Cheap Plasma Cutter are they worth it?
Plasma cutters are the best metal cutters we have today. They are now seen as the fastest and most efficient metal cutters for almost any types of metal–carbon steel, stainless steel, alloy, aluminum or any kind of metal as long as it is conductive of electricity.
Used by metal fabricators, maintenance people and also by hobbyists, they can cut metal with high precision and quickly without the sweat. Even up to 1.5-inch thick stainless steel, there would be no problem with a plasma cutter to cut it in any way you want.
Finding the best cheap plasma cutter can improve your productivity even with a low-cost machine and it doesn’t need to be pre-heated like the oxy-fuel cutting process.
How Plasma Cutters Work
We know that some of you understand how plasma cutters work. But for those who want to buy the best cheap plasma cutter and newbies about these machines, here’s a short explanation on how these simple machines can do amazing cutting jobs.
Plasma is defined as the fourth state of matter. According to Webster’s, plasma is a collection of charged particles that contain an equal number of ions (positive) and electrons (negative) much like gas but in a way it can be a good conductor of electricity. Other forms of gases cannot conduct electricity.
Plasma cutters work by ionizing the gas that passes through a constricted opening with electricity. When an electrode inside the nozzle is electrically charged this instantly charge the gas (compressed air) that flows around it and it ionizes the gas. Ionized gas plus electricity will produce a spark.
When the tip of the torch nozzle goes near the metal being cut which is grounded, this will cause the spark to jump from the tip to the metal and form a bridge of high intense electrical heat and this is what we call the arc.
Plasma arc can reach up to 20,000 degrees centigrade which can melt metal. Because the pressurized burning plasma is focused on a small area, the cut happens and the blast also blows the melted metal away.
Cheap Plasma Cutters
The most popular plasma cutters today are the portable ones which are most used by small scale metal industries and also by homeowners for their home workshops. If you want to have the best cheap plasma cutter, there are many popular brands you can choose from.
Most people want to know about the average amperage of cheap plasma cutters and the cutting they are capable of. So here is what we can tell you –
In plasma cutting, it is both the volts and the amps that must be counted to identify the cutting rate capacity of the machine. Amps X volt is equal to watts. So the plasma cutter cutting rate can be determined by knowing the wattage of the machine.
Nevertheless, it is basically the amperage that people count most as the basis of power for every plasma cutter since a portable cheap plasma cutter already has the right wattage to carry its maximum amperage.
The best budget plasma cutter that would be best for home workshops can go up to 80 amp.
However, this may require higher voltage and homes don’t usually have more than 110v – 220V. So you can settle for machines with 50 amp maximum or even lower if you will just need it for your home workshop or DIY projects and these machines normally require between 110 to 220 volts only.
How Deep can a Cheap Plasma Cutter Cut?
Generally, hand-held torches can cut up to 1.5-inch thick steel plate while the CNC plasma cutters can cut up to 6-inch thick metal.
Since the plasma cutter cutting capacity is commonly based on its amperage, if you need to cut ¼” thick metal, for example, a lower amperage unit should do well.
If you have to deal with thick metal like ½” thick, a high amperage plasma cutter would be more flexible to cut the metal.
Remember that never use your budget plasma cutter beyond the limit of its cutting capacity or you may have poor quality cuts. You may not even cut the metal completely or may produce lots of slag.
So it is good to note that when looking for the best cheap plasma cutter, it must be stated in its manual or on the machine itself in the form of a chart the corresponding amperage requirement for every thickness of metal you want to cut.
But here are the tips. If you want to cut metal no more than ¼’ thick a 25 amps plasma cutter would cut such thickness nicely. For ½” thick metal use 50-60 amps and for ¾” up to 1” thickness, an 80 amps plasma cutter would be better for the job.
Experts also advise that if you have to cut 1/8” thick metal plate, 20 amps can be the lowest but the best setting for this. But after 1/8” thick you can add 10 amps more. For 3/8” cut, adjusting the machine up to 40 amps will work fine.
If you are a newbie in plasma cutting and you already have the right machine and you still cannot produce the right cut, try adjusting the amperage of your unit.
If this doesn’t work, adjust the air pressure (PSI). A plasma cutter with built-in compressor should be an excellent choice for air pressure requirement. Also, always check the plasma cutter consumables if they are perfectly fine.
Here we’ve found the best budget plasma cutters that could offer you better flexibility for your metal cutting needs and these are some of the favorites among DIY people and homeowners.
They can be your reliable cutting machines for your home projects or even for industrial projects which you can keep in your garage or home workshop. These machines are also the best plasma cutters under 500 dollars (US).
Mophorn 50Amp Plasma Cutter Dual Voltage 110V 220V Portable Plasma
This plasma cutter can cut a maximum thickness of 12 mm (.5-inch) with a faster speed and produces a smooth and nice cut surface. With a maximum of 50A input current, it also has adjustable output current and you can see your settings on its front LED display.
It also has a 35% duty cycle which means you can operate it for 3 to 4 minutes straight every 10 minutes to prevent the machine from overheating and avoid damaging your torch consumables. If you use it on 30 amps, it can even operate at 100% duty cycle or straight for 10 minutes.
You don’t have to worry also about voltage fluctuations with this machine because this has a dual voltage 110/220 and uses advanced inverter technology which also means it can automatically adjust its operating frequency based on the power requirements of your machine.
Inverter plasma cutters are also very light and fit for those who carry their machines outside their home workshops.
This machine can cut efficiently through alloy, stainless steel, mild steel, aluminum, carbon steel and other types of metal. It is a perfect choice for repair and maintenance, metal processing, ducting work or site work.
Usual cutting depth is 6 mm and the deepest cut is 12 mm
Can operate at 100% duty cycle at 30 amps
Uses advanced inverter technology
Can cut various types of metal
Large cooling fan to quickly cool off the machine
Only weighs 22 pounds
Display on LCD is shown as current, not amps as according to some reviews.
Lotos LTP5000D 50Amp Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter,110V/220V
This 50Amp cheap plasma cutter is a non-touch pilot arc which means you don’t have to touch the tip of the nozzle to produce an arc. As such, you can save more on your consumables.
It can cut through almost any type of metal even these are rough, painted or rusty and will only produce less slag. It requires only compressed air but can be able to cut alloy steel, stainless steel, mild steel, aluminum, and copper.
With an amperage output of 10-50 Amp, it can cut clean a ½” thick steel plate and even at a maximum thickness of ¾” thick. With Dual voltage (110/240) and a dual-frequency (50/60Hz), you don’t have to switch amperage now and then because this machine will automatically detect and adjust its amperage requirement based on the thickness of the metal you are cutting.
When under 100/120 volts it can run 100% duty cycle at 35 to 40 Amps and on 220/240V it can run at 60% duty cycle at 55 Amps.
This cheap plasma cutter is also under the 500-dollar price range and yet this can be a very efficient metal cutting machine you can keep at home and can be used for small projects to bigger metal construction jobs.
This machine uses the advanced PAPST cooling system which is a German technology to help prevent the machine from overheating. It also has a pre-installed NPT ¼” type D plug so you can quickly hook up its air compressor without needing any connector.
Very portable and using non-hazardous compress air, this can be the best choice for those newbies who want to have a new plasma cutter to start their first projects.
Uses only compressed air to produce gas plasma
Longer consumable life
Easy to set up
10Amp – 50Amp capacity
Can cut almost any type of metal even rusted, painted or rough
Dual voltage and dual frequency
Compact, portable and safe to use even by newbies or students
Torch cable is 13 feet long and the ground clamp is 6 feet long
Maximum rated clean-cut thickness: ½”
Maximum severance thickness: ¾”
Compatible only for PCS22 and PCS33 consumables. NOT compatible with Lotos PCON40 or PCON90 consumables sets or any other third party consumables set.
PRIMEWELD Premium & Rugged 50A Air Inverter Plasma Cutter 110/220VAC
Like a reliable 50Amp plasma cutter should do, this machine can also cut stainless steel, mild steel, alloy steel, aluminum, copper and any metal that has a high electrical conductivity. With dual voltage option, this is one of the most portable cheap plasma cutters that is best for your small or large metal projects.
If you are into MIG welding or TIG welding, you surely would need this cutting machine to cut, trim and shape your metalwork.
This machine is backed up by 3 years warranty and we have read the reviews about it which are generally positive. Designed for home use and the hobbyist or even for industrial work, you can depend on it and it will cut metal even it’s rusty, painted or dirty. In other words, this is the best tool in cutting up junk metal for use in your projects.
It also comes with built-in fire preventive system so this won’t go ablaze like those you’ve seen on some reviews that their machines suddenly go on fire. You will be satisfied buying this machine because it comes complete with a clamp, cable, torch, air regulator, ring clamps, cutter tips, and couplers.
Not only that. Also included in the package along with the plasma torch are torch nozzles and ceramic cup so all you need to buy are just the small plasma cutter consumables for the torch to start your cutting work.
This unit is also under the 500-dollar range so you can get your money’s worth with this.
With Fire-preventive system
Comes with necessary accessories
Can cut even painted and rusty metal
Lightweight, portable, and dependable
Dual-frequency – 50/60 Hz
Maximum cut thickness – ¾”
Imported. May be hard to configure at first use because of complex instructions on the manual.
SUPER DEAL DC Inverter Plasma Cutter Welding Machine
This is another budget plasma cutter that you should take a good look at. It has an input power of 110/220V and an output current of 20-50 Amps. It can promise you the precision cut and speed you need. With a pilot arc striking system, it is adaptable both for industrial settings and for home workshops.
This 50 Amp unit can regulate a continuous current it can also dissipate heat which makes it last longer compared to other traditional 50Amps plasma cutters. Weighing only 22 pounds which is light for travel and outdoor use, it also has a 60% duty cycle at 50 amps.
This unit can offer superior stable performance. With a high duty cycle that could result in more energy consumption, it is more economical and more efficient to use than other conventional cutting tools because of its efficient speed cutting capacity, high-temperature resistance and powerful blast of plasma .
Built heavily with heavy-duty parts, it puts up a solid metal construction which adds strength to its overall features. Most people who have this model use it for their businesses but it can also be a perfect machine for the hobbyists and DIY users. Simply, this can also be used by professional welders in industrial settings for their projects.
It can cut metals like stainless steel, aluminum, steel, copper, brass and any conductive metal up to ½ inch thick and only needs to be plugged in a standard household outlet.
To easily see your settings as you work, it has a DC output Digital LCD that is easy to read.
To ensure that you’ll be safe using it, it has built-in heat protection, over and under-voltage protection and even comes with complete accessories like torch set, ground cable with clipper, air regulator, clamps and many more.
Dual voltage to protect itself from fluctuating current
Digital LCD Display for settings
20-50 Amps output current
60% duty cycle at 50 amps
Built-in heat protection
Precision-cut even at high speed
Low energy consumption
Pilot arc striking system
Imported. Operating instructions are too complex to understand
Plasma cutters are now becoming cheaper that’s why so many companies are also investing in them for industrial uses. The cheap versions, however, are much needed by individuals who want to have precision cutting tools for their home metal projects. So finding the best cheap plasma cutter is not as hard compared from a few years ago when these machines were bigger and more expensive.
However, not every cheap plasma cutter can withstand the test of time even though a product promises efficient use. The most usual problem we’ve seen based on the reviews we have encountered is not the efficiency of the machines but rather their durability. Lots of them perform well for a few days, weeks or months and then break down suddenly.
This trend is becoming frustrating not only to those who have bought their budget plasma cutters but also to those who want to buy their own machines. That’s why we have taken a lot of considerations before choosing the products that we have posted here.
So far, these are some of the best cheap plasma cutters that are not only efficient but can do their jobs for a long time and these were comprehensively tested for durability and performance by none other than their owners/users.