Power BI Pricing: How much does it (actually) cost?

Written by co-founder Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist.

Power BI, part of Microsoft’s Power Platform, is a business intelligence (BI) tool with components similar to Microsoft Excel. 

It’s an analytics platform that helps business owners, managers, executives, and others make informed and more confident business decisions.

The problem is:

With different Power BI versions and plans, things could get confusing real quick!

In this article, you’ll learn the different Power BI pricing and how each one affects the different versions.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Let’s get started! 💰

*This tutorial is for Power BI Online (also called "Power BI Service"). If you have Power BI Desktop, then click here and go to the online version.

Power BI Overview

Getting started with Power BI for free

Before we discuss Power BI’s pricing plans, let’s discuss a little about Power BI itself.

What exactly is Power BI?

According to Microsoft, Power BI is a:

“…business analytics solution that lets you visualize your data and share insights across your organization, or embed them in your app or website.”

In simple terms, Power BI is a cloud-based business intelligence and analytics tool. It’s designed in a way that even non-technical users will have an easy time using it.

Though some of its functions are also present in Excel, Power BI is better than Excel in terms of providing high-level analytics and visualizations.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Power BI Products

Power BI is like a collective term for the different products under its wing.

Basically, there are 3 Power BI main products:

  • Power BI Desktop
  • Power BI Service
  • Power BI Mobile

Power BI Desktop is the software you install on your computer. You can use it to connect to different data sources and make reports out of those data.

Power BI Service, officially called Power BI, is the online version. This is the only version you can use to create Power BI dashboards out of your reports.

Power BI Mobile is a mobile application you can install on your phone and tablet. It’s designed to consume Power BI content which means you can’t use it to create dashboards or reports.

Power BI Pricing Plans

Power BI: Create data dashboards and visualizations in minutes

Power BI has 3 pricing levels:

  • Free
  • Pro
  • Premium

Power BI Free

First off, you can download, install, and use the Power BI Desktop and Power BI Mobile versions for free.

You can also use the Power BI Service for free provided you have a company email.

A company email is different than your casual email provided by Google or Yahoo. A company email usually ends with @yourcompany.com.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

With a free plan, you can use Power BI with all its analytics features. Even on the Power BI Service, you can create your own reports and dashboards.

The free plan is meant for personal use. All sharing features are disabled except for the ability to publish dashboards on the web.

You might think “It’s great that I can share my dashboard on the web. That way, I don’t have to pay for anything.”

If your data is sensitive, you might not want to do that. Publishing your dashboard on the web means everyone could see your dashboard whether you gave the link to it or not.

Power BI Pro

Power BI Pro, which costs $9.99 per user per month, is the next step from the free plan.

With a Pro license, you get access to Power BI’s full capability including collaboration, publishing, sharing, and ad hoc analysis.

Power BI Pro licenses individuals for the creation of content and consumption. Yes, to consume content made by others, you need to be on Power BI Pro (unless your organization is on the Power BI Premium plan and you have access to the content).

Power BI Pro is made both for small and large organizations.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Power BI Premium

Power BI Premium is designed for companies that want to have a dedicated capacity for their data to achieve higher performance.

Its current price stands at $4,995 per month. From that price tag alone, it’s obvious that this plan is targeted at large enterprises.

If the Pro plan licenses individuals, this Premium plan licenses the capacity of the content. That means users who belong to an organization that subscribed to the premium plan can only view the content, not create it.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Only users in Power BI Pro can create content.

Which should you choose?

If you’re a solo entrepreneur and you don’t have anyone to share your data with, then the obvious choice is the free plan.

If the company is small like with only 100 users or below, then Power BI Pro is the better choice.

Some think that they could get away by only licensing some users with a Pro license while the rest use the free plan. But that won’t work since to share and view the shared dashboard, the user has to have a Power BI Pro license.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

For large companies like those that have 500 users or more, the most optimal choice is getting a Power BI Premium license for the organization and getting a Pro license for all the creators.

With a Premium plan, everyone on the organization can view the shared content. The only ones who need to be on the Pro plan are the content creators.

Microsoft prepared a Power BI Premium Calculator to help organizations and users select the best plan(s) they should get and the cost estimate.

Conclusion

Power BI is a robust business intelligence and analytics service that’s price lesser than most of its competitors. For example, Tableau prices almost twice as Power BI does. Among Power BI’s peers, it’s only Power BI that offers a free service that is as powerful as what it offers.

Whatever plan your organization decides to use, what’s important is how efficient you are at using Power BI. Fortunately, there are lots of blogs out there that teach Power BI. If you like, you don’t have to go far since we also have our own Power BI tutorial designed for beginners.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto