best laser cutter for small business

The Best Laser Cutters For Small Business: 2021 Buyer’s Guide

Every small business owner wants to be able to personalize their crafts and sell their wares. Not only can it help attract a variety of new clients looking for unique gifts and one-of-a-kind pieces, but you can also convey your values, design style, and personality on your products.

The best laser cutter for small businesses is a small investment that can go a long way. They usually pay for themselves within a short time as customers can’t find the products you are making anywhere else, and open your small business or home shop up to a new level of personalization. They’re super versatile — they can be used to engrave stationery for promotion, keepsakes such as photo albums, and even etch glass for that corporate paperweight gift. 

You don’t even have to spend a lot to get quality laser cutters nowadays. For under $1,000, you can buy a laser cutter capable of cutting through wood, plastic, stone, leather, and even metal in some cases. We recommend both sub-$600 laser cutters, as well as more industrial lasers.

To help you make an informed decision, we have created a list of the best laser cutters for small businesses. Each one has something different to offer depending on the type of business you have.

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Ortur Laser Master 2 Pro – Cheap yet effective laser cutter for home shops and small businesses

Pros

  • Great value
  • Large 400 x 400 work area
  • Quick assembly — you can build it from scratch in under 45 mins

Cons

  • 15W version might not be powerful enough 

Clear instructions and ease of use make the Ortur Laser Master 2 Pro the go-to laser engraver for many hobby enthusiasts. It provides a gentle introduction into the world of self-assembled laser engravers for small businesses as it can be built in just an hour, so you can get engraving right away and create custom crafts for an Etsy shop or in-house production.

What you are left with is a machine that offers a generous 400 x 400 working area. A home jewelry business can make the most of this, as it is plenty enough for engraving laser-cut personalization on necklaces, or custom coasters, name tags, keychains, and more.

However, this probably isn’t enough to engrave large wall signs, so for the slightly bigger crafts, something a little bigger will be better suited. Though, smaller signs shouldn’t be a problem.

Although it isn’t dangerous, the cable that connects the laser head and the motherboard does hang loosely along the top of the machine. To prevent this from getting caught you can use the zip ties it ships with to separate the cables and prevent this annoyance, though it doesn’t happen often anyway.

The level of detail you can get from this laser engraver is impressive. Offering 300 dpi resolution, once you’ve manually focused the laser diode you’ll be ready to engrave with extraordinary precision. This can be put to good use with several materials. For many small businesses, this combination of versatility and precision is ideal, especially for such an affordable price tag.

The Ortur Laser Master 2 Pro boasts a 20W tool head that is more than enough for most personalized engraving. For any more intensive projects we advise you to opt for the 20W version as 15W is limiting, especially when it comes to cutting. Speaking of, it can cut wood board, black acrylic, leather, stainless steel, paperboard, powder-coated metal, and more.

The low price makes it an attractive option that won’t put a dent in your small business. Sure, you don’t get remote control or air filtration, but that is to be expected at this lower price range.

ortur laser master 2 pro

OMTech 40W CO2 Laser Cutter

Pros

  • Solid metal construction
  • Works with a variety of materials
  • Comes pre-assembled

Cons

  • Work area might be restrictive for some

With 40W of power and an attractive price point, OMTech has created a worthy entry point for anyone looking for a laser cutter for small businesses.

Its solid metal construction is pre-assembled and feels stable. There is a decent weight to it despite there being a few plastic parts — helping provide accurate cuts. 

The 320 x 200 mm work area is fine for small crafts, and will be ideal for engraving family memories on photo frames that fit. Other well-suited smaller include engraving and cutting jewelry. Put it this way, you’re not going to start using it with cutting boards any time soon — it just doesn’t have the work area capacity.

Cutting speed always depends on the material and its thickness, but it will mostly work in a single pass. The OMTech 40W laser can be used to cut wood, paper, leather, cardboard, and acrylic, which covers a lot of bases for most small businesses. 

The internal fan helps with ventilation and pushes smoke out of a port to the back. Flexible tubing is included, making it easy to vent it out of a nearby window so your workshop will be safer. You’re not going to get external fan-like machines that are triple the price, but the internal fan is sufficient for most needs.

We like the laser pointer, which helps to make prints accurate. This is especially important when using a laser cutter to personalize things like photo albums where getting the measurements and placement is key, otherwise you may end up with a lot of products you can’t use. 

The laser pointer saves money on an integrated camera and allows you to line up your materials in advance. For the low price point, you are getting plenty of value.

OMTech 40W laser cutter

Glowforge Basic – Great for more professional small business laser cutter projects

  • Price: $2,495

Pros

  • Generous cutting area
  • Compatible with Glowforge’s Proofgrade materials
  • Drag-and-drop sizing
  • Intuitive and simple web app simplifies your workflow

Cons

  • Might be a bit pricey for some

The Glowforge Basic is Glowforge’s basic model, coming in at a lower price than Glowforge’s other two laser cutters. The main difference between this and the Glowforge Pro is the 40W laser included in the basic and the 45W of the Pro. To upgrade to Glowforge’s most powerful laser cutter, you will have to jump from $2,495 for this model, to almost $6,000. 

With the appearance of a home printer, its 8.3” x 38” x 21-inch frame fits nicely onto a countertop or in a craft space so your laser cutter for home business doesn’t have to take over the house.

It can take pieces of 450 mm x 500 mm material, making it one of the larger laser cutters for a home business. This gets you closer to being able to cut and engrave large custom signs in wood and acrylic. The cutting area measures 280 mm x 495, which is far more generous than many competing laser cutters, even those at a higher price point.

To the rear of the Glowforge, there is an exhaust vent. This connects to a duct tube which is included. Said tube will need to be pointed out of a window unless you can fork out an additional $995 for the compact filter for safe exhaustion.

We find the Glowforge web app to be a valuable resource for setting up the laser for cutting. Getting the measurements and sizing for different projects is as simple as dragging and dropping, so it is user-friendly if this is your first laser cutter.

To help you maintain accuracy when cutting that custom bottle opener or keepsake, there is a camera under the lid. This gives a wide view of the workspace, making it easier to monitor your ongoing projects.  It’s also compatible with Glowforge’s range of Proofgrade materials. These offer a range of advantages, including an attached QR code that automatically identifies the correct laser cutter settings for the material.

The Glowforge Basic is one of the best laser cutters for any small business that wants a more reliable machine that can work faster and more accurately than the budget options.

glowforge basic

Snapmaker 2.0 – Laser cutter for small business that also CNC cuts and 3D prints

Pros 

  • 3-in-1 laser cutter with 3D printer and CNC router
  • Popular and extremely highly rated — it raised $8.5M on Kickstarter to become the most-funded technology project of all time
  • Different work area size options depending on the size your business needs
  • Many different material options

Cons

  • Louder than most

This is a laser cutter for small businesses that can do it all. On top of 3D printing, and laser cutting and engraving, it has CNC capabilities.

The Snapmaker 2.0’s software can be pre-programmed and works to coded instructions. This is ideal for the automation of those craft projects. There are 3 models available that cater to different budgets: the A150 is $1,199, the A250 is $1,499, and the A350 costs $1,799 — the only differences between them are their build area sizes.

The versatility is going to open up plenty of projects for any small business as it can be switched from the 3D printer head to the laser head or the CNC router in a matter of minutes.

The build volume of the A350 measures 320 x 350 x 330 mm, making it capable of working on a variety of small crafts projects like cutting and engraving keychains and jewelry, as well as personalized coasters.

Repositioning the bed leveler is a source of frustration for many as it can be a little fiddly as the leveling probe is sensitive, but it is possible to get the hang of this pretty quickly.

Laser cutting is arguably its easiest function and includes a dedicated lasering table complete with a camera and an auto-collab routine. The laser is much improved and more powerful than the Snapmaker Original, and also works much faster. It’s compatible with a range of soft materials including acrylics, leather, and wood, and overall is another good option for any small business looking to personalize products.

snapmaker 2.0 laser engraver

Glowforge Plus – Best Overall

Pros

  • Very powerful laser
  • Quick setup
  • Advanced features
  • Hand drawing function

Cons

  • Not as fast as the Glowforge Pro

The Glowforge Plus is a CO2 laser cutter that boasts a 40W laser capable of cutting through 0.5 inches of hardwood, and has numerous features to write home about.

The most notable is the software. It allows you directly import your drawings for cutting or engraving onto the material. This means those craft projects are highly customizable, and you can take on just about any commission.

The Glowforge Plus scans the drawing and gets to work, engraving directly onto the material. If you are the artistic type, this will be a major plus point. This means you can turn any drawing, sketch, or handwritten note into a piece of art that will have customers coming back for more.

The $3,995 price is a costly commitment for most small business owners, but this is a high spec machine with a wide range of applications that expands your capabilities.

It has a print area of 11 x 19.5 inches, meaning it can take on numerous projects such as engraving printed models and photo albums for personalized presents.

As a small business owner, time is money, which is why the 30-minute setup time is appealing, as is the easy application, onboard cameras for a live preview, and autofocus technology that helps make precise cuts.

glowforge plus

Glowforge Pro – Best Over $5,000

Pros

  • Can cut unlimited length materials
  • Cuts fast
  • Very advanced high-spec features

Cons

  • The priciest laser cutter for small business we recommend

An elite laser cutter capable of opening up a plethora of opportunities for any small business, the Glowforge Pro can do it all.

What it boasts that other models do not is a large feeder that can take materials measuring longer than the standard 19.5 x 11 inches that you expect from cheaper Glowforge models. This means you can print on those custom door signs and make products that other businesses without a Glowforge Pro cannot.

The 19.5-inch width is still the limit, but there is a lot you can do with the length. Because it engraves the materials by burning them, the four-inch exhaust and duct hose is a vital inclusion. This means those fumes can be ventilated safely out of the window. Alternatively, you can upgrade to a $995 compact filter.

It shares many of the same features as the Plus model such as hand drawing capability but what sets it apart is its speed. Because of the 45W CO2 laser, it can engrave 150% faster than the Glowforge Plus. Those extra 5 watts can make all the difference when the orders are stacking up.

It allows you to make etchings with photos to make a photo album cover stand out, and this can be done via the easy-to-use software on the app. The Glowforge website provides plenty of useful information on how to prepare photos. This is especially useful when it comes to sharpening the image on that wooden board.

glowforge pro

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