The Powermax45 is by far the best plasma cutter you will find for under $2000. This a professional series machine made by a company that is known for durability, performance and great customer support. This machine is made for people who want to purchase the best fully featured machine in its class.
Very powerful – cutting up to 1 -1/8″ steel.
The best in performance on the market. Period.
Made in New Hampshire, USA.
Replacement parts and consumables will be available many years from now.
3 year warranty on the power supply and 1 year warranty on the torch.
A complete beast, the Powermax30 by Hypertherm packs a hell of a punch with both 110V and 220V inputs making it adaptable to any work space. Weighing only 22 pounds this makes a great portable plasma cutter that comes with everything you need to get started right out of the box.
5/8″ inch cutting ability on 220V and 1/2″ cutting ability at 120V.
Comes with glasses, gloves, and cord adapters.
3 year warranty on the power supply and a 1 year warranty on the torch.
The Miller Spectrum is a very powerful machine that runs on both 120v and 240v making it very adaptable to any environment. In terms of quality, Miller produces some of best machines right alongside Hypertherm. This machine is worth every dollar they charge for it and is loved by many professionals.
Made by one of best machine manufactures.
Both 220V and 120V. Comes with cord adapter for both to fit a variety of plug patterns.
Great parts availability from Miller as well as after market brands.
The LOTOS is by far one of the cheapest fully functional plasma cutters you will find one the market. This machine cuts well and will get you started at a fraction of the price. However, the cheap price results in lack of guaranteed replacement parts and quality torch consumables years from now.
Rated to cut 1/2 inch steel.
Many positive reviews despite lower build quality.
Not as rugged as Hypertherm or Miller machines.
LOTOS is a rather small company. Parts availability could disappear rather quickly.
Picking The Winners
When testing and scoring plasma cutters we considered many factors. First tier scoring was based on cutting ability and durability. Second tier scoring was based on parts availability and warranty. Also brand reputation and customer service were considered, but not heavily weighted compared to the machines performance.
Total Number Of Machines Considered
Highest Review Score Given
Lowest Review Score Given
Hypertherm Powermax 45
The Powermax 45 is a machine that is widely used in the metal fabrication industry and known for it’s durability, performance and brand. If you talk to anyone who works in metal fabrication they will know the name Hypertherm. It’s a tested and trusted brand that makes quality machines and the Powermax 45 is their flagship model.
The reason the Powermax 45 is so popular is because it packs all of the functionality and features that 90% of metal fabricators need in a small package that is well built. To start, the machine does not cut any corners and provides you with the essentials. The essentials being a long power cord (10 ft. long), a long torch cord (20 ft. long), a straight forward interface, and a rugged housing around the machine. The machine can perform drag cutting, extended reach cutting, extended reach gouging, fine feature cutting, flush cutting, marking, max control gouging, mechanized cutting and precision gouging. Hypertherm also offers three different torch options for this machine from the average 90 degree, a 45 degree, and straight torch for CNC tables. Having all of these options available to you will allow you to grow into your plasma cutter without having to purchase a new unit when you decide to take your work to the next level.
This is really is the ultimate machine for any metal fabricator. Sure, it is a bit more expensive than other options, but it is well worth it. This is a tool that will put a smile on your face when you use it because it is that impressive.
Hypertherm Powermax 30 XP Building America Edition
The Powermax 30 is another fantastic machine in Hypertherm’s line up that provides a wide variety of features for metal fabricators. The main feature being the ability to use both 110V and 220V. This means that this machine can be plugged into a standard wall socket and cut up to 1/2″ steel! This is incredibly useful for anyone who does not have 220V in their shop at home. If you do decide to run this machine on 220V you simply use the provided cord adpater and plug it in. This will give you access to the machine’s full cutting capacity.
The Powermax 30 is the smallest machine that Hypertherm offers, but you will see that it carries the same build quality as all of their other machines. This is reflected in both the performance and price. This machine is INCREDIBLY impressive for it’s size, but it still carries a hefty price tag. However,with that being said this machine is worth every penny and it by far the best value.
First off, this machine costs 1/3 the price of a brand name plasma cutter. This makes it very desirable to anyone with a small budget looking for a machine that won’t break the bank. So, is this thing worth it? Well, out of the box yes it will cut half inch steel, work as advertised and get going for less money. The truth is you may even get 3-4 years out of it with occasional use. However, after extended use these machines will not hold up to the abuse that comes along with the type of work these machines endure. If you want quality and longevity then get a Hypertherm or Miller. If you want an inexpensive machine that you can use 5-6 times a year then this machine could be a good value.
Also we would like to warn potential buyers that these smaller companies who produce plasma cutters can often go out of business after a while. This means that finding consumables and replacement parts can be a hassle if not impossible years later. If this happens than the machine is practically useless. So please keep that in mind. We strongly recommend you pay more and get a name brand machine if at all possible. It’s well worth the money.
Having the right accessories for your machine will allow you to work safer and easier. You absolutely need a proper helmet to shield your eyes and gloves to protect your hands. Without these you can seriously hurt yourself. We also highly recommend a leather jacket to protect your cloths and skin from sparks. You’ll find that if you don’t wear thick leather all of your clothes will start to develop holes in them. Also a head beanie is a must as it will keep you from burning the top of your head when using the plasma torch above your head. Trust us, the smell of burning hair is not pleasant! Also a cart can be a good option if you’re looking to move your machine around your shop and keep all of your gear with it. I’ve always used a cart and placed all of my protective gear as well as my consumables on the cart for easy access.
The Reason You Should Invest In A Quality Plasma Cutter
When investing in tools for your garage or shop it’s important to remember a few important things. A tool is an investment and should be taken seriously when being purchased. The man who buys cheap tools that barely get the job done are the same ones who STILL have to borrow tools for the next job because his are broken. Buying quality tools can be expensive, but you will save time and money in the long run if you invest properly.
What Can I Do With My Plasma Cutter?
Plasma cutters are one of the most versatile tools someone can own for metal working. The amount of tasks that you can tackle with a plasma cutter and the amount of time you save will be worth every penny of your investment. It is an essential tool for anyone who wishes to build and repair any type of metal project. Here are some examples of projects that require a plasma cutter…
Cutting metal sections to repair cracked trailer frames using steel plate
Cutting metal to specific lengths (like a band saw)
Cutting steel plate for projects
Mobile car dismantling
Custom BBQ building
Cutting steel to build a welding bench
Building custom fences
Removing previously welded attachments on trailers and trucks
Cutting sheet metal to build custom tool boxes
Cutting sheet metal to build custom hydraulic and fuel tanks
Cutting/fitting tubing for custom roll cages
This list is just simply some of the projects I have used my plasma cutter for over the last year. You will find that having this tool in your garage will allow you to do just about anything in the shop with metal. This is why I nick named my main plasma cutter the “Evil Scientist!”