One of the most often used equipment is the best plasma cutter, a cutting tool that produces cleaner and more forceful cuts than traditional metal-to-metal procedures. Apart from the improved cut quality, they may also be used on several other metals.
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For thousands of years, humanity has used tools to improve our civilization. Indeed, research implies that human work on tool making predates language, demonstrating just how fundamental tools are to our lives.
We are fortunate to live in an era where we may build on our predecessors’ expertise to create breakthroughs and work on various types of innovation faster.
Plasma cutters outperform oxyfuel cutters in several ways. If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve heard of them and are curious about what they’re all about. You’ve come to the right place—this article will serve as a thorough reference to the best plasma cutters, covering everything from A to Z. Continue reading to gain a comprehensive understanding of these devices.
Our Top 3 Plasma Cutter Picks
Cuts mild steel plate up to 5/8-inch
It consists of a pressure regulator
Hose with a diameter of 13 feet
At 50 amps, the duty cycle is 60%.
Affordably priced grounding clamp
Includes a 60 % duty cycle air filter
Trigger lock 2T/4T
The regulator makes contact with the power cable
connector for a 20-foot torch
Separate settings for pressure and power
Dual input voltages of 120/240 volts
No capacity for gouging
Top 9 Plasma Cutter In 2021-2022 | Our Top Picks & Reviews
Lotos has been reducing the cost of entrance into the plasma cutting business. The Lotos LTP5000D follows that history by providing 50 amps of power and a 60% duty cycle at an affordable price. This cutter features a no-touch pilot arc start and can cut stainless steel plates up to 58 inches thick.
The Lotos LTP5000D is under 26 pounds in weight and with a one-year guarantee. It has dual voltage inputs of 120 and 240 volts and a PAPST cooling system based on German technology.
An external compressor supplies this machine’s high-pressure cutting air. According to specific owners, the ground clamp and ground wire are produced far too inexpensively.
Lotos incorporates an integrated pressure regulator and air filter with the machine. You can set up and be ready to go in less than one minute using a quick compressed air hookup for the air compressor. Users praise the LTP5000D’s cutting performance but have complained about its variable quality, with some reports of this model failing prematurely.
However, the majority of customers applaud Lotos’ warranty service for prompt replacement of their plasma cutters and free return shipping.
- Pilot arc without contact
- Cuts mild steel plate up to 5/8-inch
- It consists of a pressure regulator
- Hose with a diameter of 13 feet
- At 50 amps, the duty cycle is 60%.
- This item does not contain the connection for the 120-volt input voltage.
- Affordably priced grounding clamp
At maximum power, the YesWelder CUT-55DS Plasma Cutter operates at a 60% duty cycle. It is capable of making clean cuts on steel plates up to a thickness of 1/2 inch. The power range of 10 to 55 amps is sufficient to cut through every step of a metal project, from sheet metal through framing and reinforcement work.
A no-touch pilot arc immediately gets you started, even whether your metal is corroded or coated. The YesWelder CUT-55DS Plasma Cutter has a dual-voltage input of 120/240 volts, making it easy to get started. This machine features an extra-long 13-foot torch connection and an integrated air filter.
Additionally, the YesWelder CUT-55DS Plasma Cutter features a 2T/4T trigger lock for those longer cuts and a post-flow air conditioning system. A great feature is the flip-up dust cover for the settings panel.
- 13-foot torch lead with post flow cooling
- Includes a 60 % duty cycle air filter
- Trigger lock 2T/4T
- The manual is poorly written.
- The regulator makes contact with the power cable
The Eastwood Versa Cut 40 Amp Plasma Cutter delivers exceptional value. This machine has 40 amps of cutting power and operates on either 110/120 or 220/240 volts using an N50 cable adaptor. When you connect the 120 cables to the N50, the machine will automatically detect that it is related to 240-volt electricity.
With a 60% duty cycle at full power, the Eastwood Versa Cut 40 Amp Plasma Cutter can cut cleanly through sheet metal as thin as 24 gauge. You can independently adjust the air pressure and output power, which provides a great deal of versatility after you’ve become used to operating this plasma cutter. Due to the machine’s high-frequency arc initiation is unsuitable for use with a CNC plasma cutting table.
The Eastwood Versa Cut 40 Amp Plasma Cutter is an industry-standard component with a Trafimet CB50 torch and a long 20-foot lead. The Eastwood Versa Cut 60, the next model up in the Eastwood range, provides the ability to cut up to 7/8-inch steel at an affordable price, but it is just a 220V machine.
- Industry-standard consumables
- Separate settings for pressure and power
- Dual input voltages of 120/240 volts
- Pos Only 5-7 CFM of air volume is required. itive
- Connector for a 20-foot torch
- No capacity for gouging
- Due to the nozzle’s short length, it isn’t easy to see.
The Hobart Airforce 27i is a compact and lightweight medium-duty plasma cutter with professional features and quality. It is powered by dual 120-volt and 240-volt input voltages. It is intended for professionals and artisans who require the ability to cut up to 3/8-inch steel.
Hobart machines are built in the United States of America in Appleton, Wisconsin. Additionally, the Airforce 27i plasma cutter is CSA certified.
This machine is equipped with an ergonomic torch and 12-foot leads for both the torch and the ground lead. The Hobart Airforce 27i comes equipped with an integrated regulator, an air filter, and a water separator.
Its Fan-On-Demand technology operates the fan only when necessary, decreasing dust and debris sucked inside the cabinet. Additionally, Hobart incorporated an air post flow function to cool the cut. It is intended to run on generator power, which increases its adaptability for outdoor operations.
The Hobart Airforce 27i plasma cutter is part of a series that includes the Airforce 40i, which provides dual-voltage input and many of the same capabilities. The Airforce 40i consists of a pilot arc function that automatically turns off the torch when it passes over a gap and re-strikes the arc when the torch passes back over the metal. It is an excellent feature for customizing grillwork or extended metal.
- Regulator built-in for 120 volts and 240-volt inputs
- Start the torch arc by dragging it.
- Following cuts, post-flow air conditioning is necessary.
- Ergonomic torch design
- There is no torch standoff shield available.
- Torch beginnings are not “no-touch” events.
The Lincoln Electric Plasma 20 Plasma Cutter is a compact, lightweight, yet powerful 20-amp plasma cutter capable of cutting steel up to 1/4-inch thick. The lower limit is ten amps, sufficient for handling sheet metal for auto body or HVAC repairs. Rapid Arc Restrike is an automated auto-refire technique that automatically switches off the torch when it crosses gaps and re-strikes when the flame comes back into contact with metal.
This machine comes with a built-in regulator. Additionally, the Lincoln Plasma 20 includes air pre- and post-cooling to provide improved accuracy throughout the cut. Certain users object to the torch’s three-second wait after hitting the trigger. During the three-second start delay, this machine is blowing cold air across the cutting path.
Lincoln Electric Plasma 20 is a little machine that weighs only 21 pounds. It makes it ideal for tight spaces on cars and jobs that require climbing a ladder. The Plasma 20 comes with a 9.5-foot torch and inbuilt hooks for wrapping leads during transport or storage.
- There is no interference at high frequencies.
- Integrated lead-wrapping hooks
- 9.5-foot torch cord with auto-refire technology for cutting grates
- It consists of an air regulator
- Only 120-volt electricity is required;
- A three-second trigger delay
Hypertherm is unique in that it sells only cutting-edge technologies. It is not a manufacturer of welding machines expanding into plasma cutting. It is all about laser cutting, water jet cutting, and plasma cutting.
Hypertherm is at the top of the business due to its sole concentration on high-quality plasma cutters.
Our top selection, the Hypertherm Powermax 45, generates between 10 and 45 amps, which is more than enough cutting power to precisely cut a 5/8-inch thick steel plate. It is intended for industrial usage in industry situations to cut metals. Two 240/480-volt outlets power this machine. Hypertherm’s Smart Sensor technology automatically adjusts compressed air settings.
It includes a torch deactivate switch to replace torch components. For crisp cuts, quick-change technology enables rapid reconfiguration of the torch type and tip size. Owners laud the Hypertherm Powermax 45’s exceptional work, citing its precision cutting, high inches per minute rating, and flawless edges. It contributes significantly to why we picked it as the finest plasma cutter.
The sole disadvantage of this variant is the lack of a CPC connection for computer control. Fortunately, a Hypertherm kit may be used to retrofit the port. The Powermax 45’s power system is covered by a three-year guarantee, while a one-year warranty covers the torch.
- FastConnect torch connection
- Drag-cut simplifies plasma cutting.
- Torch deactivation switch for changing components
- Brilliant Sense automatically adjusts the pressure
- Numerous torch styles
- The initial investment is considerable.
- There is no CPC port available for computer control.
Primeweld’s Cut60 Plasma Cutter is high-performance equipment capable of cutting up to 7/8-inch steel in a single pass. It is a dual-voltage plasma cutter that can operate on either 120 or 240 volts. It weighs just 21 pounds, which is remarkably low for a plasma cutter of this caliber. On 120-volt electricity, it produces 30 amps, which is sufficient for 3/8-inch steel.
Numerous machines’ high-frequency no-touch arc initiation will interact with digital electronics, rendering them ineffective for computer-controlled plasma cutter tables. The Primeweld Cut60 Plasma Cutter features a blowback burner and computer control. Blowback torches ignite by air pressure building on the work area, which eliminates digital interference.
You use a constant pilot arc in the Primeweld Cut60 Plasma Cutter. This technology lets you cut expanding metal and grating by interrupting the arc over air gaps and re-igniting it once the arc is back over metal. Additionally, it is incredibly influential on rusted, painted, or unclean metal. The 20-foot torch lead on this equipment is relatively popular among users.
- No-touch blowback arc start
- It comes with a pressure regulator.
- Air pressure gauge on the front panel
- It comes with a spacer for height adjustment.
- Outstanding client service
- There is no configuration chart supplied
- Several reports of air leakage
Miller’s Spectrum 375 X-Treme Plasma Cutter features dual-voltage input power, enabling it to plug into either 120-volt or 240-volt circuits. With that level of adaptability, you can use this machine almost everywhere. Miller incorporated an automated air pressure regulation system that compensates for changes in the air supply, resulting in consistent cutting.
Miller’s XT30 ergonomic torch with contoured form and textured grip surfaces includes this plasma cutter. The Miller Spectrum 375 X-Treme Plasma Cutter’s 12-foot torch connection and small design make it simple to reach those hard-to-access areas. Miller has included quick-disconnect leads on this plasma cutter to facilitate setup.
Miller’s Spectrum 375 X-Treme Plasma Cutter weighs only 19 pounds and has a shoulder strap for convenient transport. The 30-amp output is sufficient for cutting 3/8-inch steel, while the 27-amp upper end on the 120-volt side is sufficient for cutting 1/4-inch steel. When the arc crosses a gap, the Auto-Refire technology cuts the arc and resumes the torch when it comes into contact with metal. Unfortunately, the 375 X-Treme is not computer-driven. Therefore there will be no CNC table for this one. This machine comes with a protected carrying case from Miller.
- Miller XT-30 ergonomic torch
- included X-Case storage case
- 3-year warranty
- 19-pound weight Cuts 3/8-inch thick steel
- According to some users, the torch hose is excessively rigid.
- Not controlled by computer
The Titanium 45A Plasma Cutter has dual-voltage input compatibility and professional-grade performance at an affordable price. The 45-amp output is sufficient to cut 12-inch steel. The 15-amp lower limit will cut as thin as 22 gauge sheet metal if you cut quickly enough. Harbor Freight included a regulator into the design, allowing for rapid setup and usage.
On 120-volt electricity, this machine produces 20 amps, limiting your work to less than 14-inch thickness. For smooth cutting and dependable performance, most owners recommend using the Titanium 45A Plasma Cutter on the 240. While some users believed the plasma cutter’s ground clamp might be improved, others praised the 12-foot torch length. This plasma cutter’s digital settings and display make it simple to use and monitor while you work.
The Titanium 45A Plasma Cutter protects against overheating and is simple to set up. The torch comes equipped with a standoff guide that ensures the cutting head is kept at an optimal distance from the work surface. The integrated copper air filter extends the life of consumables and enables you to use your existing shop air supply. For optimal performance, this machine requires 6.6 CFM at 80-110 psi.
- Include a 12-foot ground and a torch.
- Convenient installation
- The torch has a standoff.
- Overload protection for digital displays
- Consumables might be difficult to locate.
- A ground clamp is inexpensive.
Consider the Following When Purchasing a Plasma Cutter
Plasma cutters provide several distinct benefits over other cutting technologies, and you may already be tempted to purchase one. However, keep in mind that there are noticeable differences across machines. It is because of the working of the function with a variety of metal kinds, work situations, and personal preferences. Utilize this brief checklist to help you narrow down your list of options.
The Typical Thickness and Type Of Metal You Deal With
The metal thickness that cuts is critical since it will dictate the power source you should seek in your plasma cutter. Suppose you need to cut material that is 13” thick. In that case, a low-amperage machine produces the greatest results.
However, if you will be working with materials that are 12” thick, you should look at machines that have a larger amperage unit.
If you push your plasma cutters to their maximum capacity, the resulting cut will be of poor quality. Each machine has a full-thickness range that it can handle, which you should verify before purchasing. Generally speaking,
- A 14-inch machine produces roughly 25 amps.
- A 12” machine produces 50-60 amps.
- A 34” to 1” machine has 80 amps.
Your Optimal Speed of Cutting
Any respectable plasma cutter manufacturer will provide the cutting speed for various types of metal in inches per minute (IPM). If you’re cutting through a 14-inch sheet of metal, a high-amperage plasma cutter unit will do the task faster than a low-amperage plasma cutter unit—although both will cut through the metal.
As a general guideline, it would be better that you locate a machine capable of handling almost double the thickness of your regular cutting.
Another factor to consider when determining cutting speed is the duty cycle of your plasma cutter. The duty cycle is the duration of continuous cutting before the machine overheats and requires cooling.
The duty cycle is a percentage of ten minutes; for example, a sixty-percent duty cycle at fifty amps means that you may cut continuously for six minutes out of every ten minutes when working at fifty amps output power.
The Plasma Cutter’s Power Source
Plasma cutters get power by a pilot arc that conducts electricity over the air and charges the device. It is a convenient way to get started, but it comes at a cost: the high frequency might impair the functioning of computers or office equipment. If your manufacturing environment includes computer-controlled equipment or similar technology, you may wish to examine alternative power sources.
One such approach is the lift arc technique. It employs a DC-positive nozzle with an internal DC-negative electrode. A current flows between the electrode and the nozzle when it is activated. This action separates the electrode from the nozzle and initiates the pilot arc.
Consumables’ Costs and Lifespan
The constructio of these Plasma cutters uses a variety of consumable components that must be updated regularly. These are additional charges that you should consider before purchasing your equipment. To assist maintenance costs, look for a company that produces equipment with the fewest consumable components possible. These details are detailed in the manufacturer’s specs.
Ascertain that you are comparing the same measurement data. Certain manufacturers classify their consumables according to the number of cuts, while others classify them according to stars. It can significantly differentiate manufacturing equipment that constantly operates versus equivalent units that often stop and start.
You’re Test Cuts’ Quality
Demonstrate the machine before making a purchase. Make a few test cuts with the same speed and material thickness on your top selections. It allows you to compare and contrast the effects of each machine’s cut.
While comparing, examine the plate attentively for trash on the bottom side. Examine the resulting gap to determine if the angle is perpendicular or angular. If the unit is designed correctly, it will leave a precise and tight arc.
To determine whether the cutter can cut through thicker plates, pull the plasma flame away from the plate while cutting. Determine the maximum distance between the workpiece and the torch while preserving the arc. Longer the arc, the higher the voltage and, hence, the greater the ability of the arc to cut through thicker plates.
Transfer from Pilot Arc To Cutting Arc Is Simple
It is critical to select a machine that transfers quickly and accurately from the pilot arc to the cutting arc. This equipment will be easier to operate and perform better at gouging, critical for thick welding plates.
To verify this, run a test on expanding metal or gratings using your plasma cutter. It forces the machine to transition from pilot to cut and back rapidly.
The Cutter’s Portability
You may find yourself relocating your machine to complete the work. If you believe you may need to be more mobile than usual, you should seek a lightweight unit as well as a mode of transportation. It can be accomplished by the use of an undercarriage or a shoulder strap.
Durability And Protection
It’s the small details, from the protective cover over the trigger to the cage that surrounds the air filter, that signal a machine’s long-term durability. You may choose to invest a little more in plasma cutters that have safety measures over critical equipment components to avoid having to replace them prematurely.
Your Employees’ Ease Of Use
Plasma cutters are already a significant danger, and you don’t want to add to it by purchasing devices that lack a clear set of instructions. A well-designed control panel enables a person with little expertise to operate the plasma torch quickly, safely, and efficiently.
Ergonomics is also critical. Your degree of comfort while using the plasma cutter will indeed affect the result’s quality.
Safety Measures And Systems
Apart from plasma cutter safety features, your final consideration while buying the appropriate machine should be if it has user safety features. It comprises safety sensors on the nozzles, pre-flow sequences on the devices, and a pre-flow safety check before the arc starts up. Using Your Plasma Cutter Safely
Plasma cutters are a significant investment that you must make if you frequently need to cut through various types of steel. These devices, however, must be handled with caution. To get the most out of your instrument and protect yourself, here is a brief review of some fundamental safety considerations.
Controlling Your Electricity Consumption
Plasma cutters, particularly those equipped with their inverter technology, have the potential to deliver a lethal shock if their power output levels are not managed appropriately. As a result, it is critical to check that your computer is correctly grounded and connected before turning it on. Additionally, the plasma cutter must be located in an area that is free of moisture.
Wear rubber gloves in addition to welding gloves for an extra layer of protection. While running the machine, place your feet on a rubber pad. These safeguards assist in guaranteeing that any electrical currents passing through your body cannot enter your skin.
Examining Your Safety Equipment
You will be exposed to powerful infrared and ultraviolet radiation, as well as hot molten metal and fumes when operating this equipment. The following is a list of safety gear that you must wear when using the plasma cutter:
Shield Or Hat For Protection
A full-coverage welding helmet protects the most vital area of your body from sparks and debris.
Safety Glasses Or Goggles
Protective eyewear must feature lenses with the appropriate lens shade. It is to safeguard your eyes from any harmful visual stimulation induced by the machine’s powerful arc light and radiation.
Gloves For Rubber And Welding
No, this is not excessive. I would strongly recommend wearing both rubber and welding gloves while operating a plasma cutter since your hands will be the most in contact with the equipment. It will protect you from the heat and any potential electric shocks.
While your feet will be the furthest away from the machine, you will still need to wear heavy boots to avoid being electrocuted.
Aprons and Appropriate Clothes
A fireproof and heat-resistant apron, worn over appropriate clothes, will shield your skin from any hot slags, debris, or sparks that fly out of the machine and come into contact with any area of your body.
Mask for Respiratory Protection
Use a respirator mask to protect your lungs from the fumes and oxides released when using the plasma cutter. This type of mask can filter out these dangerous particles from the air, therefore increasing your safety and comfort.
Plugs for Ears or Ear Muffs
Finally, but certainly not least, take care of your hearing! Plasma cutters may be extremely loud and can cause permanent damage to your eardrums. I would recommend going the additional mile and purchasing a set of fire-resistant earplugs to protect your ears from any sparks or spatter generated by the machine.
Taking Care of Your Plasma Cutter
You don’t want your plasma cutter to fail during a critical project. Tremendous power comes with great responsibility, and plasma cutters require a certain level of upkeep to continue cutting through metal sheets and plates. The following is a short overview of everything you need to do:
Examine The Torch’s Body
Remove all torch components and closely inspect them for signs of wear, particularly any mechanical damage to the threads. Clean the interior of the torch with a cotton swab and some electrical contact cleaner. Finally, blow away any collected metal dust on or within the torch.
Clean Up The Torch Leads
Ensure that you clean down the torch’s length to remove any accumulated dust and debris. It is critical to eliminate any traces of metal dust since this might impair the voltage required to fuel the plasma arc. Look for evidence of wear or damage on the hoses, cables, and fittings. Finally, check to see that the high-frequency shielding remains in place.
Clean Up The Electricity Supply
Use Compressed air to blast away any metal dust in this region. Metal dust has the potential to cause damage to the plasma cutter’s power supply components, particularly the boards. Check the air filters within the housing and have some spares on hand if they need to be replaced.
Conduct A Visual Inspection Of The Torch-cooling Components
Check for indicators of decreased airflow in your plasma cutter’s water-cooled torches, if any. It may be inspected in the coolant stream section, and the return flow must be set to the required gallons per minute. Examine the flow switches to ensure they are functioning correctly since a lack of coolant flow might result in the torch overheating.
Cleaning of the Components
Rails, gears, and racks all fall under this category. Wipe away any accumulated grease, grime, and metal dust using a degreasing agent. Lubricate gears and bearings with a dry lubricant such as graphite powder. Remember that you do not need to grease rail portions since this can attract dirt and cause the machine to wear out.
Appropriately Adjust The Drive Motors And Control
If the motors on your plasma cutter appear to be out of sync, it’s time to make some drive-motor adjustments. Common danger signals to check for include the torch no longer returning to its home position or the development of errors in its cut pieces—especially in maneuvers using both the x and y drives. Each axis’ speed must be identical to accomplish the proper torch location. Finally, you must strive to reduce motor drift. While these tweaks are frequently subtle and easy to pick up on, they vary with each system. As such, you should carefully read the handbook or contact an authorized representative for your plasma cutter to ensure that you are tuning it properly.