How much electric does a 3D printer use: A complete guide

As technology has improved and 3D printer prices have decreased, 3D printing has grown in popularity in recent years. However, a common query from folks considering buying a 3D printer is how much electricity it will need. When determining whether to purchase a 3D printer, you may want to take into account how much electricity or electric power it uses since it can affect your electricity cost.

It’s critical to consider all 3D printing expenses while determining whether 3D printing is the ideal pastime for you. In addition to upfront costs like filament and the device itself, you also need to take recurrent costs into account. A 3D printer’s power usage is one of its major running costs. This expense is difficult to avoid because, without power, there won’t be any heating, motor activity, or printing.

In this context, this article examines the usual electricity consumption of a 3D printer, the variables that affect it, and strategies for reducing energy use without sacrificing print quality.

In this introduction, we’ll go through the numerous variables that can affect how much electricity a 3D printer uses and how it affects the user’s energy costs. I wish this complete guide will be informative and interesting for you to read.

Does it cost a lot to run a 3D printer?

Several variables, including the type of printer, the material used, the print size, the cost of electricity in your location, and how much power you use can have a significant impact on the cost of operating a 3D printer. However, generally speaking, running one does not have to be expensive, especially if you take measures to limit waste and cut energy use.

The price of filament, the substance used to produce the actual prints, is the main recurring expense of running it. Depending on the kind of material used, the color, and the quality, filament prices can change.

The actual cost of filament per kilogram typically ranges from $20 to $50, and the quantity of filament and heated bed used for a print depends on the size and complexity of the creation.

Running a 3D printer costs money, both in terms of filament and electricity. It can use anywhere between 50 and 250 watts of power per hour on average, as was already established. This can mount up over time, depending on the cost of electricity in your area.

Printing during off-peak hours, when electricity prices are lower, utilizing energy-efficient printer settings, and shutting the printer off when not in use can all help you to cut costs.

Overall, if you are aware of the ongoing costs and take measures to decrease waste and energy usage, the cost of operating it can be affordable. When calculating the total cost of owning and running a 3D printer, it’s crucial to take electricity and filament costs into account.

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Do 3D printers bring up your electricity bill?

Utilizing a 3D printer will indeed raise your electricity costs. 3D printers and heating elements use a lot of power supply to run, especially when producing huge or intricate objects that take a while to create.

The size and intricacy of the design, the kind of filament used, and the printing speed are a few variables that affect how much electricity a 3D printer uses.

Between 50 and 250 watts of electricity are typically used by 3D printers while printing.

The precise sum will change based on the type of print job and the printer’s model. For instance, modest, incandescent light bulbs would consume roughly 50 watts, whereas a large, intricate print might need several hundred watts.

You can take a few actions to reduce the impact on your electricity cost or energy cost. You may, for instance, plan your 3D printing tasks for off-peak times when electricity prices are cheaper.

To consume less electricity, you can change the printer’s settings, such as printing more slowly or setting the print heated bed temperature lower.

A smart power strip that can turn off the 3D printer’s power consumption when it is not in use or a more electricity-efficient 3D printer model is another option.

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How much does it cost to run a 3D printer per hour?

Several variables, including the type of printer, average power draw, the material used, and the cost of electricity in your location, can have a significant impact on how much it costs to operate a 3D printer for an hour. Based on average results, we can nevertheless generate some broad estimations.

Depending on the model and the printing settings, a 3D printer’s power usage might range from 50 to 250 watts per hour. The price of running a 3D printer for one hour would be: Assuming an average electricity rate of $0.12 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), that would be:

For a printer using 50 watts per hour, the calculation is as follows: 50 watts / 1000 * $0.12 = $0.006 per hour, or roughly 0.6 cents per kilowatt-hour as overall cost.

For a printer that consumes an average power of 250 watts per hour, the calculation is as follows: 250 watts / 1000 * $0.12 = $0.03 per hour, or around 3 cents per hour.

Keep in mind that the price of the filament or any other consumable electric power required during the printing process is not included in these estimations. Depending on the kind of material used and the size of the print, filament materials prices can change.

It’s also crucial to keep in mind that these figures are simply broad estimations and might not accurately reflect the price of maintaining your 3D printer. Monitoring your power supply and power bill using a smart power meter or a power consumption monitor is the best approach to obtaining an accurate estimate.

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Electricity usage monitor for a 3D printer

You may gauge your 3D printer power consumption using an electrical usage meter. There are various kinds of electrical consumption monitors available, but the majority function by first connecting your printer to the monitor and then plugging the device into an electrical outlet.

These devices will show how much electric does a 3D printer use. The power monitor will then provide current data on how much power is being used by your printer.

A “kill-a-watt” meter, which is a straightforward and inexpensive tool that can measure the power use of most home equipment, including 3D printers, is one common sort of electrical usage monitor. To use a kill-a-watt meter, just connect it to a power source, connect your printer to it, and turn the printer on.

The output voltage must be chosen initially if you’re looking for a 3D printer power supply.

The meter will provide details about your printer’s power usage, including how many watts it is using and the cost of electricity over time.

Utilizing a smart plug with energy monitoring features is an additional choice. You can use a smartphone app or other online dashboard to track how much electricity, and power supply your printer uses by connecting these gadgets to the power socket and your home Wi-Fi network.

You can find ways to save money and energy by using electricity monitors to better understand how much power your 3D printer uses.

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Strategies for lowering a 3D printer’s electricity usage

There are various strategies to use less power of 3D printer:

Reduce the print speed, layer height, and infill density to shorten the time the printer spends printing, which cuts down on the amount of 3D printer power consumption.

Use the proper nozzle size

A lower nozzle size can help you use less filament, which will require less electricity.

When not in use, turn off the printer to save energy. To save energy, some printers offer a “sleep” mode that may be turned on.

Utilize energy-efficient lighting

To lower total power consumption, install energy-efficient LED lighting in the space where the printer is located.

Use a smart power strip

A smart power strip can detect when the printer isn’t in use and will cut off power to the printer and any other devices connected to it, saving energy while the device is on standby.

Use a filament run-out sensor

When the filament runs out, a filament run-out sensor can stop the printer from printing, saving power.

Change to a more power-efficient printer

Upgrading to a newer model of a 3D printer may result in less power being used. Newer 3D printers are meant to be more energy-efficient than previous ones.

By putting these strategies into practice, you can reduce the amount of electricity your 3D printer uses and cut your power costs.

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Does a 3D printer use more power than a PC?

Because they serve distinct functions and have various use cases, it is challenging to compare the overall power consumption of a 3D printer and a PC directly. A 3D printer uses slightly more power than the average desktop PC.

Depending on the model and printing conditions, a 3D printer’s power consumption might vary greatly. According to the particular printer and print task, a 3D printer can need between 50 and 250 watts per hour. In contrast, the average power consumption of a standard desktop PC can range from 100 to 500 watts, depending on the usage and componentry.

It’s crucial to remember that it normally runs for a shorter amount of time than a computer. A 3D printer may only be used for a few hours a week or even less frequently than a PC, which may be used for many hours a day. As a result, over time, a PC’s overall energy consumption could surpass that of a 3D printer.

In the end, several variables, including the specific 3D printers used, the printing and usage parameters, associated costs, and the electricity tariff in your location, will affect how much energy a 3D printer and a PC use.

To lessen your influence on the environment and your electricity bill, it’s critical to keep an eye on your energy usage, overall power consumption, and your maximum watt of power usage, and take action to reduce power consumption and lower electricity costs.

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The type of printer, build volume, materials being used, and exact components employed are only a few of the variables that affect a 3D printer’s power consumption.

Here are some of a 3D printer’s major parts along with an estimate of how much electricity they need typically:


The extruder melts and extrudes the filament into the shape of the 3D-printed product. Depending on the filament type being used, the extruder’s power requirements can change, although they normally fall between 20 and 60 watts.

Heated bed

During printing, the heated bed creates a warm surface for the printed product to stick to. Depending on the size of the heated bed and the preferred temperature, the heated bed power supply might use anywhere between 100 and 300 watts of power.


During printing, the extruder, and bed are moved along the X, Y, and Z axes by the motors in a 3D printer. Depending on the printer model and the particular motors employed, the power consumption of these motors can vary, although it normally falls between 5 and 30 watts per motor.

The extruder, bed, and motors are all controlled by the control board, which is the 3D printer’s “brain” and is responsible for interpreting the design file. Depending on the type and functionality, the control board’s power consumption can change; however, it normally falls between 5 and 20 watts.


A 3D printer’s display enables the user to oversee and control the printing process. Depending on the size and kind of the display, the power consumption can change, although it normally falls between 2 and 10 watts.

A 3D printer’s overall power requirements can range from about 100 watts for a small, entry-level device to several hundred watts for a bigger, more sophisticated machine.

To get a more exact estimate, it’s a good idea to monitor your printer’s power usage using an electrical usage monitor, as the power consumption can vary depending on the specific printer and its settings. You will see exactly how much electric does a 3D printer use.


What are the materials for 3D printing consumables?

There are additional charges besides the initial cost of purchasing a 3D printer, such as consumable materials. Knowing how much your printer needs in terms of consumable materials is crucial.

The two main consumables for 3D printing projects are liquid resin and filaments. Depending on the material used and your inventiveness with 3D print concepts, filament prices vary.

For instance, because generic PLA is made entirely of plants, it is less expensive. On the other hand, some filaments, like ABS, could be more expensive.

What are stepper motors?

Electric motors known as stepper motors are frequently used in robotics, CNC machines, 3D printers, and other devices that require precise motion control. Stepper motors move in short, precise steps as opposed to conventional motors, which rotate continuously. This allows for exact control of position and speed.


The model of the printer, the size, and complexity of the prints, and the printing parameters can all affect how much power a 3D printer requires. It typically uses 50 to 250 watts per hour, which over time adds up and affects your power consumption.

3D printers don’t use as much power as you think. However, there are measures you can take to reduce the amount of energy it uses, including printing during off-peak hours, selecting energy-efficient settings, and shutting the printer’s heating elements off when it’s not in use.

The recurring expenditures are typically manageable, especially if you are conscious of the costs and take steps to avoid waste and power usage. Running it may increase your electricity prices, but overall, they are generally fair.

Most people find 3D printing to be entertaining and delightful (producing dragons and swords, for example), but the expense of printing cannot be disregarded.

For instance, the price of 3D printing an entire house will be substantially greater. And in case you were wondering, a 3D-printed house is currently regarded as a sturdy building.

The initial cost is a one-time expense; subsequent expenses, such as those for printer consumables and electricity, take precedence.

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