PLA vs PLA Plus (PLA+). Things You Need To Know!

by Mike Brooks | Last Updated: July 7, 2021

While searching for an appropriate 3D printer, people usually conflict between PLA filaments and PLA plus filaments.

PLA vs PLA Plus

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you make a purchase after clicking on a link I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Worry no more because I’ve researched all about these two filaments. This article will dive deeper to understand the differences between standard PLA vs PLA plus and which is worth buying.

However, there are many similarities between these two most commonly used filaments, but their significant differences include printing ease plus mechanical properties. PLA + is more durable, although some people find it hard to print.

Generally, PLA plus is enhanced and more durable than the regular one.

What Is Normal PLA?

PLA is a short form for Polylactic Acid. It’s a thermoplastic filament most commonly used in FDM 3D printers (view on Amazon). Also, PLA thermoplastic is a biodegradable, eco-friendly plastic made from corn grain starch plus sugar cane.

Most FDM printers with a 3D printing filament always use PLA because it’s cheap and produces high-quality prints.

Although PLA filaments have low-temperature resistance, they require low printing temperatures compared to other filaments like ABS and PETG. Also, PLA doesn’t require a heated bed for printing because of its better layer adhesion.

What Is PLA Plus (PLA+) 3D Filament?

While standard PLA is ideal for 3D printing, it has a few downsides; a standard PLA filament gets criticized for being brittle and moisture absorption.

PETG and ABS are more robust and preferable, but neither is as simple to print with as PLA.

Therefore, addressing these problems, most PLA filament brands have come up with PLA plus, a modified PLA thermoplastic filament version of the standard PLA.

PLA Plus is much stronger and has a better layer adhesion, and is less brittle than PLA, producing prints with a smooth and fine finish.

Overture PLA Plus (PLA+) Filament 1.75mm PLA Professional Toughness Enhanced PLA Roll with 3D Build Surface 200 x 200mm, Premium PLA 1kg Spool (2.2lbs), Dimensional Accuracy +/- 0.05 mm (Black)

Its creation involves adding modifiers and specific additives to the standard PLA, enhancing it into PLA plus.

PLA VS. PLA+: Filament Physical and Mechanical Properties

Biodegradable thermoplastic filament: made from earth-friendly sources like corn potatoes, sugar beets, and other environmentally friendly plant products hence composted in compacted compost materials, not the home compost pile.

Standard PLA is naturally transparent: hence you can color it to different degrees of translucency and opacity.

Warping resistance and liquefaction ease: softens at fifty digress and melts at one-sixty degrees. PLA bonding range lies between one-eighty and one-ninety degrees.

With these outstanding features, PLA has increased flow and improved layer adhesion producing an excellent end print.

Moisture absorbent: PLA filaments absorb moisture when exposed to a humid atmosphere for extended periods, which reduces the quality of your print since during the printing process, the filament bubbles, discolors, and spurts.

Most companies ship a spool of PLA filament through Vacuum seals with desiccant in it to prevent adsorption.

Rigidity because of not shrinking: PLA fails to shrink during the cooling process, finally becoming rigid and water-insoluble and potentially breaks instead of bending.

Also, due to lower temperatures, PLA filaments deform when used outdoors in the hot sun or within a hot car.

Hardness, PLA plus has improved hardness than regular PLA, and its rigidity is equal to that of ABS 3D printing thermoplastic filament.

Environmentally friendly; since it’s the enhanced version of PLA, the resources that make it are environmentally friendly, and while your three-dimension print, doesn’t emit smells and printing odors like ABS.

Versatile and ease of use; PLA plus is a pro-PLA that doesn’t require heated beds for printing, and it flows easily without causing nozzle clogging or warping. What’s more? Pro PLA doesn’t require post-treatment and has a low melting point.

PLA vs PLA Plus. Differences & Is It Worth Buying?

Generally, PLA plus produces higher quality 3D prints than normal PLA since its the enhanced version of PLA. The PLA+ print models also contain a more refined and smoother surface quality finish compared to regular PLA.

Hence, if you want top-quality prints out of PLA print brands, go for PLA+ and set it right. Why? Since pro-PLA settings slightly vary from those of regular PLA.

PLA plus’s strength suits 3D printing for functional material parts instead of standard PLA, lacking the flexibility and strength to print available parts.

Therefore, PLA plus has adequate power, and when it comes to printing functional parts like a monitor mount or TV stands, making it better than standard PLA in that dimension.

Therefore, you wouldn’t want to use normal PLA since PLA+ is a much healthier candidate strength-wise.

PLA filaments have low-temperature resistance plus reduced bed temperature for 3D printing temperature.

With a 3D printing project, outside or a project that requires being around heat, don’t go for either of the PLA printing brands because PLA pro and regular PLA are poor for outdoor use.

Hence, neither of the PLAs above has higher temperature resistance. But so far, in other materials, PLA plus out-stands typical PLA.

However, it’s worth noting that PLA+ resists most external conditions, and it’s easier to store than the regular one.

Regarding ease of printing, the standard formulation of regular PLA makes it print better than pro-PLA. Printing ease accrues from lower extrusion printing temperature compared to PLA plus.

Also, PLA gives better adhesion for platform building at low print bed temperatures while PLA+ requires a higher temperature.

On top of that, PLA plus is extra viscous than regular PLA; hence it has increased chances for nozzle clogging. Therefore, if you prefer a PLA brand that is easier to use, you can opt for regular PLA.

The best answer depends on your filament’s use. If you plan to build functional models, it’s preferable to use PLA pro for the outstanding characteristics discussed above.

3D Fuel Pro PLA (PLA+) 3D Printing Filament, Made in USA with High Impact Strength & Dimensional Accuracy +/- 0.02 mm, 1 kg (2.2 lbs) 1.75mm Spool in Aquamarine

You can also use PLA+ as an eco-friendly substitute for ABS filament.

If you’re printing on a budget, we suggest printing through standard PLA, and you’ll still have great PLA prints.

Question And Answers

Is PLA+ Stronger Than PLA?

Yes, PLA+ is more potent than regular PLA with similar stiffness as ordinally PLA and enhanced fracture toughness (Charpy Impact Strength 13.4+/-1.2 kJ/m2), five times more potent than normal PLA.

Is PLA+ Still Biodegradable?

Yes, it’s biodegradable. Both PLA and PLA plus are biodegradable because of the same environmentally friendly materials composing them, including corn and sugarcane, plus other plant materials.

Can The Ender 3 Print PLA+?

Yes, it can print. Ender 3 pro filaments can print different brands like ABS, PETG, PLA, and TPU. Ender 3 prints PLA quickly, although you can still print PLA+.

Is PLA+ Lighter Than PLA?

PLA has rougher surfaces than PLA+, PLA+ has enhanced overhang properties than PLA, PLA+ requires high temperatures for printing and has a shiny reflection capacity better to showcase it, and its PLA pro is tougher

Can A PLA Printer Print PLA+?

Yes, it can print. A printer like Ender 3 pro can still print PLA+ because printing settings like printing speed and temperature are almost the same.

Final Words

Both these thermoplastic filaments serve well and are top-rated for 3D printing.

However, although with a significant price difference, PLA plus will suit you better because it’s outstanding and enhanced, and yes, it’s worth buying PLA filaments because they’re easy to use and environmentally friendly.

Michael Brooks is the founder of M3DZone.com. He sees a very bright future for 3D printing that's why his mission is to try and make this easy for everyone. Discover your hidden talent and creativity. You can follow here: Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest.