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If you’re looking for a plasma cutter for smaller projects, you don’t necessarily have to spend a hefty amount for a professional grade system. A lower priced plasma cutter might be enough to meet your needs. So if you’re on a relatively low budget while looking for the best plasma cutter under $500, here are the reviews of the top 6 products in 2021. They might not offer the features and power of $1000 plasma cutters, which would be more suitable for professional work, but they do provide a good level of quality and performance.
Table of Contents
- 1 6 Best Plasma Cutters Under $500
- 2 Plasma Cutters Under $500 Reviewed
- 3 Lotos LTP5000D
- 4 PrimeWeld CT520DP
- 5 PrimeWeld CUT50D
- 6 Forney Easy Weld 251
- 7 Super Deal Cut50
- 8 Reboot M-CUT50-002
- 9 Buyer’s Guider
- 10 Final Thoughts
6 Best Plasma Cutters Under $500
Plasma Cutters Under $500 Reviewed
Lotos LTP5000D is the best budget plasma cutter in 2021. It offers almost as much capability and features as more expensive models. So if you’re looking for a quality plasma cutter under $500, this machine offers the best value for the money.
This is a compact and lightweight machine that weighs just 19 pounds. In addition to that, it has a convenient carrying handle, which makes it easier to move the plasma cutter from one place to another.
The plasma cutter has a robust design that features a strong metal shell. On top of that, it’s built with an advanced PAPST cooling system that prevents damage from overheating.
Moreover, it comes in a design that is easy to set up, providing easy guidelines in the manual that are easy to understand. It features a pre-installed NPT 1/4 inches D plug and air filter regulator, which offers an easy connection to a standard air compressor coupling. In addition to that, it comes with tools you’ll need for plasma cutting, such as a plasma cutting torch, ground clamps, and consumables.
Another benefit of this budget plasma cutter is its impressive cutting power. This is a 50 amp plasma cutter that uses high frequency inverter technology with an IGBT/MOSFET transistor, which provides a consistent and precise current for efficient cutting. This allows making faster and smoother cuts. The system also comes with dual voltage input and the machine automatically selects the right voltage once you plug it in. Moreover, there’s dual frequency capability, so for both 110V and 220V, you can choose either the 50Hz or 60Hz frequency.
The efficient performance of this plasma cutter is also provided by the non-touch pilot arc technology. This means that the cutting doesn’t involve any touching of the tip to the metal. This creates a cleaner cut and extends the life of your consumables. Due to the process producing less slag, it also makes it possible to cut more efficiently painted and rusty surfaces.
This plasma cutter can be used for cutting a variety of metals, including stainless steel, alloy steel, aluminum, mild steel, and copper. As for its maximum cutting capability, it can make clean cuts up to 1/2 inches and severance cuts up to 3/4 inches.
PrimeWeld CT520DP is another great option for those looking for an affordable plasma cutter. It’s perfect for weekend warriors who would like to have maximum functionality in just one unit. It’s a 3-in-1 system that offers a combination of plasma cutting, TIG, and Stick welding. This eliminates the need for purchasing three separate machines.
If you’re a professional welder, you might prefer to have a dedicated machine for each process. But if you’re just a hobbyist or have a small shop, having the 3-in-1 functionality provides lots of convenience and allows you to save money.
The unit weighs 32 pounds, so you can easily carry it from place to place, whether you use it at home or at a job site. On top, there’s also a carrying handle, which makes it easier to pick it up. This lightweight design is achieved using IGBT inverter technology.
This machine cuts almost any metal, including stainless steel, aluminum, copper, nickel alloys, and more. It can output up to 50 amps and it can cut through metals that are up to 1/2 inches thick. The unit also has the no-touch pilot arc function, so you can start the arc by simply pulling the trigger. This means that even if you’re working with a rough surface, there’ll be minimal slag. So the result is a better quality of the cut and longer consumable life.
When you finish cutting and want to switch to TIG or Stick welding, all you have to do is change leads and flip a switch. Both TIG and Stick welding have an output of up to 200 amps. It can be used for welding metals up to 1/4 inches thick.
With this machine, you can also weld aluminum. However, you will need an aluminum electrode and pure helium gas, and then use can the Stick welding process. However, since this machine only has DC TIG, it’s not designed for TIG welding aluminum.
When working with this multi process machine, you can operate in either 110V or 220V. There’s an automatic switch, so when you plug it in, it automatically detects the voltage you have chosen.
One more advantage of this plasma cutter/welder combo is that it comes with a 3 years warranty, which is longer compared to most other products in its price category. On top of that, PrimeWeld has great customer support, which is usually quick to help if you have any issues with your machine.
If you only need plasma cutting, PrimeWeld also offers the CUT50D model. It’s a highly rated plasma cutter that comes in a design that offers portability, durable quality, and efficient performance when it comes to cutting different types of metal. On top of that, it’s available at a low price.
This budget plasma cutter is a suitable option for a weekend warrior or a small workshop owner. It might not be durable or powerful enough for professional automotive technicians or those working in metal fabrications. But it’s perfect for those working on small DIY projects or those doing some metal cutting on the weekends.
It’s a powerful and efficient machine that provides precision metal cutting by regulating the current flow and speed. It also uses high frequency arc control, which allows cutting thicker materials. Its maximum severance cut thickness is 3/4 inches. At its maximum output capacity of 50 amps, it’s also capable of cutting up to 1/2 inches thick steel plate. The high frequency DC plasma also allows cutting faster and with less distortion of the material.
The plasma cutter features a touch and lift arc start. This is a non-pilot start, which means that you need to touch the tip of the torch to the metal in order to start the arc. It also offers the capability of drag start. With this start, you can touch the metal to start the arc and then drag the torch across the surface of the metal to make the cut. This allows making finer, more precise cuts.
The machine uses inverter technology. This contributes to the unit being lighter and less noisy. The unit weighs just 23 pounds, which is lightweight enough for easy portability. On top of that, the MOSFET transistors used in this inverter design are optimized to provide high output for cutting thick metal and steady output for cutting thin metal.
Moreover, this plasma cutter comes with both 110V and 220V compatibility, so you can plug the machine into any power source you have. And there’s a knob that allows you to adjust the output voltage, so you can choose different levels of cutting intensity. This can be especially useful when working on detailed cuts.
Another advantage of this low priced plasma cutter is the number of accessories it comes with. They include a torch, a ground clamp, an air filter, and an air hose with clamps and couplers. So it comes with all the hardware that you’ll need for the setup. You’ll just need to make sure that you have the right protective equipment, such as a welding helmet and gloves, to start cutting.
Forney Easy Weld 251
Forney Easy Weld 251 is an affordable, rugged, portable plasma cutter. It’s a great choice for do-it-yourself projects, metal arts, and small workshops. It’s also a great plasma cutter for beginners since even those that have no experience in metalwork will find it easy to use.
This plasma cutter comes in a compact design that weighs just 21.5 pounds. It also features a top handle, which makes it easier to carry around. This makes the product a great pick for those for who portability is important. For example, it will be a great benefit if you’ll be moving the unit around a lot between different job sites.
The machine is also designed for durability. It’s built with a rugged metal case that protects the electrical components placed inside of it. In addition to having a durable design, the plasma cutter also provides robust performance. It can cut various types of metals, such as mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. As for maximum cutting thickness, operating at its maximum of 20 amps, it can handle materials up to 1/4 inches thick.
When it comes to the starting method, the plasma cutter uses drag torch technology. This means that you drag the torch tip along the workpiece in order to produce a cut. This process produces less spatter requiring almost no cleanup and improves the life of the front end of the torch. Moreover, it’s easier to drag the torch along a template on the metal than to maintain it at a certain distance from the material. This results in cuts that are smoother and more accurate.
To start using this affordable plasma cutter, all you’ll need is a 120V power source and an air compressor. Make sure that you have one that is capable of 90 PSI. What makes it easier to set up the machine is that there’s a built-in regulator and air dryer. This means fewer parts you need to connect before being able to start cutting. As for the additional parts that come with this plasma cutter, among them are a torch, a ground clamp, a 20-15 amp adapter, an additional electrode, and a nozzle.
Super Deal Cut50
The cheapest plasma cutter on our list of products under $500 is the Super Deal Cut50 model. Though low in price, it makes an efficient alternative to more professional plasma cutters. So if you work on do-it-yourself projects or you’re a weekend warrior, this is a cost effective solution.
This low cost plasma cutter offers high quality output of a maximum of 50 amps. It offers stable performance, which it achieves by using PRO technology. It features high cutting speed and high energy plasma draught.
The plasma cutter comes ready for 110V power supply. However, it’s also capable of using a 220V plug if you need more power. It’s designed to handle 20 to 50 amps current output. With the maximum power, it can cut brass, copper, aluminum, and steel as thick as 1/2 inches.
On the front side of the unit, you’ll find a digital display. The displayed information can help you keep control over your weld as you view precise data input. Moreover, there’s also an air pressure gauge that is located in a highly visible area.
Another benefit of this plasma cutting system is the enhanced protection that it offers. It comes with all the protection features that are needed to keep the performanc and safety at an optimal level. These features include overheat, overvoltage, under voltage, and under heat protection. Moreover, the plasma cutter is equipped with a cooling fan that ensures that excess heat is quickly dissipated.
The kit for this plasma cutter includes almost everything you’ll need to start welding. It comes with a cutting torch, air regulator, ground clamp, and PG head. Moreover, it includes gas pipe claspers, plasma tips, hoops, pressure reducing valve, and wire brush tool. For your protection, it even includes a welding face mask. There are just two other things you’ll need to start cutting: an air compressor with an air supply line and a plug for a 220V connection.
Reboot M-Cut50-002 is also one of the best plasma cutters under $500. It comes from one of the lesser known brands, which still offers a sturdy, heavy duty design and reliable performance. On top of that, it comes with a 3 years warranty, so the manufacturer backs its quality.
You can connect this plasma cutter to a standard 110V wall plug. Alternatively, you can use the conversion line that is included in the package and use a 220V power input. So this machine is dual voltage capable. On top of that, it also offers dual frequency capability.
You can use a generator to power this plasma cutter. However, if you do choose to do so, make sure that you use one that is at least 5,000 watts rated. It should also have a 3o amp breaker for 220V operation and a 50 amp breaker for 110V.
With this plasma cutter, you can cut most metals, such as stainless steel, mild steel, aluminum alloy, painted metal, and copper. As for the thickness that it can cut, it depends on the voltage you use. With a 220V power input, the machine can make a clean cut up to 1/2 inches thick. With 110V input and 35A output, the unit can cut metals up to 3/8 inches thick.
This is a touch arc plasma cutter that can also be used with a roller guide for stand off pilot arc starting. Alternatively, if you have a slightly higher budget, you can buy this plasma cutter with a non touch start.
To choose the best cheap plasma cutter, there are certain features that you should consider. Understanding these features will help you compare different budget plasma cutters in order to make the right buying decision.
Maximum Cutting Ability
The first thing to consider is what you will be cutting. Most of the budget plasma cutters under $500 offer a maximum of 50 amps, which means that they cut metals that are up to 1/2 inches thick. If you’ll be cutting thicker materials, you will need a heavy duty plasma cutter with an output higher than that.
In the price range under $500, you’ll find that some of the cheaper plasma cutters also offer an output as low as 20 amps. You’ll be able to buy a lower priced unit, but keep in mind that your metal cutting work will then be limited to thinner materials.
Another important feature to consider when choosing the right budget plasma cutter is the input voltage. This will affect where and how you’ll be able to use the machine. The cheapest plasma cutters will only 110V input, which you can plug into a standard wall outlet. If you’re working in a home workshop, this might be sufficient for you. However, keep in mind that this will limit the power and results that your plasma cutter can achieve.
Fortunately, many of the plasma cutters are capable of working with both 110V and 220V outlets. This means that you’ll also be able to plug the unit into a heavy duty generator. With this capability, you’ll get more power output and you’ll be able to use the plasma cutter even in off-grid situations.
Duty cycle refers to the time that you can continuously use the plasma cutter without it overheating. It’s displayed as a percentage out of 10 minutes. A 60% duty cycle means that you can run the unit for 6 minutes, after which you should let it cool down. A longer duty cycle means that you can work for longer between these breaks, which can be important where speed and efficiency is essential.
When buying a plasma cutter, factor in also the cost of consumables. You might be going through them pretty fast and constantly buying refills can quickly add up. So check the availability and the price of the consumables offered for the plasma cutter that you’re thinking of buying.
However, there’s one thing that you can look out for if you would like to have consumables with a longer lifespan. Plasma cutting can have either pilot or non-pilot arc start. The pilot arc method means that you don’t have to touch the tip of the torch to the metal. This results in longer consumable life. Non-pilot arc, on the other hand, requires touching the metal, which can be tough for the torch nozzle, causing it to wear out quicker.
If you’ll be moving the plasma cutter around a lot, look for one that is portable. Most of them come in portable designs with convenient carrying handles on top. However, some are heavier than others. So check the weight in the specifications and consider how difficult it will be for you to carry it aorund.
Lastly, consider the safety features that the plasma cutter offers. Most of them offer overheating and overvoltage protection. However, it’s best to check that these essential features are there.
When thinking about safety, consider also your personal protection.
Many cheap plasma cutters can deliver performance close to that offered by more expensive products. If you mostly do light duty work or if you’re looking for a plasma cutter for your garage work or small workshop, then one of these budget units is just what you need. Our top pick is the Lotos LTP5000D model. It’s an affordable plasma cutter that offers many of the same features that you’ll find in more expensive models. On top of that, it comes from a known brand that offers an extensive line of reliable products.