In its basic form, a plasma cutter is a tool that will use an inert gas that is blown out at a high speed from a triggered nozzle. As this gas escapes, an arc is applied to it so that a hot torch is created. This gives you the ability to cut through many metals or alloys with ease. The best plasma cutter reviews will help you to find the right tool to add to your shop, garage, or business today.
Here Are the Best Plasma Cutters in One Chart
Some plasma cutters have better duty cycles. Others offer a cleaner cutting experience. Specific features may or may not work as intended. Instead of relying on a trial and error process, these top-rated plasma cutters have already proven how capable they are when it comes time to perform.
|Picture||Name||Our Rating||Max Cutting Thickness||Price|
|Picture||Name||Our Rating||Max Cutting Thickness||Price|
|Lotos Technology Non-Touch 50A Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter|| 4.3 ||12.7 mm|| $$ |
|Super Deal USA Plasma Cutter|| 4.6 ||12 mm|| $$ |
|Hobart 500564 Airforce Plasma Cutter|| 4.0 ||6.35 mm|| $$$$ |
|Zeny DC Inverter Plasma Cutter|| 4.1 ||12 mm|| $$ |
|F2C 50A Plasma Cutter|| 4.8 ||12 mm|| $ |
|Hobart 50066 Airforce 40i Plasma Cutter|| 4.8 ||22 mm|| $$$$$+ |
|Hypertherm 088079 Powermax30 Plasma System|| 4.8 ||16 mm|| $$$$$+ |
|Razorweld JRWPC45LT Plasma Cutter, 45 amp|| 4.6 ||12.7 mm|| $$$$ |
|Primeweld CT520D Plasma Cutter / Welding Combo|| 4.5 ||12 mm|| $$$ |
|Miller Electric Plasma Cutter|| 4.1 ||9 mm|| $$$$$+ |
What Is a Plasma Cutter and Why Do I Need One?
Plasma cutting can be performed on any type of conductive material. These are the same materials that are receptive to most welding disciplines as well: aluminum, stainless steel, mild steel, and cast iron are just a few of your options. On thinner metals, the cuts are fluid and fast.
Many cutters rely on an oxyfuel in order to achieve a cut. This works fine if the metal being worked on is supportive of the oxidizing process, but not every metal is. Without a plasma cutter, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to cut stainless steel or aluminum.
Most plasma cutters run on compressed air, which is available at most local service shops. This means you don’t need to worry about storing compressed oxygen or some other fuel gas in your garage, business, or shop.
Just because a plasma cutter has a capacity that is rated higher than other options does not necessarily mean it’s a better tool. Plasma cutters produce a bevel with their cut that can be up to 6 degrees, which can make it difficult to cut through some thicker metals. That is why an oxy-fuel is often needed for thick steel, especially since a greater thickness of metal reduces the speed advantage that plasma typically has.
Plasma Cutter Options That Are Available Right Now
- Semi-Portable Plasma Cutters. This option allows you to have a plasma cutter that weighs less than 100 pounds, but the ability to cut up to 1-inch thick materials indoors or outdoors if you need to get a specific job done.
- Heavy Duty Plasma Cutters. These are the tools that can cut 1-inch to 1.5-inch thick materials. This option is useful if you don’t have an acetylene torch in your shop or garage. For thinner metals, this type of plasma cutter is usually overkill.
- Inverter-Type Plasma Cutters. This type of plasma cutter typically has fewer consumables that need to be regularly purchased. The plasma flow is regulated with more consistency and reduces maintenance costs with fewer replacement parts that need to be serviced over time.
The cost of an imported plasma cutter isn’t always a reflection of quality. A domestic plasma cutter with advanced features may cost the same as an important plasma cutter with few features. This is why a complete overview of the best plasma cutter reviews will help you to make the best purchase possible today.
How to Find the Best Plasma Cutter for Me
Your power source might be the most important consideration in the buying process. If you don’t have an available 220/240 outlet, then you’d want to purchase a plasma cutter that can work on standard household currents. A 110v compatible plasma cutter will have less strength and endurance compared to the 220/240 models, but you won’t likely need a specialized circuit to operate the equipment either.
Then you’ll want to look at the duty cycle of the plasma cutter within the context of its review. The duty cycle can also be found in the product description or the owner’s manual.
This decision should be based on the thickness of the metal that you typically cut. High-amp cutters have the ability to cut through ½-inch metals, but if you only work with ¼-inch metals or thinner, you could save some money by purchasing a low-amp plasma cutter or looking at a multi-process welder that features a plasma cutter as an option.
Here are the standard amp ratings and their associated cutting thicknesses to consider.
- 25 Amps: 1/4-inch cuts.
- 50 Amps: 1/2-inch cuts.
- 75 Amps: 3/4-inch cuts.
In general terms, you’ll receive an extra 1/4-inch of cutting power for every additional 25 amps that the plasma cutter is able to achieve. The only exception to this rule of thumb is when you’re cutting through 1-inch metals like mild steel, where an 80-amp cutter has the potential to meet your needs.
You’ll also want to have an alternative to a high frequency start, especially if you have electronics that may be in the area. The high frequency start conducts electricity through the air to ignite the torch, but will interfere with sensitive electronics.
Pricing Options for the Best Plasma Cutters
Plasma cutters are generally priced higher when it can produce a higher number of amps, but that isn’t always the case. Entry-level plasma cutters will generally make a ¼-inch (12mm) cut and pricing begins at $225. In the ¼-inch to ½-inch cutting range, there are several models which are in the $300-$400 range. If you need to cut through 1-inch piece of metal, you may see prices in the $1,500-$2,000 range.
Sometimes plasma cutters are included with the best multi-process welders. In this instance, you’ll find equipment that can make a solid ¼-inch cut in the $300-$500 range. The difference in price is due to the added MIG, TIG, or Stick welding that the equipment is able to do.
Real Life Reviews of the Best Plasma Cutters
This non-touch pilot arc plasma cutter will effectively cut without producing a bunch of slag on you. It handles painted, rusted, and rough surfaces with surprising effectiveness. Since the tip of the cutter doesn’t touch your metal, you have a longer life for your consumables and a better overall cut as well. Rated for a max ½-inch cut that is clean, we could sever metals up to 3/4 inches in thickness with relative ease. It’s a dual-voltage machine, but you will need to purchase the pigtail separately. It’s compact, portable, and really fun to use.
This dual voltage plasma cutter gives you a 60% duty cycle with an efficiency rating of 85%, which allows you to get plenty of work out of this equipment. It also features a pressure-reducing valve so you can cut down the range to 20 amps if you prefer. The maximum cutting thickness is about ¼-inch, but you can several some ½-inch materials if you take your time and are patient with the cutter. We found that drag cutting worked better with this equipment. Just push the button and slide the cutter across the metal. Boom – you’re done.
This is another solid option to consider if you’re looking at the 50-amp dual voltage cutters that are on the market today. It also offers a good ¼-inch cutting experience, with severance at ½-inch for most metals and slightly thicker for mild steel. You have a variable amperage range of 20 to 50 amps and a duty cycle of 60%. The touch start is responsive, but not overly touchy, so you can get a good feel for the cutting performance. Considering the price, you’re going to get a solid plasma cutter that will give you a smooth cut once you get it setup correctly.
If you’re looking for a strong cutting performance, then this is the Hobart model for you. With a maximum cut rating on mild steel of 7/8-inch at a 50% duty cycle, you’re going to get fast, clean cuts with this machine. It has a smaller heat-affected zone than the cheaper plasma cutters do, which means you experience less warping when you’re trying to work. You don’t need to flame-tune your cutter either. If you’re looking for equipment that can provide you with a thinner kerf, precision cuts, and less slag to clean up when you’re finished, then this is the best plasma cutter for you.
This Powermax plasma cutter automatically adapts to the power source it is given, offering operators a dual voltage design. Adapters are included. A 15-foot torch lead provides strain relief on both ends so you have a better level of protection. The performance is consistent across all metal types, allowing you to cut through 5/8-inch metals with ease or fine-cut for thin metal or detail cutting. We found that it cuts nicely, but you do need a fairly steady hand to produce consistent results. If you’re looking for a plasma cutter to exceed your expectations, this is it.
The best plasma cutter reviews will have you cutting through metals in no time at all. Find the cutter that best serves your current and future needs and then make the investment today. That way you’ll be able to cut with ease instead of worrying about whatever slag might come your way.
Although all the models we’ve recommended are excellent, the Hobart 500566 is the best plasma cutter in our opinion because it represents great value and a strong cutting performance.