We can all agree that 3D printing is not the cheapest hobby by any means, where even the filament costs by themselves can quickly become out of hand for those who enjoy 3D printing frequently with different types, colors, and brands of filaments.
On the other hand, while it doesn’t get much attention compared to the more apparent costs, the electricity cost of 3D printing is also nothing to scoff at, especially if you run your 3D printer for extended periods in an area where power is expensive.
In today’s article, we will discuss the power consumption rates of a 3D printer, with the Ender 3 being the 3D printer of our choice in specific, and find out how much the electricity costs contribute to the overall 3D printing expenses.
So, what is the power consumption rate of Creality Ender 3 (Pro/V2)?
While the Ender 3 comes with a 360W power supply, meaning that it’s technically capable of drawing 360 Watts, the average power consumption of an Ender 3 comes down to roughly 120-130 Watts during standard usage as the printer does not require maximum power all the time.
Next up, we will analyze the power consumption rate of the Ender 3 in more detail with data, discuss whether the Ender 3 uses a lot of electricity compared to other appliances or not, find out the electricity cost of printing for an hour with the Ender 3, and look at ways to lower the power consumption rate of your printer.
Table of Contents
What Is the Power Consumption (Electricity Usage) Rate of Ender 3 (Pro/V2)?
While we can all agree that every 3D printer requires power to work, the power consumption rate of each 3D printer is distinct due to the differences in the electrical components used to assemble the printer.
With a standard 180 to 200 degrees Celsius nozzle temperature and a 50 to 60 degrees Celsius bed temperature, the average power consumption of the Ender 3 is between 120 and 130 Watts, provided that you don’t heat the nozzle or the bed more than once or twice in a small amount of time.
As heating is the primary factor that increases the power consumption of the Ender 3, a session where the printer goes through multiple heating cycles or goes up to higher-than-average temperatures will expectedly cause the 3D printer to consume way more power than usual.
It’s worth noting that while the average figures are suitable for rough estimations, the most optimal way to make precise calculations is to utilize an electricity usage monitor to find the exact power consumption figures of your Ender 3 and use these values instead of the averages.
Does the Ender 3 (Pro/V2) Use a Lot of Electricity?
Comparing the power consumption rate of your Ender 3 to some other household appliances that you use regularly is a fantastic way to put things into perspective and see if 3D printing is putting a more considerable dent than it should in your budget.
With an average power consumption rate of 120 to 130 Watts, it’s possible to find common household appliances that draw both more and less power than the Ender 3, which we have listed some examples of below:
- Electric Kettle – 2100W
- Hairdryer – 2150W
- Desktop Computer – 275W
- Laptop Computer – 75W
- Tower Fan – 60W
On the other hand, the amount of power drawn per unit of time does not tell the whole story about electricity usage, as the amount of time we spend running these appliances is also as significant, with each machine requiring a different amount of time to accomplish a task.
To put things into perspective, we have listed the amount of time required for some everyday electronics around the house to reach the total power consumption of an Ender 3 running for an hour (125 Wh), which is enough to print a standard 20 mm cube with the default Standard Quality profile in Cura:
- Electric Kettle – 3.57 minutes
- Hairdryer – 3.48 minutes
- Desktop Computer – 27 minutes
- Laptop Computer – 100 minutes
- Tower Fan – 125 minutes
Bottom line, while we wouldn’t say that Ender 3 uses a lot of electricity with these comparisons in mind, we believe that whether it’s a lot or not is purely subjective and depends on many factors such as priorities and budget.
Please note that the power consumption rates in this section are merely averages, and it wouldn’t be unusual for the particular appliance you own to draw as little as half or as much as twice power compared to the figures we have listed, especially considering that there is a lot of variance between products in terms of power consumption.
What Is the Electricity Cost of Printing with the Ender 3 (Pro/V2) for an Hour?
Since the power consumption rates by themselves don’t make a lot of sense to many, we believe that taking a look at how much it costs to run the Ender 3 for an hour will make the topic of electricity costs a lot more understandable.
As the electricity costs entirely depend on the rates your power company charges, we cannot provide concrete values that would apply to everyone.
On the other hand, with the formula of 125 * 0.001 * <kWh price>, you can quickly calculate how much it would cost to print with the Ender 3 for an hour on average.
For instance, if we assume that the kWh price for electricity is 12.50 cents, the calculation would be as such:
125W (Ender 3 average power consumption) * 0.001 = 0.125 kW
0.125 kW * 12.50 cents/kWh = 1.5625 cents per hour
If you have an electricity usage monitor at hand, you can replace the average value of 125 with the value you have found, which will give you the most accurate results.
Which Component of the Ender 3 (Pro/V2) Draws the Highest Amount of Power?
As the Ender 3 consists of many distinct components that draw different amounts of power, knowing which ones use the highest amount of electricity can be helpful to have an idea of which types of prints are costly.
While intuition tells us that the nozzle should be the component that draws the highest amount of power due to the high temperatures it goes up to, the heated bed of the Ender 3, capable of drawing up to 220 Watts of power, is actually responsible for drawing the highest amount of energy.
Even though the bed temperatures don’t come close to the nozzle temperatures, heating a large area such as the bed requires a lot more energy than heating a small component like the nozzle, making it understandable that the heated bed is the leading component in power consumption.
To put things in perspective, compared to the 220W heated bed, the nozzle heater of the Ender 3 can only draw up to 40 Watts of power, meaning that the maximum power going into the heated bed can power up to five and a half nozzles at the same time.
How to Lower the Power Consumption Rate of Your Ender 3 (Pro/V2)?
As the electricity costs associated with running a 3D printer can be overwhelming, especially if you live in an area where power is expensive, finding ways to lower the power consumption rate of your printer will allow you to print in a more budget-friendly manner.
Below are some of our tips for lowering the power consumption rate of your Ender 3 and printing in a more power-efficient manner:
- Optimize the values of parameters such as print speed, travel speed, retraction speed, and layer height for quicker print times. Getting the 3D printer to work faster means that the printer will need to spend less power on keeping the components heated, reducing the overall power consumption.
- Avoid pausing the printing process, especially for extended periods. Halting the printing process means either the printer will keep the components heated needlessly or re-heat them when the printing process continues, with both scenarios leading to unnecessary power consumption.
- Only use bed heating when it’s necessary. While a heated bed is always helpful to ensure that the bed adhesion is optimal, there are scenarios where you can probably get away without the heat, allowing you to reduce power consumption drastically.
- Use larger nozzles. Larger nozzles speed the print up, reducing the time the printer needs to keep the nozzle and the bed in a heated state.
- If you use the heated bed, prefer printers with build surfaces that aren’t larger than the models you print. The heated bed draws most of the power, so heating a large bed for printing a small model wastes energy. With a smaller bed, you can get power consumption levels to be more manageable.
As you may have noticed, all the steps we have listed above aim to reduce the amount of time or energy spent on heating, as heating is the primary culprit that increases power costs.
With this in mind, feel free to apply any other method that will allow your 3D printer to use heating more efficiently, directly lowering power consumption.
As electricity usage brings a recurring cost that you cannot avoid while 3D printing, it’s a good idea to keep track of the amount of electricity you use and how much it costs you, as this will allow you to have a better understanding of how much you spend on 3D printing overall.
To quickly recap, we have found that the power consumption of an Ender 3 during standard usage averages out around 120 to 130 Watts, which is a reasonably common amount that many other electronics, such as a desktop computer, can consume.
On the other hand, as the power consumption of a 3D printer can drastically vary due to factors such as using distinct temperature values or going through a different number of heating cycles), we highly recommend running your tests with an electricity usage monitor.
Mike started his 3D printing journey with the Anet A8 when it first came out back in 2017, and has been obsessed with 3D printers ever since. Nowadays, he primarily uses his Ender 3 to print functional parts that make his life more convenient whenever possible.