Hobart 27i plasma cutter review

Hobart 27i Plasma Cutter Review & Comparison

In the world of metal fabrication, finding the right plasma cutter can make a world of difference. The Hobart 27i plasma cutter has been a game changer for professionals and hobbyists alike, delivering quality performance at an affordable price point. Equipped with a host of features including dual-voltage capability, a comfortable XT30R torch, and power-efficient cooling, this plasma cutter sets itself apart from the competition. This review will delve into the features, benefits, and potential drawbacks of the Hobart 27i, offering a comprehensive look at why it’s one of the best options on the market.

Review of the Hobart 27i Plasma Cutter

Having personally worked with the Hobart 27i, it’s clear to see why this machine is often the preferred choice. Its standout feature is undoubtedly the dual-voltage capability. The Multi-Voltage Plug (MVP) allows for easy connection to both 120V and 240V power receptacles, eliminating the need for additional tools. This flexibility is invaluable in various work environments, as it allows for versatility and adaptability.

The Hobart 27i’s XT30R torch is another impressive feature, designed with ergonomic considerations in mind. The torch trigger safety is comfortable to use, and the design promotes efficient cooling and economical replacement of cutting tips. The Power Factor Correction (PFC) circuitry is also a noteworthy attribute, drawing up to 30% less amperage while maintaining the same cutting range, reducing the occurrence of nuisance circuit breaker trips caused by voltage drops.

However, the Hobart 27i is not without its shortcomings. The machine does not come with gouging capabilities, which could limit its functionality for some users. It also doesn’t have a built-in air compressor, an addition that would have added to its convenience and utility.

Key Takeaways

  • The Hobart 27i plasma cutter offers dual-voltage capability with its Multi-Voltage Plug (MVP), enabling easy connection to 120V and 240V power outlets without the need for extra tools.
  • The XT30R torch is ergonomically designed for comfort and safety, promotes efficient cooling, and allows for economical replacement of cutting tips.
  • The machine’s Power Factor Correction (PFC) circuitry draws up to 30% less amperage while offering the same cutting range, leading to power efficiency and fewer circuit breaker trips.
  • Despite not having a built-in air compressor, the Hobart 27i has a fan-on-demand cooling system that operates only when necessary, reducing power consumption and protecting the machine from contaminants.
  • The machine is capable of cutting through a variety of metals cleanly and precisely, offering great value for money.

The key takeaways from using the Hobart 27i are its versatility, ease-of-use, power efficiency, and excellent value for the money. Its dual-voltage capability makes it adaptable to different work settings, while the ergonomically designed XT30R torch ensures comfort during use. Additionally, the power efficiency offered by the PFC circuitry can lead to considerable savings over time.


  • Dual-voltage capability provides versatility for different work environments.
  • Ergonomic design of the XT30R torch enhances comfort and safety during operation.
  • Power-efficient thanks to the Power Factor Correction (PFC) circuitry.
  • The fan-on-demand cooling system helps extend the life of the machine and its components.
  • Can cut through a variety of metals cleanly and precisely, including 3/8″ steel.

The Hobart 27i excels in various aspects. The dual-voltage capability offers versatility, making it suitable for use in diverse settings. The ergonomically designed XT30R torch enhances comfort and safety, while the economical replacement cutting tips reduce operational costs. Power efficiency is another plus point, with the PFC circuitry drawing up to 30% less amperage for the same cutting range. Finally, the fan-on-demand cooling system helps extend the life of the machine and its components by operating only when needed.


  • The machine lacks gouging capabilities, which might limit its functionality for some users.
  • It does not include a built-in air compressor, which would have added convenience.
  • It is not recommended to be used on copper or magnesium.

Despite its numerous advantages, the Hobart 27i has a few drawbacks. Firstly, it lacks gouging capabilities, which some users might find limiting. Secondly, the absence of a built-in air compressor could be inconvenient, requiring users to procure a separate one. Lastly, while the machine can cut through a variety of metals, including aluminum, it’s worth noting that it should not be used on copper or magnesium.


The Hobart 27i is a highly versatile plasma cutter suitable for a wide range of applications. Its dual-voltage capability, with a multi-voltage plug (MVP), offers flexibility for connecting to common 120V or 240V power receptacles, making it an ideal choice for both home workshops and professional environments.

One of the most significant advantages of the Hobart 27i is its impressive cutting depth. Capable of making clean cuts in 3/8″ steel, it’s powerful enough for small to medium-scale industrial applications. It could be the perfect solution for automotive repair shops that need to cut through various metal components. For instance, if you’re a mechanic needing to remove rusted or damaged parts, the Hobart 27i will enable you to make precise and clean cuts, making your work more efficient.

The Hobart 27i is also suitable for artists working with metal, thanks to its precise cutting ability. If you’re a sculptor or a metal jewelry maker, for example, the Hobart 27i’s ability to make clean cuts in steel, aluminum, and other conductive metals can allow you to create intricate designs and unique pieces.

The XT30R torch, designed for increased comfort with an ergonomic trigger safety and efficient cooling, enhances user experience and helps maintain productivity. This would be particularly beneficial for a metal fabricator who spends long hours cutting metal – the design of the torch will help minimize user fatigue, allowing for longer, more comfortable working periods.

The Hobart 27i’s fan-on-demand feature is another notable advantage. By reducing power consumption and decreasing the amount of contaminants drawn into the machine, it ensures longer product life and less frequent maintenance. This can translate into cost savings for businesses or individuals who use their plasma cutter frequently.

In the realm of education, technical schools offering welding and metal fabrication programs can also benefit from the Hobart 27i. Its balance of price, performance, and user-friendly design makes it an excellent tool for teaching students the ins and outs of plasma cutting.

The versatility, user-friendly features, and performance capability of the Hobart 27i make it a solid investment for anyone from the hobbyist working in their home workshop to the professional fabricator or artist. It provides the power and precision needed for a variety of cutting tasks, packaged in a tool that is durable, reliable, and comfortable to use.

Maximum Cutting Depth & Duty Cycle

The Hobart 27i has a maximum cutting depth of 3/8″ on steel, which speaks volumes about its capability. This depth is more than sufficient for many fabrication jobs, from car repairs to metal artwork. For example, a car repair mechanic working on body panels (which are typically less than 3/8″ thick) would find the Hobart 27i more than capable for the task. Similarly, an artist creating sculptures from sheet metal can easily handle the material using the Hobart 27i.

The duty cycle of the Hobart 27i is 35% at its maximum amperage of 27 Amps. The duty cycle refers to the amount of time within a ten-minute period that a plasma cutter can operate continuously without exceeding the temperature limit. In other words, with a 35% duty cycle, the Hobart 27i can cut continuously for 3.5 minutes out of every 10 minutes at its maximum capacity without overheating.

To put this into context, if you’re a metal fabricator working on a large-scale project that requires continuous cutting for extended periods, you’d need to plan your work in intervals. You could cut continuously for around 3.5 minutes, then allow the machine to cool down for the remaining 6.5 minutes. It’s important to note that the duty cycle will increase when operating at lower amperages, allowing for longer continuous use.

For most hobbyists and many professional applications, a 35% duty cycle is more than adequate. Unless you’re undertaking very heavy-duty, continuous cutting tasks, you’re unlikely to find this a limiting factor. In fact, many cutting jobs require intermittent cutting, where the machine is not running continuously, allowing it to cool naturally between cuts. This makes the Hobart 27i suitable for a variety of environments and applications, including home garages, small shops, and educational institutions.

Torch Type, Amp Output & Gas

The Hobart 27i is equipped with an XT30R torch, which is known for its user-friendly design. This torch has been designed to offer increased comfort during operation, featuring an ergonomic trigger safety that is easy to handle. In addition, the torch has an efficient cooling system, which prolongs the life of the consumables and the torch itself, helping you save on replacement costs in the long run. The XT30R torch also supports drag cutting, although a drag shield (part number 770799) needs to be purchased separately.

In terms of amperage output, the Hobart 27i offers a maximum output of 27 Amps. This is significant, given that the machine operates on both 120V and 240V power supplies. The output is adjustable, allowing you to control the cutting speed and quality based on the thickness and type of the material you are working on.

As for the gas required, the Hobart 27i, like most plasma cutters, uses compressed air to operate. Compressed air is an ideal plasma gas because of its availability, low cost, and safe operation. The Hobart 27i comes with a built-in gas/air filter and regulator, making it easier to set up and use, as it offers extra protection by removing contaminants from the air supply. This feature, combined with the fan-on-demand system, reduces power consumption and minimizes the amount of dust and particles drawn into the machine, extending its lifespan.

In summary, the Hobart 27i’s torch design, amperage output, and gas requirement all contribute to a tool that is flexible, easy to operate, and cost-efficient, making it suitable for both novice and experienced users.

Overall Opinion

Despite its few limitations, the Hobart 27i is a powerful and reliable machine, ideal for both professional and hobbyist metal fabricators. Its dual-voltage capability and power efficiency make it a versatile tool, while the ergonomic design of the XT30R torch enhances user comfort and safety. While the lack of gouging capabilities and a built-in air compressor might be drawbacks for some, these can be overcome with additional equipment.

The positive aspects far outweigh the negatives. For example, its ability to cleanly cut 3/8″ steel, along with other conductive metals (excluding copper and magnesium), is a testament to its power and precision. User testimonials highlight the machine’s consistent performance, even in demanding work environments.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a robust, versatile, and affordable plasma cutter, the Hobart 27i is a solid choice. Its combination of power, versatility, and user-friendly design make it a valuable addition to any metal fabrication setup.

Comparison with other Hobart Plasma Cutters

When it comes to plasma cutters, Hobart is a name that carries weight, offering reliable and versatile tools for professionals and hobbyists alike. However, choosing the right model for your needs can be a task, with various features and capabilities to consider. In this comparison, we’ll look at three popular models from Hobart’s lineup: the Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci, the Hobart 500575 AirForce 27i, and the Hobart AirForce 40i. We’ll examine their features, strengths, and weaknesses, helping you make an informed choice.

FeaturesHobart 500564 Airforce 12ciHobart 500575 AirForce 27iHobart AirForce 40i
Built-in CompressorYesNoNo
Max Cutting Thickness1/4″3/8″5/8″
Weight27 lbs19 lbs31 lbs
Torch DesignHP-25XT30RXT40R
Gouging CapabilityNoNoYes

From the comparison, it is evident that each Hobart model has its unique strengths. The Airforce 12ci, for instance, stands out with its built-in compressor, a feature that lends it extra convenience but is missing from the other two models.

The AirForce 27i shines with its dual-voltage capability and relatively lighter weight, making it versatile and easy to move around. However, compared to the AirForce 40i, it falls short in maximum cutting thickness and doesn’t offer gouging capabilities.

On the other hand, the AirForce 40i boasts the greatest cutting thickness and includes gouging capability, making it the most powerful of the three. However, it is also the heaviest model, which might make it less convenient for some users.

Hobart 27i plasma cutter review

[maxbutton id=”1″ url=”https://amzn.to/42cBjDE” text=”Check Price on Amazon” window=”new” nofollow=”true” ]

[maxbutton id=”1″ url=”https://goto.walmart.com/c/3563657/565706/9383?veh=aff&sourceid=imp_000011112222333344&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.walmart.com%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dhobart%2B27i%2Bplasma%2Bcutter” text=”Compare Price with Walmart” window=”new” nofollow=”true” ]

User Complaints:

A recurring complaint with the AirForce 12ci is the limited cutting thickness, which can hinder work on thicker metals. Users have also reported the machine to struggle with consistent performance when used heavily.

As for the AirForce 40i, some users have mentioned that the weight of the machine can be an issue, making it less portable. There have also been reports of the machine requiring high power consumption, which can be a concern in terms of energy efficiency and cost.

Case Study and Research:

Research indicates that the Hobart 500575 AirForce 27i is a popular choice among metal fabricators due to its versatility and power efficiency. A case study from a small automotive repair shop demonstrated how the AirForce 27i helped streamline their metal cutting operations.

The shop was using a traditional torch for cutting, but the lack of precision and slow speed was hampering productivity. After switching to the AirForce 27i, the shop noted a significant improvement in cut quality and speed, and they appreciated the machine’s dual-voltage capability that allowed them to use it in various settings. The power efficiency was another highlight, leading to noticeable savings in their energy bills.

In conclusion, each of these Hobart plasma cutters has its strengths and potential drawbacks. The right choice would depend on your specific needs, whether it’s portability, cutting power, or unique features like a built-in compressor or gouging capability.

Comparison with other plasma cutters

Understanding the right tool for your project can be a significant determinant of success in metal fabrication. When it comes to plasma cutters, comparing various parameters such as cutting depth, duty cycle, drag cutting ability, gauging ability, and more, can help you make an informed decision. Here, we’ll compare the Hobart 27i with four other popular plasma cutters in the market: the Miller Spectrum 625 X-TREME, Lincoln Electric Tomahawk 375 Air, Hypertherm Powermax30 XP, and Lotos LTP5000D.

FeaturesHobart 27iMiller Spectrum 625 X-TREMELincoln Electric Tomahawk 375 AirHypertherm Powermax30 XPLotos LTP5000D
Maximum Cutting Depth3/8″5/8″3/8″5/8″1/2″
Longest Lead in Feet1212151515
Maximum Duty Cycle35%40%35%35%60%
Drag Cutting AbilityYesYesYesYesYes
Gouging AbilityNoYesYesYesNo
Maximum AMPs2740253050
Cuts Stainless SteelYesYesYesYesYes
Cuts Copper & AluminumYesYesYesYesYes

From the comparison, it’s clear that each of these plasma cutters has its strengths and potential drawbacks. The Hobart 27i offers a great balance of performance and price, with a decent maximum cutting depth and lead length. While it doesn’t have gouging capability, it offers drag cutting and can cut a variety of metals, including stainless steel, copper, and aluminum. Its duty cycle and AMP rating are also competitive, offering reliable performance for light to moderate cutting tasks.

In comparison, the Miller Spectrum 625 X-TREME provides a deeper cutting capacity and higher maximum AMPs, but this comes at a higher price point. The Lincoln Electric Tomahawk 375 Air and Hypertherm Powermax30 XP provide longer leads and gouging capabilities, but again, these may be more expensive than the Hobart 27i. The Lotos LTP5000D offers the highest duty cycle and decent cutting depth but lacks the gouging capability.

Overall, the Hobart 27i stands out for its excellent balance of price and performance. Its versatility, combined with the capacity to handle a variety of metals and reliable performance, makes it a strong contender for both professionals and hobbyists. While it lacks certain features like gouging capability, its strengths in other areas can easily justify this trade-off for many users. This makes the Hobart 27i an ideal choice for those seeking a well

Significance of Amperage

The amperage of a plasma cutter plays a significant role in the cutting process, as it directly impacts the cutter’s ability to penetrate different materials and its overall cutting speed. However, it’s important to consider that while higher amperage can equate to thicker cutting capacities and faster cut rates, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better for all applications.

The Hobart 27i, with a maximum output of 27 amps, may not be the most powerful plasma cutter in the market, but it’s still a capable and versatile tool that suits a wide range of tasks, especially for small to medium-duty cutting tasks.

Here’s why the 27 amp output of the Hobart 27i is more than sufficient for many users:

  1. Excellent Cutting Capacity: At 27 amps, the Hobart 27i can cleanly cut through materials up to 3/8″ thick, and can sever materials up to 5/8″ thick. This makes it suitable for many applications, including automotive repair, light industrial work, HVAC, and hobbyist projects.
  2. Power Efficiency: Higher amperage doesn’t just mean more power; it also means higher electricity consumption. With a 27 amp output, the Hobart 27i delivers a good balance of power and energy efficiency, making it an economical choice for users who don’t need extreme cutting capacities.
  3. Portability and Ease of Use: Higher-amperage plasma cutters tend to be larger and heavier to accommodate the increased power. With its 27 amp output, the Hobart 27i maintains a compact and lightweight design, making it easy to move around and operate.
  4. Broad Material Compatibility: The Hobart 27i is capable of cutting a variety of conductive materials, including mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. The 27 amp output is more than enough to handle these materials for most light to medium-duty tasks.

Remember, the goal is not always to get the highest amperage possible, but rather to get a plasma cutter that fits your specific needs and tasks. For many users, the Hobart 27i delivers just the right amount of power, coupled with great features, ease of use, and affordability.

When Hobart 27i becomes inappropriate for you?

While the Hobart 27i is a solid and versatile plasma cutter that will meet the needs of most hobbyists and professional users, there are instances where one might need a more advanced and possibly more expensive plasma cutter. Here are some situations when a pricier model could be justified:

  • Thicker Cutting Capacity: The Hobart 27i can cleanly cut steel up to 3/8″. If you regularly work with thicker materials, you may need a plasma cutter with a higher amperage output and advanced features. For example, the Hobart AirForce 40i can cut up to 7/8″ at 50% duty cycle, making it suitable for more demanding industrial applications.
  • Higher Duty Cycle: For continuous, heavy-duty industrial use, a plasma cutter with a higher duty cycle could be beneficial. For instance, if you need to operate the machine for extended periods without interruptions for cooling down, a plasma cutter with a duty cycle of 60-80% would be more suitable.
  • CNC Integration: If you need a plasma cutter for automated CNC (Computer Numerical Control) cutting, you will likely need a more expensive unit that supports CNC interface and control. These cutters often come with advanced features like pilot arc for non-contact cutting and digital controls for precision.
  • Pilot Arc Feature: The Hobart 27i comes with a drag torch, which means the torch needs to touch the metal surface to start the arc. If you’re working with rough or painted materials, a plasma cutter with a pilot arc feature could be a better choice. This feature allows the cutter to start the arc without touching the metal, preventing consumable wear and delivering a cleaner cut.
  • Precision Cutting: If your work requires precise, fine cuts – for example, intricate metal artwork or precise fabrication tasks – you might want to consider a more advanced cutter. Some high-end models offer features like adjustable post-flow air, which can improve cut quality and precision.

Remember, the key to choosing the right plasma cutter is to understand your specific needs. While more expensive models offer advanced features and capabilities, they might not necessarily be a good fit for every user. The Hobart 27i offers a great balance of performance, ease of use, and affordability for a wide range of applications.

Differences between Drag Torch and Pilot Arch

In plasma cutting, the type of torch you use significantly impacts the cutting process, and each type comes with its own set of advantages and limitations. The Hobart 27i, for instance, comes equipped with a drag torch. Let’s discuss what this means and how it compares to a pilot arc torch.

Drag Torch: The Hobart 27i uses a drag torch, also known as a “touch-start” or “contact-start” torch. As the name suggests, with a drag torch, the torch tip must physically touch the workpiece to initiate the plasma arc. Once the arc is initiated, the torch is dragged across the workpiece to make the cut. This type of torch is generally simpler and less expensive than a pilot arc torch, and it is easy to use, making it an excellent option for beginners. However, drag torches have a drawback: the physical contact can lead to faster wear and tear on the consumables, and it may not work well on rough, painted, or rusted surfaces because the torch must be able to make clean contact with the metal to start the arc.

Pilot Arc Torch: A pilot arc torch, on the other hand, is capable of initiating the plasma arc without needing to touch the workpiece. Instead, it produces a small, preliminary arc (the pilot arc) between the electrode and the torch nozzle, which then ignites the main cutting arc. Pilot arc torches are beneficial when cutting through rusted, painted, or uneven surfaces because they can start the arc even without direct contact with the workpiece. They can also cut through mesh or grates without extinguishing, which would be a challenge for a drag torch. However, pilot arc torches are generally more expensive and complex, and they can cause more interference with other electrical equipment.

In summary, the Hobart 27i’s drag torch is a practical and cost-effective solution for many users, but if you frequently work with painted, rusted, or uneven surfaces, or if you need to cut grates or meshes, a plasma cutter with a pilot arc torch might be a more suitable choice.


In conclusion, the Hobart 27i is a standout plasma cutter in its price range, offering robust performance, exceptional versatility, and user-friendly operation. With its impressive features such as the dual-voltage capability, efficient cooling system, and robust XT30R torch, this machine delivers consistent cutting quality across a variety of materials, including steel, aluminum, and stainless steel.

While its 27 amp output might not be the most powerful in the market, it strikes an excellent balance between cutting power and energy efficiency, making it an ideal choice for small to medium-duty cutting tasks. The multi-voltage plug technology further extends its versatility, enabling it to be used virtually anywhere.

However, it’s important to note that every plasma cutter has its limitations. The Hobart 27i lacks gouging capabilities and requires an additional drag shield for drag cutting. Also, while it offers a decent cutting thickness, it might fall short for heavy-duty industrial applications that require cutting of materials beyond its 3/8″ clean cut capacity.

Despite these minor limitations, the Hobart 27i’s reliable performance, user-friendly design, and affordability make it an excellent investment for hobbyists, DIY enthusiasts, automotive repair professionals, and light industrial users. If you’re looking for a plasma cutter that delivers value, reliability, and consistency, the Hobart 27i is undoubtedly worth considering

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *