Sandblasting vs Laser Engraving: Which Is Best For Your Award?

Employee retention is one of the most important employee-employer aspects that companies should focus on. Having high employee retention within your company signifies that there’s a healthy environment for your employees to work in and progress with their careers.

There are many things that you, the employer, can do to decrease your company’s employee turnover or the replacement of terminated or resigning employees. One of the most effective ways of doing this is by using employee recognition tactics such as awards to maintain a healthy working environment.
Thumbs up for your choice of engraving!
When you’re shopping around for awards, you’ll be given the option of either sandblasting or laser engraving text and logos onto the award piece of your choice, but you might not know the difference between them. The two engraving methods are distinct and can give your awards a certain look that couldn’t be achieved with other means.

The following article will go into detail about these two methods in order to give you a better understanding of what to choose when it’s time to buy.

Sandblast Engraving

Sandblasting is the most common method of engraving used in the trophy shop industry today. This method is used on crystal, glass, acrylic, metal, and other hard materials used to make awards. Sandblasting is used to precisely engrave text, logos, and graphics to make the award more outstanding.

The sandblasting method sounds exactly as its title implies. The rough and abrasive material is propelled at high velocities with air hoses. The rough material cuts at the award’s surface where the stencil outline has been placed, leaving the design finely engraved.
We do the best award engravings.
The plaques and awards are wrapped in a thin green film called photoresist film; only the areas that are going to be engraved are left exposed.

When the sandblasting begins, you must hold the hose close to the areas that are being etched to get the most precise engraving possible. The further away from the exposed area the hose is, the more the sand spreads, smudging the stencil’s design instead of refining it.

Why Use A Sandblaster?

With sandblasting, it uses precision to engraving text and graphics onto recognition awards, because of this precision, the engravings will be clean and detailed. As mentioned above, this method is widely used by trophy shops because of its accuracy to etch images. This method works best on glass and crystal rather than other materials.

This method has been used to engrave for more than a century now, and since that time, its methods and techniques have been improved to enhanced air propelled sand or particles to better engrave surfaces. It has become an art form with a unique process of etching, different from the others.

Laser Engraving

Laser engravings have taken this practice and blown it into the modern era. Laser engraved plaques and awards add an edge that can only be accomplished with a laser. Although not everyone employs this method, it’s quickly become a household name in the trophy shop industry. This method also has a unique process of its own.

The desired image is uploaded to computer software which leads the laser while it engraves. The laser beam machine moves side to side, letting the laser engrave the design onto the material.

As the light beams reach their designated area, the laser will make a small engraving in the material. After this is done, the laser moves on to the following spot where it performs the same function, until the design on the computer is complete.

If you’re not particularly interested in glass or crystal, laser engravers have proven more effective on wood and acrylic. When using a laser engraver on glass and crystal, shards are left behind on the surface; this doesn’t to wood, acrylic, and metal.

Why Use Laser Engravers?

There are many benefits to why you’d want to use laser engravings over other sandblasting or 2D engravings techniques.

For one, they’re faster to use, so you can get many awards engraved in less time than it would with other etching methods. There’s also less manual labor needed to engrave with a laser, which adds to the speediness of producing awards.
We specialize in laser engraving.
If you’re a person that likes color, more steps will be needed to add hues to the award piece if you’re using these two methods. You can either use color fill, in other words, spray or hand painting the engraved area, or UV color printing. This method works best when adding graphics and gradients to plaques and awards.

Now, if you’re ambivalent about using sandblasters or laser engravers, you’d happy to know that there’s a middle ground. Both techniques can achieve the same engraving depth as one another.

When it comes down to personalizing recognition awards, there are many different avenues you can take to ensure they’re designed and etched properly.

Here at, we specialize in custom awards and other unique pieces that are not found in all trophy shops. We use both sandblasting and laser engraving techniques, but sandblasting is our specialty. We’ve got designers who are quickdraws with the sandblasting machine.

We use both methods because we want to be the very best trophy shop on the market. If you want to increase employee retention and reward your associates with something unique, we have the means of doing so because we know how important a little recognition can mean to a hardworking employee.