What is the most efficient way (using Magento methods) to load just a customer attribute, changing its value and saving it.

2 Answers 2


If you already have the customer model (at least partially loaded), you can use this line to save a single attribute:

$customer->getResource()->saveAttribute($customer, 'attribute_code_goes_here');

Actually, for this to work, the only attributes that must be present in the $customer instance are entity_id and the attribute that you want to save. You can load the customer with only selected EAV attributes like this:

$customer = Mage::getModel('customer/customer')
    ->load($customerId, array('attribute_code_goes_here'));
  • apologies for taking so long to mark it as correct, was just reviewing my questions and saw this
    – pzirkind
    Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 0:33
$customer = Mage::getModel('customer/customer')->loadByEmail('[email protected]');

//or if you know the customer ID
$customer = Mage::getModel('customer/customer')->load($id, array('attribute_code'));

// attribute_code
$customer->setAttributeCode('new value here')->save();

This will save only the value changed. Magento strips out all non changed elements and only saves what has been changed from the data.

It does this in: Mage_Eav_Model_Entity_Abstract::_collectSaveData() which is a parent of Mage_Customer_Model_Resource_Customer, which handles saving functionality.

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