Plasma cutters are invaluable for workshops, fabrication shops, repairing shops, etc. People who are working in the construction or salvage industry use this tool in their everyday life. A plasma cutter is a tool that has the ability to cut precisely at a high speed regardless of what the material is.

It can be stainless steel, copper, aluminum, brass, etc. So, whether it can cut or not isn’t the problem, you just need to figure out how thick can a plasma cutter cut before you buy one for your workshop.

Now depending on materials, the answer may vary. This handheld machine can cut around 1 inch of metal easily. Huge electrical power and compressed air are needed for the plasma cutter to perform.

To know the working and detailed information about the plasma cutter and its power, stay tuned.

How thick can a plasma cutter cut

A plasma cutter is a great tool for cutting both thick and thin materials. Now depending on the machine you choose and its power, the cutting ability of a plasma cutter may vary.

The typical range of a handheld plasma cutter is up to 1.5 inches/38mm. Now if you chose a computer-controlled plasma cutter, it can cut up to 6 inches thick metal plates. Mostly there are two types of cutting that you can enjoy with a plasma cutter. Clean cut and severance cut. Here are the differences between them.

How Thick Can A Plasma Cutter Cut

Difference between clean cut and severance cut

Clean cut is as the name says, butter-smooth cut on any type of metal while severance cut is the type of cut where it cuts through any metal no matter how thick it is. As a result, the cut is not that smooth.

All plasma cutters come with both maximum thicknesses of clean cut and severance. This information helps to determine how thick a metal piece is ok to perform clean cut and severance cut. Severance cut thickness is way more than compared to the thickness of a clean cut.

Depending on the type of metal and amp’s power, how thick can a plasma cutter cut varies as well. Of all the metals, aluminum is softer than others. Steel is comparatively a bit harder and stainless steel is the toughest of all. Here’s a chart for your better understanding.

 Mild SteelStainless SteelAluminium
Clean Cut Thickness30mm16mm16mm
Severance Thickness35mm20mm20mm

Usually the limitations of max clean and severance cut are written on the plasma machine. So before buying, make sure to check out if the cutter you are going to buy is capable of cutting through the metal you are planning to cut.

How does a plasma cutter work?

Using high-power electric arc and compressed air, a plasma cutter operates. Almost any type of metal can be cut using a plasma cutter. Compressed air is forced to the chapter containing plasma electrodes along with a cutting tip that is made of plasma as well.

By applying electricity to the compressed air, a plasma arc is created, which, in turn, makes it electrically conductive.

Then the compressed air is released through a tiny hole towards the cutting tip. This way the arc energy is transferred to the cutting tip. It produces extreme heat and melts the material that you need to cut. Using a plasma cutter you can cut,

  • Stainless steel
  • Mild steel
  • Copper
  • Brass
  • Aluminum
  • Carbon steel
  • Expanded steel etc.

A little sparking is totally fine while cutting a piece of metal using a plasma cutter. So, remember to take all the necessary safety precautions before performing the cut.

How to choose a plasma cutter

Be sure to keep two things in mind when choosing a plasma cutter. One is the thickness of the metal that you are going to cut and whether the machine you are going to buy can cut through that thickness.

People usually judge a plasma cutter by its cutting performance as it helps with determining how thick the machine will be able to cut. In general, a typical plasma cutter comes with a max capacity of cutting 3mm of Aluminium, 5mm of stainless steel and 6mm of mild steel.

Big and renowned manufacturers print the max cutting capacity on the machine and that makes it easier for the buyer to determine. Now, what is “Max Cut Capacity”?

Let’s say max cutting capacity is written 6mm. It means the cutter will be able to perform a clean cut of 6mm on mild steep while having a 250mm (10”) speed per minute. And max sever means the maximum a plasma cutter will cut on mild steel. Though the cut will be slow and severance.

As the manufacturers sometimes lie about the actual cutting ability of a plasma cutter, what you should do to be on the safer side is buy a plasma cutter with 30 percent more speed than needed. This way you will be able to get a clean cut on the metals that you will usually cut and in special cases, you can even cut a thicker metal.

Frequently asked questions

How thick can a 50 amp plasma cutter cut?

A 50 amp plasma cutter can cut almost half an inch thick metal. Usually, the inverter plasma cutter comes with 50 amp power.

How thick can a 60 amp plasma cutter cut?

A 60 amp plasma cutter can help you cut around 7/8 -inch thick metal. You can cut less thick metals with this plasma cutter very precisely.

How thick can a 100 amp plasma cutter cut?

100 amp plasma cutters are used in industrial cutting places and they are designed for heavy-duty. It can cut a maximum of 30 mm and clean cutting of 20mm is possible.

How thick can a 110 plasma cutter cut?

Working under the maxim output, a 110 amp plasma cutter can cut around 12mm of metal.

How much is a CNC plasma cutter?

A CNC plasma cutter can cost you anywhere between 15 thousand to 300 thousand dollars. The cost may vary depending on size, features, and type. Though most CNC plasma cutters are below a hundred thousand dollars.


I hope that after reading this article you realized that there are many variables that affect how thick a plasma cutter can cut. The metal you are cutting, the plasma machine you are using, electric power, cutting type, etc. So, while buying a plasma cutter for you, don’t forget to keep these in your consideration.

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