Laser engraving machines for home is making its way into our world and is already becoming an everyday tool. These machines can be used to start a business with minimal investment or simply as a hobby. In this article, we look at the best laser engravers, cutters and markers for home use.
To choose the best, you need to understand what you are choosing. Let's start with markers. Markers are compact tabletop machines designed to apply images and text to a variety of materials at very high speeds, but are not suitable for cutting.
Fibre optic markers are used for laser marking and engraving on metals and plastics, while CO2 markers are used for engraving and marking other non-metallic materials such as glass, wood, ceramics, stone, leather and fabric. There are also UV markers, these are not suitable for engraving, they can only mark, but they work with all of the above materials and even more: suitable for marking images and symbols on gemstones and highly reflective metals such as copper.
The markers work by means of a scanning head containing small, high-speed mirrors that guide the laser beam. When choosing a marker, it is important to consider the type of emitter - fibre, CO2 or UV - its power and frequency, as well as the scanner and lens. Most importantly, laser markers apply images up to 10 times faster than CNC CO2 laser engraving machines. You can read more about choosing a laser marker for home. Laser engraving and cutting machines for home are CO2 machines with flying optics that have a different design: three mirrors attached to the body, gantry and laser head. These machines tend to take up more space.
They are suitable for laser cutting and engraving on non-metallic materials such as plywood, MDF, wood, all plastics (not chlorine or vinyl), rubber, leather and leatherette, textiles and fur, glass, stone and ceramics.
Both types of CO2 laser can cut and engrave, but there are a number of differences:
- The laser engravers have a working range of 200x300, 500x300 and 600x400mm - all desktop laser machines for home, while the cutters start at 600x900mm and go up to a wide format of 2000x3000mm;
- Laser engraving machines for home use are equipped with a short focus lens, which has a smaller laser spot diameter and is therefore more suitable for engraving. Laser cutting machines are equipped with a medium or long focal length lens, which has a larger caustic area and can therefore cut through thicker materials;
- The laser tube power of CNC laser engraving machines for home use is usually between 40 and 60 watts, in rare cases these machines are equipped with a 90-100 watt tube. You don't need a lot of power to engrave, and the lower the power, the smaller the diameter of the laser spot. For cutting, on the other hand, the more powerful the tube, the better. The power of laser cutting machines for home starts at 90-100W and goes up to 130W or more. Read our article on choosing the tube power for a CO2 laser.
- The nozzle of the laser engraving machines’ laser head is widened to reduce the blowing force, which prevents burning of the material. During engraving, the airflow must not force the combustion products against the surface of the material, otherwise the engraving will be smudged. Laser cutting machines for home are fitted with a smaller diameter nozzle to increase the airflow to the cutting area. This helps the cutting process and blows any combustion products from the back through the material.
You can read more about how to choose a laser machine for home use in our article.
There are also fibre laser cutters, but this is a completely different category of machine, they cost many times more, are larger and more difficult to use, and are generally not suitable for home use. You can read more about fiber laser metal cutters, but for now let's stick to laser cutting and engraving machines for home use.
Best laser engraving machines for home use
A laser engraving machine for home needs to be compact, reliable, productive and, above all, easy to learn. So let's start with the smallest laser engraver - the Wattsan 0203 micro.
Wattsan 0203 micro Hobby laser engraver
The size of this machine is only 810x500x265 mm - it fits easily on a normal desk next to a computer. The size of the working area is 200x300 mm and the power of the laser tube is 40 W. This allows efficient cutting of plywood and other materials up to 4 mm thick. The lifetime of the laser tube is 7000 hours.
The machine has a positioning accuracy of 0.05 mm and engraves highly legible 1x1 mm letters. The engraving speed is 700 mm/s and the cutting speed is 300 mm/s.
The machine weighs just 38 kg, so you can easily take it to a friend's house or a party to make everyone a keychain or souvenir of their choice. It's the perfect model to try your hand at laser engraving, a great hobby option. M2 Studio Labs control system. Estimated price: €1369.
Pros of the Wattsan 0203 micro:
- Minimum size and weight,
- 7000 hours laser tube life,
- Ideal for hobby and home use.
Cons of the Wattsan 0203 micro:
- The working area is too small,
- Roller guides,
- No through table,
- The work area cannot be lowered.
Wattsan 0503 Laser engraving machine for home use
The Wattsan 0503 not only offers a wider range of functions, with a large work area and lowering table, it is also suitable for setting up your own workshop, as all elements of the machine are designed for regular use around the clock.
The sturdy body with a reinforced internal frame can withstand all inertial forces. A reinforced gantry with up to 7mm thickness at the corners, combined with 15mm PMI guide rails, ensures that the machine remains accurate to 0.03mm throughout its life. And this machine is built to last for decades.
The working area of this laser engraver for beginners is 500x300mm - enough to create interesting items such as souvenirs, advertising signs, small signboards, cloakroom numbers, wedding invitations, decorative boxes, napkin holders or steak boards.
The work area can be lowered by 200mm to accommodate a rotary device for engraving cylindrical items such as glasses, mugs and pencil cases.
If required, the machine can be easily transported to a trade show or sales centre to create and sell products in front of customers.
The laser tube has a power output of 60W - perfect for a laser engraver. Not only can it engrave deep and bright at high speed, but it can also cut materials up to 6mm thick. With all these advantages, the Wattsan 0503 is the ideal engraving tool.
The Wattsan 0503 runs on the latest generation RuiDa control system - a reliable controller that never fails. It comes with RDWorks software, a simple and functional tool for which you can find tutorials on our YouTube channel. Estimated price: €3265.
Pros of the Wattsan 0503:
- Robust frame construction,
- 15mm PMI guide rails,
- Operating accuracy 0.03mm,
- Laser tube life 7000 hours,
- A through table,
- Work area lowered by 200 mm.
Cons of the Wattsan 0503:
- Work area lowering mechanism is manual,
- No debris collection compartment,
- No potentiometer.
But if you want something bigger and more powerful, but still a compact desktop engraver for home use... then you need the Wattsan 6040.
Wattsan 6040 Desktop laser engraver
Wattsan 6040 — the big brother of the Wattsan 0503. The main differences are the larger working area and the more powerful laser tube.
Work area size: 600x400mm, the machine also has a through table so you can process any length of material as long as it is less than 600mm wide.
With a laser tube power of 90-100W, this machine is perfect for both engraving and cutting, and will cut materials up to 7-8mm thick. The lifetime is 7500 hours.
All other features are the same as Wattsan 0503: engraving speed - up to 700 mm/sec, cutting speed - up to 500 mm/sec, accuracy - 0.03 mm, minimum size of engraved letter - 1x1 mm, PMI 15 mm guide rails, working area can be lowered to 200 mm.
This laser machine also comes with RDWorks software with a wide range of features that are easy to learn even for beginners. Supported formats: DXF, PDF, BMP, PNG, PLT, GIF, AI, JPEG. Estimated price of the Wattsan 6040: €4319.
Pros of the Wattsan 6040:
- Working area 600x400 mm,
- Laser tube power 90-100W,
- Laser tube life 7500 hours,
- Working field lowered by 200 mm,
- Through table,
- The accuracy of 0.03 mm.
Cons of the Wattsan 6040:
- The work area lowering mechanism is manual,
- No waste collection compartment,
- No potentiometer,
- Requires a chiller.
Best CNC laser cutting machines for home use
Laser cutting machines for home use have a larger working area, a medium or long focus lens, a truncated nozzle and a more powerful laser tube. However, laser engraving is also excellent.
We will also not focus on models with a lowering table, as laser machines with a static table are suitable for cutting most materials, they are designated as "ST". First up is the Wattsan 6090 ST.
Wattsan 6090 ST Laser cutting machine for home use
One of the most popular laser cutter models for beginners is the Wattsan 6090 ST. This machine has a 600x900mm working area and an internally reinforced frame that makes it immobile during operation, greatly reducing vibration and improving the quality of the final cutting and engraving result.
The power of the machine is 90-100W and, as this model has a medium focus lens, it is capable of cutting through material up to 10mm thick. The lifetime of the laser emitter is 7500 hours.
The Wattsan 6090 ST has a reinforced gantry, three-phase motors with gears, reliable reinforced belts with 3M tooth and PMI 15 mm guide rails. Together, these features allow the machine to remain accurate to 0.03mm even after ten years of regular use. Estimated price: €4,976.
Pros of the Wattsan 6090 ST:
- Reinforced frame and gantry,
- Effectively cuts through thicknesses up to 10 mm,
- 900 mm wide through table,
- Accuracy of 0.03 mm,
- Debris collection compartment
Cons of the Wattsan 6090 ST:
- No lowering table,
- For more efficient cutting, it is better to buy a powerful compressor with an adjustable blower,
- A chiller is needed.
Wattsan 1290 DUOS ST Two-head laser cutting machine for home use
The main advantage of this laser machine is that it has two working heads. This allows you to double your production speed.
The Wattsan 1290 DUOS ST has two 100-130W Reci W4 laser tubes that can cut through materials up to 13mm thick. Each has a lifetime of 10,000 hours.
Other than that, it is the same quality as Wattsan machines: frame body construction, guide rails, reinforced gantry, three-phase motors with gears, reinforced belts, high quality, speed and accuracy. Estimated price: €7386.
Pros of the Wattsan 1290 DUOS ST:
- Two laser heads,
- Tube power 100-130 W,
- Cutting thickness up to 13 mm,
- 1200 mm wide through table,
- Frame construction, reinforced gantry, rail guides,
- Accuracy 0.03mm,
- Reinforced gantry, guide rails, 0.03 mm accuracy, dust collection system.
Cons of the Wattsan 1290 DUOS ST:
- There is no lowering table,
- For more efficient cutting, it is better to buy a powerful compressor with an adjustable blower,
- A chiller is required,
- The minimum legible font size for engraving is 1.5x1.5mm.
Best laser marking machines for home use
Markers can't cut, but they can make precise, detailed engravings and markings at 10 times the speed of laser engravers - 7000 mm/sec. They can be used for all types of images and lettering, including decoration, branding or product numbering.
All these models are compact desktop laser markers for beginners. Available with 100x100, 200x200 and 300x300mm lenses and a rotary unit. The EZ CAD software, included in the kit, is used to control the machine. A foot pedal is also included as standard to simplify and speed up the production process.
Wattsan CO2 LT Laser marker for wood and other non-metals
The CO2-emitter marker engraves and marks materials such as wood, plastics and rubber, glass and mirrors, leather, leatherette, ceramics and stone.
Wattsan CO2 LT is equipped with a 30 to 80 W laser tube. The higher the power, the more efficient the processing. The lifetime of the laser tube is 6000 to 10000 hours. The price depends on the power of the tube, please check with your manager.
Pros of the Wattsan CO2 LT:
- Works on most non-metallic materials,
- Power range from 30 to 80W,
- Easy to learn, operate and maintain.
Cons of the Wattsan CO2 LT:
- Laser tube life 6000 to 10000 hours,
- Does not work with metals,
- PVC needs a good extraction.
Wattsan FL TT Laser marker for metals
The Wattsan FL TT is a fibre laser marker for home. This machine engraves and marks metals, plastics, leather and leatherette, as well as ceramics and stone. The Wattsan FL TT can be equipped with IPG, JPT, and Raycus emitters from 20 to 50 watts. The frequency of radiation depends on the emitter manufacturer and its power. The price also depends on the wattage of the emitter and the company, please check with our managers.
Pros of the Wattsan FL TT:
- Emitter life 100000 hours,
- Can apply coloured markings to metals,
- Air cooled, no chiller required,
- No maintenance required.
Con of the Wattsan FL TT:
- Not suitable for glass and wood,
- Cannot mark copper.
Wattsan UV TT Universal laser marker
This marker can be used on virtually any material. The 3-5W JPT emitter produces a laser spot that is 30 times smaller than a CO2 marker, giving it a very high power density. This allows the Wattsan UV TT to mark materials that other markers cannot, such as copper, diamonds and other precious stones. Check the price of the machine with our managers.
Pros of the Wattsan UV TT:
- Emitter life 100000 hours,
- Can colour mark metals,
- No maintenance required,
- Marks almost all materials.
Cons of the Wattsan UV TT:
- Not capable of deep engraving, only marking,
- More expensive than CO2 or fibre optic markers.
To choose a laser machine for home use, you first need to decide what you want to do.
If you only want to engrave and mark, you will need a marker. Identify your priority materials: the Wattsan CO2 LTT for non-metals, the Wattsan FL TT for metals, the Wattsan UV TT for combined and highly complex materials.
If you need to engrave and cut small materials, get a desktop CNC laser engraving machine: the Wattsan 0203 micro for the home, Wattsan 0503 or Wattsan 6040 for the workshop or business. If you need to cut rather large items, you'll need the Wattsan 6090 ST. If you need to cut a lot, then the Wattsan 1290 DUOS ST with two laser heads is for you.
If you would like more detailed advice, come and see us for an online demonstration and we will be happy to explain more about each model and show them in action. We guarantee our customers unlimited free information support after the purchase of our machines. Virmer engineers are ready to visit you for commissioning, training or support. If you have any questions, please contact one of our managers.