Better than Glowforge? Introducing Polar 50W Desktop Laser Engraver by OMTech

Personal laser engraving and laser cutting has become increasingly popular in recent years as people have unraveled the truth that it doesn’t cost a lot of money or require much technical skill to customize and carve out your own merchandise. Affordable and easily operable CO2 laser cutter machines are actively powering many small-scale businesses to monetize on their crafty designs. With so many new laser cutting and engraving devices entering the market, it is hard to tell exactly how much you would want to spend and which specific device is suitable for your daily engraving needs, especially if you are new in the game of laser engraving. The best laser engraving machines for beginners should not only be user-friendly with an uncomplicated design, but it should also be able to yield maximum output to satisfy your needs.

In the following article, we will provide a side-by-side comparison analysis of the Glowforge Basic and the newly launched OMTech Polar, both brands are well-known within the CO2 laser engraving machine market. We will be covering the key feature and aspects of each device such as warranty period, price, technical capabilities, overall brand equity of the product brands and much more. Whether you are a DIY craftsman or a professional engraver, we certainly understand the appeal of practicality accompanied with pin-point precision. By the end of this article, you should have a clear picture of which machine to purchase. 

OMTech Polar vs Glowforge Basic
OMTech Polar
Glowforge Basic
Laser Power
Engraving Speed
Lightburn, Offline Software
Glowforge Web Base
Work Area
570 x 300mm
455 x 515mm
970 x 565 x 234mm
965 x 527 x 210mm
47kg (104lbs)
25kg (55lbs)
Rotary System
Inline Duct Fan
Usable Offline
2 years
6 months


OMTech 50W Polar CO2 Desktop Laser Machine with Rotary  

Newly launched in November 2022, OMTech’s Polar 50W desktop sized laser cutter and engraver machine is the newest of machines to launch in the ever-growing laser engraving market. Southern California based OMTech and its extensive product line has long been known for its comparatively low prices and reliable customer support infrastructure. With many of its products at a considerably lower price than the average market, there is no better company to think of when you are keeping value for money in mind. After garnering lots of attention around this highly anticipated product launch, OMTech enters the compact desktop engraver market with another classic laser machine, the Polar 50W CO2 Desktop Engraver. 

The machine is branded as a much cheaper Glowforge alternative for desktop CO2 machines with equally high product quality and user-friendly functions. Lauded for its sleek white design, all-in-one cross function and its powerful 50W laser strength, the new OMTech Polar machine is projected to sell like hot cakes in the foreseeable future. The most notable function of the Polar CO2 Desktop Engraver is that it is equipped with two attachable rotary engraving tools, which allows users to engrave around cylindrical objects. Most desktop engravers in the market do not have rotaries because their devices are limited in depth; rotaries can be very useful as it would not limit users to only engrave on flat surface products.

The Polar comes with its own inline exhaust fan that is rated 282-353 cfm, it’s a 60W fan which is more than sufficient for a laser of this size. A wireless fan remote control and two additional duct tubes are included along with the machine to fully support the ventilation system. Another feature to note is the Polar’s ability to easily operate both online and offline on the Lightburn software or RDWorks. This sets it apart from competitors like Glowforge, whose machines are only functional with internet connectivity due to Glowforge’s cloud base software they use. Lastly, the high speed of the OMTech Polar Machine is also worth mentioning as it operates at the range of 500-600 mm/s, allowing users to easily mass produce and engrave merchandise at lighting speed. 


 Glowforge Basic

In recent years, Glowforge has built a niche community of loyal followers and enthusiasts in the field of desktop metal cutting and engraving. However, with a much higher price point than most desktop CO2 machines in the market, people are now demanding a more cost-effective Glowforge alternative to lighten their expenses. The cheapest entry level product in Glowforge’s catalog is the Glowforge Basic, which runs for $3,995. Taking a page out of Apple’s playbook, they sell at a much higher price point because they’ve developed good brand equity, induced by a high level of satisfaction and trust from its existing network of customers. Glowforge machines are known to be user-friendly and effortlessly learnable for most entry-level crafters and CO2 cutting hobbyists. It is also easily portable as the machines have a compact design and it only weighs 25 kilograms (55lbs), much lighter than most CO2 machines in the market.

The downside, however, is that the company has little to no customer support service and their implied warranty period only lasts for merely 6 months (for the Glowforge Basic), which is a much shorter time than most of its competitors. Warranty is very important when acquiring a new machine that requires lots of maintenance and getting used to, especially for a new user. 6 months is a short time to fully master a laser engraving machine, you do not want to be left stranded on your own when the warranty is expired. Although its cloud-based software is easy to use and compatible with many other devices, it also has the downside of requiring full dependency on internet connectivity, meaning the device would be unusable offline.           


With all that’s said and done about differentiating the varying functions of the best entry-level CO2 desktop laser engraver machines in the market, you can never go wrong by picking a multifaceted machine with more features and more power. This theory is especially true if you plan to further your laser engraving skills and become a professional engraver in the future. Do not factor out the possibility of turning your hobby into a small profitable business one day. As you begin your lasering journey, I would suggest picking a reputable laser brand with good customer/technical support and a prolonged warranty period.

With over 15 years in the industry, OMTech laser engravers offer a complete range of professional capabilities that immediately take your laser engraving needs to new heights. We develop new products at our R&D facilities in the US and overseas, and that is precisely how we keep you on the cutting edge. Reach out to our Southern California based sales representative team today for more information on OMTech’s extensive lasering product line. We wish you all the best on starting your laser cutting and engraving journey!