Fiber vs CO2 Laser (How To Choose The Right One For You)

If you’re in the market for a laser cutter, then you may be wondering about the differences between fiber lasers and CO2 lasers. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so it can be tough to decide which one is right for you. In this article, we’ll take a look at each type of laser and explore what they’re best used for. We’ll also answer some common questions about fiber lasers and CO2 lasers so that you can make an informed decision when purchasing your new machine.

What are fiber lasers and how do they work?

Fiber lasers are a type of laser that use a fiber optic cable to deliver the beam. The fiber optic cable is usually made of glass or plastic, and it can be either single-mode or multi-mode:

  1. Single-mode fiber lasers have a very thin core that allows only one mode, or beam, of light to travel through it. This makes them very precise and ideal for cutting small, delicate materials.
  2. Multi-mode fiber lasers have a thicker core that allows multiple modes, or beams, of light to travel through it. This makes them less precise but more powerful, making them better suited for cutting thicker materials.

Fiber lasers are often used in industrial applications because they’re very efficient and can be used for a variety of tasks, such as cutting, welding, and marking. fiber lasers are also becoming more popular in the consumer market due to their versatility and relatively low cost. If you’re in the market for a new fiber laser engraver and want to learn about the different models we offer, and how you should approach purchasing one, please click here for more information!

What are CO₂ lasers and how do they work?

CO₂ lasers are a type of laser that uses carbon dioxide gas as the lasing medium. The CO₂ laser is excited by an electrical current that passes through the gas, which then produces a beam of infrared light.

CO₂ lasers are often used for cutting and engraving because they’re very versatile and can be used on a variety of materials. CO₂ lasers are also becoming more popular in the consumer market due to their relatively low cost.

What are the components of a laser?

All lasers have three main components: an energy source, a lasing medium, and an optical resonator:

  1. The energy source is usually an electrical current or a flash lamp.
  2. The lasing medium is the material that amplifies the laser beam. This can be a gas, liquid, solid, or fiber.
  3. The optical resonator is a mirror that reflects the light back and forth through the lasing medium to create the beam.

What businesses use laser cutters?

There are a variety of businesses that use laser cutters, such as:

  1. Advertising and marketing firms: Laser cutters can be used to create custom signage, displays, and other marketing materials.
  2. Architectural firms: Laser cutters can be used to create models and prototypes of buildings and other structures.
  3. Automotive companies: Laser cutters can be used to create car parts and components.
  4. Educational institutions: Laser cutters can be used for a variety of purposes, such as making educational models and prototypes.
  5. Graphic design studios: Laser cutters can be used to create custom packaging, labels, and other printed materials.
  6. Jewelry designers: Laser cutters can be used to create custom jewelry.
  7. Manufacturing plants: Laser cutters can be used to create a variety of parts and components.
  8. Medical device companies: Laser cutters can be used to create medical devices and implants.
  9. Sign makers: Laser cutters can be used to create custom signs and graphics.

When were laser cutters first used?

Laser cutters were first developed in the 1960s for industrial applications. However, they didn’t become widely available until the 1980s when advances in technology made them more affordable. In recent years, laser cutters have become increasingly popular in the consumer market due to their versatility and relatively low cost.

CO₂ lasers are the older technology, with the first prototype being built in 1960. fiber lasers were developed in the late 1970s.

How much do fiber lasers and CO2 lasers cost?

The cost of fiber lasers varies depending on the power, features, and quality. Lower-end fiber lasers can start around $5,000, while higher-end models can cost up to $100,000. In fact we have an entire guide that goes over laser cutting machines prices to help determine which one is right for you.

How much do CO₂ lasers cost?

The cost of CO₂ lasers also varies depending on the power, features, and quality. Lower-end CO₂ lasers can start around $1,000, while higher-end models can cost up to $50,000.

What are the differences between fiber vs CO2 lasers?

  1. Energy source: Fiber lasers use electricity, while CO₂ lasers use carbon dioxide gas. Fiber lasers are more efficient.
  2. Lasing medium: Fiber lasers use a fiber as the lasing medium, while CO₂ lasers use carbon dioxide gas.
  3. Optical resonator: Fiber lasers use a mirror to reflect the light, while CO₂ lasers use carbon dioxide gas.
  4. Power consumption: Fiber lasers consume less power than CO₂ lasers.
  5. Cost: fiber lasers are more expensive than CO₂ lasers.
  6. Applications: Fiber lasers are used for cutting, welding, and marking, while CO₂ lasers are used for cutting and engraving.
  7. Materials: Fiber lasers can cut through thicker materials than CO₂ lasers.
  8. Cutting speeds: Fiber lasers are faster than CO₂ lasers.
  9. Quality: Fiber lasers produce a higher quality cut than CO₂ lasers.
  10. System configuration: Fiber lasers are typically more complex than CO₂ lasers.
  11. Maintenance: Fiber lasers require more maintenance than CO₂ lasers.

How fast can fiber lasers and CO₂ lasers cut?

The speed at which a laser cutter can cut depends on a variety of factors, such as power, material, and thickness. However, fiber lasers are generally faster than CO₂ lasers. Fiber lasers are faster because they’re more efficient, requiring less energy to operate. This makes them ideal for cutting thicker materials and for projects that need to be completed quickly.

Fiber lasers can cut at speeds of up to 100 inches per minute. CO₂ lasers can cut at speeds of up to 50 inches per minute.

What materials can fiber lasers and CO₂ lasers cut?

Fiber lasers can cut a variety of materials, including:

  1. Aluminum
  2. Brass
  3. Carbon steel
  4. Copper
  5. Stainless steel

CO₂ lasers can also cut a variety of materials, including:

  1. Acrylic
  2. Cardboard
  3. Fabric
  4. Glass
  5. Leather
  6. Metal (thin)
  7. Paper
  8. Plastic
  9. Wood

What are the advantages of fiber lasers?

Fiber lasers have a number of advantages over CO₂ lasers, including:

  1. They’re more efficient, meaning they require less energy to operate.
  2. They’re more precise, meaning they can create finer details and cleaner cuts.
  3. They’re faster, meaning they can complete projects in a shorter amount of time.

What are the disadvantages of fiber lasers?

Fiber lasers also have a few disadvantages, including:

  1. They’re more expensive than CO₂ lasers.
  2. They’re less versatile than CO₂ lasers, meaning they can’t be used on as many materials.

What are the advantages of CO₂ lasers?

CO₂ lasers have a few advantages over fiber lasers, including:

  1. They’re less expensive than fiber lasers.
  2. They’re more versatile than fiber lasers, meaning they can be used on a wider range of materials.
  3. They’re slower than fiber lasers, meaning they take longer to complete projects.

What are the disadvantages of CO₂ lasers?

CO₂ lasers also have a few disadvantages, including:

  1. They’re less efficient than fiber lasers, meaning they require more energy to operate.
  2. They’re less precise than fiber lasers, meaning they can create rougher cuts and fewer details.

What are the most important factors to consider when buying a laser cutter?

There are a few important factors to consider when purchasing a laser cutter, including:

  1. Type of laser (fiber or CO2): Depending on the materials you’ll be cutting and your budget, you’ll need to decide which type of laser is best for you.
  2. Features: Laser cutters come with a variety of features, such as engraving
  3. Power: The power of a laser cutter determines the thickness of the materials it can cut and the speed at which it can operate.
  4. Material: The material you’ll be cutting will determine the type of laser cutter you need. For example, fiber lasers are best for cutting metals, while CO₂ lasers are better for cutting plastics and other non-metal materials.
  5. Thickness: The thickness of the material you’ll be cutting will determine the power of the laser cutter you need. For example, thicker materials require more powerful lasers.
  6. Speed: The speed at which a laser cutter can operate is determined by its power and the thickness of the material it’s cutting. Faster lasers are better for cutting thicker materials and for projects that need to be completed quickly.
  7. Precision: The precision of a laser cutter is determined by the type of laser it uses. For example, fiber lasers are more precise than CO₂ lasers.
  8. Size: The size of the laser cutter determines the size of the projects you can create. For example, a larger laser cutter can accommodate larger materials.
  9. Budget: Your budget will determine the type and quality of the laser cutter you can purchase. For example, fiber lasers are more expensive than CO₂ lasers but offer better performance.
  10. Applications: The applications you’ll be using the laser cutter for will determine the type of machine you need. For example, if you’re planning on doing a lot of engraving, you’ll need a machine that’s specifically designed for that task.
  11. Production rate: The production rate is the number of products you can produce in a given amount of time. For example, a higher production rate means you can complete projects faster.
  12. Cut quality: The cut quality is the smoothness and precision of the cuts made by the laser cutter. For example, a higher cut quality means cleaner cuts and less debris.
  13. Ease of use: The ease of use is the simplicity of operating the laser cutter. For example, a machine that’s easy to use will be easier to learn and operate.
  14. Maintenance: The maintenance required for a laser cutter depends on the type of machine you purchase. For example, fiber lasers require more maintenance than CO₂ lasers.
  15. Operating costs: The operating costs of a laser cutter include the cost of power and the cost of consumables (such as replacement parts and materials).
  16. Safety: Laser cutters can be dangerous if they’re not used properly. Be sure to read the safety instructions that come with your machine and follow them carefully.
  17. Cost: The cost of a laser cutter depends on its power, features, and quality. Lower-end CO₂ lasers can start around $1,000, while higher-end models can cost up to $50,000.

How to choose the right laser cutter for you

Now that you know the differences between fiber and CO₂ lasers, as well as the key factors to consider when purchasing a laser cutter, you’re ready to choose the right one for you. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. If you need a fast, precise laser cutter, fiber is the way to go.
  2. If you’re on a budget, CO₂ is the more affordable option.
  3. If you need a versatile laser cutter that can be used on a variety of materials, CO₂ is the better choice.
  4. If you’re cutting thicker materials, fiber is the better option.

What is a plasma cutter?

A plasma cutter is a type of machine that uses plasma to cut through materials. Plasma is a hot, electrically charged gas that can easily cut through metal and other conductive materials.

Plasma cutters are often used in industrial applications, such as cutting metal for construction projects or manufacturing purposes. They can also be used for more creative endeavors, such as creating artwork or sculpting.

Plasma cutters are available in a variety of sizes and power levels, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs. For example, a small plasma cutter might be perfect for cutting thin metal sheets, while a larger machine could easily cut through thicker materials.

Plasma cutters are similar to fiber lasers and CO₂ lasers in that they can be used to cut through a variety of materials. However, there are some key differences between these three types of machines.

Fiber lasers are more precise than plasma cutters and CO₂ lasers, making them ideal for cutting thin materials or for projects that require intricate cuts.

CO₂ lasers are less expensive than fiber lasers, making them a good choice for budget-minded shoppers.

Plasma cutters are the most versatile of the three types of machines, able to easily cut through both conductive and non-conductive materials.

When deciding which type of machine is right for you, it’s important to consider the project you’re working on and the material you’ll be cutting. If precision is key, fiber lasers are the way to go. If you’re working with thicker materials, plasma cutters will make quick work of the job. And if you’re looking for an affordable option, CO₂ lasers are a good choice.

No matter which type of machine you choose, be sure to read the safety instructions carefully before using it. And always wear protective gear, such as gloves and goggles, when operating a laser cutter.

Which are the most widely used laser machines in the market?

The fiber laser is the most widely used type of laser machine in the market. This is because fiber lasers are very versatile and can be used on a variety of materials.

Which is the right laser cutter for you?

Fiber lasers and CO₂ lasers are both versatile and can be used for a variety of tasks, such as cutting, welding, and marking. However, fiber lasers are more commonly used in industrial applications due to their high efficiency, while CO₂ lasers are more commonly used in the consumer market due to their relatively low cost.

No matter which type of laser cutter you choose, make sure to do your research and purchase one that meets your specific needs. With the right laser cutter, you’ll be able to create amazing projects quickly and easily.

Scott Brumfield
Scott Brumfield
2023-12-15
San Antonio Lasers is one of the best companies I have ever worked with. The entire staff was great to work with and learning from Anthony was amazing. He not only taught me a lot about my machine he gave me great advice on keeping my mind open to all the things I can do with my new laser. I will be a lifetime customer.
Tj Koontz
Tj Koontz
2023-12-08
High quality machines. Would recommend to anyone getting into the engraving industry. The training is the best in the business.
Alexander Carro
Alexander Carro
2023-11-20
Purchased a 50w edge laser from these guys. And let me tell you the product is amazing. Plus did a week training with the team and these people are the best in the business. Extremely helpful, knowledgeable and lots of fun. They are super attentive to all questions, they take the time to explain things as many times as you need. Very humble and friendly. They make us feel as we’re part of the family. 10/10 recommend if you’re looking to get into the engraving business or need some engraving jobs done. This is the team you need. San Antonio lasers is the best!
Jake Archambault
Jake Archambault
2023-10-28
I spent months dreaming of doing all the things I saw on YouTube with my lasers. I finally realized after many hours of YouTube college that I needed to find a mentor that had real life experience. Well, something even better happened when I found San Antonio Laser. I found a family of Laser and media fanatics. I came to fiber laser class with millions of questions about different techniques and processes and by the time I finished out the week all my questions were answered without asking a single question. The support that is offered going forward is also a huge benefit. I definitely want to give a huge Thank You to Anthony and Jordan for helping me grind out the processes during the hands on portions of the lessons. What these two highly-skilled technicians have shown me in 4 days has definitely set the stepping stones in place for not only success in my business but it has also given me the freedom to move forward with out fear of failure. Thank you to everyone at San Antonio Laser for making my YouTube college fantasies a reality.
Jana Bailey
Jana Bailey
2023-10-19
What an awesome business! We trained with Jordan, he did a great job with everything! We would highly recommend San Antonio Lasers to anyone! Their training is second to none. Thank you for the hands on training!
Rose J
Rose J
2023-09-28
Aaron was very thorough in explaining the process and provided outstanding customer service. I was very pleased with my experience and will definitely use SA Laser Engraving for any future laser engraving needs.
Anissa Cervera
Anissa Cervera
2023-08-22
Seth was a pleasure to work with! Made sure the placement was correct and lined up perfectly. Would highly recommend!
Matthew Morris
Matthew Morris
2023-08-18
Wow, Talk about amazing customer service! I called to ask about engraving options for a couple belt buckle gifts. Seth answered my call and said swing by. Little did I know that they would engrave them on the spot! Incredible! Seth was so patient and his attention to detail was impeccable. You would not believe some of the engravings that they do. If you have unique ideas and want to add a custom touch to any item, San Antonio Laser Engraving is the best at making your engraving imagination a reality! sincere thanks to Seth for all his time and professional craftsmanship! - Matt
CJ
CJ
2023-08-06
This is the only place I’ll go to for any of my engraving needs. So far they’ve engraved 4 of my SBR’d lowers with 3 more waiting for approval
Wayne Hammer Customs
Wayne Hammer Customs
2023-08-02
great class, the instructors make things very easy to learn and keep up with. I arrived with zero know how and left feeling confident with the functions and skills needed to get started. would recommend to anyone looking to get started laser engraving.

Contact Us