If you’re a professional in the welding or construction industries or even an avid user of power tools as a home-based DIY project maker, you will have come across the concept of a plasma cutting machine. However, not everyone is acquainted with the technology which is precisely why today’s topic is centred on the different kinds of products from the Hobart plasma cutter range.
If however you are just starting out and are unaware, then know that a plasma cutter can cut metals of all kinds including steel and aluminium by making use of electrical arc and compressed air. When looking for certain key features, you should stick to devices that have light construction, are easier to maintain, provide you with more precise cuts among other aspects that we will cover at the end with a detailed buying guide.
If you don’t have the time at the moment to actually go over this review at the moment of our 5 picks, we recommend that you take a look at the Forney Easy Weld 140 MP Multi-Process Welder which comes equipped with an all-metal case which keeps it safe and easy to transport. This combined with the fact that it is generator friendly means that it is our top pick for today.
If this isn’t enough to convince you, we recommend you keep reading to make the best decision and before you start reading, take a look at out our handy comparison chart as this will inform you regarding the basic features of each product.
Hobart plasma cutter
Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter
No gas pressure settings needed
Hobart 500565 Airforce 27i Plasma Cutter
Wind Tunnel Technology
Hobart 500566 Airforce 40i Plasma Cutter
LVC Line Voltage Compensation
Lotos LTPDC2000D Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter
Te50A pilot arc plasma cutting functionxt
Forney Easy Weld 140 MP Multi-Process Welder
6.35 mm plate thickness range
First, upon today’s list, we have the Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter and this device is super user friendly as there is practically no set up involved. Just take it out of the box and begin cutting! It is also pretty lightweight as it only weighs 27 pounds and is therefore super portable.
It also makes use of inverter technology which is accentuated by the built-in air compressor that allows for the usage of pre-set pressure.
If you thought that was all, then you are sorely mistaken as the features have just started pouring in we mentioned the built-in Air Compressor earlier but it is important to mention that this is what allows this device to cut faster than oxy-fuel and also makes sure that there is absolutely no need for adjustment of gas pressure when flame tuning is done.
When you use this device you will also realize that it comes with a mechanism in place to ensure less warping as the heat-affected zone is way smaller. This device ensures a very precise cut as well which means that you won’t need to keep making passes to get the job done and this also means less production of slag residue.
Last but not least we have the Hobart 500565 Airforce 27i Plasma Cutter that works via inverter tech and is super versatile and portable.
It comes with a Multi-Voltage plug (MVP) that means you can connect it to both 120 V and 240 V power.
The Wind Tunnel Technology prevents any dust from getting in internal components.
Next up we have the Hobart 500566 Airforce 40i Plasma Cutter which is one of the most lightweight devices on this list but that does not mean that it is not equally as powerful when it comes to performance.
This device may weigh a mere 31 pounds which makes it super convenient to transport from one job site to another but it is just as easy to set up as well. All you have to do is adjust the amperage and you’re good to go. The LVC Line Voltage Compensation means that you get stable and cleaner cuts. This also means that it has the ability to cut faster than oxy-fuel
Thanks to the auto re-fire technology, users can cut perforated metals along with ones that are painted or coated. The best part is that the fan will only run on-demand and it also has an ergonomic trigger safety feature.
The Lotos LTPDC2000D Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter is up next on our list and it is a non-touch Plasma Cutter which basically means is that you won’t have to touch the tip to the metal which is also safer and also ensures that the tip stays durable for longer.
This is of course made possible via the Pilot Arc Torch which also allows the user to cut through all sorts of surfaces including painted, rough and perforated surfaces in one go. Because you will have to make fewer passes, it goes without saying that the production of slag or debris will be less.
This Plasma Cutter also comes with an ergonomic handle so that it can be transported wherever the user desires and it also makes working for longer periods of time easier. The use of non-hazardous compressed air means that this device is able to cut cleanly through aluminium, copper, alloy and stainless steel as well.
The LOTOS LTPDC2000D also lets the user make use of DC TIG, Stick weld and plasma cut from one machine that means you save on the cost of having to invest in more devices. The pilot arc torch is able to cut through rough, painted, and even rusted surfaces without even producing large amounts of slag residue.
This device comes with 3 functions which basically include a20 pilot arc plasma cutter, a 200 A DC TIG Welder and a 200 A Stick Welder all of which can be easily accessed with the simple flick of a switch.
Next, upon today’s list, we have the Forney Easy Weld 140 MP Multi-Process Welder which offers users with 3 welding functions as it is a multi-process welder so users can switch it up and alternate between Stick, MIG and DC TIG welding. Another great thing about this unit is that it is built with a very strong external case that is entirely metal and also has a metal wire drive assembly.
The Forney Easy Weld 140 MP has the ability to work with two and ten-pound rolls of wire, and can, therefore, make use of infinite voltage and wire feed speed controls to help the user adjust the dial to the perfect weld amount.
The best part is that this device comes with a 20A to 15A adapter which gives more free range to the user. There is also an additional 0.030 mm contact tip that it comes with so that the user doesn’t have to purchase another one. The device is also completely generator friendly so in case of a power outage, it is entirely safe to hook it up to a generator based power outlet. The plate thickness range on this device is up to 6.35 millimetres which is pretty impressive.
Now, that you have looked over the 5 products we laid out for you, you may have a better idea of the kind of product you would like. However, in our experience, it is better to look at products such as power tools from a feature-based aspect more than anything else. This is why we have this detailed buying guide to look into the main factors that any potential buyer should keep in mind before actually making a purchase.
In case you are still unsure, a plasma cutter is basically a machine that has the ability to cut through metal by the use of air or high powered gas through a plasma torch which then starts sparking an electrical arc that then forces plasma from the torch tip to cut metal.
The important part to remember is that the arc of a plasma cutter has the ability to reach temperatures of 45,000 degrees which is of course what allows them to cut so effectively and cleanly through metals of all kinds.
So as you will look through various models and kinds of plasma cutters, the following inquiries will help you fine-tune your decisions. While certain units will stand apart for your specific needs, all things considered, picking between brands will come down to what device will work best for your specific job at hand.
Another important element to always remember is that while most brands will have the same kind of features, a major element in one product might be just an extra one in another. So you must look at what they market themselves as.
Here are a few questions that you may want to ask yourself before you truly invest in a plasma cutting device:
- You must ask yourself what kind of metal you will be cutting with the device.
- Another important factor is whether mobility while using the product is important to you.
- It is also important to note whether you are going to use the device daily and in demanding settings or occasionally at home.
- Since working conditions can be sometimes unreliable, it is especially important to consider if you will need to use a generator as a power source as not all devices might be able to handle that.
When you have a general idea of the answer to these questions you then move on to what kind of plasma cutter you would prefer.
As a rule, there are 2 kinds which are most popular and these include the high-frequency ones that generate a powerful spark by using a high voltage transformer, contain capacitors and work via a spark gap assembly. The other kind is the contact start torch that makes use of moving electrodes to produce a spark that lights the pilot arc which works without contact with the metal and is pretty detailed.
If you are looking for an even better solution then you might want to opt for the inverter-based plasma cutters that are available to provide high cutting output power. These also weigh considerably less as compared to traditional models but might be a bit on the expensive side.
The cutting speed for plasma cutters is also an important factor that is calculated via inches per minute. Although the kind of work you will be doing will determine the kind of device you need, it is also equally as important to figure out what the features are in your chosen device.