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xTool S1 review Hero

xTool S1 in the test: What the high-end laser engraver can really do

Updated by Timo Altmeyer on the 22. May 2024

Engraving and cutting with high 40 watt laser power, without any safety glasses: the xTool S1 laser engraver, which we took a closer look at in the test, promises this and much more.

9.3
Our rating
1649€ xtool.com
Price Comparison
Technical data
Overview
Manufacturer

xTool

Model

xTool S1

Specifications

 Technical parameters 
Laser power: 40W
Spot size: 0.08 x 0.10mm
Working surface: 498 x 319mm

 Connectivity and software 
Operating systems: Android, iOS, Windows 10 or later, macOS
Software Compatibility: XCS / LightBurn
Supported file formats: SVG, DXF, JPG, JPEG, PNG, BMP, TIF
Connection options: USB / Wi-Fi

 Physical characteristics 
Weight: 20kg
Size without raising plate: 765 x 561 x 183mm
Size with raising plate: 765 x 561 x 268mm

 Certifications 
International: IEC/EN60825
USA: FCC, FDA
Canada: IC
Australia and New Zealand: RCM, SAA
United Kingdom: UKCA
Japan: Telec, PSE
European Union: CE-RED, ROHS, EN60825, CE-MD

xTool S1: Unboxing and construction

A cursing postman with a huge package was the signal that the xTool S1 had arrived in our editorial office. xTool didn't skimp on packaging. The device is completely embedded in foam and secured with two transport straps. Practical, because the box, which weighs around 20 kilograms, can be easily lifted out.

xTool S1 packaging

Completely wrapped in foam and secured with straps.

It's a good idea because the xTool S1 is not an open laser engraver, but a completely closed construction that is mostly delivered pre-assembled. Insert the laser module, release the transport lock and plug in the power supply - that's all you need to set it up. The necessary tools are included, so you don't have to unpack your own.

The entire assembly takes less than 20 minutes and is explained very well in the illustrated instructions. In order to get started straight away, the delivery includes various test samples such as a slate coaster, a piece of leather, a stainless steel key ring and a wooden plate.

xTool S1 User Manual

The xTool S1 user manual is not a cheap print, but rather high-quality printed in the style of a magazine.

By the way, this laser engraver can be operated indoors without any problems. Odors that arise when cutting or engraving can be directed out of the window through the integrated ventilation and the included flexible pipe. However, the tube is a bit short, so depending on the height of the window there may be difficulties in attaching it.

Alternatively, xTool offers an exhaust air filter as an optional accessory. At around 700 euros, which is on top of the laser engraver that already costs 2.000 euros, the exhaust air filter is not a cheap affair.

xTool S1 scope of delivery

The scope of delivery includes everything you need to get started.

There are also other accessories, such as a rotary kit (approx. 270 euros), a screen printer (approx. 270 euros) and an increaser (approx. 200 euros). If you want to expand your laser engraver, you can hardly avoid the original xTool accessories. The system is so proprietary that there is hardly any possibility of using suitable third-party accessories.

xTool S1 opened lid

There is enough space inside for the honeycomb panel.

xTool S1: Security

xTool has equipped the S1 with a variety of safety precautions to ensure that accidents do not occur or the apartment bursts into flames. According to the manufacturer and the international goods testing group SGS, the xTool S1 falls under laser class 1. This means that the laser is safe under normal conditions and poses no danger to the eyes or skin. Protective measures are not required for this class.

xTool S1 40W laser module (1)

TÜV certification is still pending, but should follow soon. The SGS test report can be found here Download or under the test number GZEE230700241131.

xTool S1 connections and laser class 1

All connections and the laser class 1 sticker are on the back.

 Closed system 

At the forefront of the safety functions is the closed construction, which means that no laser beam can escape and therefore no safety glasses are required. This is a huge advantage over open designs, where you don't even want to take off your safety glasses.

xTool S1 closed lid

The transparent lid works like safety glasses and has the laser filter directly integrated.

In order to still be able to see what's going on in the box, xTool has integrated the laser filter directly into the housing cover. If the lid is opened during operation, the laser switches off automatically. If you want to be on the safe side, you should still wear safety glasses.

 IR flame and motion sensors 

For additional safety, five IR flame sensors monitor the work area and switch off the device as soon as a fire is detected. Shocks or movements during operation also cause the laser engraver to switch off automatically.

xTool S1 Warnings

A sticker with warnings is located directly on the device.

 Emergency button 

Last but not least, there is the emergency stop button. It is easily accessible on the side and switches off the laser immediately when touched.

xTool S1 emergency stop button

The emergency stop button is located on the side.

 USB key 

In order for the laser engraver to start, a key in the form of a small USB stick must be inserted. Two of them are included in delivery.

xTool S1 USB keys

Without one of these USB keys, the xTool S1 will not work.

xTool S1: Software

After the setup, software is required. The manufacturer itself offers the xTool Creative Space (XCS) for Windows, macOS and as an app for iOS and Android.

An alternative to this is Lightburn. However, this software is expensive, is aimed more at experienced users and, in relation to the xTool S1, has the disadvantage that not all functions of the laser engraver are supported. For example, XCS supports the mapping of curved surfaces, which Lightburn cannot (yet) do.

We chose XCS right from the start, which is what we would recommend to new users in order to familiarize themselves with the laser engraver. You should definitely try Lightburn afterwards. The program can be used free of charge as a 30-day trial.

XCS is very user-friendly software that you can quickly find your way around and is ideally suited to the xTool S1. Here are some of the features that XCS supports:

  •  Material Library: Preconfigured material profiles help find the right settings for different materials, which is particularly helpful for beginners.
  •  Design tools: XCS provides basic design tools to create and edit simple shapes and text.
  •  Import function: The software supports a variety of file formats such as SVG, DXF, JPG, JPEG, PNG, BMP and TIF, making it easier to work with externally created designs.
  •  Layer management: The ability to create and manage different layers makes it easier to organize more complex projects.
  •  Autofocus and Surface Mapping: XCS can automatically focus the laser and map curved surfaces, enabling precise engravings on uneven materials.
  •  Real-time preview: The software provides a real-time preview of the engraving, so you can see exactly what the end result will look like before you start.

The connection to the laser engraver is either via cable or WLAN. Both worked straight away in the test.

xTool S1: practical test

 Vorbereitungen 

Let's get to the essentials: how well the xTool S1 performs in practice. Engraving or cutting with the xTool S1 is incredibly easy and requires no prior knowledge. You definitely don't have to be a professional to achieve impressive results.

xTool S1 XCS template

The template is loaded directly into XCS.

First, you load the desired motif directly from the computer into the XCS software. Alternatively, you can choose from a variety of templates, some of which are free. For our first attempt, we chose the xTool slate coaster, which is already included in the scope of delivery. Fittingly, xTool also provides a template for this Download ready.

We place the slate coaster on the honeycomb plate in the generous work area of ​​around 50 x 32 centimeters. Next, we position the laser by manually pushing it towards the workpiece and aligning the cross laser with it.

We select the material in the software and set the distance to the workpiece at the push of a button. To do this, the laser module uses a mechanical distance meter with a retractable metal pin that precisely records the distance.

The positioning of the template on the workpiece is particularly successful. For this purpose, xTool uses a unique “pin point” positioning method in which the position of the workpiece can be recorded in real time. XCS guides you through the process step by step.

xTool S1 Test XCS Software Pin Point

For a rectangular workpiece, simply mark two corners.

First you select the shape of the workpiece (rectangle, circle or polygon). Then you set two (or more) reference points by moving the laser to the corresponding corners or edges of the object. The software automatically detects size and position and adapts the template perfectly to the workpiece.

If everything is aligned correctly, you can view a preview. The laser then traces the outline of the motif on the workpiece without engraving. This way you can see exactly where the engraving is placed. If necessary, the position can be adjusted.

xTool S1 Test XCS Software Preview

Before the laser starts, there is a preview with estimated working time.

If everything fits, you select the desired speed and performance settings, which are already predefined for most materials. Then press start and the S1 starts. Thanks to autofocus, it independently sets the optimal laser focus, regardless of whether the material is flat or curved.

 Engraving and cutting 

xTool S1 engrave slate

In the test we engraved a slate plate and a pendant made of stainless steel. Thanks to the fine laser focus of 0,08 x 0,10 mm, the result was extremely precise. The engravings are razor-sharp and even the finest details are easy to see. No matter whether on stone or metal. At up to 600 millimeters per second, the working speed is remarkable.

xTool S1 slate plate

After about 5 minutes the slate coaster is ready.

We also tried cutting a thin metal plate. Engraving on it is no problem, but the diode laser cannot cut through it, which is to be expected. He cuts into the material, causing the metal to bend due to the high heat, but he is unable to cut through it completely.

Same with transparent acrylic. The S1 couldn't do that in the test either. For this you would need a CO2 laser like the xTool P2.

xTool S1 keychain

How about a key ring for your loved one?

Wood, on the other hand, is no problem at all. The 18 watt laser dismantles an 40 millimeter thick poplar board in one pass. However, you should experiment with the settings for laser strength and speed. Otherwise, unsightly traces of smoke may appear.

A plus point of the S1 is the replaceable laser module. In addition to the 40 watt module, there is a weaker 20W module, but also a 2W 1064 nm infrared laser head. The latter is particularly suitable for engraving metals, acrylic and plastic. However, we couldn't test this because we only had the 40 watt module here.

xTool S1 test engraved egg cup

Or an engraved egg cup?

 Here are a few additional details and tips: 

  • For optimal results, we recommend using the material settings in the software. The ideal parameters for performance and speed are already stored there for many common materials. If you often work on the same material, you can create your own presets and save time.
  • When cutting thick materials such as wood or acrylic, you should plan on making several passes to achieve a clean result. The software allows you to set the number of repetitions.
  • The 2W IR laser is recommended for delicate designs or small fonts, as it offers an even finer focus of 0,03 x 0,03 mm.
  • When engraving photos or grayscale images, the best results are achieved with specially coated laser engraving material (anodized metal, etc.). But great results can also be achieved on wood and stone with the right settings.
xTool S1 review Hero

xTool S1

9.3
Rating
Positive

Robust workmanship and build quality
Completely closed housing for maximum security
High laser power with up to 40W
High precision and attention to detail in cutting and engraving
User-friendly software (XCS) and compatible with LightBurn
Integrated smoke extraction system with optional exhaust filter
Many intelligent functions such as autofocus, dynamic focus control, air assist
5 IR flame sensors and motion sensor for emergency shutdown
Interchangeable laser modules (20W, 40W, 2W IR) for flexibility
Large working area (498 x 319 mm for 40W version)
Expandable with rotation module, elevation and exhaust filter

Negative

High purchase price, especially for the 40W version
Mostly only compatible with accessories from the manufacturer
Cannot cut certain materials such as clear acrylic (limitation of all diode lasers)
Relatively short and thin exhaust hose included in delivery

Conclusion

The xTool S1 is a Porsche among laser engravers in the consumer sector. Thanks to its uncomplicated structure and user-friendly software, it is not only one of the most beginner-friendly devices, the closed construction also makes it one of the safest laser engravers on the market.

The xTool S1 is also attractive for professionals. With its 40 watt laser module, the laser engraver offers enough power to meet most engraving and cutting requirements. He marks metals with excellence and can even cut thicker wood in one pass. It reaches its limits when cutting metal and transparent acrylic. A CO2 laser like the xTool P2 is a much better choice for this.

The high price of around 2.000 euros should not be underestimated, which is further increased by expensive accessories such as the exhaust air filter (approx. 700 euros). But the investment is worth it, because you get an all-round successful package that is not only suitable for hobby users, but also for small businesses or research.

Price Comparison
1.649,00€
2.299,00€
Timo Altmeyer avatar
author

Timo is the founder of techreviewer.de and a real technology expert. From smartphones to e-bikes, from home cinema to smart homes, he always has his finger on the pulse of the latest trends.

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