Are you looking for the best plasma cutters under $800 out there? Look no more we got you covered.
When it comes to cutting steel, you need a tool that is up to the task. The last thing you want is to go with a tool that is strong enough to send sparks flying, but not strong enough to actually saw through the steel.
That’s why many DIY enthusiasts and construction workers alike turn to plasma cutters. These tools combine inert gas with an electrical arc to produce a tool that can cut through cold steel like warm butter.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the 10 best plasma cutters on the market, what makes each of them among the best, and what you should look for to make sure you’re getting the right tool for the task
Top 10 Best Best Plasma Cutters are:
Table of Contents
Our Overall #1 Rated Pick
In a Rush? Here you can find our Overall #1 Rated Pick.
The Hypertherm 088079 Powermax30 XP is the best plasma cutter out there.
Purchase: I really like the Hypertherm 08807 Powermax30 XP. 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 a good plasma cutter, and how you can choose which one is right for you.
1. Hypertherm 088079 Powermax30 XP
This option comes with adapters that can be used to adapt it to 110 to 240 V systems. This can be very helpful for making sure that the unit is able to work with electrical setups of differing power levels.
Too often, people overlook the importance of making sure the power level of the unit is compatible with their home setup.
You don’t want to overload or underpower the unit, and, thus, the model’s adapters help prevent that.
👉 Adapters for 110 to 240 V
👉 15 to 30 amps
👉 15’ torch lead
👉 Can cut 5/8” thick
👉 Drag cutting technology
👉 Extended reach gouging
✔️ This option from Hypertherm comes with a hard carrying case for ease of transportation.
This can be especially helpful for construction workers and similar positions who need to take their plasma cutters with them on the road for jobs.
In addition, it also comes with eye shields, gloves, and a shoulder strap.
The Duramax LT torch that comes with this unit is made from heat and impact resistant material and features a nice ergonomic design that makes it easy to grip and use.
While it still does not possess quite enough finesse to do engraving, it still has enough touch to be able to do some decorative cutting.
If you’re looking to engrave a partner’s name on a metal piece for an anniversary, you may want to look elsewhere, but if you’re looking to add a few decorative flourishes to that same piece, this option may be up for the job.
✔️ The welder itself is lightweight and features a 15’ torch lead, which can be useful for cutting into metal for a longer period of time than would be possible with a shorter lead.
It features drag-cutting technology, which makes it that much easier to trace things without fear of double arching.
One thing to keep an eye on is that the internal air valve can have a tendency to leak sometimes if it is used frequently at higher settings.
Nevertheless, this part is easily replaced, and still ranks as the best plasma cutter in an overall sense.
2. Hobart 500566 Airforce 40i Plasma Cutter 240V
This plasma cutter from Hobart offers a deeper cut than some of the other models on this list, able to cut up to 7/8” into a piece while making use of a maximum of 40 amps.
Hobart makes use of specialized “Wind Tunnel” technology, which pushes out the compressed air to make the plasma cutting process easier, though the deeper cuts may not always be ideal for hobbyist purposes.
This model is on the larger side for a plasma cutter at 34.3 lbs.
👉 Can cut 7/8” thick
👉 Wind Tunnel technology
👉 Auto-Refire technology
👉 34.4 lbs
👉 XT40R torch consumables
👉 50% duty cycle
✔️ These factors combined make this far more of a professional option than one meant for hobbyists.
That said, this model is quite accessible with an easy-to-use design.
This model is limited in the type of electrical power sources with which it is compatible. It can only run off voltage outputs capable of 220 to 240 V.
As a result, you may need to purchase an adapter to make this model work with a typical home power outlet.
✔️ In addition, this model makes use of Auto-Refire technology, which allows you to cut perforated, painted, and coated surfaces far easier than others, making it one of the best plasma cutter choices for that purpose.
The fan on this unit only runs when necessary, saving the amount of energy expended on cooling while also reducing the amount of dust the machine sucks into itself.
That doesn’t mean that the model skimps on safety; however, as it features ergonomic trigger safety to make it that much easier to pump the brakes and stop work if necessary.
The Wind Tunnel technology allows the machine to consume air more efficiently without the particulates damaging its inner workings.
Read also >> Can Plasma Cutter Cut Aluminum? | A Complete Guide
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3. Lotos LTP5000D 50Amp Non-Touch Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter
One of the first things you are bound to notice about this model is the cost, making it one of the best plasma cutter choices on a budget.
This makes it an ideal choice for hobbyists, who may not want to shell out the kind of money required for a more expensive top of the line option.
That doesn’t mean that this model isn’t up to cutting through rough, rusty metal, however. On the contrary, the pilot arc included allows you to cut through these surfaces with minimal slag, all while eking out more life out of its consumables.
👉 Compact frame
👉 Non-touch pilot arc plasma cutter
👉 Strong cooling system
👉 D-type plug
👉 Compatible with 110 and 220 V setups
This plasma cutter is much more compact than other options, measuring 15” x 6” x 12” and weighing in at 26 lbs.
For such a budget compact option, this unit from Lotos is able to cut through a lot, from mild steel and aluminum to copper and alloys.
This model ranks favorably in terms of amperage output, being capable of producing 10 to 50 amps.
That said, it is limited to about a 1/2” ideal clean cut with a maximum upper limit of 3/4”, which is less than some of the other options on this list.
Adding to the compatibility and versatility of this unit is the fact that it features dual voltage input for both 110 and 220 V setups.
This makes it much easier to set up with either domestic as well as professional electrical sources.
Add to that a quality Papst cooling system, and it isn’t hard to see why this is one of the best budget plasma cutters on the market.
4. Forney Easy Weld 251 20 P Plasma Cutter
This is another accessible, easy-to-use plasma cutter. On the one hand, it is another model with a 110/220 V adapter, and typically veers more toward the lower end of that spectrum in terms of overall power.
On the other hand, this also makes it more accessible and adaptable than other models as well.
👉 110/220 V adapter
👉 Built-in cooling regulator
👉 Drag torch
👉 13’ cutting torch
👉 8′ ground clamp
This model is on the milder and weaker side as far as the cuts it is designed to make. For best results, you shouldn’t look to make cuts more than 1/2”.
With materials such as aluminum and stainless steel, that figure drops down to 1/4″.
✔️ The built-in cooling system comes with a regulator, which is a huge plus. Whenever you’re welding, it is essential that you keep an eye on heat levels to prevent overheating. This cooling unit makes this that much easier.
This model comes with an additional nozzle and electrode, which is a nice touch and boosts the longevity of the model.
The drag and cutting torch included allows for direct contact with the metal surface, allowing for smoother, more consistent cuts.
This makes this a good model for tracing lines on a sheet of metal, so if that’s part of your intended job, this may be a good option to choose.
✔️ What’s more, this is among the best plasma cutter choices for those looking for a more portable unit. It measures a compact 15.125″ x 8.125″ x 12″ and weighs a comparatively light 21.5 lbs.
5. Miller Spectrum 625 X-TREME
Miller is one of the best plasma cutter brands on the market, and this model is a testament to that reputation.
It can be used on a wide range of different metals, and you can expect clean consistent 5/8” cuts from it every time.
👉 Input Voltage 120 to 240
👉 Duty Cycle 120V
👉 PSI 90
👉 12 ft cutting torch
👉 Auto-Refire technology
This is another model on the heavier side, weighing in at just under 39 lbs, which limits its portability.
If you are looking for a plasma cutter that’s easy to take long to jobs on the road, you might want to consider other options on this list.
✔️ On the other hand, if you are a professional looking for a long-term option, this may be a good cutter to consider.
It is another plasma cutter that features Auto-Refire technology, which can make it all the easier to make those cuts with the pilot arc without having to change settings.
That makes it that much easier to weld several different types of metal without stopping, which in turn can make the job proceed that much more quickly.
✔️ All of that makes this a very intuitive and easy plasma cutter to use. You don’t have to think about switching settings, allowing you instead to focus on the welding and cutting itself.
The 120 V duty cycle provides a fair amount of protection.
At 12 ft, the cutting torch is a bit on the small side compared to other options on this list.
That being said, this is nevertheless a solid plasma cutter, especially for those looking for one that is easy to use.
6. Primeweld Premium & Rugged 50A
This is another model that makes use of an input voltage setup of 110 to 220 V.
The automatic switch makes it easier to switch between these two modes, making it that much easier to use in both domestic and professional settings.
👉 Input Voltage 110 to 220 V
👉 14 ft torch cutter lead
👉 PSI 65
👉 25 lbs
Unlike some of the other models on this list, this plasma cutter does not have drag technology.
However, it does have non-touch start technology, which is a serviceable alternative and can also help keep the nozzle cleaner.
✔️ This model is certainly on the compact side, weighing in at around 25 lbs and measuring 15” x 8” x 12”.
It has an amperage output range of between 10 to 35 amps. It has a decently sized torch cutter that boasts a lead of 14 ft.
This is another budget-priced plasma cutter. While that may make it more affordable, it does sometimes live up (or down) to that standard.
✔️ It has a max clean cut of 1/2″, which is on the lower end. These cuts aren’t always as clean as those achieved by some of the other plasma cutters on this list.
The unit requires a 30A breaker to work, and it is prone to shutting down if it gets overworked.
However, when considering the compact size and comparative ease of use, this may be one of the best plasma cutter options for newcomers to the craft looking to get started without springing for something too expensive or difficult.
7. Sungoldpower 50A Air Plasma Cutter
This is one of the lowest-priced plasma cutters on this list. It is also one of the most lightweight, tipping the scales at a measly 23.9 lbs.
It is a bit bigger than some of the smaller options on this list at 16.9” x 16.8” x 9.7”, but even so, this model is one of the overall best plasma cutter options for those looking for a lightweight affordable model.
👉 Digital display
👉 Air regulator
👉 Hose and clamp
👉 13 ft cutting torch
The hose and clamp for this model are quite efficient, especially for such an inexpensive model. This is also another model that features the easy to use 120 to 240 V setup.
It outputs between 10 and 50 amps, which is pretty good, especially for the price.
However, that number can be a bit misleading, because when it reaches above 35 amps it can start to struggle.
The unit features a clear digital display, which is a nice touch.
✔️ At 13 ft, the leads are on the shorter side for a plasma cutter. In addition, as with other less expensive models, this unit does not have drag technology. That can make it harder to make difficult cuts.
You don’t want to make a mess while welding, and this unit makes clean cuts more difficult.
That said, given the fact that this unit is just as interested in cutting prices as metal, that may be a tradeoff you’re willing to make, especially if you’re a newcomer or don’t have to use a plasma cutter for professional purposes.
This, thus, makes this model one of the best plasma cutter choices for those on a tight budget.
8. Ramsond Cut 50DX Air Plasma Cutter
The first thing to note about this plasma cutter is that it eats through consumables the way Cookie Monster gobbles up cookies.
As such, if you are looking for a model that is more efficient in the way it consumes its consumables, you might want to consider looking into other options.
👉 60% duty cycle
👉 Touch start
👉 Light ground clamp
👉 10 ft torch lead
That said, this is yet another budget option that offers a fair amount of cutting power.
That contrast is reflected in how well this offering from Rosamond takes on cutting. On the one hand, it does not cut as clearly as other options on this list.
If you are looking for something that will give you a smooth, clean cut every time with little splatter, you may want to look elsewhere.
On the other hand, however, if you are looking for a budget option that can still give you a 3/4” cut, this may be the best plasma cutter for you.
That said, you’ll probably want to take your time while cutting to reduce the mess.
At 19 lbs, this is possibly the lightest model on our list, making it ideal for those looking for a travel-friendly option. This is another model that features 110 to 220 V output and can give you 20 to 50 amps.
✔️ There are some additional points to be aware of with such a budget unit. For one thing, this is one of the shortest leads with 10ft leads.
In addition, this model does not always do the best job of cutting dirty metal, so you’ll want to make sure that you clean what you’re cutting ahead of time.
On the whole, however, if you are looking for a plasma cutter that is on the high-powered side for a lower-priced model, this may be one of the best options to consider.
9. Amico Cut-50 50-Amp Professional
This is another low-cost option, and one that has an auto-voltage feature.
+ Can cut up to 4/5 in. stainless steel, alloy steel, low carbon steel, copper, iron
+ 115-Volt and 230-Volt dual voltage, 50Hz/60Hz
+ Quick setup: NPT 1/4" industry type D coupler can connect easily with the pre-installed plug on the air compressor
This makes it much easier to switch between 100 V, which is more fitting for domestic setups, and 240 V, which is preferable for higher-powered professional work.
👉 Plug adapters
👉 60% duty cycle
👉 50 amps
👉 100 to 240 V
This model boasts a very ergonomic torch cutter, making it that much easier to grip while welding. What’s more, the grip is also heat and impact resistant, making it that much more durable.
✔️ This cutter handles cuts up to 1”, the highest figure on this list. This is where the versatility of the model truly shines.
While that amount of cutting power combined with the 240 V capability make it an acceptable option for those in industrial fields, the 100 V setting and price also make it one of most well-suited for home use as well.
The end result is a model that is incredibly versatile, making this one of the best plasma cutter options for those looking for an all-purpose tool.
✔️ That reputation for versatility is continued in the type of metals this plasma cutter can handle. You can cut everything from stainless and alloy steel to copper and aluminum.
What’s more, this model is easy to clean while providing a nice, clean cut.
It is also able to do all of this without noxious gasses.
This unit veers toward the larger side, measuring 18” x 8” x 14” while weighing in at 31 lbs.
Nevertheless, it is a competent model for those looking to bring a decent amount of plasma cutting power into their homes.
10. Hobart 12ci Plasma Cutter
One of the best things about this model is just how quickly it is able to cut through metal. It is able to cut faster than your typical oxy fueled fare, making it one of the better options for those looking to speed up the job.
That said, the heat actually affects a smaller area than is common with a lot of these options, thereby reducing the risk of warping the metal you’re cutting.
The results are nice, clean, precise cuts with less slag to clean up afterward.
👉 Built-in air compressor
👉 Faster than some oxy fueled products
👉 Lightweight build
👉 20 to 30 amps
While this isn’t one of the most expensive options on this list, it is nevertheless pricier than the lower-tier models.
As such, this is an option that is designed more with professionals and dedicated hobbyists in mind than more casual users and newcomers.
✔️ This model is about middle of the pack in terms of size measuring 16.5” x 18.5” x 11.2”. It is on the lighter and more compact side, weighing around 27 lbs.
With around 20 to 30 amps, it is about middle of the road in that respect as well.
The pressure is preset with this model, sparing you the trouble of having to do it yourself.
That being said, this is also another model that is limited in terms of how much it can cut through and how efficiently it is able to do so.
This model eats through consumables very quickly.
All in all, this is one of the best plasma cutter options for those looking for a fast-cutting model with a built-in air compressor.
Best Plasma Cutters FAQs
Knowledge is power, and knowing which questions to ask are the first step toward achieving the right answer.
With that in mind, let’s take a peek at some of the most frequently asked questions regarding plasma cutters, what the answers are, and what that means for your buying options.
1. What Should I Look for?
Saying that you want a plasma cutter is one thing, but what does a “good” one actually look like?
Some of the most important features to look for in a plasma cutter include:
This is necessary to shoot out the plasma necessary for cutting to take place. This can be accomplished either with a built-in or external air compression system.
Built-in compressors tend to be more expensive, but they are also more efficient.
Welders and plasma cutters operate at high temperatures with a lot of pressure and power involved.
You, thus, want to make sure that you are working with a model with a good reputation.
Miller and Hypertherm, for example, rank among the most well-respected brands on the market.
Voltage and Amperage
In terms of voltage, you have three basic choices. You can choose a 110 to 240 V option, which can be plugged into a standard home power socket and is ideal for domestic use.
On the other hand, you might decide that you need more power and instead opt for something closer to 240 V.
This is ideal if the main purpose of your plasma cutting is commercial and professional in nature.
Then again, you might decide that you want a model that has the option to switch between both. The latter option may be the most expensive, but it is by far the easiest to work with.
Consider the Cut
When choosing a plasma cutter, you need to consider three different kinds of cuts. Rated Cuts measure how the rate at which the cutter can cut at 10” per minute.
Quality Cut measures the overall quality of the cuts at lower speeds.
Sever Cut measures the maximum amount the cutter can cut at the slowest and most deliberate setting.
The lighter the model, the more likely it is to be portability-friendly.
This refers to the size of the metal plates the torch can cut, such as 1/2″.
You don’t want to “cut this too close,” so make sure that you leave some “space” between your cutter’s capabilities and the metal you are trying to cut through.
This refers to how much continuous use your plasma cutter can have before it starts to overheat and require rest. The higher the duty cycle, the longer it can go before overheating.
This is one of the trickiest metrics to balance when considering different plasma cutters.
On the one hand, top line models will often be more expensive, but on the other hand, there is a reason they are considered among the premiere options in the first place.
Less expensive models often blow through consumables very quickly, which means you have to buy more all the sooner, thus, driving up costs.
As a rule of thumb, the more you plan to use your plasma cutter, the more likely investing in a better, more efficient model may be worth it.
2. What About Torch Length?
As you can see, the cutting torches in the models listed above are of different lengths. That difference is not arbitrary.
Longer torches can be easier to weld in jobs where you need to stand further away from the object being cut and welded.
Conversely, if you need to stand closer, or don’t have a lot of space in your workshop, you’ll want to choose a torch length that is on the shorter side.
While it isn’t strictly related to length, comfort is also an important factor to consider.
You don’t want your plasma cutting efforts to be stymied because your hand cramps up while holding the cutter for a protracted period of time.
Many of the plasma cutters above make use of an ergonomic grip. These are advisable, especially for those looking to cut and weld for a long time.
3. What Are Non-Touch and Drag Technology?
Several of the plasma torches listed above make use of these options, but what exactly do they mean?
Non-touch technology is just what it sounds like – your cutter creating the plasma far enough away from the metal that you are cutting that you can cut into it without having to touch your nozzle to it.
These options tend to have standoff features that allow you to maintain a constant distance. This can often be adjusted to cover different areas.
Non-touch technology gives you greater range and control over your cuts. They also make it easier to keep your nozzle clean by removing the necessity of touching it to the metal you’re cutting.
Drag technology allows you to “drag” things along in such a way as to cut more easily. Without it, the nozzle can sometimes stick to the metal, causing marks on the metal and ruining your tips.
With drag technology, you can trace nice, smooth lines without the tips sticking.
Which plasma cutter is right for you will ultimately depend on what your needs are.
Some of the smaller options are good for those needing portable units.
Several of these models feature non-touch or drag technology, making it easier to cut.
Many allow you to toggle between 110 and 240 V settings.
Ultimately, it is your individual welding and plasma cutting needs as well as your budget that will determine which model “makes the cut” for you.