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The Difference between Laser Etching vs. Laser Engraving

For many years, lasers have become a revolutionary alternative in terms of labelling and marking products and goods. 

Both laser engraving and laser etching offer a number of advantages over other types of engraving products and techniques.

While they have both been considered efficient methods to mark metal and non-metallic surfaces, the one question that still remains is understanding the difference between the two.

What Is Laser Etching

Laser etching is the process of removing the outer layer of material without removing a portion of the material to create the desired pattern or design. The laser beam of laser etching is able to remove very small particles, creating very fine details and texts. It is also able to remove features that are hard to reach with other methods while maintaining high precision. 

Laser etching is a common method to etch soft metals such as brass, aluminium, or nickel. It is also used to etch flexible plastic, wood, and glass.

What Is Laser Engraving

Laser engraving is the process of using a laser beam to engrave a design onto a surface. The process uses computer software to create a two- or three-dimensional image on a material, making the image look like it has been embossed. The laser beam of laser engraving is able to remove a portion of the material while maintaining the surface of the product. Laser engraving uses a wipe-off effect that is able to cut through materials such as glass and aluminium.

Laser engraving is a common method to engrave a material, and it produces a deep and precise engraving effect. This leaves a dark-coloured mark on the surface, and the surface does not often require any further treatment. It is also ideal for creating a logo or design on a large area. Laser engraving is generally used on metals, such as stainless steel and aluminium, but can also be used on stone and other hard surfaces.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Laser Etching and Laser Engraving

There are several advantages and disadvantages that these laser methods have over one another.

Laser Etching

Here is a list of pros and cons of laser etching:


Suitable for thin and fragile materials

Creates high-contrast marks

Faster markings

Requires less energy


Difficult to create highly detailed marks

Has poor abrasion-resistance

Tends to lose its sharpness over time

Laser Engraving

Here is a list of pros and cons of laser engraving:


Ideal for large-volume jobs

Creates high-contrast marks

Offers better-detail engraving

Creates permanent and long-lasting impressions

Minimum heat transfer to the material

Has better abrasion-resistance


It is less cost-effective

Takes more time to work

Not suitable for thin materials

Requires large volumes of material

High energy usage

Which Is Better: Laser Etching or Laser Engraving

The difference between laser etching and laser engraving is that the former removes only a very thin layer of the material, while the latter creates deeply engraved marks that are often considered more aesthetically pleasing.

Since both methods have their own unique pros and cons, choosing which one is better depends on your requirements. When choosing between laser engraving and etching, consider the material you wish to mark, the volume of marking material, available power, and the required end-product.

Another thing is if you are looking for a constant and high-contrast marking, then laser etching is the way to go. If you require a design that has depth and complex elements, then laser engraving is the best option for you.


As you can see, there are certain differences between the two types of laser processes. The most important thing for you to remember when deciding which one to choose is that both processes have their own crucial differences, which make them ideal for different types of applications. If you are still having trouble deciding which one to choose, talk to your local laser equipment providers for assistance.

Laser Art offers custom engraving in Brisbane for a wide variety of purposes. Whether you need to engrave a small business logo or an intricate design on a commemorative plaque, we can help you create the perfect custom engraving solution. Let us take care of engraving needs with our high-quality products and expert service. Reach out to us today!

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