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 in your own home (including metal in some cases) 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 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. Meanwhile, if 3D printing is something you've been keen to try, check out our list of the best 3D printers in 2021.
- Jump straight to the best laser cutters in the UK
Best laser cutters in the US
The High-Ten Upgraded Version CO2 is the best laser cutter you can buy right now. 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.
Performance-wise, there's a red light positioning system to make it easier to accurately line up your materials, plus a suspension system that immediately halts the laser whenever you open the doors. Speaking of doors, the front and rear double doors allow you the space to engrave materials of any length.
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. Just be mindful of its size; with dimensions of approximately 72 x 56 x 41 inches, this is a beast of a machine, so make sure you have the space to accommodate it.
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. (Bonus: it comes with software pre-installed so you can get right to work.) You can cut aluminium, stainless steel, copper, gold and silver without shadowing thanks to a high-speed galvanometer.
The LaserPecker L1 Desktop Laser Engraver is a miniature laser cutter you can keep right on your computer desk. It's also portable enough to bring with you should you want to do some creative work away from home. Just connect the engraver to your phone or tablet via Bluetooth and you can transfer your designs to wood, felt, and corrugated paper, among other light materials. (You can even engrave fruit, if that's your sort of thing.) A pair of safety goggles are included.
Best laser cutters in the UK
The Ten-High 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.
The Orion Motor Tech 40W is a versatile laser cutter for hobbyists, and like most of the models in our list it 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.
The Orion Motor Tech 30W fiber laser engraver is a versatile machine that can handle metal, rubber, leather, and much more. It's equipped with a super-precise Raycus laser that's guaranteed for up to 100,000 hours of use. Attach a rotary axis (not included) to engrave wine glasses, cups, bowls, and other circular objects. If you're itching to open up an Etsy shop featuring a wide range of engraved gifts, this machine will be well worth the business investment.