The Hypertherm Plasma Cutter 45 XP Review

welder setting up plasma cutter

Welding Buddy Experts

June 10, 2021
hypertherm plasma cutter 45 xp

Are you tired of cutting your 3/8s with an angle grinder? Perhaps it's time to level up. Plasma cutters are the proverbial hot-knife-to-butter when it comes to metal cutting. While plasma cutters may be a fascinating technology, it's challenging to purchase with multitudes of brands to choose from. 

Some brands like Hypertherm set the bar for quality when it comes to cutting equipment, a brand you can rely on to cut with no problems day in and out. The Hypertherm plasma cutter 45 XP, in particular, is an upgrade of the best-selling Powermax 45. This upgrade translates into better cutting capabilities, faster-cutting speeds, as well as an automated gas regulation system.

In this review, you'll learn about this machine's drag-cutting capabilities and why it is such a convenient technology to have in the workplace, as well as other excellent qualities that make it worthy of being on your wishlist.

Understanding Plasma Technology

Plasma arc cutting, also known as plasma fusion cutting or plasma cutting, is a welding process that involves heating, melting, and ultimately cutting electrically conductive material into custom designs using a plasma torch. This process is suited for a wide range of metal materials, including alloy steel, structural steel, copper, and aluminum, and can cut through material thicknesses ranging from 0.5 mm to 180 mm.

The small opening (nozzle) from which the gas flows allows it to flow at high speeds, much like air circulating through a venturi in a carburetor. This fast-moving gas slashes into the molten metal.

Operating a plasma cutter requires the following: 

• an alternating current (AC) fuel source (fixed or generator)

• compressed air (shop air, handheld air compressor). 

• Safety devices, such as fixed-shade glasses or a face shield, gloves, protective clothing, and adequate ventilation

Who should get the Hypertherm 45 plasma cutter?

The Hypertherm 45 is recommended for workshops that'll be working with metals from 5/8 "- 7/8 " thick. It's the perfect machine for those who want ramped up performance, quick setup and operations, as well as an ergonomic torch, handles equipped with the Hypertherm's proprietary Duramax, which is capable of supporting handheld and mechanized operations.  


  • Patented drag-cutting process
  • Smart Sense Technology automatically controls air pressure.
  • CNC-compatible
  • Compact and lightweight
  • A wide range of uses with advanced consumables for fine feature cutting, precise gouging, and marking.
  • Superior cut and gouge capacity save you hours spent on grinding and polishing.
  • Reduced carbon footprint - less environmental impact


  • Expensive
  • No built-in air compressor

What's in the package?

Except for the air supply, the kit includes all of the required components and accessories. Here's a list of what's inside the box:

  • Hypertherm Powermax 45 XP
  • Duramax lock torch with 20' lead and 20' work clamp
  • Starter consumables: 2 electrodes, two nozzles, drag shield, gouging shield, retaining cap, swirl ring, and Hypertherm Powermax 45 plasma cutter manual

Hypertherm 45 XP plasma cutter:

Main Features and Benefits

Stellar performance

Since you're staring at a plasma cutter that's going to set you back a couple of thousand bucks, we're guessing you're not expecting an average capacity. Here's a quick rundown of the XP's capabilities:

Maximum speeds on 5/8′′ 10-gauge mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum are 16 inches per minute, 13 inches per minute, and 14 inches per minute, respectively. Maximum speeds on 16mm mild steel, stainless steel, and titanium are 16 inches per minute, 12 inches per minute, and 13 inches per minute, respectively.

The cutting speed varies according to the application, such as drag or fine feature cutting. The material thickness is also a consideration.

Sophisticated automation

The automated capabilities of this plasma cutter are as helpful as they come. The LED display enables advanced control and assessment of system functions. This reduces the possibility of user errors common to novice and experienced cutters.

Even for professionals, tuning in to the correct air pressure is a difficult task. Any metal fabricator can tell you how mediocre a plasma cutter can be when the air pressure is not adequately controlled. You won't have to rely on guesswork with Hypertherm's trademarked 'Smart Sense technology' since it will instantly set the correct pressure, freeing you to focus on the task at hand.

Excellent durability

You can distinguish a tool like the 45 XP from other run-of-the-mill machines with its specialized features, such as the torch dual-angle design, which helps metal fabricators prolong the lifetime of torch tips and nozzles. Even with welding gloves on, the torch handle is a pleasure to hold, a breath of fresh air from plasma cutters with tiny triggers that are a nightmare to grip. The 20-foot cable and 10-foot power cord are both practical, mainly when operating with larger projects. Keeping the cables free from burning sparks and spatter is ideal for keeping it in good condition.

The handle is very durable and appropriate to the unit's 40 lb.-weight, making it easy to move around. Hypertherm is very well known for its outstanding consumables. Plus, the patented drag cutting technology gives added protection to the consumables and enables drag cutting operation.

These build features help make the cutting experience much more accessible and support the machine's longevity while minimizing costly repairs.

The Hypertherm 45 XP Torch

The torch is an essential part of a plasma cutter, and its design significantly impacts how long you can cut accurately and comfortably. The "FastConnect" torch device from Hypertherm helps you quickly connect the torch and use it in either mechanized or handheld applications. The 'Torch Disable Switch' aids in the efficient and effective replacement of consumables. The 'Duramax Lock' ensures the torch's longevity by making it heat and impact-resistant. The trademarked conical flow of Hypertherm increases arc energy density to promote superior cut output, resulting in lesser debris and metal dross.

Long-lasting consumables

The consumable starter kit includes a swirl ring, electrode, nozzle, retaining mask, and shield hat. The reliability of these parts is the least of the concerns with this unit. The machine's drag-cutting technology decreases the risk of blowbacks and spatters to increase the projected life of those parts. Each component of the consumable pack and those used in the unit are recyclable up to 99.9 percent, making it a safe option for those concerned about the environment.

Low Environmental Impact

Suppose you're concerned about global warming and other environmental issues. In that case, the Hypertherm 45 machine is built to have as little environmental effect as possible, so you can cut away with the knowledge that you're leaving as small a carbon footprint as possible. The bulk of the components used in the Powermax 45 XP's construction is conveniently recyclable, thanks to the unit's simple disassembly. The Powermax 45 XP and all other parts are manufactured in a LEED Gold Certified factory. This indicates that their manufacturing hubs followed strict requirements for resource, water, and energy usage, air quality, environmental effects, and transportation optimization.

Technical Specifications

  • Input power: CSA 200 – 240 V, 1-PH, 50-60 Hz; 480 V, 3-PH
  • Output power: 10–45 A 
  • Output voltage: 145 VDC 
  • Duty cycle: @ 40° C (104° F) CSA

50% @ 45 A, 200 – 240 V, 1-PH

60% @ 41 A, 200 – 240 V, 1-PH

100% @ 32 A, 200 – 240 V, 1-PH

50% @ 45 A, 480 V, 3-PH

60% @ 41 A, 480 V, 3-PH

100% @ 32 A, 480 V, 3-PH

  • Weight with a 20-foot torch: 33 pounds.
  • Recommended air flow: 400 scfh @ 90 psi
  • Inverter – IGBT power source
  • 10 kW engine drive is required for the maximum 45 A production.
  • 3-year/1-year (Power Supply/Torch) warranty


The Powermax45 XP portable plasma cutter is an excellent portable plasma cutting solution. This is not a cheap one-time use product. It is designed to survive everyday use in harsh environments. It is made to last and is sponsored by a company with a stellar record in the welding industry. When used with the proper expectations in mind, the Powermax45 XP is one of the finest plasma cutters money can buy. Its ability to quickly and accurately cut into various materials is a huge convenience that’ll not only make you into a better cutter but a versatile one, too.

You can't go wrong with the unit's easy air pressure control. Hypertherm's fail-proof air pressure system is a unique addition to the system because air pressure is often critical to getting quality cuts. Besides the Hypertherm Powermax 45 plasma cutter price, you can't go wrong with this fantastic innovation.

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