What is an All-Metal Hotend?

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Updated February 20, 2023

If you are new to the world of 3D printing and are shopping around for the best printers, you may wonder what is an all-metal hot end. The best 3D printers use a hot end to melt the filament before it is assembled into a 3D model, but an all-metal hot end allows for the use of specialized filament types, as these tools excel with higher-than-average temperatures. All-metal hot ends are a significant improvement over the standard hot ends that ship with most 3D printers if you are learning how to fix thermal runaway on a 3D printer, among other issues.


  • A 3D printer’s hot end consists of a heating block, a heat creep, a heat sink, a coupling that connects to the extruder, and a line of PTFE tubing.
  • All-metal hot ends are entirely made out of stainless steel, except for the line of PTFE tubing. This helps with thermal conductivity.
  • These high-end hot ends are great for diverse filament types and for handling high temperatures.

Keep reading to learn more.

All-Metal Hotends Defined

The standard hot end consists of a heating block right above the nozzle, a heat sink for drawing away the excess heat, and a coupling that connects to the extruder, along with a line of PTFE tubing to transport the filament, which is useful to know when learning how to calibrate a 3D printer. An all-metal hot end is a similar design, but all of the components are metal, even if you are comparing the Dragonfly vs Micro Swiss.

Insider Tip

Not all printers can swap out hot ends, so read the replacement instructions before making a purchase.

The other major design difference is the PTFE tubing is moved a bit, as this tubing cannot handle the same temperatures as the metal components of the hot end, so that is something worth considering when troubleshooting a printer that stops extruding mid-print.

Benefits of All-Metal Hotends

There are some big reasons why all-metal hot ends are such popular accessories for modern 3D printers, particularly printers that ship with standard hot ends.

Printing at Higher Temperatures

This is the big one. These hot ends are made entirely out of metal, so they can handle extreme temperatures that go above and beyond what standard hot ends can accomplish. Why does this matter? Many 3D design schematic blueprints require specific temperatures, especially when interacting with certain filament types.

Increased Filament Options

There are a lot of filament types out there, and many are simply too difficult to melt adequately with a regular hot end. They require an all-metal version and the associated higher temperatures. If your filament has metal specks running throughout for aesthetic diversity, there is a good chance it requires a high-end hot end that’s all metal.

Simplifies Maintenance

If your filament is heated to high temperatures and these temperatures are adequately regulated, the maintenance requirements of your printer will decrease. In other words, you won’t have to clean away debris and filament chunks quite as often, though results will vary.

STAT: In a standard hot end, a PTFE tube is present all the way down to the heat block. And because this tube starts degrading at temperatures over 250 °C, it’s not feasible to print materials at such high temperatures. (source)

Hotend FAQs

What’s the big deal with all-metal hot ends?

An all-metal hot end is great for thermal conductivity and excels with a wide range of nozzle sizes. They work much better than an aluminum heater block or heat block, for instance.

Are there drawbacks to using an all-metal hot end?

The main drawback of using an all-metal hot end is poor retraction, as the tubing is recessed into the printer to avoid the high printing temperatures associated with the heat sink, heat block, and other hotend components.

What are the benefits of using an all-metal hot end?

The benefits are varied, such as a more durable heat sink and stainless steel heat breaks, the ability to handle abrasive filaments, and more.
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