How To Pick Your Plasma Cutter with Built In Air Compressor – Here’s What We Look For

Last Updated on Nov 19, 2022

What would you choose to cut complex metal shapes: an angle grinder or the best plasma cutter with a built-in air compressor? The choice is simple, really.

A plasma cutter makes cutting the longest straight cuts, holes, slots, and curves super convenient and doable. However, a plasma cutter might not be that beneficial if you do not have access to an air compressor. If you’re a regular user, you’ll know that you need an air- compressor along with a power source to operate plasma cutters. 

But lucky for you, the latest game-changing technology in these tools is making it increasingly possible for you to use them without a worry in the world. 

Our Recommendation: Hypertherm 088096 Powermax 30 Plasma Cutter

But don’t just go by what we’re saying.

Skim through our selection of the top five products that offer nothing but the best. So, consider this article a detailed review of the diverse features as well as pros and cons of the finest plasma cutters in the market – a buying guide has also been attached to help you differentiate the good from the bad independently. 


Best 5 Plasma Cutter With Built In Air Compressor: Detailed Review

Plasma was first discovered in 1879, and the first plasma cutter was developed in 1950 from WW2 Plasma Welder. Since then, there has been no looking back. The market has, in fact, only seen modifications, advancements, and technology – as a result of which, some powerful, efficient, and faster tools have been introduced. 

The inclusion of an air compressor in a plasma cutter is the latest round of upgrade that has left people in awe of the tool’s convenience and ease of use.   

Let’s now proceed with the reviews of the best five plasma cutters with a built-in air compressor to assist you in your mechanical journey!

Hypertherm 088096 Powermax 30 Plasma Cutter

Hypertherm enjoys the reputation of being an industry leader due to its focus on cutting-edge technology instead of the age-old welding technology. For that reason, the tool delivers exceptional performance and is, arguably, one of the most portable and lightest plasma cutters available in the market. 

The plasma cutter can efficiently cut through any 3/8 inch material while leaving a smooth finish that doesn’t require cleaning or smoothening out. This makes it the ideal choice for anyone looking for a real asset to invest in that remains with them as they’re on-the-go and doesn’t give up on them mid-project. 

The built-in air compressor is straightforward to work with as well. Also, even if you are using the plasma cutter for the first time, there will be no difficulty cutting the metal because the tool is as simple to use for a beginner, as it is convenient for a professional.

The Hypertherm 088096 Powermax 30 Plasma Cutter comes with a dual 240 and a 120-volt power output. Furthermore, the drag technology of the tool allows for efficient arc starts. To strike the arc, you can touch it and then pull with the help of a torch.     


  • Easy to switch between gouge operation, non-continuous, and continuous pilot arc
  • Portable and lightweight design
  • Minimize grinding time with precise and clean cuts
  • Backed by a 3-year warranty on the power supply system


  • Underwhelming plastic case
  • Comes with no CNC connection


Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter

Whether you are a beginner or someone who tends to work with plasma cutters regularly, the Hobart 500564 Airforce Plasma cutter is a great choice for anyone and everyone.

The lightweight machine can cut 1/8 inch and severe ¼ inch. It can run at 120V ad cut 3/16 inch steel plate efficiently while leaving a clean finish. Moreover, you can repair plates and cut brackets, among other minor cutting tasks. 

The plasma cutter is made for HVAC professionals who need to carry plasma cutters from one place to another. The low power source helps them to connect with household power effectively. 

The advanced features include post-flow air control to blow the air after cut to make the machine cool faster. Another feature is the Fan-On-Demand for operating the cooling fan as and when required – designed to keep dust away and save power. 

The air compressor comes attached within the plasma cutter and runs smoothly and quietly in the background as you continue working. 

Hobart machines are found everywhere around metal workers and welders. The machine is also lightweight and compact while its built-in air compressor comes with a five-year warranty. 

What else can one ask for?


  • Ergonomically designed torch
  • 120V input power
  • Suitable for intermitted use in different environments
  • Offer cleaner cuts through thinner material


  • Comes with a narrow output range

Forney 317 250 P+ Plasma Cutter with Air Compressor

Are you tight on budget but require a plasma cutter with a built-in air compressor to complete your complex tasks? Don’t worry, as Forney Plasma Cutter is the lowest-priced plasma cutter on the list, which still comes equipped with a maximum output of 12 amps! 

The plasma cutter is lightweight and ideal for light-duty jobs and DIY purposes. Besides, professionals use it to make house calls for HVAC ducting repair and appliance work. 

The machine comes with a drag torch arc starting. Which makes it easy to use and start the machine. You can cut cast iron, brass, copper, aluminum, and various conductive metals with this machine too! The world is your oyster, literally. 

Furthermore, the machine is is equipped with a pressure regulator and a built-in air dryer. The plasma cutter is fully automatic and requires no external buttons to operate. 

Weighing just 43 pounds, the machine can cut 1/8 inch steel plate at 12 amps power, and it is portable enough to be carried from one place to another. Apart from that, the plasma cutter comes with an extension power cord and a 15-foot torch lead. 


  • Backed by 5/3/1 year warranty
  • Comes with drag-torch technology
  • Can cut through 1.8-inch steel plates
  • Available at a reasonable price


  • Has slow ignition
  • Not an ideal machine for high-volume work

Thermal Dynamics 1-1110-1 AirCut 15C Light duty Plasma Cutter

The industrial quality machine, Thermal DynamicsPlasma Cutter, is made to meet the needs of professionals. Its quality reflects in the conservative output rating and higher price range. 

The plasma cutter weighs 29 pounds and includes a built-in air compressor, making the machine highly efficient to use and work with. Furthermore, the machine claims to offer a 25% higher cutting rate as compared to many other plasma cutters in the same industry. 

What is the cutting efficiency of the plasma cutter? The machine can cut through 3/16 inch plate steel. Its superior quality build and high work capability justify the usability for the professionals. 

The machine has a 120V power source and rated with a 35% duty cycle at 15 amps. On the other hand, you get a 50% duty cycle at 12 amps. With all said features, the cutter allows you to cut through various metals, including copper, mild steel, aluminum, and stainless steel. 

You can also cut painted materials with pilot-arc ignition. Apart from that, the plasma cutter comes with an impressive 20 ft. torch length. 


  • Can reasonably cut precisely about 3/16 inch steel
  • Highly portable and lightweight machine
  • Comes with a 20-foot torch connection
  • 50% lighter compared to most plasma cutters


  • Runs at only 120V power input
  • Relatively expensive for the power rating 

Lincoln 10-25A Plasma Cutter

The last addition to the best plasma cutter list with a built-in air compressor is Lincoln 10-25A Plasma Cutter. The most interesting feature of this machine is its 25 amps of cutting power. Thus, it is built to stand among industry equipment and aimed at DIY fabricators. 

The plasma cutter can operate from 50-80 PSI with a compression rate of 70-PSI average work pressure. Also, you can use the plasma cutter as soon as it arrives at your place. 

The bottom end of the plasma cutter offers 10 amps, which enable you to cut sheet metal. Moreover, it can boost up to 25 amps to cut through 1/4 –inch steel to cut through pipe fencing and trailer frames in a single run. 

You have all the controls set on the front panel of the machine to work efficiently. Further, you can monitor the airflow rate and adjust it on the right to have a clear picture. 


  • Comes with a regulator
  • Includes an LC25 torch
  • Offers external or internal air supply
  • Can efficiently cut up to 3/8 inch steel


  • You cannot control the machine digitally
  • Require external air to make heavy cuts

Buying the Best Plasma Cutter with Built-In Compressor

While buying a plasma cutter with a built-in air compressor, you are buying two units. One is the plasma cutter, and another is the air compressor within the same cabinet. The plasma cutter requires sufficient air pressure to make quality cuts. 

That’s the reason why some machines are available at a higher price range with an air compressor compared to machines with external air sources.  

Look at the following features to understand how you can buy a reliable and functional plasma cutter with a built-in air compressor. 

Duty Cycle

A plasma cutter should be productive when required and for how long you need to complete the intended task. So, you should look for a plasma cutter that doesn’t require you to wait for the machine to cool down before continuing with your work – who wants that in the 21st century?  

The 120V plasma cutters have modest duty cycles and have exceptionally long start-up times. So, you won’t be able to make cuts for more than three minutes. On the other hand, the plasma cutter with a 35% duty cycle at 15 amps and a 50% cutting duty cycle at 12 amps is suitable for professional purposes. 

Power Source 

You will need 120V power only if you use the plasma cutter around your home or in-home workshop. Besides, a plasma cutter with a dual power of 240 and 120V is versatile and weighs slightly more than a 120V power machine. 

A 120V machine has an efficient cutting capacity of 1/8 inch steel at 15 amps. Further, you can have an even better cutting capacity with 240V machines. So, you have greater flexibility with dual voltage cutters. 

The choice of plasma cutter will also depend on the power you need to complete the task at hand.  

Advanced Technology

The plasma cutters come with certain advanced features that make it convenient for beginners and professionals to work smoothly. 

The Drag Cutting technology helps you drag the torch across the metal’s surface and operate the arc to continue cutting. If the plasma cutter is devoid of this feature, you have to maintain a safe distance above the metal. 

The machine’s lightweight is also one benefit as it will be easy to position and store at any place you want. It does not cause strain on your hands and also saves space while storing. 

Thickness and Cutting Speed

When working with a plasma cutter, always make a note of the thickness of the material you will be using it to cut. Also, the speed of the machine is important according to the length of cuts you have to make. 

So, if you go closer to the maximum thickness rating, you have to go slower on the cuts. In some cases, you have to repeat the whole process and clean the cut. 

Warranty Period

It’s important to have a warranty period over heavy-duty tools. A longer warranty period indicates the confidence of the maker over the machine’s quality. Some machine offers three years warranty while some offer five years of warranty. 

So, if you want to purchase a plasma cutter with a built-in compressor, you can look for machines with a longer warranty period, as the air compressor will add more electric demand and heat to the plastic cutter. 

Final Thoughts

The best plasma cutter with a built-in air compressor makes for an excellent tool for hobbyists, construction workers, auto mechanics, plumbers, and welders. This is because the addition of this compressor to the tool allows users of said machine to take it with him/her wherever he/she goes. 

Now that you have gone through our detailed reviews and the buying guide, you can move on to making your final choice.

Sidenote: always choose the one that comes with a longer warranty period and fits perfectly within your budget. 

Happy shopping; don’t forget to share your final picks with us in the comments below!