Plasma cutter technology has made great strides in the past decade and as each new improvement has hit the market, prices have continued to come down. There are now many quality choices at prices well within the budget of hobbyists and small business owners.
Here are our picks for the best budget plasma cutters under $500:
1. Reboot RBC-5000D
While the RBC-5000D may lose its arc periodically and it can be difficult to cut through thicker pieces, overall it’s a good machine for a plasma cutter priced under $500. When compared with similarly priced products it stands above most of the other options we came across. It’s a versatile product that works with many different metals and it’s generally easy to use.
The most expensive product in any category isn’t always the best option and that’s true when looking at budget plasma cutters under $500 as well. We selected the Reboot RBC-5000D as our top choice for a variety of reasons. It’s priced competitively at well under $500, but it has features that you’d expect to find on a much more expensive machine.
What makes this cutter stand out is its versatility. You can switch between 110 or 220 volt power output depending on what’s available and the air compressor is powered with 50 amps.
This machine cuts through aluminum alloy, mild steel or cast iron just as easily and that makes it useful in a variety of settings including automotive, weld shops and general maintenance work. Reboot’s plasma cutter will slice through almost any metal up to 15 mm without any problems.
One issue that seems to be a common problem is that you have to turn the machine off and on periodically to restart the arc. That can slow your cutting time down quite a bit. Another concern we have is that it can be a bit time-consuming cutting through thicker metal pieces in the 15 mm range – you will get through them, but probably not as quick as you’d like.
- Priced under $500.
- Switch between 110 or 220 volts.
- 50 amps.
- Works with multiple metal types.
- Works for up to 15 mm thickness.
- Arc may cut out periodically.
- Cutting through thicker metal is time-consuming.
2. Lotos LTP5000D
While some users can run into arc issues with this cutter, this isn’t the experience for the overwhelming majority of users. This is a reliable and durable machine that can be used on a variety of different metal types and with a price under $500 it’s great value for the money. The fact that it employs no-touch arc technology makes for a nice clean cut almost every time for pieces up to 1/2 an inch thick.
We were definitely tempted to select the Lotos LTP5000D as our choice for best overall budget plasma cutter for a ton of valid reasons. This is a great machine that’s durable and reliable and it also retails for under $400. The margin between the Reboot plasma cutter and this Lotos offering is razor thin and it really could have gone either way. As our runner-up it’s a great piece of equipment that gets the job done reliably every time.
One of the main reasons this machine stands out is because it employs no-touch pilot arc technology. As you cut through metal the arc never actually touches the metal, creating a smooth, quality cut through even the roughest, rusty surfaces.
It’s capable of cutting up to a 1/2 inch clean cut or a 3/4 rough cut. The LTP5000D uses compressed air technology and it’s effective on stainless steel, alloy steel, mild steel, copper or aluminum. You can easily adjust it to use at 110 or 220 volt power sources.
Where this plasma cutter struggles a bit is creating a consistent arc. Some users have found the arc to be a bit weak at times or it may cut out completely from time to time. This seems to happen when you attempt a cut that’s more than 1/8 of an inch thick, for thinner pieces it works without issue. We also had some minor issues with the air line, but for the most part it worked okay.
- No-touch arc technology.
- Clean cuts up to 1/2 inch.
- Cuts through a range of metals.
- Works at both 110 and 220 volts.
- Arc may cut out.
- Air line can be problematic.
3. Forney Easy Weld 20 P (251)
The Forney Easy Weld 20 P may have a couple of limitations, but overall it’s a great low-budget plasma cutter that’s perfect for home use or small commercial projects. We like the accuracy of the cut you can achieve with the drag torch technology. We also liked the extras it comes with including the 13′ cutting torch, 8′ ground clamp, extra electrode and an extra nozzle. It’s a great package with everything you need for most small jobs.
As the name implies, cutting metal with the Easy Weld 20 P is straightforward making this an ideal choice for home users or in small commercial settings. It will cost a little more than some similar products and that’s one of the main reasons we didn’t rate this one a little higher, although it still retails for under $500. If you need a reliable machine that can cut through a variety of metals this is a great option.
This cutter works well with mild steel, stainless steel and aluminum up to 1/4 inch thick. It also takes advantage of drag torch technology which allows you to literally drag the cutting tip directly across the metal for a consistent and smooth cut. Some other great attributes of this machine are that it comes with a 13′ cutting torch, an 8′ ground clamp, an extra electrode and an additional nozzle.
We didn’t like the fact that this is meant exclusively for use at 120 volts. If your power source is 220 volts you’ll have to look for alternatives. If you prefer an arc welder this isn’t the right choice for you either.
We should also mention that this low-cost plasma cutter is a little on the heavy side at just over 21 pounds. If you’re looking for a plasma cutter that’s more portable, there are better options than the Forney Easy Weld 20 P.
- Works for a variety of metals.
- Drag Torch technology.
- Can cut up to 1/4 inch.
- 13′ cutting torch and 8′ ground clamp.
- Includes extra electrode and nozzle.
- Must be 120 volts.
- More than 21 pounds.
4. S7 CUT-50
The S7 CUT-50 is a good option if you’re on a tight budget. We do have some concerns with its build quality and it may require a little extra effort to make a cut when compared to its competitors. It is hard to beat the price though, you won’t find many other plasma cutters priced under $200. We recommend this as a good choice if you’re just getting started in the welding field.
If you’re in search of one of the cheapest plasma cutters that can still perform at an acceptable level, the S7 CUT-50 is an option that deserves serious consideration. This machine usually retails for under $200, which makes it the best bargain on our list. It may not offer the power and precision of some of the other options in our best budget plasma cutter reviews, but it’s a decent machine for the price.
This machine does have some good things going for it. It is capable of operating with either 110 volt or 220 volt power sources. You can also cut metal up to 20 mm thick. On top of that it comes with a bunch of accessories which will make it a lot easier getting started if this is your first plasma cutter.
In addition it has an HD digital display, gas delay and current adjustment controls, and a convenient carry handle for portability. This unit uses touch torch technology and it can cut through rough metals with ease.
One problem we found with this machine is that you usually have to make more than one pass to cut through any type of metal. Also, the overall build quality is not very good. You can tell this is a cheap plasma cutter as the durability is questionable at best.
It’s an okay option if you’re on a tight budget, but if you can stretch the budget a bit there are better options – several are reviewed in this article.
- Retails for under $200.
- Works on both 110 and 220 volts.
- Cuts metal up to 20 mm.
- All necessary accessories included.
- HD Digital display.
- Requires multiple passes.
- Cheaply made.
The variety of inexpensive plasma cutters available for under $500 is a pleasant surprise. We selected the Reboot RBC-5000D as our number one choice because of its versatility and reliability, but any one of the products we’ve reviewed here will get the job done just fine. It’s nice to know you don’t have to break the bank to find a great plasma cutter for every day use.
For more great machines, check our our recommendations for the best plasma cutters on the market.