Right from time memorial, cutting tools have been in use and as at today, there are different kinds of cutting tools to choose from for your various needs. With so many tools to choose from, it enables you with plenty of options but on the down side, it can make it difficult to choose one out of so many options.
For better understanding, let me talk about a great cutting tool that works amazingly – the plasma cutter. Plasma cutters are a fast and convenient tool that is used to cut through metals.
When compared to other traditional methods of cutting, the plasma cutter gives a better and cleaner cut in metal-to-metal techniques. Even the self-acclaimed oxy-fuel cutters can’t stand a chance when it comes cutting because the plasma cuts are cleaner.
If you are someone that works with metals especially metals of less than 1 inches thick, then surely, you will need a plasma cutter and getting the best plasma cutter is something you should look out for.
We’ve taken out time to compile a list of the best plasma cutter to ease your stress of going through the list of thousands of plasma cutters out there. With this list, we hope we have done the hard part for you and helped you narrow down your search.
TOP 10 PLASMA CUTTERS FROM 2019
When looking for one of the best entry-level options, then surely, the Lotos LTP5000D is your sure bet for home metalworkers and artists. The Lotos company have made a name for themselves when it comes to cutting tool and the LTP5000D comes fully ready to represent.
Compared to other products on our list, the price of this product from Lotus is on the low side and that doesn’t make it fall short of great features. It is a highly capable machine that should be in your workshop, all thanks to outstanding features like a maximum clean cut of 1/2” and a continuous arc.
For people that want something portable and still serve you well, the LTP5000D Non-Touch Pilot Arc is a portable plasma cutter that comes with a handle to enable you to carry it around with ease.
It can cut materials ranging from steel, aluminum, copper, to stainless steel by making use of non-hazardous and compressed air. For efficiently cutting through even the roughest of materials, the pilot arc touch help delivers an excellent job.
It features a PAPST German cooling system that helps to keep the system cool, the tool safe, and elongates the life of the tool. Apart from this, the tool also uses a MOSFET transistor which allows you to cut thin and thick metals without hassle and giving a clean cut.
With this unit, you wouldn’t need to worry about an additional converter because it runs on voltages, 220V, and 110V that is well sufficient. The input current of this tool is about 20A and it comes with an air hose, ground clamp, air hose, air regulator as well as different air hose connections.
- Lightweight at 26 pounds
- Uses non-hazardous compressed air
- Uses PAPST German cooling system to keep the temperature moderated
- Uses a MOSFET transistor to cut through the toughest material
- Not durable
When buying a plasma cutter, the size of the cutter should be taken into consideration because this is something that requires you to move about and it will be a smart choice to go for something with a lightweight but highly resourceful.
This tool from VIVOHOME is a lightweight tool which should aid you with your cutting tasks and make them less stressful for you. It has a smaller frame that adds to its portability. It has a handle that makes it easy to carry around.
If you are wondering whether the size has an impact on the delivery this VIVIHOME tool can give, then you shouldn’t bother because it gives excellent performance when cutting metals. The 50Hz frequency is inverted to high frequency (frequency is over 100KHz) by MOSFET.
This tool is suitable for cutting different kinds of metal materials with the help of its step down voltage and rectification current and inverter power supply generates powerful DC welding current through PWM technology.
However, just like every other product, it has its down side which involves the cutting range. The cutting range is limited as it tops out at around half an inch. Despite this, some users have said it is something that can be overlooked.
- Lightweight and easy to move
- Works quickly
- An excellent air regulator
- Doesn’t work well with thick materials
If what you are looking for is a plasma cutter that wouldn’t stress you and make your task boring, then this is another great tool from SUNGOLD POWER to consider. It has a IGBT tech that is more superior than the MOSFT tech.
Its superiority is shown in areas like heat dissipation requirements, peak current capabilities, switching speed and response time, forward resistance and temperature drift, logic level switching and isolation, gate capacitance oscillation, cost, and effectiveness at a higher voltage.
This SUNGOLD POWER 50A plasma cutter comes with a digital LCD display that makes it easy to read the front panel air-pressure gauge. With a maximum cutting thickness of 1/2”, you can say that it is a great tool that is suitable for cutting varieties of metal materials.
However, its high-end power isn’t that great when compared to some of the products on our list but it is sufficient and can work for a long stretch of time as it makes the most out of the power put into it.
Despite the great durability of the features of this plasma cutter, the accessories that come with it falls short of that.
- Can work for extended stretches
- Can cut through metals that are nearly 0.6-inch thick
- The accessories will wear off after using for few times
As one of the innovative brands in the market, the Lotos Technology Company are known for producing durable tools and definitely has a spot in our list for the best plasma cutter.
This CTS20D plasma cutter from Lotos didn’t come to play with great feature. It can cut through 3/4 inches of severance steel – which is great when compared to other products. For cutting of the toughest aluminum and stainless steel, it features a nonhazardous air compressor. This is an innovative alternative to the other environmentally unsafe, hazardous, and explosive gases found with other products.
This tool features a dual voltage that allows a variable voltage supply to be in the plasma cutter which also allows you to plug the cutter with any kind of variable voltage supply whether it is a 120V or 240V input power supply.
For users’ satisfaction, the Lotos company offers a 30-day cash back guarantee just in case you are not satisfied with what you got and need a refund.
- Dual voltage that makes it versatile
- Works efficiently when cutting through tough stainless and aluminum
- One-year warranty and 30 days’ money back guarantee
- Internal circuitry and wires are extremely fragile and prone to melting due to the exceptional amount of heat energy
And again, the SUNCOO’s Cut-50 Plasma Cutter is another dual-voltage item, that should be considered when going for a tool with exceptional performance.
This plasma cutter cuts to an acceptable standard that is decent when it’s running on 110 volts. Although, there is nothing special about the precise cuts it gives and the speed also is okay.
You won’t be getting the most out of your plasma cutter if you are not running it on the level that you should, and for you to get the best out of this cutter from SUNCOO, you need to run it at 220 volts.
With this kind of amount backing it (220 volts), you will see this plasma cutter cutting through pieces of metal that are three-quarters of an inch thick. A turn off for this product is the bad handle that comes with it. For something that will be cutting all kinds of metal, you will want something stronger than a strap.
Instead of a sturdy handle that makes it easy to carry around and use, it uses straps as handles and you will be needing extra care when moving it around. However, some users have been able to cope with this.
- Excellent results when on the right voltage
- Durable tool that will last for a very long time
- It automatically adapts to the voltage you are using
- Uses a strap instead of a sturdy handle
A great feature to look out for in any product – not limited to a plasma cutter, is the user-friendly feature of a product. When you are looking for a plasma cutter that is portable and easy to carry around, you will notice that a lot of them are not user-friendly.
With the Zeny Cut 50 plasma cutter that features the latest technology, you can get both the feature of portability and a user-friendly machine that is perfect for processing of kinds of metal materials.
The Zeny company has fully equipped this plasma cutter with a high-quality plasma torch that is developed specifically to improve and enhance the cutting quality. The cutter is mostly suitable for a wide range of applications that include light industrial use, sheet metal fabrication, ducting work, site work, automotive, repair and maintenance services.
Business users, professional operators, and DIY users all find this machine great to use, and versatile for cutting. Generally, the instructional manuals of a plasma cutter are often hard to interpret and the controls might not be labeled clearly but this tool from Zeny doesn’t have that kind of problem- it is labeled clearly and easy to set up.
Despite lacking top-end power even when limited to home use, it is still a plasma cutter worth counting on to give you some clean-looking cuts.
- Sturdy design and well-constructed
- Dual voltage that makes usage easy
- Built to undergo long sessions
- The components of this product will wear off with time
The Miller manufacturers want their customers to get maximum quality by ensuring that the Miller Spectrum 625 Xtreme plasma cutter helps you get tons of work done. This tool is very helpful when cutting through materials that are up to 0.6-inch-thick with any hassle. The force produced by this tool at the operating level won’t affect you much because it features a grip that is specifically designed to help keep your hands comfortable and safe while working with it.
When you take a closer look at this plasma cutter, it features solid construction and in case you need to travel with it, there is a case included to help you pack it in ease and ensure that it wouldn’t in any way suffer from damage during the trip.
However, it can be a bit heavy when compared to other products but that shouldn’t stop you from considering this heavy duty plasma cutter that has in all area shows what a plasma cutter should be.
- Highly durable with a sturdy design
- Additional features to ensure longer use
- The weight seems to be a problem as it makes it more difficult to work with
The Hypertherm 088079 is also an exceptional plasma cutter that can be helpful in so many ways, and if you are looking for a plasma cutter that is within budget, then this is one cutter to consider.
This tool has enough power to help cut through metals that are up to 0.6-inches thick and another thing that makes it great is the fact that the power comes in a small package. Cool right? Yes, the Hypertherm manufacturers had portability in mind when they were producing this tool.
For convenience, this too offers the auto-voltage feature and a knob to help you fine tune to the power level you want to give you an accurate and precise cut.
As one of the smallest plasma cutter available in the market, it doesn’t fall short of using straps like the SUNCOO that had straps in place instead of a sturdy handle, this tool actually made sense when they did that. With it’s lightweight and portability, it becomes just the right plasma cutter to carry all day long without straining your body.
Despite not being as powerful as some of the other products we reviewed, the Hypertherm 088079 is a plasma cutter that will still give you a decent amount of power for cutting your different varieties of metals. Note, some of the internal components will need replacement over time because of the issue of durability.
- Lightweight and portability for easy carry
- Knob included gives a clean cut and steady grips
- Auto-voltage feature for fast cutting
- Some internal components are not durable
When you are looking for a product that offers precise cutting of thinner varieties of metal materials, then the HITBOX plasma cutter 40A comes to take the space. This is what the HITBOX manufacturers are specialized in and they made it evident in this tool.
Talking about facing problems with metal, this tool stands to differ because metal thick enough of up to 8mm or just a bit over 0.3 inches are definitely not an obstacle. It will cut them as clean as possible and makes sure the edges are not rough.
An extra bonus point for this tool is the fact that it can still function excellently when the surrounding air pressure is high, and this can come in very handy when you are working in some cities with this condition.
The issue normally faced with this tool from HITBOX is when used for thicker metals. Although it can still find a way to handle thick stuff that is half of an inch thick but when you look at it, you will notice that the quality of the work is already suffering.
If you stick to just cutting thinner materials, then you will be satisfied with the results of the HITBOX plasma cutter 40A.
- Highly precise cuts of thin materials
- Specially designed to work in high-pressure environments
- Safety features to ensure your safety when using it
- Cutting range is not large
We know plasma cutters can be a complex machine and you will have to go through a long process to enable you to use one, and that is why the LOTOS LT3500 35-amp plasma cutter is on our list to keep such issues far away from you.
The Lotos company had the convenience of users in mind when designing this plasma cutter that features a simple process to use. Setting aside time to hook this machine up to your air compressor won’t be needed as the pre-installed NPT type D plug has already taken care of that. You can also quickly connect this plasma cutter to any 110-volt wall outlet in your home.
When it comes to the prep process of this plasma cutter, it is not a problem as it usually takes a couple of minutes to get it done. In terms of the performance of this tool, this item from Lotos in its own way, work up to expectation.
However, for you to get maximum performance from this product, you will have to stick to smaller tasks and you will get good results as it doesn’t work well with heavy duty tasks.
- Good for beginners in metal cutting
- Compact size that enables easy carry
- Not able to cut through materials that are three-fifths of an inch thick
Best Plasma Cutter – 2019 Buyers Guide
With the versatility of a plasma cutter, it has now found its way outside the warehouses, it is no longer limited to just the usage there. If you are someone that works with metals either seldom or regularly, you will know how important and useful a plasma cutter can be.
As a worker, it wouldn’t be too ideal to rush off to the market and buy the first plasma cutter that you come across because there are so many products in the market with different features, so it will be better to buy a plasma cutter that the features will suit your needs best.
Before you make your choice, it would be best if you read up on users’ reviews, and research on the best plasma cutters out there, and base it by your needs and preferences.
In this buying guide, we will be providing you with valuable information on plasma cutters, a detailed feature/things to consider when buying a plasma cutter, and the answers to some of the questions asked about a plasma cutter.
To start with, let’s answer these questions:
Do I need a plasma cutter?
Before answering this question, you need to put into consideration, the thickness of the metal you work mostly with. Take, for example, if you normally work with metals that are thinner than a ½ inch, then a mid to top tier plasma cutter will be of great help and improve performance. Note, always use a helmet when using your plasma cutter.
Meanwhile, if what you mostly work with are metals with a thickness of more than ½ inch, then you will be needing a top tier plasma cutter. Note, when you exceed the mark of 1 inch, then a plasma cutter will no longer be useful and in that case, you should opt for an oxy-fuel cutter. With this, the determinant factor for the type of plasma cutter you will be needing borders on the thickness of the metal you will be working with.
How To Know The Right Plasma Cutter For You
One sure way of knowing the tier of plasma cutter is to look out for the cutting speed and severance cut. For example:
Super Deal Cut-50: For this type, the cutter features a severance capacity of about 1/2 inch and it can cut 1/2 inch metal at either 3 or 4 inches per minute.
Powermax30 XP: Unlike the super deal cut. This cutter has a severance capacity of 1 inch and cuts ½ inch thick metal at 20 inches per minute. Powermax45: With this, you can get a severance capacity of 1 inch and it can cut 1/2 inch thick metal at 20 inches per minute. This tier is best for metals thinner than 1/8 inch.
After identifying the capacity of these three machines, you will know that the first machine is a top tier cutter, second – mid-tier and the third, the low tier cutter.
However, you should note that the tier system doesn’t determine the quality of the machine but only a way to identify the best plasma cutter that suits your needs.
If you are sure of the type of metal and thickness you need the plasma cutter for, then you can choose a machine from the tier, matching the range, although you may decide to expand your range. However, if you know there is room for expansion in the future, you should go for a machine that is one tier above what you need.
Is There a Recommended Operating Amperage For Plasma Cutters?
You are in the best position to identify the nature of your projects and your needs, as you know the nature of your job better than anyone. However, if you are just a beginner and you have little or no experience with using a plasma cutter, then it will prove difficult to know how much power you will be needing for the task you hope to complete.
In order to help out beginners or hobbyists, the recommended amperage for using a plasma cutter should be at the lowest practical point in terms of amperage – 20. When you operate at that level, the plasma cutter should cut clean through a material of eighth an inch or 3.2mm-thick. Then from there, you can now add 10 more amps for every additional eighth of an inch.
You should try out this method and the results will determine the kind of cut you get and if it is efficient.
Things To Do To Remain Safe While Using A Plasma Cutter
Obviously, a plasma cutter is a heavy-duty machine that will require you to protect yourself and be careful with it while using it. For ensuring adequate safety, you should check the plasma cutter first to see if it is wired properly.
Once you check it out, get some protective equipment like safety boots, rubber and welding gloves, safety glasses or a face shield and an apron that is fire resistant.
Also, it is advisable to stand on top of a rubber mat while using a plasma cutter in order to reduce any chance of getting electrocuted.
WHAT ARE THE FEATURES I MUST CONSIDER?
After identifying the right tier for you and know the safety precautions, the next step to take is to look out for some important features that make the best plasma cutter. Consider the below features to help you select the right plasma cutter.
Generally, plasma cutters have two voltage ranges of 110 volts and 220 volts. This voltage is there to outline the speed and manner of accuracy the plasma cutter will be working with. The more the voltage, the lesser the cutting time, and definitely a better outcome. The best recommendation is a voltage of about 220 volts because when it is at this range, the plasma cutter will be showing its true prowess.
This is a very important feature to consider. The frequency range determines the cutting speed, and how rough or neat the machine will be cutting your materials. The higher the frequency, the faster the cutting speeds you will achieve. It is recommended that you go for a machine with a frequency of 60 Hertz. For a good range, between 50 to 70 hertz is premium but for better functionality, don’t go lesser than 60 Hertz. A machine will a good frequency will give a fine cutting to even the hardest of metals.
Efficiency and Duty Cycle
These- efficiency and duty cycle, is just something that shouldn’t be overlooked when you are buying a plasma cutter. Truthfully, no matter how powerful a machine is, and how useful it is, you can never get efficiency at 100%. During the process of use, some energy or power will definitely be wasted.
Since we know, getting efficiency at 100% is almost impossible, you look for what can do the trick. With efficiency high at 80%, you can surely do what you need to. Normally, it is recommended to go above 90% but even most plasma cutters out there hardly go that high. So when you are buying a plasma cutter, be sure to buy a cutter with high efficiency.
A duty cycle is also important. This is the ratio of the time the device is on to the total time in one second. Most plasma cutters are not totally on time as they operate it cycles and being turned off at one point or another.
For example, if a plasma cutter has a duty cycle of 60%, the product will remain on it for 60% of the time, and stay off for 40%. Usually, it is recommended that a duty cycle should be between 60% to 75%. However, the decision is up to you as the higher the duty cycle, the better the efficiency and performance.
Protection and Safety
Most plasma cutters if not all, comes with some kind of protection. The most popular form of protection is the overheating protection. So, get yourself a device that is fast for use, keep you safe and not endanger you in any way.
The other types of protections include over-power protection, over-voltage protection, and auto-shutoff function. Note, the auto-off function is not always included in plasma cutters that are cheap. If you have protective gloves, then you should get started on using your plasma cutter!
Plasma cutters have a particular range of thickness they can handle. Note, there is so much that pressurized air can cut through. This range mainly borders on the force and power that the device cuts. For the best, a cutting range of over half an inch is recommended or anything from a few millimeters to over an inch. However, this depends on the type of steel and the thickness you wish to cut.
The current of a plasma cutter is also a factor to look out for when shopping for one. The more the current, the better the results. Always go for a product that has a current input and output of over 50 amperes. You should also buy plasma cutters that work on 120 V and 220 V. the switching process is easy on the process of switching between 120 V and 220 V.
The output current is determined by the cutting power of the plasma cutter. Although, more current doesn’t suggest a higher performance. It is always best to read the spec sheet to give you an understanding of the current rating or the thickness needed.
Inches Per Minute
Consider a machine that cuts 1/2 inch thick metal at 10 inches per minute at 20% duty cycle. With this, it can cut up to 20 inches before pausing for another 8 minutes for the machine to cool down.
This is an important feature to look out for too. If you are planning to buy a plasma cutter that is limited to cutting steel, then you should have a rethink. You might be thinking that you don’t need a versatile plasma cutter since what you need it for is maybe cutting just one type of metal. You should go for a versatile one because you don’t know which metal will come your way tomorrow and you wouldn’t need to go get another plasma cutter suited for that type of metal. It saves you money, time, and space.
A plasma cutter that can cut through different materials is mostly recommended. These materials include steel, iron, aluminum, cast and wrought, vanadium. Copper, and chrome.
The warranty and return aspect is mostly overlooked and it is quite important to consider. It is worrying to get a pricey plasma cutter only for it to be less useful, just a few months after using it. When you check, you will see that most brands offer a warranty for up to a year.
The one-year mark is often the best you can get but when you see a product that offers higher, then you should go for it. But you shouldn’t go below 6 months of warranty. Also, check for the return period of a product, some manufacturers offer return periods that can last for weeks. Before buying the product, read the warranty policy, the term, claiming process, and nature to understand everything before making your choice.
Always look out for the durability of the product you want to buy. This is not limited to plasma cutters alone. Some plasma cutters have been revealed by users of a mishap after using for a few months. When buying always make sure that the machine parts are strong enough to withstand the test of time. As soon as you receive your product, try it out as much as you can to know if it will stop working. If it does, get a refund or an exchange.
It was discovered that some plasma cutter breaks down after the warranty is over. In order to avoid being scammed, you should look out for a plasma cutter with a decent warranty plan.
Unlike other cutting machines, plasma cutters can be pricey. There are some plasma cutters that can cost over a thousand dollars. Although, there are some cheap plasma cutters in the market that can cost below $400 dollars. Note, if you buy a cheap plasma cutter, you risk buying a low-quality tool.
The parts of your plasma cutter that wears down as you use them are called the consumables and they will need to be replaced with time. So, when you are buying a plasma cutter, always go for one that the consumable parts are easy to get.
Build Quality and Portability
Sometimes, you may need to carry your plasma cutter from one site to the other. In order to do this without too much hassle, you should get a plasma cutter that comes with a sturdy case and a rugged build. Also, check the weight of the cutter.
As we have discussed above, there are three tiers of plasma cutters and if you wish to explore each tier further, of course, you can do that. The detailed information which you will find in the specification sheet will give you a better understanding of the product and help you judge the quality of the product based on the application you need it for.
The tools industry is growing fast and different manufacturers come up with more and more models and features. The 21st-century plasma cutters, especially the most recent ones are way better than the ones available 10 years ago. All thanks to the high-paced development, the cutters of today are more versatile and at a very high quality.
With so many options of a plasma cutter available in the market, we have researched on them and come up with this guide that aims at making things easier for you. No matter your choice of a tier, you will surely see a plasma cutter that will suit your need.