I tested out different laser engravers with laser cutters to find the best cheap laser engravers you can spend your money on. Below is a selection of 5 products: the Makeblock xTool D1 Pro, NEJE, ATOMSTACK, Ortur, and LaserPecker.
If you are looking for the best budget laser engraver, I am here to help!
Whether you need a portable laser engraver or a bigger desktop laser engraver, this list will help you find great options for different categories.
Those who do laser engraving as a hobby or to sell personalized merchandise can find lots of useful information in this article.
Read on for my recommendations on what the best laser engraver is on the market!
The 5 Best Budget Laser Engravers on the Market in 2023
If you are looking for good laser engraving machines and are on a budget, check this out!
Here are the best cheap laser engravers (that double as laser cutters, too!) to buy in 2023:
- 【Efficent Engraving & Cutting】xTool D1 Pro 10w...
- 【4-in-1 Rotary Attachment and Various Materials...
What I Liked
- Fine laser spot
- Spacious engraving area
- Adjustable height
- Intuitive and beginner-friendly
- The rotary roller makes work easy
- Great laser cutter
What I Didn’t Like
- More expensive than most
Makeblock’s xTool D1 Pro is a diode laser engraving machine with a rotary attachment. It offers very high precision, an impressive engraving speed, and useful safety features.
Along with the Ortur Laser Master 2 (more details on this below), this laser engraving machine is the most powerful in this list, with a laser head that has a power of 10 watts.
This xTool D1 Pro laser power allows it to work efficiently with stainless steel, which is not easy for a “budget” laser machine. It can hardly be considered cheap at $899-$999.
However, the xTool D1 Pro is well worth the cash as it produces very accurate results while being the fastest laser engraver in this list. I’d also name it the best laser cutter.
The rotary attachment also makes it more versatile, allowing easy engraving of cylindrical objects. It also has flame detection technology that allows a safer working environment.
- 【High Performance Module】NEJE 3 engraving...
- 【Appropriate Engraver Area】170 x 170 mm...
What I Liked
- Strong engraving capabilities
- Good laser cutter
- Great to use with acrylic materials
- It comes with air assist
What I Didn’t Like
- The mini version is not LightBurn compatible
An upgrade of the brand’s popular second model, NEJE 3 offers a powerful and productive laser cutter that works especially great for acrylics and plastics in my testing experience.
If you sell personalized keychains, cake toppers, or anything else, I recommend this one because it has a powerful laser cutter apart from its equally remarkable laser engraver.
In addition, the package for this engraving machine includes air assist accessory to aid in the safety and efficiency of your engraving process. Other laser engravers will sell this separately.
For beginners unfamiliar with this, air assist is a system that keeps the laser module and your material to remain cool so that the laser module can do its job cleaner and easier.
If you do a lot of cutting with your laser engraver (for the purposes mentioned above, for example), you do not want it to perform like a cheap laser cutter!
- ✔ Compression laser upgrade: Newly upgraded...
- ✔ Support offline engraving: configure the...
What I Liked
- It has an offline operation terminal
- It has a longer range than other laser engravers
- Great for working with wood
What I Didn’t Like
- Not recommended for engraving glass (needs to be blackened first)
This desktop laser engraver from ATOMSTACK is a CO2 laser that supports offline engraving. It’s a great laser engraver that easily works with solid wood and lacquered metal.
From my testing, it came up as the best laser machine for wood. Its laser spot is compressed with a 30mm focal length. This means it can be effective from a longer distance than most.
This makes it better for wood because laser engraving with that material without air assist may make the job look unpolished and sloppy because of heating issues, among others.
I also really enjoyed that this laser engraver can sustain offline operations. Those who want to get into laser engraving do not need to be restricted to using computers with this.
In addition, this unit features a laser protective cover to protect your eyes while working. It also keeps pets from reaching the laser head. (Please keep animals away from laser engravers!)
- More Powerful Engraving with True 10W Output Power...
- Laser Engraver with 5 Safety protections - ORTUR...
What I Liked
- Impressive laser power
- It stops working when the laser engraver is displaced (helps avoid accidents)
- Built-in air assist
- It supports a wide variety of software
What I Didn’t Like
- It can be expensive for some
Like the xTool D1 Pro, the diode laser module on the Ortur Laser Master 2 Pro boasts a powerful 10W output. Its laser cutter also does not perform like a “cheap” laser cutter.
Even though most people may think that a CO2 laser engraving machine is best for ceramics (and they are usually correct), the Ortur Laser Master 2 Pro is my choice for this material.
From the tests I did with these laser engravers and cutters, the Ortur Laser Master 2 Pro yielded the neatest, most precise engraved ceramics. This is probably due to its laser power.
This desktop laser engraver has a handful of variants that can admittedly be confusing because of their technical names. Note that I tested the Ortur Laser Master 2 Pro S2 LU2-10A.
This budget laser stands at the middle of price points. A “cheap” laser in this list falls just under $300. At $599, the Laser Master 2 Pro is perfect for those considering starting a business.
- 💎Experience Next-Level Precision: LaserPecker 1...
- 💎Take Your Creativity Anywhere: Weighing only...
What I Liked
- Small and compact
- Laser power is great for its size
- Very easy setup
- Blue light laser
What I Didn’t Like
- Not the best laser cutter
If you need to move your laser engraver a lot or can only spare a few inches of space in your work area, you can’t go wrong with this adorable yet useful mini laser from LaserPecker.
Your power bank can power this laser engraver! If you are worried about the lifespan of its laser module, it is advertised to last upwards of 10,000 hours. This is quite impressive.
I would also recommend this unit to someone who is only starting to dip their toes into laser engraving. It is not the cheapest at $329, but this laser engraver did not disappoint me at all.
Of course, as this diode laser is small, you can expect your engraving operation to scale to a smaller engraving area (a pro or a con, depending on your situation!) and laser power.
While it is a reliable small laser engraver, it is not the best for laser cutting. If you’re purchasing one for this capability, you may be better off investing in other laser cutters on top of this unit.
Best Budget Laser Comparison Table
|Product||Type of Laser||Power of Laser||Work Surface||Dimensions||Weight||Materials Engravable|
|Makeblock xTool D1 Pro with Rotary RA2 – Best Overall||Diode||10W||16.93 x 15.75″||32.4 x 22.6 x 5.91″||24.3 lbs||Stainless steel, wood, acrylic, paper, ceramic, glass, rubber, cork|
|NEJE 3 – Best Laser Engraver for Acrylic||Diode||5.5 – 7.5W||6.69 x 6.69″||4.96 x 11.42 x 5.12″||5.3 lbs||MDF, Wood, Fabric, Leather, Plastic, Plywood, Foam Paper (Cover Spraying can Engraving Stainless Steel, Glass, Transparent Acrylic, etc.)|
|ATOMSTACK X7 – Best Laser Engraver for Wood||CO₂||5.5 – 6W||16.14 x 15.75″||22.44 x 23.62 x 10.63″||11.02 lbs||Wood, bamboo, cardboard, plastic, leather, PCB board, aluminum oxide, non-reflective; Electroplating layer and paint surface layer metal, 304 mirrors stainless steel, glass, ceramics, cotton cloth, slate|
|Ortur Laser Master 2 Pro S2 LU2-10A – Best Laser Engraver for Ceramics||Diode||10W||15.75 x 15.75″||25.98 x 9.84 x 4.33″||10.68 lbs||ceramics, wood, leather, cotton (clothing), rubber, paper, fruit, foam, acrylic, black anodized aluminum, blackened metal, stone, stainless steel|
|LaserPecker 1 Pro Mini – Best Compact Laser Engraver||Diode||1.6W||3.9 x 3.9″||2.6 x 2.4 x 2.1″||0.42 lbs||Paper-board, fabric, wood, leather, felt, plastic, cloth, fruit, reflective material, etc.|
Buying Guide For The Best Budget Laser Engraver
The best laser engravers offer the most to their users based on their needs.
If you are confused about the many factors that determine the quality of an engraver, keep reading:
Power Source and Consumption
More power output means the machine can cut and engrave materials at a better engraving speed and with more precision, resulting in finer details and a cleaner finish.
Additionally, a high-power laser can engrave on various materials, including harder and thicker materials.
Keep in mind that a laser engraver with low power consumption will help keep operating costs low.
You must check the power requirements of an engraver to see if it requires a specialized power source or an additional power inverter.
Compatibility and Recognition of Materials
Your engraving material should play a key role in your choice of an engraver.
I recommend going for one compatible with many materials, like wood, acrylic, metal, glass, soft materials, and more.
If you plan to work with a certain material, make sure the laser engraver is compatible with it before purchasing.
Some engravers have a built-in material recognition feature that can automatically detect the material being used and adjust the machine’s settings accordingly.
It may help improve the engraving quality and reduce the chance of errors.
Image Capturing and Recreation
A laser engraver that can capture images from various sources (e.g., camera, scanner, or USB) will allow you to import images quickly into the unit’s software for editing and engraving.
An engraver that comes with software that allows you to edit images, such as cropping, resizing, and adjusting the contrast, can also come in handy!
It would be even better if it could vectorize images, which turns images into lines and shapes that can be resized without losing quality.
Finally, look for a machine that can precisely engrave images with good detail and contrast.
Size of Your Projects
The engraving area workable by a unit’s laser module is very important as it can limit the projects you take on now and in the future.
A large working area can accommodate various sizes of your projects. You should also check the unit’s bed size, as it will determine the maximum size of the projects that you can work on.
For those with businesses, remember that you probably need to repeat the same image or design multiple times accurately. Reading reviews are very helpful for this.
The power output is also important because it affects the ability to cut or engrave thicker materials. However, higher power output can also mean higher running costs.
It is helpful if your engraver is compatible with a wide range of file types, such as vector and raster files. This will allow you to import and engrave a variety of designs and images.
Pick a laser engraver with software that is compatible with your computer’s operating system! This is very important.
Consider the software’s features as well. They may help you easily create detailed designs and text and control the unit’s settings.
It is also important to take note of updates and see if the software is regularly updated and if the manufacturer offers technical support in case you need it.
Ease of Calibration and Use
A user-friendly interface, with clear and easy-to-read controls, is very helpful. Software that is easy to navigate and understand is key as well.
Remember that you are working with lasers, which can be dangerous if not handled properly!
If you are a beginner, an engraver that is easy to assemble and set up will be your best friend. Some engravers have automatic calibration features to simplify settings for users.
Read reviews to see if they have any feedback on ease of use and calibration, as it may help you decide if a machine will suit you.
Laser Cutting Speed
The best laser cutting machines should have good cutting accuracy throughout the cutting process.
If speed is important to you, you may want an engraver that has a wide range of speed settings, allowing you to adjust the speed to cut and engrave different materials effectively.
Again, power output plays a factor. It affects the ability to engrave or cut materials. A higher power output will allow you to engrave at faster speeds.
Also, units with advanced motion control allow the machine to move faster.
Community and Customer Support
Engravers can be huge investments, so always try to work with a company that offers good customer support. From technical assistance to repair services, you should be taken care of.
For this purpose, make sure to read reviews and check for an active online community for the product. You may find answers to your questions and troubleshooting issues already up.
Knowing what a laser engraver manufacturer’s warranty offers is also important. Good coverage can provide peace of mind and protection if you run into any issues with the unit.
“Cheap laser engraver” can put you off because the word cheap often means low quality, but the items listed above are by no means cheap!
However, they are much more budget-friendly than other models that cost thousands of dollars.
Compare the prices of different laser engravers and set a budget for yourself. You may also consider additional costs like maintenance, replacement parts, and electricity consumption.
Look at the features and decide which of these are important to you. Brand reputation can also play a role here.
Check out our article about how much a laser engraver costs on average.
Should You Buy an Affordable Laser Engraver?
A “cheap” laser engraver can absolutely work if its functionality matches your needs and purchasing power.
Affordable engravers are a great option for hobbyists and small businesses looking to use them for personal or small-scale projects.
They are also a great way for people who are new to laser engraving to test out the technology before investing in a more expensive model.
But if you need to create high-quality, detailed engravings regularly for commercial or industrial use, an affordable engraver may not be worth it.
They may not be able to engrave on harder materials or produce the same level of detail and speed as more expensive machines.
You might also need to supplement it with some additional tools, such as a rotary attachment or a higher-power laser tube, to improve the quality of your engravings.
Laser light and the fumes from engraving can be very harmful. I strongly recommend wearing laser safety glasses and protective masks to reduce exposure.
Affordable Laser Engravers vs. Premium Laser Engraving Machines: What Are the Differences?
Different laser engravers offer different things to their users. Are you worried you may need more than what an affordable machine can give? Read on!
If you are looking for the best laser engraver, click the link.
Size of Your Machine
The average size of an affordable laser engraver is generally smaller than that of an excellent laser engraver. Similarly, an affordable one probably has a smaller area to work with as well.
Still, the size of the unit and its available working area can vary greatly depending on the specific model and brand you decide to get, so looking at product specifications is crucial.
Additionally, an affordable engraver may have a limited size of materials that can be engraved. For example, a big block of wood may need to be cut down to fit the small unit.
An affordable engraver’s laser power will typically have an output of around 20-50W. On the other hand, a premium one can have power outputs of up to 100W or more.
This means that a premium laser engraver has better engraving accuracy and engraving speed than its affordable counterpart. Working with thicker materials also becomes easier.
If your work requires mass production and high-precision engraving, consider investing in a premium laser engraver instead for a better yield.
The kind of laser and the precision of the motion system also play a role in the quality of the output of any given laser engraver.
Type of Laser Beam
Affordable laser engravers often use a CO2 laser tube, while premium ones are typically equipped with diode laser or fiber lasers, which are longer lasting and more energy efficient.
The former is usually inexpensive and offers good cutting abilities for non-metal materials, and the latter has a smaller spot size which provides more precision in cutting and engraving.
However, not all premium engravers use fiber laser beam. Some use CO2 laser tube but is reinforced with higher power output, advanced optics, and higher precision motion system.
A budget-friendly laser engraver can have lower power output and fewer features, which may limit its ability to quickly and efficiently cut or engrave materials.
Premium laser engravers often have higher power output, more features (e.g., a water cooling system, material recognition), and a larger working area, which can all increase productivity.
An affordable unit also probably has a smaller working area and less precise cutting capabilities, which can hurt the engraving speed, than a premium one.
Productivity may also depend on the operator who can fully utilize the potential of a laser engraver.
Purpose for Engraving
A cheaper laser engraver may generally be a better option for small businesses, hobbyists, and those who only need to perform simple engraving tasks occasionally.
You do not need an industrial-grade fiber laser engraver for personalizing a few household items.
A premium laser engraver, on the other hand, is better suited to established businesses for tasks that require a high power output, precision, and specialized features.
Some examples include engraving on metal materials*, 3D engraving, and finely detailed engraving.
A budget laser cutter and engraver can still do this, but it will probably have results that are less precise.
Affordable laser machines are often pre-assembled or semi-assembled, meaning that they may come in several pieces that need to be put together by the user.
As such, they are designed with simplicity and ease of assembly in mind, and many of them have fewer components.
Premium engravers often come to the user fully assembled and ready to use, as they are built with more complexity and advanced components.
They may also come with additional features, such as a water cooling system, which needs to be assembled and connected properly.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
If you still have questions about the topic, don’t worry! Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about laser engravers:
What Can I Engrave With a Laser Engraving Machine?
Here are the different materials you can engrave with a laser engraver:
Keep in mind that the quality of engraving depends on various factors we have discussed above. In addition, some machines need special preparation to produce the best results.
Among my recommendations, the xTool D1 Pro is probably the best equipped to handle many of the materials mentioned above.
How Much Does a Good Laser Engraving Machine Cost?
Affordable laser engravers can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, depending on the power output and features of the machine.
They are more suitable for a hobbyist or a small business
A professional laser engraver can cost significantly more, anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.
They work well for complex and precise engraving tasks.
Do Cheap Laser Engravers Actually Work?
This entirely depends on the unit that you choose.
Cheap laser engravers can work, but they probably do not have the same level of performance, precision, and durability as their more expensive counterparts.
It may struggle with other materials that are thicker and more resilient, or the quality of cutting and engraving may not be up to par.
My recommendations are all under $1000. They will not replace industrial-grade models, but they work very well.
Can You Make Money With Laser Engraving?
If you buy a cheap laser engraver machine and sell more than what it costs you, then yes, you can absolutely turn a profit from engraving!
Many people nowadays set up online stores either as their main or additional income stream.
If you go into this business, remember that customers expect to see a certain level of quality in their purchases corresponding to their prices.
Is The Laser Engraving Process Permanent?
Once you start laser engraving materials, they will likely have a different texture, color, or even a different layer depending on the material and the settings of the laser.
For that reason, the laser engraving process is generally considered permanent, as it physically removes (and/or burns) material from the surface of the object being engraved.
The longevity of an engraving, however, depends on factors such as the quality of the job and the material that was engraved.
In this article, I listed down the best laser engravers that come at affordable price points. “Affordable” here is a couple of hundred dollars, but that’s already much cheaper than pro models.
Additionally, I put down a guide that hopefully helped you to decide which engraver best suits you based on different factors. Always keep operating costs in mind when setting a budget!
There was also a comparison between affordable and premium laser engravers for those who are still undecided if they should shell out more money for more difficult engraving tasks.
There was a lot of information here, so feel free to come back if you need a refresher on the best 2023 engravers!