Laser engravers and laser cutters use subtractive manufacturing technology (unlike 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing).
Their laser burns or melts the material selectively, following precise digital instructions.
With a laser cutter and laser engraver, you can add a personal touch to the objects of your choice or create your own bespoke pieces. There are, however, a multitude of laser cutting and engraving machines on the market, and it can be very difficult to find the best laser engraver for your needs.
For this reason, our team conducted extensive research to identify a large number of models available on the market. As a result, we were able to compile an authentic list of the best laser engraving and cutting machines.
Our selection includes entry-level laser engravers and desktop laser cutters, as well as professional laser cutters/engravers.
To find out more about laser engravers/cutters, see our buying guide at the end of the article.
Looking for more features? Take a look at our recent study on all-in-one 3D printers; most of them are equipped with laser engravers and cutters!
What is the difference between a laser engraver and a laser cutter?
The two terms are more or less used synonymously, as laser cutters are often capable of laser engraving. However, there is a difference between the two, which is related to the power of the laser.
- Laser cutting machine: these machines require high power lasers to be able to cut all kinds of materials.
- Laser engraving machine: The laser uses less power and leaves light marks on the material without cutting it completely.
If you want to be able to do both, you should choose a laser cutting and engraving machine with high and adjustable laser power. We’ve split our selection into two sections so you can easily see which machines can both burn and cut, and which can only burn.
What is a laser engraver?
A laser engraver is a tool used to inscribe images, logos, and other designs on any object. These machines can use different methods to leave light marks on materials. The engraving process uses a low power laser beam that burns part of the surface of the material. Thanks to this, you can not only see the marking but also feel it by touch.
As for depth, laser engravers are capable of engraving at varying depths, ranging from a few microns to a few millimeters. The maximum depth depends on the specific characteristics of the machine but also on the material used.
What is a laser cutter?
Laser cutters allow cuts to be made when using appropriate materials. This type of machine uses a laser beam to cut materials by following the design data assigned to it.
The working process is simple – the high power laser beam passes through the material to cut it. It uses computer numerical control (CNC) and laser optics to ensure that the cutting is precise and meets user expectations.
Laser cutting is commonly used in various industries, for example, to cut building materials, pipes, or sheet metal.
At the consumer, the laser cutter can be used for DIY projects. Laser cutting projects can include making coasters, furniture, decorations, accessories, and more.
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