How do laser cutters work?

xTool P2; a dark grey laser cutter machne
(Image credit: xTool)

Laser cutters are getting more and more popular among crafters. As a unique means of creating artwork using all sorts of different materials, laser cutting is accessible and fun. If it’s something you’ve been looking into doing – or even something you’ve tried out – you may well be wondering how exactly laser cutting works.

Given that we regularly test and review laser cutters in order to keep our guide to the best laser cutters up to date, we’re pretty well placed to answer this question. This piece is intended to be a quick overview so you can understand the principles behind laser cutting, in order to better help you pick the right laser cutter for you. Let's dive right into it...

Jon Stapley

Jon is a freelance writer and journalist who covers photography, art, technology, and the intersection of all three. When he's not scouting out news on the latest gadgets, he likes to play around with film cameras that were manufactured before he was born. To that end, he never goes anywhere without his Olympus XA2, loaded with a fresh roll of Kodak (Gold 200 is the best, since you asked). Jon is a regular contributor to Creative Bloq, and has also written for in Digital Camera World, Black + White Photography Magazine, Photomonitor, Outdoor Photography, Shortlist and probably a few others he's forgetting.