In almost conversation I am asked if the 9-10 watt, 12-15 watt or the big 30 to 60 watt lasers are better.
Most of my feedback is from complaints as well as good feedback mostly from veterinarians and chiropractors.
Most veterinarians use the 15 to 30 watt while most chiropractors find the 10 watt is enough unless its a high traffic clinic. The 10 watt can go deep enough for about 95% of the people and practices.
The wattage of the laser will always trump a pulsed laser that is stronger compared to a continuous beam. The higher the wattage the cooler the fiber optics will stay. If buying a higher wattage laser, there are the German made fiber optics and the Chinese type. Both are good but over the life of the laser if it doesn't have the right cooling system for its used too long or long enough breaks in between patients. A lower quality fiber optic system can be just fine if doctors don't use it one patient after another. German made lasers can operate much quicker and those lasers can be costly and much more expensive to replace.
The lower the wattage the easier it is to train those using the laser. Many people seeking laser therapy want to block there never cells so they won't feel pain while others want to regenerate broken cells, not just block pain. Most class 3 lasers usually just block the pain. Also, I strongly recommend getting trained on using a high wattage laser. It's not just shining the laser on the body part. Many doctors shine the laser on the spine to de sensitize the nerve endings.
The higher the wattage of the laser the quicker the laser works. More blood flow to an injury. A 30 watt or above people can really feel this sensation quicker. Note: If the person is in pain not from an injury I see no need to use a higher wattage laser as their is no need to increase blood flow to the area since its not an injury but usually from over acidity of the body.
Note: Make sure you know if the laser beam is collimated or a divergent beam. Some of the cheaper lasers aim the laser while others scatter the light right after it come out and it the beams cross each other. German diodes do not have this issue. A German diode will not shoot the laser like a laser pointer. They penetrate and absorb more than a collimated beam.
If choosing the wattage for a class 3 laser, the LZ30x laser we tested is the strongest on the market and has infrared that is over 500mw but its not a laser. The infrared technically since any laser over 500mw must be labeled as a Class 4 laser but since it's not a laser it passes as a class 3. It's invisible also. This laser is cool as it tells you how many joules are being delivered during the session.
Note: if the laser wattage is too high on a Class 4 laser, heat can build up too fast and burn someone if the person using it is not trained. I never move the laser counter clockwise. (see my videos on what happens when you don't go clockwise)
What aggravates me: Many of the 4 to 7 watt class IV laser companies say their laser is just as good as a 15 watt or even a 30 watt laser. Yes, it can treat the same depths of most injuries but they just take way longer. Most of these low wattage cheaper lasers also cover a small surface area as some of the better lasers. The cheaper class 4 lasers also may need to be calibrated often. If the display screen says 18 watts but its actually delivering 14 watts that is not good. The drop in power is usually from a burned out fiber optic.
Warning: There are some lasers that are designed to lose power from the start. Make sure if the laser has different wavelengths they are not coming out of the same cable. If the laser has 2 diodes I want to see two cables. I can see why the laser companies trying to sell multiple laser heads get pissed off when they see a laser head that does it all.
Note: If using a high powered laser (30 watts or more) treatments should not be back to back, espeicailly with a non collimated laser. If using a low powered laser it doesn't matter so much.
If a doctor is treating someone and needs to penetrate to the spine for inflamed nerve roots with someone with major back pain, a 15 to 30 watt they might choose. If a quicker session is needed in a high traffic clinic then the 30 or 45 watt or maybe the 60 watt is more suitable. A laser under 10 watts can take about 7 to 15 minutes while the highest wattage 60 watt laser can take 1 to 2 minutes to do the same job. If a large surface area needs to be treated then a 45 or 60 watt laser since its delivering so much energy can be used on a larger surface area and not take so much time to treat.
If the wattage is not strong enough and the technicians don't give the session enough time, the areas of treatment might not get the correct amount of joules to correct what they are trying to correct. If this happens, the relief can be a much shorter term than what the patient thought they came in for.