By Gerald J. Smith. Last Updated: September 19, 2020

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Plasma cutter is a versatile welding technology— a must-have item for the welders. Metal cutting is a daunting task that is made easy by plasma cutters. Plasma cutters efficiently cut metals with more precision using less heat.

With the rapid growth of globalization, manufacturers have come up with new plasma technologies. Plasma cutters have become portable enough for home, personal use, and small business. Moreover, the inverter technology made the cost of plasma cutters lower, but the tool is still expensive.

Finding a plasma cutter that meets your metal construction needs and fits your budget is a hard job. You will be puzzled by the numerous choices available online. This article will discuss 5 best cheap plasma cutters in 2020, only to make your task simple. Read the article to find the plasma cutter that best suits you.

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PRO CHOICE

Hobart 500564 comes with a built-in piston-driven air compressor that makes this machine easily transportable. The longer hose gives its user an extra mobility.


Pick Your best cheap plasma cutters

BUDGET PICK

Lotos LTP5000D continues to feature 50amps power and 60% duty cycle like previous versions, at an affordable price. 


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BEST OVER ALL

AHP AlphaCut 60 is a reliable welding tool that offers good value for the money. The machine comes with dual power options 110V and 220V—switching from one option to another just by flipping a button.

5 Best Cheap Plasma Cutters 2020

Plasma cutter works by transferring an electric arc through a gas that is flowing through a flexible constricted opening, that increases the temperature to the point which enters the 4th state of matter—Plasma. The electrical conductivity of the plasma results into  the arc to transfer to the work and cut the metal. 

Thus a plasma cutter makes your metal construction work easy. The following are the winners of 5 best cheap plasma cutters:

1. Lotos LTP5000D

Technical details:

  • Dimensions: 15*6*12
  • Weight: 26 lbs
  • Output current: 10-50 amps
  • Duty cycle: 60%
  • Input power: 110/120V and 220/240V 50/60Hz

Pros:

  •  Dual voltage
  •  ACuts 3/4" metal plates
  •  Duty cycle is 60%
  •  Lightweight
  •  High-frequency non-touch pilot arc
  •  Long torch hose
  •  Clean cuts through rusty or painted metals
  •  Easy to use

Cons:

  • The ground clamp is too short
  • The stand-off is not up to the mark

Overview

The cutter comes with a no-touch pilot arc starting capable of cutting up to 3/4” stainless steel plate effortlessly.

Lotos LTP5000D is a lightweight cutter weighing only 26 pounds. It also features 120 and 240 dual voltage input and German-based cooling technology— PAPST cooling system. This machine uses an external compressor for its high-pressure cutting air.

LTP5000D has a pressure regulator and air filter already mounted inside the machine. For the air compressor, the machine uses a compressed air quick connector. Moreover, Lotos claims the machine can be set up and ready to run within a minute.

LTP5000D comes with a 1- year warranty like other Lotos plasma cutters. The users praise Lotos' Warranty service to quickly replace their plasma cutters and free shipping for the return process.

Besides, users recommend LTP5000D for its cutting performance. The machine features a V-MOSFET transistor, capable of generating high power output for cutting thick metals and also a uniform output for cutting thin metals.

LTP5000D is a versatile tool that can cut different types of metals: aluminum, copper, mild steel, stainless steel, and alloy steel. The machine's pilot arc torch does not make contact with the metal that is being cut; hence, it is suitable for cutting even rusty and painted metals.

Overall, Lotos LTP5000D is the all-rounder among the plasma clutters in the budget.


2. SUPER DEAL Cut50

Technical details:

  • Dimensions: 18.5*11*13.5
  • Weight: 22lbs
  • Input power: 110/220V 60Hz
  • Output current: 20-50 amps
  • Duty cycle: 60%

Pros:

  • Suitable for a wide range of application
  • Easy to operate
  • Digital display
  • Ensures smooth and clean cuts
  • Ensures over and under voltage protection

Cons:

  • NPT threads are not impressive
  • Max cut 1/4”

Overview

SUPER DEAL Cut50 is an efficient, high duty welding machine suitable for light industrial use. The machine uses more traditional methods of cutting metals, making it feasible for not only professional use but also for personal use. 

The equipment features a standard power supply of 110V/60Hz, but the inverter can use a 220-volt plug. The machine is well-equipped to handle 20- 50 amps current.  With the power, the torch can effortlessly cut between 1-12mm.

The torch can cut thin metals in seconds without requiring polishing the metal. The duty cycle is 60%, which means you can use the torch for ten minutes and rest it to cool down for 6 minutes before resume operation.

The front side of the machine comes with a digital display and a super visible air pressure gauge. The digital readout makes it easy to monitor where you have dialed in and control over your weld

SUPER DEAL is suitable for light industrial use, sheet metal, automotive, conducting, maintenance, and site work. The machine can be an all-inclusive, highly economical, essential equipment.

If you consider the cost and lifespan of the consumable components, the equipment comes with the consumables both cheap and easy to find.


3. AHP AlphaCut 60

Technical details:

  • Dimensions: 20*19*11
  • Weight: 47.4lbs
  • Input power: 110/220V 60Hz
  • Output current: 60amps
  • Duty cycle: 60%

Pros:

  • Pilot arc ensures smooth work on even rusty and painted metals
  • Versatile equipment for metal cutting
  • Easy to use
  • Suitable for personal use or home

Cons:

  • Max cut 1/8”
  • Not suitable for industrial works

Overview

The dual voltage power supply makes it a versatile tool, not confining the user with just one type of power source.

AlphaCut 60 features an excellent cutting power with a continuous pilot arc capable of cutting expanded, rusted, and painted metals. The machine also features 60amps current with 60% of duty cycle, which can cut through thick metals with ease providing clean cuts. This plasma cutter is well-equipped,  useful enough for metal construction projects.

Overall, the machine is an apt option for welders and metal workers but lacks the many handy features artists and designers might need.


4. Hobart 500564

Technical details:

  • Dimensions: 10*8*13
  • Weight: 26.7lbs
  • Input power: 120V 60Hz
  • Output current: 12amps
  • Duty cycle: 35%

Pros:

  • Can cut thicker steel: even 3/8”
  • Suitable for casual metal works
  • Excellent for cutting metal sheets.
  • Lightweight
  • Portable

Cons:

  • Not suitable for industrial use
  • Performance on rusty and painted metal is not commendable.

Overview

The machine is usually designed for small applications, body shops, hobbyist welders, and light industrial work.

Hobart 500564 is a versatile tool capable of cutting almost all kinds of metals. With its all-powerful features, the machine cuts brass, stainless steel, galvanized steel, aluminum, and copper. Moreover, it is capable of cutting 0.25-inch thick mild steel.

Hobart 500564 features the post-flow cooling system that increases the torch's lifespan, reinforcing the tool's overall durability. Moreover, the machine features a built-in-troubleshooting indicator that allows you to monitor its status, the readiness of the torch, the temperature, and other factors. Besides, the tool comes with a fan-on-demand—a cooling fan that will only run when you need it, ideal for dusty environments.

The machine comes with all-powerful features in a compact body and with a little higher price tag. The machine is suitable for the welders who don't mind spending a little more on a good plasma cutter.


5. Hypertherm Powermax30

Technical details:

  • Dimensions: 10*8*13
  • Weight: 26.7lbs
  • Input power: 120V 60Hz
  • Output current: 12amps
  • Duty cycle: 35%

Pros:

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Auto-voltage system
  • Drag-cutting technology
  • Max cut 5/8”

Cons:

  • Air valve leaks after several uses

Overview

Hypertherm Powermax 30 is a great plasma cutter for electrically conductive metals. The machine features a unique "two-in-one" design with a high power capability of cutting thick metals up to 5/8" also Hypertherm’s Finecut technology for detailed cutting of thin metals.

Powermax 30 is a lightweight tool that comes with a durable carrying case to protect the system and gear. The equipment with consumable designs last twice as long and average 70% more efficiency for lower cutting costs.

The machine comes with a 13-inch long torch lead that makes the plasma cutting experience a lot better. And the drag cutting technology makes tracing easy while ensuring no double arcing happens.

The tool is not suitable for industrial use because the air valve leaks if used continuously every day in an industrial setting. But the good thing is, the parts are cheap and easy to replace. Hence, the machine is best for personal and home use.


What should you consider while buying a Plasma Cutter?

Plasma cutters make your metal fabrications a lot easier. But you need the right machine that ensures a smooth cutting experience. Finding a good plasma cutter that fulfills your requirements in a pretty good budget is a hard one. You must consider these crucial factors while buying a plasma cutter:

1. What is the output power of the plasma cutter?

The output power of a plasma cutter is very important because it determines what the machine can cut. For example, 12amps of output from a 120V tool can cut 1/8" metals easily. On the other hand, 60amps of output from a 230V unit can cut up to 7/8" inch thick metals.

2. What is the cutting speed?

For a plasma cutter, cutting speed is measured by Inches per minute. Your workflow and the metal will determine what kind of cutting speed you need. Time and speed may vary metal to metal.

3. Is it portable?

If you need a plasma cutter for personal use and you are working from your home, you must consider a lightweight plasma cutter for your convenience.

Plasma cutters weigh around 60-100lbs. But there are many lightweight plasma cutters weighing 18-30lbs. Consider the portability of the unit according to your convenience.

4. Other important factors

(a) Duty cycle. Consider the most optimal duty cycle for your projects.
(b) Performance. Never compromise with the performance. That’s what you need in a plasma cutter.
(c) Consumable components. The lifespan of the consumable components is essential. Low-quality plasma cutters can deteriorate the consumables at a fast rate.

FAQ

1. What is the best plasma cutter for the money?

According to us, the 50amps Non-touch pilot arc by Lotos LTP5000D is the good plasma cutter for the money. Check Amazon for the price.


2. How does a plasma cutter work?

Plasma cutter works by transferring an electric arc through a gas that is flowing through a flexible constricted opening, which increases the temperature to the point which enters the 4th state of matter—Plasma. The electrical conductivity of the plasma results into  the arc to transfer to the work and cut the metal. 


3. What kind of gas do you use with a plasma cutter?

Usually, compressed air is used as a gas for lower current plasma cutting. It works well for most of the metals from gauge thickness to 1 inch.


Nitrogen is used for higher current plasma systems, and it works excellent for cutting 3 inches thick materials.


Oxygen is used to the highest quality mechanized cut, usually on carbon steel up to 1-1.4” thick.


Argon-hydrogen mixture is used for cutting stainless steel and aluminum.


4. What size air compressor do I need to run a plasma cutter?

Manufacturers recommend buying a compressor that is rated for about 1.5 times the CFM of your plasma cutter.


Conclusion

To resolve your confusion, we have gathered and reviewed 5 best cheap plasma cutters for you. Now it's your turn to choose a plasma cutter that best suits your needs and fits your budget.

(A) If you want an all-rounder plasma cutter in a tight budget, Lotos LTP5000D is the best plasma cutter for the money.

(B) If you prefer the cost and lifespan of the plasma cutter's consumable components, you should go for SUPER DEAL Cut50.

(C) But if you are looking for a high-quality machine that effortlessly cut 1/8" stainless steel and apt for simple metal constructions, AHP AlphaCut60 is the right choice for you.

(D) If your budget is a little high, you can grab Hobart 500564, all-powerful features in a compact portable body.

(E) Hypertherm Powermax30 will be best if you prefer a plasma cutter for personal use, easy to operate, and on budget.