Plasma Cutting is an industrial job. Unlike any DIY project, which can be done with a light-duty air compressor, cutting something with a plasma cutter requires a bulky and heavier machine. It will be highly heat-resistant for sure. You will definitely need best air compressor for plasma cutter which must enhance work and maintain safety.
For plasma cutting, an air compressor must be adaptive to all seasons, stable enough, have some high stats, capable of generating high power, and overall be convenient to use. It is rare to find all these features in a single compressor.
Hence, we collected some top-tier air compressors for you. These products excel at helping one in power-intensive projects. So, let’s check them out.
Best Air Compressors for Plasma Cutter Reviews
01. Quincy QT-54 Splash Lubricated Reciprocating Air Compressor
Keeping all your requirements within a single machine, the Quincy QT-54 Splash Lubricated Reciprocating Air Compressor is like a game-changer when it comes to air tools. Use it on your plasma cutting process as it contains some suitable stats.
Covering a wide range of pressure choices, the compressor lets you set the internal pressure between 145 to 175 PSI. You can use the 15.4 CFM at 90 PSI or 15.2 CFM at 175 PSI for a faster air jet. The high pressure is necessary for the large tank of 60 gallons.
Featuring a powerful motor, it takes 230 Volt of electricity. Using that, it produces 5 HP of power. But it is surprisingly cooler than you might expect.
With an outlet size of ½ inches, this 2-stage air compressor is highly durable. It has a 30,000 work-hour lifespan, no need to cost extra in buying another. It comes with a manual drain and a belt drive.
Made in the USA, this air compressor is designed vertically. So, it provides better mobility. Check the compressor out for your plasma cutting projects.
02. Ingersoll Rand 2340L5-V Two-Stage Compressor
The Ingersoll Rand 2340L5-V Two-Stage Compressor has been at the top among many different air compressors on the market for a very long time now. Its wondrous features are so good that experts put this as their first choice when buying an air compressor.
It features a large body, capable of giving you the continuous work you want to cut metals with a plasma cutter. This air compressor can create up to 175 PSI. You get a highly durable tank. The tank needs 60 gallons of air to fill up.
Its motor needs an electric cord to power up the entire system. The power it produces is as high as 5 HP.
To have a better set-up and control, there are connecting rod, crankshaft, and cylinders. The whole thing is made of cast iron to maximize stability. It can run up to 15,000 hours. As it is a two-stage air compressor, supply all your air tools with air at the same time.
Capable of starting at any season, this air compressor has a synthetic lubricating for granted protection. It’s just the item you need in your workplace.
03. Powermate Vx PLA4708065 Electric Air Compressor
As you want the best air compressor to take the space in your workplace, the Powermate Vx PLA4708065 Electric Air Compressor should be the one you pick. Its functions are simple and easy to control. Do your works faster with this item.
For tackling any kinds of applications that range from light to heavy, this air compressor generates a tank pressure of up to 155 PSI. To deliver the swifter working rate, it creates a 14 CFM of airflow at 90 PSI, which is appraisable.
It also can recover faster from long work. For providing air to larger or time-consuming tasks, the compressor has an 80-gallon tank.
The tank of this air compressor is steel constructed, making it survive collisions, extreme weather, or overheating conditions. Let’s talk about its pump. It is oil-lubricated, giving it more surviving capability and even quicker recovery.
Apparently, the crankcase that comes along has a cast iron body. The motor requires 240 Volt to generate 4.7 HP power.
With a body that weighs 230 pounds, this air compressor runs on electricity. Make the wise choice by trying this out.
04. Puma Industries PK-6060V Air Compressor
Now we are talking about an air compressor that is especially suitable for your plasma cutting tasks. The Puma Industries PK-6060V Air Compressor is an industrial-duty compressor. For power-extensive jobs, this air compressor is the right choice to get.
To fill up the tank, the air compressor has a maximum air pressure of 135 PSI. With that pressure, the 60-gallon air tank can be filled quickly. This air compressor weighs 305 lbs.
Now, even if that seems like much, you don’t need to move around your air compressor pretty much in an industrial job. To run the machine for a long time, the motor only requires 230 Volt. It can generate up to 3 HP of power.
It’s a single-stage air compressor, which means that it can perform the task without much energy needed. It also saves you the cost. The drain valve of it is ¼ inches while the outlet valve is 1/2 inches. For additional mobility, there are wheels of steel.
As an oil-lubricated air compressor, this offers an efficient result no matter what it is used on. We suggest you experience it yourself.
05. PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor
In case you did some research on air compressors, you may have seen the PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor before. It is such an air compressor that can tackle almost all air-related tasks, from small to big. Its size is also small yet compact.
For your regular usage, this air compressor is ideal. It features a high air pressure of 150, more than enough for plasma cutting. The 2.6 CFM at 90 PSI will allow you to do your task quicker than ever. It also lets the machine heal up quickly.
Apparently, this air compressor takes low energy to run. From an electric cord, it only requires 120 Volt. Its tank is pancake-shaped and can hold 6 gallons.
This air compressor is durable as it is built with strong metals. Its motor is easy to start in freezing temps. The tank has an additional drain valve to get rid of any liquid particles. Since proper steadiness is required, there are rubber feet too.
With an oil-free pump that is easy to repair, this air compressor should be the product that you spend your money on.
Buying Guide: How to Pick Air Compressors for Plasma Cutter
Here, we are talking about an air compressor that will be put into a high power-intensive project. To provide a plasma cutter with enough air, the air compressor cannot be some low-quality machine.
When you go to get an air compressor for your plasma cutting tasks, you will be filled with loads of options and brands to choose from. This situation creates high confusion, which can easily make you buy the wrong item.
For the best performance out of your air compressor, you must research some prime factors. Without them matching the requirement for your job, you can’t buy a compressor. Have a look at these factors.
Air Pressure and Airflow
While higher air pressure and airflow is necessary for making your work faster, particular tasks have unique requirements of their own. The pressure inside the tank helps it to fill with air. For plasma cutting, it is a must to have a max pressure over 80 PSI.
Meanwhile, for airflow, it shouldn’t be lower than 2.5 at 90 PSI. The higher the airflow, the more air will pass to the application and results in a better outcome. Keep that in mind.
As you are looking for an air compressor to use in a factory, durability should be one of your prime concerns. Plasma Cutting spreads sparks. So, your air compressor needs to tackle them. Ones that are built with cast iron or steel can do that with ease. Having overheat protection is another trait you can look for.
Having an air compressor that is easy to move around makes your work even easier. If it is vertically designed, check if it has large wheels and a handle. If it is pancake-shaped, then it is easy to carry them anyway.
To provide the tank with enough pressure, a powerful motor is required. For most applications like plasma cutting, 1 HP is enough, and any higher than that may cost much. The motor has to be tough to resist high heat.
If it is powered by electricity, get one that accepts long cords. For battery-powered ones, the battery needs to have a readout to show the battery level.
For a steady long work, your air compressor needs to hold enough air. As for plasma cutting tasks, 50-to-80-gallon tanks is ideal. Some tanks have drain valves. If so, check whether it is manual or auto. Automatic drain valves are better from many angles.
Do plasma cutters use air or gas?
Plasma cutters will usually use gas but there is a smaller and cheaper model that uses air. They are not as likely to burn through the metal as the plasma cutters because they start the arc with a pilot arc and then continue cutting with the plasma arc.
Can you use nitrogen with a plasma cutter?
High-current plasma cutters run on nitrogen. Nitrogen is preferred because it delivers high quality, consistent cuts and enables the platter to work at its optimum temperature. Since this is primarily used for cutting mild steel, nitrogen is often combined with argon which adds a wetting action to a weldment while keeping costs low.
Can a plasma cutter cut aluminum?
Yes, it's true that plasma cutting aluminum is not just possible, it's highly effective. For the uninitiated, plasma cutting is a process that shoots a jet of ionized gas at high speed.
The stats of your plasma cutter affect the specifications of your air compressor highly. If you don’t have any plasma cutter yet, you should get it by matching the pressure and airflow stats with the compressor.
On the other hand, if you already have a plasma cutter, your new air compressor should have pressure and airflow that exceeds the least requirement of the cutter. If you are not aware of the stats, then ask the manufacturers. We wish that you find a great air compressor for your projects.
Olivia Archer provides in-depth coverage of air compressors, air compressor accessories, tire inflators and all things related to air compressors. She is a mechanical engineer and air compressor expert with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the industry.
Olivia’s articles are informative, well-researched and provide readers with valuable insights and information to help them make informed decisions when purchasing air compressors and accessories. She is passionate about the industry and is always looking for new ways to share her knowledge and expertise with readers. When she’s not writing for the website, Olivia can be found working on her own DIY projects, experimenting with different tools and techniques, and expanding her knowledge of the industry.