Laser-assisted chemical vapor deposition (LACVD) is an attractive maskless process for growing locally carbon nanotubes at selected places on substrates that may contain temperature-sensitive components. This review gives a comprehensive overview of the reported research with respect to laser assisted CVD for the growth of carbon nanotubes. The advantages and disadvantages of local growth using laser sources are discussed, with a focus on structural quality and properties, such as length, position and alignment, and process control. The paper is divided into two parts. The first part deals with the influence that the main parameters for nanotube growth - gas, catalyst and thermal energy - have on the growth of carbon nanotubes by laser-assisted synthesis. The second part deals with the attempts and successes to control different aspects of local nanotube growth using a laser-assisted growth method. © 2014 Laser Institute of America.