Plasma cutting technology has gradually evolved from the welding technology of the 1960s, when the early plasma cutters were bulky monstrosities!
Today, there are many portable plasma cutter models on the market, and they are more flexible and safer to use than their huge predecessors. They are also more affordable for both professionals and hobbyists.
We have reviewed the most popular plasma cutters from brands like the Hypertherm, Hobart, and Miller Electric to see which is the best for each type of use.
If you are planning to purchase a plasma cutter, check out our top picks and read the full reviews for the ones that interest you.
In a Rush? Here is Our Top Choice
Our Top Choices On The Market
Top 7 Models On The Market
1. Hypertherm Powermax45 – Top Choice for the Money
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 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.
It 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 best 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 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 have budget for it. Right now, you can purchase it for around $2,010.
2. Hobart Airforce 40i — 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 be sure that you’ll be getting what you pay for. And the Hobart Airforce 40i is definitely an ideal plasma cutter choice for light industrial and non-industrial usage.
It 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 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 one we found to be the top plasma cutter welder for home use. You can get for just shy of $1,400.
3. Miller Electric Spectrum 625 X-Treme — Top Choice For Portable Use
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 abovementioned 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 top plasma cutter welder for portable use, this should be top on your top list. The current price is less than $1,950.
4. Lotos LT5000D — Top Choice For Hobby Projects
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 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 LTP5000D 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.
For around $410, this is the top plasma cutter welder for hobby projects.
5. Lotos LTP8000 80Amp Non-Touch Pilot Arc Air — Top Choice Under $1,000
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 features an automatic dual frequency (50/50Hz) and can cut 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 and it stands as our pick as the top plasma cutter welder under $1,000. You can actually buy it for a little over $835.
6. Ramsond CUT 50DX — Top Choice Under $500
If you are on a budget, this one of best, low-cost plasma cutters 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 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.
It has a torch that is not pilot arc compatible, though, so be 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.
The Ramsond CUT 50DX only costs about $375, making it a great budget deal. The Lotos LT5000D, however, also falls under the $500 price mark at about $410.
7. PRIMEWELD Premium & Rugged 50A Air Inverter
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 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 and 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.
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.
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 19lb 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.
We also reviewed auto darkening welding helmets. Click here if you are interested.