What is Plasma Cutting
It is a cutting process in which jet ionized gas (above 20,000°C) is used to melt electrically conducted materials. The types of materials that can be cut with plasma are Stainless steel, Aluminum, copper, brass etc.
If you are a DIY enthusiast, you don't need a heavy-duty plasma cutter. Since you will be using it occasionally, the best plasma cutter under 500 will work perfectly well.
The good news is that there are many cost-effective plasma cutters out there.
But with the so many options out there, it can be hard choosing a reasonably priced, useful plasma cutter.
To help you make the right choice, we have created a review of the best plasma cutter under 500.
Table of Contents
- 7 Best Plasma Cutter Under 500
- Lotos LTP5000D 50Amp Non-Touch Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter, Dual Voltage 110V/220V, 1/2 Inch Clean Cut, Brown :
- LOTOS LT5000D 50A Air Inverter Plasma Cutter Dual Voltage 110/220VAC 1/2" Clean Cut :
- CUT-50, 50 Amp Pro. Plasma Cutter, DC Inverter 110/230V Dual Voltage Cutting Machine New :
- PRIMEWELD Premium & Rugged 50A Air Inverter Plasma Cutter Automatic Dual Voltage 110/220VAC 1/2" Clean Cut Portable :
- Plasma Cutters 50Amp Dual Voltage - Reboot CUT50 Air Plasma Cutting Machine 110V/220V Compact Metal Cutter 1/2" Clean Cut High-Frequency Inverter Cutting for Alloy Mild Steel Cast Iron :
- VIVOHOME Portable DC Inverter Plasma Cutter Cutting Machine Dual Voltage 110V/220V CUT-50 :
- Forney Easy Weld 251 20 P Plasma Cutter, Green :
- How to set up a plasma cutter:
- More Welding Equipement Reviews
Instead of reading the whole article, have a look at the following comparison chart where we have differentiated, and you can make your choice to buy any of them.
7 Best Plasma Cutter Under 500
After more than 13 years of research, we found these to be the best cheap plasma cutters.
Lotos LTP5000D 50Amp Non-Touch Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter, Dual Voltage 110V/220V, 1/2 Inch Clean Cut, Brown :
If you are searching for an inexpensive but quality plasma cutter, you should consider the Lotos LTP5000D Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter. The plasma cutter delivers an excellent cutting performance.
It comes with a pilot arch that makes it perfect for cutting rough surfaces or dirty metals continuously while producing minimal snag.
It has a design that is borrowed from the high-tech MOSFET/IGBT transistor, enabling it to produce more power for cutting thick metals and a steady output when cutting thin metals. It comes in a compact, portable size.
- Pilot arch plasma cutter
- A dual voltage of 110/220
- The output of 10-50 A DC
- Plug and air filter regulator(preinstalled)
- Cooling system
- The maximum cut of ½."
- Maximum severance thickness of ¾."
- Two spare nozzles and electrodes
The plasma cutter can be used for cutting stainless steel, alloy steel, mild steel, Aluminum, copper, and other metals.
If you want a plasma cutter for cutting ½” or less, the Lotos LTP5000D Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter is a great choice.
LOTOS LT5000D 50A Air Inverter Plasma Cutter Dual Voltage 110/220VAC 1/2" Clean Cut :
For a cost-effective plasma cutter that can do small jobs perfectly well, you should consider the Lotos LT5000D Plasma Cutter. Not only is it easy to use, but it is an excellent choice for hobbyist around the home.
The cheap but efficient plasma cutter uses safe and compressed air to cut, enabling it to cut with precision and high speed.
It is an excellent choice for cutting Alloy Steel, Stainless Steel, Mild Steel, Aluminum, Copper, and more.
- Has a maximum cut thickness of ½.”
- Dual Voltage input of 220/240 V
- Maximum severance thickness of ¾.”
- PAPST cooling system
The plasma cutter comes with tips that last quite long. It comes with a type D air filter and plug regulator that enables you to connect the air compressor with the stand coupler on the air compressor fast.
The Lotos LT5000D Plasma Cutter comes with a handle that enhances its portability. If you understand the basics of plasma cutting and are looking for a cheap plasma cutter, this is an excellent choice for you.
CUT-50, 50 Amp Pro. Plasma Cutter, DC Inverter 110/230V Dual Voltage Cutting Machine New :
The CUT-50, 50 Amp Pro. Plasma Cutter is designed with a compact design that enhances portability. It is an excellent choice for small business projects.
The best plasma cutter under 500 is easy to use and can cut a wide range of metals. It can easily cut through metals with a thickness of ½”.
It produces the right amount of air pressure enabling it to cut a wide range of metal seamlessly such as stainless steel, alloy steel, Aluminum, Copper, and more.
- An automatic dual voltage of 100-240 V
- Torch design
- Digital air inverter
- Adapter cord
It comes with a torch design that offers a comfortable grip. The handle is made from an impact and heat resistant material.
Whether you need a plasma cutter for a simple home project or heavy-duty construction and industrial jobs, the CUT-50, 50 Amp Pro Plasma Cutter is a great choice. This is definitely among the best plasma cutter under 500.
PRIMEWELD Premium & Rugged 50A Air Inverter Plasma Cutter Automatic Dual Voltage 110/220VAC 1/2" Clean Cut Portable :
Many homeowners are searching for a plasma cutter that enables them to move from one project to the other as they complete their cutting projects. This luxury calls for a genuinely portable plasma cutter.
One of such options is the PRIMEWELD Premium & Rugged 50A Air Inverter Plasma Cutter.
It is the right choice for cutting a wide range of metals such as alloy steel, stainless steel, Aluminum, and copper with precision. If you have limited outlets, you don’t have to mind as you can choose between 110 V and 220 V.
- A dual voltage of 110 to 220 V
- The maximum cut thickness of ½.”
- Maximum severance thickness of ¾.”
- Plasma cutting torch(included)
The cheap and effective plasma cutter is designed to handle simple home projects as well as construction and industrial uses.
The machine requires less cleaning and maintenance. When you buy this plasma cutter, you will have a better and cleaner cut. As a sign of the quality of its workmanship, the manufacturer backs the plasma cutter with a warranty of three years. It is a machine that will make your cutting hobby easier.
Plasma Cutters 50Amp Dual Voltage - Reboot CUT50 Air Plasma Cutting Machine 110V/220V Compact Metal Cutter 1/2" Clean Cut High-Frequency Inverter Cutting for Alloy Mild Steel Cast Iron :
If you need a plasma cutter under 500 that looks and feels like the most expensive brands, you should consider the Plasma Cutters 50Amp Dual Voltage - Reboot CUT50 Air Plasma Cutting Machine. It comes with a pt 31 torch that works perfectly well.
The pigtail that adapts the machine to dual voltages also works well and doesn’t require any wiring to adjust the input voltage, like it is the case with many other cheap plasma cutters.
- A dual voltage of 110 to 220V
- The maximum clean-cut thickness of ½”(on 220v)
- Maximum severance thickness of 3/5”
- The maximum clean cut thickness of 3/8”(on 110v)
The plasma cutter can cut a wide range of materials such as stainless steel, mild steel, alloy steel, Cast Iron, Copper, Chrome, and many more.
The Plasma Cutters 50Amp Dual Voltage - Reboot CUT50 Air Plasma Cutting Machine isn’t what I would call a professional tool. If you are searching for a plasma cutter for occasional use, you should consider this equipment.
VIVOHOME Portable DC Inverter Plasma Cutter Cutting Machine Dual Voltage 110V/220V CUT-50 :
While it looks smaller and lighter than other plasma cutters out there, the VIVOHOME Portable DC Inverter Plasma Cutter Cutting Machine Dual Voltage 110V/220V CUT-50 cuts well than many of them. The Improved cutting ability, compared with the oxy-acetylene cutting, is increased by 1.8 times.
The step-down voltage, rectification current, inverter power supply generates a powerful DC welding current through PWM technology.
It has a fantastic cut power for the money.
- MOSFET inverts the 50Hz frequency to high frequency
- Maximum cutting thickness of 1-12 mm
- A dual voltage of 110v/220V
The plasma cutter can be used to cut a wide range of metals such as stainless steel, mild steel, alloy steel, Aluminum, and copper.
The VIVOHOME Portable DC Inverter Plasma Cutter Cutting Machine Dual Voltage 110V/220V CUT-50 is the proper equipment that cuts metal like butter. At its affordable price and lightweight design, it is definitely worth the money.
Forney Easy Weld 251 20 P Plasma Cutter, Green :
When searching for an easy-to-use best plasma cutter under 500, the Forney Easy Weld 251 20 P Plasma Cutter is the right choice for you.
It comes with a drag torch technology that enables you to drag the tip until it gets into contact with the metal.
It ensures that you have a clean and consistent cut. This technology also allows the plasma cutter to cut dirty surfaces quite well.
Whether you need to cut an old and rusty metal, you can count on this plasma cutter to do the job perfectly well. The plasma cutter comes with a built-in air dryer and regulator that makes it a breeze to operate.
- Drag torch technology
- Cutting torch of 13.”
- 20A-15A adapter
- Built-in air dryer and regulator
- Steel cutting ability of 0.25 inches
- Runs on 120 v standard electricity
If you want to do your cutting in an area with no electricity, you don’t have to worry as it can use a generator; this feature makes it an excellent choice for on the go cutting.
If you are searching for a plasma cutter for industrial use, this may not be the right choice for you. But if you need something for your small projects, this is a great option.
How to set up a plasma cutter:
- Go through the handbook to understand the safety instructions. Remember to wear a helmet and welding gloves. The helmet helps to keep you away from the harmful radiation.
- The air compressor should then be connected to the system. In case your machine has a built-in air compressor, you can skip this step.
- The cutting torch should then be connected to the machine.
- Ensure that the ground clamp has been connected to the machine and secured well. There should be no paint or rust in the spot where the clamp meets the workpiece.
- Attach the connectors well
- Set the plasma cutter to the right metal thickness
- Try to find out if there is adequate airflow. You can do that by holding the torch’s trigger
- When you find that there is enough airflow, you can now start cutting your material. All you need to do is to move the torch head to the metalwork.
How to choose the best plasma cutter under 500
There are several factors you need to consider when choosing the best cheap plasma cutter. These include:
- Application: You will need to consider what you need a plasma cutting machine for. Do you want to cut using your hands or on a table? There is some plasma cutting equipment that can be changed from handheld to mechanized and vice versa. Some systems come with an internal voltage divider and a CNC interface to provide more mechanization options.
Other questions you should ask yourself include:
- Will you be using the plasma cutter regularly?
- What material do you plan to cut?
- What is your budget?
- Do you plan to use an adapter power outlet or a generator?
- Material thickness: You will also need to consider the thickness of the material that you will be cutting. A good idea would be to select a system that has a cut capacity of the material you will be cutting.
For instance, if your goal is to cut metal with a thickness of half an inch, then you should go with a half an inch system.
The amperage or output power is an indication of the type of material that the plasma cutter will cut. In most cases, plasma cutters are rated depending on amperage. You can, therefore, determine the material it will cut by its amperage.
- Cut quality: The cut quality will affect the quality of the finished piece. It will also save you time in the other stages of the production process. A good idea would be to choose a tool that produces a clean and smooth edge so that you don’t spend time smoothening the area.
On top of a smooth and clean-cut, it should create a narrow kerf. It will offer more precise cuts with less wasted materials.
- Reliability: Choose a machine that will be not only sturdy but also durable. Plasma cutters don’t come cheaply. Therefore, you need a purchase that will last for a long time and won’t break down when you are working on a substantial project.
Generally, reliable plasma cutters are made with fewer parts and use software rather than hardware. They are ISO certified and tested adequately.
A good plasma cutter should also have a centralized configuration fan that cools the center of the system. Since this is where the thermally sensitive components are located, there will be a need for consistent and more efficient cooling.
- Cutting speed: When you understand the cutting speed of the plasma cutter concerning the metal you want to cut, you can easily calculate the output level of the machine; it will show the efficiency of the device. When you make the wrong choice, you can expect poor productivity.
The good news is that the cutting speed will often be indicated on the plasma cutter. Check out for the IPM (inches per minute) of the machine to determine its cutting speed.
- Portability: If you will be moving around or plan to work away from your cutting shop, you will want to choose a lightweight and portable plasma cutting machine. The good thing is that with engineering advancement, it is now possible to get a lightweight tool that offers the same power and performance.
Some plasma cutting tools also have technology that adjusts automatically to different voltages. These can be a great choice for those planning to work with a generator.
- Duty cycle: This is the period in ten minutes when a plasma cutter can operate without requiring a break. For instance, if a machine has a duty cycle of four minutes, it means that it will run for four minutes before it cools down for six minutes.
If you need a tool for long or deep cuts, you will need a machine with a longer duty cycle. However, if you need regular small cuts, you can choose a machine with a shorter duty cycle. The most important thing is for you to buy a plasma cutter whose duty cycle meets your needs.
- Operating cost: A plasma cutter’s operating cost will affect its consumables. The consumables refer to parts that will need replacement in the future, such as electrodes and cutting tips.
For instance, when the cutting tip gets damaged, your plasma cutter will require a longer time to do its job, or you will achieve poor quality cuts. Therefore, if you need quality and time-efficient cuts, you will need to choose a machine with a good cutting tip.
Remember that you will need to keep spending on consumables. Therefore, you will want to consider how the plasma cutter uses them.
- Safety: Safety should also be a key consideration. Take time to go through the safety instructions manual. Wear safety glasses and gloves.
A right choice of gloves is the TIG And MIG gloves as they aren’t bulky and allow you to feel the job even as they protect you. Avoid gloves made of synthetic material as they can melt and stick to the skin. Always choose leather gloves.
Ensure that your body, arms, and legs are well covered with a durable cotton material that will not be affected by the sparks produced from the arch. Since you will be cutting metals, wear boots that can protect you from steel. It will ensure that falling metals don’t injure you.
Note: If you are a beginner in the welding section. You can also read our one popular article for the Best Welder For Beginners. It may give you the same benefits while buying a new Welder Machine for a beginner. But you need to know how to use the Best Welder For Beginners.
Types of torches to consider:
- Touch Start: This touch works; it's good but not the best to use with a plasma cutter because it doesn’t leave a beautiful finish. The TIG machine has this same type of touch. The cutting starts by the touch of the nozzle on the workpiece; it needs to be raised slightly to prevent it from double arcing between the nose and the metal.
- Standoff Touch: This is an excellent touch that gives a beautiful, consistent and smooth cut. It ensures double arcing does not occur because it is placed at the end of the nozzle that enables a uniform distance between the nozzle and the workpiece.
- Drag Technology: This is not as consistent as the standoff, but it also allows a subtle finish by touching the workpiece as you work. It will enable the torch to slide across the workpiece as you cut, but this causes faster damage to the nozzle.
- Cut Finish: This gives you a beautiful finish. We are sure what you want for your cut is a seamless, neat and leaves no cleanup after you work. This type of cutter can and will provide that for you.
FAQs on plasma cutters
Here are some of the frequently asked questions on plasma cutters.
- What is the aim of a plasma cutter?
Answer: The main goal of the best plasma cutter under 500 is to cut metal. The machines are commonly used in the fabrication shops, automotive repair shops and construction companies to cut and fabricate massive beams. Plasma cutters cut metal better than oxy-fuel.
They are more precise due to their cut width, which is smaller. Therefore, the surrounding area will not be affected by heat. You can also be more specific to the area you want to cut.
- What is the use of gas in a plasma cutter?
Answer: A plasma cutter can use one or combination of gases; could be nitrogen, oxygen, shop air, or even a mixture. An electric arc is transmitted through the gas that passes through a narrow opening.
- What materials can a plasma cutter cut?
Answer: A plasma cutter can cut through an electrically conductive material. Some of these metals include stainless steel, Aluminum, and Alloy steel. Therefore, a plasma cutter is a versatile option.
- What thickness does the plasma cutter cut?
Answer: The cutting capability of the plasma cutter will depend on the amperage of the system and the material you plan to cut. The machine can cut steel and other non-ferrous metals with a thickness of one inch.
However, this will also depend on the model of the plasma cutter. A plasma cutter with a lower amp can cut up to a quarter-inch while one with a higher amp will cut up to an inch or more.
- What are the consumables of a plasma cutter?
Answer: Some of the most common consumables of a plasma cutter include:
- It has a retaining cap that helps to hold the other consumables together.
- It helps to focus on the arch. It also helps with the gas flow.
- The role of the electrode is to carry current to the material.
- Swirl ring serves to direct gas through the torch.
- As the name suggests, it protects the various consumables.
You will want to ensure that you always have consumables, don’t run short. When you run out of consumables, any project you are working on comes to an end.
- What is the necessary eye protection when using a plasma cutter?
Answer: Many users of plasma cutters use the traditional welding shield with a number five lens to protect the eyes. The arc produced by plasma cutting is similar to the one built-in welding. And it’s, therefore, necessary to have the right protection.
While some users wear dark goggles, these are generally unsafe as plasma cutting may burn the eyes, and the face like it is the case with welding. To be completely safe, you need to acquire a nice welding helmet so that it protects you from the UV burns.
- Can a plasma cutter cut iron?
Answer: A plasma cutter will work perfectly well on materials that can conduct electricity. Therefore, it can cut cast iron, copper, steel, and any other conduit material.
- Can I cut Aluminum using a plasma cutter?
Answer: If you would like to cut Aluminum using a plasma cutter, ensure that use nitrogen gas. Alternatively, you can mix the gas with oxygen. It will enhance the quality of the cut and extend the lifespan of the parts.
With the right choice of gases, you can have a nice edge on Aluminum with plasma. The main challenge is oxidization, but with technological advancement, a plasma cutter can cut Aluminum.
Plasma cutting is an excellent way of cutting both thick and thin materials. With a good plasma cutter, you will have a clean cut. Unfortunately, plasma cutters differ widely in their abilities and price.
Some are suitable for cutting thin metals, while others are best suited for thick metals. The majority of plasma cutters do not come cheap. With many of them costing thousands of dollars, you do not want to make the wrong choice.
So, what do you do if you are on a budget and still need a good plasma cutter? Can you find a cheap plasma cutter that costs less than $500? The answer is a resounding, Yes. Fortunately, you do not have to search any further as we have created a list of the best plasma cutters under 500.
To help you make a better choice, we have also included a buying guide to help you make a wise buying decision. And if you have any questions concerning the cutting system, we have answers for you in our FAQ section.
When you pick any of the above options, you can be assured of a seamless cutting. Happy Purchase!