This study compared the amount of apically extruded debris during root canal preparation with three single-file systems using liquid and gel-based formulations of sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) or distilled water. Seventy-two single-canalled roots were divided into three groups: HyFlex EDM (Coltene-Whaledent); Reciproc Blue (VDW); and F-One Blue (Shanghai Fanta) and then divided into three subgroups: NaOCl liquid (Imicrly), NaOCl gel (Cerkamed Medical) and distilled water. The amount of extruded debris was calculated by determining the dry weight of the debris collected. Data were analysed using Kruskal-Wallis test with Bonferroni correction. Debris extrusion occurred in all subgroups. Both the instrument and the irrigant had an impact. The F-One Blue tended to extrude the least debris, though no significant difference was observed in the pairwise comparisons between instruments. NaOCl liquid resulted in significantly more extruded debris than NaOCl gel or distilled water. The results lead us to conclude that the NaOCl gel reduced debris extrusion compared to NaOCl liquid.