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Hypertherm Powermax 45 Review

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The Powermax 45 from Hypertherm is undoubtedly one of the best plasma cutters on the market today.  It has several key advantages over many of its competitors.

Here are just a few of the highlights of this unit:

  • Lightweight – weighs in at just 37 pounds
  • Capable of cutting up to 1/2″ steel at 20IPM (inches per minute)
  • Higher gouge and cut quality means less edge preparation
  • Drag cutting technology makes it easy to use even for beginners.
  • Simple controls

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Powermax 45 Performance Specs



Cut Speed

Rated Cutting

1/2″ (12mm) , 3/4″ (19mm)

20 IPM / 10 IPM

Sever Cuts

1″ (25mm)





If you’re in the market for a high performance cutter, then Hypertherm is always a safe bet. They have more plasma cutting patents than any other company out there. And while their prices are higher than many of the other brands, the superior build quality means you can count on this machine for year and years of heavy work.


Using the Powermax 45 is simple and straight-forward. The mode switch toggles between three 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)

The amperage control adjusts power delivery. This is adjusted based on the thickness of the material you’re cutting as well as the distance of the tip from the surface of the metal.

The torch is ergonomically shaped and comfortable to grip.  Operation is very simple and easy to use even over extended usage. This is an important feature as it reduces hand fatigue translating to straighter cuts, especially over longer distances.

From the start the unit was designed to be highly portable. It is the heaviest unit in this comparison, but still only tips the scales at 37lbs.  Torch and gas connections are quick and secure meaning setup and breakdown are quick and easy.

What Makes the Powermax 45 the Best?

An investment in a tool like the Powermax45 is not insubstantial.  Here are a few of the reasons we rated it one of the best plasma cutting tools on the market.  You can see how it stacks up against the competition in this review article.

High Performance Plasma Cutter

While it comes with a hefty price tag the Powermax45 is built from the ground up to be a machine you can rely upon day in and day out.  It can be operated as a handheld cutter or as a CNC production unit.  It’s duty cycle and cutting capabilities make it a workhorse.  If you require more power you can also check out our Hypertherm Powermax 65 review.

Efficient Use of Consumables

Another important benefit of the Powermax45 is that it can operate on less consumables than comparable models. In fact it is 186% more efficient than other models. Over the long haul this efficiency can help to offset the higher price point.

When paired with a high quality air compressor and desiccant air dryer system this unit will cut like a warm knife through butter. And the clean air will help extend the life of your consumables even further.

Is the Powermax 45 Plasma Cutter Portable?

The Powermax 45 plasma cutter is highly portable due to it’s relatively low weight and power requirements. The lack of an on-board air compressor means you will need an external air compressor. But it is still one of the top portable plasma cutters because of its’ power and weight.

Simple 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.

American Made

Another important feature of the Hypertherm line of products is that they’re made right here in the U.S.A. This unit is designed to be a workhorse that performs well through years of heavy use. It is solidly built, reliable, and up to the task.

Final Thoughts

The Powermax 45 is undoubtedly one of the top performing plasma cutters on the market. It has everything you need to get clean and consistent cuts on anything up to 1/2″ thick. It’s design helps you save time by reducing edge preparation and it’s efficient use of consumables helps offset what is a fairly high retail price. 

And if you’re having doubts.  There’s a reason manufacturers like Miller use Hypertherm components.  They’re built to last.

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