Best Laser Engraver for Wood 2021: Top 5 Picks

Since writing this article on the best laser engraver for wood, I’ve had a lot of great feed back from happy maker’s and woodworkers.

If you are looking to up your artistic capabilities or simply looking to diversify the tools you use, you may want to consider a laser engraver. These tools are one of those helpful apparatuses that each specialist or workshop should definitely consider adding to their equipment.

By offering you the ability to leave your mark on pretty much anything, they truly are one of the easiest methods to make custom designs. However, this being said, there are a lot of units to choose from. With such a large number of available options, it tends to be challenging to decide which one is the one for you.

To make things a smidgen easier for you, we decided to craft this guide. We will go into what to look for as well as give you a look at a few of the best laser engravers for wood on the market today.

Best Laser Engraver For Wood

Mophorn 12 x 8 Inch Laser Engraving Machine

Our first entry is great for cutting many different materials. It is constructed with high-grade materials that are included to optimize the performance of this laser engraver.

Product Highlights

A lot of moving parts go into a high-quality laser engraver. That is something that Mophorn understands. So the design team all focused on including these key features:

  • Engraving area of 12” x 8”
  • Uses premium CO2 laser
  • Long lifetime (1,000 – 3,000 hrs.)
  • Built-in heat dispersion fan
  • Premium mainboard and chip
  • High-grade bearing and stepping belt
  • Constructed with a stepping motor
  • Crafted with a USB port
  • CorelDRAW software included

The Good

When you look at this unit from Mophorn, it is easy to see why we included it on our list. The engraver is easy to use and set up, so that makes it a great option for new engravers.

The versatility when it comes to graphic formats is extensive. This elevates the value of the engraver, especially when you take a look at the price point attached to this unit. Plus, there is the ability to use it via a USB port.

The Bad

There is a lack of versatility when it comes to the materials that can be etched in comparison to other models on this list or in general. There are also a few extra steps in the maintenance process. This step regards checking the water pump.

PROS

  • Easy to set up and use
  • Has the ability for USB connectivity
  • Able to use multiple graphic formats
  • Price versus value is nice

CONS

  • The unit has a limited capability
  • Extra steps to keep maintained – water pump

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Orion Motor Tech K40 Laser Engraver Cutter

This laser engraver from Orion Motor tech is crafted with care. In fact, this model was recently upgraded to improve performance and results.

Product Highlights

This laser engraver is designed with select attributes that are intended to improve the performance. These attributes include the following:

  • Comes with an upgraded control panel
  • Designed with a triangular-shaped ventilation
  • Comes with a pre-installed fan
  • Clamp and level board include in the design
  • Uses a 40W laser

The Good

This unit is constructed with a lot of features and attributes that easily make it one of the best options on the market today. This includes the versatility of materials that can be cut with it. With a wide choice of options, you have more chances to stretch your artistic abilities and play with the number of products you can create. The unit is also constructed with protection against water breaks.

This will help protect your engraver from potential shorts and damage that could lead to hazardous circumstances. That is all tied together in an easily upgradable build, keeping it fresh and on the cutting edge of technology.  Overall, this is arguably the best laser engraver for wood on the market.

The Bad

This laser engraver does have a few issues that we should really look at before you make that final decision. The first issues are evident as you begin the setup. The process, unlike other options on our list, is a little more time-consuming.

Set aside a little time to make sure that you get it right, and then the actual use of the machine is quite simple. After that, you should also know that there is a limit to the materials that can be used, as this unit does not work well with metals.

PROS

  • Able to cut multiple materials
  • Unit can be upgraded easily
  • Easy to use engraver
  • Constructed with protection for water breaks

CONS

  • Not able to be used with metals
  • Setup takes a little bit of time

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GOGOLUCK Portable Laser Engraver

The next entry is a desktop laser engraver that is compact and easy to use. The unit offers DIY laser marking for many different materials.

Product Highlights

Precision is a key attribute that must be present in any good laser engraver. This unit is designed with parts and systems that are specifically designed to hone in on that very attribute.

These features and components that are included in the design are:

  • Engraving range 150 x 150 mm standard/ 160 x 160 mm GRBL
  • Accuracy up to .08 mm
  • Compatible with multiple graphics formats
  • Built-in 405 nm laser tube
  • Crafted with a gyroscope protection device
  • Comes with break point memory function

The Good

This model is a great option for those that travel. As a small laser engraver, it is lightweight and compact. This will elevate its portability and make it easy to store in luggage. That means that if you are an engraver that travels the festival circuit opting for this unit is a smart choice.

With it, you will also be able to create finely detailed pieces at a rapid speed, once again, making it a perfect choice for any artisan that works festivals or conventions.

The Bad

There are, however, a few drawbacks when looking at this model. Though each of these is not universal, it is still important to understand any potential issues that might arise.

The first issues are that some have experienced the laser getting stuck in the tracks as the artist engraves. This could cause some of those fine details to be lost.

Other than that, the manual itself can be a bit tricky for those that are new to laser engraving.

PROS

  • Lightweight and compact design
  • The unit offers nice speed
  • Nice work on detailing
  • Easy to assemble and use

CONS

  • Issues with sticking in tracks
  • Manual is a little tricky to understand

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SainSmart Genmitsu LE5040 Laser Engraver

Our next entry is a high-quality CNC laser engraver that is capable of cutting a wide range of materials. The LE5040 is one of the best and most versatile options available to you.

Product Highlights

There is something to be said for the innovative and superior design of this engraver from SainSmart. This company happens to focus on the finer details that all combine to create high-quality products.

For this engraver, they concentrated on the below features to yield their desired results:

  • Runs on Arduino
  • GRBL compatible software included
  • Top cutting speed 10000mm/min
  • Position accuracy down to .1mm
  • Versatility of materials
  • Large working area (19.7” x 15.7”)
  • Built with a 5.5w laser module
  • Comes with open-source GRBL software

The Good

This laser engraver is one of the best for a lot of different reasons. From its avital build to the software used by it, everything exudes performance and quality.

The build is topped off with a large workspace. This will keep your options for projects wide open. Able to work on multiple materials, your projects can range g from engraved leather wallets to wall signs that will decorate your home.

When dealing with a unit of this size, many might be worried about the noise levels, but due to careful construction, this is not a problem with the engraver.

Then you move on to the easy-to-use software. All of this combines into an easy-to-use and efficient piece of equipment that many could benefit from.

The Bad

There are two flaws that some may consider deal-breakers. The first is the time it takes to set up. Be sure to set aside a good chunk of time to make sure you set up and calibrate this piece perfectly for optimal results.

Other than that, the unit does tend to move across the surface; this is due to the lack of rubber feet. This can be solved by purchasing a heat-safe rubber mat and placing it underneath the unit.

PROS

  • Laser GRBL software is easy to use
  • Very clear and informative manual
  • Nice size working area
  • Built for reduced noise levels

CONS

  • It takes time to assemble and setup
  • Issues with unit moving – no rubber feet

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GanGou CNC Laser Engraver

The last entry on our list is another high-performance CNC Professional laser engraver. Designed to give you precision and versatility, the GanGou laser engraver is one that you need to check out.

Product Highlights

The team at GanGou really wanted to deliver a premium product. That meant buckling down and zeroing in on what makes a good laser engraver. Once they had done that they knew they had to include the following features:

  • Positioning accuracy down to .02mm
  • Engraving range: 17.5cm x 15.5cm
  • Fitted with 3000mw laser
  • Compatible with multiple graphic formats

The Good

With this CNC laser engraver, you get everything you want and need. Crafted with a well-sized workspace, you are open to a wide range of projects. This is made even wider by the ability of this unit to work with a versatile sampling of materials. The versatility of this unit is only surpassed by its easy use and ability to be used even with no internet access. Combined together, these features make it very evident why this is one of the best options available to you today.

The Bad

Even though this unit has a lot to offer, there are a few things that could cause some to pause before making this their go-to engraver. The first is that if you are a Mac user, you will need to look for another option. This laser engraver is only compatible with Windows PCs. There have also been some issues with the included software. Many have had issues with it rebooting or shutting down without any notice. This could be quite awkward if it happens in the middle of a project.

PROS

  • The unit is easy to put together
  • Can be operated via USB drive
  • Designed with a nice workspace
  • Compatible with a wide range of materials

CONS

  • Only works on Windows (quite limiting)
  • Problems with software usability – reboots suddenly

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BUYER’S GUIDE

There are a lot of features that you could focus on when looking into finding the best laser engraver for wood. However, for us, there are just a handful that will genuinely impact the basic performance of the engraver itself. These are the features we looked at to craft our list.

Types of Laser Engraving

Before you really begin looking at the specific features and functions of laser engravers, you should have a good grasp of what types of options that are available. By understanding each of them, you will be able to choose the one that will work for your products. There are three main types of laser engravers.

C02 Laser

These are probably the most mainstream options on the market. They tend to be the best choice for beginners because of the ease of use and value proposition.

The laser shaft used in cutting uses a gas blend with the main gas being CO2. They also tend to be able to work with the most materials. This makes them one of the most loved varieties of laser engravers.

Neodymium

This sort of laser cutting machine is produced using neodymium crystals. There are dual lasers — one produced by the crystal and another with a higher wavelength. The power of these lasers permits the shaper to slice through extremely hard materials.

Fiber Laser

This type of engraver uses a ‘seed laser,’ which is intensified by being shot through glass. These sorts of cutters are used for etching data into select types of materials.

Applicable Materials

A good laser engraver can work with a wide assortment of materials. This can include but is not limited to paper, leather, metal, fabrics, and so forth.

Prior to purchasing a specific unit, you need to research if it can deal with etching or slicing the materials you intend to work with later on. Knowing what materials your engraver works with will allow you to plan out your projects and stay cost-efficient.

Working Area

The size of your projects will solely depend on the area you have available to work in. The greater the bed size, the bigger the project. That means if you are working on small projects, you don’t need a large work area.

A few machines are fitted with beds that can be customized to permit various sizes of projects. So you can see that it is essential to consider the size of the bed as one of the key factors in your decision.

Features

When looking for your perfect laser engraver, finding one that is fitted with extra features is a great idea. The more features you can get, the better your finished products can be.

This will also help with cost efficiency, as well as time management. There are many features that can be included in the design of a good laser engraver.

Here are a few we feel are necessary.

Systems/Software

Most engravers will have to interface with a PC. For this reason, you need to look at a few key attributes. First is that the system and design of the engraver need to be well executed. Then you should check out the software.

Make sure that it offers easy-to-control and precision graphics. You will also want to look at compatibility, starting with Windows or Mac and ending in the graphics formats that can be used.

Laser Power

The power of the laser will have an impact on the materials you can work with. More force allows you to work with harder materials. Regularly, 40-50W force is sufficient for working with most materials.

Heat Dissipation

Most units will use an air cooling or a water cooling system. Each of these systems is designed to cool your machine the longer you use it.

Price vs. Value

When deciding which option to go with, you definitely want to get the most bang for your buck and the best laser engraver overall for wood. That means looking at what you are getting for the price point.

It is okay to spend a little more if you get a higher quality performance and results. But always be aware of your budget; there is no need to go into the red for this tool.

F.A.Q.

With all that knowledge, we are sure that there have been a few questions that have come up. So we took it upon ourselves to find a few of the most commonly asked questions and answer them for you. Hopefully, we answer at least a few of yours.

What can you do with a laser engraver?

Here are a couple of instances of things you can do with a laser engraver:

  • Artwork
  • Home décor
  • Design accessories
  • Make signs
  • Engrave leather and metal
  • Etch glass

Of course, there are many more options that you can explore as you gain more experience.

How to tell how many watts my laser engraver is?

The intensity of the laser source is estimated in watts. Contingent upon the machine, you will have power options that extend from 30-120 watts, particularly for CO2 laser tubes.  These will work best with a laser engraver for wood.

Each model may offer a different level, and you can check for the model’s wattage on the machine itself or in the instruction manual.

What program should I use for a laser cutter?

There are a few options. One of the most popular to use is CorelDRAW. However, some engravers are also known to use Adobe Illustrator and AutoCAD. The choice is really up to you and what you are comfortable with. It may also depend on what program is compatible with your model.

How to align laser cutter mirrors

This process may differ from model to model. There are some basic principles that will be transferable between the models though. Here are the steps to align your laser cutter mirrors:

  1. Locate the three holes and starting on the outside one work inwards. Place three sticky notes – one over each consecutive hole.
  2. Starting with the first hole, close the laser and turn off the power.
  3. Set the laser head to the upper left of the work zone. Press the pulse button for only about a millisecond.
  4. Open the machine and investigate the pieces of paper. You are looking to burn a hole in the center of the sticky note.
  5. Alter the mirrors beginning from where the laser starts until you get the precision just right, so it produces the hole where it is supposed to be.
  6. Then repeat the process for holes two and three.

Make a few test cuts. If the test cuts are still not right, repeat the entire process until you have calibrated the mirrors just right.

What materials should not be cut with a laser cutter?

In spite of the fact that laser machines can process a wide scope of materials, there are still some materials better left untouched by a laser engraver. Laser handling these materials creates very hazardous gases or residues.

Here is a rundown of materials that are not laserable:

  • Fake leather that contains chromium
  • Carbon fiber
  • PVC/PVB
  • Teflon
  • Beryllium oxide
  • Any materials containing incandescent light, epoxy or phenolic gums

FINAL VERDICT

There are a lot of great choices out there when it comes to laser engravers. When making your decision, bear in mind your intent as well as your budget. Then you just have to focus on the key factors, and you should end up with the perfect model for you and your engraving needs.  We think you will really love the Orion Motor Tech 40w, as we currently think it’s the best laser engraver for wood.

But if you still are having a problem narrowing it down, make sure to really look at the models we have chosen as the best laser engravers. We are sure there is one that will match your needs.