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Best CO2 Laser Cutters of 2024: A Comprehensive Review

Choosing the best CO2 laser shouldn’t be a leap of faith. In this guide, we compare the most reputable laser cutters, highlighting their strengths and limitations, so you can make a data-driven choice. Discover which laser cutter stands out in terms of functionality, user experience, and price with our straightforward reviews.

The Contenders for Best CO2 Laser Cutters

In the world of laser cutters, five contenders rise above the rest as the best laser cutter options, making them the best laser cutters on the market:

  1. The Glowforge Pro, recognized for its professional-grade power and convenience

  2. The xTool P2, a versatile and powerful all-rounder

  3. The Gweike Cloud Pro II 50W

  4. The OMTech 100W CO2 Laser Engraver, a great laser for small businesses

  5. The Glowforge Plus, great for hobbyists or small businesses

Glowforge Pro: The Professional’s Choice

Glowforge Pro passthrough feature

Price: $5,995

Specifications

  • Laser Power: 45W

  • Engraving Resolution: 1355 DPI

  • Pro Passthrough slot for large objects

Pros:

  • High engraving resolution enables diverse material handling

  • Advanced features such as comprehensive cameras and precise autofocus system

  • Upgraded cooling systems for all-day operation

Cons:

  • Premium price point

  • Requires use of proprietary Proofgrade materials for optimum results

In the professional laser cutting industry, the Glowforge Pro is a revolutionary presence. It offers:

  • Simplified laser cutting and engraving process with its use of Proofgrade materials

  • Automatic determination of settings for flawless results

  • Control via a straightforward web-based software

  • High engraving resolution of 1355 DPI

  • Capability to handle a wide range of materials and sizes

  • Pro Passthrough slot for engraving and cutting of enormous objects

These features underline its performance as a versatile tool, showcasing its versatility.

Moreover, the Glowforge Pro offers:

  • Power and versatility

  • Precision with advanced features such as comprehensive wide-angle and macro cameras, a precise autofocus system, and robust community support

  • Upgraded cooling systems for all-day continuous operation without overheating

Yes, it does come at a premium price, and some might argue that its dependency on proprietary Proofgrade materials can push up operational costs. But for the serious professional who demands nothing short of the best, the Glowforge Pro is worth every penny.

Rating:

  • Price: 3/5

  • Design: 5/5

  • Performance: 5/5

  • Features: 5/5

  • Overall: 4.5/5

xTool P2: The All-Rounder

Amazon.com: xTool P2 55W CO2 Laser Cutter All-in-One Bundle, Smart Desktop  CO2 Laser Engraver and Cutter Machine, with Riser Base, Conveyor Feeder,  RA2 Pro Rotary, Smoke Purifier, Dual Smart 16MP Cameras

Price: $4,349

Specifications: The 55W CO2 laser cutting machine utilizes a powerful laser for precise and efficient cutting, harnessing laser power to achieve optimal results.

  • Cutting Speed: Up to 600 mm/s

  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi

Pros:

  • Engraves on diverse materials including wood, acrylic, leather, and even curved surfaces

  • High-speed operations

  • Multiple connectivity options

Cons:

  • Costly for hobbyists

  • Heavy and requires ample workspace

The xTool P2 sets a new standard for all-around performance. This machine is equipped with:

  • A powerful 55W CO2 laser, capable of high-speed operations up to 600 mm/s

  • The ability to engrave on a variety of materials, including wood, acrylic, and leather

  • Support for rotary engraving, allowing for work on curved surfaces as well

The user experience of this product is a standout, boasting:

  • Multiple connectivity options including Wi-Fi

  • Intuitive software that streamlines the cutting and engraving process

  • Ease of assembly

  • Enclosed design

  • Features like cameras for precision

These features make it suitable for both professionals and serious hobbyists.

While its price tag may be steep for some, the xTool P2 is undeniably a solid investment, offering a blend of power, versatility, and user-friendly experience that is hard to beat.

Rating:

  • Price: 4/5

  • Design: 5/5

  • Performance: 5/5

  • Features: 5/5

  • Overall: 4.8/5

Gweike Cloud Pro II (50W)

Gweike Cloud Pro

Overview

The 50W Gweike Cloud Pro II is the first CO2 laser to make our list. It’s an impressive machine with a speed that is 3.4 times faster than other comparable laser cutters, which is a big reason why it topped our list for this price range.

– Desktop CO2 – the speed of Gweikecloud is 3.4 times faster than other laser cutters – Support Cutting or Engraving 400+ materials including Acrylic, Metal, Wood, Paper, Cardboard, Leather, Ceramic, Fabric, etc. – 20.08″ (510mm)*11.8″ (300mm)

Key Features: 
  • Materials: Support Cutting or Engraving 400+ materials, including Acrylic, Metal, Wood, Paper, Cardboard, Leather, Ceramic, Fabric, etc

  • Thickness it can cut in a single pass

    • Wood: 18m

    • Acrlic: 16mm

  • Work area: 20″ x 12″

  • Laser type: CO2

  • Laser power: 50W

  • Price: $3,150

OMTech 100W CO2 Laser Engraver

OMTech 100W CO2 Laser Engraver

Overview

The OMTech 100W is by far the largest and highest-powered laser we’ve included in this list, and it’s the best one we’ve researched for small businesses.

It’s great for projects that require speed, large surfaces, or both. Being larger than other est (it’s not a desktop machine), you’ll need a bit of space in your shop to fit this bad boy, but it’s well worth it in my book if, like me, you love creating larger art pieces.

If you’re a small business, you’ll love this machine.

Key Features: 

  • Materials: wood, glass, leather, coated metals (anodized aluminum), and acrylic

  • Thickness it can cut in a single pass:

  • Wood: 18mm

    • Acrylic: 20mm

  • Work area: 20″ x 28″

  • Laser type: CO2

  • Laser power: 100W

  • Price: $3,80

Glowforge Plus

Glowforge Plus Laser Engraver

The Glowforge Plus is a user-friendly and versatile laser cutter, boasting a powerful 40W laser, quick setup, and hand-drawing function. This machine is perfect for small businesses looking for an all-in-one solution capable of engraving and cutting various materials. However, the Glowforge Plus comes with a higher price tag compared to other models on our list.

Glowforge Plus has many advantages, one of them being its large cutting area which measures 279 x 495 mm (11’’ x 19.5’’). In addition, it also has a cutting depth of 50 mm (2’’). This provides ample space for working on small to medium-sized projects.

The Glowforge Plus also has the option to upgrade to the Glowforge Pro, which features a 45W CO2 laser, a passthrough slot, and advanced high-spec features.

The Glowforge Basic is also available as an entry-level model at a lower price, but with some limitations and without the air-filter accessory.

Key Features: 

  • Materials: wood, glass, leather, coated metals (anodized aluminum), and acrylic

  • Thickness it can cut in a single pass: Wood: 18mm, Acrylic: 20mm

  • Work area: 20″ x 28″

  • Laser type: CO2

  • Laser power: 100W

  • Price: $4,995

Deciphering Laser Cutter Specifications

Having examined the offerings of these top-rated laser cutters, you might be wondering how to decipher the technical specifications and industry jargon. Let’s simplify it.

Laser power, measured in wattage, directly affects a CO2 laser cutter’s ability to cut through different materials and dictates if it can handle thicker materials or operate at faster speeds. Material thickness specifications, given in millimeters, indicate the maximum capacity of a laser cutter, which varies according to power settings. The cutting area dimensions define the maximum size of the material that can be worked on, while the engraving and preview speed indicate how quickly the cutter completes the work, influencing throughput and efficiency.

Software compatibility, supported by connectivity options such as high-speed Bluetooth and compatible operating systems, ensures the laser cutter can be operated easily from various devices. Safety features such as an air assist and exhaust fan ensure that the laser cutting environment remains safe, while certifications like CE, FCC, and FDA highlight a cutter’s adherence to safety and quality standards. Laser cutting machines offer a versatile and efficient solution for various industries.

Making the Right Choice: How to Select Your Ideal Laser Cutter

Having simplified the specifications, let’s explore how to select the most suitable laser cutter for your needs. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Assess both the initial purchase price and potential long-term costs, including operations and maintenance.

  2. Be sure to avoid models that surpass your production needs – there are cost-effective DIY options that start around $500.

  3. Choices like the Glowforge Pro may be costly for individuals and small businesses.

Next, identify the primary function of your laser cutter to ensure it has adequate power and size for your intended tasks. The material type is also crucial when selecting your laser cutter. For instance, you wouldn’t want the Glowforge Pro if you’re primarily dealing with thicker materials due to its thickness limitations.

Lastly, ensure that the selected laser cutter is compatible with your workspace in terms of size and ventilation requirements. Also, take into consideration whether you have trained personnel for potential maintenance needs. And never underestimate the importance of choosing a reputable brand for reliable quality and supportive customer service.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls in Laser Cutter Purchase

As buying a laser cutter constitutes a considerable investment, it’s vital to steer clear of common errors. One such pitfall is overlooking the long-term costs. Using proprietary materials such as the Proofgrade materials recommended for the Glowforge Pro can result in higher operational costs than third-party alternatives.

Maintenance is another factor to consider. Laser cutters, like the Glowforge Aura, need regular cleaning and maintenance, contributing to the overall cost of ownership. Don’t forget about workspace compatibility either – laser cutters can have a large footprint and be heavy, and they also produce dust and fumes during operation, necessitating the use of ventilation systems or exhaust ducts routed to an open window.

Purchasing a laser cutter is an exciting step, but it’s important to consider the full picture. By avoiding these common pitfalls, you can ensure a smoother journey into the world of laser cutting and engraving.

Summary

In conclusion, choosing the right CO2 laser cutter is a journey that requires careful consideration of various factors. From identifying your primary needs and understanding the specifications to considering the long-term costs and avoiding common pitfalls, each step paves the way to finding the perfect machine for your creative endeavors. Whether you’re a seasoned professional, a dedicated hobbyist, or a beginner dipping your toes into the world of laser cutting and engraving, there’s a laser cutter out there that’s just right for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the best CO2 laser?

The xTool P2 is considered the best CO2 laser cutter, with a 55W laser and impressive cutting capabilities that set it apart from others in its class.

What is the best CO2 laser for beginners?

For beginners, the OMTech Mid-Range Laser Engraver is a great option for its ease of use and compatibility with LightBurn laser software. It ranges from 50W to 80W laser power and is user-friendly.

What materials are best for CO2 laser?

The best materials for CO2 laser cutting are those with high carbon content, like wood and acrylic, while metals may require higher power levels and have limitations on thickness that can be effectively cut.

What does the laser power of a laser cutter indicate?

The laser power of a laser cutter indicates its ability to cut through different materials and dictate if it can handle thicker materials or operate at faster speeds. This is measured in wattage.

What do material thickness specifications mean?

Material thickness specifications indicate the maximum capacity of a laser cutter for cutting different materials. This varies according to the power settings used.

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