The Top 10 Desktop CNC ( For Hobbyists and Small Business

Best Desktop CNC Machine (For Hobbyists And Small Business Owners)

The majority of machinery built by CNC manufacturers tend to be larger models that are then bought in bulk for drilling and cutting in various industries. However, these manufacturers also make smaller CNC machines known as Desktop CNC machines. Desktop CNC machines are ideal for hobbyists and small business owners. Plus these machines work really well with plastic and foam, which are often used in the space. 

Desktop CNC machines are ultimately smaller versions of large industrial CNC machines. They are aimed at small business owners and hobbyists who are wanting to explore woodworking. If this is a skill you are interested in trying, then a desktop CNC machine is essential. They are compact and also allow you to learn cutting, drilling, and milling. 

It’s important to be aware that desktop CNC machines are not as accurate as larger machines. However, they allow you to learn the basic skills of CNC. You can then apply that to a larger machine in the future if you want.

But which desktop CNC router is the best? We’ve gathered the top models on the market so you can make a fully informed decision with confidence. Here are the top ten desktop CNC machines available on the market.

The Top 10 Desktop CNC ( For Hobbyists and Small Business Owners)

My Favorite Desktop CNC Machine

1 | Yofuly CNC 3018-Pro Router

Yofuly 3018 Pro CNC Router Kit, GRBL Control 3 Axis Wood Engraving Machine (3018)

Our top recommendation is the Yofuly CNC 3018-Pro Router which is an upgraded version of the Yofuly CNC 3018. This upgrade includes an updated control board that boasts a fixed heat sink, external fan, and a sturdy shell, extending the lifespan of the product overall.

With a 1G storage capacity, your router will be able to retain a variety of products. This is ideal for business owners who want to showcase a range of products. The new offline controller means that you do not need to connect to the computer thanks to the included SD card reader which writes into the root directory for both G-Code and NC files.

You can also manually adjust the X, Y, and Z-axis location should you wish to engrave the starting point as well as manually opening and closing the spindle.

What makes this our top pick is how accessible it is for users of all abilities. It is easy to install and assembly takes an average of 20 minutes. Plus it boasts a stable structure, so you can be assured of its reliability.

The versatility of the product is another advantage thanks to its ability to be used on plastic, wood, acrylic, PVC, and PCB among many more materials. The Yofuly customer service team and technical support team are also available for you to contact should you have any questions regarding the product.

PROS

  • Includes an updated control board that boasts a fixed heat sink, external fan and a sturdy shell, extending the lifespan of the product overall
  • The new offline controller means that you do not need to connect to the computer thanks to the included SD card reader which writes into the root directory for both G-Code and NC files
  • Can be used on a variety of materials such as plastic, wood, acrylic, PVC and PCB and many more

CONS

  • Cannot be used on hard materials such as hard metal or jade.

Runner-Up Desktop CNC

2 | Genmitsu CNC

Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO Router Kit GRBL Control 3 Axis Plastic Acrylic PCB PVC Wood Carving Milling Engraving Machine, XYZ Working Area 300x180x45mm

Our second selection is the Genmitsu CNC which has been upgraded to provide convenience for the user. Not all of the components have to be positioned. This reduces assembly time as well as makes it hugely efficient and improves the working accuracy.

With an increased base height of 4cm, you can be assured of the better stability this product boasts. The integrated mainboard and custom software means that the communication between the two is more seamless and guaranteed to provide higher performance and better results.

Incorporating the use of GRBL software, this CNC has an open-source software that controls movement and is run on Arduino. This is industry-standard software. This means that you can be assured of professional results which is ideal if you are a small business owner. 

This machine is capable of cutting into a range of materials including plastic, soft aluminum, wood, acrylic, PVC, and PCB.

Easy to assemble, this machine is great for beginners who have never used a CNC machine before. The detailed instruction manual and support team are always on hand to help. You’ll be able to put this machine to use almost immediately because it doesn’t take that long to set up at all.

PROS

  • Not all of the components have to be positioned which reduces the amount of time taken to assemble as well as making it hugely efficient and improves the working accuracy
  • The integrated mainboard and custom software means that the communication between the two is more seamless and guaranteed to provide higher performance and better results
  • Capable of cutting into a range of materials including plastic, soft aluminum, wood, acrylic, PVC and PCB

CONS

  • Not suitable for more advanced users who want top notch features

More Desktop CNC Machines

3 | Mcwdoit Desktop CNC

CNC Router Machine 3018 Pro, mcwdoit Simple Assembly Version, Desktop Wood Acrylic Plastic PCB MDF Engraving, 3 Axis with Offline Controller, Mill Bits, Working Area 11.8 * 7.1 * 1.8″

Our third choice is the Mcwdoit Desktop CNC. This is another upgraded model with a new control board, integrated driver chip, fixed heat sink, external and sturdy casing to expand the lifespan of the product.

This is not an easy machine to damage thanks to the high-quality design and manufacturing materials. The offline controller means that you don’t have to worry about connecting this machine to the internet thanks to the SD card reader that allows you to write in the root directory G-code or NC files.

With 1G capacity, this is a great choice for hobbyists and business owners alike thanks to the large space capacity.

With a versatile use, this machine can be used on a variety of materials including wood, plastic, and acrylic as well as soft metals such as copper and aluminum meaning that the possibilities are endless.

The Mcwdoit Desktop CNC comes with everything you need to set up and go. This includes a detailed instruction manual, software, electronic control board, stepper motors, frame, and power supply.

The technical support team is always on hand should you need them. So you can have peace of mind when purchasing this CNC machine. 

PROS

  • The offline controller means that you don’t have to worry about connecting this machine to the internet thanks to the SD card reader that allows you to write in the root directory G-code or NC files
  • Can be used on a variety of materials including wood, plastic and acrylic as well as soft metals such as copper and aluminum
  • Comes with a detailed instruction manual, software, electronic control board, stepper motors, frame and power supply so you can be assured that everything will be in working order once assembled

CONS

  • Not suitable for larger projects due to the smaller size

4 | MySweety CNC 3018-Pro

MYSWEETY Upgrade Version CNC 3018 Pro Engraver Machine, GRBL Control DIY Mini 3 Axis CNC Router Kit, Wood Router Engraver Pcb Milling Machine with Offline Controller + ER11 and 5mm Extension Rod

Our fourth recommendation is the MySweety CNC 3018-Pro which has intricate control software run by GRBL. With an offline controller, you can control the desktop CNC router without the need to connect to the computer thanks to the SD card reader that allows you to manually enter your desired output.

The compact size of this machine means that it can be placed in the majority of environments such as an office or in the garage workspace so you can use it within the comfort of your own home.

The new control board boasts an integrated driver chip, fixed heat sink, external fan, and sturdy casing to ensure the product maintains its reliability and durability.

Unlike other models, this product comes with a 12-month warranty. So you can purchase this with ease of mind that you will get your money’s worth.

Its versatility reflects that of its competitors on the market. It can be used on softer materials such as plastic, wood, PVC, PCB, and acrylic among others. The easy assembly makes it great for users of all abilities. It comes with a detailed instruction manual as well as a USB stick that contains the software.

PROS

  • With an offline controller, you can control the desktop CNC router without the need to connect to the computer thanks to the SD card reader that allows you to manually enter your desired output
  • The new control board boasts an integrated driver chip, fixed heat sink, external fan and sturdy casing to ensure the product maintains its reliability and durability
  • Comes with a 12 month warranty so you can purchase this with ease of mind that you will get your money’s worth

CONS

  • Cannot be used on Mac computers

5 | BobsCNC Evolution 4

BobsCNC Evolution 4 CNC Router Kit with the Router Included (24' x 24' cutting area and 3.3' Z travel)

Our fifth choice is the BobsCNC Evolution 4 which comes complete with a router kit with the router included. With a 24” x 24” cutting and 3.3” of Z travel, this is an ideal choice for those who want to carry out larger projects.

What makes this such a brilliant product is its intricate and advanced features. These features include a rigid laser cut frame and SG20U supported rail system. This makes it one of the most stable models on this list. Made to last, this product is guaranteed to give you years of use thanks to its heavy-duty abilities and strong 5-ply wood structure.

With a GT2 belt drive on the X and Y axis and an ACME TR8 on the Z-axis, this is a great choice for those who want to carry out more intricate designs that may require the features found in a larger machine without having to purchase one.

Although this is a larger and more expensive model than the others featured in our list, this is a great product for those who want to specialize in producing larger-scale projects with ease and without the risk of damaging the prototypes or the machine itself. 

PROS

  • With a 24” x 24” cutting and 3.3” of Z travel, this is an ideal choice for those who want to carry out larger projects
  • Guaranteed to give you years of use thanks to its heavy duty abilities and strong 5-ply wood structure
  • With a GT2 belt drive on the X and Y axis and an ACME TR8 on the Z axis, this is a great choice for those who want to carry out more intricate designs that may require the features found in a larger machine

CONS

  • High price point

6 | Snapmaker Original

Snapmaker Original 3-in-1 3D Printer with 3D Printing/CNC Carving/Laser Engraving, All Metal, Entry-Level Digital Tool, Easy to Use Software, Upgraded Version,Printing Volume (4.9”x4.9”x4.9”)

Our sixth selection is the Snapmaker Original which is one of the most versatile products on our list. Primarily working as a 3D printer, this product can actually carry out CNC carving and engraving. This makes it an extremely worthy investment for more creative types who want to expand their skill set into other areas as well as CNC.

Boasting high precision with an all-metal build, you can be assured of professional results and high performance every time. Because of its nature, it is more suited for hobbyists because of its smaller size but it is an extremely powerful machine.

With easy software that can carry out all of the functions within its system, this is an ideal choice for beginners who have never used desktop CNC machines before because of how much it is capable of doing.  

This model includes a warranty period on purchase so you can have peace of mind and invest with confidence. Snapmaker’s team is always on hand 24/7 should you require assistance. The Snapmaker Original is the perfect model for children wanting to learn about CNC. This is one of the safest models on our list and will guarantee endless possibilities thanks to its versatility and heavy-duty design.

PROS

  • Boasting high precision with an all metal build, you can be assured of professional results and high performance every time
  • With an easy to use software that can carry out all of the functions within its system, this is an ideal choice for beginners who have never used desktop CNC machines before because of how much it is capable of doing
  • This model includes a warranty period on purchase so you can have peace of mind and invest with confidence

CONS

  • High price point

7 | Cenoz CNC

Cenoz Upgrade CNC 3018 Pro GRBL Control DIY CNC Machine,3 Axis PCB PVC Milling Engraving Machine,Wood Router Engraver XYZ Working Area 300x180x45mm (3018-PRO with extension rod)

Our seventh choice is the Cenoz CNC which has a quick assembly thanks to the quick assembly. This is a great choice for beginners who may be intimidated by the initial setup of the machinery. The Cenoz CNC only takes 20 minutes to assemble!

Featuring GRBL software, this machine is compatible with the majority of Windows and Linux operating systems making it widely accessible. This machine is also suitable for engraving plastic, soft aluminum, wood, acrylic, PVC, and PCB.

The offline control option means that you can choose whether to connect the machine to the computer or enter the information manually and download the files that way. This means that it is suitable for those who may not be as tech-savvy. This upgraded product includes a new version control board that is more powerful than before. Plus it features an integrated driver chip, fixed heat sink, external fan, and sturdy case to elevate durability and stability.

PROS

  • Featuring GRBL software with three axis control boards, this machine is compatible with the majority of Windows and Linux operating systems making it widely accessible
  • The offline control option means that you can choose whether to connect the machine to the computer or enter the information manually and download the files that way
  • This upgraded product includes a new version control board that is more powerful than before and features an integrated driver chip, fixed heat sink, external fan and sturdy case to elevate the durability and stability

CONS

  • Tools to help you assemble the product such as screwdriver are not included


8 | VEVOR CNC

VEVOR CNC Machine Wood Router Engraver (2418)

Our eighth selection is the VEVOR CNC which is made from 2020 aluminum profiles and black injection molding material. This construction guarantees its long-term usage and high precision. Easy to use and assemble, this machine comes with a detailed instruction manual and features a handy USB port that allows you to connect the machine to your computer easily.

Compatible with Windows and Linux operating systems, the VEVOR CNC is easy to control thanks to the GRBL control board. Which features a dual Y axis, four-axis drive, and full functionality.

The VEVOR CNC is made to provide high performance and professional results. It comes with T8 screw rods driving units, three 42 stepper motors as well as a 775 24V spindle motor that has an incredible rotational speed of 10,000 r/min.

Its versatile use makes it ideal for engraving on plastic, soft aluminum, PVC, PCB, and acrylic so you have an array of project possibilities. 

PROS

  • Easy to use and assemble, this machine comes with a detailed instruction manual and features a handy USB port that allows you to connect the machine to your computer easily
  • Compatible with Windows and Linux operating systems, the VEVOR CNC is easy to control thanks to the GRBL control board that features a dual Y axis, four axis drive and full functionality
  • Can be used on plastic, soft aluminum, PVC, PCB and acrylic

CONS

  • Not ideal for more advanced users

9 | SainSmart CNC

SainSmart Genmitsu 3018-PROVer Desktop CNC Router Machine with GRBL Offline Control, Limit Switches & Emergency-Stop, XYZ Working Area 300 x 180 x 45mm, Wood Carving Machine

The SainSmart CNC was upgraded so it is not easier to use. This makes it perfect for users of all abilities. It comes pre-assembled and requires little to no fuss on arrival. It takes less than 30 minutes to set up out of the box.

Based on the open-source GRBL software, this machine has silent and powerful Toshiba TB6S109 drivers. They give it added life and performance plus added optocouplers which help to protect your mainboard from hard stops without the risk of damage providing longevity and consistency in performance and results.

The all-aluminum body provides stability and durability. Meaning that you can try a wider range of projects with a reduced risk of damage to the machine.

The metal body also means that the machine is easy to clean and maintain. Acrylic safety barriers help to contain dust and enhance the safety of the machine overall. With the option to use an offline controller, you can opt to use the machine manually or digital depending on your personal preference meaning you will always have control of your projects. 

PROS

  • It comes pre-assembled and requires little to no fuss on arrival as it takes less than 30 minutes to set up out of the box
  • Optocouplers which helps to protect your mainboard from hard stops without the risk of damage providing longevity and consistency in performance and results
  • The metal body means that the machine is easy to clean and maintain with acrylic safety barriers that help to contain dust and enhance the safety of the machine overall.

CONS

  • The instructions can be difficult for beginners to follow

10 | Mophorn CNC

Mophorn CNC 1610 CNC Machine 3 Axis CNC Router Kit with Offline Controller Table Lamps Milling Machine GRBL Control for Plastic Acrylic PCB PVC Wood Carving DIY Ideas(160X100mm,Offline Controller)

Our final choice is the Mophorn CNC. It is made with premium quality materials such as aluminum to guarantee the durability and reliability of the machine. This machine is made from aluminum profiles and black injection molding materials. So it can be used frequently and regularly without showing signs of wear and tear.

The ease of use makes it a great choice for beginners who are unfamiliar with CNC machinery thanks to the detailed instruction manual. This machine can support the majority of Windows and Linux systems making it highly accessible for users. 

The convenient control is simple to use thanks to the USB port which connects the computer-controlled by GRBL software. You also have the option to use the offline controller. This lets you enter your controls in manually if that is your personal preference.

This high-performance machine comes with T8 screw rods driving unites, three 42 stepper motors, and a 775 24V spindle motor. This spindle has a rotational speed of 10,000r/min! Making it one of the most efficient desktop CNC machines on the market. 

PROS

  • With the frames and fixed parts made from aluminum profiles and black injection molding materials, you can be assured that this machine can be used frequently and regularly without showing signs of hard wearing use
  • The convenient control is simple to use thanks to the USB port which allows you to connect the computer which is then controlled by GRBL software
  • This high performance machine comes with T8 screw rods driving unites, three 42 stepper motors and a 775 24V spindle motor which has a rotational speed of 10,000r/min making it one of the most efficient desktop CNC machines on the market

CONS

  • Not compatible with Mac computers

Desktop CNC Buyer’s Guide

When you’re doing your own research into desktop CNCs, you want to make sure that you have a specific set of criteria so you can know what to expect. There are certain factors that you need to consider before purchasing your CNC. Think about what you are using it for, size, durability, and budget. All of these play a role in selecting the perfect CNC for you.

What You’re Using It For

The first thing you should always think about is what you will be using the desktop CNC for. If you are a hobbyist then you may use it infrequently and may expect to make mistakes in your outputs as you experiment and enhance your skillset.

However, for those who have more experience and are using their CNC for a small business, you want to make sure that it has the capability of outputting consistent results that match your designs perfectly.

Those who will be using it for business can expect to use their desktop CNC more often so ensuring that it has the durability and reliability you need is crucial.  

Size

The next thing to think about is the size of the CNC. This article looks at the best desktop CNCs for those who may not have a lot of space for larger machinery. However, within desktop CNCs, there can be a variation in size which is important to think about.

Despite their smaller size, desktop CNCs can still be bulky in design and take up a lot of room. Make sure you are measuring the area where the CNC will go. Then make sure that the machines you are looking at can fit perfectly. This will prevent the machine from falling off or breaking when in use.

Durability

It’s no secret that desktop CNC machines are a costly investment. So you want to make sure that you are getting the longevity you need. Desktop CNCs are more compact than the average CNC machine. So some may compromise various aspects of the design meaning that they may have a more limited output.

If there is a particular feature you need from your CNC then make sure it does it, or else you may need a replacement. Most CNC machines also come with a warranty period. This gives you a little peace of mind if you are going to be using it on a regular basis.

Budget

Lastly, always consider your budget. It’s important to get an idea of what to expect for the amount of money you are wanting to spend. As mentioned before, CNC machines are costly but that is because they are an investment and designed to last a long time.

Our recommendations show that there are plenty of options for all price points but be aware that the cheaper models are not going to have the same features and capabilities that a high-end product is going to have.

Frequently Asked Questions About Desktop CNC Machines

Why Is CNC So Expensive?

CNC is expensive because running the machinery itself is expensive and requires a lot of skill. Another reason is that it can be difficult and expensive to source the tools and materials you will need.

If a client asks for a prototype then this can be even more expensive as these materials are often bought in bulk so this should also be taken into account.

What Is the Difference between a CNC Router and a CNC Mill?

The main difference between a CNC router and a CNC mill is their size and capabilities. CNC routers are made for smaller projects that are more simple in design. Whereas CNC mills can handle more complex designs.

What Is the Most Common CNC Machine?

The most common type of CNC machine is a CNC mill. It is capable of carrying out a lot of different jobs through computer control.

Which Desktop CNC is Best for You?

It’s always important to research these products thoroughly so can get the best option. Knowing what you want will result in high performance and allow you to appropriately expand your skillset. You’ll find the machine more reliable and durable in the long run.

In this article, we looked at 10 awesome desktop CNC machines that are all suitable for a hobbyist. Of course, the particular one you want depends on your skillset and budget. However, you should now have a good idea of what to look for and what is out there. Feel free to bookmark this page if you are still not sure about buying your own CNC. Otherwise, click through and get your CNC delivered! That project is not going to finish itself!

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ABOUT GizmoPlans

brian luoma product developer
gene luoma inventor

Hey, this is Brian and Gene Luoma. Since the two of us have pretty much been self-employed our entire lives, we have a lot of experience designing and creating all sorts of DIY projects for businesses and homes—projects that have helped us make money or save money through the years!

Gizmoplans is our way to share our culmination of years of experience, along with our catalog of projects—both new and old—that we hope will help you, too. If you’re interested in saving or making money, browse on through. We hope you find something here that inspires and helps you to DIY!

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