Edge quality is probably the most important factor to consider when it comes to water jet cutting, and this is directly related to the speed of the cut. That is why quotes between water jet cutting companies may vary drastically among one another. Specifying cut quality is necessary to get an accurate quote and to ensure you are getting the quality/finish you need for your applications. Water jet cutting machines can cut a variety of materials of varying hardness, so materials should be considered as well.
There are five levels of edge quality. Some companies rank these Q1-Q5, where Q1 has the coarsest finish and Q5 has the finest. Other companies list these as Extra Coarse, Coarse, Medium, Fine, and Extra Fine. A slower cut will yield a finer finish. When cutting the hardest materials, an extra fine finish could take six times as long as an extra coarse finish on the same material. This is why pricing can vary so much, and why evaluating your specifications according to your budget is so important.
Some companies utilize water jet cutters with multiple heads that can make several cuts at one time, which can save you a lot of money while still getting a fine finish. Doing your research and being aware of all of your options will ensure that you get the best deal and the quality that you are looking for.