Plasma cutters are better than the best when for cutting metal. If you have a small operation or do DIY projects, here are plasma cutters you can buy at under $1000.
For anyone who works with metals and often has to cut metal, plasma cutters are no stranger. That is because plasma cutters are simply the best for the task of cutting metal. They cut electrically conductive materials using an accelerated jet of hot plasma.
Due to their value in the market, plasma cutters are not cheap. You still need to get one, though. With that in mind, we prepared reviews of what we believe are the five best plasma cutters under $1000.
|Plasma Cutter||Check on Amazon|
|PrimeWeld CT-520D||check price here|
|Ramsond Cut50D||check price here|
|Everlast PowerPlasma 50S||check price here|
|VIVOHOME CUT50D||check price here|
|Hobart Airforce 500534 250 Ci||check price here|
Best Plasma Cutter under $1000 Reviews
1. PrimeWeld CT-520D Plasma Cutter – Combines Welding and Plasma Cutting Functions
The PrimeWeld CT-52D is not just a plasma cutter. In fact, it features a combination of the functions of a plasma cutter with TIG/stick and arc welding functions. It’s like having both a plasma cutter and a welder in one package.
With its 50 A plasma cutting function, it can cut metals up to ½ inches. On the other hand, as a welding machine, it can switch between DC stick welder and DC TIG stick welder with quick ease.
Stick welding is easy to learn and therefore more appropriate for beginners and weekend warriors. TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding is a more difficult process, but it enables you to achieve highly precise and clean welds.
TIG welding is the method of choice for artists doing intricate decorations, sophisticated structures, and any other precision workpieces – for instance, motorcycles and racing cars.
Duty cycle is how long a machine operates within a given period. Plasma cutters’ duty cycle is measured in 10-minute durations and expressed in percentage. The CT-520D has a 60% duty cycle, which means it operates for 6 minutes and rests to cool down during the next 4 minutes.
It is a portable machine, with a hand-carrying weight of 32 pounds.
-Combines welding and plasma cutting functions
-Has stick welding function – good for beginners
-Has TIG welding function – good for complex, precise work
-85% power efficiency
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2. Ramsond Cut50D Plasma Cutter – Features Inverter Technology
This Ramsond Cut50D has a dual voltage and dual frequency: 110/220 V at 50/60 Hz. It is a 50 amp plasma cutter. It features inverter technology. Inverters offer portability, weight, and size advantages. Furthermore, having an inverter improves the machines reliability by overcoming primary power fluctuations.
Like the PrimeWeld, it has a 60% duty cycle. This means that for every 10 minutes, 6 will be spend working and 4 will be spent in downtime. The Ramsond Cut50D uses an upgraded German-made cooling system.
The Cut50D is a 4th generation model in the Ramsond line of plasma cutters. It is an evolution and improvement on the previous Cut50. It has a digital amp display, an integrated pressure gauge in the front panel, and a fully insulated foldable handle.
The internal design of the machine enables it to incorporate the latest high frequency technology using V-MOSFETs and PWM (pulse width modulation). This combination helps provide a constant, concentrated, precise current to the cutting surface. As a result, you are able to make a cleaner cut.
Compared to previous models, the Ramsond Cut50D is a smaller and lighter plasma cutting machine. It is also more portable.
-Upgraded cooling system
-Insulated, foldable handle
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3. Everlast PowerPlasma 50S Plasma Cutter – Has CNC Port for Automated Cutting
This Everlast PowerPlasma 50S is a redesigned model featuring improvements such as an upgraded IPT-60 torch. It produces 50 amps of professional cutting power.
It has blow-back start technology and pilot arc. The pilot arc has several benefits, for instance a more stable cutting arc and reduction of interference with electronics as you cut. Furthermore, a pilot arc helps extend consumable life because they do not strike the metal when starting the arc. Pilot arc plasma arc cutters are cost-effective in the long run.
It has a CNC port which allows light gauge CNC use. That stands for Computer Numerical Control. It is when you use a computer program to operate the plasma cutter. For that, you need a CNC table. CNC-operated plasma cutters make precise cuts – far more precise than when you operate by hand.
Finally, it has an adjustable post flow timer of up to one minute (60 seconds) which prolongs consumable and torch life.
-Stable cutting arc
-Extended consumable life
-Light gauge CNC use
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4. VIVOHOME CUT50D Plasma Cutter – State of the Art Inverter Technology
The CUT50D features state of the art inverter technology. This translates into size, weight, and portability advantages. Inverter technology helps overcome primary power fluctuations and that improves the reliability of the plasma cutter.
It has 50/60 Hz frequency which is inverted to a high frequency of (more than 100 KHz by V-MOSFET technology. This is followed by step-down voltage and rectification current.
The inverter power supply produces powerful DC welding currents using PWM (pulse-width-modulation).
The inverter enables the dimension and weight of the main transformer to reduce substantially. This increases efficiency by 30%. It also reduces the overall size and weight of the plasma cutter.
This plasma cutter features a non-touch arc which can cut metal plates as thick as 8 mm (0.314 inches). Pilot arcs help minimize interference with electronics during the cutting process and prolong consumable life. The element’s service is extended because the element does not directly touch the plate and that means the cooling process goes faster.
-Minimal interference with electronics during cutting
-Prolonged consumable life
-Instructions are not clear enough
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5. Hobart Airforce 500534 250 Ci Plasma Cutter – Equipped with Built-in Air Compressors
The Airforce 250 Ci is a lightweight plasma cutter that comes with a built-in air compressor. The light weight is as a result of the inverter. Inverter-based plasma cutters are able to create their own operating frequency. As a result, engineers can use a smaller transformer and inductor, which results in an overall lighter plasma cutter – this particular one weighs 27 pounds.
Since it has a built-in compressor, you won’t have to undertake an extra purchase. The plasma cutter is powered by 120 V 20 amp circuit and is able to run on standard household power.
Post-flow air cooling enables the torch and tip to cool down after cutting. This helps extend the life of replaceable tip and electrode.
LED lights let you know the system status as pertains temperature, power, and torch readiness. This helps eliminate unnecessary downtime and you can start using it again as soon as it is ready.
To make transport easier and more convenient, the machine comes with a cable management strap. This strap secures the power cord, work cable, and torch.
The machine is easy to set up and use. The skill level required to operate this plasma cutter is not high. It can cut as much as ¼ inch of mild steel. It makes a more precise cut, with thinner kerf, less slag, and faster operation than oxy-fuel.
-Built-in air compressor
-Extended consumable life
-Powered by household current
-Better than oxy-fuel
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Understanding Plasma Cutter Consumables
It is well known that consumables are important for successful cutting. Worn consumables do a shoddy job. For instance, worn cutting tips will cause formation of dross. What you may not know about, however, is the how consumable components relate to one another, that one faulty component can cause others to suffer.
That is what we are going to break down. We will take a look at the main consumable components found in a plasma torch and interrogate how each consumable contributes to a successful cut.
It protects the other consumables. The plasma cutting process creates a lot of sparks and molten metal. The shield’s job is to ensure the sparks and the molten metal do not reach the inner consumables.
Some shields are drag shields. This type of shield enables you to put the torch right on the metal with no need of any additional standoff. This is an advantage for inexperienced cutters.
- Retaining Cap
It covers and holds the consumable stackup together.
The nozzle focuses the plasma arc. When the orifice is large, the arc will be wider and less defined. Nozzles that have a wide orifice are used in gouging applications.
Others have small orifices which constrict and focus the arc. Such nozzles are used for fine-feature, detailed cutting.
Furthermore, the nozzle helps to funnel gas flow. This also helps shape and constrict the arc.
The electrode carries current from torch to plate. It is a thin piece, made of copper or sliver, contains hafnium or tungsten. These are materials that are excellent electricity conductors.
Electricity comes from the machine , goes out to the torch and into a cathode block, with which the electrode is in contact. The charge focuses on the end of the electrode through the hafnium/tungsten insert which consequently arcs to the plate. On taking that arc, the nozzle focuses it to make it capable of cutting metal. The electrode carries the current.
The nozzle gets very hot – it is right in the midst of superheated gas. For that reason the back of the electrode features an attached cooling device which helps transfer heat out of the electrode.
- Swirl Ring
The swirl ring channels the gas in multiple directions as it emerges from the machine and down the torch. The gas moves forward in a spiral manner around the electrode and arc, and down through the nozzle, and out through the torch.
The ring needs to swirl so as to enable gas, as it goes out through the nozzle, to be at different temperatures. The cooler gas travels along the outside – since this gas is in contact with the nozzle and is relatively cool, it ensures the nozzle does not burn up.
When there is no swirl, gas mixing is inadequate and that could lead to the nozzle burning up.
The swirl ring also channels the gas backward and pulls heat off the electrode.
FAQ: What Should You Do Ensure Your Torch Consumables Work Effectively?
The main thing to do with consumables is to replace them routinely. Once you start to see that pit depth is increasing, the orifice widening, and slag building up on the shield, it’s time to replace the affected consumables.
Other than replacing consumers, you should also perform regular maintenance on the torch. This includes replacing torch leads when necessary. The torch should also be replaced when you start to see cracks on its body shell or a wire-exposing cut into the torch lead’s jacket.
Ensure you always match the consumables to the application. Do not use low-amperage consumables when you are doing high-amperage cutting or vice versa.
When you are operating with unshielded consumables, ensure the torch maintains a proper distance from the workpiece as you perform a cut.
Always cut at the appropriate speed. Cut too fast and you will make an incomplete cut. Cut too slow and that will put unnecessary strain on the consumables, which could cause them to burn out quickly.
Our pick for the best plasma cutter under $1000 is the Everlast Powerplasma 50S. It is a 50-amp plasma cutter with blow-back start technology and dual voltage. It also has a CNC port which provides light-gauge CNC use.
For the second-best plasma cutter under $1000, our pick is the Hobart Airforce 500534 250Ci. It is a lightweight machine with a built-in air compressor. It is powered by standard household current.
Those are our picks for the best two – but which one would you pick when shopping?