In the world of metal fabrication, choosing the right equipment is essential to achieving precise, efficient, and high-quality results. Among these indispensable tools, the plasma cutters with built-in air compressors stand out as true game-changers for both professionals and DIY enthusiasts alike. Designed to streamline the cutting process, these versatile machines eliminate the need for an external air source and simplify setup, allowing you to focus on the task at hand. Selecting the perfect plasma cutter not only enhances your cutting capabilities but also directly impacts the success and ease of your projects. As such, understanding the importance of choosing the right product is crucial in making an informed decision that meets your needs and expectations.
Best Plasma Cutters with Built-in Air Compressor
After conducting extensive research and testing on a diverse range of plasma cutters, we have narrowed down our top five recommendations to help you make the best choice for your cutting needs. Our rigorous evaluation process encompassed a variety of testing methods, including real-world performance tests, durability assessments, and user experience analysis. To further ensure the accuracy and reliability of our findings, we gathered valuable feedback from industry professionals and end-users through comprehensive surveys. By considering multiple aspects, we have identified the best plasma cutters with built-in air compressors that excel in quality, performance, and customer satisfaction, providing you with a curated selection to simplify your decision-making process.
These are top plasma cutters with built-in air compressors:
- Hypotherm Powermax 30 XP (Best Overall)
- Hobart Airforce 12Ci
- Hitbox 40 Amp
- Lincoln Inverter Plasma Cutter
Hypotherm Powermax plasma cutter has a maximum cutting thickness of 5/8 inch and can cut at a speed of 20 inches per minute. It has a compact and lightweight design that makes it easy to transport and use in various locations. It features Auto-voltage technology, which allows it to operate on either 120V or 240V power sources, and has a patented drag-cutting technology that enables easy cutting even on painted or rusty metal surfaces. It also has a high-quality torch with an ergonomic handle design for comfortable grip and less fatigue.
The Hobart Airforce 12Ci is a lightweight and portable plasma cutter that can cut through 1/4-inch mild steel with ease. It has a built-in air compressor, which eliminates the need for an external air source, and its inverter-based power source provides consistent and reliable cutting performance. The machine also features a trigger safety and a post-flow cooling system that ensures extended life for consumables.
The Hitbox 40 Amp is a powerful plasma cutter that can cut through materials up to 1/2 inch thick. It is equipped with a high-frequency start technology that ensures easy and consistent arc starting. It has a lightweight design and comes with a convenient handle that makes it easy to carry around. Additionally, it features a digital display for precise setting adjustments and comes with a torch that has a quick connect fitting for easy assembly.
The Lincoln Inverter Plasma Cutter is a versatile machine that can cut through a wide range of materials, including stainless steel, aluminum, and copper. It features a dual-voltage capability, meaning it can operate on either 120V or 240V power sources, and has a maximum cutting thickness of 5/8 inch. It also comes with a pilot arc controller that provides stable cutting performance on painted or rusted metal surfaces.
Key Decision-Making Factors
|Powermax 30 XP||Hobart 12Ci||Hitbox 40||Lincoln Inverter|
|Weight||29.8 lbs||25.1 lbs||17.6 lbs||40 lbs|
|Maximum Cutting Depth||5/8 inch||1/4-inch||1/2 inch||5/8 inch|
|Trigger Time||5 Seconds||5 Seconds||6 Seconds||4.5 Seconds|
|Air Compressor Noise||50 DB||55 DB||60 DB||70 DB|
|Drag Cutting Ability||Capable||Capable||Capable||Capable|
|Maximum Duty Cycle||50%||35%||40%||50%|
|Cut through paint & rust||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Can Cut 11 GA Steel||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Based on the features and specifications of these plasma cutters, the Hypotherm Powermax 30 XP stands out as the best overall. It has a versatile cutting range, Auto-voltage technology for flexibility, a patented drag-cutting technology for smooth cutting, and a high-quality torch for comfortable grip and less fatigue. Moreover, its compact and lightweight design makes it easy to carry around and use in various locations.
Hypotherm Powermax 30 Xp Plasma Cutter
Hypotherm Powermax 30 is a plasma cutter along with a built-in air compressor. It cuts anything ranging from sheet metal to truck frames. Ideally, you can cut a quarter-inch of stainless steel with zero complaints.
The Hypotherm Powermax 30 is an outstanding highly efficient and reliable product. One of the standout features of this plasma cutter is its inverter technology. This technology allows for better control over the cutting process and ensures a more consistent cut. It also allows for a smaller and more lightweight design, which is a significant advantage in portability.
This plasma cutter is also highly versatile and capable of cutting through a range of materials, including aluminum, stainless steel, and mild steel. It has a cutting capacity of up to 5/8 inch on mild steel and up to 3/8 inch on aluminum and stainless steel. This makes it an excellent choice for a variety of applications, from automotive repair to fabrication and construction work.
Another feature that sets the Hypotherm Powermax apart from other plasma cutters is its advanced safety features. It has a built-in automatic air regulation system that ensures the correct air pressure for the cutting process, reducing the risk of overheating and prolonging the life of the consumables. It also has a built-in thermal overload protection system that automatically shuts down the machine if it becomes overheated, preventing damage to the unit.
This is so easy to use with a simple interface that allows for quick adjustments to the cutting settings. The machine comes with an easy-to-follow instruction manual that provides clear guidance on how to set up and use the plasma cutter, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced users.
Additionally, it works at 90-120 PSI. When the plasma cutter operates at the recommended pressure range of 90-120 PSI, it ensures that the plasma stream is at its maximum velocity, which results in a cleaner, faster, and more precise cut. If the air pressure is too low, the plasma stream may not be strong enough to cut through the metal effectively, resulting in a rough and uneven cut. On the other hand, if the air pressure is too high, it may cause the plasma stream to become unstable and lead to overheating, which can damage the machine.
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Overall, the Hypotherm Powermax 30 plasma cutter is an exceptional product that offers excellent performance, versatility, and safety features. Its lightweight and compact design, combined with its advanced technology and easy-to-use interface, make it an ideal choice for anyone in need of a high-quality plasma cutter. I would highly recommend it to anyone in the market for a reliable and efficient cutting machine.
These are key takeaways that helped Miller to be premium over other plasma cutters:
- Suitable for sheet metal, bodywork, and heavier steel.
- Comes with an inverter that enables automatic voltage detection
- It’s a lightweight machine that offers comfortable handling.
- Cutting capacity is 5/8 inches at 20 IPM
- Works at 90-120 PSI which means that it provides the optimal air pressure for efficient and effective cutting.
- Includes water separator that works by trapping any water droplets in the air before they reach the plasma torch. This ensures that the air entering the plasma cutter is free of moisture and other contaminants, allowing the cutter to produce a higher-quality cut.
- Allows continuous pilot arc which helps in plasma cutting by providing a constant arc current used to pierce the material being cut.
- Comes with an internal air compressor which is beneficial because it eliminates the need for an external air compressor. The internal air compressor also makes the plasma cutter more portable, as it is self–contained and can be used in various locations.
- Holds the ability to connect to 20 AMP circuits.
- Works on the generator.
- Able to cut 11 GA steel with 110 volts.
- This plasma cutter can cut through paint and rust.
Apart from a range of positive aspects, this plasma cutter does have some drawbacks as well. These are:
- The ability to automate is limited since you cannot connect this to CNC.
- You cannot gauge this since only the 45XP model had special consumables for gauging.
- Does not work with 3-phase power since it supports single-phase 220v / 110v.
- Does not have a remote trigger
Recommended gas supply
If you are using Hypertherm Powermax, the following information would help in choosing the gas.
It requires 99.995% pure Nitrogen.
Minimum required gas inlet flow and pressure: 99.1 L/min at 4.7 bar (3.5 scfm at 68 psi)
Recommended gas inlet flow and pressure: 113.3 L/min at 5.5 bar (4.0 scfm at 80 psi)
Maximum gas inlet pressure: 9.3 bar (135 psi)
The difference with other Hypertherm Plasma Cutters
Hypertherm is a leading manufacturer of plasma cutters, and the Powermax series is one of their most popular product lines. The Powermax 30XP is a mid-range model in this series, and it differs from other Hypertherm plasma cutters in several ways.
- Power output: The Powermax 30XP has a maximum cutting capacity of 5/8 inch (16 mm) on mild steel, while some of the other Hypertherm models have higher power output capabilities. For example, the Powermax 45 XP can cut up to 1 inch (25 mm) on mild steel.
- Portability: The Powermax 30XP is designed to be highly portable and can be easily moved from job site to job site. Other Hypertherm models, such as the Powermax 65, are larger and heavier and are designed for use in a fixed location.
- Price: The Powermax 30XP is more affordable than some of the other Hypertherm plasma cutters. It is a good choice for small businesses or DIY enthusiasts who need a high-quality plasma cutter but don’t want to spend a lot of money.
- Duty cycle: The duty cycle is the amount of time that a plasma cutter can be used continuously without overheating. The Powermax 30XP has a duty cycle of 35% at 240V, while some of the other Hypertherm models have higher duty cycles, such as the Powermax 45 XP which has a duty cycle of 50% at 50 A.
- Cutting speed: The Powermax 30XP has a cutting speed of 20 inches per minute (IPM), which is suitable for most applications. However, some of the other Hypertherm models have higher cutting speeds, such as the Powermax 45 XP which can cut at a speed of 45 IPM.
In summary, the Powermax 30XP is a highly portable, affordable, and capable plasma cutter that is ideal for small businesses or DIY enthusiasts. However, if you need a higher power output or duty cycle, or faster cutting speed, you may want to consider other Hypertherm plasma cutters, such as the Powermax 45 XP or Powermax 65.
How Hypertherm Powermax 30 is better than other plasma cutters?
The Hypertherm Powermax 30 is a portable plasma cutter designed for both industrial and personal use. It offers a cutting capacity of up to 5/8 inch (16 mm) on a variety of conductive metals, including steel, aluminum, and stainless steel. Some of the key features of the Powermax 30 include:
- High-quality cuts: The Powermax 30 uses Hypertherm’s patented technology to deliver high-quality cuts with minimal dross, reducing the need for secondary operations.
- Portability: The Powermax 30 is lightweight and compact, making it easy to move around and use in different locations.
- Durability: The Powermax 30 is built to withstand tough environments and heavy use, with a rugged design that includes a protective case and internal components that are designed to last.
- Versatility: The Powermax 30 can be used with a variety of cutting accessories, including a hand torch, a mechanized torch, and a gouging torch.
- Ease of use: The Powermax 30 features a simple, intuitive interface that makes it easy to set up and use, even for beginners.
Overall, the Hypertherm Powermax 30 is a versatile and reliable plasma cutter that offers high-quality cuts and ease of use. While there may be other plasma cutters on the market that offer similar features, the Powermax 30’s reputation for quality and durability makes it a popular choice among users.
Hobart Airforce 12Ci
After using the Hobart AirForce 12ci Plasma Cutter for a few weeks, I can confidently provide a comprehensive review of its performance, features, and potential drawbacks. In this review, I will identify and explain the positive and negative aspects of this plasma cutter while comparing it to other models on the market.
These are the positive sides of Hobart Airforce 12Ci plasma cutter with built-in air compressor:
- Built-in Air Compressor: One of the standout features of the Hobart AirForce 12ci is its built-in air compressor. This eliminates the need for an external air source, making it an ideal tool for DIY enthusiasts and small-scale metalworkers who may not have access to a separate air compressor. In comparison, other plasma cutters like the Miller Spectrum 625 and Hypertherm Powermax 30 XP require external compressors, adding to the overall cost and setup complexity.
- Portability: The compact design of the AirForce 12ci is a significant advantage, as it weighs only 27 lbs. This lightweight construction makes it easy to transport, and its ergonomic handle ensures a comfortable grip. Competing models like the Hypertherm Powermax 30 XP and Miller Spectrum 625 are also portable, but the built-in air compressor of the 12ci adds an extra layer of convenience.
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- Ease of Use: The Hobart AirForce 12ci boasts an intuitive design, making it easy to set up and operate. With its user-friendly controls, even novices can quickly get started with plasma cutting. The Postflow Cooling feature also enhances the lifespan of consumables by cooling the torch after each cut.
- Cutting Capability: The AirForce 12ci has an impressive cutting capacity, with the ability to cut up to 3/8″ mild steel, 1/4″ aluminum, and 1/4″ stainless steel. This cutting range is suitable for most DIY and light fabrication tasks. The cutting quality is consistent and clean, with minimal dross compared to other models in its class.
Apart from plenty of positive sides, the plasma cutter from Hobart does have some negative sides as well.
- Limited Duty Cycle: The Hobart AirForce 12ci has a 35% duty cycle at its maximum output of 12 amps. This means that for every 10 minutes of operation, the machine needs to rest for 6.5 minutes to avoid overheating. This duty cycle is lower compared to the Miller Spectrum 625 (50% at 40 amps) and Hypertherm Powermax 30 XP (35% at 30 amps). For small projects and occasional use, this may not be a significant concern, but for larger tasks or professional use, it could be a limitation.
- Lower Power Output: With a maximum power output of 12 amps, the AirForce 12ci is less powerful than some of its competitors. The Miller Spectrum 625 offers up to 40 amps, and the Hypertherm Powermax 30 XP has 30 amps. While the 12ci’s cutting capacity is sufficient for most light-duty tasks, more demanding projects may require a more powerful plasma cutter.
- Lack of Advanced Features: The Hobart AirForce 12ci is a basic plasma cutter with a focus on simplicity and ease of use. However, it lacks some advanced features found in competing models, such as CNC compatibility or gouging capabilities. This may not be an issue for the target audience of DIYers and hobbyists, but professionals may prefer a plasma cutter with CNC compatibility.
How this plasma cutter differs from other cutters from Hobart?
The Hobart 12ci is a plasma cutter model from the renowned Hobart Welding Products company. It differs from other plasma cutters from the same company in several aspects, making it an ideal choice for welders depending on their needs and preferences.
- Built-in air compressor: The Hobart 12ci features a built-in air compressor, which sets it apart from other models. This integrated feature makes it a more convenient and portable option, as there’s no need to purchase or carry an external air compressor. For welders who require mobility and ease of use, this is a significant advantage.
- Lightweight and compact design: The Hobart 12ci is designed to be portable and user-friendly. With its lightweight and compact build, it is easy to transport and maneuver. This design aspect makes it an ideal choice for welders working in tight spaces or who frequently move between job sites.
- Cutting capacity: The Hobart 12ci has a cutting capacity of up to 1/4-inch (6.35 mm) for mild steel. This cutting capacity is suitable for light to medium-duty cutting tasks, making it an ideal choice for DIY enthusiasts, hobbyists, or professionals handling smaller projects.
- Input voltage: The Hobart 12ci operates on a 120V input voltage, making it compatible with standard household outlets. This feature adds to its convenience and versatility, as it can be used in various settings without requiring additional power equipment.
- User-friendly interface: The Hobart 12ci features a straightforward and intuitive interface, allowing welders to easily adjust settings and operate the machine. This user-friendly design makes it a suitable option for both experienced professionals and those new to plasma cutting.
- Price point: The Hobart 12ci is an affordable plasma cutter compared to other models in the Hobart range. Its competitive pricing, combined with its functionality, makes it an attractive option for welders looking for a reliable, efficient, and cost-effective plasma cutting solution.
In summary, the Hobart 12ci stands out from other Hobart plasma cutters due to its built-in air compressor, lightweight and compact design, cutting capacity, input voltage compatibility, user-friendly interface, and competitive pricing. These features make it an ideal choice for welders seeking a versatile, portable, and affordable plasma-cutting solution, particularly for light to medium-duty applications.
Differences with other similar plasma cutters
The Hobart AirForce 12ci is a portable plasma cutter designed for light to medium cutting tasks. It stands out from other plasma cutters in the market due to its unique features, ease of use, and affordability. Here, we will compare the Hobart AirForce 12ci to other plasma cutters from different brands and explain why it can be an ideal choice for welders.
The Hobart AirForce 12ci features an integrated air compressor, making it a self-contained unit that doesn’t require an external air source. This is an advantage over many other plasma cutters such as Millar, Lotos LTP5000D, HITBOX 40A etc, which often require a separate air compressor to function. The built-in air compressor makes the AirForce 12ci more portable and convenient for users who need a cutting solution on the go.
Similarly, the AirForce 12ci is designed to be lightweight and compact, weighing approximately 27 pounds. This is considerably lighter than many other plasma cutters in the market, making it an attractive option for welders who need a portable solution for cutting tasks at various job sites.
Furthermore, the Hobart AirForce 12ci is known for its user-friendly design. With straightforward controls and minimal setup required, it is suitable for both beginners and experienced users. Other plasma cutters may have more complex control systems or require additional setup, making them less accessible to novice users.
Additionally, the AirForce 12ci can cut up to 1/4-inch mild steel, making it suitable for light to medium cutting tasks. While some other plasma cutters might offer more powerful cutting capabilities, the AirForce 12ci’s performance is more than sufficient for many welders’ needs, especially those working on small to medium-sized projects.
Also, the Hobart AirForce 12ci is competitively priced, often being more affordable than plasma cutters from other brands with similar capabilities. This makes it an attractive option for welders looking for a budget-friendly yet reliable cutting solution.
Overall, Hobart is a well-established brand in the welding and cutting industry, known for producing high-quality and reliable equipment. Investing in a Hobart plasma cutter like the AirForce 12ci ensures that you are getting a product backed by a reputable manufacturer with solid customer support.
Hitbox plasma cutter with built-in air compressor
The Hitbox 40 Amp Plasma Cutter with Built-In Air Compressor is a versatile, compact, and powerful tool designed for cutting through various types of metals with ease.
It’s a ready-to-cut plasma cutter with a built-in air compressor with the ability to cut 1/2″ thick metal. The air switch and the leakage protection helped this plasma cutter to be accepted among the welders.
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These are the positive sides of Hitbox 40 Amp plasma cutter
- Portability and Convenience: The built-in air compressor eliminates the need for an external air source, making this plasma cutter a convenient option for users who require a portable cutting solution. The compact design makes it easy to transport to different job sites or store when not in use.
- Ease of Use: The Hitbox 40 Amp Plasma Cutter comes with a user-friendly interface, making it suitable for both beginners and professionals. The torch trigger is easy to operate, and the controls are intuitive, allowing you to adjust the cutting parameters quickly.
- Powerful Cutting Performance: With a 40 Amp output, this plasma cutter is capable of cutting through metals up to 1/2 inch thick with ease. Its performance is impressive considering its compact size, making it suitable for various applications, such as automotive repair, construction, and DIY projects.
- Affordability: The Hitbox 40 Amp Plasma Cutter offers excellent value for money, providing a powerful cutting tool at a competitive price. In comparison to other plasma cutters in the market, it delivers robust performance without breaking the bank.
- Limited Duty Cycle: The Hitbox 40 Amp Plasma Cutter has a duty cycle of 60% at 40 Amps, which means that it may require rest periods during continuous cutting jobs. This limitation might not be suitable for heavy-duty industrial applications where prolonged use is necessary.
- Built-In Air Compressor Noise: While the built-in air compressor adds to the convenience and portability of the device, it generates a considerable amount of noise during operation. This may be a concern for users who are sensitive to noise or working in environments where noise levels must be kept low.
- Lack of Advanced Features: While the Hitbox 40 Amp Plasma Cutter is easy to use, it lacks some advanced features found in more expensive models, such as a pilot arc, which allows for more precise cutting without touching the workpiece.
Reason to prefer over other brands
The Hitbox 40 Amp Plasma Cutter with Built-In Air Compressor is a suitable option for users who prioritize portability, convenience, and affordability. Its powerful cutting performance, compact design, and built-in air compressor make it an attractive choice for DIY enthusiasts, automotive repair professionals, and construction workers. However, it may not be the best option for heavy-duty industrial applications or users who require advanced cutting features.
Overall, the Hitbox 40 Amp Plasma Cutter is a reliable and cost-effective solution for various metal cutting needs, offering a balance between performance and affordability that makes it a worthwhile consideration over other options in the market.
Differences with other plasma cutters from the same company
While there are multiple plasma cutters offered by Hitbox, I will compare the Hitbox 40 Amp Plasma Cutter with Built-In Air Compressor (Model: HBC4000) to two other plasma cutters from the company: the Hitbox 50 Amp Plasma Cutter (Model: HBC5500) and the Hitbox 60 Amp Plasma Cutter (Model: HBC6000). The differences between these models can be categorized into four main areas:
- Power Output and Cutting Capacity: The main difference between the three models is their power output and cutting capacity. The HBC4000 features a 40 Amp output, allowing it to cut through metals up to 1/2 inch thick. In contrast, the HBC5500 offers a 50 Amp output, enabling it to cut metals up to 5/8 inch thick, while the HBC6000 has a 60 Amp output, providing even greater cutting capacity of up to 3/4 inch thick metals.
- Built-In Air Compressor: The Hitbox HBC4000 is unique in that it comes with a built-in air compressor. This feature offers increased portability and convenience, as it eliminates the need for an external air source. The HBC5500 and HBC6000 models, on the other hand, require an external air compressor for operation, making them slightly less convenient for users who need a portable cutting solution.
- Price: The Hitbox HBC4000, being a more compact and lower-output model, is typically more affordable than its higher-output counterparts. The HBC5500 and HBC6000 models, with their increased cutting capacity and power output, are priced higher due to their enhanced performance capabilities. Users who require more cutting power and capacity would likely find the additional cost worthwhile.
- Suitability for Various Applications: The Hitbox HBC4000, with its built-in air compressor and 40 Amp output, is suitable for a wide range of applications, including DIY projects, automotive repairs, and light construction work. The HBC5500 and HBC6000 models, with their higher power output, are better suited for heavy-duty applications and industrial use, where thicker metals need to be cut and more power is required.
In summary, the Hitbox 40 Amp Plasma Cutter with Built-In Air Compressor (HBC4000) differs from other plasma cutters in the Hitbox lineup mainly in terms of power output, cutting capacity, the inclusion of a built-in air compressor, and its price point. Users should consider their specific needs and requirements when choosing between these models, as each offers a unique set of features and performance capabilities.
Differences with other Plasma Cutters
The Hitbox 40 Amp HBC8000pro is a plasma cutter designed for various cutting applications. When compared to other plasma cutters within the same price range, some key differences and features make the Hitbox HBC8000pro a suitable option for welders:
- Built-in Air Compressor: The Hitbox HBC8000pro comes with a built-in air compressor, providing increased portability and convenience. This eliminates the need for an external air source, making it an attractive option for users who require a portable cutting solution. Not all plasma cutters in the same price range offer this feature, giving the HBC8000pro an advantage in terms of ease of use and portability.
- Power Output and Cutting Capacity: The Hitbox HBC8000pro has a 40 Amp output, which allows it to cut through metals up to 1/2 inch thick. This cutting capacity is competitive with other plasma cutters within the same price range, offering welders sufficient power and versatility for various cutting tasks.
- Digital Display and Controls: The Hitbox HBC8000pro features a digital display and controls, enabling users to easily monitor and adjust cutting parameters. This offers enhanced usability and precision compared to some competitors, which may have less user-friendly interfaces or limited control options.
- Dual Voltage Capability: The HBC8000pro can operate on both 110V and 220V input power, providing flexibility for users who need to work in different environments. This dual voltage capability is not always available in plasma cutters within the same price range, making the Hitbox HBC8000pro a more versatile option.
- Reliable Brand and Customer Support: Hitbox is known for producing reliable and high-quality welding and cutting equipment. By choosing the HBC8000pro, welders can benefit from the company’s reputation for durability and performance, as well as its responsive customer support.
In summary, the Hitbox 40 Amp HBC8000pro stands out from other plasma cutters in the same price range due to its built-in air compressor, competitive power output and cutting capacity, digital display and controls, dual voltage capability, and the backing of a reliable brand. These features make the Hitbox HBC8000pro a suitable option for welders looking for a versatile, portable, and reliable plasma-cutting solution.
Lincoln Plasma Cutter
The Lincoln Tomahawk 375 Plasma Cutter is a popular choice among professional and amateur welders alike, offering an excellent balance of performance, portability, and affordability. This in-depth review will delve into the positive and negative aspects of the Tomahawk 375, ultimately revealing why it can be an ideal choice for welders in various situations.
The Lincoln Tomahawk 375 Plasma Cutter is an excellent choice for welders due to its powerful performance, portability, user-friendly interface, advanced technologies, and great value for money. However, its limitations, such as cutting capacity and the need for an external air compressor, should be considered by prospective buyers. Overall, the Tomahawk 375 is a reliable and efficient plasma cutter that caters to the needs of both professional and amateur welders, making it a worthwhile investment for a wide range of cutting applications.
- Performance: The Lincoln Tomahawk 375 delivers impressive cutting capabilities, with a maximum output of 25A at 40% duty cycle. It can easily cut through materials up to 3/8″ (9.5mm) in thickness and boasts a clean-cut capacity of up to 1/4″ (6.4mm). Its powerful performance makes it suitable for a wide range of cutting applications in fabrication, maintenance, and repair.
- Portability: Weighing just 19 lbs (8.6 kg), the Tomahawk 375 is highly portable, allowing welders to easily transport it between job sites. The unit’s compact design further enhances its portability, making it a convenient tool for both professional and hobbyist welders alike.
- User-friendly interface: The Tomahawk 375 features a straightforward control panel, making it simple for users to adjust settings and operate the machine. This ease of use is highly beneficial for both experienced welders and those new to plasma cutting.
- Advanced technologies: The Lincoln Tomahawk 375 integrates Lincoln’s patented PCT 20 hand torch and LC25 consumables, ensuring consistent performance and long-lasting durability. Moreover, its Continuous Output Control enables precise cutting, while the Rapid Arc Restrike technology allows for faster cutting through materials with inconsistent thicknesses.
- Value for money: Considering its performance, portability, and user-friendly features, the Tomahawk 375 offers excellent value for money. It is an affordable plasma cutter that doesn’t compromise on quality or reliability, making it a solid investment for welders.
- Limited cutting capacity: While the Tomahawk 375 is suitable for most cutting applications, its maximum cutting capacity of 3/8″ (9.5mm) may not be sufficient for heavy-duty tasks or cutting thicker materials. Welders working with materials beyond this thickness may need to consider a more powerful plasma cutter.
- Requires external air compressor: The Tomahawk 375 does not come with a built-in air compressor, requiring users to purchase one separately. This additional expense should be considered when comparing plasma cutters within the same price range.
- 40% duty cycle: Although the 40% duty cycle is adequate for most applications, heavy-duty or continuous use may cause the machine to overheat and require a cool-down period. Welders with high-volume cutting needs might find this limitation to be a disadvantage.
Difference with other plasma cutters from Lincoln
Lincoln Electric offers a range of plasma cutters that are designed for different applications. The Lincoln Tomahawk 375 Plasma Cutter is one of the most popular models in their lineup, and it offers several advantages over other Lincoln plasma cutters.
Here are some key differences between the Lincoln Tomahawk 375 Plasma Cutter and other Lincoln plasma cutters:
- Cutting Capacity: The Tomahawk 375 has a cutting capacity of 3/8 inch, while some other Lincoln plasma cutters have a cutting capacity of up to 5/8 inch. However, the Tomahawk 375 is still suitable for most applications, including cutting through mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum.
- Portability: The Tomahawk 375 is designed for maximum portability, with a compact and lightweight design that makes it easy to transport to job sites. Other Lincoln plasma cutters may be larger and heavier, making them less convenient to move around.
- Technology: The Tomahawk 375 features Lincoln Electric’s proprietary LC25 plasma torch technology, which provides more consistent and precise cutting. It also has a high-frequency start that ensures reliable arc initiation, which is particularly useful when cutting through thicker materials.
- Power Input: The Tomahawk 375 can operate on both 120V and 240V power inputs, making it more versatile than some other Lincoln plasma cutters that are limited to a single voltage.
Overall, the Lincoln Tomahawk 375 Plasma Cutter is a suitable choice for many applications, particularly for those who need a portable and versatile plasma cutter with a reliable cutting performance. It is also a more affordable option compared to other high-end plasma cutters, making it an attractive choice for both professionals and hobbyists.
Hypotherm Vs Hobart
Hypotherm Powermax 30 Xp and Hobart Airforce 12Ci are both well-known and respected brands in the plasma cutting industry. They both offer powerful and reliable cutting machines that are designed for both industrial and DIY use. In this blog post, we will compare these two plasma cutters side by side to help you decide which one is the best fit for your needs.
Here’s a side-by-side comparison table of the Hypotherm Powermax 30 Xp and Hobart Airforce 12Ci:
|Feature||Hypotherm Powermax 30 Xp||Hobart Airforce 12Ci|
|Output||30 amps||12 amps|
|Maximum Cutting Thickness||5/8”||1/4”|
|Durability||Very durable rugged design||Durable design|
|Weight||21.4 pounds||27 pounds|
|Ease of Use||Simple interface with easy adjustment of cutting speed and power||Simple interface with fewer features|
|Portability||Less portable due to weight and size||More portable and lightweight|
|Price||Higher price point||Lower price point|
Power and Performance: The Hypotherm Powermax 30 Xp is equipped with a 30-amp output that can cut up to 5/8” thick metal, while the Hobart Airforce 12Ci is equipped with a 12-amp output that can cut up to 1/4” thick metal. This means that the Hypotherm Powermax 30 Xp is capable of cutting thicker metal sheets than the Hobart Airforce 12Ci.
Durability: Both the Hypotherm Powermax 30 Xp and Hobart Airforce 12Ci are made with high-quality materials that are built to last. However, the Hypotherm Powermax 30 Xp is made with a rugged case and has a more durable design than the Hobart Airforce 12Ci. It is also equipped with a non-slip grip for easy handling and maneuvering.
Ease of Use: The Hypotherm Powermax 30 Xp and Hobart Airforce 12Ci are both easy to use and operate. The Hypotherm Powermax 30 Xp has a simple interface that allows you to easily adjust the cutting speed and power, while the Hobart Airforce 12Ci has a similar interface but with fewer features. However, the Hobart Airforce 12Ci is more lightweight and portable than the Hypotherm Powermax 30 Xp, making it a great choice for those who need to move their plasma cutter from job site to job site.
Price: The Hypotherm Powermax 30 Xp is more expensive than the Hobart Airforce 12Ci, but it also offers more power and durability. The Hobart Airforce 12Ci is a great budget option for those who don’t need the extra power and features of the Hypotherm Powermax 30 Xp.
Why Hypotherm Powermax 30 Xp is a better choice: Based on the above comparison, the Hypotherm Powermax 30 Xp is the better choice for those who need a powerful and durable plasma cutter for industrial or heavy-duty DIY use. While the Hobart Airforce 12Ci is a great budget option for those who need a portable plasma cutter for lighter jobs, it simply cannot match the power and cutting capabilities of the Hypotherm Powermax 30 Xp. The Hypotherm Powermax 30 Xp is also built with a more durable design and is better suited for long-term use and heavy-duty cutting jobs.
In conclusion, when it comes to choosing between the Hypotherm Powermax 30 Xp and Hobart Airforce 12Ci plasma cutters, it all comes down to your needs and budget. If you need a more powerful and durable plasma cutter for industrial or heavy-duty DIY use, the Hypotherm Powermax 30 Xp is the way to go. However, if you’re on a budget and need a portable plasma cutter for lighter jobs, the Hobart Airforce 12Ci is a great option.
Hobart Vs Hitbox
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the Hobart Airforce 12Ci and the Hitbox 40 Amp plasma cutter:
|Feature||Hobart Airforce 12Ci||Hitbox 40 Amp Plasma Cutter|
|Output||12 amps||40 amps|
|Maximum Cutting Thickness||1/4”||1/2”|
|Durability||Durable design||Solid construction with a sturdy handle|
|Weight||27 pounds||19.4 pounds|
|Ease of Use||Simple interface with fewer features||Simple interface with easy adjustment of cutting speed and power|
|Portability||Portable and lightweight||Compact and easy to transport|
|Price||Lower price point||Lower price point|
Power and Performance: The Hobart Airforce 12Ci has a 12-amp output and can cut materials up to 1/4” thick, while the Hitbox 40 Amp plasma cutter has a 40-amp output and can cut materials up to 1/2” thick. This means that the Hitbox 40 Amp plasma cutter has greater power and can handle thicker materials than the Hobart Airforce 12Ci.
Durability: Both the Hobart Airforce 12Ci and the Hitbox 40 Amp plasma cutter are built with durable designs that are intended to withstand heavy use. The Hobart Airforce 12Ci has a sturdy design that is well-suited for long-term use, while the Hitbox 40 Amp plasma cutter is constructed with solid materials and features a sturdy handle for easy transport.
Ease of Use: The Hobart Airforce 12Ci has a simple interface that is easy to use and understand, but it has fewer features than the Hitbox 40 Amp plasma cutter. The Hitbox 40 Amp plasma cutter has an interface that allows for easy adjustment of cutting speed and power, which can be beneficial for those who need to make precise cuts.
Portability: The Hobart Airforce 12Ci is more portable and lightweight than the Hitbox 40 Amp plasma cutter, making it a good option for those who need to move their plasma cutter around frequently. However, the Hitbox 40 Amp plasma cutter is compact and easy to transport, which can be beneficial for those who need to take it to job sites.
Price: Both the Hobart Airforce 12Ci and the Hitbox 40 Amp plasma cutter are relatively affordable plasma cutters, but the Hobart Airforce 12Ci is priced slightly lower than the Hitbox 40 Amp plasma cutter.
Why choose the Hobart Airforce 12Ci: The Hobart Airforce 12Ci is a great choice for those who need a plasma cutter that is both portable and durable. Its simple interface makes it easy to use and understand, while its durable design ensures that it will hold up well over time. Additionally, the Hobart Airforce 12Ci is priced lower than the Hitbox 40 Amp plasma cutter, making it a good option for those who are on a tight budget.
Overall, the choice between the Hobart Airforce 12Ci and the Hitbox 40 Amp plasma cutter ultimately depends on your specific needs. If you need a plasma cutter with greater power and cutting thickness, the Hitbox 40 Amp plasma cutter may be the better choice. However, if you need a plasma cutter that is portable, durable, and affordable, the Hobart Airforce 12Ci is the way to go.
When it comes to buying a plasma cutter, there are several important factors to consider to ensure you select the right one for your needs. Here are the critical sides and features you should examine before making your purchase:
- Cutting Capacity: The first and foremost factor to consider is the cutting capacity of the plasma cutter. The cutting capacity determines the thickness of the metal you can cut with the machine. Therefore, it is crucial to check the specifications of the plasma cutter to make sure it can handle the thickness of metal you need to cut.
- Power Output: The power output of the plasma cutter is also important. This refers to the amount of electrical energy the machine uses to cut the metal. Higher power output results in faster and smoother cuts, but it also comes with a higher price tag. So, you should consider your budget and the requirements of your work before selecting a plasma cutter with high power output.
- Duty Cycle: The duty cycle of the plasma cutter refers to the amount of time it can operate continuously before it needs to cool down. It is essential to select a plasma cutter with a higher duty cycle to avoid any interruptions during your work. If you need to use the plasma cutter for extended periods, you should consider investing in a machine with a higher duty cycle.
- Cutting Speed: The cutting speed of the plasma cutter determines how quickly it can cut through the metal. This is an essential factor to consider if you need to complete your work quickly. Plasma cutters with higher cutting speeds are generally more expensive, but they can save you time and increase your productivity.
- Portability: Portability is another crucial factor to consider, especially if you need to move your plasma cutter around frequently. If you work in multiple locations or need to carry the machine to job sites, you should look for a lightweight and compact plasma cutter that is easy to transport.
- Consumables: Consumables are the parts of the plasma cutter that wear out over time and need to be replaced. When selecting a plasma cutter, you should consider the availability and cost of consumables. Look for a machine that uses readily available and affordable consumables to avoid any downtime due to the unavailability of parts.
- Price: Lastly, you need to consider your budget when selecting a plasma cutter. Plasma cutters are available in a wide range of prices, and you should look for a machine that meets your needs without breaking the bank. However, it is essential to keep in mind that investing in a high-quality plasma cutter can save you money in the long run by reducing downtime, increasing productivity, and minimizing the cost of consumables.
In conclusion, selecting the right plasma cutter requires careful consideration of cutting capacity, power output, duty cycle, cutting speed, portability, consumables, and price. By taking these factors into account, you can select a plasma cutter that meets your needs and helps you achieve your goals.
How Plasma Cutters Work?
Plasma cutters are tools that use plasma to cut through metal. The process involves using a high-temperature plasma arc to melt the metal and then blow away the molten metal to create a clean cut.
For details, check this article that we wrote earlier.
Here’s how plasma cutters work:
- Power Source: The first step in the process is to connect the plasma cutter to a power source. The machine uses high voltage to generate an electrical arc.
- Gas Supply: Next, a gas supply is connected to the plasma cutter. The most common gases used are compressed air, nitrogen, or oxygen. The gas is used to create a plasma arc and also to blow away the molten metal after it is cut.
- Plasma Arc: Once the plasma cutter is powered up and the gas supply is connected, the operator initiates the plasma arc. This is done by pressing a trigger on the plasma torch. An electrical arc jumps from the electrode inside the torch to the metal being cut, ionizing the gas and creating plasma.
- Plasma Jet: The plasma jet created by the arc has an extremely high temperature and is capable of melting the metal being cut. The gas supply is used to direct the plasma jet to the correct location on the metal.
- Cutting Process: As the plasma jet melts the metal, the gas supply also blows away the molten metal, creating a clean cut. The operator guides the plasma torch along the cutting path, creating the desired shape.
- Finished Cut: After the cutting process is complete, the operator releases the trigger on the plasma torch. The gas supply continues to blow away any remaining molten metal, leaving a clean, precise cut.
In summary, plasma cutters use a high-temperature plasma arc to melt metal and a gas supply to blow away the molten metal, resulting in a clean cut. The process is fast and accurate, making plasma cutters a popular tool in the metalworking and fabrication industries.
How much air does a plasma cutter need?
Plasma cutters require compressed air to create the plasma arc that cuts through the metal. The amount of air required by a plasma cutter depends on the amperage and cutting capacity of the machine. Generally, the higher the amperage and cutting capacity, the more air flow the plasma cutter will require.
Check this plasma cutter air guide that we wrote earlier.
For example, a low-amperage plasma cutter, such as the Hobart Airforce 12Ci, requires an air flow rate of 4.5 to 5.5 CFM (cubic feet per minute) at 90 PSI (pounds per square inch). This machine has a maximum cutting thickness of 1/4 inch, so it requires a lower air flow rate compared to higher-amperage plasma cutters.
On the other hand, a high-amperage plasma cutter, such as the Hypertherm Powermax 65, requires an air flow rate of 400 CFM at 90 PSI for its maximum cutting capacity of 1-1/4 inch thickness. This is significantly higher than the air flow rate required by the Hobart Airforce 12Ci due to the higher amperage and cutting capacity of the machine.
It is important to note that using the appropriate air flow rate is crucial to achieving optimal cutting performance and prolonging the life of the consumables. Using too little or too much air flow can result in poor quality cuts, premature consumable wear, and potential damage to the machine.
In conclusion, plasma cutters require varying amounts of compressed air depending on their amperage and cutting capacity. It is important to refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for the appropriate air flow rate for your plasma cutter to achieve optimal cutting performance and prolong the life of the machine and consumables.
Remember these before cutting stainless steel using plasma cutters
Cutting stainless steel with a plasma cutter requires attention to detail and precision. Here are some best practices and common mistakes to keep in mind when cutting stainless steel with a plasma cutter:
Here’s our stainless steel cutting guide that was published earlier.
- Use the right equipment – Make sure you have a plasma cutter that is specifically designed for cutting stainless steel. Stainless steel is a highly conductive material, which requires a plasma cutter with a high amperage output and a constant current output.
- Use the right consumables – Using the right consumables, such as the right nozzle, electrode, and shield cap, is essential when cutting stainless steel. Using the wrong consumables can result in poor quality cuts, reduced cutting speeds, and increased consumable wear.
- Adjust the amperage – Adjust the amperage on your plasma cutter to the appropriate level for the thickness of the stainless steel you are cutting. Refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for the correct amperage settings for stainless steel.
- Keep the material clean – Stainless steel is highly susceptible to contamination from oils, dirt, and debris. Make sure to clean the material thoroughly before cutting to ensure a clean cut and reduce the risk of contamination.
- Use the right cutting speed – Cutting stainless steel requires a slower cutting speed compared to other materials. Cutting too fast can result in poor quality cuts, while cutting too slow can increase consumable wear.
- Cutting too fast – Cutting stainless steel too fast can result in poor quality cuts, which can lead to the need for additional processing or rework. It can also cause the consumables to wear out faster.
- Not using the right consumables – Using the wrong consumables can lead to poor quality cuts and increased consumable wear. It is important to use the right consumables for the type and thickness of the stainless steel you are cutting.
- Not cleaning the material – Stainless steel is highly susceptible to contamination from oils, dirt, and debris. Failure to clean the material properly can result in poor quality cuts and contamination of the material.
- Not adjusting the amperage – Failing to adjust the amperage on your plasma cutter can result in poor quality cuts and increased consumable wear. It is important to adjust the amperage to the appropriate level for the thickness of the stainless steel you are cutting.
- Using a worn out or damaged consumable – Using a worn out or damaged consumable can lead to poor quality cuts and increased consumable wear. It is important to regularly inspect and replace worn out or damaged consumables.
In conclusion, cutting stainless steel with a plasma cutter requires attention to detail and precision. Using the right equipment and consumables, adjusting the amperage, keeping the material clean, and using the right cutting speed are all important best practices to follow when cutting stainless steel. Avoiding common mistakes, such as cutting too fast, not using the right consumables, not cleaning the material, not adjusting the amperage, and using worn out or damaged consumables can also help ensure high-quality cuts and prolong the life of your consumables and plasma cutter.
Common Problems of Plasma Cutters
Plasma cutters are powerful tools that can cut through a wide range of materials quickly and efficiently. However, they can also experience common problems that can affect their performance and lifespan. Some of the most common problems that can occur with plasma cutters include:
Here’s our Plasma Cutting Safety Guide.
- Poor-quality cuts – This can occur due to incorrect amperage settings, worn out consumables, or poor-quality materials.
- Consumable wear – Over time, the consumables in a plasma cutter, such as the nozzle and electrode, can wear out and require replacement.
- Torch damage – Plasma cutter torches can become damaged due to drops or collisions, which can affect their performance.
- Air supply issues – Plasma cutters require compressed air to create the plasma arc, and problems with the air supply, such as low air pressure or moisture in the air, can affect the quality of the cut.
- Electrical problems – Plasma cutters require a steady electrical supply to operate correctly, and problems with the power source can cause issues with the performance of the plasma cutter.
To avoid these problems, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for using and maintaining the plasma cutter, including regular cleaning and inspection of the consumables, using the appropriate amperage settings for the material being cut, and ensuring a steady and clean air supply.
How & When does the cost of plasma cutters vary?
The cost of a plasma cutter can vary significantly based on various factors such as the type of plasma cutter, its features and capabilities, brand reputation, and the supplier’s location. In general, the cost of a plasma cutter ranges from $500 to $10,000 or more. Here is a breakdown of the factors that can impact the cost of a plasma cutter:
- Type of Plasma Cutter: The type of plasma cutter can significantly impact its cost. Handheld or portable plasma cutters are generally less expensive than stationary or CNC plasma cutters. A basic handheld plasma cutter can cost between $500 and $1,500, while a stationary or CNC plasma cutter can cost $5,000 to $10,000 or more.
- Features and Capabilities: The features and capabilities of a plasma cutter can significantly impact its cost. For example, a plasma cutter with a higher amperage range, faster cutting speeds, and automatic gas control systems will generally cost more than a basic plasma cutter. Advanced features like CNC compatibility, a larger working area, and automatic height control systems can further increase the cost of a plasma cutter.
- Brand Reputation: The brand reputation of a plasma cutter can also impact its cost. Established brands like Hypertherm, Miller, and Lincoln Electric typically charge a premium price for their plasma cutters due to their reputation for quality, reliability, and durability. However, less well-known brands or lower-end models may offer similar features at a lower cost.
- Supplier Location: The supplier’s location can also impact the cost of a plasma cutter. Buying from a local supplier can be more cost-effective due to reduced shipping costs and taxes. However, buying from an online supplier can offer a wider range of options and competitive pricing.
In summary, the cost of a plasma cutter can vary significantly based on factors such as the type of plasma cutter, its features and capabilities, brand reputation, and supplier location. When selecting a plasma cutter, it is essential to determine the specific requirements of the project and budget constraints. Investing in a high-quality plasma cutter from a reputable brand can be cost-effective in the long run by reducing maintenance costs and improving productivity.
In conclusion, selecting the best plasma cutter with a built-in air compressor can be a daunting task, but it is crucial to make an informed decision to ensure optimal performance and efficiency. Factors such as power output, cutting capacity, portability, ease of use, and safety features should be carefully considered when choosing a plasma cutter with a built-in air compressor. It is also important to purchase from a reputable brand and ensure that the machine meets all safety and regulatory standards. Ultimately, by choosing the right plasma cutter with a built-in air compressor, you can achieve precision cuts on a variety of materials with ease and convenience, making it a valuable addition to any workshop or job site.