Chris is a teacher of Literature at a school in New Berlin, Wisconsin. He is also our favorite irreplaceable freelance writer who can turn such a boring topic into something that people read with interest and pleasure.
Thomas is a professional welder who gained his certification several decades ago and learned all the nuances of this job since then. When not at work, Thomas loves fishing in a lake near his summer house.
Last updated: July 30, 2022
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Do you need to make clean, smooth, and quick metal cuts? Then the plasma cutter
Trusted SourcePlasma cutting - WikipediaPlasma cutting is a process that cuts through electrically conductive materials by means of an accelerated jet of hot plasma. Typical materials cut with a plasma torch include steel, stainless steel, aluminum, brass, and copper, although other conductive metals may be cut as well. Plasma cutting is often used in fabrication shops, automotive repair and restoration, industrial construction, and salvage and scrapping operations. Due to the high speed and precision cuts combined with low cost, plasma cutting sees widespread use from large-scale industrial CNC applications down to small hobbyist shops.
is the right tool for that! With a plasma cutter, you no longer have to deal with loud grinding, inaccurate or rough metal cuts, and a messy workplace.
For many who don’t know, plasma cutters make use of gas heated at a very high temperature (Plasma) which is used to cut metals of various thicknesses. Hence, the name ‘Plasma Cutter’. And with a budget of $1000, you are sure to find the best plasma cutter under $1000 that suits your needs.
We have put together the top 5 plasma cutters on the market, considering the electric output, duty cycle, cutting speed, type of start, and portability. One of them will definitely suit your budget and needs.
"This is a multipurpose 3 in 1 welding machine featuring a 50A Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter, 200A TIG Welder, and 200A Stick Welder. It also features an automatic Dual Voltage and of Frequency 110V/220V and 50/60Hz respectively."
Dual Voltage Option: Either 220V50/60 Hz Power or on 110V 50/60 Hz
Insulation Class: B
Protection Class: IP21
Duty Cycle: 40 degrees of duty cycle
CNC Port: 55 amp
Pilot Arc Model: Non-touch pilot
The pressure of Air Compressor: 65-70 PSI
Air Requirements: Non-hazardous air, Built-in
Power Source: AC/DC
Warranty: Three years
Other features: Longer consumable life, better cutting quality, durable high performance.
Lotos LTPDC2000D is a versatile and tough machine. Built for three, this machine serves a plasma cutter, a big welder, and a stick welder. This machine boasts a non-touch pilot arc that efficiently cuts through rusty and rough surfaces while producing minimum slag. For a price of $520, you will be saving a lot of money by purchasing this machine.
Lotos LTPDC2000D is an overall upgrade of all products from Lotos Technology. Instead of buying three different pieces of equipment, it combines three different functions into one. This makes it the first multi-purpose welder for plasma cut and/or Tig/Stick weld.
What stands out?
Asides from the obvious economic advantage the Lotos offers, its lightweight and portability is another feature we loved about the machine. That's not all, its high durability due to its 'Infineon IGBT' power drive matrix is another feature that we also liked about it.
What cons did we manage to find?
There's little to improve upon with the Lotos LTPDC2000D. However, the size of welding leads can see some improvement as it is quite small. It is also worth mentioning that the consumables are quite specific to the machine, which do not come cheap
Other features: Thinner kerf, more precise cut, less slag to clean up
The Hobart 500564 Airforce is a lightweight yet powerful plasma cutter that does the job efficiently and quickly. This machine can neatly cut through brass, aluminum, stainless steel, and galvanized steel. The Hobart 500564 Airforce features an inbuilt air compressor which facilitates its powerful cutting performance.
For those looking for a plasma cutter that is cheap, durable, and portable, the Hobart 500564 is your best bet. This machine also comes with consumables such as shield, electrode, retaining cap, swirl ring, and nozzle at a very low cost compared to other brands.
Why is it special?
We loved how compact and lightweight this machine is. Above all, its ability to make precise cuts is the best attribute we liked about the Hobart 500564. It also features an inbuilt cooling system that facilitates durability. The Hobart 500564 also comes with a preset setting that promotes ease of use and increased usability. Lastly, we also loved its inbuilt compressor, which saves costs as users don't need to buy an external one.
What are the flaws?
The Hobart 500564 could use some improvements. Its 120V input voltage makes it difficult to find compatible sources. It should be upgraded to the common 220/240V input voltage. The Hobart 500564 is also relatively louder compared to other brands during operation. Lastly, The entire package does not come with extra consumables, and we think a few should be included.
Other features: Easy to understand color code controls, designed with stainless steel material, bright green color.
If you’re looking for a welder that performs medium or light tasks around your garage or at home, then the PowerTIG 200DV is your best bet. Just a little bit above the $1000 budget, this machine features a 120/240V dual voltage input, arc force control to help enhance arc performance and reduce splatter, 5 Amp start for TIG in DC and 20 Amp in AC.
With the PowerTIG 200DV being the latest version, it features all the dynamic performance of the previous PowerTIG 200DX. However, it further improves its versatility by featuring a digitally controlled IGBT inverter and dual voltage.
Why are we impressed?
Its versatility is one of the features we loved about the PowerTIG 200DV. It efficiently cuts through any metal but works best for aluminum and steel. Its dual voltage input also gives it the needed flexibility to work with several generators, a feature which we really liked about this machine.
What negatives must you be aware of?
The PowerTIG 200DV is a relatively new model, so it's soon to tell if there are any flaws in the design. However, the fact that extra attachments such as a smaller touch are needed to carry out specific jobs is considered a drawback by us. We would love to talk about the price also as this machine is quite expensive, especially for DIY purposes.
Other features: User-friendly, inbuilt handle, efficient amperage control.
The Razorweld JRWPC45LT is a portable, lightweight, and highly efficient plasma cutter. This machine boasts of preset air adjustment and 20-45 amp dial changes cutting capacity, which facilitates high cutting capacity and performance. This machine also comes with an advanced inverter technology which enables easy maintenance and repairs while also saving cost in the long run.
Weighing just 30 pounds, the Razorweld JRWPC4LT is a small, lightweight plasma cutter. Hence, for welders who weld on the move, this machine is the ideal choice. Furthermore, this machine is also ideal for welders who prioritize working with little or no noise as it operates with little or no noise thanks to its inbuilt compressor.
What stands out?
Portability seems to be the alluring feature of the Razorweld JRWPC4LT, and that's what we also loved about this machine. Its flexible amp dial is also a feature to love; the amp allows users to choose any output between 20amps to 45amps. When operating at 45amps, there's a 30% duty cycle which enables short breaks at low amperage cutting.
What cons did we manage to find?
Looking at the physical features of this machine, it seems the brand checks and addresses what could be considered as loopholes. However, from customer reviews, there have been some complaints about the machine not being able to weld some metals, and we do not like that. Also, there's been some complaint about the machine lacking enough air and hence weld slowly.
Pilot Arc Model:Dual voltage model of CUT40Hsv, HF
Pressure of Air Compressor: 50.7-65.3 psi.
Air Requirements: In-built
Weight: 53.3 pounds
Power Source: AC/DC
Warranty: Three years
Other features: 2T and 4T trigger lock switch, Ac balance control, low price.
Weldpro 60 makes use of the latest inverter technology, and it’s carefully designed to handle auto body repairs, farm work, DIY jobs, and fabrication work. The Weldpro 60 boasts of HF start with Pilot arc, allowing it to make quick, smooth, and clean cuts. Not just that, this machine also features a dual voltage input giving it the needed flexibility to work with a wide range of power sources.
If you’re looking for a sturdy and durable plasma cutter, then the Welpro 60 is your best bet. Weighing just over 50 pounds, this machine is designed to be durable and strong, as a result, it can take on any metal cut.
What do we love it for?
The Weldpro 60 durability speaks for itself, and that's what we really loved about this machine. Apart from that, its dual voltage input of 115V and 230V is also something to like about this plasma cutter. Also, the Welpro 60 comes with plenty of consumables which help save money in the short run.
What were we disappointed with?
For users who prioritize portability, its large size is a feature that is complained about, but for some, they find beauty in its large size. However, from customers' reviews, some complaints have been made about poor site feeding, which we think the company can upgrade on. Also, there are some complaints about the machine only mounting 2-pound wire spools that need some checking out by the company.
Things to Consider
With a budget of $1000, there is a wide variety of plasma cutters under $1000 to choose from on the market. Hence, finding the ideal one can become challenging, especially when you don’t have the necessary knowledge. Therefore, before choosing a plasma cutter, you should first understand how the plasma cutter works and also know the factors to consider and look out for in a plasma cutter when purchasing one.
What Is a Plasma Cutter, and How Does It Work?
The plasma cutter is an ionized gas torch that melts and cut electrically conductive
This tool is an ionized gas torch that heats up and melts materials that are electrically conductive to make a smooth division or neat welding.
A plasma cutter is one of the best tools to make easy and quick cuts of any metal that conducts electricity. Plasma cutters can make smooth cuts through non-ferrous and ferrous metals such as cast iron, mild steel, stainless steel,
Trusted SourceHow To Weld Stainless Steel: A Handy Guide To The Ins And OutsStainless steel may be common, but it doesn’t weld like other steel does. Check out our novice welder’s guide on how to weld stainless steel!
bronze and brass, aluminum and alloys, titanium alloy, lead, pewter, tin alloys, bionic alloys, copper, clad sheet, and many more.
Setting up a Plasma Cutter
Regardless of the make or model, setting up a plasma cutter is quite simple. Below is a step by step approach to setting up a plasma cutter;
Connect or attach the plasma cutter to a decent air compressor
Comment or link the plasma cutter to a 120V, 240V, or 415V supply (based on the machine’s input voltage).
Attach your work-piece to the earth lead
Connect the plasma cutter and the plasma torch
Choose your cutting amperage (the thicker the conductive material, the higher the amps).
Put on your torch handle and gently move the torch over the material as the plasma arc melts and cuts the metal.
Given that you can set up a plasma cutter effectively, cutting up any metal becomes straightforward. You can decide to start cutting from the edge of the middle of the metal by piercing a hole. As you gain more experience, you can make perfect circles and cut out unique shapes with the plasma cutter.
How to Use a Plasma Cutter
For beginners, here are few steps on how to use a plasma cutter
Look for a safe workspace, then wear your complete PPE.
We recommend you use the plasma cutter in a well-ventilated space to reduce the risk of explosion. Furthermore, make sure you put on your PPE at all times.
Flammable materials should be well covered with flame-proof cover and far from the plasma cutter to at least a distance of 11 meters.
Place the drag shield at the bottom edge of the material
The drag shield is the copper cover that covers the plasma torch, and it should be placed at the bottom edge of the metal to ensure it makes a right angle with the metal.
Placing the drag shield on the bottom edge of the metal improves the ease and accuracy of metal cuts as it allows you to follow cut traces precisely. In a situation where your plasma cutter lacks the drag shield, hold the plasma touch 0.32cm from the metal while maintaining a right angle between the metal and the plasma torch.
Get rid of the trigger lock and gently squeeze the plasma cutter trigger
Don’t forget to keep a right angle between the torch body or draft shield to the metal. By pressing the trigger, an arc of plasma is released from the plasma torch. Now hold the trigger to ensure the continuous release of plasma.
Ensure sparks are generated upon the plasma touching the metal. If not, the plasma cutter is not strong enough to cut through the thickness of the metal you want to cut.
Move the plasma torch across the metal evenly and slowly
By moving the plasma arc along the metal, it should cut it through to the bottom. As mentioned earlier, if no sparks are produced, it implies that the plasma cutter is not strong enough to cut through or you’re moving way too fast, the plasma cutter has low current, or the stream is not focused straight down.
Always modify the speed of your cut as you move across the metal so you can always notice the spark at the bottom of the metal. In the case where you see too many sparks, you should increase your speed.
Bend the plasma torch toward the metal end and release the trigger
Immediately you come to the end of the meal, slightly bend the plasma torch to the metal edge. Once you’ve done that, slow down for some time and release the trigger. This is to endure that the metal is completely cut.
Put on work boots and heat-resistant gloves
Always put on safety goggles and a welding helmet
Trusted SourceWelding helmet - WikipediaA welding helmet is a type of headgear used when performing certain types of welding to protect the eyes, face and neck from flash burn, ultraviolet light, sparks, infrared light, and heat.
to protect your face, eyes, and head.
Earmuffs and earplugs are must wear
For clothing, put on a heat-resistant and non-flammable apron, a welding jacket, and work pants.
You should also put on a respirator mask to safeguard your lungs.
Features to Consider Before You Buy Plasma Cutter Under $1000.
Before rushing out to purchase a plasma cutter, you must understand that buying this machine is a function of various factors. Hence the need to accustom yourself to the common capabilities and features of these machines.
It is important to carefully evaluate the various options available before choosing a particular brand or model. By doing this, you get to purchase a cutter that will serve and meet all your cutting needs and demands.
Below are essential features you should consider before purchasing a plasma cutter. This will serve as a guide and save you from having any buyers’ regret.
Not all users consider portability as an important factor, however, for some users, it is crucial. For those who need portable and lightweight plasma cutters such as the Razorweld JRWPC45LT, Hobart 500564 Airforce, and Everlast Power, weight and size are significant factors.
You don’t need to factor in the portability feature if the materials are transported to the plasma cutter. As such, the plasma cutter is hardly moved. However, if you need to always move the cutter to the materials that need to be cut, you need to purchase a lightweight plasma cutter compactly designed for more portability for ease of transport.
The cutting capability of plasma cutters is also a crucial factor to consider before purchasing one. One must know the maximum thickness of metal the plasma cutter can efficiently cut as well as the quality of the cut and its cutting speed. Generally, plasma cutters provide three different types of cutting qualities. These are severe cut, quality cut, and rated cut. And a very good example of a plaster cutter that can perform all these types of cuts effectively is the OTOS LTPDC2000D.
Rated cut makes high-quality and the best cuts. In this case, the plasma cutter is employed for cutting thin and mild steel at its top cutting speed. Since the metal is very thin, the cut comes out very clean and smooth.
Quality cuts are usually achieved with thicker conductive materials. The plasma cutter provides quality cutting of thicker metals at average speed and longer duration.
Severe cuts are achieved with very thick conductive materials (maximum thickness). The cuts provided here are not of top quality and need cleanups after cutting. The speed is generally slow, however, the speed increases as the thickness of the material being cut decreases.
In choosing a plasma cutter, one must be certain about its maximum speed and the threshold thickness that the cutter can efficiently cut.
In your search for a plasma cutter, it’s crucial that you choose whether or not you want a plasma cutter with an inbuilt inverter such as the PowerTIG 200DV. This is because it directly influences your budget. If you plan to stay within your budget and go for plasma cutters under $1000, you might have to forsake an inbuilt inverter.
However, cost shouldn’t be the only factor to consider if you should get a plasma cutter with an inbuilt inverter or not. If you primarily work in remote areas with little to no power supply, a plasma cutter with an inbuilt inverter sure comes in handy by providing extra facility to cut.
Plasma cutters with an inbuilt inverter provide enough workspace to cut since no external inverter is needed. Not just that, plasma cutters with inbuilt inverters also offer a much higher curing frequency than standard plasma cutters. In layman terms, the inbuilt inverter technology develops plasma cutters that are well efficient and reliable.
Interface or Control Panel
Another factor or feature to put into consideration is the control panel or interface of the plasma cutter. We recommend that newbies and beginners go for a straightforward and easy-to-use interface of plasma cutter. For example, the Hobart 500564 Airforce comes with a preset setting that aids usability.
However, if you’re vast in operating plasma cutters, you can go for the PowerTIG 200DV, which has a more complex interface.
However, you should take note that a simple control panel enhances productivity and workflow. Furthermore, you should note that a front control panel is easier to use compared to back panels.
Consumables or Replaceable parts
One feature many users overlook that they shouldn’t is the consumables or replaceable parts. Consumables are as important as the primary features in that they are attachments that regulate the flow of plasma via the nozzle.
As the name implies, consumables are consumed or used up in the process of cutting, and depending on usage, the frequency of replacement differs. Examples of consumables include electrodes, shields, nozzles, swirl rings, retaining cups, and so on.
Some plasma cutters such as PowerTIG 200DV and Welpro 60 do come with plenty of extra consumables, which helps to save cost in the short run. When choosing a plasma cutter, ensure that its consumables can be easily replaced and, most importantly, come cheap, so you don’t have to spend a fortune changing consumables.
Plasma cutters can generate a temperature of up to 25,000 degrees Celsius or 45,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat produced is far more enormous than the boiling point of water and could cause harm to the eyes just by gazing at the white-hot flames emanating from the machine.
Quite a few gases can be utilized to fuel plasma cutters. The cutter transmits an electric arc via the gas that is forced via a small opening. Usually, oxygen, argon, nitrogen, or shop air are gases used to fuel these devices.
As mentioned earlier, plasma cutters can produce an enormous amount of heat, making it quite dangerous. The heat flame talk more of them can cause eye damage and severe burns to human skin. As a result, protective equipment should always be worn when operating these machines to reduce risk.
Irrespective of your abilities and capabilities as a welder, one truth is certain; a durable and solid plasma cutter will always be worth the money.
The plasma cutters under $1000 listed above have all been tested and tried by professionals who repeatedly use these machines. Hence, choosing a plasma cutter from this list will get you pleased and satisfied, given that you choose one that tailors to your needs.
Also, always remember to factor in all the important features such as portability, cutting capabilities, control panel, duty cycle, power output, and so on before going for a plasma cutter. If you need a small, lightweight plasma cutter, then the Razorweld JRWPC45LT is your best bet.
Regardless of your cutting needs, we are certain that at least one of these five best plasma cutters under $1000 will suit those needs efficiently.
Plasma cutting - Wikipedia
Plasma cutting is a process that cuts through electrically conductive materials by means of an accelerated jet of hot plasma. Typical materials cut with a plasma torch include steel, stainless steel, aluminum, brass, and copper, although other conductive metals may be cut as well. Plasma cutting is often used in fabrication shops, automotive repair and restoration, industrial construction, and salvage and scrapping operations. Due to the high speed and precision cuts combined with low cost, plasma cutting sees widespread use from large-scale industrial CNC applications down to small hobbyist shops.