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PLA vs PETG Filament: Differences and Comparison

Are you looking for a filament suitable for your 3D printing projects? PLA VS PETG filaments are two popular choices, but what makes them different from each other? We will look at the advantages and disadvantages of both filament types so that you can make an educated choice. Keep reading to find out more!

PLA vs PETG Filament
Source: sunlu

1. Introduction

If you’re planning to 3D print something, two of the most commonly used filaments are PLA and PETG. While they share some similarities, it’s important to understand their differences.

PLA is biodegradable from renewable resources, while PETG is composed of petroleum-based thermoplastic polyester. Knowing these characteristics can help you decide which filament type best suits your needs for any given project.

2. What are PLA Materials?

PLA filament

Polylactic Acid (PLA) is a thermoplastic material that can be produced from renewable resources, such as corn starch, sugarcane, and potatoes. Through fermentation, processing into lactic acid, and polymerization of these materials.

This biodegradable 3D printing material is made, which makes it more environmentally friendly than traditional plastics made from oil. It has become popular in various industries and applications due to its eco-friendly nature.

3. What are PETG Materials?

petg filament

PETG, a thermoplastic polymer made by combining polyethylene terephthalate and glycol (alcohol), is widely used in 3D printing. Because it is strong, clear, and flexible, it is a great material for things like medical devices, food packaging, and water bottles that need to be clear, durable, and strong.

4. PLA vs PETG: What are the Differences?

Two of the most popular materials used in 3D printing are PLA and PETG. Both thermoplastics can be heated until they become liquid, then extruded layer by layer to create a 3D object. While there are similarities, differences between PETG and PLA affect the quality and functionality of the final product produced. To better understand 3D printing with PETG vs. PLA, consider the following comparison:

4.1 At a Glance

PLA and PETG differ in transparency; PLA is opaque with a limited range of colors, while PETG is crystal clear and comes in multiple colors, including transparent and translucent options.

4.2 Strength

When it comes to strength, PETG is preferred over PLA due to its higher impact resistance and flexibility. Its tensile strength is about the same as that of ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), which makes it a great choice for situations where the printed object will be stressed or hit.

Because PETG is more chemically stable than PLA, parts made from it usually don’t break when they are bent. The choice of material for a desired application is critical. PLA tends to be more brittle and can easily snap under pressure.

4.3 Material Flexibility

PETG is more flexible than PLA, making it perfect for applications where an object may be subjected to bending or twisting. This material has greater strength and durability than PLA, resulting in increased impact resistance and a lesser chance of breaking when bent.

In terms of tensile strength, PETG surpasses the capabilities of its counterpart. This makes objects like phone cases made from PETG better at protecting phones upon being dropped than those crafted using PLA. Because of this, PETG is often used to make water bottles and other items that need to be flexible and strong.

On the contrary, because PLA isn’t as pliable nor durable as PETG, it’s typically used for projects requiring rigidity, such as toys or gears. Although both materials are polyesters, PETG usually costs more due to its superior properties and uses.

4.4 Dimensional Accuracy

Regarding 3D printing, PETG is more dimensionally stable than PLA due to its lower shrinkage rate of 0.8%. This makes it ideal for prints that require exact measurements since the dimensions will remain consistent after production.

Additionally, PETG has a higher elongation at break level (up to 10%) compared with PLA‘s 4%, making it better suited for industrial operations. These properties make PETG an excellent option when precision and durability are necessary for manufacturing projects.

4.5 Warping

3D printing with materials such as PLA and PETG can often result in warping, a common issue in 3D printing. However, PETG is less susceptible than PLA.

This is because the lower extrusion temperature of PETG reduces shrinkage during cooling, making it more resistant to deformation or shrinking while printing.

4.6 Print Temperature

PLA and PETG have different printing temperatures. PLA has a relatively lower temperature range (180-220°C) with no heated bed needed, making it suitable for beginners. Due to its melting point of 180°C, PETG requires a higher temperature than PLA (165°C).

The nozzle temperature should be between 220-250°C and the heated bed at 70-80 ° C. Moreover, PETG also possesses better thermal resistance than ABS at 80 degrees Celsius but still less than most kinds of PLA at 60 degrees Celsius.

4.7 Print Speed

When printing with PLA and PETG, it is recommended to keep the print speed for PETG at a maximum of 60 mm/s, while PLA can go up to 100 mm/s.

Extraction temperatures between 210°C and 260°C are also necessary for optimal PLA results. However, PETG requires higher temperature settings than those used with PLA.

4.8 Filament Price

The price of PETG filament is generally higher than that of PLA, ranging from $20 to $50 per kilogram. Conversely, PLA filaments usually cost between $10 and $30 per kg.

PETG is slightly more expensive than PLA, which typically costs around $34 per kilogram, depending on brand or quality, at an average cost of around $39 per kilogram. However, it has several advantages worth considering over the lower-cost option.

This is water, chemical, and fatigue-resistant, making it more durable than other filaments. Parts printed with this filament are stronger and less stiff when compared to those made using PLA filament.

6. Buyer’s Guide

6.1 PETG vs PLA: Which is Better?

When deciding between PETG versus PLA, there are several factors to consider. The following difference between PETG and PLA will help you determine which material is better for your needs:

  1. Strength: PETG has a clear advantage over PLA.
  2. Material Flexibility: PETG is generally more flexible than PLA.
  3. Dimensional Accuracy: PETG is more dimensionally stable than PLA.
  4. Warping: PETG is less prone to warping than PLA when printed.
  5. Print Temperature: PLA typically requires a lower print temperature than PETG, making it a more beginner-friendly option.
  6. Printing Speed: PLA and PETG have similar print speeds, with PLA typically able to reach higher speeds than PETG
  7. Filament Price: PETG is generally more expensive than PLA filament. However, PETG has several advantages over PLA, making it worth the extra cost.

You might be wondering is PETG better than PLA? When choosing a printing material for 3D printing, PETG is usually the best choice because it has a higher tensile strength, is more resistant to impact, and lasts longer than PLA. It is also resistant to water, chemicals, and wear, so it can be used in a variety of situations that require these qualities.

Despite its drawbacks, PLA has some advantages. Parts printed with this print material have a smoother finish when made by FDM machines than those from PETG because it requires lower melting temperatures that are compatible with more 3d printers.

PLA is naturally derived from renewable sources, so environmentally conscious users may want to favor this biodegradable plastic over PETG. Though there are drawbacks, such as PLA being fairly rigid and brittle which could mean it’s unsuitable for certain projects requiring flexibility or durability.

6.2 PLA vs PETG: Which is Cheaper?

Suppose you don’t require the additional features that PETG provides. In that case, we suggest sticking to PLA filaments, which are more cost-effective. A kilogram of PLA typically ranges from $10 to $30. Depending on the brand and quality, one kilogram of PETG can cost between $34 and $39 USD.

6.3 Can I Use PETG in a PLA Printer?

The answer is yes. However, the extrusion temperature for PETG is higher than that of PLA, so you may need to adjust your 3d printer settings accordingly.

Since PETG can stick to PLA when printed at the right temperature, it’s best to use a heated bed or other adhesion techniques.

6.4 Are PLA or PETG Food Safe?

When using PLA and PETG for food applications, it is essential to take appropriate safety precautions. For example, use a stainless steel nozzle instead of one made from other materials to avoid transferring contaminants from the 3d printer onto the printed product.

While both are considered food-safe materials for 3D printing purposes, PETG offers more protection than PLA when used within the food industry.

7. Conclusion

When deciding between PLA and PETG filaments for 3D printing, it is important to consider the properties of each printing material. PLA is a biodegradable, environmentally friendly plastic made from renewable resources that has some transparency but lacks strength and flexibility compared to PETG.

On the other hand, PETG offers greater strength and flexibility with better dimensional accuracy than its counterpart while still providing good transparency. However, warping can be an issue when using this filament.

In the end, deciding which print material is best for your project depends on what kind of quality you want (strength and flexibility), how precise it needs to be (dimensionally accurate), and whether warp prevention is needed.


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