Is it Better To Buy Two Basics or One Pro? 2Basics vs 1Pro?

For about 5K, you can get 2 Basics or a Pro.

My Goal: To run the machine about 8 consecutive hours per day to produce the most amount of high-quality designs.

Context: The Glowforge/s would be in a room that is kept at 60degrees F. Very Cold, so I don’t think the Basic overheating would be an issue. The machine/s will be vented out nearby window.

Information Gathering:
This post weighs the Glowforge Pro against 2 Basics and says its better to get 2 basics.

This video is from a guy who owns a Plus and a Basic and he compares them.

He mentioned that the speed of the 45w (Pro/Pus) compared to the 40w (Basic) is barely noticeable and only comes into play when cutting, not engraving. He says that both the Plus/Pro and Basic engrave at the same speed.

This post seems to confirm that the Pro/Plus is not actually 20% faster “yet”.

My current thoughts -
I initially was sure I wanted a Pro model because of the passthrough ability, but then in reading learned that the Passthrough slot was not automated and requires a slow manual process of checking and sometimes is misaligned. There is no public roadmap of passthrough development. I love Glowforge as a company and am just trying to think through this rationally.

The only compelling factor to get a Pro/Plus over the basic that I can tell is the extended Warranty of the Pro/Plus. Is the extra 6 months worth the extra money?

I am thinking that for my purposes and context it would be better to go with 2 Basics.

If you think a Pro would be better, please offer some good reasons why.

Please post anything I may have overlooked in weighing this decision.

Thanks so much!


If you think you can get that much volume sold I would guess one basic to get a good feel for the results and then you would have the money to get a basic or a pro if you decided that was the way to go. However for most things the time in the Glowforge is a very small part of the time it takes to design before or clean up after and so even a Basic could keep several people busy.


Kind of. And kinda not.

Full power cut operations on Proofgrade materials are 20% faster for the Plus and Pro. This can be confirmed by getting the cut settings for each model and translating the GF units to actual speed.

At this time, the engrave speed is the same for all 3 models. I suspect that at some point the upgraded linear system components will come into play and you will some differences between the models.

Probably better to buy a machine that is optimized for engraving if you’re really doing this commercially. The Glowforge does things really well but it won’t win any speed awards. If engraving speed is your primary concern, I’d look elsewhere.


I’d buy 2 Basics (or look for a used Epilog in the same price range) if I were building a business that will run it 8 hours a day.

The 2 would give you a backup in the event something breaks on one - you wouldn’t be out of the water for 2-4 weeks waiting for a repair. Alternatively, a machine like an Epilog, ULS or Trotec comes with a support structure that includes phone #s and an awful lot of 3rd party repair capability.

Any of those will also be faster - the GF is fairly slow. There’s less “automagic” but if you’re running a laser 8x5 you’re going to be pretty expert in a hurry. The GF makes lots of things easier and a quicker ramp up to effective use though.

The GF Pro is faster in throughput because of the increase in power. The power delivered to your material is a factor of physical speed and laser power - more time (slower) will deliver more burn for a given power setting. Likewise more power requires less time (faster speed) for a desired effective burn.


Underrated comment. What to buy depends on what you are doing, and the Glowforge engraves really really slowly compared to lasers from other companies. If OP can afford to buy multiple Glowforges they can probably afford the right tool for the job, whatever that may be.

It was a choice between 2 Basics or 1 Pro for $5K (not quite correct because the Pro is 6K vs Basics at 2500). Your comment suggests I should not have bought my Pro because I could have bought another faster laser for the $5K (pre-order) I spent.

Lots of people seem to be able to buy a Pro - they “can afford to buy two [Basic] Glowforges”. They all can’t be candidates to buy some other tool instead.

If it were a choice between 2 of either model, then you’re getting into the price of even new (base) models of an Epilog or ULS with 2 Pros costing 12 grand.

This topic was automatically closed 32 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.