I'm interested in purchasing a laser source for some product development as a side project, however I understand lasers are a touchy subject.

So, what are some proper avenues to pursue when attempting to purchase a laser either domestically or from a foreign supplier?

Alternatively, can any directly provide information on what regulations and procedures are in place when trying to purchase a laser source in the U.S.?

I live in Washington state and I'm potentially looking at about a 10W laser (20W max!) for the project.

  • Synrad in Mukilteo could give you credible advice w.r.t. regulatory details.
    – user6726
    Commented Nov 26, 2016 at 1:50
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because questions asking for product recommendations are not related to law; Tue question of which laws apply is extremely broad and depends on information not present.
    – user4657
    Commented Nov 26, 2016 at 5:27
  • @Nij I'm not looking for recommendations other than how to properly abide by the law. feetwet was able to appropriately answer my question.
    – tbm0115
    Commented Nov 26, 2016 at 17:30

1 Answer 1


All laser products entering commerce in the U.S. are regulated by the FDA. Current regulations are given in 21 CFR 1040.

To save you some time: With power over 5mW you're generally talking about Class IV lasers. It appears that regulations require such lasers to have a number of safety features, including:

  • Master key
  • Safety interlocks
  • Remote shutoff
  • Emission indicator
  • Aperture shutter

(There are some "shady" operations that sell electronic kits that can be readily assembled to emit as much as 3W, and which do not comply with FDA regulations. However I have never seen a more powerful laser product for sale that was not compliant. And the FDA is not known for its sense of humor; enforcement is strict, so I wouldn't be very concerned about a seller lying about compliance of its products.)

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