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Best Plasma Cutters of 2020

Best Plasma Cutter Reviews of 2020

Best-in-class
Lotos LTPDC2000D

Lotos LTPDC2000D 3-in-1 Non-Touch Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter Tig Welder and Stick Welder

Best professional plasma cutter

Preinstalled components make it easy to hook to an air compressor and start using it straight out of the box.

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1 Lotos LTPDC2000D Review

If you need a plasma cutter capable of penetrating through steel and other materials like a knife through melted butter, then the Lotos LTPDC2000D is it. This 3-in-1 welding machine will easily become your favorite cutting and welding tool, whether you’re a pro or avid do-it-yourselfer.

Its greatest highlight is its no-touch pilot arc feature that allows you to cut even through the toughest materials without touching the tip.

Variable cutting power between 10 and 50 amps also allows you to slice through materials of various thicknesses. Furthermore, the power can go up to 200 amps when engaging its other functions.

In detail, with this machine, you can cut various metals, weld thinner gauge metals or use acid or basic electrodes for MMA welding.

We like that you can use it for both light- and heavy-duty projects, and that all this power is crammed into a compact design. No doubt, the best portable plasma cutter around.

Best value
Amico CUT-50

Amico CUT-50 50-Amp Pro Plasma Cutter Dual Voltage Cutting Machine

Best digital inverter plasma cutter

Designed for both industrial and hobby applications, this plasma cutter brings outstanding value for money.

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2 Amico CUT-50 Review

Do you need a reliable plasma cutter for home use? Or maybe an affordable unit capable of withstanding industrial applications? Then check out the Amici CUT-50.

This digital inverter plasma cutter can withstand both heavy and light-duty use, handling materials with a thickness up to 1 inch. Fifty amps also deliver sufficient power to slice through hard steel, copper aluminum, as well as other metals.

We particularly like the auto-voltage feature that adapts to 110 or 220V circuits, courtesy of the built-in inverter that rectifies the input voltage into direct current automatically. Like our best in class, the unit is compact and portable, and comes with an impact-resistant torch with ergonomic grip.

Intuitive and easy to use, this plasma cutter is perfect for both personal and industrial applications. Undeniably, great value for money.

Also great
PrimeWeld CT-520D

PrimeWeld CT-520D 3-in-1 Plasma Cutter, TIG Welder and Stick Welder Combo

A solid alternative

Three-in-one capability makes it perfect for plasma cutting, TIC welding, and arc welding applications.

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3 PrimeWeld CT-520D Review

Packing a little higher price tag than our best value, but as versatile as our best in class, the PrimeWeld CT-520D is an excellent choice for heavy-duty DIY or light workshop applications. Satisfying handymen and hobbyists around the nation, this plasma cutter can output up to 50 amps for cutting and 200 amps for welding – sufficient for tackling most projects.

Suitable for cutting most metals, it can slice through steel of various thicknesses with little to no trouble.

We also like that the torch itself is very well designed. It’s ergonomic and easy to handle, and also comes with an intuitive and effective safety trigger.

Easy to use straight out of the box, this unit also works on both 110 and 220 volts circuits; it’s lightweight and easy to transport. A great choice if you need a plasma cutter and welder at a price that won’t break the bank.

Best budget
SUPER DEAL CUT 50

SUPER DEAL CUT50 DC Inverter Plasma Cutter Welding Machine

Best budget plasma cutter

Coming with everything needed, including wire and mask, this plasma cutter is perfect for hobbyists.

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4 SUPER DEAL CUT 50 Review

Living up to its name, the SUPER DEAL CUT 50 is a true bargain considering its features. Generating a power output between 20 and 50 amps, it can cut through most metals quickly and easily.

Besides cutting power and speed, it also stands out thanks to its high-quality construction. The iron housing enhances resistance and durability, while the torch is simple and easy to use. It may lack best in class features, but it gets the job done without hassle.

We also like that it comes with a good amount of accessories that make it suitable to use for a wide range of applications. Ideal for DIYers or professionals on a budget, it is a solid option for anyone looking for a cheap plasma cutter.

What is a plasma cutter?

A plasma cutter is a tool designed to help you cut through various electrically conductive materials, such as steel, brass, aluminum, copper, and other metals. Models vary from small portable plasma cutters to industrial use CNC plasma cutting machinery.

Hand-held vs. mechanized plasma cutters. What is the difference?

Obviously, the main difference between hand-held and mechanized plasma cutters is the size of the machine, but also the way it cuts.

  • Hand-held plasma cutter: Is a small, portable unit typically found in handymen shops or used by hobbyists. It has a hand-held plasma torch that you will have to hold and operate to cut the metal. Design-wise, these machines are similar to portable welding machines.
  • CNC plasma table / mechanized plasma cutter: This term is usually used to describe a heavy-duty CNC plasma table with a robotic arm, designed for large-scale precision cutting. This type of machine is usually found in large industries, although some brands also manufacture smaller, hobby CNC plasma cutters. Needless to say, these machines are more complicated to use than a portable unit, and much more expensive.

How does a plasma cutter work?

Leaving the CNC tables for now and focusing on the portable plasma cutters, you might wonder how such a machine works.

Often defined as an electric cutter, this tool works by channeling a jet of concentrated gas – usually compressed air – across an electric arc and through a nozzle, creating an extremely fine jet of superhot air. So hot that it can literally slice through metal like a knife through melted butter.

Technical details apart, you can operate the plasma cutter by simply plugging it into a wall socket and using a purposefully made plasma torch, typically sold with the main unit.

What kind of gas does a plasma cutter use?

Plasma cutters usually work with air provided by an air compressor – either an external or built-in unit. However, there are applications that require the use of different types of gases, as highlighted in the table below.

Gas

Application

Compressed air

Standard cutting through steel, aluminum, copper, and other conductive metals.

Oxygen

Precision cutting of mild steel.

Nitrogen

Precision cutting of stainless steel and aluminum.

Argon-hydrogen

Cutting thick aluminum or stainless steel.

What air compressor for a plasma cutter?

Since using compressed air is recommended for most applications, and since plasma cutters without built-in compressors are cheaper and more reliable, you might also wonder what air compressor to pair with the plasma cutter you want to buy.

As a rule of thumb, a portable air compressor is usually sufficient, but you should still check the PSI specs of the model you plan to use.

Typically, a plasma cutter requires around 90-120 pounds per square inch (PSI) of pressure. However, various applications may have different requirements, and besides the PSI, you should also check the standard cubic feet per minute (SCFM) rating of the air compressor. Like it happens for circular saws that require lower revolutions per minute for cutting thicker materials, cutting thicker materials with a plasma cutter requires lower pressure and airflow. To leave the guesswork out of the game, check the table below:

Steel thickness

PSI

SCFM

3/8 inches

90-120

4-5

5/8 – 3/4 inches

90-120

6

3/4 – 1 inch

90-120

7-8

1-3/4 inches

85

9

What is the best plasma cutter for TIG welding?

Plasma cutting and welding are performed with two different tools. Therefore we can’t say there is such a thing as the best plasma cutter for welding. However, some brands manufacture plasma cutting and welding combos that are a great choice for handymen and hobbyists.

Can a plasma cutter cut wood?

No. Plasma cutters are designed to cut electrically conductive materials – virtually all kinds of metals, including steel and stainless steel, brass, aluminum, copper, etc. Wood, as well as plastic, are not electrically conductive. Therefore they can’t be cut with a plasma cutter.

How to set up a plasma cutter?

DIY plasma cutters usually consist of a power unit, a plasma torch, ground clamp, and a hose to connect to the air compressor. To set it up, simply connect the hose and plasma torch as instructed by the manufacturer and plug the unit into a wall outlet.

How to use a plasma cutter?

Hand-held plasma cutters are relatively easy to use, even by novices. Here are a few quick steps:

  1. Before setting up your plasma cutter, clean the work area to get rid of all dust and debris that might damage the unit as well as any inflammable materials that could catch fire while operating the machine.
  2. Place the metal piece you want to cut on a stable surface. A sturdy table is usually your best bet, but you should clamp the workpiece to keep it firm while cutting.
  3. Plugin the plasma cutter and connect the air compressor. At this stage, turn on the air compressor, then attach the ground clamp of the electric cutter close to where you’re working.
  4. Turn on the plasma cutter and set the correct amperage, based on the thickness of the material you’re cutting.
  5. Place the nozzle end of the plasma torch on the metal, then press the trigger to start the arc. Move the torch slowly on the workpiece to cut the metal – you can use a guide to ensure accurate cuts.
  6. When cutting is done, turn off the plasma cutter and remove the ground clamp, then turn off the air compressor. Let the torch cool off completely before winding up the hoses and storing the unit.

How hot does a plasma cutter get?

Plasma can get incredibly hot – usually around 45,000°F. To understand how hot it is, know that the solar surface is only 9,941°F hot. That’s why you should never look directly at the flame while you’re cutting if you’re not wearing a welding helmet or goggles.

Features to look for in plasma cutters

Finding the best plasma cutter can be overwhelming. Before buying, make sure to check the features below.

  • Cutting power: The power specs of a plasma cutter can vary widely, from around 20 amps to over 50 amps. In broad lines, the best plasma cutters for workshop and home use have variable cutting power, usually between 20 and 50 amps.
  • Portable plasma cutters: If you’re looking for a unit to use only in a workshop, the size and weight might not matter. However, if you’re aiming to keep it portable, know that some models weigh 30 pounds or less and are truly compact.
  • Duty cycle: The higher this number, the smoother and more accurate the cuts the tool can make.
  • Consumables: Most plasma cutters come with copper nozzles that have a limited lifespan. If you want to be able to keep using the cutter after the nozzle has worn out, make sure you can find spare parts.
  • Air source: We already mentioned that some plasma cutters get air from a portable air compressor while others come with built-in compressors. Although you have to buy two different machines, we recommend the former. Plasma cutters with built-in air compressors are more expensive and have scarcer performance that a machine connected to an external air source.

Best Plasma Cutter for the Money

Best value
Amico CUT-50

Amico CUT-50 50-Amp Pro Plasma Cutter Dual Voltage Cutting Machine

Best digital inverter plasma cutter

Designed for both industrial and hobby applications, this plasma cutter brings outstanding value for money.

Check price

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