I test and review many laser machines, and I often stump across the brand xTool since they consistently release new laser machines of different configurations.
Their most recent build, the xTool S1, represents their latest breakthrough, a modular laser system housed within a closed configuration.
In this article, I evaluate xTool S1 by delving into its capabilities, features, competition, and other aspects to provide a thorough review.
|Clear and consistent engravings on curved surfaces||Some proprietary functions not supported in LightBurn|
|Supports multiple laser modules|
|Large 19.6" x 12.5" work area|
|Enclosed and safety-focused design|
|Expandable with upgrades|
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Quick takeaways from our tests.
- The xTool S1 is an enclosed desktop laser cutter and engraver packing pro-level performance at a budget price.
- Switchable laser modules, wide material capability, and abundant accessories make it stand out.
- Delivered exceptional quality across wood, acrylic, metal, and glass materials. Precision on par with machines 2-3x the cost.
- User-friendly software and intuitive controls combined with safety features for worry-free operation.
- Innovative focusing and framing setup simplifies workflow.
- Good CO2 alternative and ideal for small businesses, schools, makers, and hobbyists seeking a versatile laser.
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Testing xTool S1: How did it perform?
To put the xTool S1 through its paces, I engraved a variety of materials using the 40W diode and 2W infrared laser modules.
First up was a slate coaster. With the 40W diode at 15% power and 120mm/sec speed, S1 produced crisp detailing on the slate surface.
The 100 lines/cm resolution was ideal for this design.
Next, I tried a cylindrical plastic object, taking advantage of the rotary attachment.
Using the 2W infrared laser at 90% power and 200 mm/sec speed, S1 engraved the design across the curved surface. The 180 lines/cm resolution rendered the design clearly.
The infrared laser also effortlessly engraved a black anodized aluminum business card.
It left bright engraving on the coated surface at 100% power and 400 mm/sec speed. The 160 lines/cm resolution engraved even the finest details.
Engraving black acrylic was easy with the infrared laser's 1064nm wavelength.
At 90% power and 200mm/sec, it produced a nice frosted engraving effect on the acrylic surface.
I engraved a glass piece with the 40W diode. First, I applied a thick coat of black spray paint and kept it to dry.
Once dry, I engraved it with 75% power at 125mm/sec speed, giving the engraving a nice depth and contrast.
Finally, I decided to check how deep the 40W diode module would cut the popular option: wood.
I used 100% power at 15 mm/sec speed. The xTool air assist was kept at max setting for this job.
As you can see in the image below, on a 35 mm thick pine wood, the cut depth almost maxed out at six passes, reaching a depth of 18 mm.
I engraved a stainless steel plaque using the 2W module at 50% power and 270mm/sec speed. It produced a nice marking on the steel surface.
To push the cutting limits, I tried slicing through 10mm cast acrylic with the 40W diode at full 100% power.
At the slower speed of 16mm/sec, it was able to cut through the entire thickness in 5 passes.
While slower, this shows the diode laser's muscle for thicker plastics. The end result was a cleanly cut acrylic with perfectly smooth edges.
xTool S1 Review: What's New? CO2 Alternative?
|Laser Type||Diode + IR (as upgrade)|
|Output Power||20W or 40W (diode)|
|Spot Size||0.08 x 0.06 mm (20W)|
0.08 x 0.10 mm (40W)
|Work Area||498 x 319 mm|
|Footprint||765 x 561 x 183 mm|
|Transmission||Belt-driven X and Y axis|
Z-axis uses rack and pinion
|Stepper motor||NEMA 17|
|Max speed||600 mm/sec|
|Offline Control||Doesn't support|
|SD Card||Doesn't support|
|USB||Available (Type C)|
|Rotary||Available as upgrade|
|Honeycomb bed||Available as upgrade|
|Air Filter||Available as upgrade|
(pump available as upgrade)
|Software||XCS and LightBurn|
|Machine Weight||44 lbs|
|Assembly||Under 20 minutes|
xTool S1 is a diode laser machine, and you can get it with either a 20W or 40W module.
It also has an optional 2W infrared (IR) laser module upgrade to widen material capabilities.
With these many options, S1 is like a boosted and boxed-up variant of xTool F1.
But unlike F1, you can get xTool S1 with more power, a larger work area, and a much safer enclosed design like xTool P2.
xTool S1 is a compact desktop machine with a 765 x 561 x 183 mm footprint and weighs about 44 lbs (20 kg).
The S1 is safe to work with as it's a Class 1 laser product. It has many safety features to keep you safe while working.
But don't get it confused with regular Class 1 lasers, like laser pointers. Those are usually safe to use without any worry.
The S1, on the other hand, uses a more powerful Class 4 laser module, which can be dangerous.
So, you must avoid direct or indirect exposure to the laser beams from S1, as they can cause harm.
S1 is a Class 1 laser product, not a Class 1 laser, because it uses a Class 4 laser with a safe enclosed design.
Though S1 supports multiple lasers, you can only use one laser module at a time. So you'll have to swap them when doing different cutting and engraving jobs.
With the 2W IR laser module operating at a 1064nm wavelength, you can easily engrave on materials like metals and plastic.
I received the 40W variant of the xTool S1 laser machine in a securely packaged cardboard box with foam padding.
Inside the box, I found the following items:
|What's inside the box?|
|40W diode laser module|
|Test material pack|
xTool S1 came pre-assembled and was ready for a job in under 20 minutes. I had to unpack, install the laser module, and connect the exhaust hose.
Regarding machine build, xTool S1 is made of plastic, metal, and rubber parts.
The external casing of the machine is constructed from durable ABS plastic. It features a fire-proof plastic window that blocks laser radiation and lets you view the interior.
Under the plastic door, you'll find a robust all-metal chassis. The door is of good quality and remains securely open when raised.
The machine's interior is well-lit with LED lights, so you can see the job progress even with the door closed.
Since it has an enclosed design, fumes will get trapped inside. So you'll have to run the exhaust uninterrupted to get a clear view of the work area.
The latch door has two sensors that detect if the door is open or closed. When the door is open, the laser won't turn on.
I also noticed that the machine won't turn on without the base plate. This prevents the built-up smoke from escaping the machine.
Like xTool P2, S1 has passthrough capability, enabling you to process longer workpieces up to 2 feet long by sliding them under the machine.
To achieve automatic passthrough capability, you must use the automatic conveyor feeder accessory and automatic conveyor feeder from xTool.
The automatic feeder operates like a conveyor belt, facilitating continuous workpiece processing.
Whereas the raiser base lifts the machine by 85 mm, providing ample passthrough space.
The machine transmission along the XY axes is belt-driven. It uses steel rollers and rails to support the transmission, providing smooth movement.
This allows xTool S1 to achieve a maximum speed of 600 mm/s, higher than the popular xTool D1 Pro.
Along the Z-axis, S1 is motorized and uses a rack and pinion system, allowing autofocusing of the laser beam.
The controller sends signals to the stepper motor driving the Z-axis using the feedback from the distance sensor to make the autofocus work. It all happens in a press of a button on the software.
xTool uses the distance sensor to enable an outstanding feature called dynamic focus, an advanced focusing mechanism that allows the machine to adjust the laser focus during the job.
This allows S1 to engrave on simple curved surfaces without a rotary. It works by taking reference points from different areas on the workpiece surface.
Note that this feature won't help you engrave the entire circumference of a cylindrical-shaped object. For that, you'll have to use a rotary module.
Dynamic focus works best on surfaces having countors where a fixed laser can't focus properly.
Using a magnetic locking system, xTool made the distance sensor easily detachable from the laser head.
This is a great help as sometimes, during the job, the distance sensor's tip can come in contact with the workpiece or the workbed, which can damage the laser head or linear drives.
Since xTool uses this magnetic locking system, the distance sensor will easily detach from the laser head when it hits any obstacles, preventing any resistance to its movement.
S1 also has a twin-point positioning feature. It allows you to create a precise frame by guiding the laser from one corner of your workpiece to the opposite corner for accurate design placement, eliminating the need for a camera.
You can also do this type of positioning with a single point. For example, this allows you to precisely position a design to the center of a circular coaster.
The software intuitively presents this information, providing real-time tracking of the laser module's position. It is simple and offers better accuracy than using a single camera.
xTool S1 works with xTool Creative Space (XCS) and LigtBurn software. XCS is free to use, while LigtBurn is paid.
Beginners will find XCS easy to take up, but some advanced features from LightBurn are missing on XCS.
Also, some proprietary features of S1, like twin-point positioning, dynamic focus, etc., can't be configured on LightBurn.
I recommend you take your time to try out both these software and stick with the one that provides the most value. Knowing your way around LightBurn always helps in laser hobby.
Regarding safety, xTool S1 has sensors to detect tilt, fire, open lid, and E-stop switch.
The E-stop switch is located a little back on the right side of the machine, which is quite hard to suddenly reach in emergency situations.
It could have been placed on the right side of the machine near the front button, which is used to start, pause, and frame jobs.
This front-facing button has an LED light around it that glows in different colors and does some cool animations depending on the job or machine status.
Unlike most diode machines, xTool equipped S1 with five fire detection sensors, four on each side inside the work area and one on the laser module.
As an initial layer of safety, there's a safety key, a USB device that you need to insert into the rear USB port for the machine to operate. Without it, the machine remains inoperable.
Regarding connectivity, the S1 provides Wi-Fi and Type C USB connection options.
The Wi-Fi capability allows remote management, letting you initiate jobs, monitor progress, and receive alerts from a PC, smartphone, or tablet without being right next to the machine.
S1 comes with a couple of triangular slats that you can place on the work area to lift the material slightly for cutting jobs.
If you plan to run many cutting jobs, get the honeycomb bed from xTool. It also comes with magnetic clips that you can use to secure the workpiece to the bed.
The S1 also includes handy extras such as an air assist and an exhaust system.
You can connect an air compressor to the port to blow away smoke and debris during cutting.
Internal tubing brings the air to the laser module's nozzle to blow away smoke and debris when cutting, which is very efficient.
The rear exhaust port efficiently removes smoke and pushes it out through the exhaust pipe, which can be connected after removing the vent.
Ports for connecting the air assist, fire extinguishing system, accessories, computer, etc., are also located on the back side of the machine.
The S1 is impressively quiet. Even with the 40W module (which has two cooling fans) set to maximum air assist, the noise levels reach around 68 dB, including exhaust noise.
This is quieter than many other laser engraving machines, ensuring a more enjoyable working environment.
For comparison, my xTool D1 Pro makes around 75dB without an air assist and an exhaust system.
Also, the air assist pump with rubber feet is designed for minimal noise and reduced vibrations, while the exhaust fan operates with minimal disturbance.
This new air assist from xTool is very smart and effective. It draws power directly from the S1, and you can even set it to turn on and off automatically based on the job status.
xTool offers the following upgrades for the S1 laser machine:
|Air Assist||Better cutting performance with cleaner edges|
|Honeycomb||Less char formation|
|Riser Base||Raises the machine to use roller, conveyor, and thicker objects|
|RA2 Pro||Allows cylinder engraving and should be used with the riser base.|
|Automatic Conveyor Feeder||Feeds long workpieces. It should be used with the riser base.|
|Fire Safety Set||Automatic fire detection and extinguishing|
|Smoke Purifier||Cleans the fumes from the laser machine|
|1064nm Laser Module||Allows metal engraving, expanding material capability|
xTool offers a 1-year warranty for the S1 machine. You also have the option to opt for their xTool Care warranty service to extend the warranty further.
For support, you can contact them through phone, email, online form, or chat on their website.
These community channels are pretty active, and you can participate in discussions and ask questions to other users.
How Does xTool S1 Compare to the Competition?
There is very little competition in the enclosed desktop diode laser machine market.
Some of the machines I found are LaserMATIC10, Emblaser 2, Mr Beam II, WeCreat Vision, and Two Trees TS3.
Unfortunately, Emblaser 2 and Mr Beam II are sold at a premium price. So, I'm only considering LaserMATIC10, TwoTrees TS3, and WeCreat Vision for this comparison.
|Parameters||xTool S1||TwoTrees TS3||WeCreat Vision||LaserMATIC10|
|Laser Type||Diode + IR (upgrade)||Diode||Diode||Diode|
|Output Power||20W or 40W (diode)|
|Laser Focus||Autofocus||Autofocus||Autofocus||Fixed Focus|
|Spot Size||0.08 x 0.06 mm (20W)|
0.08 x 0.10 mm (40W)
|0.08 mm||0.08 x 0.10 mm||0.08 x 0.08mm|
|Work Area||498 x 319 mm||300 x 200 mm||420 x 290 mm||406 x 400mm|
|765 x 561 x 183 mm||569.9 x 430 x 270 mm||589 x 531 x 393 mm||469.9 x 236.2 x 655.3 mm|
|Max speed||600 mm/sec||166 mm/sec||600 mm/sec||300 mm/sec|
|USB||Yes (Type C)||Yes (standard)||Yes (standard)||Yes (standard)|
|Rotary||Yes (upgrade)||Yes (Provided)||Yes (upgrade)||Yes (Provided)|
|Honeycomb bed||Yes (upgrade)||Yes (Provided)||No||Yes (Provided)|
|Air Filter||Yes (upgrade)||Yes (integrated)||Yes (upgrade)||No|
(pump as upgrade)
(pump as upgrade)
|Software||XCS and LightBurn||LightBurn and LaserGRBL||WeCreat MakeIt and LightBrun||LightBrun and LaserGRBL|
|Warranty||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year|
|Price||Check price||Check price||Check price||Check price|
The xTool S1 stands up well compared to popular desktop laser machines like the TwoTrees TS3, WeCreat Vision, and LaserMATIC10.
TS3 has a smaller work area at 11.81" x 7.87" compared to the S1's 19.6" x 12.9".
However, the TS3 includes handy features like an LCD touchscreen interface, SD card support for offline use, and built-in air filtration.
The WeCreat Vision has a larger X-axis of 16.53" but a smaller Y-axis of 11.69".
It also has an auto Z-axis lifting mechanism, so you don't need to add a riser for thicker materials.
Both the S1 and WeCreat Vision have the same 600 mm/s engraving speed.
LaserMATIC10 provides the largest work area at 15.98" x 15.74". It also comes with many useful accessories like an air assist pump, rotary attachment, and a magnetic honeycomb bed.
However, it lacks a motorized Z-axis and has a slower speed of 400 mm/s.
xTool S1 beats the competition when it comes to raw laser power, with the option for a 40W laser module.
This enables cutting thicker materials than the 10W lasers on the TS3 and LaserMATIC10 or 20W laser on the WeCreat Vision.
Overall, S1 strikes a perfect balance between power, generous work area, speed, and features like the safety key, curved surface engraving, and upgradability.
So for those wanting maximum laser cutting/engraving performance, the xTool S1 is a standout choice in its price range.
The xTool S1 is an impressive enclosed desktop laser machine with excellent build quality, safety features, and powerful laser cutting and engraving performance.
With the option for a 40W laser module, it beats out similarly priced competitors for the ability to cut thicker materials.
S1's generous 19.6" x 12.9" work area and passthrough also give you flexibility for larger projects.
While it lacks some convenience features of machines like the TwoTrees TS3, such as a touchscreen interface and SD card support, the S1 makes up for it with faster engraving and capabilities like curved surface engraving.
For beginners, the inclusion of xTool's own CAD/CAM laser software provides an easy learning curve to start creating laser projects.
More advanced users will also appreciate the ability to use full-featured LightBurn software.
The range of accessories, like the fire suppression system, honeycomb bed, rotary engraver, automatic feeder, laser modules, etc., allow you to expand the S1's abilities over time.
For anyone looking to step up to an enclosed desktop laser with professional-grade performance right out of the box, I would recommend xTool S1.
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes the xTool S1 unique?
The X Tool S1 stands out for its ability to accommodate three different modules: a 40W, a 20W, and an IR module, making it versatile for various engraving needs. It also has an enclosed design that is rare in the desktop diode laser market.
Can xTool S1 handle photo engraving?
Yes, xTool S1 can produce high-quality photo engravings and delivered promising results in our tests. Based on the material, you can use either the IR module or the diode module for performing intricate and detailed engraving jobs.
Can the xTool S1 engrave on curved surfaces without a rotary?
Yes, the xTool S1 has an advanced dynamic-focus setup that allows for engraving on objects with a curved surface without using a rotary module. While it may require some adjustment, it opens up the possibility of engraving on various objects. Unfortunately, you'll need a rotary attachment to engrave the entire circumference of a cylindrical or spherical object.