Which laser engravers are best?
Customization of items has long been the easiest way to showcase one’s personality and style, much superior to using an item identically to millions of others who bought the same thing. Laser engraving is one of the simplest means of customization and can also make you a pretty penny as a side hustle.
The best laser engraver is the ANYCUBIC 3D Printer and Laser Engraver. This dual-purpose machine can print the objects to be engraved later for a really personal look.
What to know before you buy a laser engraver
There are two types of lasers used in laser engravers, CO2 and fiber.
- CO2: CO2 lasers are a weaker laser type, useful for smaller jobs and most commonly employed in non-commercial laser engravers. CO2 lasers are generated by a carbon dioxide (CO2) filled chamber that is pumped with electricity.
- Fiber: Fiber lasers are strong enough to cut into metals, high-quality and expensive lasers, used mostly in commercial-grade laser engravers. Their high cost and quality thankfully means they’re much easier to maintain and less prone to breaking down.
Laser engravers must somehow move around in order to engrave into items, but that movement depends on the particular laser engraver. The most common style uses a moving laser with a stationary working space which holds the item to be engraved. Less commonly found are laser engravers with a stationary laser and a workplace which secures but also moves the object to be engraved.
What to look for in a quality laser engraver
There are two aspects of power to consider: strength and supply.
- Strength: The strength of a laser’s power is given in watts. Basic laser engravers barely even use a full watt, coming in between .5 and 1.5 watts. An average laser engraver will typically use between 10 and 15 watts, while a borderline but not quite professional-grade laser engraver can use as many as 45 watts.
- Supply: The higher the wattage, the more power your laser engraver will require. Low-level laser engravers can usually get by with a few batteries, while average wattage laser engravers might be usable with the charger you use for a phone or could require a direct power supply.
Nearly every laser engraver has a different means of taking the image you want to engrave into its system. Some are able to read basic files like JPEGS, while others use a scanner and some even have software to use that’s unique to that laser engraver. Check how your prospective laser engraver intakes images before purchasing or you might get one that’s incompatible with what you have available.
How much you can expect to spend on a laser engraver
Laser engravers have a gargantuan possible price range, as low as $100 and as high as $15,000 or higher. Most basic laser engravers cost between $100 and $200 with some of the better, non commercial options costing up to $600. Commercial laser engravers typically start around $1,500.
Laser engraver FAQ
Are safety glasses required when using a laser engraver?
A. Well, no, they aren’t required depending on the power of your laser engraver. If it’s under 40 watts you should be OK but even then, it’s still strongly recommended to prevent damage to your eyes. Considering many laser engravers include safety glasses and that purchasing them separately shouldn’t exceed $40, you don’t have much excuse not to wear them.
What’s the difference between a laser marking and a laser engraving?
A. Laser marking changes the look of a surface by affecting its chemical composition until a color change occurs. Laser engraving actually cuts into the surface of the object, making the image much longer lasting. Be careful with laser engraving though; high-powered lasers are strong enough to cut all the way through an object.
What are the best laser engravers to buy?
Top laser engraver
What you need to know: This do-it-all laser engraver and 3D printer is an excellent choice for those who like having options.
What you’ll love: While complex, this laser engraver and 3D printer combo is easy to set up. The base is sturdy enough to prevent device shake on all but the most intense tasks. Any issues can be solved with an included lifetime support.
What you should consider: If you only need the laser-engraving portion, then this machine has more and costs more than you’ll ever need.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top laser engraver for the money
What you need to know: An excellent laser engraver for hobbyists that can handle a multitude of material types.
What you’ll love: Supported material types include wood and bamboo, paper and plastic, bone, leather and even phone cases. The total working area is 15.75 inches by 19.7 inches. Safety goggles are included with the laser engraver.
What you should consider: Assembly of this laser engraver is required and it is not meant for industrial use. Metal is not supported for engraving with this laser engraver.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line laser engraver and 3D printer, then look no further than this beast of a machine.
What you’ll love: A full-color touch screen makes controlling this 3D printer and laser engraver simple, plus Wi-Fi connectivity means you can also control it from anywhere with your phone. The 3D printing portion can print two identical items simultaneously. If a task is interrupted, it will resume from where it left off.
What you should consider: Laser engraving and 3D printing tasks cannot be accomplished at the same time as each of the working heads can only be used on their own.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Jordan Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.