A rewiew is provided of the state of the art and perspectives of high average power lasers for materials processing. An analysis, of the present and projected performances and of the present and future technological requirements, is performed, with special attention to the solid state lasers (Nd-YAG or Glass) and to the gas lasers (CO2 and Excimers) of industrial interest. Excitation of the active medium and heat removal techniques, time and space control of the emission, and beam transport problems are discussed and compared for the various types of lasers. The expected improvements in the excitation techniques of the active media, and in the resonators configuration are also outlined. New laser candidates for materials processing are evaluated and compared in perspective with the present ones. A brief survey of lasers used in micro processing, with special attention to the applications in microelectronics, is also presented.