Top Overall Pick
Miller Electric 907579
F2C 50 AMP
If you work in an industry – from metal construction to automotive repairs – wherein you regularly deal with electrical components, the chances are you know how useful a plasma cutter can be. This instrument allows you to cut through electrically conductive materials safely and efficiently.
But if you’re in the market for a plasma cutter, you’ve probably found that there are hordes of options available, which can leave you feeling a bit overwhelmed.
To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of plasma-cutter reviews and a comprehensive buyer’s guide, so you can choose the very plasma cutter that’s perfect for your specific needs.
The best overall plasma cutter we found is the Hobart 500566 Airforce 40i , for its wide range of high-end features, superior performance, and versatile functionality.
We’ll get to the details about our top-ten picks momentarily, but let’s start with a buyer’s guide to help you understand the characteristics to look for in the best plasma cutter.
- Our Favorite Plasma Cutters on the Market
- 10 Best Plasma Cutters - Reviews
- 1. Hobart 500566 Airforce 40i Plasma Cutter - Best Overall Pick
- 2. F2C 50 AMP CUT 50 Plasma Cutter - Best for the Money
- 3. Miller 907579 Spectrum 625 X-Treme Plasma Cutter - Premium Choice
- 4. Hypertherm Powermax45 XP Plasma Cutter
- 5. Lotos LTP8000 Plasma Cutter
- 6. Lotos LTP5500D CNC Plasma Cutter
- 7. Forney Easy Weld 251 20P Plasma Cutter
- 8. PRIMEWELD CUT50D Plasma Cutter
- 9. Amico Power CUT-50 50-Amp Plasma Cutter
- 10. Lotos CT520D Plasma Cutter
- Final Verdict: Our Overall Winner
- Buyer’s Guide: Find the Best Plasma Cutter for Your Needs
Our Favorite Plasma Cutters on the Market
10 Best Plasma Cutters - Reviews
1. Hobart 500566 Airforce 40i Plasma Cutter - Best Overall Pick
The Hobart Airforce 40i is a powerful plasma cutter with a long duty cycle and fast cutting speed, suitable for home use, commercial applications, and light industrial projects.
With a 50 percent duty cycle, the Hobart has a maximum cutting ability of 7/8”. The unit also has integrated auto-retire technology, allowing you to cut through perforated and expanded metals, as well as painted and other coated surfaces.
The unit is highly efficient, with optimal air consumption. What’s more, this plasma cutter uses high-quality XT40R torch consumables efficiently to save you money over the long-term. Safety features of the Hobart include ergonomic trigger safety and wind-tunnel technology to protect internal components from damage during operation.
The Airforce 40i requires a 220/240-volt input, so you might have to adapt your standard household power outlet if you buy the unit for use in your home.
2. F2C 50 AMP CUT 50 Plasma Cutter - Best for the Money
If you are looking for a budget plasma cutter for occasional projects, the F2C 50-amp plasma cutter is a viable option. This model has a current input that ranges from 20 amps to 50 amps, and it has a maximum cutting thickness of ½”.
With this unit, you can cut aluminum, copper, stainless steel, and mild steel. With your F2C plasma cutter, you also receive an LG-40 cutting torch, air regulator, PG head, two plasma tips, and two gas pipe claspers.
The F2C cutter is easy to use and ideal for beginners, but you can also use it for autobody work, art projects, and light metal construction. The unit is durable and reliable, and you can use it to make high-quality cuts making it our choice for the “best value for the money” plasma cutter.
3. Miller 907579 Spectrum 625 X-Treme Plasma Cutter - Premium Choice
The Miller Spectrum 625 X-Treme is ideal for metal workers who are looking for a durable, portable, and reliable plasma cutter.
This model is suitable for DIY and light construction plasma cutting. The cutter has a maximum cutting thickness of 5/8 inches and a variable output rand from 15 to 40 amps. You also get auto-refire technology that adjusts the pilot arc according to the specific metal in play – without any input from you!
This plasma cutter also adjusts the air pressure automatically when you’re cutting to increase the cutting speed. The cutter’s auto-line circuitry system also works automatically, so you don’t need any tools that connect 120V to 240V.
With the Miller Spectrum 625 X-Treme, you can cut through different metal and conductive materials with ease, as it is specially designed to alleviate hand fatigue.
4. Hypertherm Powermax45 XP Plasma Cutter
The Hypertherm PowerMax45 is the epitome of cutting performance and features high-end consumable technology and versatility. If you are looking for the best of the best, this model might be the one for you.
The PowerMax45 has a compact design. With dimensions of 6.75” by 13.7” by 16.75”, it is one of the smaller units on this list.
This model also is one of the easiest to use. The PowerMax45 produces a stable plasma arc and can make precision cuts through ½-inch steel at a speed of 20 inches per minute.
The Hypotherm PowerMax45 comes with a relatively high price tag, but its consumables are highly efficient, which increases your savings in the long term. What’s more, Hypertherm’s consumables are more affordable than those of other high-end manufacturers, so you replace them less often and at a lower cost.
The PowerMax45 offers three primary modes of operation:
- Continuous pilot arc for cutting perforated metal
- Non-continuous pilot arc for cutting a metal plate at various thicknesses
- Gouging for punching holes in metal
This unit also features an amperage knob for adjusting its power output based on the thickness of the metal you want to cut.
5. Lotos LTP8000 Plasma Cutter
The LTP8000 from Lotos is one of the best heavy-duty plasma cutters under $1,000. At a maximum current output of 80 amps, the LTP8000 has a duty cycle of about 60 percent. The cutter also has a pilot-arc feature that makes it possible to cut corroded, dirty, or rough metal surfaces.
Because the LTP8000 features a high-frequency start, the arc also is consistent, clean, and reliable, and you don’t have to waste valuable time on cleaning. The cutter produces high-quality cuts of up to 1½”, so it is suitable for factory applications, industrial metal construction, and autobody repairs.
A MOSFET transistor produces a uniform arc output for when you want to cut through thin metal workpieces. A Papst German cooling system protects the unit from damage caused by overheating.
6. Lotos LTP5500D CNC Plasma Cutter
If you are looking for a plasma cutter you can use for light metal construction and DIY projects, the LTP5500D from Lotos is a viable, affordable option.
This model weighs only 15 pounds, but it can cut through 3/5-inch metal workpieces with ease. You get a maximum severance thickness of 1 inch.
The LTP5500D is from the manufacturer’s non-HF (high-frequency) CUT series that features a reliable non-HF start. As a result, it is suitable for computer numerical control (CNC) applications, as it will not interfere with your CNC system.
With this compact plasma cutter, you get optimal portability with a handle, and it uses non-hazardous compressed air. You can cut a wide range of metal types with this unit, including aluminum, copper, mild steel, stainless steel, and alloy steel.
7. Forney Easy Weld 251 20P Plasma Cutter
The Easy Weld 251 plasma cutter is best for home use, with its maximum cutting ability of ¼” and output range of 10 to 20 amps. You can use this model to cut conductive materials and metals, including mild steel, stainless steel, galvanized steel, brass, and copper. If you are cutting aluminum, you have a maximum cutting capacity of 3/16”.
Using the Easy Weld 251 requires a 120-volt power source, like a generator, and at least 1.5 CFM of compressed air. This plasma cutter features drag-torch technology, so you simply drag the tip over the surface of your workpiece to make precise cuts.
With the Forney Easy Weld 251, you will receive a cutting torch with a 13-foot lead, a ground clamp with an 8-foot lead, a 15A/20A adapter, and one additional electrode and nozzle.
8. PRIMEWELD CUT50D Plasma Cutter
Our research found the CUT50D from PRIMEWELD to be the best plasma cutter under $500. This inverter-based unit is not only lightweight and portable, but it can also produce precision cuts of up to ½”. The metals you can cut with the CUT50D include copper, stainless steel, aluminum, alloy steel, and mild steel.
The CUT50D is a dual voltage digital inverter that runs off 110V and 220V outlets, and it features high-end metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect (MOSFET) transistors, which enhance the unit’s efficiency significantly.
With your CUT50D unit, you will receive a PRIMEWELD plasma cutting torch, a three-pronged ground clamp and cable, and a 6.9-inch air filter. You also will receive four clamps, six air-hose connections, and two couplers that connect to the air-hose.
9. Amico Power CUT-50 50-Amp Plasma Cutter
The Amico CUT-50 is a low-cost, high-value plasma cutter that offers a maximum cut thickness of ½” at a cutting speed of 12.5 inches per minute. The CUT-50 also is one of the most affordable plasma cutters that have a maximum severance thickness of 1 inch.
In addition to its low price, the consumables it uses also are affordable and long-lasting.
With the Amico CUT-50, you have a high-frequency start and can cut a wide range of metals, including aluminum, copper, steel, mild steel, and stainless steel. You can also cut metals with rust or perforation. The AG 60 torch you receive with your plasma cutter has an ergonomic design and is comfortable to use.
Because the CUT-50 is dual-voltage, you don’t have to change your plug type to change the voltage input.
10. Lotos CT520D Plasma Cutter
The Lotos CT520D is a three-in-one unit that comprises a 50A plasma cutter, 200A stick welder, and 200A tungsten inert gas (TIG) welder. Because of this added functionality, the CT520D is quite large, weighing in at about 32 pounds. But it takes the place of three tools in your shop, so it might be worth the compromise in portability.
The unit is dual-voltage, with 110V and 220V, and has a maximum cutting thickness of ½” and a maximum severance thickness of ¾”. With the plasma cutter, you can cut a wide range of metals, including stainless steel, alloy steel, copper, aluminum, and copper.
At 220 volts, the CT250D produces a DC TIG and DC stick output current range between 10A and 200A. At 110 volts, you have a DC TIG and DC stick output current between 10A and 150A.
Final Verdict: Our Overall Winner
Hopefully, our Best Plasma Cutter Reviews have provided you with the information you need to choose the right cutter for your specific needs. Our top pick for the best performer is the Hobart 500566 Airforce 40i Plasma Cutter.
This model represents the most efficient use of consumables, a 50 inches per minute cutting speed through a ¼ inch thick steel. It also has a solid duty cycle of 50% at 40 amps which is great.
If you have a limited budget but don’t want to compromise on value and performance, we recommend the F2C 50 AMP CUT 50 Plasma Cutter with its 60 percent duty cycle at 55 amps.
Buyer’s Guide: Find the Best Plasma Cutter for Your Needs
Plasma cutters are expensive, even those at the lower end of the quality-and-performance spectrum.
That said, you certainly don’t want to pay for a cutter that doesn’t meet your needs. But you also don’t want to pay a premium for features that you don’t need.
This buyer’s guide takes a look at the various buying considerations to consider when you’re looking for the best model for your specific needs.
The power level you’ll need in a plasma cutter depends on the thickness of the materials you want to cut. If you’re generally cutting metals that are ¼-inch or thinner, you need a unit with a power output of at least 25 amps. If you want to cut metals up to ½-inch thick, you need a power output of at least 40 amps.
Heavy-duty plasma cutters capable of cutting 1-inch metals or more require outputs of 80 amps or more. Most models have variable power outputs that you can adjust according to the thickness of the metal you want to cut.
Manufacturers typically express the “duty cycle” of a plasma cutter as a percentage of time at a specific amperage.
This rating represents the amount of time in an hour that the cutter can operate without risking overload. For example, if a unit has a duty cycle of 50 percent at 40 amps, you can cut ½-inch metal for thirty minutes (50 percent of an hour) every hour without worrying about overheating.
Various factors influence the duty cycle. For example, manufacturers rate the duty cycle at room temperature, but if you work in a hot climate, your machine will have a lower duty cycle than listed in the specs.
The thickness of the metal you cut also plays a role. Cuts that require a power output of fewer than 30 amps require no cooling time.
Drag technology is a feature that allows your torch to make smooth cuts through metal while the top of the torch touches the surface of the workpiece. If the cutter doesn’t feature drag technology, it may result in a double-arc fault, causing the nozzle to stick to the metal.
Problems with a double-arc fault include tip deterioration, loss of precision, and inconsistent cuts. Always choose a cutter with drag technology to avoid these issues.
Generally speaking, the higher the power output and functionality of a unit, the heavier and bigger it is. If you have to work at various sites, portability is a critical consideration. However, if you plan on placing your plasma cutter permanently in one location, don’t compromise on power for the sake of portability.
Pilot Arc Technology
Pilot arc technology makes it possible to cut expanded metals. If your plasma cutter features pilot arc technology, you can cut metals with corroded, dirty, or rusted surfaces. You can even cut metals that have a layer of paint on them.
High-frequency cutters, on the other hand, can only cut metal workpieces that have clean, plain surfaces.
In addition to making cuts easier on contaminated surfaces, pilot-arc technology also makes the plasma cutter safer to use.
Inches Per Minute
Inches per minute, together with a machine’s duty cycle, indicates the speed at which you can cut. For example, if a unit can cut ½-inch metal at a rate of 10 inches per minute, it will take you two minutes to cut up to 20 inches. If, on the other hand, the plasma cutter has a duty cycle of 20 percent, you have to wait eight minutes after cutting 20 inches before you can continue.
Consumables are those plasma-cutter components that are susceptible to wear and, as such, that you must replace periodically. Consumables typically comprise a shield, retaining cap, nozzle, electrode, and swirl ring.
Look for plasma cutters that employ consumable efficiency and brands with affordable consumables to optimize your long-term savings.
External Air Compressor
A plasma cutter that doesn’t include an integrated air compressor requires an external compressor to pressurize shop air through the nozzle of its torch. Clean, pressurized air enhances the accuracy of your cuts and extends the life of your consumables. You also might need a filtration system to remove dust, oil, and moisture particles from the pressurized air.
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