Glowforge reviews like mine have convinced you to buy the Glowforge over other options such as Full Spectrum, Trotec, or a more DIY solution. That’s great!
But which Glowforge should you buy?
Let’s take a look at the differences, what those differences mean in practice, and help you decide!
Even the Glowforge Pro, the most expensive Glowforge, at $5,995,
If money is no object, and you have spare budget for additional tools, consumables, and materials, then go for it. Decision made!
Most of us, however, have to look at the math a little more keenly.
If you are based in the USA then you can get a payment plan. This makes the decision easier, the incremental cost is more digestible when amortized over a longer period.
Still, you can get two Glowforge Basic for the price of one Pro, and have money left over.
What do you get for the additional $3,500?
The Pro and the Plus have “enhanced cooling” over the Glowforge Basic. This could well be a crucial advantage if you absolutely must get some customer orders out on a hot day.
That sounds good until you find out the “enhanced cooling” is not an industrial style chiller like most people add to their K40 lasers or you get with competing brands.
Any cooling is better than none, running too hot reduces the efficiency and life of your laser.
Personally, I am fine with a portable A/C unit that I picked up for $400 USD.
More Speed and Power
The Pro and Plus have 5w more power over the Glowforge Basic.
What does that mean in practice? Not a lot, to be honest.
There hasn’t been anything I could cut on the 80w or 100w lasers at the two
5w amounts to the loss of power you get by being a bit out of focus.
They are also 20% faster. Which is nice. But how fast is 20% faster?
If you could shave 1/5 off your job time, how much money would that be worth to you?
More speed and power
This is the big
Once the forthcoming pass-through alignment software feature is updated, you will be able to run infinitely long jobs on your Glowforge Pro. The front and back opens up allowing you to insert long work pieces through the unit.
Even with the hack I mention, you can only pass into the front flap, pass-through allows it to go in the front and out the back.
Now, personally, I haven’t needed that option so far, the pass-in I have used half a dozen times, but for people who do big signs and other creations, it could be a game-changer.
One of the reasons to get a Glowforge over a more DIY product is the warranty.
The Basic gets 6 months warranty, whereas the more expensive units have 12 months. This could be a lot of comfort, especially if these tools are business critical.
Personally, I would advice you purchase two basic over one Pro in that case, as redundancy beats waiting for a lengthy return and replace period as it would almost always entail.
Only You Can Decide
I am happy with my Basic, and it is almost paid off. As I say above, however, if I find I need extra capacity I will certainly consider a Pro!
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