Expensive Legos Why

As someone who loves LEGOs, I know firsthand that LEGO sets and bricks are not cheap. And if you have kids, chances are your kid’s Christmas or birthday gift list probably contains some LEGO toys. After all, it has been a beloved toy for generations. From beguiling towering skyscrapers to crafting intricate Star Wars spaceships, there is something about the tactical nature of LEGO bricks that captures the imagination of children and adults alike.

Despite the price tag, LEGO sets remain hugely popular. According to National Geographic Kids, about 28 LEGO sets are sold each second during the Christmas season.

People may happily pay more than a car’s monthly installment for one of the best Technic LEGO sets. Just take a look at the LEGO Vintage Airport Shuttle Monorail, priced at almost $7,000 on Amazon. LEGO Duplo Feuerwehr-Haputgquartier costs $3,151, and the Ferrari LEGO 1/17th F430 Spider sells at about $3,000.

Why are the best LEGOS so expensive, and are we paying too much for LEGO toys?

In this article, I will explore the various factors that contribute to the cost of Lego sets and provide some insight into what makes these toys worth the investment.

Why the High Price for LEGO Products?

Attention To Detail

LEGO is known for its precision engineering and attention to detail. Each mold is precise; it is accurate within 0.004 mm, which is ten times narrower than a single human hair. In addition, each LEGO brick has three numbers that indicate the mold’s position and which mold was used to produce it. With the numbering system, a faulty mold is quickly discovered and fixed. The accuracy level is so high that only about 18 bricks in every million manufactured do not meet the company’s exceptional standards.

That is why LEGOS from different sets are compatible with each other. Even a LEGO brick from 1958 is well-matched with LEGO bricks bought today. If a piece breaks or is lost from your favorite LEGO set, LEGO can replace that one element. It is not like a jigsaw puzzle with a noticeable gap where the missing piece should go or a toy that no longer functions because of the missing piece. You need not purchase a complete set again, only the missing piece.

Manufacturing millions of LEGO bricks and elements that fit together is something competitors need to overcome. The price tag may be high, but considering that the expensive LEGO toys parents bought their children as gifts will still be playable for their grandchildren and grandchildren’s kids to enjoy.

Size of LEGO Sets

The number of pieces in a LEGO set influences the cost and, therefore, the price you pay. The price of LEGOS has decreased since 40 years ago. In 1985 a LEGO brick cost about 40 cents per brick; today, it averages 10-12 cents per brick. LEGO sets were also smaller; the content averaged between 500 and 800 pieces in the 1980s compared to today’s gigantic sets.

LEGO Architecture, LEGO Star Wars, and other themes have LEGO sets that contain thousands of pieces. For example, the hard-to-find Taj Mahal consists of 5923 LEGO pieces and costs about $400 brand new, whereas the 4,016 pieces LEGO Death Star 75159 is sold for about $500.

Brand Building

Receiving LEGOS as a gift is not just getting another toy; it is an adventurous and delightful experience with educational value that keeps kids entertained for hours. LEGO is probably the favorite toy brand in the world for many kids…and adults too.

In 2015 LEGO overtook Ferrari as the world’s most powerful brand, according to BrandFinance. In addition, LEGO’s excellent marketing has made them the #1 toy brand globally, with an estimated $7.51 billion brand value.

Their marketing secret may be good experiences and happy stories people associate with LEGO. Ask any AFOL (adult fan of LEGO), and they will have a story to tell about their first LEGO experience.

LEGO is dedicated to its mission of inspiring and developing the builders of tomorrow.

Licensing Fees

Produced in 1979, LEGOLAND Space was LEGO’s first theme, and Star Wars was their first licensed theme. As a result, LEGO collaborates with highly popular brands like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Winnie the Pooh, Toy Story, Harry Potter, and Marvel, which means high licensing fees.  Although licensing fees may form part of the cost the end consumer pays for their LEGO set, most costs come from the number of pieces in a set.

Exclusive rights to brands like Star Wars also means it is only available in LEGO if you want to build a Star Wars building blocks model. These licenses allow kids to develop their favorite stories and relive the movie adventures with roleplaying fun.

High-Quality Material

LEGO is made from thermoplastic, which is known for its strength and durability. The specific plastic, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, is a petroleum product. It means the raw material pricing is related to crude oil’s price increase or decrease.

The LEGO molds are designed to endure multiple assembling and disassembling without losing functionality. You only need to walk barefoot on a LEGO brick to experience its sturdiness.  They are pretty easy to clean as well.

At the Open University, engineers put a 2 x 2 LEGO brick in a hydraulic press to measure how much pressure it can take before it breaks or changes its form. Dr. Ian Johnston discovered that a LEGO brick could withstand 4,240 Newtons, equivalent to 953.1899-pound-force or 375,000 LEGO bricks. So theoretically, the bottom LEGO brick should withstand a LEGO tower 2.17 miles high.

Resale Value

LEGO does not lose its value as a secondhand toy. On the contrary, it may even increase in price.

Are LEGOS Worth More Than Gold?

According to “The Toy of Smart Investors” study by Russia’s Higher School of Economics,  secondhand LEGO may yield a return rate of 11%, which was higher than gold or stocks in 2015. LEGO retires LEGO sets every two years. When these sets are no longer available, their prices in the secondhand market increases, sometimes higher than the retail price the LEGO was sold. The most popular LEGO sets are from the movies, Star Wars, Marvel, and Harry Potter franchises.

According to the Mirror, the most expensive LEGO brick worldwide was auctioned in 2017 for 12,000 pounds (about $15,500).  Only a few of these 14-carat solid gold LEGO bricks exist in the world. Shaped like an original brick, it is compatible with other LEGO sets.

According to Catawiki, some expensive LEGO sets are still selling at high prices. Released in 2007, the LEGO 10182 Modular Buildings Cafe Corner was auctioned for 1,400 euros (about $1,600). In addition, the original Star Wars 10179 Ultimate Collector’s Series Millennium Falcon was auctioned for 4,700 Euro (about $5,500) in 2015; its original price tag was 450 Euro (about $525).

How Much Should You Pay For Used LEGOS?

Used LEGO sets in good condition are generally worth 50% to 75% of the retail price. However, bargains are to be found, and you may even pay as little as 10% of its original price. You could find great buys by searching online sites and even find that rare LEGO treasure.

If you are buying a batch of unsorted LEGO, you should find LEGOS pricing at $15 or less per pound. You may pay more if the pack contains multiple elements and desirable pieces. Buying a used collection and taking the time to sort the pieces into complete sets may be worth your while. If a critical brick or element is missing, you could purchase that individual piece from LEGO.

Is There A Cheaper Version Of LEGO?

MegaBloks and KRE-O are the closest competitors to LEGO. Although LEGO is pricier than its competition, it is not that great a price gap. Considering the precision to detail where every LEGO brick fits another LEGO brick, people know what to expect when buying a LEGO set. It may not always be the case with a competitor.

The competition also followed LEGO’s footsteps in acquiring licensing deals, which increased their popularity and prices. MegaBloks owns the rights to the video game Halo, Thomas the Tank Engine, Hello Kitty, and Barbies, whereas KRE-O acquired licenses for Star Trek and Transformers.

LEGO toys may seem expensive, but it is worth every cent if you consider the quality, variety, durability, and joy. So, what is your favorite LEGO story?


  1. that is really good but you know 1 thing you missed is why they are 12 or 10 cents per brick hopefully you get the note other wise that was awsome

    1. Adjusting for inflation: 40yrs ago at 40cents a bring, now at 10-12 cents per brick( price range: depending on specialized uniquer pieces than just the regular common bricks. )

  2. The pricing is ridiculous regardless of ” quality, variety, durability, and joy” they bring. These should be the standard, not the exception. Besides, they are toys… not Lamborghinis.

    1. I dont know what Lego means with “quality and durability”, which are the most important features to me.

      For example, I bought the Star Wars Republic Shuttle (set 8019) and built it in 2009, I kept it in optimal climatic conditions (temperature and humidity) with low playing use, and in this 2023 I tried to disassemble it to clean and wash all the pieces. But surprise! 2 or 3 pieces (little lego sheets) broke in half… Yes, I can purchase them again from the oficial Lego Shop, but the point is: What about those prices based in “quality and durability” (and other things), when Lego Sets presents this kind of imperfections in such little time?

      Yes, Lego allows a strength assemble of their pieces, but during a short time (8-10 years), the pieces of all my Lego sets that were bought and built in 2008-2013 have begun to separate little by little despite the cleaning as advised on their official website.

      I can understand a little increase in their prices since 2010, but it cant be explained that a Star Wars AT-TE set from 2008-2009 cost 90$ when it was released, and the AT-TE from this 2023 cost the comfortable amount of… 149.99$!! It happens the same with the little sets, that went from costing 9.99€ in 2010-2014 to 19.99€ after a few years, and believe me, it isnt the amount of pieces in these cases, you can check it just looking of each set.

      And yes… I am not talking about the crazy prices of the second hand sets, that can increase, depending of the website, more than a 100% from the original set price.

      In conclusion, the defense of Lego prices is a matter of opinion more than fact based, and how financially capable you are to continue acquiring their, in my opinion, overpriced sets over time.

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