Top 10 Best Laser Engravers for Laser Cutting & Laser Engraving

After decades of combined experience with working with laser engraving and laser cutting systems, we have compiled a list of our top 10 favorite laser engravers. We are not affiliated with any laser systems manufacturer, this list is based on our own personal experience. The reason for this list is simply to help other out and avoid the problems we went though over the years. You might not use the machine the same way we do and may not necessarily need the same.

We have focused on two categories. One for businesses such as design firms, maker spaces, architects and sign/trophy companies. The second list will be focused on hobby lasers for personal use or for small design firms that only make something occasionally. Hobby lasers are a bad choice for anyone trying to make a living using them and should not see it as a cheap alternative.

 

Best Laser Cutter / Engraver for Small Businesses and design Pros

The following lasers are what we would recommend for small businesses which include designers, makerspaces and all other professional using the machine for business purposes. If you are serious about running a business in laser cutting you will need a tool that will offer high quality and reliable performance.

1. Epilog Laser (

logo-epilog-blue

MADE IN USA. This has been our favorite machine for a long time, however, we have seen a decline in quality from our favorite manufacturer.

**June 2016 update – Two years ago, this was absolutely hands down our favorite laser engraving system. Not only us, but a number of people we recommended an Epilog to have been experiencing issues as well (which looks bad for us). In one case a machine was delivered with a dead laser tube. Customer support also is not what it was a few years ago, we used to get a support technician within minutes, now I often call for over an hour and give up. I can only assume that there are a lot of people with issues. This suggests that they have grown substantially but have not adequately added staff. Perhaps this is also true in the assembly department as machines are leaving the factory with flaws. It truly is a great machine, customer support is very helpful if you can reach them, but I am not fully sure how much I recommend Epilog anymore. Replacing a laser tube costs $2000, I replace my tube every 6-12 months making it a huge cost for a small business. This is why I am updating this page, my tube is broken again. It was replaced in October 2015.**

These machines last for a very long time and can take a beating. They are the primary choice at Fab Labs and maker / hacker spaces around the word as they are workhorses that require little maintenance and last forever. Take good care and it will last a lifetime. The only issue is that in 10 years the technology will have drastically changed and it may become outdated, however, the accuracy 10 years from now will still be tremendous. We would recommend buying at least a 50 watt Epilog laser as it is much quicker than 30 watt systems and can cut thicker materials. You most likely will regret buying a low wattage laser. Even if all you do is engrave, a 50 watt machine will finish a job in half the time. Buying higher wattage over bigger size will be hugely beneficial to getting work completed much quicker. The main difference between most Epilog machines is the size, although the higher end models have a significant amount of extra power and use newer technology. For most businesses the Epilog mini at 18″ x 12″  or 24″ x 12″ is large enough for almost any job. The Helix is the most popular and quite a bit larger than the mini at 24″ x 18″ which is really plenty for the vast majority of projects. At Laser Cutting Lab we use the Helix at 50 watts as it is simply our favorite machine. Although we rarely have projects that require use the full 24″ x 18″ engraving area, it is great to have that ability.

Epilog Legend Series – (Mini and Helix) – Best laser engraver for any business

epilog-helix-top-10

Epilog Legend Seies comes in the Epilog Mini (18″ x 12″ or 24″ x 12″ engraving / cutting area) and Epilog Helix (24″ x 18″ engraving / cutting area) – For most projects the mini will be large enough. We could honestly do 90% of our work on a mini, which is the exact same as a helix, just a smaller size. Most jobs do not require a huge bed size, in fact buying two minis instead of Epilogs larger products is a huge benefit for production. The Epilog mini is an amazing machine, sold in either 18″ x 12″ or 24″ x 12″ with a price tag between $12,000 (for the 30 watt 18×12 inch version) and $20,000 (for the 60 watt 24×12 inch version). Our recommendation would be to go for the Helix, if budget is an issue, we would recommend to go for the 24″ x 12″ version at a minimum 50 watts. Lower wattage is slower speeds and less cutting ability. The Epilog Helix  is sold in one size – 24″ x 18″ – with a price tag of $17,000 for 30 watts and $27,000 for a 75 watt system.

Epilog Legend Series Technical Specifications

Epilog Mini 18 Epilog Mini 24 Epilog Helix 24
Engraving Area 18″ x 12″
(457 x 305 mm)
24″ x 12″
(610 x 305 mm)
24″ x 18″
(610 x 457 mm)
Maximum Material Thickness 4″ (102 mm) 5.5″ (140 mm) 8.5″ (216 mm)
Maximum Material Thickness with Table Removed 6″ (152 mm) 17.5″ x 10″ (44 x 254 mm) engraving area. 8″ (203 mm) 23.5″ x 11.75″ (597 x 298 mm) engraving area. 11″ (279 mm) 23.5″ x 17″ (597 x 432 mm) engraving area.
Laser Wattage 30 or 40 watts 30, 40, 50, or 60 watts 30, 40, 50, 60, or 75 watts
Laser Source State-of-the-art, digitally controlled, air-cooled CO2 laser tubes are fully modular, permanently aligned and field replaceable.
Intelligent Memory Capacity Multiple file storage up to 64 MB. Rolling buffer allows files of any size to be engraved.
Air Assist Attach an air compressor to our included Air Assist to remove heat and combustible gases from the cutting surface by directing a constant stream of compressed air across the cutting surface.
Laser Dashboard The Laser Dashboard™ controls your Epilog Laser’s settings from a wide range of software packages – from design programs to spreadsheet applications to CAD drawing packages.
Red Dot Pointer Since the laser beam is invisible, the Red Dot Pointer on Epilog’s Zing Laser allows you to have a visual reference for locating where the laser will fire.
Relocatable Home When engraving items that are not easily placed at the top corner of the laser, you can set a new home position by hand with the convenient Movable Home Position feature on the Legend Series Lasers.
Operating Modes Optimized raster, vector or combined modes.
Motion Control System High-speed, continuous-loop, DC servo motors using linear and rotary encoder technology for precise positioning.
X-Axis Bearings Ground and polished stainless steel NeverWear Bearing System.
Belts Advanced B-style Kevlar Belts.
Resolution User controlled from 75 to 1200 dpi.
Speed and Power Control Computer or manually control speed and power in 1% increments to 100%. Vector color mapping links speed, power and focus to any RGB color.
Print Interface 10 Base-T Ethernet or USB Connection. Compatible with Windows® XP/Vista/7/8/10.
Size (W x D x H) 27.8″ x 26″ x 13.5″
(706 x 660 x 343 mm)
34.5″ x 26″ x 16″
(876 x 660 x 406 mm)
36.5″ x 32″ x 39.8″
(927 x 813 x 1011 mm)
Weight 70 lbs (32 kg)
100 lbs (45.5 kg) w/stand
90 lbs (41 kg)
120 lbs (55 kg) w/stand
180 lbs (82 kg)
Electrical Requirements Auto-switching power supply accommodates 110 to 240 volts, 50 or 60 Hz, single phase, 15 amp AC.
Maximum Table Weight The Mini 18 and 24 have a static table weight of 50 lbs (22.7 kg) and a lifting table weight of 25 lbs (11.5 kg). The Helix 24 has a static table weight of 70 lbs (32 kg) and a lifting table weight of 30 lbs (14 kg).
Normal Sound Level 59 db 59 db 62 db
Ventilation System 350 – 400 CFM (595-680 m3/hr) external exhaust to the outside or internal filtration system is required. There is one output port, 4″ in diameter. 350 – 400 cfm (595-680 m3/hr) external exhaust to the outside or internal filtration system is required. There is one output port, 4″ in diameter.

 

Epilog Fusion Sieries – serious workhorse for any size business.

epilog-fusion

The Epilog fusion comes in two sizes, either 32″ x 20″ or the huge 40″ x 28″ engraving area. Prices for the 32″ Fusion are from $22,500 for the 30 watt system to $34,000 for the 75 watt version. The 40″ Fusion starts at $25,500 for 30 watts and goes up to about $45,500 for the 120 watt version. Some truly amazing things can be done at these sizes and with this much power. However, for the majority of businesses (especially starting businesses, which I assume most people reading this might be) this is just more than you would need. I would first establish yourself as a business using a mini or Helix and expand once you get to that point as the great majority of projects can be done on a smaller unit. If you have already established your business and need this extra capability, you will not be let down by it. We have a CNC router that accommodates cutting larger jobs, we have never had a request for engraving anything of that size (at least not in one piece). There are very few applications that we would need that extra size for, all of which can be done using different machines which cost us far less.

 

Epilog FiberMark – $50,000 for 50 watt system

These systems are for specialty work and larger production. In fact we have only used the Fibermark on a few occasions. Although we would love to have one, we can not justify the purchase of it for our business.

 

Epilog Fusion Series Technical Specifications

Epilog FiberMark 24 Epilog Fusion M2 32 Fiber Epilog Fusion M2 40 Fiber
Engraving Area 24″ x 12″
(610 x 305 mm)
32″ x 20″
(812 x 508 mm)
40″ x 28″
(1016 x 711 mm)
Focal Length (F-Theta Lens) 3″ (76.2 mm) 3″ (76.2 mm) 3″ (76.2 mm)
Maximum Material Thickness 5″ (127 mm) 12.5″ (317 mm) 12.25″ (311 mm)
Laser Wattage 20, 30, or 50 watts
Laser Type Solid State Pulsed Ytterbium Fiber Laser (air cooled).
Mode of Operation Pulsed 20-80 kHZ.
Repetition Rate (Frequency) 20 kHZ – 100 kHz depending on the laser wattage.
Intelligent Memory Capacity Multiple file storage up to 64 MB. Rolling buffer allows files of any size to be engraved. Multiple file storage up to 128 MB.
Air Assist Attach the included air compressor to our Air Assist to remove heat and combustible gases from the marking surface by directing a constant stream of compressed air across the marking surface. Attach an air compressor to remove heat and combustible gases from the surface by directing a stream of air across the marking surface.
Laser Dashboard The Laser Dashboard™ controls your Epilog Laser’s settings from a wide range of software packages – from design programs to spreadsheet applications to CAD drawing packages.
Red Dot Pointer Since the laser beam is invisible, the Red Dot Pointer on Epilog’s Fiber Laser allows you to have a visual reference for locating where the laser will fire.
Relocatable Home When engraving items that are not easily placed at the top corner of the laser, you can set a new home position by hand (FM 24) or joystick (FM Fusion) with the convenient Movable Home Position features on the FiberMark Laser.
Operating Modes Raster, vector or combined modes.
Motion Control System High-speed, continuous-loop, DC servomotors using linear and rotary encoding technology for precise positioning.
X-Axis Bearings Ground and polished stainless steel long-lasting bearing system. Self lubricating on the Fusion M2
Belts Advanced B-style Kevlar belts. Double-wide Kevlar (x-axis) and Steel Cord (y-axis) belts.
Resolution User controlled from 75 to 1200 dpi
Speed and Power Control Computer or manually control speed and power in 1% increments to 100%. Raster and vector color mapping links speed, power and focus to any RGB color.
Print Interface 10 Base-T Ethernet or USB connection. Compatible with Windows XP/Vista/7/8.
Size (W x D x H) 34.5″ x 24.5″ x 16″
(876 x 622 x 406 mm)
52.5″ x 33.5″ x 40.75″
(1334 x 851 x 1035 mm)
60.5″ x 41.25″ x 42.25″
(1537 x 1048 x 1073 mm))
43″ (1092 mm) deep with exhaust plenum.
Weight 120 lbs (55 kg)without stand 500 lbs (227 kg) 643 lbs (292 kg)
Electrical Requirements Auto-switching power supply accommodates 110 to 240 volts, 50 or 60 Hz, single phase, 15 amp AC.
Maximum Table Weight 200 lbs (90 kg) for static and 80 lbs (36 kg) for lifiting. 200 lbs (90 kg) for static and 100 lbs (46 kg) for lifting.
Ventilation System External exhaust or internal filtration system is required via single 4″ (101.6 mm) output port. External exhaust or internal filtration system is required via two 4″ (101.6 mm) output ports.

 

 

 

2. Trotec Laser

trotec-laser

A high Quality laser made in Austria.

Trotec makes some of the best lasers in the world with a large range of lasers engravers. We are starting to lean towards Trotec instead of Epilog.

Trotec Speedy Series – Speedy 100 – Speedy 500

Speedy 400 laser engraving machine

The speedy series

 

3. Universal Laser

universal

Under construction

 

 

 

Best Laser Cutter / Engraver for Small Businesses and design Pros

The following lasers are what we would recommend for small businesses which include designers, makerspaces and all other professional using the machine for business purposes. If you are serious about running a business in laser cutting you will need a tool that will offer high quality and reliable performance.

Full Spectrum Laser

Made in USA. Inexpensive

 

 

 

Electrox Laser

Under Construction

 

 

Halo Laser

Under Construction

 

 

 

 

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