How to Choose a Laser Cutter

Read these tips if you are considering adding a laser system to your shop. 

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A laser cutter can help add speed and improve overall production output in your shop, but it is important to be aware of the power requirements for this equipment. When choosing a laser for cutting heat-applied materials, 25W is the minimum power. However, I recommend 50W or more of laser power for greater efficacy.   

A 25W laser can cut materials up to a quarter-inch in thickness like wood and plastics in one pass with great edge quality, as well as engrave and mark just about any material you can think of. However, 25W requires an operator to slow down the laser system to get the same effect reducing its productivity by 50 percent. Having 50W allows a user to maximize the mechanical speed of the laser when running this kind of application.

The cost is a bit more for a 50W laser system. The additional cost of moving up to a 50W when compared to a 25W will depend on the size of the laser. For models ranging in size from 24″ x 12″-32″ x 18,” the cost will increase in the range of 18-27 percent. However, your power increases by 50 percent, which allows you to cut at maximum speed. 

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Mike Clark

Mike Clark is the editor-at-large for GRAPHICS PRO. Contact him at

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