We understand how daunting it may be to go through all the laser cutters and engravers on the market, so we have whittled it down to the top picks for every possible price point, material, and application.
You’ll find all you need to know to make a smart choice for yourself and your company down below.
Here are some things you should think about before you go out and buy the best laser-guided cutters and engraving machines for your new customization project.
It is crucial to think about one’s own requirements and preferences before buying a new machine, both to ensure that one will be happy with the purchase and to prevent wasting money on features that will not be used. As a result of the laser beam’s tendency to be reflected by metal’s impervious nature, the material’s ability to be vaporized and marked by the laser is diminished. This makes it difficult, even for the most powerful machinery, to cut through more than a few hundredths of a centimeter.
To sum up, a CNC plasma cutter or router machine is a better option than a traditional metal cutting saw if you plan on cutting metal in the future. But if you’ve read this far and you’re serious about getting what you want, brace yourself for some truly remarkable machinery.
How Do I Know Which Laser Engraver to Buy?
Even though metal is what you presumably intend to mark, you should think about whether or not that’s all you’ll be engraving. Metals vary widely in their fundamental qualities, such as metallic shine, making it challenging for a single machine to process metal in the same way that it processes, say, wood.
Yet, most consumer machines will be able to leave their imprint if you’re engraving coated or anodized metals, which can greatly reduce the cost of a laser engraver. They won’t engrave directly into the metal but rather into the coating or oxidation layer, which may be easily etched away. CO2 or diode lasers power this equipment, which are normally installed on an XY gantry.
If you’re simply interested in metal engraving, though, a fiber laser may be the better option. To cut metal, fiber lasers focus laser light from a remote location by sending it down an optic fiber and then directing it at the workpiece with mirrors and galvanometers. The metal-specific frequency of these lasers makes them efficient and effective. Although their strengths vary, all of them will successfully mark and cut select thin metals.
How to Choose a High-Quality Laser Cutter or Engraver
The process of purchasing a laser cutter and engraver isn’t quite straightforward, but I hope to simplify it as much as possible for you here.
There are number of things to think about when purchasing a laser cutter, but I want to focus on the most important ones that distinguish average laser cutters from the best of the best.
1. Fiber Lasers
There’s no doubt that the introduction of fiber laser equipment rendered crystal and gas-powered laser cutting instruments mostly obsolete. Using fiber optics allows for a more concentrated and powerful laser beam, making quick work of even the thickest metals.
On top of that, a stronger laser can cut and engrave more quickly, extending its useful life (or as frequently).
2. Laser Durability
A laser tube will usually last anywhere from 1,200 to 2,000 hours. That may not sound like a lot, but it is enough for around 12 weeks of nonstop work. You won’t be using a laser cutter the entire time you’re working, and you probably won’t use it even half the time, so 12 weeks with 2,000 hours isn’t such an awful amount after all.
The greatest laser engravers and cutters, however, have a longer lifespan, making them more efficient and worthwhile investments than merely “average” models. If you want to operate your laser engraving nonstop for an entire year, some of the better models on this list, especially professional laser engravers, have advanced laser tubes that boast 10,000 hours of operation.
This is a quality shared by the best laser-cutting equipment, and it will allow you to reduce your maintenance expenses over time.
3. Spacious Work Area
As a general rule, the larger the area you have to work with, the less difficult your task will be. While high speeds and watts are certainly advantageous, you will not be able to get the most out of your laser cutting machine unless you have a sufficiently sized workspace, which will allow you to make modifications as needed and help prevent mishaps.
The term “big” refers to a work surface with at least 100 millimeters on each side. Some of the higher-priced versions I’ve listed on the list offer four times that space and they are, in my experience, some of the finest machines I’ve ever had the pleasure of working on.
Wattage (W), not voltage (V), determines the effective power of an electrical device. Just like any other machine, this one’s capabilities are limited by its strength, which may make it inappropriate for some jobs.
You don’t need a powerful laser engraver to conduct basic work, especially if you plan to use it for non-professional uses like crafting and other hobbies. Nonetheless, I advise going for a machine that has at least 30 watts of power for serious use.
5. Price-to-Value Ratio
The value-to-price ratio does not equal cost-effectiveness or personal preference. Both are included in this unbiased component. One common fallacy is that the higher the cost of equipment, the more useful it must be.
Investing in a laser cutter and engraver is not like buying a pair of shoes or a pair of jeans. A minority of customers will be able to fork over thousands of dollars to upgrade to a different model if they are dissatisfied.