Glowforge has been the widely accepted premium laser cutter brand. Due to the high price, lack of offline control software and so many other issues – people are searching for Glowforge Alternative.
This article will compare the Glowforge laser cutters and other alternative laser engravers to help you make the decision quickly.
Our experts have worked on the products physically besides the surveys from laser enthusiasts.
Glowforge Laser Cutters Overview
The Glowforge line of laser cutting machines is designed for makers, entrepreneurs, and designers. It combines the power of a laser cutter with the ease of use of a 3D printer to make extraordinary things quickly and easily. With a wide range of materials and options, Glowforge offers a variety of laser-cutting machines to suit any budget.
The Glowforge Basic is an entry–level machine, perfect for hobbyists and small businesses. It features a 16” x 20” cutting area and can cut and engrave materials up to 1/4” thick. The Basic also has a built–in air filter to keep the space safe and clean.
The Glowforge Plus is a step up from the Basic, with a larger cutting area of 20” x 28” and the ability to cut materials up to 1/2” thick. It has an upgraded air filter and a removable crumb tray, making cleaning easier.
The Glowforge Pro is the highest-end model, offering even more features and capabilities. It has a huge cutting area of 32” x 20” and can cut and engrave materials up to 1” thick. It also has an integrated HD camera and WiFi connectivity.
No matter your needs, a Glowforge machine is perfect for you. With its powerful laser cutting technology and easy–to–use software, Glowforge makes it easy to unleash your creativity and create amazing things.
Differences among Glowforge Basic, Plus & Pro
Glowforge Basic is an entry–level machine, offering a 20” x 12” cutting area and an air filter for odor control. It can cut and engrave wood, leather, acrylic, cardstock, and fabric. It doesn’t offer much power or speed, but it is perfect for hobbyists who don’t need high–end features.
Glowforge Plus offers a larger cutting area (24” x 18”) and a more powerful laser than the Basic model. It also has a higher maximum speed and a dual–filter air filtration system. This model is best suited for crafters and makers who need more power and speed than the Basic model provides.
Glowforge Pro is the top–of–the–line model, with an even larger cutting area (32” x 20”) and the most powerful laser available from Glowforge. It also comes with an advanced dual–filter air filtration system and a wide range of accessories. This model is perfect for professional makers and businesses who need the highest level of performance and reliability.
Positive sides of Glowforge laser cutters
Here is why people prefers to pay higher price for the Glowforge laser cutters:
- High precision: The Glowforge laser cutter & engraver is capable of cutting and engraving with a resolution of up to 0.001 inches. This makes it ideal for intricate projects that require precise cuts and engravings.
- Versatility: You can use the Glowforge to cut and engrave a wide variety of materials, including wood, paper, leather, acrylic, fabric, glass and more.
- Easy to use: With a simple setup process and intuitive software, you can be up and running with your Glowforge in no time.
- Compact size: The Glowforge is surprisingly small, making it easy to fit into any space.
- Cost-effective: With its low cost and fast turn–around times, the Glowforge is an economical option for those looking to get into laser cutting and engraving.
- Wider community: The list of Glowforge users are bigger than any other laser engravers. It helps to seek for assistance from other users even with designs & technical issues which offset the lead time taken by the customer care officials.
- Material Recognition: Glowforge laser engravers can recognize the material using QR code and adjust the machine settings accordingly which may not be available in other laser cutting machines. However, they won’t recognize if the material does not have any QR code
Negative Sides of Glowforge
These are the reason of why people opt for the Glowforge Alternative:
- High Price: Glowforge charges almost 200% higher price than other laser cutting machines
- Unavailability of offline control software: Glowforge users need to depend on their online software which means that the users need to be dependent on a stable internet connection as well as the company’s own server. Technically, users cannot use the laser cutter if somehow the Glowforge website is hacked or out of service.
Reason to look for Glowforge Alternative
Glowforge laser cutters have so many rivals because of their high price tag, limited materials compatibility, and the fact that they are only available in the US. Additionally, many other types of laser cutters on the market are more affordable and offer a wider range of material compatibility. Many other laser-cutting options provide more features and capabilities than Glowforge.
These are the reasons that motivate customers to find Glowforge alternatives:
Cloud Controlling Software
The controlling software Glowforge uses is cloud–based, meaning it relies on a connection to the internet in order to function. This can affect users who have a slow or unreliable internet connection, as the software may not work correctly or may be slow to respond.
Ideally, if Glowforge runs away someday then customers won’t be able to run the machine unless the server is back.
In comparison, offline software like Lightburn offers the benefit of not relying on an internet connection to operate. This makes the software more accessible to users who have a slow or unreliable internet connection. Additionally, Lightburn offers more features than Glowforge, including support for more materials, more control over settings, and more sophisticated designs.
Glowforge laser cutting machines are highly expensive. Even, they also charged for their software in the early times. Among the co2 laser engravers, Glowforge charges $1200 to $2000 extra compared to other similar items.
Besides, cOnsumables such as air filter is the most expensive if you buy from Glowforge. For instance, an air filter would be $900 plus from Glowforge and the same thing from other local vendors would cost 40% less.
Glowforge materials are also expensive. Plywood and acrylic would cost 25% higher if you buy from the Glowforge store. However, people still prefer buying materials from Glowforge store only because they are readable by Glowforge’s QR mechanism & obviously are better quality.
Another big challenge that Glowforge customers are experiencing is the non-availability of the Rotary extension whereas the rivals made so many upgrades available so that the customers can make necessary advancements. For instance, to engrave a tumbler you need rotary attachments and in this regard, Glowforge fails.
Moreover, Glowforge does not allow users to replace or upgrade honeycomb beds since the work beds are not detachable.
Glowforge is noisy
Here’s a summary that describes noise in decibels for four laser engravers:
|Laser Cutter||Noise in Decibel|
|Gweike Cloud Pro||60 to 75 DB|
|Glowforge Pro||80 to 95 DB|
|OMTech||65 to 80 DB|
|Ten High||75 to 85 DB|
Glowforge produces much noise compared to OMTech and Gweike cloud pro. However, enclosures sometimes reduce the noise but depending on material types and air assist, noise keeps growing while working.
Best Glowforge Alternative Laser cutting machine
Here is a list that shows the best alternative laser cutters for the Glowforge. We will present a comprehensive comparison for each of the products defining the reasons of why they can be the right alternative choice over Glowforge.
These are the best Glowforge alternative laser cutters you can always go with.
- Gweike Cloud Pro (Best Glowforge Alternative)
- OMTech 50W
- Xtool D1 Pro
- Flux Beambox Pro
- Laserpecker 4
Gweike has been the most fantastic laser engraver of 2022, having the fastest engraving & cutting speed while compared to Glowforge. It features a camera, QR recognition, Pull out drawer, pass-through and many more. OMTech laser cutters are always in choice and are already established as the most prominent Glowforge competitors. OMTech not only neats Glowoforge with price but also its quality of cutting & engraving. For engraving lovers, Xtool and Laserpecker can be two suitable choices since they are compact and price-worthy.
Key Decision-Making Factors
To identify the best Glowforge alternative, you need to go through the key comparison factors that help in prioritizing the decision. For example, if you prefer safety then the Xtool would not be a suitable option since its a DIY laser engraver, and Gweike would be on the upper side.
Similarly, if your primary concern is not faster engraving but the ability to make upgrades in the future then the Gweike cannot be the ideal choice as you cannot enlarge the engraving bed in the future. From this point, Xtool would be what you need since there will be an option to upgrade both laser power and the work area in the future.
Below table will identify the key decision-making criteria to get the best Glowforge alternative laser cutter.
|Key Comparison Factor||Glowforge Pro||Gweike||Polar||Xtool|
|Ability to Expand Engraving Area||No||No||No||Yes|
|Rotary Attachment||No||Yes (One)||Yes (Two)||Yes (One)|
|Laser Head Upgrade Option||No||No||No||Yes|
So, The Xtool D1 offers you the ability to enlarge the engraving area by ordering its extension Kit and all other laser engravers including the Gweike & Polar cannot offer you such flexibility. Similarly, no other laser engravers offer you the option to upgrade the laser head except Xtool as it offers a 40W laser head for tougher works.
Furthermore, The Polar offers you two separate rotary attachments for the complex cylindrical engraving whereas the others offer one rotary and some are not.
Overall, the choice of the best Glowforge alternative may vary depending on your need but, we strongly recommend both Gweike & Omtech Polar considering all other factors.
Gweike Cloud Pro Vs Glowforge Pro
Gweike Cloud Pro is 2022’s fastest laser engraver, offering a precession rate of up to 0.0001 inches and an engraving speed of 600 mm/second.
Gweike is a CO2 laser cutter that supports more than 400 materials like the Glowforge.It also features 3 axes linear guide rail for better maneuvering of the laser head. There is a 5-megapixel HD camera to oversee the laser engraving performance but the Glowforge had one extra camera for spot marking. On top of everything, Gweike Cloud Pro can be controlled through Lightburn, which was a significant limitation for Glowforge users.
How can Gweike Cloud Pro be the Glowforge alternative?
Gweike Cloud Pro and Glowforge Pro offer similar features in laser cutting and engraving. However, Gweike Cloud Pro offers certain advantages that make it a better choice for some users.
First, Gweike Cloud Pro has more power than the Glowforge Pro. With up to 50W of power, Gweike Cloud Pro can cut through thicker materials and engrave deeper than Glowforge Pro (50W). Additionally, Gweike Cloud Pro has a wider working area of 24“x16“, while Glowforge Pro only offers a working area of 20“x12“.
Another advantage of Gweike Cloud Pro is its compatibility with a wider range of materials. It can work with wood, acrylic, leather, fabric, paper, and other materials. In contrast, Glowforge Pro is limited to cutting and engraving wood, acrylic, leather, and paper.
Additionally, Gweike supports lightburn, an offline control software compatibility that is unavailable for Glowforge users.
Also, Gweike Cloud Pro comes with a pullout drawer for dust removal, that is an extra advantage which is also unavailable on the Glowforge laser engravers. It also supports Pass-through and price is significantly lower than the Glowforge pro, which is a huge differentiating factor.
Finally, Gweike Cloud Pro has a faster cutting speed than Glowforge Pro. Gweike Cloud Pro can reach up to 500 mm/s, while Glowforge Pro maxes out at 300 mm/s.
Gweike Cloud Pro offers more power, a larger working area, more materials compatibility, and faster cutting speed than Glowforge Pro. (read more on Gweike Vs Glowforge here)
|Factors||Gweike Cloud Pro||Glowforge Pro|
|Size||38.2″ x 22.2″ x 9.2″||38″ x 20.75″ x 8.25″|
|Weight||25 kg (55 lbs)||42.6 kg (94 lbs)|
|Work Bed||20.08” by 11.8”||19.5” by 11”|
|Camera||one (in-built)||Two (one for focus)|
|Z Axis||20 inches||0.5 to 2 inches|
|Work Bed||Removable Honeycomb||Fixed|
|Laser Power||glass tube 50W CO2 lasers||glass tube 45W CO2 lasers|
|Speed||600 mm/s||330 mm/s|
|Precision||0.001 inch||0.002 inch|
|Hand Made Drawing Detection||Yes||Yes|
|Read Material QR Code||Yes||Yes|
|Price||Gweike Store||Glowforge Store|
Gweike is also supported as the best Glowforge alternative by the Laser Experts.
OMTech 50W vs Glowforge Pro
The OMTech 50W CO2 laser cutting machine is a powerful and advanced tool for precise and detailed cutting. It can also be the Best Glowforge alternative considering the following factors.
This laser cutter is designed to handle a wide range of materials, such as wood, acrylic, plastic, leather, fabric, paper, rubber, glass, and more. It has a high–quality 50W CO2 laser tube that provides a superior cutting experience with outstanding accuracy and speed.
The machine features an integrated stepper motor and advanced control board to ensure smooth operation, while the intuitive touch panel allows for easy setup and controls. The OMTech 50W CO2 laser cutting machine also comes with various accessories, including a honeycomb worktable, air pump, exhaust fan, chiller, and more, perfect for any workshop or fabrication environment.
How is OMTech better than Glowforge?
Here’s how OMTech becomes the suitable Glowforge Alternative:
- OMTech offers higher resolution than Glowforge pro. It gives a resolution of 2540 dpi whereas the Glowforge Pro comes with a 1000 DPI resolution
- The engraving area is similar for both, with dimensions of 11.5 by 19.5 inches. However, The Glowforge pro allows 2 inches of maximum material height, whereas the OMTech accepts up to 8 inches.
- Additionally, OMTech offers 1 year additional warranty over what Glowforge offers.
- The engraving speed of OMTech 50W laser is up to 19.685 inches per second, whereas the Glowforge pro achieves up to 9.8 inches per second.
- Furthermore, OMTech cuts at15 inches per second and the Glowforge pro’s cutting speed is up to 0.4 inches per second.
- The big part is that the OMTech supports Lightburn and Glowforge does not.
- The laser cutter also has a rotary axis, which is still missing in the Glowforge Pro’s basic package.
- From the price point, OMTech is available at 60% of Glowforge pro’s price that motivates the customers highly.
OMTech 50W CO2 lasers are preferred for cutting and engraving thicker materials such as wood, acrylic, leather and rubber. They can cut up to 1/4 inch thick materials and are capable of higher accuracy than Glowforge lasers. They also have a longer lifespan and require less maintenance than Glowforge. Additionally, they offer more options for customization, such as adjustable power settings, a variety of lenses, and air assist capabilities. These features make OMTech 50W CO2 lasers ideal for more demanding applications.
|OMTech 50W||Glowforge Pro|
|Engraving Area||29.21 CM by 49.53 CM||29.21 CM by 49.53 CM|
|Maximum Material Height||8 Inches||2 Inches|
|Engraving Speed||19 Inches/s||10 inches /s|
|Cutting Speed||up to 15 inches/s||up to 0.4 inches/s|
|Supports other offline software||Yes||No|
|Price||Check Amazon||Around $5,500|
Where is OMTech behind Glowforge?
- Glowforge’s brand value & resale value is higher than OMTech
- From the context of the build type and overall appearance, Glowforge will be on the upper side
- Glowforge’s average lifespan is slightly higher than the OMTech
2023 Update: Omtech brought a Glowforge Competitor
OMtech brought a new laser engraver named Polar, which is ultimately a Glowforge Challenger. The Polar is available at nearly $3000 which features a 50 W CO2 laser along with both air assist and water chiller.
The Precision of OMTech polar is as low as 0.001 inches along with an engraving speed of 500 mm/s.
Overall, The OMTech Polar is a great fully enclosed laser engraving machine and surely it will be another Glowforge Killer. From the Price Point, It comes at almost half of what Glowforge is asking for the Pro models. Even, though the Glowforge may stay a bit ahead of Polar, the return on investment would surely be as fast as what Gweike is offering.
|Factors||OMTech Polar||Glowforge Pro|
|Size||38.2″ x 22.3″ x 9.2″||38″ x 20.75″ x 8.25″|
|Weight||104 lbs||42.6 kg (94 lbs)|
|Work Bed||20.1” by 11.8”||19.5” by 11”|
|Camera||5 Mp (Auto Focus||Two (one for focus)|
|Z Axis||20 inches||0.5 to 2 inches|
|Rotary||Two Rotary Available at base price||Not Available|
|Work Bed||Removable Honeycomb||Fixed|
|Laser Power||glass tube 50W CO2 lasers||glass tube 45W CO2 lasers|
|Speed||500 mm/s||330 mm/s|
|Precision||0.001 inch||0.002 inch|
|Hand Made Drawing Detection||Yes||Yes|
|Read Material QR Code||Yes||Yes|
|Price||Below $3000||More than $6000|
The said service life of roughly ten thousand hours may vary but, the deviation should not be more than 5% we believe. OMTech polar’s engraving speed is ultra-fast, the noise stays below 65 DB, the camera focus was absolutely okay and even the laser head stays cool with the help of air assist & water chiller.
We must conclude that OMTech has just brought another best-selling laser engraver which is going to shake the budget-friendly laser engravers’ market.
Here’s how the Polar beats Glowforge
- OMTech Polar’s price is almost one-third of Glowforge
- The Polar is faster than the Glowforge with having 500 mm/s engraving speed
- Polar also features the same in-built camera as the Glowforge with exactly the same benefits of hand-made drawing detection.
- OMTech’s Polar comes with a water chiller which is a missing point of Glowforge
- The Polar’s service life is 10 thousand hours which easily beats the Glowforge’s laser engravers
- The Polar features removable honeycomb bed whereas the Glowforge does not offer the bed portability
- The Polar comes with two rotary attachments that helps it to stay ahead of Glowforge
Explore more on Omtech Polar Vs Glowforge here.
Xtool D1 Pro Vs Glowforge
Xtool D1 Pro is DIY laser cutter & engraver (without enclosure) but acting as one of the major Glowforge alternative.
The Xtool D1 Pro and the Glowforge Pro are powerful laser engraving machines with excellent accuracy and precision. However, the Xtool D1 Pro has a larger engraving area and higher accuracy rate and is compatible with third–party software. Furthermore, it is also more affordable than the Glowforge Pro.
How Xtool D1 Pro becomes the Glowforge alternative?
The Xtool D1 Pro and Glowforge Pro are advanced laser engraving machines that offer precision and reliability. Both machines have a wide range of materials they can work with, ranging from wood and metal to plastic and leather. The Xtool D1 Pro has a maximum engraving area of 20“ x 28”, while the Glowforge Pro has a maximum area of 19.5“ x 11.5”.
The Xtool D1 Pro has a higher accuracy rate of 0.001” than the Glowforge Pro‘s 0.002”. Regarding software, the Xtool D1 Pro has an integrated controller that allows users to customize their projects via a graphical user interface. The Glowforge Pro, on the other hand, uses its own proprietary software to control the machine. Additionally, the Xtool D1 Pro is compatible with various third–party software programs.
Prom the price point, Xtool D1 pro comes within $1500, around 30% of what Glowforge asks for its Pro model.
Additionally, the Xtool D1 pro can cut wood up to 1.2 inches thick, while Glowforge basic model can only cut wood up to 0.5 inches thick. This makes Xtool D1 pro better suited to larger projects that require thicker materials.
Anther amazing thing
Xtool D1 pro is the only laser engraver under $2000 which makes color engravings through oxidization.
More on Glowforge Vs Xtool is here.
Where is Xtool D1 Pro behind Glowforge?
- Xtool does not come with an enclosure, but the Glowforge cutters do
- Glowforge is designed with more safety concerns, whereas the Xtool is more of a DIY laser cutter
- Xtool does not have a camera to monitor, but the Glowforge has
- There are no air assist in Xtool like the Glowforge which helps in better laser cutting
Flux Beambox Vs Glowforge
Flux Beambox laser cutter is a powerful, easy–to–use desktop laser cutter that allows users to quickly and accurately cut and engrave various materials. It is becoming popular laser cutter over the Glowforge.
It has a 40W CO2 laser, an intuitive user interface, and a wide range of compatibility with materials. With its powerful, precise laser, users can create intricate designs with detailed accuracy and smooth edges. The Beambox also features a large 24“ x 12“ work area, making it capable of handling large projects, as well as small ones.
Additionally, the Beambox‘s advanced features make it easy for users to customize their projects, such as creating multiple designs in one go or cutting out complex shapes. Lastly, the Beambox has a built–in air compressor, making it easy for users to safely and effectively cut materials without purchasing additional equipment.
How is Flux Beambox better than Glowforge?
- Beambox is cheaper than Glowforge
- Though the engraving area of FLux Beambox is slightly lower than the Glowforge but the Beambox’s material height is bigger than what Glowforge offers
- The laser power is precisely the same as Glowforge, 40W CO2.
- It does contain a preview camera like the Glowforge and performs excellently.
- There is a rotary upgradation available for Flux Beambox.
- It has an enclosure, and no extra time is required for assembly.
Where is Glowofrge Ahead of Flux Beambox?
- Camera autofocus is better in Glowforge
- Flux Lacks material recognition like the Glowforge.
- Glowforge comes with air assist
- A customer community is bigger in Glowforge that allows other customers to take helo from each other.
Laserpecker 4 Vs Glowforge
Laserpecker 4 is a portable laser engraver that is lightweight and easy to use. It features a powerful 500mW laser, a large working area of 11.8 x 8.3 inches, and a resolution of up to 1000 DPI. It can engrave on various materials such as wood, leather, acrylic, and more. The included software allows users to create their own designs or upload images for engraving.
This Laserpecker 4 engraver offers an affordable alternative to the Glowforge laser engravers. The Laserpecker is also easier to transport due to its lightweight and smaller size.
It also includes a safety feature that will turn off the laser automatically when the lid is opened. This makes it safer for users, especially younger ones. With its simple user interface and powerful laser, the Laserpecker 4 is an excellent choice for those looking for a reliable and affordable laser engraver.
How Laserpecker is ahead of Glowforge?
- Allows faster engraving
- The rotary axis rotates according to engraving materials
- Allows precision of up to 0.003 mm
- Laserpecker 4 can print a photo at even 4K HD resolution, whereas the Glowforge laser engravers offer only 1000 DPI resolution.
- Glowforge comes with an enclosure which means that the engraving size is limited, but the laserpecker can engrave at your freedom.
- Laserpecker 4 has an additional 2W fiber laser that allows it to engrave on sensitive material like Chocolete, fruits, and food. Glowforge cannot perform like this since its a CO2 laser.
Check Latest Laserpecker prices from the Official Laserpecker Store.
|LaserPecker 4||Laserpecker 3||Glowforge Pro|
|Laser||2W IR Laser + 10W Blue Laser||5W diode laser||45W CO2 Laser|
|Engraving size||100*100mm with side extension||90x80mm||38″ x 20.75″ x 8.25″|
|Engraving Speed||2000 mm/s||600 mm/s||330 mm/s|
|Rotary||Available (360 degree Rotating)||Available||Not AVailable|
|Precision||0.003 mm||0.01 mm||0.002 inch|
|Resolution||HD 4K||1K||1000 DPI|
|Price||Check Laserpecker Store at Amazon||Around $5000|
Where Laserpecker Lacks?
Laserpecker is a diode laser, whereas the Glowforge features 40W co2 laser which means that you can cut tougher material. Laserpecker is more suitable for engraving, but the Glowforge is good for both engraving & cutting.
What are the common problems people face while using CO2 lasers?
Low Power Output: One of the most common problems people face when using a CO2 laser cutter is low power output. A variety of factors, including incorrect settings, insufficient air supply, or a weak laser tube can cause this. Low power output can lead to poor cutting quality or even failure to cut through materials.
Poor Focus: A CO2 laser cutter requires precise focusing in order to produce high–quality cuts. If the focus is off, the laser will not be able to cut through the material properly. An incorrect setup or a faulty lens can cause poor focusing.
Poor Alignment: The alignment of the laser head needs to be precise in order for the laser to cut accurately. If the alignment is off, the laser may not be able to cut through the material properly or may produce an uneven cut. Incorrect setup, worn parts, or a faulty laser head can cause poor alignment.
Excessive Heat: CO2 laser cutters typically generate a lot of heat during operation, which can cause the material to warp or melt. This can be caused by incorrect settings, a poorly ventilated workspace, or a faulty cooling system.
More on common problems is here.
Glowforge is really an expensive laser cutter. It would be the most favorable decision if you can afford it. However, not everyone has the ability to buy a costly machine or look for alternatives so that he gets more.