recommended plasma cutters

Fabrication | Welding

was wondering if anyone could recommend a plasma torch...
would be using it mostly on lighter gauge mild/stainless, 18ga-12ga
but wouldn't mind the occasional 4th or 3/8ths

was kinda wondering if you get what you pay for, or can i get away pretty cheap?

thanks for any advice.

paul b hill's picture

Plasma Cutter

Matt - I have had 3 Plasma cutters since i began sculpting. The first one was a Miller which would cut up to about 1/8 inch. It had its own compressor built in, but the water would eventually leak through the system and ruin the torch... not good! The second Miller unit needed to be hooked up to a compressor and worked very good. You need to keep an in-line water trap installed and a drain before the torch to keep condensation from entering the torch. This Miller cut up to 1/4 inch, but I sold it, as I was needing to cut thicker plate. I wanted to cut bigger steel and with this unit, I would need to make multiple passes along the initial cut line.

My current unit is a Hypertherm 600. These folks ONLY make plasma cutters and has been one of the best I have owned, in my opinion. It will cut 5/8 inch and sever 7/8 inch. So far, this has met all my needs. It is a wonderful machine and has great tech support.

My recommendation is this: Do NOT buy a cheap unit - If you buy from a reputable manufacturer, you will get their knowledge and support along with a machine that you know will keep working. It is well worth spending the money for a good cutter.

Hope this helps - Paul

k zen's picture

. I have a HYPERTHERM 380 ,

. I have a HYPERTHERM 380 , 5 YEARS old and no problem , cut up to 3/8 and severe 1/2 , the best tool i have ever bought , got me out of trouble and headache more then I tought .
An advice I can give you , put a cheap hose(25 feet) between your compressor and 2 water separator and you'll be out of water .


R L Sidebottom's picture

I have a HyperTherm 600 ant

I have a HyperTherm 600 ant has never failed to work. One of my friends have a older 3 phase unit that eats consumables. He came up to the shop and used mine to cut a cross member on his old jeep. He wanted to take home. It out cuts his hands down. I haven't cut a lots of stuff, but I have over 1000 inches of cut on the original tip and electrode.

If I ever need a bigger one, it will be a HyperTherm.

Rick Sidebottom
Aspiring Metal Artist

Edwardo's picture

plasma cutter

Hi Matt, im not sure if you bought a plasma cutter yet, i use a 1250 hypertherm on my cnc dynatorch table and it works great, it is a 80 amp cutter so its quite capable, hypertherm just came out with a powermax 45 i beleive its called, 45 amp cutter that from what i have seen has a cut quality better than mine. From what i have read they are priced around 1,600 us...


GiantTechGuy's picture

Yes on the Hypertherm 45

If you are going to purchase a name brand plasma cutter then by all means your best bet is the Hypertherm 45!
They are the BEST!

visitor's picture


I gots me a hypertherm powermax30. Little package, big performance. So far i've cut up to 1/4 inch no worries.

GiantTechGuy's picture

Cheap Plasma Cutter

Don't be afraid to try a cheap import plasma cutter as long as it's from someone with a long track record like GiantTech. We have been selling these for over 3 years now so we are certainly one of the oldest sellers of Chinese plasma cutters and tig welders in the North America.

Regards, Larry

Rich Waugh's picture

YOu can do alright with one

YOu can do alright with one of the Chinese plasma cutters, provided that you get it from a dealer who will offer real support after the sale, and provided that understand that you are not buying an industrial use machine.

The Chinese plasma cutters are designed for limited duty cycles at their rated power (as most all cutters are), and if you try to exceed that regularly you will be disappointed with the machine. I would also take their cut ratings with a grain of salt - look closely at the rated speed of the cut for a given thickness. Keep in mind that the human hand can't control the torch smoothly at speeds much under 8-12 inches per second. If you plan to do freehand cutting this becomes important.

I have a Chinese inverter TIG unit that has been just dandy - after I got the second one from the dealer, because the first one wouldn't work. This is why I say you want to deal with a vendor who provides after-sale support. With a plasma cutter you'll also need a dependable supply of consumables, and if the machine doesn't use standard consumables such as Miller, Lincoln, Hypertherm or the like, you'll be limited to what you can get from the original vendor. I recommend that you ask the vendor if their machine's torch accepts generic consumables, as this can save you a lot of money down the road.

Lastly, be sure you get a really, really good air filter/dryer for your cutter, whatever brand you go with. The drier and cleaner your air is, the longer your torch consumables last. Wet air kills torches in no time flat!

In addition to GiantTech, you might check out Longevity, Inc. for Chinese welders and cutters. That's who I got my machine from and they have good honest support. I would guess that their machine is likely made by the same factory as most of the Chinese machines - the ones that work well are because the dealer enforces quality control on his end and specifies certain performance criteria. The fly-by-night dealers, and there are many, just buy whatever is in the warehouse in China with no regard to quality, only price and markup potential. Know who you're dealing with!

Best of luck with your search for the right machine for you.

Rich Waugh

hautsteel's picture

I have used the Miller

I have used the Miller Spectrum 2050 for around 5 years now and have experienced great results.


visitor's picture


I was able to pick up a Ramsond plasma cut 70 and wow does it work great.

The company is located in Commerce Michigan and are extremely helpful. (Cad an FAB shop)

Tinker47's picture

Hello from ozz

I have just purchased A Boc smooth cut 80 I have cut 30 mm with it it works very well it runs on 415 volts 20 amp do any of you guys have any good porjets Im make a mark out tabble at the moment for welding

Brent's picture

Giant Tech Plasma Cutters - No! No! No!

I decided to go the less expensive route and purchase a 50 amp plasma cutter from Larry at Giant Tech.  You get what you pay for.  I paid $350 for a new "Hot Power 4800" 50 amp cutter on ebay and had to send it back after 2 weeks.  Larry sent another one 2 weeks later and it crapped out after 60" of cutting.  I'm not getting any support or return calls and emails about the issue.  I wanted to wait to leave feedback on ebay but this issue has taken so long i've missed my window.  Bottom line, there is a reason most other cutters are over $1000.  I wish i had done the homework before and paid for the quality the first time.

Rich Waugh's picture

I have one of the Longevity

I have one of the Longevity 50 amp plasma cutters and it seems to work fine. I haven't worked it all that hard, though. My Longevity TIG welder does get a good bit of work though, and it has held up fine for three years now. They've been good about support, too. Not all Chinese machines are junk, but there is no question the top of the line American and European machines like Miller, Lincoln, Esab and others are the way to go if you want an industrial quality machine. You pay for the quality, but you generally get it.