With the rapid advancement of plasma technology, more and more individuals have started implementing it in welding different sorts of metals. Once these machines were very expensive and very few. Now, you can find the best plasma cutter under 500 dollars.
And you shouldn’t be fooled by the price tag. Regardless of the affordable price, these plasma cutters deliver excellent performance and are packed with versatile features. To make matters even more complicated, the market is full of models that users can choose from.
Because of this, we decided today’s piece to encompass reviews of the best plasma cutters available right now as well as features to consider in our detailed buying guide and answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. Read carefully and copy down some notes. Let’s begin with the buying guide!
6 Best Plasma Cutter Under $500 Models – Complete Reviews
1. Forney Easy Weld 251 20 P Plasma Cutter
This plasma cutter possesses many features that satisfy different requirements of welders. For starters, it has a clamp lead and a torch that are big enough for many homeowners and even professionals. Not to mention that certain extensions can be bought to enrich the experience further.
In case people need to cut through metal that’s less than 1/4 inches deep, the cutter will go through it without troubles and produce a cut with clean edges. However, anything that goes more than that is not possible to cut with this model. Many people view this as a downside together with the fact that the maximum output is low.
Still, in general, this is a worthy model within this price range that’s relatively light and can perform various tasks.
More specifications are:
- Weight: 21.5 pounds
- Power source: 120 volts
- Warranty: 1 year
- Cutting torch: 13’
- Dimensions: 15x8x12 inches
2. ZENY DC Inverter Plasma Cutter
As a dual-voltage cutter, it can operate efficiently on both 110 Volts and 220 Volts. Thanks to this, it can provide gas ahead of time. When it comes to the supported materials, this model can cut through stainless steel, copper, aluminum, and similar to them. However, the thickness shouldn’t exceed 1/12 millimeters.
That’s why it’s mainly suitable for hobbyists and homeowners that prefer to maintain their house by themselves. With it, they can cut metal into various sizes. For enhanced productivity, the plasma cutter also has a delay switch and a heavy-duty cord that is from 7 up to 8 feet long.Despite this, it lacks a plug and air hose that should be bought additionally.
Check these for more specifications:
- Weight: 22.05 pounds
- Duty cycle: 60%
- Power: 60 HZ
- Current range: 20-50 amps
- Protection: IP21 class
3. PrimeWeld 3-in-1 50 Amp Plasma Cutter
As the name states, this machine unites three options into one while managing to maintain its compactness. Moreover, with it, users can perform plasma cutting, arc welding, and TIG/Stick welding tasks.
Among the notable features it offers are the dual voltage, which enables welders to switch between different voltages without worrying about the power source, the high power efficiency as well as the air gauge that is built-in. But it lacks a pilot arc for cutting metal automatically.
Despite all of these features, this cutter is lightweight and can be easily carried around the house or the worksite.
These are some more specifications:
- Duty cycle: 60%
- Power efficiency: 85%
- Maximum cutting thickness: 1/2 inches
- Weight: 32 pounds
- Warranty: 3 years
- Dual voltage: 110/220 volts
4. SUPER DEAL DC Inverter Plasma Cutter Welding Machine
One of the main things that differentiate this unit from the other affordable models is that it has an LCD screen display. It helps users see air pressure levels and reduce noise while saving energy at the same time. Connected to this, it has a large duty cycle, which is responsible for the low consumption of power.
Not to mention that the machine is suitable for both professionals and hobbyists due to the heavy-duty iron and its ability to operate for a long time without breaks. To protect the people working with it, the model comes with a wire and mask. But it operates well mainly on thin metals whose thickness is less than 1/4 inches.
For more specifications, look at these:
- Dual voltage: 110/220 volts
- Weight: 24.4 pounds
- Cutting thickness: 1/2 inches
- Dimensions: 18.5x11x13.5 inches
5. HITBOX 50A Plasma Cutter with Air Pressure Regulator
Carbon and stainless steel can be cut without problems with this plasma cutter. However, their maximum supported thickness is 12 millimeters even though it can get slow while working through it. That’s why 8 millimeters is the safer option. Those that want to cut materials like aluminum and copper can do so but they should know that the machine is not so efficient with these materials.
When it comes to protection, the lasting period of the cutter is increased thanks to the over and under voltage protection. Also, there are special features for adjusting the air pressure. Yet those that have utilized it, report that the cable can’t be securely attached to the machine.
Here are more detailed specifications:
- Power rate: 6.0
- Input power: 220 volts
- Duty cycle: 70%
- Output current: 10-50 amps
6. PrimeWeld 50A Air Inverter Plasma Cutter, Portable Rugged Plasma Cutting Machine
Last but definitely not the least on the list is the PrimeWeld 50A air inverter plasma cutter. Although it comes at an affordable price, it provides many premium features that even professionals can take advantage of.
Furthermore, it doesn’t weigh much, making it easy to carry around. As for the materials it can cut, it’s versatile and goes through everything starting from copper, mild steel and alloy steel to aluminum and stainless steel. Speaking of this, it’s a dual voltage model that offers protection against the emission of unwanted gases and fire. But what’s not so good about it is that there are no CNC control and pilot arc options.
More specifications are as follows:
- Warranty: 3 years
- Dual voltage: 110/220 volts
- Clean cut thickness: 1/2 inches
- Weight: 22.5 pounds
Buying Guide: Features to Consider in the Best Plasma Cutter Under $500
This term is very specific to plasma cutters and similar machines, so it’s understandable that some individuals may not be entirely aware of its meaning. With that being said, it represents how long a plasma cutter can be active without shutting itself down to cool down. Typically, it’s measured in percentage.
If you’re using the cutter for a very short period of time, then a high percentage of the duty cycle may not be a make-it-or-break-it factor. But generally, it’s preferred to look for plasma cutters, which have longer duty cycles. That means that you can operate longer with it before it needs to cool down. Models with higher amperage typically are known to provide longer duty cycles.
For professional purposes, a duty cycle of around fifty percent is deemed sufficient. If you need a plasma cutter for home usage, then something around thirty or thirty-five percent can do the work just fine.
What’s more, your budget, as well as the task you have to execute, can be important factors to consider when it comes to this feature, too.
Density of Metal
Not every plasma cutter can effortlessly cut every type of metal. You can’t expect a model for beginners to cut through a metal that’s half an inch thick. That’s why it’s important to match the metal you’re working on with the model you’re looking for.
In fact, a plasma cutter’s amperage can influence its ability to cut through dense metals. To illustrate, a plasma cutter that has twenty-five amps can easily go through metal with a thickness of a quarter of an inch. Double that and a fifty-amp model can easily cut half an inch of metal. Further, a model with eighty amps can be considered sufficient for metals with a density of even an inch.
Source of Power
Before setting on buying one particular model, you should be familiar with the cutter’s power source or the voltage on which it operates.
As a standard, it’s considered that the majority of homes have outlets of 110/220 Volts. These plasma cutters tend to be less expensive and a bit limited when compared to others in their performance. Moreover, these models aren’t essentially suitable for going through a quarter of an inch or half an inch gauge plate.
On the other hand, a plasma cutter with a power input of 220/240 Volts is capable of cutting through denser materials without any trouble.
Having said that, some machines have a dual voltage system. That means that they can work on both 110/220V and 220/240V depending on the power source you can provide. And if you need more power for a specific task, you can get it. These models are known for being versatile and easily adjustable, too.
This is always a nice characteristic to find, especially in a device that not everyone is skilled and experienced to use such as a plasma cutter. For starters, all models have an easily recognizable power switch or some other way of managing the power-related settings.
Additionally, models should have labels on the buttons and indicators so that users know what does what and what each is for. Some brands even go as far as putting LED indicators on the panel so that the signals are easier to read. However, be prepared to pay a bit more for these models that come with all of these small yet important details.
To come up with a cutting arc, a plasma cutter utilizes electricity. This cutting arc is often measured in amps. The model’s amperage is another feature that should be matched with the metal thickness that should be effortlessly cut through. For instance, twenty amps are frequently found and are very practical for cutting an eighth of an inch of metal. What’s more, the more amps the model can muster, the faster the cutting will be.
It isn’t seldom for users to travel around for a welding job. Not all of them are static. So, when you switching between welding sites, it’d be cool to easily transport your plasma cutter. That’s why portability is an important feature that many users factor in their decision.
Subsequently, the size as well as the weight can seriously determine how portable and compact the plasma cutter will be. Naturally, a smaller cutter that isn’t bulky can be packed in a couple of minutes and won’t weigh you down.
Another thing is the ruggedness of the design. If you plan to weld on the go, then this characteristic is desirable to have. It will protect the cutter and make it more durable.
While you’re transporting the cutter, you’ll need a suitable case. So, make sure that your portable cutter has a hard case for carrying it around that won’t damage it while you’re moving.
We briefly mentioned cutting speed before. Even though it may not seem like something you should pay attention to at first glance, sometimes it can be included in the making of the final decision.
For example, imagine two plasma cutters and both can successfully and effortlessly cut through half an inch of metal. The first one does it in a minute, whereas the other one you’re finished in four to five minutes. It doesn’t take much knowledge in plasma cutters to figure out that the latter plasma cutter would be a better investment.
What’s more, cutting speed is influenced by your workflow as well as your present welding needs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding the Best Plasma Cutter Under 500 Dollars
What can I use my plasma cutter for?
Answer: There is no limitation to what a quality plasma cutter can do. Beginning with its utilization around the home. Many users operate with them when they’re creating DIY crafts as well as in their workshops at home as a type of hobby. But the cutter’s original usage is far wider than home-usage. It spreads to industrial purposes, automotive cutting, professional artwork cuts, and similar.
Do I need other equipment and gear with plasma cutters?
Answer: For better and more efficient results, some users opt for buying consumables. Among them, one can find electrodes, air dryers, nozzles, and similar. A pro tip for them is to check out their expected lifetime. These details are usually found in the list of specifications provided by the manufacturer. With that being said, some plasma cutters don’t have a built-in air compressor. When it comes to these models, a separate air compressor can be pretty helpful. And it goes without saying that no matter what you do with the plasma cutter, you have to wear protective gear on yourself. That way you protect yourself from sparks, debris and dangerous other particles that may be a byproduct of the cutting.
What can a plasma cutter cut through?
Answer: The first thing when someone mentions a plasma cutter is a metal. That’s actually the short answer to the question. However, there’s a reason why a plasma cutter is used for cutting through a variety of metals like copper, stainless steel, aluminum, and such. Moreover, these materials are electrically conductive. And plasma cutters are utilized for precisely these types of material. That’s why you can’t cut through plastic or wood with a plasma cutter. Simply, they aren’t electrically conductive.
What are some tips for handling plasma cutters?
Answer: The most basic thing you should watch out for is reading the manual. It consists of all the necessary data regarding the cutter you’ve purchased. So, if you have any questions, they’ll most likely be answered by it. Then, make sure you’re using the right amperage settings that match the case outlined before you. Otherwise, you may end up messing things up and damaging the cutter. Also, you should keep an adequate distance between your body and the actual area where the cutting happens. This is a dangerous process and that’s why you should at all times wear protective gear like gloves, boots, eye protection, and more. What’s more, even testing the cutter can inflict damage if it isn’t handled properly. So, even before you start testing, you should have a general idea of the machine and how it works.
- 1 6 Best Plasma Cutter Under $500 Models – Complete Reviews
- 1.1 1. Forney Easy Weld 251 20 P Plasma Cutter
- 1.2 2. ZENY DC Inverter Plasma Cutter
- 1.3 3. PrimeWeld 3-in-1 50 Amp Plasma Cutter
- 1.4 4. SUPER DEAL DC Inverter Plasma Cutter Welding Machine
- 1.5 5. HITBOX 50A Plasma Cutter with Air Pressure Regulator
- 1.6 6. PrimeWeld 50A Air Inverter Plasma Cutter, Portable Rugged Plasma Cutting Machine
- 2 Buying Guide: Features to Consider in the Best Plasma Cutter Under $500
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding the Best Plasma Cutter Under 500 Dollars
- 4 Final Words