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Best Welding Plasma Cutters for 2021-2022 Buyers Guide

Best Welding Plasma Cutters

Best Welding Plasma Cutters for 2021-2022 Buyers Guide

Do you wish to make smooth, quick, and clean cuts? If yes, then we've got you covered.

Buying the best plasma cutter, you won't deal with inaccurate or rough metal cuts, messy workplace, and loud grinding. A plasma cutter is an ionized gas torch designed to heat and melt electrically conductive material to create a smooth welding and a neat division.

However, finding the best plasma cutter can be a stressor, especially if you are a beginner in the field and don't know how they work. Also, you need to understand what you require of the machine.

The good news is, even if shopping for the best metal fabrication machine can be a challenging task, we are here to rescue you from the challenge. Here is a review of the best welding plasma cutters for 2021 to assist you to come up with an informed decision:

Pros of Using a Plasma Machine

Plasma machines are essential additions to any workplace. It's one of the best ways to cut materials that conducts electricity since it doesn't require any preheating. You can begin cutting immediately you switch on the torch.

Also, torches are precise and versatile. You can do welding repairs, perform piercings, and cut at complicated shapes and angles without any challenge. Say goodbye to all jagged and dross edges, and there is a closer integration between the unit software and the cutting torch leading to precise cuts.

It's easy to use the product. Even novice and inexperienced metal fabricators can easily use them. Higher-end systems are safe, too, as they come with exhaust units that help in channeling away smoke.

Cons of Using Plasma Cutters

Among the major drawbacks of having a plasma cutter is that they are specialized metal cutters. If you don't perform too much material cutting, you won't be sure whether purchasing one in your workshop is the best bet.

In case you saw through metal once after every two months, then the costs related to selecting, buying, and setting up a plasma cutter with only one function may not be the best option.

Also, a plasma machine is expensive, and if you don't do much metal cutting, the initial cost might end up spreading out over the long term, more so since consumables are long-lasting and affordable.

While cutting through metal, the torch might develop a warmth-affected region that may end up hardening the edges of the cutting area. Also, the heat creates dross once the molten metal solidifies on the cut.

Having known the pros and cons of a plasma machine, here is a detailed review:

1. Hypertherm Powermax45

Product Specifications

  • Duty cycle: 50 %
  • Output Range: 20-45 A
  • Input Power: 50/60 Hz 240/480V
  • Weight: 37 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 13.7" by 6.7" by 16.7"

If performance is what you desire in your workshop, look no further than the Powermax45 plasma cutter. It's designed to cut up to ½ inch steel material at a rate of 30 inches per minute. You don't have to give it some break to cool down.

Many people have fallen in love with the machine as it delivers excellent torch control while making precise and neat metal cuts. Based on the reviews from numerous users, purchasing this machine makes an extended money-saver as its constructed with durable materials that promise you longevity.

Additionally, the machine's saving grace its economic nature in terms of its consumables. Many thanks to the manufacturer for designing it with cheaper consumables compared to those of other devices.

It's a versatile torch best for doing numerous projects all over the entire range of applications. The reason being, the machine comes with up to three primary modes: gouging mode for punching holes, non-continuous pilot arc, and continuous pilot arc. Even if you are a professional metal fabricator or a serious handyman, the machine ensures that your work is done correctly.

Pros

  • High-quality and durable unit
  • Controllable amperage unit
  • Portable and lightweight
  • It can be used for numerous industrial applications

Cons

  • Relatively steep purchase price

2. Hypertherm Powermax65

Product Specifications

  • Duty Cycle: 50 %
  • Output Range: 20-65 A
  • Input power: 50/60 Hz 200/480 V
  • Weight: 65 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 17.9 by 92 by 19.27 inches

There's no better feeling than upgrading your current steel cutting equipment in your workshop. Customers will end up flooding in your workshop. For this to happen, consider buying this powerful product from Hypertherm. It's a famous 65 A plasma torch brand designed to cut the metal thickness of up to 1 inch. And that's not all, and it comes with a one ¼ inch severance ability.

Featuring immense power and exceptional cutting abilities, the machine is perfect for both heavy-duty and industrial applications. Did you know that this model is also used at NASA's Kennedy Space Center? Sounds great, right? Many users have found it to be nice to use in their home workshops too.

This lightweight plasma system weighs only 65 lbs, and since it comes with a 25-foot range, there are high chances that you can easily use it anywhere in your workspace without moving around with the unit.

Pros

  • Accompanied by numerous torch styles
  • Best for heavy-duty cutting
  • It comes with a 25-foot lead
  • Easy to use
  • Durable plasma machine with a high-performance

Cons

  • Not portable
  • Long lead and profile are not best for hobbyists
  • An expensive model

3. Lotos LTP5000D

Specifications

  • Duty Cycle: 60 %
  • Output Range: 10-50A
  • Input Power: 50/60 Hz 110V/220V
  • Dimensions: 12 by 6 by 15 inches
  • Weight: 26 lbs.

Are you looking for an affordable and high-quality machine that's capable of performing precise and clean light metal cuts? Then LTP5000D is your best pick. This machine from Lotos comes with a range of features making it a high-value cutter to your home workshop.

This eye-catching machine comes with a pilot arc, making it easy to cut rusty or dusty steel having a thickness ranging up to ½ inch. Featuring great portability, this handy machine comes with a comfortable handle and weighs only 26 lbs.

It's a versatile plasma cutter that you can use almost anywhere as it comes with a dual voltage with a capability of 220v and 110 v. Furthermore, most novice users claim that it's easy to set up and use the unit; thus, you don't have to be worried if you are a casual metal worker or a hobbyist this torch cutter is the best.

Pros

  • Easy to use and set up
  • Pilot arc adds its application range
  • Great value for money
  • Durable and portable plasma machine

Cons

  • Its ground cable is too short
  • Not the best for heavy-duty cutting applications

4. Miller 625

  • Product Specifications Duty Cycle: 50%
  • Output Range: 20-140A
  • Input Power: 60 Hz 120/240V
  • Weight: 21lbs
  • Dimensions: 9 by 5.5 by 13.2 inches

This plasma cutter from Miller is portable and small-sized in terms of weight and dimension but capable of producing adequate power to cut several kinds of steel. This machine is designed with a fantastic auto-line circuitry mechanism that functions automatically, minimizing the desire to use any tool in fixing the 120–240 VAC.

Miller 625 comes with inbuilt multi-voltage plug adapters that make it easy to use the automatic connection. All you need to do is choosing an appropriate suitable adapter fitting. The machine comes in a compact design making it portable, and you can quickly move it from one place to another within the job site.

This fantastic cutter features an Auto-Refire technology that boosts its convenience.

Pros

  • It's easy to operate the machine
  • Delivers a 110v and 120v power
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Durable and high-performing plasma torch
  • 5/8 inch cutting width making it easy to use for heavy-duty applications

Cons

  • Expensive consumables
  • It's not economical based on the consumable use

5. Hobart Airforce 40i

Product Specifications

  • Duty Cycle: 50 %
  • Output Range: 40A
  • Input Power: 50/60 Hz 240 V
  • Weight: 30.6 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 14.2 by 8.2 by 11.2 inches

This powerful product from Airforce comes with a wide range of superb features. If your work is based on cutting thicker sheets, then this plasma cutter is your best pick.

The machine is designed to cut steels with 5/8 inch widths, but many users claim that if you wish to spend time, you can add it to 7/8 inches. However, when the machine runs at a 5/8-inch thickness, the duty cycle is at 50%, making it an excellent pick for an industrial steel fabricator.

Depending on the project time, this plasma machine is expected to work at a rate of 14 inches per minute if your steel sheet is ½ inch thick. You can compare the unit with Miller 625, and if you don't need portability and auto re-fire, this unit will provide you a better value for money.

Pros

  • Capable of delivering precise and clean cutting
  • High duty cycle and performance
  • Can easily cut and weld through thick sheets
  • Heavy-duty and durable torch

Cons

  • Not the most portable plasma machine
  • Extremely rough on consumable use

6. Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci

Product Specifications

  • Duty cycle: 35%
  • Output range: 12 A
  • Input Power: 60 Hz 120 V
  • Weight: 26.7 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 13 by 8 by 10 inches

This Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci is a great product to use for a light metal fabricator in your workshop. It's a 120V machine with the ability to cut steel sheets with 1/8" thickness. Did you see the high-end inverter technology feature on the plasma cutter? This feature is essential in maximizing the performance of the machine to deliver clean and precise cuts.

Being a 12 ci machine, you don't have to use an air compressor. Also, weighing only 26.7 lbs., you can walk around with the machine as it's portable thus boosting your convenience at the workshop.

Even though it's not a powerful machine compared to the other models listed in the review, it's great for small and precise jobs. Users claim that the machine provides great value for money.

Pros

  • Delivers clean and precise cutting with low warping
  • Durable and a high-quality metal cutter
  • Doesn't need an air compressor
  • Easy to use and set up
  • Highly portable and lightweight

Cons

  • Not the best for heavy-duty tasks
  • Delivers limited cutting width
  • Uneconomical consumables application

Plasma Cutters' Buyers Guide

i. Power Requirements

The power needed from the plasma machine depends on the thickness and the type of material you want to cut. A machine's power output is essential in determining the cut quality and the cutting ability. Also, the power output affects the machine's duty cycle.

Industrial torches or high performance require 220v, 50A, or even 20A to perform efficiently. The initial step in considering your power needs is determining the metal thickness that you are working with. Most plasma machines can cut anything from stainless steel to copper.

The next thing is checking the available power in your home or workshop. To cut metals with up to ½ inch thickness, you'll require a 220v outlet. However, power output will determine the machine's input power. But it's essential to purchase a cutter that comes with enough power for all your needs.

ii. Price Vs. Performance

Getting the balance between value and cost can be a problem. Don't spend too much!

It's vital to analyze what you need from your machine. First, prepare a list of models that meets your desires to ensure that you aren't restricted in terms of performance without getting overboard.

Make sure you perform a comparison between different models to get rid of all unnecessary accessories and features that add to the price. For instance, if portability is not your priority, don't pay for a lightweight unit that comes at a costly price.

iii. The Cutting Versatility

Before you purchase a plasma cutter, please make sure you get proper details on what the machine can cut through. Most models are designed to cut through materials that conduct electricity. The reason being, there must be a full electric current getting back to the unit via the work piece or the ground clamp.

A properly built machine can cut through copper, aluminum, mild steel, alloy steel, and stainless steel flawlessly. The cutting versatility will assist you to use the same plasma machine for other projects.

iv. Accessories

Your desired model should come with proper accessories that allow you to work safely and easily. when using the cutter, you should put on a proper helmet to ensure your eyes are safe and gloves to keep your hands safe. Without these accessories, you might hurt yourself during the project.

Additionally, when in your workshop, it's essential to put on a leather jacket. This will keep your skin and clothes against sparks. Failure to put on a leather jacket your clothes will develop holes inside. Consequently, a head beanie is a vital accessory that protects the top part of your head from burning. A cart is vital if you wish to move the plasma cutter around the workshop frequently.

v. Duty Cycle

This is among the vital aspects to consider in a plasma cutter. In other words, the duty cycle is the ability of the plasma machine to do specific work during a specific time.

When buying a high-performance machine, make sure you check the average thickness that the machine can cut. For instance, a good machine can perform a 0.25-inch cut. Going past this limit will make you compromise on the neatness and accuracy of the separation.

A lower duty cycle means an optimal performance for a reduced time duration. Immediately the duration is over, the machine's performance will be degraded thus consuming too much time to finish your project. For heavy-duty projects, a 50-60% duty cycle is good.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you set up a plasma torch?

Setting up the machine is easy. Before you set it up, it's vital to understand that plasma machines work in a complete electric current.

Firstly, make sure you have a safe working surface. Ensure you have adequate space for the machine. Next, switch off the unit then plug it in. if it needs an external air compressor, the next thing to do is fixing the compressor. Connect the connection through receding the external ring then fix the male connector. Having done that, turn on the airflow to allow for constant air pressure.

After that, position your work piece on the work surface then attach the ground clamp to the work piece. Then switch the unit on to activate the machine's arc. Lastly, set the current based on the work piece thickness. To begin cutting, place the nozzle near the work piece, then pull the trigger.

Should I buy a plasma cutter online?

Yes, plasma cutters can be purchased online. There are many reasons why buying the machine online is good than in retail shops. Prominent online stores offer free shipping if your account allows that. Doing this will lower the purchase price greatly.

Can a plasma cutter cut plastic or wood?

Among the major drawbacks of plasma cutters is that they can’t be used for cutting non-conductive materials. There will be no power for the plasma stream when there is no electric current back from the unit.

Is it recommended to buy cheap plasma cutters?

Its recommended to purchase a high-end plasma cutter to assist in long-term value. If you opt for a cheap model, you won't get the optimal durability, power, and quality needed. However, the choice of buying a cheaper model depends on your needs.

Conclusion

Despite your capacity as a metal worker, a properly designed plasma cutter is worth its weight in gold.

The items above are all tested and tried by users who frequently use their machines. Purchasing a product from the list above will make you satisfied, only if you select a model that goes handily with your needs.

Good luck!

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