Five Tips to Help you Find a Plasma Cutter on a Budget
Industrial equipment can be incredibly expensive for any company, but the cost can become too much for a small business or individual. Plasma cutters are no exception to this rule, and in some cases can easily become the worst offenders. Here are some simple and effective tips to help you find the best plasma cutter that won’t cut through your budget.
Keep Amps Low
This is a simple way to narrow your search from the start, as units with more amps typically cost more money. The number of amps associated with a plasma cutter basically refers to the amount of power that it can put into creating the plasma arc, with higher ratings equating to better performance under more strenuous conditions.
Therefore, you can generally shift your focus to more affordable units by limiting your scope to those with a lower amp output, with the 30-amp range being the sweet spot. Units in this range will allow you to still cut through a good variety of metals with a nice range of thicknesses, so you aren’t giving up a ton of functionality in order to lower that price point.
Look for Included Accessories
Many plasma cutters will include various accessories and additional components in addition to the base model, which can quickly translate into some major savings if you pay attention to what they offer. Unlike other products, which tend to include non-essential components as bonuses, the items that come with plasma cutters are often completely integral to the actual operation of the device.
Listings that include items such as air filters, connections, regulators, or even the torch itself can save you a lot of money. The same goes for consumables, which you install into the torch and are a key component to creating the plasma arc. You won’t get a lot of consumables, however, so you will need to buy additional units for continued use.
Avoid High Duty Cycles
The duty cycle of a plasma cutter expresses how many minutes you can operate the torch consecutively within a 10 minute period. High duty cycles mean longer periods of use, which are important for meeting speed or product quotas. However, if you aren’t working in an environment where speed is a priority, you can look for models with a lower duty cycle, since high duty cycles tend to equate to higher prices. Look for a duty cycle around 40% to maintain a reasonable amount of productivity.
Aim for Smaller Thresholds
The cut and severance thicknesses are other areas where you can look for lower values to increase your savings. Each of these numbers represent the maximum thickness of a piece of metal that you can cut through, with cut thickness being the one you should focus on for smooth, clean lines. Measure the thickness of the metals you plan to cut most frequently, and look for a model with a maximum as close to it as possible. There’s no need to go over that maximum for outliers, since higher numbers mean more powerful, and more expensive, machines.
Bonus Tip: Think About More than Just the Bottom Line
Remember that the lowest price doesn’t always mean the greatest value. Sometimes, you can find a model that costs slightly more, but gives you better performance in exchange. Take all of the features and aspects into consideration and compare them between models to find out which unit actually gives you the most plasma cutting bang for your buck.