Benefits of plasma cutters with a built-in air compressor
Having a plasma cutter can be a huge help. However, the air compressors that you use in conjunction with these devices make the whole system bulky and impossible to carry around. However, those with built-in compressors can be taken to different sites quite easily.
You will also find these machines work with most home sockets, and fitting new sockets into a home or workshop setting will be unnecessary. Lastly, these machines tend to make very clean cuts on the metals they work on.
Features to consider when choosing the best plasma cutter with a built-in compressor
The plasma cutters vary quite a bit in their designs, as evidenced by the list above. They also come from varying manufacturers. This has a bearing on the benefits offered by each model. As such, getting the desired performance from the plasma cutter you buy is dependent on you picking features that would work for you. Further, if you feel you might make a mistake or get confused while choosing these features, use the section below as a guiding light.
If you compare the Mophorn 40 Amp Plasma Cutter and the Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci, the differences in power are evident. Also, a correlation is seen between the power listed and the cutting capacity of the machine.
The former, which produces 40 amps of power, can cut through ½” metals as if it were the easiest thing. Conversely, the Hobart model has a limit of cutting 1/8” thick surfaces. This should make it clear which plasma cutter to pick. After all, if the cutting thicker metals is part of your long-term plan, there is no way you buy the Hobart.
Nevertheless, power is not the only plasma cutter feature that matters.
As for input voltage, a few options avail themselves to you. 120V is relatively standard, as are 220V and 240V options. Some other input voltage options are also available. Some manufacturers show foresight by picking 120V input voltage as what works for their offerings. This would make the plasma cutter a plug and use option since home sockets fit that criterion.
240V input voltage options will need more power than is provided by standard sockets. This means an extra expense to switch out existing home sockets. However, the extra power may be worth it if it leads to better machine performance. Picking between convenience and better performance is up to you, depending on whether you are a professional, a hobbyist, and the jobs that you intend to tackle.
The whole point of having inbuilt compressors in a plasma cutter is to make the package more portable. However, given the varying approaches to the design and materials used, how mobile a plasma cutter is will be different from the next offering.
As for the Mophorn 40 Amp Plasma Cutter, the 44 lbs weight may seem portable. However, that pales compared to the Thermal Arc 1-1110-1 Air Cut 15C Plasma System, which weighs 33lbs. Again priorities differ for airless plasma cutter buyers. Preferring the heavier machine since it comes with more power isn’t against any rules. Neither is selecting the cutter that would be easier to carry around.
If you’re unaware, self-contained plasma cutters don’t work continuously. They function for short periods, heat up, then need to cool down for a while. The duty cycle tells you how long they work for and the required downtime.
Again, vast differences occur in the models on sale. For instance, thinking the 35% @ 240 V and 20% @120 V duty cycles of the Hypertherm 088096 Powermax 30 AIR are excellent is fine. However, the 60% duty cycle of the SUNCOO 50 Amp Plasma Cutter leaves that option in the dust.
Nevertheless, not every buyer needs a 60% duty cycle. The workload you have may help decide the maximum downtime you can tolerate.
Metal sheets differ in size, and you will find yourself working either with thicker or thinner sheets most of the time. If your workflow consists of thin sheets, 90% of the time, getting the more expensive cutter with better cutting capabilities doesn’t precisely scream cost-effective. Getting something like the Thermal Arc 1-1110-1 Air Cut 15C Plasma System that cuts 1/8” metals at its maximum capacity would be a better idea.
Then again, if the number of times you cut ½” metals justifies the purchase, go for the Mophorn 40 Amp Plasma Cutter or an equivalent device.
Working smarter and more efficiently is something a lot of us strive for. Some plasma cutters with built-in air compressors can also help achieve this by incorporating automatic settings in their designs. For example, these tools can determine voltage and tweak settings so you don’t have to do it manually.
If you have such a device, the workflow becomes easier and takes less time. As such, automatic settings may not be a must; however, they do have tremendous value for some plasma cutter buyers.
Plasma cutters also need some accessories to work. The SUNCOO 50 Amp Plasma Cutter, for instance, comes with a pressure gauge that helps regulate air pressure in the machine. Also, most options need various consumables to work.
At some point, purchasing the consumables will be your job. However, manufacturers like to include at least the first batch in the purchase. This way, using the cutter as soon as it arrives won’t bring up any issues.
Look out for these accessories in each purchase. They might break a features tie between two plasma cutter options you’re seriously considering.
Extra features for plasma cutter users are a joy to have. LED indicators are one example in the Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci. In the same model, there is a postflow system which allows consumables to be used for longer. As such, these two extra features are huge assets for users of the editor’s choice. If you can get other features you like in purchase, then all the better for you.