Don't be lured by the promises of affordable engraving from miniaturized engravers operated by hand. These tools are scarcely different from drills, and offer as little precision. While useful for someone who doesn't take engraving seriously, they're no replacement for a true laser-guided engraving machine. Only in such a machine can you find the attention to detail that makes an engraving look professional.

The trait that recommends good large-scale laser-based engraving equipment to the serious engraver is pure and simple power capacity. A smaller machine can only do so much, and this results in less ability to handle diverse and sturdy materials, as well as poorer quality engraving. The power that good engraving machines can offer, however, is enough to create beautiful and delicate engravings on nearly any surface type known to man.

The possibility of simply using an outside engraving company for your needs is, naturally, always there. And this is what many people should opt for, since prices are very fair and services convenient for people who only need something engraved rarely. But going to an outside company like this on a more frequent basis is a drain to your wallet and far from practical. In such situations, you should strongly consider the purchase of a personal engraving machine to do your work yourself.

Do you know how much power the machine you're looking at can give you? You should, before you even consider buying it! At least forty watts is a good starting point. Many models are known to be able to go up to fifty or more. Also try to note the different power settings, and distinguish the top end from the bottom end very clearly.

The relationship between your computer and your **laser engraving equipment** is an important one. The equipment can connect to your computer in a number of different ways, with the most common being wireless or USB-based. Besides that, some kinds of engraving machines may only function properly with certain common operating systems or software. This should only be a problem for you if you use an unusual computer setup.

One of the central qualities you should look for in any engraver machine is the ability to store many engraving patterns. You can do this by looking for the memory buffer size. The bigger the buffer, the more it can hold. This also has some impact on the size of individual templates. A small buffer may limit your engraving sizes more than you'd be comfortable with.

**Laser engraving** machines can accept either raster or vector-based images. Although raster images used to be the standard for computer images, vector graphics are quickly overcoming them. They both have their individual quirks, and so you may want to find a model that can handle both, instead of just one image type.

Getting into the engravings market will cost you around a thousand dollars or more for a new machine. This is costly, but will give you the kind of results that any professional would be proud of. If your budget can't quite handle that, then you should look into used models that are in good condition. They can often be purchased for much less money, and are sometimes offered as bargains even by good manufacturers.