Hobart Plasma Cutter: The 3 best on the market review 2018

The Hobart company with their popular Hobart plasma cutter line of products has proven to be one of the few user-oriented companies in today’s market.

The company boasts innovative and easy-to-use plasma cutters. But even so, choosing one from the impressive line of products could still be an uphill task.

Best for Budget: Hobart 500565 Airforce 27i (Check Price >> Read Review)

That’s why we have this Hobart plasma cutters review – to help you choose the best Hobart plasma cutter for sale.

Don’t have time to read the whole review? Do not worry, we have a summary table that highlights all the important features.

Comparison Table

1
2
3
Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci
Hobart 500565 Airforce 27i
Hobart 500566 Airforce 40i
3.53.5 / 5
4.84.8 / 5
4.84.8 / 5
Voltage/Current120V/20A120&240V / 15-27A240V/40A
Ideal Cutting Thickness1/4"
(6.4 mm)
3/8" - 5/8"5/8" - 7/8"
Weight (pounds)3132.134.3
Dimension (H*W*D)
(inches)
16.5 x 18.5 x 11.217 x 18.2 x 11.617 x 18.2 x 11.6

#1.Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter

hobart 500564
Hobart 500564 Plasma Cutter
3.53.5 / 5
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.

Hobart’s Airforce 12ci 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.

The Airforce 12ci will cut through 1/8-inch materials like a hot knife through butter.

But it becomes slower as the thickness of the material increases. Still, it will cut through 3/16 and ¼-inch materials fairly well. 

That goes for all conductive materials like steel, copper, aluminum, brass etc.

Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter
Amazon.com

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.

Keep Reading for more information!

Construct of the Airforce 12ci Hobart Plasma Cutter

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.

With a special thermal protection, the machine is rated at 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

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.

Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter
Amazon.com

Who is it built for?

This Hobart plasma cutter is perfect for DIY enthusiasts and beginner technicians. If you enjoy doing projects that involve cutting metals you will love this unit.

The same goes for professional mechanics who are just starting the trade. For instance, you don’t even need to set the pressure, it’s already preset.

Plus the machine has a built-in troubleshooter that will alert you in case of such issues as overheating, torch readiness and the general status.

Pros

  • Has a built-in air compressor, you don’t need to buy an external one.
  • Compact and lightweight.
  • Makes very accurate cuts.
  • Built-in cooling mechanism ensures durability.
  • Comes with some preset settings for ease of use.

Cons

  • 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

#2. Hobart 500565 Airforce 27i Plasma Cutter

hobart 500565
Hobart 500565 Plasma Cutter
55 / 5
Running 15 to 27 amps, the Hobart 500565 Airforce 27i plasma cutter is a powerful, versatile and lightweight machine with lots to offer.

Running 15 to 27 amps, the Hobart 500565 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.

It 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.

 Hobart 500565 Airforce 27i Plasma Cutter 120/240V
Amazon.com

Construct of the Airforce 27i Hobart Plasma Cutter

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 excess duty cycle.

 Hobart 500565 Airforce 27i
Amazon.com

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.

You have to lift it first before pressing the trigger.

Finally, this Hobart plasma cutter features a cable management strap that lets you wrap its wires safely and neatly.

Besides making it safer, the strap makes it easy to carry the whole machine.

Who is it built for?

The biggest selling point of the Airforce 27i Plasma Cutter is perhaps its unmatched combination of functionality and usability.

While it is efficient at cutting conductive metals, it is also very easy to set up.

Amazon.com

That makes it ideal for DIYers and beginner professional welders. You don’t need some special skills other than knowledge on using plasma cutters.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Needs a separate air compressor
  • Uses consumables relatively faster than high-end models
  • Doesn’t come with extra consumables

Bonus: Lotos Plasma Cutter: The 5 best on the market review

#3. Hobart 500566 Airforce 40i Plasma Cutter 240V

hobart 500566
Hobart 500566 Plasma Cutter
4.84.8 / 5
This Hobart plasma cutter is designed for mobility and even features a 12-foot lead that offers absolute freedom of movement.

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 2018.

The inverter design is particularly very important with regards 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 regards to cutting ability, the Hobart Airforce 40i is just as quick and precise as any high-end plasma cutter.

It is rated for 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).

Amazon.com

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.

Read more: Hobart 500521 Handler 125 EZWire Feed Welder Review

Construct of the Airforce 40i Hobart Plasma Cutter

Even so, the Airforce 40i Hobart plasma cutter will not expose you to safety risks thanks to its superb construction. First off, it is designed for 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.

Who is it built for?

This unit is a professional-grade plasma cutter. Compared to the Hobart Airforce 12ci and the 27i, the 40i is more suited for professional metal works.

hobart plasma cutter
Amazon.com

And equally important is its portability. If you are a professional mechanic who has to move a lot you will love its compact and lightweight design.

It also uses consumables more economically and can help you save some money on them.

Pros

  • 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.
  • Can cut all the common metallic materials.

Cons

  • Uses 240V power only.
  • More costly than the Hobart Airforce 12ci and the 27i.

RECOMMENDATION

So, of the three Hobart plasma cutters which one is the absolute best for you? Here’s a simple guide:

Top pick 

hobart 500566
Hobart 500566 Plasma Cutter
4.84.8 / 5
This Hobart plasma cutter is designed for mobility and even features a 12-foot lead that offers absolute freedom of movement.

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.

Best for budget 

hobart 500564
Hobart 500564 Plasma Cutter
3.53.5 / 5
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.

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.

Best functionality 

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.

hobart 500565
Hobart 500565 Plasma Cutter
55 / 5
Running 15 to 27 amps, the Hobart 500565 Airforce 27i plasma cutter is a powerful, versatile and lightweight machine with lots to offer.

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 12ci being the most affordable, followed by the 27i and finally the 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 27i would suit you best.

If you’re on a shoestring budget you may want to consider the 12ci as it is the most affordable. But if you want a unit that leans towards professional service delivery then you should consider the 40i.

Read more: Best DIY Plasma Cutter: 5 Best Choices on the Market Review 2018