How Much Power Does a 3D Printer Use? – We Measured it for You

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A 3D Printer doesn´t consume as much power as you might think but it is still advisable to measure your 3D printer’s power consumption if you want to charge for your prints. So how much power dow a 3D printer really use?

A 3D printer uses between 90 and 290 Watts on average. Small printers with small heated beds generally use less power and printers that are bigger, run in cold environments, or run on Klipper usually use more power. An average 3D printer like an Ender 3 consumes about 100 to 120 Watts or 0.1 to 0.12 kWh.

There are many factors that influence the amount of power that a 3D printer uses and I have compiled all of the major factors in this article.

If you want to know how expensive 3D printing is in general then consider reading this as well.

How Much Power Does a 3D Printer Use on Average?

A 3D Printer uses between 90 and 290 Watts while it is printing. I did some testing with two of my printers to find out how much power they use during printing.

For my tests, I used the Bambu Lab P1P and the Neptune 3 from Elegoo to see how much power both of these printers use while idle, while heating up, and while printing.

Why did I choose those two printers?

Well, the Neptune 3 is an Ender 3 clone with some great additions and changes that will make your life easier. The Ender 3 and its clones are one of the most sold printers worldwide because of their low price and great print quality.

So naturally, a lot of people will be using similar printers.

And the Bambu Lab P1P is a mid-priced printer that is very beginner friendly. And, more importantly, it is a commercial coreXY printer. Meaning this printer can print very fast and has also become very popular in recent years.

Both of these printers are decently sized at around 220 mm / 220 mm.

How Much Power does the Neptune 3 (Ender 3 Clone) Use?

The Neptune 3 uses between 90 and 130 Watts during printing. During printing, the Neptune 3 will usually consume around 130 Watts on average. It usually uses less power during the first few layers and slightly more in later layers.

This test was done at 65°C on the bed and 210°C on the nozzle and I printed with PLA filament.

Here is how much power the Neptune 3 uses during different printing stages:

StagePower Consumption in Watts
Idle8 Watts
Steppers Moving30 Watts
Nozzle Heating103 Watts
Nozzle at Temperature50 Watts
Bed Heating110 Watts
Bed at Temp100 Watts
Printing130 Watts

The Neptune 3 doesn´t use that much power but it is also a pretty slow printer (60 mm/s on average) compared to other more modern printers on the market.

I double-checked the measurements above by printing a Benchy (a model of a ship for benchmarking print quality) in PLA with a print temperature of 205°C on the nozzle and 60°C on the bed. The model had a layer height of 0.16 mm and only 15% infill.

These are fairly normal print settings.

The print took exactly 2 hours and 27 minutes and used exactly 0.3 kW. This means the Neptune 3 used pretty much exactly 0.13 kW per hour during this print.

How Much Power does the Bambu Lab P1P Use?

The Bambu Lab P1P is quite power-hungry compared to other 3D printers. It uses between 160 and 260 Watts during printing. When it prints slowly it will only consume around 160 to 180 Watts but when it speeds up it will easily consume 240 to 260 Watts.

This test was done at 65°C on the bed and 220°C on the nozzle and I printed with PLA filament.

Here is how much the Bambu Lab uses during its different printing stages:

StagePower Consumption in Watts
Idle10 Watts
Steppers Moving39 Watts
Nozzle Heating102 Watts
Nozzle at Temperature52 Watts
Bed Heating158 Watts
Bed at Temp142 Watts
Printing Slowly (60 mm/s)160 – 180 Watts
Printing Fast (250 mm/s)240 – 260 Watts

As you can see, the Bambu Lab P1P uses a lot more power than the Neptune 3 or Ender 3. That is mostly because of its print speeds.

But that doesn´t mean that the Bambu Lab P1P uses more power for the same printed model. Because the P1P is so much faster (almost 4 times as fast as the Neptune 3) it might actually end up being the same amount of power used per print or maybe even less.

It is also important to note that the same machine might consume different amounts of power depending on its surrounding temperature, print job, and more. So your numbers might be slightly different than mine.

Comparing the Power Consumption of a 3D Printer to Other Household Items

It is probably hard to understand how much 120 watts is so let me put it into perspective for you.

A simple light bulb uses about 60 watts of power and a LED light bulb uses about 10 watts. A regular 3D Printer uses anywhere between 90 and 290 Watts depending on the size and model of the printer. This is about as much as a Fridge uses on average (between 100 and 250 Watts).

But here is a table of common household items and how much power they use compared to a 3D printer:

Household ItemPower Consumption in Watts
Light Bulb60 Watts
LED Light Bulb10 Watts
Fridge100 – 250 Watts
Playstation 5204 Watts
Toaster800 – 1500 Watts

What Affects the Power Consumption of a 3D Printer?

There are several factors that can affect the amount of power that a 3D printer consumes.

Here are the 6 factors that affect the power consumption of a 3D printer the most:

  • Size
  • Speed
  • Klipper
  • The Temperature of the Environment
  • Insulation
  • Heated Chamber

Size

The size of the heated bed is one of the biggest factors that will influence the power consumption of any 3D printer.

The heated bed needs to be brought up to a specific temperature for printing (usually around 60 to 65 °C).

The bigger the heated bed is the more power is needed to heat the bed up to temperature and to keep the bed at the desired temperature during the whole print.

There are some smart inventions that will only heat up the area of the heated bed that is used during printing but that is far from standard right now.

Speed

The faster a printer goes the more power it will need per hour.

This is just logical, as the stepper motors will move faster and execute the individual commands faster.

So in turn, the power consumption per hour will also go up accordingly.

Klipper

Klipper is a firmware that is running on a PC (often running on a raspberry pi) and is directly connected to the motherboard of the printer.

Klipper will do complex calculations and send commands to the motherboard effectively controlling the movement of the stepper motors directly.

This will increase the printing speed of the printer but it will also increase the power consumption because the PC will need additional power as opposed to just printing with the motherboard of the printer alone.

Klipper is not commonly used in commercial printers yet but it probably will be in the future.

The Temperature of the Environment

The printer needs to keep the nozzle and the heated bed at the correct temperature during the whole print.

This requires much more power when the temperature of the environment is low. This is why it is generally recommended to use a printer at room temperature.

This will greatly reduce the power consumption of the printer.

Insulation

Insulation is also a very important factor as it ensures that the generated heat does not dissipate as fast anymore.

The nozzle can be insulated with a silicone sock and the print bed can be insulated with cheap insulation material on the bottom side.

Heated Chamber

A heated chamber is an enclosure that will keep the warm air inside and allow the printer to print ABS, ASA, and similar filaments.

The enclosure will keep the heated bed and the nozzle from cooling down too quickly effectively saving energy.

How to Reduce the Power Consumption of a 3D Printer?

There are several things that can be done to reduce the power consumption of a 3D printer and I will quickly cover the most effective ones here.

  1. Insulate the heated bed
  2. Insulate the hot end
  3. Reduce printing time
  4. Use a smaller printer if possible
  5. print with filament that doesn´t need high temperatures
  6. Don´t print in cold environments

1. Insulate the Heated Bed

The hated bed is the biggest area on a 3D printer that needs to be heated and that naturally uses a lot of energy.

But you can insulate the heated bed which will reduce the amount of time it takes for the heated bed to get to the desired temperature and it will take less power to keep it at that temperature.

You can simply buy insulation material for 3D printers online (like here on Amazon) or you can get self-adhering insulation material from your local hardware store.

Simply cut it to size, remove the heated bed from your printer (not the sheet you print on the actual bed), and glue the insulation on the bottom part of the printer.

Then reassemble the heated bed and you are done.

2. Insulate the Hot End

Not only the heated bed but also the hot end can be insulated.

Here you can use a so-called silicone sock to cover the nozzle. This silicone sock will insulate the nozzle and safe power.

This silicone sock in the picture below is already pretty beaten up though.

Most printers nowadays come with a silicone sock as a standard though.

3. Reduce the Print Time

It is pretty obvious why reducing the print time will reduce the power cost.

Less time printing also means less power consumed.

But there are some things that you should keep in mind. Speeding up the print time will not work on every printer.

You can usually increase the printing speed by about 10 mm/s and everything will be fine. This doesn´t sound like much but it will have a big impact in the long run.

You can also upgrade your printer with Klipper by using a raspberry pi and that will decrease the print time often drastically. But Klipper is firmware that is running on a miniature PC (the raspberry pi), so it will often consume more power than a regular 3D printer.

4. Use a Smaller Printer if Possible

Smaller printers are simply more energy efficient than bigger printers.

So if you have the choice then you should always use the smallest printer possible.

That is if you want to save power.

5. Print with Filament that Doesn´t Need High Temperatures

If you don´t have to print in ABS then don´t. If I can print something in PLA then I will usually do so as it is the easiest filament to print with, it is available in many different colors, and it requires relatively low temperatures.

PETG is also a good alternative to PLA.

But ABS, ASA, and the like usually require higher bed and nozzle temperatures to be printed successfully. Which in turn also means more power being used by the printer.

6. Don´t Print in Cold Environments

The heated elements in the 3D printer will always try to reach the temperatures that you set in the slicer.

That is a good thing, after all these temperatures are needed to print plastic in the first place.

But that also means that the printer will try to heat the elements to the required temperature regardless of how much power it needs. So if the environment is cold then the printer will use a lot of power to keep the heated bed and the nozzle at temperature.

I always recommend printing at room temperature to save power.

Valentin
Valentin
Hi, I am a passionate maker and professional prop maker for the entertainment industry. I use my woodworking, programming, electronics, and illustration know-how to create interactive props and puzzles for Escape Games and marketing agencies. And I share my knowledge and my experience on this blog with you so that you can become a maker yourself.

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