Best Plasma Cutter With Built-in Compressor [Reviews] 2023

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Plasma cutters made metal cutting super easy for many small shop owners, fabricators, and hobbyists around the globe. These small machines are capable of cutting various metal thicknesses, and all you need to do it is compressed air.

Sufficient air pressure is supplied via a dedicated air compressor, but if most of your metal-cutting jobs are carried out on the field, transporting equipment, compressor and consumables can be a nightmare.

featured image for best plasma cutter with built-in compressor article

That’s where plasma cutters with built-in air compressor kick in. Built-in air compressor means there is one less piece of equipment to worry about. So today, we will review the best plasma cutters with built-in air compressor.

Best plasma cutter with built-in compressor Comparison Table

Cutter ImageNameInput PowerOutputDuty CycleCutting ThicknessWeightCheck Price

image of Yeswelder MIG Pro 250
YesWelder CT2050

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96-265V12-45 A100% at 45A1 3/16″ Clean cut61 lbsCheck Current Price YesWelder

image of Yeswelder MIG Pro 250
Hypertherm Powermax 30 Air120-240 V10-30 A35% at 30A3/8″ Clean cut29.8 lbsCheck Current Price Amazon

image of Yeswelder MIG Pro 250
Hobart AirForce 12ci110V12 A35% at 12A1/8" Clean cut25.1 lbsCheck Current Price NorthernTools

image of Yeswelder MIG Pro 250
Lincoln Tomahawk 375 Air 208/230V10-25A35% at 25A5/16" Clean cut40 lbsCheck Current Price Amazon

image of Yeswelder MIG Pro 250
Forney Plasma Cutter 250P+120V12A35% at 12A1/8” Clean cut41 lbsCheck Current Price Amazon

Best Plasma cutters with built-in air compressor Reviews

Many manufacturers recognized the need for portable plasma cutters with built-in air compressors, so we are seeing an increased number on the market. However, to save you hours of grunt work, we reviewed the best plasma cutter with built-in compressor and our list features:

  • YesWelder CT2050 Multi-process welder and cutter
  • Hypertherm Powermax 30 AIR system plasma cutter
  • Hobart AirForce 12ci plasma cutter
  • Lincoln Tomahawk 375 AIR plasma cutting machine
  • Forney 250 P+ Plasma cutter

1. YesWelder CT2050 Multi-process Welder and Cutter with built-in Air Compressor

Image of a YesWelder CT2050 Multi-process Welder and Cutter with built-in Air Compressor

YesWelder CT2050 is an excellent all-in-one machine for small shop owners and fabricators that serves as a multi-process welder and plasma cutter with built-in air compressor. As a result, you get everything you need to weld and cut metal out of one power supply system, which is, in my opinion, a good bargain.

Since our topic today are plasma cutters, we will pay more attention to CT2050’s metal-cutting abilities. If you are intrigued by welding power, you can always check our YesWelder CT2050 dedicated review, where we discussed all aspects.

To get back on track, YesWelder CT2050 is a dual-voltage plasma cutter with PFC technology that allows it to work with wide-range 96-265V input power. At 110V, this machine can output 12-25 amps, which is enough for sheet metal or up to 25/32″ clean cut. Output power rises at 220V to 45 amps, allowing you to clean cut 1 3/16″ metal thickness.

Clean cutting capacity over 1″ is pretty scarce in hobbyist-grade machines, and YesWelder rated duty cycle at 100%. You typically see these properties in semi-industrial-grade plasma cutters from Hypertherm or Miller, but given the budget price tag and 1-year warranty, you shouldn’t stress-test it.

In addition to high cutting power, CT2050 is equipped with features you should expect from any modern plasma cutter. CT2050 features a non-touch pilot arc, which is excellent when cutting painted, rusted, or dirty metal. Since there is no contact with a surface, you get minimal dross and extended consumable life. Non-high frequency start won’t interfere with electrically sensitive devices in your shop, and a CNC interface port will allow you to connect it to a 1:1 CNC table.

Many seasoned metal fabricators, including myself, doubt the built-in air compressor. Nonetheless, it has proven reliable and a great feature when working in a field. CT2050 also includes options to work with external air sources, so you can always plug in your trustworthy compressor. Still, hobbyists that don’t want to pay extra bucks for external air supply will appreciate the versatility of CT2050.

Read the full review here.

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Pros & Cons Summarized

Pros

  • Welding and cutting options
  • High cutting capacity
  • Highly rated duty cycle
  • Non-touch pilot arc
  • Blowback start without high frequency
  • Can be connected to a CNC table
  • Options for an internal air compressor or external air source

Cons

  • Only 1-year warranty

Specifications

  • Processes: Stick, TIG, Plasma Cutting
  • Input power: 96-265V
  • Output Power: 12-45 amps
  • Clean Cut Thickness: 1 3/16″
  • Severance Thickness: 19/32″
  • Rated Duty Cycle: 100% at maximum output
  • External Air Compressor Compatible: Yes
  • External Compressor Requirements: 5-7CFM
  • Weight: 61lb
  • Warranty: 1-year

2. Hypertherm Powermax 30 Air – Best Brand-name Plasma Cutter With Compressor

Image of a Hypertherm Powermax 30 Air - Best Brand-name Plasma Cutter With Compressor

Hypertherm is a renowned plasma-cutting machine manufacturer that offers some of the finest quality plasma-cutting machines and innovative solutions for hobby and industrial automated cutting processes. The Powermax 30 Air is a portable plasma cutter with a built-in air compressor that is designed for on-field jobs.

With 29.8 lbs and compact dimensions, you will find Hypertherm Powermax 30 Air more than easy to store in your truck and carry in the shop or on the field. AIR T30 torch is rugged and designed to withstand the most demanding environments. High-quality accessories show the fundamental differences between premium and budget manufacturers. However, I wouldn’t say I liked the fact that the plasma-cutting torch utilizes drag-cutting technology.

Even though drag torch arc starting allows higher precision cutting than non-touch pilot torches, you will have to change consumables more often, which are not so cheap with Hypermax. However, modern Hypertherm technologies extend consumable life while ensuring high-precision cutting.

Despite the compact dimensions, Powermax 30 Air still provides high cutting power. Even though it is not the most powerful plasma cutter with a built-in air compressor on our list, the focus is on cutting speed. With 15-30 amp output power, you can cut sheet metal or stock up to 3/8″ thick at 10 ipm. Brand-name machines like this one typically offer modest duty cycles of 35% at 240 V or 20% at 120 V.

The brand name also means a somewhat higher price range. You will have to spend quite a few bucks for Powermax 30 Air, but the high initial price is well worth it. This high-quality plasma cutter is built to last and perform. In addition, the investment is well protected by an industrial 3-year warranty on the power supply system and 1 year on a torch. Comparison-wise, most budget plasma cutters usually offer a 1-year warranty.

My experience with Hypertherm machines is quite positive. They are pioneers of various plasma cutting advanced features, so paying extra bucks will ensure you long years of reliable cutting with clean results.

Pros & Cons Summarized

Pros

  • Compact and lighter machine than most plasma cutters
  • Brand-name reliable cutter
  • A built-in air compressor is durable
  • Long torch lead for on-field jobs
  • The high cutting speed with decent cutting capacity
  • Industrial Warranty

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Modest duty cycle ratings

Specifications

  • Input power: 120-240 V, 1-PH, 29-15 A
  • Output Power: 10-30 amps
  • Clean Cut Thickness: 3/8″
  • Severance Thickness: 5/8″
  • Rated Duty Cycle: 35%, 240 V
    20%, 120 V
  • External Air Compressor Compatible: No
  • Rated Output Voltage: 83 VDC
  • Generator Requirements: 5.5 kW for full 30 A output
  • Weight: 29.8lb
  • Warranty: 3 years

3. Hobart AirForce 12ci Plasma Cutter – Best Plasma Cutter With Compressor For Light-Duty Use

Image of a Hobart AirForce 12ci Plasma Cutter - Best Plasma Cutter With Compressor For Light-Duty Use

Hobart Airforce 12ci is another made-in-USA brand-name plasma cutter with a built-in air compressor. While the first two machines were dual voltage cutters, this one is aimed at light-duty cutting at 110V.

If you feel like you need more power, Hobart’s AirForce lineup got you covered with plasma cutting machines rated up to 50 amps. However, only the AirForce 12ci plasma cutter has a built-in air compressor, so we included it on our list.

As noted, Hobart airforce 12ci is a 110V plasma cutter with a rated output of 12 amps. It is undoubtedly one of the weakest plasma cutters on our list. Still, it will serve you well if your projects include cutting thin gauges of mild steel, stainless steel, aluminum, brass, and copper up to 1/8″ at the speed of 10 ipm. Severance thickness is rated at 1/4″, but it took me nearly half an hour for a 6-inch cut.

The reason is a low-duty cycle of 35% at 12 amps, which means you cant cut for too long. If you exceed it, the thermal overload protection kicks in and shuts down the cutter. Nonetheless, this is a light-duty machine, and if you treat it like that, you will be satisfied with its cutting ability.

I liked the new XT12R torch that comes with the latest AirForce machines. Even though there was nothing wrong with the old one, the ergonomics and longevity are excellent. The plasma torch lead is flexible, and post-flow air control settings cool down the torch, extending the lifespan of consumables. Nonetheless, like Hypermax 30 Air, the torch head is in direct contact with base metal, which increases precision, but it isn’t so great with painted or rusty metal cutting.

In my experience, you can’t go wrong with the Hobart machine, whether it is a welder or cutter. For the money spent, you get a built-in USA machine with inverter technology, a high-quality build, and a reliable separate compressor. In addition, Hobart offers an industrial 5/3/1 warranty, so your investment is well protected.

Pros & Cons Summarized

Pros

  • Built-in the USA
  • Good plasma cutter for light-duty jobs
  • Reliable compressor
  • Ergonomic and durable plasma cutting torch
  • Flexible torch lead
  • Post-flow air control
  • 5/3/1 warranty

Cons

  • Low maximum output
  • Low duty cycle

Specifications

  • Input power: 110V, 60 Hz
  • Phase: 1-phase
  • Output Power: 12 amps
  • Clean Cut Thickness: 1/8 in
  • Severance Thickness: 1/4 in
  • Rated Duty Cycle: 12 A @ 35% duty cycle
  • External Air Compressor Compatible: No
  • Max OCV Voltage: 375 VDC
  • Weight: 25.1 lb
  • Warranty: 5/3/1 Hobart warranty

4. Lincoln Tomahawk 375 Air – Best 220V Plasma Cutter With Compressor

Image of a Lincoln Tomahawk 375 Air - Best 220V Plasma Cutter With Compressor

After two dual voltage cutters and one 110V machine, we present a 208/230V plasma cutting machine with a built-in compressor, the Lincoln Tomahawk 375 Air. This is yet another brand-name machine aimed and designed for remote cutting jobs and projects. Like with YesWelder CT2050, you can also run Tomahawk 375 off the external air sources for cleaner and higher-quality results.

Nonetheless, the internal air compressor with pressure regulator and internal water separator is quite reliable, and it won’t affect your plasma cutting operation. The output is rated at 25 amps, which means you can cut sheet metal or up to 3/8 in. plate at 14 ipm. The severance thickness is rated at 1/2″ inch, but like with other plasma cutters, it will take you time and patience to get there.

Lincoln Tomahawk 375 Air is compatible with welding generators, which makes it a real field-cutting machine. The cutting torch is durable and comfortable and utilizes a continuous pilot arc with a contact start. However, it provides cool operation that prolongs the consumable life. The duty cycle of 35% at 25A is similar to other branded cutters on our list.

Compared to other plasma cutters on our list, Tomahawk 375 Air provides several safety features. As a beginner, you will appreciate the parts-in-place feature, which won’t let you cut unless you’ve put all the torch consumables into the right place. In addition, there is no high-frequency, meaning it is safe to use near electrically sensitive devices.

Years of using the Lincoln welders and cutters taught me that they work best with Lincoln’s consumables. Seems like that’s also the case with Tomahawk 375 Air, but the downside is that Lincoln consumables usually cost more. In addition, the initial price is not the lowest on the market, so you might have to break the bank to buy it.

However, despite its higher price range, buying a Lincoln machine is always a great choice. You invest in reliability, a good servicing network, a 3-year warranty on the machine, and a 1-year warranty on the torch.

Pros & Cons Summarized

Pros

  • Brand-name cutter
  • High-quality built
  • Reliable air compressor with air pressure regulator and air dryer
  • Decent cutting power
  • Protection features
  • High-quality torch with cool operation

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Expensive consumables

Specifications

  • Input power: 208/230, 60 Hz
  • Phase: 1-phase
  • Output Power: 10-25 amps
  • Clean Cut Thickness: 5/16 in
  • Severance Thickness: 1/2 in
  • Rated Duty Cycle: 25A/90V/35%
  • External Air Compressor Compatible: Yes
  • External Pressure Requirements: 80 – 110 psi
  • Max OCV Voltage: 375 VDC
  • Weight: 40 lbs
  • Warranty: 3 years on machine, 1 year on torch

5. Forney Plasma Cutter 250P+ – Best Plasma Cutter With Compressor For Beginners

Image of a Forney Plasma Cutter 250P+ - Best Plasma Cutter With Compressor For Beginners

Forney 250P+ is a versatile and portable plasma cutter with a built-in air compressor. This is a compact and lightweight machine with 15′ long leads, which is perfect for in-field repairs, as you are not strictly tied to a power source. In addition, the power supply uses inverter technology, which makes it easy to transport.

Fundamentally, this Forney plasma cutter reminds me of Hobart Airforce 12ci due to similar characteristics and rated output of 12 amps. Even though maximum power is not the highest one, this cutter with a built-in air compressor is suitable for 1/8” mild steel. The severance thickness is 1/4″, but with a 25% duty cycle, it will take you a lot of time and patience.

Similarly, the 250 P+ is a 120V-only plasma cutter, which limits it to light-duty applications. However, you can run it off a regular household outlet, making it perfect for automotive, farm & ranch, HVAC, and plumbing contractor jobs. In addition, the unit is generator friendly, and it can work great with an extension power cord.

The torch is comfortable and durable, and you even get a pack of consumables with it. However, like other US brands, 250 P+ utilizes drag torch technology for improved precision, but at the cost of higher consumables consumption. The built-in air compressor is reliable and has an integrated air dryer and air pressure regulator.

In addition, Forney 250 P+ is easy to use and set up, so it is an excellent choice as the first plasma cutter. In case you run into trouble, there are three diagnostic LED lights. Since there are no additional adjustments, you will appreciate the plug-and-cut approach. Forney is another US-based company with years of welding equipment manufacturing experience.

For you as a buyer, that means you get comprehensive servicing network coverage and a good plasma cutter. Your investment is protected by Forney’s 5/3/1 warranty, which is similar to Hobart’s.

Pros & Cons Summarized

Pros

  • Great cutters for beginners
  • Easy to use and set up
  • Long leads
  • Generator friendly
  • A built-in air compressor is reliable and has an integrated dryer
  • US-based manufacturer
  • 5/3/1 warranty

Cons

  • Limited power output
  • Low duty cycle ratings

Specifications

  • Input power: 120V, 60 Hz
  • Phase: 1-phase
  • Output Power: 12 amps
  • Clean Cut Thickness: 1/8” mild steel
  • Severance Thickness: 1/4″
  • Rated Duty Cycle: 12 amp at 25%
  • External Air Compressor Compatible: No
  • Lead Length: 15′
  • Dimensions: 17” x 8” x 15.5”
  • Weight: 41 lbs
  • Warranty: 5/3/1 warranty

Plasma Cutters With built-in Compressor Vs Cutters With External Air Source

If you are not sure whether to choose a plasma cutter with a built-in air compressor or opt for an external air source, here is a quick comparison guide that can help you determine. Fundamentally, these differ in versatility, power, electric demand, cutting thickness, and more, so you should set your goals straight.

Versatility and portability: Plasma cutters with built-in air compressors are more versatile than regular cutters, since you don’t need an external compressor to run them. As a result, you can use them on the field if you want to save power and make transport easier. Portability is increased with compact dimensions and low weight. In addition, these are excellent if you want to use a plasma cutter occasionally and don’t want to spend extra bucks on a separate compressor.

Cutting Power: Regular plasma cutters offer higher-rated amperage than machines with built-in air compressors. Therefore, you will need an external air compressor to cut significantly thicker metal. The reason is that the built-in compressor utilizes part of the input power supply to compress the air, which reduces the overall output. You might’ve noticed that most plasma cutters on our list go up to 30 amps, while traditional cutters can provide up to 80 amps.

Ease of use: A plasma cutter with a built-in air compressor is significantly easier to set up and use than the regular one. Machines such as Forney 250P + or Hobart airforce 12ci provide a plug-and-cut approach, which makes them an excellent choice for beginners and occasional users.

Reliability: many will argue that using an external compressor will produce cleaner cuts and more reliable results. That was the case in the past, but the latest machines, such as Hypertherm Hypermax 30 Air or YesWelder CT2050, provide excellent reliability with built-in air regulation and humidity removers for best cutting results.

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Adam Mason

Welder by trade for a decade and more. Now also a web designer and a blog owner. Doing product reviews and writing blogs about welding trade and perks and minuses of being a welder.

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