Best Value Plasma Cutter 2020 (Reviews and Buying Guide)

Plasma cutters use different types of gas which is forced through a nozzle and combined with an electric arc to produce temperature, which is high enough to melt and cut the metals. To select the best value plasma cutter, consider the durability, working capacity, thickness of metal and your budget.

After a lot of research and comparing plasma cutters from different brands, we can recommend Hypertherm Powermax 30 as the best value plasma cutter. The Hypertherm Powermax is a US-made plasma cutter, which gives a reliable cutting performance.

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The Test Winner After 27 Hours Of Research:

HOW WE DECIDED

--We researched every product, we review with our own.

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27

Hours Researched

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6

Experts Interviewed

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253

Consumers Review

Product Image:
CUT-50, 50 Amp Pro. Plasma Cutter, DC Inverter 110/230V Dual Voltage Cutting Machine...
LOTOS LT5000D 50A Air Inverter Plasma Cutter Dual Voltage 110/220VAC 1/2" Clean Cut
Hobart 500566 Airforce 40i Plasma Cutter 240V
Plasma Cutter, Spectrum 625, 90PSI, 12ft.
Top Pick
Hypertherm 088079 Powermax30 XP Building America Edition Hand Plasma System with Case...
PrimeWeld 50A Air Inverter Plasma Cutter, Portable Plasma Cutting Machine, Premium...
Ideal Cut Thickness:
¾ in
½”
5/8”
3/8”
¼”
½”
Severance Cut Thickness:
1.0 in
¾”
7/8”
5/8”
5/8”
3/4”
Cutting Rusty/ Painted Metal:
No
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
No
Material Cutting Thickness:
Steel/Aluminum ½ in
Steel / Aluminum ½."
Steel 7/8”
3/8”,5/8” Mild steel.
5/8” on 220 V; 1/2” at 120 V
Steel 5/8” Stainless steel ½” aluminum ½”
Pilot Arc:
No
Given
Given
No
Given
Given
Output Current:
50 Amp
50 Amp
40 Amp
40 Amp
30 Amp
50 Amp
Duty cycle:
60% @ 50 A
60%@50A
50%@40A
20% @ 120 V / 50% @ 240 V
35% @ 240V/ 20% @120 V
60% @ 50 A
Input Voltage:
110-220 V
110-220V
220/230/240V
120 – 240 V
110 – 120 V
110/220VAC
Weight:
31 pounds
22.5 lbs
31.4 lbs
0.16 ounces
21.6 lbs
22.5 lbs
Warranty:
3 years
1 year
3 years
3 years
3 years
3 years
Prime Status:
-
-
-
-
-
Product Image:
CUT-50, 50 Amp Pro. Plasma Cutter, DC Inverter 110/230V Dual Voltage Cutting Machine...
Ideal Cut Thickness:
¾ in
Severance Cut Thickness:
1.0 in
Cutting Rusty/ Painted Metal:
No
Material Cutting Thickness:
Steel/Aluminum ½ in
Pilot Arc:
No
Output Current:
50 Amp
Duty cycle:
60% @ 50 A
Input Voltage:
110-220 V
Weight:
31 pounds
Warranty:
3 years
Prime Status:
-
Available:
Product Image:
LOTOS LT5000D 50A Air Inverter Plasma Cutter Dual Voltage 110/220VAC 1/2" Clean Cut
Ideal Cut Thickness:
½”
Severance Cut Thickness:
¾”
Cutting Rusty/ Painted Metal:
Yes
Material Cutting Thickness:
Steel / Aluminum ½."
Pilot Arc:
Given
Output Current:
50 Amp
Duty cycle:
60%@50A
Input Voltage:
110-220V
Weight:
22.5 lbs
Warranty:
1 year
Prime Status:
Available:
Product Image:
Hobart 500566 Airforce 40i Plasma Cutter 240V
Ideal Cut Thickness:
5/8”
Severance Cut Thickness:
7/8”
Cutting Rusty/ Painted Metal:
Yes
Material Cutting Thickness:
Steel 7/8”
Pilot Arc:
Given
Output Current:
40 Amp
Duty cycle:
50%@40A
Input Voltage:
220/230/240V
Weight:
31.4 lbs
Warranty:
3 years
Prime Status:
-
Available:
Product Image:
Plasma Cutter, Spectrum 625, 90PSI, 12ft.
Ideal Cut Thickness:
3/8”
Severance Cut Thickness:
5/8”
Cutting Rusty/ Painted Metal:
No
Material Cutting Thickness:
3/8”,5/8” Mild steel.
Pilot Arc:
No
Output Current:
40 Amp
Duty cycle:
20% @ 120 V / 50% @ 240 V
Input Voltage:
120 – 240 V
Weight:
0.16 ounces
Warranty:
3 years
Prime Status:
-
Available:
Top Pick
Product Image:
Hypertherm 088079 Powermax30 XP Building America Edition Hand Plasma System with Case...
Ideal Cut Thickness:
¼”
Severance Cut Thickness:
5/8”
Cutting Rusty/ Painted Metal:
Yes
Material Cutting Thickness:
5/8” on 220 V; 1/2” at 120 V
Pilot Arc:
Given
Output Current:
30 Amp
Duty cycle:
35% @ 240V/ 20% @120 V
Input Voltage:
110 – 120 V
Weight:
21.6 lbs
Warranty:
3 years
Prime Status:
-
Available:
Product Image:
PrimeWeld 50A Air Inverter Plasma Cutter, Portable Plasma Cutting Machine, Premium...
Ideal Cut Thickness:
½”
Severance Cut Thickness:
3/4”
Cutting Rusty/ Painted Metal:
No
Material Cutting Thickness:
Steel 5/8” Stainless steel ½” aluminum ½”
Pilot Arc:
Given
Output Current:
50 Amp
Duty cycle:
60% @ 50 A
Input Voltage:
110/220VAC
Weight:
22.5 lbs
Warranty:
3 years
Prime Status:
-
Available:

01. CUT 50, 50 Amp Pro Plasma Cutter DC Inverter 110 / 230V Dual Voltage 

Salient Feature

  • Ideal Cut Thickness: ¾ in
  • Severance Cut Thickness: 1.0 in
  • Cutting Rusty/ Painted Metal: No
  • Material Cutting Thickness: Steel/Aluminum ½ in 
  • Pilot Arc: No
  • Output Current: 50 Amp
  • Duty cycle: 60% @ 50 A
  • Input Voltage: 110-220 V
  • Weight: 31 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 years

It is an Air Plasma Cutter style Cutting machine. It is suitable forsmall business projects,  home use and hobby projects. Due to its auto voltage feature, it can adapt to 100-240V input power. Metals that can be cut by this torch include Stainless steel, aluminum, mild steel and alloy steel.

This plasma cutter can cut up to 1” thick metals. The latest design places the meter and adjustment on the front side. This modern plasma cutter comes with the latest inverter technology which controls the output from 15 to 50 Amp according to project requirements.

The machine grip is ergonomic and made of heat resistant and comfortable material.

Pros

  • Good quality for the price.
  • This product is ranked number 1 Amazon bestseller in Plasma Cutting Equipment.
  • Produce clean-cut, when used with proper adjustments.
  • The cutter is very easy to use.
  • Package includes the adapter cord.

Cons

  • It may have air leakage. In that case, it should be replaced.

02. LOTOS LT5000D 50A Air inverter plasma cutter dual voltage 110/220VAC 1/2" Clean cut

Salient Feature

  • Ideal Cut Thickness: ½”
  • Severance Cut Thickness: ¾”
  • Cutting Rusty/ Painted Metal: Yes
  • Material Cutting Thickness: Steel / Aluminum ½."
  • Pilot Arc: Given
  • Output Current: 50 Amp
  • Duty cycle: 60%@50A
  • Input Voltage: 110-220V
  • Weight: 22.5 lbs
  • Warranty: 1 year

The lotus LT5000D is a small portable plasma cutter suitable for hobby cutters as well as professionals. It can cut into different metals like aluminum,stainless steel, copper, mild steel, and alloy steel. It allows for both thin and thick metal cutting.

The package includes a ground clamp, power supply, Plasma cutting torch and essential consumables. It works on the Pilot Arc and can be used on rusted or painted metals. It is durable and lasts longer when used for home-based projects.

This compact plasma cutter can produce up to 50 amp when the most exquisite cuts are required.

Pros

  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Easy to use by hobby cutters.
  • It is a safe device due to ground cable and clamp.
  • It can cut through different metals.
  • Air filter regulator included.
  • Compact and portable
  • Ideal for cutting rusty or painted metals.
  • 60% duty cycle with 50 amps

Cons

  • Not suitable for industrial use.
  • Warranty is less for the price.
  • Short ground way.
  • Short standoff.
  • Six-foot size ground lead

03. Hobart 500566 Airforce 40i plasma cutter 240V

Salient Feature

  • Ideal Cut Thickness: 5/8”
  • Severance Cut Thickness: 7/8”
  • Cutting Rusty/ Painted Metal: Yes
  • Material Cutting Thickness: Steel 7/8”
  • Pilot Arc: Given
  • Output Current: 40 Amp
  • Duty cycle: 50%@40A
  • Input Voltage: 220/230/240V
  • Weight: 31.4 lbs
  • Warranty: 3 years

Produced by one of the most reliable manufacturers in the market, the Hobart Airforce 40i Plasma cutter is an ideal choice for home and commercial use at smaller level. It is one of the most expensive plasma cutters from Hobart.

It provides 7/8” maximum cutting capacity with a 50% duty cycle. Pilot arc allows clean cut even in rusted or painted metals. Its functions based on Auto Retire Technology and feature a stable duty cycle with fast speed.

LVC Line Voltage Compensation feature utilizes peak performance power with fluctuating voltage (+/- 15%). It ensures a cleaner cut and a steady performance. It features XT40R torch consumables along with trigger safety and efficient air consumption.

The product is durable and safe. It features a built-in air filter with a regulator to control the flow of air for added safety. A post flow air is released to cool the consumables and extend their life.

Pros

  • Fan operates when required.
  • Low-frequency startup.
  • Wind tunnel technology.
  • Excellent cutting performance

Cons

  • A weak ground clamp.

04. Plasma cutter Spectrum625,90 PSI, 12 ft

Salient Feature

  • Ideal Cut Thickness: 3/8”
  • Severance Cut Thickness: 5/8”
  • Cutting Rusty/ Painted Metal: No
  • Material Cutting Thickness: 3/8”,5/8” Mild steel.
  • Pilot Arc: No
  • Output Current: 40 Amp
  • Duty cycle: 20% @ 120 V / 50% @ 240 V
  • Input Voltage: 120 – 240 V
  • Weight: 0.16 ounces
  • Warranty: 3 years

Manufactured by Miller electric, the plasma cutter Spectrum 625 is a dual voltage machine that works at air pressure 90 psi. Its approximate cutting speed is 15 inches per minute for a steady and smooth cut.

 Its ergonomic handle provides a firm grip through finger contours and a thumb guide. Weighing only 21 pounds, the machine is straightforward to carry around at the workplace or any work site when required. The shoulder strap is there for easy portability.

Built on the modern Wind Tunnel Technology, it utilizes an internal airflow system for cleaning and cooling electric circuits. The Auto Refire technology automatically controls the pilot arc. This feature makes the machine easy to operate when cutting thicker metals.

Miller's x-case protects the cutter during transportation. It also has a room for storing consumables, plug adapters and personal protective equipment.

Pros

  • Easy to install and operate.
  • Good value for money.
  • Excellent Customer Service.
  • Cuts like a butter on the metal.
  • Small, lightweight and portable.
  • Precision cutting.
  • Very high cutting speed.

Cons

  • A separate air compressor is required.
  • The company does not provide extra consumables in the package.
  • Package doesn't contain personal safety gear.

05. Hypertherm 088079 Powermax30 XP Hand Plasma System with Case and 15' lead

Salient Feature

  • Ideal Cut Thickness: ¼”
  • Severance Cut Thickness: 5/8”
  • Cutting Rusty/ Painted Metal: Yes
  • Material Cutting Thickness: 5/8” on 220 V; 1/2” at 120 V
  • Pilot Arc: Given
  • Output Current: 30 Amp
  • Duty cycle: 35% @ 240V/ 20% @120 V
  • Input Voltage: 110 – 120 V
  • Weight: 21.6 lbs
  • Warranty: 3 years

Small and lightweight, the Hypertherm Powermax 30 will help you in completing the smallest of your jobs. The package includes many useful accessories, including a carrying case with a strap for easy portability. 

The adapters can automatically adjust to a different voltage. The torch is built on Duramax LT design to ensure heat resistance and comfortable handling.

Package includes gloves, hand-carry case, shoulder strap, eye shielding glasses and essential consumables. This plasma cutter produces fine quality cuts on thick and thin metals. The Fine Cut consumables are provided for very delicate thin metal cutting. It makes this cutter number one choice for metal artists.

The Hypertherm Powermax will cut almost any metal even it is corroded or painted. It works well on stainless steel, aluminum and mild steel. It utilizes only compressed air which is a cheap and safer option.

It requires very less air for making small cuts. It can use air or nitrogen gas to cut metals.

Pros

  • The torch is user- friendly.
  • Automatic Voltage Adjustment
  • Can be used on a variety of metals.
  • Excellent cut quality.
  • No expensive or explosive gases required.
  • A nice drag tip
  • No dragging produces a more in-depth and faster cut.
  • A durable product.
  • Excellent customer service.

Cons

  • Tiny size
  • Frequent cleaning is necessary for proper functioning.
  • Extra consumables required frequently.
  • The nozzle may wear out during working.

06. PRIMEWELD Premium 110/220VAC, ½”Cut, 50A Air Inverter Plasma Cutter 

Salient Feature

  • Ideal Cut Thickness: ½”
  • Severance Cut Thickness: 3/4”
  • Cutting Rusty/ Painted Metal: No
  • Material Cutting Thickness: Steel 5/8” ,Stainless steel ½”, Aluminum ½”
  • Pilot Arc: Given
  • Output Current: 50 Amp
  • Duty cycle: 60% @ 50 A 
  • Input Voltage: 110 – 220 V
  • Weight: 22.5 lbs
  • Warranty: 3 years

Designed with MOSFET transistors, this PRIMEWELD Air Inverter will cut thicker metals with high power output, which remain stable for thin metals. It can cut metals thicker than the standard plasma cutters.

This automatic dual voltage 110/220-volt Inverter requires less cleaning and maintenance. It is easily portable due to the handle. It emits less toxic fumes and is heat and fire-resistant.

Pros

  • Price is reasonable concerning machine quality.
  • Excellent customer service.
  • Shielded torch line provides extra protection.
  • Neat and clean cutting.
  • Good quality ground clamp.
  • Lightweight and easy to carry

Cons

  • Arc is created by touching metal with the torch, making it a scratch start machine.
  • Torch gun may be different from the one shown in the picture.
  • Consumables aren’t fit for every torch.

07. Ramsond CUT 50DX 50 Amp Digital Portable Air Plasma Cutter plasma 

Salient Feature

  • Ideal Cut Thickness: ¾”
  • Severance Cut Thickness: 1”
  • Cutting Rusty/ Painted Metal: Yes
  • Material Cutting Thickness: 1” on aluminum and different steels.
  • Pilot Arc: Given
  • Output Current: 50 Amp
  • Duty cycle: 60% @ 50 A
  • Input Voltage: 110 – 220 V
  • Weight: 19 lbs
  • Warranty: 3 years

The Ramsond Cut 50DX is a cheap yet fine air plasma cutter. This lightweight inverter is more durable and efficient than the previous Ramsond cutters.

The features include automatic dual voltage 110/ 220 V and dual-frequency of about 50/60 Hz. It can cut 3/8” metal very sharply, but the neatness will disappear if you will continue cutting deeper.

The digital display shows the current and pressure gauge for the convenience of the operator. It features a high-frequency inverter that utilizes V-MOSFETs.

The Ramsond CUT 50DX can cut alloy steel, copper, brass, aluminum and stainless steel. Its handle is insulated, foldable and provides a comfortable yet firm grip.

The upgraded German Cooling System helps to increase the life of consumables and prevent damages from overheating.

Pros

  • Compact and portable.
  • A 10 feet long hose.
  • Automatic dual voltage conversion.

Cons

  • Trigger placement on the handle may be uncomfortable for the operator.

What should I look for when buying a plasma cutter? -Buying guide

Safety and Cost-Effective:

Safety of the operator must be the top priority when selecting the plasma cutter. Read the specifications of the productbefore buying. Some cutters are simple and provide extra safety features which are suitable for hobby and domestic cuts. Trained operators use more complex and heavy-duty cutters.

Some plasma cutters come with a Nozzle-in-place safety feature. This sensor allows the plasma cutter to seize operation if you don't fix nozzle correctly. In the absence of this sensor, the operator may face a 300 V DC which is a significant hazard.

Selecting the appropriate personal protective equipment is essential for the safety of the operator. Leather gloves help protect the hands from high temperature and metal spatter. Synthetic gloves can damage the skin, so avoid using it.

Always wear glasses to protect your eyes from exposure to molten metal and the arc. The body of the operator should be covered. Wearing welding boots with steel protection is necessary to protect the feet from falling metal.

Modern plasma cutters feature a pre-flow sequence as a warning. This feature enables the operator to check that his body is in a safe position from the nozzle before the arc initiates.

Wide Application:

The application of a plasma cutter can be determined by considering the following factors:

  • Plate gauge: Select your plasma cutter according to the size of the plates you need to cut. It is vital for the plasma cutter able to cut the given metal sheets with speed and efficiency. Ugly edges with dross are not the desired output.
  • Types of Torches: Plasma cutters come with different types of torches. Consider the one which best suits your job.

Standoff torchA stand at the end of the nozzle maintains a constant distance between the nozzle and the sheet. It produces a smooth and consistent cut.


Drag TechnologyIt allows the nozzle to touch the metal sheet without double arching.

It can increase the frequency of nozzle damage and replacement. It may also result in nasty cuts if the operator is not an expert in cutting.

Touch StartThis mechanism operates by initiating the arc when the nozzle touches the workpiece. After that, the nozzle needs to be lifted to prevent double arching. This mechanism is mostly utilized in cheap cutters and indeed not an ideal choice for producing clean cuts.

Always consider the desired finish before selecting a plasma cutter.  High-quality plasma cutters yield a neat finish.

Cutting Ability:

The cutting ability of a plasma cutter is affected by different factors. Considering these factors for selecting a plasma cutter is crucial.

Ideal cut: Compare the ideal cut thickness of the plasma cutter with the diameter of metal you use. The cutter produces a finest quality output when used on its ideal cut thickness.

Severance Thickness: The severance thickness indicates the maximum thickness cut by a plasma cutter into a given metal. Cutting metals at the severance thickness of a plasma cutter produces rough, and dross cut metal. At severance thickness, the cutter will not produce enough heat and speed to yield a clean finish.

Project Criteria:

A suitable plasma cutter is selected by considering the type of work for which your cutter is intended. It will include the type and thickness of metal, amount of workload and speed.

Some cutters are suitable for heavy-duty automotive, construction and industrial projects. They require more significant power input to cut a more exceptional thickness of metal. Cutters intended for domestic and hobby usage require less power input and therefore cut metals with lesser thickness.

Amperage: The amperage of a plasma cutter is a crucial factor that determines the cut thickness. For projects that require cut thickness ¼" the amperage should be 25 amps. A machine with cut thickness ½" the amperage will be 50 - 60 amps. Making a cut which is not appropriate for the amperage of the cutter, will result in a rough cut and dross product quality.

Speed: You have to consider the cutting speed requirement in the selection of the plasma cutter. Plasma cutters with a greater cutting thickness work on high speed if used on thin metal. For example, the plasma cutter that has a ½" cut thickness will cut a ¼" thick metal with double speed. The speed of a cutter for a given thickness is measured in inches per minute(ipm).

DutyCycle: Duty cycle refers to the time which a plasma cutter can cut before heating up. It is measured in percentage with amperage. This percentage is rated per ten minutes. For example, a 60% duty cycle for 50 amps means that the cutter will cut for 6 minutes continuously before getting heat up. After that, the cutter will require cooling. The more significant duty cycle with high amperage denotes high-speed work.

Starting Method: The pilot arc requires a high-frequency current to start. The lift arc method works through a DC+ nozzle and a DC- electrode to initiate the current. Sometimes the high frequency can create some problems, mainly if used in an office having several computers. Pilot arc makes the operator to cut through corroded or painted metals.

Portability:

Most plasma cutters in the market are compact and lightweight. These cutters with built-in air compressor are heavier than those which come without them. Built-in air compressor makes the cutter easy to operate and carry.

Some machines come with built-in storage space for the torch, work cable and the consumables. This feature makes the cutter convenient to carry without the fear of misplacing essential parts and consumables.

The manufacturer should provide a case with shoulder strap for safe and secure portability.

Durability:

The plasma cutters manufactured in the US are far more durable than the cutters made in China.

Compatibility Consumables:

The electrode, nozzle, swirl ring, retaining cap and shield cap are called the consumables. The need for replacing the consumables more often increases the overall cost of operation. Therefore, investing in a reliable brand is better than buying a cheap one and spending on consumables.

Quick Setup and Dual input Voltage Option:

Most of the plasma cutters feature an automatic dual input Voltage option. It means they can be plugged to a 110 or 220 V power input. Most of the domestic projects can be completed with 110 V input. To complete heavy-duty or industrial projects, you will require a 220 V power input. Buying a plasma cutter with Dual Input Voltage Option allows the operator to work as per the project demands.

How to set up a plasma cutter?

Settingup your plasma cutter is a few simple steps away. Follow the instructions from the manufacturer before installation.

  • Wear your protective equipment for personal safety.
  • Ensure that the air supply is free from impurities such as water or oil.
  • If the plasma cutter does not have a built-in air compressor, connect the air compressor with the cutter according to the given instructions.
  • Check the air pressure by looking at the gauges.
  • Attach the cutting torch with the plasma cutter.
  • Connect the ground clamp and the plasma cutter.
  • Check the connectors, nozzle and electrodes.
  • Adjust your settings for desired metal thickness.
  • Hold the trigger for a while to check the air pressure.
  • Cut the metal by placing the torch head on it.

How to cut a straight line with a plasma cutter?


You can draw a straight line easily by using a drag spacer and a straight edge guide.In the first step, you will have to clamp the straight edge on the workpiece. In the second step, start cutting while holding the torch at 90 degrees to the work surface.

Hypotherm magnetic blocks are very useful if you need to cut straight lines. Insert a 1/8" flat bar steel into the blocks to obtain the desired length of a straight line. These blocks hold the metal securely with magnets. If a cut of more than 4 feet is required, use two sets of magnetic blocks.

You can also purchase a standoff guide for your torch tip. It will enable you to touch the tip of the torch on the workpiece without damaging the consumables.

Conclusion

The best value plasma cutter is durable, portable and efficient. Some plasma cutters are expensive when buying, but give promising value in terms of durability and consumables.Clean and high-speed cutting are the goals of metal cutting projects.

FAQ's

What is the best plasma cutter for the money?

Plasma cutters which are not only durable but also provide clean and efficient cutting are best for the money. If their consumables do not need to be replaced frequently, and they utilize cheaper gases like compressed air, they reduce the cost of operation.

What is a good inexpensive plasma cutter?

A good inexpensive plasma cutter should provide the best for the value of invested money. The Lotos LTP 5000D is rated as the Number 1 among the cheap plasma cutters.

Are plasma cutters worth it?

A plasma cutter is suitable for cutting straight and curved lines in the thicker metal. Plasma cutter is required to complete the tasks which can’t be completed with a grinder. A good quality plasma cutter like Hypertherm pays off its cost in a few operations.

How much does a plasma cutter costs?

The plasma cutters are more expensive than other cutting methods.Apart from the initial cost of purchasing a plasma cutter, the cost of replacing consumables should also be taken into account. An average plasma cutter will cost between $1,500 to $3,500 depending on brand and power. However, hobby or home operators can find some fantastic plasma cutters at a price as low as $500.

What is the best plasma cutter for home use?

Plasma cutter intended for home use should be lightweight and easy to handle. Small machines have small torches. A bigger machine will create more fatigue on the body when used continuously. The plasma cutter that utilizes the 120 V domestic electric supply is perfect for home use.

What is the best plasma cutter under 500$?

The best plasma cutter under $500 is the Lotos LTP5000D. This plasma cutter has a 50 Amp Pilot Arc and able to cut through a wide range of metals. Another plasma cutter available at a lower price is Lotos LT5000D. Both can cut corroded and painted metals due to its pilot arc. These cutters are suitable for use by hobby cutters and small businesses.

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