The best xTool Machines in 2022

The best xTool machines; a photo of the xTool M1 laser cutter on a table surrounded by halloween gifts
(Image credit: xTool)

The best xTool machines belong to the current new trend for craft cutters and laser printers that are bringing professional tools into the home for hobbyists, creatives and small studios. If you're a crafter or artist that wants to sell products on Etsy, in stores, or in person at farmer's markets then the best xTool machines are an option.

While the best Cricut machines focus on using cutting blades to cut, engrave and score; and the best Glowforge machines make use of powerful lasers to do the same with speed and precision, the top xTool machines fit somewhere in between. The xTool M1, for example, offers both blade and laser technology in the same machine.

In my guide to the best xTool machines I'll go into detail on the new xTool M1, but I'll also cover the dedicated xTool D1 laser cutter and the powerful xTool Laserbox machine. One difference between xTool and Glowforge is the accessories; xTool machines are cheaper but you'll need the best xTool accessories to get the most put of them, while Glowforge are more power out-of-the-box – read my Glowforge Pro review to find out more. 

Take a look at our guide to the best laser cutters if you need one of these specialist devices, but for now scroll down and read up on the best xTool machines that offer a mix of traditional and modern approaches to craft machine design.

The best xTool machines available now

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The best xTool machines; a photo of the xTool M1 on a white background

(Image credit: xTool)

01. xTool M1

The best xTool machine overall

Specifications

Machine dimensions: 22 x 17.5 x 9 inches
Laser: 5 and 10 watt models
Weight: 9.8 kg
Work area: 15 x 12 inches
Materials: 300+, including wood, metal and fabrics

Reasons to buy

+
Laser and blade cutting in one
+
Red Dot Winner 2022
+
Clean and compact design

Reasons to avoid

-
The (beta) app is a little buggy

The xTool M1 is a unique machine in the craft space as it features both blade and laser cutter technology and is a winner of the Red Dot product design award. It can do some of what a Cricut can and also some of what a Glowforge can do; though there are some caveats.

The laser in the xTool M1, for example, is a 10 watt laser, unlike the 45 watt laser in the Glowforge Pro and 40 watt laser in the Glowforge Plus, which makes it a slower cutter. But, it's a diode laser and not a CO2 laser, which makes it cheaper and lasts a little longer though also a little limited, for example it can't cut clear acrylic. The blade is a simple cutting blade, not a rotary, so it's a little limited compared to Cricut.

Yet, the xTool M1 has both, in one machine, which means you can create complex projects that require clean cutting and engraving with one machine. If you don't already own a Cricut or Glowforge, the xTool M1 is a good hybrid option.

Like those machines part of the xTool M1 appeal is its design and approachable style. Many aspects are automated, with auto-focus and easy alignment options making it simple to make projects on the xTool M1. The machine's app, xTool Creative Space, is in beta at this stage and is a little buggy, but it's easy to use and ensures you can import designs or create in-app.

It's hard not to love the xTool M1. It's not as fast or as powerful as Glowforge, but it's cheaper, and it's not as compact and adaptable as Cricut Maker 3, but it has a laser cutter; ultimately, it's a novel craft machine that does a little bit over everything.

The best xTool machines; a photo of the xTool Laserbox machine

(Image credit: xTool)

02. xTool Laserbox

The best xTool machine for small studios

Specifications

Machine dimensions: 41 x 17 x 25 inches
Laser: 40 watt CO2 laser
Weight: 48 kg
Work area: 19.5 x 12 inches
Materials: 300+, including wood, metal and fabrics

Reasons to buy

+
Fast 40 watt laser
+
Includes rotary accessory
+
Smart and approachable design
+
Smart purification system

Reasons to avoid

-
Mac connectivity has issues

The xTool Laserbox is the brand's most powerful laser cutter and engraver, and it's the machine that gets close to Glowforge. This has a 40 watt C02 laser that's similar to the Glowforge Plus but a step behind the Glowforge Pro. 

The design of the xTool Laserbox is excellent, however, and has some neat features that may sway you into investing in this machine over others. For example, the xTool Laserbox comes with a rotary accessory that enables you to engrave flasks and pens, but also score and carve wooden cylindrical objects. The xTool Laserbox also features a 'smart purification system' – the machine judges the smoke density inside the machine and opens to vent and clean any toxins through an eco-friendly purifier.

This machine is capable of cutting, engraving and scoring many materials, including woods, plastics, paper and leather. As above the design app can access free pre-made designs or you can import designs from the best graphic design software, including Photoshop and CorelDRAW. (Some users have said they've found issues with the app on Macs.)

The internal camera also means you can 'sketch to cut', which means you can draw directly onto materials and the xTool Laserbox will cut and engrave based on your direct design.

The xTool Laserbox is a powerful and fast machine, and it may be too much for some. It's clearly designed for small studios, schools and crafters looking to expand their scope from a hobby and into a small business. It's priced competitively against the Glowforge Plus, but this comes with the rotary accessory, and it's not in the same league as the Glowforge Pro.  

The best xTool machines; a photo of the xTool D1 Pro in red

(Image credit: xTool)

03. xTool D1 Pro

The best xTool machine for

Specifications

Machine dimensions: 26 x 9.4 x 8 inches
Laser: 20 watt diode laser
Weight: 6.5 kg
Work area: 17 x 15.4 inches
Materials: Wood, metal, glass and fabrics

Reasons to buy

+
Improved 20 watt laser
+
Gyroscope for accuracy
+
Colour engraving

Reasons to avoid

-
Risers sold separately

If you're looking for a fast and dependable laser cutter and engraver the xTool D1 Pro is a good option. Like the standard D1 model the Pro is an older design to the newer encased M1, but it does feature a decent 20 watt laser and is a third of the price.

There are some neat features other than the improved laser – that can cut 10mm BaseWood and 8mm acrylic in one pass – as the xTool D1 Pro features a gyroscope to ensure you get a flat and accurate setup, and flame detector for safety. This is still an open frame design so it'll smoke and smell.

The xTool D1 Pro offers an adjustable laser height but you'll need to pay extra for the 'riser' kit to ensure you can engrave larger, higher objects. The work area is slightly smaller than stated too, as the D1 Pro features limiter switches for safety, these ensure it can't cut to the edge of the frame.

The xTool D1 Pro is a step above the standard D1, but it's not in the same league as the new xTool M1 and it's only slightly cheaper. The D1 Pro does support a number of additional features, however, such as a rotary accessory, a smoke hood and an infra-red laser module for engraving many metals – ideal for jewellery.

The best xTool machines; a photo of the xTool D1

(Image credit: xTool)

04. xTool D1

The best xTool machine for newcomers

Specifications

Machine dimensions: 26 x 9.4 x 8 inches
Laser: 5 and 10 watt models
Weight: 6.5 kg
Work area: 17 x 15.4 inches
Materials: Wood, metal, glass and fabrics

Reasons to buy

+
All-steel build for accuracy
+
Works with rotary accessory

Reasons to avoid

-
Low power laser can be slow

The xTool D1 is a good entry-level laser cutter that has a good but not too large work area and a low-power 5 or 10 watt laser, which means it can be slower than other laser cutters on this list, but also will cost far less to run.

While the newer laser cutters and engravers on my list feature the enclosed design that keeps all smoke and smells inside the case, the xTool D1 is an older approach to laser cutters. It's open and so not as good for small children, for example you'll need anti-UV goggles.

Everything is run through the xTool app, which works well. It's worth noting some of those automated easy-of-use features on the higher-spec laser cutters, such as the auto-focus camera to enable sketch to scan, aren't included here. It means there's a little more trial and error to get designs to work and measurements are more manual.

However, xTool D1 is a nice entry-level laser cutter if you want to begin in this craft space. Unlike some laser cutters the xTool D1 is all-metal, including its belt and wheel system, which ensures accuracy and stability.

The best xTool machines: frequent questions

Can xTool machines cut wood?

The best xTool laser cutter machines can cut various materials, including some wood, like BaseWood. The speed and depth of the cuts will vary with each machine. The xTool Laserbox is the most powerful, followed by the xTool M1. The xTool D1 Pro (20 watt model) is good too, the xTool D1 (5 watt model) may struggle.

What materials can xTool machines cut?

Again, this varies by machine. The two newer xTool machines, the xTool M1 and xTool laserbox, can cut and engrave over 300 materials, including wood, paper, card, plastics, rubber, metals, leather and fabrics. Note, these machines can cut metal but are limited to thin 0.06 inch metal sheets. With the Infrared Laser Module attached the D1 series can fine engrave gold, silver and copper.

Does xTool have its own materials?

Yes, xTool makes and supplies xTool Selected materials that are encoded for the higher-end xTool machines, the M1 and Laserbox, which means these laser cutters can read the material and automatically adjust to each material. xTool Selected materials are also tailored to laser cutting, with smooth finishes and woods are bonded evenly where needed.

Can xTool machines engrave glass?

Yes, the xTool D1 and above can be used to engrave and etch on glass but you'll need to first apply tempera paint or a cold galvanising compound spray because the diode lasers don't generate enough heat on their own. The CO2 lasers in the xTool M1 and xTool Laserbox can engrave on glass without these products. 

Which is better, xTool or Glowforge?

This depends on your needs and uses of your laser printer. Overall we'd say the Glowforge Pro is the best machine, but this is aimed at high-end users and the price shows this appeal. There is a closer fight between the Glowforge Plus and Basic models and the xTool M1, here we'd look towards the xTool machine. It has a weaker laser than the Glowforge Plus, but uniquely it also has a blade cutter like a Cricut. 

What are the differences between the xTool D1 and D1 Pro?

It's a little complicated and nuanced, generally the D1 laser ends at the 10 watt module while the D1 Pro goes up to the 20 watt module. The D1 laser has a spot size of 0.08 x 0.1 mm while the D1 Pro has a spot size of 0.08 x 0.06 mm, which makes for a more accurate, finer cut or engraving. If you own an xTool D1 then you can buy a 20 watt laser module as an accessory.

Is the xTool D1 worth buying?

In its class the xTool D1 is a decent laser engraver but can be found lacking as a laser cutter. Its 10 watt laser module is fast enough for a tabletop laser cutter but if you want to create larger projects, do more or need a cleaner machine, then the M1 is a better option.

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Ian Dean is Digital Arts & Design Editor at Creative Bloq, and the former editor of many leading magazines. These titles included ImagineFX, 3D World and leading video game title Official PlayStation Magazine. In his early career he wrote for music and film magazines including Uncut and SFX. Ian launched Xbox magazine X360 and edited PlayStation World. For Creative Bloq, Ian combines his love to bring the latest news on NFTs, video game art and tech, and more to Creative Bloq, and in his spare time he doodles in Corel Painter, ArtRage, and Rebelle while finding time to play Xbox and PS5.