10 Best Budget Plasma Cutters Under $500 – Top Picks


Best-Budget-Plasma-Cutters-Under-500

Are you looking for the best budget plasma cutters under $500?

Look no more we got you covered.

Plasma cutters are efficient torches and well suited for a variety of tasks from automotive repair and restoration work to hobbyist projects.

Unless you manage your own shop, you probably don’t need a high-end cutter. There are dozens of reliable plasma cutters for under $500.

The only problem is finding a budget option that can still make precise cuts and hold up to repeated use.

You can search online and easily find affordable plasma cutters from halfway around the world but some of the cheaper options are made with inferior parts. They may malfunction and bring additional safety risks.

If you want to make clean cuts in steel, aluminum, and other conductive metals, you should compare the best budget plasma cutters under $500.

Take a look at these reviews to see the differences between all tenix choices and why we believe they’re the best on the market. Then check out our buyer’s guide to understand what to look for in the different plasma cutter options.

Here are my Top 10 Best budget plasma cutters under $500:

  1. Lotos LTP5000D 50Amp Non-Touch Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter
  2. Forney Easy Weld 251 20 P Plasma Cutter
  3. SUPER DEAL DC Inverter Plasma Cutter (CUT50)
  4. PrimeWeld 3-in-1 50 Amp Plasma Cutter
  5. SUNGOLDPOWER 50A Air Plasma Cutter Inverter
  6. PRIMEWELD Premium & Rugged 50A Air Inverter Plasma Cutter
  7. ZENY DC Inverter Plasma Cutter 50AMP CUT 50
  8. Plasma Cutter 40A 220V Electric DC Inverter Air
  9. SUNCOO Plasma Cutter, Portable Pro. Cut 50
  10. Lotos LT3500 35Amp Air Plasma Cutter

Our Overall #1 Rated Pick

We reviewed dozens of plasma cutters to identify the best of the best, focusing on a range of important factors, including power source, plate cutting capacity, torch, cut finish, and average customer reviews.

The Lotos LPT5000D 50Amp Non-Touch Pilot is the Best Budget Plasma Cutter under $500 and therefore our TOP PICK.

Best Value
Lotos LTP5000D 50Amp Non-Touch

+ Efficiently cuts through rough, painted, and rusty surfaces and produces minimal slag.

+ Pilot arc technology allows you to cut without touching the tip to the metal.

Check Today´s Price (Amazon.com)

Purchase: I really like the Lotos LPT5000D 50Amp Non-Touch Pilot. It’s not terribly expensive but gets amazing reviews. If you are interested in this, then just follow the link to Amazon where you can see current pricing.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at what makes good cheap plasma cutters, and how you can choose which one is right for you.

10 Best Budget Plasma Cutters

1. Lotos LTP5000D 50Amp Non-Touch Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter

Best Value
Lotos LTP5000D 50Amp Non-Touch

+ Efficiently cuts through rough, painted, and rusty surfaces and produces minimal slag.

+ Pilot arc technology allows you to cut without touching the tip to the metal.

Check Today´s Price (Amazon.com)

Highlighted Features

  • 10-amp to 50-amp DC output
  • Compatibility with 110V/120V and 220V/240V power sources
  • 60% duty cycle at 50 amps
  • ½-inch clean cut
  • ¾-inch maximum severance cut
  • Non-touch pilot arc

The Lotos LTP5000D is one of the best budget plasma cutters under 500, thanks to its performance and pilot arc. Most of the cheap plasma cutters use drag torch technology or touch start to create the initial spark.

x
Perfect Welds

The LTP5000D uses a pilot arc, which protects the consumables and the workpiece from unnecessary wear.

As with most of the budget plasma cutters, the LTP5000D is compact and easy to transport. It weighs about 20 pounds and measures 15 x 6 x 12 inches.

The top has a convenient carrying handle and the hookups are all on one side of the machine.

The LTP5000D is also a powerful machine compared to some of the other choices. It delivers up to 50 amps DC output and produces clean cuts on metal up to half an inch thick. It uses advanced technologies to create a consistent, precise current.

With the dual voltage input, the machine automatically switches between 120 volts and 240 volts. Keep in mind that using a 120V outlet will limit the amperage and maximum cut.

However, even when using 120 volts, the LTP5000D outperforms most other options in this price range.

Pros:

✔️ Performs clean cuts up to ½-inch

✔️ Offers a ¾-inch max cut

✔️ 13’ torch lead

✔️ Clean cut up to 1/2″

✔️ Compact design – 15” x 6” x 12”

✔️ 35% duty cycle at 20 amps

✔️ 60% duty cycle at 50 amps

✔️ Uses a non-touch pilot arc

✔️ Has dual voltage input

✔️ Cuts through rusty or painted metal

✔️ Compatibility with 110V/120V and 220V/240V power sources

Cons:

❌ The ground clamp is only six feet long

2. Forney Easy Weld 251 20 P Plasma Cutter

Forney Easy Weld 251 20 P Plasma Cutter

+ CUTS- Mild steel, aluminum and stainless steel from thin material to 1/4"* (6.35 millimeters) with ease! *(Mild Steel)

Check Today´s Price (Amazon.com)

Highlighted Features

  • 20-amp DC output
  • Compatibility with 120V power source
  • 35% duty cycle at 20 amps
  • ¼-inch maximum cut thickness
  • Drag torch technology (touch start)

The Forney Easy Weld 251 is a light-duty plasma cutter for cutting through sheet metal and thin plates. It is not the most powerful option compared to the other best budget plasma cutters under 500. However, it is easy to use and efficient.

The small machine starts up quickly from a 120-volt power source. It is a 20 amp plasma cutter, which limits its cutting capability.

The benefit of this low power machine is that you do not need a 220V/240V outlet. You can use it almost anywhere.

The drawback to this lightweight machine is the limited cutting power. It can cut through metal up to ¼-inch thick but may not provide clean cuts at that thickness.

The Easy Weld 251 also relies on drag torch technology. While dragging the torch on the surface of the workpiece is convenient, it dirties the nozzle quickly. You may need to replace the consumables a little more frequently.

The low-power plasma cutter has a 35% duty cycle, requiring you to let it cool after a few minutes of use.

While it is not very powerful, the Easy Weld from Forney is a top choice for hobbyists who need a basic plasma cutter.

Pros:

✔️ Affordable price

✔️ Ease of transport

✔️ Simple controls

✔️ 20A-15A adapter included

✔️ Eight-foot ground clamp included

Cons:

❌ Uses drag torch technology

❌ Only offers a ¼-inch max cut

3. SUPER DEAL DC Inverter Plasma Cutter (CUT50)

1. SUPER DEAL DC Inverter Plasma Cutter

+ This plasma cutter features PRO technology, a more stable performance.

+ High duty cycle results in less power consumption.

+ Economical and efficient due to the high speed, high temperature, and high energy plasma draught.

Check Today´s Price (Amazon.com)

Highlighted Features

  • 50-amp max DC output
  • Compatibility with 110V/120V and 220V/240V power sources
  • 60% duty cycle at 50 amps
  • ¼-inch clean cut
  • ½-inch maximum severance cut
  • Touch start

The SUPER DEAL DC Inverter Plasma Cutter is comparable to the LTP5000D, offering 50-amp max DC output with a 60% duty cycle. It also works with 120V or 240V outlets. However, it is not the most efficient machine.

The max cut is ½ an inch. It can perform clean cuts on material up to ¼ inch thick. The SUPER DEAL Plasma Cutter also has touch start operation instead of a pilot arc.

The nozzle needs to contact the metal but it has a button on the torch to create the initial spark.

This prevents the need to drag the torch on the surface of the workpiece. Compared to other touch-start plasma cutters, consumables may hold up a little longer.

While it lacks the power found in the LTP5000D plasma cutter, it costs much less. It is one of the most affordable options from this roundup of the best budget plasma cutters under 500.

The SUPER DEAL Plasma Cutter comes with several useful features. It has overheat protection and over-voltage protection.

It also comes equipped with wire and a mask to shield you from heat and sparks.

Pros:

✔️ Heat and voltage overage protection

✔️ One of the most affordable options

✔️ Compatibility with 120V and 240V outlets

✔️ 60% duty cycle

Cons:

❌ Offers clean cuts up to ¼-inch

4. PrimeWeld 3-in-1 50 Amp Plasma Cutter

PrimeWeld 3-in-1 50 Amp

+ Automatic welding switch

+ Machine determines complex settings

+ High quality

Check Today´s Price

Highlighted Features

  • 50-amp DC output
  • Compatibility with 110V/120V and 220V/240V power sources
  • 60% duty cycle
  • ¼-inch clean cut
  • ½-inch maximum severance cut
  • Touch start

This option stands out compared to the other best budget plasma cutters under 500 due to its versatility. With the PrimeWeld 50-Amp Plasma Cutter, you are getting three machines in one compact case.

Along with plasma cutting, it offers tig welding and stick welding capabilities.

The machine comes with everything that you need to start welding or cutting. You can also quickly switch between operating modes.

It performs well no matter if you are cutting or welding. When using the plasma cutter, it can cut cleanly through copper, brass, mild steel, cast iron, aluminum, and more.

The control panel is easy to understand and includes a digital LCD screen for the current. As with most options, it includes a carrying handle.

This 3-in-1 machine weighs about 32 pounds. It is still easy to transport but weighs a little more compared to other options.

The one drawback is the limited selection of consumables. You get two sets of consumables for the plasma cutter, requiring you to purchase replacements relatively quickly.

Pros:

✔️ 3-in-1 welding and plasma cutting machine

✔️ Simple control panel with digital current meter

✔️ Compatibility with 120V and 240V power sources

✔️ Long 60% duty cycle

✔️ Ease of transport and carrying

Cons:

❌ Comes with a limited amount of consumables

5. SUNGOLDPOWER 50A Air Plasma Cutter Inverter

SUNGOLDPOWER 50A Air Plasma Cutter Inverter

+ Automatic Dual Voltage / Dual Frequency allows the machine to run directly on 220 V 50/60 Hz power, or on 110 V 50/60 Hz,plug adapters included

Check Today´s Price (Amazon.com)

Highlighted Features

✔️ 10-amp to 50-amp DC output

✔️ Compatibility with 110V/120V and 220V/240V power sources

✔️ 60% duty cycle at 50 amps

✔️ ½-inch clean cut

✔️ ¾-inch maximum severance cut

✔️ Touch start

With a ¾-inch max cut and ½-inch clean cut, the SUNGOLDPOWER 50A Air Plasma Cutter is a powerful choice. It can cut cleanly through a wide range of metals, including workpieces with rust or paint.

The machine weighs about 24 pounds and measures close to 17 x 17 x 10 inches. It is another great choice for those who need to take their plasma cutters to remote sites.

As with many of the best budget plasma cutters under 500, this option works with 120V and 240V power sources. It has a max output of 50 amps when using 240V power along with a 60% duty cycle. You can make clean cuts all day.

The plasma cutter comes with everything needed except for air. It even includes plug adapters for using a standard outlet. It is a versatile machine that you can use in almost any setting.

This portable machine is also easy to operate. The digital LCD screen allows you to quickly check the cutting current while the gauge provides accurate air pressure readings.

Pros:

✔️ One of the most portable plasma cutters

✔️ Dual voltage input included

✔️ Digital LCD screen included

✔️ ¾-inch max cut

✔️ Ability to cut cleanly through a wide range of metals

Cons:

❌ The touch start operation may wear consumables quickly

6. PRIMEWELD Premium & Rugged 50A Air Inverter Plasma Cutter

Highlighted Features

  • 10-amp to 50-amp DC output
  • Compatibility with 110V/120V and 220V/240V power sources
  • 60% duty cycle at 50 amps
  • ½-inch clean cut
  • ¾-inch maximum severance cut
  • Touch start

The PRIMEWELD Rugged 50A Plasma Cutter is built for portability. It features metal housing in a compact frame with a carrying handle.

This plasma cutter weighs about 22.5 pounds and measures 19 x 10 x 16 inches but it can cut through thick metals.

When working with mild steel, this plasma cutter delivers a max cutting thickness of 5/8-inch. With softer metals, it can cut cleanly up to ¾-inch.

The long duty cycle and dual voltage power supply make it a reliable plasma cutter for hobbyists. You do not need to wait forever for it to cool down.

Some of the best budget plasma cutters under 500 come with a 35% duty cycle, limiting how long you can operate the machine before needing to let it cool.

The dual voltage operation allows you to power this plasma cutter from any outlet. It has a 10-amp to 50-amp output range. However, a 240V power source is needed to deliver 50 amps of output power. When plugged into a standard outlet, you will notice slower cutting speeds, limiting the thickness of materials that you can work with.

Pros:

✔️ Provides clean cuts on materials up to ½-inch thick

✔️ Has dual voltage input

✔️ Offers a long 60% duty cycle

✔️ Has portable design with convenient handle

✔️ Comes with digital LCD screen

Cons:

❌ Only includes two nozzles

7. ZENY DC Inverter Plasma Cutter 50AMP CUT 50

ZENY DC Inverter Plasma Cutter 50AMP CUT 50

+ Voltage: 110/220V, 60HZ, 3.5/4.8KVA; Main Fuse: 16/22A; Current rage:20-50A;

+ Improved cooling method for the cutting torch

Check Today´s Price (Amazon.com)

Highlighted Features

  • 20-amp to 50-amp DC output
  • Compatibility with 110V/120V and 220V/240V power sources
  • 60% duty cycle at 50 amps
  • 3/8-inch clean cut
  • ½-inch maximum severance cut
  • Touch start

The ZENY Plasma Cutter has dual voltage input, touch start operation, and a long duty cycle for continuous operation. It weighs just 25 pounds and measures 18.5 x 13.5 x 11 inches.

It is a little longer compared to some of the best budget plasma cutters under 500, but it is still easy to carry. You also get a wide range of consumables and accessories.

When you unbox the machine, you will find all the consumables needed to start cutting along with goggles, a welding face mask, pressure reducing valve, and various clamps and clasps.

While it includes a dual voltage input, it requires a 60Hz power source. When using a 50Hz outlet, you may need to lower the output to avoid overheating the machine.

The ZENY Plasma Cutter also offers increased efficiency. It remains 85% efficient at 50 amps. However, it does have limited cutting capabilities compared to some options.

It can perform clean cuts on materials up to 3/8-inch thick and has a maximum severance cut of ½-inch.

The control panel resembles the panels found on other budget plasma cutters. It includes a digital display for the current reading and a knob for adjusting the output amperage.

Pros:

✔️ Low-cost plasma cutter

✔️ Long duty cycle

✔️ Dual voltage input

✔️ Energy-efficient design that conserves electricity

✔️ Quick cool-down

Cons:

❌ Does not include dual frequency input

8. Plasma Cutter 40A 220V Electric DC Inverter Air

Plasma Cutter 40A 220V Electric DC Inverter Air

+ Compact plasma cutting machine with LCD digital display and equipped with a portable handle.It is very convenient to operate and carry.

Check Today´s Price (Amazon.com)

Highlighted Features

  • 20-amp to 40-amp DC output
  • 220V/240V power source
  • 60% duty cycle at 40 amps
  • 3/8-inch clean cut
  • ½-inch maximum severance cut
  • Touch start

The HITBOX Plasma Cutter offers 40 amps of DC output from a 240V power source. While many of the best budget plasma cutters under 500 offer more amperage, this compact machine can still perform clean cuts.

The max clean cut is 3/8-inch with most materials. The maximum severance cut is ½-inch. When cutting thicker material, this machine tends to slow down, reducing the quality of the cut.

As with most of these options, you get everything needed to start cutting metal. It comes equipped with hoses, clamps, and consumables. Instead of a few tips and electrodes, you get 20 tips and 20 electrodes.

The control panel includes a simple layout. It has an LCD screen for the current reading, an amperage adjustment knob, and hookups for the air and power source.

An interesting feature is the air pressure gauge. Instead of placing the gauge on the panel, this machine includes a separate air pressure adjusting device.

It allows you to continue cutting when the external air pressure is too high.

Pros:

✔️ Includes an air pressure reducing valve

✔️ Has a simple front panel with an LCD screen

✔️ Comes with 20 tips and 20 electrodes

✔️ Cools down relatively quickly

Cons:

❌ Requires a 240V power source

❌ Cannot cleanly cut thick material

9. SUNCOO Plasma Cutter, Portable Pro. Cut 50

SUNCOO Plasma Cutter, Portable Pro. Cut 50

+ 50 Amp DC output, 1/2 inch(12mm) ideal clean-cut under 220V, simple operation, and smooth cutting surface.

+ Suitable for cutting carbon steel, stainless steel, copper, iron and aluminum metal, etc.

Check Today´s Price (Amazon.com)

Highlighted Features

  • 50-amp DC output
  • Compatibility with 110V/120V and 220V/240V power sources
  • 60% duty cycle at 50 amps
  • 3/8-inch clean cut
  • ½-inch maximum severance cut
  • Touch start

The SUNCOO Plasma Cutter comes packed with accessories. You get a cleaning brush, mask, clasps, a ground clamp, and an air regulator. Unfortunately, it only includes one nozzle and one electrode.

As consumables do not always last long, you may need to stock up on parts. Luckily, most of the best budget plasma cutters under 500 are compatible with generic consumables from third-party manufacturers.

This machine includes many of the standard features found on other models. It includes dual voltage input, allowing you to use standard wall outlets or 240V power sources.

It also has a 60% duty cycle with a maximum output of 50 amps.

It cuts cleanly and quickly through most soft metals. With mild steel, copper, or brass, you should have no problem cutting pieces up to ½-inch thick.

While this machine is cheap, it is made from quality parts. It dissipates heat quickly, helping to increase the duty cycle and the service life of the plasma cutter.

Overall, it is a reliable little machine that may offer years of quality plasma cutting action.

Pros:

✔️ Dual voltage input

✔️ Energy-efficient design that dissipates heat quickly

✔️ Long duty cycle and 50 amps of DC output

✔️ Cleaning brush and mask included

Cons:

❌ Only comes with one nozzle and one electrode

10. Lotos LT3500 35Amp Air Plasma Cutter

Highlighted Features

  • 10-amp to 35-amp DC output
  • Compatibility with 110V/120V power sources
  • 30% duty cycle at 35 amps
  • 2/5-inch clean cut
  • 3/5-inch maximum severance cut
  • Touch start

The Lotos LT3500 is a step down from the Lotos LTP5000D. Instead of a non-touch pilot arc, this machine features touch start operation.

As discussed, this tends to wear the consumables more quickly. However, only a few of the best budget plasma cutters under 500 offer a pilot arc.

This machine has dual voltage input, allowing you to connect it to a standard outlet. To get the full 35 amps of DC output, you need to connect it to a 240V power source.

When using a 240V power source, the LT3500 can deliver clean cuts in materials measuring up to 2/5-inch thick. The maximum severance cut is 3/5-inch.

It cannot cut as deeply as some of the other choices but it performs reliably when working with thin materials.

Unfortunately, it has a limited duty cycle. With a 30% duty cycle at 35 amps, you may spend more time letting the machine cool down compared to time spent cutting.

The primary advantage of this low-power plasma cutter is the size. It weighs just under 18 pounds and measures 14 x 5.5 x 9 inches, making it one of the lightest and smallest options.

If you need to carry your plasma cutter to different work sites, you may prefer the portability of the LT3500.

Pros:

✔️ Low-cost alternative to more powerful plasma cutters

✔️ Dual voltage input

✔️ Lightweight design

✔️ One of the smallest budget plasma cutters

Cons:

❌ Only offers 35 amps of DC output, limiting cutting capabilities

❌Has a limited 30% duty cycle

Buyer’s Guide

After comparing the top 10 budget plasma cutters, you should have a better idea how each option stacks up. But what features should you worry about the most? Use this buying guide to explore the most important features, including:

Input Voltage

Plasma cutters require a power source. Most plasma cutters are designed for 240V full-phase outlets. The 240V outlet is the same outlet used for other major appliances such as your oven and washing machine.

Luckily, many of the budget plasma cutters are made to work with both 110V/120V outlets and 240V outlets. However, using a regular single-phase electrical outlet limits the amperage.

Many of the cheaper plasma cutters operate with 10 to 50 amps. When you plug it into a 110V/120V outlet, you limit the output of the machine and its maximum cutting thickness.

For example, several of the cutters reviewed can perform ½-inch clean cuts with 50 amps when plugged into a 220V/240V outlet. When you plug the same machine into a standard wall outlet, you may only get clean cuts up to 1/3-inch.

Some homes also have circuit breakers with lower amps. A 15-amp or 20-amp breaker limits the power sent to the plasma cutter by 20% to 25%. If you plan on using a 30-amp to 50-amp plasma cutter, you may need a 30-amp breaker.

Duty Cycle

The next consideration is the duty cycle, which determines how long the plasma cutter can continue to deliver peak performance.

The duty cycle is often listed as a percentage. The percentage lets you know how long you can continue cutting before the machine needs to cool down. The average duty cycle range for budget plasma cutters is 35% to 60%.

With a 60% duty cycle, the plasma cutter can remain on for 60% of the time. For example, if you are timing yourself in 10-minute increments, you can keep cutting for about 6 minutes before needing to let the machine cool for 4 minutes.

Related reading: What Is a Welder Duty Cycle?

Maximum Cut Thickness

The maximum cut thickness determines the types of material that you can work with. Most of the cheaper plasma cutters can cut through metal plates up to ¾-inch thick and perform clean cuts up to ½-inch.

Cutting through thicker material requires a more powerful machine. The plasma cutters designed for cutting 1-inch steel typically need a 240V power source with 50 amps to 80 amps.

With 25 amps of output, a plasma cutter can generally cut cleanly through a ¼-inch of metal. For ½-inch clean cuts, the plasma cutter should provide 50 to 60 amps of output.

Consumables

The consumables are the components that wear out and require occasional replacement. A typical plasma cutter includes the following consumables:

  • Swirl ring
  • Electrode
  • Nozzle
  • Retaining cap
  • Shield cap

The swirl ring protects the nozzle and guides the gas while the electrode conducts the current. The retaining cap holds everything together and the shield cap shields the rest of the consumables.

As you cut, the sparks and high heat cause these items to wear. With the budget plasma cutters, you are likely to receive lower-quality consumables.

If you want to avoid purchasing extra parts soon after receiving your plasma cutter, look for a product that comes with a large assortment of consumables.

Related reading: Different Types of Welding Rods and Their Uses

Touch start

This is the same technology a touch start TIG machine has. The arc/cutting begins by the touch of the nozzle to the workpiece but needs to be lifted up slightly to keep it from double arcing between the nozzle and the metal.

It works, but it’s not the best to plasma cut with. Cheaper plasma cutters have this technology because it’s the easiest to produce, but it’s certainly not the easiest to use, and never leaves as nice a finish as drag or standoff nozzles.

Related reading: What is Hot Start in Welding? Purpose of a hot start welding?

Portability

Most of the cheaper plasma cutters are portable but some are easier to carry and transport. The plasma cutters reviewed weigh between 20 and 40 pounds and rarely measure more than 16 inches.

For those who plan on using a plasma cutter at remote sites, pay attention to the size and weight. For increased portability, it helps to find an option that comes with a long power cord and convenient connections for hooking up an air compressor.

Related reading: Portable Welding Machine Buyer’s Guide: 5 Things to Look For

Best Budget Plasma Cutters FAQs

Let’s close out this page about plasma cutters with answers to some of your most frequently-asked questions about them!

Are cheap plasma cutters worth it?

The main limitations of the cheaper plasma cutters include cutting capability and consumables that degrade quickly. Luckily, the consumables are often very inexpensive and widely available.

The cutting capability is the primary difference between budget plasma cutters and high-end machines found in professional workshops. Many of the affordable plasma cutters offer a ½-inch maximum cut and ¼-inch clean cuts.

If you want to enjoy the benefits of plasma cutting without spending a fortune, the best plasma cutters under $500 are worth it. Just make sure that you pay attention to the maximum cut size.

What is the difference between non-touch pilot arc and touch start?

Plasma cutters cut through metal by sending an electric arc in a stream of gas through the nozzle. The electrical arc increases the temperature of the gas to create plasma.

To create the initial plasma, many modern plasma cutters use a pilot arc. The pilot arc is created between the nozzle and the electrode. As it contacts the grounded conductive metal workpiece, the pilot arc forms a low-resistance current path and transfers energy to the metal.

The transfer of energy from the pilot arc to the workpiece produces the main arc. This method eliminates the need to touch the tip of the nozzle to the workpiece to generate the initial spark.

Touch-start plasma cutters require you to touch the nozzle to the metal. This shortens the life of the nozzle and other consumables and does not always provide clean cuts.

What types of metal can you use with a plasma cutter?

Plasma cutters require electrically conductive workpieces. The plasma cutter and the workpiece form a complete circuit, which is needed to maintain the electrical arc from the electrode to the metal.

Plasma cutters are often used to cut through the following materials:

  • Aluminum
  • Brass
  • Copper
  • Steel
  • Stainless steel

These machines provide a low-cost option for making precision cuts on conductive metals. You may use a plasma cutter for repairs, artwork, demolition, or any other project that involves complex designs and requires clean cuts.

Do you need an air compressor for a plasma cutter?

Yes, almost every budget plasma cutter relies on compressed air. Plasma cutters need a fuel source to send a stream of gas through the nozzle. Along with air, plasma cutters may use oxygen, nitrogen, or argon. However, air is the primary fuel source for most of the cheaper machines.

Using compressed air provides faster cut speeds and clean cuts when working with almost any type of material, including stainless steel, steel, and aluminum.

The typical air requirements for cheap plasma cutters are 4 to 8 SCFM at 90 to 120 PSI.

What are the safety risks when using a plasma cutter?

The main safety concerns include fire hazards and injury from flying sparks. Plasma cutters also produce an extremely hot plasma arc that can cut through ½-inch steel. If it can cut through metal, a plasma cutter should have no problem cutting through clothing, skin, and bone.

Always point the plasma cutter away from your body and toward the metal surface when starting the arc. Wear dry, flame-resistant clothing and protective gear such as gloves and face shields.

While gloves and a face shield may not protect against direct contact with a plasma arc, they can protect against sparks.

Conclusion

An affordable plasma cutter can save you time and energy in your home workshop. Instead of using a saw or a welding torch, you can quickly cut through metal workpieces.

The results are also typically cleaner, requiring less finishing and reducing the risk of damage to the workpiece.

The Lotos LTP5000D 50Amp Non-Touch Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter is our top pick due to its excellent high-quality cut over a broad range of plate thicknesses, regardless of the surface quality, it cuts through.

When shopping for the best plasma cutter under $500, think about the types of materials that you plan to cut through. If you are working with thin sheets of aluminum, any of the plasma cutters reviewed should meet your needs.

When cutting through thick steel plates, you need a machine with more power.

We consider the SUPER DEAL DC Inverter Plasma Cutter the best of the lowest price-range models.

It has slightly less quality, yet it’s capable of cutting a similar plate gauge range as the more expensive options, and it has drag torch technology.

You should also pay attention to the power requirements. If you do not have access to a 220V/240V outlet, ensure that the plasma cutter can run on 110V/120V electrical outlets.

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David Harper

David is the Co-Founder and Senior Editor at weldingtroop.com. David's an experienced fitter and tuner/welder who's passionate about helping others develop in life through new skills and opportunities.

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