If you’re a metal fabricator, you’ll have to do a lot of cutting and carving on different types of metals. We all understand how tough metals can be, and cutting a metal could prove to be a tough job, but not when there’s a plasma cutter.
A plasma cutter is an appliance that cuts metal by sending an electric arc through a gas. This appliance cuts through metals easily. So, it is used for metal fabrication jobs that require accuracy and precision. Unfortunately, a plasma cutter cannot cut through wood, plastic, and other non-metallic materials.
Due to how easy it cuts through all kinds of metals, we believe that a plasma cutter is a must-have for every metal fabricator. One of the questions we receive most is – how much is a plasma cutter? So, we have decided to write an article to answer the question in full detail. In addition, we have also answered a few other frequently asked questions about a plasma cutter. Let’s get to business right away.
How Much Does A Plasma Cutter Cost?
There are numerous brands and models of plasma cutters and they vary in price. The factors that drive the prices of plasma cutters are their cutting accuracy, accessories, ease of use, and brand name. After combing online stores like Amazon, Walmart, eBay, and Weldguru, we found that the plasma cutters can be categorized into three based on their costs.
- Economic Category: $179 – $300
- Medium Category: $301 – $500
- Premium Category: Above $500
The Prices On Amazon
This platform has the most plasma cutters in the three categories. And we also noticed that Amazon offers the lowest prices. Most importantly, every plasma cutter on Amazon has a lot of user reviews to guide prospective buyers.
You will get all three categories of plasma cutters on Amazon at the following prices.
- Economic Category: $179 – $287
- Medium Category: $325 – $500
- Premium Category: $528 – $1250
The Prices On Walmart
Walmart offers only two categories. You’re not likely to find the premium category at Walmart. And generally, they have very few brands and models of plasma cutters. Here is the breakdown of the prices we found on the platform.
- Economic Category: $207 – $265
- Medium Category: $350 – $398
The Prices On eBay
This platform has the fewest plasma cutters. We found only 8 models and their prices range from $212 – $255.
Based on our findings, it is clear that the best place to buy your plasma cutter is on Amazon. You’ll find a lot of models and they come at competitive prices. Most importantly, you’ll find numerous detailed reviews about the plasma cutters. These reviews will give you all the information you need to make your buying decision.
Are Plasma Cutters Worth It?
Yes, of course, most plasma cutters are worth their prices. Without a plasma cutter, it will be very difficult to cut through all kinds of metals with the required precision and accuracy. Plasma cutters make it very easy and fast. The cutting jobs that should have taken days without the use of a plasma cutter now take only a few hours.
This helps to save time. A plasma cutter offers the following benefits.
- Metal cutting with precision and accuracy
- Time saving
- Increased productivity
- Improved turnaround time
So, a plasma cutter is really worth its cost. In fact, as a metal fabricator, your tools are incomplete without an operational plasma cutter.
Is A Plasma Cutter Better Than A Torch?
Both plasma cutter and cutting torch use a mixture of gases to produce a flame with which they cut through metals. And they both do a good job. Their performance depends on the amperage and your skill level. To compare them, we made 5 welders that are good with both devices cut aluminum and steel.
In the end, we discovered that the plasma cutter created more accurate cuts with less slags. Also, it was easier to make complex cuts with a plasma cutter. In addition, from a safety standpoint, a plasma cutter is clearly the safer option because it requires less flame to cut through metals.
By our assessment, a plasma cutter is better than a cutting torch. However, if you’re better with a cutting torch and you get the desired results with it, you can continue using it.
Are Plasma Cutters Expensive To Run?
The honest answer is yes and no. A plasma cutter costs about $15/hour to run. This will turn into a tangible amount of money if you use the appliance very often. At the same time, it is cheaper to run than a CNC laser that costs $20/hour, and CNC waterjets that cost $30/hour to run.
So, it is safe to say that a plasma cutter is expensive to run, but it’s not so expensive. Some larger heavy-duty cutters are more expensive. You should not bother much about the purchasing and running costs of a plasma cutter because it will eventually pay for itself in the long run.
Why Are Plasma Cutters So Expensive?
There are several reasons why plasma cutters are so expensive. The first reason is their development costs. It costs a lot of money to produce a single unit of a plasma cutter. Secondly, apart from the numerous accessories that you will find in its package, a plasma cutter is made of several components working together as a system. That’s why it is sometimes called a plasma cutting system.
The unit blows hot air past an arc and the air is usually several thousand degrees hot. You can imagine how hot the air will be. Finally, add computer controls to the equation and you’ll understand why plasma cutters deserve their costs.
What’s The Cheapest Plasma Cutter You Can Buy?
The cheapest plasma cutter that we saw is the Herocut plasma cutter. It costs only $179, which is a good buy for its performance. We took the time to test the plasma cutter. Find the review of the plasma cutter below.
It has an amperage of 35 Amps and it supports the voltage of only 110V. Don’t plug it into a 220V power outlet. Furthermore, we found its rated input capacity to be 4.2KVA. Weighing only 12.12 pounds makes it easy to carry around.
The machine has an Amazon rating of 4.5 stars, and that confirms its quality. You can use it to cut copper, mild steel, alloy steel, stainless steel, and other types of metals. The cutting speed of the Herocut plasma cutter is 140mm per minute and its cutting thickness is 6mm. When you purchase the plasma cutter on Amazon, you’ll enjoy a 3-year warranty on it.
When you buy it, you’ll find the following items in its package.
- 1 x 1M Air Hose
- 1 x 3meters Cutting torch (PT31)
- 1 x Air filter (regulator with air gauge)
- 1 x Earth clamp with cable (1.5 meters)
- 1 x Manual
- 1 x Plasma Cutter (Machine)
- 2 x Electrode
- 2 x Tip (Nozzle)
How Do I Maintain A Plasma Cutter?
This is a great question. How you maintain your plasma cutter will determine its performance and longevity. So, to get the best from your plasma cutter, you also have to give it your best through the following maintenance tips.
Clean the torch – It is necessary to clean the torch weekly. Disconnect it from the tube and clean the inside with an electrical contact cleaner. This will remove all metal dust. Check for damages and leaks. Do the same for the power supply unit. You may need to replace the air filters on the power supply housing.
Check the water quality – The water quality of a plasma cutter can impact its performance, so you need to check it often. Contaminated water can cause the hard-starting of your plasma torch. The water has to be clean always.
Clean plasma – You also need to purge the air in the plasma to assess the air quality. Look for particulate, water, or oil mist contamination.
Do other things – You need to take other maintenance steps like cleaning the components, aligning its rails, checking safety limits, and tuning the drive motors and control.
Can A Plasma Cutter Cut Through Wood And Plastic?
No, it is not designed to cut through non-metallic materials like wood and plastic. Both of them are combustible materials. Since plasma cutter uses heat to cut through materials, the heat will melt plastic instead of cutting through it, and it could also set the wood on fire. Neither wood nor plastic can withstand the heat that comes out of the torch of a plasma cutter. The heat will destroy them instead of cutting through them.
To wrap this piece up, we will remind you that the prices of plasma cutters start from $150 and up. Also, the cheapest plasma cutter in the market is the Herocut plasma cutter and you can get it on Amazon. We tested it and found its performance to be good. Most importantly, you need to carry out regular maintenance on your plasma cutter to enjoy it. Finally, based on their benefits, we can state categorically that plasma cutters are worth their costs.