If you are in the market for a plasma cutter you might be asking yourself should I purchase a 110V or 220V machine? What’s the difference? The difference between the two is going to show itself in the amount of cutting power the machine has. A 220V machine is built to handle 30 amps and above (depending on the model you purchase) and will easily be able to cut mild steel up to 1/2″. If you can afford a machine that features 220V and you have 220V power in your shop then you should definitely spend the extra money. You will thank yourself later on and be thrilled with the performance of the machine.
Are 110V Plasma Cutters Any Good?
What about 110V machines? Well they have their time and place and are made for anyone who does not have access to 220V power. This can be for someone who has a small garage at home and can’t be bothered with installing a new 220V plug or a professional out in the field who only has access to 110V power. Manufactures have kept these scenarios in mind and developed machines specifically around this idea. Hypertherm (one of our favorite plasma cutter manufactures) has built a machine called the Hypertherm Powermax30 (Amazon.com), which is a dual voltage machine designed to be adaptable to any environment. You can run this machine on 220V up to 30 amps or you can attach a plug adapter and plug it into a standard 110V wall socket. This allows you to use the machine up to 20 amps and still get some very impressive cutting power up to 1/2″. These machines are awesome and popular due to their ability to be used in a variety of environments.
How Much Power Am I Losing Buying A 110V Plasma Cutter?
110V machines typically max out at 20 amps. With our testing of the Hypertherm Powermax30 (Amazon.com) we were able to cut 1/2″ steel at 20 amps with a moderate to slow pace. When we used that same machine in a 220V configuration at 30 amps we were able to cut up to 3/4″ mild steel with the same machine. If you would like to watch this testing process you can view it below in our video.
How Much Are Dual Voltage Plasma Cutters?
Typically dual voltage machines are cheaper then their high end 220V counterparts. Plasma cutters come in a variety of brands with different build qualities, which can drastically change their price tag. On the low end of the spectrum you can get a PRIMEWELD 50a Dual Voltage Plasma Cutter (Amazon.com) for around $320. This is a Chinese made machine that is built to be used by non-professionals and is built with cheaper components to reduce the price for average users. On the high end of the spectrum you can get the Hypertherm Powermax30 (Amazon.com) for around $1500, which is a professional grade machine from one of the most well known manufactures on the market. This is a machine that is built here in the USA and is built with high quality materials that will withstand the work load of a professional environment.
Useful Information If You Plan To Buy A Plasma Cutter
If you are in the market for a new plasma cutter check out our buyer’s guide that will help you find the best plasma cutter for your needs.
If you are on a budget then check out our article about the best plasma cutters under $500
If you have never used a plasma cutter before and need help getting your machine setup and making you first cut check out our Plasma Cutting Beginners Guide. Here we answer commonly asked questions and review important safety information that is crucial to operating your machine safely. It’s a short read and 100% worth reading if you have never used one of these machines before.
If you are looking for a plasma cutter, but don’t have an air compressor we can help you with that as well. There are special plasma cutters made with built in air compressors. You can view our buyer’s guide for plasma cutters with built in air compressors here.