Plasma Cutter With Built In Compressor

Plasma Cutter With Built In Compressor

​which is the best for your workflow?

Plasma cutters are dangerous and awesome and we love them. They can take a lot of hard work out of some difficult situations. If you need to cut a complex shape in some metal and have the choice between an angle grinder or a plasma cutter, if you aren’t choosing the plasma cutter, then you must be extremely talented with an angle grinder! Plasma cutters make cutting curves, slots, holes, and even the longest straight cuts easy, once you have practiced with them! They are an extremely versatile tool that anyone who enjoys metal working or makes money metalworking should own!

Today, we have four plasma cutters with built in air compressors that we cannot wait to tell you about. However, first, we thought it would be a good idea to talk about plasma cutters and find out exactly what they are. If you're a total plasma cutter beginner and want to know what a plasma cutter is, this first bit is for you!

plasma cutter with air compressor Comparison



Ideal Cutting Thickness



Weight (pounds)


best plasma cutter with built in compressor

Hypertherm Powermax 30 Air

15-30 Amps


16.5 x 7.7 x 13.1 inches

35 lbs

Hobart AirForce 12ci plasma cutter with air compressor

Hobart Airforce 12ci

12 Amps


16.5 x 18.5 x 11.2 inches

31 lbs


Forney 250 Plasma Cutter Compressor

15 Amps


15 x 7.5 x 14 inches

39 lbs

Mophorn 40 Amp With Air Compressor 

40 Amps


10 x 16.3 x 10.6 inches

40 lbs

Which plasma cutter should I buy?

So, if you’re looking for a plasma cutter, you need to weigh up what is more important, portability or power. If you need a plasma cutter that you can take to jobs and get most jobs done, go with a plasma cutter that has a built-in air compressor. If you have a workshop where you can take the material to the plasma cutter and don’t mind having a slightly bulkier setup, go with a plasma cutter without built-in air.

There is also the cost to consider. As we said above, plasma cutters with air compressors built in are slightly more expensive, but they are for good reason. They allow you to perform your job anywhere you can find power. They offer no restrictions in terms of where you can use them, and they can cut through most things that most people need them to.

So, if you’re looking for a plasma cutter, here’s what you should consider: how portable do I need it to be? How thick are most of the materials I am going to be cutting? And how much do I want to invest? Once you figure this out, you’ll know which plasma cutter you need to have for your workload.

So, can we show you some plasma cutters with air compressors now? We’re excited to show you this range of plasma cutters. We have three plasma cutters with built-in air compressor for you in this review. Some are great, some aren’t as hot as some would like! Let’s take a look.

The Best Plasma Cutters With Air Compressors

#1 Hypertherm 088096 Powermax 30 Air Hand System

best plasma cutter with built in compressor

Core Features

  • Compact- it’s the smallest and lightest handheld plasma cutter with a built-in air compressor in its class
  • Air T30 torch (supplied with this plasmas cutter) – extremely rugged and designed to withstand the toughest of working environments
  • Fast cutting speed – speeds through material with excellent cut quality.

Key Specifications

  • Duty Cycle: 35%, 240v and 20% 120v
  • Input Voltage: 110/230V
  • Input Phase: 1 phase
  • Lead and earth clamp: 15’
  • Cord length: 10’
  • Max cut: 3/8”
  • Amperage: 15-30 A
  • Weight: 35 lbs
  • Warranty: torches have a 1-year warranty, power supplies have a 3-year warranty

The Hypertherm Powermax 30 Air delivers an impressive performance for one of the lightest and most portable plasma cutters in its class. It can cut through 3/8” material quickly and leaves an excellent finish, so there isn’t much need for clean up. This makes this plasma cutter a real asset to anyone on the go. Whether you’re looking for a plasma for around the farm, in the metal shop, or for mobile work, this machine outperforms most in its class.

The air compressor built into this plasma cutter has no trouble keeping up with the work that you can throw at it, and it is very quick and simple to set up. Even if you’ve never used a plasma cutter before, you’ll be cutting metal in a matter of minutes. This is a high-quality plasma cutter that is designed for professionals. It’s built in the USA using the best materials available.

Note: This unit is different from the powermax 30 xp 

Hypertherm Powermax 30 Air

  • Excellent cut quality with minimal cleanup
  • Extremely versatile and powerful
  • Quick and easy to use anywhere
  • Made in the USA
  • None

Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter
With Built In Air Compressor

Hobart AirForce 12ci plasma cutter with air compressor

Core Features

  • Piston-driven air compressor – fast and powerful air supply
  • Post-Flow cooling – cools the torch after a cut to extend the life of consumables
  • XT12R Torch – new torch design that is more comfortable to use for long periods

Key Specifications

  • Duty Cycle: 35% at 12 A
  • Input Voltage: 115
  • Input Phase: 1 phase
  • Lead and earth clamp: 12’
  • Cord length: 6’
  • Max cut: 1/8” (mild steel)
  • Amperage: 12 A
  • Weight: 33 lbs
  • Warranty: 5-3-1 warranty

The Hobart 500564 Airforce is a great plasma cutter for any beginners or for someone who needs a plasma cutter a few times a week, for example. It doesn’t have the power to keep up with a days work, but it will certainly make jobs around the farm or homestead easier and quicker. The new torch on this machine, combined with the power of the built-in air compressor will leave all cuts nice, but some clean up is required.

This little plasma cutter is excellent for a few odd jobs. You need to take your time with it, but it can get through 3/8” material. However, if you are a looking for a professional plasma cutter with a built-in air compressor, the others on this list are far more suited to that application. When this machine is used for its intended purpose and not pushed too hard, it is an excellent machine and perfect for a beginner or intermittent use.

hobart airforce 12ci

  • Well built
  • Perfect for intermittent use in any environment
  • Can tackle most jobs that you throw at it
  • Great for beginners
  • Some clean up is required on most cuts
  • Not too powerful

Forney 317 250 P+ Plasma Cutter
With Air Compressor


Core Features

  • Drag Torch technology – move the torch directly across the metal for precise cuts
  • Easy to use – a complete beginner can be cutting in a matter of minutes
  • Duty Cycle: 25%, 12 amps
  • Input Voltage: 120
  • Input Phase: 1 phase
  • Lead and earth clamp: 15’
  • Cord length: 10’
  • Max cut: 1/4”
  • Amperage: 12 A
  • Weight: 43 lbs
  • Warranty: 3-year warranty

The plasma cutter from Forney is not designed for quick, fast cuts. It takes about 6 seconds for the machine to start cutting from when you press the trigger. This may not seem too long, but in the field, with 20 cuts to make, this six seconds adds up. This is certainly a machine for the corner of the garage that gets pulled out every once in a while. It will work fine for that, but if you’re looking for something a bit more substantial, you’d be better off buying another one from our list.

The built-in air compressor on this plasma cutter does make it very convenient, but the machine also doesn’t like to be run on extension cables, so this can hamper the uses of the plasma cutter too far away from a building. Overall, this plasma cutter does cut very well, it doesn’t leave much slag, but there are certainly frustrating features.

forney plasma cutter

  • Easy to use
  • Good for intermittent use
  • Cheap consumables
  • Excellent finish on all designs
  • Slow to start up
  • Clean up required for most cuts

Mophorn 40 Amp Plasma Cutter With Air Compressor 

Core Features

  • 220v high voltage
  • Low price and great value
  • Can cut a wide range of metals in a variety of working environments

Key Specifications

  • Duty Cycle: 60%, 220v
  • Input Voltage: 220V
  • Input Phase: 1 phase
  • Lead and earth clamp: 15’
  • Cord length: 15’
  • Max cut: 1/2”
  • Amperage: 40 A
  • Weight: 40 lbs
  • Warranty: 1 year

This might be the only plasma cutter that comes with an air compressor that we found for under 500 bucks. This system is great for small jobs. It will cut 1/2 inch thick steel. However, you will need to be a little patient and take it slowly. Cutting 1/4 inch on the other hand is a breeze.

There is noticeable slag even after thin cuts, so you will need to spend some time cleaning up. But that is why the price point is so low and it probably best suited for small jobs.

mophorn plasma cutter

  • Great value
  • SMall and light weight
  • Cheap consumables
  • Perfect for home use
  • Excess slag
  • Customers have noted the manual is lacking in information.

What is a plasma cutter?

A plasma cutter uses an arc produced by a built-in power supply, along with compressed air to pierce through a workpiece. The plasma jet reaches a temperature of about 40,000 Fahrenheit extremely quickly and then forces molten material away from the piece. So, although plasma cutters are called “cutters,” they are more like extremely powerful melting machines.

As many professional plasma cutters will know, plasma is actually the fourth state of matter. There are solids, liquids, gases, and plasma. Plasma is formed from gas that’s superheated. When the heat is increased enough, gas can become ionized, making it electrically conductive, this is plasma. When you combine this electrically conductive plasma with the force of compressed air, you get a plasma cutter.

The benefits of having a built in compressor in a plasma cutter

One of the biggest benefits of a plasma cutter with built in air compressors is that the machine is far more portable than machines that rely on shop air or an external air compressor. You can put plasma cutters with a built in air compressor in your car or truck, and it’s always ready to go. If you have a place to plug the machine in, you can cut some metal with it.

Are there any downsides to plasma cutters with built-in air compressors?

There is a downside to plasma cutters with air compressors built in, however. Typically they cost a little more than a plasma cutter without built-in air, but this isn’t really a concern to most people who want a standalone machine. The biggest downside that most plasma pros find is that plasma cutters with built in air compressors are not as powerful as those that use external air sources. There is a good reason for this. Plasma cutters with built-in air compressors are designed to be as portable as possible. This means that they have smaller air tanks and so less pressure can build up for cutting.

We hope this look at 110v plasma cutters with built-in air compressors has helped you choose your next plasma cutter. To find out more about other excellent plasma cutters, please explore our website further.

Ronald Wilson

I’m Ronald, Specialist engaged in the manufacture of fabricated metal products. I’ve been involved in the fabrication industry since 1998. To continue my love in welding and to share my experience I've formed a research team and have created this website for our valuable customers.

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