If you’re looking to cut leather for crafts, designs, and other projects, a laser cutter is one of the best tools for the job. Most laser cutters can cut leather, but vary greatly in the speed and precision they can achieve.
Therefore, we’ve created this guide to help you find the best laser cutter for leather. We’ll cover the basics of laser leather cutting, explain the key factors you need to consider, and review some of the best machines for the job.
5W / 10W / 20W options
430 x 390 mm
19.5” x ∞
Best Laser Cutter for Leather – Full Round-Up
- xTool D1 Pro: Top Pick
- Ortur Laser Master 3
- OMTech K40 Laser
- Glowforge Pro: Premium Pick
Why Use a Laser Cutter for Leather Cutting?
Anyone who’s ever tried to pierce an extra hole in their belt will know that leather’s toughness makes it a tricky material to work with. It’s particularly difficult to cut by hand, and while you could use a blade cutting machine, a quality laser cutter provides cleaner cuts at higher speeds.
What Leather Projects Can You Make with a Laser Cutter?
A lot depends on the size of your laser cutter, but with the right machine, there’s a whole world of possibilities. For example, you can use a laser cutter to make leather wallets, jewelry like leather bracelets, belts, home crafts and decorations, cases, and much more.
As well as being used to cut leather, you can also engrave leather with a laser. Etching and engraving leather produces debossing effects, and if used correctly, creates clean color contrasts, so you can add patterns, designs, and more to leather pieces.
With larger laser cutters, you can even process leather for bigger projects, such as if you want to make your own leather bags.
Best Laser Engravers for Leather Reviewed
xTool D1 Pro – Intuitive & High Quality Diode Laser Engraver
- Price: Check latest price at xTool here
- Power: 10W or 20W
- Laser type: diode
- Working area: 430x390mm
The xTool D1 Pro is a really impressive machine that’s undoubtedly one of the best laser engraving machines on the market.
Although it’s not the most powerful in terms of wattage, available in 10W and 20W (I opted for the 20W version for myself), the laser’s build quality makes it an excellent option for cutting leather.
It uses dual compressed laser beams with an ultra-fine compressed spot of 0.06×0.08mm. This, coupled with the 0.01mm processing accuracy that’s achieved by the super-sturdy all-metal frame and high-quality linear motion components, makes the D1 Pro impressive for the price.
The impressive frame also makes this leather laser engraver very durable, with a 3x longer lifetime than other engravers (especially CO2 lasers which have frequent replacing of the CO2 tubes). The working area is a generous 430x390mm, and with the capability of engraving up to 400mm/s, it’s one of the fastest machines out there.
Another benefit of using the D1 Pro is that xTool has developed its own software, XCS, which is optimized for its machines and means you don’t need to fork out for a separate software like Lightburn. Though, I’ve used my xTool D1 Pro with Lightburn and it works seamlessly.
It also ranks highly in terms of intuitiveness and safety, with easy focus adjustment, limit switches in all directions, a flame detector, and an emergency stop. It’s also usable through WiFi, USB, and TF cards, so you can engrave both online and offline.
xTool offers various accessories for the D1 Pro, including a rotary module that’s ideal for working on circular objects. It even has an infrared laser head available, which is ideal if you want to branch out into metal laser engraving.
And if you need even more power, go for the 20W version (we did!)
Ortur Laser Master 3 – One of the Most Popular Laser Cutters
- Price: Check latest price at Ortur here / Amazon here
- Power: 10W
- Laser type: diode
- Working area: 400x400mm
Ortur is among the leading manufacturers of hobbyist laser cutters and the Laser Master 3 is Ortur’s most powerful model. I own both the Ortur LM3 and xTool D1 Pro, and while I narrowly prefer the xTool, the Ortur has some key aspects which might make it appeal to your particular needs.
While it’s not the most powerful out there at 10W, its high-quality construction means it’s still a suitable leather laser cutter. It compresses two laser beams through light-combing lenses to produce a super fine 0.05×0.1mm spot output. It can cut 12mm wood and 10mm acrylic in a single pass, and the results are similarly impressive on leather.
This translates to a cutting accuracy of 0.01mm, so you can cut and engrave intricately around borders and other awkward areas. So, as well as using it to cut leather, you can also engrave impressive designs onto leather with this machine, as shown by users. The Laser Master 3 is also among the fastest lasers on the market, with cutting speeds of up to 20,000 mm/min.
It can be controlled via WiFi, USB, SD card, and the Ortur Explorer App, so you can choose your preferred method and operate it offline and online from various devices. The Ortur Explore App even has an easy and professional mode, depending on how experienced you are.
Ortur offers a range of useful accessories for the Laser Master 3, including a rotary engraver and a Z axis height adjuster that provides more flexibility regarding the height of projects you can work on.
The rotary module, which they call the YRR 2.0, is DIY kit that took me around an hour to assemble, and while it is lower quality than xTool’s version, it’s a lot cheaper. I haven’t used it to engrave any rounded leather products, but I’ve engraved on wood, card, and other standard sellable products.
Finally, this laser cutter for leather has seven safety features, including a safety lock, active and sloping position protection, exposure duration limitation, emergency stop, and a current control system. If you want to learn more, our Laser Master 3 review provides a more in-depth look.
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.
OMTech K40 Laser – Affordable 40W CO2 Laser for Leather Cutting
- Price: Check latest price at Amazon here
- Power: 40W
- Laser type: CO2
- Working area: 200x300mm
K40 is a general term applied to powerful 40W CO2 lasers that are very compact, come in enclosed cases for easy home use, and are affordable.
The wattage is ideal for cutting leather, which is a heat-resistant and tough material, in a single pass. If you were to use a laser with a lower wattage, it would require more passes.
Of course, there are cheap laser cutters out there, but for a 40W laser this price is certainly on the low side. For reference, it’s even cheaper than some premium 10W diode lasers. So, it’s great if you’re looking for a budget option for laser cutting that’s still efficient, as the 40W laser is the perfect power for the job.
There are many K40 lasers out there, but the OMTech K40 is our choice as it’s manufactured by a well-known and reliable brand that also make a host of more industrial and expensive CO2 lasers.
It packs a punch for such a small laser, allowing you to cut 3mm leather, wood, acrylic, and fabric in a single pass and at speeds of up to 35cm/s.
The working area isn’t the largest, but it’s a good option if space is at a premium and you only want to work on small leather projects. One of the great things is that, unlike most diode laser cutters, it comes with an enclosure. So, it’s very safe and saves you from having to splash out on a separate enclosure, which are often at least $200 – a cost many don’t factor in when buying a diode laser engraver for leather.
You can still monitor projects through the viewing window, which is tinted to protect your eyes. There’s also an ammeter for monitoring current, a ceramic tube to help you troubleshoot any projects during operation, and an efficient cooling system that directs debris away from the engraving service and improves the cutter’s efficiency.
Another benefit is the LCD control panel, which allows you to control your laser engraver offline without needing a computer.
Overall, this is a really solid option if you’re looking for a solid, powerful, no-frills laser cutter at a decent price.
Glowforge Pro – Premium Choice for Laser Leather Cutting
- Price: Check latest price at Glowforge here
- Power: 45W
- Laser type: CO2
- Working area: 19.5”x∞
If you’re looking for a truly premium laser cutter for leather, then make sure you check out the Glowforge Pro. It certainly doesn’t come cheap, but this is one of the most impressive machines on the market.
This doesn’t look like your regular laser cutter due to coming in an enclosed case – in fact, it’s marketed as a ‘laser printer’ and looks like such. At the heart of this impressive machine is a powerful 45W laser, so it’s perfect for cutting and engraving leather.
What really sets the Glowforge Pro apart from other lasers of equal power, though, is its intuitiveness. Designed as an all-in-one solution for beginners, hobbyists, and business owners, it has some fantastic features, like live camera previews of your work that you simply don’t get with other lasers.
You can also operate using a tablet or phone, whereas many other laser cutters are only compatible with desktop laser cutting software. This is thanks to Glowforge’s eponymous software, which is easy to learn and available as a mobile app.
Perhaps the most unique feature, though, is its working area. You can work on leather up to 19.5” wide, but thanks to the Pro Passthrough slot, there’s no limit on the length of your workpieces.
Glowforge machines are some of the best supported out there, with great customer service and an extensive range of tutorials and learning resources to help you make the most out of your laser cutter.
Alternatively, the standard Glowforge Basic, and Glowforge Plus, are two more affordable options to consider. They both use 40W lasers, so they’re still suitable for cutting leather, although they don’t support materials of unlimited length.
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.
How to Choose the Best Laser Cutter for Leather
Laser Power & Speed
Power is arguably the most important consideration when it comes to picking a laser engraver for any job, as it determines the materials you can work with, how deep you can cut, and how fast.
As leather is a tough material and a good resistor of heat, the more power your laser has, the easier it will cut. 30W or 40W lasers are ideal, although you can still cut leather with 20W and even 10W lasers – it’s just going to take more passes.
Also, bear in mind that the speeds of different laser engravers can vary a lot. The type of leather you’re using, its thickness, and how deep you want to cut or engrave will also impact this.
Some laser cutters for leather, such as the Glowforge and xTool D1 Pro, come with their own custom software optimized for the machines (Glowforge’s is cloud-based, though, which complicates things).
In contrast, others don’t have this and use third-party software like Lightburn (paid) or LaserGRBL (free and open-source).
There can be pros and cons to both. Custom software from top brands are often very intuitive and are easier for beginners to learn. Some, like the Glowforge software, are also available as mobile apps.
Separate software like Lightburn and LaserGRBL can have steeper learning curves, although some also have more advanced functions. You need to pay for top programs like Lightburn, while LaserGRBL is available for free.
Different laser cutters often have different working areas. Often this is only a matter of an inch or two, but there are some exceptions, namely the Glowforge Pro.
Thanks to the passthrough feature, there’s no limit on the length of materials you can use, so it’s a lot more flexible than your standard laser cutters which are typically constrained to working on materials of certain dimensions. This makes the Glowforge particularly useful for making long and large leather products, such as belts and bags.
It’s important to consider how easy a laser is to set up and use, especially if you’re a beginner. Connecting rotary modules with LaserGRBL and Lightburn for engraving leather is not simple, especially if you’ve never done it before (Snapmaker Luban is surprisingly simple, FYI).
Brands like xTool and Glowforge have their own apps that are designed to allow you to easily operate your laser without complex software.
So, these are somewhat more intuitive than the likes of the OMTech K40, which don’t offer any similar functionality.
Glowforge are known for making the most user-friendly and beginner-friendly lasers, but they’re also amongst the most expensive – though for selling higher-priced leather goods they can be worth it.
Laser cutters can vary in price, from a couple hundred dollars to over $5,000, so it’s essential to know exactly what you need to ensure you get good value.
For example, the Glowforge Pro is very expensive, but it’s extremely intuitive and can cut leather in a single pass. In contrast, the likes of the D1 Pro and Laser Master 3 will require more time and finer tuning to cut leather accurately, but they cost around 10x less.
So, we recommend factoring in how much leather you want to cut, how fast you need to do it, and other factors like your experience level to help you find a suitable cutter within your budget.
What laser will cut leather?
Most lasers, including diode and CO2 lasers, will cut leather, although you want at least 10W power. A 40W laser is ideal – anything under will likely require multiple passes to cut leather.
How much laser power does it take to cut leather?
40W is the ideal laser power to cut leather in a single pass, due to it being a tough and heat-resistant material. You can also cut leather with 10W, 20W, and 30W lasers, but it will require more passes.
Does Glowforge work on leather?
Yes, all Glowforge models are capable of cutting leather, although the 45W Glowforge Pro is the best option for this.