If you are using an angle grinder or oxy-fuel cutting tools, it’s time to get an upgrade and improve the quality of cuts you deliver. The best plasma cutter list will introduce you to some of the best machines available in the market by taking a deep account of the application perspective. There are plenty of reasons to have a plasma cutter with you as they produce no metal chips and give accurate cuts with a smooth finish for suitable settings.
The plasma cutter has many usages in the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) industry. It is the most advanced, reliable, and swift cutting technology so far available, and for icing over the cake, it’s also economical. The high-temperature beam from the gun (of a plasma cutter) allows you to cut almost every metal available in your workshop.
The recent advancements have also enabled the CNC feature in these tools, using which all you have to do is add numerical data and the software do the rest of your work. So in this blog post, I shall be reviewing the 10 best plasma cutters based on their cutting ability, cutting speed, power, duty cycle, and of course, their price. At the end of the reviews, you will find a buying guide that will educate you more about them, and you shall be able to reach some conclusion for your purchase.
So Lets, Begin!
List of Contents
- Have a Glance at the Top Rated Cutters of 2021
- Top 10 Plasma Cutters Reviews – Cut & Engrave Like a Professional
- 1.Hypertherm Powermax45 XP – Master of All
- 2.Hobart 500566 Airforce 40i – For Home Use
- 3.Lotos LTP5000D 50Amp – Best Value
- 4.SUNGOLDPOWER 50A Dual Voltage
- 5.Miller Spectrum X-Treme 625
- 6.Hypertherm Powermax30
- 7.PrimeWeld CT520D combo
- 8.Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci
- 9.Forney Easy Weld 251 Plasma Cutter
- 10.Lotos LTPDC 2000D
- The Ultimate Buying Guide for Plasma Cutters
- Frequently Asked Questions about Plasma Cutter (FAQs)
Have a Glance at the Top Rated Cutters of 2021
Hypertherm Powermax45 XP
Master of All
Hobart 500566 Airforce 40i
Lotos LTP5000D 50A
Miller Spectrum X-Treme 625
PrimeWeld CT520D combo
Top 10 Plasma Cutters Reviews – Cut & Engrave Like a Professional
1.Hypertherm Powermax45 XP – Master of All
My top on the list is Hypertherm Powermax 45 XP, which is equipped with top-notch technology. This model has a heavy-duty mechanism that ensures quality and super clean cuts even in a limited time. This powerful cutter can easily handle all the thick metals, including mild steel and aluminum. This plasma cutter is my favorite even today for any professional cutting work.
It wouldn’t be wrong if I assert this one, a beast, and a jack of all cuttings. By using this model, you can impart clean cuts over the metals up to 5/8 inches thickness with a duty cycle of 100% at 32 A. The cutting experience is like putting a hot knife in butter. It can cut 7/8 inches at a rate of 10 inches per minute that makes it one the fastest plasma cutter. I loved the smart-sense technology of this unit that helps in the optimized setting of air pressure in every kind of job.
The sophisticated mechanism keeps the plasma arc stable, and the cuts are achieved with extreme accuracy. The super easy and user-friendly interface makes the tool handy for you. It has an exceptionally long consumable life that saves your money on malfunction and gouging issues.
The powermax45 XP is lightweight and portable that increases the productivity of your tasks. One important thing to mention is that it requires nitrogen gas from the compressor source while dealing with stainless steel.
Manufacturers provide 3 years of warranty for power supply and a 1-year warranty for torches. This plasma cutter will take you fabricating skills to next level. The only complaint is it’s very expensive but worth investing in as you can handle all the autobody, shop works, garage experiments with it.
2.Hobart 500566 Airforce 40i – For Home Use
All welders know about Hobart and its wonderful appliances so that’s why I have reviewed Hobart 500566. This is correspondent to Hypertherm Powermax45 XP in quality and efficiency. It has an edge over the Hypertherm Powermax45 plasma cutter due to being lighter and a lot cheaper. It’s also more popular with customers. The autofire patented technology makes it lucid to work over thermally expanded and perforated metals object.
I liked the seamless working it provided me on painted surfaces. It offers a 50% duty cycle for heavy applications, but I was able to use it for up to 7 minutes on maximum features. This cutter operates at 240-volt with 40 amperes of power that can cut sheets of 7/8″ thickness, it can significantly enhance your operations.
Although, It does not permit varied activities like gouging and mechanized cutting but is master in provided services. This plasma cutter hooks up to an air compressor, so no gas is needed during working.
It carries advanced features as Wind Tunnel Technology that keeps abrasive and sharp particles restricted from flowing inside the components, and a fan can also be fitted on demand of consumers, which provides excellent suction and keeps the debris out. This increases the life span of the device and it is one of the devices made for metal fabrication.
Power factor correction (PFC) circuitry for saving energy is available making it preferable to work on low power inputs. Post flow cooling is used to extend the usage life of consumables and torch by cooling them when the trigger is released. All these features helped me a lot in producing artistic cuts over different workpieces.
Hobart Airforce 40i can be a great companion and it can support you well in all heavy fabrication jobs at the industrial level. It is also trustworthy for home use and garage adventures. The modern and versatile features will add reliability to your job. So, I suggest this as a top choice for everyone who needs a plasma cutter that can assist in all kinds of jobs.
3.Lotos LTP5000D 50Amp – Best Value
LOTOS is a renowned manufacturer, and this cutter is a marvel of their high-end technology and commitment to their work. It is a budget-friendly plasma cutter with advanced features that are present in an A-class product. The machine setups in just a couple of minutes, and then you are all set for your professional cutting of small projects and DIYs. This makes the device an excellent choice for beginners and amateurs who are about to start their careers in cutting.
The pre-installed NPT 1/4″ industry type D plug and air filter regulator are available for a handier approach. This plasma cutter can severely cut metals with a more delicate finish up to 1/2 inch. The vast voltage range allows us to operate it in both A.C. & D.C. voltages. I was able to cut pieces of 3/4 inches thickness while operating this unit at 240 volts while the 120 V source refrained me to just 2/4 inches. Therefore, I suggest you operate this model at 240 Volts while using it.
In the long run, I felt some issues in the working of this machine. The torch cannot be trusted for professional and precise cuts. The component’s life is also a point of concern for me. It is obvious that it can’t compete either for price or for performance against Hobart Airforce 12ci or Hypertherm Powermax30 XP.
One of the high-performance plasma cutters with dual voltage capabilities with different settings. It has the capability to cut rusty and painted surfaces and can withstand heavy use. This has higher approval ratings and it’s a lot cheaper than other cutters having all these features. You can rely on this for intermediate applications or for occasional usage as a hobbyist.
4.SUNGOLDPOWER 50A Dual Voltage
My fourth pick for the list is SUNGOLDPOWER’s 50A, which is a low priced and high performing plasma cutter. IGBT (Insulated-gate Bipolar Transistor) inverter provides you with better on-site operations in stabilizing the voltage. IGBT machines are the next-generation plasma cutters, which are better than the outdated MOSFET technology machines. The maximum cutting capacity is 3/4″ for conductors and 1/2″ as cutting paper for blades.
I noted that the unit will not behave accurately when at higher ampere ratings of above 40 Amps. So, you have to struggle if you are using this to the upper limit for producing a clean cut. Another problem I felt while usage was that without Touch start drag technology makes precise cutting difficult to achieve, but concerning price, it’s all okay.
A new captivating thing is LCD to display air pressure gauge. This plasma cutter is not made for heavy industrial operations. But you can ideally use it around the house and for small projects.
5.Miller Spectrum X-Treme 625
This list will be incomplete if I don’t mention Miller Electric 625 plasma cutter. This machine is a combination of elite features and enhanced functionality. It can be used in heavy industrial jobs which justifies its high price tag.
It can work continuously for long hours, and you can do your long projects with high productivity. While working, you will experience the stable plasma arc that’s a plus and helps a lot during sophisticated designing and drawing. It can cut up to 5/8″ at 13 ipm and have a gouging operation. I was able to perform some of the most precise cuts over steel with this model in my hand.
With Auto-Refire™ technology, the pilot arc will automatically toggle as fast as needed when cutting expanded metals and provides maximum power for cutting thicker metals.
Standoff roller guide and circle cutting guide is beneficial for beginners as well as for professionals. Another feature about this plasma cutter that excited me so much was its built-in Autoline circuit that ends the hassle of switching from 120 to 240 volts. It renders surprisingly at 60% duty cycle while operating at 40A. It cuts like a champ for pipeline and has an interface that makes the cutting experience very enjoyable.
Check Also: Best MIG welder 2021
The black plastic storage box is awful and I didn’t use it for even a single day. The box is designed to put factory wrapped cords and hoses in for shipping rather than for a real worker to use. It needs a box intended for shop use.
You can ideally use it for around the house and small projects.
Hypertherm is a reputable name in the tooling industry and is always praised by customers for producing quality products. So, its various models are famous mainly for their durability and comfortable cutting experience. The Hypertherm Powermax30 is an extremely lightweight plasma cutter and has an automatic voltage switching feature. The auto feature helps sync with the input voltage whether you are working on 120 or 240 volts.
It is not as fine as our top product Hypertherm Powermax 45, yet it promises fast cutting speeds, and excellent cut quality to let you finish jobs quicker, with fewer secondary operations. It is built to withstand heavy-duty use in the most demanding environments. While using plasma cutters, always wear suitable helmets, see my guide for welding helmets.
The company offers many extra accessories, but I loved the unique Duramax L.T. torch; it has a high temp-resistant coating, which allows a firm grip for long hours. It easily cuts 5/8″ inch thickness with a speed of 10 inches per minute with a quality surface finish.
This one is no doubt a premium choice plasma cutter and can serve best to both beginners and hobbyists but after reaching out to some friends they mentioned the air leak from the internal valve. This is due to using it heavily in industrial mode. Although the model is great and you will find it a great cutter in intermediate jobs.
7.PrimeWeld CT520D combo
If you are looking for a multifunctional and budget-friendly plasma cutter, then the PrimeWeld CT520D combo is an excellent choice with these specs in a small price range. It’s a combo machine with tig, stick, and plasma cutting ability. You are getting 3 in 1 combo for garage functions and professional work.
This innovative welder and cutter meet rigid safety standards and provides you with an accurate, convenient, and long-lasting addition to your workshop.
The price tag is affordable, and multi-features make it a good machine, but it can only cut to the limit of 1/2″ inch. The 50 Amp plasma cutting power helps for cast iron, mild steel, copper, aluminum, to be worked with easily. It promises 85% efficiency with 50Hz/60Hz input frequency. The 200 A tig welding option lets you handle aluminum and magnesium conveniently.
Overall its a great plasma cutter with many features and it can be used in the garage, car restoration, or some pipeline work. I will recommend it to amateurs as it can work well for small works and have small price tag.
8.Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci
The number eight is again Hobart with a lighter version. It’s also compact, lightweight, and the best thing of all it has a built-in air compressor. This one is not that powerful as compared to the Hobart 40i plasma cutter and its cutting speed is also less, but it that type of machine that you can use as a hobbyist or if you want a unit for back garage jobs.
It has a rated 1/8″ inch cutting limit at 10 inches per minute cut with the handheld torch but I was also able to cut 1/4″ inch at a rate of 3 inches per minute. This appeared to be very slow for me and I bought a faster plasma cutter. Although it operates smoothly on household power, no need for a 240 V hookup by the utility company. One thing is it’s not recommended to use a CNC cutting table.
This plasma cutter can be directly used over artworks, hobby projects auto body repairs, HVAC ductwork, and other versatile applications. The inverter technology makes it portable and low power consumption makes it ideal for households. Promising a Five-year warranty on transformers, stabilizers, and main rectifiers; three years on generators, P.C. boards, and drive systems; and one year on guns (MIG, plasma, and TIG torches).
Only good for lightweight and thin metal objects. It can operate on lower voltages and doesn’t consume much power. The controls are also convenient for every type of worker and best for metal fabrication. It is a good choice for beginners to buy but I won’t recommend it for professionals or industrial operators.
9.Forney Easy Weld 251 Plasma Cutter
Since 1932 Forney, an American Brand is creating plasma cutters and Welding gears. Forney products are the name of quality and reliability. This has a great cutting capacity of 1/4″ inches for thin sections of all conductors except aluminum, for that it is limited to 3/16″ inches. It comes with 13 inches long lead and a solid ground clamp of 8 inches, all of these cords are long enough to provide you room for playing with cuts. One thing that is applaudable for the company is that it provides an additional electrode and a nozzle with a one-year warranty.
It’s the right choice for hobbyists and professionals who never compromise on quality, It functions for a low voltage of 120 volts, and surprisingly it is generator friendly. It can be set up instantly after the delivery. Attach an air compressor, and all you need is shade 5 eye protection.
It has a pilot arc function that provides an easy start even for beginners. It has a drag torch technology: which keeps the torch in contact with the material, easy to use like you are drawing with a pencil and a more excellent finish. Their customer service is reviewed awesome by their clients.
Forney has also a built-in troubleshooting set-up which turns out the light signaling the exact problem to you. In my opinion, it’s great for light operations as the output power is limited to 20A but for this price it’s reasonable.
10.Lotos LTPDC 2000D
My Last review is again about the Lotos LTPDC 2000D that is a combo plasma cutter and a great professional choice. This model is specially designed for small business owners and DIY aspirants for smooth performance.
Especially for beginners with a lot of accessible handling functions so that they do not struggle much in the learning phase. This carries high technology that aspires the professionals as well. It comes with MOSFET inverter technology for D.C. conversion.
For dynamic control of the welding heat, it supports foot pedal heat control so that one does not worry about controlling amperage by hand. Another fantastic function is the High-Frequency arc start for welding that saves the sticking of the electrode with the workpiece and provides accuracy in cuts.
This plasma cutter can seriously clean cut up to 1/2″ inch and severance cuts up to 3/4″ inch. It provides a 100% Duty cycle at 35 A, for TIG welding at 105 A, and for stick welding at 95 A. With all these different features, this becomes one reasonable pick for beginners and even for small shop owners. I will recommend it to everyone who is looking for a good light-weight plasma cutter in his shop.
The Ultimate Buying Guide for Plasma Cutters
- The maximum cutting thickness that I shall encounter?
- How often and for how long I have to work continuously?
- My essential features of a plasma cutter?
Let’s kick the buying guide with your budget and your job requirements to help you to decide the durability of your product you are heading towards. You are somehow looking into details that can compromise either on quality or cost. Lotos LTP5000D is overall cool, but if you want the best go for Hypertherm Powermax30 or Hobart Airforce 12ci. The more you invest money, you will end up getting better performance, long-lasting equipment, and multiple features and options for household usage or as hobbyist capacity of 1/2 inch more than enough. For industrial work or heavy-duty, it is worthy of investment more to keep up with your day to day tasks.
Consider the maximum cutting capacity, and you will get the exceptional cut quality up to 80% of the given thickness; usually, so less machining is required in the end to finish the job. Power is calculated that is a product of Amperage and Volts (30A and 110v give power 3300W). Consider the amperage to get a suitable ability to get a smooth cut. With increasing thickness of the sheet, amperage is enhanced to get an excellent cut.
Now let us discuss the available electricity input. Operating on 110 V will support less amperage and combine to give less power, so is cutting thickness. For household applications, 110 V is sufficient. Manufacturers offer dual voltage 110v/220v cutters facilitating end-users for both connections.
Hypertherm Powermax30 is a dual voltage machine. At 110 V, it supports 20 Amps maximum and cut 1/2″ conveniently as I said enough for around the house applications. If you connect over 220 V, it can withstand up to 40 Amps and cut nicely 3/4″.
If you are a professional and have to do consignments speedily, then you must examine the cutting speed given in inches per minute, all you are finding is an appropriate tool to finish the task efficiently.
At higher cutting speed, the arc penetration is less, so consider the given relation of cutting speed with sheet thickness at given Amps. Fortunately, cutting speeds increase as the material gets thinner. Consider Hobart Airforce 40i at 40A and 240 V, cutting speed is 36 ipm for 1/2 inch thickness and 13 ipm for 5/8 inches.
Some extra professional features as some support by Hypertherm Powermax45, like flush cutting, gouging, a pilot arc that offers an artistic approach towards work. Pilot arc and drag technology are standard features required for smooth cut and precision.
The duty cycle is standard to express usage of motor safely for some time duration. It gives time out of hours that you can do the job continuously.
Consider the example of Hobart 500566 Airforce 40i.
Time(out of an hour)
20A at 88 VDC
27A at 91 VDC
40A at 140 VDC
If you are using it in-shop and need an operation for a long time without any break, then consider at least a 60% duty cycle. It is temperature and ampere specific and varies with these variables. If you seldom use your cutter then a 35% duty cycle is more than enough for your requirement. Along with this, consider the working temperature that is prescribed with a duty cycle that is usually 104°F. While working the environment temperature different for the indoor and outdoor jobs, so is the slight variation in the duty cycle.
The electrode is usually made of tungsten (M.P. 3,422°C) or hafnium (M.P. 4,602°C) and nozzle of copper (M.P. 3,422°C). It is a fantastic thing in itself that the plasma arc itself 20,000 °C and handled by such delicate materials. Firstly it’s the flowing gas that separates it from the torch body by acting as a barrier and focus the arc over the content.
The electrodes consume at a prolonged rate with arc, and the nozzle has a life span of limited arc starts. So again, keep with yourself sufficient accessories. Moreover, the nozzles are Amperage dependent: separate for different amperage values. While comparing the cost, also consider the consumables offered with it so that additional cost for consumables is saved.
As you got the idea after getting through consumables that proper airflow is compulsory, so let’s talk about arrangements for air. Based on this, Plasma cutters are divided into two categories: the one with a built-in compressor and the other which don’t.
Built-in compressor like in Hobart Airforce 12ci, this is real portability, only you have to carry is the unit. Unlike this, with other cutters, an external air compressor is required.
Check the power output of the built-in compressor plasma cutter, as the compressor consumes some power, and the power of the plasma arc could be relatively smaller than the unit without a built-in compressor. Read the instructions given to find out a suitable gas cylinder that matches the essential requirement to produce the arc ideally and extends the consumables’ life.
The equipment varies on the basis to ignite plasma arc. This somehow gives a luxurious approach to the job. Initially, High-Frequency starting is used but many workers are concerned about electrocution, machine maintenance and could not cope up with rusty surfaces. In a plasma cutter, the circuit is completed through a workpiece to start an arc, and this is risky near-sensitive electronics like CNC hardware or computers.
A pilot arc is efficient; unlike H.F., it completes the circuit within a torch to ignite the plasma arc. The electrode act as an anode and the nozzle as a cathode. Initially, the course is completed within the torch, and then blows of air transfer it to the metal sheet and focus over it. Consumables for pilot arc are cheaper and have extra life than H.F.
For handheld torches, this is a productive feature. As the name depicts, you effortlessly drag the torch, like you are marking lines with a pencil. On the contrary, you have to maintain the distance by your senses lifting in the air that is an arduous task.
It also saves energy and produces less spatter and blowback, hence consumables life increased. Set proper angle of the torch, place its farthest point, and slowly start dragging towards you to achieve a flawless cut. Don’t forget to maintain consistent travel speed for a uniform cut.
For standoff cutting, you hold a 3-4 mm torch tip above the sheet and matching the amperage level of advice and machine.
In this technological advancement era, the quality and life of electronics are extending continuously, and so manufacturers feel confident in providing a warranty to their users. Moreover, it is fair to look for a guarantee if you are investing your money.
It is worth mentioning that check warranty details as it differs for different parts of the same machine-like Hobart industrial warranty are of 5 years for transformers and stabilizers, 3 years for P.C. boards and drive systems, and 1 year for guns/torches.
Frequently Asked Questions about Plasma Cutter (FAQs)
What is the best brand of plasma cutters?
There are plenty, but based on factors like heavy-duty, price, efficiency, and cutting speed, I have found Powermax45 and Hobart Airforce40i top of the class and a welder’s best friend.
What is the best plasma cutter for home use?
Hobart Airforce 40i & SUNGOLDPOWER 50A are the two best choices for dealing with home jobs and cuttings. They are reliable and have a high duty cycle.
Do you need gas for a plasma cutter?
The gas is used by a plasma cutter to form plasma and propagate cutting. The electric arc interacts with the gas that can be nitrogen, argon they are necessary for a plasma cutting operation.
Are cheap plasma cutters any good?
There are a few, but remember they are not so heavy-duty and can do light thickness metal jobs. You can consider Lotos LT5000D, SUNGOLDPOWER 50A, PrimeWeld CT520D in this class.
Thank you for sticking to the end. I hope you have enjoyed the comparison guide. For elite performance, I would suggest Hypertherm Powermax45 XP & Hobart 40i plasma cutter. They both are amazing and laced with top-notch technology and can work inconsistently for hours.
In the end, I would say if you feel something is missing or wanted to share your experience, then let me know in the comment section that will be a considerable contribution.