AWS Pricing Calculator vs Cost Explorer: Comprehensive Comparison

Nov 14, 2023

Navigating the complexities of Amazon Web Services (AWS) pricing can be a daunting task for startups and established businesses alike. With a plethora of services and pricing models, understanding and managing AWS costs is crucial for optimizing your budget and maximizing your return on investment. In this guide, we compare two essential tools provided by AWS: the AWS Pricing Calculator and AWS Cost Explorer. By comparing and contrasting these tools, we aim to empower you with the knowledge to make informed decisions and effectively manage your AWS costs.

What is the AWS Pricing Calculator?

The AWS Pricing Calculator is a powerful tool designed to help users estimate their monthly AWS bill based on usage patterns and requirements. It takes into account various factors such as instance types and sizes, storage options, data transfer, and additional services. By inputting these details, users can get an accurate estimate of their monthly AWS costs. The calculator also allows for comparisons across different regions and availability zones, enabling users to choose the most cost-effective options for their business.

Key Features of the AWS Pricing Calculator:

  • Estimation of Monthly Costs: Provides a detailed breakdown of expected costs based on user input.
  • Comparison Across Regions: Allows users to compare pricing across different AWS regions and availability zones.
  • Flexibility: Supports a wide range of AWS services and features, each with its own pricing structure.

What is AWS Cost Explorer?

AWS Cost Explorer is an intuitive tool that enables users to visualize, understand, and manage their AWS costs and usage over time. It offers a user-friendly interface for creating custom reports that analyze cost and usage data. Users can view their data at a high level or dive deeper to identify trends, pinpoint cost drivers, and detect anomalies. AWS Cost Explorer is particularly useful for tracking spending and identifying cost-saving opportunities.

Key Features of AWS Cost Explorer:

  • Visualization of Costs and Usage: Provides graphical representations of AWS spending and usage patterns.
  • Custom Reports: Allows users to create custom reports for detailed analysis.
  • Cost Management: Helps users identify cost-saving opportunities and manage their AWS budget effectively.

AWS Pricing Calculator vs Cost Explorer: A Comparison

While both the AWS Pricing Calculator and AWS Cost Explorer are valuable tools for managing AWS costs, they serve different purposes and offer distinct features.

  • Purpose: The AWS Pricing Calculator is primarily used for estimating future costs based on projected usage, while AWS Cost Explorer is focused on analyzing and managing existing costs and usage.
  • Functionality: The Pricing Calculator provides detailed cost estimates and comparisons across regions, whereas Cost Explorer offers visualization and tracking of actual spending and usage patterns.
  • Usage Scenario: Startups and businesses planning to deploy new services or scale their operations can benefit from the AWS Pricing Calculator to forecast costs. On the other hand, Cost Explorer is ideal for ongoing cost management and optimization.

Maximizing Benefits: Using Both Tools Effectively

To fully optimize AWS costs, it’s beneficial to use both the AWS Pricing Calculator and AWS Cost Explorer in tandem. Start by estimating your costs with the Pricing Calculator, and then use Cost Explorer to track and manage your actual spending. This approach ensures that you have a comprehensive understanding of your AWS costs and can make informed decisions to optimize your budget.

Additional Resources from Cloudvisor

At Cloudvisor, we understand the importance of effective cost management for startups. To further assist you, we offer comprehensive guides on using both the AWS Pricing Calculator and AWS Cost Explorer:

These guides provide in-depth insights and practical tips to help you navigate AWS pricing and make the most of these essential tools.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main difference between the AWS Pricing Calculator and AWS Cost Explorer?

The AWS Pricing Calculator is designed for estimating future AWS costs based on projected usage, while AWS Cost Explorer is focused on analyzing and managing existing costs and usage. The Pricing Calculator helps with forecasting, and Cost Explorer aids in tracking and optimization.

Can the AWS Pricing Calculator help me choose the most cost-effective AWS region?

Yes, the AWS Pricing Calculator allows you to compare pricing across different AWS regions and availability zones, helping you choose the most cost-effective option for your business needs.

Is AWS Cost Explorer suitable for all sizes of businesses?

Absolutely. AWS Cost Explorer is suitable for businesses of all sizes. It provides valuable insights into cost and usage patterns, helping businesses manage their AWS budget effectively, regardless of their scale.

How accurate are the estimates provided by the AWS Pricing Calculator?

The estimates provided by the AWS Pricing Calculator are quite accurate when you input detailed and accurate information about your projected usage. However, actual costs may vary based on changes in usage, AWS pricing, and specific configurations.

Can AWS Cost Explorer help me identify cost-saving opportunities?

Yes, AWS Cost Explorer can help you identify cost-saving opportunities by analyzing your spending patterns, usage, and identifying trends. It provides recommendations and alerts for optimizing costs.

Is it necessary to use both the AWS Pricing Calculator and AWS Cost Explorer?

While it’s not mandatory, using both tools can provide a comprehensive understanding of your AWS costs. The Pricing Calculator is great for planning and forecasting, while Cost Explorer is excellent for ongoing cost management and optimization.

Are there any costs associated with using the AWS Pricing Calculator or AWS Cost Explorer?

The AWS Pricing Calculator is a free tool. AWS Cost Explorer also offers free basic features, but advanced features may incur additional costs. It’s advisable to check the current AWS pricing for the latest information.

How often should I review my AWS costs using these tools?

Regularly reviewing your AWS costs is recommended. Monthly reviews are common, but some businesses may benefit from more frequent checks, especially if they have dynamic or rapidly changing environments.

Can startups benefit from using AWS Cost Explorer?

Yes, startups can significantly benefit from using AWS Cost Explorer. It helps in managing costs effectively, which is crucial for startups that often operate with limited budgets.


Understanding and managing AWS costs is crucial for startups and businesses seeking to optimize their cloud expenditure. By leveraging the AWS Pricing Calculator and AWS Cost Explorer, you can gain a comprehensive view of your costs, forecast future expenses, and identify opportunities for savings. As an advanced-tier AWS partner, Cloudvisor is committed to empowering startups with the knowledge and tools needed to succeed in the cloud. Embrace these tools and take control of your AWS costs to propel your business towards success.

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