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7 Best Laser Engravers (2021 Review)

The best laser engraver 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…

What is the Best Laser Engraver For You?

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Comparing the Best Laser Engravers

Use the dropdown to sort the table by the feature that's most important to you.

  • Best For
  • Type
  • Machine Power
  • Laser Power
  • Suitable for Decorative Engraving / Carving
  • Suitable for Cutting
  • Engraving Area
  • Windows Compatible
  • Weight
  • Cost
  • Our score
  •  

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In-Depth Reviews of Our Recommended Laser Engravers

Sfeomi 40W Laser Engraver & Cutting MachineSfeomi 40W Laser Engraver & Cutting Machine

Best all-round laser engraver

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4
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Sfeomi 40W Laser Engraver & Cutting Machine review

Specifications

  • Type: Laser
  • Machine Power: 40W
  • Laser Power: 40W
  • Suitable for Decorative Engraving / Carving: Yes
  • Suitable for Cutting: Yes
  • Engraving Area: 300x200mm
  • Windows Compatible: Yes
  • Weight: 36.0kg

The Sfeomi is probably the best 40 Watt laser engraver because it’s one of the easiest to set up. It’s good to use straight from the box without calibration and has a large engraving area to work with.

The first thing you’ll notice is that this is an all-in-one laser engraver that is delivered ready to go. It’s all encased in a professional-looking industrial style blue case. All the moving parts are kept hidden away inside, so it should stay dust-free and clean when not in use.

The large engraving area means you can tackle larger engraving jobs than the competition. The powerful CO2 laser is tough enough to cut a range of materials. These include stone, glass, bamboo, leather, wood, acrylic, and plastics up to 3 mm thick.

The cutting table has a clamp for holding down odd-shaped objects as well, so you’re not just limited to engraving or cutting flat boards. I think it’s one of the best laser engravers if you want to get into the craft. Simply because there’s everything here to get you started.

This laser engraver runs Shenzhouyike software as standard, but is compatible with other laser engraving programs, and runs on Windows 8, 7, 10 (64/32 bit), XP and 2000. No iOS compatibility.

Pros

  • Not having to do a lot of fiddly calibration before first use is great. It’s what makes this one of the best laser engravers for beginners.
  • The K40 is an affordable, powerful, and versatile laser that’s ideal for serious crafters as well as keen DIYers.
  • Clamping down different size and shape workpieces is no problem. The included double duty clamps do the job well.
  • You’re not limited by proprietary software. This engraver will work with a huge range of software packages.

Cons

  • Some users have complained that the extractor fan is underpowered. It’s not difficult to upgrade it, but a larger one would be more effective.
  • You should check the laser engraver has been properly grounded before first use.
  • It’s a shame that Sfeomi haven’t included any personal protective equipment. There’s a protective panel, but I prefer a “belt and braces” approach to safety.
  • This is a big bit of kit. The footprint is 50 x 70 cm, so make sure you have plenty of bench space to spare!

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SainSmart 3018-PROVer CNC Router and Laser EngraverSainSmart 3018-PROVer CNC Router and Laser Engraver

Best for safety features

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.25
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SainSmart 3018-PROVer CNC Router and Laser Engraver review

Specifications

  • Type: Engraver / Router
  • Machine Power: 120W
  • Laser Power: n/a
  • Suitable for Decorative Engraving / Carving: Yes
  • Suitable for Cutting: Yes
  • Engraving Area: 300x180mm
  • Windows Compatible: Yes
  • Weight: 9.7kg

The SainSmart Genmitsu 3018-PROVer is a popular choice for home CNC enthusiasts. It’s one of the best engravers that you can get for the money. Just be aware that it’s not supplied with a laser attachment, you’ll need to buy that separately.

In terms of build quality, everything feels well-made. They haven’t skimped on essential features like limit switches and X axis probes for automatic depth finding. You can even set a home position anywhere on the engraving area. This means the cutting head will return there automatically when a program is finished.

There’s a fair amount of assembly required to get started, but SainSmart have labelled everything well. Included is a well-detailed guide and even the tools you need to finish what they started.

What makes this one of the best CNC engravers is that you can run the machine without a computer. Using the GRBL offline controller, you can control all functions that you would otherwise input with your computer.

They’ve even included a USB stick and 16 GB memory card to transfer GCODE files to your computer, that also contain all the manuals and guides for operation. It’s a nice machine that lets you mill with the spindle or engrave with the laser. It’s one of the best home CNC machines I’ve found.

Pros

  • Safety has been taken seriously by SainSmart. The end stops are vital, as is the emergency stop feature. When dealing with lasers or cutting heads, it’s best to be prepared for anything.
  • Several users have complimented SainSmart’s customer service. They have proved to answer questions and take suggestions.
  • You don’t need a computer with fancy CNC software to make something special. The GRBL offline controller gives you full capability without the need for more expensive equipment.
  • Even though there’s setting up to be done, they’ve included everything you might need.

Cons

  • This laser engraver doesn’t come with a laser. You’ll need to source your own one.
  • There’s not a lot of room for error when it comes to operation. This isn’t a “smart” laser engraver, it will do exactly what you tell it. Make sure you check your commands thoroughly.
  • It’s not ready to run straight from the box. Compared to the Sfeomi, there’s at a fair amount of setting up time.
  • You’ll need to get creative to find ways to clamp odd-shaped objects to the worktable.

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Neje 20W Laser Engraving MachineNeje 20W Laser Engraving Machine

Best for software compatibility

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
3.75
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Neje 20W Laser Engraving Machine review

Specifications

  • Type: Laser
  • Machine Power: 20W
  • Laser Power: 5.5W
  • Suitable for Decorative Engraving / Carving: Yes
  • Suitable for Cutting: Thin material
  • Engraving Area: 170x170mm
  • Windows Compatible: Yes
  • Weight: 2.4kg

The good people at NEJE have a history of making the best laser engravers. Their Master 1 was a popular choice for anyone wanting to get into the craft. The NEJE Master 2 mini engraving machine is a welcome upgrade! It’s one of the most straightforward engraving devices I’ve tried out so far.

Starting with the packaging. The Master 2 was delivered in a series of cardboard and foam boxes that kept everything secure during transport. This is incredibly important when dealing with a delicate CNC engraver that doesn’t like to be dropped or knocked.

Assembly is relatively straightforward. The instructions are easy to follow, and it won’t take long to get the machine up and running with the included tools. There’s everything you need to get started. NEJE have even thought to include safety glasses, a welcome addition to any laser engraving machine. They even threw in an aluminium dog tag to practise on!

Seeing as the laser included is a smaller 20 Watt version, it’s more suited to decorative engraving and shouldn’t be used for cutting through materials. You can cut through thin plastic or wood, but it takes several passes which might not be ideal if you want to cut a lot of shapes.

You can connect the engraver up to your computer, it runs on Windows 7, 8, 10 and above, or use NEJEs app for Android or iOS.

Pros

  • The wireless control function makes this an incredibly handy bit of kit. You don’t even need to be in the same room to send controls to this engraver.
  • There’s a brilliant gyroscopic safety feature included with this laser engraver. If the cutting head gets knocked during operation, it automatically switches itself off.
  • It takes multiple passes, but you can use this engraver for cutting thin materials.
  • Setup time is quick. Most users have got this engraver set up and working in less than 20 minutes.

Cons

  • You need to take care when using an open laser engraver like this. Ensure there’s adequate ventilation and wear the proper eye protection.
  • Larger sheet materials won’t fit underneath this engraver. You’ll need to construct an adjustable base to get the most out of the laser.
  • Compared to the Sfeomi, the 20 Watt laser in this engraver is only half as powerful. You can’t cut through thick materials.

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MathRose 20W Laser Engraving MachineMathRose 20W Laser Engraving Machine

Best for size of engraving area

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.5
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MathRose 20W Laser Engraving Machine review

Specifications

  • Type: Laser
  • Machine Power: 20W
  • Laser Power: 5W
  • Suitable for Decorative Engraving / Carving: Yes
  • Suitable for Cutting: Thin material
  • Engraving Area: 410x400mm
  • Windows Compatible: Yes
  • Weight: 4.0kg

Offering a wide range of tools and homewares, MathRose aren’t CNC machine specialists. They have produced one of the best basic laser engravers though. And it’ll cost less than you might think.

It’s a professional-looking bit of kit that is supplied with everything you need. You can engrave in a range of materials such as painted metal, wood, plastic, and leather. Supplied with all the tools and connectors you need: setup is surprisingly easy if you follow the instructions closely.

What makes this one of the best laser engravers out there is the size of the area you can work on. Having this much space means you can tackle much larger projects that more expensive laser engravers just aren’t capable of.

The tinted plastic shield around the laser cutting head is a nice touch as well. They’ve included safety goggles, but it’s good to see that safety has been considered here. It’s a shame that there aren’t any limit switches included, but on an engraving area of this large size, it’s much harder to go wrong.

Compatible with most modern laser engraving programs, this is a versatile but basic CNC machine that will suit beginners that don’t want to fork out for more advanced features.

Pros

  • The 410 x 400 mm engraving area is huge compared to the Neje Master 2. You can tackle much larger projects without any problems.
  • The aluminium frame keeps the overall weight down to just 4 kg. Compared with the 36 kg heavy Sfeomi engraver, this is a wonderfully portable tool.
  • There’s a bit of assembly to carry out, but it’s an easy set up process. You can be ready to play in as little as 10 minutes!
  • They’ve included everything you need to get set up, and a vital pair of safety glasses to keep you out of trouble.

Cons

  • Without a limit switch, the MathRose is liable to move off the end of the control arm. You’ll need to be careful when programming movements.
  • There’s no cover or case to keep everything dust free. You’ll need to make one or buy one to keep the moving parts in good order.
  • You can’t easily dismantle the machine for storage between uses. The large footprint will certainly take up a lot of bench space.
  • Compared with the NEJE Master 2, you can’t control this laser engraver from a phone app. You need to connect it to Windows or Mac OS.

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Yofuly CNC 2018 Pro Engraver Router MachineYofuly CNC 2018 Pro Engraver Router Machine

Best value for money engraver / router

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.25
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Yofuly CNC 2018 Pro Engraver Router Machine review

Specifications

  • Type: Engraver / Router
  • Machine Power: 120W
  • Laser Power: n/a
  • Suitable for Decorative Engraving / Carving: Yes
  • Suitable for Cutting: Yes
  • Engraving Area: 300x180mm
  • Windows Compatible: Yes
  • Weight: 7.3kg

Another three axis CNC milling and laser engraving machine. This is a surprisingly professional bit of kit that comes at a very reasonable price. You can even swap the 120 Watt spindle motor out for a laser engraving machine, sold separately.

All the bits and pieces required for assembly come in a handy little box, and Yofuly have included the tools you need to get set up. It’s a bit of a job getting set up though. The instructions aren’t quite as good as on the best laser engravers. You’ll need to commit a bit of time getting everything set up and squared away.

There are small clamps with butterfly screws attached to hold odd-shaped items down on the engraving area. You could swap them out for larger ones if you want to grab bigger things. The cutting head can spin up to 10,000 rpm, so it should be able to mill out a decent range of materials.

The engraver comes supplied with proprietary software that links to the GRBL control board. Fortunately, you can also use just about any engraving program to set up a cutting routine. It all runs on Windows XP, 7, 8 and 10.

Pros

  • It’s all easy to get the hang of if you’re familiar with CNC technology.
  • It’s quiet and can perform precise routines with the right commands.
  • The included software allows you to test your setup before first use. You can manually control the movements to make sure you’ve put everything together correctly.
  • The clamps are well designed. They sit in channels across the table and can accommodate odd-shaped objects.
  • The offline manual control function is convenient. You don’t even need a computer to start creating.

Cons

  • The standard setup does not include a laser. It’s set up for CNC milling, but you can add a laser at another time.
  • It’s a shame that Yofuly haven’t included any personal protective equipment. A pair of safety goggles is essential when using any open CNC machine.
  • Compared with the MathRose, the working area is a lot smaller. It’s more than 10 cm smaller in width.

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LaserPecker Mini Laser Engraver MachineLaserPecker Mini Laser Engraver Machine

Best mini laser

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.5
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LaserPecker Mini Laser Engraver Machine review

Specifications

  • Type: Mini Laser
  • Machine Power: 1.6W
  • Laser Power: 1.6W
  • Suitable for Decorative Engraving / Carving: Yes
  • Suitable for Cutting: No
  • Engraving Area: 100x100mm
  • Windows Compatible: No
  • Weight: 0.9kg

The LaserPecker mini laser engraving machine is a cut above the competition when it comes to design and functionality. You could literally put it in your pocket and take it with you. The engrave high quality images in a range of materials when you get there.

The design of this engraver looks more like a slick gadget than the industrial-style engravers on my list. The fact it’s a minimalist gold cylinder just adds to the attraction. It’s an ideal tool if you don’t want to give up vital bench space. However, you must make do with a vastly reduced engraving area.

Supplied with a tripod that will keep the laser engraving head at the right height, you can remove it and engrave horizontally if you want. This opens a world of possibilities where you can engrave directly onto walls or other objects. They would otherwise never fit onto even the biggest engraving areas.

Simply connect the engraver up to your phone via Bluetooth and use the app to create your designs.

I honestly think this is one of the best laser engravers out there, but it depends on what you plan to do with it. It’s not designed for cutting or producing large images. However, it can do things that even the best CNC engravers can’t.

Pros

  • You can use this laser engraver horizontally. It opens a world of possibilities compared with a standard vertical device.
  • With its small size and less than 1 kg weight, you could call this a pocket engraver!
  • I’m a big fan of the wireless Bluetooth connectivity. You don’t need to drag around lots of cables or lose half your bench space.
  • You’re able to set the laser on “trace” mode. It fires a low power laser to mark out your design and check you’ve set up correctly.

Cons

  • You can only work on a limited range of materials. Don’t even think about engraving metals, stone, or reflective surfaces.
  • The 10 x 10 cm engraving area is tiny compared with the SainSmart or the MathRose. It’s only suitable for small jobs.
  • The 1.6 Watt laser isn’t designed for cutting even thin materials. Stick to decorative engraving.
  • Like any open laser engraver, you must be extremely careful. LaserPecker have included a pair of safety glasses, but I recommend using an enclosure as well.
  • You can’t connect the engraver to a PC or Mac. You’re limited to using apps for designs.

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HomdMarket Mini Engraving Machine HomdMarket Mini Engraving Machine

Best budget laser

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
3.25
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HomdMarket Mini Engraving Machine review

Specifications

  • Type: Mini Laser
  • Machine Power: 3W
  • Laser Power: 3W
  • Suitable for Decorative Engraving / Carving: Yes
  • Suitable for Cutting: No
  • Engraving Area: 75x75mm
  • Windows Compatible: Yes
  • Weight: 1.3kg

Another micro laser engraver, the HomdMarket K5 is a capable little laser device. It won’t take up too much bench space or empty your wallet either. In fact, it’s one of the best budget laser engravers available right now.

This is a device more suited to hobbyists. Or perhaps someone who wants to get involved with laser engraving but doesn’t want to have to assemble a full-size machine. There’s minimal setup involved before you can get creating.

It’s a basic engraver, but you can still work on a range of softer materials with a bit of practise. It’s good for leather, plastic, wood, and paper. It shouldn’t be relied on for cutting unless you make several passes.

The drawback of such a small laser engraver is the size of materials you can fit into it. You could rest the entire machine on top of a large piece of material at a pinch. But odd-shaped items must be able to fit under the legs.

Pros

  • The transparent green screen helps to keep your eyes safe from the laser dazzle.
  • Setup couldn’t be much simpler. Plug in the power and connect the engraver to your computer via USB. The software is easy to install and use too.
  • It’s an ideal beginner’s laser engraver. In comparison with the advanced Sfeomi machine it’s a plug and play tool.
  • The entire device weighs just 1.3 kg and won’t take up a lot of space. It’s easy to stash it away between uses.

Cons

  • Even compared to the LaserPecker, the engraving area on this device is small. Just 7.5 x 7.5 cm to play with.
  • Users have commented that this laser engraver is slow. It’s not a professional level device for churning out hundreds of designs.
  • The laser isn’t powerful enough for cutting sheet materials. It’s for engraving only.
  • The engraver produces fumes and heat. There’s no integrated extractor system. You’ll need to always make sure there’s adequate ventilation.

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Things to Know Before Buying a Laser Engraver

Different Types of Laser

Laser, or light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation, comes in a range of strengths and can be grouped into three broad types when it comes to laser engravers:

Diode lasers ranging from 1 – 5 Watts are suitable for engraving designs onto soft materials. They’re generally less expensive and can’t be used for cutting out shapes.

CO2 lasers are much more powerful machines, ranging from 30 Watts upwards. They can engrave a much wider range materials, but also cut out shapes as well.

Neodymium lasers are usually more powerful and used in professional level and industrial laser engraving. They can be used to cut through extremely hard materials but only for short periods.

CNC

Standing for Computer Numerical Control, it’s a process that controls a cutting head or laser probe along a path in two or three dimensions. The operator enters in coordinates and instructions that the CNC interprets and carries out. It’s the process used by 3D printers, lathes, milling machines and drills when precision and repetition is vital.

Engraving Area

Think of the engraving area as your workbench- when you program the cutting head or laser probe, the size of the work you can do is governed by the area you’ve got to play with. If you’re planning on engraving large, odd-shaped items then you’ll need a laser engraver that can handle X, Y and Z coordinates. But, if you’re only tackling small and flat items, you can get away with a mini engraver that only works on X and Y planes.

As always, the bigger the machine is, the more work you can do but if bench space is at a premium, you can still create interesting results with a small engraving area.

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Laser Engraver FAQs

Are laser engravers safe?

Working with lasers carries the same risks as any other tool. If you follow the necessary precautions and treat it with respect, it’s very safe. Most of the best laser engravers are supplied with tinted acrylic shields around the laser probe as well as tinted safety goggles, but always make sure you wear them.

Something that all users of laser engravers should take seriously is the fumes produced by laser engraving. The best engraver like the excellent Sfeomi comes supplied with an exhaust system, but you should consider the fumes whenever your engraver is in use.

Can I use any laser to cut through wood or plastic?

The strength of your laser engraver depends on the type of laser you have installed and its Wattage. You could use a low powered laser to try and cut very thin materials like wood veneer or paper, but you’d have to program in several passes to get anywhere. There’s a chance you’d set the workpiece on fire before you cut through it anyway.

More powerful CO2 laser engravers are designed for cutting out shapes as well as engraving and etching. Different materials and thicknesses will call for multiple passes to get a clean cut, so always practise on scrap materials before you move onto your prize project.

Can I laser engrave a photo?

Yes. The best laser engraving machines can be linked up to specialist engraving software like DraftSight or TurboCAD or come supplied with proprietary design software already installed. The best mini laser engraver I tried out, the excellent LaserPecker L1, comes with an app for your smartphone that means you can upload a photo, press “go” and engrave your favourite photo onto a range of surfaces.

Is laser engraving easy?

It depends how deep into laser engraving you want to go. Some of the more advanced laser engravers on my list take a fair bit of setting up and aren’t suitable for a casual user. Getting used to CAD programs is a skill and can take a long time to master. If you just want to play around with engraving, don’t invest in a professional level CNC milling machine, start with a mini and see how you get on.

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