Do You Need Gas For A Plasma Cutter?

Top 4 Plasma Cutter Gases Westermans Blog
Top 4 Plasma Cutter Gases Westermans Blog from

Do You Need Gas for a Plasma Cutter? – 2023


Plasma cutters have revolutionized the metalworking industry with their precision and speed. They are commonly used for cutting through various types of metals, such as steel, aluminum, and copper. However, there is often confusion about whether or not gas is required when operating a plasma cutter. In this article, we will explore the role of gas in plasma cutting and determine if it is necessary.

The Function of Gas

Gas plays a crucial role in plasma cutting. It is used to create the plasma arc, which is the key component that enables the cutter to slice through metal. When the gas is passed through the plasma torch, it is heated to an extremely high temperature, ionizing the gas and turning it into plasma. This plasma is what allows the cutter to melt and blow away the metal, creating a clean and precise cut.

Types of Gases Used

There are several types of gases that can be used in plasma cutting, including compressed air, nitrogen, and oxygen. The choice of gas depends on the specific application and the type of metal being cut. Compressed air is the most commonly used gas as it is readily available and cost-effective. Nitrogen is often used for cutting stainless steel and aluminum, while oxygen is ideal for carbon steel.

Gas vs. Gasless Plasma Cutters

Now that we understand the importance of gas in plasma cutting, let’s address the question of whether a gas or gasless plasma cutter is required. Gas plasma cutters are the traditional type and require the use of gas to generate the plasma arc. On the other hand, gasless plasma cutters use a different technology called “inverter technology” that eliminates the need for gas. Instead, they rely on a high-frequency current to create the plasma arc.

Advantages of Gas Plasma Cutters

Gas plasma cutters offer several advantages over their gasless counterparts. Firstly, they provide a cleaner cut with minimal dross or slag, resulting in less post-cutting clean-up. Gas plasma cutters also allow for faster cutting speeds, making them more efficient for large-scale projects. Additionally, the use of gas provides better heat conduction and improves the overall quality of the cut.

Advantages of Gasless Plasma Cutters

Gasless plasma cutters have their own set of advantages. They are typically more portable and lightweight, making them ideal for on-site jobs or situations where mobility is important. Gasless plasma cutters are also easier to set up and require less maintenance since there is no need to refill gas cylinders. Moreover, they are generally more cost-effective for occasional or hobbyist use.


In conclusion, while gas is not always necessary for plasma cutting, it plays a vital role in achieving optimal results. Gas plasma cutters offer superior cutting capabilities, especially for industrial applications, where precision and efficiency are crucial. Gasless plasma cutters, on the other hand, provide a more convenient and cost-effective option for occasional use or situations where portability is a priority. Ultimately, the choice between a gas and gasless plasma cutter depends on your specific needs and requirements.