Glowforge Alternatives: 5 Better Lasers

Glowforge Alternatives: 5 Better Lasers

Glowforge Alternatives: 5 Better Lasers

While Glowforge is a good laser printer, there are some great alternatives to consider.

In this article, I've compiled a list of laser machines that are great alternatives if you don't want the Glowforge.

The machines mentioned here are either cheaper than Glowforge or offer certain advantages compared to glowforge.

MellowPine is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

Best Glowforge Alternatives

Here are the best glowforge alternatives compared with Glowforge.

MachinesPriceWork AreaLaser Power
Glowforge$4,000 - $7,00018” x 20” x 2"40W, 45W
OMTech 60W CO2 Laser$3,000 - $3,20020" x 28" x 11"60W, 80W
FSL Muse Core$3,000 - $3,50020" x 12" x 2.5"40W, 45W
Flux Beambox Compact$4,10015.7" x 14.7" x 3.1"40W
Nova 24$7,40023.6" x 15.7" x 6.1"60w
Fusion Pro 24contact Epilog24" x 24" x 9"60W or 80W (CO2)
30W or 50W (fiber)

Table comparing Glowforge with the best alternative laser machines

They all have similar material capabilities as Glowforge, but their processing speed varies depending on the laser power.

A high-powered laser can process the same material faster than a low-powered laser.

1. OMTech 60W CO2 Laser vs Glowforge

OMTech AF2028-60 and MF2028-60 60W CO2 laser variants
OMTech AF2028-60 and MF2028-60 60W CO2 laser variants
ParameterOMTech 60W CO2 LaserGlowforge
Price~$3,000 - $3,200~$4,000 - $7,000
Laser Power60W40W or 45W
AutofocusOptionalAvailable
Footprint47.24" x 34.25" x 36.6"38″ x 20.75″ x 8.25″
Work Area20" x 28" x 11"18” x 20” x 2"
Printable Area20" x 28"11” x 19.5”
Engraving Resolution4,500 DPI1,355 DPI
PassthroughYesonly on "Glowforge Pro"
Preview CameraNoYes
Warranty2 year6 months - 12 months

A quick comparison of OMTech 60W CO2 laser and Glowforge

OMTech's 60W CO2 laser comes with a high-powered laser, a large work area, passthrough capability, bundled LightBurn software, an extended warranty, etc.

Comparatively Affordable

OMTech provides the 60W model in two variants, AF2028-60 and MF2028-60.

The AF2028-60 variant comes with an autofocus feature, and it costs around $3,200, whereas the MF2028-60 variant doesn't include an autofocus feature, and is priced at around $3,000.

In contrast, Glowforge's basic model costs around $4,000, which is about $1,000 more than OMTech's 60W laser machine.

Larger Work Area

OMTech 60W laser comes with a 20" x 28" work area, while Glowforge has an 18" x 20" work area. But the effective work area or actual printable area of Glowforge is much smaller at around 11" x 19.5".

With a larger work area, the OMTech 60W laser also has a large footprint of 47.24" x 34.25" x 36.6". It is a cabinet-type machine with an on-the-wheel design.

More Powerful Laser

While OMTech houses a 60W CO2 laser, Glowforge is only available with 40W and 45W CO2 laser options.

You can even replace the 60W CO2 laser tube on OMTech with an 80W laser upgrade.

Higher Engraving Resolution

The maximum engraving resolution possible with Glowforge is 1,355 DPI, whereas the OMTech 60W laser has a maximum resolution capability of 4,500 DPI.

Built-in Passthrough Doors

OMTech has passthrough doors on its front and back. Each door measures around 29" x 3.75" (W x H).

The passthrough feature allows you to process materials of large sizes, which otherwise would be impossible to house in its work area.

In the case of Glowforge, the passthrough feature is only available in their Pro model, which costs around ~$7,000.

Furthermore, the passthrough slot in Glowforge Pro measures 20" x 0.25" (WxH), which is much lower than what OMTech provides.

Bundled Software

OMTech 60W CO2 laser comes with LightBurn software, which can be used to prepare the design and send those designs to the laser machine.

Glowforge Print is the software used to control Glowforge laser machines. It can also perform basic design operations, but you'll have to rely on some dedicated CAD software for more advanced designs.

On the other hand, LightBurn provides comparatively advanced design features which eliminate the need of using separate CAD software, thereby enhancing the productivity of the process.

Assembly

The assembly process of the OMTech 60W CO2 laser machine will be more tiresome than Glowforge and can take up to an hour.

OMTech 60W CO2 laser machine is shipped as a semi-assembled kit which can take around an hour to assemble.

While Glowforge is a pre-assembled laser cutter that takes around 30 minutes to setup.

Extended Warranty

OMTech provides a two-year warranty for its 60W CO2 laser machine, but the laser tube and power supplies only have six-month coverage.

Glowforge gives a maximum warranty of one year for its Plus and Pro models. For the Basic model, a six-month warranty is provided.

Where does OMTech lack when compared to Glowforge?

Unlike Glowforge, the OMTech 60W CO2 laser doesn't come with a preview camera feature. But you can retrofit a camera onto OMTech laser machines, and the camera will link seamlessly with LighBurn.

Also, OMTech doesn't have a dedicated community forum like Glowforge, they use a private members-only group on Facebook to connect with the community.

OMTech 60W CO2 Laser
60W CO2 laser without Autofocus.
Comes with RDWorks and LightBurn Software.
2-year warranty.
OMTech 60W CO2 Laser with Autofocus
60W CO2 laser with Autofocus feature.
Comes with RDWorks and LightBurn Software.
2-year warranty.

2. FSL Muse Core vs Glowforge

FSL Muse Core
FSL Muse Core (Source: Full Spectrum Laser)
ParameterFSL Muse CoreGlowforge
Price$3,000 - $3,500~$4,000 - $7,000
Laser Power40W or 45W (optional)40W or 45W
AutofocusAvailableAvailable
Footprint32.3" x 20.3" x 8.5"38″ x 20.75″ x 8.25″
Work Area20" x 12" x 2.5"18” x 20” x 2"
Printable Area20" x 12"11” x 19.5”
Engraving Resolution1,000 DPI1,355 DPI
PassthroughNoonly on "Glowforge Pro"
Preview CameraYesYes
Warranty2 years
(upgradable to 3 years)
6 months - 12 months

A quick comparison of FSL Muse Core and Glowforge

Comparatively Affordable

When I compared Muse Core's price range at different online retailers, I found it anywhere between $3,000 to $3,500.

However, depending on the optional upgrades you choose, it can even reach ~$10,000.

Small Footprint but Large Engravable Area

FSL Muse Core has a footprint of 32.3" x 20.3" x 8.5", which requires an area of 655.69 in2 (square inches). Compared to Glowforge, Muse Core takes up 132.81 in2 of less space.

Muse has an engravable area of 20" x 12". Comparatively, Glowforge only has an engravable area of 11" x 19.5", which is 25.5 in2 less than Muse Core.

Similar Laser Powers

FSL Muse Core is a CO2 desktop laser cutter like Glowforge. It is also available in similar power ranges that Glowforge offers, i.e., 40W and 45W.

By default, Full Spectrum Laser (FSL) provides Muse Core with a 40W CO2 laser, but they offer an optional upgrade to a 45W laser while purchasing.

Low Engraving Resolution

The maximum engraving resolution possible with Muse Core is 1,000 DPI, but Glowforge provides a maximum engraving resolution of 1,355 DPI.

Touch Screen

Muse Core has a 7" touch screen on top, which you can use to control some of the essential parameters for its operation.

Such a feature is not available on Glowforge laser machines, and you need to connect it with a PC, tablet, or smartphone to operate.

Lots of Optional Upgrades

FSL provides many upgrade options to the buyers of Muse Core laser machines.

Glowforge does not provide such extensive upgrade options. They only have an air filter upgrade.

Following is a list of upgrades provided by FSL for their Muse Core laser machine:

UpgradesEstimated Price
45W Laser Tube Upgrade+ $250
Extra focus lenses (1.5", 2.5", or 5")
(1.5" + 2.5")
+ $150 or
+ $250
Hobby Kit (Air Compressor, Water Pump, and Exhaust Fan)
Muse Coolbox
+ $750 or
+ $350
Radiator Water Chiller Upgrade+ $600
M-Series Exhaust Fan
FSL 100 Fume Extractor
FSL 300 Fume Extractor
+ $250 or
+ $1,100 or
+ $3,000
Hobby Series Air Compressor+ $150
Muse Rotary Riser Combo+ $1,395
Shipping Insurance+ $25
Three years extended warranty+ $1500

Upgrade options available for FSL Muse Core

Autofocus and Preview Camera

Muse Core also has autofocus, and preview camera features like in Glowforge. It will help you automatically focus the laser beam and preview the design with the workpiece.

Offline Software

Muse Core uses a browser-based software called RetinaEngrave. It doesn't require an internet connection to operate.

Unlike RetinaEngrave, Glowforge Print requires active internet access for its operation.

Glowforge Print and Glowforge Premium are two versions of the same software used to interface with Glowforge laser machines.

Glowforge Premium has an additional subscription charge, while Glowforge Print is free to use.

Assembly

Muse Core comes preassembled and will only take 15 minutes to set it up.

Community and Customer Support

Both Glowforge and FSL provide good customer support for their customers. You can contact them by phone or email.

Glowforge provides a one-year warranty on their machines, whereas FSL provides a two-year warranty period.

FSL also provides an option to avail extended warranty for one more year. With it, you can get three years of warranty for Muse Core.

3. FLUX Beambox Compact vs Glowforge

FLUX Beambox
FLUX Beambox (Source: Flux Europe)
ParameterFLUX Beambox CompactGlowforge
Price~$4,100~$4,000 - $7,000
Laser Power40W40W or 45W
Wavelength10,640 nm10,600 nm
AutofocusAvailableAvailable
Footprint32.6" x 26.3" x 8.5"38″ x 20.75″ x 8.25″
Work Area15.7" x 14.7" x 3.1"18” x 20” x 2"
Printable Area15.7" x 14.7"11” x 19.5”
Engraving Resolution1,000 DPI1,355 DPI
PassthroughNoonly on "Glowforge Pro"
Preview CameraYesYes
Warranty12 months6 months - 12 months

A quick comparison of FLUX Beambox Compact and Glowforge

Comparatively Affordable

Flux Beambox Compact is priced at ~$4,100 and is comparatively $100 cheaper than Glowforge.

Footprint and Printable Area

Glowforge has a footprint of 38″ x 20.75″ while Beambox Compact has a footprint of 32.6" x 26.3". Beambox requires 68.88 in2 (square inches) more space than Glowforge.

The comparatively larger footprint of Beambox is complemented by its large workable/printable area.

Beambox has a printable area of 15.7" x 14.7", while Glowforge only has an effective printable area of 11" x 19.5".

Low Engraving Resolution

The maximum engraving resolution possible with Beambox is 1,000 DPI, but Glowforge provides a maximum engraving resolution of 1,355 DPI.

Similar Laser

Beambox comes with a standard 40W CO2 laser that operates at 10,640 nm.

If you are looking for a more powerful laser option, you can check out "FLEX Beambox Pro," it has a 50W laser but is priced almost $600 higher than Beambox Compact.

Preview Camera and Autofocus

Both Glowforge and Beambox have preview cameras facing their work area. It will help you visually align the design with the workpiece.

Unfortunately, Beambox lacks the autofocusing feature that Glowforge provides.

Touchscreen

Beambox has a 1024 x 600 px LCD touchscreen on its top panel nearer the enclosure door. Using it, you can fiddle with some of its working parameters.

Such a feature is not available on Glowforge.

Rotary Upgrade

Beambox has an optional rotary upgrade available, and it costs around $400. Glowforge can't house rotary attachments in its work area as it only has a 2" Z-depth.

Assembly

Beambox comes preassembled, and to get it ready for the first job, you must connect the exhaust hose and wifi antenna.

You can unpack and assemble it in about 15 minutes.

Community and Customer Support

Both Glowforge and FLUX provide good customer support for their customers.

Unfortunately, you can only contact Flux by raising a support request on their website, but Glowforge can be contacted through phone calls and email.

Flux provides a one-year warranty for their Beambox series of laser machines, and the laser tube has a standalone warranty of three months.

Glowforge provides six to twelve months of overall warranty, depending on the machine.

4. Nova 24 vs Glowforge

Nova24 laser machine
Nova24 laser machine (Source: Thunder Laser)
ParameterNova 24Glowforge
Price~$7,400~$4,000 - $7,000
Laser Power60w40W or 45W
Wavelength10,600 nm10,600 nm
AutofocusAvailableAvailable
Footprint57.1" x 31.9" x 26"38″ x 20.75″ x 8.25″
Work Area23.6" x 15.7" x 6.1"18” x 20”x 2"
Printable Area23.6" x 15.7"11” x 19.5”
Engraving Resolution800 DPI1,355 DPI
PassthroughYesonly on "Glowforge Pro"
Preview CameraAs optional upgradeYes
Warranty2 Year6 months - 12 months

A quick comparison of Nova 24 and Glowforge

Comparatively Costly

Nova 24 from Thunder laser costs around $7,400 and is costlier than all laser machines from Glowforge.

However, this extra cost provides various features, such as an in-built water chiller, air assist, exhaust fan, a high-power laser, a larger work area, and lifetime support.

Larger Footprint and Work Area

Nova 24 has a footprint of 57.1" x 31.9" x 26" and a work area of 23.6" x 15.7" x 6.1".

Compared to Glowforge, Nova 24 has 156.02 in2 (square inches) more printable area.

More Powerful Laser

Nova 24 comes with a 60W CO2 laser operating at a wavelength of 10,600 nm, Glowforge's laser also operates at a similar wavelength, but they are only available in 40W or 45W.

Affordable Replacement Cost

Thunder Laser provides 60W replacement tubes for Nova 24 at an affordable price of around $300. They have a lifetime of anywhere between 1,000 to 2,000 hours.

In the case of Glowforge, each laser replacement can cost around $500. Also, they won't provide replacements after two years of the machine's operation.

Low-Resolution Engraving

With the default 2" laser head provided with Nova 24, you can engrave at a resolution of 500 DPI.

Thunder laser also sells a separate high-resolution laser head. Using it, you can achieve a maximum engraving resolution of 800 DPI.

Comparatively, the engraving resolution possible with Nova 24 is much lower than Glowforge.

The Laser machines from Glowforge have a maximum engraving resolution of 1,355 DPI.

Built-in Passthrough Doors

Like in Glowforge Pro, Nova 24 also has passthrough doors. These doors will help you slide through lengthy workpieces for processing.

Warning Light

Nova 23 has an elevated warning light which shows the job status through red/green indications. Such a feature is not available on Glowforge.

Bundled Software

With Nova 24, Thunder Laser provides LighBurn software licenses that you can use on two computers.

If you are about to buy LighBurn separately, it can cost you anywhere between $60 to $120.

Glowforge uses its free web-based Glowforge Print software to control its machines.

Preview Camera

Unlike Glowforge, Nova 24 doesn't come with a preview camera facing its work area.

Luckily, Thunder Laser provides a LightBurn camera kit as an upgrade which you can retrofit on Nova 24.

Assembly

Nova 24 requires more assembly time than Glowforge as you have to install separate modules like the water chiller, air pump, exhaust hose, etc.

Extended Warranty

Thunder Laser provides a warranty of two years for the Nova 24 laser machine, with a one-year warranty on the laser tube.

With Glowforge, you'll only get a maximum warranty of twelve months.

5. Fusion Pro 24 vs Glowforge

Fusion Pro 24
Fusion Pro 24 (Source: Epilog)
ParameterFusion Pro 24Glowforge
PriceNot available~$4,000 - $7,000
Laser Power60W or 80W CO2
30W or 50W fiber
40W or 45W CO2
Wavelength10,600 nm10,600 nm
AutofocusAvailableAvailable
Footprint41.52” x 32.81” x 40.54"38″ x 20.75″ x 8.25″
Work Area24" x 24" x 9"18” x 20” x 2"
Printable Area24" x 24"11” x 19.5”
Engraving Resolution1,200 DPI1,355 DPI
PassthroughNoonly on "Glowforge Pro"
Preview CameraYesYes
Warranty2 Year6 months - 12 months

A quick comparison of Fusion Pro 24 and Glowforge

Larger Footprint and Work Area

Fusion Pro 24 from Epilog Laser has a footprint of 41.52" x 32.81" and a work area of 24" x 24", which is larger than Glowforge.

Comparatively, Fusion Pro 24 takes 573.7 in2 (square inches) more space than Glowforge and can also have 361.5 in2 of more space in its work area.

More Laser Options

Epilog has CO2 and Fiber laser variants of Fusion Pro 24. CO2 lasers are the ones used in Glowforge.

CO2 laser variants of Fusion Pro are available with a 60W or 80W laser. The fiber laser variant is available in 30W or 50W.

Comparatively, the CO2 laser provided by Epilog has much higher power than Glowforge.

Epilog even allows you to opt for a dual-source version of Fusion Pro 24. It will have both fiber and CO2 laser sources of your choice.

Preview Camera

Like in Glowforge, Fusion Pro 24 comes with two overhead cameras. It will help you visually align the design with the workpiece through a computer.

Touchscreen

Unlike Glowforge, Fusion Pro 24 has an LCD touchscreen on its top panel. You can use it to adjust the laser parameters like speed and power.

Lots of Upgrade Options

Epilog provides a lot of accessories that you can use with the Fusion Pro 24.

These accessories include rim-style rotary attachment, 3-jaw chuck rotary attachment, grid-style vector cutting table, air assist pump, slat-style vector cutting table, task plate, pin table, and additional lenses.

Whereas Glowforge only provides an air filter attachment as an upgrade.

Software

Epilog Laser Software Suite consists of Laser Dashboard and Epilog Job Manager software. They are not CAD-compatible, and you'll have to rely on other laser software for designing.

Fusion Pro 24 has 1 GB of internal memory. You can use it to store different project files, which can be later navigated using the touchscreen.

It also allows Fusion Pro 24 to run jobs directly from the machine without connecting to a computer.

Assembly

Fusion Pro 24 takes almost the same time (30 min) as assembling a Glowforge laser machine, but it can take much longer to assemble if you are getting additional accessories.

Extended Warranty

Epilog provides a two-year warranty for the Fusion Pro 24 laser machine, whereas Glowforge provides a maximum of one-year warranty on their machines.

You can contact Epilog and raise support tickets from their website. They also have detailed learning resources on their laser machines.

Epilog provides prices through their sales team, and you can contact them through their website.

A Quick Look at Glowforge Laser Machines

Glowforge Laser cutter and engraver
Glowforge laser cutter and engraver
ParametersGlowforge BasicGlowforge PlusGlowforge Pro
Price~4,000~5,000~7,000
Footprint38″ x 20.75″ x 8.25″38″ x 20.75″ x 8.25″38″ x 20.75″ x 8.25″
PassthroughNoNoYes
Material Depth≤18″≤18″Unlimited
Material Width≤20"≤20"≤20"
Material Height≤2" (without tray)
≤0.5" (with tray)
≤2" (without tray)
≤0.5" (with tray)
≤2" (without tray)
≤0.5" (with tray)
Laser Power40W40W45W
Laser Class114
AutofocusYesYesYes
Air AssistYesYesYes
SoftwareGlowforge Print (free)
Glowforge Premium
Glowforge Print (free)
Glowforge Premium
Glowforge Print (free)
Glowforge Premium
InternetRequiredRequiredRequired
Warranty6 months1 year1 year

A quick comparison of Glowforge Basic, Plus, and Pro models of laser machines

Glowforge has three laser machines under its name. They are Glowforge Basic, Glowforge Plus, and Glowforge Pro.

They all look identical and have similar capabilities. Glowforge Basic and Plus models come with a 40W class 1 CO2 laser source, while the Pro model comes with a 45W class 4 CO2 laser source.

Glowforge can work on materials like wood, fabric, leather, paper, acrylic, Delrin, mylar, rubber, Corian, foods, glass, coated metal, marble, anodized aluminum, and titanium.

The ability to work on various materials enables you to make various Glowforge projects that you can sell.

Glowforge Pro has a passthrough feature that allows you to process large sheets of materials up to 1/4″ thick.

All machines from Glowforge have an in-built air assist system, preview camera, exhaust fan, and red dot guidance.

Glowforge Basic comes with a six-month warranty, but the Plus and Pro versions are provided with a one-year warranty.

Though Glowforge provides many features with their machines, they lack a larger work area, rotary support, higher laser power, tube replacement, offline running capability, etc.

You can find a detailed review of Glowforge Pro here — Glowforge Pro Review [2022]: Worth buying?

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does the Glowforge laser machine need ventilation?

Glowforge laser machine needs ventilation as materials emit different gases while processing them. These gases need to be removed from the work area as they can stain the optics and reduce the laser beam intensity. They can also be harmful when inhaled, so it's better to get rid of the generated gasses.

Can Glowforge perform 3D engravings?

Yes, Glowforege can perform 3D laser engravings on soft materials like wood. However, its carving ability cannot be compared to that of a CNC router.

How long does a Glowforge laser last?

Glowforge laser can last for about two years, though it depends on the machine's usage and power utilization. Glowforge hasn't officially mentioned its laser lifetime, but it is estimated to be between 1200 - 2000 hours.

About John

Hey I'm John. I talk about CNCs and Power Tools at Mellowpine. I'm a CNC hobbyist who has been making CNCs and writing about CNCs for a while. I currently also work as a consultant for business owners and hobbyists setting up their own CNCs. If you have any questions related to CNC, I'd be happy to answer them. Reach me at john@mellowpine.com

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John

Hey I'm John. I talk about CNCs and Power Tools at Mellowpine. I'm a CNC hobbyist who has been making CNCs and writing about CNCs for a while. I currently also work as a consultant for business owners and hobbyists setting up their own CNCs. If you have any questions related to CNC, I'd be happy to answer them. Reach me at john@mellowpine.com

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