Plasma Cutter Power Requirements: How Much Does It Need?

Oct 5, 2023 | Plasma Cutting Tips

Have you ever wondered about plasma cutter power requirements? Getting into metalworking means making a lot of decisions, not all of which are easy. One of the toughest decisions is which fancy gadgets you should keep in your shop.

In this post, Cyrious Metal Works, your reliable dealer in Hypertherm plasma cutters, explains more about the plasma cutter and its uses. 

How Much Power Do Plasma Cutters Use?

We don’t want to scare you, but plasma cutting uses about 1,000 amps at full power. While this is a lot of energy, keep in mind you won’t typically run your machine at full power for very long. That said, it pays to have an electrician check your workshop before you get one to make sure it can handle the load. 

That’s because you need to ensure that your circuit breaker can take the extra voltage. The typical one is rated around 15 or 20 amps, so it’s not going to work. You’ll either need to upgrade your circuit breaker or install a new, dedicated outlet. If you have the funds, doing both is the safest option.

What Is a Plasma Cutter?

A plasma cutter seems like a magical device to the uninitiated. It uses electricity to superheat compressed gas to transform it into air plasma. Plasma cutter power requirements are high to support the high temperatures this process requires. 

It’s much more efficient than a cutting torch and allows for cutting thicker metal. It also boasts an impressive cutting speed. 

When Is a Plasma Cutter No Good? 

Plasma cutters won’t cut through conductive metals very well, nor will they cut through very thick metals. The thicker the metal, the more jagged the cut will be, meaning that you don’t want to use this tool if you need clean edges. You should also not cut anything coated in asbestos. 

Why Is a Plasma Cutter a Great Tool? 

There’s no question that these machines are a huge upgrade on a cutting torch. They’re: 

  • Cleaner cutting, especially with thinner materials. 
  • Able to handle more thickness than a saw.
  • Able to cut through stainless steel. 
  • Cost-effective to use. 
  • Safer than a cutting torch. 

Things to Be Aware Of

Every tool has pros and cons. Here are some of the disadvantages. Plasma Cutters:

  • Are loud, so you’ll need ear protection and may need to soundproof your workshop
  • Are power-hungry, so your electricity bill will skyrocket with regular use 
  • Use a lot of air but few other consumables
  • Are expensive to buy initially, although they last a long time

Call Us for the Right Advice

Now that you know more about plasma cutter power requirements, do you have any other questions? Would you like plasma cutter safety tips or to discuss your options? The Cyrious Metal Works team is here to help you choose the best make and model for your projects. 

Call our expert team today at (903) 345-1841 and find the right machine for your needs and budget.