Plasma cutters are considered nifty tools for metal and automotive work primarily for their precision and speed. But, when there are so many other ways to cut metal like lasers, water jets, and saws, why buy a plasma cutter?
The key difference is the cost-effectiveness and time. Plasma cutters are way faster and cheaper, even when dealing with very thick materials. Apart from creating intricate metal patterns, plasma cutters are also widely used in heating or air conditioning industries, metal recycling, or even art sometimes.
But, with so many specifications and features, picking the right one can often get confusing. No worries, we have put together a list of five plasma cutters after extensive scrutiny to help you find the best plasma cutter under $500.
Best Plasma Cutters under $500: Our Top Picks
The Lotos LTP5000D plasma cutter is undoubtedly one of the best picks in this lot, given the extensive features and affordable price. Like most Lotos cutters, this one too comes with a dual voltage which allows you to run the machine directly on 220 V 50/60 Hz power, or on 110 V 50/60 Hz, by using a pigtail.
It has a non-touch pilot arc torch, which we liked as it efficiently cuts even the roughest surfaces smoothly. It does not produce much slag, which is another excellent feature of this plasma cutter. The pilot arc technology used in this plasma cutter lets you cut without even touching the metal tip.
This Lotos plasma cutter has the maximum rated clean-cut thickness of ½-inch and severance thickness of ¾-inch. The plasma cutter is also quite compact and has a handle, which adds to the portability. It cuts almost all types of materials like alloy steel, stainless steel, copper, and aluminum, using non-hazardous compressed air.
The plasma cutter is optimized using MOSFET/IGBT transistors known for their high power output and steady cutting on both thick and thin metals. If you are looking for home DIY or small projects, this can be the best plasma cutter under $500.
Lotos LTP5000D Plasma Cutter Pros:
- High-frequency non-touch pilot arc
- Excellent for even the thickest materials
- Maximum cut: ¾-inch severe
- Handle for easy portability
Lotos LTP5000D Plasma Cutter Cons:
- Max clean cut is slight low ½-inch
Pretty easy to use and packed with power, the Forney 251 20P plasma cutter is a premium budget pick. Although not generator friendly, this plasma cutter runs on 120V outlet and is also pretty lightweight, making it portable.
If you work with plumbing, restoration, HVAC, farm, ranch, or even auto body shop, this Forney plasma cutter is quite a good deal. The plasma cutter has a built-in regulator and air dryer, which aids the operation of the machine.
The Forney plasma cutter comes with drag technology, which lets you drag the tip of the cutter directly on the material, making the cut smoother, convenient, and precise. The cutter comes in an all-rugged metal case, which is exceptionally sturdy and durable.
The cutting capacity of this plasma cutter differs for every material like it is ¼-inch for steel, brass, galvanized steel, copper, and stainless steel. But for aluminum, is it 3/16-inch.
Perfect for a thin plate or sheet metal cutting, this plasma cutter makes one of the best plasma cutters under $1000.
Forney Easy Weld 251 Pros:
- Drag technology for smooth and precise cuts
- Lightweight and portable
- Rugged metal case
Forney Easy Weld 251 Cons:
- There is no air compressor included with the product
Both economical and efficient, the Super Deal Cut50 plasma cutter is designed to make metalworking easier and more convenient. It is an incredibly lightweight and portable plasma cutter that provides smooth cutting on almost all metal thicknesses.
This low-cost plasma cutter has a surprisingly high output. It uses hardened iron in its make, which ensures durability and allows heavy duty usage as well. A few of the best features of this cutter are the digital LCD, and the easy read front panel air-pressure gauge.
The Super Deal plasma cutter uses standard household power and provides optimum performance at 110V. It also comes with a built-in overheat, over and under-voltage protection. The cooling fan on the cutter dissipates the excess heat and keeps the machine cool for more extended and efficient performance.
Moreover, the simple controls on the plasma cutter let you adjust the output current using the easy dial. The plasma cutter's pilot arc striking system provides precise and clean cuts across materials like aluminum, copper, brass, and stainless steel without any slag. It works about 1.8 times faster than a flame cutter.
The Super Deal plasma cutter is exceptionally affordable and makes for the best plasma cutter under $300.
SUPER DEAL CUT 50 Plasma Cutter Pros
- It works efficiently across different materials
- Extremely lightweight and portable
- Premium iron built for durability
- In-built overheat and overvoltage protection
SUPER DEAL CUT 50 Plasma Cutter Cons:
- Poor customer service
The PrimeWeld CT-520D plasma cutter is not only budget-friendly but also a multi-purpose welder and cutter. It can work across different materials with a power efficiency of up to 85%.
This 50A plasma cutter is a versatile product as it can be used for different materials like copper, aluminum, cast iron, mild steel, and others. Moreover, the 200A TIG torch can be used to weld materials like magnesium, stainless steel, and also aluminum.
It is a power-efficient plasma cutter that comes in a compact unit making it easily portable. It does not use any flammable constituents, making it an excellent pick for amateurs, as it is entirely safe and user-friendly.
Given the features, it is one of the best plasma cutters under $500.
PrimeWeld Ct520d Pros:
- Advanced torch for welding
- Multi-purpose usage
- Compact and portable design
PrimeWeld Ct520d Cons:
- Customers often complain about less precise and clean cuts
The SunGoldPower 50A Air Plasma Cutter has a smooth operation with high cutting speed. It allows the user to adjust the cutting speed based on the kind of materials being used, its thickness, or its intricacy.
The SunGoldPower plasma cutter is great for materials like stainless steel, alloy steel, carbon steel, aluminum, and copper. It does not produce much slag even when worked on rusty or rough surfaces.
It also comes with a digital LCD along with over-current and air pressure light indicators, which helps you gauge the condition of the machine during operation.
SUNGOLDPOWER 50A Air Plasma Cutter Inverter Pros:
- Lightweight and compact design
- Digital LCD
- Over-current and air pressure light indicators
SUNGOLDPOWER 50A Air Plasma Cutter Inverter Cons:
- Customers often complain of poor quality machine
Q: Which is the best plasma cutter for CNC?
A: Brands like Lotos and PrimeWeld are known for their premium CNC plasma cutters. A few aspects that are a must to look for in CNC plasma cutters are CNC control, mechanical components like gantry, torch, and the fume control system.
Q: Can plasma cutters cut wood?
A: As plastic and wood are not electrically conductive, they cannot be cut using plasma cutters.
Q: Do you need gas for a plasma cutter?
A: Yes. Plasma cutters operate by passing an electric arc through a gas that is constrained by a constricting aperture. The gas can be compressed air, nitrogen, argon, or oxygen, among others. Additionally, the gas is directed around the circumference of the cutting region to protect the cut.
Q: Do you need argon for plasma cutter?
A: The argon-hydrogen mixture is necessary for the mechanical cutting of any material with a thickness greater than 3 inches. However, it is also appropriate for plasma gouging on a wide variety of materials.
Q: Is Primeweld a good plasma cutter?
A: If you're on a budget and searching for a plasma cutter that you're not going to use professionally, the PRIMEWELD 50A plasma cutter is an incredible value. You'll receive an intelligent machine at a fraction of the price.
It is often a task to find the right product when there's a budget constraint. But, with these listed ones, you can rest assured that you don't have to forgo quality and durability.
Owing to the extensive features, like non-touch pilot arc, standoff application, works well even on rough surfaces, our pick is the Lotos LTP5000D Plasma Cutter.