Plasma Cutting vs Laser Cutting: Which is Best?

Not sure whether you should be using a plasma cutter or a laser cutter for your metal cutting needs? It can be difficult to know which one you need, but you don’t have to guess. You have come to the right place to understand exactly which one you need.

Within the below blog, you will discover:

  • What is plasma cutting?
  • What is laser cutting?
  • What is the difference between plasma and laser cutting?
  • What are the benefits of each one?
  • Which is better for your cutting needs?

Ready to get started?

What is plasma cutting?

Plasma cutting is a process that uses compressed air and inert gases such as hydrogen and nitrogen that are passed through a fine nozzle at high speed to create electrically conductive ionised gas, also known as plasma.

Plasma cutting machines are often used on metals that cannot be cut with a flame-based cutting machine.

Plasma Cutting vs Laser Cutting: Which is Best? 1

What is laser cutting?

Laser cutting machines use high powered lasers that are operated by a computer along with nitrogen, oxygen or compressed air to cut through a variety of different metals. These machines are designed for multi-purpose use.

What is the difference between these two cutting processes?

The plasma cutting process is used exclusively for cutting metal such as stainless steel and aluminium. This includes metals that have a reflective surface that cannot be cut using a laser cutting system.

Laser cutting machines can be used for many other purposes than just cutting, including trimming, scribing, welding and engraving.

Plasma cutters are better suited to cutting work that involves thicker metals, whereas laser cutting is the superior choice for thinner, more intricate metals.

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What are the benefits of plasma cutting?

A plasma cutting machine offers:

  • A higher quality finish
  • High-quality part replication
  • More cost-effectiveness
  • Reduced lead times
  • CAD/CAM integration
  • Small kerf
  • Fast cutting speed
  • Can cut through thicker materials

What are the benefits of laser cutting?

A laser cutting machine offers:

  • A more precise cut
  • Higher tolerance
  • CAD/CAM integration
  • Low distortion
  • A focused beam
  • The ability to perform high precision, intricate cutting tasks
  • Fast cutting speed
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Is laser cutting or plasma cutting better?

There is no definitive answer to this question as each method of cutting materials is unique, and each one comes with its own advantages. Lasers offer more accuracy and are slightly quicker than plasma cutting machines, yet plasma cutting has the ability to cut through every single metal type, which a laser cutting cannot.

It is clear that both plasma and laser cutting have their place within the cutting industry, with each cutting process bringing its own benefits to the table. When deciding which type of cutting machine to use, take some time to think about what you need cutting and how thick it is, as this is ultimately what will lead your decision.

Need help choosing a plasma cutting machine for your cutting needs? Contact us here, and one of our friendly and knowledgeable team will talk you through our plasma cutting options and help you pick the right solution for your business.

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