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Best laser engravers under $500

Best laser engravers under $500

When personalizing an item for business or personal use, or to give away as a gift; engraving is a more permanent solution than marking an item with some kind of marker or paint. Engraving literally marks a surface with a design, lettering or numbering by etching the characters directly into the medium. 

As item personalization became something more people and companies were doing for labeling or gift designs, the engraving industry became more revolutionized. The need for a corded rotary tool that vibrated and sometimes damaged the item has slowly become the more modernized tools we have today. Although the corded rotary tools did effectively engrave the desired characters and/or designs onto surfaces like wood, glass, hard metals, and precious metals; the rotary tools had a tendency to feel bulky and difficult to hold onto until the job was done. 

Engraving has become so mainstream that almost all professionals have things like engraved plaques, name plates, badges, pens, glasses, desks and a large number of anything else that could possibly be marked with a logo, design or name. The process of engraving has been made much simpler by the use of laser engraving/cutting machines, which does not have a tip that has to make physical contact with the object being engraved.

Laser engraving is done by etching characters and designs deep  into the desired surface by using a highly concentrated beam of energy (commonly through the an optical outlet or through a concentrated C02 burst) instead of a bulky rotary tool with diamond bit tips that can vibrate loose. Laser engraving can be used on any surface that a rotary tool can, and the amount of heat emitted in the beam can change the color of the material. 

As with most technological advancements, the laser engraving industry has more than one type of machine or device available to do the job. For example: engraving machines can be digital or analog with various different settings that are mode specific for certain jobs. 

Analog laser cutting machines use the pulse width, amount of pulse power (usually about 50% power with a 50% pulse cycle), and the amount of voltage needed for the job. To the naked eye, the beam will look steady and unbroken rather than it’s actual pulsing.

Digital laser cutting machines use a highly powered, small (about 0.5 mm), and dense laser that cuts and or melts the selected material. The heat of the beam also semi- vaporizes material along it’s guided path. A digital laser cutter is usually guided by a computer’s direction.

As engraving takes item personalization to a brand new level of technology, it comes as no surprise that it is not necessary to go to a huge company or expensive service to have something laser engraved. Laser engraving machines can be purchased for personal, in-home use. Although these machines can be expensive, there are some non-metal laser engraving machines that can be purchased for under $500. 

  1. In-Home Best laser engravers under $500
Laser Engraving MachineMotor Tech40W Co2 Laser40W CO2 Laser Engraver Cutter
Power40 W C02 Laser40 W C02 Laser40 W C02 Laser40 W C02 Laser
Engraving Surface12 x 8 inch area12 x 8 inch area12 x 8 inch area12 x 8 inch area
Engraving Speed1-10 mm cutting per secondUp to 3 mm per secondUp to 35 mm per secondUp to 35 mm per second
Engraving Precision/ Resolution2500 DPI 1000 DPI2500 DPI1000 DPI
USB ConnectionYesYesYesYes
Software CompatibilityWindows XP, 7, 8, and 10. Windows 2000, XP, 7, 8, and 10.Windows 2000, XP, 7, 8, and 10.Windows 2000, XP, 7, 8, and 10.
ConfigurationDigital LCD Display with 4 rotation wheels, LCD display, and temperature display.Digital LCD Display, temperature monitor, power, and current monitors.Analog Control Board, temperature monitor, current monitor, and power monitor.Analog Control Board, temperature monitor, current monitor, and power monitor.
Surfaces Non-metal surfacesNon-metal surfacesNon-metal surfaces.Non-metal surface.
Safety FeaturesPower switch, and emergency stop switch, smoke vent, and cooling fan. Power switch, emergency stop, air exhaust vent, cooling fan and pipe.Power Switch, emergency stop, air exhaust vent, cooling fan and pipe.Power switch, emergency stop, and exhaust fan. 
Price$415.98$379.99$394.99$429.99
  1. Analog Or Digital Laser Engraver? 

In terms of the Best laser engravers under $500, the Mophorn Laser Engraving Machine and the Orion Motor Tech are both digital engraving machines that have very similar features. The VEVOR 40W Co2 Laser and the ZEYI 40W CO2 Laser Engraver Cutter are analog engravers that are also very similar in their features. With the exception of the DPI and the engraving speeds, all four of the listed machines are relatively similar. 

The main difference in the picture output resolution is the Morphon’s and the Vevor’s DPI are both 2500, while the Orion and the ZEYI are only 1000 DPI. The output resolution of the image being engraved can make a big difference for certain jobs. Some pictures do need to have a higher resolution to produce a better quality engraved image. 

Another drastic difference in the listed laser engravers is the cutting speed. With everything going digital these days, it is apparent from this side by side analysis, that digital is not always the best way to go. When it comes to Best laser engravers under $500 the digital displays are much easier to read and monitor. However, the cutting speed of the analog laser engravers is much higher and just as precise. 

None of the laser cutters above are designed for cutting hard or precious metals. However, they all do engrave on non-metal surfaces like wood, glass, paper, leather, plastic, bamboo, rubber, and any number of surfaces that are not metallic. 

It bares pointing out that the mass majority of people who have a need for a laser engraver/ cutter in their home are more than likely running an at-home business that requires minor personalization of specific items and/or projects. It is almost unnecessary (and extremely dangerous) to engrave hard or precious metals at home, and some locations actually require the engraver to have a license for those kinds of jobs. 

Therefore, the best laser engravers under $500 listed here for laser engraving and cutting machines would be perfect for the kind of engraving work that can be done at home, which is typically on non-metal surfaces. Although the analog engravers/ cutters do cover more area in a shorter period of time, some items need a lesser amount of space covered which would make the digital machines (which is better for people who have a hard time with analog displays and dials) just as much of a great buy for at home needs. 

  1. Personalization And Preferences

Choosing between the Mophorn, the Orion, the VEVOR, and the  ZEYI is a choice that can only be made based on the needs of the individual person or owner of the home based business. All four of these Best laser engravers under $500 have great features that will produce high quality images on the types of projects that can be done at home. 

All four of these laser engraving machines can be connected via USB to almost any computer or laptop that runs on a Windows 2000 and above operating system. They all also come with recommended software that helps the user to design the desired image and/or characters and direct the laser cutter to do the work. However, the recommended software is not required to use the machine. Some people download other art studio software that they prefer over what the engraver comes with. 

None of these engraving machines are designed for high quantity or mass market productions. However, the kinds of projects that require such a high number of item production should not be done at home anyway. Maintaining a small business that specializes in monograms on non-metal surfaces would be made very easy by using one of the listed products. 

The decision of which one would be more suitable for a specific business would rest solely on what the individual intends on using the machine for and for how long, what the individual can afford to invest in an engraving machine, and what the machine would be expected to produce. 

Based on all of the information available about how at home laser engraving and cutting machines work, their features, safety precautions, and prices; the best digital machine would be the  Mophorn. The Morphon and the Orion have the same safety features and the Morphon costs almost $60 more. However, the Morphon has a higher DPI resolution and can move along at up to 10 milometers per second, while the Orion has a lower DPI and only covers up to 3 milometers per second. 

Of the Analog Engraving machines, the VEVOR would be a better investment than the ZEYI. The VEVOR is about $35 cheaper than the ZEYI even though the VEVOR has a higher DPI resolution on output while covering the same amount of space per second as the slightly more expensive ZEYI. 

Between the best digital (the Mophorn) and the best analog (the  VEVOR) laser engraving cutting machines, the VEVOR is about $20 cheaper but is the better buy for a higher quality machine. For a higher DPI resolution, more area covered in a shorter period of time and a lower price; the VEVOR wins the competition of the at-home laser engraving machines. 

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