If you own or plan to buy a 3D printer, you may be wondering how much electricity does a 3D printer use? 

As energy prices increase, we’re more conscious than ever of our consumption, with many of us looking for ways to reduce our usage to cut costs.

Considering the hefty price of the 3D printer itself, along with filament and maintenance costs, how much impact does a 3D printer’s energy needs have? How do they compare to your average home appliance in terms of energy consumption?

In this guide, we’ll answer exactly how much electricity 3D printers use, with a calculator to help you work out your yearly bill. We’ll explain these costs in the UK and USA, explain the factors that affect electricity use, and give you tips on how you can reduce your electricity bill 3D printing.

How Much Electricity Does a 3D Printer Use?

A consumer-grade 3D printer uses roughly anywhere from 50 to 150 Watts of power per hour, equating to between 0.05 kWh and 0.15 kWh.

Based on these figures, you’d need to run an average 3D printer for between 7 and 20 hours for 3D printing energy consumption to exceed 1 kWh.

3D Printer Electricity Cost Calculator

Enter how many hours per week you 3D print, and the number of 3D printers you use, to get the estimated cost.

(Based on an estimated cost of $0.15 kWh and 100W per hour usage from a 3D printer.)

Daily Cost: $0

Weekly Cost: $0

Yearly Cost: $0

Factors like bed temperature, the size of the printer and build volume, print temperature, number of extruders, ambient room temperature, and even the complexity of the print (from stepper motor activity) affect power consumption.

Electricity usage also varies based on whether the printer is getting up to temperature, is idle, or is in the middle of a print. Depending on these, power consumption can drop as low as a handful of Watts, all the way up to the 3D printer’s rated power/maximum Wattage, for example 400 Watts.

But for popular hobbyist 3D printers like the Ender 3, Anycubic Kobra, or Prusa, 50-150W/hr is a good estimate to use.

estimated energy consumption of consumer 3D printer

How Much Does Electricity Cost to 3D Print?

Electricity costs when 3D printing vary greatly depending on your country and region of residence along.

But here’s some ballpark figures for the US and UK to give you an idea of the electricity costs of running a 3D printer:

USA Electricity 3D Printing Prices

  • Average kWH Price – $0.15
  • 3D Printer Electricity Usage – 0.05 to 0.15 kWh

You can expect to pay if you were to run the printer uninterrupted:

  • Per Hour – $0.007 and $0.02
  • Per Day – $0.17 and $0.48
  • Per Year – $62.05 and $175.02

UK Electricity 3D Printing Prices

  • Average kWH Price – £0.28
  • 3D Printer Electricity Usage – 0.05 to 0.15 kWh

You can expect to pay if you were to run the printer uninterrupted:

  • Per Hour – £0.01 and £0.04
  • Per Day – £0.24 and £0.96
  • Per Year – £87.60 and £346.75

These figures don’t take into account the standing charge (roughly £0.71 per day currently in the UK). These figures are also based on the latest reported electricity figures for the USA and UK in 2023.

Are 3D Printers Energy Efficient?

Yes, a typical, consumer-grade 3D printer can be considered energy efficient. When compared to common home appliances, we see how surprisingly little energy 3D printing requires. 

A 3D printer’s electricity consumption is equivalent to a video game console, or high-end TV.

Home ApplianceEnergy Consumption (Watts)
3D Printer50-150
Electric Iron1000
Vacuum Cleaner450-900
Desktop PC300-600
Video Game Console100-200
60W Light Bulb60
Wi-Fi Router4-10
Common Home Appliances and Energy Consumption Compared to a 3D Printer.

Factors That Affect A 3D Printer’s Energy Consumption

Printer Size

With a larger build volume, a bigger 3D printer requires more powerful stepper motors to move the print head across a larger build volume.

A large bed also requires more power to heat evenly and uniformly (more on that below). These factors are generally reflected in larger 3D printers having a higher maximum wattage.

Heated Bed

Heating the build plate up to temperature significantly spikes energy consumption: this is the most energy-intensive part of the printing process, along with heating the hot end.

Once the heated bed reaches the temperature, it requires less energy to maintain it. However, this also depends on the ambient temperature: a printer sitting in a cold room at the height of winter requires much more power to maintain than on a sunny summer’s day.

Hotend/Print Temperature

Heating the hotend to melt filament accounts for a large portion of a 3D printer’s energy usage. Most of this happens when heating the hot end, with less energy required to maintain the temperature.

Different filament types melt at different temperatures, so less power is required to 3D print PLA, than higher temperature filaments like ABS or Nylon.

Much like the heated bed, energy consumption is also affected by ambient temperatures.

the hotend melts the filament this contributes to energy consumption

Mainboard, Fans, Stepper Motors, and Display

Vital components on a 3D printer, the mainboard, fans, display, and stepper motor require roughly 30-60 Watts between them.

Compared to the heated and hotend, which cost as much as 300 Watts to heat up, these numbers are small – but do factor into the overall power consumption.

Print Time

The longer a printer runs, the more power it consumes. Factors like print speed, print size, layer height, support structures, and infill density affect print times.

How to Lower a 3D Printer’s Energy Consumption

Lower Print Temperatures

The most energy-intensive part of the printing process is reaching and maintaining the heated bed and hotend temperature. By lowering the temperature, you’ll reduce power consumption. 

While there are limitations to how much you can reduce temperature (go too low and you won’t be able to melt and extrude the filaments, and you’ll suffer adhesion issues), it is possible to tweak temperature lower by a few degrees to improve energy efficiency.

It’s also worth experimenting with the heated bed turned off with PLA, which technically doesn’t need a heated bed to print.

Test printing at the low end of the print temperature range. If you don’t encounter any temperature-linked issues like bed adhesion problems or nozzle clogging, then keeping the temperature low is a great way to save electricity.

it is possible to save energy by lowering temperature in small amounts

Print in High Ambient Temperatures or Use an Enclosure

The ambient temperature affects how much electricity is required to heat the hot end and heated bed, and maintain this.

If possible, use your 3D printer in a warmer space to reduce electricity usage. If that isn’t possible, I recommend buying an enclosure.

Enclosures maintain a stable thermal environment around your print area, requiring less energy to heat and maintain the bed and nozzle. They insulate the printer from the outside temperature and cooling air, and also make it easier to print filaments like ABS that warp easily.

For more on enclosures, including a few thrifty DIY options, check out our dedicated guide.

an enclosure will make it easy to control ambient temperature around the 3D printer

Shorten Print Times

The less time a 3D printer is running, the lower the energy consumption. As such, reducing and shortening print times is a fantastic way to lower a 3D printer’s energy consumption.

Here’s a quick breakdown of slicer settings that can reduce print times:

There is a point of diminishing returns here: lower these settings too low and the print suffers.

Energy-Efficient Components

It’s also possible to reduce a 3D printer’s energy consumption by upgrading to more energy-efficient components, namely the power supply, fans, mainboard – or buying a more energy-efficient modern 3D printer.

That said, you’ll likely have to use the printer for years before you get a return on your investment, so this only applies to heavy-duty users.

upgrading to energy efficient components allows the user the save on energy consumption

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