Is it getting hard for you to be carrying an air compressor and a plasma cutter together all around?
If yes, then what you need is a one of the best plasma cutter with built-in air compressor. An onboard air compressor is required for the ultimate in portability of a plasma cutter which in many cases requires a sacrifice of performance.
However, there are plasma cutter models with built-in air compressor that manage to offer a highly portable, lightweight design, in addition to performance that nearly matches models requiring an external air compressor.
Keep reading to find out.
Top-rated Plasma Cutters With Built In Compressor for 2019
Do These Machines Function Like Normal Plasma Cutters?
Yes, these machines function like normal plasma cutters with few exceptions. The major difference there is between plasma cutters with built-in air compressors and units without is the duration of a single cut.
The fact being that the machines with compressors can only cut a metal for a set duration of time based on the amount of air the unit can provide.
The amount of time that a plasma cutter can cut depends on the size of the machine and the particular brand that you purchase.
There are variations in machine so it’s worth looking at the specifications of the machine to find this number. At the same time you should note that some machines can maintain enough pressure to cut without having to rest at all.
This is a feature commonly found on more expensive machines.
Why Are These Plasma Cutter More Expensive Than A Normal Non-Air Compressor Unit?
It is an apparent fact that plasma cutter with built-in compressors are more costly than plasma cutter without built-in compressors of the same cutting ability.
This is simply due to the fact that the machine has both a plasma cutter and air compressor in one unit thus increasing its cost price.
However, if you only need this machine in your shop then it may be worth looking into getting a stand-alone compressor and a regular plasma cutter. This means you can enjoy the benefit of a stand-alone compressor for your shop that can be used with other tools.
However, this means you will be sacrificing the portability options that a self-sufficient plasma cutter offers. This decision solely depends on how you plan to use your plasma cutter and whether or not you would enjoy any benefit from a stand-alone compressor.
There are varieties of plasma cutter with built-in air compressor and below you will find some very good ones you can consider buying viz;
Reviews of the Best Plasma Cutter With Built-In Air Compressor
1. Hypertherm Powermax 30 AIR Hand System
The Hypertherm Powermax 30 Air Hand System comes with quite a small size and light-weightedness and at the same time with an internal compressor, which in turn makes it a highly portable system.
This portability of this plasma cutter makes and enables metal cutting just about anywhere there is single phase power. All you need to do is simply plug it in, get the work clamp attached and yes, you are ready to cut.
Another major benefit of this machine is that it already comes with an internal compressor which immediately eliminates the need for an external air compressor and filter to operate the plasma system.
The fast cutting speeds and superior cut quality of the Hypertherm Powermax 30 Air Hand plasma system enable you to finish jobs quicker and in a very smart and clean way.
It is a great option of a plasma cutter since you can operate it anywhere with the internal air compressor and also plug into any 120 or 240 V power with Auto-Voltage technology and included plug adapters.
Also the AIR T30 torch is rugged and designed to withstand the toughest environments. With the Hypertherm Powermax plasma cutter, you can do more in less time, especially due to its fast cutting speeds and superior cut quality which result in less secondary operations.
- It is highly portable, in fact the smallest, lightest weight system in its class.
- It has fast cutting speed and superior cut quality.
- It comes with internal compressor which makes it easier to use.
- You can operate it anywhere there is a single phase power.
- Rugged and designed to withstand the toughest environments.
- It is relatively expensive.
- It cannot cut thicker metals.
2. Thermal Arc Air Cut 15C Plasma System
The Thermal Arc Air Cut 15C is a plasma cutting system that is portable and it offers 15 amps, PCH 10 Torch with a 70 degree head, 20 foot leads, 110/230 volts, 1 ph, and 50/60Hz.
This system features an internal air compressor which means it works fine without the need of any external air compressor. This plasma cutting system has superior cutting capacity of 1/8 inch, and faster cut speeds of 25% more cutting power.
The Thermal Arc Aircut 15C comes standard with a built-in air compressor and still it weighs only 29 pounds which is almost 50% lighter than the other plasma cutting systems. It also has 1/8 inch (3 millimeters) recommended cut, 3/16 inch (5 millimeters) maximum capability, with 120 volt, 15 amp plug standard. This plasma cutting system has about 25% more cutting power which in turn provides 25% faster cut speeds than the other plasma cutting systems.
- This plasma cutting system is very portable.
- It has an internal air compressor.
- It is a lot lightweight than most plasma cutting machines.
- It has about 25% more cutting power than other plasma cutting systems.
- It can be used anywhere there is 120volt, 15amp power supply.
- It is not made for unfavorable outside environments.
- It is quite expensive.
3. Hobart Airforce 120V Plasma Cutter with Built-In Air Compressor
The Hobart Airforce 120V Plasma Cutter is a plasma cutting system that is quite portable and ready to cut metal, once out of the box.
The Airforce 120V has the inverter technology, which provides powerful cutting ability in a compact lightweight, where the weight is only 27 lbs. – package.
In addition to all that, the Hobart Airforce 120V comes standard with a built-in air compressor, which makes it always ready to cut out of the box. With the pre-set pressure, the Airforce 120V is a lot easier to use.
All you need to do is to just pull the trigger and begin cutting at the instant.
A major benefit of the Hobart Airforce 120V plasma cutter is the fact that it comes ready made with the built-in air compressor which means an external air compressor is not required for its operations. Hence, it is a machine ready to cut out of the box and also no gas pressure settings for flame tuning needed.
This plasma cutting system cuts faster than oxyfuel and it has smaller heat-affected zone for less warping. Also, it gives a greater cut quality with more precise cut, thinner kerf, less slag to clean up.
- This plasma cutter is portable.
- It cuts faster than oxyfuel.
- It gives a greater cut quality with thinner kerf, less slag to clean up and more precise cut.
- It does not require any external air compressor.
- No gas pressure settings for flame turning is required.
- It has smaller heat affected zone for less warping.
- It is relatively expensive.
- It cannot be used to cut some very thick metals.
4. Forney Plasma Cutter with Air Compressor
Forney Plasma Cutter with Air Compressor is a plasma cutting machine that uses electrical arc and compressed air to cut steel, aluminum and other conductive metals.
It has the drag torch technology which makes it possible for you to move torch directly across the metal surface for precise cuts. The Forney Plasma Cutter is quite easy to use and operate without much technicalities or professional know how.
This plasma cutting system comes with a built-in air compressor and lightweight inverter power supply. It has thermal overload protection and an integrated consumable storage together with an integrated air pressure regulator and dryer.
It also possesses removable torch, ground cable and clamp for easy repairs and there’s a torch wrap for storage. It uses 15′ power cable, ground cable and torch lead. Versatility: Portable and generator friendly.
It has two consumable kits for either maximum performance – or maximum versatility and its high output: Dual input 230V (50A) or 120V (20A) High output of 40A max.
It can be used in the following applications which include: sheet metal to plate cutting, auto Body, farm & Ranch, HVAC, plumbing, contractor, general Fabrication.
- It is portable and generator friendly.
- It is the drag torch technology which makes it possible to torch directly across the metal surface for precise cuts.
- It has a built-in air compressor which makes it easier.
- It possesses ground cable and clamp for easy repairs.
- It is easy to use and repair.
- It is versatile and can be used for various functions.
- It is quite expensive.
- It cannot be used to cut very thick metals.
5. Thermal Dynamics Drag-Gun Plus Plasma Cutter
Thermal Dynamics Drag-Gun Plus Air Plasma Cutter is a plasma cutting system that has an input of 230 V single phase, 50/60 Hz and features an amperage range of 15 – 35 A.
This plasma cutter comes with a recommended cut capacity of 1/2″ which is used for maintenance or repair and fabrication. It also offers a duty cycle of 35% at 35 A and includes power supply, 20′ lead, there is the SureLok PCH-42ER hand torch with 70 deg, 10′ input power cable, spare parts kit, humidity removal kit and an operating manual.
Thermal Dynamics Drag-Gun Plus Air Plasma Cutter comes with built-in air compressors that offer optimum convenience and is versatile for a wide range of cutting applications like expanded metal, HVAC spiral ducting, metal studs and construction.
The plasma cutter has a condenser which reduces the moisture in the air supply. The plasma cutter provides optimum arc visibility and the hand torch switch provides great operator control.
- This plasma cutter features with maximum convenience and portability.
- It has the condenser that minimizes moisture in the air supply.
- It possesses excellent operator control.
- It provides maximum arc visibility for excellent operator control.
- It is versatile for varieties of applications.
- It has a built in compressor and a powerful performance.
- It is not as easy to set up.
- It is relatively expensive.
What Is The Maintenance Cost For These Machines?
The major or real cost of operation when buying a plasma cutter is actually the torch consumables. They tend to vary in price however, you can get it offered at a discounted price from third-party manufacturers.
The fact is that a plasma cutter will save you for a number of times compared to an Oxy-Fuel saw or rig because the price of consumables will be the least of your worries. You have to be buying consumables within some interval of months for your machine depending on how much and often you use it.
It also depends on how well you take care of your torch and make smart cuts which will make your consumables last a lot longer thereby decreasing the price of ownership.
At the long run, with practice and experience of your machine usage you will find it to be a very cheap machine to have with awesome capabilities.
Other Useful Accessories
There is a list of some other useful accessories that you will need when working with your plasma cutter. These things are to help you cut well and to ensure your personal safety and necessary precautions to keep you from harm, they include:
- Antra Auto-Darkening Helmet
- Hobart Premium Welding Gloves
- Giantex Welding/Plasma Cart
- Lincoln Leather Welding Jacket
- Revco 100% Cotton Welding Cap
You most certainly need the appropriate accessories for you to be to work safer and easier with your machine.
A helmet is needed to shield your eyes and gloves to protect your hands else you risk hurting yourself very severely.
A leather jacket is recommended for skin and cloth protection from sparks otherwise you start seeing holes in all your clothes.
You also need a head beanie to keep your head from burning at the top when using the plasma torch above your head.
Also get a cart, it is actually a great option if you need to move your machine around your shop and keep all of your gear with it for easy access and convenience.
Despite the fact that the price of plasma cutting systems with built-in air compressor tend to be higher than the normal plasma cutter without air compressor, you will soon discover that it is absolutely worth it.
The normal plasma cutter still requires that you buy an external air compressor and with that it cannot be as portable as the plasma cutter with built-in air compressor.
Even when you add up the cost of the single plasma cutter together with an external air compressor, it may end up having a greater expenses compared to having a complete built-in air compressor plasma cutter.
However, when you are to buy a plasma cutting system, Hypertherm Powermax 30 AIR Hand System is widely considered as one of the best plasma cutter with built-in compressor and we highly recommend it for your optimum satisfaction and portability.