We often come across reviews that introduce readers to the best 3D printers or even the best slicers. However, we rarely come across reviews that identify small components that make up a 3D printer.
More often than not, these smaller components tend to have the greatest impact over the 3D printer’s overall performance, print quality and input materials. Some of these components are known as the printer extruder, filament diameter and nozzle.
Once we’re done reviewing the best 3D printer extruders in the market, we will also compile a brief buyer’s guide for beginners. This buyer’s guide will then be followed by a few FAQs that will help clear your doubts about the importance of installing the best 3D printer extruders in your system.
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If You Are Short on Time, Here Is Our List of Our Best 3D Printer Extruders:
- Diabase Flexion Retrofit Kit for Single Extruder
- Genuine E3D Titan Aqua Standard 1.75mm 24V
- Micro Swiss MK10 All Metal Hotend Kit 0.4mm Nozzle
- Micro Swiss All Metal Hotend Kit for Creality CR-10 0.4mm
- Genuine E3D V6 Full – Direct – 24V- Hotend
- E3D Titan Universal Extruder
- Genuine E3D Titan Aero 3mm Standard 12V
- RepRapDiscount, Hexagon Full Metal Hot End 1.75mm Nozzle
- J Head Hot End Kit 0.35 mm Nozzle 1.75 mm Filament
Best 3D Printer Extruders Reviews
Diabase is a brand of 3D printer extruders which are tailored to handle flexible filaments with ease (such as the TPU filament). The first thing you will notice with this particular product is that it is lightweight and compact and still quite powerful and effective without presenting the risk of overshooting.
Depending on which 3D printer you have at home, you can choose between a single or a dual version of the same extruder. However, this product is commonly compatible with brands such as Wanhao or Markerbot and can replace any MK10 or MK8 extruder.
- Very lightweight and compact
- Sold as both single and dual extruder versions
- Perfect for projects that require flexible filaments
2. Genuine E3D Titan Aqua Standard 1.75mm 24V
The E3D extruder is compatible with both 3mm and 1.75mm filaments and it works seamlessly with hot ends to upgrade your entire 3D printer. This particular component is also quite lightweight and still manages to produce powerful outputs.
We found this to be one of the best 3D printer extruders on the market because it is compatible with most 3rd party components and is made with molded parts with robust injection.
- Compatible with both 3mm and 1.75mm extruder nozzles
- Lightweight and powerful
- Compatible with most 3D printer components and brands
The Micro Swiss MK10 is a well-build 3D printer extruder and it has been constructed to easily handle high temperatures without compromising on durability. You’ll find all the right components in this package including high quality thermal grease, thermal tubes and a brass nozzle.
Since the best thing about this product is its high quality construction, it is also worth mentioning here that this product’s thermal tube is made up of 2 materials. The upper part is designed with lightweight aluminum whereas the lower part is made up of durable stainless steel.
- Very lightweight and durable
- Built to withstand high temperatures for long periods of time
- A great replacement for a large variety of stock extruders
In 4th place, we have another very impressive 3D printer extruder by Micro Swiss. Not only does this product easily replace most stock extruders but it can be found for both single and dual extruder machines.
With this product, you will surely experience both – PLA and smooth high temperature filament printing. What’s even better, the Micro Swiss website has detailed instructions on how to use and install this product along with a long list of 3D printer brands that are compatible with it.
- Sold as a replacement for both – single and dual extruder systems
- Reliable brand name
- Compatible with a large range of 3D printer brands
When this particular extruder was released in the market, it had raised the bar for all other competitor products. This is due to the fact that the E3D V6 extruder is manufactured with quality and durable components and it can deliver precise operation – unlike anything a stock extruder can deliver.
The E3D V6 can easily withstand temperatures that are as high as 350 to 400 degrees. What’s even better is that it can handle soft and flexible filaments without every jamming.
- Each of this extruder’s components is completely customizable
- Very durable and can withstand high temperatures for long periods of time
- Delivers very precise operations
The E3D Titan captured our interest because of its spring-loaded mechanism operation. In simpler terms, this particular extruder allows users to release filament much more quickly. Naturally, this translated to higher quality 3D printing performance.
One other aspect about this product that impressed a lot of consumers was the fact that it has a very simple cleaning process. The gear drive of this extruder is exposed from one corner, therefore making it easy to strip out filaments and clean it for the next project.
- Very easy to maintain and clean
- Its tooth profile can easily grip onto both – flexible and carbon fiber filaments
- Can easily switch between 3mm and tighter nozzles
In 7th place, we have yet another great extruder by E3D. This product lives up to the versatile standard of the brand because it is also compatible with both – 3mm and 1.75mm filaments. Additionally, this product has been designed with everything that can seamlessly upgrade your entire 3D printing experience.
It is important to mention here that if you plan on using this extruder on a Bowden 3D printer, then you will have to purchase an additional Bowden adapter.
- Made with molded parts with robust injection
- Compatible with most machines with an additional adapter
- Lightweight and powerful
This hexagonal extruder is among the best 3D printer extruders in the market because it can print with many different sizes of filaments. In addition to this, the manufacturer would also like to reassure each consumer of this product that it can withstand up to 300 degrees of heat.
Unlike most extruder kits in the market, this product is sold as a complete package. This means you will be paying for a heater block, a thermistor, a heater cartridge, a 1.75mm nozzle and other vital components.
- All-metal and durable construction
- Compact and powerful design
- Sold as a complete kit with all the essential components included
The J Head extruder is the perfect upgrade for people who mainly work with PLA filaments and won’t bother with other advanced types. Still, it has been designed specifically for 1.75mm filaments and has been constructed with very high quality parts.
This extruder not only mounts onto most brands of 3D printers but also can withstand a maximum temperature of 248 degrees without compromising on durability. Lastly, this product grants more options for nozzle sizes, filament inputs and voltage operation than most other products in the market.
- Offers more versatility than its competitors
- Perfect for people who prefer working with PLA filaments
- Can easily withstand a maximum temperature of 248 degrees
Buying Debates: Buying the Best 3D Printer Extruder
What to Look for in the Best 3D Printer Extruders
If this is your first time buying an extruder for your 3D printer, it is essential that you know about the most critical parts of this component. These parts should also help with your final purchase decision:
The first thing to consider when looking for the best 3D printer extruder is the nozzle (that most products come equipped with). The nozzle is responsible for allowing filament to flow out over the 3D printable object and for this reason, it could significantly affect how precise your end product is.
Typically, the diameter of a nozzle signifies how fast an object can be 3D printed since a larger nozzle can deposit filament at a faster rate. Do keep in mind that your final decision will have you choose between speed and precision since it is quite impossible to demand both at the same time. However, the E3D Titan Aqua is an exception because it is compatible with both 3mm and 1.75mm nozzles.
2. Heat Block
Before the filament is deposited through the nozzle, it is heated to become more malleable. This is why the heat block is another very important part of the 3D printer extruder. As you can imagine, issues with the heat block could cause the whole 3D printer to fail.
Heat blocks are forced to stand firm against constant heating and cooling – which is also why they are susceptible to failure. For this reason you should look for high quality heat blocks that are built to last.
3. Heating Barrel
The heating barrel is that part of the 3D printer extruder where the filament is kept while it is heated. While the heat block is responsible for producing the required amount of heat, the heating barrel is the part of the extruder where heat is transferred. In a nutshell, before you fire up your 3D printer, the filament will be waiting inside the heating barrel.
Since this part of the machine is responsible for the contraction and expansion of the filament, the durability of this part needs to be carefully considered.
4. Build Quality
Due to the expectation of reliability from a 3D printer extruder, it is important that you look for products that are known for their superior build quality. Oftentimes, the products that are manufactured with higher standards will cost a lot more than others. Of course, not having to replace an extruder from time to time will automatically save you money in the long run.
We sincerely hope that this guide helps you find the best 3D printer extruder for your needs. It can be difficult to find reviews for these niche products, not to mention their individual components.
Once you have read through our buyer’s guide, you will be well equipped to pick out one of the 9 reviewed products in this post. If you’re still confused as to which product is the safest bet, we would highly recommend the Diabase Flexion Retrofit Kit for Single Extruder.
With that said, we would like to thank you for taking the time to read our guide and good luck finding the best component for your 3D printer!
What Is a 3D Printer Extruder?
A 3D printer extruder is a series of components that work in synergy to move filament towards a ‘hot end’ which prepares the filament to be deposited for FDM 3D printing.
Can You Convert 3D Printers With 3mm Extruders to a 1.75mm Extruder?
In the past, 3D printers with 3mm nozzles dominated the marketplace. However, nowadays 1.75mm filaments are the new trend and therefore most extruders are built accordingly.
If you have a 3mm extruder, you can easily convert them to 1.75mm with a few simple tools including a 1.75mm hot end and TPFE tube (there are many how-to YouTube tutorials that cover this topic).
What Are the Main Parts of a 3D Printer Extruder?
The main parts of a 3D printer extruder include:
The Cold End:
- Stepper Motor (typically a NEMA17)
- Filament Drive Gear (a.k.a ‘the hobbed gear’)
- Idler (usually a PTFE tube or a bearing)
The Hot End:
- Heater Cartridge
- Heater Block
- Heater Break