Fiber Laser vs CO2 Laser – Which technology is right for your application?


When choosing between a fiber and CO2 laser there are several factors to consider. While one may carry more weight than the other depending on your application, they should all come into play when making such a significant investment in the future of a business. While we work closely with customers to ensure they choose the ideal system for their specific work, facility, and team, there are some fundamental differences between the technologies. Let’s explore a few.

Power Consumption

When comparing fiber and CO2 lasers, the easiest topic to discuss is power consumption. The fiber consumes much less electricity. The savings not only comes from the oscillator but also the chiller unit. The 4kW fiber and chiller, when on at maximum power, will consume approximately 18 kW. The equal-powered CO2 laser and chiller will consume approximately 70 kW.


A fiber laser can cut many of the same materials as a CO2, plus copper, brass, and aluminum much better because the beam is more readily absorbed and not reflected. For example, cutting .125-inch aluminum and thinner, using ABR as an assist gas can produce speeds 3x higher than CO2. The fiber also enables marking on the aluminum. For mild steel cutting with oxygen, the speeds are similar, but the pierce time is much less on fiber. Above .5 inch, the CO2 has finer edge quality. For stainless steel cutting with nitrogen, the speeds of the fiber are faster, but the edge quality of the CO2 is finer.


The CO2 laser is a Class IV system. This means the operator is protected from direct beam contact, but the system is not fully enclosed. Normal plastic enclosures and safety glasses can be used for eye protection. Often, access to the workpiece is quick and easy. The fiber laser has a wavelength that is much more dangerous and special precautions must be exercised. This is why fiber laser systems are fully enclosed and are a Class I. The plastic for viewing the processing area must be of the optical density that will not allow transmission of the fiber wavelength, causing a higher expense. Manufactures generally limit the number of windows the machine has, making it harder to see what is happening while cutting.

Edge Quality

A major difference is the edge quality. In all thicknesses, including stainless and aluminum, the CO2 cuts with finer edge quality. As the thickness increases, so does the difference.

The 1.07-μm wavelength of the fiber is better suited for cutting the reflective materials the thinner metal market, but with power increasing, the application area is growing.


Cost is also a big factor. Fiber laser operating costs are typically half of that of a CO2 system due to the lower electrical consumption and high electrical efficiency of fiber lasers. The energy savings come from both the oscillator and the chiller unit. The 4kW fiber laser and chiller, when running at maximum power, will consume approximately 18kW. A CO2 laser and chiller running at the same power will consume approximately 70kW. This results in significant cost savings.


The adoption of fiber lasers is picking up in a fast pace. Though CO2 lasers are a tried technology, still manufacturers are rapidly shifting towards fiberlaser which are becoming cost effective and ensure less running cost.

Messer cutting systems recognizes the importance of  technology and continues to develop features that work on a variety of applications. When the time comes for your shop to add a machine, Messer cutting systems will be able to find the right solution to get the most bang for your buck. Contact us to get started.


Messer Cutting Systems is a global supplier of cutting edge technology. The company offers products and services for the metalworking industry which set standards world-wide. As market leader in its branch, the machine manufacturer supplies complete solutions and concentrates strategically on advising its customers and customer oriented innovation. Here, the company focusses on the digitalisation of processes and products. Messer Cutting Systems is represented with more than 800 employees in 5 main locations with production facilities and in more than 50 countries.

The product range includes oxyfuel, plasma and laser cutting systems from hand guided machines right up to special machines for shipbuilding as well as machines and equipment for oxyfuel welding, cutting, brazing, soldering and heating. Spare parts, repairs, modernisation, maintenance and service as well as environmental technology round out the product portfolio. In-house software solutions optimise production and business processes. The product range is extended by solutions from technology partners, for example in the field of automation.

An intensive dialogue with our customers has prime position – the modern training centre makes this claim clear. World-wide, Messer Cutting Systems is the partner of choice for cutting systems, oxyfuel technology and customer consultancy.