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Some Like It Hot

8 Best E3D Hot Ends & Alternatives

Picture of Melanie Griffin
by Melanie Griffin
Nov 14, 2019
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Being some of the best in the 3D printing realm, E3D hot ends have plenty of variants and alternatives. Make the best choice for your printer with this compilation of the best E3D hot ends and alternatives.

E3D Hot Ends & Alternatives

The Beloved Brand

E3D has a variety of hot end kits for your 3D printer
E3D has a variety of hot end kits for your 3D printer (Source: Amazon)

Hot ends are crucial for successful FDM 3D printing, and British manufacturer E3D is a beloved name in the game. They make all manner of mainstream and also niche hot ends that the community has enjoyed. But because E3D is an open-source hardware manufacturer, they’ve also inspired dozens of imitators.

Alternatives vs Clones

Alternatives are hot ends that are made for the same type of usage as E3D hot ends but aren’t constructed from the same design. They may not necessarily be less expensive than E3D hot ends, but they offer different features that might suit your use case better.

Clones are exact replicas of E3D’s designs made and sold by other brands, often at lower price points so a broader range of users can afford to experience them.

In the following, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite E3D hot ends as well as their alternatives and reliable clones. Each pick is labeled so you’ll know exactly what you’re looking at, and we also explain why we recommend it.

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E3D Hot Ends & Alternatives

E3D v6

The E3D v6 hot end is made of all metal, which makes it great for high heat printing
The E3D v6 hot end is made completely of metal, which makes it great for high-temperature printing (Source: Filastruder)

E3D is the gold standard of hot ends for a few reasons, and one of them is the E3D v6 hot end. It’s an upgrade you can add to almost any FDM 3D printer for smoother-flowing filament, higher heat resistance, and all-metal capabilities.

E3D designed the v6 for the hobbyist who wants to try everything without worrying about switching equipment. There’s a plethora of swappable nozzles in hardened steel and different sizes for you to switch up the printing experience, all without needing too change the entire hot end assembly.

  • Classification: Original E3D product
  • Printing temperature: Up to 300 °C
  • Filament size: 1.75 mm, 3.0 mm
  • Price: Roughly $55
  • What makes it unique: The best part of the E3D v6 hot end is its ability to withstand printing temperatures up to 300 °C. The E3D v6 hot end is a great excuse to start experimenting with these types of materials.
E3D V6
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E3D Hot Ends & Alternatives

E3D Cyclops+

The Cyclops' dual extruders let you print with two different filament colors
This hot end allows you to use two different color at once (Source: Ooznest)

Sometimes more is more, and the E3D Cyclops+ shows how you can add to a design without sacrificing simplicity. This dual-filament hot end is designed to feed two materials of different colors into a single extruder, thus giving you greater printing flexibility without making the rest of your print any more complicated than its monochrome relatives.

  • Classification: Original E3D product
  • Printing temperature range: Up to 300 °C
  • Filament size: 1.75 mm
  • Price: Roughly $115
  • What makes it unique: E3D designed the Cyclops+ to give you an easy way to switch between two colors within the same extruder nozzle.
E3D Cyclops+
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E3D Hot Ends & Alternatives

E3D Chimera+

The mounted Chimera hot end completing a dual-color print
The mounted Chimera hot end completing a dual-color print (Source: theccontinuum / Reddit)

Building on the basic premise of the Cyclops, the E3D Chimera+ has two extruder nozzles in addition to two hot ends for filaments to feed through. Its multiple inputs and outputs make it the choice for complex issues like a 3D print that requires a lot of support filament in small gaps between the structural filament. If you want to combine different types of filament as well as varying colors, the Chimera+ has your back.

  • Classification: Original E3D product
  • Printing temperature range: up to 300 °C
  • Filament size: 1.75 mm
  • Price: Roughly $95
  • What makes it unique: Two hot ends and two extruders means another dimension added to your 3D printing artistry. Not only does the Chimera+ give you space to use two filament colors like the Cyclops, but its separate extruders can also take on two different types of filament at the same time.
E3D Chimera+
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E3D Hot Ends & Alternatives

E3D Volcano

The E3D Volcano hot end is made for speedy prints
The E3D Volcano hot end is made for speedy prints (Source: Filastruder)

E3D created the Volcano to massively reduce your printing time without sacrificing any quality. It’s an add-on that increases the printing speed of any E3D hot end you prefer with a simple self-assembly process that mirrors the v6’s.

Built to print large layers, the Volcano comes with a range of nozzle sizes ranging from 0.6-1.2 mm. Note that these nozzles are longer than typical hot end nozzles, so be aware that they do sacrifice some Z-space.

  • Classification: Original E3D product
  • Printing temperature range: up to 300 °C
  • Filament size: 1.75 mm, 3.0 mm
  • Price: Roughly $60
  • What makes it unique: The Volcano takes a downside of the 3D printing process – slow speed – and fixes it. Its ability to adapt to any E3D hot end also makes it flexible.
E3D Volcano
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E3D Hot Ends & Alternatives

Diamond Trippe (Alternative)

The Diamond Trippe hot end runs three colors of filament through one extruder
The Diamond Trippe hot end runs three colors of filament through one nozzle (Source: Ali Express)

The Diamond Trippe most closely resembles E3D’s Cyclops. However, there are a couple crucial differences that keep them from being interchangeable.

The most notable is that the Diamond Trippe hot end gives you more filament feeds into the single extruder nozzle they all use. If you’re eager to get started 3D printing with multiple colors, the Diamond Trippe hot end gives you more options without complication.

If you’re having trouble picturing the Diamond Trippe hot end’s process, check out RepRap’s demo, or this fun dual-color die print from Gilles Bouissac.

  • Classification: Alternative
  • Printing temperature range: up to 300 °C
  • Filament size: 1.75 mm, 3.0 mm
  • Price: Roughly $220
  • What makes it unique: Like the Cyclops+, the Diamond Trippe hot end lets you combine more than one filament into one extruder nozzle. Unlike the Cyclops+, the Diamond Trippe gives you three filament feeders, which you can switch between for single-color blocks or combine for gradients or color mixes.
Diamond Trippe Hot End
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E3D Hot Ends & Alternatives

J Head (Alternative)

The MK V-BV J-Head hot end
The MK V-BV J-Head hot end (Source: gcreate.com)

The J Head is the closest you’ll get to a lot of the E3D line. This hot end uses a PEEK tube, so it can’t quite get up to the temperature that a E3D v6 can, but its thin construction makes it great for a Bowden setup.

Since Bowden systems keep the filament feeder further away from the extruder, the J Head hot end gives you more room and less weight on the parts that actually do the printing. That’s a big advantage for large 3D prints.

  • Classification: Alternative
  • Printing temperature range: Up to 247 °C
  • Filament size: 1.75 mm, 3.0 mm
  • Price: Roughly $25
  • What makes it unique: For those 3D printing enthusiasts who’re looking for something lightweight but still completely competent, the J Head hot end gives E3D’s Lite6 a run for its money. Though similar in design, the J Head is 13 mm shorter, thus making it less obtrusive in the Z-axis.
J Head Hot End
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E3D Hot Ends & Alternatives

Hexagon (Alternative)

A Hexagon hot end adds steadying weight to your printing arm
A Hexagon hot end is a reliable v6 alternative from Lulzbot (Source: My Home Fab)

With its solid construction and maximized heat resistance, the Hexagon is a heavyweight champ. It’s in direct competition with the E3D v6 hot end, coming in at around the same price. If you’re wavering on the E3D, the Hexagon has all the features you’ll need to 3D print high-temperature objects, as well.

  • Classification: Alternative
  • Printing temperature range: up to 300 °C
  • Filament size: 3.0 mm
  • Price: Roughly $70.00
  • What makes it unique: The Hexagon hot end is made entirely from metal, so it withstands printing temperatures up to 300 °C, just like the E3D v6.
LulzBot v2 (Hexagon) Hot End
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E3D Hot Ends & Alternatives

Mosquito (Alternative)

Image of: 8. <span class="link" data-action="modal-open" data-modal-ajax="/en/product-overlay/149601/limit/0/">Mosquito</span> (Alternative)
The distinct form factor of a Mosquito hot end (Source: Hackaday)

Slice Engineering created the Mosquito as a solution to a few typical but frustrating issues they kept finding in high-heat 3D printing processes. It rivals E3D’s v6 in performance and surpasses it in ruggedness, withstanding temperature heights that easily warp lesser hot ends. It does come with a higher price tag, but if you haven’t found a hot end that can hold up to your imagination, the Mosquito may be exactly what you need.

  • Classification: Alternative
  • Printing temperature range: up to 550 °C
  • Filament size: 1.75 mm
  • Price: Roughly $140
  • What makes it unique: Slice outfits the Mosquito with copper instead of the typical aluminum used in hot ends, and that makes a big difference. (Almost 300 °C worth of difference.) Copper is almost twice as heat-conductive as aluminum, so the Mosquito’s heat sink is that much more effective than the typical hot end.
Slice Engineering Mosquito
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E3D Hot Ends & Alternatives

Gulfcoast Robotics All-Metal (Clone)

Gulfcoast Robotics' All Metal V6 Bowden Extruder Hot End sometimes out-performs its E3D namesake
Gulfcoast Robotics' All Metal V6 Bowden Extruder Hot End sometimes outperforms its E3D namesake (Source: Amazon)

If you’re worried about the quality of E3D clones versus the real thing, Gulfcoast Robotics will change your mind. Their all-metal Bowden hot end uses quality materials to give you the v6 experience without the v6 price tag. It’s also a highly-rated bestseller at Amazon, which means you’re quite likely to enjoy it.

  • Classification: Clone
  • Printing temperature range: Up to 300 °C
  • Filament size: 1.75 mm
  • Price: $20
  • What makes it unique: Unlike a lot of E3D clones, this hot end lives up to its claim of all-metal. This gives it the performance of the E3D v6 hot end at a fraction of the price and with less “heat creep” than its namesake. Gulfcoast’s flat-ended PTFE tubing makes filament-feeding a breeze, and the accompanying fan keeps everything flowing smoothly.
Gulfcoast Robotics All-metal Bowden Hot End
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E3D Hot Ends & Alternatives

E3D v6 & Volcano Kit (Clone)

MacEwan3D bundles their V6 and Volcano clones together for the perfect 3D printing pair
MacEwan3D bundles their v6 and Volcano nozzle clones together for the perfect 3D printing pair (Source: MacEwan3D)

MacEwan3D recognized how E3D’s v6 design and Volcano nozzles go together like peanut butter and jelly, so they went ahead and made their clone kit!

MacEwan3D stands out for its customer support and out-of-the-box experience, adding more than just the necessary accessories to its bundle. And at about half the price of a genuine E3D hot end, you can load up on other accessories that catch your fancy.  

  • Classification: Clone
  • Printing temperature range: up to 300 °C
  • Filament size: 1.75 mm
  • Price: Roughly $25
  • What makes it unique: You get two E3D hot end effects for the price of one with this set of V6 and Volcano clones. The bundle is aimed at heavy users, harnessing the workhorse basics of the V6 design with the increased speed of the Volcano.
E3D V6 Clone Hot End with Volcano Kit
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(Lead image source: RepRap)

License: The text of "8 Best E3D Hot Ends & Alternatives" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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