3D printer nozzle types

3D Printer Nozzle Guide - Everything about 3D printer nozzles

When dealing with the topic of 3D printing, there is a lot to consider. Before you just start printing, you should look into the possibilities and settings of your 3D printer in order to achieve the best possible printing results and to preserve the service life of the device. An important and often underestimated part of the 3D printer is the printer nozzle, which is often given little attention. Even if the nozzle of a 3D printer is a very small component, it has a significant influence on the printing speed and quality.

In this comprehensive guide, we would like to explain to you what a 3D printer nozzle is, how different nozzle types differ and how to choose the right nozzle for your requirements.

Under this post you will also find our new YouTube video, in which we summarize the advantages and disadvantages of different nozzle types and show how you can easily and easily change the nozzle on your 3D printer.

What is a nozzle and what is it used for?

Nozzle are located on the hotend and it is through which the heated filament is printed on the printing platform. With most 3D printers, the nozzle can be exchanged. Depending on the requirements, changing the printer nozzle can be very worthwhile, so you should dare to try different nozzles.

How do 3D printer nozzles differ?

A basic distinction is made between 3D printer nozzles based on the following properties:

  • Nozzle diameter
  • Material

Depending on the material and nozzle diameter, the nozzle meets different print requirements.

Nozzle diameter

3D printer nozzles are available in different nozzle diameters from 0.1 to 2.0 mm. The diameter of a nozzle also determines the possible layer height and thus indirectly the printing speed, because:

Basically, it's about how much filament is extruded and how fast.

As a rule, the maximum layer height values should not exceed 80% of the nozzle diameter. For example, a 0.4 mm nozzle has a recommended maximum layer height of 0.32 mm.

If you want to know what maximum and minimum layer height you can print with your nozzle, use the following rule of thumb:

⇒ Maximum layer height = 0.75 * nozzle diameter

⇒ Minimum layer height = 0.25 * nozzle diameter

0.4 mm nozzle as standard

For most 3D printers, the 0.4 mm nozzle has become the standard, as it is usually installed as standard and offers a good balance between resolution, precision and printing speed.

Small nozzles <0.4 mm

Small nozzles are ideally suited for the production of objects with very fine, precise details and barely visible layer traces.

Since the nozzle diameter is so small, the printing times are longer than, for example, with a 0.4 mm nozzle. In addition, special materials, such as filaments with particles, cannot be processed with small nozzles. The risk of clogging the nozzle is also much higher than with larger nozzles.

Large nozzles> 0.4 mm

Large printer nozzles ensure a higher material flow, thicker layer heights and reduced printing times. The wider extrusion and the higher layers give the printed models more stability, but they are not as finely printed and are not rich in detail. In addition, wider nozzles hardly clog and are therefore ideal for special materials such as wood, carbon fibre or glow-in-the-dark filaments.

Due to the fast possibility of printing, large nozzles are particularly recommended for rapid prototyping.

⇒ Fact: When printing with a layer height of 0.4 mm, the printing time is almost halved compared to a layer height of 0.2 mm.

Nozzle materials

Due to their relatively high thermal conductivity, 3D printer nozzles are made of different metals that influence the 3D printing process in different ways. Since some filaments have abrasive properties and therefore certain types of metal wear out faster than others, the nozzle material should be selected accordingly.

In the following, we will list the different nozzle materials with their advantages and disadvantages in order to create an overview of their abilities.

  • Brass nozzles

→ max 300 ° C.

Brass is the most commonly used material for 3D printer nozzles. It offers excellent heat transfer at a relatively low cost. When processing abrasive special filaments with wood, carbon or metal fibres, however, a brass nozzle wears out very quickly and becomes imprecise.

In order to protect the relatively soft nozzle material from excessive abrasion and to reduce the friction between the filament and the nozzle, a brass nozzle can be coated with nickel or chrome.


  • Low cost
  • High thermal conductivity


  • Low wear resistance
  • Not suitable for highly abrasive materials

  • Coated nozzles

→ max 500 ° C.

In order to protect relatively soft nozzle material from excessive abrasion and to reduce the friction between the filament and nozzle, brass or copper nozzles are also available with a nickel or chrome coating.

In addition to the improved scratch resistance, a coating also significantly increases the temperature resistance of the nozzle.


  • Higher wear resistance than normal brass or copper
  • Perfect all-rounder
  • High-temperature resistance
  • High thermal conductivity


  • Not as hard as hardened steel
  • Not suitable for permanent use with abrasive materials

  • Stainless steel nozzles

→ max 500 ° C.

Steel is another popular material for nozzles because it offers slightly better wear resistance than brass nozzles. They also, to some extent, prevent molten plastic from sticking to its surfaces and contaminating the print with lead, which is often the case with brass nozzles. Steel nozzles are therefore theoretically suitable for food-safe materials.

Steel allows a wider range of filaments to be processed but is not recommended if abrasive filaments are used frequently. It is also less heat-conductive compared to brass.


  • Better wear resistance than brass
  • Can be used for food-safe filaments


  • Lower thermal conductivity than brass
  • Lower wear resistance than hardened steel

  • Hardened Steel Nozzles

→ max 500 ° C.

Hardened steel nozzles are a useful 3D printer upgrade as they are tough enough for frequent use of abrasive materials (10 times more wear-resistant than brass nozzles) and literally offer years of use without replacement.

However, this material has an even lower thermal conductivity than the two previous materials and is more expensive to purchase. Since the inner surface of the nozzle is not as smooth as other “softer” nozzle materials, this can result in poor print quality.


  • High wear resistance
  • Very durable
  • Suitable for abrasive materials


  • Lower thermal conductivity
  • Lower print quality
  • Higher cost

  • Ruby Nozzles / Brass Ruby Nozzles

→ max 550 ° C.

Nozzles with ruby tips belong to the luxury class of 3D printer nozzles. As a rule, ruby nozzles are brass nozzles with or without a coating that have a ruby on the tip. Since the hole in the ruby can be made very precisely, there are only small diameter tolerances.

The ruby tip of the nozzle ensures additional wear resistance, which is particularly useful when processing special filaments. Compared to the other types of nozzles, the ruby nozzle is the most expensive.


  • High thermal conductivity due to the brass body
  • High wear resistance
  • High-temperature resistance


  • Higher cost

Changing the 3D printer nozzle - this is how it works

Would you like to exchange your 3D printer nozzle? In our video we show you exactly what to look out for when replacing the 3D printer nozzle.

We would be happy if you visit us on YouTube and leave a like or comment. If you want to see something specific on our channel in the future, please let us know in the comments!

3D Printer Nozzle Comparison Guide

Swapping your 3D printer's nozzle is one of the easiest upgrades that can be done. Find the right nozzles to add to your collection for your next project as well as how to change a nozzle on your 3D printer.

Ryan Lutz

May 4, 2017

Nozzles are the last physical item in your printer to touch the filament before it becomes your 3D printed part, so it’s important to understand how they work if you want to take full advantage of the possibilities afforded by the different types.

Left to Right: Hardened Steel, Stainless Steel, and Brass 



Generally speaking, nozzles are classified in the following ways:

  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm or 3.00mm
  • Nozzle diameter: sizes include 0.25mm, 0.3mm, 0.4mm, 0.5mm, 0.6mm, 0.8mm, 1.0mm
  • Material
  • Shape
  • Threading - pitch, angle
  • Shaft length


The industry leader for quality hotends is E3D, which is why we recommend and sell their products to our customers as an upgrade or as a replacement for a failing stock hotend. Often imitated, seldom duplicated, the E3D machine shop does a better job than anyone else at creating high-quality parts that work reliably. For this reason, most of the nozzles we sell are E3D, though it is important to note that more printers are being designed, if not with an E3D hot end, with threading that allows for installation of E3D nozzles.

The Olsson Block upgrade to the Ultimaker 2+ is a good example of this; the 2 had a unique hotend design with the nozzle and heat block as one part, and nozzle replacement required disassembly of the entire hotend. With the Olsson Block upgrade, the block is separate from the nozzle and has threading that is compatible with E3D nozzles.

E3D Standard Brass Nozzles


E3D nozzles are compatible with many printers’ stock hotends, including those of the following:

  • Lulzbot TAZ 6 and LulzBot Mini
  • Ultimaker 2+, or Ultimaker 2 with Olsson Block upgrade
  • Pulse 
  • Robo 3D R1 and R1 Plus
  • MakerBot Replicator 2

Nozzle Materials

Nozzles are made from a variety of metals, and you should select a nozzle made from the type of metal that matches the type of filament you want to print with. The main reason for this is fairly simple: some filaments are abrasive and will wear down certain types of metal.


Here is a list of the common metals used to make nozzles:

  • Brass - The most common metal used for nozzles, brass can be used to print PLA, ABS, PETG, Nylon, TPE, TPU, PC, and most any other non-abrasive materials.
  • Stainless steel - Stainless steel is ideal if you need a lead-free nozzle for FDA-approved materials or medical devices.
  • Hardened steel - If you want to print abrasive materials, like our NylonX or ColorFabb bronzeFill for example, hardened steel nozzles are what you want.
  • Specialty materials - Other materials, like Tungsten and Ruby, have been used to make harder nozzles that can stand up to constant abrasion. These are for printing exclusively abrasive materials, and typically cost more than the other options.

The Olsson Ruby nozzle is actually tipped with a real ruby


Range of Options

Nozzles come in lots of different shapes and sizes, but they all perform the same function. The smallest nozzles (at least that are commercially available) are 0.15mm -- good for very intricate prints, though they can be difficult to calibrate and use.

On the other end of the spectrum, larger nozzles (again, of those commercially available) range up to 1. 2mm. These allow for quicker, larger prints, generally speaking.

Why have more than one size nozzle?

So why would you want to have more than one nozzle? Though you can probably make do with the standard 0.4mm nozzle, there are a few reasons you might want to have more than one extra on hand:

  • You want to print a model quickly, so you use a bigger nozzle
  • Your current nozzle gets clogged, and you need to replace it
  • You want fine details, so you use a smaller nozzle

The E3D Nozzle Fun Pack - collect a variety of different sized nozzles


How to change a nozzle

  1. Heat the hot end to printing temperature, or at least 200°C. Failure to heat the hot end before changing the nozzle is the most common reason for a broken nozzle.

  2. Use a tool like an adjustable wrench or channel locks to steady the heat block, while you use a socket wrench to turn the nozzle. (E3D nozzles are 7mm, for reference)

  3. Make sure the hot end is still hot when installing the new nozzle.

We hope that this will help you find the right nozzle for all your projects - happy printing! 

Nozzles for 3D printers - types, differences. Nozzle type

Nozzle is an integral part of any 3D printer, and there are many varieties of this part. Brass products are considered standard nozzles. This type is suitable for printing with conventional types of plastics, but for those that include an abrasive, such as NylonX, is not suitable. Printing with these materials requires higher performance nozzles made from stronger materials. There are also copper nozzles, Clean Tip nozzles - such nozzles are distinguished by the fact that the thread does not stick to them, and they remain clean.

3D printing allows you to replace nozzles. This allows you to achieve different results and use different materials for printing.

3D printer nozzle: what is it?

The 3D printer nozzle is a special nozzle located in the extruder heater block. It is screwed into place by means of a thread. There is a small chamber inside the nozzle where molten plastic accumulates and is squeezed out through the hole. Moreover, the key parameters of the nozzle will be: the material from which the nozzle is made and the diameter of the hole.

Nozzle material

A standard desktop 3D printer is equipped with a 0.4mm brass nozzle. This is the best option for printing with ABS and PLA plastics. However, such nozzles are not at all suitable for printing with luminescent PLA, carbon fiber and metal enriched filaments. The fact is that plastics, which include solid particles, destroy the nozzle. The internal dimensions of the nozzle are distorted, and this affects the uniformity of the extruded material, which will inevitably affect the quality of 3D printing. For this reason, there are nozzles that are made from harder materials. Consider further the types of nozzles that can be found on the market.

Brass 3D Printer Nozzle

Brass Nozzle is the most popular option used in most desktop 3D printers. Of all the materials used to make nozzles, this one is the softest. But brass nozzles are easy to process, cheap and affordable. Therefore, they are easy and simple to replace.

Main characteristics of brass nozzles:

  • corrosion resistance;
  • high thermal conductivity;
  • relative softness;
  • abrasion.

Application: Ideal for printing with "soft" plastics - standard ABS, PLA, PETG, and other plastic filaments that do not contain carbon fiber and metal additives.

Stainless steel or hardened steel nozzle

Steel nozzles are also used for 3D printing. They provide long-term printing with materials that contain solid particles, such as metal, carbon fiber. At the same time, such nozzles are not prone to abrasion and destruction, like softer brass nozzles. That is, you can print for a long time without reducing productivity.

But steel nozzles are not without drawbacks: lower thermal conductivity compared to brass nozzles. This can change the flow, especially when using large nozzles.

Main characteristics of steel nozzles:

  • corrosion resistance;
  • low thermal conductivity;
  • relatively large weight;
  • abrasion resistance.

Application: 3D printing with additives (carbon fiber, metal, glass, etc.)

Ruby nozzle

Anders Olsson developed the Olders Ruby nozzle. This is a brass nozzle equipped with a tip made of aluminum oxide, that is, an artificial ruby. This nozzle was originally created for 3D printing by the third heaviest material in the world. The nozzle was the result of an experiment conducted at Uppsala University in Sweden.

Initially standard nozzles made of steel and brass after printing 1kg of plastic wear out and are no longer usable. However, the nozzles have a number of disadvantages. Olson Ruby nozzles combine the high thermal conductivity of brass with the abrasion resistance of ruby. Of course, there are experts who say that the ruby ​​tip has a low thermal conductivity, which negatively affects the printing result, but there is no evidence for this. At least for now.

The main characteristics of Olsson Ruby nozzles are:

  • corrosion resistance;
  • low thermal conductivity;
  • abrasion resistance.

Application: Can be used for highly abrasive threads.

Tungsten Carbide Nozzles

Dyze Design Tungsten Carbide Nozzles are something of a newcomer to the market as they only started production at the end of 2018. Tungsten carbide is hard and wear resistant. It is used for drilling, cutting ceramics and metals. Such nozzles also have disadvantages, but it is too early to talk about them.

Main characteristics of tungsten carbide nozzles:

  • abrasion resistance, very high;
  • hardness;
  • high thermal conductivity;
  • corrosion resistance.

Application: This is a universal nozzle that can be added to your nozzle set, and the nozzle is also suitable for printing with highly abrasive filaments.

Nozzle sizes for 3D printer

Nozzles are characterized by the hole diameter. This characteristic will affect the degree of print detail. In this case, the influence will be exerted not only on the width of the lines, but also on the height of the layer.

Beginners are advised to use a nozzle with a diameter of 0.15mm. Compared to a standard 0.4mm nozzle, this nozzle allows you to get a higher resolution in the OX and OY axes. Thanks to thin lines, sharper corners can be obtained, but this will only be possible in that case. If your 3D printer is well set up and serviced regularly.

The choice of nozzle diameter should be determined by the layer height you require. It is necessary to choose a nozzle so that the size of the layer during printing is 25-50% of the nozzle size.

If the device is calibrated correctly, optimum adhesion can be achieved between coats. For example, a standard 0.4mm nozzle allows you to print layers of 0.1-0.2mm. If you want to successfully print ultra-thin layers that are less than 0.05mm high, we recommend using the 0.2mm nozzle.

Small nozzles have one significant drawback. They are more prone to clogging and therefore need to be cleaned regularly. In addition, smaller nozzles significantly increase print time as the print head requires more passes to coat. the larger the nozzle, the less time it will take to print, and the time will be reduced exponentially. For example, a 0.8mm wall will take half as long to print as a 0.4mm wall. Also, large extrusion lines have greater adhesion, and therefore the finished prints have greater strength. If you are not printing fine details, then you are better off using large nozzles, which will allow you to print faster.

Smaller nozzles are more commonly used for hobby, precision models with fine details, such as jewelry.

And in order to have your own opinion on this matter, it is best to experiment!

How to choose nozzle size for 3D printer? Pros and cons