best laser cutter engraver ranking

If you’re looking for the best laser engraver, you’re in the right place. I’ve tested and reviewed almost every popular laser engraver and laser cutter out, and I’ve included pictures of these hands-on tests in each laser product review.

I’ve summarized my favorites at the top – I think the xTool D1 Pro is the best laser engraver under $1000 right now with excellent performance and accuracy.

But, if you have the budget then I recommend the xTool P2 as the best desktop CO2 laser for your side hustle or small business. It has curved surface engraving features for bowls, spoons and other popular products to sell, can cut 20m acrylic in a single pass, and I personally really like the Smart Fill batch processing features.

At the end of this article I’ve deep-dived into everything you should consider when buying a laser engraver, as well as some FAQs, a software and materials guide, and more. But feel free to email if you want me to add anything else, or test a new laser to review!

Best Diode Pick
Best Desktop CO2 Pick
Laser Power:
10W/20W/40W versions
Laser Power:
Laser type:
Laser type:
Working Area:
432 x 406 mm
Working Area:
600 x 308 mm
Best Diode Pick
Laser Power:
10W/20W/40W versions
Laser type:
Working Area:
432 x 406 mm
Best Desktop CO2 Pick
Laser Power:
Laser type:
Working Area:
600 x 308 mm

Having tested many of the best laser cutters and engravers, we created our recommendations for the best laser cutting machines in each price range, for each use, and more. I also link to some of my detailed hands-on reviews, such as for the Snapmaker 2.0, Ortur Laser Master 3, and more.

Laser CutterWork areaPowerPriceWhere to buy
Atomstack A5410 x 400 mm5W$209Amazon here
xTool D1 Pro 10W432 x 406 mm5W / 10W / 20W$699xTool here
Ortur Laser Master 3400 x 400 mm10W$699Ortur here
OMTech 40W300 x 200 mm40W$499Amazon here
Snapmaker 2.0 A350T320 x 320 x 350 mm1.6W / 10W$1,100+Snapmaker
Flux Beamo300 x 210 mm30W$2,299Matterhackers here
FSL Muse Core508 x 305 mm40W / 45W$3,499Matterhackers here
xTool P2600 x 308 mm55W$4,399xTool here
Glowforge Pro19.5” x ∞45W$5,995Glowforge here

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The Best Laser Cutters & Laser Engravers Reviews

xTool D1 Pro 10W – Best Diode Laser & Best Laser Under $1000

  • Price: $699 — Available at xTool here
  • Rotary Attachment: xTool here
  • Work area: 432 x 406 mm
  • Laser power: 10W (5W, 20W, and 40W also available)
  • Assembly Time: 30 minutes
  • Max Engraving Speed: 400mm/s
  • Precision: 0.01 mm
xTool D1 Pro 10W best laser under $1000


Best build quality of any diode laser engraver.

20W, 10W, and 5W options – and they’re all reliable and effective.

Performed excellently in my hands-on review


More expensive than the OLM3 (but better, just).

The xTool D1 Pro 10W is the best diode laser in my opinion, slightly outperforming the Ortur Laser Master 3. I own both, and the xTool has a better-quality steel frame. Though Ortur’s YRR roller was under $100 when I bought it, whereas the RA2 Pro for the xTool was just under $300, so you save money for round object engraving.

The xTool D1 Pro 10W uses dual 5W lasers to create the end result of 10W power, in the same way that the Ortur LM3, and Snapmaker’s 10W laser add-on do.

But with the xTool you get more choice: if you don’t need 10W power, you can buy a 5W version for $200 less and stick to mostly engraving, or get the souped-up 20W version for cutting 6mm basswood in a single pass, or up to 10mm basswood (and acrylic). I personally got the 20W one but 10W is still more than enough for home projects. There’s now even a 40W version you can buy for $1100 as a standalone accessory.

Other variations available include:

I bought the higher power 20W version, and it cuts through even 0.5-inch thick wood with ease. Here’s some projects I tried it out on:

Fan exhaust fan thick wood laser cut by the xTool D1 Pro
Exhaust fan vent laser cut
Thick wood cut and engraving (this wood is around 12.5mm thick) laser cut by the xTool D1 Pro.
Thick wood cut and engraving (this wood is around 12.5mm thick) laser cut by the xTool D1 Pro.

The work area is larger than the Ortur too, but only by around 5%. But, you can buy an extension kit that takes your work area up to an incredible 936 x 432 mm for enormous engravings. You can also read my full xTool D1 Pro laser cutter review.

It’s accurate (0.01mm precision, 0.08 x 0.06 mm spot size), reliable with the sturdy frame and steel wheels and rods and protected belts, and safe. The XCS software that comes with the xTool is also really user-friendly, but you can also use it with LightBurn instead. There’s the Laserbox iOS app for connecting via iPad or similar device.

Laser cut bookmark with engraved features from the D1 Pro 20W
Coaster laser engraved with the xTool D1 Pro

In my opinion this is the best diode laser under $1,000, and ideal for fun projects, cutting acrylic or wood, and for starting a small side-hustle on Etsy engraving signs or images, as well as cutting coasters, jewelry, or other fun projects.

Best diode pick
xTool D1 Pro 10W: Higher Accuracy Diode DIY Laser Engraving & Cutting

And if you need even more power, go for the 20W version (we did!)

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xTool P2 – Best Desktop CO2 Laser

xTool P2


55W power: most power for the price, and more power yet cheaper than the Glowforge Pro.

Versatile: rotary options, and a riser base and conveyor feeder for taller and up to 118″-long material sheets.

Curved surface engraving: use the 16MP dual sensors to engrave on spoons, bowls and other uneven surfaces.

Ideal for businesses: the batch processing features automatically align your design on all other workpieces in the processing area.


Larger spot size than the xTool D1 Pro.

In my opinion, the xTool P2 is the best desktop CO2 laser right now. The 55W power is excellent and can cut through 20mm acrylic in a single pass, as well as cutting through thick wood.

This is more powerful than the Glowforge Pro’s 45W, and it’s also much faster than the Glowforge, at 600mm/s for the xTool vs around 200-300mm/s for the Glowforge (Glowforge doesn’t publicly say the speeds so this is as estimate).

I bought the xTool P2, the RA2 rotary, the riser base to give me 8.5″ material height, and the conveyor feeder, and the total is still less than the Glowforge Pro costs on its own.

xTool P2 accessories - the riser base and ra2 pro rotary
Assembling the accessories, the rotary (left) and riser base (right)

The only area the xTool P2 loses out to the Glowforge Pro is in DPI, as the Glowforge has 1355dpi vs 1000dpi on the P2.

It’s ideal if you’re starting a small business, with the Smart Fill features in XCS automatically aligning your designs on all other workpieces once you’ve aligned one correctly. You can see this in action below:

Another game-changing feature on the xTool P2 I found during my hands-on testing is the curved surface features.

Because the P2 has two cameras including depth sensors, it can create a 3D mesh of the surface you plan to engrave on. Then, it can adapt your design so that it engraves perfectly even on uneven surfaces.

Here’s an example of a wooden spool I engraved using this:

xTool P2 curved surface engraving a wooden spoon

And for more info, here’s my video on this:

You can cut clear acrylic with ease with the P2 (diode lasers can’t cut clear acrylic, just black acrylic), as well as quickly cutting through leather, wood, and engraving slate.

I found it to be very quick, reliable, extremely powerful, and the XCS software is surprisingly easy to use. I expected to want to go straight back to Lightburn (you can also use Lightburn with the xTool P2 if you prefer), but really enjoyed using XCS.

Clear acrylic laser cut with the xTool P2
Clear acrylic project I laser cut for a friend of mine with the P2.

The only downside to a CO2 laser like the xTool P2 is the larger spot size. The xTool P2 has a 0.15×0.2mm spot size, whereas the D1 Pro has 0.08×0.1mm. So, for very intricate projects you may want to use the xTool D1 Pro instead.

However, as you can see below in the slate engravings I did, it is still very much capable of very precise details.

Laser engraved slate coasters using the xTool P2

Overall, I think it’s better than the Glowforge, the Gweike, and OMTech Polar, and if you have the budget and want to launch your side-hustle, it’s the best desktop CO2 laser right now. You can also read my full xTool P2 laser cutter review.

Best Desktop CO2 Laser
xTool P2 CO2 Laser Cutter and Cutting Machine

Simple the best CO2 desktop laser right now. You can buy this, the rotary, riser base, and the automatic conveyor feeder, and it's still cheaper than a Glowforge Pro.

It's more powerful than competing lasers at 55W, can cut 20mm thick wood in a single pass, and the batch processing and curved surface engraving open up new possibilities for your business.

  • Large processing area
  • Powerful 55W laser cuts 20mm thick material in a single pass
  • 16MP dual cameras autofocus for easy project preparation
  • Curved surface engraving in XCS
  • Batch processing features
  • Can't use all features in Lightburn (but XCS software is really good now)
  • Mirrors/lenses may be out of focus from transport and require fixing
xTool Store here
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Atomstack A5 — Cheapest Home Laser Cutter (That’s Still Worth It)

atomstack a5


Excellent laser engraver for under $300.

Great working area for the price.


Not suited to thicker wood or metal cutting, stick to engraving.

Significantly worse build quality than the likes of the xTool D1 Pro.

Most CNC laser machines in the lower price ranges don’t come with a laser protector on the laser head (another that does is the Ortur Laser Master 2 Pro), which filters the large majority of UV light away to protect your eyes. Atomstack says this allows you and your friends to be in proximity to the laser engraver while it works without goggles, making it perhaps the best home laser cutter if you’re on a budget.

For the low price, it’s an effective laser engraving machine — with a high-performance 20W laser head that engraves, as well as cutting up to 1/8th of an inch wood and acrylic depths.

Atomstack A5 cutting from poplar plywood
Cutting flexible box from Poplar Plywood. Source: YouTube

It’s super easy to build, with a sturdy metal frame that you can fully assemble in just 10-20 minutes, and features auto focus modes to save you hassle or human error. The 50% smaller focal spot makes for precise engraving (up to 0.01mm precision) as well as relatively powerful cutting — though if you want to cut thicker woods, or generally tougher materials, go with a more powerful laser cutter.

It’s versatile and you can use it with many of the popular laser software such as LaserGRBL and Lightburn, and overall it’s one of the most popular and best value low-cost laser engravers around.

ATOMSTACK A5 M30 Laser Engraver

We recommend spending a bit more to get the xTool or more reliable and premium pick, but if you're on a $300 budget, this is a great choice.

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Ortur Laser Master 3 — Great for Small Scale DIY projects

Ortur Laser Master 3


Well-built metal chassis, and great 400x400mm working area.

Performed well in our hands-on test.

Significant upgrade on the OLM2 Pro (though for its time, it was still great).


Slightly outperformed by the xTool D1 Pro in the 10W laser category.

I’ve personally owned and tested all 3 of the recent Ortur lasers: the LM2, 2 Pro, and now the Ortur Laser Master 3 — and they’ve all been great.

The xTool D1 has been released since the Ortur LM2 Pro however, with a more powerful 10W laser and better build quality, so the pressure was on Ortur to leapfrog xTool with the Laser Master 3. 

Ortur LM3 test laser cutting and engraving an Arsenal FC logo on a 0.3mm basswood coaster
A quick cut and engraving of an Arsenal FC coaster on 0.3mm basswood.

To this end, Ortur have done well. Both products are very similar and have slight advantages over each other: the xTool has a slightly larger build volume and an extension kit option, but the Ortur has a cheaper rotary kit (though it’s a roller vs the higher-quality chuck on the xTool D1) and can reach 20,000mm/min speeds, whereas the xTool only reaches 10,000mm/min – though the xTool D1 Pro can reach 24,000mm/min.

If you have around $700 to spend (and it could reach $1000 with accessories for air assist, enclosures, aluminum honeycomb tables, and rotary add-ons) then these two are your top picks.

The rotary YRR 2.0 roller works great, but I’d opt for the xTool RA2 rotary if you’re newer, as Ortur’s rotary is more complex to build and set up with your laser software. But, it’s far cheaper, so if you’re on a budget, it’s great!

Ortur LM3 air assist and aluminum honeycomb table to protect your workbench
The LM3 air assist accessory (left) and aluminum honeycomb table (right) add-on to protect your workspace from being damaged by the laser when cutting.
Ortur Laser Master 3 rotary RA2 roller
The rotary kit for engraving beakers, bottles and other rounded objects costs under $100, a real bargain. But you have to build it yourself.

Whether you prefer the cheaper rotary add-on, slightly larger work area, slightly better build quality of the xTool, or more accessible emergency stop button on the Ortur, both will be able to fulfill all your basic diode laser engraving needs. I have also written a full standalone Ortur Laser Master 3 review, as well as a comparison between the xTool D1 Pro 10W vs Ortur LM3.

Overall, I think the xTool is slightly better, but that’s my personal opinion.

And while it is being phased out and no longer competitive with the newest laser engravers featuring the latest technology, you can still buy the Ortur LM2 Pro instead, if you’re looking to save money. It’s less powerful, doesn’t feature the same sturdy metal chassis, but notably cheaper.

Ortur Laser Master 2 Pro laser chassis and laser head, from our product test
Here’s a picture of my Ortur LM2 Pro during testing. You can see the difference in build quality between the OLM3 and the OLM2 Pro.
Ortur Laser Master 3 10W Laser Engraver

Ortur's YRR Roller add-on is under $100 for low-cost beaker or glass engraving, and the laser itself is great value for 10W power.

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Snapmaker 2.0 AT with 10W Laser Cutter Add-on, or Snapmaker Artisan – Best 3-in-1 Laser Cutters

4-axis laser engraving snapmaker 2.0
4-axis laser engraving on a cylindrical gift box.


Snapmaker make the best 3-in-1 CNC/laser/3D printers. And there’s no competition.

10W high-power laser add-on cuts decently thick acrylic and wood, and can comfortably engrave on anodized aluminum.


Less specialized for laser cutting and engraving specifically.

I previously tested and reviewed the Snapmaker 2.0 A350T along with the 4-axis rotary module, and have since tested the 10W high-power laser module. It’s a fantasitc laser engraver that also lets you CNC cut and 3D print, and Snapmaker definitely make the best laser engraver and 3D printer combos.

But now you have the option to spend more and buy the new Snapmaker Artisan. The main upgrades between the Artisan and the Snapmaker 2.0 are:

  • Working area: 400 x 400 x 400 mm working area is larger than even the largest A350T model of the 2.0
  • Comes with the 10W high-power laser module by default, it’s a paid add-on with the 2.0
  • Offers 300°C dual extrusion 3D printing, whereas the 2.0 has a single extruder
  • More powerful 200W CNC carving

So, if you’re looking for a more powerful 3-in-1 machine and have the extra money, it’s definitely a great machine. I can vouch for how reliable and well-built the Snapmaker 2.0 was — it was honestly a delight to build and use.

Another massive benefit of the Snapmaker machines is they have the best rotary engraver module in my opinion. The chuck style design is extremely well built, and makes it extremely easy to either laser engrave, or CNC carve, onto curved surfaces.

Snapmaker Luban makes this easier than any other software I’ve used like Lightburn or LaserGRBL, so even a beginner could do it. But, you pay for this convenience as Snapmaker’s 4-axis rotary module is a lot more expensive than xTool’s or Ortur’s.

Both Snapmaker laser engravers area great for engraving and cutting, especially with the 10W high-power laser, and you get access to 3D printing and CNC in one machine, so if you want a more versatile machine, this could be ideal for you.

laser cutting wood with the Snapmaker 2.0
It can also laser cut thin, softer materials like wood.

We used the 4-axis rotary module add-on, turning the laser engraver and CNC carving modules into a 4-axis turning lathe, and managed to carve out some beautiful looking pieces, as well as engraving a cylindrical gift box.

3D printer part prints standard filaments like PLA, ABS and TPU. You can print remotely via WiFi as well as using the USB port, and the touchscreen makes the Snapmaker 2.0 easy and efficient to navigate and print with. If you run out of filament mid-print, the filament detector will automatically pause your print so it doesn’t get ruined, so you can then insert another spool and keep going.

Overall, it’s a great all-in-one laser cutter option that can handle all your basic CNC and 3D printing needs in one versatile package, and we highly recommend it.

CNC carved knight chess piece with the Snapmaker 2.0.
Top 3 in 1 Pick
Snapmaker 2.0 Modular 3 in 1 3D Printer A350T/A250T
$1199 ($600 off!)

Want to 3D print, CNC cut, and laser cut and engrave all in 1? Snapmaker machines are the best 3-in-1 machines around.

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OMTech K40 40W – Cheapest CO2 Laser Engraver & Cutter

orion motor tech 40w laser cutter engraver


The only good CO2 laser engraver under $2000.

Faster cutting than diode lasers are capable of.


Small working area.

OMTech K40 is an excellent machine for those who need a high-power CO2 laser for small objects. Its price is comparable to 10W diode lasers like the xTool D1, yet it has a 40W CO2 under its hood.

On the other hand, the work area is very small, measuring only 8” x 12” (203mm x 305mm). So, compared with a $3,000 CO2 laser, you sacrifice work area, but not laser power, speed, laser type, or quality.

You can remove K40’s work bed to add 2” to its Z-height. As a result, this machine can engrave on rather tall objects for such a small enclosed laser.

If we compare it with much pricier CO2 lasers, one negative is that OMTech’s beam quality is not the best among CO2 lasers. Nevertheless, it can still cut 6mm plywood at a decent speed.

OMTech K40 Laser Engraver
Source: YouTube

Looking at lasers in this price range instead, you get a high engraving speed with the K40. It can engrave up to 255 mm/sec. For comparison, xTool M1 engraves up to 170 mm/sec.

You can set the laser power using the LCD, and monitor the cooling water temperature – especially impressive given many similarly-priced diode lasers don’t have an LCD screen. This is extra handy since CO2 lasers get very hot, and you can keep an eye on the LCD to know when to pause the job.

It’s also compatible with more materials than diode lasers in this price range. For example, you can engrave fabrics or rubbers with this laser, which diode lasers can’t. 

The K40 is also much better for engraving glass than diode lasers. Other compatible materials include wood, cardboard, acrylic, stones, leather, and more.

Finally, OMTech K40 is a small desktop laser. So, it requires no assembling and managing power supply cables.

Overall, OMTech K40 is suitable for those who can get away with a small work area but need higher engraving speed, power, and material compatibility at a lower cost.

Other OMTech options include:

OMTech 40W CO2 Laser Engraver, 8x12 Desktop Laser Marking Etching Engraving Machine with Digital Controls Red Dot Exhaust Fan & Wheels for Wood, Acrylic, and More

This machine is likely the most sought-after entry-level CO2 laser cutter on the market, and because of its 40 W laser tube, it's also a popular entry-level glass engraver. 

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Flux Beamo — Best for Creative Professionals

  • Price: $2,299 — Available at Matterhackers here
  • Cutting and engraving area: 300 x 210 mm
  • Power: 30W
  • Assembly Time: Comes pre-assembled
  • Max Engraving Speed: 300mm/s
The Flux Beamo


Best 30W CO2 laser cutter.

Excellent feature range: camera, rotary add-ons, and more.


Small working area: less suited for small businesses.

As the fun-sized budget option in Flux’s range of laser cutters and engravers, the Beamo is one of the most portable yet feature-heavy machines on this list. 

At 300 x 210mm, its work area is roughly the size of a sheet of A4 paper, and is similar to the OMTech K40. The 30W CO2 laser is not that powerful, but it can cut 3mm-thick wood. 

It’s notable for its sleek and compact design, continuing to provide high-end features like autofocusing, an HD camera, and software integration with the top names in the game like Autodesk, Adobe, and CorelDraw.

You can run Beamo with Flux’s Beam Studio. It supports dxf, ai, and pdf vector graphics. You can also drag and drop your design files from Adobe Illustrator and other software.

Flux Beamo Laser Engraver
Source: YouTube

The Beamo is also compatible with versatile upgrades like a rotary module and hybrid laser technology, which lets you cut and engrave even faster and deeper. The rotary add-on costs about $500 and allows you to engrave mugs, tumblers and bottles, while the hybrid technology lets you add a diode laser.

However, hybrid technology is also a disadvantage in Beamo’s case. Some hybrid systems use a diode laser for engraving, but Beamo needs the diode laser for increased power. Most other CO2 lasers don’t need a diode laser add-on for more power. 

A major advantage is wireless connectivity, which truly gives the Flux Beamo a unique experience. Plus, you can download the Beam Go app on your mobile, connect to the machine, and engrave images right from your phone.

This machine was definitely built for the creative geniuses at heart, that want a portable but versatile option to bring their designs to light and run their business with.

FLUX Beamo 30W CO2 Desktop Laser Cutter & Engraver

Cheaper than the FSL Muse, but you lose 10W laser power. A great mid-range and versatile pick.

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FSL Muse Core — A Professional, Customizable Choice

The FSL Muse Core


Great working area: 508 x 305 mm is more than enough for a small shop or home business.

Powerful 40W laser under $3500.


45W laser is an optional add-on.

The FSL Muse Core is a DIYer’s delight because of its fantastic customizability. It’s compatible with 1.5”, 2.5”, and 5” lenses. Plus, FSL provides various cooling options, air exhaust, air compressor, and rotary with FSL Muse Core.

Muse Core has a 40W CO2 laser, but you can get a 45W laser with a longer life for an extra $250.

However, don’t let Muse Core’s price fool you. This is the machine’s price without the cooling system. Can you imagine a 45W CO2 laser running without water cooling? So, if you’re buying the CO2 laser for your shop, add on the cooling system’s price to your cost expectations.

Muse’s Coolbox will cost you $750, while the radiator water chiller upgrade costs an extra $600. 

FSL Muse Core Laser Engraver
Source: YouTube

It’s also easy to use. Its software, RE (RetinaEngrave), is browser-based, so it’s compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux. Plus, its 7” touchscreen LCD allows you to interact directly with the laser and control the most important settings and features.

FSL Muse’s large Z-height allows you to add a rotary; however, for $1395, it’ll cost you more than most laser rotaries. The rotary comes with risers for added height.

Muse has a removable floor, so you can laser engrave on very large materials out its bottom.

As long as we’re discussing paying more for added Muse functionality, you can also get a camera and autofocus with Muse 3D. That machine costs $6,499, but the Muse Coolbox is included for a change.

Overall, you get many options and customizability with Muse, but the price also rises with features.

3D Wood Laser Cutter
FSL Muse Core 40W Laser Cutter and Engraver

Powerful 40W laser matches the Glowforge - but at a more affordable price point and with more upgradeability.

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Glowforge Pro — Best Professional Laser Cutter For Small Business & Selling Your Designs

glowforge pro


Best for beginners: the most user-friendly laser cutter around.

Full small business suite: with Proofgrade materials, software, and much more.


Online-only software limits use to where you have WiFi.

Expensive for the power: you can get a 40/45W laser for half the price.

Glowforge’s most remarkable machine, the Glowforge Pro, sells itself as a 3D laser printer as it can print out enormous, cut objects perfect for furniture, signage and a host of other uses. All Glowforge lasers are fully Mac-compatible, super easy to use (it’s literally their selling point – they’re ready to go out the box!), and with a 40-45W CO2 laser, pretty powerful too!

Featuring a “passthrough slot”, you can potentially cut unlimited length parts on the Pro. Several-meter-long wooden parts can be created, as they can keep passing through the laser cutter as it cuts or engraves. Rather than having to cut dozens of smaller pieces for a large wooden or other project, the Glowforge Pro laser cutter does it all in one!

Glowforge Pro Laser Cutter
Source: YouTube

You can cut in excess of 10-12mm thick materials, and cut and engrave wood, leather, acrylic, glass, and easily laser mark anodized aluminum and titanium.

Additionally, the Pro engraves up to 3x faster than the Basic, and cuts 20% faster for a more efficient workflow. The camera can live preview your project, and the Pro also features improved cooling systems so you won’t have any issues with overheating no matter how much you use it.

There’s also a mid-range option, the Glowforge Plus, which is $2,000 less but doesn’t have features such as the unlimited length passthrough slot. But, if you prefer a more powerful machine than Glowforge for the price, we have written on the best Glowforge alternatives.

Glowforge Pro

Glowforge are the easiest to use lasers for home business owners looking to create cool projects and sell them on Etsy or other stores and make money.

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Ten-High CO2 40W 110V Laser Engraving/Cutting Machine — Best for Small Business Prototyping

ten-high 40w co2


Reasonable price: one of the cheaper CO2 40W lasers around.

Good work area: 300 x 400 mm is enough for most small business projects.


Less user-friendly.

A powerful and specialized machine, the Ten-high 40W laser engraver and cutter is one of the best laser cutters for the price. Featuring a large 300 x 400 mm laser engraving area it can handle even larger projects, and engraves quickly at up to 500mm/s, cutting at up to 30mm/s.

This new laser cutter model by Ten-High features upgraded rotary axis for better engraving on rounded and circular workpieces and less size restrictions, as well as an improved double door.

Ten-High CO2 Laser Engraver
Source: YouTube

The machine’s digital display makes monitoring progress and temperature easy and convenient, and it comes with their software for a full cutting and engraving workflow.

The powerful 40W CO2 laser can cut depths up to 4mm in acrylic, 3mm in software woods like cork, and up to 2mm in hardwoods. However, it can’t engrave metal, requiring a far more powerful and industrial laser cutter.

Overall, it’s a very good laser cutter and engraver, suited to all but metal cutting needs.

TEN-HIGH CO2 Engrave Machine 40W 300x400mm Laser Engraving Machine with Exhaust Fan USB Port

Ten High forgoes the extras and focuses only on the crucial elements, such as accuracy, stability, and power, solidifying its position as one of the top industrial glass laser engravers. 

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09/29/2023 10:06 pm GMT

Lasers that didn’t make the list

We’ve tested and owned more than a dozen lasers over the last couple years, including some that didn’t make this list.

Here are some that didn’t make it, with links to the full review if you want to read more:

What is Laser Cutting?

Laser cutting is the process of intensifying light beams using optical amplification to create high-powered lasers, which are then used to cut or engrave the desired materials. Controlled by a motor system in the machine, the laser will cut and engrave your desired design or pattern. The machine knows how to manipulate the laser because it’s instructed by the control software, where you imported or created the design.

The results are sharp and precise and are created in a fraction of the time it would take using traditional methods.

As far as what laser cutting and engraving can be used for, the possibilities are endless. Personalize leather wallets, streamline furniture constructions, and even engrave your own logo onto a cup! Laser cutters work on dozens of materials, giving you plenty of ideas to accomplish.

How does a laser engraver work?

Although the word “laser” abbreviates a very intense and serious term (light amplification by stimulated emission of radion), it has a simple meaning: narrow and coherent light.

So, the laser’s job is to generate a light that’s intense and focused – and if you concentrate enough light into a single spot, it can cut and burn things like a hot sharp knife. 

The first step is to generate light. But, not all light is good for a laser beam; we need light beams that work together. For this, we use monochromatic light: that means all the light beams have the same wavelength.

Monochromatic vs polychromatic light
Monochromatic vs polychromatic light. Source: CCNY Physics Labs.

For example, the laser beam may have a pure blue light as opposed to your lamp’s white light, which consists of many colors and has a wide range.

There are several techniques for producing such light for laser beams. CO2 lasers energize a combination of gases to generate light, while some diode lasers run electricity through semiconductors, and fiber lasers use light to excite fiber optics.

By doing any of these, you’ll generate a light that’s suitable for laser beams. Then, the light travels from the source to the lenses. The lenses will make the light coherent and directional. 

Laser beam output
The journey and factors in a laser beam output.

Voila, you have intensely coherent light in the output: your laser beam.

At low powers, the laser just engraves the material. This involves making the material surface so hot, that some of it evaporates, and leaves marks behind. At high power, the laser is so hot and sharp that it will cut through the material.

Buying Guide – How To Choose The Best Laser Engraver or Cutter For You

Price – what’s your budget?

You can get passable laser engraving machines for just under $300 nowadays. It doesn’t mean you should, though, as they’re often built from worse-quality parts and aren’t as accurate and reliable as you want. Our top pick, the xTool D1 Pro, starts at $600+.

Remember: there’s a difference between a great budget laser engraver, and a great laser engraver for your budget. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with opting for a more affordable laser engraving machine if you both want to save money, and don’t need all the extra power.

But, think carefully about your current AND future needs. For example, you might get more ambitious as you go, or want to cut larger.

If you’re on a budget, get a low-cost machine like the Atomstack A5, and if you’re not quite ready to get the xTool D1 Pro, save a few bucks and get the Ortur Laser Master 3. On the other hand, if you want a CO2 laser and are strapped for cash, the OMTech K40 is passable but not user-friendly.

Let’s say you have a price range and want to know what laser cutters you can expect to get at that range. I recommend reading our article: How Much Does a Laser Cutter Cost? where we explain this in great detail.

Laser Engraving MachinePrice
xTool D1 Pro$699
Atomstack A5$209
Ortur Laser Master 3$699
OMTech 40W$499
Snapmaker 2.0 A350T$1,100+
Flux Beamo$2,299
FSL Muse Core$3,499
Glowforge Pro$5,995
Ten-High CO2$1,919

Laser power – what material do you want to cut or engrave?

The more power a laser has, the faster you can set it and still cut in one (or fewer passes). So a powerful laser saves time and cuts more quickly.

However, don’t just buy a laser engraver because of raw laser machine power numbers. There’s more nuance, and some companies are also not forthcoming about the actual power of their lasers.

The xTool D1 Pro and Ortur Laser Master 3 are actually 10W diode lasers (with a 20W option for the xTool), but I’ve seen some companies claim 20W and more when they’re in fact 5.5W lasers.

A 10W laser can cut fairly thick wood, and engrave coated metals. A 40W CO2 laser can do much of the same, but far better (and engrave far more materials). Only very powerful fiber laser cutters can begin to cut metals, and these are industrial machines.

Laser Engraving MachinePower
xTool D1 Pro 5W, 10W, 20W, and 40W
Atomstack A520W
Ortur Laser Master 310W
OMTech 40W40W
Snapmaker 2.0 A350T1.6W
Flux Beamo30W
FSL Muse Core40W
Glowforge Pro45W
Ten-High CO240W

Speed: laser cutting and engraving speed

Engraving speeds are essential, especially if you’re selling laser cut or engraved wares and want to hammer out each project as quickly as possible. Don’t confuse speed with laser power, though, as speed is just the maximum speed your laser will move across each axis — it doesn’t mean it’ll be able to cut right through the material.

Different laser engravers have different optimal speeds, and you can test your laser engraving machine with test cuts.

Go slower for cutting thicker materials (it may also require more passes), but go faster if you want to engrave and don’t want a too-dark contrast.

Laser Engraving MachineMax Engraving Speed
xTool D1 Pro 10W400mm/s
Atomstack A5Not listed
Ortur Laser Master 3330mm/s
OMTech 40W255mm/s
Snapmaker 2.0 A350TNot listed
Flux Beamo300mm/s
FSL Muse CoreNot listed
Glowforge ProNot listed
Ten-High CO2500mm/s

Precision and quality

Engraving accuracy is crucial to high-quality engraving. Engraving precision is formed of a combination of focal point and depth of cut, and factors like the stepper motors.

The more precise your engraving and cutting, the more defined, crisp, and high-quality your projects will look.

However, these specs don’t tell the whole story. Laser engravers are very accurate – even cheap ones. But it’s all for nothing if you don’t optimize your settings and laser beam focal length. Moreover, speed, percentage power (relative to the cut materials), whether you have air assist, and many more factors affect your end project’s final quality.

Size – work area

The best laser engravers can engrave larger images and other designs – the last thing you want is to be restricted to small projects, so a large-format laser cutter & engraver might be best suited for you.

There are professional laser engraver options with enormous working areas, but also remember that an enclosure restricts the laser working area slightly.

Cheap laser engraving machines under $1000 usually have open-air systems (rather than enclosures) and can offer good sizes for the price. For example, the cheapest lasers might only have 150 x 150 mm working areas, but lasers like the Ortur and xTool picks have in excess of 400 x 400 mm. This is more than enough for most hobbyist projects and large engravings.

Laser Engraving MachineEngraving Area (mm)
xTool D1 Pro 10W432 x 406
Atomstack A5410 x 400
Ortur Laser Master 3400 x 400
OMTech 40W300 x 200
Snapmaker 2.0 A350TA150 = 160 x 160 x 145 / A250 = 230 x 250 x 235 / A350 = 320 x 350 x 350
Flux Beamo300 x 210
FSL Muse Core508 x 305
Glowforge Pro19.5″ x unlimited lengths
Ten-High CO2300 x 400

Ease of use

If you’re a beginner to laser cutting, the last thing you want is a complex machine with complex laser software that you can’t understand.

In fact, the Glowforge laser cutter brand is built on being super user-friendly — there are far more powerful lasers for the price, but makers love Glowforge’s convenience.

I have owned 3 Ortur lasers (LM2, LM2 Pro, and LM3), the xTool D1 Pro 20W, and a host of other lasers by TwoTrees, Longer, and other brands, and my recommendations for beginners are the xTool, followed by the Ortur. Check out our article on the best laser engravers for beginners for more.

For a more professional laser cutter, Glowforge Pro is the easiest to use, but if you’re more technical, you’ll be fine with more complex lasers with less intuitive workflows by OMTech and other brands.

Laser Engraving MachineAssembly Time
xTool D1 Pro 10W30 minutes
Atomstack A520 minutes
Ortur Laser Master 330 minutes
OMTech 40WAbout an hour
Snapmaker 2.0 A350T60-80 minutes
Flux BeamoComes pre-assembled
FSL Muse CoreLess than an hour
Glowforge ProA few minutes
Ten-High CO2About an hour

Accessories and rotary attachments

Rotary attachment add-ons turn it into a laser engraver for yeti cups, and cylindrical objects like beakers, (and similar objects with coated metal surfaces), glasses, mugs, and more.

If you’re business-minded and want to set up your own store, or start up on Etsy, then here’s a very badly kept secret: these are the items that print money. You can make far more per hour of laser use engraving on curved surfaces than on most other projects.

A rotary attachment also transforms your laser module into a far more versatile laser cutter, capable of taking on more different projects. If you’re a home maker, this exponentially increases the projects at your disposal.

Other attachments include:

  • Extension kits (both Ortur and xTool offer these).
  • Enclosures (essential for keeping fumes away).
  • Air assist.
  • Honeycomb laser beds.
  • More powerful laser heads for cutting thicker materials (for example, you can upgrade to a 20W laser head on an xTool laser – and I did this for my xTool). With a 20W diode laser, you can cut most non-metal materials, including thicker and tougher wood (up to 10mm basswood).
Laser Engraving MachineRotary Attachment Compatibility
xTool D1 Pro 10WYes
Atomstack A5Yes
Ortur Laser Master 3Yes
OMTech 40WYes
Snapmaker 2.0 A350TYes
Flux BeamoYes
FSL Muse CoreYes
Glowforge ProNo
Ten-High CO2No

What Materials Can Laser Machines Cut?

The real question is what can’t these machines cut, and this all depends on how powerful your machine is.

Most low-cost laser cutters and engravers will only work with soft materials like leather, softwood, paper, fabric, and rubber, while more expensive options will also handle harder materials like glass, stone, acrylic, and metal.

In general, here is an overview of what common materials can be cut and engraved (though this depends on your laser cutting machine):

MaterialCan it cut?Can it engrave?
Stainless Steel
The materials that laser machines can engrave, and cut.

Types of Laser Cutters & Engravers

There are three main types of laser engraving machine: diode lasers, CO2 lasers, and fiber lasers, though sometimes they’re called different names.

Diode Lasers

Diode lasers contain a small compound semiconductor material within them, and work by applying electricity to that compound to produce the laser beam. Diode lasers are the cheapest, most portable, and most user-friendly lasers – so if you’re a beginner, they’re probably best for you.

Weaker 5W diode lasers are mostly just for engraving: you’ll struggle to cut through acrylic, or wood of any significant thickness. But more powerful 10W lasers, or even the 20W version of the xTool D1 Pro, can begin to cut much thicker wood and acrylic. 

Some say you can’t cut acrylic well on diode laser cutters, but I have personally cut acrylic on both my Snapmaker’s 10W laser, and on the xTool D1 Pro 20W, and while it may not be as quick and easy as a CO2 laser, it’s definitely doable.

Advantages of diode lasers include:

  • Light and portable: They’re the most portable lasers, as the diode laser just includes the cuboid laser head.
  • Large size for the price: They can very cheaply be expanded using extension kits to create very large engraving artwork.
  • Beginner-friendly: you only work with the laser head, and gantry system, and the laser control software (Lightburn or LaserGRBL) is easy to use.

However, be wary as many laser manufacturers claim their lasers are 30W or 50W diode lasers, when in fact they are 5.5W or 10W. This is because they add the power supply and present it as the power, and I’m personally not a fan of this practice and find it misleading.

I personally recommend the following diode lasers, in this order:

  • xTool D1 Pro
  • Ortur Laser Master 3
  • Atomstack A5 or X7

CO2 Lasers

CO2 lasers are more complex but more powerful laser cutters than diode lasers, and they’re able to cut through thicker wood and acrylic, and do so much faster. They’re preferred for small businesses who want to produce more items for sale in the quickest possible time. Other materials like glass, leather, and other textiles work great with CO2 lasers.

CO2 lasers work by running electricity through a gas-filled tube, which is usually a mixture of gases like CO2, nitrogen, and helium. There are mirrors on each end of the tube, one reflective and one partially reflective, that let light through for the beam.

Previously, CO2 lasers started at $2000+, but there’s now a 40W CO2 laser called the K40 which costs around just $500. So, whereas your only choice previously was a diode laser if you didn’t have 4 figures, now you can opt for the K40.

However, K40 lasers are typically 8” x 12” so you can’t cut large pieces, and you can’t create large projects for sale. More generally, CO2 lasers are more restricted in working area as they are enclosed, and feature a cooler, air pump, etc, which take up space.

Also, beyond K40 lasers, CO2 lasers are much more expensive. OMTech CO2 lasers start at around $2000, and then you have laser cutters by Glowforge, Dremel, Muse, Full Spectrum Laser, Epilog, and more that start in the $3000-$6000 range – and you’ll get a 40W to 60W laser for this price range.

Fiber Lasers

If you want to engrave or cut metals, use a fiber laser over a CO2 or diode laser (though I’ve engraved on anodized aluminum with diode lasers).

Fiber lasers have a “laser engine” which is connected to a galvo head, which is a set of mirrors, via a fiberoptic tube. To simplify the process, the laser engine sends power and light through the fiberoptic tube to the galvo laser head, where it is reflected on to the metal surface to engrave or cut it.

They are expensive – the cheapest fiber lasers start at around $3000. But, for metal laser engraving, they’re the best. They also don’t have consumable parts like CO2 lasers, which after a few thousand hours need replacing for a hundred dollars or so. So that can be nice to not feel the worry of the CO2 tube is wearing out here. We’ve written more in our article on fiber vs CO2 lasers.

They also have small working areas. For example, a popular low-cost fiber laser engraver costing $3000 that I have used has a working area of just 6” x 6”, so you’re limited in the products you can create.


Choosing the right laser software is key, since you’ll spend so much time using it. You’ll use the software for two things:

  • Design. You don’t always need to design. For example, if you’re engraving an image, you only need the image. But, if you want to create customized patterns, you’ll need a vector software like Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape.
  • Laser control. You’ll need the laser control software to connect to the laser and run it. You can import your images or designs into the laser software for engraving or cutting.

Check whether your software can design or just control lasers

Some laser control software also have design tools (like Lightburn), while others don’t offer design capabilities (such as LaserGRBL). 

The advantage of Lightburn, therefore, is you can design your cuts inside Lightburn, as well as run your laser with it. Lightburn is probably the best laser software that works with most lasers (but not all).

Software compatibility

Another factor is that while you can choose the software you design in, your laser software is not entirely up to you. It depends on your laser.

Some laser manufacturers offer their own laser control software, while others also work with existing 3rd party software. For example, Glowforge only works with their in-house software, while xTool lasers work with both XCS (in-house) and Lightburn (3rd party).

Most interactions between you and your laser occur via the laser software. The laser software allows you to import images and possibly vector designs (also g codes depending on your laser). 

Then, you’ll adjust the laser power and speed settings in the software and hit start. If your laser supports rotaries, your laser software will have an option for “cylinder engraving.” It can control the laser and rotary to engrave on cylindrical objects.

Laser Cutters vs Laser Engravers

Both techniques use custom models or designs to create accurate parts and models. Most laser cutting machines can do both, depending on the laser’s power and depths it can cut. There are however a few subtle differences between the two:

  • Laser Cutters: laser cutters use powerful lasers to cut entire pieces off your workpiece to create your final model. These cutters typically use vector files to accurately cut your chosen part, shaving chips off and smoothly separating these areas off in a process of subtractive manufacturing. Laser cutters typically use CO2 lasers, and even cheap laser cutters can cut quickly through acrylics, plastics and wood.
  • Laser Engravers: rather than cutting all the way through the material, laser engraving machines engrave an image, logo or graphic on top of your chosen material. Engraving is often used for branding products or signage, but can also be used to engrave entire greyscale artwork onto wood. This is done via image files such as jpg, svg, png or ai files, using methods such as grid engraving where the laser moves horizontally, line by line, removing certain depths of material to create a contrasting and readable image. Engravers use short focal length lasers with fine spot sizes for accurate engraving.

Laser marking is also a process wherein rather than engraving or cutting, physical contrasting marks are made on the material by heating it to separate elements that show up to the naked eye, without making any indentations.

Advantages of Laser Cutters vs CNC Mills

Laser cutters are very precise and accurate and can cut and engrave very quickly. For the same power, they’re usually cheaper than CNC routers, and can cut a variety of materials.

Laser Engraver FAQs

How much does a good laser engraver cost?

The cheapest good laser engravers start at around $150, but can go up to $10,000+ for more industrial laser cutters. Diode lasers are generally cheaper, with the best diode lasers costing from $200 to $1300, whereas CO2 lasers can cost $2000 for a decent wattage, and fiber lasers are usually in excess of $5000.

What can you do with a laser engraver?

With a laser engraver, you can engrave grayscale portraits to create beautiful contrasting images on wood and other materials, as well as other designs on signs and similar displays. Wood, acrylic, metal, leather and other fabrics are frequently engraved on, and most laser engravers can also cut through thin woods, though you’ll need a more powerful laser to cut thicker wood, acrylic, and engrave non-anodized metals.

Are laser engravers worth it?

Laser engravers are worth it if you want to create very accurate designs for your home projects or for starting a small business or shop. They start at just $200, and these lasers can still engrave on wood and leather for selling on Etsy and other stores to make money.

Other laser buyer’s guides:

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CNCSourced is a publisher covering CNC machines and laser cutters for more than 3 years. We're a team of huge fans of desktop CNC routers, lasers, and home DIY projects, and love to write about how you can get the most out of your CNC. We've tested more than a dozen of the most popular CNC and other machines to help you pick the best router for you, and our goal is to be the most informative CNC site on the web.

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