The Difference Between Laser Marking, Engraving and Etching


The processes of laser marking, laser etching, and laser engraving are becoming more popular as a result of industrial and government regulations regarding clearly legible product and part identification.

Using these three laser services, you can mark your products and parts permanently, ensuring compliance with regulations and adding distinction to them.

What makes them different?

There may seem to be similarities between the three techniques, however, they differ quite a bit.

Different processes for marking, engraving, and engraving etching differ in a number of ways, including what each does to the surface and how it changes the overall appearance.

As a laser marks a material with a discoloration, it actually removes a portion of that material during engraving or etching. There is a big difference between laser etching and engraving in how deeply the laser penetrates the surface.

To help you choose which method is best for your application, we will describe every process and its applications throughout this post. For more information, visit

Engraving, Etching, and Marking – The Main Differences

There are differences between laser marking, laser engraving, and laser etching, although these terms are often used interchangeably. The characteristics and applications of each process make it suitable for different types of work.

Indicators, markings, and lasers

Marking by laser is the process of altering the surface properties or appearance of material by interacting with the beam.

  • Using a low-powered beam and discoloration, which creates high contrast marks without disturbing the material, the beam is slowly moved across the material.
  • A laser causes oxidation on the surface of the material, resulting in its blackening.
  • To anneal the surface of the metal, low temperatures are applied to it.
  • The surface remains intact throughout all of this.

Also Read: The Role of Fabrication in The Metal Industry

The following are some differences between Laser marking of metals and laser engraving:

  • There are fewer places that offer these services.
  • In addition to laser marking or coloration, charring for plastics and annealing for metals are also referred to as laser dark marking.
  • Laser marks can be annealed, carbon migrated, foamed, or colored.
  • Metal and titanium parts are commonly used for medical devices, but other materials can also be used for this process.
  • Laser markers have many uses, such as marking bar codes, UID codes, QR codes, logos, etc.

It uses lasers to engrave

A laser engraving is a process where a beam of light physically removes a material’s surface to reveal an image above its surface.

  • As a result of the laser creating high heat during engraving, the material vaporizes.
  • Each pulse vaporizes the material, so the process is quick.
  • As a result, there is a visible cavity in the surface that can be felt and seen.
  • Repeat several times with the laser engraver to create deeper marks.

Despite engraving being a subset of laser marking, it still differs in many ways:

  • As far as laser engraving goes, there are three ways to do it: deep laser engraving, etching, and ablation (depending on the surface and the removal level).
  • Customized or personalized items are the most common choice for people.
  • Marking parts that require safety is not ideal.
  • In metals, the maximum engraving depth is 0.020 inches, while graphite can reach a depth of 0.125 inches.
  • Laser marking is the fastest way to mark.
  • It is great for parts that are likely to experience high wear.

Serial numbers and logos are typically engraved with it.

Also Read: Know About Different Laser Technology in Brief