Plastic Injection Molding Cost

Table of Contents

The mold is a major investment for plastic product manufacturers. It can mean a large fraction of the total cost of an injection molding machine. To begin with, let us first differentiate between price and cost. When we say the price, that refers to the quote you get given by the mold maker. It is the price for the service charge and materials needed to build the mold. You know this would be what you pay to get your mold made. Now the cost is the price you have to pay to get the mold to function. That is for as long as it functions. So the cost of the mold, in the long run, depends on how well it got made in the first place. For a well-made mold, the cost is low, it needs low maintenance. It also gives a good return on the price paid for it. But if the mold is not well made it could end up costing you a lot more than the price you paid for it. Ready-made molds get priced from a thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. While there is no set global price standard, this article gives you an idea of how to make estimates. We’ll discuss the costs involved in mold manufacture and the extra factors that add to the cost. In the deal case, you should contact a mold company and request a quote. But different companies might give different quotes for the same mold. You might also find that the cost goes beyond what gets quoted by the mold maker. This article helps you understand the costs involved in plastic injection molds. It also helps you better understand the price quoted by mold makers.

Costing the Mold

Other than the reciprocating screw. The mold is the feature that differentiates injection molding from simple extrusion. The mold gives what would have been a mass of plastic melt a more complex identity. One can almost say it is the part of injection molding where the product comes alive. You may decide to have a mold made or buy a ready-made mold. The former is often the case for manufacturers producing specialized products. Each manufacturer wants a unique design for their brand to stand out. You will also need a custom made mold for unique products which you designed. Also, the mold has to be compatible with the injection molding machine. So when purchasing a ready-made mold be sure to look out for the specifications. To ensure compatibility with your machine. You might have a good mold made from good material but is not compatible with your machine. This causes problems in production and you won’t get the value from the mold.  

Below are some example price ranges from different sources for different mold types. These get estimated from different companies and reports. The aim here is to show that the price can vary to a large extent. For example, a mold for the same product can get quoted as 2,800 USD or 22,000. These depend on the added service and features of the mold. For example, the mold design for plastic pipe fittings might be identical. But you might find that the one for PVC is so much higher than the one for PP. By the end of this article, you’ll have a clearer idea of why that might be.

Table showing different price ranges for various mold types.

Mold typePrice range
Simple plastic injection mold3,000 – 6,000
Large, more complex injection mold25, 000 -50,000
Average mold4,500 – 16,00
Plastic pipe fitting mold2,800 – 22,000
Plastic water cup mold2,000 – 3,000
Plastic chair mold10,000 -30,000

Pricing also varies with category. The table below shows some price estimates for different mold categories.

Table showing estimated prices for different mold categories

Rapid prototyping Insert High production 
Basic design75 USD1,500 USD4, 500 USD
Moderately complex design215 USD5,000 USD13,500 USD
Advanced design765 USD9,800 USD28,000 USD

Factors that affect the Upfront Cost of Mold

You should think of the mold as a mid to long-term investment. Molds can last between 1000 cycles to 1,000,000 cycles. The number of cycles gets given by the manufacturer’s SPI standards.  Well made molds can continue to give good output even past their expected lifetime.  You can expect that the price of the mold will affect product pricing. While a manufacturer can set a price based on the cost of manufacturing. For competitive products, the price is already set by the market. So the return on investment can only come from cost management. Having efficient machinery and tools contribute a lot. So you want a mold that can make you a million cycles well. In doing so it costs little in maintenance, runs fast, and makes near zero rejected parts. Below chart gives an estimate of how different charges contribute to total mold cost.

The American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) provides worksheets manufacturers and engineers can use. This helps to estimate how much the mold will cost. So whether you decide to buy offshore or within your country it depends on different factors. Some might decide to work with a local mold maker. Some countries lack the technical capacity to make professional molds. Or at least not to the standard does not exist. In such cases getting one from an offshore mold maker is a better option.

Image showing worksheet presented by AMBA

When considering the material to use for mold, steel is the best. In particular, tool steel is always a good option. Aluminum or a combination of aluminum and steel gets used in certain cases. These are low volume, test runs, or prototypes. Aluminum poses limitations to repair and modifications. The steel can be the type that’s hardened or prehardened. This depends on the molded part demand. The type of material can in turn affect the cost of processing. For example how eas the material can get worked or does it get damaged during machining? Etc. The type of material also matters. Some materials need specific demands from the mold. For example, some materials need a mold with good temperature resistance. Some need one with a good surface finish. While some materials mold at low temperatures and are tolerant of any surface.

When you consider the added cost to the price of the mold. It becomes obvious why quality should not at all get compromised. Precautions are necessary to ensure your mold works at its best and does not get damaged. The mold gets damaged by abrasion for example. This can occur when dealing with textured plastics glass-filled plastics. So for such abrasion-resistant materials are a must. The mold can also get damaged by corrosion. When molding plastics like PVC a corrosion-resistant metal is the only way to go. The number of cycles your mold can run depends on such factors. 

The injection mold is most often made by CNC machining. When working with an offshore mold maker or long distance it still works. CAD designs or prints get sent to the mold maker who then makes the mold to the CAD details. This allows you to get the best technical expertise from anywhere in the world. You can have a mold made by experts in China and shipped to you in Europe, Africa, or other parts of the world. Some companies might choose to have a tooling engineer go over to oversee the process. The added cost of travel, boarding, and feeding gets included in the mold cost. Mold makers can often give you a price estimate based on your CAD design.

The factors affecting the cost of the mold in summary are as follows:

  • Type of material
  • Size
  • Mld type: prototype, low volume production, high volume production
  • Cavity type (Identical or family molds)
  • Design complexity
  • The technique used for mold construction
  • Shipping
  • Trial runs
  • Modifications 

Bringing down the cost of Plastic Injection mold

There are a few measures you can take to lower the cost of your mold. Note that this does not in any way mean cutting corners. Here we discuss the measures you can take to remove costs you do not need. 

Avoid unnecessary product features

This is where during design, all stakeholders should get involved. Right from the concept stage. When trying to reduce the cost you can focus on basic and performance features. Some product features might be “nice to have” but do not contribute to market value. Removing this feature tends not to affect functionality or appeal. But leaving those features might add to cost. This brings down the profit margin. To communicate with your mold maker early in the stage to avoid unnecessary costs.

Aesthetic finishes and appearances

Features like gloss and texture might not be necessary for the success of a product. If it does not boost the appeal and translate to sales, you can ditch it. Often product designers are not aware of the cost of some aesthetic features. At best these tend to be excitement factors. The consumers might find them nice but will not affect their buying decision. Meanwhile, that fancy feature might have cost an extra $1000. So be aware of these seeming simple product features. This is because specific types of mold achieve a gloss or matte finish. 

Size matters

On the larger end of the size scale, a bigger product means a bigger mold. A bigger mold needs more metal, hence added cost. On the other end, small parts will demand more precise tooling. So make sure you use the size that suits the function. In other words, don’t make a product life-size if it is not necessary to be. Likewise don’t make a product minute if it can be a little bigger.

Overmolding and Insert Molding

You can have a mold do in a single cycle what would need two processes. You can also adopt a mold to get used for two different products by using inserts. These inserts can get placed or removed depending on what gets made in a given cycle. So where needed or possible, take advantage of these versatile techniques.

That said, The price of the mold is only one of the components of injection molding. There are the screw, barrel, heaters, and all the other parts of the machine. But the mold requires more precision engineering than other parts of the machine. This is why here we place emphasis on this feature of injection molding. The mold goes a long way to determine the final product quality. It is where plastics become products. It is also the distinguishing point in injection molding. It is where product identity gets created. Many companies will have the brand logo or name as part of the product feature in the mold. As an added note, it helps to work with a mold maker who also molds. A manufacturer with experience in injection molding will know the value of the mold. Such a mold maker is more prone to encouraging and supporting you to use the best quality. This might seem expensive upfront but in the long run, you’ll be thankful.


Injection mold price varies from project to project. Understanding what factors contribute to cost will help in a lot of ways. For example, it helps you communicate better with your mold maker. Being informed on the impact of certain product features and decisions is important. This can help you decide what design meets your product needs. But without spending on unnecessary features. On the one side is having a mold that is too weak to meet your production demand. Also, you can have a very strong mold that only gets used to a fraction of its capabilities. 

Cavity Mold offers professional, low cost and highly efficient mold making service. Contact us today to discuss your injection molding project. You can also get a free quote at 


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