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Best Plasma Cutters on the Market in 2021 – Reviews and Buying Guide

Best Plasma Cutters

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You can be a DIY fabricator or a hobbyist home welder, or a professional welder; there is one common need, a reliable plasma cutter.

Every metal fabrication, big or small, needs items to be cut from a sheet, plate, or pipe and then processed before welding. A plasma cutter comes very handy for cutting sheets and plates, and some of them are even compatible with connecting it to a CNC table.

If you are on the lookout for the best high-end plasma cutter, you are in the right place. We have compiled a list of plasma cutters after careful research and study to meet the requirements of both hobbyists who want to become medium-level fabricators or even professionals.

When you browse online for a plasma cutter, you may be overwhelmed by the varieties, brands, and range of prices of the plasma cutters available. This article can help and guide you to make a wise decision while buying a plasma cutter.

Take a look at our following reviews and see which one could be your next plasma cutter! Let us begin.


Best Plasma Cutter Overall: Miller Spectrum 625 X-TREME Plasma Cutter

Miller 625 X-TREME is easy to use and cuts through different metals with extremely high precision. Who used this plasma cutter calls it THE BOMB. Though the initial cost is high, it is definitely worth the investment.

This plasma Cutter works on 120/240 V and has 40 amps of cutting power to cut mild steel up to 5/8″ thick.

Compact in size (13in x 10.5 in x 30.625 in) and very light, weighing only 21 pounds. The unit is portable and enclosed in a case, and carries easily by a shoulder strap.

Miller 625 X-TREME features an auto-refire system, meaning this plasma cutter can automatically cuts, grate, perforated plates, and polish the material. The auto-refire system automatically controls the pilot arc by switching in and out as fast as needed when cutting expanded metal and provides maximum power for cutting thicker metals.

This plasma cutter comes with three years limited warranty.

Pros

• Miller brand is known for manufacturing reliable and high-quality plasma cutters.

• Compact size, lightweight, and highly portable.

• The machine cuts through gaps and expanded metal.

• Hand-Held torch provides a no-slip grip, prevents operator fatigue, protects against accidental arc initiation, and many more features.

• The auto post-flow system controls post-flow time to optimize consumable life.

• The machine is engine drive compatible.

• Produce steady and cleaner ending cuts under variable conditions.

• Heavy-duty work clamp with a flexible cable that connects easily and quickly.

• Miller 625 X-TREME is made in the USA.

• Three years limited warranty.

Cons

• Expensive plasma cutter, especially for beginners and hobbyists.

• The consumables are costly; however, the machine’s various systems are designed to optimize consumable life.

Key features

 

  • The unit is recommended for cutting 1/4″ thick mild steel plate. For maximum cut capability, this unit is capable of producing quality cuts of 5/8″ or greater up to 7/8″ (Maximum sever cut).
  • The unit is compact, weighs 21 pounds, and carries easily by a shoulder strap to move to different work areas.
  • The unit comes with a special case providing ultimate protection and additional space for accessories and consumables.
  • Automatically connects to 120–240 V, single-phase power, 60 Hz, without making internal changes.
  • The machine is engine drive compatible. Complete cutting capability when powered by an engine-driven welder/generator with a 240 V receptacle of 4 kW or more.
  • Miller 625 X-TREME comes with an XT40 Hand-Held torch which provides a no-slip grip, an ergonomic handle to help prevent operator fatigue, a trigger guard to protect against accidental arc initiation, a robust tip front end design that optimizes arc performance and tip life, and many more features.
  • Auto-Refire technology automatically controls the pilot arc when cutting expanded metal (grates or perforated plates) or multiple pieces of metal. The pilot arc will switch in and out when cutting expanded metal and provides maximum power for cutting thicker metal.
  • The machine auto post-flow system calculates the optimum length of post-flow time to optimize consumable life and avoid excessive air usage.
  • The machines produce steady and cleaner ending cuts under variable conditions. Thanks for the voltage compensation feature, which provides peak performance power.
  • Automatic air regulation compensates for input pressure variation for optimum cutting performance.
  • Automatic gouging consumable detection adjusts gas pressure to optimize performance.
  • Heavy-duty work clamp with a flexible cable that connects easily and quickly.
  • Duty cycle is 60% at 20A-120V input power, and 60% at 40A-240V input power.
  • Three years warranty on machine and one year on the torch.

Hypertherm Powermax45 XP Plasma Cutter

High-end branded and reliable plasma cutter. Suitable for beginners, hobbyists, small and medium fabricators, and professionals.

Works on 200-240 V/480 V. Very versatile with CNC interface and FastConnect torch connection for handheld and mechanized operation.

Compact, weighing 33 pounds, and portable for a plasma cutter capable of cutting 5/8ʺ (16 mm) metal. The plasma cutter comes with three years limited warranty.

Pros

• Branded and reliable plasma cutter.

• CNC compatible.

• Capable of cutting up to 1-1/8ʺ (29 mm) metal.

• Compact size, lightweight, and highly portable.

• The torches are designed for high-impact and heat resistance.

• The plasma cutter gives consistent starting and optimum torch performance.

• The machine has automatic gas adjustment for simple setup and operation.

• You can finish your jobs with cutting speeds up to 1.5 times faster than oxy-acetylene.

• Easy to operate even for learning and first-time users.

• All buyers’ and users’ reviews are very positive.

• 3-years limited warranty.

Cons

• Expensive and not affordable for beginners and hobbyists.

Key features

 

  • This plasma cutter is designed for low environmental impact, and all the plasma system components are recyclable.
  • This plasma cutter is very versatile with a CNC interface and FastConnect torch connection technology.
  • You can use this plasma cutter with a CNC table.
  • You can do both handheld and mechanized operations.
  • It offers a wide range of torch and consumable styles to choose from (for both handheld and automated processes).
  • Compact size, lightweight, and highly portable (17.4ʺ ×8ʺ ×14.1ʺ and 33 pounds).
  • Capable of cutting 5/8ʺ (16 mm) metal at 20 inches per minute, 7/8ʺ (22 mm) at 10 inches per minute, and 1-1/8ʺ (29 mm) at 5 inches per minute.
  • The plasma cutter torches are designed for high-impact and heat resistance.
  • The cutter features SpringStart technology which gives you consistent starting and optimum torch performance.
  • The Hypertherm Powermax45 XP performs better than the previous Powermax45 and has improved cut capacity up to 16 mm (5/8ʺ) metal and faster cut speeds. This has automatic gas adjustment for simple setup and operation.
  • New Duramax Lock torches and consumables support both handheld and mechanized cutting and precision gouging, maximum metal removal gouging, and marking for part identification or scoring for weld preparation.
  • Patented drag-cutting technology makes this Powermax45 XP easy to operate, even for learning and first-time users.
  • Smart Sense technology ensures that air pressure is always correctly set.
  • You can finish your jobs with cutting speeds up to 1.5 times faster than oxy-acetylene on ¼ ʺ (6 mm) mild steel.
  • The duty cycle is 50% at 45 A – 200~240 V and 100% at 32 A – 200~240 V.
  • Three years limited warranty for power supply and one year for the torch.

Lincoln Tomahawk 625 Plasma Cutter

Another high-end and reliable plasma cutter. Though it is a professional-level plasma cutter, it is still suitable for beginners, hobbyists, small and medium fabricators.

The machine rapid arc restrike cuts through gaps and expanded metal quickly and easily. The machine’s electrode and nozzle design allow for longer-lasting consumable life, saving you money in the long run.

The Lincoln Tomahawk 625 Plasma Cutter has 40 amps of cutting power to cut mild steel up to 5/8″ thick.

It works on 208-230 V single-phase input power. Compact in size (15.2 in x 8.5 in x 18.9 in), weighs only 34 pounds, and is portable enough to carry around any job site.

This plasma cutter comes with three years limited warranty.

Pros

• Branded and reliable plasma cutter.

• Compact size, lightweight, and highly portable.

• Long-lasting consumable life, thanks to the new electrode and nozzle design.

• The machine cuts through gaps and expanded metal.

• Auto arc focus for different material thicknesses.

• CNC plasma cutting tables compatible.

• Arc initiation without the need for High Frequency.

• Engine drive compatible.

• Detects any improper installation of consumables and torch, providing safe operation.

• Three years limited warranty, extendable to five years in the U.S.A. and Canada.

Cons

• Expensive cutter, especially for beginners and hobbyists.

• The maximum Rated Cutting Capacity is less compared to the other high-end plasma cutters.

Key features

 

  • The unit is lightweight, and the size is compact, and can be quickly moved to different work areas.
  • The unit is recommended for cutting 1/2″ thick plate metal. For maximum cut capability, this unit can produce quality cuts of 5/8″ or greater up to 3/4″ (Maximum sever cut).
  • New electrode and nozzle design allow for longer-lasting consumable life, saving you money in the long run.
  • Continuous Output Control, which focuses the arc for different material thicknesses.
  • The machine rapid arc restrike cuts through gaps and expanded metal quickly and easily.
  • You can use the machine on CNC plasma cutting tables with the optional Machine Plasma Torch.
  • The torch start system initiates arc without the need for High Frequency, which can interfere with surrounding electronics.
  • The machine front panel contains purge control for easier setting of airflow rate without initiating the plasma arc.
  • The machine is engine drive compatible; it is compatible with Lincoln Ranger or Lincoln Vantage engine drive for powering the machine in remote locations.
  • The machine features a Parts-in-Place system which detects any improper installation of consumables and torch providing safe operation.
  • The duty cycle is 60% at 29A/91.8V and 100% at 24A/89.6V.
  • Three years warranty on machine and one year on the torch and available to extend for two years more in the U.S.A. and Canada.

Everlast PowerPlasma 82i CNC Compatible

Professional level and reliable plasma cutter. The performance and power, combined with the price, make this plasma cutter one of the best available on the market.

Though the machine is designed for professionals in terms of capability and performance, it also offers something for the hobbyist; the standard 240V operating input makes the machine the right choice for a home shop or garage.

The cutter comes with a CNC package that includes a CNC socket and CNC torch for plasma table use. The CNC torch is rugged and features improved consumable life with the patented “back striking” design.

The unit’s size is compact and can be easily stored or placed wherever needed. The plasma cutter comes with five years limited warranty.

Pros

• Branded and reliable plasma cutter.

• It cuts virtually any type of metal with ease.

• Capable of producing quality cuts of 1″ or greater.

• Compact size, lightweight, and highly portable.

• Simple to use torches with inexpensive service parts and consumables.

• Adjustable post flow controls up to 50 seconds to improve consumable and torch life.

• IGBT modules improve reliability and performance.

• Over Current and Duty Cycle protection.

• Five years limited warranty.

Cons

• Slightly expensive cutter, especially for beginners and hobbyists.

• The machine is somewhat noisy.

Key features

 

  • One of the best plasma cutters in terms of power/purchase cost ratios.
  • The unit is recommended for cutting 5/8″ thick plate metal. For maximum cut capability on CNC, this unit can produce quality cuts of 1″ or greater up to 1 7/16″.
  • The unit size is compact and can be easily stored or placed near the work area.
  • Over Current and Duty Cycle protection indicates fault and shuts down the machine’s output to prevent unit’s components damage.
  • The CNC torch is rugged and features improved consumable life with the patented “back striking” design.
  • The machine comes with a CNC socket and CNC torch for plasma table use.
  • The front air pressure gauge of the unit allows quick verification of air pressure.
  • The torch design produces clean, smooth cuts and improved consumable life.
  • The torch blowback design comes with a variety of consumable choices, shielded and unshielded.
  • The blowback pilot arc improves cutting performance and allows easy cutting on dirty, painted, or rusted metals.
  • The blowback start, initiate the arc without the need for High Frequency, which can interfere with surrounding electronics.
  • The machine features 3 Second pilot arc tip saver, which shuts down the pilot arc after 3 seconds of continuous operation without cutting to prevent premature consumable wear.
  • The duty cycle is 60% at 80A/112V and 100% at 63A/105V.
  • Five years limited warranty against breakage, malfunction, or failure resulting from manufacture defect.

Hobart Airforce 12i Plasma Cutter

High-end plasma cutter with a built-in air compressor, which is a big plus for this plasma cutter. Suitable for DIY projects, home, and hobbyist welders.

The machine weighs 26.7 pounds, is highly portable, and is perfect for precise, small jobs and light metal fabricators.

The machine comes with XT 12R plasma cutting torch feature ergonomic safety trigger to increase your comfort and more efficient cooling and economical replacement cutting tips.

Hobart Airforce 12ci works on 120 volts and has rated cutting thickness up to 1/8ʺ for mild steel with a maximum cutting thickness of 1/4ʺ.

Hobart’s 5/3/1 industrial warranty ensures quality and a reliable plasma cutter that does not disappoint. Besides, this machine is made in the United States, ensuring the cutter is built with prime quality components.

Pros

• A compact, lightweight cutter weighs less than 27 pounds.

• Inverter technology provides the powerful cutting ability.

• Airforce 12ci has a built-in air compressor making it ready to cut out of the box.

• Airforce 12ci is easy to use. Just pull the trigger and begin cutting.

• The XT 12R plasma cutting torch increases your comfort.

• Pilot arc start ensures you a consistent arc start and minimizes tip burnout.

• A thermal overload system protects the unit during heavy use.

• Hobart Airforce 12ci is made in the USA.

• Hobart’s 5/3/1 industrial warranty.

Cons

• Slightly costly (middle range), however, it provides excellent value for money.

• The machine has a slow-cutting capacity.

Key features

 

  • The unit is recommended for cutting 1/8″ thick mild steel plate. For maximum cut capability, this unit is capable of producing quality cuts of 1/4″.
  • Runs on standard household power (120 V, 20 A circuit).
  • Hobart 12ci plasma cutter has a built-in air compressor with pre-set pressure, allowing high system portability.
  • The machine cuts faster than oxy-acetylene cutting with more precision, thinner kerf, and less slag to clean up.
  • Airforce 12ci is easy to use. Just connect and start cutting by pulling the trigger.
  • Airforce 12ci cutter is portable and ready to cut out of the box and has inverter technology that provides a powerful ability to cut, yet compact and lightweight (only 27 pounds).
  • The XT 12R plasma cutting torch increases your comfort with an ergonomic safety trigger.
  • The life of the consumables and torch is enhanced by cooling them with post-flow air after the trigger is released.
  • The machine pilot arc start ensures you a consistent arc start before each cut and minimizes tip burnout.
  • Airforce 12ci features a self-resetting thermal overload system that protects the power transformer during heavy uses and provides you maximum reliability.
  • LED lights will tell you when the system indicates power, temperature, and torch readiness.
  • Duty cycle is 35% at 12A-110V input power.
  • Hobart’s 5/3/1 industrial warranty, a five-year warranty on transformers, stabilizers, and main rectifiers, three years on generators, PC boards, and drive systems, and one year on guns.

PRIMEWELD CUT60 Plasma Cutter

The Prime Weld CUT 60 is a medium-budget plasma cutter. Easy to operate even for a beginner fabricator and is built to serve you longer with top-notch cuts and good turnaround times with protection against overcurrent, overheating, and power spike.

This cutter is suitable for industrial and construction works as well as for home welders, hobbyists and is ideal for creating artistic wonders in metals. Besides, it is CNC compatible.

The features like blowback start technology, 60% duty cycle at the maximum rating, and dual voltage 120 V/240 V make this plasma cutter a beneficial and valuable possession in your workshop or garage.

This plasma cutter comes with three years limited warranty.

Pros

• Dual-voltage input with both 120-volt and 240-volt input power.

• This plasma cutter is excellent for CNC use.

• Primeweld CUT 60 features a blowback pilot torch that initiates the arc without high frequency.

• Continuous pilot arc, cutting material like grating, mesh steel, and expanded metal with ease.

• The machine is engine drive compatible and can be easily connected to a generator.

• Primeweld customer service is available seven days per week.

• Three years limited warranty.

Cons

• The owner’s manual & safety instructions are a bit complex.

• The machine does not include a settings chart.

Key features

 

  • The unit is recommended for cutting 1/3″ thick mild steel plate. For maximum cut capability, this unit is capable of producing quality cuts of 4/5″.
  • The unit is compact, weighs 34 pounds, and has overall dimensions of 20.47in x 10.43in x 16.54in.
  • You can cut stainless steel, alloy steel, mild steel, copper, aluminum, and many other metals.
  • This plasma cutter has a continuous pilot arc, and you can easily cut materials like grating, mesh steel, rusted, painted, and expanded metals. When the arc is in open spaces in the metal, the torch stops cutting until it reaches another solid place, then restrikes the cutting arc.
  • It can be easily connected to a generator, and all this makes it highly portable.
  • This CUT60 Plasma Cutter is suitable for CNC use.
  • Typically, a plasma cutter that starts the arc with high-frequency technology can interfere with digital electronics and cannot be used with a CNC table. This 60 amp plasma cutter solves this problem with a blowback pilot torch.
  • Duty cycle is 60% at 120V/240V input power, and 100% at 23A-120V – 46A-240V.
  • Primeweld backs you with parts and customer service that is available seven days per week.
  • Three years limited warranty.

Forney Easy Weld 20 P Plasma Cutter

Forney Easy Weld 20 P is a powerful and easy-to-use plasma cutter. The cutter suits DIY projects, hobbyists, auto body repairs, and metal art up to 1/4″ thickness.

The drag torch technology allows you to drag the cutting tip in direct contact with the metal being cut to give smooth and consistent cuts.

Weighing only 21.5 pounds, this machine is easily transportable.

You can cut steel, stainless steel, galvanized steel, brass, and copper- up to 1/4ʺ and aluminum up to 3/16ʺ.

The machine is affordable and completes most of your cutting jobs in the workshop or garage.

Pros

• The cutter is compact and easily transportable.

• It is generator-friendly and can work on a site that does not have grid power.

• Simple to use, you only need a 120 volts power source.

• The Forney Easy has drag torch technology that gives smooth and consistent cuts.

• The machine is affordable.

• All metal case for rugged work.

Cons

• Only one-year limited warranty.

• No dual voltage.

• Cutting speed is slow.

Key features

 

  • The unit is compact, weighs 21.5 pounds, and has overall dimensions of 15.125in x 8.125in x 12in.
  • You can cut mild steel, aluminum, and stainless steel with ease. Cut Steel, stainless steel, galvanized steel, brass, and copper- up to 1/4ʺ. Aluminum-up to 3/16ʺ.
  • Simple to use, you only need a 120 volts power source and 1.5 CFM of compressed air to start using this plasma cutter.
  • The Forney Easy has drag torch technology and allows you to drag the cutting tip in direct contact with the metal being cut to give smooth and consistent cuts.
  • This cutter is generator-friendly, and you can take it to a site that does not have grid power.
  • All metal case, for rugged work and portability.
  • One-year limited warranty.

Amico Power CUT-60HF Plasma Cutter

Amico Power CUT-60HF is a medium-budget plasma cutter, works on AC 115 V/230 V with an 80% duty cycle.

The cutter features a non-touch pilot arc, digital display, and built-in air pressure, regulator. You can cut the metal quickly, even if the metal is rough, rusty, or painted.

The machine standard and maximum severance cutting thickness are 4/5 inches and 1.2 inches.

Amico CUT-60HF combines advanced inverter technology and a non-touch pilot arc plasma cutting process, and the result is excellent arc stability.

This lightweight model is convenient to carry to different work sites.

Pros

• Dual voltage 115 V/230 V.

• Built-in air pressure regulator and pressure gauge.

• Non-touch pilot arc plasma cutting process.

• The intelligent power supply system can automatically detect the input voltage and automatically adjust to it.

• An automatic temperature control system makes the cutter run quietly.

• The cutter has various built-in protection systems.

• The new and improved model makes it more convenient and easier to use.

Cons

• Only one-year limited warranty.

Key features

 

  • Amico CUT-60HF combines advanced inverter technology and a non-touch pilot arc plasma cutting process, and the result is excellent arc stability.
  • You can cut the metal quickly, even if the metal is rough, rusty, or painted.
  • The air pressure regulator is installed inside the cutter, making it more convenient and easier to use. The air filter is controlled automatically by a solenoid valve and improves work efficiency.
  • The air pressure gauge is mounted on the cutter panel, which gives a clear indication.
  • You can cut up to 4/5 inches in stainless steel, alloy steel, low-carbon steel, copper, aluminum, and other metals.
  • CUT-60HF has an intelligent power supply system and can automatically detect the input voltage. You can easily use it from 95 V to 260 V, and the machine will automatically adjust to it.
  • The machine cooling fan has automatic temperature control that makes the cutter run quietly.
  • This machine can do demanding industrial work (shipyards, construction sites, etc.) as well as simple jobs around your house.
  • It has built-in protection against overheating, over-current, overloading, plasma torch gun safety protection, and automatic compensation for voltage fluctuations.
  • It has NPT 1/4 inch industrial D-type coupler for quick connection to the compressor.
  • Has 80% duty cycle for long and efficient cutting.
  • One-year limited warranty.

LOTOS LTP5000D Plasma Cutter

LOTOS LTP5000D is a medium-budget, dual voltage plasma cutter. The machine can produce maximum clean-cut and severance cut thickness of 1/2ʺ and 3/4ʺ.

The cutter is suitable for hobbyists and small fabricators. It has preinstalled air filter regulator.

LOTOS LTP5000D has a non-touch pilot arc and can cut through rusty, rough, or painted surfaces with minimum slag.

Non-touch pilot arc helps you strike the arc without touching the metal and enhances the life of consumables.

This plasma cutter is compact, weighing 19.4 pounds only, has a handle for portability, and uses non-hazardous compressed air to cut stainless steel, alloy steel, mild steel, copper, and aluminum.

Pros

• This is a very popular plasma cutter with excellent user feedback.

• You can set up the machine fast.

• Non-touch pilot arc enhances the life of consumables.

• Works on dual voltage 110 V and 220 V.

• Suitable for Stainless Steel, Alloy Steel, Mild Steel, Copper, Aluminum, and other metal materials.

• Power inverter technology increases the efficiency by 30%.

• The inverter power supply generates powerful DC welding currents.

• An advanced cooling system ensures stability and good performance during cutting.

Cons

• Only one-year limited warranty.

• Chinese-made, you may face quality issues.

Key features

 

  • LOTOS LTP5000D has a non-touch pilot arc that helps you strike the arc without touching the metal and enhances the life of consumables.
  • The non-touch pilot arc can cut through rusty, rough, or painted surfaces with minimum slag.
  • Works on dual voltage 110 V and 220 V.
  • The unit’s switch power inverter technology reduces the dimensions and weight of the main transformer significantly; while increasing the efficiency by 30%.
  • Using Pulse-Width-Modulation (PWM) technology, the inverter power supply generates powerful DC cutting currents.
  • The cutter clean cut is 1/2ʺ thick, and the severance cut is 3/4ʺ thick at 220 volts, 10-50 amperes DC output. And a clean cut of 1/3ʺ thick and severance cut of 2/5ʺ thick at 110 volts, 10-35 amperes DC output.
  • The preinstalled 1/4ʺ NPT industry type D plug and the air filter regulator helps you to quickly connect the plasma cutter to the air compressor using the standard fitting on the compressor.
  • The cutter’s advanced cooling system ensures the stable and good performance of the plasma cutter.
  • Duty cycle is 60% at 50A-110V input power, and 60% at 50A-220V input power.
  • One-year limited warranty.

YESWELDER CUT-55DS Plasma Cutter

The YesWelder CUT-55DS Plasma Cutter is a medium-budget plasma cutter; the plasma cutter is suitable for demanding industrial use as well as hobbyists and home welders.

Dual voltage 110 V/230 V, non-touch arc, and able to run clean cuts on steel plates up to 1/2ʺ clean-cut and 3/4ʺ severance cut with 220/240 V. thick.

The cutter features an optimized design with state-of-the-art IGBT transistors that ensure high power output for thick metal and steady output for thin metal.

The pilot arc technology allows you to cut without touching the tip with the metal enhancing the consumable life. Besides, it allows for cutting rough, painted, or rusty metals with minimum slag.

Pros

• Cutting rough, painted, or rusty metals with minimum slag.

• Pilot arc technology allows you to cut without touching the metal.

• You can cut stainless steel, alloy steel, mild steel, copper, aluminum, and other metals.

• IGBT transistors ensure high power output for thick metal and steady output for thin metal.

• Post flow cooling extends the life of the consumables.

• It cuts faster with less distortion in the workpiece.

Cons

• Only one-year limited warranty.

• Chinese-made, you may face quality issues.

• Cutter’s high-frequency technology can interfere with digital electronics.

• Does not perform properly with high thicknesses.

Key features

 

  • You can use YESWELDER CUT-55DS for cutting rough, painted, or rusty metals with minimum slag.
  • The pilot arc technology allows you to cut without touching the tip with the metal enhancing the consumable life.
  • This machine has DC Inverter and works on dual voltage 110/220V.
  • You can do 1/2ʺ clean-cut and 3/4ʺ severance cut with 220/240 V (Note: this cutter does not perform properly with high thicknesses).
  • You can cut stainless steel, alloy steel, mild steel, copper, aluminum, and other metals.
  • Optimized design with state-of-the-art IGBT transistors ensures high power output for thick metal and steady output for thin metal.
  • The High-Frequency DC Plasma cutter cuts thicker materials than standard DC plasma cutters.
  • When you stop cutting, the compressed air continues for a minute to cool the consumables, extending the life of the consumables.
  • One-year limited warranty.

Plasma Cutter Buyers Guide

 

How to choose an affordable and best plasma cutter?

 

We are giving you a few tips that may help make the decision straightforward.

 

A plasma cutter is convenient and comes in handy for cutting sheets and plates, and the advantage is that plasma cutters are easy to use, not difficult to maintain, do not take much space, and may fit into your budget.

 

A plasma cutter also helps bring the artist in you, and you can cut the metal into the desired shape. Many plasma cutters are adaptable for CNC cutting.

 

What is plasma cutting?

 

Your plasma cutter creates a high-velocity plasma jet by forcing compressed air through a narrow orifice nozzle. The DC electric current provides the required thermal energy (heat) to the compressed air for getting ionized (electrically conductive). The temperature of the plasma will be high and sufficient to melt the metal.

 

The plasma, along with the electric arc between the electrode and the workpiece, cuts the metal by melting it, and the molten metal is blown away by the high-velocity plasma. Many gasses like oxygen, compressed air, nitrogen, hydrogen, argon, or a mix of 2 gases can be used based on the metal to be cut. Compressed air is popular and cheap.

 

The plasma arc can be formed between the electrode and the gas nozzle (pilot arc with HF (high frequency)) and transferred between the electrode and the workpiece. Here the electrode need not touch the workpiece.

 

The plasma arc is formed directly between the electrode and the workpiece in the second method when the electrode/nozzle touches the workpiece.

 

Buying tips

 

Where do you want to use your plasma cutter?

 

You will get plasma cutters that can work on 220 volts or 110 V and 220 V (dual voltage). With dual voltage 110 V/220 V, you can do your projects at your home or workshop. You would need to verify and ensure that the circuit breakers are sufficient to take care of the current used by the plasma cutter.

 

Type of metal and metal thickness

 

You can use your plasma cutter for cutting mild steel, alloy steel, aluminum, stainless steel, and other metals. You have to make a list of metals you need to cut along with the maximum thickness and then match that with the specifications of the plasma cutter. 

 

You have to remember two things:

  • The cost of the plasma cutter increases with its cutting thickness capacity.
  • All plasma cutters may not deliver what they promise in the specifications.

 

Hence, it is crucial to study the user reviews and videos showing the assessment of the product before you make a decision. 

 

Weight and portability

 

Portability becomes essential if you plan to use it in more than one place (like home and workshop). The weight of the equipment is a crucial factor here. Ensure that the cutter is not heavy for you. Features like a good handle, a compact carry bag, and dual voltage improve the portability.

 

Cutting speed

 

The cutting speed of a plasma cutter indicates its fastness and is usually mentioned in inches per minute. The cutting speed decreases as the thickness of the metal increase. It would be best to consider your quantum of work and how fast you want to do it.

 

Duty cycle

 

Duty cycle means the total length of time you can operate the plasma cutter without overheating it. Normally it is calculated considering 10 minutes cycle. Your plasma cutter may say 60% duty cycle at 45 amperes and 100% at 25 amperes at a specified ambient temperature.

 

This means you can cut for 6 minutes continuously at 45 amperes (then allow it to cool for 4 minutes) or cut for 10 minutes continuously at 25 amperes. Evaluate your need and understand this feature before making your decision.

 

Type of plasma cutting torch

 

There are two types of plasma cutting torches, non-touch and touch type, and they differ in how you start the arc. In the first type (non-touch), you can start the arc without touching the workpiece to the electrode/nozzle, and in the second type, you must touch the workpiece with the electrode/nozzle to start the arc.

 

The non-touch type uses high frequency and can disturb the functioning of the nearby electronic units.  The non-touch arc enhances the life of the consumables.  Also, examine the cable length that comes with the torch.  

 

Air compressor

 

Typically, you must have a source of compressed air to use your plasma cutter. However, few plasma cutters have a built-in compressor. Consider this feature and your convenience when you make your decision.

 

Compatibility with a CNC table

 

All plasma cutters will not be compatible to work with CNC controls. If you have a CNC table and want to use the plasma cutter, contact the seller to ensure the cutter is compatible with CNC.

 

Take the advice of your senior fabricator

 

It may be wise to consult your senior fabricator or a friend who has experience in fabrication.

 

Where to buy

 

Amazon is one good place for online purchases. You have a wide selection to make your choice, and the user reviews help you understand the product better. You can also ask your questions about the product and clarify from the seller, and you can directly talk to the seller to clarify your doubts.

 

Warrantee

 

This is another critical factor. Please study and understand the warranty period and warranty clauses clearly. Ask for clarifications if you are in doubt.

 

Other considerations

 

Be wise and optimum. Do not invest in a high-end or higher capacity plasma cutter thinking of very long term. Go for a plasma cutter considering your plans for another two years, and this way, you will be able to recover your investment in a short time, and you will have money in hand when you want to upgrade.

 

Consider the consumables (cutting tips and electrodes) used by the plasma cutter. A low-budget plasma cutter may often consume the consumables at a faster rate than a medium-budget cutter.

 

Frequently asked questions

 

Can the plasma cutter run on compressed air?

 

Compressed air is the most popular gas used in compact and low/medium current plasma cutters, and the reason is compressed air is cheap and easily available.

 

What metals can I cut using a plasma cutter?

 

Typically, you will cut electrically conductive metals like mild steel, carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, copper, and other metals using a plasma cutter. However, the current requirement and the cutting speed vary with the type of metal and its thickness.

 

Can I cut aluminum on a plasma cutter?

 

Yes, you can cut aluminum on a plasma cutter using compressed air. However, if you need fine cutting edges, you may have to select a different gas.

 

What is the maximum thickness I can cut with a compact and portable plasma cutter?

 

A compact and portable plasma cutter using compressed air and working on 220 volts may have a maximum clean cut of up to 1/2ʺ and a maximum severance cut of up to 3/4ʺ thick. Few high-end branded plasma cutters can do more than this.

 

Our final verdict

 

This article has gone through a list of 10 popular plasma cutters on the market, including a budget, medium budget, and high-end branded plasma cutters and their features and specifications.

 

We have also discussed some essential tips for buying a plasma cutter and a few frequently asked questions.

 

Hopefully, now you are equipped with the information to make a wise decision when you buy your next plasma cutter.

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About The Author
Ahmed M. Aly

Ahmed M. Aly

Ahmed is a mechanical engineer with a vast experience in ship repair project management, production department management, and Oil & Gas industries. He is certified Weldment Inspection Personnel "CSWIP - TWI, UK", Certified Coating Inspector "CIP LII - NACE, USA" and NDT Experts "ASNT NDT LIII Certified".