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Hobart Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter Review

Hobart is a name synonymous with high-quality yet cost-effective tools that deliver superior performance, and the Hobart Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter is no exception. This latest model boasts of an added feature that will change the way you work.

Did we pique your curiosity? Then read on for more!

Hobart Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter Product Specifications

Hobart Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter Review

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Name and Model Number: Hobart AirForce® 12ci with Built-in Compressor 500564

Rated Output at 104 Degrees Fahrenheit: 12 A @ 35% duty cycle

Input Voltage: 110/115/120 V

Input Phase: 1-Phase

Input Hz: 60 Hz

Amperage Range: 12 A – 12 A

Cutting Performance: 1/8 inch or 3.2 mm) at 10 inches per minute for mild steel

1/4 inch or 6.4 mm at 3 inches per minute for mild steel

Net weight: 31 lbs.

Net dimensions: 16.5 x 18.5 x 11.25 inches

What’s In The Box

The Hobart Airforce 12ci comes with a 12-ft. XT12R hand-held torch, a 12-ft. work cable with clamp, and 7-ft. power cord with plug.

There are also extra consumables including 2 tips, a standoff guide, an electrode, and a plasma retaining cup, swirl ring, and O-ring for the Hobart XT12R plasma torch.

Hobart Airforce 12ci Product Features

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Built-in Air Compressor

This is probably the best feature this model of the Hobart Airforce 12ci has. You do not have to buy separately and lug around an additional compressor for you to be able to use it. Its piston-driven internal air compressor allows unparalleled portability.

Inverter Design

This is another feature that adds to the product’s portability. The inverter design allows for a compact and lightweight plasma cutter, and, along with the working cable and cable management strap, transporting your equipment has never been easier.

The XT12R torch

The torch boasts of an ergonomic safety trigger that is so comfortable to grip you can get the job done with less fatigue.

Powered by 120 V, 20 A Circuit

The Airforce 12ci runs very well on your standard household current. All you have to do is plug it into a 120V and 20A circuit at home, in your garage or workshop, and you are good to go. No more need for a 240-volt hook-up.

Pilot Arc Start

The Airforce 12ci creates an internal mini arc inside the nozzle before starting the real arc, ensuring you a consistent arc start before each cut. This pilot arc mechanism means the tip does not need to touch the surface of the metal, saving the tips from burning out easily. It also allows the cutter to work effortlessly even on rough, corroded, painted, or greasy surfaces.

Postflow Cooling Circuit

The postflow air that comes after the torch trigger is released cools the torch and consumables quickly, extending their lifespan and enhancing the cutter’s durability.


The fan reduces the dust and debris that get pulled into your machine, and operates only when you need it, saving you energy.

Thermal overload protection

The Airforce 12ci’s rate of 35% duty cycle at 104° Fahrenheit will increase as environmental temperature decreases, while the thermal overload protection helps the cutter to cope with rugged work environments. If the cutter becomes overheated, the system will automatically shut off to prevent damage to the internal parts.

LED Diagnostic Lights

LED light alerts will warn you to check the status, torch readiness, temperature, and power, reducing unwanted downtime. You do not have to engage in dangerous guesswork when assessing the status of your cutter.

Hobart Airforce 12ci Pros

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The Hobart Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter with built-in compressor has so many things going for it. Its outstanding features make it a top-notch product that may very well be the last plasma cutter you will ever want.

It can cut faster and more accurately than oxy-fuel. It can also give you thinner kerf, less slag to clean up, and less warping. You do not need to fiddle with the gas/pressure settings as they are already pre-set. It can easily cut through brass, copper, stainless steel, aluminum, and galvanized steel.

With its built-in air compressor, this is the right choice for a beginner as it is so simple and easy to set up and use. All you just have to do is plug it in, pull the trigger and start cutting away. Having everything ensconced in one compact and lightweight unit is several levels up against the competition in terms of convenience, as well.

The safety features are equally outstanding. They are a well-balanced assembly, not only for the user’s safety, but for the maintenance of the tool itself.

The Hobart Airforce 12ci is tops in versatility, as well. It can be used for small projects, personal use, and light industrial work.

It is made of exceptionally durable materials that give the whole framework a general appearance and feeling of solidness.

Another amazing thing about this product is it carries the Hobart 5-3-1 warranty. This includes a 5-year warranty on transformers, stabilizers, and main rectifiers; a 3-year warranty on generators, PC boards, and drive systems; and a 1-year warranty on the torch.

Hobart Airforce 12ci Cons

The biggest drawback to the Hobart Airforce 12ci may be its price as it is more expensive than its nearest rival. This, however, is most certainly not a deal-breaker as many buyers have attested to its exceptional performance.

Some customers have also commented that its XT12R torch is not as nice-looking as the XT40R, but have further stated that looks are not important, and as long as the equipment delivers, that’s all they will ever need.


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The Hobart Airforce 12ci scores big in convenience, ease-of-operation, faster and more accurate cutting results, transportability, and versatility.

You need not look farther than this.

It performed extremely well in cutting as per their specifications. Undoubtedly, this is one of the best cutting tools on the market for small shops or home DIY enthusiasts looking for a superior, portable tool.

Thinking the Airforce 12ci is not quite for you? Check out our other favorite Hobart Plasma Cutters!

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