Your Ultimate Plasma Cutters Buying Guide
If you are working with electrically conductive metals in your workshop, one tool that you should have at hand is the best Plasma Cutter available. This will enable you to make smooth and precise cuts in the aluminum, brass, copper, and other metals which are electrically conductive. The plasma cutter works by injecting a rapid jet of hot plasma through inert gas that comes out of a nozzle.
Best All-Around Plasma Cutter (For Beginners and Advanced) – YesWelder Brand
Other Top Plasma Cutters:
Before you rush to a supplier to make a purchase of a Plasma Cutter, you need to know which attributes must be present in the best Plasma Cutter. This buying guide will help you by addressing key issues including:
You should have an idea of the cutting thickness of the metal that you want to cut . From this idea, you should select a plasma cutter of adequate size. It is better to have a plasma cutter that will allow for a slightly larger thickness as it is not possible to go over a cut using a plasma cutter.
Duration of Use
The number of hours that your Plasma cutter shall be in use will determine what cutter you should purchase. These hours are often referred to as the duty cycle. If you are looking at continuous and industrial use, you need to seek a cutter that has high amperage output. For frequent use, your cutter should have the maximum cutting ability. For occasional use, your purchase will be based on the thickness of the metal that you wish to cut.
Location of Use
This will affect the portability of your plasma cutter. Should you intend to use your cutter outside of a workshop, then you should choose one which is semi-portable. It is also worth noting that with this type of plasma cutter, it will be necessary to purchase a portable generator as well as a compressor for the air.
What does the duty cycle mean on plasma cutters?
Plasma cutting typically consists of two modes: continuous and pulse. Continuous mode is just like a torch, and the plasma arc is on the entire time the trigger is pulled. Pulse mode is like a laser, in that the arc only fires when the trigger is pulled. Plasma cutters can be set to run in either mode, depending on the material you are cutting.
Attempting to cut thick material with a low duty cycle can result in the arc not having enough time to ignite the material, and the plasma cutter will not cut. If you're not getting a cut, try switching to a higher duty cycle.
Should You Look for Plasma Cutter with Variable Duty cycle?
It depends. A variable duty cycle is a real time-saver, especially when cutting a lot of material. But, using a variable duty cycle can be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. The lower the duty cycle is set, the more likely it that the plasma will not ignite the material you are cutting.
This is why it is important to understand the material you are cutting and to know the correct duty cycle to use.
What size compressor do you need for your plasma cutter?
The first thing you need to do is decide how much air you need to run your plasma cutter. This will determine the size of your compressor.
If you plan on using your plasma cutter on a regular basis, you should look for a compressor that can run your plasma cutter and accessories. For example, a 50-amp plasma cutter will need a compressor that can handle 50 amps.
If you only plan on using your plasma cutter occasionally, you don’t need to invest in a compressor that’s too powerful. You will want to look for a compressor that can handle your air needs but is still compact and portable.
One of the most important things to consider is the air pressure setting on your compressor. A lower number means that you can cut through thick metal with ease. If your plasma cut includes small parts you can go for a higher number as it’ll be easier to cut through the metal.
How much should you spend on a Plasma Cutter?
As with most things, you get what you pay for. We recommend that you invest in a very sturdy, durable and powerful Plasma Cutter. A lot of people make the mistake of skimping on the cost and end up with a poor-quality cutting machine that fails on them.
If you are looking for a good quality plasma cutting machine at a low cost, you may want to consider a refurbished plasma machine.
Although it is good to be cautious of purchasing a used plasma cutter, they can be an excellent way to get a good quality metal cutting machine for a great price.
If you come across a cheap plasma cutter that is too good to be true, it usually is. You should research the company you are buying from and ensure that they are reputable.
Common mistakes when buying a plasma cutter
Before you make your final decision on which compressor to buy, you should check that you are not making any of the following mistakes:
Not doing your research
We cannot stress enough how important it is to do your research before you make a purchase. The last thing you want to do is make the mistake of buying a cutting machine that does not match your needs.
There are many types of plasma cutters, find the one that is best for you. A few of the most common are:
- Air Plasma Cutter
- Inverter Plasma Cutter
- CNC Plasma Cutter
- Dual Voltage Plasma Cutter
Buying an expensive compressor that does not match your needs
You may think that you need a big, powerful plasma cutter to run, but this is not always the case. If you only plan on using your machine occasionally or only cutting thin metal, you do not need an expensive
Not buying a quality
There is a difference between expensive and quality. You can get a quality plasma cutter at reasonable rates. YesWelder (highly recommended) is a perfect example of a cutter with a balance of affordability and quality.
Buying a used Plasma Cutter
It is not recommended that you buy a used compressor, but it's always worthwhile to check out eBay if you know what you are looking for. Any plasma cutter that has been used previously may be worn out and will not provide you with the quality you want.
Top 5 Plasma Cutters
This is an upgrade from the popular PowerPlasma 50S model. This Plasma Cutter features a total of 50 amps of professional cutting power. It features an IPT-60 torch. This Plasma Cutter is powerful as well as flexible, in that if can easily cut through metal that has a thickness of ¾ in. and also features a full severance cutability of 7/8.
If you have heavy-duty work, then you can opt for this plasma cutter, and it is ideal for auto body repair jobs. The earthed cutting arcs that it is able to produce will minimize any damage that could affect the electronics within a motor vehicle.
This cutter features a CNC port that enables it to be used on lighter gauge materials that require smaller plasma tables. Finally, it is portable due to its decreased weight and nominal size, making it possible to carry it with ease using only a shoulder strap for support.
2- Hypertherm 088079 Powermax30 XP Building America Edition Hand Plasma System with Case and 15-Feet Lead
This powerful Plasma cutter features a two in one Plasma System, making it ideal for use with both thick metals and thin metals. For a professional, this is ideal as it minimizes the amount of equipment that one needs to purchase. It is a cost-saving plasma system since it primarily uses compressed air rather than gases for its operations.
With this cutter, you do not need to concern yourself with the power voltage that is available, as it can function at 120V as well as 240V of power without any issues. The plug adaptors are included with this plasma system, saving you from having to make additional purchases.
This is due to its modern auto-voltage technology. Furthermore, it has the advantage of being portable since it is lightweight, and comes with a custom case for ease of transportation.
This Everlast Plasma Cutter is highly dependable, both for the professional as well as the novice user. It has an adjustable post flow control that extends to sixty seconds, which helps to improve the torch life. It is also easy to adjust the front air pressure with this cutter.
The 60AMP makes it possible to cut through metal ranging from ¼ inch to 1 ¼ inch thick, adding to the versatility of this product.
This powerful inverter works with 240V, and is highly lightweight and portable, and includes an excellent carry case. It is an ideal plasma cutter for anyone who does lightweight work within their personal workshop.
It can easily cut through 3/8 inches of steel, and it delivers when it comes to high performance. With the right air compressor, its capabilities can be pushed even further. The torch is easy to handle, preventing mistakes.
5- Thermal Dynamics 1-5130-1: Cutmaster 52 Plasma System, SL60 Torch, 75 Deg Head, 20 ft Leads, configured for 208-230V
There are certain plasma cutters that have stood the test of time and always end up on top, and this plasma cutter is one of them. It is a favorite amongst professionals, due to its front panel LED indicators which make it easy to determine what may affect your working conditions.
This plasma cutter is able to cut through metals of varying thicknesses. It is easy to carry or transport and the design protects if from dangerous impact. Its external storage compartment is an added advantage, making it easier to transport all the accessories with the unit.
What equipment do you need in your shop to run your plasma cutter?
You’ll want a good basic set of safety glasses, a respirator, a set of work gloves, and a protective apron. You should also have a pair of steel-toed shoes to protect your feet from hot and sharp metal.
We also recommend having a piece of paper, a pencil, and a tape measure. This is especially important for cutting pieces of metal that are large or are in odd shapes. By taking measurements and marking the metal, you’ll have a much easier time cutting the metal.
If you’re going to be cutting thick metal, you’re going to need metal cutting blades. You can purchase these blades specifically designed for your plasma cutter or you can use other types of blades if you wish.
A pair of welding pliers for crimping the wire connectors on your work. If you’re going to be cutting a lot of metal, you’ll need to use a good pair of pliers.
You’ll also want to have a good selection of steel that you can use to practice cutting. You may want to purchase some of this steel from a local hardware store.
If you have a good selection of steel in your shop to practice on, you’ll be able to get used to using your plasma cutter before you start cutting your own projects from scratch. Good mild steel is perfect for practicing.
Can a MIG welder be used as a plasma cutter?
Yes, you can use a MIG welder as a plasma cutter. I have had one in my shop for 10 years and have used it as a plasma cutter on several occasions. There are a few things you need to consider when using a MIG welder as a plasma cutter. First, you will need to buy a cutting torch for your MIG welder. Some MIG welders have them and some don't. If yours doesn't have a torch, you can buy a torch that will fit your welder. When you buy your torch, make sure that it has the parts you need for plasma cutting, or you will need to buy any missing parts separately.
This list features plasma cutters that can be used by both professionals and amateurs with excellent results. It includes the latest plasma cutters in the market, as well as some which have stood the test of time by offering consistent and excellent service.
Make your choice from this selection, and improve your plasma cutting technique and skill. You are guaranteed that they will deliver, every time.