Last updated March 10, 2017
It’s finally time to buy that new plasma cutter! That’s great, once you get one you’re going to wonder how you ever lived without it. Cutting metal will never be the same, and honestly it’s also a lot of fun. Now before we get to the specs and the reviews,we need to understand what we’re looking for and how to make sure that’s what you need for your shop.
Plasma Cutter Reviews are helpful to determine the right one you’ll need. Right below here, you’ll see a quick chart I put up if you’re in a hurry. These are the top-selling brands with the best reviews from amazon. You can go there and get an idea of what’s available and whats specs are on the cutter. The entire specs sheets will be thoroughly gone over, so you know what to look for when reading along.
Comparisons: Reviews Below
- Lotos Technology LT5000D 50A
- For the price, this little unit makes some big cuts. One of the more popular plasma cutters for under $500. Makes nice clean straight cuts. Highly recommended for a someone looking to get started plasma cutting.
- 22.5 lbs (10.2 kg)
- Mild Steel - Max. 5/8”(16mm) @ 50A Stainless Steel - Max. 1/2”(12mm) @ 50A Aluminum - Max. 1/2”(12mm) @ 50A
- 50 Amp Digital Inverter 110-220V, 1-PH, 20 A
- Hobart Airforce 500534 250ci
- Great for DIY Metal Projects. Easy to set-up and use. Built to cut up to 1/4" mild steel, powered by 115 VAC. Built in air compressor and light weight converter, which makes this unit, portable and convenient.
- 27 pounds
- Mild Steel - Max. 1/4" Stainless Steel - Max. 1/4" Aluminum -Max. 1/4"
- 120V, 20 AMP Circuit
- Everlast SuperCut 50
- This Everlast is a combo set. Pilot arc allows easy cutting of rusty and painted metals. Simply cut any type of metal with a problem. Easy to use torch with inexpensive parts and consumables.
- 25 pounds
- Mild Steel - Max. 3/8 to 1" Stainless Steel - Max. 3/8 to 1" Aluminum - Max. 3/8 to 1"
- 50AMP 120/220Volt 50/60Hz Plasma Cutter
- Hobart 500548 Airforce 500i
- Hobart AirForce 500i is an economical plasma cutter for all conductive metals. Portable and easy to use and set up, use in the house or the shop.
- 27.8 pounds
- 3/8 - 5/8”
- Mild Steel - Max. 3/8 to 1" Stainless Steel - Max. 3/8 to 1" Aluminum - Max. 3/8 to 1"
- Duty Cycle: 115 V/15 A: 35% @ 20 amps - 115 V/20 A: 20% @ 27 amps 230 V: 35% @ 27 amps
As you can see in comparison chart the top machines of 2015 and 2016, and for many reasons. So take a look further at our reviews and see what one might be best for you and your shop. Keep in mind, some are going to be more portable than others, but we make sure to point that out.
Another thing we’d like to point out is, all these products are available online. Customers who have bought their machines through us have been very happy with everything from shipping to warranties.
If you have an further questions or comments, please reach out and talk to us.
A quick guide in Plasma Cutting machines
What is plasma cutting? Well it is a very handy tool to have in the shop. Cutting metal is not easy to do, and obviously you need some hard-core machines to do it. The nice thing about a cutter is, its small enough to haul around and you won’t really have to hook up all the extra’s to get it to work.
This machine serves many needs in a shop, fabricators use this tool everyday. Artist use this to create art by cutting metal and welding them together. If you need to cut steel or many other hard metals, this is the tool you need! Plus it’s portable and it’s cheaper than using Oxyacetylene.
Let’s be honest here, we could probably cut anything if we needed to by just heating the crap out of it and then whacking it with a sledge hammer. But to really get those nice clean cuts that you’d be proud of, you need this. And that might be the argument I have most with younger dudes who come into the shop, but non the less, I just show them how it works and they are hooked!
What to look for when shopping
A good one, will be able to cut through hard metal without a problem. The size of the metal that it can cut will make a good cutter as well. Can it cut through 1/2″-3/4″ steel, and how fast and accurate can it do that?
Price is another factor, do you get what you pay for? Maybe. I know tons of happy people who paid $425 for a good machine, and they are completely happy. I also have a bud, who paid big bucks for his over $1400. And that’s great too, he uses his in his auto garage daily, loves it!
Things to look for, and I’ll go through each down below.
- Voltage/Frequency – Power supply 110 or 220v
- Cooling System
- Max Cutting Thickness
So let’s take a look at some of the features that come with a cutter.
Automatic Dual Voltage / Dual Frequency
Depending on which machine you choose, you may have to configure the wiring. What this means, is your machine can be wired for 110 or 220v. But your shop or garage at your home might not be wired for 220v. So, keep that in mind.
But most machines will come with 110 or 220 and you will have to screw the wires into the body of the cutter. Or the machine might be screw in, a nice and easy way to go. But some machines come wired to 220v right off the bat, they may come with the 220 to 110 adapter and you can just plug right in a go. Look for a multi-voltage plug (MVP) to be safe if you’re not sure.
A dual meter in the front of the machine will allow you to adjust to the proper amps if whether you’re using 110 or 220v.
Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) plasma cutting technology
Metal Oxide Semi-conductor Field Effect Transistor (MOSFET)
Plasma cutting machines will have either, the IGBT or MOSFET transistor. I have read several forums of people discussing the pros and cons of both types of transistors. And what I can gather from that is, depending on how hard you’re going to use your machines, the transistor can make the difference. Here is the short of it:
If you are using your machine a few times a week, than MOSFET will be good.
If you plan on using your machine more than that, IGBT has been known to hand the amp & temperature requirements of higher amp machine.
Built in cooling system for the machine are essential for the machine to work and the overall longevity.
Max Cutting Thickness
This is a really important feature to not overlook when reading the reviews. Make sure the machine is able to cut your desired thickness. If not, you could be in trouble and not be able to cut all the way through that piece of steel.
The machines will defiantly list the Max Cutting Thickness and the Max Severance Thickness. It might look like this
Max Severance Thickness 3/4″
Max Cutting Thickness 1/2″
The max cutting thickness you need is up to you, and it will be the difference in money when you purchase. Possibly $100 for more max thickness. So, be sure to know what you’re going to be cutting before you start looking.
The torch holds the consumable electrode in a chamber where gas heats up to form plasma. The tip of the torch holds the constricting nozzle with an opening for the arc and plasma to pass through. As the arc and gas pass through the opening it forms into a more constricted and focused column that increases the velocity and heat of the arc.
Plasma Cutting consumables, machines come with starter sets, but you’ll want to grab some extras just to have in stock.
Your new machines will come with a new torch as well. Some torches are customized for your fitting. The torch trigger can moved to your liking. It can be used in thumb and finger positions. Torch heads are usually low profile for tight spaces.
The machines run on compressed air. So you will need to add a compressor with around 70 psi and the machines will run beautifully. If you don’t have a compressor, you can pick one up for under $75.
LT5000D Lotos LT5000D 50A Air Inverter
- 50 Amp Digital Inverter Air
- Automatic Dual Voltage / Dual Frequency (110/220V 50/60Hz)
- PAPST Advanced German Cooling System
- Suitable for stainless steel, alloy steel, mild steel, copper aluminum, and other metal materials
- Max Cut Thickness: 1/2″ ; Max Severance Thickness: 3/4″
The Lotos 50A: This inverter cutter, made by Lotos Technology, cuts metals such as stainless steel, mild steel, alloy steel, copper, and aluminum up to 1/2 inches thick. The max severance thickness is 3/4 inch. Including the handle, the cutter is 15 in by 6 in by 12 in.
It is relatively light at 22.5 pounds and is powered by an AC or DC current. The cutter has automatic dual voltage, (110/220V) and a dual frequency (50/60 Hz), as well as an advanced cooling system. The package includes a plasma cutting torch, a ground clamp and cable, an air filter, air hose connections an an air hose, along with a one year warranty.
Customers were generally satisfied with the cutting power and friendliness of Lotos Technology. For lighter work on thinner pieces of aluminum and sheet steel 110V is fine, but for heavier work the 110V will blow and a 220V is required. The various parts are very easy to get cleaned and replaced when needed, although the consumables tend to wear out quickly.
Due to it’s low price, about $400 on Amazon, it obviously is not comparable to more expensive, higher quality models, but it does get the job done. This machine is geared a more towards beginners and hobbyists, and useful for home projects.
- Hobart AirForce 250ci lightweight machine with air compressor, powered by standard household current
- Designed to cut up to 1/4-inch mild steel; uses an electrical arc and compressed air to cut steel, aluminum, and other conductive metals
- Use it for a more precise cut, thinner kerf, and less slag to clean up with faster cuts than oxy fuel
- Includes 16.5-foot heavy duty work clamp, 7 -foot power cord with 115 VAC plug, extra replacement tips, and a convenient cable management strap
- 10-by-7-1/2-by-13-inches at 27-pounds; backed by Hobart limited warranty
The Hobart Airforce 500534 250ci: This Hobart is powered by a standard household current, and is designed to cut up to 1/4 in of a mild steel, or steel containing a small percentage of carbon. However, it works best on thinner pieces of metal that take less time to cut. 1/8 inch metal can also take some time, but it will result in a a clean break.
The cutter is 10 in by 7.5 in by 13 in and weighs in at 27 pounds. The package includes a power cord (7 feet), a work clamp (16.5 feet), a 115 VAC plug, a cable management strap, extra tips, and a Hobart limited warranty. Overall, it weights a hefty 31.5 pounds. It uses electricity and compressed air to cut faster and more precisely through steel, aluminum, and other conductive metals. Make sure to use a minimum of a 20 amp and a 110 breaker, or the product might not work well or safely.
One feature that customers especially liked was the lack of adjustments that had to be made before cutting, and the built in air compressor was also well received. However, the ground cable can be a little inflexible. In general, this product is best suited for the home hobbyist.
Ramsond CUT 50DY 50 Amp Digital Inverter Portable Air
- Automatic Dual Voltage/Dual Frequency (110/220v 50/60Hz)
- Integrated Digital Display of Current (Amps) and Pressure Gauge
- Integrated Pressure Gauge Display
- 60% Duty Cycle
- Max Severance Thickness: 1-Inch Max Cut thickness: 3/4-Inch
The Ramsond CUT 50DY: This product is also automatic dual voltage, (110/220V), and a dual frequency (50/60Hz). It has an integrated display of current amps and a pressure gauge display. The cutter is designed to handle up to 3/4 inch of various types of metal with a maximum severance thickness of 1 inch.
The product is 14.2 in by 6 in by 9 in, and weighs an incredible 19 pounds. It is an upgraded version from a previous line of Ramsond cutters, and has a fold able, insulated handle and an advanced cooling system. The package includes a 10 foot hose, extra consumables and has 6 pieces total, as well as a one year warranty on parts and labor.
For this product, make sure to get a strong air compressor, and while it cuts effectively tips can wear out somewhat fast. It cuts very cleanly and quickly through 1/2 inch metal, but thicknesses higher than that, while still cuttable, tend to produce messier edges.
Overall, customers were pleased with the power contained within the unit for the price, slightly more expensive than the first one but still relatively cheap.
Everlast SuperCut 50 110v/220v Inverter
- Adjustable Post Flow (power plasma only) control up to 60 seconds to improve consumable and torch life. Front air pressure adjustment makes adjusting pressure easy and painless. ( PowerPlasma only)
- Front air pressure gauge allows quick verification of air pressure. Over Current and Air Pressure light indicators keep you updated on your units operating condition
- 50AMP 120/220Volt 50/60Hz. Cuts 3/8-Inch to 1-Inch
The Everlast SuperCut 50 Inverter: Features adjustable air pressure and post flow, in addition to a pressure gauge and light indicators.
It has automatic dual voltage and dual frequency, and is designed for a maximum cut thickness through most metals, of 1 inch, although it is a little slower at that thickness. It comes with items such as cutters, a torch, a ground clamp, extra electrodes and nozzles, among others.
The cutter itself measures 19.5 in by 14.1 in by 13.2 in, and weighs 25 pounds. It is powered by a DC current and has a 5 year warranty. It has an average of 3.9 out of 5 stars. This particular product works best with a 220V but struggles at a 110V.
One compliant was that extra nozzles and consumables by Everlast were not readily available at welding supply shops, so that’s something to keep in mind. There was also an issues of loose bolts, but that was on readily fixed, and customer support at Everlast was deemed helpful and knowledgeable. The cutter performed well overall even at thicker 3/4 inch pieces, and was also easy to assemble.
The Hobart 500i
- Inverter-based design and reliable technology pack a lot of performance into a very portable package.
- An economical plasma cutting system for all conductive metals.
- This power source adapts to your work site by operating from either 115 or 230 VAC power through standard household outlet using the Multi-Voltage Plug (MVP).
The Hobart 500i: This Hobart model, an Airforce, is definitely a little pricier. However, it is also quite effective and has a high rating. The cutter is 14.2 in by 8.2 in by 11.2 in and weighs 27 pounds.
It will cut any conductive metal with a maximum thickness of 5/8 inches, although it works better at a slightly lower 3/8 inches or 1/2 inches. The cutter has a post air cooling system, wind tunnel technology to prevent damage to internal components, and thermal overload protection.
The package includes a newly designed torch, a multi voltage plug (115/230V), extra consumables, a heavy duty work clamp, one airline fitting, a power cord, and a cable management strap. In addition, it also has a standoff guide and owner’s manual, and there is a warranty of 1/3/5 years. Customers were happy with the multi voltage plug and the cutting power for the specified thicknesses.
The set up was also simple, with the cutter only needing to be plugged in, connected to the compressed air supply, grounded, then started. Although it takes time to learn how to use, it will perform consistently well. However, because of its price, it should be used by more experienced people.
As we add more products they will be added here. Check back often to read more plasma cutter reviews. If there is a machine you want us to feature, let us know. Or just leave a comment about your machine, we’d love to hear from you. But thanks again for stopping by to read our guide. Feel free to contact Us for more information. And thanks again for Stopping by!