Plasma cutting has continuously expand from the welding technology of the 1960s, back when the ancient plasma cutters were huge monstrosities!
Today, there are so many portable plasma cutters on the market, and they are more safer and flexible to use than their extremely large predecessors. They are also more budget friendly for both hobbyists and professionals.
We have collected and reviewed the most prominent plasma cutters from brands like the Miller Electric, Hobart and Hypertherm to know what is the best plasma cutter for different types of use.
If you plan to invest in a plasma cutter machine, check out our top pick on the plasma cutter reviews below.
In a Rush? Here is Our Top Choice
Our Favorite Plasma Cutters On The Market
10 Best Plasma Cutters - Reviews
1. Hypertherm Powermax 45 Plasma Cutter - Best Overall Pick
There is definitely no model that means cutting-edge plasma cutting performance as much as the Hypertherm Powermax45. For over 50 years now, Hypertherm has been shipping out quality plasma cutting machines, and one of its latest offerings is the Hypertherm Powermax45. The Hypertherm Powermax45 is undoubtedly the best performing plasma machine in its class.
It sports a state-of-the-art consumable technology that delivers faster speeds and sterling clean cut quality for a better rate of productivity. Aside from its high quality offering, it’s definitely very portable with its sleek size of 17.4 x 6.8 x 14.1 inches, which is slightly smaller than the Hobart Airforce 40i we’ll discuss next.
Hypertherm Powermax45 is also very easy to operate even for beginners who are just learning the trade. It provides a stable plasma arc that makes it your top option for the money. It also offers a long consumable life and fast-cutting speeds that are bound to lower your cutting and gouging costs.
The system requirements are very simple. It needs an AC power source, whether this source is a fixed or generator power source. It also requires compressed air as shop air, a portable air compressor, or bottled air, such as nitrogen for cutting on stainless steel.
The Hypertherm Powermax45 plasma cutter can be used in various industries ranging from agriculture to transportation. Its applications include bevel cutting, extended reach cutting, fine feature cutting, and gouging. It can also be used in a wide range of platforms, such as automated, handheld, pipe and tube, robotic, track, and x-y cutting platforms.
As a plasma cutting machine, it is definitely a beast, capable of cutting 1/2" to ¾” with its cutting speed of 20 IPM and can sever cut up to 5 IPM. It is also very easy to set up. Without a doubt, this powerhouse plasma cutting machine is your best option if you can afford it.
2. SUNGOLDPOWER 50A Plasma Cutter - Best Value
One of the easiest to use plasma cutters comes from SUNGOLDPOWER and ranks as the best value option for budget shoppers. The 50A has an LCD on the front that lets you see the type of voltage you used and information about your cuts and materials. With just one knob and button, you can set up the machine and start cutting.
Capable of cutting through materials up to 1/2-inch thick, the 50A can handle most metals, including copper, iron, aluminum and steel. It has indicator lights on the front to show the pressure that you used and to keep track of air pressure. The 50A also has a durable case that is resistant to most damage and dual voltage options that work with the included adapters.
3. Hobart Airforce 40i Plasma Cutter - Top Choice for Home Use
The Hobart Airforce 40i is surely the most powerful and most expensive of Hobart's plasma cutters on the market today. It is characterized by a solid duty cycle, a fast cutting speed, and awesome reliability. The brand itself speaks voluminously of its products, being in this type of market for almost a hundred years.
Hobart, as a company, is known to produce high quality, high-power plasma cutters for reasonable prices. With Hobart, you can make sure that you’ll be getting what you pay for. And the Hobart Airforce 40i is definitely an ideal plasma cutter choice for non-industrial and light industrial use.
Hobart Airforce 40i plasma cutter has a maximum cutting capability of 7/8" at 50% duty cycle. It makes use of Auto-Retire Technology—a technology that enables the operator to clean cut even through expanded or perforated metals as well as through painted or coated surfaces.
Its safety features are exceptional with its ergonomic trigger safety and very efficient air consumption, together with its XT40R torch consumables. The Hobart Airforce 40i operates off 240V of input power.
If you are looking for a plasma cutter for heavy workloads, the Hobart Airforce 40i should be one of your top choices. It’s the best one we found to be the plasma cutter welder for home use.
4. Miller Spectrum 625 X-Treme Plasma Cutter - Top Portable Choice
Designed for flexibly and portability, Miller Electric Spectrum 625 X-Treme is specifically made for DIY and light construction plasma cutting. It is designed for durability and can withstand even long hours of continuous work. Its amazing versatility allows it to be used in a variety of working environments.
Although sleekly designed and lightweight, it is nevertheless a powerhouse plasma cutting machine is capable of generating awesome power for cutting different types of steel and conductive metals. Its auto-line circuitry system works automatically, thus eliminating the need for tools that connect to 120 to 240 VAC. It is also equipped with a reliable built-in multi-voltage plug adapter that makes possible the above mentioned connectivity.
The package comes with an X-CASETM that serves a dual purpose for storage and transportation. The Miller Electric Spectrum 625 X-Treme is equipped with Auto-Refire technology. This technology allows for the automatic control during the cutting process. With this technology, this plasma cutter can even cut through thicker materials.
It is also designed for reduced hand fatigue for a painless grip experience. If you are looking for the plasma cutter welder for portable use, this should be top on your top list.
5. Lotos LT5000D Plasma Cutter - Top Choice for Hobbyist
The Lotos LT5000D is a very reliable plasma cutter suitable for use by hobbyists. It is a dual-voltage unit that is quite easy to set up and can cut through almost all types of metals easily, although you should refrain from using it on painted or rusted metals as it doesn't have a pilot arc.
The Lotos LT5000D plasma cutter is very portable with its very compact design of 15 x 6 x 12 inches, which is far smaller than that of the Hypertherm Powermax45 and Hobart Airforce 40i, but is far larger than that of the Miller Spectrum 625 X-Treme.
The Lotos LT5000D can deliver reliable cutting performance using the highly optimized design that incorporates MOSFET transistors. You can count on it for providing high power output for both thin metal cutting and thick metal cutting.
The package includes a plasma torch, air regulator, ground clamp and cable, air hose, and air hose connections. It is suitable for cutting stainless steel, mild steel, alloy steel, aluminum, and copper. It is a 50 amp digital inverter air plasma cutter.
This is the top plasma cutter welder for hobby projects.
Read this post for full review of Lotos LTP5000D .
6. Hypertherm Powermax 30XP - Top choice for Small Plasma Cutter
At less than 22 pounds, the Powermax30 XP is a lightweight plasma cutter that can tackle the smallest of jobs. It comes with plug adapters that you can use with different outlets, but the cutter automatically adjusts itself to use the voltage in the available outlet. Thanks to the included torch, you can prevent damage to your hands as this torch is resistant to high temperatures and has a comfort grip.
Hypertherm gives you tons of included accessories that can help with your jobs too. You get a carrying case that protects the machine and has a strap for carrying over your shoulder. This set also comes with two consumable kits, gloves for your hands and eye shields.
7. Lotos LTP8000 Plasma Cutter
The Lotos LTP8000 plasma cutter is a heavy-duty, powerhouse machine that has a duty cycle of around 60% at its maximum output. It is characterized by its pilot arc feature that allows for continuous cutting on rough metal surfaces and dirty surfaces.
Started by high frequency, the arc is known to produce consistent, reliable, and cleaner cuts without necessitating extra cleaning time. This unit is definitely ideal for use in factory maintenance, farm work, fabrication work, and auto body repairs.
The Lotos LTP8000 plasma cutter features an automatic dual frequency (50/50Hz) and can clean cuts through a maximum thickness of 1 ½” metal. Its ideal thickness cut, however, is 1 inch.
It makes use of a MOSFET transistor that produces a uniform output for cutting through thin metal. It is also capable of high power output for cutting thick metal. Its safety features include a PAPST advanced German Cooling System.
The LOTOS LTP8000 is bulkier compared to the previous plasma cutting machines we reviewed, and weighs around 65.6 pounds. But even with its larger size, it is still portable and easy to transport. It also uses non-hazardous compressed air just like that of the Lotos LT5000D.
Overall, this is a great choice.
8. Ramsond CUT50DX Plasma Cutter
If you are on a budget, this machine is the best cheap plasma cutter on the market today. The Ramsond CUT 50DX features automatic dual voltage/dual frequency of 110/220V 50/60Hz. It also features an integrated pressure gauge display and has a 60% duty cycle. It can cut through metals with a maximum thickness of 1 inch, but is most effective in cutting 3/4-inch thick metals.
The Ramsond CUT 50DX plasma cutter is very portable with dimensions of 14.2 x 6 x 9 inches. It is barely 19 pounds in weight because it makes use of digital inverter technology. As part of the fourth generation of Ramsond products, this one has already overcome the initial issues of the previous generations. Likewise, it has already benefited from upgrading the internal components, so it is more solid and more reliable compared to the previous units.
Ramsond CUT 50DX plasma cutter has a torch that is not pilot arc compatible, though, so make sure to maintain an appropriate distance or make use of a guide when using this one. It can cut very clean on 3/8" metal, but as you go up further, you'll notice a diminishing in the cleanliness of cuts. When using this unit, you should only cut metals within the ideal recommended thickness range for this plasma cutter.
9. PRIMEWELD Cut50 Plasma Cutter
The PrimeWeld Cut50 is definitely one of the least expensive among the available plasma cutters on the market today. It is an inverter-based plasma cutter, and as such, is very light and portable.
This digital air inverter plasma cutter can handle clean cuts up to 1/2" maximum thickness. Within this range, you can expect precision cuts when used to cut stainless steel, mild steel, alloy, copper, aluminum, and other conductible materials.
It runs off 110V or 220V outlets. It includes state-of-the-art MOSFET transistors. It is also a dual-voltage digital inverter plasma cutter that requires less cleaning and maintenance.
This is a high frequency DC plasma cutter that can cut through materials better than other DC plasma cutters in its class. With its dual voltage compatibility, it is a very user-friendly unit.
The package comes with a plasma cutting torch, a 9.9" long 3-pronged ground clamp and cable, and a 6.9" long air filter. It also comes with 6 air hose connections, four clamps, and 2 couplers for the air hose.
If you are looking for something that you can occasionally use at home, the PrimeWeld Cut50 is a good choice.
10. Forney Easy Weld 251 Plasma Cutter
Thanks to the built-in troubleshooting guide on the Easy Weld 251, you can use the colored lights to determine what type of problem you have. The lights will flash yellow, green or red to indicate what you need to do to get the plasma cutter running again. You may need to let it cool down or tighten a few parts to get back to work.
Designed to cut a range of metals up to 1/4-inch thick, this cutter has drag torch technology that causes the torch to keep cutting along the path that you follow. At less than 20 pounds and with a heavy-duty case, the Easy Weld 251 is suitable for most jobs.
Our Top Choice for Your Money
If you’re still confused as to which model you’re going to buy, wait until you hear our final verdict for the best plasma cutter. Of course, our verdict is based on the following criteria: the cutting rate of the machine, the maximum thickness it can cut, its efficiency, durability, versatility, ease of use, and portability.
When it comes to maximum thickness, not one among the rest can beat the Hypertherm Powermax45 with its thickness and severance of 1 inch, although most of models peg their ideal cutting thickness at 1/2 inch. When it comes to efficiency, all of them appear to be almost equal, except again for the Hypertherm Powermax with its 45 Amp and 5/5 consumables affordability.
Its duty cycle is 60% at 41A. Moreover, all the Powermax items we have checked and used before deliver a very clean cut. In regard to durability, the Hypertherm products are all known for lasting a long time. This model also comes with a 1-year complete warranty and 3-year warranty for its power supply.
Although the Hypertherm Powermax45 is portable, in the area of portability, the Miller Electric Spectrum 625 X-Treme beats the Powermax45 with its shoulder strap and weight of 37 lb and sleek dimensions. Another aspect of the Hypertherm Powermax45 that is highly commendable, though, is its ease of use even for beginners. It is designed ergonomically and is quite easy and comfortable to grip. Its simple operation and patented drag-cutting technology allows even beginners to handle it with ease.
If you have budget to make a lasting investment, choose the Hypertherm Powermax45.
Buyer's Guide: How to Pick the Plasma Cutter
With a plasma cutter, you can slice through almost any type of metal, including those used on vehicles. With our buyer's guide for plasma cutters, you can see what features are the most important before buying the best one.
Plasma cutters can use either air pressure or electricity to cut through metals. Both are equally strong and suitable for most applications, but you may find that one is better for where you work.
If you rarely have access to electrical outlets, you'll want an air pressure model. No matter what cutter you choose, you should also consider the type of gas that it needs to run too.
With electric cutters, you should choose one with dual voltage options because you won't always have access to the same outlets. With these models, you can use both 110V and 220V standard power sources. Some plasma cutters come with adapters that let you change the plug to use different outlets.
Depending on the thickness of the materials and metals that you use, you may want to check the plate thickness of the plasma cutter. This refers to the maximum thickness that the machine can cut through.
You'll generally find that most have a plate thickness of up to 3/8-inch when working with aluminum. This means that you can also cut through steel plates of up to 5/8-inch thick and stainless steel plates with a thickness of 1/2-inch.
The duty cycle tells you how long you can use a plasma cutter without risking your safety. This usually depends on the amperage of the welder and appears on the box in a percentage format.
A plasma cutter with a lower duty cycle can only run for a few minutes, but one with a high duty cycle can run for a longer period. If you work with thicker metal, you need one with a longer duty cycle. This ensures that you can finish the job without the cutter overheating.
One thing you may not think about when choosing a plasma cutter is the quality of the cut. The machines that have the highest amperage settings typically produce better cuts. At a lower amperage, the cutter needs to expel more force to make the cuts, which can result in jagged or uneven edges.
The quality of the cut is important because it can help you complete jobs faster. If you have uneven or jagged edges, you may need to go over the edges with a sander to buff them out.
Plasma cutters often have more than one cutting speed, which lets you select the speed that works best for your project. With a higher speed, you can cut through the metal in one pass as long as you stick to the maximum thickness. At a lower speed, you will need to go over the metal more than once.
Keep in mind that the cutting speed can relate to the duty cycle too. A machine with a five-minute duty cycle will need to shut down and cool for five minutes before you can use it again.
We have also reviewed the best auto darkening welding helmets, check it out if you are interested .