There are a lot of articles about the laser cutting and the water jetting. You can get a lot information of the definition and the comparisons of these two cutting technology. Would like to compare them from the practical using.
Before doing that, would like to clarify that the laser cutting we mentioned here is for metals. Laser cutting for two main kinds of material: metals and non-metals. We call the laser cutting for non-metals is laser cutter engraver, it suitable for many materials like clothes, leathers, acrylic, bamboo, wood, etc, but it cannot cut metals which another one is for metals only.
Theoretically both of them can be used to cut ALL the metals, carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, copper, etc.
But we prefer to cut the aluminum by Water jetting. The explanation is that the aluminum material has the high reflectivity and diathermancy, so it is hard to cut or sometimes we cannot cut it by the laser cutting and it is harmful to the machine. The owner will not be happy if you use the machine to cut the aluminum.
Laser cutting is better than water jetting without doubt. Laser cutting is faster and it has high precision. For the material thickness less than 3 mm, it is ok to use the water jetting, but if the material is very thick, it is hard and expensive to ensure the cutting effect by water jetting. The normal defect is that there’s a slope between the two surfaces of the cutting part, which is cause by the water.
Each of them has the advantage, depend on the requirements of the parts and the project. And the difference is not obvious when the material is not thick. Water jetting cannot compare with laser cutting on the speed and the precision but unique technology work out the difficulty of the cutting on the aluminum sheet.