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Buyer's Guide

20 Best Plasma Cutters of 2018

Picture of Max von Übel
by Max von Übel
Jul 25, 2018

Check out our 2018 buyer's guide to the 20 best plasma cutters on the market and learn about the technology and how to choose the best plasma cutter.

Metal is an extremely versatile and durable material. For hundreds of years, we used metal saws and drills to shape it. And while these tools fulfill their purpose, they are slow, difficult to use, and quickly wear out. Today, thanks to plasma cutters, cutting thick sheets of metal has become almost as easy as slicing bread. Apart from cutting metal, plasma cutters are also used for gouging and marking metal parts.

Over the years, plasma cutters have not only become more powerful, but also smaller. Since the early machines were very bulky, they were only used in the industry. Today, plasma cutters can be very compact, making them highly portable. This allows applications in many diverse fields like ranching, shipbuilding, mechanical fabrication, civil service construction, and job shops.

Our Plasma Cutter Picks of 2018

Top Pick
Product image of Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 102

Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 102

This plasma cutter comes with a convenient storage compartment for spare and consumable parts.

Best Value
Product image of Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci

Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci

The Airforce 12ci has inverter technology, which provides powerful cutting ability in a compact lightweight package.

Budget Pick
Product image of lotos plasma cutter lt5000d

Lotos Plasma Cutter LT5000D

This plasma cutter delivers strong cutting performance in a compact package.

Best Mix of Power & Portability
Product image of hypertherm powermax 30 XP

Hypertherm Powermax 30 XP

This plasma cutter brings you great power at a comparatively low cost.

Choose Your Budget

You can sort through this table according to the most important criteria. Jump to the back of this article to learn more about the technology and how to choose the best plasma cutter for your needs.

20 Best Plasma Cutters of 2018

Cutter Market Price (USD) Cutting Depth Input Weight Where to Buy
Cut 40 247 12 mm 110V/220V N.A.
Lotos LT5000D 330 12 mm 110V/220V 10.2 kg
Lotos LTP5000D 410 12 mm 110V/220V 11.8 kg
Ramsond Cut 50 420 19 mm 110/220 V 8.6 kg
Lotos LTP7000 670 22.2 mm 220V 29.8 kg
Hobart Airforce 12ci 750 6.5 mm 120 V 12.1 kg
Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 42 1,029 22.2 mm 120V / 230V 11.8 kg
Hobart Airforce 27i 1,189 9.5 mm 120/240 V 12.5 kg
Hobart Airforce 40i 1,400 15.8 mm 240 V 13.9 kg
Hypertherm Powermax 30 XP 1,420 12 mm 120V / 240V 9.7 kg
Miller Spectrum 375 Extreme 1,465 9.5 mm 120/240 V 8.6 kg
Thermal Dynamics 60i 1,703 16 mm 208 – 480V 16.8 kg
Hypertherm Powermax 30 Air 1,795 9.5 mm 120V/240V 13.5 kg
Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 52 1,800 30 mm 208-480V 19.5 kg
Miller Spectrum 625 Extreme 1,932 15.8 mm 120V / 240V 9.5 kg
Hypertherm Powermax 45 XP 2,015 22.2 mm 200-400V 15 kg
Hypertherm Powermax 65 2,820 25 mm 200-600V 29 kg
Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 102 2,950 45 mm 208-600V 28.1 kg
Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 82 3,114 40 mm 208V-600V 19.5 kg
Hypertherm Powermax 85 3,749 28.6 mm 200 – 600V 32 kg

Plasma Cutters under $750

1

Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide Cut 40

Image of Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide: Cut 40

Specs

  • Market Price (USD) 247
  • Cutting Depth 12 mm
  • Input 110V/220V
  • Duty Cycle 60% @ 40A
  • Amps 40A
  • Torch Lead Length 3.5 m
  • Weight N.A.
  • Dimensions 36.8 x 15 x 22.3 cm
  • Extras

If you prefer making a good deal over quality, the Cut 40 will not disappoint you. At under $300, no other plasma cutter can hold a candle to this bargain. This machine cuts up to 12 mm into materials like stainless steel, alloy steel, mild steel, and copper.

On the one side, this machine uses inverter technology to decrease its size and weight substantially. However, the installed MOSFETs can lead to a cascading failure of the inverter. While this may not be the best plasma cutter of its price range, the Cut 40 is sufficient for makers and hobbyists who occasionally need to cut metal.

The plasma cutter package also includes the ground cable (cord length 2 meters), the ground clamp, one air filter/regulator, one hose, one set of clamps, one mounting bracket, one storage bag, and the user manual.

Best Plasma Cutter for: The Cut 40 is a good choice for beginners who want to get their feet in the craft.

Product image of cut 40 plasma cutter

Cut 40 Plasma Cutter

2

Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide Lotos LT5000D

Image of Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide: Lotos LT5000D

Specs

  • Market Price (USD) 330
  • Cutting Depth 12 mm
  • Input 110V/220V
  • Duty Cycle 60% @ 50 A
  • Amps 10-50 A
  • Torch Lead Length 4 m
  • Weight 10.2 kg
  • Dimensions 38.1 ✕ 15.2 ✕ 30.5 cm
  • Extras

This plasma cutter is suitable for cutting stainless steel, alloy steel, mild steel, copper aluminum, and other metal materials at a maximum thickness of 12 mm. However, it can be used for severance cuts of up to 19 mm. This machine can process both 110V and 220V making it a reliable tool in various settings.

Nonetheless, the Lotos LT5000D is not one of the best plasma cutters in the budget section. The reason for this assessment is that it eats consumables like they are cookies. Many reviewers say they are not satisfied, because at the cost of consumables they could have bought a plasma cutter that costs more initially, but is cheaper to maintain in the long run. Other reviewers have reported that they successfully upgraded their Lotos LT5000D using consumables by other manufacturers.

Best Plasma Cutter for: In sum, the Lotos LT5000D is a great choice if you anticipate to use it on select projects and not on a regular basis.

Dual Voltage
Product image of lotos plasma cutter lt5000d

Lotos Plasma Cutter LT5000D

This plasma cutter delivers strong cutting performance in a compact package.

3

Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide Lotos LTP5000D

Image of Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide: Lotos LTP5000D

Specs

  • Market Price (USD) 410
  • Cutting Depth 12 mm
  • Input 110V/220V
  • Duty Cycle 60% @ 50 A
  • Amps 10-50 A
  • Torch Lead Length 4 m
  • Weight 11.8 kg
  • Dimensions 38.1 ✕ 15.2 ✕ 30.5 cm
  • Extras

This plasma cutter is the big brother of the similarly named LT5000D. The difference lies in the higher punch of the torch that can burn at up to 50 Amps. This makes the LTP5000D not only suitable for cutting stainless steel, alloy steel, mild steel, copper aluminum, and other metals, but also ough, painted, and rusty surfaces.

It cuts at a maximum thickness of 12 mm. However, it can be used for severance cuts of up to 19 mm. This machine can process both 110V and 220V making it a reliable tool in various settings. Another plus is that it uses non-hazardous compressed air, meaning you have one health hazard less to worry about.

However, the Lotos LTP5000D suffers from the same weaknesses as the LT5000D. Both plasma cutters burn up consumables fairly quickly. So, if you intend to cut metals regularly, you will be cheaper off in the long run if you buy a higher quality plasma cutter.

Best Plasma Cutter for: Although this may not be the best plasma cutter, the Lotos LTP5000D offers powerful cutting and gouging features for hobbyists and makers on a budget.

Non-touch Pilot ARC
Product image of Lotos LTP5000D

Lotos LTP5000D

The Lotos LTP5000D is a good choice for features for hobbyists and makers.

4

Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide Ramsond Cut 50

Image of Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide: Ramsond Cut 50

Specs

  • Market Price (USD) 420
  • Cutting Depth 19 mm
  • Input 110/220 V
  • Duty Cycle 60% @ 50A
  • Amps 50 A
  • Torch Lead Length 3 m
  • Weight 8.6 kg
  • Dimensions 36 ✕ 12.2 ✕ 22.8 cm
  • Extras

Running at 50 Amps, this budget plasma cutter run on 60% duty cycle, making it a good choice for hobbyists and makers who occasionally want to cut different metals.

You can throw stainless steel, carbon steel, alloy steel, copper, brass, and even aluminum at this plasma cutter. Not bad bad for a machine below the magic mark of $500. This machine can process both 110V and 220V making it a reliable tool in a variety of settings.

The reviews on this plasma cutter are divided between criticism and realistic appreciation. While some have declared that they could get it to work properly, others have admitted that it took them some hours of frustration before they got the hang of it. These customers even reported that can perform severance cuts of up to 25 mm.

Best Plasma Cutter for: Its low weight makes this powerful plasma cutter a highly portable tool for light-duty work.

Professional
Product image of ramsond cut 50

Ramsond Cut 50

The Plasma Cutter is equipped with digital AMP display and an integrated pressure gauge located in the front panel.

5

Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide Lotos LTP7000

Image of Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide: Lotos LTP7000

Specs

  • Market Price (USD) 670
  • Cutting Depth 22.2 mm
  • Input 220V
  • Duty Cycle 60% @70A
  • Amps 70A
  • Torch Lead Length N.A.
  • Weight 29.8 kg
  • Dimensions 48.2 ✕ 20.3 ✕ 30.5 cm
  • Extras

Lotos has clearly entered the “big league” of plasma cutters like the LTP7000. Armed with 70 Amps, this machine is engineered for cutting suitable for cutting 22.2 mm deep into stainless steel, alloy steel, mild steel, copper aluminum, and other metals. However, it can be used for severance cuts of up to 31.8 mm.

As the other plasma cutters from this manufacturer, the Lotos LTP7000 burns up consumables fairly quickly. Even so, a great many customers on Amazon reported they were content with the performance of this machine.

Best Plasma Cutter for: In spite of the substantial punch, this may not be one of the best plasma cutters. However, if you know what you signed up for, you can get convincing cuts out of the Lotos LTP7000.

Automatic dual frequency
Product image of Lotos LTP7000

Lotos LTP7000

This budget plasma cutter offers powerful cuts.

Plasma Cutters between $750 and $1,500

6

Best Value Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide Hobart Airforce 12ci

Image of Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide: Hobart Airforce 12ci

Specs

  • Market Price (USD) 750
  • Cutting Depth 6.5 mm
  • Input 120 V
  • Duty Cycle 35% @ 12A
  • Amps 12A
  • Torch Lead Length 3.7 m
  • Weight 12.1 kg
  • Dimensions 25.4 ✕ 21 ✕ 33 cm
  • Extras Air Compressor, Extra Consumables

It is true that you can get plasma cutters with more punch at the price point, but few offer the quality of the Hobart Airforce 12ci. It cuts steel, aluminum, and other conductive metals up to a maximum depth of 3 mm.

But this machine not merely performs well, it provides the same high-quality as the pricier 27i and 40i models. Like these industrial plasma cutters, the 12ci is easy on consumables and the torch as it cools them with a post-flow air after the trigger is released. This means that the maintenance costs are kept to the bare minimum. Making this plasma cutter more affordable than many other budget models.

This plasma cutter is designed for maximum portability. With a cord that is 3.7 meters long, you can reach any spot on your jobs effortlessly. Since 120 V suffice for powering this machine, you can plug it in virtually anywhere.

However, the best feature of the Hobart Airforce 12ci is the built-in compressor. A built-in compressor is especially comfortable for users since there is no need to transport additional equipment. And yet, the machine weighs only 12.1 kg.

Best Plasma Cutter for: Makers and hobbyists, offering the best usability at the best value.

more precies cut
Product image of Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci

Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci

The Airforce 12ci has inverter technology, which provides powerful cutting ability in a compact lightweight package.

7

Best Portable Plasma Cutter Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 42

Image of Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide: Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 42

Specs

  • Market Price (USD) 1,029
  • Cutting Depth 22.2 mm
  • Input 120V / 230V
  • Duty Cycle 40% @ 40A (230V)
  • Amps 40A
  • Torch Lead Length 4.5 m
  • Weight 11.8 kg
  • Dimensions 17.7 ✕ 22.8 ✕ 47 cm
  • Extras Air Compressor

The Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 42 is a highly portable plasma cutter that delivers great results. It cuts conductive metal like mild steel, steel, and aluminum to a strength of 22.2 mm.

Amazingly, this model features a built-in air compressor! This is a standout feature since you can do cutting jobs with only one machine. When compared to other plasma cutters, the Cutmaster 42 has a substantial edge over its competition. For one, it has more punch than the Hypertherm 30 Air, and it costs a whole lot less!

This model is built for mobility. At only 11.8 kg, this machine is a powerful companion for jobs outside your workshop. Also, you can choose between the 120 V and 230 V mode. This allows you to plug it into any household plug. The nifty design of the torch allows you to add lead extension and even transform it into a machine torch.

Best Plasma Cutter for: Thanks to its hassle-free setup, the Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 42 is one of the best plasma cutters for hobby and light duty work.

true cut capacity
Product image of thermal dynamics cutmaster 42

thermal dynamics cutmaster 42

The professional plasma cutter includes is highly portable.

8

Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide Hobart Airforce 27i

Image of Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide: Hobart Airforce 27i

Specs

  • Market Price (USD) 1,189
  • Cutting Depth 9.5 mm
  • Input 120/240 V
  • Duty Cycle 35% @ 27A
  • Amps 20A-27A
  • Torch Lead Length 3.7 m
  • Weight 12.5 kg
  • Dimensions 28.6 ✕ 21 ✕ 36.2 cm
  • Extras Extra Consumables

The Hobart Airforce 27i cuts steel, aluminum, and other conductive metals up to a maximum depth of 9.5 mm and severs up to 15.8 mm plates.

But this machine not merely performs well, it is also easy on consumables and the torch as it cools them with a post-flow air after the trigger is released. This means that the maintenance costs are kept to the bare minimum. Making this plasma cutter more affordable than many budget models when used over a longer time.

This plasma cutter is designed for maximum portability and durability since you can plug it into both 120 V and 240 V sockets. With a cord that is 3.7 meters long, you can reach any spot on your jobs effortlessly.

Best Plasma Cutter for: The Hobart Airforce 27i is an excellent plasma cutter that performs well under heavy duty conditions at a good value.

Fan-on-demand
Product image of hobart plasma cutter 27i

hobart plasma cutter 27i

The inverter-based design and reliable technology pack a lot of performance into a very portable package.

9

Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide Hobart Airforce 40i

Image of Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide: Hobart Airforce 40i

Specs

  • Market Price (USD) 1,400
  • Cutting Depth 15.8 mm
  • Input 240 V
  • Duty Cycle 50% @ 40A
  • Amps 40A
  • Torch Lead Length 3.7 m
  • Weight 13.9 kg
  • Dimensions 28.6 ✕ 21 ✕ 36.2 cm
  • Extras Extra Consumables

The Hobart Airforce 40i cuts steel, aluminum, and other conductive metals up to a maximum depth of 15.8 mm. What is more, the torch is equipped with an arc controller, this allows you to cut perforated metals and coated surfaces without retriggering the torch.

But this machine not merely performs well, it is also easy on consumables and the torch as it cools them with a post-flow air after the trigger is released. This means that the maintenance costs are kept to the bare minimum. Making this plasma cutter more affordable than many budget models when used over a longer time.

This plasma cutter is designed for maximum portability. With a cord that is 3.7 meters long, you can reach any spot on your jobs effortlessly. Thanks to the inverter technology, this mighty machine weighs only 13.9 kg.

Best Plasma Cutter for: The Hobart Airforce 40i is an excellent plasma cutter that is suitable for body shops as well as light construction duties.

Auto-Refire Technology
Product image of Hobart 40i

Hobart 40i

The 40i runs on 240V power so it’s excellent for light and heavy industrial users.

10

Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide Hypertherm Powermax 30 XP

Image of Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide: Hypertherm Powermax 30 XP

Specs

  • Market Price (USD) 1,420
  • Cutting Depth 12 mm
  • Input 120V / 240V
  • Duty Cycle 35% (240 V), 20% (120 V)
  • Amps 15A-30A
  • Torch Lead Length 4.6 m
  • Weight 9.7 kg
  • Dimensions 35.6 ✕ 16.8 ✕ 30.5 cm
  • Extras Carry Case, Gloves, Shade 5 Glasses, Consumable Kit

If you are looking for a versatile and portable plasma cutter, take a gander at the Hypertherm Powermax 30 XP. It cuts mild steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and other electrically conductive material with a maximum strength of 12 mm.

However, this plasma cutter cannot only cut thick metal, it is also the right tool for finer workpieces. Simply install the FineCut nozzle (included in the package) and perform high-quality cuts on thin metals. At only 9.7 kg, this cutter is highly portable and the option to power it with 120 V allows you to operate it in virtually any environment.

Truth be told, the Hypertherm Powermax 30 XP is not what you call a bargain. But plasma cutters of this class are easy on consumables and therefore cheaper than budget machines in the long run.

Best Plasma Cutter for: Considering the price, punch and maintenance cost, the Hypertherm Powermax 30 XP is one of the best plasma cutters for professional use.

on the best
Product image of hypertherm powermax 30 XP

Hypertherm Powermax 30 XP

This plasma cutter brings you great power at a comparatively low cost.

11

Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide Miller Spectrum 375 Extreme

Image of Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide: Miller Spectrum 375 Extreme

Specs

  • Market Price (USD) 1,465
  • Cutting Depth 9.5 mm
  • Input 120/240 V
  • Duty Cycle 35% @ 30 A
  • Amps 14 A - 30 A
  • Torch Lead Length 3.7 m
  • Weight 8.6 kg
  • Dimensions 14 ✕ 22.9 ✕ 33,7 cm
  • Extras Protective Case

Do you need a plasma cutter for the field? The Miller Spectrum 375 Extreme is a highly portable machine since it can process both 110V and 220V which allows you to plug it into regular household sockets. At only 8.6 kg you can easily carry it with the shoulder straps.

The torch is equipped with an ergonomic handle that is designed to prevent slipping. What is more, the torch features with an arc controller, this allows you to cut perforated metals and coated surfaces without retriggering the torch.

Despite its excellent portability, the Miller Spectrum 375 Extreme has more than enough power to cut through 9.5 mm-metals. However, it is equally fit for gouging.

Best Plasma Cutter for: With its stand-out combination of portability and ease of use, this is one of the best plasma cutters for light-duty use in the field.

high cutting capacity
Product image of Miller Spectrum 375 Extreme

Miller Spectrum 375 Extreme

The Miller Spectrum 375 Extreme combines portability and ease of use.

12

Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide Thermal Dynamics 60i

Image of Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide: Thermal Dynamics 60i

Specs

  • Market Price (USD) 1,703
  • Cutting Depth 16 mm
  • Input 208 – 480V
  • Duty Cycle 50% @ 60A
  • Amps 10-60A
  • Torch Lead Length 6.1 m
  • Weight 16.8 kg
  • Dimensions 53.6 ✕ 19.9 ✕ 35.9 cm
  • Extras

The Thermal Dynamics 60i boasts a maximum cutting depth of 16 mm which is impressive considering its compact form. It burns a whopping 60 A at a duty cycle of 50%. The case is extremely durable, thanks to the exoskeleton design.

Among the ingenious features of the front display, the end-of-life indicator is the best thought through. It allows you to replace consumables at the moment they are worn out. What is more, the torch is equipped with an arc controller, this allows you to cut perforated metals and coated surfaces without retriggering the torch. Speaking of the torch, its lead measures 6.1 meters, allowing you to operate this plasma cutter in many different settings.

Best Plasma Cutter for: With its combination of punch and portability, the Thermal Dynamics 60i is an excellent plasma cutter for agricultural equipment, repairs, and even fabrication.

high power-to-weight ratio
Product image of thermal dynamics 60i

Thermal Dynamics 60i

A great combination of end-user insight, advanced technology, and intelligent design.

13

Best Mix of Power and Portability Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide Hypertherm Powermax 30 Air

Image of Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide: Hypertherm Powermax 30 Air

Specs

  • Market Price (USD) 1,795
  • Cutting Depth 9.5 mm
  • Input 120V/240V
  • Duty Cycle 35% (240 V), 20% (120 V)
  • Amps 15-30A
  • Torch Lead Length 4.6 m
  • Weight 13.5 kg
  • Dimensions 42 ✕ 19.5 ✕ 33.3 cm
  • Extras Air Compressor

If you are looking for a highly portable plasma cutter, this may be very well the one. The Hypertherm Powermax 30 Air takes its name from the built-in air compressor. This is a standout feature since it allows you to operate the machine just about anywhere without fidgeting two machines.

Despite the added component, this machine only weighs 13.5 kg. Hence, Hypertherm built this machine with extra portability in mind. Add to that the option to power it with 120 V, and you can take it virtually anywhere. It cuts mild steel, stainless steel, or aluminum and other electrically conductive material with a maximum strength of 9.5 mm.

Best Plasma Cutter for: If you need a highly portable machine that provides enough power for heavy-duty use, the Hypertherm Powermax 30 Air is the best plasma cutter available.

small and light-weight
Product image of hypertherm powermax 30 air

Hypertherm Powermax 30 Air

The fast cutting speeds and superior cut quality of the Powermax enables you to finish jobs quicker.

Plasma Cutters Over $1,500

14

Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 52

Image of Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide: Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 52

Specs

  • Market Price (USD) 1,800
  • Cutting Depth 30 mm
  • Input 208-480V
  • Duty Cycle 100% @ 30A
  • Amps 60A
  • Torch Lead Length 6.1 m
  • Weight 19.5 kg
  • Dimensions 38.1 ✕ 61 ✕ 30.5 cm
  • Extras Protective Cage, Light-Weight

The Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 52 is a portable and powerful plasma cutter that delivers excellent results. It cuts through conductive metal like mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum to a strength of 30 mm.

Like all the plasma cutters of the Cutmaster family, this one is equipped with the 1Torch. This nifty design allows you to add a lead extension and even transform it into a machine torch. The protective cage around this machine will dampen falls and doubles as a carrying handle.

This model is built for mobility. At only 19.5 kg, this machine is a powerful companion for jobs outside your workshop. Many reviewers of the Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 52 praised the fact that is is fairly easy to set the plasma cutter up and the high cutting speeds.

Best Plasma Cutter for: This plasma cutter is an excellent choice for professionals who are in need of a light-weight machine for heavy duty use.

maximum efficiency
Product image of thermal dynamics cutmaster 52

Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 52

The Cutmaster True 52 will cut 30 mm material all day.

15

Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide Miller Spectrum 625 Extreme

Image of Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide: Miller Spectrum 625 Extreme

Specs

  • Market Price (USD) 1,932
  • Cutting Depth 15.8 mm
  • Input 120V / 240V
  • Duty Cycle 50% @ 40A
  • Amps 40A
  • Torch Lead Length 3.7 m
  • Weight 9.5 kg
  • Dimensions 14 ✕ 22.9 ✕ 33.7 cm
  • Extras Protective Case

You value portability in a plasma cutter? Then the Miller Spectrum 625 Extreme may just be the right tool for you. Weighing just 9.5 kg, the Miller Spectrum 625 Extreme is the ideal plasma cutter to take with you to jobs outside the workshop. You can plug it into any household socket since you can choose between the 120V and 240V mode.

The torch is equipped with an ergonomic handle that is designed to prevent slipping. What is more, the torch features with an arc controller, this allows you to cut perforated metals and coated surfaces without retriggering the torch.

Despite its excellent portability, the Miller Spectrum 625 Extreme has more than enough power to cut through 15.8 mm-metals. However, it is equally fit for gouging.

Best Plasma Cutter for: All things considered, the Miller Spectrum 625 Extreme stands out for its combination of portability and punch.

state-of-the-art flexibility
Product image of Miller Spectrum 625 Extreme

Miller Spectrum 625 Extreme

The Miller Spectrum 625 Extreme offers both portability and punch.

16

Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide Hypertherm Powermax 45 XP

Image of Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide: Hypertherm Powermax 45 XP

Specs

  • Market Price (USD) 2,015
  • Cutting Depth 22.2 mm
  • Input 200-400V
  • Duty Cycle 50% @ 45A
  • Amps 10-45A
  • Torch Lead Length 6.1 m
  • Weight 15 kg
  • Dimensions 44.2 ✕ 17.3 ✕ 35.7 cm
  • Extras Gloves, Shade 5 Glasses, Consumable Kit

According to the manufacturer, the Hypertherm Powermax 45 XP is the most versatile of their plasma cutter product family. Besides cutting, dedicated consumables enable fine feature cutting, extended reach cutting, gouging, precision gouging, and marking.

What is more, it cuts mild steel, stainless steel, or aluminum and other electrically conductive material with a maximum strength of 22.2 mm, but it can deliver severance cuts of 28.6 mm as a hand cutter.

In spite of its might, the Hypertherm Powermax 45 XP is also the right tool for creating finer features. Simply install the FineCut nozzle (included in the package) and perform high-quality cuts on thin metals. But that’s not all! This machine offers gouging, removing up to 3.4 kg of material an hour. It goes without saying that you can install a professional plasma cutter like the Hypertherm Powermax 45 XP on a CNC table. This allows you to cut precise parts for your business.

Best Plasma Cutter for: In terms of versatility and power, the Hypertherm Powermax 45 XP is the best plasma cutter on this list.

Drag-cutting technology
Product image of hypertherm powermax 45 xp

Hypertherm Powermax 45 XP

This cutter offers improved versatility and power.

17

Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide Hypertherm Powermax 65

Image of Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide: Hypertherm Powermax 65

Specs

  • Market Price (USD) 2,820
  • Cutting Depth 25 mm
  • Input 200-600V
  • Amps 20-65A
  • Torch Lead Length 7.6 m
  • Weight 29 kg
  • Dimensions 50 ✕ 23.4 ✕ 45.5 cm
  • Extras Gloves, Shade 5 Glasses, Consumable Kit

For a versatile plasma cutter that is fit for heavy duty use, consider the Hypertherm Powermax 65. It cuts mild steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and other electrically conductive material with a maximum strength of 25 mm.

However, this plasma cutter cannot only cut thick metal, it is also the right tool for finer workpieces. Simply install the FineCut nozzle (included in the package) and perform high-quality cuts on thin metals. But that’s not all! This power machine offers different gouging techniques like extended reach gouging. It is even possible to use the Hypertherm Powermax 65 in an industrial setting, as it can be installed on a CNC table. This allows you to cut precise parts for automotive and other industries.

To be sure, the Hypertherm Powermax 65 is not what you call a bargain. But plasma cutters of this class are engineered for heavy-duty use in construction and manufacturing. When put to the right application, this plasma cutter will cut even in no time!

Best Plasma Cutter for: Given its power and versatility, the Hypertherm Powermax 65 is one of the best plasma cutters for industrial use.

increased cut speed
Product image of hypertherm powermax 65 Hand System

Hypertherm Powermax 65

The plasma cutter delivers faster cut speeds and prolongs consumable life.

18

Best Value Professionals Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 102

Image of Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide: Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 102

Specs

  • Market Price (USD) 2,950
  • Cutting Depth 45 mm
  • Input 208-600V
  • Duty Cycle 60% @ 100A
  • Amps 100A
  • Torch Lead Length 6.1 m
  • Weight 28.1 kg
  • Dimensions 30.5 ✕ 38.1 ✕ 76.2 cm
  • Extras Protective Cage, Light-Weight

If you are looking for maximum power and portability, the Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 102 is your weapon of choice. Although this plasma cutter pierces through 45 mm thick mild steel, steel, and aluminum, it weighs only 28.1 kg.

For all its raw power of 100 A, this model is also built for maximum portability. The torch lead of 6.1 meters allows you to operate this plasma cutter even in highly inaccessible settings.

Like all the plasma cutters of the Cutmaster family, this one is equipped with the 1Torch. This nifty design allows you to add a lead extension and even transform it into a machine torch. The protective cage around this machine will dampen falls and doubles as a carrying handle.

Best Plasma Cutter for: The Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 102 is the best plasma cutter for professionals who are in need of a powerful machine for heavy fabrication duties.

improved portability
Product image of Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 102

Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 102

This plasma cutter comes with a convenient storage compartment for spare and consumable parts.

19

Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 82

Image of Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide: Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 82

Specs

  • Market Price (USD) 3,114
  • Cutting Depth 40 mm
  • Input 208V-600V
  • Duty Cycle 100% @ 55A
  • Amps 80A
  • Torch Lead Length 6.1 m
  • Weight 19.5 kg
  • Dimensions 38.1 ✕ 61 ✕ 30.5 cm
  • Extras Protective Cage, Light-Weight

The Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 82 is a powerful plasma cutter that delivers excellent results for heavy fabrication, manufacturing applications. It cuts conductive metal like mild steel, steel, and aluminum to a strength of 40 mm.

Like all the plasma cutters of the Cutmaster family, this one is equipped with the 1Torch. This nifty design allows you to add lead extension and even transform it into a machine torch. The protective cage around this machine will dampen falls and doubles as a carrying handle. What is more, the price is comparatively low when compared to Hypertherm plasma cutters.

Despite its punch, this model is also built for maximum portability. At only 19.5 kg, this machine is not only a great investment for a workshop, but also a powerful companion for jobs outside. The torch lead of 6.1 meters allows you to operate this plasma cutter in many different settings.

Best Plasma Cutter for: This plasma cutter is an excellent choice for professionals who are in need of a powerful machine for heavy duty use.

Plasma Cutter
Product image of Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 82

Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 82

Powerful plasma cutter that delivers excellent results for heavy fabrication and manufacturing applications. It cuts steel and aluminum sheets up to 40 mm.

20

Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide Hypertherm Powermax 85

Image of Plasma Cutter Buyer's Guide: Hypertherm Powermax 85

Specs

  • Market Price (USD) 3,749
  • Cutting Depth 28.6 mm
  • Input 200 – 600V
  • Duty Cycle 60% @ 85A
  • Amps 25-85A
  • Torch Lead Length 7.6 m
  • Weight 32 kg
  • Dimensions 50 ✕ 23.4 ✕ 45.5 cm
  • Extras Gloves, Shade 5 Glasses, Consumable Kit

As heavy duty plasma cutters go, the Hypertherm Powermax 85 is the Hypertherm machine with the most punch on this list. It cuts mild steel, stainless steel, or aluminum and other electrically conductive material with a maximum strength of 28.6 mm, but it can deliver severance cuts of 40 mm as a hand cutter.

Inspite of its might, the Hypertherm Powermax 85 is also the right tool for creating finer features. Simply install the FineCut nozzle (included in the package) and perform high-quality cuts on thin metals. But that’s not all! This machine offers gouging, removing up to 8.8 kg of material an hour. It goes without saying that you an industrial grade plasma cutter like the Hypertherm Powermax 85 install on a CNC table. This allows you to cut precise parts for automotive and other industries.

Best Plasma Cutter for: If you are looking for a happy alliance of raw power and precision, the Hypertherm Powermax 85 is one of the best plasma cutters for industrial use.

Reliable & Precise
Product image of hypertherm powermax 85 Hand System

Hypertherm Powermax 85

The Hypertherm Powermax 85 is one of the best plasma cutters for industrial use.

How to Choose a Plasma Cutter

Cost

While there are plenty of plasma cutters on the market that cost less than $500, it is unlikely that they will make you happy in the long run.

For one, they often only use cheap MOSFETs rather than the more expensive IGBTs. These modules that are superior to MOSFETs, since they can lead to a cascading failure. Which translates into downtime, until you have exchanged the defective MOSFET.

You should also consider the long-term cost of running a plasma cutter. Cheap budget machines are prone to heavy wear on costly consumables. If you intend to use your plasma cutter regularly, you will likely be better off if you invest more money into a high-quality machine.

Portability

Do you want to use your plasma cutter in a workshop that has dedicated industrial power lines, or at home where you can only access common household lines? This should be one of the key specs you look out for, as it can exclude many plasma cutters.

How does Plasma Cutting work?

Plasma cutters harness the high temperatures of plasma (40,000˚F) to cut workpieces. Plasma is one of the four fundamental states of matter. While the other three states, solid, liquid, and gaseous, are found in the natural world under normal conditions, plasma exists only in the most extreme environments. For instance, the interior of stars is comprised of plasma.

To use plasma in a plasma cutter, it must be artificially generated. A highly compressed stream of gas that is focussed using a nozzle is sent towards the metal stock. Many plasma cutters require nitrogen, oxygen, argon, however some work with humble air. By adding a high electric current the gas is ionized turning it into plasma that burns at 40,000˚F. At these temperatures, metals melt like butter.

The plasma cutter consists of an arc starting unit that typically produces an AC voltage of 5,000 to 10,000 volts. Some units also include the air compressor needed to focus the gas stream.

The second essential component is the torch. This is a hand-held device used to direct the plasma to the workpiece. In CNC plasma cutters this component is fastened to a stepper motor. The torch contains a nozzle and an electrode. In addition, it provides cooling to these parts. Despite the cooling, both the nozzle and electrode wear out and need to be replaced at regular intervals.

What Protective Gear do I need for Plasma Cutting?

You should at least wear eye protection and face shields. This will prevent damage to your eyes and injuries from flying debris. It is also a good idea to put on sturdy leather gloves and an apron to shield you from burns caused by sparks and debris.

High-grade plasma cutters often ship with a set of basic goggles and gloves. However, goggles won’t protect your entire face and experienced metalworkers state that gloves wear out quickly when doing plasma cutting work. So, it is better to buy additional protective gear in advance.

What Kinds of Plasma Cutters can I buy?

Originally, hand-held plasma cutters were the only choice. For most jobs, hand-held plasma cutters still deliver satisfying results. It is especially effective for gouging paint or rust off scrape metals. With some practice, it is possible to cut metals in clean lines.

Ever since computer-controlled machines were introduced into manufacturing, the applications of plasma cutters have diversified. Today, CNC plasma cutters produce cleanly cut sheet metal parts at the push of a button. Be it a unique piece or mass produced parts, CNC plasma cutters offer a cost-efficient process.

License: The text of "20 Best Plasma Cutters of 2018" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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