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Bricklink vs. Pick-a-Brick

Wasn't entirely sure where to put this, but since it involves buying parts, this seemed like the place for it.

I 'm looking at piecing together the Marina Bay Sands Architecture set, minus the printed tile of course (I should get the dimensions of that tile just so I can replace it with a standard plain black tile). 

Anyway, I did some looking, and it appears as though Pick-a-Brick has all but 12 of the parts of I need (excluding the printed tile). It still ends up a bit on the expensive side, but a lot cheaper than the $500-$600 plus it currently sells for. 

So the main question is, if I can get all those parts from Pick-a-Brick, am I better off doing that and just getting the remaining pieces from Briclink, or would I save quite a bit trying to get most of my pieces from Bricklink (although a lot of the pieces had only a few cent difference)?


  • goshe7goshe7 Member Posts: 515
    I have done this a few times.  The short answer is that if you can get all buy 12 parts out of ~600 from any one source, do it.  It doesn't take many individual S&H charges to wipe out any savings of a few cents on each part.

    If you want to work a bit harder to convince yourself of this...

    1. Generate an estimate for the BL cost to complete the 12 parts you need.  
    - One way is to create a Wanted List, then use Wanted List By Shop to determine the number of orders that need to be placed.  Figure the total assuming $3.50 S&H per shop plus BL Avg price assuming you only shop & live in USA.  (Or you can work harder if you want a more precise answer)
    - Another way is to create a BrickStock file and use something awesome like BrickWizard
    - Another way is to create a WishList on BrickOwl, where you can quickly compare options and determine total cost.
    2. Add the total from (1) to the Pick-a-Brick cost and get your "total" estimate

    Then get your comparison.  
    - Easiest way is to use BL POV = ~$90 presently excluding the tile.
    - A bit better would be to use BrickWizard to determine the number of stores you will need to buy from to get everything.  I believe that tool includes the actual store prices in the summary.  Still estimate $3.50 S&H for USA stores shipping domestically.

    If you don't mind working harder, but don't want to work that hard, look for expensive items from Pick-a-Brick and assess if you will realize appreciable savings by buying them from BL instead.
  • SithLord196SithLord196 Member Posts: 1,161
    Well that single source argument is precisely why I'm considering just spending the ~$90 (I'm ordering all but the really expensive parts in even quantities to have a few extra parts) for the 43 elements I need that Pick-a-Brick has (plus it's free shipping due to being over $75) and then just trying to get the other 12 elements I need from a single source on Bricklink.

    I also won't need the brick separator. 

    How did you get the part out value on Bricklink? I used to know how, but have since forgot, and would love to have that info again.

    My big worry though is exactly what you mentioned, and that is the fact that S&H fees can add up quite quickly. I was more wondering if you or anyone else thinks it would save me a lot of money to go through all that trouble and only get a few elements from Pick-a-Brick, or if the savings would be minimal enough to just avoid the headache.

    The other big worry is just how often do elements become unavailable through PAB? Seeing as how it might be a month or so until I have the money to do this, I'm worried about some of the parts falling out of the PAB inventory.
  • binaryeyebinaryeye Member Posts: 1,831
    I 'm looking at piecing together the Marina Bay Sands Architecture set, minus the printed tile of course (I should get the dimensions of that tile just so I can replace it with a standard plain black tile).
    It's a 1x8.
  • ecmo47ecmo47 Member Posts: 2,101
    With ordering from PaB, you will consistency in your white bricks.
  • BastaBasta Member Posts: 1,259

    I have Bricklinked #1089, #3724, #10187 and have started #10018, in all cases I have used a combination of Bricklink, PAB and B&P (Lego Bricks & Pieces).  

    I tend to look for the rare and high qty pieces first. Once I know where I am buying them from I'll also check and see what that seller has of the other parts. If I'm making an order from Lego I'll tend to buy all the very low qty pieces I haven't already got even if they are a little more expensive. As the postage saving is worth paying a little more for those parts.

  • SithLord196SithLord196 Member Posts: 1,161
    It's actually kind of fun and interesting sorting all this out.

    I'm still leaning towards doing just the massive PAB order of about $87ish and then just filling out the rest from other sources. The savings don't seem to be massive with what little looking around I've done.

    For example, the Trans-Light Blue Plate 1x2 is fairly common, but in trying to find sellers that have the quantity I need and a good amount of other parts I need, I've found the savings to be miniscule at best, maybe around $0.02 a piece. Not only that, but eliminating that piece from my PAB list would push the order under $75, so the free shipping would go away (assuming free shipping is offered for PAB). 

    I'm also quite thankful for Bricklink, as just looking at some elements in the instruction booklet makes it hard to figure out exactly what piece it should be. Element 4667575 is a 1x2 brick with 2 studs on both sides. Just looking at the instruction booklet part inventory, it appears to be a 1x2 brick with 2 studs on one side.

    Another item to throw out there... I'm hoping to attend BrickFest Live in about a week on either the 25th or 26th as general admission attendee. How would that be for tracking down parts?

    All things considered, I'm hoping to pull off this set for about $120 including S&H costs, if not less. 
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Member Posts: 10,757
    edited April 2015
    ecmo47 said:
    With ordering from PaB, you will consistency in your white bricks.
    I dunno, I have had quantities of brick from PAB have shading differences as well.

    In general it all boils down to cost for me, which is cheaper getting it from LEGO vs getting it from BL.
    After LEGO updated their CS part ordering system in the US with prices I have noticed the cheapness of cost of LEGO vs BL has pretty much evaporated.
    Still If I need a large number of parts that just are not available on BL or brickowl, I have resorted to using LEGO even if they are a bit pricey as trying to get parts from BL costs more than you think with shipping costs from sellers.

    The 2.95 USD shipping through LEGO will usually get me to buy as well especially again if I would have had to buy the pieces cheaper via BL but had to pay more in shipping or more. I think people do not realize how expensive bricklinking a set is when you have to buy from multiple sellers to get the parts, eventually you are paying 40-50 dollars sometimes in shipping costs alone if you are bricklinking something big enough (like a Mod).
    So I say when deciding parts to buy to compare not only BL vs LEGO but the shipping costs associated.

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