I am trying to get the set LEGO makes with the best price per part. I could spend the next hour calculating it or I could ask someone who has already done this.

To clarify, I am buying any new set at retail price from LEGO. I will wait until there is a good promo running, but wanted to know ahead of time. I don't care about the pieces just the price per part.

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    what parts are you looking for? makes a big difference. – David Dec 25 '17 at 23:18
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    Are you really willing to buy a set based on the price per part? That is like judging a movie based on its length. What do you mean by "A good promo"? – Aziraphale Dec 26 '17 at 0:38
  • Aziraphale thanks for commenting, but that really doesn't help answer my question. My example of good promo is irrelevant, and I will obviously weigh into my getting the set how much I like it as well. – Stephen Dec 26 '17 at 0:44
up vote 9 down vote accepted

Not going to argue with the reason for the request, but here are some options that give (close to) the best price per part:

  1. Any classic brick box typically gives you a less than $0.05 per part price. Getting those on discount can get you even lower. (E.g. 10704 when on sale at WM in the US was $20 for 900 bricks - or a little over $0.02 per brick).
  2. Special sets not for regular retail (marked as Gear on Bricklink.com) have a good price per part ratio. 40174 Chess set has over 1400 pieces and retails for $55 (~$0.04 per part). Only available at LEGO Shop at Home and LEGO stores. Similarly for the What Am I? game - 540 pieces, currently on sale for $24, so also ~$0.04 per part.
  3. Some smaller sets, especially when on discount, also have great price to part ratio. 100-120 pieces in a $5 set gives a price to part ratio of $0.05 or better.
  4. On the other end of the spectrum: LEGO has released quite some large sets recently with great price-per-part ratios. Sets like Destiny’s Bounty (2300 pieces for $160, Ninjago City (almost 5000 pieces for $300) and especially Saturn V (almost 2000 pieces for $120) are expensive but proved tons of pieces.
  5. Clearance discounts (especially those of 70% or more) are great opportunities to buy high piece-count sets for little money. For example the Imperial Assault Carrier from 2014 was available at WM clearance for $30 or less, and has 1100 pieces.

Brickset has a cool feature where you can see all sets in a Theme or in a given year sorted by the Price per Piece count. First, go to the page for the year you are interested in (I chose 2017). Then use the sorting dropdown to pick “Price per Piece (US)”. You can see that this largely validates my points above. Note that the list starts with many sets that do not have a price per piece in US dollar available (promos, limited release sets, sets not available in the US etc.) You will have to scroll quite far down before the proper list starts.

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  • I didn't realise how much cheaper LEGO is in the USA compared to the UK. $120 for the Saturn V? In the UK at retail price it is £109.99 (almost $150). Either way it has a generous part:price ratio. – Ambo100 Dec 28 '17 at 20:18
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    @Ambo100 : two reasons: 1) Bexit, 2) US prices are before VAT. So $120 US is actually $130 after our typical 7-10% sales tax. European VAT tends to be much higher (15-20%+) so for a tax-free buyer the price is fairly comparable. – Phil B. Dec 28 '17 at 22:30
  • I didn't see the VAT added when I tried adding a product on the LEGO shop site to my basket so I assumed the VAT was included. – Ambo100 Dec 28 '17 at 22:39
  • VAT only gets added during checkout after you have specified your address. And if you don’t have a US address, it will not add tax. – Phil B. Dec 29 '17 at 0:20
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    Nope, every state has its own sales tax rate, and then most municipalities add their own tax on top of that. Where I live state tax is 5%, and local tax adds another 2%. There are states with NO sales tax as well (New Hampshire is an example). – Phil B. Dec 29 '17 at 1:27

Phil B has some great info posted, but here are some additional things to think about.

Anything can go on clearance, and obviously adding 50% off will help the price per piece. However, sales and clearance are unpredictable in that you don't know when the sales will occur or what they will be comprised of. So I would skip doing calculations about hypothetical sales, unless you have a 70% off set in your hands.

Phil B made no mention of the Lego Pick a Brick wall. This is, for many types of pieces, the absolutely most cost effective way to get a lot of parts. If you live near a LEGO store, swing by once a month or so and load up on bulk parts.

He also talks about 'classic type' sets. This would be the Creator Line sets, which have the added bonus of having a lot of good basic pieces that aren't too specialized. Look at these first, they are going to be your best bet.

The really large sets tend to be very cost effective too, but it might not be in your budget to drop $150+ per box.

If you really want a lot of LEGO cheap, go buy 50 lb. used lots off of e-bay. Even after you pick out and throw away the inevitable mega-blocs, the price per piece is still way lower than anywhere else.

  • Thanks for showing some alternatives to buying sets. I always wondered how cost effective pick a bricks were. – Stephen Dec 26 '17 at 19:50
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    Great suggestion. Just remember that 1) there is a very limited selection of bricks in a Pick-a-Brick wall (20-30 different parts tops), and 2) the larger the part, the fewer you can stack in a cup, which raises the price per piece. At $16 per cup (US price for a Large cup), you need 300 pieces in a cup to hit $0.05 per brick or less. That’ll work fine for 1x1 plates, but good luck sticking 300 2x4 bricks in a large cup ;-) – Phil B. Dec 28 '17 at 2:39

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