Are you considering making an investment in an xTool P2 machine? I was fortunate enough to receive a P2 machine from xTool to review! Read on for my thoughts on this highly capable CO2 laser machine, the first few things I made with it, how it compares to the xTool M1 machine and the Glowforge, and everything else you’d want in an xTool P2 review.
My xTool P2 review & all about this highly capable CO2 laser cutting machine!
Ever since getting my xTool M1 machine and sharing my review of it (read my xTool M1 machine review post here), I have been a total laser cutting machine convert. Well, not that I had ever doubted I’d be a fan…but it really is an investment.
I feel truly fortunate to have been given the opportunity to review the M1. And you all responded so well to that post that the wonderful folks at xTool sent me a P2 machine to review, too! I have to be honest, when they sent me the email asking if I’d be interested in reviewing the new P2 machine, I had a hard time not just responding and saying “YES!!!!!!!! I’LL DO ANYTHING”
Why the xTool P2?
You might be wondering why I was so excited. I have an M1 machine—why would I need a P2 machine as well? Well, I talked a little bit about the different types of laser cutting machines out there in my M1 review post. Diode laser cutters and CO2 laser cutters.
Diode lasers are awesome and can do a lot. That’s what the M1 machine has (I have the 10W machine). But the P2 is xTool’s brand new CO2 laser cutting machine—which means it’s more powerful (and it’s 55W).
But it’s not the only machine on the block anymore. I talked a bit about how the M1 stacks up against Glowforge machines in my M1 review post. Ultimately, while the M1 is a great machine with fantastic laser cutting and engraving power (plus blade cutting capabilities), its diode laser falls short for certain tasks.
There are also a few other things that make the P2 a really special machine that can handle projects the M1 can’t handle. Keep in mind that bigger isn’t always better, though. If you don’t need the capabilities the P2 offers, you don’t need to pay the P2 price tag. The M1 (or even D1 machine) will be enough.
But if you want ultimate power and versatility? The P2 is a total powerhouse. I’ll outline some of the areas this machine really shines in this post, as well as the things you might want to think about before investing in one. So let’s get started with my xTool P2 review!
xTool P2 review & basic stats
Here are a few basic facts about xTool’s P2 CO2 laser cutting machine to get started. I’ll compare to the M1 and D1 machines where appropriate.
- Laser type: It’s a CO2 laser; I wrote about diode vs. CO2 lasers in my M1 review post, but in a nutshell, CO2 lasers are more powerful. Diode lasers can perform quite well—even up to 40W. But CO2 laser machines can cut more objects with more heat energy.
- Wattage: This is a 55W machine, which is also more powerful than the 10W M1 I have. The xTool D1 has an option that goes up to 40W, but I haven’t used that machine, and that one also has a diode laser.
- Maximum one-pass basswood cutting: For basswood, which is a soft wood used for many laser cutting projects, the P2 can cut up to 18mm thick in one pass. That’s compared to 8mm thick for the M1 10W and varying thicknesses for different D1 machines.
- Working speed: P2 has a working speed of up to 600mm/s, while the M1 10W has a working speed of up to 250mm/s. So P2 is clearly the winner when it comes to speed.
- Project working area: This is another reason I am particularly excited to have the P2—depending on what you’ll be making, you may need the P2’s larger workspace of 600mm by 308mm (23.6 by 12.1 inches). Compare this to the M1’s generous but still smaller work area of 385mm by 300mm (15 by 11.8 inches).
- Portability: With all of the extra power comes sacrifices in portability. The P2 weighs about 100 pounds, while the M1 weighs about 20 or so pounds.
- Size: P2 takes up a table space of roughly 40 by 25 inches, while the M1 is more compact at 21 by 17 inches. The P2 is also slightly taller than the M1 (without any accessories or risers on either).
Is a CO2 laser worth it?
When trying to decide if a CO2 laser machine is worth the extra money, you really need to know what you’re going to be making. My M1 machine’s diode laser cuts ⅛ inch (3mm) basswood beautifully—even without air assist.
I have also cut ¼ inch (6mm) oak plywood on the machine (see the monstera leaf trellis in this post: 16 Free Houseplant Trellis SVG Files). But it takes a long time and lots of passes. Can it do it? Sure! Is it appropriate for mass producing items? Probably not.
One of the things I’m particularly excited about is seeing how quickly the P2 cuts ¼ inch (6mm) baltic birch plywood. Plywood that is ⅛ inch thick is just too thin for some of the projects I’m eyeing (like some cat house projects…just as a little teaser!), and I don’t want to be waiting around all day for cuts with my M1.
The CO2 laser can also cut a wider variety of acrylic, including clear acrylic. This may or may not be important to you. Note that the M1’s diode laser has cut opaque black acrylic beautifully for me—just not clear.
This came in handy for the bird bar project I made recently. Not only did it require cutting clear acrylic for the food dispenser area, but the wood the bar was made out of was cut out of 1/4″ wood. And the cutting 1/4″ wood is so much faster on the P2.
Maximum cut size & automatic passthrough capability
Another thing that really sets the P2 machine apart for me is the project area. I mentioned this earlier, but even without adding the passthrough system accessories, the P2’s work area is 600mm by 308mm (23.6 by 12.1 inches).
The M1 works well for a lot of projects. But its smaller work area of 385mm by 300mm (15 by 11.8 inches) does pose some limitations. For example, I’m looking at making a little guinea pig house for a friend. And the M1 just can’t accommodate the size of some of the pieces.
The P2 does have an automatic passthrough capability that allows you to make larger cuts. I’d love to try that out some day. The automatic conveyor feeder lets you to supersize your work area up to 118 inches by 19.6 inches (3,000mm by 500mm). This is obviously a huge expansion and really opens up the creative possibilities!
But even without the passthrough system, having the larger workspace and faster cut capabilities on the P2 has allowed me to cut more pieces faster. For example—just the other day on my lunch break, I ran downstairs and set up a cut for a squirrel picnic table.
It had to cut a lot of pieces, pretty much maxing out an 12″ by 24″ sheet of 1/4″ baltic birch. With such a large work area, I just started the cutting process and then sat by the machine while I ate my lunch.
It cut in one pass, completing all cuts in under 10 minutes. That left me enough time in my lunch break to glue together the pieces, too! Loving the efficiency.
Built-in air assist
One of my only complaints about the M1 machine is that air assist doesn’t come standard with the machine. It’s an add-on you have to purchase separately. Based on the tests I’ve done, M1 air assist is totally worth it.
With the P2 machine, air assist is built-in. As the machine works, smoke generated from the laser can easily work its way through the machine and exit via the 145CFM exhaust fan ventilation system.
You can then either run your exhaust pipe out a door or window, or you can hook it up to the smoke purification system (purchased separately). I do have the smoke purification system, and it works really well. (It also works on the M1 machine, so it’s interchangeable.)
As a reminder, there is always a risk of fire when working with lasers. Always keep a fire blanket or fire extinguisher handy and follow all of the manual’s instructions when working with your machine. Never leave it unattended while it’s working!
Curved surface engraving
I don’t anticipate doing too much curved surface engraving. But if you do, you should know that the P2 can automatically construct 3D models of curved objects and automatically adjust focal length during processing.
The result is a machine that can engrave curved surfaces with as much ease as it can flat surfaces. The P2 is actually the first laser engraver that can do this. Even though I don’t anticipate using the machine much for this feature, I’d love to try it out.
xTool P2 vs. Glowforge
So everyone who is into laser cutting and engraving machines likely has the same question. How does the P2 stack up against a Glowforge? Glowforge is a household name and has been successfully marketing its machines to makers and the general public alike.
The xTool P2 is a true Glowforge competitor, though. Here are a few high-level things that differentiate the two machines. Specifically the Glowforge Pro, because that is the more comparable Glowforge machine to the P2.
(Same disclaimer as I made on my M1 review post. I don’t have a Glowforge, so everything I’m sharing is either from comparing available specs online, browsing forums for third-party opinions, or asking Glowforge friends.)
First let’s talk about the laser and wattage
Both the xTool P2 and the Glowforge Pro have incredibly powerful CO2 laser cutting machines. However, the P2 is a 55W CO2 laser, while the Glowforge Pro is a 45W CO2 laser. So it’s more powerful and allows you to cut through thicker materials.
Do you need the extra power? Personally I think it’s nice that the P2 is a more powerful machine at a lower price point. If you don’t need 55W of power, you probably also don’t need 45W of power. So I’d recommend a lower tier xTool machine like the M1 or D1.
Next, let’s talk about work area size
When I first started using my M1, I was not terribly interested in work area size. Well, now that I’ve done a bunch of smaller projects on my M1 and want to venture into making some bigger items, I am all about needing more space!
Even without the passthrough capability, the P2’s workspace is larger than the Glowforge Pro’s workspace. P2’s workspace is 600mm by 308mm (23.6 by 12.1 inches), while Glowforge Pro’s is 495mm by 279mm (19.4 by 10.9).
This statistic is a bit misleading, though, because the Glowforge Pro comes with passthrough capability already built in. The P2 does not—you buy the accessories separately to enable passthrough and making larger cuts.
Finally, let’s talk about the price
Let me be clear—both machines are expensive and are investments. But the base price for the Glowforge Pro is $7k, while the price for the xTool P2 is currently at $4,599.
One caveat here, though—the Glowforge Pro has a passthrough capability with no extra equipment, while the P2 requires an additional riser base (currently listed at $499) and the automatic conveyor feeder, which is between $459 and $699 depending on which one you choose.
If you want to use the passthrough capabilities, you’ll need to factor that into your overall price. Currently, xTool’s website has all three together for $5,257, but I expect that price fluctuates with various sales and specials (xTool runs a lot of sales!).
So still cheaper than the Glowforge. But just maybe not as much cheaper once you factor everything in. If you don’t anticipate needing the passthrough for larger cuts, then you don’t even need to worry about this—the P2 is a no brainer.
Personally, I think it’s nice to be able to buy the P2 and use it for a while, deciding later on if you want to invest in the rise base and conveyor belt feeder. You may find that you don’t need it for the types of projects you’re doing.
xTool is more of a DIY solution
One thing that strikes me about xTool’s approach and machines is that they are more of a DIY solution. They are not necessarily one-size-fits-all machines that you unbox and hit the ground running.
There are many machines that you can choose from based on the type of work you’ll be doing. And then from there, you can decide to invest in various attachments and accessories to enhance what your machine can do.
Compare that to Glowforge, which offers three machines to choose from. I am positive that they are all great machines, but are they more than you need? Only you know the answer to that. But I’m guessing the answer is yes for many hobbyists and small business owners.
Glowforge also only supports the use of Glowforge’s software, while xTool’s P2 machine supports the use of both xTool Creative Space (commonly referred to as XCS), and LightBurn.
I personally do not use LightBurn, so it isn’t terribly important to me. But I know a lot of people like using LightBurn. So unless you want to be forced into using only manufacturer software, the P2 is a better choice.
Xtool P2 review as a video…
I’m working on getting together a video review for you all, too. I’ve filmed everything, just need to get it together. I’ll link it here when I do!
I hope you found this xTool P2 laser review helpful! Make sure to check back in the next few weeks for some more of the projects I’ll be completing on this absolute powerhouse of a machine.
If you found this review helpful, I’d love it if you used one of my links (like this one!) to check out the products on xTool’s website. If you decide to buy something, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I appreciate the support! <3