- 1 Top 7 Best Plasma Cutters in 2020
- 2 Best Plasma Cutter Buyer’s Guide
The best plasma cutter you can buy today is the Lotos LT5000D. This excellent plasma cutter is extra precise and efficient. It also features dual-voltage technology so you can use it in a number of different situations without needing additional accessories.
To help you find the best plasma cutters for your industrial needs, we spent over 8 hours testing 15 different units. As we cut through metal and worked with each plasma cutter, we looked specifically at how well each model cut through metal of varying thickness and how easy they were to use. We also considered things like power output, efficiency-increasing features and the lifespan of consumables. Keep reading below to learn more about the Lotos plasma cutter and the other best plasma cutters on our list.
Top 7 Best Plasma Cutters in 2020
#1 Lotos LT5000D Plasma Cutter
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Lotos plasma cutter is precise, safe and efficient. It’s also incredibly versatile with dual voltage functionality and IGB cutting technology for cutting conductive metals.
The Lotos LT5000D is the younger sibling of the Lotos LTP5000D and is a user-friendly plasma cutter that includes everything you need to get up and running, with the exception of the air compressor, which isn’t built in. It also features an easy-to-read front panel and air pressure gauge. We do wish the power cord was a little longer, but it doesn’t affect the cutter’s overall performance. One of the best usability features the LT5000D boasts is the automatic dual voltage and dual frequency functionalities. With this, you can easily use the cutter at both home and your shop. In fact, it will automatically switch between voltages without any need to manually adjust it.
When it comes to performance, you’ll be hard pressed to find a plasma cutter that is more precise or high speed than the Lotos. It uses high-frequency inverter technology to create the most efficient and rapid cutting performance. We were also impressed with the Lotos’s Pulse-Width-Modulation (PWM) technology, which allows you to create a more consistent cutting experience with 30% more efficiency. You’ll be adding this plasma cutter to your tools alongside your best grease gun in no time.
#2 Primeweld Premium & Rugged Plasma Cutter
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This plasma cutter is well-made and powerful, able to cut metal up to a half an inch thick. It’s also great for cutting through rusty or old metal and it’s extra safe to use, with built-in fire prevention features.
The Primeweld Premium & Rugged is a 50 amp plasma cutter that features dual voltage functionality that can work with both 110V and 220V outlets. It’s capable of making extremely precise and accurate cuts, making it an excellent choice for auto work and metal sculpting. It also performs surprisingly well on old, rusty metal, so if you work with scrap metal often, you’ll definitely want to consider the Primeweld. It can accurately cut metal up to ½” with a severance cut of up to ¾”.
The overall design of the Primeweld plasma cutter is excellent. It’s incredibly portable and lightweight with an ergonomic handle. The dual-voltage functionality makes it easy to take back and forth between home and the shop. We were also impressed with the built-in fire prevention features this plasma cutter offered. Its entire torch line is shielded to create a minimal fire risk and the unit is also built to withstand bumps and drops. This plasma cutter will be added to your collection of best tools before you know it.
#3 Amico CUT-50 Plasma Cutter
Award: BEST INDUSTRIAL
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Amico plasma cutter is good for both light and heavy-duty usage with its 1” cutting thickness, digitally controlled amperage and advanced inverter functionality. It’s also extra durable and portable with an impact-resistant design and wide comfortable handles.
The Amico CUT-50 delivers 50 amps of power, which gives you plenty of ability to cut through thin or thick metal. In fact, this power output along with the advanced power inverter functionality gives you enough juice to cut through pieces of metal and stainless steel up to an inch thick. The inverter also increases overall efficiency of the Amico cutter so you can keep cutting for longer periods of time without losing power.
This product is also designed with portability in mind, featuring two wide and comfortable handles on either side of the cutter. Even better, this modelis built with impact-resistant housing so it won’t get ruined if you drop it or bump into it here and there. It’s user friendly as well due to its bright and easy-to-read digital display. You’ll be running out to get the best toolbox liner to display your tools in style.
#4 Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter
Award: BEST INTEGRATED ACCESSORIES
WHY WE LIKE IT: This plasma cutter is an excellent option for anyone who doesn’t want to purchase additional accessories to start since it includes a built-in air compressor. It’s also portable, lightweight and capable of quick, precise cuts.
Purchasing the Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci plasma cutter means you won’t have to purchase an air compressor just to use the unit, saving you more money and time in the long run. With a built-in compressor, this plasma cutter gives you post-flow cooling that cools down the plasma torch faster than other models. It also features a fan-on-demand feature which only runs the fan when needed so you don’t get a ton of dust and debris getting into the cutter unnecessarily.
The Hobart offers efficient and precise cutting performance, although it can only make cuts up ¼”. It’s got a high duty cycle for longer periods of use and a pilot arc start which preserves torch tip lifespan. Pilot arc start also helps the Hobart perform well on painted or corroded metals. We were also impressed by the Hobart’s built-in indicator system that keeps you alerted of the unit’s status and torch readiness. This is by far the best plasma cutter with a built-in air compressor that you can buy today. This makes this an essential part of your best mechanic toolset in no time.
#5 SUNGOLDPOWER 50A Plasma Cutter
Award: BEST ON A BUDGET
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you’re on a budget but still need reliable and stable cutting power, then look no further than this plasma cutter. With innovative IGBT soft-switch technology, this cutter is incredibly stable and it’s made easy to use with a large LCD display.
The SUNGOLDPOWER 50A plasma cutter offers affordable cutting power and stability, which is impressive for such a compact model. You can cut through metal as thick as ¾” with the maximum severance level, but the best slag-free cutting thickness is around ½”. The SUNGOLDPOWER’s best feature, though, is its IGBT soft-switch technology. This built-in feature increases cut stability so you can make the most precise cut possible, making this option a solid choice for delicate metal working.
This 50A plasma cutter also offers dual voltage technology so you can switch back and forth between 110V and 220V power sources automatically with ease. The SUNGOLDPOWER also has a surprisingly high duty cycle that allows you to work your projects longer with more efficiency. The overall design of this plasma cutter is compact and portable, although it does so by sacrificing some of the durability options you can find in other models. This portability is also increased with the inclusion of an integrated carrying handle. For the rest of your welding needs, you might also want to consider the best mig welder.
#6 Lotos LTP5500D Plasma Cutter
Award: BEST FOR CNC TABLES
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you’re looking for a plasma cutter that can be used with your CNC table, look no further than this Lotos unit. With a non-HF blowback start, IGBT inverter technology and dual voltage power, you get an incredibly comprehensive and efficient cutter here.
The Lotos LTP5500D is the best plasma cutter for CNC on our list because of its non-HF blowback start. This eliminates the high frequencies that usually interfere with CNC tables and machinery, but it also decreases the danger that can be involved in starting up a plasma cutter. This plasma cutter is also high performance, with the ability to cut metal up to ⅗” thick with clean cuts.
The Lotos is incredibly lightweight and portable, weighing in at just 15 pounds. We were also pleased to find that this unit included IGBT inverter technology, which increases the overall efficiency of the plasma cutter, which pairs nicely with the high duty cycle it already achieves. And with the dual voltage capabilities, you can use the Lotos LTP5500D anywhere you need to. For after you’re done with your work, you might also want to look into the best parts washer too.
#7 Forney Easy Weld 251 Plasma Cutter
Award: BEST FOR HOME PROJECTS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This plasma cutter is an excellent choice for home-based projects due to its lightweight design, drag torch technology and 13-foot torch lead. It also does well for delicate metalworking and mild steel for these same reasons.
The Forney Easy Weld 251 is the best plasma cutter for home use on our list. It works best on delicate and smaller metalworking projects mainly because it offers drag torch technology, which means you can place the tip of the torch directly on metal and drag it across the surface to make precise cuts. It also features a good duty cycle so you can cut for longer periods of time without needing to stop to let the cutter cool down.
The overall design and quality of the Forney is also something to be applauded here. It’s lightweight, yet durable enough to take a hit or two without problem. You get a 13-foot torch lead and a ground clamp with a lead that’s 8 feet long for more versatility. Unfortunately, the Forney can only cut up to ¼” of thickness, which can limit you somewhat. However, the cuts are so precise and clean that we were able to look past the downside easily.
How We Decided
As we tested each plasma cutter in real-world scenarios, we first rated them based on their overall ability to cut through metal without producing a ton of slag or uneven and rough edges. For the most part, it’s best to buy a cutter that can slice through at least ½” of material, but there are options available on either end of that spectrum, as well. We awarded bonus points to plasma cutters that could make clean and precise cuts without much effort.
Next, we only included plasma cutters on our list that were efficient and offered high percentage duty cycles of at least 30%. This keeps each machine running for longer before they need to be shut down due to overheating. We preferred cutters that provided efficiency boosting functionality like IGBT inverter technology.
We also considered the overall build quality and durability of each option and their included accessories. The torches and consumables should be long lasting and easy to maintain. We gave bonus points to options that considered portability and ergonomics in their design. These options include things like handles, ergonomic torch designs and lightweight bodies.
Best Plasma Cutter Buyer’s Guide
The Most Important Features to Consider
- Electrical Output
Before making an accurate decision on which plasma cutter to purchase, you first need to consider the electrical requirements you’ll need to fulfill. There are cutters that will work on standard 15A outlets, but there are also many that need at least 20A to run. On the high end of the power scale, you’ll also find plasma cutters that require up to 50A of power in order to run properly. Consider the power output you have in your home and determine whether the plasma cutter you want will run on that power. If not, you’ll either need to select a different cutter or call an electrician to get you set up with the proper outlets.
- Cutting Ability
The best plasma cutters are able to cut through a wide variety of metals, including those of different thicknesses. However, there are some models that are better than others at cutting certain metals and certain thicknesses. Consider the type of metal you’re plasma cutting and make sure you’re buying an option that can efficiently handle the job.
- Duty Cycle
The duty cycle of a plasma cutter is how long you can safely use it before it shuts down to prevent overheating. The duty cycle is measured in percentages, with higher numbers indicating longer cut times and lower numbers indicating shorter cut times. When looking at the duty cycle of a plasma cutter, consider how long you want to be working at a given time and determine whether the amount of time is worth your money.
- Consumable Lifespan
Every plasma cutter has parts that will wear out over time due to the heat. These are called consumables, and you’ll want to consider how often you’ll need to replace these. Consumables include parts like nozzles, electrodes, shields, swirl rings and retaining caps. If you purchase a cheap plasma cutter, you may also find that the consumables are cheap and wear out faster than other options. Then, in the long run, you’re paying more money just in replacing consumables. Instead, consider an option that features long-lasting consumables that are easy to replace when necessary.
- Air Compressor and Additional Accessories
Plasma cutters need to be paired with an air compressor in order to work properly. Some options include an integrated air compressor, but most plasma cutters require an external compressor. You should also consider what kind of air filtration system you’re using. Most cutters include a basic filtration system, but you may want to consider more comprehensive filtration systems in order to extend your cutter’s lifespan.
Do you want to carry your plasma cutter around with you in the shop or garage? If so, you’ll definitely need a more portable option. Portability boils down to weight, size and things like carrying handles. Portable options aren’t necessarily better than non-portable cutters. Ultimately, you should base your purchase off your individual needs.
Plasma Cutter FAQs
What is the best plasma cutter for the money?
The Lotos LT5000D is the best plasma cutter for the money on our list. With a compact design, this cutter is portable and versatile. Combine that with it’s low-profile torch and you’ve got a cutter that can be used in even the tightest spaces. It’s also extremely efficient with power inverter technology and an automatic voltage detection feature that always keeps you running on the appropriate amount of power.
What is the best plasma cutter under $500?
The best plasma cutter under $500 is the same as the answer to the question above: the Lotos LT500D. This Lotos plasma cutter is just packed full of premium features and can efficiently cut thick metal with ease.
Are cheap plasma cutters any good?
You can definitely find good cheap plasma cutters, but you’ll have to be more careful during your research phase. If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. The best cheap plasma cutter we included on our list is the SUNGOLDPOWER 50A plasma cutter. It features stable IGBT technology for cleaner cuts and dual voltage for greater versatility. It’s also incredibly easy to use with a clear LCD display and easy-to-read markings.
How do I choose a plasma cutter?
Choosing the best plasma cutter is a matter of finding the option that fits the power requirements at your home or shop, cleanly cuts through the type of metal you’re working with and features a duty cycle long enough for you to get your work done. Other things to consider include consumable lifespan and portability.
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