Cheap Laser Cutter: Cheapest Laser Cutters Buyer’s Guide

The value of a laser cutter, even a cheap laser cutter, to a serious hobbyist and small business owner comes from the fact that these machines allow you to cut many materials in precise ways quickly and at scale. But of course, laser cutters can be expensive, and we are all on a budget.

So the question is: what is the cheapest laser cutter that is still high quality and worth buying?

Check out our top choice: the K40 desktop laser cutter.

We have compiled this list with a range of use-cases in mind. Whether you are trying to start an Etsy store or just create nice engravings for Christmas gifts, the machines on this list will help you achieve your goals without breaking the bank. 

For small businesses like Etsy stores, machines like the Glowforge offer the best value for money. They might not be as cheap as the K40, but the K40 is probably not going to be able to handle the workload or range of products that a business will need overtime.

That being said, not everyone is trying to start a business. Many of us are just hobbyists who want to add a laser engraver to our workshop or home studio, in which case the K40 or an even cheaper desktop engraver would do the trick.

Intro.

Our top choice:

  • Features

1. Glowforge Plus

(5/5)

The Glowforge Plus is the cheapest laser cutter at the commercial-level. By now, it is basically the industry-standard desktop laser cutter for both hobbyists and small businesses. If you haven’t heard of it yet, definitely check it out.

Unboxing only takes 30 minutes. The Glowforge arrives wrapped in the plastic wrap, ample foam to protect moving parts, and clear instructions for assembly. It is big and heavy, so make sure you have help to lift it.

Included in the box are a few materials to get you started. You can also purchase more materials directly from Glowforge so that you know that your materials are proofgrade. “Proofgrade” is a trademarked of Glowforge so there is some marketing use to it, but it basically means that all of the materials on the Glowforge website will be perfectly optimized to use with the Glowforge.

The Glowforge requires the internet and Glowforge’s cloud software to function. There is no other option. If the internet goes down or the Glowforge site crashes, it won’t work. That’s a problem. But the upside is the software is always updated and you can use any device to operate it.

When it cuts wood, you will smell a bit of a camp fire smell and wood cuts will come out with extra burn marks. But you can easily sand those marks away. The smell will linger no matter what, though. So make sure to place it in a well-ventilated area.

Part of the reason the smell is noticable is that the exhaust hose can be a bit hard to set up. The exhaust system in general could use some improvement. For instance, the Glowforge is super loud and most of that noise is generated by the exhaust fan. Still, despite the noise, the smell won’t be as much of a problem if you set it up in a ventilated room next to a window.

Key features:

  • 45 watt laser, other power levels available
  • 30 minute setup and excellent packaging
  • Fully Wifi enabled with cloud software
  • Excellent customer service and large community
  • Fantastic construction and sleek design

Powerful laser

The camera lens is a bit overhyped but gets the job done in most cases. The problem is that the camera itself is not super high quality and has a fish-eye lens so QR codes that are along the edges wear images get blurry might not be picked up.

The Glowforge uses a 45 watt laser, so just be extra careful to protect your eyes. The cover is designed to block the harmful wavelengths of light coming off of the laser, but make sure to always wear protective gear like goggles or glasses just in case.

Laser tubes deteriorate over time, so you will have to replace it eventually. The Glowforge laser tubes are rated for 2 years and the replacement cost is not cheap.

Finally, Glowforge customer service is fantastic. Also, the community around Glowforge is massive. That means that you can find answers to your questions by searching the forums and community groups. Not all machines have a community around them, and it is nice to have.

Pros

  • 45 watt laser, other power levels available
  • 45 watt laser, other power levels available
  • 30 minute setup and excellent packaging
  • Fully Wifi enabled with cloud software
  • Excellent customer service and large community
  • Fantastic construction and sleek design

Cons

  • Exhaust hose is tricky to attach
  • Very loud
  • Requires internet access
Glowforge Plus 3D Laser Printer – The Fast, Easy, and...
  • 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.

2. Cheap Laser Engraver

(4/5)

This laser engraver is so cheap it doesn’t even have a name. In fact, it is the cheapest laser engraver we could find anywhere that is still worth buying and using. This is our pick for a good “value for money” product.

Of course, it’s not going to match what the Glowforge or more serious laser cutters can do. But if you are looking for a smaller desktop laser cutter for home projects and not looking to spend too much money, this model is a good option.

Despite the low cost, the design and feature set of the laser cutter is actually quite pleasing. It has a 17.5 cm by 15.5 cm (6.8 by 6.1 inches) engraving space and an accuracy down to 0.02 mm. Those specs make it perfect for small projects like engraving cell phone cases and small objects like pens. You can also engrave larger objects like water bottles.

Assembly time is going to be about 30 minutes or an hour at most. The instructions are very clear, and the set up once it is finished easy. Just plug it into your computer, load the software, choose your settings and go.

The package comes with all of the parts needed as well as a set of goggles, a USB drive, and a stylus pen. Those nice little extras make life easier when you are ready to use it.

Using the included stylus, the machine features a nice LCD screen and can be operated offline via a USB port. Or you can plug it into into you computer and engrave directly from the software. Just keep in mind that it does not work with Macs or Linux operating systems, only Windows.

Key features:

  • Cheapest laser engraver on the market
  • Easy to setup and operate
  • LCD touch screen with stylus
  • 17.5 cm by 15.5 cm (6.8 by 6.1 inches) engraving space
  • 3 watt or 7 watt laser
  • Small and perfect for a desktop space
  • USB drive allows you to use it offline
  • Included software is good and easy to use

Highlight One point

As mentioned above, the machine comes with a stylus and nice LCD screen. The LCD screen is a touch screen and displays images and settings beautifully. The user interface is also very straightforward.

The is not protective cover for this machine so definitely be sure to use safety goggles to protect your eyes from the laser. The laser is not as powerful as other machines at just 3 watts (or 7 watts) but that can still damage your eyes if you don’t use protection.

Keep in mind that this machine is made in China by a cheap manufacturer, and as such, customer service will not be available. It also comes with a 1 year warranty through the seller so you can get a replacement if your machine malfunctions.

Pros

  • Cheapest laser engraver on the market
  • Perfect for amateur hobbysts
  • Easy to setup and operate
  • LCD touch screen with stylus
  • 17.5 cm by 15.5 cm (6.8 by 6.1 inches) engraving space
  • 3 watt or 7 watt laser
  • Small and perfect for a desktop space
  • USB drive allows you to use it offline
  • Included software is good and easy to use

Cons

  • No customer service
  • Chinese manufacturer with limited updates and support
Laser Engraver laser engraving machine 3000mw laser...
  • GanGou Laser Engraver Off-line 3000mW laser class 4 engraving machine Engraving range: 17.5*15.5CM(6.8*6.1 in)
  • carved more material. It can carve the IC card, leather , wood (thick or thin), bamboo, kraft paper,(It can’t carve metal or glass).
  • (Does not support MAC ) Operating System: WIN-97/03/7/8/10 (Does not support MAC),Picture format: JPG / GIF / BMP / DIB / ICO / CUR /PNG
  • Greater Power, Faster Speed, More Accurate Precision, If you are a true Maker, DIY Handyman or an artist, this machine offer a great way to that
  • We provided one-year warranty, and full life customer service. If you have any questions about this engraving machine, please contact us, we will reply to you in 24 hours.

3. Orion Motor Tech

(5/5)

The Orion Motor Tech 50W laser engraver arrives in an enormous wooden crate. The packaging is very good: lots of foam padding, plastic wrapping, et. The only downside is you need to basically pull apart the wooden crate, which is constructed using bolts and plywood.

Once it is out of the box, you will be able to fully appreciate how large the machine is. Calling this a “desktop” laser cutter is a stretch. The Orion Tech 50W is about the size of a mini-fridge or a dishwasher.

If that is too large for your space, you can also check out the K40, which is about half the size. And although it is less powerful than the larger models, it is also much cheaper and gives you a good 12 x 18 inch engraving area. Scroll down for more info on the K40 models.

Key features:

Highlight One point

The lid of the 50W Orion Motor Tech has nice shock absorbers on the hinges that make a pleasant swooshing sound as you open it. There is an LED light inside the chamber so you can see what is happening. When you open it up, everything visible and clean.

The volume of the chamber is generous, and the cutting base adjusts downward quite a lot. Some units also come with a rotary axis so you can engrave and cut round objects.

Pros

  • Good packaging with padding
  • Large enough to handle larger objects for engraving
  • Rotary axis for cutting round objects
  • Shock absorbers on the hinges
  • LED light inside the build chamber

Cons

  • Requires a lot of space

Conclusion discussion

No products found.


4. K40 Desktop Laser Cutter

(5/5)

The K40 is the cheapest laser engraver on this that is worth investing in a serious hobby level machine.

Key features:

Highlight One point

Discussion

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Conclusion discussion

No products found.


5. Emblaser 2

(5/5)

The Emblaser 2

Key features:

Highlight One point

Discussion

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  • Pros

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Conclusion discussion

No products found.


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