Hobart 12CI Plasma Cutter Review – Details You Need To Know

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Welcome to our Hobart 12CI Plasma Cutter Review where we are going to reveal the major features of this machine and reasons why it is among the best plasma cutters on the market. Plasma cutting is a process of cutting conductive materials using escalated hot plasma. It is an artwork that allows artisans to shape and repair different metals. To do this successfully, you will need a quality plasma cutter like the Hobart 12CI.

One of the reasons most people shy away from buying plasma cutters is that when buying these machines, you will also need to buy an air compressor separately. However, the product we are just about to review comes with an inbuilt air compressor which not only makes it portable but easier to use as compared to others. Apart from that, it has other interesting features as explained below.

Hobart 12CI Plasma Cutter Review


If you are searching for a versatile tool which you can use to cut different metals, Hobart 12CI might be what you are looking for. It uses a simple cutting technique which slices through copper, brass, aluminum, stainless steel and galvanized steel. It is also efficient when cutting 1/8 mild steel.  Note that it cuts at a rate of 10” per minute.


As compared to other similar plasma cutters, this is the most lightweight tool. The good thing about it is that despite its lightweight design, it provides unmatched powerful cutting performance.

Post airflow cooling system

Unlike other models, this one features an inbuilt post-flow air-cooling system which enables the torch and other components to cool so quickly. As a result, this feature helps to extend the durability of the torch as well as the general lifespan of the machine.


In terms of portability, this machine is very easy to carry because it weighs 31lbs only. It also has a compact design as compared to other similar models. If you work in different places, this cutter is the most convenient since it also comes with different accessories like a torch, cables plus a cable management strap.

Inbuilt Air Compressor

It also comes with an inbuilt piston driven air compressor which means that you don’t need to purchase another compressor. This compressor makes the device to be very portable because you can use the machine anywhere.

Troubleshooting indicator

Another awesome feature you will find in this unit is the analytical LED light alerts. These alerts allow you to know the temperature, torch readiness and it also helps in troubleshooting power. This light helps to reduce unnecessary downtime since you can easily now when there is a problem.

Fan-On demand

This is another exceptional feature specially when working on dusty environments. The cooling fan only works when required and it helps to prevent debris and dirt from getting into the machine.

Automatic shut-off

This unit has a rating of up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit and it also has a thermal protection function. Thermal overload protecting enables the machine to adapt to heavy-duty tasks and shut of automatically in case there is a problem. Overheating usually results due to blocked airflow or when the duty cycle exceeds more than the required. When this happens, the unit slows down the duty cycle to prevent damaging the internal parts.

XT12R Plasma Torch

The XT12R torch that comes with this unit provides excellent grip because the fingers contours perfectly to prevent fatigue. This torch is very useful when you have a lot of cutting tasks.


When it comes to power output, you need to know that it uses the regular household current.  This means that it only works with 120Volts and 20-amp circuit board. You can use it inside a shop, garage or in a workshop.


This machine comes with a 5/3/1 industrial warranty. Here we mean that the stabilizers, generators and transformers are covered by a 5 years warranty while electronics are covered by 3 years warranty. The guns such as TIG, MIG and plasma come with a 1-year warranty.

Hobart 12CI Plasma Cutter Review

What Are The Benefits Of Using Hobart 12ic?

Some of the benefits you will enjoy if you opt to use this machine are;

  • Excellent cutting power- As compared to other cheap plasma cutters, this one provides the best cutting power since it has piston driven air compressor.
  • Durable-You will also find that the unit is made of top quality and robust materials to enhance durability.
  • Safety feature- When using this machine, you won’t need to worry about the damages that may occur due to overheating.
  • Pre-set air pressure- Unlike other models, this one comes with preset air pressure which makes it easy to use.
  • Portability- The machine is also portable which means that you can use it in different places.

Most Common Complaints About This Machine

There are some features you may not find in this machine and even though they are not very important, you need to know about them.

  1. It does not work with CNC plasma cutting table

If you have been thinking if using CNC plasma cutting machine for artwork and cutting metals, However, Hobart 12ic is not compatible with CNC plasma cutting table.

  1. Lacks consumables

This machine doesn’t come with consumables but the manufacturer includes shield cup, electrodes, O-ring, standoff guard, swirl ring and tip kit.

Who Is It For?

Hobart 12ic plasma cutter is a good option for beginners or DIY enthusiasts who enjoy   metal cutting projects. It is also suitable for those learning to be professional mechanics. One of the reasons why this unit is only ideal for starters is because it is not powerful enough to handle complex projects. Apart from that, it comes with user-friendly features for easier use. For instance, the pressure is already set which means that you don’t need to struggle with that. The machine also features an inbuilt troubleshooter which will alert you in case there are problems like torch readiness, overheating and overall status.



How We Picked Hobart 12CI As One Of The Best Plasma Cutters


The best plasma cutter should be portable ad easy to use. Since Hobart 12CI comes with an inbuilt air compressor, it is among the most portable models in the industry. It also has a total weight of 31lbs which means that you can easily carry it to different places.

Duty cycle

This refers to the duration you can use the machine within 10 minutes without stopping. Hobart 12CI has a duty cycle of 35% which simply means that you should use it for 3.5 minutes before you take a break. This is good because it prevents the machine from overheating.


The easiest way to determine the quality of any product is checking the warranty.  Hobart 12CI comes with a 5/3/1 years guarantee which means that it is among the most reliable and durable options on the market.


After comparing different models, we realized that most of them are a bit expensive. One thing we liked about Hobart 12CI is that it is among the most affordable plasma cutters on the market. This makes it among the best for starters who are on a budget or those searching for a unit for simple plasma cutting projects.

What are the benefits of buying a machine with an inbuilt air compressor?

The problem with most air compressors is that they are a bit heavy. If you are using them together with a plasma cutter, you may not even be able to move the machine. On the other hand, plasma cutters with inbuilt compressors such as the Hobart 12CI are not only portable but are also versatile. This also makes them easier to use.

Which Materials Can I Cut With Hobart 12CI?

Before you invest in a plasma cutter, you need to be aware that these machines only cut metals that conduct electricity. This means that you cannot use the machine to cut plastics or wood. Instead, plasma cutters work with different types of metals such as aluminum, stainless steel, copper, steel and brass. However, the thickness of the materials that the machine can cut varies because they are not equally powerful. For instance, you cannot rely on Hobart 12CI to cut very thick metals.

How To Set Up Hobart 12ic Plasma Cutter

  • Make sure you have followed all the instructions provided in the user manual. You also need to wear a welding helmet and gloves to enhance your safety.
  • You also need to connect the ground clamp to the unit and then attach it to the work piece. Make sure that there is no paint or rust at the point where the clamp connects with the work piece.
  • The connectors should be attached firmly
  • Remember to adjust the settings according to the thickness of the material

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is Hobart 12ci Plasma cutter worth it?

If you are just starting out, this is the most user-friendly machines that will give you great results. Unlike other cheap models, it has more useful features which enhance its performance. However, it is not the best for cutting thick metals.

  • What is the maximum thickness this machine can cut?

This unit has a cut rating of 1/8 inches.

  • Can this machine be used to cut aluminum?

Yes but not more than 16 gauge material

Final Verdict

If you are searching for a quality plasma cutter that will not cost you a lot of money, Hobart 12CI might be an ideal choice. It comes with excellent features like an inbuilt troubleshooter, air compressor, post airflow cooling systems among other features which you can rarely find in many models. Apart from that, it has a reasonable price and it is very easy to use. However, it is not very powerful but a great option for beginners.

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