Good quality desktop lasers supercharge your creativity, allowing you to cut and engrave wood, acrylics, metals (engraving only), and so much more. If you’re looking to set up a small business selling your laser cut wares, or do hobbyist projects on-demand, there are two similar-looking lasers worth comparing: the Glowforge Pro vs the Gweike Cloud Pro.
To summarize, Glowforge Pro and Gweike Cloud Pro have similar working areas and accuracy. However, the Gweike Cloud Pro is faster and more powerful than Glowforge Pro, at almost half the price.
Additionally, the Gweike Cloud Pro can engrave tall and round objects, while Glowforge Pro can only engrave sheet material as it doesn’t have a rotary attachment option.
Gweike Cloud Pro
Gweike Cloud Pro is also compatible with third-party software Lightburn, as well as with Gweike Cloud Offline and Gweike Cloud Online software, while Glowforge Pro only runs on Glowforge’s web-based app, requiring perennial internet access.
However, a large advantage for the Glowforge Pro is its popularity and large online community. It’s very beginner-friendly, and for new makers looking to start a fun Etsy business or similar, the Glowforge’s ease of use can make up for the lower price-to-power ratio.
Brand and Industrial Experience: Glowforge vs Gweike
Glowforge has been around since 2014. They’ve accomplished great success in a short time and rapidly risen in popularity. Glowforge is US-based, although their laser parts are not made in the US.
Glowforge has only three products (Glowforge Basic, Plus, and Pro), all of them desktop lasers with similar weights and sizes.
We will compare Glowforge’s highest-price and most powerful machine, Glowforge Pro, with the Gweike Cloud Pro.
Gweike Cloud is instead based in China, and they opened their doors a decade earlier than Glowforge in 2004 – and entered the hobby laser market via their Gweike Cloud products.
Gweike makes various products, from fiber lasers to huge industrial laser cutters, welders, and bending machines. Beyond the desktop Gweike Cloud Pro laser, they also sell 10000W industrial laser cutters that weigh several tons.
In short, Glowforge is active in the hobby laser engraver market, while Gweike is active in both the industrial and hobby laser market.
Gweike Cloud (the hobby-level branch) has also produced three laser machines: Basic, Pro, and RF Metal Tube.
We will compare Gweike Cloud Pro with Glowforge Pro since both lasers use glass tube CO2 lasers and compete for the same customers.
Design: Gweike Cloud Pro vs Glowforge Pro
In short, both are desktop lasers with a similar working area, feeding function, camera, size, and weight.
We’ll start with the similarities between Gweike Cloud Pro and Glowforge Pro’s designs. Then, we’ll reveal the unique features.
Design Similarities: Glowforge Pro vs Gweike Cloud Pro
|Gweike Cloud Pro||Glowforge Pro|
|Size||38.2″ x 22.2″ x 9.2″||38″ x 20.75″ x 8.25″|
|Weight||25 kg (55 lbs)||42.6 kg (94 lbs)|
|Working Area||20.08” by 11.8”||19.5” by 11”|
|Material Length||19.5” ⨯ ∞||20.08” ⨯ ∞|
Size and Weight
Gweike Cloud Pro and Glowforge Pro have very similar sizes.
Gweike Cloud Pro’s size is 38.2″*22.2″*9.2″, and Glowforge Pro’s size is 38″ x 20.75″ x 8.25″ (965mm x 527mm x 210mm).
Glowforge Pro weighs about 25 kg (55 lbs), while Gweike Cloud Pro weighs 42.6 kg (94 lbs).
Although Gweike Cloud Pro is heavier than Glowforge Pro, they’re still in the same range: they are desktop lasers you can carry around.
Gweike Cloud Pro’s working area is 20.08” by 11.8”.
Glowforge Pro’s working area is 19.5” by 11”.
So, they offer similar working areas – Gweike Cloud being slightly larger.
Feeding infinite material length
Glowforge Pro has a passthrough slot. So Glowforge’s working area can increase to 19.5” ⨯ ∞.
Gweike Cloud Pro also has front-feeding and back-feeding. So you can enlarge its working area to 20.08” ⨯ ∞.
Therefore, both laser machines can engrave an unlimited length of material up to 6mm in thickness, with similar widths of around 20”.
Both Glowforge Pro and Gweike Cloud Pro have cameras. The camera makes these lasers tremendously easy to use. The camera sends the material’s picture from inside the laser to the software.
Then, you can use this image to position and scale your design. Without the camera, you need to manually calculate the design position and scale. Then, you would have to move the laser head to the correct position.
To summarize, both Gweike Cloud Pro and Glowforge Pro give you similar working areas, extendability, and cameras for easy job setup.
Now, let’s concentrate on their design differences.
Design Differences: Gweike Cloud Pro vs Glowforge Pro
|Gweike Cloud Pro||Glowforge Pro|
|Z-Axis||20”||< 0.5” to 2”|
Working Height – Z-Axis
One of Glowforge’s shortcomings is its Z-axis. Only materials thinner than 0.5” fit within the Glowforge Pro’s tray. And, even if you remove the tray, you can still only place materials up to 2” thick.
A large Z-axis is vital to engraving tall materials – and for adding a rotary add-on for engraving curved objects. In this area, the Gweike Cloud Pro shines.
Gweike Cloud Pro’s working height is 20”. So you can engrave tall materials with a Gweike Cloud Pro.
This allows you to put glasses, boxes, flashlights, and other large materials inside your Gweike Cloud Pro and engrave them.
A rotary module allows you to engrave round objects. So adding a rotary opens new doors for engraving bottles, pens, mugs, glasses, and other cylindrical objects.
You can’t add a rotary to a Glowforge Pro, which is one of its main disadvantages. If you’re looking to engrave aluminum beakers or glasses, it’s simply not possible with the Glowforge Pro (or any other Glowforge laser).
However, the Gweike Cloud Pro offers roller and chuck rotaries. You can buy the rotary separately, and engrave bottles, mugs, flashlights, and balls.
Gweike Cloud Pro’s Removable Floor
Imagine removing your machine’s floor and laser engraving out its bottom on large materials. A removable floor allows you to do just that.
A removable floor only suits light desktop lasers since you can carry them around, put them on large materials, and laser engrave them.
Gweike Cloud Pro has a removable floor, but Glowforge Pro’s floor is not removable.
So you can only engrave materials that fit inside the Glowforge Pro or its passthrough slot, while you can potentially engrave on materials that are larger than the machine with a Gweike Cloud Pro.
Price: Glowforge Pro vs Gweike Cloud Pro
Gweike Cloud Pro costs $3499 at the moment, while Glowforge Pro costs $6995. In other words, Glowforge Pro costs almost twice as much as Gweike Cloud Pro.
For the same price as a Glowforge Pro, you can buy a Gweike Pro as well as a rotary add-on – and still, save a lot of money.
However, it’s fairly accepted that Glowforge lasers, for their specs, are higher priced than their competitors. They’re best sellers not because you get the most power for your money, but for the focus on accessibility, ease of use, and being beginner-friendly for new small businesses.
For the record, Gweike Cloud also has a laser machine with a metal tube CO2 laser. They call it the Gweike Cloud RF Metal Tube Laser. It costs $4199, which is still cheaper than Glowforge Pro. However, its delivery takes between 60 to 90 days.
Laser Power of Glowforge Pro vs Gweike Cloud
|Gweike Cloud Pro||Glowforge Pro|
|Laser||glass tube 50W CO2 lasers||glass tube 45W CO2 lasers|
Laser power affects your cutting speed, and the maximum material thickness you can cut in one pass (although there are other factors like laser beam quality, spot size, and optics).
Both Gweike Cloud Pro and Glowforge Pro possess glass tube CO2 lasers.
Gweike Cloud Pro has a 50W CO2 laser, while Glowforge Pro has a 45W CO2 laser.
So, Gweike Cloud Pro’s laser is slightly more powerful than Glowforge Pro.
Gweike Cloud’s Speed vs Glowforge Pro
Gweike Cloud Pro engraves faster than Glowforge Pro. It also cuts some materials like paper and card faster.
|Gweike Cloud Pro||Glowforge Pro|
|Speed||600 mm/sec||330 mm/sec|
This is because Gweike Cloud Pro’s axis speed is higher than Glowforge Pro. Although Glowforge doesn’t use the standard unit mm/sec, once the units are converted, it works out to around:
- Gweike Pro’s maximum axis speed is 600 mm/sec
- Glowforge Pro’s speed is approximately 330 mm/sec
While faster than the Glowforge Pro, Gweike Cloud recommend engraving most materials at 500 mm/sec.
Software and Lightburn Compatibility
Software is essential to the user’s laser experience. Gweike Cloud Pro and Glowforge Pro have very different software experiences.
Gweike Cloud is compatible with Lightburn, Gweike Cloud Online, and Gweike Cloud Offline. However, Glowforge Pro only runs on Glowforge’s web-based App.
We will showcase the many differences here.
LightBurn: Third-Party Design and Control Software
Lightburn is the go-to software for most laser users. Rich design features, straightforward GUI, and compatibility with many laser brands are the main reasons for Lightburn’s popularity.
Since Lightburn is compatible with many laser controllers like Ruida or GRBL, it’s not brand-specific, meaning that Lightburn is compatible with many laser brands like Thunder Laser, Boss Laser, OMTech, and Gweike Cloud.
So, if you’ve worked with Lightburn before, being able to run your new laser with Lightburn is a big advantage.
However, some laser companies (like Glowforge and Epilog) have their own control software that only works with their lasers. Therefore, you can’t directly control these lasers with Lightburn.
The Glowforge App only runs Glowforge machines, while independent software like Lightburn is compatible with Gweike Cloud Pro.
Cloud vs Offline Software
Glowforge App is an online software, and there are no offline alternatives. However, Gweike Cloud Pro offers Gweike Cloud Online along with two offline software: Gweike Cloud Offline, and Lightburn.
And, yes, cloud software has some advantages: it’s compatible with all devices and needs no installation.
While you need to install offline software on a particular computer to run the laser, you can use any device to run a laser with online software.
All you need is an internet connection and you can load software like Glowforge App or Gweike Cloud Online in any device’s browser.
However, online software has many disadvantages.
Firstly, internet interruptions will cause job interruptions. The Glowforge App and Gweike Cloud Online do not ruin the job when the internet disconnects, but they will interrupt until you are back online.
Furthermore, without offline software, you are always at the mercy of someone else’s servers. Some people worry about permanently relying on Glowforge’s servers since there is no offline software that can run Glowforge.
This means that in theory, if Glowforge were to go out of business tomorrow (though very unlikely), it could mean that your lasers became useless without the control software to start laser projects.
Online Software Comparison: Glowforge App vs Gweike Cloud Online
Glowforge App has some advantages over Gweike Cloud online software.
Gweike Cloud online software can’t employ the machine’s full potential. It engraves and cuts at a much lower speed, and sometimes uses higher laser powers at these slow speeds.
For example, Gweike Cloud online cuts 3mm MDF at 6 mm/sec with 90% laser power, while Gweike Cloud Pro can cut the same material at 14 mm/sec using offline software (Lightburn and Gweike Cloud offline).
However, Glowforge App runs Glowforge Pro with full capabilities. Glowforge App also enjoys a much larger community than Gweike Cloud online. The vibrant Glowforge community can teach you anything you need and solve any problems you might face.
On the other hand, Gweike Cloud Online can recognize materials that you buy from their store and automatically set the correct DPI, power, and speed.
Accuracy: Glowforge Pro vs Gweike Cloud Pro
Gweike Cloud Pro and Glowforge Pro have similar accuracy. Glowforge reports a positioning accuracy of 0.001” and Gweike Cloud reports 0.02mm. These reports show similar accuracy, and we can’t exactly choose a winner based on this information.
Note that some people incorrectly use 0.001” = 0.025mm, or 0.02mm = 0.00079” to claim that Gweike Cloud is more accurate than Glowforge. However, these claims suffer from rounding-up errors.
Gweike Cloud Pro can engrave at 1000 dpi and Glowforge says that their laser can print at “about 1000 dpi.”
In summary, Gweike Cloud Pro and Glowforge Pro have similar accuracy.
It takes under two weeks for both Glowforge and Gweike to arrive at your door. Once you receive the laser, you should set it up yourself.
Gweike Cloud Pro and Glowforge Pro are both easy to set up. They have clear installation guides and videos that help you set up your machine in a short time. It only takes a few steps before you can do your first engraving.
Since Glowforge Pro and Gweike Cloud Pro both employ CO2 lasers, they can cut and engrave similar materials. You can see this article for a full list of materials you can cut or engrave.
Gweike Cloud also has an online store that sells different materials. These materials all fit inside Gweike Cloud lasers perfectly. Plus, if you use Gweike Cloud Online software, it can read the QR code to recognize the material, and automatically load the correct settings for it.
Having good support is essential when starting with a new laser. It’s good to know that someone can assist you if you hit walls.
Glowforge supports through email, live chat, and contact forms. However, they don’t have phone support (although there is a number to leave a message).
Gweike Cloud offers 24/7 online support. You can also leave a number to get phone support.
On the other hand, Glowforge’s community is very effective at answering user questions and sharing ideas.
So, Gweike Cloud’s phone support is better than Glowforge, while Glowforge’s community is more active than Gweike Cloud’s.
Glowforge has a firm foot on the hobbyist laser grounds, while Gweike Cloud has targeted this market with great products.
Gweike Cloud Pro costs almost half of Glowforge Pro while offering a similar working area and accuracy.
Gweike Cloud Pro is faster and more powerful than Glowforge Pro. Plus, Gweike Cloud Pro can engrave tall and round objects, while Glowforge Pro can only engrave thin sheet materials.
Gweike Cloud is compatible with Lightburn, Gweike Cloud Offline, and Gweike Cloud Online, while Glowforge only works with its web-based Glowforge App.
Glowforge has an active community, while Gweike Cloud has 24/7 online support.
Gweike Cloud Pro