In your 3D printer, several parts perform functions to make sure the printer runs smoothly. Arguably, the most important component of all of is the hotend.
Why? The hotend is the part that melts the filament into thin straight lines and deposits it on the print bed. It affects everything from the printing temperature to the speed to even the quality of the printed object.
So, to get the best out of your 3D printer, it’s a great idea to invest in a quality hot end.
In this article, I’m going to help you do just that. I have put together a list of some of the best 3D printer hotends on the market. I also added some of the things to look for before buying.
Using our criteria, I’ve checked out the all-metal hot ends available on the market. After evaluating them, I’ve come up with a list of the six best all-metal hotends.
Price: Around $60 | Material: Aluminum (Cooling block, Heat block), Titanium (Heat break) | Temperature Range: 260°C+ | Compatibility: Creality printers / 1.75mm filament
The Micro Swiss all-metal Hotend kit is an excellent replacement for non-metal parts stock hot end. It is built with premium materials like titanium and aluminum to ensure top-notch service and little wear.
Furthermore, it is also easy to install, requiring no modification at all to the firmware.
The Micro Swiss Hotend comes with aluminum cooling and heating blocks, a brass-plated wear-resistant nozzle, and a Grade 5 titanium heat break. The nozzle is replaceable, and the printer supports nozzle sizes from 0.2mm to 1.2mm.
The titanium heat break is where this hot end shines. Titanium offers up to three times less thermal conductivity than conventional stainless steel. It helps the hotend in creating a more defined melt zone.
It is said that this hotend can hit temperatures of 260°C without any changes, then it requires a firmware flash by changing the configuration.h file to reach higher temperatures, but you only want to do this if your printer has the capabilities.
Some have mentioned that low-cost 3D printers have the bare minimum when it comes to the wiring and the circuit which can overload in some cases.
The hotend circuitry should be the same as the heated bed circuitry which draws a lot more power, so the power to the hotend should be safer, as long as the wires are up to par.
Another thing to keep in mind is how the accuracy of your thermistor reduces as you go into those higher temperatures, but for most materials, you don’t need to go so high regardless.
Even for Polycarbonate, you can get low temperature versions like the Easy PC CPE Filament from Filament.ca that requires around 240-260°C and a bed of 95°C.
The Micro Swiss hotend is easy to install and even comes with tools in the box for that. Its superior build quality and ease of installation have already made it a favorite of users.
There is no need for firmware modifications to make it work. The hotend is plug-and-play. Many users describe this as an excellent piece of kit which provides amazing results from day 1.
One user who had clogging issues with their Ender 5 Pro tried many solutions to no avail. Once they bit the bullet and got themselves the Micro-Swiss All-Metal Hotend Kit, they could finally print without problems.
The Hotend itself feels like a premium product which is fairly expensive, but the results show how worthy it is.
Another user described it as a “first class upgrade for my Ender 3 Pro” due to having a significant improvement on their 3D prints.
If you are experiencing issues like heat-creep, many people have solved it by getting themseves this hotend.
Some people have complained about a leaking nozzle or heat creep, but this usually comes down to not following the right installation instructions.
To reduce clogging, Micro-Swiss say to have a maximum retraction of 1.5mm at 35mm/s.
Pros of the Micro Swiss All-Metal Hotend Kit
- Comes with a wear-resistant nozzle.
- Can print high-temperature materials.
- Doesn’t require a heat tube replacement.
Cons of the Micro Swiss All-Metal Hotend Kit
- Tends to clog when printing with low-temperature filaments.
- There have been reports of nozzle leakage.
- It’s a bit expensive considering electronics aren’t in the box.
The Micro Swiss all-metal hot end ticks all the right boxes when it comes to design and materials. But when buying such a premium hotend, the issues and long-term viability should give any buyer pause.
If you want to transform your 3D printing experience, whether on your Ender 3, Ender 5, or other compatible 3D printer, get yourself the Micro-Swiss All-Metal Hotend Kit today.
Price: Around $60 | Material: Aluminum (Cooling block, Heating block), Stainless Steel (Heating break) | Temperature range: 300°C | Compatibility: Almost all printers / 1.75mm & 3.0mm filaments
The E3D V6 all-metal hot end is the gold standard for all-metal hotends in 3D printing. Its reliability and versatility have made it a favorite among 3D printing enthusiasts for years.
It’s used widely in 3D printing with various printers and materials.
Another reason this hot end is so popular is its modularity. The E3D V6 comes with an extensive support ecosystem of different parts for different printing scenarios. You can easily swap out parts and configure the hot end for any printing scenario.
The E3D V6 is a machined metal build. It comes with an Aluminum heat sink and heater block break. The Heat break, however, is made out of stainless steel. The nozzle is made out of brass, but it can be easily replaced with a wide variety of options.
It can be fit on many 3D printers, but in some cases, you’ll need a modification and a mount for 3D printers like the Creality CR-6 SE and Di Vinci Pro 1.0. There are plenty of custom carriages you can find on Thingiverse for your 3D printer.
The kit itself comes with many separate parts that you put together:
- 1 x Aluminium Heatsink (Contains brass embedded bowden coupling ring pre-fitted in top)
- 1 x Stainless Steel Heatbreak
- 1 x Brass Nozzle (0.4mm)
- 1 x Aluminium Heater Block
- 1 x 100K Semitec NTC thermistor
- 1 x 24v Heater Cartridge
- 1 x 24v 30x30x10mm fan
- 1 x High Temperature Fiberglass Wire – for Thermistor (150mm)
- 2 x 0.75mm Ferrules – for Solder-Free Wire Joins
- 4 x Plastfast 30 3.0 x 16 screws to attach the fan to the fan duct
- 1 x M3x3 socket dome screw and M3 washer to clamp thermistor
- 1 x M3x10 socket dome screw to clamp the heater block around the heater cartridge
- 1 x Fan Duct (Injection Moulded PC)
The E3D V6 All-Metal Hotend is a genuinely great hot end. It can be a little tricky to set up for first time users, but there are plenty of resources online for help.
To install, all you have to do is find the correct mounting for your printer on Thingiverse and follow directions.
However, for some unsupported printers, there still have to be some additional firmware modifications for the hot end to function properly.
This isn’t a deal-breaker as thermistors are replaceable.
One user who implemented this hotend and used it for around 50 hours said that it’s the best money they spent on their 3D printer. Since installing it, they haven’t had a single clog while using materials like PLA, ABS, and PETG.
There are a few reviews where the kit came with a faulty thermistor, but this can easily be replaced through their customer service or getting a set of your own.
- A great ecosystem of parts
- Superior build quality
- It has a complex installation process for some printers.
- There have been problems with its thermistors after delivery.
This hotend is hands down one of the best in its class. It combines effective design with a decent price, you’d be hard-pressed to find one with as much accessory support as this.
Get yourself the E3D V6 All-Metal Hotend from Amazon today.
Price: Around $140 | Material: Aluminum (Cooling block, Heating block), Stainless Steel (Heating break) | Temperature Range: 300°C | Compatibility: Almost all printers / 1.75mm & 3.0mm filaments
The E3D titan aero differs from all the hot ends on this list in the sense that it’s technically an extruder – hot end combo. It combines the design of the E3D V6 hot end with a Titan extruder to create a smaller, more compact extrusion system.
It’s a Direct Drive setup which means it has a much shorter filament path than Bowden, leading to less jamming or bending. This is perfect for flexible filaments or simply improving the quality of normal filament in many cases.
The Titan Aero’s compact design means it occupies less space than standard hotend/extruder combinations.
This design means it takes up less build volume on the Z-axis.
The Titan Aero is built on the bones of the E3D V6 system, so this means it inherits the modularity of the previous system. Most of the aftermarket accessories compatible with both the V6 hotend and the Titan extruder should work with it.
One of the key attributes of this extruder is how lightweight, reliable, and versatile it is performance-wise. It has the Titan 3:1 gearing ratio along with the compact and poweful motor, for low weight and pushing power.
The Titan comes with quite a bit of assembly required. There are videos and resources available online to guide users through the installation process.
Even with these resources, the process can be a little complex for inexperienced users.
The stock materials in the Titan limit the maximum printing temperatures. To print at higher temperatures with better materials, you’ll have to swap out these components.
As you may know, there are many knockoff versions of different 3D printers, and even hotends. One user had an E3D V6 knockoff and then changed over to the real thing, which led them to noticing a “tremendous difference in print quality”.
One user who has a 3D printing service implemented this in their operation and found it to be a great addition to print plenty of hours throughout the day.
The pankcake stepper motor is nice and compact, but you can even go with a Genuine E3D Slimline Motor to get an even more compact stepper.
Depending on what 3D printer you have, you can find an applicable mount on Thingiverse, which you’ll want to print out of ABS or PETG for the higher heat resistance.
Pros of the E3D Titan Aero
- Great space-saving design.
- Has a wide selection of accessories.
Cons of the E3D Titan Aero
- It is expensive.
- Assembly can be a bit complicated.
The Titan Aero offers a proven high-quality extruder and hotend design in a compact package. If you’re looking to revamp your extruder setup, this is the one for you.
But, if you’re already using a Titan extruder or a V6 nozzle, then this upgrade might not change much for you.
Get the E3D Titan Aero from Amazon.
Price: Around $85 | Material: High Strength Copper, Hardened Steel and Brass Alloy | Temperature Range: 500°C | Compatibility: All printers compatible with V6 / 1.75mm Filaments
The Phaetus Dragon is a premium all-metal hot end made for printing at high temperatures. It provides efficient thermal performance with consistent filament flow at high speeds.
This is due to the insulation provided by its heat break and the low inner roughness of its nozzle.
The Phaetus Dragon diverges from conventional hot end design by connecting the heat block to the heat sink with four stainless steel tubes. The heat transfer between these parts is lowered considerably with this design.
It also gives the hot end additional structural rigidity, which makes one-handed nozzle changes possible.
Nozzle replacement is made easier due to the internal frame structure, so it can be done without needing to hold the heat block.
Setting up the Phaetus Dragon is very easy due to its compact design. Although the Phaetus Dragon does not come with electronic parts in the box, it’s compatible with accessories used for the V6.
During printing, the hotend performs as advertised, spitting out filament consistently at high temperatures. However, users have reported clogging issues on the hot end. The clogging issues have been attributed to the improper mounting of the hotend.
Despite all these, when it comes to print quality, the Dragon consistently produces high-quality results.
If you do use a temperature of above 250°C for a long time, you’ll want to take the silicone sock off the hotend to prevent damage.
Pros of the Phaetus Dragon Hotend
- Fast heating and heat dissipation due to the copper build.
- High filament flow rate.
- High-temperature resistance.
Cons of the Phaetus Dragon Hotend
- Electronics do not come in the box.
- It clogs when printing with some materials.
- It is expensive.
The Dragon hotend is one of the best hotends on the market right now. If you’re looking for top-quality thermal performance at high printing speeds, then this hotend is for you.
You can find the Phaetus Dragon Hotend from Amazon.
Price: Around $160| Material: Copper Alloy (Heater Block), Copper Heat sink), Stainless Steel (Heat Break) | Temperature range: 450°C | Compatibility: Almost all printers / 1.75mm Filaments
The Mosquito Hotend is one of the more modern products on this list, but it is already proving to be one of the best.
It brings a new radical hot end design to the table. Instead of the traditional heat break, it builds everything off a single metal frame.
This gives it thermal and mechanical advantages over conventional hotends.
Why is this important? Since the heat break isn’t required to connect the parts, a more efficient copper heat sink can replace the traditional stainless steel heat break. It also makes installation easier since there are fewer parts.
Compared to a normal hotend, the heat break conducts 85% less heat into the heat sink compared to a normal heat break. You don’t need a large heat sink due to the reduction in heat transmission.
Also, with fewer moving parts in a compact design like that, the durability is increased.
It is an adaptable piece of kit that has four different mounting options, machined adapters, and plenty of options to mount to the 3D printer of your choice. You’ll find adapters on Thingiverse as usual.
They say how it’s especially ideal for 3D printers that support multi-extrusion setups.
When you get the Mosquito Hotend, it comes as a package:
- Mosquito Magnum Hotend
- Cooling Fan – 12v
- Mounting Kit – 9 screws, 2 washers, zip-tie
- 3 Hex Keys
Installing the Mosquito Hotend is very easy due to its design. You’ll need to get a special adapter if your printer’s mount is not supported. It’s as close as you can get to an actual plug-and-play hotend.
Replacing parts like the nozzle is even easier as you can do them one-handed.
Getting new accessories for the Mosquito hot end is no problem, as the hotend is compatible with the V6 range of products. When it comes to print quality, the mosquito hot end is no slouch.
It churns out great quality prints at elevated temperatures justifying its price tag.
Pros of the Mosquito Hotend
- Great design
- Wide range of compatible accessories
- High printing temperature range
Cons of the Mosquito Hotend
- Fairly expensive
- It does not come with electronics in the box
The Mosquito Hotend brings a new game-changing design built with top-notch materials to create a great product. It might be a little costly for some, but if you’re looking to upgrade to the best, then it doesn’t get any better than this.
Check out the Mosquito Hotend on Amazon for a real improvement in your 3D printing.
If you’re looking for a hot end to replace or upgrade what you have without breaking the bank, then this is for you. Just beware, you get what you pay for, nothing more and a little bit less.
Hotend Buying Guide
Quality hot ends can seriously change your printing activities for the better, but they can also be costly.
With an increasing amount of clones of famous brands on the market, it’s best to know what to look out for to avoid wasting money on substandard products.
To help in making your purchase decisions, let’s look at some of the things that make up a quality hot end:
Material And Build Quality
The type of materials used in the construction of the hot end is very important. It determines the mechanical properties of the hot end like durability, wear-resistance, and thermal conductivity.
The material can also influence the type of filaments used and the maximum print temperature.
When discussing materials, there are two main camps – All metal and PTFE hot ends. In this article, there is more of a focus on All-Metals hot ends. All-metal hotends can be built from brass, steel, or even aluminum.
The build quality is also a crucial property. Machined hot ends with modular, simple, and compact designs often fare better since there are fewer moving parts. They rarely suffer from flaws like clogs or creep because of their design.
The print temperature required is also a factor to consider when picking a hot end. When printing materials that need high temperatures like PEEK, it’s best to go for sturdier all-metal hotends.
These hot ends can resist the thermal stresses encountered efficiently.
Accessories cover all the functioning parts of the hot end ranging from the heating block to the nozzle. For the best results, it’s best to use hotends with a modular design. You can change components on these hotends as the situation requires.
These accessories include nozzles, thermistors, etc.
Also, with components like heater cartridges and thermal probes that fail frequently, the importance of quality accessories cannot be understated. If they fail, it’s crucial to know you can easily find replacements.
All hotends are not universally compatible with all printers. There are usually differences that pop up due to differences in firmware, printer configuration, etc.
A mark of a good hotend is it is compatible with a wide range of printers without requiring much in the way of modifications.
Tips For Buying A Great All-Metal Hotend
Factoring in all the advice given above, I’ve come up with some tips to help guide you when purchasing your hot end. These tips are a checklist of sorts to follow before making a decision.
Let’s take a look at them:
- Always double check to see if the nozzle is compatible with your 3D printer.
- If there are a lot of knockoffs, then the hot end is a great product. Just be careful not to buy a fake.
- Always check if the hot end you are using can handle the material you want to use. Not all hotends can handle abrasive, flexible, or high-temperature filaments.
- When printing for food or medical applications, never get a brass nozzle. Stick with non-toxic metals like steel or aluminum.
Advantages And Disadvantages of All-Metal Hotends
Earlier in the article, I mentioned that there are many types of hotends like all-metal, PTFE, and PEEK. But throughout this list, I’ve focused on all-metal hotends to the detriment of all others.
This is because all-metal hotends offer certain advantages that other brands do not. Let’s take a look at some of these advantages:
- All-metal hotends can print at higher temperatures.
- They can handle a wider range of filaments better.
- The PTFE liner no longer has to be replaced regularly.
Although all metal hotends are better performance-wise than their peers, there are still some areas where these other hot ends take the cake over them. Some of these disadvantages are:
- They are more expensive than other hotends
- They produce slightly worse results at lower temperatures.
- Jamming and clogging are more likely to happen