Miller Plasma Cutter For Sale

This website will list all the various Miller Electric plasma cutters that we have for sale here on the website, which will include the spectrum 375, 625 and 875, 125c, just to mention a few of the different models.

We also have different pages specific to HyperTherm, ESAB and more, and then we have the overarching page, too, that will list all the various plasma cutters that we are currently carrying.

One of the good things about buying a Miller Electric plasma cutter is that you’re not buying some cheap knockoff – you’re actually buying a trustworthy brand that we can stand behind.

You can use the various filters on the site to choose the voltage and amperage, too.

CNC Plasma Cutter For Sale

This page is dedicated to listing all the various brands of CNC plasma cutters for sale, whether it’s the Lincoln Torchmate 4800 or the crossfire model, but we also have various hobby CNC plasma cutters for you to take a look at.

If you’re rather looking for a handheld plasma cutter, we have a dedicated page to those instead, carrying various different brands including Miller Electric, Hobart & HyperTherm.

Our intention on this page is to create video reviews of the various CNC machines in order for you to get a better understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of the various different models. You can easily choose the various sizes you may be interested in, including 4×4, 4×8, 5×10 and more.

Got any questions regarding the Lincoln Torchmate 4400, it’s cost or anything else? Our support is here, ready to help you out. Our mission is to make sure you get the best option for your needs.

Lincoln Torchmate 4800 Cost

The cost of the Lincoln Torchmate 4800 isn’t $100. No, this is a quality piece of equipment that you’re buying here and it carries the price tag that reflects it. It’s still an amazing piece of equipment that we’re sure you are going to be appreciating working with.

Plasma Cutters For Sale

We have a variety of plasma cutters for sale on this page from various different manufacturers. You can also read our guide to the best plasma cutters on the market, no matter if you’re looking for a 110 volt, 220 volt or a cheap option.

How much is a plasma cutter?

Plasma cutters come in different price ranges, and while some may cost less than $500, others can cost you $1,300. It depends on what exactly you need them to be able to do, and what your cutting needs are. If you are a DIY person who doesn’t have professional requirements, cutting through thick pieces of material, your home use needs may be able to be met with a budget under $500.

You can, however, also get TIG welder plasma cutter combos.

So whether you want a cheaper option, or you’re hoping to get something more substantial, we have what it may just be that you’re looking for.

Reviews

We keep getting asked by our users to provide reviews for the plasma cutters we sell on this site, and that is why we’re not just currently working on creating video reviews of them, but also provide you with a comparison chart so you can easily check out the features of each piece of equipment and make the choice that best matches your needs.

Brands

There are various different plasma cutter brands, including Miller Electric, Hobart, ESAB, Hypertherm, Matco, Everlast, Thermal Dynamics and Lotos. They all have their advantages and disadvantages for you to consider.

We don’t just want to sell you any piece of equipment. We want to sell you the top rated piece of equipment that can provide you with exactly the things you need, allowing you to plasma cut all the metal your heart desires.

If you end up buying something that is far more elaborate than you had hoped, you’re not really getting the best value for your purchase – value is about being happy with what you choose.

Amp

The individual plasma cutters are able to operate at different amp, some at 40 amp, others at 50 amp etc. The specifications will be noted on the model you’re researching.

Our plans

We’ll also be expanding in the future into accessories and supplies, and plasma cutters that aren’t handheld or portable, but for now the handheld ones are the only ones we focus on. Some are small, some are big, we’re planning on selling them all.

These are great machines to take your projects to the next level whether you’re on a budget and it’s a DIY project or you’re planning on using it for industrial projects.

We realize that you could go to one of the bigger guys like Amazon, Northern Tool or Tractor Supply, but we appreciate your business!

Some of you come to us looking for the cheapest pilot arc plasma cutters, and we got your backs too, while others are looking for the best, low-cost option under $500.

We also encourage you to visit our page on plasma cutting tables.

Cheap Plasma Cutter For Sale

If you’re more so a DIY person who simply appreciates the easy of a plasma cutter you have come to the right page. This is where you will find all the cheap plasma cutters that we have for sale, many of them being very affordable under $500 – what a steel (get it? Alright, puns aren’t our thing!)

Look, if you just looking for the basic solution, there is absolutely no need for you to go out and find the expensive Miller Electric or Hypertherm models that may cost you several thousand dollars. It may rather be the Lotos LTP5000D that will get the job done for you, which is a very respectable plasma cutter too, but it’s definitely on the cheaper end of the spectrum, without you thinking that you end up purchasing something that is just going to fall apart on you.

We don’t want that to happen. To give you a better understanding of what you can expect with the different models, we’re also including a bunch of video reviews that you can use at your convenience.

Want a cheap model that can achieve a 1/2 inch rated clean cut, or a 3/4 inch severance cut? Then we suggest you take a look at our Lotos models.

What to look for

We won’t blindly tell you that buying a cheap plasma cutter is a good idea because in a lot of instances it really isn’t, depending on what it is you need to do with it, why there are several factors to consider.

The first thing to consider is the duty cycle that is measured in percentages of 10 minutes. If your plasma cutter is rated with a duty cycle of 60%, it can go on for 6 minutes out of 10.

If you’re planning on using it in your garage, or anywhere else for that matter, you need to make sure that the model you’re getting is compatible with the outlets in your house, since some models only run on 220 v, and not the usual 110 v.

Additionally, we encourage you to take a look at the cutting speed that is usually divided into the rated cut, quality cut and sever cut, with the rated cut being the highest quality of the three.

If you’re looking to move the machine around quite a bit, its portability is additionally important how big and heavy the machine is.

Hobart AirForce 12ci

One of the more affordable plasma cutters on the market under $1,000, the Hobart AirForce 12ci is a great plasma cutter for people looking an option with a built in air compressor.

It is important to mention that this machine does not have a pilot arc, if that is a feature you know that you will come to love, or have been recommended to get. If you want that feature, you can click the link that we included.

Standing at 31 pounds, this is a very portable option to go with. it is, however, important to think about the fact that this is a cheaper model, and with it comes more limitations than if you were to go for another Hobart model like the AirForce 27i.

Check out our video review of this machine so you can see what to expect if this is the option you choose to go with.

If you’re planning on cutting mild steel up to 1/4 inch, this could be the model you’re looking for from a name in the industry that you can trust. It also has the advantage of cutting faster than using oxy fuel. It’s a nice entry into the market with longer-lasting XT tips, if you’re not a fan of having to worru about the various settings of oxy cutting, such as gas settings, metal pre-heating and flame tuning.

Hobart AirForce 27i

The Hobart AirForce 27i is one of the very popular plasma cutters offered by the renowned manufacturer by the same name, Hobart. While it does cost more than the AirForce 12ci, it also provides significantly more power, while being a slightly more affordable model than the AirForce 40i.

While we don’t want to sell you a model that is significantly more cutting power, and more expensive than what you’re after, it’s also important to realistically think about what you will be using it for, and how often you plan on using it, too. If you got a lot of needs, a cheap model may just end up annoying you more than it helps you.

However, we don’t want you to get a model that costs you so much more than what it would need to cost you and still get the power that you need.

This is additionally a multi-voltage machine allowing you to use either 120V or 240V, with cutting abilities as large as 5/8 for mild steel severed cuts, or clean 3/8 mild steel cuts.

If you’re a person who does not want to spend a lot of time cleaning up your cut, this can be a great choice for you.

Best Welders for Beginners — Top Picks & Reviews

Like most disciplines, welding requires you to master the basics first if you want to be good at it. Sadly, many beginners struggle to pull this off just because they bought the wrong welding tool. 

If you want your welding education to be off to a great start, you need a welding tool that is built for the beginner in mind. You’d want to avoid picking up welding tools that make the basics complicated. 

Many welders in the market can serve as a good gateway to the craft or discipline of welding. To help you find the welder that will set you on the right path, we’re giving you a list of our top picks and reviews.

Types of Welding Methods

But before we get there, ask yourself this question: What kind of welder do I need?

First off, it bears noting that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to welding. Different jobs require different welding processes. There are many welding methods, the most common of which being MIG welding, Flux-cored Arc Welding, TIG welding, and stick welding. To help you determine which welder is the right one for you, a breakdown of the different welding processes is in order. 

MIG Welding

MIG welding, otherwise known as Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), uses a wire electrode that is fed through a spooling gun at a pre-set speed. This process creates the arc that melts the wire and merges it with the base, which facilitates the production of strong, refined, and clean welds. 

Flux-cored Arc Welding 

Flux-cored arc welding (FCAW) facilitates the wire feeding process by using a flux-cored wire that protects the arc from contamination. It’s this protection that makes this the preferred welding method outdoors.

TIG Welding

TIG welding—also called Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)—produces welds by using a non-consumable tungsten electrode. To protect the weld material from contamination, this welding process uses a shielding gas and a filler metal. While TIG welding is more difficult to learn, it’s the method that produces the most durable and precise welds.

Stick Welding

Stick welding uses a “stick” (otherwise known as an arc-welding electrode) that produces an electric current to weld metal pieces. This welding method is recommended for alloys and joints. It’s also the most affordable, making it the most popular welding method for home use.

Without further ado, here are the best welders for beginners.

1. Weldpro 200 Multi-Process Welder

If you’re new to welding, the Weldpro 200 Multi-Process Welder is just the thing to get you on the right track (and it doesn’t hurt that it’s very affordable). This welding machine comes with MIG, TIG, and Stick welding operations (at 200 amp output), so no need to buy more than one welding unit if you’re not going to stick with one welding process.

Thanks to the welding machine’s pre-set internal parameters, you don’t have to waste time trying to decide which settings are recommended for certain situations. While it’s still best that you adjust the more important settings (such as the heat settings) manually, not having to worry over other details can go a long way into helping you get things done much faster.

Most beginners struggle with the proper handling and maneuvering of the torch, but this unit does away with all of those by including a button that allows you to switch between manual wire feeding and automatic wire feeding on the fly. Since you don’t need to hold the trigger, you can focus on the torch, allowing you to create higher quality welds. 

The Weldpro 200 scores high on portability as it’s smaller than most welding units, making it easy for you to lug around. 

Pros

  • Can perform three different welding functions
  • Affordable price
  • Ease of use
  • High durability
  • Powerful for its size
  • Easy to switch between Manual and Automatic welding

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a spool gun

2. Forney Easy Weld 271 MIG Welder

The Forney Easy Weld 271 is capable of MIG and TIG welding, which it does equally well. While this unit isn’t fully capable of handling heavy-duty welding projects, it gets the job done quite well with projects that involve light and medium-duty welding. It doesn’t hurt that the digital readout screen allows you to adjust the power and precision settings on the fly, which can facilitate a smoother welding process.

This multi-process welder is packed to brimming with useful accessories, including a cast aluminum drive system, a regulator, a gas hose, and a 10’ MIG gun. With a maximum output of 190 amps, this welder is more than capable of executing its functions to great effect. 

The Forney Easy Weld 271 delivers the good in terms of quality, functionality, and versatility. If you’re looking for a welder that does it all, you can’t go wrong with this one.

Pros

  • Multi-process welding capabilities
  • Comes with a cast aluminum drive system
  • Intuitive digital readout
  • Ease of use
  • Highly versatile

Cons

  • A little pricey
  • TIG accessories are not included

3. Miller Electric 120/240 AC Welder for MIG Welding

If you’re a beginner who wants to get started on MIG welding, the Miller 120/240V welder is a good companion to have. It’s very efficient, for starters. In fact, it can weld up to ⅜” even when working with 24-gauge steel. The wire feed is consistent as well, allowing for a smoother feeding process.

One major thing that sets this welding machine apart from others is its quiet operation. Despite its size and power, this welder comes with a cooling fan that’s so silent it’s as if it wasn’t there.

More importantly, this welder is excellent at performing its primary job, although it’s not too bad in performing its other functions (flux-core and MIG welding). It also comes with many useful accessories, such as a dual gauge regulator, automatic spool gun detect, an aluminum drive system, not to mention its plethora of convenient features like aluminum drive system, thermal overload protection, and Quick Select drive roll. Simply put, this MIG welder brings a lot to the table for both beginners and experts alike. 

Pros

  • Packs a lot of power
  • Excellent welding performance
  • Light even for a heavy-duty MIG welder
  • Minimizer spatter
  • Quiet operation
  • Can weld all types of metal
  • Dual voltage capability

Cons

  • Price is on the expensive side
  • The ground cable could be longer

4. Amico TIG 160 Amp Torch ARC Stick DC Welder

The Amico TIG 160 DC Welder is a welding machine that not only lets you weld a wide array of materials, but it’s also built and designed with the beginner welder in mind. This all-around welder lets you perform both Stick and TIG welding, and it doesn’t hurt that it packs enough power to weld different thicknesses of metals. This TIG 160 DC Welder is capable of welding ¾ inches of stainless steel.

This DC welder also has a wide range of amperage settings (20 to 160 Amps), allowing you to weld successfully across different penetration requirements. And because of the machine’s high duty cycle, you can weld for long stretches without worrying about overheating.

Last but not least, this welding machine is built for portability. Weighing 14.5 pounds and with dimensions of 16.6” x 7.5” x 11.8”, the Tig 160 DCWelder doesn’t require much effort to take with you on trips.

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Highly portable
  • Affordable price
  • Allows Stick, Arc, and TIG Welding
  • Spatter-free welding
  • Dual voltage input

Cons

  • Foot pedal not included
  • DC only

5. ESAB 0558101694 MiniArc Welder

The ESAB MiniArc Welder is the quintessential starter pack for beginner welders. It’s packed with useful features, sure,  but has enough power to back it all up. This unit can run on a 115 and 230-volt input, giving you a wide range of control. With an amperage range of 5 to 160 amps, this welder is capable of pulling off a wide range of welding jobs, from small projects to industrial-scale welding jobs.

Perhaps this welder’s best feature is the fixed hot start, which allows you to strike an arc with the least amount of effort. This is especially helpful if you haven’t touched a welding machine before. You can weld to your heart’s content without worrying about sputtering. Better yet, you’ll find it easy to maintain a smooth arc. 

Portability is an important feature when you’re a beginner welder. Thankfully, this MiniArc welder delivers on that score. Weighing only 18 pounds, coupled with its built-in shoulder strap, this welder is a cinch to carry around with you from job to job.

Pros

  • Packs a lot of power considering its size
  • Extensive amperage range (5 to 160 Amps)
  • Dual voltage input control
  • Fixed hot start
  • High portability

Cons

  • Makes random noises at times
  • External gas shield not included

6. Hobart 500495 Handler 125 MIG Welding Package

If you put a high premium on both portability and efficiency, the Hobart Handler 500595 125 MIG Welder ticks all the right boxes. This welder is not only easy to use, but it also comes with a comprehensive manual that beginners can easily understand.

What makes this welder special is that it can be converted into either flux core or MIG welding. It doesn’t hurt that it produces clean welds with minimum spatter, even when you’re working with thick materials. Speaking of thick materials, the Hobart 125 welder can weld steel from 24 gauge to 3.16″, and it does so with great results.

Safety is of paramount importance when you’re welding. Thankfully, this welder comes with an electrically cold trigger that shuts the unit down when the trigger is not pressed for a long time, which prevents accidental arcs and possible injuries.

Pros

  • Four voltage input system
  • Easy to set up and operate
  • Can weld all materials even at high gauge numbers
  • Can do flux core welding and MIG welding
  • Easy to transport
  • Electric cold trigger
  • High duty cycle

Cons

  • Accessories for gas welding are sold separately
  • Expensive for most beginners
  • Needs a high capacity generator on account of its high amperage

7. Chicago Electric Welding Systems MIG/Flux Wire Welder

The Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder is designed and built to make life easy for beginner welders. Whether you’re doing flux core welding or MIG welding, this welder has all the welding applications to help you get the job done without the usual hassle. Not only can it provide you a consistent arc, but it also allows better penetration. Activate the wire spool setting and you can weld steel plates up to ¼” like it’s nothing.

Boasting four output settings, this welder has a lot to offer in terms of versatility as well. And it’s easy to achieve great results even with deeper penetrations thanks to the unit’s reliable wire feed speed control.

Safety is of special importance when you’re a beginner. Thanks to this unit’s thermal overload protection feature, the unit will automatically shut down if needed, protecting you from possible injuries.

If you’re someone who’s still learning the ropes and want to focus on quick little jobs, this welding tool ticks all the right boxes.

Pros

  • High duty cycle
  • Capable of working with all metals
  • Arc is consistently steady
  • Four voltage output settings
  • Thermal overload protection
  • Deep penetration

Cons

  • Doesn’t work on 220 V
  • The cable could be longer

8. SunGold Power Multifunction Welder

The SunGold Power Multifunction Welder, as the name itself explicitly states, is an all-around welder, and it does a good job at that. 

The SunGold also packs a lot of power even for its size. You can use it on metal plates with thicknesses between  ⅜” to 3/16″, not to mention 2.5/3.5 mm electrodes. Not only is it capable of deep penetration, but it can also produce clean, smooth welds, whether you’re running on either 110V or 220V output. 

This welder can run on DC ranging from 2 to 200 amps, which gives you a lot of wiggle room no matter the job type. Moreover, it comes with an IGBT (Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor) that facilitates a smoother transition between 110V and 220V without compromising energy efficiency.

If you’re new to welding but want to work on a wide range of welding jobs, the SunGold welder won’t disappoint.

Pros

  • Smooth transition between 110V and 220V
  • Deep penetration
  • Produces smooth, clean welds
  • Capable of working with different thicknesses of metals
  • High amperage capability
  • Extensive settings

Cons

  • Leads could be longer
  • Some customers complained of extended cold start

Gasless MIG Welding: Pros & Cons, Differences

MIG welding is not a one-size-fits-all process. There are so-called “all around” MIG welders, sure, but there are times when it’s best to use a specific type of welder for specific situations and environments, not to mention a specific skill-set.

MIG welding is not rocket science, but that doesn’t mean you can just wing it and hope you can good results. If you want to do it right, you need to use the proper welding tools and execute the right techniques. 

Speaking of proper MIG welding tools, there are two types of MIG welders, namely Gas MIG Welder (also called “Gas shielded welder”) and Gasless MIG welder (also called “Self-shielded Welder”).

Gas vs. Gasless MIG Welders: What are their differences?

One major difference between the two is that gas MIG welders use an external shielding gas while a gasless MIG welder doesn’t. A shielding gas is used to protect the welding material from contamination and oxidation caused by exposure to the atmosphere. There are many ways for MIG welders to generate a shielding gas, but mostly use a gas cylinder to pull it off.

The gasless MIG welder, on the other hand, uses a self-shielding MIG wire (also called “Innershield wires”), a metallic tube filled with flux core. Once heated, this wire causes the flux to melt, producing a “gas shield” that will then prevent the welding material from being oxidized and contaminated. The melted flux also produces a protective slag that integrates alloys into the weld metal, which produces its mechanical properties.

(Note: It bears noting that gasless MIG welders are not really “gasless.” People have started calling them “gasless” because self-shielding MIG wires don’t need a cylinder of gas. With that said, we’re still going to use the term for the sake of those who prefer to use the term.)

Self-shielding MIG wires have other benefits besides protecting welds from oxidation and contamination. They also generate an intense arc that can be used on steel, specifically those thinner than 1.2 mm. 

Another major difference between gas MIG welders and gasless ones are their polarity settings. “With shielding” gas MIG welding uses a single positive torch feed while gasless MIG welding uses a negative torch feed. However, in cases where the trigger is what drives the relay, polarity won’t matter at all. That said, some MIG welders can operate both with gas or “without gas,” and thus provide users the option to change the polarity of the torch based on the needs of the MIG welding job. Of course, MIG welders that can use both modes are more expensive, and that’s not even counting the upgrade kit that’s always required for “with gas” applications. 

Gasless MIG Welders Considerations

Gasless MIG welding is becoming popular in industrial settings for many good reasons. For one thing, using self-shielded MIG welders means that companies don’t have to rely on shielding gas anymore, helping them save up on costs, not to mention help them do away with storage issues at the jobsite.

Moreover, using gasless MIG welders eliminates the expenses that would have otherwise been spent on tents or wind shields that are typically used to protect welds from the atmosphere.

Companies whose employees are used to stick welding, however, have to conduct the necessary training to help them properly employ the techniques used in gasless MIG welding and attune themselves better to the process. It also bears noting that the guns used for self-shielded  MIG welders are also different from those used in stick welding, and as such require you to weld at different angles and postures. If the techniques aren’t executed properly, slag is likely produced. That’s why it’s important that you constantly check for the presence of spatter and debris in between passes. If you don’t, your wire feeding will be compromised, resulting in poor welds.

When doing gas MIG welding, it’s ideal that you begin with the electrode far away from the weld, and then allowing it to inch closer as the rod melts slowly during the welding process. It’s different with gasless MIG welding, in which you have to maintain the same position throughout the process. In this scenario, the recommended distance between the contact top to the weld is at least a half inch.

Pros and Cons of Gasless MIG Welding

Now that you know their differences (and similarities), you’re probably wondering which MIG welder to use. To help you arrive at an informed decision, let’s go over the pros and cons of each MIG welder type.

PROS

Here are the advantages of using a gasless MIG welder.

It’s more convenient

When picking a welder, it only follows that you pick the one that is most convenient to use. In terms of convenience, the gasless MIG welder has the advantage over the gas MIG welder. Firstly, gasless MIG welders are much more compact and lightweight, making them easy to carry. It doesn’t hurt that you don’t need to clean the welding material prior to welding. 

Moreover, self-shielded flux-cored wire is better suited for welding surfaces that are rusted or painted over. Why? Because the flux used in such welders allow the tool to weld through rust and paint easily. It’s for this reason why gasless MIG welders are becoming the tools of choice in industrial settings. 

It’s great for welding outdoors

You might want to go for the gasless MIG welder if the bulk of your welding jobs will be done outdoors. Why is it better than “with gas” MIG welders? Firstly, gas welders use a shielded gas, which tends to lose gas easily when exposed to windy weather. This causes the bead to become porous, which can compromise the quality of the weld. With self-shielded MIG welders, you can weld to your heart’s content in windy weather and not have to worry about your welding material getting contaminated or oxidized. If you’re a welder who’s always on the move, using a gasless MIG welder is the way to go.

It’s got better arc control

Gasless MIG welders, if paired with voltage sensing wire feeders, can give you increased control of the welding arc, allowing for cleaner, smoother, and more precise welds. Given the proper filling materials, MIG welding that uses self-shielded flux-cored wire can be an “all-position” method.

It’s easier to use

Training with gasless MIG welding is relatively easy. Because you don’t have to rely on high-strength pipes, you don’t have to keep monitoring a wide range of welding parameters. 

Welding is faster

Unlike with stick electrodes used in gas mig welding, gasless welding has much greater deposition efficiency, which means less filler material needed to complete the job. If speed is of the essence (and given that you can maintain the quality), using a gasless MIG welder can help you get the job done in less time.

CONS

There are also some disadvantages to using a gasless MIG welder. If any of these disadvantages are a deal breaker for you, then you’re better off using another type of MIG welder.

Positioning is limited

To do gasless MIG welding right, you are relegated to limited positions. This makes welding overhead or vertically very challenging. While welding at these positions can be done, it takes some getting used to. 

Production of fumes

Gasless MIG welders don’t have flux coating that can cause the welding material to solidify faster. In other words, they don’t have a covering that holds the molten pool, which is important when you’re welding at an overhead or a vertical position. As a result, toxic fumes are more likely to escape, which can compromise your health upon exposure. No surprise there. After all, welding fumes contain Argon, nitrogen, carbon monoxide,carbon dioxide, and hydrogen fluoride. According to OSHA, short-term exposure can result in nausea, dizziness, eye irritation, and kidney damage. Long-term exposure to such fumes can also result in cancer.

Switching to Gasless MIG Welding? Mull on these

Have you decided to switch to self-shielded MIG welding? Great! But not too fast. While switching to gasless MIG welding is often a good choice, there are specific considerations you need to think over and measures you need to take to ensure that the transition goes smoothly. Here they are.

Compliance to welding codes

Before you switch to gasless MIG welding, you need to be aware of the structural welding codes by the D1 committee of the American Welding Society (AWS). More importantly, you need to make sure that you’re complying with those codes.

Furthermore, you need to check if there are additional certifications you need to complete for specific welding tasks. If you already have certifications, it’s important that you get them requalified with the new welding procedures in mind. With that said, it’s ideal that you undergo requalification on a regular basis to ensure that the process is fast and efficient.

Choosing the right equipment

Choosing the right flux core welder or the best MIG welder is critical to gasless MIG welding. Considering that self-shielded FCAW requires a constant-voltage power source, you need to maintain the recommended voltage throughout the welding process. If your equipment isn’t able to maintain a steady voltage, welding mistakes or irregularities (porosity for instance) are to be expected. 

Selecting the correct wire

For self-shielding welding to work, you need to use the correct wire, particularly the self-shielded flux-cored wire. MIG welding has different seismic requirements and requires the appropriate strengths, not to mention that the wire you’re using needs to have the chemical and mechanical properties that can accommodate the structural applications required for the welding job.

Best practices in Gasless MIG Welding

While gasless MIG welding is easier than most welding processes, it has its attendant challenges that need to be addressed. Here are the key practices that will bolster your success in self-shielded flux-cored welding.

Maintain the right travel speed and angle

When performing gasless MIG welding in the vertical position, aim your gun at an angle of 5 to 15 degrees. When welding in a flat or horizontal position, make sure that the drag angle is 15 to 40 degrees. Maintain your speed as slowing down can cause the piece to puddle, which can result in the production of slag.

Maintain correct heat input

You need to maintain proper heat input to ensure that the metals fuse well.To pull this off, use the voltage recommended by the manufacturer relative to the wire diameter. Slag inclusions are likely to occur if you don’t provide enough heat. 

Clean the welding material thoroughly in between passes

By cleaning the surface of the base metal thoroughly between passes, you can remove contaminants that may cause fusion issues. You can remove any slag by using a chipping hammer or a wire brush. 

Maintain the right penetration

Maintain the right penetration by monitoring closely much weld metal is being deposited to the joint within a given time period. You need to ensure that there’s enough space between the weld bead and the weld joint for the weld metal, especially when you’re making root passes and maneuvering through wide openings. 

 If you go too deep, the weld metal will penetrate through the base metal  and hang from the underside of the weld. To prevent excessive penetration, reduce the voltage range to the recommended settings and slow down the wire feeding. If it’s the other way around (lack of penetration), turn up the wire feed speed and increase the voltage range. It’s also a good idea to set up the joint so as to make the groove’s bottom more accessible without losing your hold on the welding wire extension and the arc.

Prevent porosity and wormtracking

Porosity in weld metal is not pretty too look at, and you’d do well to do the proper measures to minimize it. One good way to prevent porosity is to use filler meals that contain deoxidizers. Also, double check that the wire stick-out (the wire’s extension length from the gun’s nozzle) is not 1.¼ inch apart from the contact tip. 

Another common issue with MIG welding is the incidence of wormtracking, which are marks made on the weld bead’s surface due to the fumes released by the wire once the flux has melted off. You can prevent this from happening by maintaining the recommended voltage settings for the wire feed. If you spot signs of wormtracking, the best course of action is to turn down the voltage by increments of 12 volts until the issue is fixed.

Best Engine Driven Welders for the Money – Top Picks & Reviews

A lot of welders nowadays are portable enough to carry anywhere, but they are useless when you need to weld somewhere without any power source. In this kind of location, how can you even weld?

The answer to that is by using an engine driven welder generator.

Instead of relying on a separate power source, this type of welding machine is powered by its own generator, allowing you to weld anywhere. This means you can do your welding projects even in the remotest of places.

If this sounds like your ideal welding machine, you know that checking out the different models available is your first step to buying one. And you probably know that this step is also a time-consuming one.

To help make your research easier, we have gathered our top picks of the best engine driven welders for the money. Read our reviews to see which one meets your requirements.

How Does an Engine Driven Welder Work?

Before you start using one, you first need to know and understand how an engine driven welder works. Think of it as basically a combination of a welder and a generator that is housed in a single machine. This means that the power needed by an engine driven welder is built-in and does not come from any outside source.

A fuel-powered engine, which uses either propane, diesel or gas, and generator are both present in the machine. Once you start up the engine, it allows the generator to produce enough power for you to start welding. You only need to make sure that there is enough fuel for it to work.

That’s how simple the operation of an engine driven welder is.

Advantages of an Engine Driven Welder

Compared to other welders, an engine driven welder gives you the convenience of welding wherever you need to without worrying about finding a stable electrical supply. After all, that’s the main selling point of this type of welding machine.

But, did you know that engine driven welders also have other advantages?

For starters, welding anywhere is not the only thing this machine can offer. Its built-in generator is not only used for supplying enough power to weld but you can also use it to power up your other tools and equipment – just like a standalone generator. You can even use it as your backup generator in case of a power outage.

Its mobility and use as a generator are not the only advantages this type of welder offers. Other noteworthy features of an engine driven welder include the following:

  • While it is typically used outdoors in locations without any power supply present, you can also use it indoors if you don’t have a sufficient or stable power supply available
  • It allows you to not only stick weld but also do other types of welding, depending on the type of welder and accessories connected
  • Because it is fuel-powered, you can easily refill it at any gasoline station when you run out of fuel
  • It is generally much more powerful than the portable ones typically used at home
  • Known to be durable because it is designed for use outdoors and in different weather conditions
  • Despite being larger than portable welders, the smallest ones can still be carried around by hand. The bigger-sized ones can be equipped with a wheel kit to make it mobile
  • Because it generates thousands of watts, you can use it for both light-duty and heavy-duty welding

There are so many other advantages of an engine driven welder aside from the ones above. If you know that you are going to do a lot of welding in different places where the power supply is questionable, you should definitely invest in one.

Buyer’s Guide

Let’s face it: an engine driven welder is expensive. However, it is also one of the best investments any serious welder can make.

We understand that the prospect of shelling out thousands of dollars for welding equipment can make you hesitant to get one, that is why we have come up with a buyer’s guide to help you get an engine driven welder that you will not regret.

When choosing one, you need to focus on the following aspects:

  • Fuel Required – gas is often the fuel of choice for smaller ones because of its lower price and consumption. Propane has no emissions so you can use it in spaces with poor ventilation and can even be stored for longer periods. Diesel, while the most expensive, has the longest run time and is the most fuel-efficient
  • Style or Design – open designs or tube frames are much easier to move around than one with an enclosed casing
  • Power Type – AC power, sufficient for basic welding, is the most common and is found on cheaper models. DC-powered models are more expensive and need additional accessories for it to work, but let you do more types of welding
  • Output Range – while most engine driven welders are powerful enough for heavy-duty work, they also come in different output ranges, from 5,000 to 20,000
  • Application – while they all allow you to do different types of welding, certain models allow you to do more complicated work like arc gouging and pipe welding
  • Weight – the bigger and larger the machine, the more powerful it is
  • Duty Cycle – this determines how long you can use the machine for welding before you need to let it rest

Use this buyer’s guide as your checklist when determining what you want and need in an engine driven welder.

Engine Driven Welders Top Picks

Once you know the features you want, you can now narrow down your search for an engine welder. While looking for a model that has all the features you need is ideal, don’t be surprised not to find one with all the features you need or find one but is beyond your price range.

But if you have trouble finding one or can’t choose among the many available, why not consider any of our top picks?

Miller Bobcat 250

Miller is known to craft reliable machines, which should be expected given their price range, and the Bobcat 250 stands out as one of the best engine driven welders around. This model is renowned for its ability to produce smooth currents, better accuracy than most models, and reliability.

It is equipped with a fuel tank that can hold up to 12 gallons, allowing it to run for as much as 14 hours, and it can generate power of up to 11,000 watts. Not only that, it has a rated output of 25V, welding amp range of 40 to 250 amps, and a duty cycle of 100%. It runs on a 23 HP Kohler or Subaru engine.

Pros:

  • Has a multifunction process that allows you to do different types of welding, including both MIG and TIG
  • Weatherproof, which makes it usable even in extreme weather
  • Suitable even for industrial use
  • Has both AC and DC modes
  • Comes with a standard three-year warranty
  • Noise level is lower compared to most models
  • Has features like an idle lock, fuel readout gauge, and stud covers

Cons:

  • You need to buy welding leads separately since it only ships with basic welding accessories
  • Price falls at the middle range, which is still considered to be quite high by most
  • Has a weight of 501 lbs

Miller Trailblazer 302

For the more advanced users, the Miller Trailblazer 302 may fit their requirements. Designed for industrial use, especially for repairs and construction work, it can generate as much as 13,000 watts without sacrificing fuel-efficiency. It is also known for its stellar arc performance no matter what welding type you use.

A unique feature of this model is the fact that it employs a two-generator system, separating the power supply for welding and for generating power. Also, maintenance won’t be an issue, as it comes with removable service doors.

Pros:

  • Relatively quiet for its class
  • Among the most powerful models around
  • Can be used not just for welding but also for cutting
  • Comes with a remote control for use when TIG welding and to control spool guns and wire feeding
  • Designed for heavy-duty even in extreme conditions
  • Can operate for up to 18 hours

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Noisy despite being marketed as a quiet model
  • Its features may be too much for casual users

Miller Bluestar 185

If portability is a must for you, opt for the Miller Bluestar 185. Its small footprint makes it ideal for those who only need to do stick and TIG welding. It runs on a 13 HP engine, has a 6.25-gallon fuel capacity, and can generate a maximum of 6500 watts. Don’t expect anything fancy because this model is marketed as a basic model of engine driven welders, which explains its cheaper price.

Pros:

  • Can reach up to 12 hours of operation
  • Small but powerful enough for basic welding
  • Features an electric start and auto-idle
  • Cheaper than most engine driven welders
  • More portable compared to others in the same class

Cons:

  • Designed for stick and TIG welding only, but you can also do some basic or minimal MIG welding and plasma cutting
  • Not suitable for complicated welding projects

Lincoln Electric Ranger 225

Another highly-rated option is the Lincoln Electric Ranger 225 that provides DC power by default and can also supply AC power, which is unlike most engine driven welders that offer the opposite. Designed mainly for stick and TIG welding, it comes with a 12-gallon fuel capacity and provides up to 10,500 watts of power.

This welding machine is equipped with an electric start and can run for up to 14 hours. Its maintenance is also easy because of the service doors present. Note that it has a 100% duty cycle, 25V output, and 50 to 225 welding amp range.

Pros:

  • Has a much affordable price
  • Comes with an electric start and auto-idle feature
  • Maintenance is relatively easy because of the service doors present

Cons:

  • Limited to stick and TIG welding, although you can use it for some flux-core and MIG welding
  • Does not have “Chopper” technology that offers smoother welds
  • Requires accessories for AC power mode
  • Only suitable for basic welding, not industrial use

Hobart Champion Elite

Among the many engine driven welders around, the Hobart Champion Elite is one of the easiest to set up. Despite its seemingly simple appearance, it is equipped with a 12-gallon fuel capacity, 23 HP engine and can generate up to 9,500 watts. It also comes with a 100% duty cycle and is known for having high-quality components that ensure its durability.

Pros:

  • Lighter than other models with similar specs
  • Comes with an electric start and 120v and 240v receptacles
  • Comes with a standard three-year warranty
  • Price falls on the mid-range

Cons:

  • Can only do DC-powered welding, which ranges from 40 to 225 DC
  • Ships without any welding leads
  • Despite its smaller frame, it is still quite heavy at 493 lbs

These are our top five engine driven welder picks that we believe will give anyone the best value for their money. While those manufactured by Miller dominate our list, that does not mean that those from other brands should not be considered.

Always prioritize the features that you need, not just the brand, when looking for engine driven welders. After all, you will spend thousands of dollars on one and are going to use it for a long time, so your chosen welder must have all the features you need and more.

The price tag of any engine driven welder is nothing to sneeze at, that is why you must get the one that provides you with the best value for your money.

Best Plasma Cutters for the Money—Top Picks & Reviews

If you want to cut through steel like a hot knife through butter, a plasma cutter is the best tool you can use. Plasma cutters can cut through a wide range of metals, including stainless steel, aluminum, brass, steel, and many others. By burning through metal with plasma, these tools can cut through metal with stunning precision and speed.

Plasma cutters are nothing new, but thanks to recent advances in plasma technology over the last several years, the modern plasma cutter has a lot more to offer than plasma cutters of old, particularly in terms of portability, precision, and ease of use.

There’s no shortage of excellent plasma cutters out in the market. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you may find it difficult and time-consuming to find the one that best suits your needs.

To help you out, here are our top picks for the best plasma cutters available in the market. We’ve also provided a comprehensive review of each to help you pick the best one out of the lot. 

How to Choose a Plasma Cutter

But before we get there, here’s a rundown of things you must consider before choosing a plasma cutter. 

1. Air compressor—built-in or external?

You can’t create plasma without compressed air. To compress air, a plasma cutter uses either a built-in air compressor or an external tank air compressor. If you value portability, a plasma cutter with a built-in compressor might be best for you. However, if you plan on doing heavy-duty work, a plasma cutter with an external air compressor will suit you better. 

2. Pilot Arc

The pilot arc is an important feature because you need to have a stable and consistent arc through long stretches of cutting. Because of it, you can cut metal even if the torch’s tip isn’t touching it, which means you won’t have to do any cleaning. This can prove helpful when you’re working with rusty materials or painted materials. You’d also want a pilot arc if you’re working with expanded steel.

3. Cut rating

When buying a plasma cutter, you need to consider the thickness of the materials you’re going to cut with it. If you’re cutting thicker materials and your plasma cutter has a poor cut rating, chances are you won’t be able to make quality cuts, much less make a successful cut at all. Or maybe you can, but you’ll have to work harder and spend more time to do it. Before you make a choice, measure the thickest piece you’re going to cut and choose a unit that has sufficient cut rating to pull it off.

The three different cut ratings are:

Quality Cut: The cut rating recommended for cutting thicker metals.

Rated Cut: This is recommended for high quality and precision cuts.

Sever Cut: For cutting very thick materials. These cuts are slower and require more cleanups.

4. Cutting precision

If you’re going to cut metal, you might as well do it with precision. You don’t want to cut something only to make the final product appear sloppy and unrecognizable. If you want cleaner and smoother cuts, you need to have a plasma cutter with excellent cut quality. 

Many factors determine cut quality, including Torch type, Torch alignment, Gas Pressure and Flow, and Arc Voltage, among many others. Make sure to check the specs sheet for them before making a decision.

5. Portability

You want a portable and lightweight plasma if you’re going to bring it with you all the time. Preferably, you’d want something that doesn’t weigh over 50 pounds. But there’s a catch: most lightweight cutters don’t have enough power to perform heavy-duty jobs. That said, having a more portable cutter can come in handy even if you work in industrial settings. It’s always nice to have something more lightweight during those times when you have to perform small or moderately heavy-duty jobs.

The design and build of your plasma cutter also matter as far as portability is concerned. A cutter that’s too bulky and heavy is not only a pain to carry, it also tends to gets in the way. 

6. Torch length

Cutting torches vary in length, and the recommended length depends on the types of projects you’re working on. If you want a torch that can perform common cutting jobs, you’d want something shorter. But if you’re working on jobs where you want to keep a safe distance from the workpiece, a longer torch is always ideal.

7. Input power

Last but not least, you want a plasma cutter with enough input power to get the job done. A typical plasma cutter either uses 110 volts or 220 volts. You also want to pick one that meets the minimum amperage requirements of the electrical outlet you’re planning to use.

What is the best plasma cutter for the money?

Now that you have an idea of what to look for in a plasma cutter, it’s time for you to go over what’s available out there in the market. With so many plasma cutter manufacturers fighting for market share dominance, there are so many good choices for every type of cutter or welder. 

With that said, finding the right plasma cutter depends on your preferences and choices. To help you make an informed decision, here are our top picks for the best plasma cutters for your money, along with a comprehensive review for each.

Hypertherm Powermax45 Plasma System

If you’re looking for a plasma cutter designed for true professionals, the Hypertherm Powermax45 Plasma System delivers on many fronts. This plasma cutter has all the essential features of a good cutter and more. It comes with a dual-angle design that allows you to use the torch’s consumable tips for long stretches, helping you save on energy costs. The torch handle has a natural grip, so much so that it feels like an extension of your hand. The controls are so straightforward and simple even novice cutters will feel like a pro in no time.

Boasting 45 amps of power output, the Powermax is capable of cutting through any metal that’s up to 16mm thick. Coupled with its Hypertherm torch technology, this machine helps you produce deep, precise, and high-quality cuts. It can cut metal 1.5 times faster than normal oxyfuel cutters. By offering an option to switch between two consumables, the Powermax 45 is one of the most versatile plasma cutters within its price range.

This plasma cutter has a lot to offer in terms of durability. Made of top-grade materials, this remarkable machine is meant to be used for heavy-duty projects, even for the long term. If you want to use it in a metal shop or out in the field, the Powermax sure has the hardware for it. 

Last but not least, this unit is easy to set up and transport, which is pleasantly surprising for a unit that packs a lot of power. 

Specs

Weight: 37 pounds

Dimensions: 16.75″ x 6.75″ x 13.7″

Power Input: 200/230 V

Power Output: 20-45 A

Duty Cycle: 50% at 45 Amps

Pros

  • Fast and precise cuts
  • Easy to use
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Ergonomic and long torch
  • Powerful enough to handle most cutting jobs
  • High durability

Cons

  • A bit expensive (although the price is more than justified)
  • Precision cutting takes some getting used to

LOTOS LTP5000D

The LOTOS LTP5000D Plasma Cutter has become almost like a household name in the plasma cutting arena on account of its amazing cutting capability and affordable price. Running at 50 amps, this machine packs a lot of power and is rated to cut ½ inch steel. It also allows for faster and more precise cuts. Moreover, this unit can run on both 110V and 220V (with the help of a pigtail adapter), allowing you to use the cutter almost anywhere.

This machine uses an amazing pilot arc technology, allowing you to make cuts without touching the torch’s tip to the workpiece. This dramatically reduces the production of slag, resulting in cleaner, smoother cuts.

Thanks to its lightweight build and portable design, this plasma cutter from job to job without breaking a sweat or straining your arms. It can easily fit within the trunk of your car and won’t take up a lot of space in a small workshop. 

Specs

Weight: 19.4 pounds

Dimensions: 15″ x 16″ x 12″

Power Input: 110/220 V

Power Output: 10-50 Amps

Duty Cycle: 60% at 50 Amps

Severance Thickness: 3/4″

Pros

  • Amazing cutting ability
  • Affordable price
  • Minimizes slag
  • Powerful
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Inexpensive consumables

Cons

  • Some of the components such as work clamp, knobs, consumables, etc. are made of flimsy material
  • Ground system clamp could be longer

Hypertherm Powermax30 XP Plasma Cutter

For its small frame, the Hypertherm Powermax30 XP packs some serious power. Coupled with its remarkable FineCut feature, this unit is not only capable of cutting thick materials, but it can also produce smooth, detailed, and precise cuts. This same feature contributes to its versatility, so much so that it can cut up to ⅝” of metal. It can also cut a wide variety of metals, including stainless steel, aluminum, mild steel, and more. Moreover, it can cut flawlessly through painted or rusted over steel. 

Those who are still learning how to use a plasma cutter won’t have a hard time with this machine. The unit is easy to step up, the interface is intuitive, and the controls are straightforward and easy.

Specs

Weight: 21.4 pounds

Dimensions: 14″ x 6.6″ x 12″

Power Input: 120/240 V

Power Output: 15-30 Amps

Duty Cycle: 35% at 240V

Pros

  • Powerful even for its affordable price
  • Auto-voltage technology allows the unit to run on both 110V and 220V currents
  • Remarkable cutting ability
  • FineCut feature allows for high precision cutting
  • Ergonomic Duramax LT torch is resistant to heat and impact
  • Can cut up to ⅜” steel
  • Portable and lightweight

Cons

  • Cuts slow when the material is at least ½” thick
  • A bit on the pricey side

Hobart Airforce 12CI

The Hobart Airforce 12CI is a spectacular choice if you prioritize portability above all else. This lightweight, compact machine sports an inverter-based design and comes with a built-in compressor, making it a cinch to take with you anywhere from job to job. 

This unit’s redesigned XT12R torch is so ergonomic, so much so that you can work with it for hours on end without feeling the slight discomfort. 

The Hobart Airforce 12CI may be small, but it packs a lot of power with 12 amps output. While it won’t cut through 1-inch thick metals but it’s more than serviceable enough to handle low-duty and medium-duty jobs.

To top it off, this unit comes with thermal overload protection, ensuring that you’re protected if things get too hot.

Specs

Weight: 27 lbs

Dimensions: 13″ x 7.5″ x 10″

Power Input: 120 V

Power Output: 12 A

Duty Cycle: 35% at 12 Amps

Severance Thickness: 1/4″

Pros

  • Inverter based design
  • Has a built-in air compressor
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Ergonomic torch
  • Comes with thermal load protection

Cons

  • Runs only on 120V
  • Not capable of cutting through thicker metals
  • Slag may build up

Primeweld CT520d

The Primeweld CT520D is a three-in-one welding machine that does everything—well, almost. With numerous cutting and welding features, this machine has almost everything a professional needs.

As a plasma cutter, this machine can cut with stunning proficiency. With 50 amps of current, this cutter has a severance thickness of ¾”. It can cut a wide range of metals such as stainless steel, copper, steel alloy, and more. Moreover, it has an ergonomic handle that allows for a comfortable, easy grip. 

The Primeweld CT520d offers two voltages (110V and 220V), allowing you to use it in most locations with a power source. It’s also easy to switch it up so you can start working on any project without wasting time.

This unit weighs only 36 pounds so it doesn’t take a lot of effort to transport it from one place to another. If you’re a freelancer who frequently has to move from job to job, this plasma cutter is a good companion to have.

Specs

Weight: 35.7 pounds

Size: 23.6″ x 16.8″ x 12.8″

Power Input: 110/220 V

Power Output: 50 Amps

Duty Cycle: 60% at 50 Amps

Severance Thickness: 3/4″

Pros

  • Using a 3-in-1 machine is cheaper than having to buy multiple machines
  • Comes with a 3-year warranty
  • Highly durable and made for tough environments
  • Very portable
  • Switching between modes is a cinch

Cons

  • Poor customer service based on user reviews
  • Could use a pilot arc feature
  • Beginners might take a while to hook it up

Miller Spectrum 625 X-treme

The Miller Spectrum 625 X-treme is perfect for those who perform a lot of light-duty jobs for long periods. Sporting a lightweight and compact design, this unit is easy to lug around from one job to another. 

This plasma cutter has much to offer in the way of functionality and versatility thanks to its wide range of useful features. It packs a respectable amount of power even with its small frame, allowing you to cut different types of steel, whether its stainless steel, aluminum, or mild steel, among many others.

The unit uses Auto-Refire technology to allow users the convenience of automatic cutting. For example, when working with thicker materials, this unit’s arc executes an in and out movement that facilitates your cutting tasks more efficiently.

Specs

Weight: 38.6 pounds

Dimensions: 30.5″ x 11″ x 13.8″

Power Input: 110/115/220 V, 220/230/240 V

Power Output: 40 Amps

Duty Cycle: 20% at 40 Amps

Severance Thickness: 3/4″

Pros

  • Highly versatile
  • Packed with useful features
  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Powerful for its size

Cons

  • A little pricey
  • Not capable of handling heavy-duty projects

Miller Spectrum 375 X-treme

The Miller Spectrum 375 X-treme is a highly portable plasma cutter that comes with a wide range of features, making it the perfect unit for the hobbyist or the DIY enthusiast homeowner. Operating on either 120 V or 240 V, this plasma cutter is easy to hook up anywhere. It’s highly efficient at cutting thin materials. It’s capable of cutting up to ⅜” at 18 IPM. For thicker materials, you only need to switch to 220 V and you’re off to the races.

This unit also comes with an ergonomic handle, a carrying case, and a high-quality cable so you don’t have to break a bone when you take it with you. Also worth noting is the automatic air regulation feature that allows the unit to provide the amount of torch pressure needed to maximize cutting performance.

Specs

Weight: 19 pounds

Size: 13.25″ x 5.5″ x 9″

Power Input: 110/115/120 V, 220/230/240 V

Power Output: 30 Amps

Duty Cycle: 60% at 15 Amps

Pros

  • One of the most portable, lightweight plasma cutters around
  • Automatic pilot arc
  • Incredibly versatile
  • Includes an inverter
  • Great output (30 amps)
  • Durable build
  • Offers great warranty coverage

Cons

  • A bit expensive
  • External air compressor needs to be purchased separately
  • Might take a beginner to make smooth cuts

Hobart AirForce 40i

If you want a plasma cutter that can cut through a wide range of metals across different thicknesses, you’d do well to give the Hobart 500566 Airforce 40i a whirl. Don’t let the affordable price fool you; This machine has more than enough power to meet your cutting needs, so much so that it can cut through ⅞” steel.

Cutting thick metals is no easy feat, but this unit makes it effortless thanks to its wide array of accessories, such as the amazing XT40R handheld torch, heavy-duty work camp, the Airforce 40i plasma cutting system, and its score of XT consumables. With these at your disposal, you can make precise and smooth cuts without breaking a sweat.

To top it off, this unit weighs a meager 21 pounds and sports an inverter-based design, making it one of the most portable plasma cutters in the market.

Specs

Weight: 21 pounds

Dimensions: 13.25″ x 5.5″ x 9″

Power Input: 220/230/240 V

Amperage: 20 – 40 Z

Duty Cycle: 50% at 40A Amps

Severance Thickness: 7/8″

Pros

  • Great cutting capabilities
  • High-precision cutting with less slag
  • Setting up is easy
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Ergonomic cutting torch
  • Single knob controls allow for easy use

Cons

  • A little pricey

Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 60i

The Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 60i is one plasma cutter that lives up to its name. Weighing only 37 pounds, this unit packs a wallop, boasting a power output of 7.6 kW and a duty cycle of 50% at 60 amps. With that amount of power, it’s no surprise that this multi-voltage plasma cutter is capable of cutting up to ⅝” of steel at 19IPM and a sever capability of 38 mm. It’s also one of the most user-friendly plasma cutters in the market courtesy of its bright displays and intuitive controls.

What’s astounding is that for all that power, this unit is of small build and weighs only 37 pounds. Coupled with its ergonomic multiple handles, you won’t break a sweat carrying this unit around with you.

Specs

Weight: 37 pounds

Dimensions: 21.12” x 7.85″ x 1.15″

Power Input: 110/115/220 V, 220/230/240 V

Power Output: 15 kW

Duty Cycle: 60% at 50 Amps/100% at 40 Amps/50% at 60 Amps

Severance Thickness: 1.5”

Pros

  • Superior cutting ability
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Highly versatile
  • Powerful (power output of 15kW)
  • Big, bright display screen

Cons

  • Expensive (although well worth the money if you can afford it)

Honorable Mentions

As already mentioned, there’s a lot of excellent plasma cutters out there. But although we have our favorites, there might be others that you might prefer more. Here are other plasma cutters that you might want to consider buying.

Razorweld Razorcut 45

If you’re on a tight budget and you want a plasma cutter that you can use for home projects, you might want to consider the Razorweld Razorcut 45. Don’t let its cheap price fool you into thinking that it doesn’t cut well. On the contrary, it has good cutting capacity even for its low price. This low-frequency plasma cutter is a worthy companion to have for small scale projects.  

Top Features

  • Inverter-based
  • 20-45 amps
  • Preset air adjustment
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Built-in handle
  • High-temperature plasma stream

Eastwood Versa Cut 60 Plasma Cutter

The Eastwood Versa Cut 60 Plasma Cutter is a good choice if precision is of the essence in most of your projects. With a duty cycle of 60% at 60 amps, this unit is so powerful that it can cut up to ⅞” of metal. The built-in pilot arc system also comes in pretty handy when working with painted or rusty materials as well as expanded metal. The “no-hassle” 3-year warranty is a nice addition that sets it apart from other models a bit.

Top Features

  • Maximum cut of ⅞”
  • High-precision cuts
  • 220V AC input
  • A duty cycle of 60% at 60 amps
  • Comes with a “no-hassle” 3-year warranty

Miller Spectrum 875 Auto-Line Plasma Cutter

The Miller Spectrum 875 Auto-Line is a good choice for those who work on different types of projects, whether they’re for small home jobs or heavy-duty work common in industrial settings.

The machine uses Auto-Line technology, allowing it to connect to a wide range of power sources from 208V to 575V. It also comes with Auto-Refire Technology which lets the user control the pilot arc with minimal effort, which works quite well when cutting different kinds of metal pieces, even on expanded metal.

If you want a versatile plasma cutter that you can use for a wide range of jobs, you can’t go wrong with the Miller Spectrum 875 Auto-Line plasma cutter.

 Top Features

  • Spectrum 875 Auto-Line technology
  • XT60 handheld cutting torch and an entire set of 60A consumables
  • Cutting capacity of ⅞”
  • Rated output of 60 amps
  • Heavy-duty quick connect work clamp (20 feet)
  • Additional consumables

Hobart Airforce 27i Plasma Cutter

The Hobart Airforce 27i is a plasma cutter known for its great mix of features and great functionality. Don’t let the simplistic and lightweight design deceive you. This machine has great cutting ability and can withstand long hours of continuous work. It’s easy to set up, and even easier to use—all you need to do is plug the unit and hook up the air supply. The controls are pretty straightforward you’ll feel like an expert in no time.

Top Features

  • XT30R handheld cutting torch (12 ft.)
  • Power cord with 5-15P (10 ft.)
  • Work cable with clamp (10 ft.)
  • Built-in gas/air regulator and filter
  • Additional consumables (2 tips, electrode, and shield deflector)

Lincoln Electric 20 Plasma Cutter

The Lincoln Electric 20 Plasma Cutter is an excellent tool for the home DIYer and hobbyist. Operating on 115V and with a maximum output of 20 amps, this plasma cutter guarantees excellent results when you’re working on small and light-duty projects. It can cut any ¼” metal with stunning results. Moreover, this cutter is designed for portability so it’s easy to lug around with you anywhere.

Top Features

  • Capable of cutting up to ⅛” of sheet metal
  • Maximum cutting capacity of ¼”
  • Lightweight and compact on account of its inverter design
  • 40-50% duty cycle
  • Capable of cutting expanded metal, aluminum, and stainless steel
  • The cutting torch has 95 ft. reach

Welding Gas: Cylinder Sizes, Settings for MIG & TIG, Tips

Welding gas is an important component of MIG and TIG welding. While you can attempt to MIG weld without it, the quality of the resulting weld is just not as good. And in the case of TIG welding, gasless welding is not at all possible.

Unbeknownst to many, choosing what welding gas to use is not limited to selecting which one is suitable for your chosen workpiece. You also need to consider other aspects, such as the right settings when using for MIG and TIG welding and the cylinder sizes suitable for your workshop.

At a loss about all these? You don’t have to. You just need to keep reading to find out more, as well as learn some tips that can prove handy for all your welding projects.

Types of Welding Gas

When we talk about gases in welding, most people would immediately think of the shielding gas. What they don’t realize is that there are actually different types of welding gases used. There are also gases used to clean the welds formed or protect the materials after welding.

Heating Gas

Some metals or filler rods require preheating before welding to ensure a quality weld or brazing. For this purpose, you need to use heating gas. This type of gas is typically a mix of fuel gas with some oxygen added and when it is lit up, it gets warm enough to heat, but not melt, the materials.

Shielding Gas

To prevent the contamination of the molten pool when MIG or TIG welding, which results in an ugly weld, you need to use a shielding gas. This type of gas is important because it not only affects the appearance of the weld but also the bead shape and penetration, alloy content, fumes produced, and many others.

Shielding gases are often inert gases and can either be pure, which is made up of a single type of gas, or a mix of different gases. The pure gases are argon, carbon dioxide, and helium, while the mixtures used as shielding gases can include different combinations of pure gases or adding oxygen, nitrogen, or hydrogen to them.

Among all the pure gases, argon is the most widely used shielding gas because it is inert and will not cause a reaction to the metals being welded. Because of this, it is suitable for aluminum welding, as well as for other metals that are refractory or reactive. You can use this gas with all types of materials in TIG welding, while its use in MIG welding is limited to nonferrous materials.

Argon also causes a low heat transfer because both its ionization potential and thermal conductivity are low, creating the deep and narrow penetration it is known for. Not only that, but you also get a very stable arc that allows you to have better control over the weld pool. Also, argon aids in the breaking down of any oxides present in the workpiece.

In contrast, helium is known for having high ionization potential and thermal conductivity that results in a deep but wider weld and increased heat. Unfortunately, it also makes starting the arc much more difficult, especially if you do not use the correct settings of your MIG or TIG welder. This gas is not commonly used in MIG welding and is only suitable for nonferrous metals when using it for TIG welding.

Carbon dioxide is normally only used for MIG welding, as well as the highly-similar flux core welding, because it has complex interactions with different metals. With this gas, you get a balanced weld ratio in terms of depth and width due to its wide penetration and high heat. This increased heat is also because of its low thermal conductivity and ionization potential.

Using different shielding gas mixtures is a common practice. In fact, these mixtures even work better with certain metals compared to using pure gases. Found below are the different metals and recommended mixtures of shielding gases to be used when welding:

  • Carbon steel – argon and carbon dioxide, argon and oxygen, argon, carbon dioxide, and oxygen
  • Stainless steel – argon and carbon dioxide, argon, carbon dioxide, and helium (aka tri-mix), nitrogen and hydrogen (only for austenitic stainless steel)
  • Aluminum – argon and helium, tri-mix
  • Light gauge steel – argon and oxygen
  • Nickel – argon and helium
  • Copper – argon and helium

Purging Gas

A common issue is that welders take strides to ensure a neat weld on the surface but neglect the underside of the weld. Because of this, the underside looks different and can even be contaminated because it is unprotected by any shielding gas.

To address all these, doing a back purge is necessary for a clean weld on both the surface and its underside. When back purging, a purging gas that acts like a shielding gas is used for the underside. This process is usually done when welding stainless steel, as well as nickel and titanium alloys.

Carbon dioxide and nitrogen are often used as purging gases, but you can also use other inert gases like helium and argon.

Blanketing Gas

In instances where you need to ensure that your finished weld must be completely flaw-free, a shielding gas may not be enough to prevent contamination. As the weld cools, it can still be stained or damaged by any contaminants present in the atmosphere. Using a blanketing gas, often nitrogen, will protect your workpiece from these contaminants.

Shielding gases are the welding gases used most often, but it is also important to familiarize yourself with the other types you can use for your projects.

Welding Gas Cylinder Sizes

A welding gas is typically not flammable but it still poses some health risks, that is why you need to choose the right cylinder size for your workshop. Not only that, but it will also provide convenience for you because you don’t have to keep getting a new one when you run out of gas while welding.

High-pressure gases, namely oxygen, helium, nitrogen, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide, use cylinders with uniform sizes. A high-pressure gas cylinder, also called a bottle or tank, typically has volumes ranging from 20 to 300 cubic feet. Bottle sizes are indicated either by their volume or represented by letters, such as:

  • R = 20 standard cubic foot or scf
  • V = 40 scf
  • Q = 80 scf
  • D = 125 scf
  • S = 150 scf
  • K = 200 scf
  • T = 300 scf

Note that the welding gas bottle sizes above apply for those encased in steel cylinders. There are also aluminum cylinders available, but they have much more limited sizes.

Low-pressure gases, on the other hand, have more varied sizes.

Gas Tanks for Welding

When it comes to welding, argon is arguably considered as the most important gas. Different welding types use different amounts of argon, as well as other gases, so you need to know which gas tanks to use for your welding project.

The problem lies in the fact that, with the exception of high-pressure gas bottles, many of the gas tanks used in welding come in different sizes depending on the manufacturer. This is purposely done by manufacturers so that they can easily identify which tanks are theirs.

Despite this, they also make gas tanks in sizes that can be considered common to different manufacturers. Argon, for example, has the following common sizes that are represented either by a letter or number:

  • R or 20 = 21 cubic feet
  • RR or 40 = 44 cubic feet
  • Q1 or 60 = 65 cubic feet
  • Q or 80 = 83 cubic feet
  • S or 125 = 125 cubic feet
  • S or 150 = 155 cubic feet
  • K or 250 = 251 cubic feet
  • T or 330 = 335 cubic feet

Note that the S-sized gas tanks have two types available, that is why it is important for you to check the actual volume when purchasing this type of tank. And in most cases, the smallest-sized gas tank allows you to weld continuously for an average of 1 hour to 1 hour and a half.

Gas Settings for MIG and TIG Welding

Aside from choosing which welding gas to use and the right bottle size you need, you also need to determine the right gas settings for MIG and TIG welding.

Using welding gases is not as simple as letting them flow freely as you weld. You need to make sure that just the right amount is being released because this will also affect weld quality. Both MIG and TIG welding have uniform gas settings regardless of the type of shielding gas.

When it comes to MIG welding, the flow rate typically ranges from 25 to 30 cubic foot hours (CFH) and its matching pressure should be between 3 to 7 psi. Most welders consider 20 CFH as an ideal flow rate, since setting it higher increases spattering and also makes the weld porous. Note that bigger nozzle diameters, as well as drafty conditions, will require higher gas flows.

The gas flow rate of TIG welding, on the other hand, is typically lower than that of MIG welding and ranges from 15 to 25 CFH on average. However, it can also go up to 50 CFH if you use larger cup sizes. If your flow rate is between 35 to 50 CFH, the pressure should be between 20 to 30 psi to match it. But if you have a lower flow rate, you also need to lower the psi.

MIG and TIG welding both require the flow rate and pressure to be directly proportional. That is, the higher the flow rate, the higher the required pressure. They only differ in the actual numbers.

Gas Welding Tips

These different gases are extremely helpful when welding, but using them is not as straightforward as some would think. Whether it’s your first time to use gas when welding or you have already tried it but have yet to get satisfactory results, these tips are sure to help you out.

TIG Welding

  • Use a gas lens if you want the flow of shielding gas to be evenly distributed and lessen weld defects caused by contamination
  • If you want a laminar flow, opt for a converging nozzle with the longest length and largest diameter suitable for your welding project
  • To get the best results, you should do a pre-flow and post-flow of the shielding gas
  • Don’t ignore any gas leaks. Not only will it contaminate your work, but you also end up wasting gas and money because of it
  • Back purging is the best way to prevent sugaring or oxidation on the underside of your workpiece
  • For aluminum welding, lessen the gas if you are welding on A/C

MIG Welding

  • When working on sheet metal, opt for a shielding gas with a higher argon content for less spatter
  • Use tri-mix gas consisting of 90% helium, 8% argon, and 2% carbon dioxide when MIG welding 304 and 316L stainless steel
  • Test if your gas flow is appropriate by placing your hand around 3 inches from the nozzle tip and allow the gas to flow. If you feel the gas at this distance, it means you have an adequate gas flow that will prevent a porous weld
  • Refer to manufacturer recommendations in terms of which shielding gas to use with your welder and workpiece. Your shielding gas should also match your welding wire.
  • Ensure that the shielding gas flowing out sufficiently protects the molten pool to reduce spatter

More is not necessarily good in terms of using welding gases. For both MIG and TIG welding, you need to use the right amount of gas for your welding projects. If you use more than what is necessary, it will be easier for your workpiece to be contaminated.