Best 3D Printer Hot End Extruder Buying Guide [2018]

Hotends are one of the most important parts of a 3D printer, so it's important to pick the best one!

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3d printer hot end, hotend, best 3d printer hotend, best hot end

3D printing is a technology that has pulled the world closer to the future, even with many people doubting it at first since it sounded too good to be true. Since its inception, 3D printing has become a much more widely known and meticulously developed technology, to the point where DIY machines and various parts are available to almost everyone. The extruder hotend is one of the more integral parts of your 3D printer, and you have to make sure that it features the necessary build quality to make your project work out, and we’re here to help you pick the best one.

 

The Best Extruder Hotends on the Market

Over the course of this guide, we’re going to be covering some of the best extruder hotends on the market so that you can find the right one for your 3D printer at home. Most parts of 3D printing are quite complex so picking the best one for your particular needs requires some know-how. That’s why after we’ve covered the five best products in this category, we’ll also discuss what to look for in the right extruder hotend to help you make your purchase worthwhile.

 

1. Flexion Extruder Retrofit Kit

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First on our list is the Flexion Extruder Retrofit Kit. It features a precision machined mechanical components to provide tension to the printing filament and improve your prints.

Upon reception, the Flexion Extruder Retrofit Kit comes in a box where are all of the materials are secured by a form-fitting foam container. Flexion’s website gives you simple instructions on how to install it correctly. Main things to remember are to watch out for the sensor cables, and that the heater is fragile and needs to be used with care.

Once it’s leveled properly, the Flexion Extruder makes near perfect first layers. This means that you can use this hotend to make interesting first time 3D model printouts. Make sure that it’s placed a few inches above the final dimensions of your model to ensure that it prints out correctly.

Most hotends at this price has an issue with jamming the printer filaments. But not with the Flexion Extruder. It’s designed to keep your filaments locked in place while you’re printing to ensure that it keeps your final results looking fresh and in the right resolution.

Flexion Extruder Retrofit Kit is a good upgrade if your 3D printer needs an extra boost in speed, stability, and in functionality. By getting this hotend, you’ll give your printer the ability to create high-end results.

Pros
  • Easy installation
  • Filaments Don’t get jammed
  • Has 3 different nozzles 0.3, 0.4 ,0.5mm

Cons
  • No instructions
  • You have to use the software to utilize the Extruder


 

2. E3D Titan Aero Extruder Kit and Hotend

 

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Placed second on our list is the E3D Titan Aero. This extruder tries to get the best of both worlds of direct-drive and geared extruder, in one package. It also has a spring-loaded mechanism which allows you to release the filament quickly.

When it comes to printing performance, the E3D Titan Aero works better than its competitors. For instance, it has a great tooth profile and can grip almost anything from carbon fiber filament to flexibles.

Some consumers like this extruder because of its simple cleaning process. The gear drive is exposed to the extruder’s corner, so if you ever have to strip the filament, then it will be easy to clean out.

The E3D Titan Aero uses a tiny Nema 17 Stepper motor to help improve your 3D printer’s performance. Even when its torque starts to drop, the extruder still doesn’t lose any quality in its prints. Thus, you can continue to use this extruder due to its powerful motor.

While some customers found fault with the E3D Titan’s additional features, it still operates without any noticeable problems. One of these additional features is the tension adjustment nut that has a scale embedded next to it where users can set the adjustment range and idler tension. It goes from a loose range of 3 mm to completely tight, making it a great extruder of you want control over your printing results.

Pros
  • Fast Motor
  • Good Build Construction
  • Fast Printing Speed

Cons
  • Complex assembly


 

3. Kweiny MK10 Hotend Kit

 

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Fourth on the list is the Kweiny MK10 Hotend Kit. With this hotend extruder kit, you’ll have enough features to help maximize your 3D printer’s print quality.

The Kweiny MK10 Hotend Kit is known for its improved durability. For instance, it can print up to 500° with its high-temperature heater cartridge and around 300° with the saturated heater core. So your projects can remain to make high-quality prints when it’s in use.

Also, the hotend has great heat conductivity. Since it’s made out of brass, it has a heat conductivity that’s 7 times higher than stainless steel. The nozzle’s material has to be made of brass, so the filament’s temperature is the same as the thermistor, so it can melt plastic easier.

Consumers like this hotend because of its ability to work on multiple printers. These brass extruder hotends can fit on most popular 3D printer models such as the Monoprice 3D Printer and the da Vinci Jr. printer. Check to make sure your 3D printer is compatible before getting this hotend.

Look into the Kewiny MK10 Hotend Kit if you want something that’s versatile enough to work with almost any 3D printer. It has the heat conductivity to keep your prints safe and has a heating and cooling block to protect the final result. For 3D printers on a budget, this is a great option.

Pros
  • Heat resistance
  • Versatility
  • Easy to clean

Cons
  • Slow Printing Speed


 

4. E3D Kraken

 

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The E3D Kraken extruder housing holds four entire hotends. Each of the nozzles is temperature controllable and is Bowden fed individually. Kraken remains a lightweight and compact package despite its abilities such as water cooling and the Bowden couplers that are placed inside the body of the E3D Kraken.

The Kraken has a water cooling system which is used to help regulate the device’s temperature. With this feature, it helps keep the heat sinks cool and the HotEnds hot (as they should be).

If you do have any issues with the E3D Kraken, you’ll be directed towards their responsive customer service system. On average, it takes at least 1-3 days before they can assist you with your problem so you can continue utilizing their hotend products.

Basically, the E3D Kraken is a great tool for users who want a complex hotend that’s easy to assemble. With its 4 inputs and outputs, it gives you 4x the printing power to help you complete your projects.

Pros
  • Multiple inputs
  • Great build quality
  • Modular Ecosystem

Cons
  • Complex for beginner users


 

5. Hexagon Hotend

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Last is the Hexagon Hotend. This hotend has a small heating block which is used to print out your designs in complete detail. For users wanting an entry-level hotend that can improve the quality of their 3D printer, then look no further.

The Hexagon hotend is sold as a kit. The kit has very powerful 25mm and 40 mm fan options. Despite its small size, the 25 mm fan blows out a lot of air. With the 40mm fan, you can use it as an object fan as it also works on printing out larger objects.

Users also like this hotend because it comes pre-assembled. It also comes with a cartridge, alien keys, mounting plate, and a thermistor, giving you enough accessories to help get the most out of your prints.

You’ll also like this Hotend because of its multiple filament compatibility. The Hexagon Hotend allows you to hold up PLA, ABS, Nylon, PET, HIPS, and more. So you’ll have enough filament options to use for any 3D design project.

Mainly, the Hexagon Hotend is a good all-purpose extruder. It has enough filament options and can fit multiple nozzles (0.2mm, 0.4mm, etc.) to help increase the quality of your prints. So try out this hotend if you want a reliable tool in your workshop.

Pros
  • Supports multiple filaments
  • Pre-assembled
  • Added Z heights on your prints

Cons
  • Lack of assembly parts
  • Outdated instruction manual


Why You Need the Best Extruder Hotend

If you’re wondering why you need to put this much effort into finding the right extruder hotend for your needs, then we’ll further expand on the critical nature of this part. The extruder on your 3D printer functions similarly to the jet in an inkjet printer, moving around and depositing your filament.

In other words, the extruder is responsible for the fabrication of your 3D object. As you can imagine, the part of your 3D printer that does all of the mechanical work is a crucial component, and you have to make sure that it features excellent build quality. There are two main parts to an extruder: the hot end, and the cold end.

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Today, we have focused on the hot end of the extruder, which is the part that heats up and melts down the filament so that it can be used to assemble your blueprint. As you can guess by the name, the hotend gets hot and ensures that your filament flows as smoothly as possible.

Your hotend can affect many aspects of your 3D printer, including how fast you can print, the precision of the printing job, and much more. In the coming section, we’re going to take a look at the essential aspects to look for when you’re buying the best extruder hotend on the market.

 

What to Look for in the Best Extruder Hotend

If you’re new to 3D printing, you may not know the most critical parts of an extruder hotend, so we’ll go over them briefly.

 

Nozzle

3d printer hot end, hotend, best 3d printer hotendThe first thing to consider when choosing your extruder hotend is the nozzle that comes equipped with it. The nozzle on your hotend is responsible for letting the filament flow out onto the object, so it will greatly affect the precision of your end product. Of course, this component is also responsible for much more.

The diameter of the nozzle will determine how fast your object is made as well since it will be able to deposit more of the filament at a time. Keep in mind that you often have to choose between precision and speed when it comes to the diameter of your nozzle, as you can’t have both at the same time.

 

Heat Block

3d printer hot end, hotend, best 3d printer hotendWhen it comes to heating up the filament in the first place, the heater block is the most integral part of the hotend. This is the part of the device that actually produces the heat to melt down the filament, and as you can imagine, it tends to have issues with reliability more often than other areas.

The constant heating and cooling of this bit mean that it will be susceptible to failure, so you’ll want to be sure that the heat block is able to handle the work that you put it through. If there’s a part that’s going to fail on the extruder hotend, it will likely be this one.

 

Heating Barrel

3d printer hot end, hotend, best 3d printer hotendThe heating barrel is the area of the extruder where the filament is held as it is heated up. While the heater cartridge is responsible for producing the heat itself, the heating barrel is the area where the heat is transferred to. Before the machine is heated up, the filament will rest just beyond the barrel.

As you would expect, the heating barrel needs to be able to handle the expansion and contraction of the filament as it is heated and cooled, so durability is once again a concern.

 

Build Quality

As you would imagine due to the immense importance of reliability in your extruder hotend, you’ll want to look for models with superior build quality. Products that are made to higher standards will often cost more money, but you also have to consider that they’ll be able to last you a long time.

In the end, not having to replace your extruder hotend as often may end up saving you more money than you would have spent on a high-quality model in the first place.

 

Conclusion

We hope that this guide has helped you find the best extruder hotend for your needs. We know that these are relatively niche products and that it can often be a challenge to find the right one without a bit of help. Thank you for taking the time to read through this guide, and we wish you luck in finding the perfect extruder hotend for your needs.