Updated May 20, 2021

Study: Average Engagement Ring Cost

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Men spend an average of $5,225 on their bride's engagement ring. But surprisingly, most women think that is too much. See what our latest study revealed.

If you're shopping for an engagement ring, you're probably wondering how much other couples spend. Read our report to see just what others are doing.

How many months salary do you plan to spend on an engagement ring?

Average Engagement Ring Costs

The average couple spent $5,225 on an engagement ring in 2020. Breaking it down, 19% spent less than $1,000. 29% of couples spent between $2,000 and $5,000, while 9% spent over $10,000.

This is down from the 2016 average of $6,163, and the 2019 average of $7,750.

We're not here to tell you that you must spend over $5,000 on an engagement ring. You should only spend on an engagement ring what you can afford. Consider your income, expenses, savings, and future goals (like buying a house).

Ideally, you don't want to finance the ring. But, that's a personal decision. It's best to discuss the options with your partner to come up with a budget that works for both of you and your future plans together.

You may be surprised to learn what you partner thinks. Read on.

Men and Women Opinions on Budget

How much does the average couple expect to spend on an engagement ring?
81% of Americans think the engagement ring shouldn't cost over $5,000, which is less than what the average spend actually is. This is why it may be a good idea to discuss the budget together.

What's the average amount women think should be spent on an engagement ring?
Believe it or not, women are more frugal when it comes to spending on an engagement ring.

36% of women think an engagement ring should cost under $1,000. 29% of woman say between $1,000 - $3,000. 16% think between $3,000 - $5,000. And only 7% think it should cost over $10,000.

What's the average amount men think should be spent on an engagement ring?
For the most part, men's opinions align with women's. 40% of men think $1,000 or less is a good amount to spend on a ring. 18% prefer to spend between $3,000 and $5,000. Surprisingly, 10% would spend more than $10,000 on an engagement ring.

How many brides have a say in the engagement ring's budget?
15% of brides offer their input, but let the groom make his own final decision. 10% of couples decide on the budget together. Since getting married means joining finances, it makes sense for the bride to also have a say.

Do brides help pay for the ring?
3% of brides help pick up the tab for their own engagement ring. But still, 94% of proposers buy the ring all on their own. 3% get some help from parents.

What are you budgeting for an engagement ring?

The Center Stone

Average size of an engagement ring?
The average carat weight for the center diamond is 0.8 - 1.2 carat. The average size differs by region. In Los Angeles, the average size is 0.83 carat, while it's 1.45 carat in New York City.

But don't choose the ring based on the size of the diamond. You should buy what you can afford.

Does size matter?
It's often assumed by society that women want large diamonds, but that's not true. Only 14% of women say that the size matters, while 86% say the quality of the diamond is more important. In comparison, 20% of men think size is more important.

54% of women say that the most important factor is the style of the ring. Even a large diamond would be a disappointment if the ring itself isn't to her tastes.

What are the most popular center stones?
82% of people choose a diamond for the center stone. Sapphire and emerald are the next popular choices, with 4% each. About 8% of people opt for something else, such as moissanite or another semi-precious gemstone.

What's the most popular center cut?
47% of brides choose a round diamond for the main stone. It's timeless and classic, after all. Princess and oval cuts are tied for second place, both with 14% of brides rocking these shapes. After that, cushion (9%) and pear (5%) are the next most popular shapes.

Are lab diamonds okay?
Lab created diamonds are gaining in popularity because they're budget- and eco-friendly. 47% of women don't care if the diamond was made in a lab.

Lab diamonds cost significantly less than a natural diamond. A good value 1-carat lab diamond costs around $1,800, while the same quality earth mined diamond would cost $5,000.

Is a fake diamond okay?
Amazingly, 40% of people think a fake diamond is fine. Even more astonishing - women are more okay with it than men. 44% of women don't mind a fake ring, compared to only 35% of men.

What do you think is an ideal carat size for engagement ring?

Where People Are Buying Rings

Where do people buy rings?
Most people still want to see their ring in person. 31% of couples bought the engagement ring at a national chain jeweler (like Kay, Zales, and Jared). 26% went to an independent local jeweler, and 15% shopped online.

On average, proposers visit 3 retailers and look at 15 rings before making their final decision.

What are the most popular online stores?
Of those who bought their engagement rings online, Brilliant Earth - famous for being the ethical jeweler - was most popular, with 21% of couples making the purchase there. After that, it's Blue Nile (19%) and James Allen (17%).

Is it cheaper to buy an engagement ring online?
Buying an engagement ring online could save you as much as 40% over traditional big box jewelry stores. The online shopping experience has really improved nowadays and it's perfectly safe to buy a ring online.

Check out our detailed guide on how to buy an engagement ring online.

Do you plan to go engagement ring shopping together?

The Engagement Details

How many brides want to be surprised?
Some women love surprises. Others hate them. It seems like more women prefer not to be surprised, though.

About 56% of couples discussed or chose the ring together, while 9.4% even bought the engagement ring together. Only 35% of men bought the ring completely on his own as a surprise.

What's the ideal engagement period for men?
Contrary to popular belief, it's not the women rushing the men down the aisle. Men prefer a shorter engagement period. 38% of men think 6-12 months is plenty long to wait for the wedding. Only 12% preferred an engagement lasting longer than 2 years.

What's the ideal engagement period for women?
Women prefer to spend more time engaged. Maybe it's to plan their dream wedding. Maybe they just want to enjoy the time together without the pressure of marriage. 42% of women prefer to remain engaged for 12-18 months before their big day.

Wedding Ring Costs

How much should be spent on a man's wedding ring?
The average man's wedding band costs around $510. But the price could vary from under $50 to $2,000, depending on the metal.

Titanium is the least expensive and platinum is the most costly. Some men add a few small diamonds on their wedding ring too, which will make it more expensive.

How much should be spent on a woman's wedding ring?
Women tend to spend a bit more - averaging $1,100 for her wedding ring. Many women prefer diamonds on their band. This could be the reason.

Who buys the groom's wedding band?
Traditionally, the groom buys the bride's wedding ring, and she buys his. But for many modern day couples, they buy the rings together out of a joint wedding fund. Most likely, since your finances will merge soon anyway, you both pay for them.

Saving Money on the Engagement Ring

Finally, here are some tips to get the most out of your budget when shopping for an engagement ring.

  • Look for an under-sized diamond
    There's something impressive about saying you bought a 1-carat diamond. But your wallet might disagree. Half and whole carats (0.5, 1, 1.5, etc.) have a huge jump in price. You can save 20% by going with a 0.9 carat diamond instead. The actual size difference is so small that you can't tell.

  • Get an ideal cut
    Out of the 4 C's - cut, clarity, carat, and color - cut is the most important. A diamond that's ideally cut will sparkle more and look bigger. The sparkle can hide flaws and mask color, so you can save on those areas.

  • Don't get too caught up on quality
    The diamond color and clarity are not as important as you think. These are features you usually can't see with the naked eye, so there's not need to buy a top-quality diamond.

  • Go for an alternative shape
    47% of people choose a round diamond. Because it's the most popular shape, it's in the highest demand and also most expensive. If you choose another shape (like princess, oval, cushion, emerald), you can save as much as 40%.

  • Consider a lab diamond
    Lab created diamonds cost a lot less. So for your same budget, you can buy a much larger stone. Or you can put the savings towards a nicer setting.

  • Maximize with a good setting
    If you can only afford a small diamond, you can still make it look larger with certain settings. The trendy halo setting has a ring of small diamonds around the center stone. It can make the diamond look huge.

Bottom Line

Buy what you feel is right. You don't have to keep up with the Jones'. You will know which ring is right when you see it. Involve your sweetie in the decision and you're sure to make the right choice.

Sources and References:

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How many months salary do you plan to spend on an engagement ring?
25% Less than 1 month salary
24% 1 month salary
28% 2 months salary
13% 3 months salary
9% More than 3 months salary
Source: CreditDonkey poll of 6,514 respondents. Totals may not add to 100% due to rounding.
What are you budgeting for an engagement ring?
17% Under $1000
43% $1000 to $5000
22% $6000 to $10,000
19% $10,000+
Source: CreditDonkey poll of 2,927 respondents. Totals may not add to 100% due to rounding.
What do you think is an ideal carat size for engagement ring?
39% Under 1 carat
29% 1 carat
18% 2 carats
14% 3 carats and up
Source: CreditDonkey poll of 2,004 respondents
Do you plan to go engagement ring shopping together?
47% Yes
53% No
Source: CreditDonkey poll of 1,695 respondents
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Engagement Ring Buying Guide

Engagement Rings

Shopping for an engagement ring doesn't have to be complicated. Here is the ultimate guide to buying an engagement ring.

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