Skip To Content
Waterjet Cut Metal Gemstone

Comparative Cutting

Waterjets can cut any solid material including stone, tile, glass, metal, foam, rubber, plastic, and food.

When compared with plasma, laser, and EDM - waterjet cutting has distinct advantages. In addition to no heat-affected zone, the benefits and applications for waterjet technology are limitless and ever-expanding.


Flow-Waterjet-Icon-(1).png Waterjet Erosion: using high-speed liquid sandpaper.
Flow-Plasma-Icon.png Plasma Burning/Melting: using a high temperature ionized gas arc.
Flow-Laser-Icon.png Laser Melting: using a concentrated laser light beam.
Flow-EDM-Icon.png EDM Erosion: using an electrical discharge.

Secondary Processing

Flow-Waterjet-Icon-(1).png Waterjet Usually none. Waterjet is a cold-cutting process that leaves a satin smooth edge.
Flow-Plasma-Icon.png Plasma Typically, yes. Slag grinding for removal of HAZ (heat-affected zone) & flattening to eliminate distortion from heat. Assist gas used impacts depth of HAZ.
Flow-Laser-Icon.png Laser Sometimes yes. Removal of oxidized edge and HAZ. Gases used impact depth of HAZ.
Flow-EDM-Icon.png EDM Usually none. Very shallow HAZ imparted.


Flow-Waterjet-Icon-(1).png Waterjet Virtually any material.
Flow-Plasma-Icon.png Plasma Primarily steel, stainless steel, and aluminum.
Flow-Laser-Icon.png Laser A variety of materials, but primarily steel, stainless steel, and aluminum.
Flow-EDM-Icon.png EDM Conductive materials.


Flow-Waterjet-Icon-(1).png Waterjet Up to 24 inches, virtually any material. Z-axis constraint is only limit to thickness.
Flow-Plasma-Icon.png Plasma Up to 2–3 inches, depending on the material.
Flow-Laser-Icon.png Laser Generally, 1 inch or less, depending on the material.
Flow-EDM-Icon.png EDM Generally, 12 inches or less.

Part Accuracy

Flow-Waterjet-Icon-(1).png Waterjet Up to .001 inch
Flow-Plasma-Icon.png Plasma Up to .010 inch
Flow-Laser-Icon.png Laser Up to .001 inch
Flow-EDM-Icon.png EDM Up to .001 inch

Capital Investment

Flow-Waterjet-Icon-(1).png Waterjet $60k–$300k +
Flow-Plasma-Icon.png Plasma $60k–$300k +
Flow-Laser-Icon.png Laser $200k–$1M +
Flow-EDM-Icon.png EDM $100k–$400k +

Machine Setup

Flow-Waterjet-Icon-(1).png Waterjet Same setup for all materials.
Flow-Plasma-Icon.png Plasma Different setup for different jobs.
Flow-Laser-Icon.png Laser Different gases and parameters for different jobs.
Flow-EDM-Icon.png EDM Different wire types for different jobs.

Edge Comparison

With waterjet, you get a satin smooth edge right off the table. With other cutting
technologies there’s often secondary processing required to get that same satin smooth edge that waterjet produces. 
Waterjet Cut Part


Plasma Cut Part


Laser Cut Part


EDM Cut Part


Cut Speed Range

There are clear benefits to each cutting method. Waterjet, in comparison with laser, plasma, and edm is an incredibly versatile process that allows you to cut thick or thin materials with ease. With waterjet, you get a satin smooth edge right off of the table – no secondary processing required.
Cut Speed Chart
flow dynamic xd cutting head cutting metal

Put Flow’s Waterjet to the Test

Your Part, Your Specs, Our Waterjet.

We use cookies for the website’s functionality and for analytics/advertising. By clicking “ACCEPT”, you agree to such purposes. If you continue to browse our site without clicking “ACCEPT”, the cookies will not be deployed. Please see our Privacy Policy for further information.