xTool P2 review: a powerful laser engraver and cutter for pro crafters

The xTool P2 is a powerful and reliable 55 watt CO2 for pro crafters and small studios.

xTool P2 review; a large laser cutter and engraver in a table
(Image: © Future / xTool)

Our Verdict

The xTool P2 is a reliable and powerful encased 55W CO2 laser cutter for pro crafters that will give you new ideas and offers room for expansion with plenty of add-on extra devices. But it's a more manual machine than some rivals, and its app could better.

For

  • Reliable and powerful 55W CO2 laser
  • Well-made and very solid
  • Lots of extras to expand its uses

Against

  • Very manual setup
  • A large and heavy machine

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xTool P2 specs

Price $4,999 / £4,799
Size
1000 x 639 x 268mm (39.4 x 25.1 x 10.6 inches)
Work space 600 x 308mm (23.6 x 12.1 inches), expands to 3,000 mm (118 inches)
Materials Cardboard, wood, bamboo, rubber, leather, stone, metal, glass, any acrylic
Features Built-in air assist, one-button shutdown, auto passthrough slot,
Laser 55W, CO2
Engraving speed 600 mm/s
Engraving accuracy 0.15 x 0.2mm
Cutting speed 35 mm/s - 3 mm basswood, 18 mm/s - 6 mm basswood, 25 mm/s - 3 mm acrylic
Cutting space Metal slats and baseplate (included)
Positioning system Dual 16MP cameras
Extras not included Honeycomb Baseplate, Automatic Conveyor Feeder, Riser Base, Smoke Purifier, Fire Safety set, RA2 Pro

I've been using the xTool P2 for more than six months, putting it through its paces to see how this powerful 55-watt CO2 laser performs over time. And it's not let me down. This is an encased laser cutter and engraver, which makes it less messy and smokey than the cheaper frame-only open alternatives. But this also has the knock-on of being larger and heavier than those flexible laser engravers.

xTool has a number of laser cutters that are designed for all kinds of uses and experiences, from the xTool M1, a great beginner craft-focused machine and one of the best laser cutters and engravers I've reviewed, to the xTool S1 that is smaller than the P2. So xTool has a spectrum of encased laser machines, and the P2 is at the top, and clearly aimed at pro crafters and small studios looking to create crafts on a larger scale.

The cost reflects the P2's use; priced $4,999 / £4,799 this is xTool's most expensive laser cutter, but it's also less expensive than some competitors, such as the Glowforge Pro. The high price point is largely because of that exceptional 55-watt CO2 laser, which delivers greater engraving and cutting power over a diode laser found in the xTool S1 and xTool M1 machines.

The xTool P2 is a large, premium laser machine that offers many excellent features a small craft studio or pro crafter would need; for example it's a heavy, locking machine with an in-built exhaust fan, dual cameras for automatic settings and closer positioning of materials (the S1, for example, uses an algorithm) and a number of key safety features. I'll cover everything in detail below in my xTool P2 review, as well as how all of this laser engraver's many extra tools work.

xTool P2 review: what's in the box

xTool P2 review; a large laser cutter and engraver in a table

The xTool P2 is smartly packaged and comes with everything you need, including screwdrivers and leads. (Image credit: Future / xTool)

First of all, on opening the (very large and heavy) xTool P2 box and then opening the machine itself you'll be met with bags of goodies, lots of tools and bottles of liquids that other laser machines I've used haven't come with, because they've not been needed.

The xTool P2 is a very practical laser machine that, to an extent, needs to be pieced together, and I'll go into that below. Packaged inside of the machine is a basic kit that includes a small screwdriver, a number of metal slats, small clamps to keep materials fitted when in use, a hose for the rear air duct, a bottle of antifreeze, funnel and samples of wood, cardboard and acrylic to get you up and running.

I also received the Smoke Purifier, Automatic Conveyor Feeder, Riser Base and RA2 Pro, which I will go into more detail about later on. While many of these are extras, I would urge you to buy the Smoke Purifier if you're considering the P2; this is a powerful industrial grade CO2 laser and needs this accessory for cleanliness and safety if you're using this in the home. 

xTool also has its own free software called Creative Space to download, and is needed to set up and use the machine. If you've used a Cricut craft machine then you'll be at home with this app, likewise it's compatible with other software files and LightBurn, the much-used laser engraver and cutter app.

xTool P2 review: the setup process

xTool P2 review; a large laser cutter and engraver in a table

This laser cutter and engraver comes with a manual to show the setup process and the tools you need. (Image credit: Future / xTool)

When I open the box, the xTool P2 looks more complex than other large laser engravers and cutters I've used in the past, for example Glowforge Pro has little practical building aside from pulling plugs to keep the machine stable in transit. 

The xTool P2 has its share of plugs and cables to keep everything secure, and my laser machine arrived in perfect working order with no issues, but it also has more bits and pieces to setup before it can be turned on. The packaging is incredibly sturdy and secure, but this does also mean it's large and heavy (around 44kg). 

The xTool P2 requires a little more piecing together than other laser engravers, including the xTool M1. To begin with I need to take the rear of the machine apart and reveal the CO2 laser compartment, now I need to mix the included antifreeze with deionised water (not included) and pour this, in stages, into the laser tube. It's done this way to ensure the laser arrives in working order, and in the long run it's good to know how the device works and where everything is.

This process does mean the xTool P2 takes a little longer to get up and running than other laser cutters as you need to remove and then reassemble sections of the machine. But, this gives you a good idea of how it works and you'll be taking this apart in more ways when in use, adding accessories and adjusting the setup as needed, so it's actually a good way of making me examine the machine and get up to speed. In its favour too, the xTool P2 comes with everything you need to get it up and running and there's no moment where I feel underserved by xTool. The full colour manual takes me through the setup clearly and easily, and the app and website are fully served with instructions and help. In fact, overall the xTool P2 has one of the best onboarding processes I've experienced.

You'll need to take the xTool P2 apart to get to the CO2 laser ahead of turning the machine on. (Image credit: Future / xTool)

This process does mean the xTool P2 takes a little longer to get up and running than other laser cutters as you need to remove and then reassemble sections of the machine. But, this gives you a good idea of how it works and you'll be taking this apart in more ways when in use, adding accessories and adjusting the setup as needed, so it's actually a good way of making me examine the machine and get up to speed.

In its favour too, the xTool P2 comes with everything you need to get it up and running and there's no moment where I feel underserved by xTool. The full colour manual takes me through the setup clearly and easily, and the app and website are fully served with instructions and help. In fact, overall the xTool P2 has one of the best onboarding processes I've experienced.

xTool P2 review: design and build

This process does mean the xTool P2 takes a little longer to get up and running than other laser cutters as you need to remove and then reassemble sections of the machine. But, this gives you a good idea of how it works and you'll be taking this apart in more ways when in use, adding accessories and adjusting the setup as needed, so it's actually a good way of making me examine the machine and get up to speed. In its favour too, the xTool P2 comes with everything you need to get it up and running and there's no moment where I feel underserved by xTool. The full colour manual takes me through the setup clearly and easily, and the app and website are fully served with instructions and help. In fact, overall the xTool P2 has one of the best onboarding processes I've experienced.

The xTool P2 is heavy and solid, but this is means it will last and you won't have any 'shake' in use. (Image credit: Future / xTool)

Solid and made from thick aluminium and glass, the xTool P2 feels like a high-end piece of professional kit - and it is, of course, just that; a high-spec pro machine. This is a fully enclosed laser engraver and cutting machine, with soft curved edges and a heavy tinted glass top that is easily raised and lowered on hydraulic hinges. There's one large button on the top and a small screen under the glass to display progress and lock status, but overall the xTool P2 is a clean and efficiently designed machine that belies its power.

The interior of the xTool P2 is black and again made from metal. The laser module inside is a small square block that moves around the inside of the machine easily. The module moves smoothly and there's industrial grade cabling and chain to move the unit. 

The laser module has a 0.01 beam for thin and a cutting and engraving speed of up to 600mm/s; the speed is based on material and depth. The 55W CO2 laser ensures a level of speed and accuracy that cheaper diode lasers can compete with; while lesser lasers can do a lot, a CO2 laser like this one can do it faster, with more accuracy and cleaner. Often, in my experience, diode lasers will scorch more, meaning you need to use masking paper for cleaner cuts and engravings, but a CO2 laser tends to be better - making it ideal for craft projects you intend to sell.

xTool P2 review; a laser module in a large laser cutter and engraver

The laser module is large and impressive; it moves swiftly and accurately around the inside of the machine. (Image credit: Future / xTool)

There are two 16MP cameras inside the machine, these are used to send an image of the interior to the software and for accurate automatic positioning. There's one camera mounted on the interior of the case to show you where your material is placed and the other is below the laser module and lets the xTool P2 automatically adjust (there's an option in the app to take measurements). xTool's own-brand materials have details preloaded into the machine and app, access from a drop down menu.

The xTool P2 features a built-in air assist that cools and blows debris from under the laser, preventing scorching and delivering those cleaner cuts and engraved lines you need. There's a powerful internal fan too for sucking out smoke and debris, which extracts via a thick plastic hose, but I would recommend the Smoke Purifier accessory to clean the air before its released.

Safety is a key aspect of this laser engraver and cutter. With this in mind, the glass lid locks automatically when closed and you press the large 'start' button. The laser only activates when the lock is activated. At the rear is a large red button that will shutdown the machine if pressed.

xTool P2 review; the rear of a large laser cutter and engraver

The extractor vent is at the rear of the machine, along with large vents for air flow. (Image credit: Future / xTool)

Overall the design and build of the xTool P2 is excellent. This is a solid, well made laser cutter and engraver with subtle looks that bely a powerful laser module and industrial level parts. This is a heavy machine, which also means it's kept still when in use for accuracy, but you will need a large space and a solid desk or craft table.

I'm lucky enough to be using the xTool P2 on a heavy 9ft wide, 4ft deep craft table which means the laser cutter can sit with room for accessories and with space for its ports and vents to work effectively. Keep in mind the machine has a short-ish power cord (around a metre) and the emergency stop and power switches are located at the rear / side and to the back, the air duct and USB / Ethernet ports are on the left of the machine.

You not only need room to sit the machine but to also reach these switches and vents, and as the CO2 laser tube is at the rear, you need space to move the machine flat if you wish to check it. Along with a short power cable I also find the extractor pipe is quite short (so plan ahead around where you have windows).

xTool P2 review: the xTool software

xTool P2 review; a design in a laser cutter app

The Creative Space app is easy to use but I do find its layers system and importing pre-made files a little tricky. (Image credit: Future / xTool)

The xTool P2 uses the xTool Creative Space app to create projects, upload files, set the workspace and use the laser machine. As with modern craft machines like Cricut everything is done via the app, ensuring the xTool P2 itself is a one-button controlled machine. It brings that modern crafting approach to what is a professional and high-spec machine.

Thankfully xTool has spent a lot of time and effort in recent years developing and improving the Creative Space software. It works with iOS, iPadOS, Windows, Android and ChromeOS, so all bases are covered. 

The app itself is easy to use and features all the tools you need to prepare a project for engraving or cutting, or both at once. The app uses vector selections to pick the lines you wish to cut or engrave; it features a 'Path Planning Algorithm' that will plot the quickest route across your artwork and will also engrave ahead of cutting to give precise and clean cuts.

xTool P2 review; a Mario xmas decoration

(Image credit: Future / xTool / Nintendo)

Using the app is simple and xTool has nicely streamlined the process into two or three clicks, so you import a file, select its outline and choose cut or engrave - and that's it. I did find the iPad version is a little harder to use than on PC, for example creating and defining new layers isn't intuitive despite its gesture controls. 

One issue I found was with files made for xTool M1 or other laser cutters (with saved laser specs and layers) wouldn't easily work with P2 (you need to edit and save in another app and import). While you can also use Creative Space to design projects from scratch I'm not sure I'd leave apps like Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW.

If you're new to laser machines or just want some inspiration the app connects to the xTool community to view projects and download or directly access files; you can search by material and also by machine, which is useful. There's also an AI app for generating new art in a mix of styles, which again is great for getting up to speed.

xTool P2 review: performance and uses

xTool P2 review; a start button on a laser machine

A timer bar ticks up to show how close the project is from completion. The large 'start' button controls the machine. (Image credit: Future / xTool)

As mentioned above the xTool P2 runs from a bespoke free app and streamlines the process of using, what is, a very powerful and professional craft machine. You will need a laptop, phone or tablet to run the P2. I'm using an iPad Pro connected over WiFi but you can also connect a laptop directly to the machine using a USB cable, which is very useful. 

The xTool P2 uses its cameras to automatically measure the height and size of material placed into its workspace. The app also enables you to add manual measurements and material type. There are presets to select from too, and if you're using xTool materials it's a lot easier. Also keep in mind xTool materials have been tested to work with xTool laser cutters, often reducing glue content for better results, but these are more expensive than materials bought from a local craft or DIY store. 

The workspace is a sizeable 680 x 360 mm (26 x 16 inches) and large enough for most laser cut or engraved craft projects. For example you can easily make Christmas decorations, acrylic and wooden models and engrave photos and art onto good-sized pieces of wood for bespoke portraits.

xTool P2 review; an image scored into a piece of wood

The laser module whizzes back and forth; the machine comes with clips to keep the material in place. (Image credit: Future / xTool)

If you do need to go bigger the machine has a passthrough slot from and rear that enables you to feed longer pieces of material. I have a wooden lampshade design to work on and this is invaluable. The extra lengths make creating multiple items on mass easier and more economical. My Glowforge Pro also has a passthrough slot, so this isn't new, but what is unique is the option to use an Automatic Conveyor Feeder to, well… automatically feed through material. (This costs extra.) 

Whether using the Feeder, or doing this manually, you will need the space and a large flat surface, but this is a method aimed at small studios and pro crafters and so it's expected that room exists.

xTool P2 review; holding an engraved image up with an iPad in the background

My reindeer image is engraved onto Basswood in around 18 minutes, and it's clean and clear with no scorching. (Image credit: Future / xTool)

The 55W CO2 laser is very capable, and can cut through wood up to 18mm, and acrylic up to 12mm (it won't cut metal, but can engrave metals), and as mentioned the software has material presets to make things easier, but I found I still need to test and and there is some trial and error at play, though I found xTool's own materials pretty accurate with the presets. 

In use I find the xTool P2 very accurate and reliable. There's always some trial and error when using a laser cutter and engraver, so this is expected, but the accuracy of the cameras ensures I am able to rework the same project, going over lines that may not have been cut cleanly or redoing a project with tweaked settings.

If in doubt xTool has a well resourced website with helpful advice and even a list of materials to use with each machine and the recommended settings. I've used this crib sheet before when reviewing the xTool M1 and again here, and they're generally very accurate (but can vary with non-xTool materials).

xTool P2 review: safety features

xTool P2 review; a stop button on the side of a laser machine

(Image credit: Future / xTool)

Safety is a big part of this machine. There's a large red button at the side for stopping the laser in an emergency. Also in case of an emergency opening the lid cuts power to the laser and stops everything. 

If you're using the P2 in the home I'd recommend buying the xTool Fire Safety Set has an extra accessory. This device monitors the internal workings of the machine and signals an alarm if there's a fire; if the flames are large or grow it ignites an extinguisher. The main sensor is for the laser craft space, but five more sensors monitor other areas of the machine.  

xTool P2 review: accessories

xTool P2 review; a smoke air purifier

The Smoke Purifier connects to the xTool P2 and cleans the extracted debris before blowing it on and out. (Image credit: Future / xTool)

One of the xTool P2's strengths is the number of accessories you use with it; these need to be bought separately and you can buy bundles at a reduced cost, but ultimately these extras means this is a laser cutter and engraver that can grow with your abilities.

xTool P2 Smoke Purifier This one costs $999 / £669 and in my mind is an essential addition. This will clean the smoke and debris extracted from the laser machine before releasing it; if you're intent on using the P2 in the home it's essential. Keep in mind you still need to hang the vent pipe tubing out of the window, even if it passes through the Smoke Purifier.

xTool RA2 Pro for P2 This is xTool's standard rotary engraver and is compatible with P2, as well as M1 and D1 models, which means you already own one or can use it with other smaller laser engravers if needed. You will need to buy the Riser Base to use this device, but it does mean you can engrave cylindrical materials - mugs, glasses, rings, etc. Priced $299 / £399 this is not an essential device, but one, along with the Riser Base and Automatic Conveyor Feeder, that can be added later as your skill or needs change. 

xTool P2 review; parts of an engraver device

The xTool RA2 Pro for P2 enables you to engrave glasses and rings, and it also needs to be pieced together. (Image credit: Future / xTool)

xTool P2 Automatic Conveyor Feeder As mentioned in the body of my review above, this device feeds longer materials into and out of the machine using the passthrough slot. You will need a large space to use it, but in my test I found it a handy gadget and improves the ease and accuracy of making larger craft projects. Priced at $459 / £479 It's not an essential accessory but a handy one for small studios mass producing craft items.

xTool P2 Riser Base This is a very useful addition to the P2 that enables you to raise the height the laser machine; this block essentially sits under the P2, raising its workspace height to 8.4 inches (215 mm) from 2.7 inches (72 mm). If you're engraving boxes and taller objects, you'll need this accessory. It's priced $499 / £509.

xTool P2 review: should I buy one?

xTool P2 review; a close up of an engraved image on wood

The detail engraved here is excellent and there's near zero scorching or burning; a professional result. (Image credit: Future / xTool)

After six months of use, I've found the xTool P2 to be a fantastic machine and this brand generally has come a long way in the last year. Priced $4,999 / £4,799 (there's currently $500 off this asking price) it's the most expensive and most power encased laser cutter and engraver xTool offers, and I can see why it would appeal to small studios or crafters who regularly sell products on Etsy or at craft fairs and farmers markets.

I've found the xTool P2 to be reliable and adaptable, and easy to use. There remains some trial and error in getting the results I wanted. The automatic focus is excellent, making these trials easy. Using the machine is as simple as dropping in my material, aligning using the app, making material and laser adjustments, if needed, and sending the files to the machine - then pressing the big silver button.

This is easy enough for a beginner to use without being a beginner machine - the xTool P2 is clearly aimed at pro crafters and small businesses - which means you can get your laser-legs in quick-time. More complexity comes when using the accessories, such as the Automatic Conveyor Feeder and rotary attachment, which is where the P2's pro leaning becomes apparent - it's ideal for engraving signs and glasses for gift boxes, for example. It can be fiddly to set up and break down these accessories.

xTool P2 review; a christmas decoration in a tree

The P2 is a great machine and its results are fantastic, but it is large, heavy and expensive. (Image credit: Future / xTool)

If you are a beginner, the P2 is easy to use, if you're a small studio the breadth of uses is impressive; it can cut wood up to 18 mm thick and engrave wood, coloured acrylic, card stock, leather, metal and more. There are things to consider with the xTool P2 and that is the size and weight, you will need a dedicated space and you're not going to lift this safely into a desk without help.

The closest rival to the xTool P2 is the Glowforge Pro, but xTool's machine has overtaken it with a 55W CO2 laser versus the rival's 45W CO2 laser. Likewise, if you don't need a professional, industrial-grade laser cutter and engraver then you will likely be better off with either the new xTool S1 ($2,499.99 / £2199) or the new Glowforge Aura ($999 / £1,495), both are excellent, cheaper and aimed home crafters.

Ultimately, after months of use, the xTool P2 is one of the best laser cutters and engravers for small studios and pro crafters I've tested. It is large, heavy, and a little more complex than some machines, but the results speak for themselves, which are excellent. Highly recommended.  

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The Verdict
9

out of 10

xTool P2

The xTool P2 is a reliable and powerful encased 55W CO2 laser cutter for pro crafters that will give you new ideas and offers room for expansion with plenty of add-on extra devices. But it's a more manual machine than some rivals, and its app could better.

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.