Metal additive manufacturing is changing the way in which engineers and designers model the production of three-dimensional (3D) objects, with rapid growth seen in recent years. Laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) is the most used metal additive manufacturing technique, and it is based on the efficient interaction between a high-energy laser and a metal powder feedstock. To make LPBF more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly, it is of paramount importance to recycle (reuse) the unfused powder from a build job. However, since the laser&ndash / powder interaction involves complex physics phenomena and generates by-products which might affect the integrity of the feedstock and the final build part, a better understanding of the overall process should be attained. The present review paper is focused on the clarification of the interaction between laser and metal powder, with a strong focus on its side effects.