Best Plasma Cutters with Built-in Compressor of 2021 – Reviews & Guide

This review article is undoubtedly for you if you are looking for the best plasma cutters with a built-in compressor.

Why? Let me explain a little bit.

As the plasma cutting involves high air pressure to produce the plasma and generate a proper arc, the built-in compressors help achieve this goal.

How are they different, and why are they different?

The built-in compressors eliminate the need for an external air pressure source and help portability, compact size cutters with ease of transportation.

No worries if you are new to plasma cutters, a professional or hobbyist, we have brought you top plasma cutters with built-in compressors to help you find the best one for you. Before buying a plasma cutter with a built-in compressor, make sure to understand the pros and cons. Also, a buying guide will help make sure that you choose a plasma cutter according to your needs and requirements.

At the end of the article, we have compiled a complete guideline for you about the plasma cutters buying guide with built-in compressors, so stick around.

TOP PICKS

Hobart Airforce

Hobart Airforce 12ci

  • Weight: 26.7 pounds
  • Dimensions: 16.5×18.5×11.25 inches
  • Output: 12 amp

 

Hypertherm

Hypertherm Powermax 30 AIR

  • Weight: 29.8 pounds
  • Dimensions: 16.5×7.7×13.1 inches
  • Output: 15-30 Amps

 

Forney 317

Forney 317 250 P+

  • Weight: 43 pounds
  • Dimensions: 15.88×23.13×12.38 inches
  • Output: 15 amps

 

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Best plasma cutter with built-in compressor

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Hobart Airforce 12ci

Hobart Airforce 12ci built-in compressor
  • Input power voltage: 120v
  • Output: 12 amp
  • Clean cut: 1/8″ steel plate
  • Duty Cycle: 35% @ 12A

Hypertherm Powermax 30 AIR

Hypertherm Powermax 30 AIR
  • Dual voltage: 120-240V
  • Output: 15-30 Amps
  • Cutting capacity: up to 3/8″ thickness
  • Severance Thickness: 5/8″

Forney 317 250 P+

Forney 317 250 P+
 
  • Input voltage: 120 volts
  • Output: 15 amps
  • Torch lead: 15 feet
  • Weight: 43 pounds

Thermal Arc Air Cut 15C

Thermal Arc Air Cut 15C
  • Torch lead: 20 ft
  • Output: 15 amps
  • Input: 110/230 volts
  • frequency: 50/60 Hz

Lincoln Plasma Cutter 375 Air

Lincoln Plasma Cutter 375 Air
  • Weight: 47.64 Pounds
  • Dimensions: 27.4 x 11.6 x 20.7 inches
  • Output amperage: 10-25 Amp
  • Torch lead: 10 feet

1. Hobart Airforce 12ci built-in compressor

BEST Overall

★★★★★

Hobart Airforce 12ci Best Plasma Cutter with Built in Compressors

Specifications:

  • Weight: 26.7 pounds
  • Dimensions: 16.5×18.5×11.25 inches
  • Torch lead: 12 ft
  • Input power voltage: 120v
  • Output: 12 amp
  • Clean cut: 1/8″ steel plate
  • Duty Cycle: 35% @ 12A
  • Input Hz: 60 Hz

Hobart Airforce 12ci lies in the category of smallest plasma cutters to offer maximum portability. This plasma cutter aims to provide cutting thickness up to 3/16″ thickness of the steel used by plugging it into 120volts. Any workman can carry it and plug it into the home’s powerhouse to get started to be best suitable for HVAC professionals.

Small cutting thickness capacity enables cutting brackets, plate repair work, and other tiny tasks. The deep insights of all the features are given below:

  • Built-in Compressor

The built-in compressor maintains the air pressure to keep the plasma intact. Moreover, it offers a steady and smooth cut by regulating continuous air pressure.

  • On-demand fan

Although the plasma cutter is made for small tasks, it has many extraordinary features. The post-airflow keeps the workpiece cool to avoid any warping and has a heat-affected zone. The on-demand fan switches on to remove dust and dirt particles inside Hobart’s cabin. The fan keeps the machine away from overheating.

  • Fast and speedy

The plasma cutter offers a fast and speedy cutting process because of its plasma arc technology torch. The newbie-friendly torch helps to get a heck of it quickly that you don’t need prior experience. The plasma cutter has a superior cutting speed as compared to oxy-fuel cutting.

  • Clean cut with minimum slag

It offers a clean cutting of the workpiece with minimum or no slag. Offering less kerf is also its plus point. Moreover, there are no post-treatment requirements after completing your cutting work.

PROS:

  • Built-in air compressor
  • Pilot arc technology
  • Lightweight
  • Portable
  • Works on the single power input
  • Cuts clean with less kerf and slag
  • Minimum heat affected zone

CONS:

  • Complains about less air pressure
  • Not suitable for heavy-duty work
Final verdict: All Hobart’s products are designed for professionals and innovative work, keeping the portability at maximum. This 12ci plasma cutter has unique light work features that help a craftsman work instantly on small projects. Moreover, it is a top-rated plasma cutter with an air compressor with an on-demand fan to keep the internal cabin tidy..

2. Hypertherm Powermax 30 AIR

Light-duty Plasma Cutter

★★★★★

Hypertherm Powermax 30 AIR

Specifications:

  • Weight: 29.8 pounds
  • Dimensions with handles: 16.5×7.7×13.1 inches
  • Dual voltage: 120-240V
  • Output: 15-30 Amps
  • Cutting capacity: up to 3/8″ thickness
  • Severance Thickness: 5/8″
  • Warranty: Three years of power supply
  • Duty cycle: 35% @ 240V, 20% @ 120V

Hypertherm Powermax 30 is the light-duty plasma cutter among its category and is the most portable plasma cutter with a built-in compressor. Its versatile features of a fast-paced cutting process with a quality surface finish do not require much post-surface treatment. Having a rugged T3 torch makes it highly resilient to harsh environments. The overall features of this plasma cutter are as following:

  • Portable and lightweight

The palms cutter hits the spot among the best plasma cutters with a built-in compressor because of its lightweight feature and portability. It weighs only 30 pounds and can be moved anywhere because of portability.

  • Built-in air compressor

The built-in air compressor ensures an ample amount of air pressure on the workpiece to keep the cut channel clean.

Moreover, the plasma cutter has a dual voltage of 120-240V input with auto voltage technology and includes plug adapters.

  • Drag Torch technology

The drag torch technology ensures quality and precise cuts. The plasma arc starts by striking the torch on the workpiece and dragging it on the surface. This technology makes the cutting process smooth and hassle-free

  • Cutting thickness

The Hypertherm plasma cutter gives a cutting thickness of up to 3/8″ of steel. Moreover, you can use thin cuts on steel, alloy steel, mild steel, copper, and aluminum.

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  •  Portable
  • Works on dual voltage
  • It comes with a plug adapter.
  • Cuts up to 3/8″ steel plate

CONS:

  • Not suitable for CNC work
  • High ticket product
Final verdict: Hypertherm Powermax 30 hits the sweet spot of portability, precision, and quality. It does not facilitate CNC work because of its small work capabilities. You can easily use it for DIY projects, your backyard workshop, and small industries. As the manufacturer offers three years warranty, you can use it with trust and reliability. Moreover, it has a certification to be used in America, Russia, Ukraine, and Serbia.

3. Forney 317 250 P+

Best Portable Plasma Cutter

★★★★★

Forney 317 250 P+ Best Plasma Cutter with Built in Compressors

Specifications:

  • Weight: 43 pounds
  • Dimensions: 15.88×23.13×12.38 inches
  • Input voltage: 120 volts
  • Output: 15 amps
  • Torch lead: 15 feet
  • Cut Material: Aluminum, Steel, stainless steel & other ferrous metals

This cutter is for all those who want a plasma cutter for small, light work, or DIY jobs. It brings quality, clean-cut, and portability within the same cutter and suitable for DIY workshops only. It is a portable plasma cutter with a built-in air compressor, a compact size, and a lightweight machine. The overall features include:

  • Drag arc technology

Having drag arc technology makes the plasma cutter super easy to work with. These features make the plasma cutter easy to use. As you only strike the workpiece to start high-quality arc plasma that creates cutting just by dragging the torch on the workpiece. The drag technology helps in smooth cutting but also has a delay time while cutting.

  • Built-in air compressor

The built-in air compressor keeps the air pressure steady on the workpiece. It helps to cut clean and precise with minimum or no slag. Using electrical arc and compressed air makes the work quite tidy and professional. Moreover, having an air dryer and pressure regulator is also a plus to give superior quality work.

  • Lightweight

The plasma cutter is lightweight and portable enough that a worker can offer small household work. It is easy to plug into 120V power input and start giving domestic repair work and other small projects.

PROS:

  • Portable
  • Lightweight
  • Can work on the generator
  • Cuts up to ⅛” steel thickness
  • Built-in storage area for consumables
  • Drag arc technology

CONS:

  • Has delay time
  • Not suitable for heavy-duty work
Final verdict: The plasma cutter offers the best portability and excellent quality for thin objects and can cut up to ⅛” thickness of the steel. Working on single input of 120V makes it easy to plug into the house current to get started. The compact size cutter has built-in storage for consumables and the cables, and the torches are removable for repair and maintenance work. As the plasma cutter can work on the generator, it is best for any site work or DIY projects.

4. Thermal Arc Air Cut 15C

Best for Professional

★★★★★

Thermal Arc Air Cut 15C

Specifications:

  • Weight: 33 pounds
  • Dimensions: 23.1×11.4×12.3 inches
  • Torch lead: 20 ft
  • Output: 15 amps
  • Input: 110/230 volts
  • frequency: 50/60 Hz
  • Cut thickness: up to ⅛ inch.

Thermal arc air cut 15C is also one of the best plasma cutters with a built-in air compressor because of its built-in high-quality air compressor and innovative cutting capacity. It is made for industrial applications and heavy-duty work, so it also comes up with a high price tag and narrow output. It weighs only 33 pounds and helps in transportation and portability. There is no need to worry about the cutting capacity as it can cut ⅛” thickness with 25% more productivity.

All the characteristic features of this plasma cutter include:

  • Built-in air compressor

The high-quality built-in compressor is meat to regulate air pressure for precise cuts. As the pressure maintains a stable arc, so it is best for providing deep cuts, continuous work even in heavy-duty industries.

  • Lightweight and portable

The plasma cutter weighs only 33 pounds and gives an output of 15 amps. So, the plasma cutter has only 50% of the weight compared to any other plasma cutters at this output. It is highly portable and easy to transport. Having a 20 feet long torch lead makes it capable of going anywhere for site work/ outdoor projects.

  • Suitable for heavy-duty /high volume work

The plasma cutter has lightweight with a high output of 15 amps with a 35% duty cycle. So it is highly productive and efficient enough to work for a 25% higher cutting rate. This enables the plasma cutter for professional work.

PROS:

  • Portable
  • Lightweight
  • 25% more cutting power
  • Dual voltage and frequency
  • Built-in air compressor

CONS:

  • It can’t be used for heavy-duty work
Final verdict: This plasma cutter is a high-value product and specially designed for professional works. Having a 15amp output makes it a suitable choice for professional work as it has dual voltage. So you can work in a house on its power source, or it can be used in workshops for high-volume work.

5. Lincoln Plasma Cutter 375 Air

Maximum Output

★★★★★

Lincoln Plasma Cutter 375 Air Best Plasma Cutter with Built in Compressors

Specifications:

  • Weight: 47.64 Pounds
  • Dimensions: 27.4 x 11.6 x 20.7 inches
  • Output amperage: 10-25 Amp
  • Torch lead: 10 feet
  • Air compressor: 70 PSI
  • Maximum Cut thickness: 3/8 inch.
  • Severance Thickness: ½ inch.
  • Warranty: 3-years
  • Model: K2806-1

Lincoln plasma cutter 10-25A has an inverter technology with a 70 PSI air compressor and has a unique feature to work for DIY projects. Although it has all industrial standards, experts find this product the best plasma cutter for home use. However, this compressed air plasma cutter  50 PSI to 80 psi-70 PSI on average-heavy duty cuts may need an external air pressure source where the pressure requirements are up to 100 PSI. This Lincoln plasma cutter has the following features:

  • Built-in air compressor

The Lincoln plasma cutter works on 70PSI on average. But for heavy-duty work, an external air pressure source is usually required to reach up to 100 PSI.

  • Front panel controls

The plasma cutter has all the buttons at the cutter’s front to make settings for the process. This panel makes the process of handling super easy and controllable.

  • Cutting capacity

When you set the power voltage to get the lowest amps of 10 Amp, the plasma cutter can easily cut sheet metals with a thickness of Sheet metal thickness, but the edges start blowing off, so the plasma cutter works best at 25 amps, giving you a thickness cutting of ¼” steel.

PROS:

  • Portable and efficient
  • High duty cycle
  • Dual voltage
  • Dual amperage
  • Can cut metal sheets on lowest amperage
  • Built-in air compressor with 70 PSI

CONS:

  • Not suitable for CNC work
  • Needs external airflow for heavy-duty work
Final verdict: The lincoln plasma cutter is designed for those who want to save their time to get the maximum output. As the cutter features a front control panel, it increases productivity as it gives direct access to the control panel. Moreover, having a 70PSI air compressor makes it a high-quality plasma cutter to provide a clean and clear metal cut.

A buying guide to plasma cutters with compressors

Buying a plasma cutter with an air compressor is not an easy task. As there are two machines combined in the same cabinet, you need to be knowing a lot of technical aspects before having one. As heavy-duty air pressure is required that cuts the plasma through the metal in the cutting process, a high-quality compressor is needed. If you don’t have a built-in compressor, you need to have an external air pressure source.

So, either way, we need the air pressure to generate the plasma for the cutting process.

Input power source:

The power source is the most crucial factor in a plasma cutter’s performance. Either you use a plasma cutter in your home or a DIY shop, a power source is needed to take current from the plasma cutter. Almost all portable plasma cutters are lightweight and use a single voltage of 120 V or a dual voltage of 120/240 V.

A single voltage plasma cutter with an air compressor is lightweight, but a dual volt plasma cutter has higher versatility. So it depends upon your choice and needs. If you can manage a single voltage plasma cutter of 120 volts, you can easily buy it with a built-in compressor instead of purchasing a dual voltage plasma cutter at a higher price. Moreover, you can easily plugin a single voltage plasma cutter in your house power source at 120V.

Duty cycle:

The duty cycle is the factor that directly affects your productivity. If you need to cool down a plasma cutter more than it works, it means your whole time will waste instead of cutting. Think about the condition and the projects you are working on, then see the machine’s duty cycle. 50% may look like very little, but it is 5 minutes non-stop cutting before you turn off the plasma cutter to cool it down.

So for a plasma cutter with a built-in compressor, a 30-50% duty cycle is sufficient.

Warranty:

The manufacturer’s warranty plays a vital role in winning the buyer’s trust. Nobody avails of the warranty’s option without any need. Most of the plasma cutters with built-in compressors give a manufacturer 3 to 5 years warranty, which is ample for a cutter’s performance. Because the built-in compressors produce a higher amount of heat, take more power, have more parts, buying a high-priced plasma cutter can give you some years of warranty to check the heating, blasting, cooling, and performance of a plasma cutter.

Technology:

Features are the essential thing to make your cutting process easier for you. Plasma cutters with advanced features can help you achieve precision and accuracy with the challenging cutting process.

With the plasma cutter with drag torch technology, it is much easier to start cutting your workpiece as the arc is generated by striking the workpiece to the torch. You drag the torch on the workpiece, and plasma starts cutting the metal. It is easy for a newbie as the drag technology maintains the balance of the hand holding the torch, and you get the hang of it.

But non-touch arc technology works by maintaining the torch at a certain distance. If the distance is not maintained or lacks the skill, cuts are usually shaggy, rough, and inaccurate.

FAQs

How big a compressor should I buy?

It is always recommended to buy a plasma cutter with a built-in compressor. But if you want to buy an air compressor for your already existing plasma cutter, buy a compressor bigger than a plasma cutter. A general thumb rule is to have a compressor 1.5 times higher CFM( cubic feet per minute) than the CFM requirements of a plasma cutter.

Do all plasma cutters need an air compressor?

Yes. Plasma cutting is a two-stage process that involves air pressure during the process. First of all, high air pressure is required to convert the metal into the 4th state of matter plasma- at a higher temperature. Then this plasma is a blast to the workpiece to cut through the metal. So a high air pressure is necessary for plasma cutters.

Conclusion:

Plasma cutters with built-in compressors make your projects easier and doable, especially if you are starting. Although they cost you a bit higher than many other cutting techniques, portability, durability, lightweight, precision, and accuracy in the cutting process make them the best choice for you.

Plasma cutters for the money can be your choice if you are a hobbyist, but they are not recommended for heavy-duty work like built-in compressors plasma cutters.

As the built-in plasma cutters either come with 120V input or dual voltage of 120/240 V, having a single input plasma cutter works wonderfully for your household works and DIY projects.

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