Best Plasma Cutters – Top 10 Reviews and Buying Guide in 2019

Once you start using a plasma cutter to cut metal, there is no going back. Plasma cutting is superior to alternatives such as oxy-fuel cutting.

If you are a DIY hobbyist, you likely often have to cut pieces of metal. With plasma cutting, you can improve your productivity and reduce the cost of cutting. You cut faster since there is no need for a pre-heat cycle.

Plasma cutters are able to cut through any metal that conducts electricity. The operation of the best ones is described as “like cutting through butter”.

If you are looking for a new plasma cutter, we have prepared reviews of the ten best plasma cutters in the markets. Before we give you the reviews, here is a comparison table of the ten plasma cutters. You can click on the links to check out how much each costs.

Plasma Cutter ModelCheck on Amazon
Hypertherm 088079 Powermax30 XPcheck price here
Hobart 500564 Airforce 12 Cicheck price here
HeroCut CUT55check price here
Lotos LTP5000Dcheck price here
Everlast PowerPlasma 50Scheck price here
Ramsond CUT 50DXcheck price here
Goplus CUT-50check price here
Hyperikon HyperCut50-BDPcheck price here
Zeny CUT-50check price here
Mophorn CUT-40Zcheck price here

Best Plasma Cutters

1. Hypertherm 088079 Powermax30 XP Plasma Cutter – Convenience and Ease of Use

Hypertherm 088079 Powermax30 XP Plasma CutterThe Hypertherm 088079 is a lightweight, portable machine that won’t take up too much of your workspace or storage space. It has dual voltage and comes with plug adapters, so you can plug it into 110 V or 240 V input power. Furthermore, it is an easy to use machine.

Features                                                                                                       

-Auto-voltage automatically adapts to the 110 V and 240 V input power

-Plug adapters included

-Hard carry case, gloves, eye shields, standard & fine consumables included

-Weighs 9 kg

-Carry strap and carry case

-Duramax LT torch designed to withstand impact and heat

-One-knob interface

If you are looking for something lightweight and portable, this Hypertherm offer exactly that. That means you will easily find storage space for it, and it won’t take up too much working space in your workshop.

Furthermore, you can carry it with more ease when you are moving from one project to another or one work space to another. At 9.8 kg, it is a small, portable package, but which delivers high performance. It features a carry case and carry strap to further enhance its portability.

It has a two-in-one design that enables it to cut both thick and thin metals. The system provides high-power capability which makes thick metal cutting of up to 16 mm (5/8 inches) possible. It also has fine cut consumables which ensure detailed, thin metal cutting.

Furthermore, it features accessories that ensure quick, easy cutting. The accessories include shaded glasses, custom carry case, cutting gloves, and adapter plugs for both 120 V and 240 V circuits.

The system contains all the consumables required to operate a Powermax30 AIR plasma system. It also features a convenient storage case so that you can better organize and maintain the consumables. The consumables include nozzles, electrodes, shield, swirl ring, and retaining cap.

Plasma cutting is a potentially dangerous undertaking. It is important that you take all the necessary safety precautions. To keep you comfortable and safe, this Hypertherm comes with personal protective equipment – shaded glasses and cutting gloves.

It features a Duramax LT torch which is designed for durability: built to withstand impact and heat.

The rugged, 15-inch torch lead strain reliefs on both ends ensure protection in demanding environments.

The Hypertherm can cut a variety of metals, including stainless steel, mild steel, and aluminum. It can cut them even if they are rusted or painted.

This machine is not difficult to figure out. The one-knob interface makes it very easy to operate. Furthermore, the machine gives an excellent cut, while requiring less edge preparation.

The plasma cutter has auto-voltage technology and you can plug it into 120 V or 240 V power. Plug adapters are included.

It operates using compressed air. No explosive or expensive gases are required.

Pros

-Small, portable

-Easy to use

-Protective equipment

-Durable torch

-Dual voltage

-Storage case for consumables

 

View price on Amazon

 

2. Hobart 500564 Airforce 12 Ci Plasma Cutter – With Built-in Air Compressor

Hobart 500564 Airforce 12 Ci Plasma CutterOnce you purchase the Hobart 500564, you will not need to make any extra purchase, as the unit comes with everything you need. It has a built-in air compressor, so you won’t have to purchase one separately.

Features

-Built-in air compressor

-Faster than oxy-fuel cut

-No gas pressure settings for flame tuning required

-Smaller heat-affected zone

Using the Hobart 500564 cuts metals faster than using oxy-fuel. Oxy-fuel cutting, also known as flame cutting, involves a torch with a fuel gas (typically acetylene) which is used to preheat the metal.  Plasma cutting is a powerful process which is great for high speed cutting. Plasma cutting is twice (or more) as fast as oxy-fuel cutting.

Plasma cutting is useful for cutting steel plates, though the speed is lower when working on heavy steel profiles. While this fast cutting speed is highly beneficial, it has its downside: the immense power generated by the process imposes a high amount of pressure on consumables (nozzles) and shop floor safety. As a result, though faster than oxy-fuel cutting, plasma cutting has higher operational costs.

Plasma cutting entails creation of an electrical channel of superheated, electrically ionized gas (known as plasma) from the plasma cutter, through the work piece, forming a complete electrical circuit back to the cutter through a grounding clamp.  This feat is enabled by compressed air which is expelled through a focused nozzle at high speed toward the metal you are cutting. The Hobart 500564 features a built-in air compressor.

Since this Hobart has a built-in air compressor, you will not have to make an extra purchase. Once you buy the Hobart, you have everything you need. While having an air compressor and plasma cutter in the same unit increases the cost price, it is worth it because of the convenience. Cutting duration is determined by how much air the unit is able to provide.

The Hobart 500564 provides a more precise cut, with thinner kerf, and less slag to clean up. The kerf is the width of the material removed when cutting. Slag is the accumulation of hardened metal around the perimeter of the cut. Too much slag leads to costly downtime as you have to do post-cut cleanup.

This cutter has a smaller heat-affected zone, hence there is less warping. Furthermore: no gas pressure settings for flame tuning required.

Pros

-Convenient buy since has built-in air compressor

-Fast cutting

-Thinner kerf

-Less slag to clean up

 

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3. HeroCut CUT55 Plasma Cutter – Compatible with CNC for Mechanized Cutting

The HeroCut CUT55 Plasma CutterHeroCut CUT55 features a non-touch, non-HF pilot arc. This ensures a stable cutting arc, longer consumable life, and a reduction in interference with electronics while you are cutting. It has a CNC power source and you can use it on a CNC table to make precise, mechanized cuts with a level of accuracy you wouldn’t manage when operating the machine by hand.

Features

-Non-HF and non-touch pilot arc

-IGBT inverter

-2T/4T

-Air pressure gauge

-Fan-cooled

-Input voltage : 110/220 V

-Current range : 20A – 50A

-CNC power source, compatible with CNC table

The HeroCut Cut55 is equipped with a non-HF, non-touch pilot arc. HF stands for “high frequence. HF plasma cutters ignite their pilot arc using a high frequency. In HF machines, the nozzle and the electrode are in a fixed position. The HF arc jumps the gap, air expelling the arc from the nozzle.

Pilot arc plasma cutters, such as the CUT55, use contact start and a have a moving electrode inside the torch (the electrode is not fixed, is the case with HF machines). This technology is more recent in the plasma cutting field than HF. Pilot arc plasma cutters help reduce interference with electronics while cutting. They also provide a stable cutting arc.

Furthermore, they ensure a longer consumable life since they do not touch the metal when starting the arc. Pilot arc plasma cutters are more cost effective in operation. They are non-touch, which means they can start the arc without touching the metal you are working on. As a result, they are customer-friendly and are in wide usage.

The HeroCut CUT55 also features a CNC power source and is compatible with CNC table. CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control. A CNC plasma cutter is one whose motion is directed by a computer based on numerical codes in a program.

Handheld plasma cutting, cannot achieve the same kind of part accuracy or edge quality for most metal fabrication as CNC plasma cutting. Since CNC cutting is mechanized, you can achieve precise cuts.

It has an air pressure gauge, which enables you to adjust air pressure when you want to cut different metals.

The machine can cut a thickness of up to ¾ inches at 75 psi in good performance. When needed for a short run, the maximum cutting thickness can reach 1 inch.

The HeroCut CUT55 features advanced IGBT inverter technology. IGBT stands for Insulated Gate BipolarTransistor. IGBT technology is better than MOSFET (Metal Oxide Semi-conductor Field Effect Transistor). MOSFETs are not ideal for heavy-duty industrial use as they cannot handle extreme heat and voltage pressure. IGBT machines are tougher and better.

It is a fan-cooled machine, which ensures durability and better performance.

Pros

-Can use with CNC table

-Fan-cooled, for durability and better performance

-Has IGBT inverter, better than MOSFET

-Can adjust air pressure to cut a different metal

-Reduced interference with electronics while cutting

 

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4. Lotos LTP5000D Plasma Cutter – Best for HOME DIY Projects

Lotos LTP5000D Plasma Cutter The LOTOS LTP5000D is best for home DIY jobs and light-duty work. It uses MOSFET transistors rather than the more modern IGBT technology. MOSFET technology is not suited for heavy-duty or industrial use.

Features

-Non-touch pilot arc

-Handle

-Uses non-hazardous compressed air

-Setup within 1 minute

-Papst advancing cooling system

-Dual voltage input: 110/120 V and 220/240 V

-Includes plasma cutting torch, power supply, ground clamp, air filter regulatory consumables, pre-installed NPT ¼-inch industry type D plug, and instruction manual

The Lotos LTP5000D is a compact machine which comes with a handle to ensure portability.  It uses non-hazardous compressed air to cut metals like alloy steel, stainless steel, mild steel, and aluminum.

It features pilot arc technology which enables you to cut metal without touching the tip to the metal.  Pilot arcs also provide a more stable cutting arc. Furthermore, not touching the metal when starting the arc leads to longer consumable life. They also help reduce interference with electronics.

Its pilot arc feature enables continuous cutting on dirty metal or rough surfaces. It is able to efficiently cut through rusty surfaces, painted surfaces, while producing minimal slag.

It can deliver a ½-inch clean cut, maximum rated clean cut thickness of ½ inch, and maximum severance thickness of ¾ inch.

The machine has dual voltage capability, and can run directly on 110 V with 50/60 Hz or 220 V with 50/60 Hz. You will need a pigtail to make this happen – the pigtail is sold separately.

The LTP5000D features state-of-the-art MOSFET transistors which provide high power output to enable thick metal cutting and steady output for thin metal cutting. IGBT technology is more modern than MOSFTET technology and better, particularly for heavy-duty or industrial use. MOSFET machines are best suited for use by hobbyists.

This machine is very fast to setup. It features a pre-installed NBT ¼-inch industry type D plug and air regulator which enable quick connection with air compressor. This can all be done within one minute

It also features a Papst advanced cooling system that gives it a stable, durable high performance.

Pros

-Cut through rough, rusty surfaces, with minimal slag

-Longer consumable life

-Safe: uses non-hazardous, compressed air

-Fast setup

-Cooling system ensures stable, durable, high performance

Cons

-Uses MOSFET transistors, so not ideal for heavy-duty use

 

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5. Everlast PowerPlasma 50S Plasma Cutter – With Upgraded IPT-60 Torch

Everlast PowerPlasma 50S Plasma CutterThe Everlast PowerPlasma 50S is an IGBT plasma cutter, a more modern technology than MOSFET. Furthermore, it features an upgraded version of the Italian-designed IPT 60 torch with benefits such as extended consumable life.

Features

-Upgraded IPT-60 torch

-50 amps

-Blow-back start technology

-Pilot arc

-110/220 V dual voltage

-CNC port enables light-gauge CNC use

-Tip saver option

-Adjustable post flow timer of up to 60 seconds

The Everlast PowerPlasma 50S is an IGBT plasma cutter. IGBT technology was introduced in the 1980s, and is today the transistor technology of choice in plasma cutters and welding applications. IGBT stands for Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor.

IGBT machines are more ideal for professional use than MOSFET machines, which are good enough for DIY projects but cannot handle the extreme heat and voltage pressure of heavy-duty welding or cutting. MOSFET stands for Metal Oxide Semi-conductor Field Effect Transistor. IGBT technology has higher heat tolerances and voltage capacities than MOSFET.

It has 50 amps of cutting power, which is a pretty good amount of current. It features blow-back start technology, a pilot arc, and a 110/220 V dual voltage.

It also has adjustable post flow timer of up to 60 seconds which prolongs the life of the torch and consumables. The torch is a new, upgraded, Italian-designed IPT-60, an improvement over the older series of torches. The new torch offers benefits like improved consumable life and a broader range of consumables. A new tip saver function also helps reduce pilot arc time and prolong consumable life.

The PowerPlasma 50S comes with a CNC port, enabling light-gauge CNC use. That means it can be operated automatically using a computer. CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control.  CNC-operated cutting is far more precise than hand-operated cutting. While your hand is liable to shaking, especially if you are not skilled and experienced, mechanized cutting has no such flaws and executes the program’s instructions exactly, making for accurate cuts.

The machine can regularly cut over ½ inch and severe nearly 1-inch thick steel. It is an ideal, powerful tool for a small fab shop or for a DIY hobbyist. It is small in size and portable, saving space in your work area or service truck.

Pros

-Extended consumable and torchlife

-CNC use (light-gauge)

-Portable

-Small and space-saving

 

View price on Amazon

 

6. Ramsond CUT 50DX Plasma Cutter – Compact and Lightweight

Ramsond CUT 50DX Plasma CutterThe Ramsond CUT 50DX is a fourth generation model. It features upgrades in its German-made cooling system, fully insulated foldable handle, and internal redesign to incorporate high frequency inverter technology.

Features

-Automatic dual voltage: 110/220 V

-Automatic dual frequency: 50/60 Hz

-50 amp

-Integrated digital display of current and pressure gauge

-Maximum severance thickness: 1-inch, maximum cut thickness: 3/4 inch

-Fully insulated foldable handle

-60% duty cycle

This is a fourth generation Ramsond CUT 50DX with 50 amps of cutting power. It operates under dual voltage (110 V and 220 V) with a dual frequency of 50 and 60 Hz. In welding, power is determined by amperage. However, in plasma cutting, both volts and amps are important. We determine the cutting rate of a machine by multiplying volts with amps: that gives watts.

This particular model is evolved from the previous CUT50. It contains digital amp display and integrated pressure gauge in the front panel. Furthermore, this upgraded model features a fully insulated foldable handle for portability. This model has an upgraded German-made cooling system.

The model has undergone internal redesign to incorporate high frequency inverter technology which uses Toshiba-made V-MOSFETs and PWM (Pulse Width Modulation), a combination which provides a more constant, concentrated, and precise current to the work piece. As a result, it makes a cleaner, more uniform cut.

Due to these improvements, this Ramsond has a significant reduction in size and weight. This makes it a space-saving machine, so it won’t take too much of your working space or storage space.  It also enhances the machine’s portability.

The CUT 50DX is able to produce clean cuts on a variety of metals: carbon steel, alloy steel, stainless steel, brass, copper, aluminum plate, and other conductive materials.  It does this with minimal heat input and without distorting the metal.

The model is designed for easy use and DIY projects. It is also able to meet the demands of professional operators.

Pros

-Portable

-Space-saving

-Minimal heat input

-Ease of use

-Cleaner cut

 

View price on Amazon

 

7. Goplus CUT-50 Plasma Cutter – Lightweight and Portable

Goplus CUT-50 Plasma CutterThe Goplus CUT-50 operates using inverter technology. As a result, it has a small main transformer, resulting in overall reduction in weight and size of the plasma cutter. That makes it lightweight, portable, and space-saving.

Features

-Inverter technology

-Dual voltage: 110 V and 220 V

-Power: 60 Hz

-Portable handle

-Special function to supply gas ahead and turn off gas delayed

-Application environment: temp of -10 to 40 degrees, with 80% max humidity

-Pressure of air compressor: 4 – 5 kg, 8.8 – 11 lbs

The Goplus CUT-50 features inverter technology. Inverter plasma cutters have higher switching frequencies than analog plasma cutters. The higher switching frequencies enable them to have smaller transformers and this leads to a reduced overall size and weight. That makes inverter plasma cutters more portable and space-saving.

In addition to reducing the dimensions of the main transformer, using inverter technology helps increase efficiency by 30%.

It has dual voltage, enabling it to operate at 110 V or 220 V, and a power of 60 Hz.

It features a portable handle which, coupled by the light weight enabled by use of inverter technology, makes the machine easier to move around with.

This plasma cutter has a special function: the ability to supply gas ahead and turn off gas delayed.

The Goplus CUT-50 is operable in outside temperatures of between -10 degrees and 40 degrees, at a maximum humidity of up to 80%. It can cut alloy steel, stainless steel, copper, mild steel, and so forth.

It is not a pilot arc machine, so tip contact is necessary to start the arc.

Pros

-Space saving

-Portable

-Increased efficiency thanks to inverter technology

Dual voltage

 

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8. Hyperikon HyperCut50-BDP Plasma Cutter – Has Built-in Over-Heat Protection

Hyperikon HyperCut50-BDP Plasma CutterThe Hyperikon HyperCut50-BDP is a plasma cutter that uses IGBT inverter technology and therefore has a smaller transformer, enabling it to be smaller and more lightweight in overall size. It has built-in protection against overheating. However, it does not come with a built-in air compressor and you will have to buy the compressor separately.

Features

– IGBT inverter technology

-Dual voltage: 120/240 V

-10-45A adjustable output power

-60% duty cycle

-Built-in over-heat protection

-Air regulator controls air pressure at 75 psi

-A-60 cutting torch with pilot arc and 13-feet cable

-With earth clamp, torch consumables, power cable, and air hose

The Hyperikon HyperCut50-BDP features an IGBT inverter. Inverter technology is useful as it enables use of smaller transformers (analogue plasma cutters have heavy mains-frequency transformer). Thanks to the smaller transformer, the entire plasma cutter will have a smaller size and weight less. This makes it portable and also provides space-saving convenience in your workspace or in your storage area.

Inverters may use MOSFET transistors or the more modern IGBT transistors. This Hyperikon has an IGBT inverter. IGBT plasma cutters are better than MOSFET machines since they are more capable of handling heavy-duty use, generally offering higher heat tolerances and voltage capacities.

It features dual voltage (120/240), and is designed to produce 10 – 45A adjustable output power with a 60% duty cycle. Duty cycle is the amount of time the machine will work during a given time period: in the case of plasma cutters, ten minutes.

60% duty cycle means that the HyperCut50-BDP operates for 6 minutes of every 10 minutes and must take the other 4 to cool down. Understanding and following a machine’s duty cycle limitations protects it from overheating.

This Hyperikon comes with built-in over-heat protection and insulation. As a result, it enables a safer operation and provides higher voltage capacity and heat tolerance. It also features an air regulator that has control of the air pressure at 75 psi. However, it does not come with an air compressor, and you will have to purchase that separately.

It has an AG-60 cutting torch, pilot arc, and 13-feet cable. In addition, it has torch consumables and features accessories such as air hose, power cable, and earth clamp.

It is able to cut mild steel and aluminum to a thickness of up to 16 mm. If you want to achieve smoother cutting and reduce dross buildup, you adjust the amperage and cutting speed as befits the particular piece you are working on.

Pros

-Space-saving

-Safe from overheating

-Dual voltage

-Can adjust amperage and cutting speed to suit the work piece

Cons

-Does not have a built-in air compressor

View price on Amazon

 

9. Zeny CUT-50 – Best on a Budget

Zeny CUT-50The Zeny Cut-50 is not a name brand. Some of its parts are cheaply made. However, the unit itself is well-built and works well. Examples of cheaply made parts are the air regulator and fitting.

Features

-Inverter technology

-Dual voltage: 110/220 V

-60 Hz

-Handle

-Net weight: 22.05 lb

-Duty Cycle: 60%

The Zeny CUT-50 is an efficient and energy-saving plasma cutter thanks to using inverter technology. While analogue plasma cutters require over 2 kilowatts and have a heavy mains frequency transformer, inverter plasma cutters have higher switching frequencies which allow them to have smaller transformers. This results in an overall reduction in size and weight, which makes them more portable and space-saving than the analogue machines.

Use of inverter technology in the Zeny CUT-50 not only reduces the weight and dimensions of the transformer, but also saves energy by 50% and increases efficiency by 30%.

Furthermore, the Zeny CUT-50 features an improved cooling method for the cutting torch. As a result, the cutting consumables endure longer.

It has dual voltage capability, operating at 110 V or 220 V with a power of 60 Hz. The Zeny CUT-50 also has the function of supplying gas ahead and turning off delayed gas.

It features a handle for portability. Its net weight is 22.05 pounds. You can travel or move around with it easily. It is ideal for home DOY projects and general repair work in home garages or workshops. It has a 60% duty cycle, which means it should operate for 6 minutes and take 4 to cool down so as not to overheat.

 Pros

-Efficient

-Energy-saving

-Lightweight and portable

-Enduring consumables

-Compact design

-Improved cooling design

Cons

-Some of the parts are cheaply made

 

View price on Amazon

 

10. Mophorn CUT-40Z Plasma Cutter – Best Under $500

Mophorn CUT-40Z Plasma CutterThe Mophorn CUT-40Z is a good 40 amp unit which is ideal for anyone looking for a small, lightweight, affordable plasma cutter

Features

-Built-in compressor

-Maximum cutting capacity: 12 mm thickness

-Voltage: 220 V

-Max 40 amp input current

-Adjustable output current with LED display

-Inverter technology

-Protection against over-heat, over-pressure; also IP21 level protection

The Mophorn CUT-40Z features a built-in air compressor, which means you won’t have to purchase a separate compressor. You can start using right after taking it out of the box. Furthermore, having a built-in compressor makes it more convenient and easier to use for daily work.

It has a cutting capacity of a maximum 12 mm (1/2 inch) thickness. It is a highly efficient plasma cutter with a maximum 40 amp input current and adjustable output current with LED display. It uses inverter technology.

It has safety protection against hazards such as over-heating and excess pressure. It has a wind cooling heat dissipation system.

Applications include ducting work, automotive, repair & maintenance site work, and metal processing. It cuts stainless steel, mild steel, alloy steel, carbon steel, aluminum, and so forth.

Pros

-Won’t have to buy separate air compressor

-Output current is adjustable and featured on LED display

-Safe to use, with protection against overheating and over-pressure

Cons

-Manual is not very helpful

 

View price on Amazon

 

Plasma Cutters Buying Guide: Factors to Consider When Shopping for a Plasma Cutter

  1. Input power

Ensure that the amperage ratings of the plasma cutter you are buying can be met by the electrical outlet in your workshop or garage.

  1. Cutting Speed

It’s important to know the cutting speeds the plasma cutter can manage for metals of varying thicknesses. This will help you determine the rate of production the machine can deliver.

  1. Duty Cycle

This is a percentage figure which explains how long a machine operates before requiring a break to cool down. It is calculated in durations of 10 minutes. For instance, 40% duty cycle means the machine operates for 4 minutes and cools down for takes a 6-minute break. A higher duty cycle is preferable, especially if you are using a mechanized plasma cutter not hand-held.

  1. Contact Start vs High Frequency Start

There are two ways to initiate the pilot arc: contact or high-frequency start. If you are using the plasma cutter near an electronic device such as a TV, the HF start technology will cause interferences. Contact start plasma cutters do not cause any interferences.

Furthermore, contact start technology provides a visible pilot arc, enabling you to position the torch more accurately.

  1. Weight and Size

Weight and size matter if portability is an important factor for you, for instance if you often travel back and forth with tools. DIY hobbyists and those working on a small-scale are more likely to prioritize portability.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we have reviewed ten different machines based on varying parameters. Some are more expensive than others to ensure all budget levels are catered for. Some are compatible with CNC tables while others aren’t. Some have built-in compressors while others don’t. Pick the one you like based on your preferences, requirements, and constraints.

Which will it be?