A laser engraving machine can cost as low as $150 and as high as a million dollars, depending on precision, speed, and other features you would need from the machine.
There are many different types of laser engraving machines, and each has its own strengths and purposes. The best part is each type caters to a diverse budget range.
So, whether you are a hobbyist starting to explore laser cutting or you own a business and would need a machine fit for industrial manufacturing, there is a laser machine just for you.
Now the question is, how much are laser cutting machines exactly? This article will answer that question and more!
How Much Does a Laser Engraving Machine Cost?
The cost of a laser engraving and cutting machine usually depends on its size. For standard specifications of a CO2 laser, a home or hobby laser machine would cost from $150 to $500.
On the other hand, large-format laser machines can cost from $15k to $150k. The best laser machines at the industry level can even go as high as $500k, especially robot-assisted ones.
Price Ranges of Different Laser Engraving Machine Types
This section will enumerate the different types of laser engraving machines, their features, and their price ranges. Let’s dive right in!
Entry-level Diode Laser Engraver
If you are starting to get into laser engraving and are looking for the best entry-level materials, these machines are the best for you.
Brands such as Comgrow, Ortur, and NEJE are household names under the category of entry-level laser engravers. The laser power for this range is usually 1W to 5W.
You can also get a cutting machine capable of being controlled by a computer called a CNC router. These provide an optional laser and rotary axis upgrade.
This type of laser machine can cut thinner materials such as plastics, wood, painted tile, leather, black anodized aluminum, and other non-metal materials.
Depending on additional features, they cost anywhere between $150 to $500.
Hobby Diode Laser Engraver
If you want to be cost-effective but still want your laser to cut through many materials, this type of laser cutter is best for you.
Ranging from $400 to $2k, a hobby diode laser engraving machine can cut through paper, wood, bamboo, leather, and organic materials such as fruit peel, cork, opacity acrylic, and felt.
They usually range from 5W to 20W of laser power and can be either 2-axis or 3-axis machines.
If you have the latter, your laser machine will even come with an auto-focus feature that automatically moves the laser module along the Z-axis.
They have an air assist system and an exhaust pump. This type of laser machine is also cost-effective because it has higher productivity at high speed.
Entry-level CO2 Laser Engraver
Want to get into lasers but do not have the work area for large equipment? There is a type of engraving machine just for you.
This cutting machine can cut through dense materials, such as rubber, glass, cement, stones, anodized metals, and fabric. They usually have a laser power of less than 50W.
Brand names for this type of laser-cutting machine are Boss Laser, OMTech, FLUX, FSL, and Glowforge. They cost around $400 to $5.5k.
You will find this type useful if you own a small to medium-sized business. These machines usually have a clear resolution of 1,000 DPI.
An entry-level CO2 laser cutting machine is best for DIY projects. Don’t worry. Laser cutters such as this have an enclosed setup to prevent the laser beam from cutting other materials.
Hobby CO2 Laser Engraver
If you are ready for a higher-power laser engraving machine but not for traditional lasers in industrial setups, then this one’s for you.
A hobby CO2 laser cutter is the middle ground machine in the spectrum of laser cutters. They engrave through more materials at a power range of 40W to 100W.
This includes glass, fiberglass, acrylic, cork, matte board, leather, ceramics, anodized aluminum, and other non-metal materials.
They usually cost from $3k to $10k and often come with free web-based software, such as Glowforge Plus.
The work surface for this laser cutter must be near windows, and the area has to be well-ventilated.
Industrial CO2 Laser Engraver
Do you own a business and would need machines that can produce continuously? An industrial CO2 laser cutter is the right type for you.
With a laser power range of 60W to 8kW, these laser machines usually cost $9k to $60k. This type of laser cutter has enough laser power for 3D engravings.
If you often work with thick materials such as metal, glass, thick wood, and the like, these laser cutters can do it effortlessly.
If you are starting out in the business, there might be a steep learning curve, and you might need technical support at first, but the precision of these machines will definitely help.
These laser machines also have additional features such as autofocus, air assist, an advanced transmission system, and dedicated support from manufacturers.
While the price may look steep initially, this machine is cost-effective as it can perform any engraving, especially if you have your own customized jewelry business.
Fiber Laser Engraver
If you want machines that can engrave deeply into almost all types of materials – especially metal – the laser cutters you need are called fiber lasers.
With laser power ranging from 20W to 50W, fiber lasers cost from $4k to $11k. A fiber laser is generally more effective when it comes to an engraving than its C02 counterpart.
The laser’s wattage is bigger, and the high power enables the laser to cut through metal at a higher speed.
Although they have a limited surface or work bed, a fiber laser machine is often equipped with Galvo heads, making engraving look like an easy process.
For context, Galvo heads enable the laser beam without an XY movement.
If you are doing a project that needs engraving on a big piece of metal, glass, or thick wood, consider using a fiber laser as your laser cutting machine.
Large-Format Laser Cutting Machine
This type of laser cutter is often used in industrial setups and environments wherein production continues 24/7.
With a power range of 30W to 500W, a large-format laser cutter machine can engrave onto large workpieces and quantities of wood, glass, acrylic, fabric, leather, and rubber.
It can cut metal and has high-end design elements that let the laser cut with precision, accuracy, and power. They are also best for engraving flat surfaces.
These machines are priced at around $15k to $150k. Unlike other laser cutters operating at less power, a large-format laser cutter often has a flexible power output.
Eagle, Trotec, Triumph, HGTECH, and the like offer this type of machine.
If you want to get a laser-cutting machine of this scale, you will need to order it directly from the manufacturer.
They are often customized depending on industrial needs, and the price may vary depending on other factors.
Robot-Assisted Laser Cutting Machine
If your business requires intricate details and customization, you might want to consider a robot-assisted laser-cutting machine.
With a price range of $45k to $500k, it is easy to think that the cost is too high. But, the value of this type of laser cutting is also noteworthy.
Aside from the flexible power output from the laser source, this type of machine also has robots to help you hold the workpiece and clean the lens.
It also eliminates the need for periodic maintenance, as your operations can continue even without supervision.
Intricate cuts and engraving are also possible, as the robots can help hold the workpiece at any angle so the laser source can reach it.
Regarding costs, the price of robot-assisted machines is the most expensive, but they can also be the best laser machine you can get.
The laser marking is precise, eliminating the need for touch-ups or reworking. They can also engrave into any material, regardless of thickness.
Additional Costs to Consider for Laser Engraving Machines
After purchasing your laser machine, the costs do not end there. There are hidden costs frequently on top of your equipment’s purchase price.
Cost of Running a Laser Cutting or Engraving Machine
A laser machine will have parts that will need replacement due to the usual wear and tear. This can be hardware such as spare lenses, fume extractors, or even software.
Shipping costs for these materials can add up. Not to mention that every purchase of a replacement will also include tax and customs fees.
Training Cost for Operations
Laser marking requires a certain level of experience and expertise. Lasers are not exactly the most human-friendly equipment, even at low power.
While a laser cutter cut is not fatal to humans, it can still cause considerable damage to the skin through photochemical or thermal burns.
While this does not always apply to lasers that cater to paper engraving, training is still important, as injuries may happen when a laser is involved.
What Factors Affect the Costs of Laser Machines?
These are the factors that affect the prices of these machines!
As you have seen in the list above, there are many types of lasers, although the most used types are diodes and C02. A fiber laser is usually the most expensive option.
The lifetime of the laser cutter also depends on its type. For example, a diode laser usually has 10,000 to 50,000 hours, while a CO2 one has only 1,000 to 10,000 hours.
A fiber laser, being the most costly option, proves its value for money with 100,000 hours.
The two other types can cut through paper without a problem, but a fiber laser can work on metals such as aluminum, steel, and brass.
It is without a doubt that the best laser is almost always the most expensive as well. This is because the higher the laser power, the higher the machine’s price.
If you want your laser marking thicker materials, expect the cost to go up as well.
The laser tube power from 30W to 90W usually costs as low as $200-$900. This type of laser can cut through paper and other materials but will need multiple passes in thicker materials.
Higher laser tube powers mean more power coming from the laser source, enabling you to cut deeper and faster into materials.
Laser has optical components that guide the laser beam to the work bed.
Better and more high-quality optics deliver an extended service life. Lasers with better optics also avoid frequent maintenance and maximize their operational duration.
Wave or Pulsed Lasers
The power going through a laser tube is either supplied continuously or through short bursts of high energy.
Continuous wave or constant wave (CW) lasers are often able to cut continuously but have lower laser power than pulsed lasers.
On the other hand, pulsed lasers produce very high frequencies, albeit in short bursts.
Pulsed lasers are also bought at a higher price because they require technology to be able to pulse in an equal interval of time.
Number of Axes
The more axes a laser has, the more complex operations it can perform. Work that requires detail and intricacies often requires lasers with multiple axes.
An additional axis often comes with an auto-focus feature.
Laser Engravers vs. Laser Cutting Machines: What’s the Difference?
Laser engravers and laser cutting machines are fundamentally the same. The difference lies in use.
They are both CNC machines that take input from a computer and do engraving or cutting, depending on what is required in work.
Regarding price, laser cutting machines are more expensive because they cannot just engrave. They can also cut through materials.
You can say that laser-cutting machines are optimized to cut materials faster than laser engravers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are the most commonly asked questions about a laser engraver!
How Much Does a Good Laser Engraver Cost?
The price of a good laser engraver can typically be around $400. Depending on the other features and factors we mentioned above.
However, you can still find budget machines below $200, such as an entry-level diode laser engraver.
For instance, the NEJE 3 Plus N40630 is one of the most affordable engraving machines.
At $269, you can have a portable machine that can reach 200,000 mm per minute and a gyroscope that can help prevent accidental touches.
If you want more portable laser engraving options, you can check our article on the best portable laser engraver!
This machine can cut through hardwood, glass, rubber stamps, and grooves and create image engraving on stone
Is Laser Engraving Expensive?
It depends on the type of machine that you want to buy. Generally, engraving as a hobby does not have to be expensive.
If you use the machine for personal use, you won’t have to spend a fortune to purchase one. It’s the industrial ones that are meant for really expensive businesses.
The cost of the machine also varies depending on the features you want.
Other models employing the basic features and technology are affordable, while other specialized ones are more costly.
Here’s a list of budget-friendly engravers.
To calculate or estimate what this will cost you, you can list the features you want and find a suitable machine from that price range.
These machines are worth the investment if you have some budget to spare. You can find the list of the best engravers here.
Final Verdict: Are Laser Engravers and Cutters Worth It?
Depending on your intended use, both cutters and engravers are worth it.
Remember that immediately, you do not have to buy the most expensive or sophisticated equipment.
Ease yourself in engraving, and make sure to also do your own research before purchasing anything.
We hope you learned a thing or two from this article. Let us know your comments, suggestions, and opinions below!