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Best Plasma Cutter For The Money (Top Cutter Reviews & Guide) 2020

The world is made up matter. Plasma is among the four fundamental elements of matter. The other three states of matter are solid, liquid and gas, with plasma being the fourth. Unlike the other three states, plasma has very different properties. Due to its unique properties, it is used for many things, including cutting through materials that can conduct electricity. This is where finding the best plasma cutter for the money comes into play.

Top 15 Best Plasma Cutter For the Money Available

RankingsNamePrice and More Details
#1
Lotos LTP5000D 50AMP Pilot Arc Plasma CutterClick Here
#2
Hypertherm Powermax45 American Build EditionClick Here
#3
Ramsond Cut 50dx Plasma SytemClick Here
#4
Thermal Dynamics CutmasterClick Here
#5
Hobart Airforce 40i Plasma CutterClick Here

Plasma Cutters have revolutionized how metal and electrically compatible objects are cut. Anyone who has not yet embraced this technology is missing out on an excellent opportunity to save costs, time, and energy. In the market, there are several plasma cutters, and we recommend to read our buyers guide to become more aware before making the final purchase.

1. Hypertherm Powermax45 Plasma Cutters (Best Plasma Cutter)

Hypertherm Powermax 45 Inverter technology with dual voltage plasma cutter

Key Features

  • Supports many accessories
  • Hypertherm Powermax 45 XP 088121
  • Comes at a minimum price
  • The cutter Includes 20 ft. torch
  • Pairs with the CNC table

The Hypertherm Powermax45 is our first top pick for its portability and ease of use. Its smart sensor technology makes this unit the best portable cutting machine for the money. Makes you save lots of time by providing a superior quality of cuts. Additionally, it is super light weight and small in size.

Also, you can achieve fast cuts with a patented cutting tech that is 1.5 times greater than other conventional cutting systems. Do you plan to make cuts of huge metals that occupy a larger space? This is the cutter to go for. It is sufficiently large and also well able to handle such much larger loads.

This is besides it being able to pair and work well with a table that is specifically designed for that job. Why not get hold of it and deploy it for that role? We consider this product the best plasma cutter that is available on the market today. Find the pros and cons of these cutters down below:

Pros
  • Reduces grinding
  • Provides a superior quality cut with less working time
  • The cutting ability of 16mm thickness
  • Easy to set up and use especially for those first-time users
  • Lightweight and small in size providing excellent portability
  • Air pressure smart technology to ensure the perfect set up
Cons
  • Expensive cutting system

2. PrimeWeld Cut50 Plasma Cutter (Best For The Money)

The PrimeWeld Cut50 Plasma Cutter is the best for the money

Key Features

  • HF non-touch arc-starting cutting
  • Variable cutting thickness
  • 50 Amps under 220V cutting system
  • Frequency 50 and 60 Hz
  • 75 PSI@ 5 CFM operating air pressure

If all you want is to impact surfaces that are heavily rusted or greasy, you have no better friend and companion than this cutter. It basically gives you the leeway to start the arc without necessarily having the wires touch the workpiece. That makes it good enough to handle as well.

A convenient automatic dual-voltage capability also exists as part and parcel of this machine. It sees to it that you run the various voltages with limited hassles in your part. By its stature and construction, it pierces through rusty, painted, and rough surfaces with absolute ease. Then again it suffers minimal slag in the course of tackling the various chores.

Pros
  • Starts easily compared to other alternatives
  • Switches back and forth many voltages
  • Cuts a variety of materials
  • Tackles the painted materials as well
  • Lasts fairly longer
Cons
  • Comes at a great cost
  • Likely to injure you if handled recklessly

3. Lotos LT5000D Plasma Cutter (Reliable Brand)

Lotos plasma cutter brand is very reliable has good technology

Key Features

  • 50 Amp Digital Inverter Air Plasma Cutter
  • Automatic Dual Voltage / Dual Frequency (110/220V 50/60Hz)
  • PAPST Advanced German Cooling System
  • Max Severance Thickness: 3/4″
  • Max Cut Thickness: 1/2″

The Lotos LTP5000D plasma cutter model is the latest Lotos technology for plasma cutters. It is a 50Amp Non-touch Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter with a dual voltage of 110V and 220V. Its manufacturer describes it as a 1/2 inch clean cutter.

According to customer reviews, the Lotos technology cutter works best on the latter voltage 220V but also works quite effectively at 110V. For this product to be used well, a person will need two items: an air hose which has a female connector. With a female connector, one can easily connect and disconnect the air inlet.

The other essential element is the air compressor that comes with this automotive plasma cutter. Planning to cut across numerous surfaces and materials? You have to pick and use a similarly versatile cutting machine of this kind. Lotos technology is one of the best cutter for the money, but it has its pros and con.

Pros
  • It is a dual voltage cutter with a choice between the 110V and the 220V
  • Compared to the other cutters, it has a neater cut
  • Can quickly and effectively be used for personal use, other than commercial use
  • It has good value cutter for the money
Cons
  • The 110V voltage does not work as well as the 220 Voltage
  • A person needs to buy their plug for the 110V and the 220V since the cutter does not come with its plugs
  • As much as the cut is impeccable, it is larger compared to other personal cutters

4. SungoldPower 50A Plasma Cutter

SungoldPower 50A Plasma Cutter are good tools for working on cars

Key Features

  • Advanced Inverter IGBT Technology
  • Automatic Dual Voltage / Dual Frequency
  • This plasma cutter has an Digital LCD display
  • Easy read front panel air-pressure gauge
  • Adjustable cutting current

This SungoldPower is the one to look up to if you do happen to change your locations every now and then. It is pretty portable and hence convenient to carry around and deploy remotely. Its flagship trait is the IGBT technology that makes it far more stable and superior to the ordinary machines of its kind.

That is because it makes use of the most advanced inverters to be able to discharge the stream of plasma that is subsequently used for cutting through metals. Moreover, it is also manufactured by the use of impact-resistant materials. That also makes it last longer not to mention guaranteeing elongated length of service.

Pros
  • Delivers a powerful stream of plasma
  • Portable to carry around with ease
  • More superior and stable
  • Operates on dual voltage and frequency
  • Displays the metrics for you to note
Cons
  • Lacking in some traits or features
  • Demands too much time and expertise to handle

5. Hypertherm Powermax 30 XP Plasma Cutter System

Hypertherm Powermax 30 XP Plasma Cutting System

Key Features

  • Plug adapters included with the cutter
  • Duramax LT torch design
  • Heat and impact resistant materials
  • This cutter comes with a hard carry case
  • Automatically adapts to 110 V – 240 V input power

The Hypertherm PowerMax30 XP has a casing and is an American edition with a two in one version. It has a capability of cutting thick metallic surfaces as well as delicate metals which need exceptional precision. These portable plasma cutters are well packaged and the weight is easy to handle.

Additionally, these Hypertherm PowerMax 30 cutters come with consumables such as plugs that could be used for both the 120V and the 240V circuits. Also, it comes with shaded glass, a carrier case, and a shield mask and even cutting gloves. Could it be that you want to cut for a prolonged duration of time?

Set your eyes on this plasma cutter as it is the one that is optimized for the matters of maximum comfort. Moreover, it is also manufactured by the use of impact-resistant materials. That also makes it last longer not to mention guaranteeing elongated length of service. You can find the pros and cons of the PowerMax30 XP below:

Pros
  • Has the ability to cut metals with precise accuracy.
  • A very portable and light in weight, with a well-designed carrier
  • Does not require any explosive gases
  • It is a long-lasting plasma cutter
  • Use with both 120v or 220v
Cons
  • On the most part, this is a great cutter, but it can be speedy. Because of this, a person has to be steady to achieve a clean cut with this cutter.

6. Ramsond Cut 50dx Plasma Cutter System

Precise plasma cutting machine with a good tourch included

Key Features

  • Ramsond CUT 50DX 50 Amp Digital Inverter
  • Portable Air Plasma Cutter Dual Voltage
  • Comes with an integrated Digital Display
  • Integrated Pressure Gauge Display
  • Max Severance Thickness: 1-Inch Max Cut Thickness: 3/4-Inch

The Ramsond Cut 50dx is our fourth top pick for its impressive 60 percent duty cycle performance. The sever cuts production is excellent with a maximum of a 1-inch thickness of steel cutting ability. With its integrated pressure gauge and dual voltage technology, this Ramsond machine is by far the best plasma cutter for the money.

If you happen to change locations every now and then, you want a cutter that can guarantee your performance regardless of where exactly you may be at any given time. By virtue of allowing for dual voltage performance, no other cutter comes even close to this.

Read the pros and cons to understand why you should consider making use of this one for your on-the-go applications.

Pros
  • Uses V-MOSFETs Inverter technology for an incredible 60 percent duty cycle
  • Portable handle that is fully insulated
  • Pulse width modulation tech that provides constant and precise uniform cuts
  • Amazing dual voltage for 110V and 220V power capabilities
  • Extremely lightweight with only 19 pounds
Cons
  • Poor cut quality cuts for large thicknesses of metal
  • Works excellent for thin metals

7. Eastwood Versa Plasma Cutter

Eastwood Versa Plasma Cutter (Reliable Plasma System)

Key Features

  • 60 Amps Output plasma cutter
  • Cuts Up To 7/8″ 220V Input
  • This cutter comes with a 20′ Torch Cable;
  • 10′ Ground Cable with Clamp
  • Air Compressor Requirements: 5-7 Cfm @ 60 Psi

The Versa cut60 plasma is a sharp cutter. It can easily slice materials that are 7 or even 8 inches thick. Not only does it cut through the thick heavy metals, but it also cuts through thin metals and has a neat cut to it.

Its built-in pilot arc allows a user to have stability and precision when cutting. It happens to have an in-built moisture separator which would enable only clean air to pass through the plasma torch. Its flagship trait is the torch cable that measures a whopping 20 feet.

For cutting off all your thin materials, we vouch for no other cutter than this one. It is extremely powerful and truly reliable enough to be able to pierce through extremely thin materials. You use this to channel the flow of the plasma to the exact spot where you need it to be.

Pros
  • Has a build-in arc which makes it more stable while in use
  • Cuts through both thin and thick metals just as easily
  • Its output is 60Amp, which makes it very appropriate to use
Cons
  • The one metal which this cutter can cut well is steel.
  • It does an ok job with the rest like steel stainless steel.

8. Hobart Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter

Hobart Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter

Key Features

  • Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter
  • Built-In Air Compressor 120V
  • Smaller heat-affected zone
  • The cutter has no gas pressure settings
  • This plasma cutter is portable and ready

The 500564 Airforce 12i is the way to go if one needs a cheap plasma cutter that works perfectly at home or in small welding environments. It works perfectly in harsh environments but is comfortable to use.

This unit is perfect to work at 104 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures, but keep in mind that it produces low quality cuts for thick metals. Inverter technology also forms a vital part of this cutter. It furnishes the powerful cutting capability that pierces through the strongest metals with ease.

Without a doubt this is an amazing cutting tool that any mechanic add to their garage. Lacking in the strong and heavy muscles? Pick a plasma cutter that is similarly lighter and easier to carry around like this one. It comes ready assembled and ripe for use.

Pros
  • Can work in touch environments with a 35% rated duty cycle at 104F degrees, but has an inbuilt coolant which enables a comfortable working environment
  • It is convenient to use
  • It is compact and powerful
  • Can be used to cut thick metals of about 4 or 5 inches comfortably
Cons
  • Does not have a CNC plasma torch, and is generally not CNC compatible.
  • Poor cut quality for thick metals

9. Everlast PowerPlasma Air Plasma Cutters

Everlast PowerPlasma Air Plasma Cutters

Key Features

  • 80 Amp CNC compatible plasma cutter
  • IGBT Infineon Modules / Inverter technology
  • Comes with an inverter type cutter @ 60% duty cycle
  • Maximum cut for quality @ 10-12 IPM (Steel) 1 1/4″
    Adjustable Post Flow (power plasma only) controls

The Everlast PowerPlasma is not a cheap plasma cutter. It is a multipurpose Welder with dual voltage, i.e., 110V and 220V. Also, It is an excellent tool for portable duties since it is a compact tool. It is also great at repairs that have to do with thick metals.

Are you a regular cutter whose life depends on cutting other materials? Choose this powerful, stable, and durable cutting machine as it is better placed to do the job. Thanks to the easy cutting, it also pierces through the painted and rusty material with absolute precision.

Look no further this is one of the best plasma cutter for your money. However, warranty may be limited to some countries. Perfect if you are looking for a low power consumption cutting machine. Also, It boasts of an easy starting as it makes use of the pilot arc to do so.

Pros
  • Clean and smooth cut on any metal that comes in its way.
  • It has a low electric power consumption due to its excellent inverter design.
  • Has a protection circuit which warns the user when they are using more electricity than required
  • Has excellent arc stability which means one can have neat cuts
Cons
  • According to some users, instruction that comes with this plasma cutter does not help much
  • The warranty for this cutter does not cover some countries

10. Hobart Airforce 27i With Built in Air Compressor Plasma Cutter

With 50 percent duty cyles for energy savings

Key Features

  • Built-in Air Compressor
  • Cuts faster than oxy fuel
  • Smaller heat-affected zone
  • No gas pressure settings
  • Hobart handle is one of the best

The Hobart Airforce 27i has a cutting ability of 3/8 and 5/8 mild steel. It is not a cheap plasma cutter because of its wind tunnel technology that reduces the amount of debris and dust that is pulled into the unit.

Also, we recommend the Airforce 27i for those who are looking to cut material thickness between 1/4 and 3/8 inches. It comes with a built-in compressor and lightweight technology. Many cutting materials of these kinds demand that you attach an external air compressor to be able to make it capable of cutting. Not so with this one.

Instead, it has a built-in air compressor to do the job on its own. That maintains it compact and hence easier to carry around if and when the need to do so may arise.

Pros
  • Precise cut for mild steel
  • Connect to 120V or 240V as a power source
  • Wind Tunnel Technology to protect from dust and debris
  • Lightweight inverter technology
  • Built-in Air Compressor
Cons
  • Not a Cheap plasma cutter
  • Only recommend for 3/8 inches of materials or less

11. Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster Plasma Cutter

Incredible Cooling sytem and super deal plasma cutters

Key Features

  • 7.6 kW rated output plasma cutter
  • 50% duty cycle at 60A
  • Automatic multi-voltage detection
  • Built for portability and durability
  • Integral multi-handle design

The Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 60i has advanced gas optimizer technology to increase the consumables life. With maximum sever cuts performance of 16mm, the cutmaster is considered one of the most powerful among the competitors. Also, it comes with the SL60QD 1Torch for easy replacement.

When it comes to a cutter that produces clean thin metal cuts, the Thermal Dynamic is the go tool. Also, it comes with an amazing technology that protects the consumables lifespan. This might be the best one to consider leveraging.

Looking to etch out some decorations as well? Choose to work with a plasma cutter that is similarly pretty agile and able to maneuver itself out and about easily. Its integral multi-handle design is what enables it to make those decorative marks with ease and precision.

Pros
  • Excellent cut quality for thin metals
  • Sever cuts performance of 16mm of thicknesses of metal
  • 50 percent duty cycle dual voltage technology
  • Four-year factory warranty
  • Powerplasma with easy torch replacement
Cons
  • Does not perform as well with steel stainless steel

12. Hobart Airforce 40i Plasma Cutter

Good plasma cutter Capable of cutting conductive metals

Key Features

  • 240V power input plasma cutter
  • Excellent for light and heavy industrial uses
  • Weighs only 31 pounds
  • Setup is easy too
  • Powerful performance

The Airforce 40i Plasma Cutter is an excellent fit for someone that is looking for both lights a heavy industrial use. The Hobart Airforce 40i can handle sever cuts of 7/8 inches of steel, which is not bad for a portable cutter. It is considered a potent cutting machines that can be transported with excellent portability.

Comes with one of the best trigger systems on the market. Also, it can perform well on both thin and thick metals. However, it only operates under 240 volts of power, and is not as light as other models. It is a highly recommended plasma cutting tool among all top body shops because of its quality cuts.

Who said you have to acquire larger and bulkier cutters for your powerful applications. Even one that is smaller and lighter of this kind may still be of help to you. Though small and compact, this one is able to exude a whopping 40 amperes of power output. This output is sufficiently large to be able to yield everlasting impacts.

Pros
  • Powerful 7/8 cutting ability in a 50 percent duty cycle
  • Has efficient air consumption
  • Safety ergonomic trigger mechanism
  • Wind Tunnel Tech to prevent dust from damaging the machine
  • Works for both light and heavy cutting
Cons
  • Only operates under 240V
  • With 31 pounds it is not the lighter portable cutter

13. Miller Spectrum 625 X-treme Plasma Cutter

Miller electric plasma cutting system for clean cuts

Key Features

  • Miller Spectrum Model: 625 X-TREME
  • XT 40 Hand Held Torch 12ft
  • Heavy-Duty Quick Connect Work Clamp-20ft
  • X-case(TM) Power Cord 12ft
  • MVP 240/120V Adaptor

The miller electric company has created the most potent 40AMP portable cutter on the market with a cutting capability of 5/8 mild steel thickness. Also, the Miller Spectrum cutter offers a dual voltage connection with incredible Auto-Line technology.

Well known brand cutters that comes with outstanding LED indicators for faster workflow. Can’t go wrong with the model 625 X-treme plasma-cutter.

In order to cut through your metal carefully, you have to lay your hands on a plasma cutter that is appropriately designed and suited wholly for metal cutting. With its metal cutting design, this item is a good one to pick and deploy for the job. Its dimensions and overall stature also combine to make its work awesome.

Pros
  • Comes with a case for excellent protection
  • Very portable with only 21 pounds of weight
  • Flexible cables and LED indicators for ease of use
  • Pilot Arc Technology with this plasma-cutter
Cons
  • Connectors tend to be larger and heavier than the older 375 model
  • Not able to cut 1 inch thick metals or more

14. Amico Cut50 Plasma Cutting System

Amico Cut 50 Plasma Cutting System

Key Features

  • This cutting system is easy to fix and install
  • Lasts fair long during cutting sections
  • Does not fidget unnecessarily
  • Comes in a nice compact size
  • Accepts many accessories

This fantastic cutting machine if very portable and it is perfect for any DIY home repairing or cutting job. Also, it is not recommended for beginners due to some installation complications that requires experience.

If you are generally a do-it-yourselfer, we can never recommend a better cutter than this one. It is on the whole simpler and generally easier to deploy and handle. Then again it is devoid of those powerful and sophisticated parts and components that machines of its kind ordinarily possess. For this reason, it is overall simpler to make do with.

Additionally, If you are looking for a decent metal cutting ability with a significant percentage of energy savings, then consider the Amico CUT-50. It is on our top pick list for the versatility and we believe that this cutting machine could be one of the best cutting system for the money.

Pros
  • A compact handle that makes this unit very portable
  • Almost 50 percent of energy savings
  • New and improved cooling system for the Torch
  • Dual voltage for 110V and 220V
Cons
  • Some resistors might blow out with inadequate use of the cutting machine
  • Seem to be a little hard to set up, not recommended for beginners

15. AHP AlphaCut Plasma Cutter

Alpha Cut Plasma Cutting System

Key Features

  • Continuous Pilot Arc
  • 60 Amps of professional cutting power
  • Blow-back start technology
  • Pilot Arc Commercial class
  • 60% Duty cycle at 60 amps 110/220 voltage

The AHP plasma cutter has a recent 2016 model called AlphaCut 60 60Amp plasma cutter. This cutter has a dual voltage of 11oV and 220V. It has a great pilot arc which enables a user to cut through objects like rusted metals, painted metals and even expanded metals precisely.

Extremely versatile machine that can be used both commercially and for personal DIY projects. Known to produce clean cuts for mid-sized thickness metals. Also, overall this plasma cutter model produces high quality cuts, and allows you to switch from 110v to 220v almost instantly with the power adapter.

Is your search for the right cutter mainly dictated or informed by commercial use? Look up to no other cutter than this one. It does have the blow-back start technology that makes this possible. Adding to this is the ability to exude a whopping 60 amperes of output that in turn generates massive professional cutting power for you. All these make for the cutting of heavy-duty bulky materials too!

Pros
  • Has a dual voltage with a plug that has the ability to quickly switch from the 220V to the 110V and vice versa.
  • Can be used commercially, and if need be, personally
  • Has a built in air separator which enables clean cuts to be formed
Cons
  • The 110V is not as adequate as the 220V and can leave one feeling disappointed and frustrated while working with that input

Best Plasma Cutter Buying Guide

There are a variety of plasma cutters on the market with various features and cutting ability. Before you decide on which machine to purchase, check the specifications and the reviews for each device. Make a decision on which features and capabilities work best for your application and use. Take into account the price, power hookups, e.g., 120 or 240 Volt and amperage requirements, and how efficient they are compared to the consumables and cost of the consumables.

Some of the best plasma machines come with built-in air compressors to provide compressed air while others require external high capacity units. Also, these units can come equipped with dual voltage systems. Sometimes a super deal does not have the best plasma cutter features. For example, a Ramsond cut 50dx plasma cutter can be purchased for less than five hundred dollars.

What is a Plasma Cutter?

A plasma cutter is a piece of equipment generally used for the cutting of electrically conductive objects like aluminum, copper, brass or steel. Various industries use a plasma cutter for their activities. Examples of places that use plasma cutters are welding shops, industries, automotive industries, and even in metal scrapping and salvaging industries.

Plasma cutting over the years has become an excellent way of cutting any form of electrically conductive material. It is an exact method, it is faster than the other methods, and it is also cheaper when compared to the other methods. This research was conducted and reported by the body called Computer Numeric Control (CNC).

How a Plasma Cutter Works?

Plasma cutters are found to be useful in cutting sheet metal in angled shapes or curved shapes. Hand-held torches can cut up to 38 mm or 1.5 inches’ thick steel plate. These cutter machines controlled torches controlled by computers can cut through steel that is up to six inches thick.

A grounding clamp is attached to the metal piece to be cut to complete an electrical circuit. The plasma cutter generates super-heated electrically ionized gas, which completes the electrical circuit back through the grounding clamp. Some form of compressed gas is blown through a focused nozzle at high speed towards the work-piece. The gas can be oxygen, air, or inert gas.

An electrical arc forms within the gas, creating an electrically conductive channel of plasma which delivers sufficient heat to melt the metal being cut. The compressed gas blows the molten metal away in effect separating the metal or cutting through the work-piece.

What is plasma cutting?

Plasma cutting describes a process of cutting through materials that conduct electricity using an accelerated jet of hot gases or plasma. Steel, aluminum, brass, and copper are the typical materials cut using this process. However, anything that conducts electricity can, in theory, be cut using a plasma cutting process.

The process is used in hobby shops up to and including large scale industrial manufacturing and repair shops. Due to their high speed and precision, plasma cutters are used in fabrication shops, auto repair, construction, and even salvage operations.

How to determine the amount of power that you need?

Just like a truck, the more power you have, the faster you can go with a giant load. Two plasma cutters with the same number of amps, but different voltages deliver much different power levels. Amps times volts gives you the number of kilowatts it provides.

A 120-volt system with the same current as a 240-volt system delivers less power. Slower cutting in terms of inches per minute and smaller thickness may be an issue depending on if you are a hobbyist or a repair shop, for example.

What kind of metals can a plasma system cut?

Typically, plasma cutters can cut through steel, mild steel, stainless steel, brass, copper, and aluminum. Other materials can be cut as well as providing that they can conduct electricity. The power level of the best plasma cutter also determines how fast it can cut through the material and what is the max cut of the material. These systems are known for cutting metals quickly with high precision and are popular with fabrication shops and industrial construction projects.

Top 6 Things to Check Before Using a Plasma Cutter

Main consumable parts and components displayed

Plasma cutters are practical and efficient steel cutters. However, like most tools, they need to be handled with care, taking safety precautions seriously to prevent accidents. A adequately maintained cutter can also provide accurate, clean cuts without the need to make corrective cuts later on.

Factors such as air quality, the cutting thickness of the metal, voltage levels, power supplies, and proper grounding are essential. Consumables should also be reviewed and replaced before they cause poor results.

1. Air quality

The ideal cutting process develops gases and noxious fumes that can be harmful to humans. Also, avoid having flammable materials nearby. Always work in a well-ventilated area or use filtration systems to remove particulate and noxious gases.

2. Metal thickness

Verify the metal thickness across the cutting area and also the capacity of your plasma cutter. Best results can be attained with a consistent thickness of metal and appropriate power level for the metal thickness under consideration.

3. Input voltage

The input voltage and the amperage determine the overall power level in addition to the cutting ability in terms of thickness and speed of cut. Always confirm you have the right machine for the metal you are cutting.

4. Power source

The power source must have the voltage and amperage capability to power the plasma cutter. A 25-amp fuse on a 120 volt supply is not sufficient for a 40 amp – 240-volt plasma cutter.

5. Air pressure regulator

The air pressure regulator controls the pressure of the gas injected into the system for ideal cutting. Check with your manufacturers manual for the optimum setting for your plasma cutter. They tend to vary between machines.

6. Ground

Electrocution is one of the most significant risks to operators of plasma cutters. Proper grounding of the item to be cut, wearing rubber gloves and welding gloves, using a rubber mat to stand on and ensuring there is no moisture present is essential.

What are plasma cutter consumables?

Consumables in a plasma cutting machine are the materials that are slowly consumed when the device is being operated. If any of them are beginning to be worn down or begin malfunctioning, the plasma cutting process becomes slower, less precise, and the actual cut can start to become more extensive. You may not even be able to cut through the metal at all at some point. The main parts are covered in the next section.

What are the main consumable parts?

There are five different components to the consumable parts of a plasma cutting machine – the shield, retaining cap, the nozzle, the electrode, and the swirl ring.

Swirl Ring

The swirl ring causes the more cooling gas to swirl on the outside to cool the nozzle. The gas swirls around the electrode, around the arc, down the nozzle and out through the Torch.

Electrode

The electrode is a slender piece of copper or silver and may contain hafnium or tungsten. The electrode carries the electrical current from the Torch to the plate.

Nozzle

The nozzle focuses the plasma arc. Wide nozzles are used for gouging, while narrow nozzles are used for more delicate work for detailed shaping and cutting.

Plasma Cutter Retaining Cap

The retaining cap in a plasma cutting machine is to cover and secure the other consumables together in position for efficient cutting.

Shield Cap

The shield protects the consumables from the sparks and molten metal associated with the cutting process, therefore extending their life cycle.

How to improve consumables life?

Consumable life cycles depend on cutting speed, distance held from the piece being cut and whether the right consumables are being used for the correct type of cut. Slow cutting means higher temperatures which can use up the consumables more quickly. Worn consumables can reduce the life cycle more quickly.

How to protect yourself while using plasma cutters (Welding safety)?

Plasma cutting machines use high voltage and high current electricity to cut thick metallic material. Improper grounding presents an electrocution risk. Sparks and molten metal can ignite clothing and flammable liquids. The sparks and high-intensity light can damage the eyes as well. Operators should wear protective eyewear, headgear, footgear, and protective clothing. The work area should be ventilated and free of flammable liquids.

Welding Helmet

Operators should wear protective eyewear and also face shields or helmets to protect the face from sparks and molten metal, which can severely burn your skin.

Flame Resistant Apron

Flame resistant aprons and unique clothing should be worn to protect your body and clothing from burns from hot metal. Leather, heavy wool or heavy denim seems to work well.

Leather Welding Boot

Hot metal can quickly burn through regular shoes. Operators should wear heavy leather high topped boots to protect their feet and ankles from flying sparks and metal.

Welding Gloves

Your hands are probably the closest appendage to the actual cutting process. They are exposed to sparks and hot metal. Wear heavy gloves to protect them.

Extra Welding Jacket

Continuous high power plasma cutting generates a great deal of heat, sparks, and molten metal. Many operators wear extra welding jackets to protect there clothing and bodies from burns.

Welding Carts

If you are not going to be using the plasma machine on a consistent base, then buying a welding cart can help you save time. There are a few welding carts that can help you safely keep your machine after purchase, and it can also help you keep your garage clean.

Plasma Cutting Duty Cycles Explained

An important consideration when purchasing a plasma cutting machine is the duty cycle. A machine with a 30% duty cycle means it can be used for three minutes out of every 10 minutes. A machine with a 50% duty cycle means you can use it for 5 minutes out of every ten minutes without damaging the device or its components.

The duty cycle is based on standards such as power supply temperature, cutting at the maximum current level and the components inside reaching the maximum operating temperature. Most plasma cutters come with sensors that can shut down the cutter when these standards are met. A cooling system may extend the duty cycle.

How does ambient air temperature affect the duty cycle?

Duty cycle standards are based on standard temperatures set by the manufacturer. Some plasma cutters use 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If your operating ambient temperature is lower, internal components can take longer to reach their duty cycle levels. Similarly, operating plasma cutters at higher ambient temperatures can lower the time the machine can be used.

What happens if you exceed the duty cycle in a system?

In most cases, nothing, because the plasma machine’s internal sensors can report overheating and automatically shut the machine off. If for some reason the sensors are bypassed, it can continue working for a short while and then overheat and possibly catch fire.

Advantages of Using a Plasma Cutter

Plasma cutting machines have several advantages over those or regular acetylene torches. Faster cutting, wide cutting capability, can cut all electrically conductive metals, works well-cutting sheet materials, excellent cutting performance on small and medium thickness steel, relatively low consumable expense, and a capability of cutting high-quality edges.

They are very portable as long as there is a compatible electrical connection. One person can move some of the smaller machines.

Plasma cut quality and cutting performance

Cut quality

Plasma cutters cut with minimum slag and cuts with a narrow kerf. Operators can cut many different shapes and angles easily. An angle grinder is not required once you use a good plasma cutter.

Cutting speed

Manufacturers claim that plasma cutters can complete cuts in one-fourth of the time of many other cutting tools. Also, there is minimal metal distortion.

Portability

Plasma cutters are now produced in lightweight, portable designs suitable for one person to quickly move these machines to a variety of work sites.

Precise cutting

Plasma cutters offer precise cutting results producing a minimum amount of slag. They are ideal for cutting shapes and angles.

What is Pilot Arc Technology?

Late-model plasma cutters are now available with an innovation called “pilot arc.” This design reduces electrical interference with electronics situated nearby and they provide an increased stable arc while cutting. Consumables also last longer, which reduces the operating cost.

At present, they are more expensive to purchase, which offsets the savings in consumables. Machines equipped with pilot arc are ideal for construction sites with nearby buildings operating computers and other electronic devices.

Welding shops would not usually need to be concerned about interfering with electronics. However, using portable units on construction sites within an existing building may interfere with customer electronics. A pilot arc plasma cutter would be preferable in this situation.

Benefits of Using a Plasma System with Inverter Technology

One of the significant advantages of inverter plasma cutter technology vs. transformer-based cutters is weight. For example, a 50 amp inverter machine might weigh 30 to 40 pounds.

A transformer-based machine could weigh as much as 140 to 200 pounds making it more challenging to move to various construction sites. Construction sites may also require a combination welder generator until grid power is available.

Power use and potential savings of inverters vs. transformer-based machines is minimal and depends on usage. Higher usage would tend to favor inverter-based devices.

Inverter technology cycle primary power on and off many thousands of times per second, creating its own high-frequency AC power for the transformer. If the source power has irregularities in terms of frequency, spikes and dips in voltage, the high-speed cycling of the inverter compensate for producing the smooth power output.

Tips for Using a Plasma Cutter

  • Safety Gear – Wear a welding helmet, proper glasses, high-quality aprons, and high topped leather boots.
  • Safe Environment – Make sure the area is well ventilated and remove all flammable material from the area.
  • Correctly assemble the Torch – They should be clean and fit snugly, consumables should be kept clean on a cloth to avoid contamination from material on the shop bench.
  • Replace consumables regularly before they wear out and begin lowering the quality of your work.
  • Clean the Torch regularly.
  • Avoid torch collisions and do not use the Torch as a hammer.
  • Proper coolant and gas flow ensures the consumables are adequately cooled and can last longer. Excess gas pressure can cause it to be challenging to start. Check the flows every day before using.
  • Maintain correct standoff from the metal to ensure the arc can flow smoothly. The incorrect standoff can damage the ideal cutting tool or the metal you are cutting. All best cutters need compressed air and ground to perform at its best.
Here is a great informative video from Eastwood Company about plasma cutting tips and tricks:

Final Verdict For Plasma Cutters

Hope you have enjoyed our complete buyers guide and reviews on the best plasma cutters on the market today. You can check price on amazon by following our links above if you need more information. We suggest purchasing a good plasma cutter with a built in air compressor that can fit your budget options.

If you want to check latest price and availability, you can follow any of our previous links. To learn more about the difference between a stick welder, tig welder (tig welding), and MIG welders (MIG weld) click on this source link. Don’t forget to click for price on any of our previous links, and also check our post on portable jump starters.

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