Plasma cutters are a very handy tool to have around your garage or shop.  But if you’re not using them all the time the investment can be a bit steep.  But there’s good news.  In the last couple of years, a few manufacturers have brought some high-quality and cheap plasma cutters to the market.  Let’s take a look at the top three that fall under $500.

Things To Remember Before Getting The Best Cheap Plasma Cutters:

Important Features:

As with any power tool, there are several features that you should look for in whichever unit you decide to purchase.  This helps to ensure that it will fulfill the purpose you have in mind.  The reason some of these models are cheaper is that they aren’t as powerful or feature-rich as some of the more expensive units.

Duty Cycle:

One of the most important factors to take into consideration when making your selection is the duty cycle.  Some cutters are designed to be used for shorter durations. 

They maximize the amount of power available during that time, but they shouldn’t be expected to perform the same under significant or heavy usage.  Typically the higher the amperage rating, the higher the duty cycle.

If you’re looking for a unit that can go all day long under heavy load you’ll be better off making your buying decision based on the average thickness the unit is capable of cutting.  Don’t overlook this component in your decision. 

While many units can make a 1/4″ cut, if you’re pushing the maximum of your unit, the cuts will not be as precise or clean.

Cheap Plasma Cutters

Input Voltage and Amperage:

Another important feature to consider is the input voltage of the unit.  Most cutters are either 120 or 22o volts.  Some units are capable of working with either.  If you have a 220v outlet available in your shop then your best bet is to go that route.

Think of voltage as a garden hose.  The bigger the hose, the more water can go through it.  The same principle applies with electricity, so if you’re got a 220v outlet, go with a cutter that can handle higher voltages. 

If you’re limited to just 120v, you’ll most likely want to have a 20A circuit installed in your shop.  Most residential breakers are 15A only and are often shared by multiple outlets.  This can be an issue if you’re cutter pulls too much amperage for the outlet.  Here are the typical outlets for each type of circuit.

Cutting Speed and Thickness:

The speed at which the unit cuts becomes more important depending on the length of the cuts you need to make.  The closer you get to the maximum thickness rating of a unit the slower you have to go.  And even if you slow down you’ll often have to go back and clean up the cut. 

For this reason, you need to have a good understanding of what types of materials you will be putting on a regular basis and make sure the unit you choose can comfortably and quickly handle it.  Nothing is more frustrating than having to go back over every cut because you’re bumping up against your cutter limitations.

Start Method:

Another important variable to consider is the start method of your cutting device.  There two types: high frequency and contact.  If you will be using your cutter near analytical equipment, computers, or other sensitive electronic devices you’ll be better off with a contact start.  This will ensure that it causes no interference with your other devices.

Type of Air Supply:

Forced air is a requirement in plasma cutting.  There are different methods available depending on what you are cutting on whether or not portability is important.  Many units come with a built-in air compressor, but most lower-priced units will require a separate air compressor.  If you need a unit that is more compact, then check out our portable plasma cutter selection guide.

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And now on to our Top 3 Pick.

#1. Ramsond CUT 50DY 50Amp


The Ramsond gets high marks because of a few important factors.  One is its size.  At only 19 pounds this guy is very portable.  It has a max cut limit of 3/4″ which is seriously impressive for a unit this size.  It will perform a sever cut on material up to 1″.  That is a rough cut though and shouldn’t be considered for a regular working load.

Ramsond CUT 50DY 50Amp Plasma Cutter

The CUT 50 operates on either 110 or 220v.  Because of this, the unit doesn’t ship with a plug so you’ll need to install your own based on your power.  This comes in handy when you need to travel with your unit since where you’re going may not have the same outlets as your shop.

It does require an external air compressor.  As with any cutter, you’ll want one with enough force to keep the tip cool and free of molten metal.

CUT 50DY Specs:

Weight: 19lb
Dimensions: 14.2 x 6 x 9 inches
Amperage: 50A
Max Air Pressure: 150 PSI
Hose Length: 10ft
Duty Cycle: 60%
Max Cut Thickness: 3/4″
Compressor: external air compressor required
Warranty:  1 Year Parts and Labor

#2.  Lotos Technology CT520D 50


The Lotos CT520D has a lot going for it.  It is a 3 in 1 unit that is capable of cutting, tig welding, and stick welding.  The unit is substantially larger than the Ramsond weighing in at almost 32 pounds.  But with the extra capability this unit provides, it can pretty much eliminate 2 tools from your shop.

Lotos Technology CT520D 50 Plasma Cutters

The maximum cut thickness of 1/2″ isn’t quite as impressive as that of the Ramsond either.  But the unit is dual voltage so it can be used with both 110v or 220v.

The CT520D does require an external air compressor.  There is also an available foot pedal that can be purchased separately.

While the performance doesn’t match the Ramsond, the fact that it is such a flexible tool definitely justifies the higher price tag.  When you take into consideration the fact that it eliminates the need for a tig and sticks welder (if you need those) then it is VERY reasonably priced.

CT520D Specs:

Weight: 32lbs
Dimensions:17 x 8 x 11 inches
Amperage: 50A
Max Air Pressure:
Hose Length: 10ft
Duty Cycle: 60%
Max Cut Thickness: 1/2″
Compressor: external air compressor required
Warranty:  1 Year Parts and Labor

#3.  Lotos LT5000D 50A


The third-place finisher in our inexpensive plasma cutter challenge is another Lotos product.  Unlike it’s bigger brother, the LT5000D is strictly for cutting.  And while it doesn’t have all of the features of the CT520D, it does what it’s designed to do remarkably well, and for significantly less money.

Lotos LT5000D 50A Plasma Cutters

It is a dual voltage unit that operates at both 110 and 220v.  However, if you’re going to be maxing out the cutting thickness on this unit you most definitely want to use 220v.  It has a similar duty cycle to the other two units in the comparison.  And it comes in at just a couple pounds heavier than the Ramsond. (22lb)

The cutting torch comes with a 10-foot hose and the unit has a 6-foot grounding cable.  As with the other units, it requires an external air compressor.  Even maxing out it’s cutting limits at 1/2″ the unit still cuts very clean.  At this thickness, it draws about 50 amps so be sure that you are aware of the duty cycle.

The unit can be stretched to cut 3/4″ material but just be aware that the cuts won’t be as clean as those within its max ratings.

LT5000D Specs:

Weight: 22.5lb
Dimensions: 15 x 6 x 12 inches
Amperage: 50A
Max Air Pressure: 150 PSI
Hose Length: 10ft
Duty Cycle: 60%
Max Cut Thickness: 1/2″
Compressor: external air compressor required
Warranty:  1 Year Parts and Labor

FAQs- Cheap Plasma Cutters Under $500

What is the best cheap plasma cutters under $500?

There are lots of manufacturers that make great quality plasma cutters so, for your convenience I have listed down three of the most rated product on Amazon.
If I have to choose the best one among then I will close my eyes and go for the Lotos LT5000D Plasma Cutter because few of my friends have used this product in the past and some of them are still using this product.

Do you need a welding mask for plasma cutting?

It is suggested to have some amount of skin protection for that you could use a welding mask with cutting mode. Cutting mode offers you with few dark shades and on the normal welding glass, it has very dark shades.

Can you make money with a Plasma Cutter?

The answer to this question is pretty straight forward and of course, you can make money by creating metal art using a Plasma Cutter.

Can a Plasma Cutter cut wood?

Any thickness starting from 30 gauge to 1 inch can be cut, depending on your machine. Though Plastics and wood are not electrically conductive and cannot be plasma cut. However, you could use a rotary saw, router, or other tools if you want to cut these materials.


Thank you for checking out our list of inexpensive plasma cutters. Please leave comments with any questions or with products you would like to see reviewed.

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