7 Factors That Determine the Cost of a Custom Medal

Custom Medals | 3 min read

Custom medals are a great way to promote your event and reward participants for their hard work, but how much of your budget should you plan to set aside for them? Because there are so many factors that impact cost, it's hard to accurately answer the question, "how much does a custom medal cost?" without knowing some of your specific desires and requirements.

However, we can tell you what factors affect the pricing of custom medals. In this list, we explain the key factors that help determine the cost of your medal so you can be well informed when you speak with your favorite medal vendor.

1. Type

There are many different custom medal types made from various materials, such as zinc, iron, lead, pewter, brass, silver, copper, PVC, wood, and more. Each type also has a specific manufacturing method. They can all be great options, depending on your requirements.

Here's a list of the most popular types:

  • Die Cast Medals: ideal for simple or complex designs such as; 3D sculpting, cityscapes and portraits, multiple levels, cut-outs and multi-piece designs, moving parts, and special features, with or without color.
  • Spin Cast Medals: ideal for simple designs with raised and recessed areas and produce quality medals that hold fine design details with popular finish options. You can also add more advanced features like enamel color fills, 3D sculpting, and multiple levels.
  • Die Struck Medals: perfect for commemorating individuals, e.g., hall of fame, guest of honor, lifetime achievement emblem, high-level award.
  • Insert Medals: good when you are looking for low-cost, fast turnaround, colorful design, virtually any quantity. Time and economics usually dictate this choice.
  • ColorMax Medals: are thick and heavy die cast medals with full-color artwork. They come in 2.5" and 3" round or square options, are available in gold, silver, and bronze finishes, and can be produced very quickly.
  • Acrylic Medals: great if you are looking for a fast turnaround, unique shapes, and want something different than a traditional medal.
  • Wood Medals: good if you need a fairly quick turnaround. The use of wood over metal offers a super unique aesthetic and can be perfectly tied to the theme of an event like trail runs or bike races.
  • PVC Medals: are highly colorful, flexible, and fun. Great for kids' events.
  • Glass Medals: perfect option when looking for a unique, classy award in small quantities.

2. Quantity

Generally speaking, when buying custom medals, the more you buy, the less they cost per unit. This is because as quantities increase, the cost per unit for setup/mold/die, manufacturing, and shipping typically decreases.

There are usually price breaks based on quantity, though keep in mind they are not the same for all medal types. For example, you might be able to buy 1,000 medals for less than the cost of 950 medals, so be sure to check quantity price breaks for the type of medal you are buying.

3. Size / Thickness

While true custom medals come in any size and shape, they are usually quoted out by size: 2", 3" and 4", etc., and thickness. Therefore, larger and thicker medals require more materials and, thus, cost more to make.

The shape can also affect the price. For example, a 3" square medal covers more surface area than a 3" round medal and requires more material. The additional weight also impacts shipping costs.

4. Medal Finish

The medal finish can affect the price, depending on the type of medal and material you choose. These are some of the finish options:

  • Shiny (gold, brass, silver, bronze)
  • Antique (gold, brass, silver, bronze, nickel, pewter)
  • Matte/Satin (gold, brass, silver, bronze)
  • Nickel (black, silver, PMS color match)
  • Powder coat finishes (PMS color match)
  • Natural finish (unplated)

Some finishes are more expensive to produce and more difficult to apply. Your choice may impact the final price.

5. Design Features

Depending on the type of medal, there are numerous design features you can choose to incorporate. Generally speaking, the more features you add, the greater the cost. Here is a list of some of the most popular features:

  • 3D sculpting
  • Enamel color fill (soft/hard)
  • Translucent color fill
  • Glitter
  • Glow-in-the-dark color fill
  • Color printing
  • Inserts
  • Epoxy Dome
  • Bottle openers
  • Spinners
  • Magnets
  • Hinges
  • Synthetic stones
  • Lights
  • Coaster pads
  • Coin edges
  • Charms
  • Keychains

Some of these features add practical use to the medal (e.g., bottle opener), so they're more valuable in recipients' eyes.

6. Medal Accessories

The medals you choose usually include accessories and options that complement and complete your finished award. These may include:

  • Custom or stock ribbons
  • Custom or stock lanyards
  • Cords (leather, rope)
  • Ribbon attachments (velcro, snap clip, jump ring)
  • Engraving and personalization options
  • Special packaging

7. Time / Logistics

All medal types have different standard lead times to order and produce. Lead and production times factor into their price. Additional costs are often necessary if you need medals in less than the standard time (e.g., rush charges and expedited shipping). Shipping and fulfillment can also impact both time and total cost.

The most common custom medals are made primarily overseas. The amount of time available to produce your medals dictates one of two import methods: air or ocean, dramatically impacting the price.

Other factors contribute to the fact that medal cost is affected by your timeline, but the biggest by far is related to the type of shipping method you go with (or are restricted to).

Learn More About These 7 Factors

Have questions about how to determine the cost of your custom medal order? Let's start the conversation; give us a call to learn more from one of our expert sales associates. Or, if you're ready, go ahead and request a quote.

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