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Looking for the best plasma cutter under 1000 dollars?
Plasma cutters have a special place in a fabricators’ toolset – and for a lot of good reasons. Plasma cutters are powerful and suited for various applications – from installing heating and air conditioning to demolishing old wash systems (and more!). More importantly, they are portable and affordable, making them a superior choice for most sheet metal fabrication applications. While laser cutters are precise, they are expensive, and waterjet cutters are not portable, very expensive, and require a lot of maintenance. I’ve only listed the most apparent advantages so far.
There’s a lot more to like about plasma cutters, especially the fact that over the years, plasma cutters have gotten a lot more powerful and cheaper. There are several powerful and lightweight plasma cutters available for under $500. But finding the best options and narrowing down your list can get tedious. Not to mention, a lot of plasma cutters in this price range offer bogus features and are not worth your money. There’s no need to feel flustered though, I’ve got you covered. In this post, I will briefly review six excellent plasma cutters and help you find the best plasma cutter under 500 dollars.
It is critical to know what to look for before spending any money on welders and plasma cutters. Your needs are unique, and you must make sure that you only spend on the right tool.
Cheap plasma cutters typically operate on 110V and 220V power, and the thickness of materials they can cut is fairly limited.
Look for plasma cutters that work on 220V/240V power, since these are more powerful and can cut through thicker materials.
Amperage is also an important indicator of cutting power and speed. The higher the amperage, the better.
A 25-amp plasma cutter can slice through a ¼-inch sheet. A 50-amp cutter can cut through a sheet half an inch thick, and an 80-amp cutter can cut through inch-thick metal with ease.
Not all plasma cutters come with an inverter, but having the feature handy is a definite plus.
Inverters in plasma cutters take the direct current and feed it through a high-frequency transistor inverter, typically ranging from 10kHz to 200kHz.
The high-frequency switching makes for smaller housing, which improves the overall portability of the unit.
Duty cycles are often overlooked, and I find it hard to understand why. In essence, a duty cycle defines how long the cutter can operate without overheating.
The cycle is measured in periods of 10 minutes. If you get a plasma cutter with a 30% duty cycle, it means the cutter can work without overheating for 3 out of every 10 minutes.
You don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars only to find that the plasma cutter doesn’t meet your needs. Make sure you look at the duty cycle before spending any money – a 50% duty cycle is optimal.
Some plasma cutters have a compressor built-in, and while that is a plus, you must make sure that the cutter comes with a high-quality air filter.
The presence of oil in the air leads to arcing, and quality air filters ensure that the air is free from oil.
The Lotos LTP5000D is perfect for both home projects and smaller industrial applications. The unit is compact, which is excellent, albeit it is also very durable and can withstand usage in extreme conditions.
Its smaller size makes handling easy, and the built-in carry handle makes it super portable. The pre-installed NPT ¼” D-plug and regulator allow you to quickly connect it to an air compressor and get to work in under a minute.
The pilot arc technology makes for excellent cutting quality and allows you to cut without touching the tip to the metal. I found that the LTP5000D cuts through rough, painted, and rusty surfaces without much slag, which is impressive at this price point.
The plasma cutter is flexible – it works at both 110V/120V and 220/240V, but if you want to use the cutter on 110V, you will need to purchase a pigtail adapter separately. It can also work with both 50Hz and 60Hz power, which essentially enables you to use the cutter in any part of the world.
It can cut through metal ¾” thick, and cutting is smooth, which is impressive considering its size and the price, but I think the earth clamp could have been a little longer.
The consumables have a long life, and replacement consumables are cheap and also available in kits. Stocking up on these to last you a few years is always a good idea.
The LTP5000D comes with a one-year warranty, which is a plus, but the build feels excellent, so you likely won’t need to claim the warranty.
Overall, the Lotos LTP5000D impresses with its array of features and excellent build quality. It is easy to see why hundreds of customers find it to be the best plasma cutter under 500 dollars.
The Zeny Cut-50 is a little less powerful than the Lotos plasma cutter, but it is a lot more affordable. The small-sized unit can cut through a sheet up to ½ an inch thick, making it the best cheap plasma cutter in the market.
It only weighs 22 pounds, and the sturdy carry handle makes carrying it around very easy.
It’s perfect for DIY projects and can handle some light industrial use, but it is not the correct option for heavy-duty cutting.
Nevertheless, the Cut-50 cuts exceptionally well, and the risk of metal warping is virtually zero.
The plasma cutter comes with the LG-40 cutting torch, two plasma tips, an air pressure regulator, two glass pipe claspers, a grounding clamp, a chipping hammer, a welding face mask, and an air pressure control valve.
It can operate at 110V and 220V and has a duty cycle of 60%, which is impressive considering its super low price. The inverter power supply generates a powerful DC welding current that improves cut quality.
Although the cutter doesn’t come with an air hose and a 110V cord, I’m not disappointed. The plasma cutter offers impressive power for its price, and it’s difficult to find a better cutter for a DIY project.
For what it’s designed for, the build quality of the Forney Easy Weld 251 is exceptional. The all-metal case is sturdy, and the plasma cutter is built to last for years.
The torch is large, and while it doesn’t feel uncomfortable to someone with smaller hands, if you have larger hands, you will certainly appreciate it more.
The clamp lead is large too, which keeps me at ease.
The plasma cutter is bigger than the Lotos LTP5000D but lighter at 21.5lbs, and the carry handle makes carrying it around a breeze. However, I’m a little disappointed with its performance.
For something that’s priced more or less the same as the Lotos LTP5000D, it only works with 110/120V and delivers a 20-amp output.
While cutting a thin sheet of metal will be super comfortable with the Forney Easy Weld, it will struggle to cut any material thicker than ¼”.
On the plus side, it can deal with rusty or painted metal without any problem, and it almost always produces a clean-cut finish.
Hobbyists will love the smooth glide and flawless finish the cutter provides, and it’ll work well for fabrication and auto repair jobs. Still, I’d prefer to pay the same price for having the option to cut through thicker material.
The SUNGOLD POWER plasma cutter is another cutter that impresses with high power and low price.
It costs lesser than the majority of cutters on this list, but it cuts just as well, and in some cases, better than the other plasma cutters.
For a low-priced plasma cutter, it delivers excellent value for money, severing ¾” inch sections of steel without much hassle. However, it only produces a clean finish for metals up to half an inch thick.
The 10 feet long ground clamp and 13 feet long torch keeps operation comfortable.
You get the option to choose between a 110/120V and a 220/240V input, and since it uses the IGBT inverter technology, it’s a lot more stable than a run-of-the-mill MOSFET-based plasma cutter.
Its LCD is its stand-out feature and certainly makes use convenient by displaying air pressure and cutting current.
Overall, it’s a solid low-budget plasma cutter that can handle anything you throw at it.
If you’re looking for a versatile tool under $500, the PrimeWeld CT520D is perfect for you.
When I first learned about the tool, I saw plasma cutter prices in a different light. The CT520D is modestly priced but makes no compromises. It offers more features than the other tools do.
It is a multi-purpose machine that can TIG, stick weld, and plasma cut. The PrimeWeld CT520D can cut a ½” metal plate with ease, but the finish won’t be as clean as the Lotos LTP5000D.
It works on dual input, meaning you can use it with both 110/120V and 220/240V power. The torch lead is 13’ long, and the ground lead is 11’ long, meaning you can move around without worrying.
It the tool impressive for the price? Yes. But can it handle a workshop environment? No.
It’s right for hobbyists looking for a multi-purpose machine for a low price.
The Goplus CUT-50 is tough to beat in terms of performance-for-the-dollar. It costs well under $500 but can slice through thick pieces of metal with ease.
It works on dual voltage, and the compact plasma cutter can work in both hot and freezing conditions.
It comes with a “special function,” which gives you the ability to delay gas both before and after trigger release. You can also adjust the gas delay between two and five seconds.
While it does have its drawbacks, like the lack of 110V power chord, I didn’t expect it to be able to cut ½” pieces of steel for so cheap.
It’s not hard to see why it’s rated so well, and if you’re on a super low budget, this is the best plasma cutter under 500 dollars you can find.
Q: What is the difference between a “drag touch” and a “non-touch pilot arc”?
A: Cutters that use the drag touch technology require the cutting tip to stay in contact with the material to work. On the other hand, the non-touch technology allows you to cut metal with the cutting tip further away from it.
Q: How hot is the plasma?
A: It can reach 20,000°C (or roughly 45,000°F). Wearing quality gloves is a must when operating plasma cutters.
Q: How long does a plasma cutter tip last?
A: It depends on several factors like frequency of use, the thickness of materials, and cutting speed. The tip may last from a few days to a few weeks.
If I had to pick one, I’d pick the Lotos LTP5000D. It’s compact, reasonably lightweight, and is powerful enough to slice through a ¾” piece of metal.
The included air filter is a nice touch, and the no-touch pilot arc and long-lasting consumables make it the best plasma cutter under 500 dollars.
Hi, my name is Gregory! I have been welding practically all of my life and love it. As I have gotten older I have started to weld less and less, so in order to continue my love for welding I created this website. I like to write about my experiences and help you all become welders. I hope that you enjoy the site!