Is the new xTool S1 the most powerful laser cutter for everyone?

xTool S1; a laser machine on a wooden table
(Image credit: xTool)

The race to bring powerful laser cutters and engravers into the home for DIY and crafting projects is well and truly on; the new xTool S1 promises to be the ideal laser machine for crafters. 

While xTool has a history of creating elegant laser machines that can be used in the home, such as the award-winning xTool M1, if you need more power in a safe, less messy form than offered by open-frame diode machines, then you'd be lacking. I love the new xTool P2, for example, but it's large and heavy and maybe too powerful for home crafting. The new xTool S1 sits between the the brand's two newest laser cutters - offering more power than the M1 but smaller and cleaner to use than the P2.

With an enclosed 40W diode laser setup, the xTool S1 is a state-of-the-art high-wattage semiconductor laser engraver and cutter that is small enough to fit into a crafter's room and powerful enough to manage DIY projects. For example, the xTool S1 is compact and lightweight, at 20KG it's less than half the weight of the xTool P2 (45KG).

xTool S1; a laser cutter on a kitchen table

Light and compact but powerful, is the xTool S1 the ideal laser cutter for beginners? (Image credit: xTool)
xTool S1: specs

xTool S1; a laser cutter

(Image credit: xTool)

Laser power 40W / 20W
Spot size 0.08 x 0.10mm / 0.08 x 0.06mm
Working speed 600 mm/s
Working area 498 x 319 mm / 498 x 330 mm
Working Area with Automatic Conveyor Feeder 470mm x 3000 mm (additional transmission rail is required)
Output Voltage 25V 11A / 24V 8A
Connection WiFi / USB
Support Android & iOS, iPad, Windows & macOS
Software XCS, Lightburn
Support file SVG, DXF, JPG, JPEG, PNG, BMP, TIF
Weight 20KG
Size 765 x 561 x 183 mm (excluding riser base) / 765 x 561 x 268 mm (including riser base)

The xTool S1 features some impressive specs alongside that class-1 safety certificated enclosed 40W diode laser, for example the xTool S1 promises a stable 600mm/s and a new twin-positioning system removes the need for cameras and instead uses an accurate software algorithm - this means the xTool S1 can support the kind of curved surface engraving found in the larger xTool P2 machine.

The cutter's laser module uses eight 5.5W lasers compressed to deliver a 40W beam, which can offer a comparable cutting efficiency to a CO2 machine. The xTool S1 can cut 18mm solid wood and promises to do so in a cleaner way than CO2 machines. Interestingly, the xTool S1 will also come in a more affordable 20W model, which could be ideal for crafters.

To contrast the two models, the xTool S1's 40W laser can cut pine wood up to 20mm while the 20W version can cut the same material up to 15mm; the 40W can cut stainless metal 0.1mm while the 20W can cut 0.04mm stainless metal.

xTool has also made the laser module interchangeable, as you'd find with open-framer laser cutters, so you can switch the standard laser module to a 1064nm laser module, ideal for metal engraving and jewellery design (as well as wood, leather, stainless steel, plastic and acrylic).

xTool S1; a person pushing a piece of wood through a laser cutter

The xTool S1 is a compact laser cutter but can be extended using a pass through slot. (Image credit: xTool)

xTool has a whole ecosystem of accessories that ensure its laser cutters are very adaptable and that approach is being carried over to the new xTool S1. You'll be able to hook-up Automatic Conveyor Feeder for larger projects, extending the machine's capability from 498mm x 330mm materials to 3m lengths. Having used pass-through slots on larger laser machines this is a welcome addition to this compact cutter, and one that will extend the device's lifespan.

Likewise, the xTool S1 can use a Riser Base to engrave bulkier, higher projects - up to 125mm tall (sold in Europe and the UK) / 133.5mm tall (sold in non-Europe and the UK) - as well as an RA2 Pro rotary attachment for engraving spherical objects - tumblers, mugs, spheres and rings - and follows the same well-honed processes of other xTool engravers. (Read my guide to the best xTool accessories for more.)

Indeed, xTool has learned a lot from how its customers use their machines. So the xTool S1 supports accessories such as the Honeycomb base plate for cleaner cuts (I've used something similar in the xTool M1 and it makes a huge difference).

There's an Air Assist module too, which automatically adjusts the size of the air flow depending on the project and how the xTool S1 is being used; resulting in better engraving and cutting results. Again, I've used something similar in the xTool M1 with improved results.

Safety is a big play for the xTool S1 too, with the brand keen to see this as an entry-level laser cutter and engraver many crafters will want to use in the home. With this in mind there are some built-in core features, such as an enhanced five-way flame sensor and quick stop features - opening the lid, tilting or bumping the machine activates an emergency stop. There's also a manual emergency stop button and you can connect xTools' Fire Safety Set too, this will detect a fire, cut power to the machine and then blast CO2 into the cutter area to put out the fire.

It's hard not to be impressed by the specs and build of the new xTool S1. I've yet to try it out for myself but previous xTool laser cutters have impressed, and are in our guide to the best laser cutters. For comparable xTool laser cutters, read my guide to the best xTool machines

Compact, safe, clean but powerful, the xTool S1 could well be the best beginner laser cutter on the market when it launches. Visit the official xTool S1 product page for details on how to buy, priced $1,599.99 for the S1 20W model and $1,999.99 for the S1 40W machine.

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Ian Dean
Editor, Digital Arts & 3D

Ian Dean is Editor, Digital Arts & 3D at Creativebloq, 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 experiences to bring the latest news on AI, digital art and video game art and tech, and more to Creative Bloq, and in his spare time he doodles in Procreate, ArtRage, and Rebelle while finding time to play Xbox and PS5. He's also a keen Cricut user and laser cutter fan, and is currently crafting on Glowforge and xTools M1.