Laser fiber vs CO2

What is the difference between a fiber laser cutter and a CO2 cutter?

In recent years, the laser cutting and welding industry has been dominated by CO2 and YAG. Today, however, these methods are being supplanted by modern fiber lasers.

Their superiority is based on much better working parameters. This solution guarantees higher performance and energy efficiency. This technology is fault tolerant and therefore exceptionally durable, which makes it universally applicable in many processing plants. Laser fiber is currently used in a growing number of modern cutters and welding equipment, and according to all specialists, it will soon be able to completely replace traditional CO2 technology.

The basic physical characteristics that differ between the two technologies are, first of all, the wavelength of the equation. In the case of fiber lasers it is 1μm, but in the case of CO2 up to 10.7μm. The fiber beam can be concentrated at a level of up to 1/10 the diameter of the point that is able to focus the CO2 beam. The smaller diameter and significant difference in brightness make it possible to achieve a higher energy density (up to 100 times greater than CO2) and at the same time longer focal length. These features make the whole process of cutting material much more stable and precise.

What is the conclusion?

The advantage of fiber lasers, which results directly from the above mentioned features, is the possibility of using lighter and less complicated optics. Thanks to that, we do not have to deal with cutting with large focal lengths. The beam is transported after the machine through a fiber optic cable, and not as in the case of CO2 through a very expensive, yet unreliable external optics.

This fact makes it much less energy loss. By adding a small wavelength and a higher energy density, we get faster cutting speeds with less power consumption. Laser fiber technology allows you to freely cut a wide range of materials, from copper to brass, to highly reflective materials. This versatility is another advantage of fiber technology over CO2.


The most important differences between the two technologies are:

  • Fiber lasers are free of moving parts,
  • This technology ensures total tightness and does not oblige to maintain constant pressure in the resonator,
    no vacuum pump,
  • No need to worry about replacement fans, filters or pipes, because this technology does not use them,
    no internal optics, mirrors, generator and lamps,
  • This technology does not result in the loss of gases that are pumped into the beam path,
  • To keep the device in the right shape it is enough to take care of minimal cooling,
  • Fiber laser does not occupy as large area as CO2 equipment,
  • Standby power consumption is even 11x lower than CO2.