best plazma cutter

Hobart Airforce 40i Plasma Cutter Review

The Hobart Airforce 40i plasma cutter is the most powerful among Hobart’s plasma cutter range. Its excellent performance, fast cutting speed, and fantastic reliability will be a perfect match for anyone who is looking for a plasma cutter for non-industrial or light industrial applications.

Hobart is a name widely known among welders. They provide equipment that are consistent in quality, performance, and affordability. It is no wonder that when they went into the plasma cutter market, their success has been inevitable. They introduced plasma cutters with exceptional quality, top-notch power, and safety features that have proven valuable in the home, garage, farm, workshop, and many more.

Hobart Airforce 40i Plasma Cutter 240V 500566

Let us take a closer look at the Hobart Airforce 40i.

Hobart Airforce 40i Specifications

Name and Model Number: Hobart Airforce 40i 500566

Current Type: DC

Rated Output at 104 Degrees Fahrenheit: 120 V (15A) 20A at 88 VDC, 60% duty cycle, 120 V (20A) 27 at 91 VDC, 35% duty cycle, 240V 40 A at 140 VDC, 60% duty cycle

Input Voltage: 110/115/120 V, 220/230/240 V

Input Phase: 1-Phase

Amperage Range: 14 A – 40 A

Net Dimensions: Width – 5.5 in, Height – 9 in, Length – 13.25 in

Net Weight: 21 lbs.

What’s In The Box

The Hobart Airforce 40i plasma cutter package includes the XT40R hand-held torch with a 12-ft. lead, a 12-ft. work cable with clamp, a 12 ft. power cord with 240 V L6-30P twist lock plug, MVP adapters with 240 V, 50A plug, and 120 V, 15 A plug, built-in gas/air filter and regulator, and extra consumables such as tips, shield deflector, and electrode.

Key Features of the Airforce 40i Plasma Cutter

hobart airforce 40i front view

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Cutting Performance

The Hobart Airforce 40i cuts 5/8 inch steel, 3/16 inch copper, 3/8 inch aluminum, 3/8 inch stainless, ¼ inch brass, and 3/8 inch galvanized easily, quickly, and cleanly.

XT40R Torch

The Airforce 40i comes with an XT40R torch that is ergonomically designed, making it incredibly comfortable in the user’s hand and significantly reducing fatigue even after prolonged use.

Increased Versatility

Its Multi-Voltage Plug or MVP technology allows you to connect to 120 V and 240 V input power receptacles without the need for tools. You just choose the adapter cord with the right plug to fit the receptacle, attach it to the power cord with the L6-30R twist lock, and you are off.

Power Factor Correction or PFC Circuitry

This feature allows the Airforce 40i to draw up to 30% less amperage for the same cutting range compared to its nearest competition. It also allows users to expand their work area via an extension cord while minimizing annoying circuit breaker trips due to fluctuations in voltage.

LVC or Line Voltage Compensation

The Airforce 40i can maintain its peak performance even under variable input voltage conditions of +/- 15% to give you consistent, cleaner-ending cuts.

Internal Gas/Air Filter and Regulator plus Automatic Gouging Detection

The built-in filter and regulator control the amount and flow of air or gas, while the automatic gouging detection feature adjusts gas pressure to enhance cutting performance and does away with a manual regulator.

Engine-Driven Welders Compatibility

You can increase the cutting capacity of the Airforce40i by connecting it to an engine-driven welder with a 240V generator power outlet of 8KW, allowing you to cut within a range of 3/8 to 5/8 inch of mild steel.

Fan-on-Demand Technology

This unit comes with Hobart’s fan-on-demand technology. It lessens the amount of dust and debris that can enter the unit, protecting the internal parts from being damaged. What’s more, the fan will operate only when needed, giving added savings on power consumption.

Wind Tunnel Technology

The Airforce 40i’s wind tunnel technology draws air flow into the unit, preventing noxious dirt and dust from damaging the PC board and other internal components.

Thermal Overload Protection

This essential feature allows the Airforce 40i to run smoothly even in harsh working environments. It automatically shuts down the unit if the air flow gets clogged or the duty cycle goes beyond its limit.

Post-Flow Cooling System

The Airforce 40i’s post-flow cooling system helps to cool the whole system as soon as you finish cutting. It helps extend the lifespan of the tips and the electrodes.


The Airforce 40i is 30% lighter and 50% more compact than its predecessor and even its nearest competitors, offering portability yet providing exceptional performance. Its inverter technology further enhances the ease with which you can move the unit from one worksite to another.

Hobart Airforce 40i Pros

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Aside from the features already mentioned, the Hobart Airforce 40i has so much more going for it.

Its maximum cutting speed is 52 inches per minute on 1/4 inch and 6 inches per minute on ¾ inch steel, cutting through with minimum fuss and maximum time savings.

The torch cuts clean, with a narrow kerf and minimum clean-up needed. The consumables are reasonably priced and widely available, so no problems there.

It is especially user-friendly as you can easily set it up from the box in just a few minutes. There are no special training or tools required to operate it, even for a beginner.

It also boasts of Hobart’s 5-3-1 warranty, namely 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 plasma torch.

Hobart Airforce 40i Cons

Performance-wise, the Airforce 40i is flawless. Most users have almost no negative comments and even went so much as to call it an awesome piece of machinery, specifically for people who like to work on small details for plasma and garden art.

However, a few found it to be a little pricey. Admittedly, though, it is one of Hobart’s more expensive plasma cutters. But if you are in search of a cutter that provides superb performance, versatility, and durability, you need not look any farther.

Final Word

The heritage that Hobart has forged with their high-quality equipment is highly evident in the Airforce 40i plasma cutter. With its plethora of outstanding technical and safety features, this unit is a great investment indeed.

You can read more about the best plasma cutters or find out more information about the best Hobart plasma cutters

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