Have you already gone deep down the rabbit hole of metalworking? Unfortunately, picking up metalworking as a hobby can be expensive. Not only are you going to need plenty of metal materials to work, but you also have to acquire different kinds of equipment for your workshop. Eventually, you will notice how quickly the costs would pile up.
Aside from welding machines, you also need a cutting torch kit. Besides, when it comes to working with metal materials, you are not only fusing them together—you will have to cut them into your desired shapes as well. For this very reason, you should get yourself a reliable and capable cutting torch kit to do the job.
You might have already been scouring every nook and cranny of the internet to look for the best cutting torch you can splurge your money on. One of the most attractive offerings you might have stumbled upon is the Harris cutting torch. But before you place an order for one, consider the other compelling options on the market.
If you’re eager to know more about the three best alternatives to the Harris cutting torch set, continue reading down below.
What Is a Cutting Torch?
You may already know about the different welding processes such as MIG, TIG, and stick welding. However, another welding process that remains popular among welding professionals and hobbyists is oxy-acetylene welding. While you can weld using this method, it is commonly used to bend and cut metal materials.
An oxy-acetylene cutting torch is a very straightforward piece of equipment. These torches work by taking advantage of the chemical reaction produced by oxygen and acetylene. The result of this chemical reaction is an extremely hot flame that can reach over 3,000°C. It is so hot that it can easily cut through thick metal materials.
Compared to a plasma cutter, oxy-acetylene cutting torches are more affordable, versatile, and easier to use. That’s why they remain one of the most common pieces of equipment found in welding workshops.
What Should I Look For in a Cutting Torch?
Rather than making a decision based on the manufacturer’s name alone, you should learn more about what to look for in a cutting torch first. Being familiar with the basic specifications of cutting torches can help you make a better decision. Aside from that, you should also consider your own expectations and needs. Doing so will save you from disappointment and heartbreak.
If you stumbled upon a Harris cutting torch for sale, hold yourself back and consider the following first!
Welders work in extremely hot environments for long periods. As such, you must put your comfort and safety first. When browsing options for cutting torches, make sure to take note of how the handle feels in your hand. Remember, you need to have a comfortable and secure grip as you wield it for hours on end.
One more thing to consider when it comes to handles is the built-in safety features. For example, some torches have flashback arrestors that prevent flames from returning to the pipe. Another example is the check valve that prevents gases from finding their way back into the hose.
Like the stainless steel lever found on the Harris cutting torch (UK and US), your torch’s handle should be simple yet functional. A high-quality handle will add a layer of protection and complement your welding safety gloves.
Oxy-acetylene welding and cutting are both powered by gas fuel. There are other oxy-fuel welding processes that use other gases, but among these gases, acetylene is most commonly used by welders. As such, you should consider the kind of gas tank that comes with the cutting torch kit. They have to be certified first before you can refill them.
As the name suggests, regulators facilitate the safe, efficient, and consistent flow of gas from the tanks to the torch. A good quality regulator maintains consistent pressure throughout the operation. As such, they are vital to the operation of your cutting torch. Unfortunately, regulators are very fragile components.
Consider the size of the regulator and check if they fit the valves on your gas tanks. Different manufacturers make use of various sizes and specifications that may or may not be compatible with one another.
Hoses connect the gas tanks to the torch. You have to ensure that your hoses are of the right size and the appropriate length. A short hose might impede your workflow and limit your movement. They also have different grades that determine which gases you can use them for. For acetylene, make sure to only buy hoses that have the grades R and RM.
If you need a quick refresher course on how to assemble and use a torch kit, read our handy guide here.
You can purchase extra equipment to give yourself an additional layer of protection against the risks that come with oxy-acetylene cutting. For example, you might want to consider buying a good pair of goggles to shield your eyes from the harmful sparks, debris, and UV light that welding produces. You can also purchase a high-quality striker for starting the flame.
There are also other essential torch components that might need replacing from time to time, such as tips. For example, Harris cutting torch tips are deemed high-quality and in demand.
Victor Medalist 250 Medium-Duty Torch Kit
Specs at a Glance
- Sold on Amazon for USD 329.99
- Suitable for medium-duty projects
- Comes with built-in check valves for safe operation
- Has G250 series regulators for consistent pressure
- Features a WH270FC-V torch handle made from brass
- Includes a CA 270 V cutting attachment with a 90-degree cut angle
- Comes with a 20-inch long R grade hose
Prioritizing your safety above all else, the Victor Medalist 250 Medium-Duty Torch Kit comes with safety features to protect you from the risks that you might run into during cutting operations. The torch handle comes with check valves that prevent backflow. In addition, the built-in flashback arrestors make it difficult for the fire to find its way back into the supply line.
Welders work with their equipment over long periods. It is easy to feel fatigued after working for hours on end. As a result, you might loosen your grip on the torch, which can lead to workplace injuries. The Medalist 250 comes with a torch that has a textured handle, making it perfect for extended operation and beginner welders.
This particular kit comes with its own parts. That said, you must check them beforehand before ordering extra parts, like torch tips, as sizing may vary from the regular ones being sold. It’s also not as effective in heavy-duty welding tasks and may even give you a harder time if you feed it more than what it can handle.
ESAB, the company that owns the Victor brand, takes pride in its extensive warranty policy. The regulators that come with the Medalist 250 kit are covered by a warranty for up to 7 years. If you wish to file a warranty claim or have any issues with your unit, you can reach them through their email, phone, and fax numbers.
Miller Electric Tough Cut Oxy-Acetylene Torch Kit
Specs at a Glance
- Sold on Amazon for USD 333.14
- Suitable for medium-duty projects
- Comes with a WH100 handle for comfortable use
- Includes an MC509 cutting attachment for precision
- Has two regulators (30-100-540 for oxygen, 30-15-510 for acetylene)
- Allows freedom of movement with its 20-foot long RL935 twin hose
- Protects your eyes from debris and sparks with its safety goggles (78000)
- Prevents reverse flow with its H743 flashback arrestors mounted on the torch
Easy Tip Change
The Miller Electric Tough Cut Oxy-Acetylene Torch Kit pushes back against possible flashbacks using its precisely engineered tips. These tips work like a mixer that combines the two gases, oxygen, and acetylene, to achieve the highest efficiency. In addition, these tips can easily be removed and tightened with only one hand using the slip-in tip design.
Allowing keyhole-free starts and restarts, the ease-on valves facilitate smooth piercing on the material you are working on. In addition, the valves come with a triple o-ring to make themselves safe and secure during operation. You can also safely adjust the valve resistance by dragging the specially designed PTFE packing.
The flame striker ignites the fire on your torch, which begins the cutting process. The striker on the torch that comes with the kit can be improved. There have been complications concerning its durability. As a crucial component that is used frequently, the striker should last for thousands of uses without breaking.
Miller Electric provides its customers with peace of mind by offering them the True Blue Warranty. This warranty policy has got you covered when it comes to after-sales service. They have over 800 locations worldwide, a responsive after-sales support team, and plenty of replacement parts for your unit.
Hobart Medium-Duty Oxy-Acetylene Torch Kit
Specs at a Glance
- Sold on Amazon for USD 225.94
- Suitable for medium-duty projects
- Can be used with various applications
- Designed for acetylene but can be used with propane
- Built to be economical during operation
- Can cut metal materials with a thickness of up to 6 inches
- You can purchase optional tips for welding
Can Be Used With Propane
The Hobart Medium-Duty Oxy-Acetylene Torch Kit offers flexibility that any welder can appreciate. Aside from using the usual fuel, acetylene, it can also be operated with propane gas. By effortlessly changing the tip on the torch, you can swap out the acetylene gas tank with another one for propane and start cutting.
Good for Beginners
Given its set of features, the Hobart torch kit is deemed easy to use even by the most inexperienced welders. There is plenty of documentation and guides on the website that anyone can use to learn the specifications and how to use the machine. If you have used a cutting torch before, you will find this torch seamless and straightforward to operate.
Multiple customers who bought this torch kit report that the kit is of poor quality. There are issues with the valves that might cause leakages. In addition, the hose feels too rigid and might break when introduced to colder temperatures. To sum it up, these problems encountered by customers may have been a result of poor quality control on the manufacturer’s end.
Hobart provides extensive documentation about their products on their official website. If you wish to know more about the exact specifications and troubleshooting instructions, you can find them there. If you wish to contact their after-sales support department, you can reach them via their website, email address, and hotline phone number.
A cutting torch can be a great addition to your growing collection of welding equipment. Cutting torches come in kits that include important cutting essentials such as valves and hoses. However, you can’t trust all torch kits being sold in the market. Some of them have the poor build quality, while others are too expensive for what they can offer you.
The Harris Model 16 cutting torch is well known for its durability and high performance. However, don’t let its reputation make you miss out on other deals on the market.
Make sure that you’re getting the most out of your money by considering the options we have reviewed above! We have more welding machine reviews on our blog, so check them out to get the safest and most reliable welders!