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If you own a small business that focuses on creating items out of plastic, wood or even glass, then a laser cutter could be a really valuable piece of machinery that will speed up your productivity and increase your creative possibilities.
A good laser cutter can engrave objects, etch on surfaces and cut shapes and patterns out of materials with incredible precision and speed.
Whether you are personalizing items, creating small parts for larger items, or cutting through materials, the right laser cutter will help you work with accuracy and pace, and could ultimately help to increase your turnover.
So if a laser cutter is something that you think your small business could benefit from, then read on to find out our top picks from the machines available at market today.
Overall Best Laser Cutter and Engraver for Our Custom Etsy Business: xTool S1
After originally writing this article, we started creating custom-engraved products for friends and family. That blossomed into making custom-designed products for customers in our Etsy store. Based on our experience, we recommend laser cutters for small business from xTool. We own the xTool S1, xTool F1, and the older xTool D1 xTool M1 models, and they each machine has its own advantages. We got both of these laser cutter/engravers directly from the xTool store and received fantastic support from their team.
The 40-watt xTool S1 is the laser cutter and engraver we keep in our garage workshop. We absolutely love the automatic conveyor for long objects and the garage offers us the space to be able feed nice long boards through the machine. And the 23.93 x 15.16 inch bed size is fantastic for accommodating a wide variety of objects for cutting and engraving even if you’re not using the conveyor system.
That’s a huge advantage of the xTool S1 over other laser cutters for small businesses…it can cut and engrave larger objects because it’s not limited by a strictly closed housing — it’s enclosed for safety but with the riser base and automatic conveyor it opens up a whole new world for you to do laser cutting and engraving for your small business.
You also have the optional 4-in-1 rotary attachment, called the RA2. There’s the roller method — think wine glasses, baseball bats, and other round but not strictly cylindrical objects. Then the chuck method, for objects like mugs that are round but also have other shapes like handles so you need to elevate them a bit. The RA2 also has modes for engraving spherical objects and even small rings. It’s super versatile!
The xTool S1 laser cutter can cut through 18mm of wood quickly and efficiently. Its eight 5.5W diode lasers are combined into 40W, giving it an incredibly high power cutting efficiency that’s comparable to other CO2-based laser machines.
Additionally, the xTool S1 laser cutter for small business works fantastic on uneven surfaces. It has an intelligent focusing system, which essentially means it does multi-point focus which allows the Z-axis (the up & down) to dynamically refine focus as it moves along an object. So something like a bowl will have the laser engraving done completely not distorted — just as if it were engraving on a completely flat surface. Pretty amazing!
- 【Class 1 Safety Diode Laser Machine】xTool S1 is a Class 1 (FDA certificated) diode laser engraving machine to ensure user safety. It will automatically stop working when the enclosure is opened or the bottom plate is removed or tilted. It has five flame sensors and one temperature sensor for detecting laser engraver for wood and metal. This kit includes Smart Air Assist, a strong airflow output power of 30L/min for a cleaner surface, and automatic airflow control for engraving and cutting. You can easily obtain satisfied and amazing works and gifts by using xTool S1.
- 【600mm/s Faster, Perfect for Batch Production】xTool S1 20w laser cutter and engraver machine has a processing area of 498*330mm, more extensive than the fiber laser and other diode laser engraver machines, perfect for small business owners or individuals for batch processing metal business cards, wood blanks, home decor, tumblers and jewelry like earrings, necklaces, rings, and more. The S1 engraver has a processing speed of up to 600mm/s, which helps efficient engraving and cutting.
- 【Twin-point Positioning for Extreme Precisive Engraving】xTool S1 harnesses an advanced positioning algorithm for pinpoint accuracy. The unique twin-point technique determines the exact processing location and achieves real-time tracking of the laser heads' position in the software. It is easier to render a live feed. 0.06*0.08mm laser spot facilitates ultra-fine engraving and cutting with minimal scorching, ensuring flawless details, making S1 a great woodworking and jewelry-making tool.
- 【Dynamic Auto-focus for Curved Surface and Thicker Cut】The high-precision auto-focus system intelligently guides the laser beam below the object's surface for thicker cutting (10mm basswood in one pass). The xTool S1 laser engraver also dynamically adjusts the Z-axis for multi-point measurements and automatically constructs a 3D model for perfect 3D laser print on uneven surfaces. No matter what you can imagine, the xTool S1 laser tool helps you to create.
- 【User-Friendly Software with AI Functions】xTool has its FREE software, named "xTool Creative Space," which offers over 500 shapes collection and supports DIY projects and 3D laser printers. It is easy to connect via USB, TF card, and Wi-Fi. It supports multiple file formats, including SVG, DXG, JPG, JPEG, PNG, and BMP, allowing you to make your imagination real. xTool S1 is also compatible with LightBurn software, making it the perfect companion for both beginners and professionals alike.
Another Popular Option: Glowforge Plus 3D Laser Printer
Next, we have arguably the best-known laser cutter for small business, the Glowforge Plus 3D Laser Printer This one does a lot of things really well, is easy to operate and is great for reliability.
The overall aesthetic of this machine is incredibly smart and clean, and at first glance it could be mistaken for a desktop printer.
This means that the Glowforge doesn’t look incongruous whether you are working at home, in a professional office environment or at an off-site commercial location.
The price point for this machine is pretty mid range, which is impressive considering the versatility of applications that it offers and the speed at which it can work.
The Glowforge is a CO2 laser cutting and engraving machine and it operates a 40 watt laser tube which is as fine as a single strand of hair but can cut over 1300 lines per inch.
These are pretty impressive tech stats, however the machine does tire if you put through too high a volume of work so is better for small businesses that don’t have a huge workload.
The body of the machine is just over 3 feet in length and just below 2 feet in width so it fits well on a desk and won’t be too imposing on most work surfaces.
You can print on materials as thick as 2 inches by removing the inner tray from the machine.
It is very important to vent the Glowforge in order to operate it safely, and the inbuilt dryer means that you can use this machine anywhere within 8 feet of an open window.
It is also a good idea to invest in an additional air filter for the machine, but this of course adds to the overall cost of your investment.
The really great thing about the Glowforge laser cutter is its easy-to-use functionality. The Glowforge only takes 30 minutes to set up even for first timers.
It doesn’t require any computer-aided design (CAD) whatsoever, but instead takes your doodle, sketch or drawing ideas and converts them effortlessly into 3D patterns and etchings.
It has sensors that detect the type of material you are using and adjust the laser settings accordingly, so you can laser cut your ideas on many materials with maximum efficiency.
Like most CO2 lasers, the Glowforge does not cut metal, however it can etch onto anodized aluminum.
The inbuilt cameras create a 3D image of what the design will look like and give you a live preview so that you can see your work take shape before your very eyes, and the results are impeccably precise and professional in quality making the Glowforge a great all round laser cutter for any small business.
- Smart, desktop sized printer that will fit on most work surfaces
- Powerful 40 watt laser, cuts through multiple materials with precision
- On board cameras provide live preview facility
- Easy set up with no CAD necessary
- Versatile machine with multi functionality
- Not great for high volumes of printing
- Cannot cut metal
- Must be ventilated to stop overheating
- YOUR IDEA, IN YOUR HANDS, IN MINUTES – Push the button and the powerful 40 watt laser creates meaningful gifts for your friends, unique products to sell, or something personalized just for you.
- SIMPLY AUTOMATIC– Autofocus. Material detection. Automatic print settings. Just pick your drawing, PDF, or photo, add one of dozens of household materials, and click print.
- FREE SOFTWARE & 30 MINUTE SETUP– There's nothing to install - the free app works with your PC, Mac, phone, or tablet.
- LASER PRECISION with DOZENS OF MATERIALS – Precise to the width of a human hair. Carve up to 1/2" deep, 11" tall, and 19.5" wide, at over 1,300 lines per inch. Engrave or print beautiful and useful products from wood, leather, paper, fabric, acrylic, glass, metal, cardboard... even chocolate!
- SAFE FOR HOME AND SCHOOL – The only CDRH Class 1 laser cutter and engraver. Independently safety tested to UL, CE, FDA, and FCC standards for peace of mind.
Best Value for Money: OMTech 100W CO2 Laser Cutter
The OMTech 100W CO2 laser cutter for small business is approximately half the price of other, very similar models and performs incredibly well.
For this reason, the OMTech is a wonderful option for small business owners who are just starting to investigate the world of laser cutting and engraving but aren’t ready to invest huge amounts of money just yet.
The OMTech has a powerful 100 watt CO2 laser tube that is able to cut and engrave on materials such as fiberglass, marble, paper, fabrics, leather, bamboo, plastic, tile, rubber, ceramics and many more.
It really is a brilliantly versatile machine, and best of all, it can print onto different shaped objects, not just flat surfaces.
This is a awesome feature that will open up all manner of creative possibilities, such as engraving trophies and mugs amongst other things.
The OMTech has the ability to add stability clamps that help you secure your object into place without unnecessary fuss, and the machine can laser on areas as large as 20×28 inches in size.
It can provide up to 8,000 hours of usage at the full 100 watt setting and extends its lifespan when consistently used at lower settings.
The OMTech is larger than the Glowforge but still small enough to fit it most shop and garage settings. It’s fully mobile with wheels, and has leveling stability feet for when you’re ready to secure it in place.
It also has a 4-way pass through, so you can send larger pieces through the laser cutter to increase your business capacity to produce large items and sell more interesting creations.
- Low price point but high quality results
- Powerful 100 watt CO2 laser adapted for multiple materials
- Ability to engrave and cut various shaped objects
- Cooling fan increases safety and durability
- Compatible with many popular design software applications as well as offering its own
- Lacks some of the advanced features offered by premium models
- Unable to print on metal
- Water pump is needed for cooling
- Design, Engrave, & Impress: OMTech's 100W CO2 laser engraver engraves as deep as 0.4" (10 mm) on various nonmetallic materials such as wood, glass, acrylic, leather, and more. With speeds up to 23.6 ips (600 mm/s), it transforms your artistic visions into realities that draw wows and aahs.
- Handle Large Items with Ease: The honeycomb and aluminum blade beds feature a 20"x28" work area to fit most projects. The four-way pass-through doors make it a breeze to accommodate larger and longer items.
- Dive into Work with Confidence: The high-performance Yongli H4 tube delivers 100W of power for up to 8,000 hours of usage and extends its lifespan when consistently used at lower settings.
- Enhanced Safety Features: The widened viewing window is made from flame retardant material to ensure lasting safe use, while the cover interlock automatically cuts the laser beam if the window is opened.
- Experience Clean Laser Engraving: The built-in air assist efficiently removes smoke and dust to protect your laser lenses and reflective mirrors.
Best Laser-less Cutter: Shapeoko 5 Pro
No, you aren’t going crazy – there is such a thing as a cutter that operates without an actual laser, and the Shapeoko 5 Pro is a great alternative to a laser cutter for small business for any business owner looking to create more 3 dimensional designs.
You see, laser cutters can generally only cut 2D designs or cut through materials entirely due to the fact that you can’t alter the depth of the cut.
However, this machine uses heat generated from friction to cut through surfaces, and the depth of the cut can be altered to create a whole new world of design possibilities.
The machine itself is a reasonable desktop size and it has an impressive operating capacity with a bed size ranging from 2 feet by 2 feet to 4′ x 4′, depending on which variation of the Shapeoko 5 Pro you choose. See full specifications for the Shapeoko 5 Pro.
This machine also has a greater depth than most laser cutters and can handle materials nearly 4 inches deep.
The Shapeoko 5 Pro comes with nearly all the necessary items for set up provided you order one of their router or spindle options, however, it is a slightly more involved set up process than a machine like the Glowforge. You’ll also need to provide the bits that do the actual cutting and a dust/particle vacuum system is highly recommended. The dust collection can be as simple as a shop-vac setup or as complex as a commercial cyclonic dust collection system.
The results from a CNC machine are similarly precise and professional to a laser however, and the machine is operated by computer software that allows it to make cuts both in and out as well as side to side.
This CNC machine will not discolor the material like a laser cutter sometimes can (after all, lasers burn), and it will allow for more nuanced designs, however it does not offer the same versatility in terms of materials that a laser cutter offers, and is therefore a good option if your small business works mainly on wood, acrylic, plastic, or some light metals.
- Cheaper than traditional laser cutters
- Able to cut 3D designs due to adjustable cutting depth
- Does not discolor surfaces and less safety risks
- Beautiful, nuanced results with precise finish
- Brilliant for wood and thick stone surfaces
- Large footprint, typically you need a shop or garage space
- Requires dust collection to keep the mess down from woodchips and particles
Buyer’s Guide To The Best Laser Cutter For Your Small Business
All small businesses are different and therefore the requirements for the type of laser cutter that is most suitable will change depending on what it is intended for and who is buying it.
However, there are a few key features that you should consider when deciding which is the best laser cutter for small business to use at your company.
It is always worth investigating what materials a laser cutter is capable of working on before you purchase it.
Most CO2 lasers are not capable of cutting metal due to its conductivity, however many can work on anodized aluminum.
The majority of laser cutters will work on a variety of materials from glass, marble, plastic and wood, right through to fabrics, leather and paper. So think what your business model requires and then pick accordingly.
The power of any machine is an important consideration, and relates to the amount of cutting you will require it to do each day.
More powerful lasers generally cut more quickly and can therefore complete projects in a shorter amount of time. If you have a high volume of orders then a powerful laser is most appropriate. If you are also etching designs with your laser cutting machine, keep in mind that sometimes the higher power level will mean less crispness on the details of your etched items (specifically with diode laser systems) due to the fact that higher power stacks laser elements together for essentially a “fatter” beam.
Of course, if you want to avoid lasers altogether, CNC machines don’t employ a laser beam whatsoever, and are a great option if you want to create more nuanced, 3D designs on wood or stone.
Size Of Workspace
The environment that you will be working in will dictate the size of the machine that you should buy.
Most small laser cutters fit neatly on a desktop and are perfect for office use. However, if you are looking for something more powerful, then you may need to look for a larger machine or a versatile laser cutter for small business with an extender option such as the xTool S1.
Look out for the safety features on any laser cutter before you buy. Although advanced safety features may increase the price of a machine, you will avoid having to purchase additional air filters and cooling systems separately, and you will also have greater peace of mind when operating the machine.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Best Laser Cutter For Cutting Metal?
Most desktop CO2 laser cutters will not work on metal. Therefore, if you require a metal laser cutter you should look to buy a more expensive fiber laser cutter, like the Epilog Fusion Pro, which has the power to cut through tough metal surfaces easily.
What is the overall Best Laser Cutter for Small Business? (VIDEO)
The answer to this question will definitely depend on how you’re going to use your laser cutter for your small business and what your budget looks like. We have our favorites as we mention at the top of this article, but you really have to do your research and decide for yourself. Full disclosure, in 2024 we’re partial to the xTool S1 for nearly all our small business laser cutting needs. But if you need to cut thicker wood and acrylic and higher volumes of material, the xTool P2 CO2 laser cutter is a fantastic choice as well.
A great starting point to help choose the right laser engraver and cutter is the video blelow from Brandon at the Make or Break Shop. Brandon does a fantastic job of showing the features & benefits of tons of different machines in various categories (both diode lasers and CO2 lasers, in consumer through professional business levels) and at different price points — and he’s used and reviewed a ton of machines so he definitely knows what he’s talking about.
And check out the Brandon’s amazing laser
All laser machines mentioned in the video above (with Brandon’s affiliate links — please support him, he’s doing so much comparison work for everyone!).