Jewelry laser cutting in a studio or home office is now as accessible as it's ever been.
Countless home businesses on Etsy are now making custom jewelry items with laser engravers, making this affordable technology a gateway to monetizing crafts for experienced and novice makers.👑
Below we review the best laser engravers on the market, covering everything from starter-friendly units that ease you into the process to professional units that handle most of the work for you.
Whether you're an independent jeweler who loves crafting personalized jewelry or a hobbyist, you'll find a suitable laser engraver machine for you.
Here's everything you need to know about laser engravers before you pull out the wallet.
Bottom Line Recommendation
This guide covers the six best laser engraving machines on the market. Our recommendations are as follows.
Basics: What is a laser engraver?
LASER is the acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Laser engraving is a manufacturing process that removes material surfaces using the laser.
A laser engraver is a number-controlled unit that engraves your designs on jewelry. The machine helps change the surfaces of items to create noticeable images.
The machine creates intense heat using its lasers to vaporize particles of the jewelry for engraving. This process creates cavities on the item, creating an image.
Laser engravers are fast because they create images as the lasers move. Plus, the frequency of the laser's movements on the engravement item also determines the deepness of the marks you're creating.
However, laser engraving is not the same as other traditional engravement processes. Mechanical machines use hard materials—such as diamond cutters—to mark jewelry. But laser engravers use laser thermal energy.
Using heat makes the effect delicate, making the laser engravers excellent replacements for traditional engraving methods.
Laser engravers generate and channel a focused laser beam onto the material, leaving an indelible mark on your material.
The laser beam produces high heat that vaporizes the material, cutting into a part's surface and removing some material. This process leaves a cavity on the surface that's visible and noticeable by touch.
However, there are noteworthy differences in the cavity depth. Typical depths generally vary between 0.02 inches and 0.125 inches, depending on the hardness of the materials and the heat projects on the surfaces.
Engraved areas usually become dark from the heat, but multi-layer jewelry offers alternative colors to dark colors. Removing the top layers exposes the lower layers, which may be in different colors.
Customization is the new standard driving the popularity of laser engraver machines in the jewelry industry.📈 Out of all jewelry companies involved in a 2020 survey, 38% report an increase in sales of personalized jewelry.
Laser engraving was once popular with industrial companies marking tools and parts and trophy shops customizing recognition products. Today, however, small businesses are blossoming in the jewelry laser engraving industry.
Let's dig further and understand why laser engraver machines are receiving massive popularity in the jewelry industry.
Have you visited the e-commerce website Etsy lately?
The site is one example of how laser engraving has grown in the past few years. Personalizing jewelry takes something as simple as a pair of cufflinks and makes them into a personalized, more meaningful gift.🎁
A simple "laser engraved jewelry" search on Etsy reveals thousands of listings from vendors offering endless personalization services for jewelry. As small home businesses become more popular, laser engraving is fast becoming a way to sell trinkets and many jewelry items to differentiate from the competition.
In business, laser engraving gives gift options for clients a personal touch. Engraving custom logos, names, and graphics on mass-produced jewelry is an excellent way to set something apart.
Laser engravers were previously scarce. A limited supply and prohibitive costs mean that only a few studios or homes would invest in the technology.
Today, laser engraving is no longer for big companies only; you can own a laser engraver machine for far less than you realize. Increased accessibility has given rise to the adoption of engraving machines by small businesses and individuals who offer customization services.
A single laser engraver machine can work on multiple surfaces. So, you only need to purchase the best laser engraver to engrave brass, copper, silver, gold, and more materials.
CO2 laser machines will engrave non-metal surfaces, too, including wood, plastic, and acrylic as they handle thicker material more easily.
Another benefit for the home and studio is the machine can personalize different-shaped items. Therefore, you can work on anything from watches to necklaces and rings to bracelets using the same machine.
However, be keen on the machine's marking area size. But this will not be an issue, considering that most jewelry items are small.
Laser machines use a non-contact method to mark. The machine directs a laser beam onto the jewelry's surface and creates a mark by removing material, resulting in no contact between the laser engraver machine and the item engraved.
No contact means the process does not compromise the jewelry item. Plus, no moving parts in the machine means it'll not easily wear down over time and need replacement.
You also don't have to clamp tightly or fix your jewelry to the engraving bed. Just place your item in the right position, press the start button, and the engraving process starts.🤖
Traditional engraving involved completing this intricate process by hand, requiring strength, precision, and intense talent.
Today, the process has become simpler all around. Instead of elbow grease and hand tools, you simply need specific software and the jewelry you want to engrave.
You'll use the software you are already familiar with, including Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop. There is the added option to import existing files using standard file types, such as DXF, JPG, Bitmap, AI, and many more.
It's easy to create any design you can think of, no matter how complex. And even the most miniature designs remain legible after marking with the laser beam.
This versatility allows jewelry designers to use the laser engraver for numerous applications. Whether you're adding a unique pattern to a ring, engraving a photo onto a pendant, personalizing a necklace with a message—the possibilities are limitless!🧮
A significant benefit of laser engraving is the time you save. However, the engraving duration depends on your design's complexity and depth. But the average job will take anywhere from seconds to a few minutes!
That's a massive decrease in time compared to traditional hand engraving.
Laser cutting and engraving advances are pioneering the development of new accessories on the market, leading to better and more uses. Specialized lenses, photo processing software, rotary attachments, and air compressors allow you to work with irregular or cylindrical-shaped items.
The laser engraving process doesn't involve using harmful chemicals, so overall we may consider it an environmentally responsible technology. Other manufacturing processes require planet-polluting chemicals, such as etching chemicals. Further, the burden of correct chemical disposal adds a high cost to production.
Laser engravers have been around for decades and boast countless industrial applications. However, laser engraving technology is now popular in many other fields, leading to more studio and home laser engravers.
While you can categorize laser engravers by a few criteria, the laser type and mechanism are the fundamental classification systems.
By laser type
There are three common types of laser in use. Some units apply for both marking and engraving, and others specialize in one:
- Diode Laser: These units contain laser diodes that emit directed, stimulated light, burning material it meets. Diode lasers for engraving belong in the maximum Class 4 category, so treat them cautiously. These diode laser engravers are affordable and are excellent starting points for beginners.
- CO2 Laser: These are the earliest gas lasers on the market and remain among the most useful types. The modern CO2 laser produces the laser beam in a sealed glass tube with carbon dioxide. High voltage running through the tube reacts with gas particles, which helps increase their energy and produce light. Low-power CO2 laser machines are suitable for non-metallic plastics and materials.
- Fiber Laser: These are a newer version of laser. The lasers have a tiny focal diameter, resulting in great intensity, which can reach up to 100 times higher than a CO2 laser. Fiber lasers are suitable for permanent markings such as barcodes and serial numbers. Choose these engravers for metal engraving, including coated metals.
There are two types of mechanisms when looking at laser engravers:
- Flying Optics: The flying optics configuration is the most popular, where the system holds the workpiece in place while the laser component moves along X- and Y-axes. This system offers simple control because the laser motors move around a fixed mass.
- Fixed Optics: Instead of the laser component moving, a fixed optics system has the workpiece table moving along X- and Y-axes. The laser remains stationary. However, this mechanism is not suitable for lighter sheets.
If you plan to buy a laser engraver, the first thing that comes to mind is cost. However, start by assessing your commanding computer's hardware and software specs to ensure that it is compatible with a laser engraver. Keep in mind that you may need to have the latest software installed, which can cost you extra money on top of the machine.
- Entry-level engravers can set you back between $130 to $200. With a one-and-a-half-inch square carving area and generally less than 1,500 milliwatts of power, these units place serious limitations on the materials you can use. Prepare for an upgrade as your skills improve.
- Mid-range engravers provide more flexibility and capacity. Power options start from 2,500 milliwatts, and they will set you back anywhere between $300 to $600. Some models in this range offer high outputs, but you need to put them together.
- The expensive range of laser engravers costs between $1,500 through $3,600, but high-productivity commercial units can cost over $15,000. These units feature an enclosure, which makes them safer. Many offer up to 40 watts with few restrictions on materials you can work with, making them ideal for studios and small businesses.
Reviews of the 6 best laser engravers for home and studio use (2022)
Laser engravers are more affordable than ever before, signaling a significant shift in the consumer market. Where they were once strictly for industrial use, you'll find laser engravers in studios and homes.
The engraver's spectrum ranges from budget options to semi-professional and industrial-grade units. Here are a few of the most popular laser engravers on the market for home and studio use.📋
ORTUR Laser Master 2—Best Budget Laser Engraver
This ORTUR Laser Master 2 is a diode laser, which means the laser beam comes from a laser diode. The technology is a common feature in budget laser engravers because it's the cheapest, offers long durability, easy to ship, and is easy to mount.
The Laser Master 2 comes in 7, 15, and 20-watt variations. Naturally, the strongest option is the most expensive but may not be for you if you're not looking for the extra oomph in your projects.
You can engrave metal with the 20-watt version with a few hacks, but the 7-watt will do the trick if you are engraving simple images onto cardboard. The 400 mm by 430 mm workspace of the ORTUR Laser Master 2 is more than enough for this price point. You can work on a wide variety of jewelry.
The overall construction of this ORTUR model comprises a simple square aluminum frame which helps offer a sizable work area. Aluminum also gives the unit a low weight so you can carry, move, and store the engraver with relative ease.
The Laser Master 2 from ORTUR also boasts built-in safety technologies to reduce accident risks.👍🏻 A G-meter senses abnormal frame movement and stops the laser. The laser head also stops moving if there's a disconnection from the computer or USB cable, reducing the chances of a fire breaking out.
While the software doesn't come free with the ORTUR Laser Master 2, it runs on GRBL firmware, so it's compatible with free tools such as LaserGRBL. A powerful 32-bit motherboard in the unit makes processes easier, faster, and smoother when working on your material.
This Laser Master 2 will work on various materials, including plywood, paperboard, kraft paper, and cotton cloth. It requires adjustments to work on different solid woods, powder-coated metal, stainless steel, and anodized aluminum.
- Exceptional value for money
- A massive work area
- Beginner-friendly assembly
- Limited cutting ability
- Misleading wattage information
ATOMSTACK A5 Pro—Best Under $500
The price of a laser engraving tool can be quite high. If you're shopping on a budget and still want to get a high-quality machine for your jewelry project, the ATOMSTACK A5 Pro is a good buy.
This laser engraver comes with a 410 mm x 400 mm working area. While it may not be the biggest shape on the list, the A5 Pro is small enough for small studios. A solid metal development arrangement helps simplify the working process of the unit while increasing durability.
The ATOMSTACK A5 Pro is a 40-watt laser engraver that offers enough power for your minor projects—you can expect a premium engraving experience.
This A5 Pro unit comes with a fixed focus laser power, rare among many laser engravers. The 455 nm spectrum diode laser helps engrave material efficiently and uniquely.
Plus, it's easy to remove drivers for replacement. An additional third stepper driver socket is available in the unit but very cramped.
Setting up the unit will take you less than 20 minutes, and you don't need to have previous experience working with these machines. The engraver is compatible with many engraving software, including LaserGRBL and LightBurn. A built-in USB port allows connectivity with your laptop for easy control.
- High power in a compact package
- Excellent engraving area for jewelry
- Available in silver and black
- Excellent precision
- Built-in eye protection
- Works on various materials
- Working speed is slow
- Mac users may need a software purchase
Glowforge Plus 3D Laser Printer—Best Under $4,000
Out of the box, you'll notice that Glowforge takes its products seriously. A breathtaking exterior and excellent design embody advanced features so you can complete detailed and complex jobs quickly.
This Plus 3D unit has a highly efficient 40-watt CO2 laser tube. The laser provides high cutting power and precision of up to 1/1,000 of an inch, and it uses a unique Mode 0' design, which offers a higher overall power density.⚡
The Glowforge Plus is suitable for home and studio spaces. This unit is perfect for the desktop in your office and home, while a compact design is ideal for individual use.
A prominent feature of this model is sturdy construction. The device is made of high-quality metal, plastic, and glass, so you know it'll last. You will not experience reliability issues throughout the life of the printer.
The Glowforge is a unit anyone can use, whether you're just starting in the world of 3D printing or laser engraving; or an experienced veteran. Learning is short and perfect if you don't have much knowledge about laser engravers.
You'll have no shortage of materials with which you can work. This Glowforge model is compatible with various options, including glass, wood, and cardboard. There is also an option to use titanium and aluminum if you're into using metal jewelry.
A built-in closed-loop water cooling system helps reduce the need for an extra cooler or water pump during use.👏🏻 An air compressor will clear out fumes from the laser beam and prevent ignition while protecting the lens.
Laser is highly damaging and destructive if it comes into contact with your body. Hence, the manufacturer uses an enclosed design to keep lasers and fumes out of reach.✅
Glowforge offers a cloud-based software option, but you can also use third-party platforms such as CAD, Adobe Illustrator, or PowerPoint.
- Easy to set up and operate
- Can engrave a wide selection of materials
- Safe to use and comes in an enclosed frame
- Ditch the industrial look
- Fits right at home in a stylish studio or home office
- Live camera to watch engraving in real-time
- Won't work without a Wi-Fi connection
- Can get noisy and produce a smell
LaserPecker Pro Suit—Best Portable Laser Engraver
This LaserPecker Pro Suit unit is an easy-to-use and compact engraver. Just grab it, put it in your bag, and your pocket art studio is ready to work anywhere and anytime.🛬
Plug in the Pro Suit, connect to a power bank, or PC via a Type-C port whenever you find inspiration. The support stand and laser shield are easy to carry and feature a foldable design. When not in use, you can fold the components down flat to the size of a small book.
This LaserPecker's laser head measures 65 mm x 61 mm x 53 mm and weighs about 190 grams. You get a 100 x 100 mm work area, while the stand measures 195 x 153 x 198 to 293 mm when in use.
The LaserPecker Pro Suit boasts an auto-adjusting support stand that will set up and focus in seconds. Just put the engraving jewelry target on the spot, and built-in sensors measure the distance between it and the laser generator.😱
This unit will adjust the height automatically to the correct distance from your item's surface. Before engraving, the unit will show the planned trajectory of your pattern using a guide laser on the target.
You have an option to adjust the position, size, and rotation angle of the pattern depending on the preview trajectory. Next, press a button, and the engraver starts!
Connecting the LaserPecker Pro to the LaserPecker app offers you an option to upload or choose patterns in the app and even edit. Using this engraver is as simple as connecting it to your smartphone through Bluetooth.
The app includes camera and retouching functions for easy pattern customization. File formats correspond to JPG, BMP, and G-Code.
This LaserPecker Pro unit can process various materials, including plastic, leather, wood, cardboard, and leather. The unit also supports curved surfaces.
- Easy to use
- Quality engraving
- Easy to carry
- Customization of materials and objects
- Doesn't work on glass and metals
- Zero-yield on transparent and white materials
LaserPecker Mini Desktop—Best Mini Laser Engraver
This LaserPecker Mini Desktop takes drawings from a smartphone app for engraving. The unit boasts more expansion image correction controls, so you can switch the image before engraving.
The app lets you pull images from your phone's gallery, take images with the camera, browse a shortlist of sample images, or open a text editor to etch onto items. Using the app is incredibly straight to the point.🤳🏻
This LaserPecker mini engraver easily fits at the bottom of a bag and is ready to follow you anywhere. A compact design means you can use the unit almost anywhere.
The model moves the laser beam to engrave what you order instead of moving the laser body. However, the system limits engraving to 10 by 10 cm.
It comes with a conventional tripod for positioning the laser head 18 to 20 cm from a surface. Next, give the engraving order to the unit using a smartphone and dedicated Bluetooth application.
The unit comes with 8 GB of built-in memory for internal image storage. An OSRAM module in the unit controls the engraving light, and it has a 10,000-hour lifespan. You can mark on different materials, including leather, wood, paper, and cardboard.
Protective glasses included in the packaging help protect your eyes from the bright light. Don't forget to protect yourself from vapors and fumes escaping as you burn items.
Moreover, a password system prevents someone who doesn't know how to use this unit from turning it on. The unit will pause printing if the temperature is too high and resume engraving a little later.
- Mobile monitoring
- Overheat protection
- Includes eye protection glasses
- App control
- Password lock
- Poor cable management
ANYCUBIC Mega Pro 3D Printer & Laser Engraver—Best 2 in 1 Machine
The Mega Pro from ANYCUBIC measures 16.14’ tall by 15.94’ wide by 17.83’ deep and weighs 30.05 pounds, making it ideal for desktop use and storage. Unit print size maxes out at 210 mm by 210 mm by 205 mm, which makes it a good fit for parts, action figures, and novel jewelry. It also handles an engraving area of 220 mm x 140 mm, making it a great fit for any crafter in their home studio.
This machine uses a modular design and the setup is straightforward. The robust metal frame gives it rigidity for frequent use. It will not warp or crack even after long-time consistent use. Plus, it’s as quiet as a desktop computer, meaning others who share your home won’t be bothered by your work.
When it comes to 3D printing, layer resolution for the printer is between 0.05 to 0.3 mm, for added image detailing. And thanks to the "piggyback" design of the laser head, it's pretty easy to swap for the laser engraving mode. Labeled as a 4th-generation machine; although it has a dual-function mode, the engraving feature works well with excellent precision.✅
- 3D printer and laser engraver in one unit🚀
- Quick assembly—takes about 10 minutes maximum
- An easy-to-navigate touchscreen
- Intelligent leveling and easy handling
- A sturdy frame offers consistent engraving quality
- Comes with many extra accessories
- Offers several features at a relatively low price
- No enclosure option
- Beginners may have issues when operating the leveling
Before you shop for the best laser engraver, check out these things you should consider.🕵🏻♂️
Some laser engraving units will work on softer materials only, such as leather, and others will work on harder jewelry such as gold and stainless steel jewelry.
The material plays a critical role in the best unit for you. If you're engraving metal jewelry, there are specific laser engravers to consider that have enough power to cut the metal.🔔
You need to know your plans ahead of time, or you'll end up with a unit that does not support your requirements.
The laser engravers on our list are available in different table sizes, a critical consideration that determines what you can engrave. A bigger table will let you engrave larger jewelry pieces or multiple smaller items.
Some units have add-ons that will help create a larger working area, but the majority come in a fixed size.
You'll need at least two pieces of software for laser engraving—one for designing and another to control the laser engraver. Options available include:
Check if the laser engraver you're interested in is compatible with these mainstream software options and the ones you perhaps already have.
As you purchase a laser engraver, remember to look for ease-of-use features that make the laser engraving process more convenient. Some helpful attributes include:
- Control panel: A digital display should have an intuitive operation interface and convening push-button controls.
- Connectivity: Most units provide USB connectivity, but some will also connect via Bluetooth.
- Pass-through doors: You can work on longer and bulky items using pass-through doors.
- Air assist: Some laser engravers feature built-in air assist, which helps improve efficiency and safety.
Safety features or certifications
Most laser engravers are Class 4 Lasers, a high class, so the laser is dangerous.
Protective eyewear can prevent you from harmful effects, but purchase a safe-to-use laser engraver. Check for safety certifications such as:
Maintenance is another critical factor to account for when picking a laser engraver for home and studio use. Research how frequently a particular model requires maintenance and whether you need to call in a professional.
Plus, the machine you purchase must come with a reliable warranty for at least 12 months. Choose a unit with good warranty terms for dependable after-sales protection.
Be safe when working with a laser engraver system. These recommendations will help minimize the risks:
- Always read the manual and instructions before using the machine.
- You need to remove the smoke and fumes generated during the engraving process. Install a properly-maintained fume exhausting system at the facility.
- Keep the unit away from flammable materials and children. Plus, keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of an unexpected fire outbreak.👩🏻🚒
- Don't use the engraving machine without frequent breaks.
There's no right or wrong laser engraver for wood and metal because each machine brings a specialty. Perhaps the ORTUR Laser Master 2 is the perfect budget solution for you, or maybe you need the LaserPecker Pro Suit to travel with you.
Either way, a thorough read above and clarity will help you get your hands on the best laser engraving unit for you hobby or studio.