Best Laser Engravers under $500: Affordable Machines

Since writing this article on the best laser engravers under $500, I’ve received a lot of positive feed back from readers like yourself who have since started their laser engraving journey.  Many have even gone on to start making money with their laser engraver, and some just love making gifts for their loved ones.  Regardless of your dreams or goals, it is great to see the creativity and passion come through with such a simple machine. Thanks to all of you who have messaged me, keep it up!

In a hurry… Here’s Our Top Pick

Our Pick
ORTUR Laser Master 2, Laser Engraver CNC
$389.99

Buyers find the functionality to be excellent for a variety of materials. They like the ability to customize the hardware and feel the machine's performance rivals that of more expensive machines.

Editor's Pick - Best Laser Engraver under $500

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11/26/2021 05:11 pm GMT

Whether you want to engrave your own design on an iPhone case, craft a customized leather wallet, or make your own wooden sign, there is a laser engraver under $500 that can do the job. Advancements in technology have made it possible for the hobbyist and recreational craftsmen to purchase an affordable laser engraver without sacrificing quality.

These machines can cut shapes and engrave materials for both practical and creative projects, and they come with a variety of features.

Laser cutters can precisely etch or carve designs and lettering on a variety of materials. Many people use them to cut shapes to design their own jewelry, personalize objects by lasering a name, or craft intricate art pieces. Purchasing an affordable laser engraver allows you to personalize items and unleash your creative vision in new and exciting ways.

Buying Guide

When choosing the best laser engraver under on a budget, you will want to look at a few different specifications. Much depends on the materials you want to work with and the type of projects you intend to focus on. While all laser engravers cut and engrave, some work better on different materials. Here are the most important features to compare.

Size

The first thing you will want to consider is the size of the projects you will be working on. Varied bed sizes allow for a difference in the continuous cutting action your budget laser cutter can perform.

If your objects are larger than the cutting bed, you will have to continually reposition the materials, and some materials will be too big to work with at all. It is also faster to cut multiple small pieces at once if the bed space is generous enough.

In addition to the size of the bed, you will want to consider whether or not the bed needs to go up or down or if a fixed bed is sufficient. An adjustable bed will allow different sized or bulkier objects to be placed on the bed.

Power

The wattage determines the strength and reliability of the laser. The higher the watts, the faster you will be able to cut.  Laser cutting on a budget is important, but you don’t want to sacrifice power in your laser engraving machine.

Software

Some laser engravers come with their own software. This is great for ease of use, but it may limit your design options. If you create your own designs in CAD, Adobe, or other graphic design software, you will want to find an affordable laser cutter that is compatible with your preferred software.

Materials

Each laser engraver has its own range of materials that it can effectively cut. Some engravers work best with soft materials like leather or wood, and others have the capability to cut plastic, metal, stone, or glass.

Top Laser Engravers Under $500 Reviews

1. ORTUR Laser Master 2

The OTUR Laser Master 2 is a high-powered cheap laser cutter with a large engraving area. This engraver is easy to assemble and has simple configuration instructions. The price is incredibly low for the machine’s capability. The frame is a simple no-frills construction with a couple of buttons on the control board and a USB connection. Despite the simple construction, the engraver has three built-in safety features.

Users like the ability to connect with Mac, Windows, or Linux and the compatibility with a wide variety of open source software. Most found the cutter fast and smooth due to the powerful motherboard.

Features

Engraving Area: 15.75 x 15.75 inches

Materials: Plywood, Kraft Paper, Leather, Plastic, Cardboard, Wood, Non-woven Fabric, Veneer, Bamboo, Film-coated glass

Electric Power: 20W

Laser power: 5000mW-5500mW

Software Compatibility: Windows (Working with LaserGRBL), MAC OS and Linux (Working with LightBurn)

Image file compatibility: NC, BMP, JPG, PNG, DXF, etc.

2. Orion Motor Tech 40W CO2 Laser Engraver

The Orion Motortech 40W is a compact laser engraver that boasts upgraded digital controls that allow quick adjustment of the power volume via an LCD touch display. A red dot indicator allows guided positioning and easy project setup. It also has an integrated cooling fan to prevent overheating and reduce noise, as well as 4 detachable wheels. If you would like to upgrade the power, you can easily add a 50 or 60W laser tube. Materials remain secure and stable with attached clamps and a leveling board.

Buyers find the functionality to be excellent for a variety of materials. They like the ability to customize the hardware and feel the machine’s performance is superior for the price. The biggest complaint is the machine’s incompatibility with iOS. Some found the included software was not user friendly.

Features

Engraving Area: 12 x 8 inches

Cutting Depth: 2-3mm wood or acrylic

Materials: Wood, Stone, Glass, Leather, Crystal, Paper, Film, Rubber, Bamboo, etc.

Laser power: 40W CO2

OS Support: Windows 2000, XP, 7, 10 and 8 (not iOS compatible)

Software Compatibility: CorelDRAW

Software Included: Shenzhouy

3. LE-4040 Desktop Laser Engraver 5000mW

The FoxAlien LE-4040 Desktop Laser Engraver offers easy assembly (10-20 minutes) and an adjustable laser focus with an accuracy of .1mm. It is an especially good choice for beginners. The simple design offers the novice laser cutter the ability to get up and running with minimal effort, and the 5000mW laser can be upgraded to 15000mW if the operator chooses to try more advanced projects.

Users praise the laser cutter’s precision and upgrade options as well as the economical price. Most find the included LaserGRBL software to be easy to use and find the customer service department to be very responsive. Though you will have it running right out of the box, it will take some time to learn the adjustments required to perfect your cutting skills.

Features

Engraving Area: 15.75 x 15.75 inches

Cutting Depth: 2-3mm wood or acrylic

Materials: Wood, MDF, Acrylic, Cardboard, Leather, etc.

Electric power: 5000mW

Laser Output: 3500-4000mW

OS Support: Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, Mac OS

Software Compatibility: Compatible with all GRBL software such as LaserGRBL, Candle, etc.

4. Orion Motor Tech 40W CO2 Laser Engraving (2020 Edition)

This Orion 40W Laser Engraver is compatible with most printers, scanners, and image file formats. It can engrave and cut a variety of non-metal materials. It has an intuitive digital control panel that automatically adjusts the laser power to accommodate the thickness of your material. The level board is removable, so you can place irregularly shaped objects and make cuts just as precise as those on flat surfaces.

Users praise this laser cutter’s dependability, and long lifespan. They also appreciated the easy set up. Simply connect the machine to your computer’s USB port and you are ready to engrave.

Features

Engraving Area: 12 x 8 inches

Cutting Depth: 2-3mm wood or acrylic

Materials: Wood, Bamboo, Acrylic, Fabric, Glass, Ceramic, Delrin, Cloth, Leather, Marble, Matte Board, Melamine, Paper, Mylar, Rubber, Fiberglass, Anodized Aluminum, Tile, Plastic, Cork, Corian, and more NON-metal materials

Laser power: 40W CO2

OS Support: Windows 2000, XP, 7, 10 and 8 (not iOS compatible)

Software Compatibility: CorelDRAW, CorelLaser

5. ANYCUBIC Mega Pro FDM 3D Printer & Laser 2-in-1

The ANYCUBIC Mega Pro FDM 3D Printer and Laser Engraver combination provides dual functions at a budget friendly price. Makers and crafters can explore the world of 3D printing with the added bonus of laser engraving. This popular machine can work with the basic laser engraving materials and allows multi-color 3D printing. It produces high quality 3D models and precise engraving without requiring any expertise in the two technologies.

Users enjoy the reduced printer noise due to the new ultra-quiet stepper drivers not available on previous printer models. They also appreciate the ability to pause at a particular height so that a different color of filament can be applied with a single nozzle. The ANYCUBIC Mega Pro is an excellent choice for those who want to explore more than one crafting technology.

Features

Engraving Area: 220 × 140 mm

Materials: Leather, Paper, Wood, etc.

Laser Power: 1500mW

Image Format: BMP

3D Printing Build Volume: 210 × 210 × 205 mm

6. NiocTech Laser Engraving – Best Laser Engraver under $200

The NiocTech 3000 mW Laser Engraver is one of the least expensive laser engravers. The laser engraver is priced under $200, and it ships with all the tools required for assembly. The machine itself is pre-assembled and only requires attaching a protective shield before use. The software is provided in a USB flash drive, and you will be ready to start your project immediately with the sample materials included.

Though the engraving size is more limited than larger models, there is plenty of room to personalize a phone case or customize small objects. Some users reported issues with the software, but the company quickly replaced the bad drives.

Features

Engraving Area: 7.5 x 7.5 cm

Materials: Wood, Leather, Plastic, Paper, Film, Rubber, Bamboo, etc.

Laser power: 3000 mW

Software Compatibility: Windows 97, 3, 7, 8, 10

Picture formats: JPG, GIF, BMP, DIB, ICO, CUR, PNG

7. GanGou Laser Engraver Off-line 3000mW

The GanGou Laser Engraver 3000mW offers a wide array of software support, sturdy construction, and enhanced safety design features. It is built for the beginner or the experienced craftsman and offers precise, steady cuts. Transparent items require an application of black paint, and it works best with darker materials.

Users like the simple design and ease of use. The range of compatible materials is not as great as some other models, and it is not Mac compatible.

Features

Engraving Area: 6.8 x 6.1 inches

Materials: Leather, Dark Plastic, Wood (thick or thin), Bamboo, Kraft Paper, Acrylic, (It can’t carve metal or glass)

Laser power: 3000 mW

Software Compatibility: Windows 97, 3, 7, 8, 10

Picture formats: JPG, GIF, BMP, DIB, ICO, CUR, PNG

8. LaserPecker Mini Desktop Laser

The LaserPecker Portable Laser Engraver is small enough that you can tote it anywhere and operate it with a smartphone. It has .01mm precision and comes with protective eyewear as well as a small tripod. It is a great choice for anyone who wants the ability to craft on the go.

Buyers tout its small, yet sturdy design and beginners say it is easy to operate.  Priced at under $300, the laser engraving range is limited to 10cm x 10cm, but it is a speedy laser that works on many materials. The LaserPecker App allows users to upload pictures, create patterns, and type in text.

Features

Engraving Area: 10 x 10 cm

Materials: Wood, Paper, Leather, Fruit, Felt, etc.

Laser power: 1600mW

Software Compatibility: iOS 9.0+, Android 5.0+

Supported Files: JPG, BMP, DIB, ICO, CUR, PNG, G-code, SVG

Connectivity: Bluetooth

In Review

When it comes to buying an affordable laser cutter you now have the knowledge to make an excellent decision on your next purchase.  We hope this review article has helped and look forward to hearing from you.  Happy engraving!