What You Should Pay for a 1kg Spool of 3D Printer Filament?

By on March 27th, 2024 in materials, news

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How much should a 1kg spool of filament cost? [Source: Fabbaloo / LAI]

What should a spool of 3D printer filament cost? I took a look into this question.

With the dramatic increase in desktop FFF 3D printing, there has never been so many options for materials. There are dozens of suppliers, perhaps over a thousand options for colors and material types.

That competition should bring the pricing down, shouldn’t it? I was curious, and have been under the impression that a typical 1kg spool would cost between US$20-30.

There was a time some years ago that there were lower cost spools available. However, that era ended quickly as it became clear that low quality materials inevitably led to low quality prints. Crappy prints doesn’t justify the purchase of crappy filament.

The focus then moved to quality, where most filament suppliers began providing specifications and statistics for their filament products. This practice attempted to prove to customers that they had “good filament”, and this more or less flushed out the really bad filament from the market.

Nowadays most filament is pretty decent, and most times you see people complaining it is due to poor print parameter tuning. In other words, most filament is more-or-less comparable these days.

I wondered what the average price might be, and did an informal survey. I looked up the pricing for a 1kg spool of basic PLA material from 26 popular filament providers, both material providers and 3D printer manufacturers.

Here’s what I found:

GeeetechPLA White$10.50
OvertureEco PLA 3D Printer Filament $12.99
ElegooPLA filament$13.99
CrealityEnder PLA$14.00
JayoPLA 1.1kg$16.99
PolymakerPolyTerra PLA$19.99
DuramicWhite Basic PLA$19.99
eSunePLA Lite$19.99
Printed SolidJessie Premium PLA$19.99
FlashforgePLA Matte$19.99
MatterHackersMG Build PLA$20.87
FormFuturaEasyFil ePLA$21.61
AtomicMeltMiser PLA$22.69
AmazonBasic $23.64
AnycubicPLA Basic$24.50
Paraniount 3DPrototype Gray$24.99
Bambu LabPLA Tough$25.99
3D-FuelStandard PLA+$29.00
PrusamentPLA filament$29.99
ProtopastaBack-to-basics Natural PLA$29.99
ERYONELight Weight PLA 3D Printer Filament$36.99
MakerBotSketch PLA$39.00
UltiMakerS Series PLA$58.00
Chart of current selected 1kg filament spool prices [Source: Fabbaloo]

As you can see, the price range is quite wide. Popular providers seem to cluster around the US$19.99 price, while others take more extreme pricing positions — both high and low.

At the bottom of the chart we find UltiMaker and MakerBot, which both have rather high priced spools. That’s most likely because they have a somewhat captured market and their customers are not as willing to experiment with third party materials.

At the other end we find Geeetech offering 1kg spools for only US$10.50, the lowest price for a single I could find. That’s quite a difference, and might indicate the amount of margin being made by these suppliers.

Many people find a supplier that provides them with good quality output at a good price, and they stick with them. Consistency is clearly a key feature the best suppliers must achieve.

One interesting aspect I discovered through my shopping was that there are big deals to be had when buying larger quantities of material.

For example, Kingroon, which doesn’t seem to sell single spools at all, offers a 10-pack of 1kg spools for only US$97. That’s under US$10 per spool, and anyone 3D printing consistently would find that option quite attractive.

There are other suppliers that offer spools with sizes greater than 1kg. I saw 2kg, 3kg and there are even 8kg spools available. These can also save some cash because of the volume and fewer spools. However, you have to be careful because your 3D printer might not accommodate a larger spool.

In the chart above the average price is US$23.85, with a median of US$22.05. If you toss out the overpriced UltiMaker and MakerBot options, the average and median are US$21.80 and US$21.24.

After all that I can confidently say the typical price of a 1kg spool these days seems to be US$21-22. If you’re buying something under that, you’re doing well. If you’re buying something over that, ask yourself why.

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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