How Hot Is a Plasma Cutter?

When you are using plasma cutters, it’s amazing to watch. It will be able to produce enough heat to slice through a solid metal plate. To do this, it will need to produce a lot of heat. But how hot are these devices capable of getting?  Let’s find out. 

How Hot Can a Plasma Cutter Get?

The temperature of plasma is measured in units called 'electron volts' (eV). It is the amount of energy an electron gains when it is accelerated by a voltage of 1 volt in a vacuum. A common household lightbulb produces light due to a current of about 110 V. This means that electrons have gained about 11 eV when they produce light in a lightbulb. Plasma cutters are capable of producing plasma at temperatures of up to 30 eV. 

Looking at a plasma cutter, it’s easy to be impressed by the amount of heat it can produce. In some cases, these devices have been known to get as hot as 40,000 degrees Fahrenheit or 22,000 degrees Celsius. To put this into perspective, the sun is just over 5,500 degrees Celsius. The planet’s core is around 10,000 degrees Celsius. 

What’s even more astonishing is that this maximum temperature can be increased as the technology gets further refined. There are scientific tests already being conducted in this area. These experiments have produced a plasma cutter that reaches 9.9 trillion degrees Fahrenheit or 5.5 trillion degrees Celsius. This is the highest temperature achieved in history. You can read more about these extraordinary experiments here. This amount of heat will allow you to cut through anything on earth.

What Affects How Hot the Plasma Cutter Gets

There are a few things that will affect how hot the plasma cutter will become. 

  • Air Pressure

The most obvious way of changing how hot the plasma cutter is becoming is by adjusting the air pressure. The higher the air pressure, the hotter the plasma cutter will be. You will be able to make this adjustment on the cutter. 

It is most likely a knob or a slide that will have air pressure written on it. You will be able to adjust it to the desired setting, and that will be the amount of air being let into the cutter. The hotter the plasma cutter becomes, the more likely it is that you will be dealing with the risk of melted wires. By lowering the amount of pressure you are getting into the cutter, you will be reducing the risk of melted wires. It is important to note that air pressure is not the only factor that determines the temperature of the plasma cutter. There is also another knob or slide that will allow you to control the voltage of the cutter. The hotter the plasma cutter becomes, the more likely it is that you will be dealing with melted wires. 

  • Quality of the Plasma Cutter

If you get a low-quality cutter, the amount of power you can access will be limited.

You can tell the quality of a cutter by looking at the materials it’s made from. The best materials are tungsten carbide or titanium. These two materials are extremely hard, which makes them great for this type of application. The best cutters will be made from one of these materials. However, you also need to make sure that the cutter has a great design. A good cutter will be very smooth. It won’t have any rough edges that could cause it to snag or snag your material. A good cutter will also have a very firm grip. The last thing you want is for the cutter to fall out of your hands and break as you are trying to use it!

Thankfully, you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a high-quality cutter. If you want to use a plasma cutter at home, you can use this guide on affordable plasma cutters to find the right one for you.

  • Type of Gas You Should Use

The plasma cutter must be set up properly. This will mean choosing the right gas to suit the metal that you are cutting. For example, if you are planning on cutting through steel, oxygen will be the fastest option. On the other hand, nitrogen will be a better choice from getting through stainless steel and aluminum. But if the steel is too thick, you might want to use argon. 

However, the most common option and the easiest to acquire is compressed air. This will be suitable for most types of metal, including stainless steel and aluminum. It can cut through one-inch thick metal. This article goes into more depth on this topic. 

Safety Protocols

The high temperatures that a plasma cutter can reach means that you need to exercise some caution, following basic safety procedures. Adjust the settings to suit the metal you are cutting. You should rarely have a reason to use the highest setting. You’ll also need to use the appropriate safety gear. Get the right helmet and thick jeans. These will protect you from the heat and any sparks that could be released. It’s also important to protect your eyes from the sparks and the bright lights by wearing a visor. As long as you handle it properly, the plasma cutter will be a useful tool. 


A plasma cutter is a very useful tool. The high temperatures, hotter than the sun and the planet’s core, allow it to cut through thick metal with ease. Hopefully, you now have a better appreciation of the power of the plasma cutter and how you can harness it more effectively. 

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