Scores calculated from 201 reviews
|Width:||1 foot 6 inches|
|Length:||1 foot 5 inches|
|Length:||1 foot 2 inches|
|Size:||12 FT Torch|
|Warranty:||12 month warranty|
|Length:||1 foot 3 inches|
|Length:||1 foot 2 inches|
|Part Number:||Plasma Cutter|
|Part Number:||[email protected]#JA0817|
|Part Number:||Plasma Cutter|
Tough jobs require tough tools. A plasma cutter can help you get your jobs done faster and more accurately. If you're in a hurry, check out our 3 best-rated plasma cutter picks. We'll talk specs and break down what makes each stand out from the competition. If you're wanting more information, head on down to our in-depth buying guide below.
You're looking at the best of the best. The Hobart Airforce Plasma Cutter tops our list of the best plasma cutters. This bad boy can nearly cut 1 inch (7/8") of mild steel! Wind tunnel technology blocks out damaging particles, so your machine is built to withstand tough jobs. The ergonomic handle is designed to provide a comfortable and safe grip, so you can focus on the task at hand.
This product has a 50% duty cycle, so it should work just fine for plenty of projects. However, if you need something more heavy duty, then this item might not be for you. All in all, the high-quality design definitely makes it worth every penny.
The Forney Easy Weld 251 Plasma Cutter comes in strong at the #2 spot on our list. It's a reliable little machine that can cut through thin sheets of metal. While this model does not come with an air compressor, it does come with an air pressure regulator and dryer integrated into its design. Its light weight and torch length means this machine is highly portable as well, so you can move it around your workshop for multiple projects.
With an amazingly low price tag on Amazon, this portable plasma cutter is certainly more affordable than most. While great for small projects, though, it might not be the best option if you need to cut thicker materials and with more power.
If you need a versatile machine, the Miller Spectrum X-treme Plasma Cutter might be for you. Designed with auto-line technology and coming with MVP adapters, this device has both 120 V and 240 V input options. So, it should be able to handle a wide variety of jobs. The 12ft torch, light weight, and shoulder straps also help make this model extremely portable.
Those who need something versatile for their workshop should find this cutter worth the investment.
(Note that all 3 of these products do not have a built-in air compressor; you'll need an external air compressor to operate these devices.)
Now that you've seen our reviews for a few of the high-quality plasma cutters on the market today, check out our in-depth buying guide to get even more information about how to buy the best plasma cutter for you.
Both in small workshops and large industrial centers, a plasma cutter is an essential tool for cutting thick metals easily, conveniently, and accurately. Unlike a more traditional oxy-acetylene flame cutter, a plasma cutter is meant for high-thickness metal cutting. In fact, handheld models have the ability to easily cut metal sheets almost an inch and a half thick.
Buying the tool requires some technical know-how. Whether you're a newbie or a seasoned pro just looking to brush up on the facts, you've come to the right place.
This tool utilizes rare gases to cut through these materials. The device blows these gases out through a tiny nozzle at high speed. An electrical arc is applied to the blown-out, inert gases at the nozzle in order to turn the gas into plasma. Together, this forms a super-hot flame that cuts through metals easily. As a result, people can complete their work in less time and with considerably reduced labor.
Advances in technology have helped make plasma cutting useful for multiple purposes. Besides cutting thick sheets of metal, a plasma cutter is suitable for:
Plasma cutting can get complicated; let's break down how it works and explain some technical terms.
There are several types of plasma cutters, ranging from small hand-held cutters to industrial computer-aided ones. Regardless of size or shape, plasma cutters are designed around the same principle and design. The essential components of a plasma cutter include a power input and cable, handheld torch with cable, a ground clamp with cable, consumables such as electrodes and tips, as well an air compressor.
Plasma cutting is a means of cutting through materials using a high-speed jet of super-hot plasma. A plasma cutting machine creates this plasma by applying an electric current through accelerated inert gas when pushed through a nozzle.
Plasma cutters are effective at reducing human labor and the time it takes to complete a project. If your project involves metal working—particularly metal cutting and shaping—a plasma cutter is a tool you need. With one, you can improve your speed and accuracy of your metal cutting. High-quality cutters are particularly great at making shapes on and out of metal sheets. All in all, it is the ideal tool for cutting steel and any other non-ferrous material (does not contain iron) that is at or less than one inch thick. Some common materials a plasma cutter is capable of cutting include mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum.
Let's break down why and how plasma cutting is so efficient:
Plasma cutting involves less labor compared to oxy-acetylene cutters, which require the operator to control the cutting speed by maintaining the oxidizing process fully. Plasma cutters simply outshine all other cutters when it comes to cutting expanded metals.
In regards to the rate and uniformity of cutting, the plasma cutter comes out on top. Its speed is unmatched, and it can make linear and non-linear cuts accurately.
Plasma cutting offers quality performance in a wide range of tasks, including 2D and 3D metal-cutting techniques. Often you will need to configure your plasma cutter to fit various needs. For cutting high-thickness metals, the cutter should be set at maximum voltage.
Industries that widely use plasma cutting machines and techniques include:
Many fabricators use plasma cutting on a daily basis in place of cut-off wheels, snips, oxy-fuel rings, and to either complement or replace hacksaws. The tool has become popular in this industry as it is helpful in a range of applications, such as the installation of appliances like heaters, air conditioners, and fitting of ventilation. While cutting a linear edge, the plasma cutter does not create a large heat affected zone. As such, it will not cause a cardboard or wooden edge to melt or undesirably curve. For cutting shapes in metal plates, the easy grip and use of these machines make accuracy easier than with other methods.
For metal artists, plasma cutters have opened up an entirely new artistic world, allowing them to create intricate patterns and designs. The cutters allow metal artists to carve out finely detailed shapes out of metal sheets. A high level of precision is possible since these devices can cut along finely drawn lines without warping edges through excess heat. The small width of these cutters also allows for maximum utilization of metal sheets. Metalwork artists also use this tool to make stencils and templates for works besides artistry.
One of the most common tasks for plumbers is to cut pipes into different lengths. Using conventional pipe cutters is often time-consuming and laborious. Plasma cutting machines helps these professional save time and increase their efficiency. Because this device cuts pipes at a higher speed, plumbers leave behind a smoother edge. These smooth edges make pipe fitting and joining a lot easier.
In the metal recycling industry and scrap metal junkyards, these devices can cut metals into more desirable sizes and shapes for easier storage. The result is both an increase in productivity and a more efficient use of available space. They can also cut metals to preferred dimensions for easier melting in boilers.
This type of cutting can slice off worn-out pieces from metal equipment, making them common tools to see in body repair shops. Farmers can also use this method to quickly repair farm tools like plows and tractors.
CNC (computer numerical control) refers to computer-controlled plasma cutting techniques applied in giant industries. This automated plasma cutting makes highly precise cuts and shapes on multiple sheets and chunks of metal within a short time for maximum efficiency.
To make an informed purchasing decision, there are several factors you will need to take into consideration, including:
Plasma cutters with high power input and longer duty cycle allow you to cut through longer and thicker sheets of metal. If your project involves cutting thick metals, it is highly advisable to invest in high-voltage plasma cutters with a heavy-duty cycle.
Duty cycles are measured in percentages, and they tell you how long a machine will run at a high level within a 10-minute period. For example, a 20% duty cycle plasma cutter will run at a high level for 2 out of 10 minutes. A duty cycle at 60%? 6 out of 10.
Safety should always be a priority. One of the best safety features to look for is the nozzle-in-place sensor. With this feature, the cutter cannot start making an arc on metals if the nozzle is not in its proper place. Also, a pre-flow sequence is a great safety feature that provides an advance warning before the arc initiates.
Cut rating determines the quality of cut and how much a specific device is able to cut. Rated cut is indicated in 10 inches per minute (IPM). Quality cut refers to thicker cutting at slower speeds. Sever cut is the limit to how thick of a material the plasma cutter can slice through (usually the cut quality will be lower, though).
Input voltage is also a vital consideration. Any model you look at will require that you have a power source that can comfortably provide for the device to work efficiently. Fortunately, many a cutter on the market today offer more than one voltage setting.
How easily you can transport your model is another factor to keep in mind. A lighter model will be easier to carry and can reduce user fatigue. As such, look at the overall size and weight of a product when you are shopping around. A top handle and shoulder strap are convenient features that can make carrying your unit around much easier.
For novice users, it is advisable to invest in plasma cutters designed with the latest technology for ease of use and operation. Features that promote efficiency include digital display and automatic shut-off capabilities for automation of some tasks. The control panel should be large enough for a user-friendly reading of controls.
It is also necessary to check if the plasma cutter comes with the additional equipment you will need to operate the machine. Some of these accessories are external air compressors, ground clamps, and air filters. After all, at first glance a product might seem cheap. However, if your purchase doesn't come with everything the device needs to operate, you could soon find yourself spending hundreds of dollars to get all of the necessary tools to begin cutting.
After purchasing the cutter itself, it is essential to invest in accessories to take care of your health and prevent injuries. Some of these accessories can include:
The official Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) site provides further information about properly protecting the face and eyes. For general OSHA standards regarding welding, cutting, and brazing, read more here.
The pricing of a plasma cutter varies according to multiple factors, including brand and quality. For light-duty plasma cutters, the price is often lower than the price of heavy-duty cutters. The cost of plasma cutters generally increases with a rise in the number of amps a cutter can produce. For reference, simple plasma cutters can usually make a 1/4-inch cut through metals equivalent to 12mm. The pricing of these cutters typically begins around $220. For plasma cutters whose cutting range is between 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch, the price range is from $300 to $400. Heavy-duty plasma cutters that have a cutting range of up to 1-inch metal thickness, and prices generally range from $1500 to $2000.
Always check the price before you buy anything. Sometimes a higher price tag on an individual purchase might include accessories that your machine needs to operate, which can save you more money in the long run. A low cost might indicate that your new device does not have everything it needs for you to be able to use it right away. Make sure your budget includes enough money to buy everything you need to properly use and power your new unit.
Running a continuous pilot arc on a plasma cutter offers strong cutting performance on painted or rusted materials, among others. However, it might shorten the life of some parts of the device.
Taking the time to read a plasma cutter review for a specific product is one of the best ways to choose the best plasma cutter for you.
The amount and versatility of work a plasma cutter can do within such a short amount of time makes it worth the investment. This handy device is one of the most useful tools in metal workshops, metalwork artistry, and several other industries. It is also a great tool for the home, as it can aid in light metalworking projects.
When purchasing a plasma cutter, there are multiple factors to consider, including ease of use and the quality of performance. You need to properly research which brand is best for your specific needs. For newbies, it is vital to seek tips from experienced users and read product reviews to get a better idea of what it is you need. Even on a low budget, it is necessary to consider all of the qualities you need from a plasma cutter. Once you consider these factors, you can set out to buy the best plasma cutter within your budget.
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