Best Plasma Cutters with Built In Air Compressors in 2020
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Welding enthusiasts have asked us to suggest the right plasma cutter with built in compressor. We are dedicated to fulfilling the requests of our readers so we asked our welding professionals to help us with this.
The experts recommended a lot of great devices, and then they suggested we also let some novice welders use some of the devices to see if they are easy enough for beginners and professionals.
We liked that idea and the following units are ones that our professionals and the panel of beginner welders found to be easy to use, dependable, and durable.
Best Plasma Cutters with Built-In Air Compressors - 2020
1. S7 50 Amp Built-In Air Compressor Plasma Cutter
The built in air compressor makes this a versatile tool that you can take, and use, anywhere you need to. The built in air regulator has preset pressure settings that will ensure that you can do the cutting you need to do with the correct amount of air pressure supplied.
It will cut metal that is up to 22mm thick. It is fast and cuts smoothly to leave the cleanest edges possible. This unit produces a 50 AMP output along with an adjustable control so you determine the exact output you desire from the machine. It has an LED display that allows you to quickly see all settings.
This device has several built-in safety features. It has an over-heat sensor that will automatically shut the unit down if it were to overheat. It has an over-pressure sensor that will automatically shut the unit down in the event of too much air pressure being supplied.
It has IP21 protection designed into it and it also has a heat dissipation feature that makes the device cool off quickly while in use and directly after use. You can use it to cut stainless steel, steel alloy, aluminum, mild steel, carbon steel and more.
2. Forney 317 Plasma Cutter with Air Compressor
This built in compressor cutter also has drag torch technology built into it. You can drag the torch directly across the metal surface area to get precision cuts that are clean and smooth. It is very easy to set up and operate.
The unit comes complete with a 15’ ground cable and clamp, a plasma torch and the lead to go with the torch, a plastic storage container for all accessories so they stay organized, a compressor shield cup, ten tips size .65, 5 electrodes and a diffuser ring.
This is a 120V machine so it can be powered by a normal household electrical circuit. You can plug it in anywhere. It has three diagnostic LED lights so at a glance you can see what is happening with the machine.
It is ideal for sheet metal cutting, working around a farm or ranch, plumbers and HVAC installation and repair, auto bodywork, and contractor work.
It is portable and weighs about 45 pounds. It is user friendly with easy to read dials and knobs, and a clear and concise instruction manual from the manufacturer. You get everything you need to start using the machine as soon as it arrives.
3. Hobart Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter with Integrated Air Compressor
This will give you the power to cut through 1/8” thick mild steel at a rate of ten inches per minute. You will be able to cut through ¼ inch thick mild steel at a rate of three inches per minute. You can cut up to 3/8” thick steel but the thicker material slows the process so you might have to exercise some patients.
The machine is quieter than most plasma cutters because the internal air compressor is quieter than most standard stand-alone air compressors. You plug this unit into your average household 120 v electrical outlet. It is recommended that you either have a dedicated 20 amp breaker with nothing else being run off of the breaker, or you have a 30 amp breaker.
The machine is ready to go when you get it. You will be able to cut all manner of metal components and materials. It is recommended for farms, ranches, auto body shops, metal repair and fabrication shops, plumbers, heating and air conditioning installation and repair, as well as the hobbyist. For a price under 1000 dollars, this is a great machine for sure.
It provides you with a smaller heat-affected zone so you will see less warping in your materials. It has no gas pressure settings for you to worry with. The flame tuning is done through an electrical dial.
4. Hobart 500565 Airforce 27i Plasma Cutter
This is a multi-voltage unit that allows you to use your normal 120-volt household circuit or a 240 v circuit. You will always have the ability to power your device wherever you are.
It is excellent at making precise cuts in mild steel that is between 3/8” and 5/8”. When using this unit you will notice thinner kerf and a lot less slag to clean up from your metal. It comes with an XT30R torch and a 12’ lead.
One of the safety features is the wind tunnel technology. This technology stops abrasive metal dust from being sucked into the internal portions of the plasma cutter. You can easily cut materials between 1.4 inches and 3/8 inches and the metal shavings will not damage your machine.
It is very easy to set up and use. The control panel is located on the front of the machine and it has boldly numbered dials for you to use when making adjustments.
This is a lightweight device that is highly portable. You can move it around your property, or take it with you to work in remote locations. The built in air compressor makes it quieter and easier to set up.
5. Hypertherm 088096 Powermax 30 AIR Hand System
The internal air compressor in this plasma cutter gives you the option to operate the tool anywhere you are. It plugs into a standard 120-volt electrical outlet. It is a versatile unit that can also be powered by a 240-volt circuit. All of the adapters and plugs you need to change this unit from a 120v to a 240v appliance are included.
This is a very small and lightweight unit. It is portable and can be transported in trucks or cars, and stored easily because it takes up so little space. The entire device weighs about 35 pounds and measures 16.5” x 7.7” x 13.1”.
The leads that come with the unit are 15’ in length. It is fully assembled and ready to work when it arrives at your home. All you have to do is plug it in and get busy. Everything you need to get started comes with the unit except for your safety goggles, helmet and gloves.
You can do more work in a shorter amount of time using this plasma cutter. It has some of the highest cutting speeds and provides superior quality and precision cuts. Your work will be done faster and will look better because of this tool.
If you are short on money then my suggestion is to check our article on budget plasma cutters here.
Q. Do Plasma Cutters With Built In Compressors Function The Same As Those Without?
Cutters with built in compressors have all of the functionality and usability that you find in plasma cutters that require an external air compressor. The built in compressor saves you from having to run two pieces of equipment so it makes the cutters that have the built in compressors easier to work in remote locations, and they are quieter.
All of the settings that you are accustomed to having on your plasma cutter that requires a separate air compressor will be on the cutter with the built in compressor. The only difference is you only need one machine to do the work that used to require two machines.
Q. Why Are These More Expensive Than A Normal Non-Air Compressor Plasma Cutter?
When you purchase a traditional plasma cutter you also have to purchase an air compressor to work with the unit. You have the cost of two pieces of equipment. When you purchase a plasma cutter with a built in air compressor you only have to purchase one machine. The cost of a single machine that does the work of 2 machines is slightly higher than the cost of just a cutter with no air compressor.
Q. What Does “Duty Cycle” Mean And Why Is It Important To Consider When Buying A ``Plasma Cutter?
The term duty cycle indicates the amount of time the unit can work in a specific amount of time. If you have a cutter that has a 30% duty cycle then the machine can be working for three out of each ten minute period without overheating. A duty cycle of 50% means that in a ten minute period the machine can function for five of the minutes.
Q. What Is The Cost Of Maintenance For These Machines?
These machines have relatively no maintenance costs. They are electrically powered and you do not need to change oil or filters in them. You should check cords and leads to make sure they are in good condition, but you basically do nothing else to maintain this equipment.
Plasma cutter compressors will save you both time and money. They are convenient and easy to operate so you can take them wherever you need to work.
If you are looking for a versatile cutter with built in compressor check the Hypertherm Powermax 30 AIR Hand System with 15' Lead that has dual power capabilities.
If you are looking for a complete plasma cutter that comes with a toolbox filled with needed accessories check out the Forney 317 250 P+. This compressor has everything you need and more.