When it comes to cutting and engraving, most consumers find themselves trying to choose between DC and RF laser tubes. Which one reigns supreme? Unfortunately, the answer to that question isn’t so cut and dry. Before investing in a new CO2 laser tube, it’s best to compare the pros and cons of each type to determine which is best for your particular application. Here are a few things to consider:
What Is the Difference Between a DC and an RF Laser Tube?
Direct current (often shortened to DC) lasers are essentially glass tubes filled with carbon dioxide, helium, nitrogen, hydrogen, xenon, and other gases. When in use, an electrical current shoots through the tube and mixes with these gases. A direct electrical discharge forms, and it turns into a powerful laser beam capable of cutting and engraving a variety of materials.
Radiofrequency (also called RF) lasers transfer electricity through metal tubes. This device relies on radio waves to convert energy into a pulsed laser. It’s also a popular option for cutting and engraving. While both DC and RF lasers perform the same tasks, you may prefer one over the other. Reading several reviews and complaints of Boss Laser will help you decide between direct current or radiofrequency lasers.
Which CO2 Laser Tube Is Cheaper?
Every consumer has a different budget, so it’s important to consider cost before investing in either a DC or an RF laser. On average, the price of glass tubes is generally less than metal ones. Saving money on equipment will also help lower manufacturing costs. Those looking to save money may opt for the more cost-efficient DC laser.
However, DC lasers tend to wear out sooner than RF models. In fact, many users report RF lasers lasting 4-5 times longer than other options. If longevity is a concern, it may be best to invest more upfront into an RF laser.
Which Laser Tube Performs Better?
Both DC and RF lasers provide reliable, high-quality cuts. They can easily cut through all types of plastics and metals, including steel. However, RF lasers sometimes leave a slightly rough edge due to the laser beam’s pulsating nature. This is especially noticeable when cutting acrylics.
When it comes to engraving, precision is key. Although engraving is possible with DC lasers, they’re not as precise as the smaller spot size of RF lasers. If your project involves intricate designs, it may be best to go with an RF laser tube.
Which Type of Laser Is More Powerful?
Power is measured equally for both DC and RF lasers. If you need a cutting machine with 100W of power, for instance, it doesn’t matter which type you choose. Once again, if your application is small and detailed, you may favor the focused power RF lasers provide. However, you may prefer to save money and go with a DC laser if you primarily need the machine for cutting.
Which Better Suits Your Needs?
Buying a DC or an RF laser is a very personal decision. Even though they function in different manners, direct current and radiofrequency lasers deliver similar results. Both types of laser tubes are powerful and provide high-quality etching, cutting, and engraving. However, they each vary when it comes to price and performance. It’s best to consider the pros and cons of each device and weigh them against your specific needs.
Troy is a freelance writer, author, and blogger who lives, works, and plays in Boise, Idaho with the love of his life and three very talented dogs.
Passionate about writing dark psychological thrillers, he is an avid cyclist, skier, hiker, all-around outdoorsman, and a terrible beginning golfer.