The Best Laser Engraver for Metal
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The 6 Best Laser Engravers for Metal

Best Budget Fiber Laser
  • High-quality lenses
  • Fast and precise galvanometer engraving
  • Maintenance free design
Best Budget Laser for Metal
  • Easy to engrave on any surface inclination
  • Multiple creative modes for quick engraving
  • Compatible with rotary attachment
Best Metal-Compatible CO2 Laser
  • Accurate auto-focus for clean engravings
  • Easy remote monitoring and controlling
  • Feature-rich control software

Laser engraving on metal is now more accessible than ever, owing to the variety of powerful and relatively affordable CO2 and fiber laser machines. You can engrave keychains, jewelry, watches, barcodes, and labels with a small setup, right within your garage or small shop.

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best metal laser engraving machines you can buy for your engraving needs. These laser engravers represent the best options in their category and are curated for beginners, hobbyists, and professionals alike.

Read on to find the metal engraver that suits your needs and start your metal engraving adventure.

SUMMARY
Laser Engraver for MetalWorking AreaLaser TypePowerPriceBest Offer
Triumph 30W Fiber Laser110 x 110 mm
200 x 200 mm
Fiber30W$4999
LaserPecker 360 x 60 mmDiode10W$1529
FSL Muse 3D 45W508 x 305 mmCO245W$6749
50W JPT Fiber Laser Engraver110 x 110 mm
300 x 300 mm
Fiber50W$6199
FSL Muse Titan 100W Desktop CO2 Laser1200 x 600 mmCO2100W$8495
OMTech MF1624-60 60W CO2500 x 700 mmCO260W$2599

What Kind of Laser Engraver Do You Need for Metal?

Fiber

Steel and pure iron metal absorb light with a 1064 nm wavelength. Fiber laser machines emit infrared radiation of similar wavelengths, which is why they are the preferred type of laser engraving machine to work with metals.

The intensity of a fiber laser engraving machine is almost ten times more than a CO2 laser, and it can concentrate higher amounts of energy on a single point.

The finer spot size of fiber lasers aids in the precision of the laser engraver. For permanently marking barcodes, QR codes, or serial numbers on metal, fiber lasers are ideal.

CO2

However, you can also use CO2 lasers and diode lasers to engrave on metals. While they are not as efficient as fiber lasers, they can still get the job done.

CO2 laser engraving machines have a higher wavelength of light (10,064 nm) than fiber lasers. These are not as readily absorbed by bare metals.

As a result, most of the laser light does not get absorbed by the metal surface. This is why engraving metals with CO2 lasers usually requires an absorbing medium on the metal’s surface.

Typically, you can use a metal marking spray to work with CO2 lasers. The spray coating absorbs the high wavelength of CO2 lasers and permanently bonds to the metal’s surface. Using this method, you can mark stainless steel, aluminum, and mild steel.

Many hobbyists use mustard and vinegar to mark metals as a low-cost solution. The combination of mustard and vinegar oxidizes the metal surface, and the CO2 laser burn can burn a thin uppermost layer of the metal surface.

Laser Engraving vs. Laser Etching vs. Laser Marking Metal

Engraving, etching, and marking are often used interchangeably to refer to laser metal processing. However, these methods have significant differences and produce different results.

Laser Engraving

Laser engraving is a subtractive process in which a portion of the metal is removed due to the laser’s heat. The laser heats a particular spot and vaporizes the material creating a cavity in the workpiece.

The cavity is visible to the eyes, and you can feel the hollowness on the metal’s surface. The depth of cut in engraving depends on the laser’s power and the material’s properties.

Laser Etching

In contrast, laser etching melts the surface of the metal with the help of heat and chemicals. This process results in raised marks on the workpiece, which are shallower than the deep cuts produced in the engraving process.

Laser etching on metals is a comparatively more straightforward process and is possible via a CO2 or diode laser.

Laser Marking

Lastly, laser marking metal is an additive process in which a metal’s surface is not eroded but rather oxidized to create permanent markings on it. Usually, a laser marking spray such as Cermark is sprayed on the surface before burning it with a laser.

Laser marking is useful for creating measurement marks on instruments, barcodes, serial numbers, and display labels. Unlike working with stickers or inks, laser marking on metals can withstand high temperatures and even extreme weather conditions.

The Best Laser Engraving Machines for Metal in 2023

Best Budget Fiber Laser
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Triumph is a well-known brand in the laser engraving industry, and its laser engraving machines have a reputation for a high-quality design with excellent build quality. The Triumph’s 30W fiber laser is currently one of the most affordable fiber lasers and is designed for professionals and beginners alike.

The laser unit features 30W laser equipment along with the computer system to run it. The included computer features industry-leading specs and comes pre-installed with fiber laser marker software.

It has an engraving area of 110 x 110 mm, which you can expand to 200 x 200 mm with a supplied spare lens. The laser has an extremely fine focus of 0.001 mm and can engrave up to a depth of 1 mm on your metal items. Both are excellent features for detailed metal laser engraving.

In terms of safety, the machine comes with safety interlocks, laser safety labels, a high-quality power supply, and a laser emission indicator. Additionally, you get a red-dot pointer to quickly focus the laser and get a preview of the engraving process on your metal workpiece.

Triumph’s external accessories let you better customize the laser engraver to suit your workflow. For example, there is a foot pedal included with the machine, and the engraver is compatible with rotary marking attachments for engraving on cylindrical objects and metal rings.

Overall, Triumph’s 30W fiber laser engraving machine is an excellent choice for engraving on small metal items such as nameplates, rings, dog tags, and jewelry. Under $5000, the metal laser engraver provides excellent value for your money and is suitable for small production runs in workshops or Makerspaces.

Standout Features

  • Industrial computer
  • Red dot pointer
  • 2-year warranty
  • 100,000-hour laser life

Technical Details

Engraving area 110 x 110 mm or 200 x 200 mm
Laser type Fiber laser
Laser power 30 W
Control software EZcad
Connectivity USB
Input file format plt, dst, ai, dxf, bmp, jpg, cad, cdr, dwg

What We Like

  • High-quality lenses
  • Fast and precise galvanometer engraving
  • Maintenance free design
  • Included 80 mm rotary attachment

Could Be Better

  • Small engraving area
  • Limited enclosure options
Find Triumph 30W Fiber Laser at
Best Budget Laser for Metal
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Galvo lasers utilize high-speed adjustments of mirrors to position the laser light onto the workpieces. The LaserPecker 3 is an ideal example of a galvo laser with a small, portable design and fast engraving speeds.

The LaserPecker 3’s design makes it highly portable, allowing you to execute handheld engraving on any metal surface. The entire engraver only weighs 2.5 kg, which is impressive for a galvo laser engraver with its power rating.

The laser inside the LaserPecker 3 is a 10W unit and can achieve engraving speeds of up to 600 mm/s. Keep in mind that speeds are highly material-dependent, so you won’t reach them in all conditions.

The machine has a Field Mirror Focusing that offers a precise 0.01 mm fine laser beam. For its price, that is more than respectable.

Its main drawbacks are its small, fixed engraving area of 60 x 60 mm and the lack of a neatly designed enclosure. The handheld design helps you to easily reposition the engraver on the workpiece and overcome the smaller area, but that does come with the risk of misalignment.

The LaserPecker 3 can engrave various metal surfaces and is best suited for beginners and first-time laser machine users. Its ease of use and portable design are distinguishing features that benefit small metal laser engraving jobs.

Standout Features

  • Handheld and portable design
  • All-in-one multifunctional app
  • 600 mm/s high-speed engraving

Technical Details

Engraving area 60 x 60 mm
Laser type Semiconductor laser
Laser power 10 W
Control software LaserPecker app
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.0
Input file format .jpg, .png, .svg, .bmp, .dwg, .ai, gcode.

What We Like

  • Easy to engrave on any surface inclination
  • Multiple creative modes for quick engraving
  • Compatible with rotary attachment
  • Affordable price

Could Be Better

  • Small engraving area
  • Relatively slow engraving speeds
Find LaserPecker 3 at
Best Metal-Compatible CO2 Laser
FSL Muse 3D Laser Engraver for Metal
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The FSL Muse 3D is a well-balanced CO2 laser engraver in the Muse series designed for makers and hobbyists. Its full-metal construction, high-quality components, and host of advanced features make it stand out from several other CO2 lasers in the same price range.

It features a built-in camera with IntelSense technology, which gives you an accurate height map of your workpiece. This feature allows the engraver to accurately focus the laser on the workpiece without requiring manual intervention.

Its 20″ x 12″ (508 x 305 mm) engraving area is adequate for engraving metal items such as laptops, cell phones, bike parts, and more. You can extend this working area by removing the floor of the machine and working on even larger objects.

The 45W CO2 laser ensures that you have sufficient power to engrave on coated metal surfaces at faster speeds. Muse 3D’s Retina Engrave software comes included with the machine and runs directly in your web browser. It lets you control the laser power, speed, engraving depth, and other parameters from your phone or laptop.

The $6749 price tag might seem high for a laser engraver. But, it’s a relatively budget metal laser cutting machine when you factor in its working area, features, and option for laser engraving and laser cutting on non-metal materials. Especially when looking at it as a Glowforge alternative.

The FSL Muse 3D will be suitable for prosumers and small businesses needing a desktop metal laser engraver under $10,000 that is also well-suited for non-metal materials.

Standout Features

  • Patented removable floor
  • 3D camera
  • Auto-focusing capabilities
  • Integrated touchscreen

Technical Details

Engraving area 508 x 305 mm
Laser type CO2 laser
Laser power 45 W
Control software RetinaEngrave v3.0
Connectivity Ethernet, Wi-Fi
Input file format jpg, png, bmp, tiff, svg, dxf, dwg

What We Like

  • Accurate auto-focus for clean engravings
  • Easy remote monitoring and controlling
  • Feature-rich control software
  • Numerous compatible accessories

Could Be Better

  • No passthrough feature
  • Can engrave solely on coated metals
Find FSL Muse 3D 45W at
Best Fiber Laser for Metal
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The JPT Fiber laser engraver is one of the most portable and easy-to-operate metal laser engravers you can get for your business. You can engrave on various metals such as aluminum, stainless steel, brass, and copper and even work with some non-metals such as nylon, ABS, and PVC.

The 50W fiber laser has a high marking speed of up to 7000 mm/s and can engrave up to a depth of 1mm (0.039″). It features a relatively small engraving area of 110 x 100 mm, but you can still fit objects of up to 300 mm (11.8″) thickness on the engraving platform. Also included is an 80 mm (3.15″) diameter rotary attachment for working with cylindrical items.

Included is EZCAD 2 engraving software that features everything you need to set up and work with your metal items. Because the machine is also compatible with LightBurn laser software, you have even more flexibility in the software you use.

The dual red dots within the machine’s engraving head help focus the laser accurately each time. Additionally, the work area LED lights illuminate the work table and come in handy for quick workpiece setup.

One downside is that the engraver misses out on an enclosure. It’ll need to be purchased separately at a significant cost.

The JPT 50W metal laser engraver is one of the best fiber lasers under $10000 available, with great features at a reasonable cost. It’s easy enough for a beginner yet feature-rich and adequate for a professional. It’s well equipped for laser marking and laser etching a wide range of materials despite its relatively small work area.

Standout Features

  • Compact and portable design
  • Dual-red dot focusing
  • Excellent build quality and construction

Technical Details

Engraving area 110 x 110 mm or 300 x 300 mm
Laser type Fiber laser
Laser power 50 W
Control software EZcad, LightBurn
Connectivity USB
Input file format plt, dst, ai, dxf, bmp, jpg, cad, cdr, dwg

What We Like

  • Easy to set up with minimal assembly
  • F430 lens included for bigger engraving area
  • Compatible with external rotary attachments
  • Long laser life

Could Be Better

  • No external display included
  • Lacks an enclosure
Find 50W JPT Fiber Laser Engraver at
Best Powerful CO2 Laser for Metal
FSL Muse Titan Laser Engraver for Metal
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Another machine in the Muse Lineup, the Muse Titan 100W CO2 laser, is a scaled-up version of the smaller Muse Core machines. Its 48″ x 24″ (1200 x 600 mm) engraving area dwarfs the other devices and gives the option for laser engraving large metal sheets.

The Titan engraver has a solid build quality and arrives in a form factor compact enough to fit through a regular doorway. It’s the sole laser in the Muse Lineup to feature a four-way passthrough feature letting you feed the material from any side of the machine. This function enables you to engrave without any restrictions on the length of your workpiece.

Optionally, you can configure the Titan to arrive with a 3D camera. This helps autofocus the laser head on the workpiece, allowing for quick laser engraving and cutting.

The built-in touchscreen on the engraver’s top features a neatly laid out UI and lets you control several aspects of the engraver without the constant need for an external device.

FSL’s decision to sell the air assist compressor, cooling box, and camera separately is unwelcoming in our opinion. These are mandatory for quality results with the laser engraver and we think they should be included along with the machine.

Aside from this, the FSL Muse Titan is an absolute workhorse of a metal laser engraving machine suited for more professional purposes. With its 100W laser, you can engrave on any coated metal surface and easily customize your tags, watches, bottles, sheets, and other items. For non-metal materials, it makes quick work of both laser engraving and laser cutting.

Standout Features

  • Large engraving area
  • Four-way passthrough
  • Browser based software

Technical Details

Engraving area 1200 x 600 mm
Laser type CO2 laser
Laser power 100 W
Control software RetinaEngrave v3.0
Connectivity Ethernet, WiFi
Input file format jpg, png, bmp, tiff, svg, dxf, dwg

What We Like

  • Easy to engrave on large materials
  • High-powered CO2 laser
  • Rigid build quality
  • Feature-rich control software

Could Be Better

  • No camera or extra lenses included
  • Required accessories need to be purchased separately
Find FSL Muse Titan 100W Desktop CO2 Laser at
Best Budget Metal Laser Engraver
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OMTech laser engraving machines deliver excellent quality results and value for budget users. The OMTech 60W laser engraver is a testament to this and is ideal for first-time users, beginners, and hobbyists looking for a CO2 metal laser engraver on a budget.

Just like other CO2 lasers, the 60W laser works best engraving on stainless steel, titanium, and aluminum as long as you coat these metals adequately. It’s a no-fuss laser that you can use to engrave other materials such as wood, leather, and plastic as well.

The machine has a large engraving area of 19.5″ x 27.5″ (500 x 700 mm), making it suitable for large-scale projects. Add to that its passthrough feature, and you can work on even bigger items without much hassle.

OMtech includes a water-cooling and ventilation system with the laser engraver, making it easy for you to set up and operate the machine without having to purchase separate accessories.

One of the main drawbacks is its large footprint. The machine can be challenging to move around and fit into a small workspace. In that regard, fiber laser machines may be a better option as they’re usually compact in size.

That said, there’s hardly any other metal laser engraving machine that delivers the value OMTech 60W provides for under $3000. It’s an excellent starting point for someone who wants to get started with metal laser engraving without breaking the bank.

Standout Features

  • Linear rail guiding system
  • Adjustable laser nozzle
  • Built-in ventilation provision
  • Two-way passthrough

Technical Details

Engraving area 500 x 700 mm
Laser type CO2 laser
Laser power 60 W
Control software RDWorks and Lightburn
Connectivity Ethernet, USB
Input file format plt, dst, ai, dxf, bmp, jpg, cad, cdr, dwg

What We Like

  • Affordable price
  • Included rotary attachment
  • Up to 500 mm/s fast engraving speeds
  • Wide connectivity options

Could Be Better

  • Limited laser life
  • Manual laser focusing
Find OMTech MF1624-60 60W CO2 at

What to Look for When Buying a Laser Engraver for Metal

Laser Beam Power 

Laser engraving metals is challenging, and a high-powered laser will help you execute this process efficiently. With fiber, CO2, and diode lasers, the higher the laser wattage, the better its performance and engraving capabilities.

A 50W fiber laser engraving machine will let you engrave up to a greater depth than a 30W variant. Or if you prefer to engrave at the same depth, you can do this at higher speeds. This increased speed and power significantly reduce your engraving times and help save time in batch production scenarios.

Similarly, with CO2 lasers, a 100W laser will deliver a better engraving performance than a 50W or 60W CO2 laser. For example, the FSL Muse Titan 100W gives you more speed and reduces your engraving times compared to the FSL Muse 45W laser engraver.

The downside of more power is that higher-wattage lasers are more expensive. But, you’ll find that if you need metal laser engraving for your business, that extra cost will pay off in the long run.

It’s crucial to remember that the power figures of fiber laser machines and CO2 lasers cannot be compared directly with each other. Fiber lasers are inherently designed to work with metals. For example, a 40W fiber laser gives you a much better performance laser marking metal than a 100W CO2 laser ever can.

We recommend getting at least a 50W – 100W CO2 laser if you want to engrave on metals. It helps you get good engraving quality without consuming too much time or power.

If you’re looking for a fiber laser, a 30W laser should be your bare minimum consideration. It delivers a great price-to-performance ratio and is adequate for all basic engraving tasks.

Laser Types 

Fiber, CO2, and Semiconductor (diode) lasers are the broad categories used in most laser machines. All three types have different wavelengths and are suited for different applications.

Fiber lasers use an optical fiber cable doped with rare earth metals to stimulate and increase the intensity of the laser. The light emitted by a fiber laser has a wavelength of ~1064 nm.

Metals and some non-metals readily absorb this light wavelength. This is why fiber lasers are best suited for working with coated and bare metals.

In contrast, CO2 lasers use a gas tube filled with CO2 and helium gas to produce a beam with a wavelength of ~10,064 nm. CO2 lasers are suitable for engraving and laser cutting various non-metal materials, such as fabrics, wood, plastics, ceramics, and leather. They are cheaper than fiber lasers and are often used by hobbyists.

Diode lasers are the cheapest in pricing and have the least power among the three laser types. These lasers are small in size and typically come with power ratings of 1.6 to 20W. Usually, you’ll find diode lasers in DIY and hobby applications.

Just like CO2 lasers, diode lasers are excellent for engraving on wood, MDF, leather, and fabrics. But when metal laser marking, they take a lot of time.

You can use both the CO2 and diode lasers to mark and engrave on metal surfaces, provided the metal workpiece is coated with a marking spray. Without a marking spray, it’s difficult to engrave on bare metal surfaces with these lasers, due to their wavelength and low power.

Accessories

External accessories such as cooling units, spare lenses, safety goggles, enclosures, and rotary attachments help you extract the best performance from your metal laser engravers.

For example, a rotary attachment module lets you work with cylindrical objects and comes in handy for engraving on metal tumblers, tubes, or rods.

Additional lenses are typically available for fiber lasers and extend the engraving area of the machines. Similarly, safety goggles and enclosures are crucial for safely working with these devices.

While buying a metal laser engraver, you must carefully evaluate the compatible accessories. If the manufacturer does not provide these accessories in the box, it’s essential to consider the machine’s compatibility with external accessories.

Extra features 

Along with accessories, each metal laser engraver can come with some extra features unique to itself. These features are designed to enhance the overall user experience of the laser machine. You need to look for these features and consider their usefulness in your engraving workflow.

For example, the FSL Muse has a built-in camera for auto-focusing the laser beam and remote monitoring and controlling. The FSL Muse Titan receives a passthrough feature that extends the engraving area beyond the machine’s physical parameters.

Likewise, the red dot pointer in the Triumph 30W fiber laser makes it easy to preview the working area and adjust the focal length. Even tiny features such as a measurement ruler on the JPT 50W fiber laser are helpful for quickly and precisely focusing the beam on the workpiece.

Maintenance

Each machine needs constant maintenance and upkeep for optimal performance. A low-maintenance machine has fewer downtimes and recurring costs, reducing your overhead costs and helping you extract the most out of the engraver.

A fiber laser engraver for metal is almost maintenance-free, and besides the occasional lens cleaning, these do not require much servicing. Optical fiber is typically rated for 100,000 hours in most fiber metal laser engravers and is reliable enough to work without breakdowns.

CO2 lasers need more maintenance. Their laser source life is considerably less at 1000-10,000 hours. You’ll need to replace the CO2 laser tubes more frequently and do maintenance to ensure that the laser mirrors and the motion systems keep functioning as intended.

What Types of Metal Can You Laser Engrave, Mark, or Etch?

You can engrave, mark and etch all common metals with an appropriate laser machine and working processes. For example, you can use fiber lasers to work on stainless steel, aluminum, copper, brass, iron, and many other similar metals.

Whereas, with CO2 and diode lasers, too, you can engrave up to a limited depth on these metals. But, you’ll have to apply a metal marking spray to reduce the reflection of the laser from the metal surfaces. Their speed is much slower than fiber lasers as well.

Coated aluminum and stainless steel are the most popular metals to mark with CO2 lasers. These metals are more likely to absorb the CO2 laser wavelength. Also, the laser’s lower power levels are suitable for marking and engraving on such metals.

Conclusion: Which Metal Laser Engraving Machine Is Best for You?

Metal laser engraving lets you create permanent impressions on your metal workpieces without needing any physical tools or machining process. And with the slew of currently available desktop metal laser engravers, you can create detailed and intricate engravings on various metals with utmost precision.

The type of metal laser engraving machine you’ll need depends on the work you’re doing and your budget. If you want a laser engraver for metal that is affordable, you can set up your metal engraving setup on a relatively low budget, right within your garage.

The FSL Muse 3D 45W laser machine is the best CO2 laser engraver for metal. It has several advanced features and a large working area, and its CO2 laser is powerful enough to engrave on several coated metals easily.

As alternatives, Triumph’s 30W laser and the 50W JPT laser are the best fiber metal laser engravers that are designed specifically for engraving on metals. These lasers have an excellent set of features, and despite their small engraving area, they are suited for various metal engraving jobs.

Which one’s your favorite laser engraver for metals? Let us know in the comments below.

Author

  • Pranav

    Pranav is an avid maker and DIY enthusiast who specializes in 3D printing. He’s built and operated 3D printers, CNC machines, and laser engravers. He is also familiar with most other machines that you’d find in a MakerSpace. In his free time, you can find him on the road cycling or reading in a corner.

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