Having the best laser cutter may not cost as much as you'd expect. While laser cutters or engravers used to be the sort of thing that only larger businesses could afford, these days there are much more affordable options on the market. They're still far from cheap, but if you want to do laser-powered cutting or engraving on all manner of materials (including metal in some cases) in your own home then it's definitely doable.
Before you rush off and buy one, though, there are a few things to think about. If you want to create products you can actually sell, you're going to need an accurate and reliable machine that won't cost a fortune to run. You'll also need to think about the price of replacement parts, and if you're planning on getting a production line up and running then you'll want a machine that can cut at speed.
Check that you actually have room in your home for a laser cutter; not only do you need to make space for it, you'll also have to think about ventilation. And depending on what you want to make with it, you'll also have to pay attention to the size of the cutting plate; you don't want to end up with something that's too small to work with.
Got it figured out? Read on, then, for our picks of the best laser cutters in the US and UK right now. For more supplies for your home office, also see our best chairs, best desks and best printers buying guides.
- Jump straight to the best laser cutters in the UK
Best laser cutters in the US
The High-Ten Upgraded Version CO2 is one of the best laser cutters all round. This capable machine will cut everything from acrylic and plywood to leather, glass and cloth (note, this machine won't work with metal). It's compatible with CorelDraw, and there's a handy USB port you can use to get your designs onto the machine. There's a red light positioning system to make it easier to accurately line up your materials, too.
The Orion Motor Tech 100W CO2 won't cost you an absolute fortune, but it will cut through most things you care to throw at it, including some metals. It has a large cutting surface of nearly four square feet, and its pass-thru system means that you can cut and engrave oversized products that might not fit other engravers. It's compatible with plenty of apps including Adobe Illustrator, AutoCAD and CorelDRAW, and it has a USB port so you can upload designs from a USB stick or external drive.
If you don't mind splashing a bit of cash, then get this 130W Reci W4 C02 laser tube engraver cutter machine, which has an engraving area of 1300 x 900mm. It's speedy and precise and can cope with a range of non-metal materials, including glass, paper, bamboo and rubber. Its compatibility is also decent, as it supports AutoCAD, CorelDRAW, as well as a range of file formats.
The Triumph Fiber Laser Cutting Machine is made for cutting metal, making it ideal for engraving. This isn't cheap but as a result you get a very capable system able to cut on a work area up to 200 x 200 mm and at a rate of 9,000 mm. The interface is relatively simple to use with a touch screen and support for .CAD, .JPG, .PLT and plenty more. You can cut aluminium, stainless steel, copper, gold and silver without shadowing thanks to a high-speed galvanometer.
Best laser cutters in the UK
The High-Ten Upgraded Version CO2 is a really capable laser cutter. Thanks to a handy USB port, it's easy to get projects onto this machine that can cut at a rate of 3600mm per minute on its 400 x 600 mm cutting plate. On that platform you can cut all sorts: acrylic, plywood, density board, leather, wood, double colour plate, glass, cloth, bamboo, paper to name a few. Note, it won't cut metal. A red light positioning system makes cutting easy to line up while a cooling system keeps it safe too.
The Orion Motor Tech 40W is a versatile laser cutter for hobbyists, and like most of the models in our list will work with a wide range of materials, but not metal. There's a decent-sized 300x200mm surface, with clamps to keep your cutting material in place and a level board to enable you to work with bulkier objects. A red dot pointer indicates the engraving point and path, to help you ensure you get the right position and scale for your object. There are four detachable wheels you can use to move this laser cutter around easily. Finally, while this machine does come with software, reviews say it's not worth bothering with, and recommend downloading k40 whisperer and Inkscape instead.