Best Plasma Cutter Under 500

Last Updated on by John Joseph

While readers are often forced to glean the ideal features from plasma cutter under 500 reviews, we have decided to make life easier for you by sharing our expertise in this field through a short list of the top plasma cutters under $500

Best Plasma Cutter Under 500 – Quick Answer

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Best Plasma Cutter Under 500

Here is a list of the best cheap plasma cutter under 500 you should buy in 2019. While many of this cutters have too many good features to be covered here, it has been our endeavour to cover all of the features that would be useful to the average user who expects quality without emptying out his/her pocket:

  1. Hobart Airforce 500i Super Cutter – Best Plasma Cutter For The Money

Hobart 500548 Airforce 500i
 Airforce 500i Plasma Cutter reviewThis contender from Hobart comes with a simple but efficient cutter that is capable of working with both 110V and 220V outlets using two different wires. In addition, the unit comes with complete compatibility with engine-driven welders, turning the device into a 2-in-1 offering

When in cutter mode, however, the product uses a special post-flow air cooling technology that cools the electrode and tip rapidly after the cutting has been done in order to prolong their lifespan. Complementing this are the fan which runs “on demand” to remove and keep out abrasive dust particles that may damage internal components, and the wind tunnel technology, which prevents those particles that still get through from causing any damage later on.

While the cooling technology ensures that the unit never suffers a meltdown, Hobart has covered all bases by providing the unit with a thermal overload mechanism that shuts down the unit when temperatures rise to104 degrees Fahrenheit at the 35% duty cycle stage.

Lastly, a cable management cord allows users to wrap up the cables quickly when transporting the unit from one place to another.

  1. Lotos LTP5000D Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter

Lotos LTP5000D Pilot Arc

Another Lotos product that provides inverter DC power, the LTP5000D comes with a 50A inverter that feeds a cutting system that replaces the HF system of the previous product with a pilot arc unit. This pilot arc, along with the IGBT Power Drive Matrix, allows the unit to start cutting within a very short time, thereby reducing the waste of consumables substantially

Such reduction is equally in evidence when the product is dealing with rusted, painted or otherwise difficult to access metal surfaces. These are coupled with a MOSFET transistor that ensures a steady flow of current regardless of the voltage with which the user is working.

This feature enables users across the world to use the unit without making extensive changes to the wiring system. Coupled with the easy to grip and easier to carry portable design, this feature makes the unit powerful and versatile in equal measure.

  1. Ramsond CUT 50DY Super Plasma Cutter Under 500

Ramsond CUT 50DY
Perhaps the epitome of an easy to use unit, this Ramsond contender comes with a pilot cut mechanism that not only provides a great cut but ensures that the user is fully cognizant of its status through a pressure and amp display that have been integrated at the back of the unit.

Further, Ramsond realizes that such a powerful system cannot function without adequate cooling, and to this end, a German cooling system has been integrated for improved performance. Complementing these is an improved V-MOSFET transistor system that has been made especially for Ramsond by Toshiba. This transistor system, along with PWM mechanism, allows for a more precise current to flow into the machine.

With a versatile foldable handle completing the impressive list of features, this unit is indeed ideal for anyone who seeks an easily portable and controllable yet powerful unit.

  1. LT5000D Lotos 50A Air Plasma Cutter Below 500

LT5000D Lotos 50A Air Inverter
One of the few inverter plasma cutters, this product benefits from the fact that the inverter’s DC currentproduced using pulse width modulation (PWM) method, is ideal for smooth, fast and accurate cuts. Speed in particular is further accentuated by the presence of a HF system that replaces standard plasma with HF plasma. Such HF plasma interacts with the metal to produce faster cuts.

All of this, interestingly, does not cause any shorting or overloading since the unit has been provided with state-of-the-art transistors that are capable of supplying a steady stream of powerful current.

Indeed, such is their capability that this unit is capable of cutting much thicker pieces of metal than the average cutter, without forcing the user to start wondering how to maintain a plasma cutter before the scheduled maintenance date.

Last but not least the unit comes with a movable trigger that allows each user to custom fit his/her finger into the groove.

  1. Hobart Airforce 500564 Super Plasma Cutter

Hobart Airforce 500564

The last of our short plasma cutter reviews focuses upon another Hobart unit, this one being an inverter unit with a built-in air compressor. This ensures that the unit has an unlimited supply of compressed air without the user having to shell out anything extra.

Further, the compressed air allows the unit to handle a wide range of conductive metals very quickly and efficiently. Despite these, it is interesting to note that the unit works on ordinary input current and not any specialized circuitry. Equally interestingly, the unit comes with a total body weight of just 27lbs, making it one of the most portable units in the market.

With the unit also having the cooling and strap mechanisms of the previous best plasma cutter under 500 contender, these features make it clear that the product is capable of addressing virtually any metal cutting needs that may arise in the average workshop with ease.

Key Features of the Best Plasma Cutter Under 500

In many cases, only when people learn how to use a plasma cutter, do they realize that minor differences in the structure and/or the requirements of the machine can mean the difference between a good and fast cut and one that comes at the cost of significant effort and/or physical risk.

The latter may be acceptable for those who are professionals and need certain specific features (for which they are willing to sacrifice others) but if you’re a beginner and want a good cut at all times without experimenting with your finances and safety, it is better to keep a certain list of key features of the best plasma cutter under 500 in mind when making your choices.

Key Structural Features

The best plasma cutters under 500 may not look very different from mediocre ones, but there are huge differences when it comes to the internal pieces and circuitry.

While it is not always possible to take a unit apartbut you can always rely on plasma cutter reviews and the product’s specification sheet to know if the necessary features are available:

1. Good Amperage and Cutting Speed:

While it is impossible to outline a chart specifying the ideal relationship between metal thickness, amperage and cutting speed, one should keep in mind the following simplified table:

When you have found the correct amperage for the metal, you should expect a good cutting speed for your choice of metal.

If the speed mentioned by the company appears to be lower than this expected level or you find that the users have complained about a lower than average speed, you should realize that one of the key features of the best plasma cutter – the ability to achieve fast cuts – is missing from the unit you are considering.

2. HF and LA Starter Methods:

HF stands for high frequency starters and this is currently the standard for the industryUnless the unit comes with a contact-start mechanism, you should be able to find a HF system.

However, as we mentioned while discussing the best plasma cutter under 500, the HF system can interfere with digital equipment and for this reason,some companies have started offering Lift Arc (LA) starter mechanisms.

While the LA system is somewhat more complex that the HF one, you should always consider the LA-enabled ones if you are going in for a higher priced unit as these tend to be more durable and dependable.

3. Cooling Systems:

One of the key features of the best plasma cutter is surely a good cooling system, as this enables the unit to work more efficiently when internal temperature begins to rise.

4. Air filters:

Air filters perform the vital task of keeping the compressed air free of oil. While good compressors will minimize oil presence anyhow, it is always ideal to have good air filters inside the machine so that even if one needs to use a poor compressor, the quality of the cut is not compromised.

We say so because the presence of oil leads to arcing (different from the pilot/cutting arc) during cutting and this reduces the ability of the arc to stay on the target.

How to find the Best Plasma Cutter Under 500

 

1. Duty Cycle:

The number of hours a plasma cutter is used at a stretch is called the product’s duty cycle. Generally, the higher the amperage, the higher will be the duty cycle of the unit, though this rule does not always hold true in the higher amperages. Such units would prove to be the best plasma cutter for the money for users who have marathon work sessions without pause.

For others, however, it is not always necessary to go in for the unit with the greatest duty cycle – if one is using a product infrequently, it is better to try out a product with an average duty cycle and a good set of features.

Must Read: Plasma Cutters Without A Compressor

2. Provision for an inverter:

An inverter generally takes the current from 10kHz to 200kHz. This high frequency switching allows the product to function with a smaller housing, thus improving the overall portability of the unit. Further, an inverter, as we saw in the above plasma cutter reviews, produces current more conducive to faster and precise cuts as well.

3. Cutting Speed and Cut Quality:

Unlike many other products, cutting speed and cut quality are not inversely proportional, instead following a complex graph that requires an advanced understanding of physics to comprehend.

The good news though is that manufacturers usually list the cutting speed (in parts per hour) on the machine, and by keeping this in the middling range (neither too low nor too high), it is possible to achieve sufficient quality as well.

Of course, those working with handicrafts and fine products would require still slower speeds and higher quality, but one should also ensure that the speed does not become a bottleneck when production has to be ramped up.

4. Input Power and Phase:

Most products these days support both 110-115V and 220-230V input and thus this is more of a checklist point than a choice. More importantly, while some units are only compatible with single phase current, others support three phase power.

While it is hard to say whether a single phase current is better or worse than the latter, support for three-phase current is always desirable since this would cover all bases.

5. Air/Fuel Supply:

In most cases involving factories and workshops, the fuel would be the surrounding air, and in these cases,special fuel containers and attachments are not needed. In case of mobile units that can be operated anywhere, the choice is generally between bottled air and bottled nitrogen.

Many prefer the latter because it is more cost effective and tends to be drier, causing less oxidation while cutting stainless steel. Some units, however, come with an air compressor that compresses ambient air and thus removes the need for special containers.

These apart, only occasionally would special “assist gases” be required in everyday cutting. These – ranging from oxygen to inert gases and even hydrogen – reduce mobility however, and should only be used where absolutely necessary.

6. Rollers:

Rollers attach to either side of the nozzle and provide uniform cuts by preventing the user from straying in line. Popular options include rollers from bevelled cuts, straight cuts and circular cuts.

7. Contact vs HF start:

A contact start will, as mentioned above, require the cutter to physically touch the metal. This process is a bit difficult to master but ensures that the entire process is free of electromagnetic fields. A HF start is contactless but might interfere with nearby communication devices.

 Hence, if one is using the unit near TVs, radios, etc. one should opt for a contact start unit. Further, it is generally found that the cheap plasma cutters come with contact start, while slightly costlier models offer HF start.

Must Read; MIG Welder For Home Use

8. Dirty Areas:

If the user has to work in dirty areas, it is always advisable to ensure that the unit comes with special features such as Fan on Demand and Wind Tunnel Technology that keep the dirt out and prevent dirt that has already entered from causing any damage.

9. Cooling System:

It is difficult to grade cooling systems, but it is universally agreed that the unit should come with a cooling system that allows the product to maintain a steady temperature at peak performance. Temperature in this case implies body and nozzle temperature, with the latter obviously being higher.

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