Skip to Content

Glowforge vs xTool: Which One to Buy

Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Additionally, I may get commissions for purchases made through other affiliate links in this post.

As an owner of both a Glowforge and an xTool, I’m in a great position to be able to share the pros and cons of both machines, along with a comparison of the machines. This article highlights my experience and technical specs of the Glowforge Plus and the xTool M1.

Before we get started, know that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to which machine you should buy. Which machine works better for you will greatly depend on your needs.

Glowforge versus xTool -

Glowforge vs xTool: Size and Weight

Glowforge: The Glowforge measures 38 inches by 20.75 inches by 8.25 inches. It weighs 55 pounds.
xTool: The xTool M1 measures 22 inches by 18 inches by 9 inches. It weighs 21.6 pounds.

If you have a small workspace or need to be able to move around the machine by yourself, the xTool M1 is a better choice.

Glowforge vs xTool: Laser

Glowforge: Contains a CO2 laser. It’s a 40W in the Basic and Plus models, and 45W in the Glowforge Pro. Glowforge’s laser engraves at 1000 dpi.
xTool: Contains a diode laser. Available in a 5W or a 10W version. xTool’s laser engraves at 500 dpi.

There is no better choice between the lasers, because they are different types of lasers. CO2 lasers are more powerful and are faster, but diode lasers have a longer lifespan.

As an aside, xTool also makes a CO2 laser – but I don’t have any experience with it.

Glowforge vs xTool: Bed Size

Glowforge: The bed measures 20 inches by 12 inches, and the usable size is about 11 inches by 19.5 inches. For Glowforge’s Pro version, the passthrough slot allows you to cut infinitely long materials.
xTool: The bed measures 15 inches by 12 inches with the usable area slightly smaller. However, you are not limited to using only the bed. The xTool’s bottom plate is removable which allows you to engrave on items that don’t fit in the machine.

It’s a tie between the Glowforge and the xTool for bed size. While the Glowforge is larger, the xTool’s ability to (easily!) remove the bottom for larger engraving should be recognized.

xTool versus Glowforge - Which one is right for you -

Glowforge vs xTool: Materials to Cut and/or Engrave

The Glowforge and the xTool can handle many, many of the same materials.

Both: Leather, paper, wood, fabric, cardstock, cardboard, MDF, stone, rubber stamp material, cork, metal, leatherette, and so on.

Now, let’s take a look at the differences:

Material Thickness: The Glowforge can cut through materials up to 6mm in one pass. Thicker materials can be cut using multiple passes, or by flipping the material over. The xTool M1 can cut through materials up to 8mm in one pass. Again, thicker materials can be cut using multiple passes and flipping the material over.

Acrylic: The Glowforge can cut and engrave acrylics. However, the xTool cannot. This isn’t a fault of the machine, rather a circumstance of the diode laser (blue light). Unfortunately, the diode laser passes through the material. I was able to get red acrylic to cut – but if you want to cut all colors of acrylic you’ll want to stick with a CO2 laser like a Glowforge.

Vinyl: Vinyl should not be cut in CO2 lasers. However, xTool’s M1 also has a blade that can be used for vinyl cutting.

Curved Surfaces: The Glowforge can engrave on curved surfaces provided they are less than 2 inches in height – like a pen, flask, or shotglass. Using the rotary attachment, the xTool M1 can engrave on larger products like tumblers, baseball bats, and rolling pins.

Both Glowforge and xTool have a materials store where you can purchase their private label materials.

Glowforge vs xTool: Noise Level

While noise levels aren’t a huge factor for me (I mean, I can barely hear the machines over all these kids screaming! 😂), I was shocked at how quiet the xTool was when running. I’d compare the noise of the Glowforge to a vacuum cleaner and the noise of the xTool to a hair dryer on low or medium.

If you live in an apartment setting, you may need to opt for the quiet machine – the xTool M1.

Glowforge vs xTool: Software

I’ll be honest, designing complex designs in either the Glowforge App or the xTool Creative Space isn’t ideal. I’ll assume you be designing elsewhere and importing into the software. Both software programs accept a variety of file formats.

Additionally, both companies offer a project catalog. Glowforge’s project catalog is larger than xTool’s. I assume you’ll see the catalog grow over time.

Glowforge vs xTool: Online Resources

Glowforge: The Glowforge has a robust community full of helpful answers, plenty of YouTube tutorials by both Glowforge and their users, and lots of free help through creators that own and use the Glowforge.
xTool: xTool has a small community that doesn’t seem very active. Not as many creators are currently using xTool’s machines. However, I see such a large push from xTool to get their machines out there – I expect you’ll see more resources available in the coming months.

If community resources are important to you, Glowforge has the edge.

Glowforge versus xTool - Comparison chart -

Glowforge vs xTool: Price

Glowforge: Three models – Basic, Plus, and Pro which cost $3995, $4995, and $6995.
xTool: The M1 costs $1299. However, the base model is currently on sale for $899.

Additionally, both companies offer third party installment plans. Or, buy on Amazon and take advantage of 0% interest using your Amazon Prime card: Glowforge on Amazon and xTool M1 on Amazon.

Glowforge vs xTool: Discounts

Glowforge: I can give you a coupon for up to $500 off. Click here to use it.
xTool: Has been regularly running sales. Click here to check the current promotions.

Glowforge vs xTool: Which One to Buy

I mentioned at the very beginning of this article that whether you choose Glowforge, xTool, or another brand altogether – it would be based on your needs. Here are a few of my opinions.

  • On a budget? Choose the xTool M1.
  • Want to work with acrylic? Choose a Glowforge.
  • Want to engrave tumblers? Choose the xTool M1.
  • Running a business where you need to replicate products quickly? Choose Glowforge, however, I’ve seen many creatives grow past Glowforge quickly as their business scales.
  • First laser? Choose xTool M1.
  • Want to be able to choose premade designs from a large catalog? Choose Glowforge.
  • Fellow content creator looking for a machine? Choose xTool M1. Since there is not a lot of content published about xTool, you’ll be able to quickly jump in the conversation.
  • Easier to hide from spouse? Choose xTool M1. You should be able to stash it in a closet on short notice.

No matter what machine you ultimately choose, I think we can all agree: Competition is good for consumers. As more lasers come onto the market, the existing companies are forced to innovate. And for consumers, that’s great!

More Glowforge & xTool Content


Monday 6th of November 2023

What if the protective paper is left on the clear acrylic, would it cut it that way?

Christine Schinagl, Cutting for Business

Thursday 9th of November 2023

Yes! It will cut fine with both the plastic protective covering and the paper protective covering.


Sunday 28th of May 2023

Do you have a link to the rotary attachment that works with the M1?

Christine Schinagl, Cutting for Business

Friday 2nd of June 2023



Thursday 2nd of March 2023

This was very helpful and informative. I really appreciate the comparisons and honest review. I have been looking at both machines lately, and wondering which would best fit my needs. Thank you.


Thursday 2nd of February 2023

Thanks so much for the info! Both tools sound very impressive!

Terri Johnson

Thursday 2nd of February 2023

Hi Christine! I've been following this with great interest. I might be interested once we get settled in FL. So, since the xTool isn't a CO2 laser, does that mean it does not need to be vented?

Christine, Cutting for Business

Thursday 2nd of February 2023

Hi Terri! The xTool still needs to be vented, and is vented the same way as the Glowforge. Through either a hose out the window or into a filter.