Plasma Cutter With Built In Compressor Any Good ?
Everybody in the fabrication, construction, manufacturing, and metal construction industry including people who have workshops at home know the significance of plasma cutters.
And good thing we now have the cheap plasma cutters that we could use for our home projects.
The best thing about plasma cutters is that you can be able to cut almost any type of metal based on the power capacity of your unit.
Like if you have those plasma cutters best for workshops that have 50 Amps capacity or more, these can absolutely help you cut almost all types of metals with varying thickness.
However, these portable machines are commonly tied up in our garage and our working establishments because they need to be hooked up with their air compressors to render them functional.
why is a plasma cutter with air compressor useful?
Plasma cutters without the air compressors can be literally useless. This is because these machines need compressed air to produce the gas in which the electrode inside the torch ionizes and heat up and become the plasma gas.
For plasma cutters that utilize other forms of cutting gas, the compressed air can also serve as a shield for the arc while it also blows away the melted metal to produce a clean arc cut.
The problem is since the common plasma cutters have separate air compressors, you also need to bring their air compressors along with the cutters if you need to do some large metal repair jobs outside your normal working environment.
Or if you have a project in remote location you have to have a ready compressed air supply right on the site to make your plasma cutter work. So taking along a heavy air compressor always with your cutter is a very inconvenient task on your part.
That is why when someone thought about innovating the plasma cutter and come up with the plasma cutter with built-in air compressor this is a blessing for all of us welders and handyman alike.
How Essential Are Plasma Cutters with Built-in Compressors?
There are simple reasons why you’ll want to have a plasma cutter with built-in compressor. First, if it bothers you to be carrying around your plasma cutter along with your heavy air compressor, why not buy a plasma cutter with built-in air supply already? An onboard air compressor on your plasma cutter can be your ultimate and complete cutting machine packed with the necessary utility.
Second, if you don’t have a plasma cutter yet or want to upgrade your budget plasma cutter into a high-end metal cutting machine why not consider purchasing a powerful plasma cutter with compressor? Isn’t it more practical to buy a single machine that is already in a complete working package for your garage or workshop?
And lastly, if you are a welder, an auto mechanic, a plumber, a construction worker or simply a hobbyist who want to take your plasma cutter off your worksite, isn’t it more convenient for you to have an extra portable plasma cutter that is fixed with an air compressor which you can bring anywhere you want?
A plasma cutter with air compressor can be more expensive than the common units that are used in fabrication shops and by the hobbyists like the plasma cutters under 500 dollars.
They can also be more expensive than the multi-functional plasma cutters with TIG, MIG or Stick welding features.
But why do they cost higher in spite of having lower amperage values and have a limited thickness in terms of metal cutting capacity? That’s because they provide you the convenience of having a plasma cutter and an air compressor in one single unit. It’s like buying high-tech equipment with the needed accessories pressed in one product.
A plasma cutter with compressor naturally has a lower amperage capacity because its built-in air compressor also utilizes some of the energy that the unit is sucking from its power source.
Unlike with common plasma cutters with external air compressors, these can pack up to 80 Amps because their energy is focused on producing the arc. So this is the weakness of the plasma cutters with compressors.
So let’s review three of the most popular units and see which of these can be your best plasma cutter with built in compressor that could complete your search for your ultimate cutting machine.
Plasma Cutter with Built-In Compressor Reviews
Hypertherm 088096 Powermax 30 AIR Hand System with Built-In Compressor
This Hypertherm Powermax 30Amps is one of the most popular brands not only in the US but in many parts of the world. It is also the lightest in its class. It has a built-in air compressor but can still cut thick steel which is extraordinary among plasma cutters with onboard compressors. You may find this product expensive but this is an absolute American made product that ensures quality and durability features. It can easily cut cast iron, stainless steel, and aluminum.
This unit has a dual voltage capability – 110/220V and it comes with an adaptor cord. This adaptor cord enables you to plug it in 110 or 220V outlet using only the machine’s single power cord.When it comes to performance, the recommended volts to be used is 220V if you want to cut about 3/8-inch thick metal and it can put up a 5/8 inches thick severance cut on any conductive metal. However, we tested this unit on the field and it still can cut up to ¾-inch steel plate with no problem but just a bit slag.
On 110V, you can also cut 3/8-inch but you may have difficulty in passing the arc through a ½ thick metal plate. So if you encounter such thickness, better use 220V. Note that this is not a pilot arc plasma cutter so you have to clean out the workpiece before hitting it with the plasma arc.
For its compressor, this is not so loud that even you are doing freehand or straight edge cutting near the machine you won’t hear the air pressure whirring out the noise.
This highly compact machine is easy to lug around your worksite. Weighing about 29.8 pounds, you can even carry it on your back when climbing on an upright steel stairway. As long as the workpiece you want to cut is conductive you can just clamp the unit’s ground clamp on it and it will be ready to cut.
If you are unsure on the durability of the imported units especially if these are also on the expensive side, this Hypertherm unit will make you feel secure. Yes, it can be more expensive than most of the imported ones but this will surely emerge as the winner in terms of durability, performance, reliability and quality cut.
Made in the USA
Very lightweight and portable
Can cut almost any type of metal
Dual Auto-voltage technology (110V/220)
Duty cycle: 35% on 30 amps at 240V, 20% on 20 amps at 110V
Plug adapter included
Designed for rugged working environments
Fast cutting speed with excellent cut quality
Thermal Arc 1-1110-1 Air Cut 15C Plasma System
This lightweight 15Amps plasma cutter is weighing only 29 pounds. It can cut 1/8-inch (3mm) up to 3/16-inch (5mm) without producing dross or slag.
However, this is designed for 120V plug only which is the standard voltage in the US. Yet, it has dual frequency (50/60Hz) mode so even if the current fluctuates the capacitors of this unit are protected.
According to Thermadyne which is the manufacturer of this machine, this plasma cutter with compressor can offer 25% better cutting power thus it is 25% faster than its competitors with the same amperage capacity.
But in spite of the basic features of this machine, this unit is a pilot arc so even you are cutting metal with paints or rusts, it can cut right through it without needing to grind off the surface of the work metal. Because of these features, this could be your ideal plasma cutter when repairing or cutting metals as you do in restoration work.
The torch also has a 20-foot lead so if you are doing repair work on your vehicle or your roof, this could the perfect cutter for your home use. For the hobbyists, this unit will also make them feel completely tooled up.
Very portable and air compressor produces only clean, dry air
Lightweight and easy to carry
25% more cutting power than other brands with 15 Amps
Pilot arc system
Dual frequency (50/60Hz)
Best choice for repair work with its 20-feet long lead hose
Not the ideal unit for heavy-duty use
If we talk about innovations for the plasma cutters, we could say that the plasma cutters with compressors should be the first on our list. Why? Because having one can enable you to do more work other than you can do in your garage or your home workshop.
This is why we want to strongly impress to you the significance of having a mobile plasma cutter equipped with an air compressor as you can do so many possibilities with it outside your confined work area.
However, we also want to remind you that these machines, as we have said, have limited cutting capacities.
So if you need a more powerful metal cutter for home or workshop use, it’s still advisable that you go for the more powerful plasma cutter with a separate air compressor.
BUT if you wanted to be more mobile and wanted to do more jobs without the need of harnessing air from a separate air compressor, well, these units we have shown you here are our best bets and worth our recommendations.