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Best Plasma Cutters Under $500: Get Cutting Right Away With These Top Picks

If you’re looking to get into metal fabrication or take on DIY projects that require cutting metal, a plasma cutter is an essential tool. But professional-grade plasma cutters can cost over $1,000, putting them out of reach for many hobbyists and small shops. The good news is you can get a decent plasma cutting machine for under $500 if you know what to look for.

I’ve been using plasma cutters for years in my home garage workshop. While you can’t expect the same performance as an industrial plasma cutter, many budget models can still cut through metal up to 1/4″ thick. Here are my top recommendations for plasma cutters under $500 based on hands-on testing and experience.

Versa Cut Plasma Cutter: Powerful and Portable Cutting

The Eastwood Versa Cut 40 amp plasma cutter punches above its weight class. Despite the budget price tag, it has the cutting power to slice through mild steel up to 3/8″ thick. I was able to make clean, fast cuts in sheet metal using this versacut plasma cutter.

Weighing only 19 lbs, the Eastwood Versa Cut is highly portable compared to bulkier models. The compact design makes it easy to transport to job sites. It’s a versatile plasma cutting system that provides professional-level cutting capacity at a DIY price point.

Pros of the Versa Cut Plasma Cutter:

Best Plasma Cutters Under $500: Get Cutting Right Away With These Top Picks

  • Powerful 40 amp cutting output
  • Cuts up to 3/8″ mild steel
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Stable arc even at lower amps
  • Built-in carry handle for transport

For its balance of cutting ability, portability, and affordability, the Eastwood Versa Cut is my top pick for hobbyists and small shops on a budget.

Eastwood Versa Cut 40 Amp: Reliable Cutter for Beginners

Another great plasma cutter option under $500 is the Eastwood Versa Cut 40 amp model. I’ve used Eastwood’s plasma cutters for years and found them to be consistently reliable. This versatile plasmacutter provides ample cutting power in a compact, easy-to-use package.

The Versa Cut 40 amp has a recommended cut capacity of 5/8″ thick mild steel. It can sever material quickly with a minimal heat affected zone. The built-in air compressor provides constant pressure for a steady plasma arc.

For novice plasma cutter users, the Versa Cut 40 has an easy-to-understand control panel. Just set your amperage for the thickness of the metal and you’ll get clean cuts every time. It’s a great entry-level model for learning plasma cutting.

Key Features of the Eastwood Versa Cut 40 Amp:

Best Plasma Cutters Under $500: Get Cutting Right Away With These Top Picks

  • Cuts up to 5/8″ mild steel
  • Built-in air compressor
  • Cuts as fast as 3 ipm
  • Simple controls for amperage
  • 1 year warranty from Eastwood

With its reasonable price tag and reliable cutting performance, the Eastwood Versa Cut 40 amp is ideal for DIYers starting out in plasma cutting.

When you’re starting out with plasma cutting, having a reliable machine that’s easy to operate is crucial. You want to be able to focus on learning the ins and outs of plasma cutting, not wrestling with a finicky cutter. That’s why the Eastwood Versa Cut 40 amp is one of the best plasma cutters for beginners under $500.

I well remember my first days attempting plasma cutting. The cheap plasma cutter I bought was temperamental and didn’t make clean cuts. I got frustrated trying to dial in the right settings and position the torch just right. If only someone had pointed me toward the Eastwood Versa Cut 40 amp back then!

Eastwood Versa Cut 40 Amp: Reliable Cutter for Beginners

After struggling with that first plasma cutter, I upgraded to an Eastwood Versa Cut 40. What a difference it made! Right out of the box I was able to start making straight, clean cuts through 1/4″ steel.

The Versa Cut 40 has an optimal cut capacity of 5/8″ steel when running at 40 amps. While more powerful machines can cut thicker material, this is plenty for most DIY and hobbyist needs. I was able to cut meticulous curves and angles thanks to the Versa Cut’s steady plasma arc.

Another benefit for beginners is the Versa Cut’s straightforward controls. Just set the amperage for your material thickness and you’re good to go. There’s no need to fiddle with pressure settings or gas flow like on more complex units. The built-in air compressor provides a consistent air supply for clean cuts.

Why the Eastwood Versa Cut 40 Amp is Great for Beginners:

  • Cuts up to 5/8″ steel right out of the box
  • Simple amperage control for material thickness
  • Built-in compressor for steady air flow
  • Sturdy construction for durability
  • Reliable pilot arc for easy starts
  • Terrific value for the price

After learning my way around a plasma cutter with the Eastwood Versa Cut 40, I felt confident taking on more ambitious projects. It’s the perfect cutting machine for anyone looking to acquire or improve their plasma cutting skills without spending a fortune.

When I first started my metal fabrication business, I knew I needed an industrial-grade plasma cutter that could keep up with the demands of high volume production. But I was working with a limited startup budget and couldn’t afford a $2,000+ commercial cutter. That’s when I discovered the Hypertherm Powermax 45.

Hypertherm Powermax 45: Industrial Strength Performance

Best Plasma Cutters Under $500: Get Cutting Right Away With These Top Picks

Despite its reasonable price tag, the Hypertherm Powermax 45 delivers the durability, cut quality and features I need for my fabrication shop. This versatile plasmacutter bridges the gap between DIY models and full-fledged industrial systems.

The Powermax 45 has a recommended cut capacity of 5/8″ steel, giving it the muscle to slice through metal quickly and efficiently. Its 45 amp cutting power and precision plasma torch allow me to achieve minimal slag, narrow kerf and square cut edges.

One of my favorite things about the Hypertherm Powermax 45 is its industrial-grade internal components. It utilizes a high voltage IGBT inverter power supply that delivers consistent, superior cutting results. The durable torches stand up to all-day, heavy duty use without failing.

Key Benefits of the Hypertherm Powermax 45:

  • 45 amp output for 5/8″ metal cutting
  • High voltage inverter power supply
  • Minimal slag and warping
  • Superior cut quality on painted/rusted metal
  • Automatic gas console and air filtration
  • 2 year warranty from a leading brand

For its power, performance and rugged reliability, the Hypertherm Powermax 45 is easily one of the best plasma cutters for professionals and small businesses. It delivers industrial cutting capacity at a price I can afford.

One of the biggest annoyances of using a plasma cutter is being limited by your power supply. Needing to switch circuits or use extension cords to run your cutter is a hassle. That’s why I was excited to try out the Lotos LT5000D, with its dual voltage capacity.

Lotos LT5000D: Feature-Packed Dual Voltage Plasma Cutter

Best Plasma Cutters Under $500: Get Cutting Right Away With These Top Picks

The Lotos LT5000D stands out from other plasma cutters under $500 with its ability to run on either 110V or 220V power. This versatility lets me use it anywhere, whether in my garage workshop on a standard outlet or hooked up to my welder’s 220V circuit.

In addition to the dual voltage function, the LT5000D has a max cutting thickness of 3/4″ steel. It provides the ample 50 amps of power needed for deeper cuts. An air compressor is built-in to maintain constant pressure for clean, precise cuts.

What’s most impressive about the Lotos LT5000D is the array of convenience features it packs in at this price point. The LCD display with cutting guides makes operation a breeze. It has handy storage compartments for nozzles and a shoulder strap for portability.

Notable Features of the Lotos LT5000D:

  • Dual 110/220V voltage capacity
  • Cuts up to 3/4″ thick material
  • Built-in air compressor
  • Digital display with cutting guides
  • Shoulder strap for easy transport
  • Hand torch with ergonomic grip

With its versatile dual voltage function and breadth of features, the Lotos LT5000D is a versatile and user-friendly plasma cutter at a wallet-friendly price.

When you’re shopping for a plasma cutter on a tight budget, you have to be realistic about what you can get. Industrial-grade cutters with powerful amperage and thick metal cutting capacities will be out of reach. But you can still get great value from an affordable, entry-level model like the Forney Easy Weld 261.

Forney Easy Weld 261: Budget Friendly Option for Light Duty Cutting

As a DIYer and hobby welder, I don’t need a heavy duty plasma cutter for my small projects. So I took a chance on the Forney Easy Weld 261 for its low price tag. While it’s not built for major industrial use, this little plasma cutter has been a champ for light duty cutting.

The Easy Weld 261 has a maximum cut thickness of 1/4″ mild steel. For thin sheet metal or smaller projects like sign making and auto body work, it has plenty of cutting power. The 20 amp output provides a smooth, steady plasma arc.

Setup is quick and straightforward with the Easy Weld 261. It includes an air regulator and basic controls for setting your amperage. The compact torch feels comfortable for extended cutting time.

Notable Features of the Forney Easy Weld 261:

  • Affordable price for budget buyers
  • 20 amp cutting output
  • Cuts up to 1/4″ steel
  • Built-in air regulator
  • Easy amperage control
  • 1 year warranty

While it lacks advanced features, the Easy Weld 261 gets the job done for basic cutting. It’s the perfect plasma cutter for hobbyists on a budget.

When I first started my metalwork projects, I bought a small, inexpensive plasma cutter. It was fine for thinner materials, but I quickly wanted to upgrade to cut thicker steel. That’s when I decided to invest in the PrimeWeld Cut50 plasma cutter. The 50 amp cutting power lets me slice through metal up to 3/4″ thick with ease.

PrimeWeld Cut50: Sturdy 50 Amp Cutter for Thicker Metals

Best Plasma Cutters Under $500: Get Cutting Right Away With These Top Picks

With its max cutting thickness of 3/4″ steel, the PrimeWeld Cut50 delivers the power I need for bigger metal fabrication projects. I’ve used it to slice cleanly through 1/2″ plate steel when making cargo racks and tool mounts.

Despite its robust output, the Cut50 maintains a precise, narrow kerf. This allows for intricate, detailed cuts. It also utilizes an inverter power supply that provides a steadier, more consistent plasma arc compared to cheaper transformer models.

I appreciate that the PrimeWeld Cut50 has a durable, rugged design. It has a solid metal body that can take some bumps and bangs without issue. The hand torch feels sturdy and well-made. This cutter is built to last.

Notable Features of the PrimeWeld Cut50:

  • Powerful 50 amp cutting output
  • Cuts up to 3/4″ steel cleanly
  • Inverter power supply for steady arc
  • Precise cuts with narrow kerf
  • Built sturdy for durability

With its added cutting thickness capacity, the PrimeWeld Cut50 is an excellent plasma cutter for anyone looking to take on bigger DIY metal projects.

When you’re on a super tight budget, finding an inexpensive plasma cutter that actually works can be a challenge. Lots of bargain models under $200 are flimsy and unreliable. But I took a chance on the Super Deal DC inverter plasma cutter and was pleasantly surprised by how well it works.

Super Deal DC Inverter Plasma Cutter: Cheapest Cutting Machine

Best Plasma Cutters Under $500: Get Cutting Right Away With These Top Picks

Priced under $100, the Super Deal DC inverter plasma cutter is the cheapest model on this list. But don’t let the low price fool you – this cutter can slice through thin steel while rivaling the cut quality of pricier brands.

With its recommended capacity of 1/8″ mild steel, the Super Deal plasma cutter is best suited for thinner materials. I use it for cutting sheet metal when fabricating custom enclosures and small parts. For detailed, intricate cuts, it works great.

Despite its bargain price tag, this plasma cutter has nice features like a digital display and air pressure gauges. The hand torch feels well-made and allows for fine cutting control. Overall, it punches above its weight.

Notable Attributes of the Super Deal Plasma Cutter:

  • Extremely affordable price under $100
  • Digital display for amperage control
  • Cuts up to 1/8″ steel cleanly
  • Built-in air pressure gauges
  • Inverter power supply

For thin metal cutting on a tight budget, the Super Deal inverter plasma cutter delivers surprising value and performance.

As a maker who enjoys welding and fabricating small projects, I need a plasma cutter that’s easily portable and versatile for different materials. When I discovered the AOTOMIMI portable plasma cutter, I realized it was the perfect fit for my needs.

AOTOMIMI Plasma Cutter: Portable and Versatile for Small Projects

Weighing only 15 lbs, the AOTOMIMI plasma cutter is lightweight and compact. I can toss it in my truck bed along with my welder and generators when heading to the job site or my friends’ workshops.

Despite its portable size, this cutter boasts 40 amps of output. It slices through mild steel up to 12 mm thick with minimal drag or slag buildup. I’ve used it to cut small parts and panels from sheet metal for custom cabinets and trailers.

The AOTOMIMI plasma cutter is also designed to cut other conductive metals like stainless steel, copper, and aluminum. This versatility makes it ideal for home DIY projects and minor fabrication work.

Notable Features:

  • Light, compact size at 15 lbs
  • Cuts up to 12 mm mild steel
  • 40 amp max cutting output
  • Cuts multiple metal types
  • Built-in carry handle

For hobbyists and makers seeking an easily portable, versatile plasma cutter, the AOTOMIMI model is a great choice for small fabrication projects.

As a DIYer without a dedicated workshop, I need fabrication tools that are lightweight and easy to move around. I got tired of lugging my bulky plasma cutter from the garage to the backyard and back. That’s when I decided to try out the highly portable Zeny plasma cutter.

Zeny DC Inverter Plasma Cutter: Lightweight and Compact Design

Best Plasma Cutters Under $500: Get Cutting Right Away With These Top Picks

Weighing only 10 pounds, the Zeny plasma cutter lives up to its reputation for portability. The compact size takes up minimal space in my small garage. I can also toss it in my car when I need to transport it.

Despite the smaller form factor, this cutter packs 40 amps of cutting power. It breezes through mild steel up to 1/2″ thick. The arc stays narrow and focused, allowing me to follow curved lines smoothly.

The Zeny plasma cutter uses an inverter power supply for steady, efficient performance. I don’t have to deal with voltage fluctuations causing arc instability like on cheaper models. It also runs quieter than conventional transformers.

Key Features:

  • Only 10 lbs for easy portability
  • 40 amp cutting capacity
  • Cuts up to 1/2″ steel
  • Inverter power supply
  • Built-in carry handle

With its lightweight design and robust cutting capabilities, the Zeny plasma cutter is perfect for hobbyists and DIYers working in compact spaces.

When buying tools on a budget, you have to weigh performance against price point. Of course you want the best quality possible, but sometimes the premium brands are out of reach. That’s why I took a chance on the budget-friendly SUNCOO plasma cutter – and was pleasantly surprised by the decent cut quality it delivers.

SUNCOO Plasma Cutter: Decent Cut Quality for the Price

Best Plasma Cutters Under $500: Get Cutting Right Away With These Top Picks

Priced at around $200, the SUNCOO plasma cutter is one of the most affordable models on the market. While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of a high-end unit, this cutter can make clean, precise cuts through thin steel and other metals.

The SUNCOO plasma cutter has a recommended capacity of 1/4″ clean cuts in mild steel. I’ve used it to slice sheet metal when building custom enclosures and small parts. For detailed, intricate cuts, it works impressively well.

Despite the low price tag, the SUNCOO plasma cutter boasts useful features like a digital amperage display and built-in air pressure regulator. The arc stays narrow and focused for tighter control.

Notable Attributes:

  • Very budget-friendly price point
  • Quality cuts up to 1/4″ steel
  • Digital display and air regulator
  • Stable, narrow plasma arc
  • 1 year warranty

If you need decent cutting performance on a tight budget, don’t overlook the SUNCOO plasma cutter. It delivers good cut quality and value.