CO2 Laser vs. Fiber Laser Engraver: Which One Should You Buy

Deciding whether to focus on fiber or CO2 laser engraving can be tricky as they are both valuable. CO2 laser cutting machines provide quicker initial piercing times, sharper straight-line cutting, and a smoother texture when cutting or marking materials above 5 mm, than their fiber laser counterparts. On the other hand, fiber lasers are amazing owing to the several innovations they boast of less power consumption resulting in lower maintenance costs. Both technologies are awesome in their own ways, but the best laser engraving machine for you depends on the nature, type, and size of what you are engraving. To help facilitate your decision-making process, here is an explicit explanation of what each laser engraving machine does and what makes them different.

A CO2 laser engraver is a machine that creates designs on various materials using carbon dioxide lasers. These systems are best for permanent and quality engravings on surfaces. The laser beam of the CO2 laser marking machine offers a low tolerance, which is not only more productive but also much more precise.

This system is more environment-friendly, other kinds of lasers can only convert a fraction of the power of your supply into photons, but a CO2 laser converts a large amount of the energy it consumes. This laser is excellent for many non-metallic materials, including textiles, plastics, glass, wood, acrylic, and stone.

A fiber laser engraver is a device that pumps light at the edge of the fiber optic cables, which then gives off a powerful laser beam. The light beam is useful in engraving designs or cutting shapes on different materials. Though fiber laser engraving machines are optimized for metal markings, they can be used to mark other materials.

Their power makes them ideal for engraving applications, but you cannot use them to mark transparent objects since IR (infrared) light passes through them. You can use fiber laser engraving machines to mark on aluminum, stainless steel, carbon fiber, metal-plated ceramics, nylon, plastics, magnesium, etc.

  1. Materials: CO2 laser engraving machines can cut wood, paper, and acrylic better than fiber laser cutters.
  2. Speed: A high-power CO2 laser engraver can cut materials faster than a fiber laser cutting machine.
  3. Maintenance: CO2 engraving machines have a higher cost of maintenance but can cut and mark almost any material. On the flip side, Fiber laser cutting machines have lower maintenance costs.

CO2 laser cutters have beam path maintenance such as lens cleaning, beam alignments, and bellows inspection. Fiber lasers, on the other hand, do not need much maintenance.

  1. Flexibility: CO2 laser engraving machines offer more flexibility for a range of laser cutting and marking applications, including non-metals. In opposition, Fiber laser cutters do not offer such flexibility.

Jeremy Beasley—a San Antonio Lasers two-time trainee, shares his most exciting moments  during the fiber engraving training in 2019 and the CO2 training three years later. A few years into running his company, Jeremy realized that his business needed a push as he could not provide some services that involved CO2 laser cutting.

Speaking in an interview, he said, “Fiber was a great place for me to start, but the more I got into it, the more I realized that I wanted to expand my abilities. CO2 is the logical path forward on that, and if I’m going to do CO2, I want to do it with a company that I trust–SA Laser.”

From all indications, a CO2 laser engaging machine is quite advantageous to fiber laser cutters due to the wide range of materials it can cut, its astonishing speed, and other essential factors.

What followed after Jeremy’s fiber laser engraving training with San Antonio Lasers is continuous business growth, and he is excited about taking another training. Besides earning the ability to kick-start their business right after the training, each trainee gets plugged into SA Laser’s private network of experts and troubleshooters.


Being able to cover much ground is one of the reasons many San Antonio Lasers trainees opt for fiber and CO2 laser cutting training; it is enough to help you decide on upskilling with SA Lasers and buying a laser engraving machine made in the USA. In addition, a strong knowledge of fiber and CO2 laser engraving will help you to offer more services to a new audience outside your existing customer base.

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