Hypertherm Powermax 45 Review

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When it comes down to cutting performance, it’s hard to beat the Hypertherm Powermax45. Not only does it have a cutting capacity of 1/2”, but it is also bestowed with all the good features that allow it to cut practically anything. The result is less cutting time and more efficiency. Welders find this plasma cutter a versatile tool. In addition, its impressive portability means you can take this machine anywhere and expect the highest quality cuts from it. 

Some people try their luck with shady brands with questionable reputation. However, if you don’t want to take any chances and have peace of mind, going with the most trusted brand in this industry is definitely not a bad idea. Hypertherm happens to be a good old trusted brand on the market. Hence, if build quality is important to you, the Hypertherm Powermax45 provides you more than just that. This tool isn’t for occasional plasma cutting. It’s made for demanding operations. 

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Hypertherm Powermax 45

Hypertherm Powermax 45 Review & Specifications

Your versatile tool

Unlike other plasma cutters, the Powermax45 XP allows you to do other tasks aside from plain plasma cutting. Because it can use a wide range of consumables and it can work from 0 to 45 amps, it can do a good range of tasks, including gouging and marking. 

When it comes to cutting, the impressive power of this machine allows it to cut through 5/8-inch-thick mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. However, what’s really impressive about this plasma machine is how good it cuts hard metals, such as the Hardox 450, an abrasion resistant steel. The Hypertherm Powermax45 XP just cuts 1/2-inch-thick Hardox 450 like nothing. Most plasma cutters with similar specs struggle cutting this metal. 

We spoke earlier of the gouging capabilities of this beast, because this isn’t just a metal cutting tool. You can do drag cutting, extended reach cutting, extended reach gouging, fine feature cutting, flush cutting, max control gouging, mechanized cutting, and precision gouging. With other plasma cutters, you could barely do these things, if you could at all.

Think of it as a multi-purpose metal cutter that really does so well with gouging. If you do a lot of carbon arc gouging and you try gouging with the Powermax45, you will be amazed at how well it gouges. It does a much quieter and cleaner business than carbon arc gouging. 

Robust beast

If you’ve seen and used all sorts of plasma cutters over a very long time, you’ll spot great build quality in a heartbeat. That’s to say that when you look at the Hypertherm machines, you’ll immediately see the good little details. The seemingly minor things you see on the torch handle or the power cords set this unit apart from other models in its class. 

The manufacturer claims that the consumables last longer because of the dual angle design, and in real world tests, this claim proved to be true. The consumables definitely outlast those of the competition. Thanks to Hypertherm’s patented shielding technology. What that means is more savings over time. For welders who use their plasma cutter often, that is an important factor to consider. Consumables add to the cost of your metal cutting business or hobby over time. 

When we say this is a durable unit, we mean it. This isn’t some marketing nonsense that gets tossed around by reviewers just to mislead people into buying a product that actually has a questionable build quality. The Hypertherm Powermax45 XP isn’t your average machine. It’s not like those cheap plasma cutters that can only handle light, occasional use. This thing is designed for everyday use.

Topnotch features

There’s nothing like the Duramax Lock torches, which are designed for heavy duty use. These torches aren’t only durable. They also feel great even with you wearing your gloves. Also, the 20-foot cutting cord is one of the longest cords we’ve seen. Add the 20-foot clamp, and you get 40 feet of allowance for mobility. You don’t need to bring the machine to the work area, where falling debris and flying sparks can damage it. 

When it comes to portability, this 37-pound machine has a handle with a nice grip. You can carry this plasma cutter without hurting your hand.

More than the portability, the ease of use that this unit offers is unmatched. Again, you get the patented drag-cutting technology. With this feature, you can use this machine without breaking a sweat or diving into the manual even if you’re a beginner. The simple controls make setting up a breeze. Moreover, the Smart Sense Technology allows you to set the air pressure appropriately. 

The control panel looks so simple and straightforward that setting up the plasma cutter and making adjustments are a no-brainer. You can set the amperage from 0 to 45 amps. The mode switch, on the other hand, allows you to use either the continuous pilot arc function or the non-continuous pilot arc. Both these functions come handy in specific situations. For instance, the continuous pilot arc is good if you’re cutting painted or rusty metals. The non-continuous pilot arc, on the other hand, is good if you’re working with already cleaned or polished metal. It also has a gouging mode for punching grooves or holes on surfaces. 

Impressive cutting performance

With a cut thickness of 1/2 inch and a severance thickness of 1 inch, this Powermax45 is an exceptional metal cutter. You can cut thin steel sheets or thick metals with this machine. You’re like cutting butter when cutting thin metals. It cuts 3/8” steel like nothing, but it produces some dross when you go up to half an inch. Nonetheless, you can do almost anything with a plasma cutter. If you’re cutting anything less than half an inch thick, this machine is fantastic. That sheer power sets this plasma cutter apart from its competition.

The drag cutting technology makes operations convenient. Without this feature, you have to keep the torch at the same distance from the workpiece as you cut along. That is usually impossible to do, especially if you’re a beginner. It gets harder to maintain a uniform height throughout as your hand fatigues. These issues result in uneven cuts. With the drag-cutting mechanism, you can drag the tip of the torch on the metal surface. The torch has a shielding that protects the nozzle from coming in contact with the workpiece. So you can maintain an even height of the arc all the way. 


There’s no question that the Hypertherm Powermax45 XP is one of the best plasma cutters we’ve tried. Again, it’s built to withstand daily use even in harsh settings. This isn’t a cheap machine that should only be used occasionally. Nevertheless, the durability and versatility of this unit means it’s also one of the most expensive items out there. At around $2,000, it’s significantly more expensive than your average plasma cutter, but that’s because you’re paying for topnotch build quality and power.

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Hypertherm Powermax 45

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Sam Cobb

Sam Cobb

Chief Editor

Hi everyone, my name is Samuel but all of my friends call me Sam. I have been a very hands on person ever since I was a kid. Back in those days I was more interested in wood work and have always been a very keen gardener. I find physical projects very rewarding and love having something practical that I can use that I have made with my own hands.

As I have progressed with my DIY skill set I have focused more and more on working with metal. Now my favorite projects are combining my metal working skills with my wood working skills.

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