The best laser cutters and engravers of 2024| Trending Viral hub

Updated January 28, 2024 at 5:07 am PT

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James Bricknell

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our best options. If you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.

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James Bricknell Chief editor

James has been writing about technology for years, but has loved it since the early ’90s. While his main areas of expertise are manufacturing tools (3D printers, vinyl cutters, paper printers, and laser cutters), he also loves board games and tabletop role-playing games.

Expertise 3D printers, creation tools like vinyl cutters and Cricut-style laser cutters, traditional paper printers Credentials

  • 6 years working professionally in the 3D printing space / 4 years testing consumer electronics for large websites.

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Squares. ft. of lab space

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The best laser cutter for office

Luminous Forge Aura

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There are many ways to make your artistic creations come to life. I love using the best 3D printers to create art, but I also enjoy using laser cutters, sometimes called laser engravers or laser engravers, to work with other materials. Etching designs into glass and leather, or cutting wood and acrylic, can create simply stunning objects.

Luminous Forge Aura

Russell Holly/CNET

Being creative has never been easier than it is now. There are more and more people who identify themselves as creators, people with a desire to create, and entire industries have emerged around homemade creations. machines like 3d printers, vinyl cutters and laser cutters are now available at prices to fit almost any pocket. They allow people to bring their creations to life in new and interesting ways. You can even make a profit on stores like Etsy and Shopify if you have the right materials and machines.

I’ve used laser cutters for about five years to create a variety of projects, from small nameplates to engraving a 7-foot workbench with elven runes. Each cutter I use has a number of different pros and cons, so, along with my CNET colleague Russell Holly, I’ve developed testing criteria to evaluate the best laser cutters out there.

What is the best laser cutter?

He xTool P2 is our top pick for the best laser cutter. It’s not the cheapest laser cutter out there, but with a ton of awesome accessories, fantastic software, and cutting size and speed that are hard to ignore, it takes the crown off the Glowforge Pro, but just barely. It’s huge, so make sure you have room in your workshop to accommodate it.

The best laser cutters of 2024

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The Xtool P2 is the complete package for fast and powerful laser cutting at home or in a small workshop. With a full set of accessories that allow you to cut 3 meter long materials and round glasses and glasses, the P2 can cut or engrave any material you could want, including glass and clear acrylic.

The software is excellent and can help you design your creations to best fit your cutting needs. The camera works well to help you align your materials, but be careful when working near the edge of the camera’s limits, because the fisheye distorts a bit. This package comes with some materials to get you started and a fire safety system to give you peace of mind.

Read our xTool P2 review.

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Glowforge Aura is the company’s first consumer laser cutter aimed at the entry-level market. It’s smaller than the other models, with a less powerful laser, but it works surprisingly well on smaller projects. We have done beautiful carvings, engravings, and other laser cut projects on the aura, and they have all been excellent.

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The Beamo is the smallest of Flux’s impressive line of CO2 laser cutters, but don’t let its small size fool you. The 30-watt laser, while weaker than some on this list, is still powerful enough to engrave glass, although you may need the additional diode laser to engrave on steel. However, it will happily cut wood, leather and acrylic.

The Beamo also comes with a handy touch screen on the device, making it much easier to control from your workshop without a directly connected computer. Flux even has an app that will let you control Beamo right from your phone.

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Diode lasers are typically low power and do not have a housing to keep them safe. The S1 solves both problems by having a 40-watt laser that can cut 18mm of wood in a single, albeit slow, pass. It also has a fantastic housing with a green lid to filter the laser light and an active exhaust to expel smoke. The basic kit has air assist (something all lasers should have) and a honeycomb cutting surface to help reduce scorching on the underside of the material.

The S1 doesn’t have a camera (I think it should), so everything is handled very manually. But that’s true for most diode lasers.

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Glowforge has made it clear that its mission from the beginning has been to ensure that anyone can use what it calls “laser printers,” and the Glowforge Pro is a shining example. A fisheye camera gives you a view of the cutting surface from a web application, allowing you to effortlessly click and drag the elements you want to engrave or cut. And if you pay for the additional filtration system, you can use this laser anywhere. Of all the systems tested here, Glowforge’s focus on ease of use is a world apart.

That ease of use comes with some limitations that you won’t find anywhere else. Many features that make Glowforge Pro great are only available if you pay a monthly subscription. If you are not using Proofgrade made by Glowforge, the process of identifying the correct settings for engraving or cutting becomes quite manual. Additionally, the fisheye lens that Glowforge uses can occasionally cause accuracy issues when cutting or engraving on small, perfectly centered surfaces.

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You have questions and we have answers. We wait!

Testing laser cutters is a combination of objective and subjective measurements. We spend time measuring speed and accuracy, as well as usability and overall appearance of the finished product. These tests are carried out in our laboratories and workshops for a month to ensure that the lasers can withstand proper use.

Laser Cutter Specifications

How do these laser cutters work together?

Xtool P2Luminous Forge AuraXtool S1Fluxx BeamoGlowforge Pro
laser power55 watts6 watts40 watts40 watts45 watts
Laser typeCO²DiodeDiodeCO2CO2
Work area26×14 inches12×12 inches19.6×12.6 inches24×17.5 inches26×14 inches
Led screenNoNoNoYeahNo
AttachYeahYeahYeahYeahYeah
Precision0.01mmN/A0.01mmN/A0.025mm
Maximum speed600mm/sA stranger600mm/s300mm/sA stranger
Maximum material thickness20mm5mm18mm5mm13mm

Speed ​​is tested with a good old stopwatch. I created a simple CNET logo design that can be cut into various materials. We calculate the time it takes to complete the cut. We used 3mm basswood, 3mm black acrylic and 3.5mm cardboard for our test materials, to give us a good overview. We then compare the speed to the software to see how accurately it calculates cutting speeds.

The print is made with an image of my beautiful dog Indiana Bones. I import that image into the workspace and use 3mm basswood as the material. I use each machine’s standard engraving settings to etch Indy into the wood. My CNET colleague Russell Holly and I examined the image quality of the engraving. We’re looking at contrast, the level of detail captured, and image grain, as well as considering our opinion of the overall quality.

A beautiful brown dog named Indiana Bones.

Indiana is the perfect testing ground for laser engraving.

James Bricknell/CNET

For laser cutters with cameras, I created a precision test. I designed a file with 10mm and 5mm increments. The file is printed on standard paper and imported into the laser cutter software. From there, we use the laser cutter’s camera to align the physical marks with the digital ones and set the laser to cut. Once the laser was finished, we measured the displacement using a micrometer to see how accurately the camera rendered the image on paper. This is especially useful for laser cutters with fisheye lenses.



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