Considering upgrading to Pro--your thoughts?

Hey helpful forum members:

I’m about 95% decided to upgrade my Basic to Pro. The upgrade price hasn’t changed since I placed my original order in early November and I’ve not seen any indication that will change (unless @dan has more info on this). Even though I’m not a multiuser makerspace and the unit will get fairly low hobby usage, there are a couple reasons I’m considering this:
–feed slot (didn’t think I’d need this but sure would be nice for leather/fabric)
–better cooling (gets pretty hot here)
And I recently thought of a new one: the Glowforge team is going to be continuing to improve the software after I have my unit. What if they come up with a killer new app that will only work with the Pro? We’ve already been given hints (if I recall correctly) that the software in the Pro will have some features not in Basic (somebody correct me if I’m wrong here).
So there you have it. The only reason I’ve not upgraded yet was because I thought I’d wait and see what the real-life experience out there was with Pro units. Like people are having trouble with their homeowners insurance for having a Class IV laser in the basement. Stuff like that.

So folks, any thoughts? Other than the risk of paying a higher upgrade price, I can’t come up with any downside to waiting. On the other hand I’m itching to complete the transaction (patience not being one of my virtues).

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I decided to go with the pro model because of the cooling, improved optics, and longer warranty.

I thought someone had mentioned some other higher quality parts too but the FAQ section doesn’t mention this.

Yes the pass-through slot is neat and I may have loads of uses for it, but it wasn’t the deciding factor for me. I would rather buy the better tool and not regret it later.


I went for the pro straight out of the gates. Ever since Ive been seeing more and more reasons to be glad that I did. Finding out that the basic will have to stop to take breaks is not something I would want to wait on, and the pro will just keep going. The pass through slot is small, but better than nothing, and I will be dealing with a lot of oversize pieces, so thats a huge plus for me.

I have a feeling the features they are talking about in the software directly relate to those two. I cant really think of any feature they would give to the pro in software only, unless there was a hardware reason behind it. Im pretty sure most of it is based on the passthrough slot use and how it will determine location of half-done prints that it needs to align itself to.

All in all, I would obviously recommend the pro upgrade if youre going to be doing anything more than just basic simple cuts every now and then.


Bought the pro because of the cooling. Not as concerned about whether it occassionally stops but the engineer in me keeps thinking that the more often a unit reaches a temperature threshold the greater effect on longevity. Don’t have anything to back that up. Then there are the nice to haves. Better optics and higher power tube should equal faster and better cuts. Pass through slot for larger material.

However before upgrading, if you are absolutely on the fence, you might want to get a sense as to whether the Basic or Pro will be shipped first and when. There is always the possibility that one could start shipping before the other. Even by months. Maybe not, maybe so.


I got the basic. While the pro looks awesome, I can’t justify the additional cost. It will mostly just be my wife and I using it, and we don’t have any need for the pass-through slot (I say now).

The cooling is nice, but if it gets too hot in the room we have it in, I think that means we need to be outside :grin:. We should be well below 70degrees for most of the year though.

The only real reason I would potentially want it is the improved optics, but I’m not sure what that means. Finer control of the lenses? Higher quality lenses with better coatings?

I think the majority of the software difference will be due to the pass-through slot.

But that does bring up a good question. How long do we have to decide if we want to upgrade? Can we decide to upgrade when they ask us for our address or is that too late? @dan, @bailey, any thoughts?


I’m in the same boat as @joe- pro seems amazing, but at this point I can’t really justify the cost. For the immediate future it will just be me, myself, and I using the machine, with no real plans to make money with it in terms of a legitimate business (other than attempting some craft shows). Immediate uses will be as a portfolio builder to show fabrication skills on personal projects. For long term, I hope to be able to take it with me to grad school and alleviate my dependence on the program’s fab lab until I need a more heavy duty machine…I can already see lower stress levels during charette because I don’t have to wait for laser cutter timeslots :slight_smile:


I am also on the fence on upgrading to the Pro model but then I look and see hobby lasers that are already out there that offer more capability for around the same price as the pro model and we can get that laser now and is in the user community already been tested and used for quite some time and also you can get a rotary option to engrave on cylindrical objects…decisions…decisions…

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I want to get into “foamies”. They are model aircraft made from foam sheeting, mostly 1/4". The pass thru feature of the PRO would be a must for this! There was a community that made foam cutting machines using a Dremel mounted for cutting in the Y axis and the foam was positioned by rollers in the X axis. The pro seems more precise and flexible in its’ abilities. The wife would also like to cut fabrics! I ordered mine last week. The PRO! I’ve had my wife for a while. So far no upgrades are necessary! LOL


The only software difference I recall between the two is the ability to register a position, move the material and then continue cutting. Without a pass through slot that feature is pointless on the standard. In some ways if you can really cut a 1/4", flip it over and cut from the opposite side for 1/2" cutting you pretty much have that registration feature - and they’ve said that’s available in the standard.

That said, once the Pro users start placing into real world business settings I could see all sorts of software feature requests that Glowforge may limit to the Pro model for a whole variety of reasons.


I liked that. My workspace is in the back of our little house, and during the summer, it get’s mighty warm back there, so I’m thinking your philosophy will suit me, as well.

I went basic model as the cost difference is too great for the limited hobbyist use I have planned for it. The pass through doesn’t intrigue me all that much given the relatively small size of the laser bed to begin with. Better optics and cooling are great, but again, I am taking these as speed improvements, not quality improvements.

If I had a business case where the delay between uses cost me money, upgrading to pro would be a no brainer. Otherwise, the pass through is the big selling point imo, and I can’t think of many use cases for it.


My decision was 80% about the pass-through and 20% about the additional power on the laser. I just don’t want to be limited to small stuff–makes me nuts when I have beautiful surfaces to cover and I have to do them in a dozen little pieces.


As a fellow engineer, I went through pretty much the same thought process as @rpegg when I decided to go with the pro.

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I honestly have no"need" for anything on the pro. The pass through is what tempted me and the fact that it has been implied the basic will not likely have the ability to continously feed something even if it can be rolled up to the side pulled me in.

If that feature would be available on the basic it would be enough for me. I could then modify the case after the warranty is up to accommodate pass through.

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I went with basic, but not knowing much about lasers beforehand, and reading forums and getting to use a redsail 80w, i worry that the basic wont perform as well as the pro. In cutting power and longevity.

I see my work pattern be about 3-5 hours pumping out object after object every other day. I dont want the basic to fail on me.

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its a lot easier to upgrade now, and downgrade later than vice-versa. it might be more expensive by the time they are shipping…


Yes, @tbrlhumer, that consideration definitely resonates with me!

Excellent point @takitus, and one I had not thought of!

Thanks for the input, all–very helpful!

Of course, it complicates the situation that Apple is now coming out with a new iPad pro that I think I must have…:laughing:


As the tech world turns…I JUST bought an ‘old’ iPad pro. No matter though…I love it…and especially love the Apple pencil. I recommend!