Laser engraver working and engraving wooden board
Installing a laser engraver in your home or office just a few years ago would have seemed like a crazy idea. Nowadays though it is becoming more common and for good reasons having one handy can simplify product design and other aspects of your business.
For the hobbyist and creative entrepreneurs of the world having one of these can help further your endeavors as well. But which one should you get?
Here are so many different types and brands to choose from that you may decide against it simply because of the frustration and stress.
In this guide, though we will be striving to help you out. By building a list of the best laser engravers of 2019 as well as crafting a handy buyer’s guide we hope to be able to help you make the right decision for you and your needs.
So, power up that imagination because soon you will be the proud owner of your very own laser engraver.
Laser Engraving Machine, 3000mW Mini Desktop Laser Printer Engraver Machine Working Area 80X80mm for DIY Logo(3000mW)
BIBO 3D Printer Dual Extruder Sturdy Frame WiFi Touch Screen Cut Printing Time in Half Filament Detect Demountable Glass Bed
DIY CNC Engraver Kits Wood Carving Engraving Cutting Machine Desktop Printer Logo Picture Marking, 40x50cm,2 Axis (500MW)
Qiilu 1500mw Upgrated Version Laser Engraver Printer Laser Engraving Machine DIY USB CNC Router Cutting Carver Off-line Operation for Art Craft Science for Win 7/8/10/XP, iOS 9.0, Android 4.0
Laser Engraver Reviews
1. Wainlux 3000mW Mini-Desktop Laser Engraver
The first laser engraver we are going to look at is from Wainlux, a company that builds creative solutions for your 3D printer, label making, or engraving commercial needs.
With the 3000mW mini desktop laser engraver, they certainly have done that.
If you are just starting out with laser engraving this model is perfect for you.
Built with all the features you need to make your new foray easy the 3000mW can help you learn the skills you need to create your project. With features like the ones below you will be well equipped and ready to get started:
- Improved air flow with a built-in cooling fan
- Elevated precision from the inclusion of a laser focus knob
- Easy to use and install the software included
- Elevated versatility with no limit on engraving height
- Ability to be used with multiple materials
- Multiple engraving modes (B&W, discrete & grayscale)
- Compatible with multiple operating systems
Ultimately the best thing about this mini desktop laser engraver is ease of use and installation. If you are a newcomer to laser engraving, this model is one of the best choices on the market.
It offers incredible detailing as well with its laser focus knob. If you are using this piece for fine miniature work, that will be a big plus as well.
The ease of use is great, and the size is a plus … that is unless you are looking to do large scale projects. The size means that you do not have as large of a workspace as other models.
It also has been reported that it smokes quite a lot with soft materials and there are some concerns with the efficiency of the power supply.
There have been many customers that complain about the power supply weakening or going out after limited use.
Now if you are not going to be doing any large-scale projects, and work in a well-ventilated area, two of those drawbacks can easily be handled.
The power supply may be an issue but if you are just starting out taking advantage of the clear positive aspects of this laser engraver could be the smart way to get your feet wet before spending money on a more powerful, larger engraver.
What We Like
- Easy to use
- Easy to install software
What We Don’t Like
- Smokes with soft materials
- Good for small works
- Power supply
2. BIBO 3D Printer & Laser Engraver
This BIBO 3D printer laser engraver combo brings a level of precision and versatility that you can only get from a company that focuses on crafting high-grade 3D printing solutions for everyone.
This one of the best laser engraver/3D printers available and it comes with some amazing features that only serve to enhance its overall performance. These features include:
- Easy to read and use a touch screen that is full color
- Built-in filament detection for 3D printing
- Improved laser engraving
- Ability to use wi-fi to control the processes
- Dual extruders for 3D printing two pieces at the same time
With this model, you get two machines for the price of one. The ability to laser engrave materials like wood, some types of plastics, and paper as well as 3D printing as well means that your creativity has no limits.
The machine easily switches between these two modes with the laser engraver replacing the 3D extruders. All that creativity and durability too, makes the Bilbo 3D printer and laser engraver a fantastic choice for anyone looking to get into product design or other creative avenues.
This model in respect to the laser engraving capability really has no drawbacks. There are, however, some complaints about the lack of an auto bed leveling feature as well as some concerns with the size of the build area.
These both have much more to do with the 3D printing ability of this machine, so if you are solely looking for the laser engraver housed within this machine, taking advantage of the additional uses of this machine could make your projects that much better.
What We Like
- Ability to print in multi-color
- Durable design
- Glass bed that is removable
- Versatility of materials that can be used
What We Don’t Like
- Lack of auto-bed leveling
- Build area
3. Bachin DIY CNC Laser Engraver
This laser engraver from Bachin is another perfect model for the amateur laser engraver. So, check out what the DIY CNC Laser Engraver has to offer.
The desktop blue laser engraver comes with the capability to engrave a wide selection of materials as well as many performance-enhancing features that make this one of the best options on the market. Some of the features that make this unit stand out are:
- Multiple position functions (low-light/freedom)
- Compatible with multiple materials (wood, paper, leather, etc.)
- Ability to connect to a computer for ease of use
- Crafted of high-grade durable materials
- Included in the box: installation video, user’s manual, software, and safety glasses
For a desktop engraver, the Bachin DIY CNC comes with great additional tools like the safety glasses. The ease of use of both the machine itself and the software makes this a great entry-level machine.
The capabilities of this model to engrave multiple materials makes this a versatile engraver as well.
Now with all of that, there are still some drawbacks that could lead some to look to other models for their laser engraving needs.
Unlike other models, there is some assembly required and though the team at Bachin include a user manual and installation video, there are models out there that come almost completely pre-assembled.
Also, if you are looking to use this engraver for mass production or more industrial-like projects, this is probably not the unit for you as it does have some limitations on material that can be engraved (including metal), and that may be a big deterrent.
Overall, this engraver from Bachin is a great piece to start with especially if you are truly just a hobbyist or just beginning.
What We Like
- Versatile materials can be engraved
- Easy to use and install
- Comes with safety glasses
What We Don’t Like
- Assembly required
- Not industrial grade
- Cannot engrave metal
4. Qiilu 1500mw Laser Engraver
Our next entry on the list is a micro laser engraving machine from Qiilu that brings enhanced detail capability in a compact size.
The capability to be used both for home-based DIY projects as well as industrial projects. To achieve this wide range of ability the design team at Qiilu focused on these key features:
- Enhanced durability and stability using professional grade ICs and heat sinks
- Improved resolution (550PPI)
- Adjustable laser head
- Ability to be used via Bluetooth
- Professional grade software included
- Extended size of engraving space
- Multiple positioning functions (low-light/frame)
- Crafted with high-grade durable materials
- Improved air flow and ventilation with a built-in fan
This model from Qiilu is built to be long-lasting and high-performing. With an enhanced ventilation system to keep the elements cool and functioning at optimal levels, this laser engraver is great for the novice and the professional as well.
The functionality and usability are amazing too. An easy to set up installation and software that is just as easy to use make this model one of the best.
There are many positive things about this unit including the inclusion of a high-quality fan, but even with that fan, many users complain about excessive heat from extended use.
Longer than 30 minutes and many claims you need to shut it down and let it cool. So, big projects may be a hindrance for sure. It also seems to have a low battery life as well. On top of that, you will not be able to use this to engrave metal or glass.
Overall, this unit seems to be a great choice if you are working on projects that are not large nor take a long engraving time. If you are, you may want to break up the task so that you can allow the machine time to cool.
But if that’s not the case and you are instead using it for quick projects then the Qiilu laser engraver is perfect for you.
What We Like
- Enhanced ventilation system
- Easy and quick setup
- Software that is user-friendly
- Ability to be used with multiple OS
What We Don’t Like
- Heats up with extended use
- Size (smaller than expected)
- Battery life
- Unable to engrave metal or glass
5. Twotrees Totem Laser Engraver
Our last entry comes from Twotrees Totem and is a great choice for wood engravers.
With a one-year warranty, this laser engraver from Twotrees Totem brings a lot of great features to your engraving hobby or business. Some of the best features of this model are:
- Crafted with high-grade durable materials
- Enhanced power levels (500mW)
- Enhanced performance with a modulated laser head and auxiliary fan
- Ability to engrave multiple materials (wood, plastic, leather, rubber, etc.)
- Compatible with multiple image formats (JPG, GIF, PNG, etc.)
An affordable model that comes with a great 1-year warranty and offers its owner enhanced performance, this engraver from Twotrees Totem is easily one of the best laser engravers you can choose.
Built to last and offering versatility of materials that can be used, this laser engraver makes the process easy and delivers quality products.
The only downside to this model is that it is not compatible with the Mac OS. This means if you are an Apple supporter then you are in fact out of luck when it comes to this laser engraver.
If you are not a Mac user, then it may be one of the smartest moves you make to make this your go-to laser engraver.
What We Like
- Good warranty
- Enlarged work area
- Ability to use with multiple materials
- Durable build
What We Don’t Like
- Not compatible with Mac
Maybe these five are not exactly what you are looking for and you want to continue searching but have no idea what to look for when you venture into the oversaturated market.
We have you covered there as well. Look at the features below and use them to weed through the hundreds of choices available.
With this list of key features, you should be able to pare down the options you have and find the one that works for you.
There are professional and home models of laser engravers. As well as desktop and freestanding units as well.
The trick to deciding which type is perfect for you is to decide how much work and what size of work you will be doing. Then once you have decided, you can look at the types and decide.
For instance, if you are running a small Etsy business out of your home you may want a desktop engraver that has professional grade capabilities.
There are three main types of laser that you must choose from. Here they are as well as what they are good for:
This is probably the most common. It has a low power usage and is affordable too. It offers high efficiency to name it the best for smaller spaces.
It is the laser that is the most compatible with a wider range of materials.
This laser is created with crystal and has a very small wavelength. It is also more intensity when put up against the CO2 lasers.
This means that if you are dealing thicker or stronger materials you may want to use this laser type. It does have a few drawbacks though as it tends to burn out quicker and needs much more maintenance.
This style of laser is amplified with glass fibers. The intensity of this laser is comparable to the one above but does not require nearly as much resistance.
This is the style of laser most often used when marking or labeling projects with important information.
The importance of the engraving area is dependent on the size of space you have and work plan on doing. So once again, knowing the scope of that will help you determine how much engraving area you need.
This could very well be the most important feature on our list, but you must first know what you plan to do with your laser engraver.
If you are looking to play with thicker and stronger materials, you will want to go for a laser with a higher power. If, however, you are working with more delicate materials, a lower wattage laser may be perfect for you.
Most product will have this displayed somewhere in the product information.
Laser engravers come in all sizes and types and each of this fall is in different price ranges. There is a wide price range as well.
You can look to pay anywhere from $100 to upwards of $8,000+, so knowing what budget you are dealing with is key when looking for your laser engraver.
The best way to think about it is generally the higher the laser power the higher the price tag.
Laser Engraver FAQ
After going through all of that, we’re sure your mind is full of questions. We have gathered some of the most commonly asked questions about laser engraving.
Hopefully, among them, we will answer some of those questions you have bouncing around your mind.
How to Engrave Metal
Engraving metal needs a strong laser but there is some prep work that you need to do as well. First, you need to clear the metal to ensure there is no stray fibers or debris.
The best thing for us is rubbing alcohol. So, wipe down the piece and place it in the engraving area, making sure to let the laser focus. Depending on if there is a bend, this could be tricky so be patient. Once you have done that, you can begin the engraving process.
Each model will have specific software and processes to follow to trace the image you chose onto the metal.
How to Engrave Wood
The first thing you need to do is choose the wood, knowing that harder woods will yield darker appearances compared to softwoods. Then you will need to find the right cutting and engraving parameters and upload the laser parameters as well.
Before you begin cutting, you may want to cover the surface of the wood you will be cutting with application tape. This will reduce dust and debris from the engraving process getting into the machine.
Then you will need to focus your laser and make sure you have canned air available for use during the process. Make sure the main work surface is clean and that you have proper ventilation.
Then you should be ready to start engraving once you have loaded in the image you want to use into your engraver’s software.
How to Engrave Leather
You will want to vector mark your leather to avoid turning your leather into a fine powder. You will also want to use a lower powered laser.
The process of engraving leather really depends on leather quality and type, but there are a few basic steps.
After you have chosen the right laser, have your image loaded into the engraver’s software. You will then want to make sure the laser has proper focus.
After that, you can begin engraving, taking your time to be very patient with this delicate material.
Here is a video that will help you with more detailed information:
How to Laser Engrave a Photo on Wood
You will want to make sure you have a good, well-edited and positioned photo; you can use any photo editing software for this.
Within that same software you will want to make sure that you set your image to grayscale as well as a good resolution (somewhere in the low 500ppi resolutions would be perfect).
Then when you have done all your adjustments you want to export your image out as an acceptable image format for your engraver’s software. Then you will set the parameters and begin engraving.
Here is a video for more information:
What is Laser Engraving?
Laser engraving is the process where the heat from a laser is used to vaporize material in a chosen design.
The difference in the depth of this cut makes these images show all the detailing. This process is used for many different materials.
Finding the right laser engraver for your project or business can be hard.
We hope that by reading these product reviews and our buyer’s guide detailing the features that are key to finding the right model, your decision process will be made easier.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and get engraving!