10 Best Plasma Cutters For 2022
As the new year gets into full swing, machine shops and metal fabricators across the world are looking at upgrading their current plasma cutters or adding additional plasma table capacity. With new innovations and technologies making their way into metal fabrication every year, keeping up to date with the best automated plasma cutters and manual plasma cutting machines on the market can give you a decided advantage over your competitors. Here's a list of what we think are the best plasma cutters available in 2022 to help you get started.
What To Consider When Buying a Plasma Cutter
First, we should go over how we determine the criteria on which to base our list of plasma cutters. While we tried to include a broad range of plasma cutting machines from the highly portable to the 1,500-lb behemoths, we considered each unit overall given the following categories:
- Cut Quality
- Volume (Cut speed)
- Operating Costs
- Unit Cost
While most automated plasma cutters are not portable — and most portable units are underpowered relative to their peers — machine shops often require plasma cutting machines that provide some form of portability, and we did not want to exclude smaller units for that reason. So, without further ado, let's get to the list!
10. Thermal Dynamics A80 Air Plasma
Continuing the support for portable plasma cutting machines, we've got the Cutmaster Air Plasma A80 from Thermal Dynamics. It's not the biggest in the Air Plasma range A-Series, but we feel it is the best combination of price and performance in this line of Cutmasters. Despite one of the smallest form factors of any plasma cutter, the Air Plasma A80 manages to still pack a serious punch.
- Open Circuit Voltage: 260 VDC
- Maximum Output Current: 80 A
- Minimum Output Current: 30 A
- Dimensions: 26" x 13.5" x 9.75"
- Weight: 63 lbs.
9. PowerMax 125 Air Plasma
Kicking things off, we've got a 1-2 combination of power and portability in the PowerMax 125 Air plasma cutter. With cut speeds five times faster than oxyfuel and superior cut and gouge quality, the PowerMax 125 is a jack-of-all-trades plasma cutter with lower-than-expected operating costs. A great plasma cutting machine option for shops that require portability, the PowerMax 125 is versatile and durable.
- Kilowatt Output: 21.9 kW
- Rated Output Voltage: 175 VDC
- Duty Cycle: 100% at 125 A, 480/600 V, 3-PH
8. HyperTherm MaxPro 200 Conventional Plasma
When we think about all of the different ways we use plasma cutting machines and how they are integrated into our machine shops, we always have that one plasma cutter that is the go-to for its dependability, quality and operating cost. For us, that is most definitely HyperTherm's MaxPro 200 Conventional Plasma.
Is it the fastest? No. Does it have the best cut quality? Well, it's pretty close, but there are others we'd suggest over it. What the MaxPro 200 plasma cutter does have is reliable performance, low operating costs, easy operation and a reasonable price point. It's like that restaurant you eat at more than any other food joint: It might not be your all-time favorite, but for the price, versatility and everything else it provides, it always seems to be where you end up.
- Output Voltage: 50-165 VDC
- Maximum Output Current: 200 A
- Duty Cycle Rating: 100% at 33 kW, 40°C (140°F)
7. Lincoln Electric Spirit II 150 High Definition Plasma
The smallest version in the Spirit series, the Spirit II 150 plasma cutting machine by Lincoln Electric presents a multitude of features that make it a worthy entry for smaller machine shops and applications. Because of its low operating cost and superior cutting potential, the Spirit II 150 plasma cutter is a capable entry on our list that has made its way into thousands of machine shops around the world.
- Open Circuit Voltage: 300 VDC
- Output Current: 10-150 A
- Duty Cycle: 100% at 25.5 kW
6. Lincoln Electric FineLine 170 High Definition Plasma
Combining some of the best advancements in technology with one of the best brands in plasma cutting, the Lincoln Electric FineLine® High Definition Plasma cutting system was designed from the ground up to allow for complete user control from a single interface. With support for different fuels, you can maximize your cut quality and the life of your consumables. With higher amperage plasma at a lower cost, save time and money with one of the best plasma cutters we've reviewed this year.
5. HyperTherm XPR 170 High Definition Plasma
A scaled down version of one of our top picks, the HyperTherm XPR™ 170 delivers industry leading cut quality for thin to mid-range thicknesses and materials. Utilizing HyperTherm's XPR™ technology with HyDefinition®, this plasma cutter delivers superior cut quality by blending advanced technology with process refinement over previous generations. For mild steel, aluminum and stainless, pick up the XPR™ 170 and step onto the cutting edge of plasma cutting machines.
- Maximum Output Power: 66.5 kW
- Maximum Open Circuit Voltage: 360 VDC
- 100% Duty Arc Voltage: 222 V
- Forced Air Cooling
4. Thermal Dynamics Auto Cut 300 XT
Premium cut performance for mild steel and non-ferrous metals, the Auto Cut 300 XT is a great entry into plasma cutting machines. With increased cutting speed across thicknesses from gauge to 1¼", Thermal Dynamics offers the 300 XT as a unique and powerful solution for your plasma table.
- Rated Output: 300 A
- Output Range: 5-300 A
- Duty Cycle: 100% at 60 kW
- Max OCV: 425 V
3. Kjellberg Smart Focus 300 High Definition Plasma
Few plasma cutting machines generate the kind of quality and speed as our number three entry, the Kjellberg Smart Focus 300 High Definition Plasma cutting machine. With optimized gas controls and torches that protect consumables from burnout, reduce gas consumption and lower costs per cut, the Kjellberg Smart Focus 300 is one of the very best plasma cutters for 2022.
2. HyperThem XPR 300 High Definition Plasma
The Cadillac of plasma cutting machines. The HyperTherm XPR™ 300 High Definition Plasma Cutter is the top-of-the-line in cut time, quality, angularity and operating cost. XPR advanced arc response technology will automatically intervene to prevent excess consumable wear and possible torch damage. Through automatic ramp-down and torch protection, the XPR 300 plasma cutter combines the latest technology with unparalleled power. With different available console options, get the best plasma cutter for specific types of materials without sacrificing quality outcomes.
- Maximum Output Power: 66.5 kW
- Duty Cycle Rating: 100% at 66.5 kW, 40°C (140°F)
- Forced Air Cooling
- Maximum Open-Circuit Voltage: 360 VDC
1. HyperTherm HPR 400 High Definition Plasma
If the XPR™ 300 is a Cadillac, then the HPR™ 400 is a Bentley convertible combining all of the best aspects of quality and performance into one plasma cutting system. New HDi™ technology delivers some of the best cut quality in the industry. HyDefinition® technology aligns the plasma arc for more powerful, focused, precise cutting on mild steel up to 80mm (3.2"). With rapid process cycling, quick changeovers and high reliability, the HPR™ 400 is the absolute best plasma cutter for all materials and thicknesses and our choice for the best plasma cutting machine of 2022.
Get Your Next Plasma Cutter from Cutting Systems
At Cutting Systems, our specialty is making customized CNC plasma cutting machines that exceed our client's expectations. We leverage our knowledge and expertise to provide our customers with the best plasma cutter for their machine shop. We work with them to assess their needs in order to create a plasma cutting machine that fits into their workflow and production timeline. Check out how Cutting Systems can put your workshop on the cutting edge.
Every industrial CNC machine from Cutting Systems delivers the cut quality, productivity and precision that your application demands. We consider all of our customers to be valued partners and provide unparalleled service to ensure your needs are met. If you have any questions about our steel cutting machinery, feel free to contact us – we're always happy to help. If you know what you need for your industry, try requesting a quote to begin building the CNC machine that will get the job done right every time.