The XTOOL S1 Diode Laser for Leather Crafters: A Review

The XTOOL S1 Diode Laser for Leather Crafters: A Review

In this article we discuss whether the XTOOL S1 Diode Laser Cutter is right for your leather workshop.

First Impressions of the XTOOL S1

The first thing to note is that the S1 comes in a very large, and heavy package. To avoid damaging the unit before you even get started, I recommend getting help to manoeuvre and unbox your S1.

My order consisted of:

XTOOL S1 Diode Laser Cutter

The unit is sleek, clean and modern looking. Amazingly, the black and green of the machine matched the black and green decor of my leather studio perfectly! 

Not only does the green lid look cool, it’ll protect your eyes from any laser damage, and being a fully enclosed unit, you won’t need to wear safety goggles whilst using it.

An added safety feature means that if you open the lid during operation, the laser will immediately stop working.

Oh, and if you need to stop things quickly for any reason, that big red button on the far right of the picture will also instantly halt the laser from firing.

20W Diode Laser Head

I was advised by my contact at XTOOL that the 20W would be a better choice for working with leather as it promotes precision work over speed. If you require speed over precision then the 40W may be a better choice for your workshop.

5W IR Head

They also included the 5W Infra Red Head, as it creates an even more precise finish than the 20W. It’s worth noting that it’s much slower in action than the 20W, but it will allow you to engrave minuscule, perfect details.

Honeycomb Panel

This is a metal honeycomb grid that raises your project off of the floor of the machine, thereby protecting the bottom of the machine, and allowing air flow around the leather. This helps reduce charring on the surface of the leather, and keeps the leather cooler as you work.

It also comes with magnetic clamps that allow you to hold the leather still as it’s engraved, as leather has a tendency to buckle once cut.

Smart Air Assist

This little unit clips onto the machine very easily. It forces air down and around the laser beam as it burns. This forces the heat, and smoke, away from the laser head reducing build up of soot on the lens, and away from your leather again reducing charring and singeing.

Smoke Purifer

If, like me, you don’t have a window in your studio, it’s worth remembering that you’re working with smoke so it’s important to find a way to safely contain any harmful toxins from being breathed in. 

The XTOOL Smoke Purifer is a stand alone unit on wheels that is connected to the S1 via the length of tubing. All smoke is filtered through here leaving the air in your workshop safe to breathe.


Is Laser Cutting Leather Safe?

Another quick word about safety. 

It’s advised that you never use a laser cutter/engraver on Chrome Tanned leather, only on Veg Tanned leather, even if you’re using the Smoke Purifier unit.

Chrome tanning involves using a toxic chemical solution to turn raw animal skin into a leather hide. It’s a much quicker tanning process than using the traditional ‘veg tanning’ process, making chrome tanned leather much cheaper. Even if you are capturing and filtering the smoke, you are still likely to release toxic fumes into your workspace.

For your own peace of mind, 100% ‘veg tanned leather’ is created by using a natural solution of plant material to tan the skins into leather. All components of this leather are natural and will not release a toxic smog into your studio. 

If you’re not sure what leather you’re using, assume it’s chrome tanned and avoid. Ven tanned leather is much more expensive due to the longer, gentler tanning process, and the seller will definitely let you know if it’s veg tanned.

My First Project

As said above, I’m still very new to working with a laser, but I’m having a heap of fun discovering what it’s capable of!

Below is a little design I made in Canva. I imported it into the XTOOL design software and it engraved it perfectly The edges are really crisp and sharp and I’m so delighted with how it came out.

Here, the settings I used were 50 power & 80 speed:


I’ve also engraved onto Kraft card stock, which looks rearly good! And just imagine, printing onto card using no inks, or plastic cartridges, just a laser!


I recommend keeping a log of what settings work for different items that you cut or engrave. it takes a while to find the perfect mix of power vs speed, so once you’ve dialled them in, be sure to write them down!


I’ve been waiting for the Smoke Purifier to come back into stock, and now that it’s arrived I’m looking forward to trying a few different surfaces, and designing some fun items to include in the shop!

Let me know, what do you think I should engrave onto leather and stock in teh shop? I’d love to know your thoughts! 

Ready to find out more?

Here are the link you’ll need to build your own perfect S1 order:


Huge thanks to XTOOL for sending me the S1 and accessories. Please note that no payment was received, and this review is my own genuine thoughts on the S1.

The links in this article are affiliate links. This means that I may earn a small commission for every sale that comes from these links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting the work that I do. 

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