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5 Best Plasma Cutters under $500 in 2021 – Reviews and Buying Guide

Best Plasma Cutters under $500

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You can be a DIY fabricator or a hobbyist home 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.

You are in the right place if you are on the lookout for the best budget plasma cutter under $500. We have compiled a list of plasma cutters after careful research and study to meet your requirements.

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 Cheap Plasma Cutter in 2021


Best Plasma Cutter under $500: 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.

Best Plasma Cutter under $300: PrimeWeld 50A Air Inverter Plasma Cutter

The Prime Weld 50A is a budget plasma cutter, easy to operate even for a beginner fabricator.

This plasma cutter cuts sheet metal as thin as 22 gauge and without blowing edges out, saving time to prepare the workpiece for welding.

It is built to serve you longer with top-notch cuts and good turnaround times with protection against overcurrent, overheating, and power spike.

Dual voltage 120 V/240 V with drag start capability. Clean cut up to 1/2ʺ, and maximum severance thickness up to 3/4ʺ thick.

This plasma cutter comes with three years limited warranty.

Pros

• Dual voltage 110 V/220 V.

• Cuts sheet metal as thin as 22 gauge and with good cut edges.

• Drag start capability.

• A High-frequency DC plasma cutter can cut thicker metals.

• High-frequency arc control uses a non-pilot arc start.

• Protection against overcurrent, overheating, and power spike.

• Primeweld customer service is available seven days per week.

• Three-year limited warranty.

Cons

• The machine is touch start type.

Key features

 

  • The cutter is designed for both hobbyists and professional welders.
  • Primeweld CUT 50D plasma cutter can clean-cut up to 1/2ʺ, and maximum severance thickness is 3/4ʺ
  • At 20 amps, this plasma cutter cuts sheet metal as thin as 22 gauge and with good cut edges.
  • You can cut stainless steel, alloy steel, mild steel, copper, aluminum, and other metals.
  • Dual voltage 120 V/240 V. 
  • Portable, weighing only 23 pounds.
  • This high-frequency DC plasma cutter can cut thicker metals than standard DC plasma cutters and cuts faster with less distortion.
  • Work with the lightweight 50-amp MOSFET inverter plasma cutter with durable build quality and innovative design.
  • High-frequency arc control uses a non-pilot “touch and lift” arc start.
  • Protection against overcurrent, overheating, and power spike.
  • Three-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.

HITBOX 50Amp Plasma Cutter

HITBOX 50 plasma cutter is a budget cutter works on 220 V; the cutter is helpful for automotive repair, ducting work, repair and maintenance, metal fabrication, site work, etc.

The maximum cutting thickness is 5/8ʺ, and the clean cutting thickness is 15/32ʺ.

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

The HITBOX 50 plasma cutter adopts the inverter technology of switching the power, which helps keep the unit size compact and lightweight. The saving of energy can be up to 50% and an increase in efficiency by 30%.

Lightweight and portable, weighing 18.81 pounds only.

Pros

• Budget plasma cutter.

• The maximum cutting thickness is 5/8ʺ (16 mm).

• Built-in air pressure regulator.

• LCD digital display.

• Lightweight 18.81 pounds.

Cons

• The reliability of the brand is not known.

• Chinese-made, you may face quality issues.

• Works on 220 V only.

• Gas hose quality is not good.

Key features

 

  • The HITBOX 50 plasma cutter adopts the inverter technology of switching the power, which helps keep the unit size compact and lightweight. The saving of energy can be up to 50% and an increase in efficiency by 30%.
  • It has an LCD digital display and has a handle for portability. You can conveniently work and carry it to places.
  • This unit is safe to operate and uses non-hazardous compressed air as a gas.
  • The electric circuit is protected against over current, over-voltage, and low voltage situations.
  • HITBOX 50 amperes plasma cutter comes with air pressure regulator, 220 V DC inverter, can cut a maximum thickness of 16 mm and the clean cutting thickness is 12 mm.
  • You can cut stainless steel, alloy steel, mild steel, copper, carbon steel, aluminum, and other metals.
  • Hitbox has an agent in the USA and offers support and after-sales service.
  • One-year limited warranty.

TOOLIOM Plasma Cutter 50A

TOOLIOM Plasma Cutter is a budget cutter that works on dual voltage 110 V/220 V. It features a non-touch arc and digital LCD display.

The machine can cut 15/64ʺ clean-cut and 31/64ʺ maximum severance cut at 220 volts.

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

Lightweight and portable, weighing 13.42 pounds only.

Pros

• Budget plasma cutter.

• Dual voltage 110 V/220 V.

• Non-touch start.

• Digital LCD display.

• Lightweight, 13.42 pounds.

Cons

• The reliability of the brand is not known.

• Chinese-made, you may face quality issues.

• Do not cut high thicknesses as specified.

• Gas hose quality is not good.

• The user manual is not informative.

Key features

 

  • TOOLIOM plasma cutter has a non-touch arc start feature. Gives better cutting quality and good consumable life.
  • DC output digital data LCD display.
  • Works on dual voltage 110 V/220 V.
  • 50 amperes DC output, can clean-cut up to 15/64ʺ (6 mm) and severance cut up to 31/64ʺ (12 mm) at 220 volts.
  • At 40 amperes DC output, it can clean-cut up to 13/64ʺ (5 mm) and up to 25/64ʺ (10 mm) severance cut at 110 volts.
  • The high-frequency feature helps easy arc start and efficiently cuts through rusty and painted plates also.
  • You can cut stainless steel, alloy steel, mild steel, copper, and other metals.
  • The recommended circuit breaker is 25 amperes at 220 volts and 40 amperes at 110 volts.
  • Suggested air pressure is 73 PSI at 50 amperes and 220 volts and 65 PSI at 40 amperes and 110 volts.
  • Contact the seller for the warranty terms and conditions.

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 5 popular plasma cutters on the market under $500. These cheap plasma cutters can deliver light-duty work for your home, garage, or your small workshop.

 

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

 

We recommend you start with one of the above-listed cutters if you are just starting your fabrication journey. Once you get some experience, you can move to medium or even high-end cutters that you may find in this article: Best Plasma Cutters On The Market.

 

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".