The best laser engravers and CNC routers should be suitable for both decorative engraving and carving and also be able to cut thin materials. CO2 lasers can do both – they are the more powerful laser engravers and range from 30W upwards. Diode lasers on the other hand range from 1-5W and are suitable for engraving designs onto soft materials – they are generally less expensive than CO2 lasers.
If you are planning to use your laser engraver with a 3D printer or milling machine, laser engravers that include a CNC function (Computer Numerical Control) can program the cutting head or laser to precision cut across two or three dimensions. Also, most laser engravers are computer or smartphone controlled so it is important to check that your engraver software is compatible with the software on your device.
The engraving area itself is an important feature. The best laser engravers offer larger 3-dimensional engraving areas with more possibilities for engraving odd-shaped items. On the other hand, 2D engraving areas are more suitable for flatter items so you could go for a mini engraver in that instance.
All laser engravers should come with eye protection functionality. Check there is a laser eye protection panel built onto the device and ideally a pair of safety goggles too.
Whether you’re looking for a professional-level device for cutting and engraving, or a simple bit of kit for home engraving, I’ve found the best ones available right now. Let’s see what I’ve found…