The Hobart plasma cutter is our pick for the best plasma cutter. This is a great brand designed for cutting all conductive metals. They boast innovative and easy-to-use Hobart plasma cutters. But even so, choosing one from the impressive line of products could still be an uphill task. That’s why we have this Hobart plasma cutter review
Don’t have time to read the whole review? Do not worry, we have a summary table that highlights all the important features.
Hobart Plasma Cutter Quick Review
|Best functionality||Best for Budget||Top pick|
Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci
Hobart 500565 Airforce 27i
Hobart 500566 Airforce 40i
120&240V / 15-27A
1/4" (6.4 mm)
3/8" - 5/8"
5/8" - 7/8"
|Weight (pounds):31||Weight (pounds):32.1||Weight (pounds):34.3|
16.5 x 18.5 x 11.2
17 x 18.2 x 11.6
17 x 18.2 x 11.6
Hobart Plasma Cutter Review
Here is our attempt: 3 reviews of what we believe are the best Hobart plasma cutters available. There’s also a buyer’s guide to help with understanding what’s necessary and what’s not in the different machines available.
#1. Hobart Airforce 12ci – Best for budget
Hobart Airforce 12ci plasma cutter is an improved version of the 250ci from the same company. Compared to its predecessor, this newer model is more reliable for completing cutting work, especially light projects.
The machine uses compressed air and an electric arc to make cuts through metal materials. That combo results in a faster and more efficient cut than if you use oxy-fuel.
That goes for all conductive materials like steel, copper, aluminum, brass, etc.
The mechanism ensures that the tip of the cutter doesn’t come into direct contact with the material being cut. Ultimately it helps save the nozzle from burnout and consumables from getting used up faster. Plus it makes it easier to work on rough, corroded, and painted materials.
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It’s not just in performance where the Hobart Airforce 12ci impresses. The machine features a pretty solid construction too. For starters, it is designed for the most intense of works and harsh environments.
In case it overheats due to high external temperature, excess duty cycle, or blocked airflow it will automatically shut off to prevent delicate parts from damage.
Pros and Cons
- It has a built-in air compressor, you don’t need to buy an external one.
- Compact and lightweight.
- Makes very accurate cuts.
- The built-in cooling mechanism ensures durability.
- Comes with some preset settings for ease of use.
- Uses 120V power only, not compatible with 240/220V.
- Relatively louder than some other models in the market.
- The package doesn’t include extra consumables
Who Is Hobart Airforce 12ci Built For?
#2. Hobart Airforce 27i Plasma Cutter – Best functionality
Running 15 to 27 amps, the Hobart Airforce 27i plasma cutter is a powerful, versatile and lightweight machine with lots to offer.
Fitted with a multi-voltage plug (MVP), you can connect it to either a 120V or 240V power source.Airforce® 27i will automatically sense the voltage and turn it into metal-cutting power.
That includes stainless steel, mild steel, alloy steel, copper, aluminum, etc. The machine can cut 3/8-inch materials and has a severance rate of 5/8.
Inside the machine is a fan that runs on demand. It will run only when needed; which is basically when there are dust and debris in the unit.
Additionally, there’s a post-flow air cooling system that prevents overheating even when you take the machine through the excess duty cycle.
And if it does overheat it will automatically turn off thanks to a thermal overload protection switch. Another safety feature that you will like is the protective trigger guard. It ensures that you don’t accidentally press the trigger.
Finally, this Hobart plasma cutter features a cable management strap that lets you wrap your wires safely and neatly. Besides making it safer, the strap makes it easy to carry the whole machine and one of those brilliant adaptations is the built-in air compressor.
Pros and Cons
- Comes with a 5-year warranty
- Features inverter design
- Uses 120V or 240V power inputs
- Built with an efficient cooling mechanism and thermal overload protector
- Compact and portable size
- Needs a separate air compressor
- Uses consumables relatively faster than high-end models
- Doesn’t come with extra consumables
Who Is Hobart Airforce 27i Built For?
#3. Hobart Airforce 40i Plasma Cutter – Top pick
From a compact inverter design to the latest technology in plasma cutting, the Hobart Airforce 40i has it all, you can make an argument that it can be the best plasma cutter in 2019.
The inverter design is particularly very important with regard to portability. It ensures that the machine packs a lot of power in a compact body. While the total weight is just over 34 pounds, this unit can cut steel as thick as 5/8 inches.
With regard to cutting ability, the Hobart Airforce 40i is just as quick and precise as any high-end plasma cutter.
Airforce® 40i is rated for a 3/8-inch steel clean cut and maximum severance of 5/8 inches.The rating for other common materials is 3/8 for aluminum, 3/16 for copper, and ¼ for brass (all in inches).
That outstanding capability is partly attributable to the fitted XT40R torch. In addition to increasing performance, it makes the cutter ergonomic and comfortable in the hand.
You can improve the machine’s performance by hooking it to a 240V engine-driven welder.
Speaking of which, it uses 240V power input. With that power, you can cut through metal with little to no limits.
Even so, the Hobart Airforce 40i will not expose you to safety risks thanks to its superb construction. First off, it is designed for a 50% duty cycle.
Meaning when you use it for a certain number of minutes you need to let it rest for the same number of minutes before resuming.
For example, if you use it for 5 minutes straight you have to let it rest for 5 minutes.
Pros and Cons
- Features post-flow air cooling for cooling the tip and consumables.
- Inverter design makes it compact and portable.
- Made with an efficient cooling system.
- Very easy to use even for non-professionals.
- It can cut all the common metallic materials.
- Uses 240V power only.
- More costly than the Hobart Airforce 12ci and the 27i.
Who Is Hobart Airforce 40i Built For?
So, of the three Hobart plasma cutters which one is the absolute best for you? Here’s a simple guide:
- Hobart Airforce 40i
This unit combines high-end functionality, portability, and affordability in one easy-to-use machine. Sure, it is more expensive than the other two. But compared to other brand plasma cutters, it is actually very affordable.
Even so, it is very portable and offers professional-grade service. And it is quite light in weight, meaning you can move around with it from one client to another. If you’re using it for DIY you will have a lot of mobility every time you work.
- Hobart Airforce 12ci
It may be the cheapest model on our list but it is by no means inadequate. With it, you can still cut any conductive metal. You only need to ensure that you have 120V power.
It makes sense to go for this Hobart plasma cutter if you are on a tight budget as it costs a lot less than the 2 other entries on this Hobart plasma cutter reviews list.
- Hobart Airforce 27ci
Okay, it’s probably not superior to the 40i Hobart plasma cutter but it is the perfect balance between affordability and functionality. It offers just enough for a DIY person without straining the bank.
The Bottom Line
- The 3 Hobart plasma cutters for sale that I have reviewed offer different functions. They also retail at varying prices, with the Hobart 12ci being the most affordable, followed by the Hobart 27i and finally the Hobart 40i.
- Now what that goes to show is that regardless of your budget or needs, there’s a Hobart plasma cutter for sale that suits you.
- If you’re looking for a plasma cutter for sale that offers just enough functions at a decent price then the Hobart plasma cutter 27i would suit you best.
- If you’re on a shoestring budget you may want to consider the Hobart plasma cutter 12ci as it is the most affordable. But if you want a unit that leans towards professional service delivery then you should consider the Hobart plasma cutter 40i.