Last updated on February 19th, 2018 at 11:43 pm
Want to buy the best plasma cutter out of the multitude out there or looking for plasma cutter reviews to help you decide? We’ve got you covered with our awesome guide.
When it comes to cutting metals easily, the plasma cutter is one tool everyone appreciates.
Every wielder, fabricator and DIYer who cut metallic materials regularly would tell you how good a plasma cutter is.
A plasma cutter saves you the hassle of snips and trying out different saws just to cut one metal object.
These cutters make very precise cuts.
And they make the job of cutting metal material easy and fast.
Increased productivity all round!
Buying a plasma cutter isn’t easy.
You want the best plasma cutter and you need some questions answered. Questions like: Is an air compressor really necessary? Which metals can I cut with my plasma cutter? And a lot more
This plasma cutter reviews, guide, and recommendations have been crafted to answer any question you have.
Saving you time, money and energy is our goal here.
Let’s jump in with a roundup from our review below!
Don’t worry, detail comparison would follow soon. Unlike other reviews, we like to give you all the details you need before even recommending the product we tested or compared
We would start off by providing you enough information to help you decide. Use the table of content to navigate to your desired point.
If you don’t want to make the wrong decision, I would suggest you go through till the end of this page.
Why Buy a Plasma Cutter?
As a motivation here are some reasons why you should buy a plasma cutter, if you don’t already have one
Wide range of Cutting materials
A plasma cutter is a tool designed to cut various metals. As long as you have a metal that needs cutting, the plasma cutter is the tool you need. You can cut nickel, steel, aluminium, brass etc. with a plasma cutter. You get a wide range of cutting materials.
If you want to make all manners of accurate, perfect and precision cuts in different positions, then you really need a plasma cutter. Do you want to cut sheet metal into different shapes? Then this is the tool for you.
Speed – Work Smatter
Are you tired of the time you spend on cutting metal? Try a plasma cutter. Its high temperature ionized stream of gas used in cutting will greatly reduce the amount of time you spend in cutting metal.
Enough said, how does a plasma cutter works?
How Does a Plasma Cutter Work?
A plasma cutter sounds like the messiah of cutting metals, right? I know it does. Here’s how it works:
Basically, a plasma cutter works by sending an electric arc through a gas as it passes through a small opening.
The gas used can be either air from an air compressor, oxygen, nitrogen, argon etc.
Do you know there is a fourth state of matter? We all know about the three states of matter: gas, liquid and solid. There is a fourth state called Plasma. This is what a plasma cutter uses.
The electric arc increases the temperature of the gas until it enters the fourth state, plasma. The electrical conductivity of the plasma causes the electric arc to transfer onto the metal work piece.
The tiny opening (nozzle) the gas passes through forces it out at a very high speed. The high velocity gas cuts through the molten metal. It is directed to the edge of the cutting area to protect the cut.
Types of Plasma Cutters
It’s always best to know about the various types of plasma products out there. It helps you in making the choice of what’s best for you.
Here are the types of plasma cutters you would see frequently when shopping for one:
Mechanized Plasma Cutter
This is also known as the CNC plasma system (CNC means computer numerical control). This plasma cutter is a machine that carries a plasma torch, a table and can move the torch in a direction directed by a computer.
The computer directs all the motions the machine makes based on a series of numerical codes in a program installed.
Most mechanized plasma cutters can be found in manufacturing and fabricating industries.
These plasma cutters are not portable. Although they have the advantage of outperforming a hand held tool since the machine never gets tired.
Hand held Plasma Cutters
This is the plasma cutter most people are familiar with. These machines are connected with a nozzle that ends in a hand held trigger. Most hand held plasma cutters are portable. This means you will not be limited to job sites.
Hand held plasma cutters are not as precise as their mechanized counterparts. But they can hold their own when it comes to cutting sheet metals of all kinds.
Artists, fabricators, DIYers and contractors are generally the ones who favour this equipment.
For the purpose of this review, we will be focusing on the hand held plasma cutters.
And. here is one usual question I get from friends who wants to buy their first plasma cutter. This you would also find useful if it’s your first time!
Is an Air Compressor Necessary When Using A Plasma Cutter?
The answer to this question is yes! A lot of people don’t realise there is more to plasma cutting than just the machine.
An air compressor is an absolute must since it is cheaper to run your plasma cutter on compressed air.
It is worth mentioning that some light duty plasma cutters do not require an air compressor. But for many models on the market, a compressor is necessary to produce the pressurized air that will power the plasma cutter.
Before you buy an air compressor, you should select a plasma cutter first. Every plasma cutter has air flow and air pressure requirements in its specification sheets. You have to get an air compressor that meets these requirements for your plasma cutter.
If you do not match the compressor to the plasma cutter, you will not get the best performance out of your plasma cutter. Here is a guide for choosing the best portable air compressor.
Choosing the Best Plasma Cutter: What You Should Know!
Although you’ve learnt so much about plasma cutters, you are not ready to buy one till you have considered the following factors:
The power specification of your plasma cutter is important. It determines the thickness of the metal your cutter can comfortably cut and how fast. The power depends largely on the voltage and amperage.
Most DIYers have cutters that are rated between 40-50 amps. These can typical handle most home repair tasks.
Professionals tend to have plasma cutters rated at higher amps. Depending on your needs, always remember the higher the amperage, the faster the cutter.
Also, you have to match the voltage rating on your plasma cutter to that in your work site. Most plasma cutters tend to have 110/120V ratings.
This is an important factor to consider. Due to the nature and tasks your plasma cutter will be performing, an on-board cooling system is essential. This not only cools the internal components, it also ensures that your machine lasts longer.
Check out for this when buying your plasma cutter.
Dual Voltage ability
Higher voltages usually require lower current to produce power. That is, 220V will require less current than 110V to produce the same amount of power.
Depending on the thickness of the metal you’re cutting, you might need to go up to 220V even though your home is wired for 110V. Or your home might have the 220V rating and you need to cut sheet metal. 220V becomes overkill.
This is where this dual voltage capacity in plasma cutters comes in. Many plasma cutters can work at both 110V and 220V. These machines are the best.
Buying a plasma cutter with this ability means you are not restricted by the voltage rating of your work site.
Type of Transistor
Plasma cutters will either have the Insulated Gated Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) or the Metal Oxide Semi-conductor field effect transistor (MOSFET).
The choice of plasma cutter depends on the kind of transistor technology it has and how often you plan to use it. If you’re going to be bursting out your plasma cutter nearly every day, buy the cutters with IGBT. If not, then the MOSFET cutters are good enough.
Cutting Performance Parameters
This is perhaps one of the most important things to consider. Is the plasma cutter able to cut your desired thickness? How fast can it cut through the material? Most plasma cutters have max thickness and max severance thickness listed.
Ensure that these figures match or are slightly above your cutting requirements. This will allow you cut through your desired thickness faster.
Now you will find our plasma cutter reviews below. We give you 5 of the best plasma cutters out of the many we tested/Compared. Luckily for you we considered all the factors above before rounding up this list.
Quick Review of the FIVE Best Plasma Cutters
1, Ramsond CUT 50DY Plasma Cutter Review
Ramsond CUT 50DY is the first product on our best plasma cutter reviews. And we love it. And you will too once you check out its amazing features.
This plasma cutter has an output amp of 50. It has dual voltage capability. It can work at both 110V and 220V. This machine is perfect for heavy duty work and rough cutting.
It also works on the dual frequency of 50 and 60 Hertz. It has a maximum cutting thickness of 3/4″ and a severance thickness of 1”. Ramsond CUT 50DY can cut through stainless steel, alloy steel, brass, aluminium and more.
Ramsond CUT 50DY comes with a push button controlled plasma torch with a 10-ft hose. It also has 10 electrodes, 10 nozzles, 5 swirl rings and 5 shield cups as consumables. You definitely won’t be spending too much on replacing consumables for a while.
Other items that came with this plasma cutter include the air filter/regulator, ground clamp with 8.5-ft wire, Teflon tape, and inlet hose with its clamp and nozzles. Ramsond CUT 50DY weighs 19lbs. It comes with an insulated foldable handle for greater portability.
One of the best features on the Ramsond CUT 50DY is the digital display for current and pressure gauge. Also, the 50 amp inverter on this cutter is not to be sneezed at.
This cutter was a joy to use. If you’re new at plasma cutting, you will find this machine a challenge. You’d need to spend time learning to use it before you can begin enjoying it.
Overall Ramsond CUT 50DY is one plasma cutter I’d recommend to any professional who needs a mobile unit for outside the shop calls. It is powerful, lightweight and will serve you well.
2, AHP AlphaCut 60 Plasma Cutter Review
AHP AlphaCut 60 is giving the other products on our best plasma cutter reviews a run for their money. This is one plasma cutter you shouldn’t underestimate.
AHP AlphaCut 60 has an output amp rating of 60. It has dual voltage capabilities. It comes with a 220V power cord and an adapter for the 110V. It can work on both 50/60 Hertz frequency.
The blow back torch on the AHP AlphaCut 60 has a 15-ft cord. It also comes with a flexible cord work clamp as well as consumables. It has a max cutting thickness of 1 inch.
AHP AlphaCut 60 weighs 32 lbs which is a bit on the hefty side. It comes with a small handle for lugging this around. It also comes with a pressure gauge and regulator on the front of the machine.
One of our favourite things about the AHP AlphaCut 60 is the fact that you don’t need to grind your work piece before cutting. Its torch technology cuts through painted, rusted and uneven metal pieces. Another big plus in my book is the fact that all the controls are on the front side of the machine. No more excess manoeuvring.
We enjoyed using this plasma cutter to cut through 18 gauge, 1/2 “and 1” metal bars. The only thing we didn’t like is the fact that it didn’t come with any air compressor fitting. We had to supply those ourselves.
AHP AlphaCut 60 performs really well. This plasma cutter will make a great addition to the workshop of any professional welder, fabricator and remodeller who needs a smaller powerful unit for outside the shop work.
3, Hypertherm 088079 Powermax30XP plasma cutter review
Third on our best plasma cutter reviews is this quality product from Hypertherm. Hypertherm 088079 powermax 30XP is one plasma cutter anyone would love.
Hypertherm 088079 powermax 30XP has an amp output of 30. With a dual voltage capability means It can work on both 120V and 240V line. It also comes with the corresponding plug adapters.
Powermax 30XP works on both the 50 and 60 Hertz frequency. It has a maximum cutting thickness of 1/2″ and a severance thickness of 5/8”. This isn’t the sweetest thing about this plasma cutter.
Hypertherm 088079 powermax 30XP comes with a hard carrying case, eye shields, gloves, standard and fine cut consumables. This is the absolute cream de la cream of cutters. It has a Duramax LT torch that comes with 15-ft of cord length.
Weighing just 21lbs, Powermax 30XP is lightweight. It has a shoulder strap for greater portability. Moving this around wouldn’t be much of a problem.
Cutting with this plasma cutter is a dream. You don’t need to grind your metal work piece as this little bad boy can cut rusty and painted metals.
Hypertherm 088079 powermax 30XP is in a class all by itself. This is a great plasma cutter for hobbyists, DIYers and fabricators who deal with fine cuts on thin metal sheets. This plasma cutter has got enough power for such delicate work and it’s built to last.
4, Miller Spectrum 375 X-TREME plasma cutter review
The penultimate product on our best plasma cutter reviews is the Miller Spectrum 375 X-TREME. Here are some of the really great features on this plasma cutter.
Miller Spectrum 375 X-TREME has a rated amperage output range of 14-30A. It has an automatic dual voltage circuitry that enables it to work on both 120V and 240V. You don’t even need to remove the covers to reconnect to a power source of your choice.
Spectrum 375 X-TREME works on a single phase power and a 50/60 Hertz frequency. It comes with two multi-voltage plugs of 5-15p and 6-50p. This cutter has a cutting capacity of 3/8” (steel) and 1/4″ (aluminium) at 15 IPM.
The XT30 torch on Spectrum 375 X-TREME comes with a 12-ft cable. It also has protective X-case, heavy duty clamp with 12-ft flexible cable and a consumable box. This box contains 2 electrodes, 2 tips, a deflector and air fitting.
Weighing 19lbs, Spectrum 375 X-TREME is very compact. It comes with a shoulder strap for even greater mobility. The automation on this plasma cutter is one we really love.
One of such automation is its automatic system for maintaining correct pressure and for optimal performance. It’s on demand cooling system is highly effective. The best feature in my opinion is the automatically controlled pilot arc that switches in and out as often as you need when working.
The only downside to this cutter is its ability to trip breakers. The best way to prevent this is to operate the cutter on its own outlet. Also, make sure you run the air compressor on a different electrical outlet so as to avoid this.
All in all, Miller Spectrum 375 X-TREME is a great plasma cutter. Its ease of use, low-weight and dual voltage system makes this a dream tool for hobbyists, DIYers and crafters out there. Getting another would be foolhardy.
5, Longevity ForceCut 40D plasma cutter review
The final product on our best plasma cutter reviews is the Longevity ForceCut 40D. And this is why this plasma cutter makes it onto our review list.
Longevity ForceCut 40D has an output current rated at 40 amps. This plasma cutter has dual voltage and frequency capabilities. It works at both 110V and 220V; just requires a switch plug.
It works at both 50 and 60 Hertz. It has a maximum cutting thickness of 1/2″. ForceCut 40D comes with S-45 plasma cutting torch that is 10-ft long.
Longevity ForceCut 40D comes with an earth clamp, 3 piece tips, 3 electrodes and 1 shield cup. It also has a digital display as well as air pressure regulator in the front of the plasma cutter. Real convenience is the watch word here.
Weighing 25lbs, Longevity ForceCut 40D is not as light as the other products on our list, but it is certainly easy to move around. It also has a small handle to increase mobility.
The internal air dryer on this plasma cutter is one of its best features. It also has a hose for air dryer connection. The excess moisture from your air compressor just drains from the bottom of the cutter.
Only downside to the Longevity ForceCut 40D is the speed with which one goes through consumables. Maybe this will change as we get to use this cutter more.
ForceCut 40D is a great plasma cutter. It is perfect for DIYers, hobbyists and fabrication enthusiasts who need a lightweight and powerful cutter to do most of their work.
Congratulations for making it to the end of our guide.
We hope we have been able to help you in the long search for a plasma cutter. If you’re still undecided, here are a few recommendations to help you out:
- Do you want the best plasma cutter for home use, then Hypertherm 088079 powermax 30XP is the plasma cutter for you. It is powerful to handle any home cutting task you’ve got.
- Thinking of the best budget plasma cutter to buy, go for the Ramsond CUT 50DY. It has got plenty power and best of all, you won’t break the bank.
- Are you looking for the best performance plasma cutter irrespective of the price, AHP AlphaCut 60 is the plasma cutter for you. Great current output and you can’t beat it’s cutting thickness.
If you have further questions, leave us a comment and we’d get right to you.