Top 4 Plasma Cutter Gases

If you’re looking to make quick, smooth and clean cuts through a variety of metals a plasma cutter is your best solution.

Plasma cutting plate cutting

Plasma cutters can be used with a manual hand torch or fitted to a CNC cutting table often know as a profile or plate cutter.

However, you must know which gases are suitable to guarantee optimum performance and high-quality results. But, depending on the metal which you’re cutting, you’ll require different types of gases or a special combination. So, we’ve put together a complete breakdown of the plasma cutter recommended gases showing what metals they’re fit to cut.

4 Recommended Plasma Cutting Gases

manual hand held plasma cutting

Compressed Air

Compressed air is a highly versatile plasma gas which produces top quality cuts on mild and stainless steel as well as aluminium. But, it’s also suitable for plasma extraction on carbon steel. It’s also a low-cost gas as you won’t need to purchase it. However, you still must clean it to remove any particles, moisture or oil mist. You can use compressed air to cut metals with a thickness of up to 1 inch. However, you’ll achieve an oxidized cut area which could affect the weldability of the cut’s edge.


Oxygen has become popular for cutting through mild steel thanks to the clean cuts and fast cutting speeds provided. It’s not recommended for cutting aluminium or stainless steel plates. In contact with carbon steel, oxygen plasma gas products a fine spray of melted metal and each drop has a low surface tension but which is easy to eject from the kerf. The downside of oxygen is the expensive price and the short life of the consumables. However, high-end plasma cutting systems use nitrogen with oxygen plasma to achieve the same results.

CNC plasma cutting table


Nitrogen is typically used for high current plasma machines and to cut metals with a thickness of up to 3 inches including mild and stainless steel or aluminium. You’ll achieve an excellent quality cut and enduring parts life. However, for thicker metals, you should use a mix such as argon-nitrogen. In general, air is the best secondary gas when you’re using nitrogen plasma. But, you can also use carbon dioxide which improves the cut’s finish and increases the cutting speed.

CNC plasma cutting industrial plate cutting

About the Argon-Hydrogen Mix

The argon-hydrogen mix is usually suitable to cut through stainless steel or aluminium. The standard combination of the mix is 65% argon and 35% hydrogen. It offers the maximum cutting capacities and it’s the hottest plasma burning gas. You’ll achieve an excellent and clean cut. The argon-hydrogen mix is required for mechanical cutting of any type of materials which exceed a 3 inches thickness. But, it’s also suitable for plasma gouging on any materials.

We recommend with any new plasma cutting equipment purchased you call your local Gas Experts to give you the best advice for efficient production.

Hypertherm is one of the leading plasma cutting equipment manufacturers in the world. We trust their systems and advice. You will find lots of tips and tricks to get the best out of your manual or CNC plasma cutter on Hypertherm’s website Blog

Hypertherm torch

Westermans International focus on buying and selling used and refurbished plasma cutting equipment from the leading makers. We can also fully refurbished your outdated equipment to save you money.

Current stock at Westermans
View our current stock of Plasma Cutting Equipment for sale here

Posted in How To..., Welding and Cutting Processes Information | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Engineer to Motocross rider

Engineer by day Motocrosser by night (well weekends anyway!) Read more about Terri Wallace and her new found passion in such a dangerous sport

Continue reading
Posted in Westermans MotoX Team | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Tube & Pipe Welding Polysoude

Polysoude provides modular welding heads and tools which easily adapt to various applications for tube to tube and pipe welding

Continue reading
Posted in Westermans News | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Georgie at 15 riding GB MX

A huge jump from 19th to 6th place in the British Women’s motox championships gives Georgie Potter European hopes by securing a place in the IMBA champs

Continue reading
Posted in Westermans MotoX Team | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Women Champions in MotoX

The final round of the 2019 Westermans International BWMA Championship for British women took place in Wiltshire at the weekend

Continue reading
Posted in Westermans News | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Does refurbished mean used?

Refurbished: A product restored to like-new condition, though the definition of “like-new condition” varies. …

Continue reading
Posted in FAQs | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

President of the Welding World

The AWD and Welding World members will attend a dinner in November to celebrate the investiture of our Founder, Peter Westerman to President

Continue reading
Posted in Westermans News | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Wind Tower Turbine Changes

Manufacturers had the need to go large for industrial-scale renewable energy from wind turbines. Maybe creating other environmental issues?

Continue reading
Posted in Customer Resources, How To... | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

British Mini Bike Roundup

For those who don’t know Westermans International sponsor Luke Westerman who races in the BMB Championship – on a little bike!

Continue reading
Posted in Westermans News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Plenty of Action in Women’s MX

After 4 rounds, the BWMA 2019 series is gaining momentum on the track.

Continue reading
Posted in Westermans MotoX Team | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worldwide Shipping

taken care of with every Westermans order

Find Out More

Register Now!

to receive our latest Stock Updates & Exclusive Offers

By submitting your details you consent to their use in accordance with our Privacy Policy


Select Language