Laser cutting and engraving machines come in all shapes and sizes. Each comes with various features that some may not have. Choosing a portable laser engraver depends on product features and user factors.
A portable laser engraver is a much cheaper alternative to a fiber laser engraver or any full-sized engraving machine.
The best laser engravers and laser cutting machines below are best for hobbyist laser engravers and small businesses. For me, they are compact yet feature great usability.
The 5 Best Portable Laser Engravers on the Market Today
Table of Contents
- The 5 Best Portable Laser Engravers on the Market Today
- What to Consider When Choosing a Portable Laser Engraving Machine
- Why Should You Buy a Portable Laser Engraver?
- Pros and Cons of a Mini Laser Engraver
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are extremely powerful laser cutters that you can carry around with you. What’s more, I love these tools because they surely didn’t hurt my pocket.
1. Aufero Laser 1 – Best Overall
- Pre-assembled Package: The Aufero 1 portable laser...
- Advanced Firmware: Adopting advanced motherboard...
What I Liked
- Can be upgraded
- Fast engraving process
- Works with other engraving software
What I Didn’t Like
- It may not be user-friendly for beginners
The established engraving machine, Ortur, developed a mini laser engraver called the Aufero Laser 1. This small plug-and-play laser engraver should not be underestimated, as it offers great adaptability.
Purchasing this product gave me three laser module options to choose from. I learned that they differ in terms of spot compression along with other technical features.
The base unit of the Aufero Laser 1 comes with the LU2-2. It has a spot compression of 0.07 x 0.06 mm, which makes it the finest laser among the three options. It is great for creating intricate engravings.
The other laser module options would’ve cost me an extra $70.
One of them is the LU2-4 SF, which has a wider spot compression of 0.12 x 0.15 mm. It also has significantly higher optical power, making it ideal for engraving tough materials, such as anodized aluminum and stainless steel.
The other one is the LU2-4 LF, which has a spot compression of 0.17 x 0.25 mm. It has an air assist novel and a longer depth of field. For me, this is the best option among the three.
Other than laser module options, Ortur also offers accessories and upgrades compatible with the Aufero Laser 1. For instance, you can add a Y-axis rotary roller to your base unit. This is ideal for engraving cylindrical objects.
If at this point, you’re worrying about the assembly of the Aufero Laser 1, I’m telling you it isn’t a concern. The product doesn’t require complex assembly, unlike other portable laser engravers.
One highlight of this product is its larger engraving area. With it, you can work on larger designs that other mini engravers won’t allow you to do. On top of this, the firmware of this portable laser cutter supports cutting speeds of up to 5,000 mm per minute.
I loved how this portable laser engraving machine can be used with other laser engraving software and not just exclusive ones.
It supports laser engraving software, such as LaserGRBL and LightBurn, along with various file formats. I didn’t have to download an additional app that would’ve cost me storage space.
2. Neje Master 2 Mini – Best Features
- 【High-Performance & Smart Use 】The mini...
- 【Suitable Engraving Area】110X120mm engraving...
What I Liked
- Wireless app control
- It comes with limit switches
- Lifetime customer support and a 2-year warranty
What I Didn’t Like
- Delays in customer service
The Neje Master 2 Mini comes as a pre-assembled product. As soon as I got it, I only had to connect the cables and install the Neje app, and I was ready to engrave!
The engraving area of the Neje Master 2 Mini is enough for you to cut wood and different materials, such as plastic, MDF, leather, paper, and cotton. It is also a fast engraver that features engraving speeds of up to 4,000 mm. per minute.
This mini laser engraver is a tool that shouldn’t be underestimated. The engraving module of the Neje Master 2 Mini has an output power of 2.5 watts. On top of this, its laser head has a tuning knob that you can use to easily adjust the focus of the laser.
The Neje Master 2 Mini highlights other intuitive features as well. It has a temperature sensor that is complemented by its built-in fan to prevent overheating. It also has limit switches that made sure I wasn’t overworking the product.
Like other Neje laser engravers, the Neje Master 2 mini is only compatible with the Neje software. It features app control, which allows you to create designs and control the quality of your output direct from the app itself.
The Neje Master 2 Mini can connect with iOS and Android devices through its built-in Bluetooth. You can also use it to connect to your computer using a USB cable.
These connectivity features of the Neje software allowed me to import any image and send the command to me Neje Master 2 Mini, to start engraving.
The safety features of the Neje Master 2 Mini are great highlights for me as well. The product has built-in motion detection that automatically turns it off whenever it is touched or knocked off while in operation.
3. Snapmaker Original 3-in-1 3D Printer – Best for Versatility
- The first generation product of Snapmaker:...
- High precision with its all metal build: the all...
What I Liked
- Features 3D printing and CNC carving also
- Made with a high-quality all-metal build
- It comes with a color capacitive touchscreen
What I Didn’t Like
- Heavier than other products
I can explain the significantly heavier weight of the Snapmaker Original 3-in-1 3D Printer because it is not only a laser engraver. Aside from laser engraving, it can also perform 3D printing and CNC carving.
These functions come in interchangeable modules. This makes this piece of equipment ideal for small businesses looking for a way to save space and resources. Switching the cutting head for the 3D printer, laser engraver, and CNC only took me around 10 minutes each.
The Snapmaker Original has an all-metal structure. Aside from being sturdy, this also results in high-precision outputs. This makes the equipment great for personal hobbies, schoolwork, STEAM Education, and rapid prototyping.
Its engraving area of 4.9 x 4.9 inches is maximized well because of its laser module. The Snapmaker Original has a 0.2-watt laser module that can engrave various materials except for hard materials.
I could easily overcome this limitation when I upgraded my laser module to 1.6 watts.
Another one of my favorite highlights is this product’s 3.5-inch capacitive touchscreen. It provides you with a venue to easily control your engraver and the quality of its output through G-code.
You can use a USB flash drive or directly connect to your computer through its USB interface. It supports common file formats, such as SVG, JPEG, PNG, and CDR.
Other added features of the product include an assistive card that helps you focus the laser by matching the dot size of the laser module to the dot size on the card. Aside from safety goggles, the kit also has a safety enclosure made of aluminum and acrylic.
4. Laserpecker L1 – Best for Portability
- 💎Experience Next-Level Precision: LaserPecker 1...
- 💎Take Your Creativity Anywhere: Weighing only...
What I Liked
- Compact and easy to use
- Good build quality
- Can engrave using low power
What I Didn’t Like
- It may tend to be difficult to focus
Out of all the Laserpecker machines I’ve tried, the Laserpecker L1 stands out in terms of portability and compactness.
It is a mini laser engraver made up of only the essential parts. It includes only a laser module, a power source, and a tripod stand.
The focal length is the distance from the laser module to the item for engraving. For the Laserpecker L1, the focal length is 7.9 inches. It comes with a ruler to assist in focusing the laser.
The best thing about this portable laser engraver for me is that it does not require much power to operate. Connecting it to a power bank with an output of 5.0 V 2,000mA is enough for you to start engraving.
Despite the small size of the Laserpecker L1, it is equipped with a powerful 1.6-watt diode laser. It is enough for engraving various materials, such as paper, wood, and leather. However, when I tried, it could not produce quality output when I used it to cut wood or engrave metal.
This portable laser engraver features built-in Bluetooth with Laserpecker app connectivity.
This allowed me to write, draw, and import images. At the same time, I was able to send a command to start the engraving process. Because of this, I had better control over the overall quality of my output.
Supporting this is the built-in memory storage of the Laserpecker L1. It can resume an engraving without an active Bluetooth connection as long as commands have already been transferred to the engraver.
Unlike other engraving tools, this one doesn’t need a wired power source while operating. I was able to operate it wirelessly as long as it was charged using its type-C USB interface power input.
The built-in safety features of this engraver include a password lock, motion detection sensor, and an exhaust fan.
5. Comgrow Mini Laser Engraver – Best for Safety
- 【MULTIPLE ENGRAVING MODES】The laser engraver...
- 【PERFECT APP AUXILIARY FUNCTIONS THROUGH...
What I Liked
- The design integrates the protective cover
- The package includes items for engraving
- Supports four engraving modes
What I Didn’t Like
- The app may be buggy
The Comgrow Mini is designed with an upper plastic shell and a lower acrylic foot stand. The upper shell contains the laser module and the drive system, while its stand doubles as a protective cover from the laser emitted.
Assembly isn’t a concern with this laser engraver because it comes semi-assembled. I only had to attach the feet to the upper shell of the unit. As soon as I scanned the QR code on the package to install the Blue Laser app, I was able to start your engraving process.
The Comgrow Mini engraver only requires low power to operate. However, you have two power options to choose from to run the machine. You can choose either the 12V/2A adaptor connection or the 5V/2A type-C connection.
Aside from its power options, the Comgrow Mini also features connectivity options. You can connect the machine to your computer using its USB interface and to your smart devices through Bluetooth.
It has three LED light indicators on top of the unit. Red indicates a power supply connection, green indicates a successful Bluetooth or USB pairing, while blue tells you that the laser is in operation for engraving.
When it comes to laser power, the Comgrow Mini engraver has a 1.6-watt output power and a wavelength of 445 nm.
Its laser head comes with an adjusting knob that you can turn to change the focus of the engraver. All this can produce a good engraving quality with a resolution of 508 dpi.
Another thing I like about this portable laser engraver is its additional features and accessories. The package includes a pair of safety goggles, sample items you can engrave on, and a locking plate.
The locking plate acts as a protective base plate against damage from the lasers. I noticed that it had a square marking that designated the area for engraving. Once the engraver tilts at an angle of at least 30 degrees, the safety motion sensor activates and turns the engraver off.
What to Consider When Choosing a Portable Laser Engraving Machine
Look into these factors to filter out the best portable laser engravers on the market to find one that’s made for you:
The dimensions of your laser engraver are important. It translates to how much space your engraver will take up. DIY enthusiasts may have a smaller allocated space than home businesses.
Decide how much space you’re willing to allocate for your machine and look into the dimensions of the engraver to see if they match.
Aside from the size, the weight is another important consideration for a compact laser engraver. If you don’t have an allocated space for your machine, you’d have to carry your engraver from one place to another. This is where the weight comes into play.
As you look into portable laser engravers, your engraver has to be transportable. Engravers on the market vary in size and weight. As such, one may be less portable than the other.
Take the Neje Master 2 Mini, for example. It is relatively more portable when you combine it with the Snapmaker Original.
Your portable laser engraver, no matter how small, should still offer a working area you can operate with. It would not be wise to buy a small engraver with a working area that is too small. It cannot accommodate the engraving you want to do.
Keep in mind that portable equipment will not have the same features as a full-sized one. As such, it should be priced reasonably. For me, portable engraving shouldn’t cost more than full-sized engraving options.
Laser Beam Strength/Intensity
Lastly, your engraving equipment should be able to achieve the design output you’re aiming for. The type and output power of lasers can indicate the surfaces they can engrave on and the design resolution they can produce.
Why Should You Buy a Portable Laser Engraver?
As soon as you look into the variety of laser engraving machines available, you’ll find out that most are desktop machines. This means that most of them are large and heavy. Their frame and components make these types of equipment difficult to carry around.
Many hobbyists and businesses have shown a preference for mobility. As such, brands and manufacturers have come up with portable laser engravers. They are lightweight and compact, allowing users to use them as handheld and stationary tools.
Desktop engravers and fiber laser engraver machines often have engraving areas of around 16 x 16 inches. Portable laser engravers, on the other hand, have engraving areas that are around half this size.
Despite their smaller sizes and lighter weights, many portable laser engravers nowadays can feature the same precision and cutting speeds as full-size laser engravers. The cutting quality can vary depending on factors such as output power, wavelength, and focus.
Pros and Cons of a Mini Laser Engraver
Just like other products, mini engravers come with advantages and disadvantages. Some of these are as follows:
- Ease of Transport – Your workspace is not limited when you have mini engravers. You can move your engraving tool from one space to another.
- Wider Variety of Projects – Your laser engraver is now movable. This allows you to etch designs on surfaces that used to be impossible with benchtop machines.
- Low Power Requirement – Mini engravers aren’t as big and heavy as benchtop machines. You can operate them even with a weaker power source, such as a power bank.
- Smaller Working Area – The size limitation of your engraver implies the size limitation of your designs. You have a smaller working area, which limits you to smaller designs.
- Limited Operation Time – Mini engravers aren’t as heavy-duty as full-size ones. Because of this, you can only run them for a limited amount of time to prevent overheating.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here is the frequently asked questions article section!
How Will I Know What Size Laser Engraver to Buy?
Size depends on the design that you want to laser engrave.
You might need a full-size one if you plan to engrave a big design. If the design you want to engrave can fit within the working area of a mini one, the mini size is enough.
You can visualize your design better using design software. Once you convert it to G code, your engraving tool can read this to start engraving.
How Long Do Portable Laser Engravers Last?
A compact laser engraver machine may be small but extremely powerful. Its lifespan can range from 5,000 to 10,000 hours, depending on your laser module and your usage.
Are Portable Laser Engraving Machines Durable and Long-Lasting?
Laser engraving machines are durable enough to last you many projects.
However, the longevity of your machine can also depend on how you take care of it.
A compact engraving machine has sensitive components like lasers and sensors that can damage easily if not taken care of.
Portable laser engravers may be compact, but they can offer the same cutting quality as full-size ones.
They allow you to work on projects with more freedom and mobility, yet your operating time and design size may be limited.