Trying to understand all of the different types of laser hair removal machines can make your head spin. You’ve probably heard of a few key technologies, like diode, ruby, and alexandrite – but what do those terms mean, and how will they impact your laser hair removal experience and results? That’s what we’ll explain in this guide. 

Laser Hair Removal Machine Technology Comparison

A laser is a device that emits amplified, concentrated light at a very specific wavelength, which is how it’s able to reach the hair follicle and inhibit hair growth

The exact wavelength of the laser largely depends on the type of laser hair removal machine and the kind of crystal it utilizes to amplify light. This has a major impact on how the laser will work for hair removal, and whether it’ll be safe for different kinds of clients. 

Here are the main types of laser hair removal machines, and how they fare against one another. 


When it comes to efficacy, alexandrite lasers beat all of the other laser technologies. Studies consistently show that alexandrite laser devices can eliminate a greater percentage of hairs compared to other machines. 

Alexandrite is proven safe and highly effective for Fitzpatrick skin types 1-3, but those with deeper skin tones will do better with a different laser, such as the Nd:YAG. If the alexandrite pulse is slowed down, it can be safe for those with deeper skin tones – however, the use of lasers with longer wavelengths is better established. 


Nd:YAG stands for neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet. Try to say that five times fast! This oddly-named crystal was developed specifically for laser, emitting light at a 1064 nm wavelength. The higher wavelength means that it bypasses the skin completely when penetrating the hair follicle, making it the safest option for laser hair removal on darker skin tones


We always appreciate a ruby when it comes to our jewelry, but as a laser hair removal technology, it’s old news. The first laser device ever created used a ruby crystal to amplify light, and it paved the way for more laser innovations. 

However, ruby lasers have a wavelength of 694 nm, which means they struggle to penetrate past the skin into the hair follicle without significant color contrast. As such, they carry a notable risk of side effects such as blistering, hyperpigmentation, and hypopigmentation, especially for patients with darker skin tones. 


Next up is the diode laser, which is the most popular type of laser hair removal machine on the market. It’s the technology you’re most likely to encounter at your local salon for two simple reasons: Diode lasers are cheap and versatile. Unfortunately, diode laser machines aren’t the most effective option. 

Diode lasers have a wavelength between 800 and 810 nm, so they can work on a broad range of skin tones, but with slightly less impressive results. For patients with darker skin, there’s also a slightly higher risk of side effects, especially if the practitioner isn’t experienced enough.

It’s also worth adding that while diode laser machines can be purchased for relatively small investment, those savings are rarely passed on to the client. Most salons and med spas charge similar rates for laser hair removal, regardless of the type of laser hair removal machine they use. 

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) 

Lastly, there is intense pulsed light (IPL). Technically, IPL isn’t a type of laser hair removal machine, since it emits light on a broad spectrum. Compared to laser devices, IPL is weaker and gentler, so it’s popular for home-use devices. While it depends on the specific machine, IPL generally works on a more limited range of skin tones and often requires a greater number of treatments compared to lasers. 

types of laser hair removal machines

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Laser Hair Removal Machine

These are the factors that’ll help you determine if a salon or clinic has the right equipment for your needs. 

Your skin tone: We use the Fitzpatrick scale to determine the safest way to treat each patient. Early laser technologies only worked on those with lighter skin tones and had the potential to burn or cause adverse side effects in patients with deeper skin tones. 

If your skin type is a 4 or above on the Fitzpatrick scale, a med spa that uses Nd:YAG lasers is your safest bet. If you have a lighter skin tone, most laser devices will work, but you’ll likely see the best results with alexandrite laser machines. 

Costs: The majority of med spas charge the same for laser hair removal treatments, regardless of what kinds of machines they use. This is despite the fact that alexandrite and Nd:YAG laser machines are often significantly costlier than diode or IPL machines. For that reason, pay attention to pricing and inquire about the type of machine your med spa uses. 

Provider: Finally, choosing an experienced laser hair removal provider is just as important as paying attention to the technology they use. Your provider is responsible for choosing the best treatment settings for your skin type and treating you in a comprehensive manner, to guarantee the best results with minimal side effects. 


Laser Machines at SEV 

Across all SEV locations, we treat our clients with the best types of laser hair removal machines available on the market. All of our med spas use machines that combine alexandrite and Nd:YAG lasers. This allows us to treat a diverse range of skin tones to the highest level of efficacy and safety.  

We only use equipment from reputable medical aesthetic companies like Cynosure and Candela, which are also equipped with cooling gust mechanisms, to soothe the skin and reduce pain levels during treatments.  

Just as importantly, our registered nurses and laser technicians have the expertise needed to choose the correct treatment settings for each patient. With SEV, you’re always in good hands. If you’d like to start your journey to hair-free skin, go ahead and book an appointment at your nearest SEV!