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Muse vs Glowforge: Which Laser is Better? [2023]



John Abraham
Hey I'm John. I write about Manufacturing, Metalworking, CNCs and Lasers at Mellowpine. If you have any questions related to CNCs or Lasers, I'd be happy to answer them. Reach me at mail@mellowpine.com


Glowforge vs Muse

Glowforge and Muse are two popular laser-cutting machines from different manufacturers (Glowforge and FSL).

This article compares Glowforge and Muse laser machines in detail to help you pick the best one for your needs.

Price$3,500 – $8,500$4,000 – $7,000
Work Area20″ x 12″ x 2.5″
48″ x 24″ x 3.5″
18″ x 20″ x 2″
Laser Power40W, 45W
75W, 90W, 100W
40W, 45W
Auto FocusYes, except in the basic modelYes, in all models
In-built CameraOnly in Muse 3DIn all models
SoftwareFreeFree with paid premium
Digital DisplayYesNo
Exhaust SystemAs an add-on accessoryIn-built
UpgradesVarious upgrade OptionsAir-filter
Muse vs Glowforge

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Muse vs Glowforge: In-depth Comparison

Price Comparison: Muse vs Glowforge

Laser Cutter Price
FSL Muse CoreCheck Price
FSL Muse 3DCheck Price
FSL Muse TitanCheck Price
Glowforge BasicCheck Price
Glowforge PlusAmazon
GLowforge ProCheck Price
Different models of FSL Muse and Glowforge laser cutters

Glowforge has three laser machines named Glowforge Basic, Plus, and Pro.

Likewise, FSL (Full Spectrum Laser) also has three different machines under the Muse series.

Both series consist of desktop laser machines with varying configurations in terms of electronics, size, accessories, laser power, etc., and all these factors influence their price.

Glowforge Laser CuttersMuse Laser Cutters
$4,000 – $7,000$3,500 – $8,500
Price comparison of Glowforge laser machines and Muse laser machines

In terms of price, FSL’s Muse series laser machines have an advantage over Glowforge as the starting price of Muse is almost $500 less than Glowforge’s basic model.

Size and Build Comparison

Glowforge Pro
Glowforge Pro

Glowforge and Muse laser machines are available in the following size configurations.

Glowforge BasicGlowforge PlusGlowforge Pro
Work area18″ x 20″ x 2″18″ x 20″ x 2″18″ x 20″ x 2″
Footprint38″ x 20.75″ x 8.25″38″ x 20.75″ x 8.25″38″ x 20.75″ x 8.25″
Size comparison of Glowforge laser machines
Muse CoreMuse 3DMuse Titan
Work area20″ x 12″ x 2.5″20″ x 12″ x 2.5″48″ x 24″ x 3.5″
Footprint32.3″ x 20.3″ x 8.5″32.3″ x 20.3″ x 8.5″66″ x 33″ x 14″
Size comparison of FSL Muse laser machines

Looking at the size of these machines, Muse has an advantage over Glowforge. The footprint of Muse is less than Glowforge, yet Muse offers the ability to work with comparatively thicker workpieces.

Even the basic model of Muse can handle 0.5″ thicker workpieces than any Glowforge laser cutter in this series.

Note that Glowforge and Muse have pass-through features only on their premium models, i.e., Glowforge Pro and Muse Titan.

All these machines have an enclosed setup where you have to open the door to access their work area.

Laser Comparison

Motorized real-time autofocus in Muse
Motorized real-time autofocus in Muse (Source: FabLab Factory)

Glowforge and Muse use CO2 laser systems. These machines are available with the following laser options.

Glowforge BasicGlowforge PlusGlowforge Pro
Laser power comparison of Glowforge laser machines
Muse CoreMuse 3DMuse Titan
40W, 45W40W, 45W75W, 90W, 100W
Laser power comparison of Muse series of laser machines

In terms of the laser, Muse offers more versatile options.

To get the 45W version of Glowforge, you’ll have to spend around $7,000. You can get the same with Muse by spending around half of that (~$3,749).

Also, with Muse Titan, you can get high-powered laser systems having 75W, 90W, or 100W output power, which Gloforge doesn’t offer.

Interestingly, Glowforge offers an engraving resolution of up to 1,355 DPI, but on Muse laser machines, the maximum you can get is 1000 DPI.

This makes Glowforge a better option for engraving jobs. A high DPI value machine can provide more details in engraving jobs.

Material Capability Comparison

A name laser cut using Glowforge
A name laser cut using Glowforge (Source: Ryan.M – Glowforge)

Since both machines use a CO2 laser system, they can be used to laser cut various materials. Some of them are

  • Wood
  • Acrylic
  • Composites
  • Plastic
  • Foam
  • Glass
  • Fabrics
  • Leather
  • Rubber
  • Cardboard
  • Stone

Since FSL provides high-powered CO2 systems for their Muse Titan machine, they can process these materials faster and provide the ability to cut comparatively thicker workpieces than Glowforge.

Hence Muse has an advantage over Glowforge in terms of material capability.

CO2 lasers are not the best at working with metals. As a result, these laser machines are not suitable for laser cutting metal but can be used to engrave coated metals, such as anodized aluminum.

This is because bare metal surfaces reflect the 10,600 nm wavelength laser beam emitted by CO2 laser systems, resulting in the loss of a majority of the laser energy.

Transmission/Linear Drive Comparison

The transmission system drives the laser head across the axes of a laser machine.

All machines under Glowforge and Muse use a belt-driven transmission system to drive the laser head along the X and Y axes.

Since the laser head cuts materials without any direct contact, it doesn’t experience any resistance and hence only requires a basic transmission system like a belt drive.

Electronics Comparison

In terms of electronics, the major things to look at while comparing these machines are their screen autofocus, camera, and safety switches.

Note that all machines under Glowforge have an autofocus feature integrated into them, but on the Muse series, the basic model (Muse Core) doesn’t have autofocus capability.

Wide angle camera onboard Glowforge
Wide angle camera onboard Glowforge

In the case of the camera, all models of Glowforge have a camera built into them, but in the case of Muse, only Muse 3D comes with one, and for Muse Titan, it’s available as an upgrade.

Having a camera onboard your machine is a great advantage as it allows you to perfectly align the design on the workpiece and monitor the cutting process.

A touch screen control machine is a great help as you don’t always have to work with a computer to fiddle with some operating parameters.

Unfortunately, Glowforge machines don’t come with a touch screen panel, but all machines under the Muse series have a 7″ touch screen panel that you can use.

Touch screen panel of FSL Muse
The touch screen panel of FSL Muse (Source: FSL)

In terms of connectivity, Muse offers three options,

  • Using WiFi
  • Via Router
  • Hard connection using Ethernet

Using a router to connect Muse machines is recommended as it works seamlessly with their software.

Comparatively, Glowforge only offers a WiFi connectivity option.

Software Comparison

Connecting RetinaEngrave software
Connecting RetinaEngrave software (Source: FSL)

Glowforge and FSL have their own proprietary software available to control their machines.

To control FSL’s Muse machines, they use RetinaEngrave3 (RE3). It is free, browser-based software that can run offline.

Glowforge works with Glowforge Print software. Some features on it are kept behind a paywall. To assess, you’ll have to pay for the premium version.

If you are a hobbyist, you wouldn’t probably need the advanced features Glowforge Premium offers, but it’ll be helpful for small businesses.

Upgrades Comparison

Glowforge doesn’t offer many upgrade options for their machine. What you buy at first is what you get. The only upgrade they have is an air filter.

But with Muse, you have a variety of upgrades to choose from. Following is a list of upgrades FSL offers for their Muse series of laser machines.

Upgrades for FSL Muse
45W Laser Tube Upgrade
Extra focus lenses (1.5″, 2.5″, or 5″)
(1.5″ + 2.5″)
Hobby Kit (Air Compressor, Water Pump, and Exhaust Fan)
Muse Coolbox
Radiator Water Chiller Upgrade
M-Series Exhaust Fan
FSL 100 Fume Extractor
FSL 300 Fume Extractor
Hobby Series Air Compressor
Muse Rotary Riser Combo
3D Camera (for Muse Titan)
Two years extended warranty (for Muse Core and 3D)
Two years extended warranty (for Muse Titan)
Shipping insurance
Upgrade options available for FSL Muse laser machines

Note that Muse 3D, their popular machine under the Muse series, comes with a 3D camera and Coolbox, which comes as an upgrade for other models.

When looking at the upgrade accessories, Muse is a much better option.

Assembly Comparison

Glowforge machine comes preassembled. All machines from Glowforge come in two boxes, the large box has the preassembled machine, and the small box has the honeycomb workbed and test materials.

Similarly, Muse machines also come preassembled but will require you to attach additional accessories that you include in your kit.

You can set up both the machines in about 1 hour. The manufacturers provide clear, detailed assembly instructions. Also, some video tutorials are available on YouTube.

Customer Support Comparison

The support you get from the manufacturer is an important factor to look at, considering the large investments you put in on these machines.

If these machines have a local presence in your country directly or through listed distributors, your chances of getting good after-sales service will be higher.

Support from Glowforge

Glowforge is currently headquartered in Seattle, USA. It was originally based in the UK but later expanded to the US because of its large user base.

Interestingly, even though they are headquartered in the US, they provide better services to their customers in the UK.

For example, they provide different warranty terms for each country, which is quite unfair, considering everyone paid the same price.

Glowforge Basic6-month12-months
Glowforge Plus12-months2-year
Glowforge Pro12-months2-year
Warranty comparison of Glowforge

Also, Glowforge hasn’t yet tied up with any distributors to provide better services to their international customers.

You can contact them through phone, email, or online form. Currently, they offer dedicated support lines for their customers in the US and UK.

Also, one major clause to know before purchasing a machine from Glowforge is that they do not provide replacement parts for their machines after two years.

Meaning you can’t expect them to provide any support after two years of buying the machine. So you’ll have to take care of consumables like CO2 tubes.

Support from FSL

FSL (Full Spectrum Laser) is a US-based company located in Las Vegas. They have been in business for over 10 years.

For their Muse series of laser machines, FSL provides a standard 1-year warranty with the machine. Also, you can extend the warranty period at the time of purchase by spending some extra money.

FSL is open to partnering with resellers, so there is a higher chance that they have an authentic reseller in your country. You can contact and ask FSL for the details regarding that.

You can reach their support staff through email, phone, or by filling out an online form.

FSL provides demo presentations for their potential customers to showcase the abilities of their laser machines.

They have dedicated support teams to help you with their products, order processing, and technical support queries.

Overall Winner

Considering all the different factors we looked at, it’s the Muse series of laser machines that is a better overall choice than Glowforge machines.

They are much more versatile and let you choose the features you need with the machine.

Laser Cutter Price
FSL Muse CoreCheck Price
FSL Muse 3DCheck Price
FSL Muse TitanCheck Price
Glowforge BasicCheck Price
Glowforge PlusAmazon
GLowforge ProCheck Price
Different models of FSL Muse and Glowforge laser cutters

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Will Glowforge Pro cut metal?

No, Glowforge Pro can’t cut metal. It is powered by a 45W CO2 laser which is not powerful enough to cut through metal workpieces. Using it, you can only engrave designs on coated metal surfaces.

Which is the difference between a CNC router and Glowforge?

The basic difference between a CNC router and Glowforge is that they use different types of cutting tools to work on materials. Glowforge is a laser cutter brand, and the machines under it use powerful laser beams to cut or engrave on different materials. CNC routers physically cut the materials using a rotating tool. In common, both these machines are controlled by a computer.

What are some of the best laser machines?

Some of the best laser machines you can get are xTool D1 Pro, Genmitsu Jinsoku LC-60A, Comgrow COMGO Z1, OMTech DF0812-40BG, FSL Muse Core, and Glowforge.

John Abraham
Hey I'm John. I write about Manufacturing, Metalworking, CNCs and Lasers at Mellowpine. If you have any questions related to CNCs or Lasers, I'd be happy to answer them. Reach me at mail@mellowpine.com

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