violins, and cellos. The ebony fibers make this PLA filament very dark.
Consists of: Polylactic acid and ebony wood fibers.
Special property: Looks, feels and smells like ebony wood.
Description: In the best case this material is stretchy and rubber-like. It’s best suited for objects that need to bend and stretch to fit into spaces or around other objects. Phone cases and kids toys are good examples. In the worst case, it’s merely less brittle the pure polylactic acid. You have to read the product description carefully and do several test prints. In most cases, the manufacturers don’t tell you what they have added to get it flexible. If you aren’t attached to PLA, you should also take a look at TPE/TPU based filament types. They have been proven to be rubber-like.
Consists of: Polylactic acid and unknown additives
Special property: rubber-like and bendable.
Description: We all know how bright fluorescent highlighters are. Apart from that, they just look nice. To achieve these vibrant colors, pigments are added to this best PLA filament. You don’t need to apply sunlight to these print (also, they don‘t glow in the dark).
Consists of: Polylactic acid and fluorescent pigments
Special property: fluorescent
Description: It’s a unique addition to the ever-diversifying range of PLA filaments. If you don’t know any applications, then ask your 5-years-old daughter. She will come up with a lot of great ideas. It could turn out to be your favorite type yet!
Consists of: Polylactic acid and glitter particles.
Special property: Sparkly! Magical!
Description: Do you need a mysterious object for Halloween? Then this is probably the right filament for you. It contains highly concentrated phosphorescent pigments to allow this material to charge during the daytime and glow magnificently in the dark. It also is known to be an abrasive material, so better check your 3D printer nozzle.
Consists of: Polylactic acid and phosphorescent pigments.
Special property: Glowing in the dark.
Description: This best PLA filament contains real hemp fibers. It offers a dark, often non-consistent, color. The hemp is grown without the use of herbicides and pesticides, which is the main selling point for this product. Read this article if you want to know more about it.
Consists of: Polylactic acid, hemp fibers, and zero THC.
Special property: looks and feels like hemp plants.
Price: $59 at 3Dom USA
Description: This material can be exposed to much higher temperatures than pure PLA and it’s much tougher. That’s thanks to the addition of minerals which crystallizes when the material has been heat-treated after printing. Heat-treatment can be done in hot water or an oven. Please refer to the manufacturer for precise instructions.
Consists of: Polylactic acid and minerals.
Special property: Resistant to higher temperatures. Not an easy material to 3D print with.
Description: The advantages of this best PLA filament are high strength combined with low shrinkage and low warping. It’s aimed towards more industrial applications, but anyone can print with this material. It’s marketed as In-PLA by Taulman. If you’re looking for a strong material which is moderate to print you should also consider PETG.
Consists of: Polylactic acid and an unknown polymer.
Special property: High strength, needs to be printed at high temperatures.
Description: This material is simply magnetic! It is a blend of polylactic acid and finely ground iron powder. As iron rusts so does this iron-infused material. So be sure to store the coil and any printed objects in dry places or on the door of your refrigerator.
Consists of: Polylactic acid and iron particles.
Special property: Magnetic. As with any metal PLA filaments, it can wear and tear your 3D printer’s nozzle.
Description: The olive wood particles contained in this PLA filament, make it look, feel and smell like real olive wood. It’s dark in color with a greenish brown appearance.
Consists of: Polylactic acid and olive wood fibers.
Special property: Looks, feels and smells like olive wood.
Description: The material is light brown in color and looks and feels like pine wood. This best PLA filament contains real pine wood particles to make it aromatic. There is also an extra aromatic variation that uses ground up pine needles instead.
Consists of: Polylactic acid and pine wood fibers or pine needles.
Special property: Feels and smells like pinewood.
Description: Do you like the characteristics of ABS, but want a biodegradable material? This PLA filament contains Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), which is environment-friendly and malleable like ABS. Unlike ABS, this best PLA filament does not have a warping problem.
Consists of: Polylactic acid and Polyhydroxyalkanoate.
Special property: Like ABS, but without warping problems and biodegradable.
Description: This is an interesting 3D printing material. Polyester PLA filament, marketed as Floreon, is polylactic acid on steroids. It is up to four times stronger than pure PLA and is not susceptible to UV light either. All this is achieved while maintaining the typical characteristics like biodegradability and low-odor printing. If it is about strength and flexibility and not biodegradability you should also take a look at PETG, Nylon and Polycarbonate.
Consists of: Polylactic acid and polyester
Special property: Strong, UV resistant, biodegradable.
Description: Improved PLA filament is sold under many different names and brands. Sometimes it’s worth the extra money, but often it’s just marketing waffle. There is no guarantee. You have to find out which is the best PLA filament yourself. Our recommendation: read carefully what advantages they are promising and check yourself if it’s true. It’s more likely to get the promised results if you stick to the established brands like Colorfabb, Innofill, etc.
Consists of: Polylactic acid and magic.
Special property: Promise better 3D printing results
Description: It looks and feels like real steel because it’s much much heavier than other 3D printed objects made of regular PLA. This filament contains fine stainless steel powder (which can lead to nozzle replacement).
Consists of: Polylactic acid and stainless steel particles.
Special property: Looks and feels like real steel.
Description: It’s permeable to light, but not transparent like a window pane. This feature is great for objects you would like to light up, for example, light shades. Another cool application would be to 3D print your favorite action figures and light them up on display with LED lights. Even if this PLA filament sometimes is marketed as clear or transparent, it is merely translucent.
Consists of: Polylactic acid
Special property: Translucent.
Description: It has a light yellowish color, and it looks and feels like willow wood. And yes, it contains real willow wood fibers (probably from old cricket bats).
Consists of: Polylactic acid and willow wood fibers.
Special property: Looks and feels like willow wood.
Did we miss any blend of PLA filament? If so, please feel free to add your suggestions in the comment section. Thanks!
License: The text of "32 Fantastic PLA Filament Blends – The Complete Overview" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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