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If you cut a lot of metal in your home garage or workshop, then you should really consider investing in a plasma cutter. These incredible tools use the power from a typical power socket and nothing more fancy than the air around you and combine them into the ultimate metal cutting tool.
Capable of generating up to 35,000-degrees Fahrenheit of cutting temperatures, a quality plasma cutter can make light work of even thick sheet metal. In this guide we take a good look at some of the best models on the market right now to help you to find the right one.
The Best Plasma Cutter
We kick off the list with this product from Lotos. It is not the most powerful amp cutter on the list, but it is certainly one of the smallest.
That being said, it is still capable of kicking out up to 50 amps of cutting power. When converted to heat, that makes for a torch that can handle cuts of up to 1/2-inch in a wide range of materials. We’re talking about stainless and alloy steel plus copper and aluminum.
50 Amps Max Power
Small And Compact
- Weight23.9 Pounds
The next product on our list is this plasma cutter from Super Deal, and it is not messing around with that company name. This machine is very much on the bargain end of the market. It is in fact easily one of the cheapest machines on our list. So what are you getting for your money?
This plasma cutter is able to generate cutting power output in the range of 20 to 50 amps. That is a very decent level of cutting power given both the size and price tag of this device. The cutter itself also boasts a solid construction with an all iron housing.
20 to 50 Amps Power
Great Value for Money
Simple to Use
- BrandSuper Deal
- Weight24.4 Pounds
This next plasma cutter is from Hobart. It packs a price tag a little higher than we’ve seen so far. On the other hand, this is a well-designed little machine that is bringing a number of useful features to the table.
It is a very efficient machine. It is designed to run on a 240Volt circuit, and it can channel that energy into a cutting point capable of slicing through 7/8 inch steel at a 50-percent duty cycle. That’s very impressive for a machine that barely tips the scales over 30 pounds.
Auto-Refire to Cut Painted /Coated Surfaces
Excellent Torch with Well Designed Safety
Built in Protection from Air Particles
With a weight of less than 20 pounds, this tool from Ramond certainly lives up to its billing as a highly portable plasma cutter. But just because it’s small and lightweight doesn’t mean you’re missing out on quality features or cutting power.
Cutting power, for example, is very good for a unit of this size, with up to 50 amps of cutting power. That translates into a tool that can handle cuts through material up to ¾ inches in thickness.
50 Amp Output
Integrated Digital Display
Integrated Pressure Gauge
- Weight19 Lbs
This is the first of two Hypertherm plasma cutter tools to make its way onto our list. This model, the Powermax 45, is the more advanced of the two models. While that makes for a slightly higher price tag, it also means that this model is bursting with quality features.
Probably the big stand out is the ease of use that this model brings. It has a patented drag-cutting technology that makes it ideal for beginners. The drag cut makes this tool more forgiving to small errors in cutting, potentially saving a cut from disaster.
Patented Drag Cut Technology
Monitors Own Air Pressure
Fast Cut Speeds
- Weight36 Lbs
Here is the second Hypertherm plasma cutter to make our list. Like its bigger brother, the first thing to note is that this is a quality machine. This machine is perfectly designed to be one of the highest-grade portable plasma cutters on the market.
One of the features that help make it a great portable plasma cutter is the dual-voltage capability. This is always a good feature, but the fact it automatically adapts to each voltage type is very useful. If you are using this cutter in various locations, for example, some will have different voltages to others. No worries with this tool; just plug it in and away you go.
Dual Volt With Auto Adaptors
Comes With Full Kit Including Gloves and Eye Shield
Comfortable Ergonomic Handle
- Weight2.2 pounds
It has a multi-voltage plug (MVP), so you can connect it to either 120V or 240V power sources without the need for tools. It easily cuts 3/8-inch steel but can also blast through metal that’s 5/8-inches thick. The built-in fan only runs when necessary and is designed to reduce the build up of dust and debris. The Airforce 27i has an XT30R torch, a 12-foot lead, and consumables.
The cutter’s wind tunnel technology repels dust and other particles from harming the internal components. The machine makes precise cuts and thinner kerf so you don’t have as much slag left over.
Lightweight and portable
Multi-voltage plug for versatility
Repels dust, debris, and other particles
- Weight32.1 pounds
Next is this quality product from Everlast. Many people recognize that an Everlast plasma cutter is a name that’s synonymous with quality. What you have here is also a tool that provides excellent value for the money.
On the one hand, it provides that value simply by providing Everlast build quality for a very reasonable price. In addition to that, it also provides value by providing two distinct functions. Overall, it is an excellent plasma cutter able to generate up to 50 amps of output power.
50 Amps Max Ouput
Cuts and Welds
Easy to Use Digital Display
- Weight40 Lbs
This product from Miller Electric is quite deceptive, at least at first glance. On one hand, it has a price tag well toward the upper end of the pricing range. At the same time, it is not exactly rolling in eye-catching features or design points. So, just what are you getting for your money?
The main feature is that this is a superbly built machine. That may not seem like the biggest stand-out feature, but it is. This machine is an investment and the type of tool that can find a home in any well-stocked home garage or workshop. It is the kind of tool that every time you pull it out, you know it will do exactly what you need it to do.
30 Amp Output
Can Use AC/DC Voltage
High Quality Construction
- BrandMiller Electric
- Weight33 Lbs
If you have been considering purchasing a plasma cutter that can easily penetrate through steel and other electrically conductive materials, check out the LOTOS LTPDC2000D Non-Touch Arc Plasma Cutter. Priding itself on quality and affordability, Lotos Technology focuses on providing features that ensure users can cut, weld, and build through electrically conductive materials.
Coming with both a Tig Welder and a Stick Welder, this three-in-one combo welding machine is very likely to be your favorite cutting tool, whether you are a pro or a Do-it-Yourself hobbyist. This multipurpose cutter runs on a dual-voltage of 110V or 220V and has a no-touch pilot arc feature that allows the user to cut through even the toughest metal without touching the tip. It also has a versatile handle for portability. You are guaranteed a prolonged consumable life with this product.
Non-Touch Pilot Arc
3 in 1 Combo
- BrandLotos Technology
- Weight42.3 pounds
Best Plasma Cutter Buying Guide & FAQ
In our buying guide, we’ll take you through the features that you should keep an eye out for when picking out the best plasma cutter for you. After that, we’ll take a look at how best to use your new tool and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about this extremely useful product.
Features to Consider When Buying a Plasma Cutter
- Cutting Power
This is going to be expressed in terms of the amperage output. 50 amps is about average, and provides a cutting jet that can be used on metal of various types and thickness. Some other cutters may only be able to generate up 30 amps. That is still a good level of power, well suited to most at home tasks.
Wouldn’t it be great to just throw money at the most expensive machine on the list? It would be cool, but sadly probably not possible! A plasma cutter from the budget end of the market can be yours for a few hundred bucks. At the premium end, a plasma cutter can be several thousand bucks. Naturally, a more expensive model will normally benefit from a strong and sturdy construction, and extra features. Set your budget and stick to it!
A plasma cutter may not be a tool that you use every day – unless you are cutting a lot of metal! Because of that it can be a good idea to check out the weight and dimensions of the cutter before you invest in it. A smaller tool will be easier to store.
Benefits of Using a Plasma Cutting Machine
There are two main benefits to a plasma cutter - Power and Convenience.
A plasma cutter is actually a pretty remarkable tool if you think about it. It takes air, simple air like you are breathing right now, and turns it into a superheated cutting jet. First off all that is really cool! But secondly it means that a plasma cutter is able to put a phenomenal level of cutting power right into your hand. Need to cut metal? A plasma cutter makes it so much easier.
That power is also delivered in a machine that usually weighs around 30 lbs. A plasma cutter can be easily carried from location-to-location and set up for use. It also small in all its dimensions and not just in terms of weight. That makes it easy to store a plasma cutter. Just tuck it away on a shelf until you need it!
Different Types of Plasma Cutter
The only difference in the types of plasma cutter are in terms of where it gets its air from.
A traditional plasma cutter needs to be hooked up to a external air compressor with an air tank. They generate excellent cutting power, and can be very inexpensive.
The alternative is a plasma cutter with a built in compressor. These types of tool are easier to set up and use – just plug them in and away they go. At the same time, they are often more expensive and sometimes may not develop the same level of cutting power as a plasma cutter connected to an external – and usually more powerful – air compressor.
Best Plasma Cutter FAQ:
Q: What is a Plasma Cutter and How Does it Work?
A: A plasma cutter works by channeling a jet of concentrated air through a nozzle. Before this air leaves the nozzle though, it passes across an electrical arc. This arc superheats the air, making a jet of extremely finely aimed, powerful and hot air.
This air is in fact so hot that it can cut metal. That is a plasma cutter!
By the way, it has nothing at all to do with blood plasma! So don’t worry about that, there isn’t going to be a jet of blood shooting out the end of your plasma cutter. (If there is, definitely contact your manufacturer, because that’s not right!)
Q: What is Duty Cycle?
A: The duty cycle is the cycle of operation of a machine that does not operate continuously. So for example a 50% duty cycle means that a signal that is ON for 50% of the operating time of the machine.
A machine with a higher duty cycle is going to make better, and more efficient, use of the power delivered to the machine.
Q: What are Consumables?
A: In the first question of this section we talked about what a plasma cutter is. Part of that explanation included talking about the nozzle that the heated air is forced through. This nozzle is usually made of copper, and it has a limited lifespan.
This is what is meant when people talk about consumables in relation to plasma cutters. Eventually you’ll need to replace them, as they will wear out - or be “consumed” – by the cutting jet of air.
Q: What other equipment will I need?
A: One of the key pieces of kit that you will need is an air compressor. This needs to be connected up to the plasma cutters, which will turn that stream of compressed air into something that can cut metal.
The only alternative to this is if you pick a model with a built in compressor. In that case you simply plug it in and away it goes. Plasma cutters with built in compressors can be more expensive, and sometimes are not able to generate the same air pressure as an external compressor with an air tank.
Our Top Pick
Picking out the best plasma cutter here is a tough ask. First of all this list comprises some top quality tools, as you would expect from Carbibles.com.
But there can also be a big difference in the design points and cutting capability between the various models.
Some are better suited for different applications, making it that little bit harder to choose the best model.
But we are paid to make the tough decisions, so if we have to pick the best model then we’re going for the Lotos LTP5000D plasma cutter.
Yes, there are some models that are more powerful. There are also some models that are packing more features too, and if you need them or the extra power then go for a model with them in place – but expect to put a bigger dent on the credit card too!
The Lotos LTP5000D is just perfect for smaller projects in home garages and workshops, which is what we think the bulk of you are looking for. It’s small, compact and easy to store. At the same time it kicks out a very good level of cutting power, able to handle sheet metal up to ½ inch in thickness.
Add in a very reasonable price tag and you have all the reasons why we plumped for this model as the best plasma cutter on our list today.