The built-in gas/air filter and regulator cleans airborne particles, making the ForceCut 62i cut efficiently. The Pilot Arc system comes in handy when the voltage is unstable.
Its weight might be too much to lift.
This model is designed for experienced welders and it cuts metal from 0.3 mm up to 30 mm. The device is able to work at its maximum power for 9.5 minutes in a row, which is a great rate.
220V / 20-60A
0.321 - 30 mm
60A / 95%
Built-In Air Filter And Regulator
Thermal Overload Protection
Pilot Arc Technology
Blowback Arc Start/ CNC Ready
Efficient IGBT Inverter Technology
533 x 228 x 431 mm
The handle of the device has a rotatable mount so that it can lie on one side, which is very convenient for storage.
Rather small operating current range.
The Draper plasma cutter will be a good choice for those seeking the balance between the specs, dimensions, and price. It can easily handle the average load during the day, and also supports cutting metal of up to 12 mm.
230V / 20-40A
up to 12 mm
40A / 60%
Microprocessor controlled inverter technology
Suitable for cutting any electrically conductive material
Thermal overload protection
460 x 270 x 345 mm
There is a scale with current indices that allows an inexperienced welder to set up a device for cutting metal of different thicknesses more accurately.
Maximus gas flow rate is just 3.5 bar.
The Goldpower CUT-50 can be a good option for those who are looking for an inexpensive and high-quality model for metal cutting.
220V / 10-50A
0 - 15 mm
50A / 60%
IGBT soft-switch technology, more stable performance
IGBT inverter soft switch
Adjustable cutting current
Built-in over-heat protection
Overcurrent and air pressure light indicators
490 x 260 x 400 mm
The set includes absolutely all necessary components for you to immediately use any of the device's modes.
The MOSFET technology is somewhat outdated.
The CT-520 can be an indispensable device in the house. You'll be able to weld metal in TIG and MIG ways and also cut a piece of metal from the workpiece with plasma. And it is not too bulky or heavy.
220V / 10-50A (Cutting), 10-200A (TIG), 10-200A (MMA/Stick)
1 - 12 mm (Cutting), 0.8 - 8 mm (TIG), 1.6/2.4/3.2 mm (MMA)
50A / 60%
Multi-function of TIG and MMA welder as well as air plasma cutting
High arc energy
Less pollution and burning
Enrich welding material
Advanced MOSFET inverter technology
480 x 200 x 380 mm
This plasma cutter weighs only 9.8 kilogrammes, which makes it one of the most lightweight models among the competitors.
There are no marks near the current switch.
The SIP portable plasma cutter can work with the air pressure up to 6 bar, which allows faster and more efficient metal cutting. In addition, the model has a two-year warranty, which distinguishes it from most of the competitors.
230V / 15-40A
up to 12 mm
40A / 60%
3 - 6 bar
Infinitely variable output power settings
Adjustable cooldown time
480 x 250 x 480 mm
What Is a Plasma Cutter?
There are various metal cutting tools that exist today and each of them has its benefits. For example, a hacksaw can cut a thin wall pipe, while an angle grinder allows cutting through thick metal pieces quickly and easily. So, what is a plasma cutter for then? The answer is simple, for a finer, precision cutting. Angle grinders leave burrs, which require grounding afterwards and it is time-consuming. After all, with an angle grinder, you are able to do the only straight cutting, while a plasma cutter can cut following every movement of your hand.
Below, we will consider the main aspects that are worth your attention while choosing a plasma cutter.
The metalworking commonly includes the cutting and welding. Hence, we recommend using a chop saw for a fast cutting, and get one of the MIG welders to quickly join metal parts and weld quality and uniform seams.
What Features to Compare
Plasma cutters come equipped with transformers and inverters. As for the former cutters, they consist of mechanical parts and offer only the stepped adjustment of the output power and only in the off mode. This type of devices does not allow a constant voltage regulation, so the output voltage can drop under a high load. Yet, the main advantages of transformer models are their simple design that largely facilitates the maintenance, as well as their affordable price. As for the invertor cutters, they feature CNC controls for a steady output power adjustment regardless of input voltage jumps and the load. In addition, plasma cutters employ contact and contactless cutting types. A contact cutting is usually used for the materials with 0.4 - 0.6" thickness, while contactless cutting is applied to 0.7 to 3" thick metalware. Of course, the utilized power is the main aspect of any power tool. As to plasma cutters, this power entirely depends on the output amperage. However, for these devices, the type of a power supply unit is crucial as transformer-powered cutters can cut metal with the thickness of up to 1.5", while inverter-powered are able to provide only the 1.18" max cutting depth. Despite the smaller cutting depth, the performance of inverter plasma cutters is enough for most tasks, so they are often preferred by beginners and even experienced users.
Speaking of the operating principle of plasma cutters, they use the compressed air from a reservoir. The compressed air is pumped through a torch nozzle at 0.6-0.9 miles per second speed, where it gets ionized with an electric arc with its temperature reaching 50,000 °F for the metal melting. Thus, the higher is the amperage in the ionizer, the higher is the plasma temperature and the thicker metal pieces the plasma can cut. So, mind the type and thickness of the material you're going to cut when choosing the cutter. There are cutting standards that establish the ratio of metal thickness to the applied amperage. With that, nonferrous metals of up to 19 GA should be cut with 6А power, while stainless steel and ferrous metals are to be cut with 4А. According to this pattern, you need a welder with 50A amperage for cutting the parts of up to 1/2" thickness. The cutting speed is another important aspect, given that the thicker the piece, the slower the cutting. Also, pay attention to the cutter duty cycle. A full duty cycle is considered a 10-minute period. Thus, for example, "50А / 60%" means that the machine can work for 6 min at 50А, i.e. for 60% of the 10-minute interval. When the specified duty cycle is over, the cutter needs to be turned off to cool down, after that you can resume the operation.
Some plasma cutters are convenient for having built-in compressors that supply the air to the torch. Such machines are compact and are usually used by household owners. The models with external standalone compressors have a longer life cycle and are typically used on construction sites and at production facilities. The availability of an overheating protection is another benefit as it shuts the cutter down if it exceeds the specified temperature. If you're going to use a cutter outdoors, consider the length of its air supply hose, which, if it is long enough, allows not taking the whole device outside. Nevertheless, some machines weigh 20-25 lbs, so they aren't so hard to carry outside. Finally, pay attention to the cutter accessories. Some models may come with a protective helmet or goggles, hoses for air tanks and tips for a contact welding. So, if you have a hard time choosing between two models, the accessories set may be the deciding factor.
Longevity Forcecut 62i
Experienced and Well-Known
Longevity is a well-known brand in the world of welding and plasma cutting, it makes a name for itself by bringing a consistent flow of innovatory technologies and goods to the market. The Forcecut 62i welding tool is surely an excellent example of this trend. The first thing that distinguishes this cutter (besides the sleek black housing) is the 95% operating cycle at 60 A. There are not so many appliances on the market that even come close to that statistic. It is claimed to cut steel of up to 30 mm with a max cut of 31 mm, and this all on 220V single phase power due to Longevity's inverter IGBT (Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor) technology. There is one thing we can say for sure: you will be amazed by the efficiency of Longevity's newest welding appliance even if you had worked with the other good one. At 127 mm per minute cutting of 25 mm steel, it stands up to the efficiency of some of the top-notch models from the most famous brands.
There is an ammeter on the front side of the Forcecut 62i, the amperage can be controlled by the rheostat wheel and you can accommodate the settings from 20 Amps to 60 Amps. This model is outfitted with a lot of detectors, such as temperature, air tension, pilot/voltage and a light for power. If the operating cycle has reached its maximum the temperature indicators start to signal it. There are some conjunction slots for the ground cord, torch, and the regulation of CNC, which are placed on the forefront side of the panel. All of these compounds are protected, secure, and user-friendly. There are some other controls, the general on/off toggle and the air joint, and they are placed on the rear-side of the housing.
The Longevity Forcecut 62i uses a Pilot Arc system that mechanically perceives deprivation of voltage and re-foments the torch without any intervention from the user, which is average and normal for most of the latest models of this kind of tools. This renewed system is very convenient when you work with corroded metals or painted components. Generally, almost any cutter model requires an individual system of air filtration, but the Forcecut 62i has a built-in one. You just plug in the air supply and it’s ready to work. The 6-meter PT-60 torch, a ground clamp, and two sets of consumables also come bundled with this plasma cutter.
Talking about the price tag, it is less than items that come anywhere near its performance. If you're looking for a professional and powerful plasma cutting system, the Longevity Forcecut 62i is definitely worth a try.
Draper Expert IPC40 78636
Power in Portable Body
Draper Tools Ltd is a British manufacturer and distributor of various tools for professional and consumer use. This is a well-known company and it is famous for its quality goods (garden, power, electric tools etc). The history of Draper Tools starts in 1919 and many things have changed since those times, technological progress took its place, but the company continues to thrive thanks to the one thing, which remains the same, the golden rule since 1919: Guaranteed Quality.
This Draper cutter is one of the most inexpensive models in its power category. You can barely find a cheaper plasma cutter with this rate of power and such an astonishing efficiency coefficient. Having bought the Draper tool you'll be stricken at the effectiveness of this cutter. This model is equipped with a real novelty, the re-engineered trigger head torch attachment. This new torch trigger is detachable, thus it’s easy to adjust the handle; it's very convenient that it also operates in both finger and thumb stances. If you were looking for a plasma cutter for your home or garage (or the place where it is not enough space to manoeuvre) the Draper Expert IPC40 will be an ideal solution due to the small dimensions of its torch head.
This item is compact and at just 460x270x345 mm, it’s easy to store it behind your garage racks and shelves. Its weight is just 10 kg and it means it’s one of the most lightweight plasma cutters on today’s market. Any owner of this model will agree that it is also an amazing choice for handheld use. You can just pack this Draper cutter and bring it anywhere you like, whereas most of the similar cutters of this power and gas flow rate are heavy and barely movable (it’s troublesome to carry more than 20 kg with your bare hands). This appliance comes bundled with a plasma torch, earth lead and clamp, air regulator, air hose, chipping hammer with a brush, and a face mask. Also, it's backed up with a 1-year warranty.
According to the manufacturer’s rating, this appliance is able to cut up to 12 mm. Maybe it’s not enough for some professional work, which can require thicker metals, but it will be surely enough for any DIY project. This plasma cutter is easy to use and even a newbie can make a few trial cuts to grasp the correct range of usage, and once you had it figured out, the work runs smoothly. But there is one more useful feature that really distinguishes this cutter from all others: the thermal overload protection, and it means the system mechanically inhibits its duty cycle when the temperature reaches undesirable rate. This feature averts overload and damage to the interior details. If airflow is unstable, or the temperature has reached its maximum permissible rate, the system will automatically shut off to protect itself. This item requires an air compressor delivering a minimum of 8.8 CFM for the right operating process. The cutter is featured with the microprocessor-controlled inverter technology and thanks to it, the tool combines compact dimensions and low weight with excellent cutting performance. This plasma cutter is suitable for cutting any electrically conductive material.
The Draper Expert IPC40 is an amazing example of a combination of power, portability, and affordability in one item. This tool is one of the best plasma cutters on IGBT technology and it will be a good choice for any DIYer.
Discovery for DIYer
This Sungold model is an outstanding representative of the new age of plasma cutters. This apparatus is endowed with a maximum gas flow rate of 3.5 bar, and it means this cutter is able to slice metal as good as any more powerful one. The Goldpower CUT50 welding tool is equipped with the IGBT inverter soft switch to provide more stable performance, a DC output, and a digital LCD screen that simplifies the reading of the air pressure on the front panel. The tool is very convenient even for inexperienced users since current and indexes of the air pressure light keep you updated on your unit's operating conditions. Moreover, this cutter is endowed with strong interference resistance, which guarantees stable cutting current, steadiness, and continuous current regulation with the intensive arc; all of this facilitates the use of the tool. This welding tool is waterproof and has a shield from electric shock, which makes it safe and durable.
The tool is an economical one and its high duty cycle requires less power consumption. And despite the fact that it is thrifty it is much more productive than the conventional cutting apparatus thanks to its high cutting speed (the tool cuts smoothly and you don't need to perform any polishing work), high temperature, and high energy plasma draught. Less maintenance, less toxic gases, less cleaning, less fire hazard, this welding tool is really a discovery for any DIYer.
Affordable and Powerful
The Goldpower CUT50 max cutting thickness is 15 mm, which is a very good rate for the tool with a pressure of 3.5 bar. This rate is also good compared to any other plasma cutter. The model is suitable for cutting rustproof steel, some kinds of copper alloys, iron, and aluminium, so it is a versatile and multipurpose tool at a nice price. There are some more features that make this plasma cutter even better — it has a built-in over-heat protection (shuts the cutter down if it exceeds the specified temperature), over-voltage protection, under voltage protection, and lack of compressed air pressure protection.
As we've said before, the CUT50 is IGBT tech, not MOSFET. An IGBT tool is more transcendent and more stabilized than the MOSFET one. The MOSFET appliance can cut less than IGBT, too. If we go into listing the differences, the IGBT tech is above the MOSFET tech in the following aspects: peak current capabilities, forward resistance, temperature drift switching speeds and response time, logic level switching and isolation, gate capacitance oscillation, cost, effectiveness at higher voltages, and heat dissipation requirements.
The front part of the welding machine is equipped with a large cooling fan, which is very important in plasma cutting; a bigger cooling fan will let the cutting tool work longer. This model's cooling fan is 20% bigger than that of its usual competitors, and this is one more detail that brings the Goldpower CUT50 better performance. Taking into account all the benefits, we can boldly say that this item is one of the best plasma cutters on the tools market, and this machine simply costs every penny you've paid for it.
The SunGoldPower CT520 is a versatile plasma cutter from a famous manufacturer well-known for its high-quality yet affordable electric tools and welding equipment. This multipurpose appliance mixes three welding tools into one with a 200 A DC TIG Welder, a 200 A Stick Welder, and a 50 A air plasma cutter. It fits for solving different tasks, such as soft steel production, light industrial use, dotty welding, apparatus repair and maintenance. The CT520 is broadly used in various manufacturing scopes, like space industry, shipbuilding, automobiles, containers.
Let's take a closer look at each of its modes:
- The TIG Welder mode has 10-200 AMP DC TIG electric current output. Quality TIG function is suitable for welding on rustproof steel, various nickel fusions, composition metal, Dutch metal, bronze, etc.; the HF start improves tungsten life.
- The Plasma Cutter mode has 50 AMP Plasma Cutter current output. The max cut thickness of this mode is 12 mm. This compact welding tool has a grip for portability and uses non-dangerous compressed air to cut steel, nickel, soft steel, some copper alloys, and aluminium.
- The Stick/MMA Welder mode has 10-200 AMP DC Stick/MMA electric current output. It is distinguished by easy arc start, stable welding arc, deep weld pool, and beautiful welding shape. This mode is endowed with flexible hot striking arc stream, which can greatly refine the arc-starting function and is appropriate for doing your work with various kinds of basic electrodes.
The MOSFET is a somewhat old-fashioned technology and most of the modern plasma cutters run on IGBT inverter technology instead. But it is precisely this technology that gives this plasma cutter several advantages compared to others. MOSFET is a metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor and the great excellence of the MOSFET is that it demands almost no input current to monitor the load current compared to any bipolar transistor. In an "enhancement mode" MOSFET, the voltage applied to the gate terminal increases the electroconductivity of the device. In "depletion mode", the voltage applied at the gate reduces the electroconductivity. And this "old" inverter technology provides this plasma cutter with flexibility and versatility. The SunGoldPower CT520 has a small size, light weight, energy saving mode, and it is quiet. It runs with small splashing, great penetration, and it is convenient to operate. Over-voltage protection, under voltage protection, overcurrent protection, overburden protection, and mechanical reimbursement for voltage oscillation make this plasma cutter safer and more reliable compared to other similar models.
It comes with complete package and is ready to be used. The full kit includes a welding machine, Stick/MMA welder torch, cutting torch, tig torch, earth clamp, hose clamp, air filter and regulator, inner hexagon spanner argon regulator, and cable joint. This machine is simply one of the best plasma cutters running on MOSFET technology. There are so many advantages for such a reasonable price that this plasma cutter is certainly worth considering.
SIP 05785 HG400
Expert in Welding
SIP Industrial Products is a British manufacturer focused on welding and compressed air products. This company was founded in 1968 and the goods from this brand fit all kinds of welding work and meet the requirements of both DIY amateurs and professionals. For almost 50 years this manufacturer has been supplying the market with quality equipment. SIP knows for sure how to choose the right tool model for required work and how to get the decent result from each machine. No matter what kinds of welding accessories you need (welding machine, air compressor, generator etc), SIP will provide the whole range of welding equipment and you can be sure that any product you chose will be of fine quality and durable.
The HG400 is an outstanding representative of the new SIP welding collection, and it is a high-quality welding equipment for heavy-duty applications, which makes it more durable and reliable. With a maximum cutting capacity of 10 mm (and 12 mm of severing) this SIP 05785 has a 20-40 AMP output current and 40 AMP output 60% duty cycle. With 5.3 CFM average air consumption and 4.5 bar compressed air pressure, this cutter stands among the most powerful and efficient ones. But there is one more thing that gives HG400 a big advantage and distinguishes it among other similar models, it's the adjustable gas flow rate (pressure) from 3 to 6 bar, which is a really convenient feature and a fairly rare one. With the maximum pressure rate of 6 bar, it's probably the most powerful plasma cutter in its weight category (its weight is just 9.8 kg).
The newly modified SIP HG400 uses an Inverter Plasma technology, which is ideal for consistently clean and highly accurate cutting of conductive materials including steel, stainless steel, copper, bronze, and aluminium. The SIP company is widely-known for its cutting-edge technologies and the HG400 model is not an exception. It uses the IGBT technology (insulated-gate bipolar transistor). This is a three-terminal power semiconductor mostly used as an electronic switch which, as it was engineered, came to combine high efficiency and rapid toggling. It shifts electric power in many applications. The IGBT is a semiconductor device with four alternating layers (P-N-P-N) controlled by a metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) gate structure without regenerative action.
This item comes complete with a 1.8-m MIG torch, earth cable with earth clamp, hand-held face protection, contact tip, chipping hammer/brush, and 0.2-kg flux cored MIG wire, and it's perfect for use in garages, workshops, or in your home. This plasma cutter is equipped with a thermal overload indication and a digital display for the user to see current settings; an adjustable cooldown time will also be an indispensable feature in the use of this cutter, even if you are not a pro. This item fits those who are ready to pay a reasonable price for efficiency and quality.
Q: Does any plasma cutter have a built-in air compressor?
A: No, it depends on a plasma cutter model. Some of the models are equipped with an air compressor but most are not. Obviously, models with an air compressor cost more and if you're going to buy the model without it, you should certainly know the capacity, pressure, and input current rates suitable for your plasma cutter model. Remember you can't just use any random air compressor, it's obligatory to check all the stats before use.
Q: What is the right way to choose a model for home and garage use?
A: It's the question of your purposes and the price you're ready to pay for it. Mostly, DIYers choose average models, not the most powerful but not the mediocre, too. If you unquestionably know what type of work you will do, you are ready to figure out the output power of the tool. But there is one thing left, you have to decide how much you are ready to pay for this instrument.
Q: Where can I find extra tips and electrodes?
A: You can buy all this extra stuff in most of the specialised shops but if you desire to buy exactly what you need, visit the manufacturer's website and purchase suitable and appropriate tips and electrodes for your model from an authorised dealer.
Q: How to use a plasma cutter?
A: You'll be surprised when you find out how easy it is to use it, but you should learn some rules. If you would like to use your cutter like a real professional, just follow these steps:
- Choose work location: the space that is secure and gives you the opportunity for manoeuvre.
- Ensure that the main unit of the apparatus is powered off and plug it in.
- Connect the air compressor and power it on (in case there is no built-in air compressor).
- Plug the ground clamp in.
- Turn the machine on and set the current.
- Cut the material you need.
- Turn the apparatus off and detach the ground clamp.
- Turn the air off and wind up all cords.
Q: How does a plasma cutter work and what is "plasma"?
A: In simple words, plasma is the fourth state of matter. The matter, naturally, has three states: solid, liquid, gas, and matter converts from one state to the other by the transference of energy, such as heat. But physics claims that there is a fourth state, a state of matter in which an ionised gas becomes highly electrically conductive. This welding machine uses this electrically conductive gas to convert energy from an apparatus to any conductive material. The formation of plasma arc starts when a gas such as oxygen, nitrogen, argon, or even shop air is forced through small orifice holes inside the torch. An electric arc, produced by an external power supply, introduced to this high pressured gas stream, and it is commonly called as a “plasma jet”. This plasma jet instantly reaches temperatures up to 40,000° F, rapidly penetrating into the workpiece and blowing away the melted material.
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