The best air compressor for a plasma cutter is often determined by the amount of power it has and the size and type of tank. It’s important to have enough power so that your compressor can maintain a consistent flow rate.
For plasma cutting you need air compressor which has at least 2 – 4 horse power, 90 – 120 psi and a big 6 – 30 gallon tank. The larger the air compressor tank, the less time you’ll need to wait between cuts. So if you are cutting large pieces of metal continuously, then be sure to get one with a bigger capacity.
You can’t expect to do any cutting projects without an powerful air compressor on hand, so it’s important to know which one is the best for your needs.
To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of most popular models currently on the market that will suit any budget and work with all types of machines.
We will also go through its buying guide so you can be sure of getting the best air compressor for plasma cutter according to your requirements.
Read below to learn more about the top quality air compressors on the market for plasma cutting.
Table of Contents
- Our Top Picks: Best Air Compressors for Plasma Cutting
- NorthStar Single-Stage Portable Electric Air Compressor
- Metabo HPT “THE TANK” Pancake Air Compressor, 200 PSI
- Industrial Air ILA1883054 30-Gallon Belt Driven Air Compressor
- Makita MAC5200 3.0 HP Big Bore Air Compressor
- DeWalt DXCMLA3706056 60-Gallon Stationary Air Compressor
- California Air Tools 8010 Steel Tank Air Compressor
- DEWALT DXCMLA1983054 30-Gallon Portable Air Compressor
- Industrial Air ILA3606056 60-Gallon Twin Cylinder Air Compressor
- Buying Guide for Best air compressor for plasma cutter
Our Top Picks: Best Air Compressors for Plasma Cutting
NorthStar Single-Stage Portable Electric Air Compressor
Why do we love it?
I’m sure the only thing you wouldn’t want to worry about is that your Compressor stops working while you’re using it. This compressor has very huge tank to keep you working continuously without it breaking down.
The durable iron pump is lubricated with oil, and its head will work for long enough. It has bearings on both the ends of the crankshaft of your pump for the best support and less breaking down.
The result of its usage will always be reliable, depending on your work on this pump every time. The NorthStar air compressor is the perfect choice for anyone who wants a powerful and durable machine that can handle any heavy-duty work.
This pump is constantly lubricated with oil before its usage. It runs efficiently and has noise-free usage. This means your shop or garage won’t have too much compressor noise while you work on the projects using this air compressor and other air tools.
Portable and Versatile
This Compressor has a portability kit with flat-free solid tires for convenient transportation and steel wheels with ball bearings. So you can use this Compressor wherever you want to, including your work area, without getting disturbed.
This Compressor has a vertical design allowing you to use it in a small area and is portable. This quiet Compressor is excellent for home repairing and automotive use.
It has a significant amount of power to operate the impact of nailers, wrenches, ratchets, and other air tools. It is the best portable air compressor for a plasma cutter for you if you’re a DIY homeowner or you’re willing to own a portable but versatile air compressor commercially in your small repair shop.
Metabo HPT “THE TANK” Pancake Air Compressor, 200 PSI
Why do we love it?
This Compressor has a leading PSI and weighs 41 lbs. This Compressor can put more pressure onto a smaller object than a larger body.
It is engineered to be powerful to work with a plasma cutter and is versatile. It offers the best Compressor, which gives out the best air and energy for using a plasma cutter.
This Compressor offers around 25% more pressure at only 200 PSI. It has much more pressure than a regularly used compressor. So, you can use this Compressor for commercial and home use.
This Compressor gives out around 30% more airflow than a regular compressor. Also, this Compressor lets multiple large body plasma cutters be used on this machine easily.
This product is very lightweight, which makes it convenient to move around. It weighs just 41 lbs which means it is almost 20% lighter than all these regular air compressors. Making it one of best pancake air compressor for plasma cutter.
Industrial Air ILA1883054 30-Gallon Belt Driven Air Compressor
Why do we love it?
This Compressor is specifically designed for heavy-duty usage, for example, at the service truck or a mechanic shop. It has extra heavy-duty parts too, which helps in lasting in the most demanding conditions too. This Compressor will impress everyone from DIY-er to a professional mechanic.
Durable and Efficient
This pump is made of cast iron. It has a valve plate and an aluminium head which helps you make sure the heat dissipation is faster.
This Compressor comes with a heavy-duty induction motor which lets you drive the performance of the compressor way high and makes sure your work is trouble-free.
The controls of this Compressor have fast access to tools like a high flow regulator, tank pressure gauges, on and off switches, and a quick connect air outlet for convenient usage of the air compressor.
This Compressor has pneumatic wheels, which allows it to be portable. The front handle lets you transport it easily to different job sites whenever you want to.
Makita MAC5200 3.0 HP Big Bore Air Compressor
Why do we love it?
This Compressor has a big bore pump cylinder and piston for best results and higher output with low noise and better performance.
It is built to have low noise, less and convenient maintenance, and more output. It gives industrial power and the best results with excellent durability even when working in challenging site conditions.
This is just an example of the commitment by Makita about their technology and engineering.
This Compressor is powered with a 3.0 Motor with a built-in thermal overload for extra protection of the pump. This big bore pump has a cast-iron cylinder with a better bore for more compression, less noise, and quicker recovery. The construction by cast iron is done to increase the durability of this Compressor.
Big Bore Air Compressors
This air compressor delivers the most output and less noise. It is oil lubricated and has large style filters for more air intake and better pump efficiency. The pump delivers industrial power and has better results with more durability than the Compressor.
DeWalt DXCMLA3706056 60-Gallon Stationary Air Compressor
Why do we love it?
This Compressor is designed for arduous Jobsite duties as it is built with excellent quality construction and performance for the professional.
DEWALT offers a complete line of both electric and gas-powered commercial compressors. This Compressor is made for the long haul to get your work done completely.
Efficient and Reliable
This Compressor has a 230V electric motor which gives out maximum efficiency and performance. It is made of cast iron and has a valve plate to give out fast heat dissipation. This Compressor has a pressure gauge, high flow port, and on/off switch for better control.
This Compressor has easy to handle large loads and multiple tools. It has a large capacity tank and delivers maximum pressure at 155 PSI. This Compressor has more air pressure and better performance, making it easy to run for a long time while using your tools like ratchets and other cutting tools.
California Air Tools 8010 Steel Tank Air Compressor
Why do we love it?
This Compressor is built to be the quietest air compressor out of the wide variety in the market. It only has 60 dB of sound. It works efficiently and is lightweight.
This Compressor has a dual-piston pump and is oil-free. It is designed to have a life cycle of more than 3000 hours, while the lifecycle of other air compressors is 500 hours or maybe less.
This Compressor is large but weighs only 48 lbs. So, it is lightweight and has a wheel kit that makes this Compressor’s transportation convenient and quick.
This Compressor has a powerful motor that operates at 1680 RPM only. So, it creates less noise. This dual piston compressor is designed for its more extended durability and better performance.
DEWALT DXCMLA1983054 30-Gallon Portable Air Compressor
Why do we love it?
This Compressor is designed to work perfectly in tough times. This air compressor is built with the best construction and performance for commercial and professional usage. It offers a complete line of both gas-powered and electric-powered compressors. This Compressor has been made for a long haul to get the work done perfectly.
Reliable and Efficient
The cylinder is made of cast iron and an aluminum head of the pump for better heat dissipation. It has a high flow regulator and supplies 20% more pressure for different projects with the plasma cutter.
The controls of this air pump have quick and easy access to different tools like high flow regulators, on and off switches, tank pressure gauges, and a quick connect air outlet for easy usage of the Compressor. These features makes it best for all commercial to home usage, such as for spray painting or using this air compressor with hvlp gun.
This air compressor comes with pneumatic wheels, which lets it be portable. The front handle of this air pump allows you to take it conveniently to different job sites whenever you want to.
Industrial Air ILA3606056 60-Gallon Twin Cylinder Air Compressor
Why do we love it?
This Compressor is designed for heavy-duty needs of commercial or mechanic shop usage. It features heavy-duty, extra parts, and it is built for tougher conditions. This Compressor comes with an on/off switch and a pressure gauge too.
This industrial air compressor has an 11.5 CFM at the pressure of 90 PSI to run every air tool at a mechanic’s shop. It is built of durable cast iron and is oil lubricated to run efficiently and quietly for a long time. This Compressor has automotive bearings, valve plates, steel valves, oil level sight, a 12-inch iron flywheel, and an aluminum head.
This Compressor has all features and durability a professional compressor should have. It is built strong to fit the mechanic’s needs but sized to fit the budget and needs of a home garage. It has 155 psi pressure and a high CFM motor for more robust performance.
Buying Guide for Best air compressor for plasma cutter
Plasma cutters are a great way to cut through stainless steel, brass, steel, and aluminum.
You can cut through metals quickly and precisely as the metal gets burned through with a plasma cutter. An air compressor is needed to operate this device, and it needs to be used with care.
Plasma cutters require compressed air to create the plasma; either a built-in air compressor or an external supply of compressed air can provide. Both of these ways will be beneficial, but you will have to decide which is easier for you when picking out a plasma cutter.
If you have a plasma cutter without an air compressor, the air compressor you choose must adapt to your cutting demands and maintain consistent pressure for however long you need it.
You should consider several factors before buying powerful air compressor for plasma cutter. Here are the factors you should look:
While the amount of power in an air compressor doesn’t necessarily determine the best one, it plays a role. A pump with more horsepower will be able to maintain pressure and flow without slowing down or stopping because it can’t keep up with demand.
It’s important to look at the maximum capacity required by your cutter and find a compressor that is rated for at least this much.
This will allow you to continue working without having to wait for the tank to fill again when your cutting demands require more air than it’s able to provide instantly.
The bigger your tank, the longer you can work before needing to stop and refill with more air. This is especially important with portable compressors because power cords and extension cords often become limiting factors in how far away from an outlet you’ll be able to cut.
The larger the tank, the farther away you’ll be able to place the machine safely and still have enough power supply available if something goes wrong with your cord or your electrical source.
If an extension cord or power source does not limit you, then the size of the tank isn’t as important. Of course, if you have enough power available to support your cutter, it doesn’t matter what capacity your tank is.
Air pressure consistency
A compressor with better quality will keep air pressure stable through each cut so that there aren’t any sudden dips in the flow rate. Too many dips can cause damage to the machine and even fire if there is a spark present when the flow rate drops significantly.
The Fudge Factor
Fudge factors are always a great idea when buying air compressors for your plasma cutter. You should add 50% more than what’s needed because you never know how the environment will be, so it’ll ensure that whatever condition is given by its user won’t stop working properly.
Range of Work
As most users don’t use these machines for longer cuts, a small compressor with around 40 gallons will work but do remember if you start making longer cuts with that compressor, it won’t provide you with a satisfactory result.
If you’re a hobbyist or use the plasma cutter occasionally for your artwork or home projects, a small plasma cutter will be the best option for you.
Size of your Compressor
Compressors come in a variety of sizes. While the ideal Compressor is always the largest, this isn’t always what will fit into your workspace or meet your budget constraints.
You should keep in mind that you are the one who is ultimately responsible for keeping all of your tools working properly. Therefore it’s important to weigh portability against power and tank capacity so that you can choose an air compressor that is sufficient for your needs without being too heavy or cumbersome.
Another thing to consider before buying an air compressor for a plasma cutter is to know where you will use your plasma cutter. Some hobbyists or people who cut occasionally will not need a heavy-duty air compressor.
In contrast, those who need the machine for regular cutting of long cuts or thick pieces of metal or steel will need a heavy-duty and a more durable cutter. Also, you can use a smaller air compressor if you don’t plan to use it it to cut something for more than a minute at a time.
Plasma cutters that are frequently used should have an air compressor that is at least two times better than the system requirements of the plasma cutter itself to increase the quality of work.
What size air compressor do I need for the plasma cutter?
The right air compressor can make all the difference for your cutting projects.
If you’re a professional in the field of metal fabrication, then it is essential to have an air compressor that can provide non-stop performance for a long duration.
So if you need an extra high volume of airflow, then a 65 amp plasma cutter might be better suited than a 45 amp model.
It’s also important to look at the tank capacity in gallons. It makes sense that a larger air tank will be slower to refill, but it might be worth the wait if you’re cutting something massive and need extra time to finish your job.
This can be especially important for vertically mounted cutters since they take more time to fill.
For light-duty tasks cutting 20-30 gallons should be enough but if you do moderate or heavy-duty work, around 60 gallons should suffice depending on your usage.
It’s also good practice to have a backup tank so no matter what happens with the primary one, there won’t be any downtime in production.
Finding the right size of air compressor for your plasma cutter should not be difficult work if you know the air requirements of your Compressor. All you need to think of is your usage plan, and do keep in mind that always match the air compressor to the plasma cutter.
Don’t choose the opposite one. If the compressor you choose is tiny, you can burn out your Compressor or your cutter will get less air pressure and lose its efficiency.
Also, if the air quality is not excellent, your cuts won’t be of great quality, and you can even end up damaging your machines. So, to end it all, you will have to be sure that your air supply is precisely what your plasma cutter demands.
Is compressed air necessary for plasma cutters?
A plasma cutter is a tool that uses atmospheric pressure and electricity combined with cutting metal. However, compressed air is needed for it to work correctly. So yes, you will need an air compressor for your plasma cutter.
How much air pressure is required for a plasma cutter?
The amount of air pressure needed for a plasma cutter depends on the model of plasma cutter you have. Most models require between 90 – 120 PSI but it’s always best to check the specific requirements for your model.
How much CFM do I need to operate a plasma cutter?
You will need an air compressor that can deliver at least 4 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) at 90 PSI to run a plasma cutter. If you are cutting thicker metal, you will need more CFM.
What kind of air does a plasma cutter use?
A plasma cutter uses compressed air. The compressor doesn’t have to be very big, but it needs to deliver a consistent flow of air at the right pressure. Because plasma cutting requires a lot of airflows.