Best Plasma Cutter Under 500 (2020 Reviews)

Are you looking for the best plasma cutter under 500 for automotive repair, scrapping work, fabrication shop, industrial construction, home use or DIY projects?

If you’re looking forward to incredible results, you do not need just any random plasma cutter that comes your way. We did a comprehensive research and shortlisted the following as top plasma cutters based on precision and clean of cuts, speed, ease of use, portability and general cutting experience.

Let’s get right in.

Best Plasma Cutter Under 500 (Top 5 Reviews)

1. PrimeWeld Ct520d Plasma Cutter

The PrimeWeld is one of the best plasma cutters you’ll ever find. What great about it is that it can cut metals such as iron, aluminum or steel that are up to ½ in. In some cases, it can cut up to ¾, 3/8 and even 9/16 in. if you don’t rush.

When it comes to welding, you can either do TIG or Stick welding with the help of argon gas that connects to the nozzle since it is a combo of the two functions.

Power input frequency hovers between 50 and 60HZ while power efficiency is up to 85%. This machine is compatible with a generator if you want to use less cutting amp and cut on electricity bills thanks to the plasma function that allows you to release the trigger once you’re done. 

As for the quality, the unit is heavy-duty. It is compact, pretty light and simple to relocate from one point to the other. It’s a great deal and you’ll have no regrets once you start using.

Setting up is easy. Great thing is that customer service is prompt to handle your every issue professionally in the event the manual is not clear to you on usage.

Things We Liked

  • Great quality
  • Cutting is smooth
  • 3 in 1 function (TIG, Stick & Plasma cutting)

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Manual not well laid out to some users

2. Forney Easy Weld Plasma Cutter

The Forney Easy Weld Plasma Cutter is designed to cut stainless steel, mild steel, copper, galvanized steel, brass or aluminum that is up to ¼ in. with no problems. All you have to do is to connect the machine to a 120V socket and have with you about 1.5 CFM of compressed air.

What makes this machine to stand out is the drag torch technology that allows the cutting tip and the metal to be in close contact which makes the cut to be clean, smooth and very consistent.

In case you want to move to a job site with no electricity, this machine is designed to be generator friendly to let you cut on the go on DIY projects.

Not to mention that it weighs less (21.5 lbs) so transporting to job sites will be pretty simple. The all-metal case makes the unit solid to last for many years.

It is simple to use with a bit of practice, but there’s a detailed manual to help you out if you’re a novice user. Best plasma cutter for the money for a hobbyist, farm use, autobody, contractor or if you want to run a welding or metal workshop.

Things We Liked

  • Cuts easily and clean
  • All-metal case makes the unit solid
  • Portable

Things We Didn’t Like

  • We wish there was a spot to store consumables on board

3. SUNGOLDPOWER Plasma Cutter Inverter Welding Machine

The SUNGOLDPOWER Plasma Cutter is an automatic dual voltage model with the capability to run either on a 110V or 220V household socket.

With the help of compressed gas, this unit cuts clean, metals that are up to ½ inch. You can use the machine on rough metals, rusty and painted metals, stainless steel, alloy steel, aluminum and more; with less slag on the rusty surfaces.

Cutting speed is high, plus, you can adjust cutting current to suit cutting demands on different materials and metal thickness. Overall current is stable and steady for smooth cutting.

One great feature about this unit is the built-in feature that protects the machine from over-voltage which could get the machine overheated.

It is even made with LCD display for DC output as well as front panel that lets you read out the air pressure gauge. The unit is super quite when it is running.

Transporting the machine is easy since there’s a top handle for grip, plus it is lightweight but heavily constructed for extended lifespan.

Things We Liked

  • Digital LCD display
  • Adjustable current to suit cutting demands
  • Handle makes the unit portable

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Manual may not be clear to first-time users

4. LOTOS LT5000D Air Inverter Plasma Cutter

The LOTOS LT5000D plasma cutter is designed to deliver precise cuts at high speed on mild steel, alloy steel, aluminum amongst other types of metal materials.

It can handle clean cut thickness of ½ in. up to a max of ¾ in. in severance thickness. Despite its low price, it cuts clean and smoothly so it doesn’t compromise on work quality. 

The automatic dual voltage machine runs on a 110Volts 50/60 Hz or 220 Volts 50/60 Hz by utilizing a pigtail which is sold at a separate fee.  You can also use it with a portable generator.

One amazing feature is the optimized design of the MOSFET transistors that increases power output when you’re working on thick metals while maintaining a steady output on thin metals. When welding, the Pulse-Width-Modulation technology embraced in the inverter results to powerful DC of welding currents.

It’s a compact and small but very solid machine. It also has a handle to make portability a breeze. Best choice for small workshop projects as well as DIY tasks.

Things We Liked

  • Cuts precisely at high speed
  • Dual voltage unit
  • Compact and portable

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Pigtail is not included

5. SUNCOO Portable Pro Plasma Cutting Machine

The SUNCOO plasma cutter will require a 220V or 110V pigtail, as well as working gas in the form of compressed air. It is designed to cut different metals with a thickness of up to ½ in. quickly and easily.

We love the LED displays as well as the pressure gauge that are conveniently located to make controlling pressure and current a lot easier. Current can be adjusted accordingly to suit your metal thickness.

It’s greatest selling point is its ability to dissipate heat which helps to reduce temperature of the internal components to prolong its service life. This way, it is able to survive over current and over voltage.

If you are looking for a powerful model to meet high demands in construction and industrial projects, you may need to shop for this machine because of the high duty cycle of 60%. It’s also an excellent choice for hobbyists and home use.

The machine is compact, lightweight but very powerful with affordable consumables. Assembly and learning how to use is also fast as well.

Things We Liked

  • Cutting speed is high
  • LED display
  • Convenient strap for easy carrying

Things We Didn’t Like

  • No plug

Features to Consider When Choosing a Plasma Cutter Under 500

Power Output

When looking for a plasma cutter, consider if you want a dual voltage or single voltage model. Dual voltage units can run on a 110V or 220V wall socket. If you are looking to work on light projects with little current demand, a single voltage plasma cutter such as 110V will suffice.

The best thing about dual voltage versions is that you can switch to 220V if you want to work on heavy tasks such as in construction and industrial jobs.

Thickness and Type of Metals to Cut

Not every plasma cutter will cut every metal material that comes its way. Some are designed to cut thin materials while others can cut on any type of thickness.

Most models are made to cut to a max of ½ in. however, we have a few models that will go beyond the limit depending on how it is made. When looking for a plasma cutter, keep in mind the kind of metals you’ll be cutting and if you’ll upgrade to thicker metals in future.

 Speed and Quality of Cut

If you are running a busy industrial or construction project, you probably need a speedy unit. However, the speed of the model may not be an issue if you are tackling your own projects under no pressure. To know the cut speed, check if it is imprinted on the machine or if it is indicated on the manufacturer’s manual.

The best way to verify if the delivery is quality is to look at customers reviews. In most cases, customers do not lie about the first-hand experience they had and if they were satisfied or not.

What About Portability

How do you intend to use the machine? Do you have outdoor projects that you need to work on? The portability of the plasma cutter is a very important factor if you work on constructions sites, because chances are, you have widespread tasks that need to be handed.

Best features to consider are like if the machine is lightweight, compact, presence of handles or shoulder straps, need for long cables and much more. If there are no plans to use the machine away, then considering these features may not be needful.

Duty Cycle

Duty cycle is the length of time the machine is supposed to operate without the need of pausing. It is usually rated in the form of percentage in relation to its amperage.

For example, a machine can be rated 60% at 90 amp or 80% at 120 amp and much more. In most cases, the models with high amperages will typically have a higher duty cycle.

The higher the percentage of duty cycle, the better. If the machine is rated at 80%, it means it can function continuously for 8 minutes followed by 2-minutes rest at that particular AMP. For 60%, it means it can operate for 6-minutes followed by a rest of 4-minutes. Higher duty cycle is paramount if you’re having a great deal of work to do.

Final Thoughts

Honestly, identifying the best plasma cutter that meets all your project needs is not easy. Worst is when you have a limited budget because you’ll always have a few choices at disposal for you.

After analyzing the above models, PrimeWeld Ct520d Plasma Cutter is the best plasma cutter under 500 in our opinion. The best part about this machine is the 3-in-1 function. You can use the machine as a plasma cutter and to do Stick or TIG welding. It cuts fast, clean and very consistently.

However, the rest of the models are also superb as well. All of them are approved by mechanics, welders, experts and hobbyists. We hope you identify the best plasma cutter that match your budget and working needs.