Best Cheap Plasma Cutters 2020 (Under $500)

Reviews

Are you into metalwork? If so, you will agree that making clean, quick, and smooth cuts are essential to the success of your job or project. Welding has evolved over the years, and a tool that has helped many professionals and can help you is a plasma cutter. This tool offers unique advantages in any workshop and can elevate the quality of your job. A plasma cutter is an ionized gas torch that burns at intense heat. It then melts metal surfaces or any electrically conductive surface to make a clean incision.

There are many plasma cutters on the market today. They come with special features and carry out specific functions. Due to a large number of these cutters, choosing the right one can be a challenge. If you do not know what to look for, the things you require, you might end up making the wrong choice. To prevent that, we have gone through hundreds of reviews to arrive at the best plasma cutters under $500. In this article, we have provided a list of the best cheap plasma cutters. We have also made a buyer’s guide to help you know the important stuff to look out for when buying plasma cutters.

Features to Consider in Cheap Plasma Cutters

Since the market is full of cheap plasma cutters, it can be hard choosing the right one. In this section, we have compiled some of the essential factors to consider when buying plasma cutters. These factors are briefly discussed here and will be discussed in greater detail in the main buyer’s guide. Here are the important factors to consider:

Input Power

Without sufficient power, your plasma cutter will not work efficiently. Many plasma cutters require a high amount of electricity to function. In most cases, they are usually designed for 110V power outlets or 220V power outlets.

Duty Cycle

The duty cycle refers to the length of time a plasma cutter can safely work without stopping. This factor is usually influenced by the amperage output rating of the plasma cutter

Cutting Speed

The cutting speed is specified on the packaging of the plasma cutter. This factor is important and refers to the quality and speed of the cut delivered by the plasma cutter.

Start

Plasma cutters have two kinds of starts: contact start and high-frequency start. The choice you make depends on the environment you will be using the plasma cutter, among other things.

Air supply

The type of air used to power the plasma cutter should be considered before buying a plasma cutter. You need to consider the means of supplying the air and other related factors.

Ease of use

You do not want to buy a plasma cutter that doesn’t have clear instructions, and that gives you a hard time before it can be operated.

Portability

This factor is an essential consideration if you are going to be moving from site to site with the plasma cutter. If it is not portable, moving it from place to place can be a chore.

These are just a few of the vital factors to consider when buying a plasma cutter. As you read the reviews below, look out for how the products tick all these critical factors. Later, you will discover the main buyer’s guide that discusses these factors and more in detail.

Here are the ten best plasma cutters under $500.

Top 10 Best Cheap Plasma Cutters 2020 (Under $500)

1. Lotos LTP5000D 50Amp Plasma Cutter

What we like about it: The Lotos LTP5000D might look like many other plasma cutters on the market, but do not be fooled. This plasma cutter is an incredible workhorse that delivers unbeatable performance. If you are into the arts or metalworking, you will like the versatility of this plasma cutter just as we did.

Our rating:

Design
The Lotos LTP5000D comes in a portable and compact design that makes it very easy to use. It comes at a weight that is easy to handle and carry around to wherever you require it. It does not even weigh up to 23 pounds, which makes it super-portable. To assist you to carry it around, it comes with a well-constructed handle at the top.

Durability
During testing, we noted how durable this plasma cutter is. And we are not alone in noting the durability. Many users who have bought it for many years attest to the longevity and consistent performance over the years. Although it comes at a relatively low price, this is not reflected in the durability.

Performance and Ease of Use
The Lotos is very easy to use. If you are a beginner, you will love using this cutter. Instructions are easy to follow, and all the necessary controls are clearly labeled. It doesn’t take a long time before users get the hang of the plasma cutter.

The plasma cutter comes with Pilot ARC function. What does this do? It ensures that the plasma cutter cuts through metal and other surfaces easily while producing a minimal amount of slag. This implies that your cuts are clean and better. It is a non-touch plasma cutter; the tip doesn’t touch the metal. The MOSFET transistors ensure plenty of energy for cutting dense metal. If you are looking for a plasma cutter for your next DIY project, look no further than the Lotos LTP5000D.

Pros
  • Neat cut-through even through painted metal
  • Non-touch plasma cutter
  • Lightweight and easy to maneuver
  • Compact and durable design
Cons
  • The metal requires cleaning to achieve good results
  • The standoff is a tad disappointing
  • The torch trigger is not guarded

2. Forney Easy Weld Plasma Cutter

What we like about it: Coming in at a similar price to the Lotos LTP5000D, it features similar exceptional performance, which is why we like it. It cuts quickly and cleanly, sliding through thick metal like a hot knife through butter. We like how easy it was to operate and the various technologies that are embedded in it to make your project easy.

Our rating:

Design
The Forney Easy Weld plasma cutter comes in a compact and durable casing. Although it is not as compact or light as the Lotos LTP5000D, it still comes at a portable enough design. You can carry it along with you to jobs. The metal casing is very strong and ensures durability despite harsh treatment.

Performance and Ease of Use
This plasma cutter is one of the easiest cutters to use. It is very convenient and doesn’t require any complicated procedures before being used. You do not have to adjust any gas pressure settings or preheat the metal. It is simply plug and use.

It is not as powerful as the Lotos LTP5000D since it comes with a 120 volt and 20-amp output. It cuts anything ¼” and lower with ease. However, if the thickness is above ¼”, it will struggle to perform. If you require a plasma cutter for metals less than ¼”, then this is an ideal choice. It is a contact cutter, that is, you need to bring it in contact with the metal being cut.

It is a versatile plasma cutter and allows the use of extensions.

Pros
  • Allows a 25″ extension
  • It easily cuts through painted or rusty metal
  • It has an 8 feet ground lead
  • It comes in a compact and durable design
Cons
  • It isn’t very powerful
  • It struggles with cutting metals thicker than ¼”

3. SUPER DEAL DC Inverter Plasma Cutter

What we like about it: The Super Deal DC Plasma Cutter is the best plasma cutter for the money. We like the features it comes with despite the relatively low price. It might not be a workhorse in the mold of the LTP5000D, but it delivers excellent performance at a great price.

Our rating:

Design
The Super Deal DC inverter plasma cutter comes in a durable, compact housing. It is made from not ordinary iron, but from heavy-duty iron. Therefore, even if you accidentally drop stuff on it, it will not get easily damaged. The construction is solid and promises years of functionality and consistent performance.

It is one of the plasma cutters that come with an LCD. This display shows you important information that can help you work better.

Performance and Ease of Use
The plasma cutter cuts through metal very quickly and smoothly. You do not have to polish the metal before cutting. This is great, especially if you need to carry out the job quickly. The plasma cutter is versatile equipment, and it comes with a welder as well as the standard cutter. To assist you with cutting safely, it has an easily read air pressure gauge on the front panel.

It can cut up to ½” of steel comfortably due to the dual-voltage input and the 50 amps of output. If you want an affordable plasma cutter while not seriously compromising on quality, then this is the plasma cutter for you.

Other Features
To ensure your safety and the durability of the cutter, it comes with overheat and overvoltage protection. It is one of the safest cutters to use below $500.

Pros
  • ½” smooth cut
  • It is lightweight and easy to carry around
  • It comes with an LCD
Cons
  • UV-radiation from the cutter
  • Moisture greatly reduces its efficiency
  • The instruction manual is difficult to understand

4. VIVOHOME 3 In 1 Multi-functional Plasma Cutter

What we like about it: This is the quintessential equipment for DIY enthusiasts interested in metalworking. We like the versatility this equipment gives. With the switch of a button, you can convert this equipment to a plasma cutter, a 200A TIG welder, and MMA welder. We also like the clean cut it delivered during our testing.

Our rating:

Design
This beast of a cutter comes in a compact, durable design. The metal housing ensures that it remains functional as the years go by. It is not exactly portable as it comes in at 35.3 pounds ( the top-rated Lotos LTP5000D weighs 23 pounds), but it is still portable enough. It comes in a Blue metal casing that makes it look attractive while protecting it from rust.

Performance
The plasma cutter doesn’t come with fancy bells and whistles, but it gets the job done with ruthless efficiency. We didn’t encounter any problems while testing this plasma cutter. It is the type of machine you can bring to a job with full confidence that it will get the job done. It is a non-touch cutter. The ARC torch effectively cuts through different metal surfaces with ease. You do not have to touch the tip with the metal before cutting.

It can cut a maximum thickness of ¾”. We observed that the cooling process of the plasma cutter is faster than many other plasma cutters under $500. As 3-in-1 equipment, it is a DIYer’s dream. It efficiently welds steel, alloys, and other metals. The multi-functionality makes it perfect for home projects.

It is the right equipment for hobbyists, DIYers, and delivers excellent performance no matter what you use it for.

Pros
  • Multi-functional equipment that can cut and weld metal
  • It is a reliable plasma cutter
  • It has a durable design
  • It cuts through different metal surfaces
  • Non-contact plasma cutter
Cons
  • It doesn’t cleanly cut ½” thick material

5. SUNGOLDPOWER 50A Air Plasma Cutter

What we like about it: There is quite a lot to like about this plasma cutter. It comes in a great-looking design that promises durable performance. It cuts through different metals with ease and accuracy. It has a duty cycle that is quite high. Despite the power it houses, it delivers a quiet performance, which we found quite liberating.

Our rating:

Design
The SungoldPower model comes in a bright blue metal casing that is sure to draw appreciative looks. It is one of the best-looking plasma cutters under $500. It looks more expensive than it actually is. It has an LCD that grants you the ability to see vital information like air pressure. It is easy to clean and maintain. To help you carry it easily, it comes with a curved handle that fits your hand like a glove. It comes at a weight of 23.9 pounds, which makes it one of the lightest plasma cutters on this list.

Performance
It is not a heavy-duty plasma cutter. Hence, it doesn’t deliver as much power as its counterparts. Nevertheless, the power it delivers is sufficient for your basic requirements. It can be used to cut steel sections of up to ¾”. However, to give the best finish, it works superbly with ½” steel sections. The IGBT soft-switch on this plasma cutter ensures the performance is stable.

Other features
It is a safe plasma cutter. It comes with a waterproof shield to protect from electrocution. The cutter also has current regulation and overheating safety measures.

Pros
  • It produces a minimal amount of noise
  • It uses little power
  • The waterproof shield protects the user from electrocution
Cons
  • It is not as powerful as other plasma cutters

6. Simadre 50a Plasma Cutter

What we like about it: We like this plasma cutter for several reasons. We like the compact and lightweight size as well as the overheating prevention in the form of a cooling fan.

Our rating:

Design
The plasma cutter is quite lightweight and easy to carry around. It weighs 20 pounds, which makes it one of the lightest plasma cutters on this list. To aid its portability, it comes with a shoulder strap. The body is constructed with metal, which makes it very durable. It doesn’t come with a plug, and you will need to get one separately.

It has readily available parts. Thus, you can easily get a replacement. You can also easily attach and detach the parts. When repairs or replacements are required, it is easy to fix it yourself.

Performance and Use
It is in this category the Simadre 50rx 110v/220v 50a Plasma Cutter excels. It delivers satisfactory performance and cuts through most metal surfaces with ease. It works with 110V, but if you want the best performance, it is best to use it with 220V. During use, heat is generated, but the heat is dispersed via the cooling fan that prevents overheating.

With a duty cycle of 100% at 30amps and 60% at 50amps, the performance is quite satisfactory. The only issues we had while testing is that the tips wear out rather quickly. It is not a pilot arc machine, and it requires that you touch the tip to the metal.

Pros
  • It has an attractive design
  • Good overall performance
  • The parts can be easily replaced
Cons
  • The tips wear out rather quickly
  • It doesn’t come with a plug

7. Lotos LT5000D Plasma Cutter

What we like about it: This plasma cutter is an excellent choice if you are looking for a cutter that delivers satisfactory performance at a low price. We like it because it is a pilot arc cutter. We also like how convenient it is to use. If you are a DIY enthusiast, you will find this cutter suitable for most jobs.

Our rating:

Design
The Lotos LT5000D is the second Lotos Plasma cutter on this list. It features similar physical appearance and design as the Lotos LTP5000D. It comes in a portable and compact design, even more so than the number 1 cutter on this list. While the Lotos LTP5000D weighs 23 pounds, the LT5000D weighs 22.5 pounds. This makes it fractionally lighter and more comfortable to carry about. It has a handle at the top that assists with moving it about.

Performance
A major difference between the LT5000D and the LTP5000D is the lack of a pilot arc function. Hence, this plasma cutter requires you to touch the tip to the metal to be cut. Nevertheless, it cuts metal fairly easily. It is a 50A dual voltage plasma cutter that delivers reliable cutting performance. It is suitable for different materials from stainless steel to mild steel, alloys, and other metals.

The low profile torch of this cutter makes it a great choice for tight spaces. The MOSFET transistors produce high energy yield to help cut thick metal. Using this plasma cutter provides quite clean cuts and makes your work easier.

Other Features
The plasma cutter uses switch power inverter technology. This technology reduces the size of the transformer and improves the cutter’s efficiency by up to 30%.

Pros
  • It can be used for professional cutting and home projects
  • It is completely automated
  • It is easy to assemble
  • It comes in a portable and compact design
Cons
  • It lacks a pilot arc function which makes it unable to cut through rusted steel cleanly

8. SUNCOO Cut-50 Plasma Cutter

What we like about it: The SUNCOO Cut-50 plasma cutter is remarkably easy to use. It cuts surfaces of varying thicknesses with ease. From copper to iron and stainless steel, it delivers a smooth experience. We also like the sturdy design that offers impressive protection.

Our rating:

Design
The Suncoo plasma cutter is made from heavy-duty iron. Thus, despite falls or knocks, it remains functional. It is quite durable and will deliver consistent performance for a long time. Despite the sturdy construction, Suncoo still manages to make this plasma cutter stylish. The solid black edges on the equipment protect its panels. The front panel has an LCD. The front panel displays an easy to read air-pressure gauge as well. It weighs 25.4 pounds, which isn’t the lightest on this list but still qualifies it as a lightweight option.

Performance
The plasma cutter gives a really smooth finish and can cut through different materials. During our testing, it cut through copper, iron, and various alloys with ease. It can cut through ½” with ease.

If you check out the various reviews of those who have used this plasma cutter, many of them praise the very clean cuts it delivers. We can also testify to the truthfulness of these reports. For folks that want their cuts to be as clean as possible, this plasma cutter offers a great option.

Other Features
The plasma cutter comes with in-built overheating protection and over-voltage protection.

Furthermore, during operation, it easily switches between 110 V to 220 V input power. Therefore, if you want to use it on the spot without risking your safety, it presents a safe option.

Pros
  • It comes at a low price
  • It has a sturdy yet stylish design
  • It adapts to 110V or 220V power output
Cons
  • Set up is rather confusing
  • It doesn’t cleanly cut through ½” steel surfaces

9. Goplus Plasma Cutter Cut-50

What we like about it: The Goplus Cut-50 is an impressive plasma cutter that delivers excellent cutting despite its low price. We like the advanced inverter technology embedded in the cutter. We also like the plasma torch that delivers a unique cutting experience.

Our rating:

Design
The Plasma cutter is made of high-quality materials to ensure durability. It is packaged with a wire and mask to ensure safety and enhance convenience. The plasma cutter has a comfortable, curved handle to enable you to carry it around with ease. The iron body is firm and durable. It comes at a comfortable weight that allows you to carry it about.

Performance
The price is low; hence, you might think its performance will suffer. However, during testing, the performance of this plasma cutter exceeded any expectations that we had. It is so reliable and satisfactory. It easily cuts through a variety of metals. It is a good choice for your next DIY project. Although it isn’t exactly meant for industrial use, it still delivers decent performance when called upon for such applications. The instructions on how to assemble and use the cutter are clear and simple to follow.

Other Features
It is one of the rare waterproof plasma cutters in this price range. If you want to cut in an uncovered area or outdoors, the waterproof protection makes it possible.

Pros
  • It has a sturdy and durable design
  • It is safe to use outdoors
  • It is easy to assemble and use
Cons
  • Only gives unreliable performance when used professionally

10. Lotos LT3500 35Amp Air Plasma Cutter

What we like about it: Lotos produces some of the cheapest Plasma cutters that deliver excellent results. The Lotos T3500 continues that trend. We like the powerful design and cutting ability of this plasma cutter. The portability makes it great for small industrial projects.

Our rating:

Design
This is the lightest plasma cutter on this list. It weighs a mere 18 pounds. This makes it very easy to lug around to small project sites. It has a brown metal covering that is easy to clean. This metal covering makes it quite durable. It comes in a compact size and is the smallest plasma cutter on this list of the best plasma cutters under $500.

Performance and Features
This plasma cutter is capable of cutting through 10 mm metal surfaces with ease. It has an air filter and gauge that works in sync with the air compressor. It is one of the easiest plasma cutters to install. It features a type D plug that allows for quick connection to the air compressor.

During testing, we observed that the plasma cutter easily cut through different metal surfaces. The performance is quite impressive considering the price it comes at. Unlike the other Lotos equipment on this list, it has a single input voltage of 110V.

Nevertheless, this is a small price to pay for a plasma cutter that comes at such a low price. If you are looking for something portable, lightweight, and cheap for your small projects, the Lotos LT3500 is the ideal choice.

Pros
  • It comes in a compact, lightweight design
  • It is easy to install
  • It cuts through different metal surfaces
Cons
  • It isn’t meant for heavy-duty projects
  • It only has 110V input voltage
  • The cable is rather short

Guide to Buying the Best Cheap Subwoofers

In the review above, we have seen ten of the best plasma cutters under $500. These ten products are the best you can buy right now and choosing either of them will be a great choice. By providing this list, we have helped to narrow your options and make it easier for you to choose the right one. Before choosing the best cheap plasma cutter under $500, there are some factors to consider. Some of these factors have been discussed in the mini buyer’s guide. We will consider them in detail, along with other vital factors. Read on to find out more.

1. Power

The amount of power used by the plasma cutter is a vital factor to consider. Power usage affects the performance of the plasma cutter. Without sufficient power, your plasma cutter will not be able to cut cleanly and efficiently.

The plasma cutters that make up our list of the best plasma cutters under $500 usually come rated as 110 volts or 220 volts input power. As can be seen from the plasma cutters above, they are either dual-voltage units or single-voltage units.

The dual-voltage units can use either 110 volts or 220 volts outlets. On the other hand, the single-voltage units are stuck with using either 110V or 220V.

Aside from the outlets, power is also affected by the purpose of the cutter. If the metal to be cut is thick, you will require a plasma cutter with high power output. The power output affects so many other things. It determines how clean the cut will be, the duty cycle (which will be discussed later in the guide), and the cutting speed and so on.

You should note that power output is directly proportional to input power. Thus, before choosing the plasma cutter, you should know the type of power you have in your home or workshop. If it isn’t powerful enough, you might need to hire an electrician to adjust the wiring. The thicker the material to be cut, the more power you will require.

2. Duty Cycle

The amount of time in one hour that the plasma cutter can safely operate is the duty cycle. On your plasma cutter, this value is usually represented as a percentage. The major factor that determines the duty cycle is the amount of amperage drawn by the cutter. It is vital to note this factor because if you exceed the duty cycle, it can stress the cutter’s power generation system and lead to damage. The larger the amount of power needed by a plasma cutter, the higher the duty cycle.

3. Type of Plasma Cutter

As with various appliances, plasma cutters come in different types. These cutters are divided into three types, and although others might have different classifications, these are the main ones: semi-portable plasma cutter, heavy-duty plasma cutters, and inverter-type cutters.

Semi-portable Plasma Cutters

These plasma cutters usually weigh less than 100 pounds. As a result, they can be moved, albeit with some difficulty. If you have a simple project that doesn’t require cutting over 1″ thickness, the semi-portable plasma cutters are a great choice.

Heavy-duty Plasma Cutters

These cutters are meant for heavy-duty, professional applications. They are very powerful and cut through metal surfaces greater than 1″ with ease. They are found on industrial sites. While choosing a plasma cutter, if you do not need to cut significantly thick metal surfaces, getting the heavy-duty plasma cutters might be a wrong choice. They can cut up to 1.5″ thick metal surfaces.

Inverter-Type Plasma Cutter

Inverter-Type Plasma Cutters are increasingly common among the latest plasma cutters. If you work on a remote site or are somewhere without any power outlets, these plasma cutters come in handy. They have, as the name implies, built-in inverters. They can take DC power and feed this power through the inverter. They come at a steep price, but they are often worth it. They deliver impressive performance and are the most portable types of plasma cutters. They often come in a compact, portable housing.

4. Ease of Use

The control panel of a plasma cutter is what allows the welder to use the equipment. When looking for the best plasma cutter, it is vital to consider how easy to use it is. It would be pointless buying the most powerful plasma cutter only to find it impossible or difficult to use. The control panel of the plasma cutter should come with easy to read and understand instructions. This way, even if you have no skills or experience in using the plasma cutter, it will still be easy to use.

An easy to use control panel is important, and especially so to the beginner.

5. Gas supply

To efficiently and safely run a plasma cutter, you need an air or gas supply. There are several gases used to power the plasma cutter. Let’s look at some of them.

Compressed air

This is the most common type of gas used in plasma cutters. It works efficiently for most kinds of metal. It helps you cut metals of up to 1″ thickness. Compressed air is used for lower current plasma cutting and plasma gouging.

Nitrogen

If you want to cut metals up to 3″ thick, the nitrogen is the best fuel for your plasma cutter. It is used for higher current plasma cutters and delivers excellent results on various types of metal surfaces.

Argon and Hydrogen

This mixture serves as fuel for cutting through stainless steel and aluminum. Many folks have misgivings about using plasma cutters on aluminum surfaces, but using an argon/hydrogen mixture, this can be done effectively. If the metal thickness exceeds 3″, this is the go-to gas. While compressed air can be used for plasma gouging on carbon steel, this mixture can be used for gouging on virtually all types of materials.

Oxygen

When you need high-quality cuts on carbon steel and metal materials to 1″ thick, oxygen is the gas you need.
To provide air to the plasma cutter, you need an air compressor. When choosing the right plasma cutter, you need to identify if the plasma cutter has an in-built air compressor or if you will need to get an external one to serve you.

A filtration system

Should be considered when getting a plasma cutter. Moisture, dust, and other debris can affect the performance of your cutter. A descant filtration system will eliminate any of these particles and moisture before they enter the torch of the plasma cutter.

6. Consumables

Consumables, as the name implies, are the parts of the plasma cutter that are used up during operation. Due to use, these parts will wear out. They include the nozzle, the electrode, the inner and outer retaining cap, the swirl ring, and the shield.

If you hope to use your plasma cutter for a long time, you have to oversee these parts. The nozzle and electrode are usually the first consumables to be “consumed” during operations. Once used up, they need to be replaced. The best plasma cutters do not use up their consumables quickly. While the best plasma cutters might be expensive, in the end, they usually end up cheaper than cutters that cost less initially. This is because these cutters slowly use up consumables; hence, you do not have to keep spending money on replacing them. Over time, the total cost of consumables can even triple the price of your “bargain” plasma cutter.

7. Portability

Plasma cutters usually weigh between 60 to 100 pounds. Some of those on our list of the best plasma cutters under $500 even weigh less! A portable plasma cutter is a great tool because it can be moved from spot to spot quite easily.

Therefore, when choosing a plasma cutter, you should consider if you will be moving it from place to place or have it stationed in a location.

Conclusion

They are quite a lot of features to consider when choosing the best plasma cutters under $500. This guide and review will help you to choose the right plasma cutter.