How Much Power Does a Plasma Cutter Use?

When you first get into the world of metalworking, it can be a little overwhelming. There are so many different machines and processes, with new ones being invented all the time. It’s hard to know where to begin, or even what kind of machine you should buy. When trying to decide whether a plasma cutter is right for you, one of the questions you need to answer is how much power it uses. After all, if your workshop only has a 50-amp circuit available, that’s going to be an important factor in whether or not you can use it. But how much power does a plasma cutter really use? Let’s take a closer look and see what we can find out about these nifty tools.


How Much Power Does A Plasma Cutter Use?

The short answer to this question is that a plasma cutter uses about 1000 amps at full power. This is a huge amount of power, and it’s important to make sure that your workshop can support it. That’s not the only consideration, though; you also need to make sure that the circuit breaker is high enough to handle it. 1000 amps is a lot more than a typical circuit breaker can handle; in fact, they are only rated for 15 or 20 amps, so they won’t even be able to trip if you use a plasma cutter at full power. That’s where things get a little more complicated. If you have a 50-amp circuit breaker and a 15-amp outlet, that means you can run a maximum of 75 amps through it. So when you plug in your plasma cutter, it’s going to use up most of that circuit’s capacity. In this case, you have two options. You could either call an electrician and have the circuit upgraded, or you could buy a heavy-duty outlet with a higher amp rating. This way, you have a dedicated circuit for your plasma cutter, but everything else in the workshop can still use the other outlets. The downside of this latter option is that you need to buy a new outlet, and that can be pretty expensive.

What Is A Plasma Cutter?

A plasma cutter is a piece of equipment that uses electricity to generate a cloud of plasma. This plasma arc is used to cut through metal, so it’s a very useful tool for people who work with metal. This process is much more efficient than using a cutting torch, and it allows you to cut through thicker pieces of metal. A plasma cutter will use the energy in the electric current to create the plasma arc, which is then directed through a nozzle and focused on the metal. The plasma creates the same sort of extreme heat that you’d see from a torch, but it’s a much more controlled and clean process. This extreme heat is used to melt the metal, and then the pressure created when it re-solidifies is used to push the molten metal away from the cutting tip. By carefully controlling the pressure, you can control the speed at which you are able to cut through the metal. This makes plasma cutters great for a wide range of applications.

When Should You NOT Use a Plasma Cutter?

You should not use a plasma cutter if the metal is coated in asbestos. The high temperatures produced by the plasma will destroy the asbestos fibers, which can then be released into the air. When they are inhaled, they can cause serious health problems like mesothelioma and asbestosis. Other than that, a plasma cutter is a very useful tool that can be used for a wide range of tasks. It’s perfect for cutting thicker metals, and it can cut through materials like steel, stainless steel, and even aluminum. If you need to make a straight cut, a plasma cutter is not the best option. Unlike a saw blade, which leaves a clean edge, a plasma cutter leaves a jagged edge because the metal has been melted. For most projects, this isn’t a problem, but it can make it difficult to fit pieces together or make a joint that’s as strong as one made with a saw.

4 Great Reasons To Buy a Plasma Cutter

There are plenty of reasons why you might want to buy a plasma cutter, but these are our favorites. 

  • It Makes Clean Cuts - Unlike a saw, a plasma cutter leaves no jagged edges. It melts the metal, then uses the pressure to push the molten metal away from the cutting tip. Because the edge of the metal is melted, there’s nothing to remove.
  • It Can Cut Through Thick Materials - A plasma cutter will be able to cut through thicker materials than a saw, which can be very useful in certain situations. 
  • It Can Cut Through Stainless Steel - A lot of people think they need to use a saw when they need to cut through stainless steel. In reality, you can use a plasma cutter to cut through this material with ease. 
  • It’s a Cost-Effective Tool - Compared to a torch and other cutting tools, a plasma cutter is very cost-effective. You’ll be able to do the same projects for a fraction of the price compared to using other methods. 
  • It’s Safe - Plasma cutters are much safer to use than a torch. This means you can work safely without worrying about burning yourself or setting yourself on fire.

What Are the Downsides of a Plasma Cutter?

  • It’s Very Loud - One of the downsides of a plasma cutter is that it’s extremely loud. You’ll need to wear ear protection when you’re using it, and you might want to invest in a soundproofed room so that you don’t disturb the rest of the house. 
  • It Uses a Lot of Power - One of the reasons it’s so loud is that it uses a lot of power. You need to make sure you have a circuit with enough capacity to handle the load. 
  • It’s Expensive - Plasma cutters are not cheap. You can expect to pay over $1000 for a decent model, and you’ll probably want to spend a bit more for something that’s safer and more durable. 
  • It Uses A Lot of Air - Another downside of choosing this method is that it uses a lot of air. You’ll need an air compressor, and if you don’t already have one, you’ll need to buy one.

Bottom Line

A plasma cutter uses about 1000 amps at full power, which is a huge amount of power. It’s important to make sure that your workshop can support it, but you also need to make sure that the circuit breaker is high enough to handle it. If you have a 50-amp circuit breaker and a 15-amp outlet, that means you can run a maximum of 75 amps through it. So when you plug in your plasma cutter, it’s going to use up most of that circuit’s capacity. In this case, you have two options. You could either call an electrician and have the circuit upgraded, or you could buy a heavy-duty outlet with a higher amp rating. In addition to this, a plasma cutter is very loud, uses a lot of power, and is expensive. On the plus side, it’s safer to use and cuts through thicker materials than a saw. Overall, a plasma cutter is a very useful tool that has plenty of uses in a workshop.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Free DXF Files Downloads for CNC Machine