Review of Harbor Freight Plasma Cutters & Best Alternatives

Many things set the Harbor Freight apart from its counterparts. The Harbor Freight company has been consistent in the supply of unique and superior quality cutters.

Great Alternatives to Harbor Freight Plasma Cutters

LOTOS LTP5000D 50Amp Non-Touch Pilot Arc Plasma CutterLOTOS LTP5000D 50Amp Non-Touch Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • 1/2" Clean Cut
  • Duty cycle: 60% @ 60 A
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Forney Easy Weld 251 20 P Plasma Cutter, Green, 20 AmpForney Easy Weld 251 20 P Plasma Cutter, Green, 20 Amp
  • Weight: ‎21.1 pounds
  • Voltage: ‎120 Volts
  • Warranty: 1 year
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PrimeWeld 50A Air Inverter Plasma CutterPrimeWeld 50A Air Inverter Plasma Cutter
  • Duty cycle: 40°C @  60%
  • Output current: 10-50 A
  • Weight: 22.5 lbs
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Hypertherm 088079 Powermax30 XPHypertherm 088079 Powermax30 XP
  • Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • America Edition
  • Output: 15-30 A
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FLARING Plasma Cutter 50 AMPFLARING Plasma Cutter 50 AMP
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Dual voltage & dual frequency
  • Weight: ‎21.1 pound
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A Guide to Harbor Freight Plasma Cutters

Are Harbor Freight Plasma Cutters better than others on the market? That’s the question on most welders when shopping for the best cutter for their projects.

Without a doubt, their cutters are an excellent choice for someone looking for a high-quality machine for clean cuts. Although they’re highly efficient, the main Harbor Freight Plasma Cutters problem is the limitation in cutting metal width.

In our Harbor Freight Plasma Cutters review, we shall look at the 45A Plasma Cutter and 240 Volt Inverter Cutter with Digital Display. We’ll also explore the alternative best and the main differences. Keep reading.

plasma cutting

1. Harbor Freight Plasma Cutter: 45A plasma cutter

If you’d like a plasma cutter that works flawlessly on a wide variety of metals with varying thicknesses, you can consider the Plasma 45A. With this cutter, you’re guaranteed of superior results, clean and consistent cuts.

About the Harbor 45A Plasma Cutter

The Harbor Freight Plasma 45A is an ultra-compact plasma cutter for the money with an output of 45 amps. It’s made with advanced inverter technology; the harbor will deliver an impressive performance.

This plasma torch features a lightweight design weighing only 21.3 pounds. With a dual voltage of 120/240v, this cutter is a versatile machine for a wide range of projects. Another thing worth mentioning is the built-in filter that enhances its consumable life.

There’s also an incredible digital display and overload protection. The package includes a copper filter device, ground clamp, ten inches cable and a twelve inches plasma torch.

Why we did not like the Harbor 45A Plasma Cutter

In recent years, plasma cutters have emerged as the go-to tool for many metalworking projects. The Harbor Freight Plasma Cutter has been a popular choice for its low price and good reviews, but it seems that this may not be the best option.

In fact, a few consumers have reported finding problems with the machine. One issue is that the machine cuts poorly and does not seem to live up to the performance of other models in its price range.

Alternative recommendation: Lotos LTP5000D 50Amp

Lotos is a popular brand (Review guide) in the production of highly efficient cutting devices. The Lotos LTP5000D is a low-cost non-touch cutter that delivers clean cuts and with high consumable life.

With the non-touch pilot arc, you can cut any metal such as rough, rusty, or painted without leaving slag. Just like the plasma 45 A, the Lotos is a 50Amp digital inverter cutter. The most interesting thing is that it delivers more power and hence suitable for professional welders.

harbor freight plasma cutters

Inside the box

  • A manual guide.
  • 13 feet long torch.
  • Three-pin connector.
  • Six-foot cable, and.
  • A ground clamp.

The Lotos LTP5000D has everything you need for consistency when cutting. It’s a flexible machine with a high rating. It has an output of 10-50 A and a duty cycle of 60%. Additionally, it’s a dual output that runs 220V/110V.

Are you wondering why we still feel the Lotos LTP5000D is a better alternative to the Plasma cutters? Listen to this, whereas the Plasma has a metal thickness limitation of ½ inches, the Lotos LTP5000D can cut through ¾ inches.

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2. 240 Volt Inverter Plasma Cutter with Digital Display

Are you considering buying a plasma cutter for your projects? We understand that it’s not a walk on the park deciding on the best tools due to the variety of brands.

With dual voltage, the 240 Volt Inverter Plasma cutter performs better and cuts any metal quickly and efficiently.

About 240-volt inverter plasma cutter with digital display

The Harbor Freight family is big enough, and the 240 Volt Inverter Plasma Cutter with Digital Display is another worthy mention. This versatile unit is suitable for cutting cast iron, copper, aluminum, stainless steel, and other types of metal.

There’s not much difference with the sister Plasma 45A. More so when it comes to pilot arc technology that allows it to cut without the metal. Also, we love the small profile design that enhances transportation.

As a digital inverter cutter, this machine will runoff on a dual voltage of 15-40 Amps. Therefore, it can cut the metal thickness by ½ inches. Besides, it has an inbuilt thermal protection overload.

Best Alternative: Hypertherm Powermax45

Whether you’re a hobbyist or an experienced welder, the Hypertherm Powermax45 is a highly rated cutter mostly due to its cutting-edge technology. It’s one of the most recently launched models.

First off, it delivers clean cuts at unbelievably high speed, and it’s a compact size, smaller than most options for convenience. It’s easy to use, and a beginner can learn how to use it just by reading the manual. Its consumable life is longer and provides a more consistent arc.

For it to work, you’ll need an AC power outlet and compressed to cut through stainless steel. It’s a versatile cutter mostly suitable for large projects in various industries.

Would you like to know the best part? The Hypertherm is a 65A plasma torch that can cut through a 1-inch thickness and a severance of 1.25 inches.

This is made possible by the three functional modes, namely, continuous and non-continuous pilot arc. There’s also a mode for creating holes. There’s one more thing, it may not be the most portable machine at 65 pounds. However, you can use it in the workshop without the need to move it around.

Review of Harbor Freight Plasma Cutter

Why choose 240 Volt inverter cutter

  • Returnable in 30 days.
  • Plug adapters included.
  • Auto-voltage.
  • Warranty – 3 years.
  • Cut any kind of metal.

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Limitations and Challenges of Harbor Freight Plasma Cutters

Without a doubt, Harbor freight is an affordable and portable machine for small to medium projects. The cutting width is highly limited to only ½ inches thickness and thus may not cut very thick metals. If you are a DIY enthusiast, the harbor is an excellent choice.

There is the problem of high use of consumables, which makes it a less durable machine.

Here is the ticker, for larger projects such as in industrial applications, you’ll need a bigger and high capacity welding machine. Although the Hypertherm Powermax45 costs more, it’s the best alternative for large projects.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

1. What is the best plasma cutter for home-based metal cutters?

For DIY projects at home, we’d recommend the 45A Plasma Cutter, 240 Volt Inverter Plasma Cutter with Digital Display, and Lotos LTP5000D 50Amp. The reason is, they’re cheap and can cut metals below 1-inch thickness.

2. What is the cheapest plasma cutter for DIY projects

We would recommend the Lotos LTP5000D 50Amp for DIY projects since it’s a multi-purpose tool that’s highly efficient. In case you forgot, the non-touch pilot arc means that it can cut any metal without leaving any slag. It can also work on a wide variety of voltages.

3. What’s the best cutter for industrial use?

For large projects, we would recommend the Hypertherm Powermax45 since it can cut metal thickness above 1 inch. It provides excellent performance and is a durable machine that will last many days.


Before you buy a welding machine, you need to consider if it cut through any metal and the metal thickness.

  • Plasma cutters are suitable for metals above 1/2 inches since they have an amperage above 40A voltage.
  • When cutting metal sheets above 1 inch, then the machine should be above 60A.

You also need to ascertain the power outlet. Ideally, power output greatly influences the performance of the cutter. Typically, for you to cut through 1/2 inches metal thickness, you’ll need a 220V power outlet. The plasma cutters fit this description perfectly.

What’s the bottom line? The most important thing is to strike a balance between efficiency and value. If you have smaller projects, it wouldn’t be wise to spend a lot of money on a cutter if you need plasma for DIY projects.