Hypertherm Powermax 65 Plasma Cutter Review

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Home » Plasma Cutters » Hypertherm Powermax 65 Plasma Cutter Review

While we didn’t consider the Powermax 65 in our best plasma cutter buyer’s guide, this is no slight to it’s capabilities.  Rather it’s in an entirely different class. And besides, the Powermax 45 took the top spot.

The Hypertherm Powermax 65 is a powerful and versatile plasma cutter. It has a max output of 65A, can cut 1″ steel at 10 inches per minute, and offers a 50% duty cycle. It offers both handheld and CNC functionality.

In a previous article we reviewed the Hypertherm Powermax 45 from Hypertherm.  Now we’re going to take a look at it’s big brother; the Powermax 65.

As the name implies the Powermax 65 has a max output of 65A.  This is a 44% increase over the Powermax 45.  It’s rated to cut 1″ steel at 10 inches per minute and has a 50% duty cycle at 65A.

This additional power brings with it some weight.  The Powermax 65 tips the scales at 64lbs.

If you’re looking for a commercial grade cutter that can handle heavier materials and workloads the PowerMax 65 is a great choice.

Key Features of the Powermax 65

  • Automatic air pressure adjustments when moving between gouging and cutting (Smart Sense Technology)
  • Capable of cutting up to 1″ steel at 10IPM (inches per minute)
  • Wide variety of compatible hand and robotic torch styles
  • Highly efficient use of consumables

Performance Specs



Cut Speed

Rated Cutting 3/4″ (20mm) , 1″ (25mm) 20 IPM / 10 IPM
Sever Cuts 1 1/4″ (32mm) 5 IPM
Piercing 5/8″ (16mm)

Our Hypertherm Powermax 65 Review

When it comes to high quality, reliable plasma cutting equipment Hypertherm generally sets the bar for the industry.

As an employee-owned business, they constantly push for higher reliability, longer consumable life, better cut quality, improved ease of use, and maintaining a competitive price.

This commitment to always produce a better product resonates with their customers and it shows in the number of repeat buyers and loyal fans they have.

Let’s face it, their plasma cutters are not inexpensive.

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They should be considered an investment that is backed by superior build quality, incredible support, and more patents than any other company in the industry.

Who Should Buy This Product?

The Powermax 65 is designed for businesses or individuals that are looking to maximize efficiency and minimize downtime.  Sure this unit will work in a home shop or on the farm, but it’s capabilities extend well beyond this environment.

It excels at any type of hand cutting on materials of up to 1 1/4″ thick using either the Duramax 15 or 75 degree torches.  It will also handle just about any task you can throw at it on a CNC table when paired with any of the robotic torches (90, 45 and 180 degree).

Power Requirements

For single phase operation the Powermax 65 will require 52Amps at 200-208Volts.  This is more amperage than most residential garages or shops can supply.  At 240V the amperage draw drops to 44A but that’s still a bit more than the largest outlet in most homes (the dryer outlet).

Your best bet is to go with 3-phase power, where at 200V the unit will require 32A.  This will allow you to take full advantage of the 50% duty cycle of the unit.

The 65 does not come with plug on the power cord.  It can be wired for either single phase or 3 phase.  Should you be using single phase you’ll only need to connect the the white, green, and black wires.

The Leviton 931 30/50 Amp, 250 Volt plug works well.

leviton power plug

Air Pressure Requirements

In addition to requiring a great deal of power, the Powermax 65 is also going to want LOTS of clean, dry air.

Hypertherm recommends 6.7 CFM @85 psi, but realistically you’re going to want something in the 9-10 CFM range to ensure the machine doesn’t shut down or throw air pressure warnings when in use.

If you plan to use your plasma cutter on the road, you might take a look at more portable models.

And if you want the ultimate in portability, check out our Powermax 30 AIR review.


Using the Powermax 65 is simple and straight-forward. The mode switch toggles between four primary operational modes.

  • Continuous pilot arc – easily cut perforated, painted or rusty metals.
  • Non-continuous pilot arc – the standard setting used for cutting metal plate of varying thickness.
  • Gouging – used for punching holes in plate metal (specific gouging consumables should be used for best results)
  • Torch Lock – in this mode pressing the trigger will fire the torch and it will stay on until the trigger is pressed again.

The amperage control adjusts power delivery. Make adjustments based on the thickness of the material you’re working with as well as the distance from the metal to the tip of the torch.

The two Duramax handheld torches are ergonomically shaped and offer a very comfortable grip.  Even on extended cuts these torches are easy on the hands.  This is crucial to making straight, clean cuts.

At 64 lbs the Powermax probably wouldn’t fall into the highly portable category, but it does have two handles on top making transport easier.

CNC Package

If you’re planning on running the unit on a CNC table there is a separate package that includes a machine torch and remote on/off switch.  You can find pricing on that model here.

It operates with standard CNC control protocols.  The heavy duty cycle means it can perform with minimal downtime.

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Why is Hypertherm One of the Best?

The Powermax 65 represents a substantial investment.  That said, the reliability, build quality, efficient use of consumables, and responsive support from Hypertherm (should something go wrong) will make you wish all your money was as well spent.

Try getting this level of service from one of the mass produced no-name Chinese brands.  It just doesn’t happen. Even brands like Miller are hard pressed to compete with this beast.

Built with Performance in Mind

Yes it comes with a hefty price tag, but the Powermax 65 is built from the ground up as a piece of equipment you can rely on day in and day out.  It excels as both a handheld cutter or as a CNC production unit.  It’s a workhorse of a plasma cutting system that offers impressive cutting capabilities paired with an equally impressive duty cycle.

Easy on Consumables

The biggest ongoing cost for any plasma cutter is consumables.  Hypertherm understands that you’re running a business and these costs eat right into your bottom line.

They’ve designed the Powermax line of cutters to be as efficient as possible when it comes to consumable use.

Ensuring your unit has plenty of clean, dry air will help to further extend consumable life.

Simple Setup & Operation

Because of the patented drag-cutting technology, this cutter is very easy to use. This means that both pros and beginners can spend less time learning and more time getting to work.

Torch connections are secure and easy, making this machine very user friendly.

American Made

Another important feature of the Hypertherm line of products is that they’re made right here in the U.S.A. by a company that is employee owned and has more plasma cutting patents than anyone else in the industry.

Final Thoughts

The Powermax 65 represents the pinnacle of plasma cutting technology.  It’s capable of clean and consistent cuts on anything up to 1″ thick. Yes it comes at a price, but a product like this is an investment.

After all, buying quality only hurts once.

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About the Author

Karl is a former welder and landscaper who now enjoys tinkering and teaching at his local DIY shop. His favorite shop activities are TIG welding and plasma cutting. In his spare time he also enjoys deer and elk hunting in the mountains of Oregon. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and can contact him via email.