It was a turning point in the metal cutting history when plasma cutters were made for the first time! Since then, it has reached its present state through various evolutions! History has watched a good number of modifications and alterations to the mechanisms, keeping the basics of plasma cutting unchanged. Introduction of plasma cutters with built-in compressors is a result of one of those modification phases, and it has added an outstanding value to the entire plasma cutting process by making things easier for the people related to it.
If you need to make complex shapes and angles from metal, cutting it using the best plasma cutter with built-in compressor is possibly the most effective way. You can not make a cutter by yourself in general, so buying one of those from a reliable brand should be the right thing to do. We have chosen a few models that will be most effective for the users! The Hypertherm 088096 Powermax is top selection overall, while Thermadyne Thermal Arc 1-1110-1 is close to it with budget-friendliness and reliability. In the following analysis, you will get all of the listed products explained, along with the reasons why you should pick them.
Best Plasma Cutter with Built-in Compressor - Top Chart
Why Use a Plasma Cutter?
You may use several ways to reshape and cut the metals from different angles. The use of a plasma cutter containing a compressor or an angle grinder is the most effective method among those. But, you should keep it in mind that using a grinder is way more complicated than dealing with a plasma cutter. Plasma cutters cut curves, holes, and slots smartly, asking no significant effort from you. Simultaneously, it can offer longer & straight curve cuts with ease. Provided you learn how to use the tool, it’s versatile enough, and anyone can enjoy using it.
Best Plasma Cutters with Built-in Compressor - Reviews
1. Hypertherm 088096 Powermax 30 AIR Hand Plasma Cutting System
Our list starts with Hypertherm 088096, the best plasma cutter for home use. Professionals and DIY experts love the cutting unit as it offers an impressive performance, being one of the lightest and portable plasma cutters. The tool can cut through thick materials fast, leaving an appealing finish, which means you need no further cleaning-up.
Whether you are after a plasma cutter for home, farm, or small industrial works, the unit outperforms many of those in its class.
As it comes with an in-built air compressor, it is easier to handle the machine for every use. It has a straightforward set-up formula that even a novice can do that and start making clean cuts in a minute, though designed for professionals making home improvements. It is made of quality materials and comes with reliable mechanisms that everyone will enjoy their cutting performance.
The Hypertherm in-built compressor plasma cutter offers enough pressure for clearing the cut channel. A powerful dual motor with a 240v power input provides enough power to complete its function effortlessly. The cutting technology of the plasma cutter makes it easy to start arcs since you only need to touch and pull to start.
What we like
- Easier to use
- Makes good cuts
- Sturdy for industrial or usage at home
- Incorporates a water separator
What we didn’t like
- The internal air valve might leak with longer usage
2. Thermadyne Thermal Arc 1-1110-1 AirCut 15C Plasma System
The 230v/110v plasma cutter with built-in air compressor is a plasma cutting unit that is not only portable but also powerful. With a 15amp motor, it will handle any use, even the challenging one.
Many love the unit for the performance since it outshines most units in its category.
The system comes with an air compressor built into it, which means you can comfortably use it without needing an external compressor. The unit offers a larger cutting capacity of eight inches in thickness. It also has a high cutting speed that is 25% higher than other unit’s cutting power.
The air compressor plasma cutter weighs 29 pounds and is lighter than most units. It is also powerful enough to make cuts through heavy metals with its 15 amp motor. The stronger cutting power offers faster and precise cuts with any angle and size.
Even though the unit is heavy, it comes with impressive lead length as it’s longer than most units. The machine can cut 3/16 plates without any hassle, leaving a perfect finish within a short time.
What we like
- Sizeable torch connection
- Capable of cutting through
- Powerful motor
What we like
- Considering the power rating, most consumers find it pricey
3. Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter with Air Compressor
The plasma cutter is an easily maneuverable cutting system, as it weighs only 27lbs, with a precision cutting capacity. In addition to the weight and performance, the unit comes standard with a useful built-in compressor, which makes it ready to work with right from its box. With its pre-set pressure, the plasma cutter is easier to use.
All you need to do is just to pull the trigger and begin cutting at the instance, as you do not need an external one for the operations. That means the machine can comfortably work as soon as you buy it. You need no pressure turning to regulate the flame.
The 120v plasma cutter with air compressor unit makes faster cuts than the ones using oxyfuel, but it still produces less heat-affected zone, which leads to less warping. When it comes to cut quality, you get more precise cuts with thinner kerf, and that are less snug when it comes to cleaning.
What we like
- Well built
What we didn’t like
- You may need to clean most parts
- Not as powerful
4. Forney 317 250 P+ Plasma Cutter with Air Compressor
Even though it is a cheap plasma cutter with built in air compressor, it is a better performer. It incorporates a pressure regulator and air drier for better performance. The cutter is automatic and needs no control to install it. Weighing 43 pounds, it may not fall under the lightest models, but it is light enough to move around. Its 12 amp can cut a steel plate with a 1/8 thickness.
What we like
- Simple usage
- Ideal for irregular use
- Appealing finish
What we didn’t like
- Slower start-up
- You may need a clean-up in most parts
5. Mophorn 45 Amp 220 Volt Plasma Cutter with Built-In Air Compressor
Everyone will enjoy using the 15 torch lead that makes it easy to make precise and quality cuts. The touch start technology makes a clean finish on most metals. The torch is not only simple but also easy when it comes to using it, with a comfortable handle.
What we like
- Good value
- Good size affordable
- Ideal for home use
What we didn’t like
- Low quality
- Smaller maximum cut
Types of Plasma Cutter
High-frequency is a name derived from the table that the unit uses. The table uses a high frequency and is ideal for making cuts on conductive materials.
The plasma cutter uses a heavy mains-frequency transformer. The unit is common with analog plasma cutters and usually needs over 2 kilowatts to work.
The cutter is the modern model when it comes to plasma cutters. With the model, the torch head works by a computer control process to make sure you get sharp and clean cuts.
Benefits of Plasma Cutter with Built-in Air Compressor
Plasma cutters with built-in compressors are the best that any serious individual can get. They come with portable and lightweight design with smaller air tanks for less air pressure to build-up as you cut. Here are some of the benefits that come with these cutters.
- Convenient- they are more convenient to use than many other plasma cutters due to the features that make them easier to use.
- Portable- they are not burdensome, rather easy to move around as you work.
- External compressor slot- even though they work with an internal compressor, you still get a slot for an external one if you need it.
- High performers- unlike other models that you risk encountering low pressure, that will never happen with these units.
- Easier installation- all inbuilt air compressor plasma cutters can work on any wall plugin in good condition. With a reliable power source, you can start working.
Best Brands for Air Compressor Plasma Cutter
Being an American brand, Hypertherm is famous for producing premium plasma cutters that are unique and effective in the niche. The company has been there for over 50 years and has gained enough experience to continue manufacturing quality plasma cutters.
The company came up with the contemporary plasma electrode. They created a lightweight version of the plasma cutters that are known for their high precision when it comes to productivity.
The brand is a famous company when it comes to producing quality and affordable cutters. Their units can cut 7/8 steel and can comfortably make the same cuts on all metal types. Being famous for making nice machines, you can stay confident that any Hobart device will yield better cutting results.
Picking a Portable Plasma Cutting System with Air Compressor – Considerations
To get the best plasma cutting unit, here are the factors to put into consideration.
Before deciding on the machine you need, perform a test cut on various metals with various cutters. Make sure that you run the cutters with a uniform speed and metal as well as the same thickness. Check the one that produces a quality cut after comparison. Always go with the one that gives a finer cut.
A heavier and hard to carry cutter may stress your work. Always go for the one that is lightweight and portable since you may need to move the machine from one work station to the next. If your work involves moving a lot, you need to go with the portable one.
Plasma cutters are not alike with every machine calling for varying maintenance needs. They come with various equipment and torches that attach to them. Some of the equipment may wear over time. With that in mind, get a plasma cutter that incorporates lesser equipment since their maintenance isn’t that hard.
The units come with varying usability. With more functions, it means you get better productivity. Look for the models with additional features that fit simply and comfortable to handle. The units with more features may yield better cutting results as compared to the ones with fewer.
Maintenance of a Plasma Cutter with Air Compressor
Most people overlook the need to maintain plasma cutters. However, they forget that regular attention makes the unit durable and also boosts the performance. The good thing with the machine is that its maintenance is easy.
- Routine cleaning-
Always make sure to clean the unit after you finish working. That helps in eliminating dirt residues that may lead to wear and tear.
Perform regular checks to trace any wear or tear on any part of the unit. Replacement-In case of any worn parts, consider repairing, but if possible, replacing the worn parts is the best thing to do.
Dangers of Plasma Cutting Fume/Smoke
Plasma cutting produces fumes that are harmful to people’s health. Some of the metals that may cause toxic fumes are titanium, lead, zinc, and iron. These metals can irritate your eyes, throat, or lungs. Other metals like cadmium are known to contain cancer-causing agents.
Other metals like manganese and lead can damage your nervous system and brain. Beryllium causes fatal lung problems if you inhale while metal fumes cause kidney damage. In short, no welding metal fume is safe to inhale. Even the iron metal that is usually not toxic may accumulate in your lungs and cause damage.
How Much Air Does a Plasma Cutter Need?
Every plasma cutter needs compressed air. The air requirement for the plasma cutter is about 4-8 SCFM, and it is usually delivered at 90 to 120 PSI. The air is ideal for plasma cutters intended for 3/8 thick steel to larger machines that handle 7/8 steel thickness.
Do All Plasma Cutters Need Air Compressors?
A plasma cutter on its own may fail to work effectively. The extra tank may help in a way, but some devices are hungry and need more air. Without a tank to offer the required CFM, The unit may not keep up with an extended cut. That is why a plasma cutter needs to have an air compressor.
Can Plasma Cutter Cut Rusty Metal?
Plasma cutter is better when cutting steel regardless of the thickness. The machine can also cut rusty metal as good as it does with steel.
How Thick Can Plasma Cutter Cut?
Plasma cutters will always make good cuts, no matter the metal’s thickness. You can use the unit to cut metals that are 40mm in thickness with no issues at all.
Plasma cutters that come with built-in compressors are ideal for individuals dealing with metal, including plumbers, auto-mechanics, and welders. Even the DIY enthusiasts may work with the unit if they need to work with metal. If you are among the people in need of using a plasma cutter, always have a unit that offers the best results. Less expensive models may work well for DIY enthusiasts, but if you work with metal regularly, or for industrial works, you may need to spend more. In our review above, we listed some of the ideal plasma cutters that everyone will enjoy using regardless of the budget. Now the decision is yours.