Waterjets can cut thicker materials, up to 6″ thick and more.Low cost waterjet cutting in progress.
Lasers can usually cut thinner materials much faster and more cost effective.
Waterjets can cut virtually any material.
Lasers are more limited in what materials can or should be cut.
Waterjets are cut with very little Heat Affected Zone (HAZ).
Lasers heat material during the cutting process.
Waterjets can usually cut short run of parts at a lower cost. There is usually less setup time.
Lasers are better suited for long run of parts.
Waterjet tolerances can be programmed in a wide range, and a wide range of cut surface conditions.
Laser tolerances are about +/- .003, or better.
Waterjets can cut different material types with virtually no machine tooling changes.
Depending on material and job changes, setup time may vary between material and job changes.
Waterjets introduce water on the material surface.
Laser is dry cutting.
Waterjet can cut through different layers of material.
Lasers can only cut through one layer of material.