PETG vs PLA: Properties, Applications, Differences

PETG stands for polyethylene terephthalate modified with glycol. Conversely, PLA, also known as polylactic acid or polylactide, is a thermoplastic made of lactic acid. Polyesters include both types of materials. Their qualities uses, and material expenses are where the two diverge most. Compared to PLA, PETG is more robust and resilient. Conversely, PLA is a popular choice for FDM/FFF filaments due to its superior cooling and melting qualities. PETG is more expensive than PLA in terms of cost.

PETG vs PLA Properties, Applications, Differences
PETG vs PLA Properties, Applications, Differences

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What is PETG?

  • PETG, or Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol-Modified, is a thermoplastic polymer that is commonly used in 3D printing, as well as in other applications such as packaging, signage, and medical devices.
  • It is a translucent substance that combines PLA’s ease of printing with the strength and longevity of other polymers, such as ABS.
  • Because of its superior layer adhesion, minimal shrinking, and resilience to chemicals and moisture, PETG is a well-liked option for a variety of applications.
  • PETG (polyethylene terephthalate glycol) 3D printing is the process of using this thermoplastic material as a building material for 3D printing, particularly in Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printers. The modified glycol molecule in PET, a well-known substance used to make plastic bottles, is indicated by the “G” in PETG. Because of its excellent printability, minimal haze, and great impact strength, PETG is one of the most widely used 3D printing filaments.
  • The composition of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is the source of the composition of PETG. Their chemical compositions are identical, with the exception that PETG has been improved by changing the amount of glycol in it. PET is converted to PETG by adding cyclohexanedimethanol (CHDM) in place of ethylene glycol. The “G” in PETG stands for this. Compared to PET, it prints more easily, is less brittle, and is clearer.
  • Due to its versatility and ease of printing, PETG is a very advantageous thermoplastic printing material. Many 3D printing businesses and private individuals utilize it for their printed models or parts because of its adaptability. Many people like PETG’s hygroscopicity, printability, and smooth surface quality.
  • PETG can be recycled. Recycling this thermoplastic is among the simplest. This product is accepted by many recycling programs and serves as proof that it is environmentally beneficial.
  • It is hygroscopic, PETG. It is highly attracted to moisture in the atmosphere. The print quality may suffer just from this characteristic. The filament will degrade more quickly if it is exposed to a humid atmosphere. It is possible to prevent the filament from accumulating moisture by correctly storing PETG and utilizing a filament dry box or spool holder when printing.
  • Due to its excellent thermal stability, odorless emissions, and great impact resistance, PETG is a good material for 3D printing. However, there are still several drawbacks to PETG when compared to ABS. PETG has a significant degree of hygroscopicity, which makes storage difficult. The fact that painting PETG is challenging, if not impossible, is another drawback. In contrast, ABS is far more tolerant in this regard; in fact, post-processing ABS is not too difficult.

Properties of PETG

  • Transparency: PETG is a transparent substance that makes things clearly visible through it. This characteristic makes it appropriate for use in show cases, packaging, and signage, among other applications where transparency or visibility is sought.
  • Flexibility: PETG can bend without breaking because of its degree of flexibility. Because of its flexibility, it can be used in applications like protective casings or flexible components that call for a certain amount of deformation or impact resistance.
  • Moisture Resistance: When compared to other thermoplastics like ABS, PETG shows minimal absorption of moisture. Because of this characteristic, it is less likely to distort or vary in dimension when exposed to moisture, guaranteeing dimensional stability in moist conditions or during extended periods of use.
  • Recyclability: Polyethylene terephthalate (PETG) can be recycled using a variety of techniques, such as depolymerization, chemical recycling, or mechanical recycling. Because it is recyclable, it supports the circular economy and reduces waste, which is beneficial to environmental initiatives.
  • UV Stability: PETG is appropriate for outdoor applications where extended exposure to sunlight is anticipated because of its strong resistance to UV radiation. Long-term outdoor use does not affect its mechanical qualities or transparency.
  • Strength: PETG demonstrates exceptional strength and endurance, rendering it impervious to impact and capable of withstanding mechanical strains. It is less likely to break or crack than materials like PLA and ABS because it is tougher, which is especially useful in applications that call for robustness.
  • Chemical Resistance: PETG exhibits resistance against a variety of substances, such as bases, acids, and solvents. Because of this characteristic, it can be used in applications like laboratory equipment, chemical storage containers, or medical devices where exposure to a variety of chemicals is expected.
  • Processing Ease: PETG is reasonably simple to process using standard production methods like extrusion, injection molding, and thermoforming. Its broad processing window and excellent melt flow properties enable productive and economical production.
  • FDA Compliance: PETG is suited for use in food packaging, drink containers, and other food-related items. Grades that comply with FDA requirements for food contact applications are available.
  • Biocompatibility: PETG is safe to use in pharmaceutical and medical applications that involve direct contact with the human body since it is biocompatible. It is frequently utilized in surgical instruments, prosthetics, and medical equipment.

Overall, PETG is a versatile material that may be used in a variety of industries for a wide range of applications due to its combination of strength, transparency, chemical resistance, and recyclability. Its suitability for regulatory norms and ease of processing add to its allure for firms looking for dependable and environmentally friendly material choices.

How To Use PETG in 3D Printing?

PETG is known for being easily printable, much like PLA. The final prints should satisfy the client if PETG filament is printed in accordance with the printer’s and manufacturer’s instructions. The following are some pointers and strategies for PETG 3D printing:

  • The ideal temperature range for the heated bed is between 80 and 90 °C.
  • The ideal range for the melting or extrusion temperature is 220-260 °C.
  • It is not necessary for the hot end—the component that melts the thermoplastic—to be entirely metallic. It is also possible to employ hot ends with PTFE inner tubes.
  • Using layer fans will increase the quality of the part. A layer fan is a tiny fan that cools the deposited plastic at the 3D printer head.
  • When printing with PETG, glass surfaces and adhesives like hairspray are recommended to obtain effective layer adherence. The PETG print will probably adhere to the glass surface too firmly if it is placed directly on it, making separation challenging. By using adhesives, one may easily separate the print from the construction surface and assure proper adhesion.

Uses of PETG in 3D Printing

  • Like PLA, PETG has characteristics that make it very adaptable in the context of 3D printing.
  • Because of its strength, greater melting point, and resistance to chemicals, it is a preferred material for a number of uses.
  • PETG is frequently chosen by people who want their printed items to be more resilient.
  • The development of working prototypes is one of PETG’s main uses. It is appropriate for creating prototypes that need to be durable and have some degree of heat resistance due to its balanced mechanical qualities and capacity to tolerate higher temperatures. Before starting mass production, engineers and designers commonly use PETG to build prototypes that require a higher level of toughness and resilience.
  • Furthermore, PETG is widely used in the production of consumer goods, particularly those that require chemical resistance and durability, like protective casings, mechanical parts, and containers. It is a favored option for products meant for extended use due to its ability to tolerate mild impacts and chemical resistance.
  • PETG has been used in the medical industry to create a range of instruments and gadgets. It is appropriate for some surgical instruments and medical equipment housing because of its capacity to preserve sterility and withstand degradation under specific circumstances.
  • But like PLA, PETG is an inexpensive material with its drawbacks, therefore few PETG prints end up as functional parts. Because of its poor heat resistance in comparison to some specialty materials, the material might not be the best choice for things exposed to intense temperatures. It also could not be as durable as materials designed for high-impact applications.

Application of PETG

  • PETG filament is frequently used in 3D printing because of its chemical resistance, durability, and ease of printing. It is utilized in a variety of industries, including as consumer products, automotive, and aerospace, to produce mechanical components, end-use parts, and functional prototypes. PETG is appropriate for large parts and complex geometries since it prints with less warping and strong layer adhesion.
  • PETG’s toughness, clarity, and resistance to sterilizing treatments make it a popular choice for packaging materials. Food and drink containers, pharmaceutical packaging, and cosmetic packaging are among its frequent uses. Its toughness guarantees the safety and integrity of the packaged goods, while its transparency lets customers view the contents clearly.
  • PETG is frequently utilized in the production of medical devices because of its sterilizability, biocompatibility, and clarity. It is utilized in items like IV tubes, catheters, surgical tools, and housings for medical equipment. PETG is perfect for usage in medical environments where sterility is essential because of its resistance to gamma and electron beam sterilization.
  • Because of its clarity, durability to impact, and ease of production, PETG sheets are frequently utilized in signs and display applications. They are utilized for trade fair exhibits, point-of-purchase displays, protective barriers, and interior and outdoor signage. PETG’s impact resistance guarantees longevity in high-traffic areas, while its optical clarity makes it appropriate for applications where aesthetics are crucial.
  • Since PETG is resistant to impact, chemicals, and severe environments, it finds use in a variety of automotive applications. It is utilized for both external and interior parts, including headlight covers, taillight covers, and sunroof panels. Interior uses include trim pieces, door panels, and instrument panels. PETG is appropriate for automotive applications because of its capacity to retain its mechanical qualities throughout a broad temperature range.
  • PETG sheets are frequently utilized in thermoforming procedures to produce blister packs, clamshells, and packaging trays. PETG is perfect for packaging applications where product visibility is crucial and protection is needed because of its exceptional formability, impact resistance, and clarity.
  • PETG is frequently utilized because of its clarity, resilience to impact, and ease of production in the creation of point-of-purchase displays. It is simple to thermoform, CNC machine, or laser cut to make unique displays that are durable and successfully promote products in retail settings.
  • PETG is utilized in the production of electronics for things like protective covers, display panels, and housing for electronic components. It is appropriate for usage in a variety of electronic components and devices due to its chemical resistance, durability, and electrical insulating qualities.

Advantages and Limitations of PETG

Some of the advantages of PETG are:

  • PETG offers excellent transparency, making it an ideal choice for applications where visibility is important, such as in display cases, retail packaging, and signage.
  • PETG demonstrates strong resistance to a variety of substances, such as solvents, acids, and alkalis. Because of this feature, it can be used in places like laboratories and factories where workers may be exposed to a variety of toxins.
  • Because PETG is easily recyclable, it has a lower environmental impact and promotes sustainability when used to create new goods or materials. It is frequently employed in the manufacturing of recycled PETG sheets and other items made of recycled plastic.
  • PETG is a better material for applications where durability is crucial since it is more impact-resistant than acrylic and glass. Its ability to endure moderate to intense blows without breaking or shattering lowers the possibility of damage during handling or transit.

Some of the limitations of PETG are:

  • PETG is nonetheless prone to scratches even if it is more scratch-resistant than acrylic, especially when subjected to harsh cleaning solutions or abrasive materials. In some situations, it could be necessary to apply extra coatings or surface treatments to improve scratch resistance.
  • PETG’s affordability may be impacted by its higher price compared to some alternative thermoplastics, such as acrylic or polystyrene, particularly for large-scale or budget-conscious projects. However, in many applications, its adaptability and performance qualities frequently outweigh the increased cost.
  • Because PETG is hygroscopic, it gradually absorbs moisture from its surroundings. Particularly in humid environments, moisture absorption can have an impact on mechanical qualities, optical clarity, and dimensional stability. In order to reduce moisture absorption and maintain material performance, proper handling and storage procedures must be followed.
  • PETG’s applicability for high-temperature applications is limited by its comparatively low softening temperature when compared to other thermoplastics. It is not appropriate for situations where heat resistance is crucial since it can distort or lose its shape when subjected to high temperatures.
  • When exposed to prolonged sunlight or ultraviolet (UV) radiation, PETG may yellow or degrade, compromising its overall look and optical clarity. To increase UV protection and extend service life in outdoor applications, UV stabilizers or additives can be added to PETG compositions.

Advantages of PETG Compared to PLA

  • PETG resists shock loading better because it is more elastic.
  • Compared to PLA, PETG has greater chemical stability.
  • Because PETG is more impact-resistant than PLA, there is a lower chance of fracture.
  • PETG is more abrasion-resistant than PLA because of its increased hardness.

Disadvantages of PETG Compared to PLA

  • PETG is more difficult than PLA to hand polish.
  • PETG needs to be processed at a higher temperature than PLA.


PLA is a thermoplastic that is both eco-friendly and multipurpose. It can be used for everything from 3D printing and prototyping to making art and throwaway objects. Because of its brilliant color possibilities, biodegradability, and ease of printing, it is a popular alternative among educators, creators, and environmentally aware consumers.

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Uses of PLA in 3D printing

  • Because of its special qualities, PLA is a flexible material in the field of 3D printing. For novices and enthusiasts, its low melting point and simplicity of usage make it a popular option. In educational contexts, where user-friendliness and safety are top priorities, it is frequently utilized.
  • Prototyping is one of the most popular applications for PLA . It’s perfect for this because it can print with a lot of detail and comes in a variety of colors. An inexpensive physical model of a design can be produced rapidly by engineers and designers, giving them the opportunity to test and fix any problems before committing to more costly production techniques.
  • PLA is also utilized in the manufacturing of household goods, toys, and ornamental objects. Because of its biodegradability, it is a more environmentally responsible option for things that might eventually be thrown away. It’s crucial to remember that just because PLA is biodegradable, it doesn’t necessarily decompose fully or rapidly in a home composting system.
  • PLA has been utilized in the medical field to make surgical models, which help surgeons plan intricate treatments in advance. It is also utilized in the development of drug delivery systems, theranostics, and biomedical scaffolds for implants. Implant scaffolds don’t require a second surgery to remove because they can gradually degrade within the body.
  • PLA is useful for a lot of things, but not all things. Due to its low melting point, it should not be used for items that will be subjected to high temperatures, like automotive components found under the hood. It is not the ideal option for mechanical parts or things that will be subjected to heavy use because it is also not as resilient to impact or as robust as some other 3D printing materials.

Advantages of PLA Compared to PETG

  • When manufactured with FDM, PLA yields pieces with a greater cosmetic quality than PETG.
  • Compared to PETG, PLA is more environmentally friendly.
  • PLA may be used with a greater variety of equipment because it melts at a lower temperature.
  • Compared to PETG, PLA is better suitable for hand finishing.

Disadvantages of PLA Compared to PETG

  • Compared to PETG, PLA is weaker and more likely to fracture.
  • PLA’s interlayer bonding is not as good. Compared to PETG components, PLA parts are more anisotropic.
  • PETG is less likely to string than PLA. A few printer settings need to be adjusted for this.
  • Compared to PETG parts, PLA parts are less temperature stable and more vulnerable to moisture and UV radiation.

PETG Vs PLA: Major Differences

Polyethylene terephthalate modified with glycol; impact-resistant, resilient, transparentAliphatic polyester thermoplastic from renewable materials like sugarcane or maize starch; environmentally friendly, easy to print
More flexible and impact-resistant; better layer adhesion, less warpingBrittle; stiff and inflexible, more likely to break under stress
Higher printing temperature, prone to stringing; requires correct settings and calibrationHighly printable; lower printing temperature, less warping, suitable for beginners
Glass transition temperature (Tg) of 80–85°C; higher resistance to deformation at high temperaturesGlass transition temperature between 60–65°C; prone to softening and distortion at higher temperatures
Not biodegradable; derived from non-renewable resources but recyclableBiodegradable and compostable under the right conditions; lower carbon impact due to renewable resources
Clear, glossy prints; suitable for applications requiring high optical clarityMatte finish; available in a wide variety of colors; ideal for creative and decorative prints
Stronger intra-layer bonding, better for small featuresBetter for preserving component accuracy; reduced warping, improved printability; may creep under constant strain
Mechanical parts, functional parts, impact-resistant applications like prototypes, protective cases, and mechanical partsEducational purposes, creative models, prototypes, decorative prints due to brilliant colors and ease of printin

    In conclusion, PETG and PLA are suited for different applications because of their unique qualities. While PLA is preferred for its brilliant colors, biodegradability, and ease of printing, making it appropriate for decorative and instructional purposes, PETG is preferred for its greater strength, durability, and temperature tolerance, making it perfect for functional parts.


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    Kabita Sharma

    Kabita Sharma, a Central Department of Chemistry graduate, is a young enthusiast interested in exploring nature's intricate chemistry. Her focus areas include organic chemistry, drug design, chemical biology, computational chemistry, and natural products. Her goal is to improve the comprehension of chemistry among a diverse audience through writing.

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