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2019 Best 3D Printer Extruder Hot Ends

Picture of Hironori Kondo
by Hironori Kondo
Aug 25, 2019
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When shopping for the best hot end for your 3D printer, there are some things that you should consider. Check out the best 3D printer extruder hot ends on the market.

An assembled hot end.
An assembled hot end. (Source: Deltaprintr)

The hot end is probably the most important component of your FDM 3D printer. It is responsible for melting the printer’s plastic feedstock (filament) into thin, precise lines for printing. It’ll affect how likely your prints are to fail, what kinds of materials you can print, how fast you can print them, and how cleanly your prints will come out. But, with so many options out there, which is the right one for you?

Here, we’ll take a look at five of the best hot ends on the market, breaking down each one to discover what exactly makes a quality product.

Let’s get started!

What Makes a Quality Hot End?

When shopping for a hot end, there are some things that you should consider:

  • Determine what materials you want to print with. Some 3D printer hot ends can reach temperatures up to 300 °C, offering you a new range of professional 3D printing materials.
  • For years of 3D printing, it’s better to have good quality than to save a few bucks. Frustration costs more than slightly cheaper products.
  • Quality materials and excellent machining make good 3D printer hot ends.
  • A good design and compatibility with many 3D printers are extremely important. One indicator of good design is a lot of clones on the market.
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1

Best 3D Printer Extruder Hot Ends E3D V6

Image of Best 3D Printer Extruder Hot Ends: <span class="link" data-action="modal-open" data-modal-ajax="/en/product-overlay/85480/limit/0/">E3D V6</span>
The one, the only. (Source: E3D)

The genuine E3D V6 is often hailed as the gold standard for all-metal hot ends, and for good reason. Its tried-and-true reliability has proven itself capable of producing high-quality prints across a vast range of materials. With thousands of users running this hot end (or one of its many knock-off clones) on hundreds of different machines, the E3D V6 family of components will likely work on yours, too.

You heard that right: the E3D V6 family. A major reason for the V6’s incredible popularity is its ever-expanding ecosystem of parts. From tiny, 0.15-mm nozzles to the hefty SuperVolcano, from standard brass nozzles to the nickel-plated, WS2-coated, tool-steel Nozzle X, E3D has an unrivaled range of parts for every user and use case. There’s something for every temperature range and every material.

It’s hard to not recommend the E3D V6 hot end to anyone, because it’s built for everyone! With more customization options than most of us would ever dream of, the V6 is sure to have you covered — just make sure to buy a genuine one!

3D printer hot end specs: E3D V6

  • Filament size: 1.75 mm, 3 mm
  • Supported 3D printers: Fits on most FDM printers
  • Price: $30 to $100, depending on the model and kit

E3D V6

Product image of E3D V6 Hot End
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2

Best 3D Printer Extruder Hot Ends Slice Engineering Mosquito

Image of Best 3D Printer Extruder Hot Ends: <span class="link" data-action="modal-open" data-modal-ajax="/en/product-overlay/149601/limit/0/">Slice Engineering Mosquito</span>
Non-standard appearance, above-standard performance. (Source: sliceengineering.com)

The Slice Engineering Mosquito is a relatively new product that brings a radical, but quite successful, take on the traditional hot end design. Instead of consisting of a heat sink connected to a heater block via a thin, metal heat “break”, it builds everything off of a sturdy metal frame.

This offers a number of benefits: for thermal performance, the large, aluminum heatsink used by most other hot ends can be replaced by a more efficient copper one, as the sink no longer has to sustain any mechanical load. This means that heat creep, notorious for causing jams and poor print quality, is effectively eliminated.

Using this hot end is also greatly simplified, as the heater block is connected directly to the frame via four stiff rods. This makes mounting a breeze, with no oddly-shaped mounts to worry about. One-handed nozzle changes are also finally possible, with no heat break to potentially damaging. Speaking of nozzles, the Mosquito is compatible with E3D’s entire range of products, and Slice Engineering also produces their own Vanadium nozzles.

The Mosquito hot end proves that plug-and-play ease of use does not have to come at the cost of quality. If you’re looking for a no-fuss hot end that can deliver top-of-the-line performance, and you’re willing to pay for it, the Mosquito is for you.

3D printer hot end specs: Slice Engineering Mosquito

  • Filament size: 1.75 mm
  • Supported 3D printers: Fits on most FDM printers
  • Price: $145 to $175, depending on the model

Slice Engineering Mosquito

Product image of Slice Engineering Mosquito Hot End
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Best 3D Printer Extruder Hot Ends DisTech Automation Prometheus V2

Image of Best 3D Printer Extruder Hot Ends: DisTech Automation Prometheus V2
The DisTech Prometheus V2 hot end. (Source: distechautomation.com)

German DisTech Automation hot ends are known for their reliability and compatibility. On first sight, the Prometheus V2 may appear similar to the E3D V6, another all-metal hot end, but a number of features set it apart.

Most immediately noticeable are the flat faces of the heat sink, which make mounting the Prometheus much more enjoyable. Fewer community-designed mounts for it exist, but the flat design makes up for this by making the V2 much easier to attach to flat plates on your printer’s X carriage.

The nozzle is also unique, as the Prometheus comes stock with one made of stainless steel. This offers a slight increase in wear resistance over conventional brass nozzles and makes it possible to print food-safe items.

While documentation and community discourse around the V2 are relatively lacking, most users who have tried it have not regretted it. If you’re looking for a reliable take on a fairly conventional hot end design, you can’t go wrong with the Prometheus V2.

3D printer hot end specs: DisTech Automation Prometheus V2

  • Size: 1.75 mm, 3 mm
  • Supported 3D printers: Fits on most FDM printers
  • Price: $79
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Best 3D Printer Extruder Hot Ends Diabase Flexion Extruder

Image of Best 3D Printer Extruder Hot Ends: <span class="link" data-action="modal-open" data-modal-ajax="/en/product-overlay/89718/limit/0/">Diabase Flexion Extruder</span>
The standard single Flexion Extruder. (Source: flexionextruder.com)

The Flexion Extruder is designed for doing one thing really well: printing flexibles. Flexibles are notoriously difficult to handle, but the Flexion, manufactured by the same makers of the patented Ninjaflex filament, tackles them head-on to pump out flexible plastic twice as fast as most other hot ends are capable of.

How is this accomplished? For one, the Flexion has a very restricted filament path, which prevents flexibles from squeezing out in efforts to take the path of least resistance. Moreover, the feeder is specifically designed with micro-teeth that better grip flexibles, and a replaceable wire brush is constantly clearing out the feeder teeth to ensure a consistent grip. This will land you a company-claimed 70-mm/s print speed with a 0.4-mm nozzle and 0.2-mm layer height, a respectable speed even for non-flexibles.

Diabase offers single and dual kits; a high-temperature kit; and an extruder-only, E3D-compatible assembly, covering the most extreme of flexible printing setups. If you know that you need a reliable way to tackle flexible materials, the Flexion is for you.

3D printer hot end specs: Diabase Flexion Extruder

  • Size: 1.75 mm
  • Supported 3D printers: Can fit on many FDM printers but fits most easily on printers with Mk8, 9, and 10 hot ends. For the most up-to-date list of supported machines, check out the official Flexion website.
  • Price: $149

Diabase Flexion Extruder

Product image of Diabase Flexion Extruder
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Best 3D Printer Extruder Hot Ends E3D Titan Aero

Image of Best 3D Printer Extruder Hot Ends: <span class="link" data-action="modal-open" data-modal-ajax="/en/product-overlay/89541/limit/0/">E3D Titan Aero</span>
Two high-end devices in one! (Source: E3D)

To round off our list, we have another addition from E3D, this time the Titan Aero. A hybrid of their popular E3D V6 hot end and Titan extruder, the Titan Aero is designed to be a compact, high-performance assembly for direct-drive 3D printers.

The Titan Aero takes E3D’s Titan extruder design and attaches a heatsink directly to it (depicted above), eliminating the need for an external heatsink. What this effectively amounts to is an immensely shortened direct-drive assembly, with the filament feeding from the extruder straight into the heater block.

This extreme compactness is useful for printing at high speeds, where quick acceleration may induce wobble in longer, less sturdily-mounted extruder assemblies, as well as for dramatically increasing print volume. It should be noted, however, that there are no weight savings compared to a standard V6 and Titan, as this heatsink design does add extra mass.

Of course, being an E3D product, you also reap the benefits of having a full E3D ecosystem of parts to choose from, making the Titan Aero easily customizable to suit any budget and need. Mounting is also greatly simplified, as the Aero features a mounting plate with standard hole patterns.

Overall, if you’re looking to pack E3D performance and compatibility into the tiniest package possible, the Titan Aero is for you.

3D printer hot end specs: E3D Titan Aero

  • Size: 1.75 mm, 3 mm
  • Supported 3D printers: Fits on most FDM printers
  • Price: $100 to $220, depending on the model

E3D Titan Aero

Product image of E3D Titan Aero Hot End
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Best 3D Printer Extruder Hot Ends There You Go!

Image of Best 3D Printer Extruder Hot Ends: There You Go!
The E3D Titan Aero Gold. (Source: E3D)

There you have our top five 3D printer extruder hot ends of 2019. Hopefully, we helped you figure out what sets each hot end apart and which is best for you!

For more on hot ends, extruders, and the like:

Happy printing!

Feature image sources: Thomas Sanladerer / YouTube, E3D

License: The text of "2019 Best 3D Printer Extruder Hot Ends" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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