Choosing the correct filament type for a project is perhaps the most significant decision in 3D printing, especially for models that you print for functional purposes that require them to withstand certain conditions.
While PLA and PETG are the first two filament types that come to mind in most scenarios due to their ease of use compared to more complex filaments such as ABS, there is a filament type that is pretty similar to PLA yet doesn’t get mentioned as much, known as PLA plus.
Today, we will be comparing PETG, the second most popular filament available, which we often consider an upgrade to PLA in many scenarios, and PLA plus, a modified and improved version of the most popular filament in the world of 3D printing.
So, which is the better choice between PLA plus (PLA+) and PETG?
While PLA plus (PLA+) is considerably stronger than standard PLA, PETG is still stronger than PLA plus, can withstand higher temperatures, and is resistant to chemicals, water, and fatigue, making it the better choice in most cases.
The saving grace of PLA+ is its flexibility, as even though the flexibility of PLA+ isn’t better than regular PLA, it’s still better than the flexibility of PETG.
In the next section, we will compare PLA plus and PETG in deeper detail, where we will analyze these two filament types in categories such as pricing, properties, ease of use, and more.
PETG vs. PLA Plus
There is no denying that PLA and PETG are two of the most common filament types in 3D printing right now, with PETG often being considered the better choice between the two in terms of properties.
On the other hand, while not as popular as either PETG or regular PLA, PLA plus has some significant improvements over PLA, making it a worthy consideration for many applications where we would often use PETG.
Without further ado, let’s start our comparison by putting PETG and PLA plus against each other in the category of material properties.
PETG vs. PLA Plus (PLA+) – Properties
The material properties of a filament are the primary factor for deciding whether the filament is suitable for a scenario or not, as using a filament that is unsuitable would cause the 3D printed model to degrade and eventually prevent it from serving its purpose.
Below, we will compare the properties of PETG and PLA plus (PLA+) in terms of strength, durability, flexibility, heat resistance, UV resistance, water resistance, and chemical resistance.
- Strength – Even with the improvements to strength, PETG shows a better performance against PLA plus.
- Flexibility (Stiffness) – Flexibility is what PLA is primarily known for, and the situation is no different for PLA plus. As a result, PLA wins against PETG here.
- Heat Resistance – While PETG can resist heat up to 90 degrees Celsius, on average, this figure remains at 60 degrees Celsius for P LA.
- UV Resistance – UV rays cannot degrade PETG (other than slight decolorization at times), whereas PLA plus can suffer structural damage due to exposure to UV rays.
- Water Resistance – PETG is waterproof, whereas PLA is not, making PETG the winner.
- Chemical Resistance – While it’s possible to dissolve PLA in common chemicals such as acetone, PETG is quite sturdy in this department.
- Fatigue Resistance – As fatigue resistance goes hand-in-hand with strength, we can safely say that PETG is the winner here as the material that is much less prone to physical damage.
- Durability – Durability refers to the overall resistance of the material, and as PETG is the clear winner for all types of resistance, PETG is the winner here.
Overall, PETG shows a better performance for all the properties other than flexibility, where PLA plus (PLA+) is the winner.
PETG vs. PLA Plus (PLA+) – Requirements & Ease of Use
Another significant point to consider while choosing a type of filament are the requirements to print it and how challenging the overall printing process will be.
As a variant of PLA, PLA Plus (PLA+) is the easiest filament (alongside regular PLA) to print in the 3D printing world as it doesn’t require nozzle temperatures that are too high, an enclosure, or even a heated bed.
On the other hand, we can’t deny that PETG is also one of the less demanding materials in 3D printing either, as it does not require an enclosure and may not need a heated bed in some cases.
While it’s a close call, PLA is the winner in terms of ease of use & requirements due to it never requiring a heated bed in any scenario and not requiring a high nozzle temperature.
PETG vs. PLA Plus (PLA+) – Post-Processing
Even though it’s not always a necessity, we can consider post-processing a significant part of the 3D printing process, especially for models with cosmetic purposes.
PLA plus (PLA+) is a pretty easy material to post-process, as bonding, sanding, painting, and removing the supports can all be done quite effortlessly on a model printed with PLA plus filament.
While the situation is similar for PETG in terms of bonding and sanding, we can consider removing supports from PETG and painting PETG to be more difficult compared to PLA plus.
As PLA plus does a better job in more areas of post-processing, it is the winner of this category.
PETG vs. PLA Plus (PLA+) – Pricing
Pricing is a factor we cannot ignore for filament shopping, as filament costs can get quite out of hand for those who 3D print frequently.
While standard PLA is often cheaper than PETG, PLA plus is likely to be more expensive due to the added manufacturing costs and additives that go into the material.
That being said, as filament prices show considerable amounts of variance between different brands, it’s not very possible to say anything concrete and final.
As a result, we can say that it’s possible to find PETG that is more expensive than PLA plus, just as it’s possible to find PLA plus that is more expensive than PETG, depending on the quality.
Is PETG Stronger than PLA Plus (PLA+)?
Strength determines the amount of stress the plastic can withstand before it starts losing its structural integrity and breaking, making it a vital attribute to consider for prints with functional purposes.
Despite PLA plus (PLA+) showing a clear improvement in the strength department compared to standard PLA, PETG is still the stronger material between the two.
Alongside physical strength, PETG also shows a better performance in terms of resistance to factors such as water, heat, ultraviolet, and chemicals.
While the increased strength of PLA plus combined with its flexibility can definitely come in handy in some cases, PETG is the go-to choice between the two for scenarios where strength is the primary concern.
Is PLA Pro the Same as PLA Plus (PLA+)?
Alongside the PLA plus variant of PLA, you may sometimes hear the term “PLA Pro” as well, which does sound like an entirely different version of PLA.
Both PLA plus (PLA+) and PLA Pro refer to the same thing, which is a modified version of PLA that has been strengthened by mixing in additives such as different types of plastic and fiber; to make it more suitable for applications where a higher degree of strength is required.
While the exact manufacturing process, the chemical compositions, and the name can vary between different brands, the purpose of obtaining a more robust version of PLA remains the same.
Is PLA Plus (PLA+) the Same as PETG?
As PLA plus is not the most common filament type on the market right now, many questions surround it, with one question being whether it’s the same thing as PETG.
PETG is the abbreviation for Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol, whereas PLA refers to a whole different material, known as Polylactic Acid.
As PLA plus (PLA+) is essentially an improved version of PLA that contains additives to make it stronger, there isn’t much of a relationship between PETG and PLA plus, other than both of them being plastics.
Since PLA plus and PETG are distinct materials, the properties they show are also entirely different, such as PETG having a better degree of strength, whereas PLA is more flexible.
PLA plus is definitely a significant improvement over PLA in many ways, making it a suitable contender against PETG in a considerable amount of scenarios with the advantages it brings to the table.
To quickly recap, the strength improvement of PLA plus over PLA is not enough to make it a sturdier material than PETG, and considering that PETG also offers better heat, water, ultraviolet, and chemical resistances, PLA plus does not stand a chance for most applications.
On the other hand, if flexibility is what you’re looking for, just as PLA, PLA plus also offers a better degree of flexibility than PETG.