Plasma Cutting VS Laser Cutting

Posted on September 10th, 2018

At Rhino Cutting Systems we manufacture the latest in laser cutting, plasma cutting, oxy-fuel cutting machines, and much more. Equally, we serve our customers with the best in cutting machines performance and service.

One question most of our customers usually asked is, “Should I use laser cutting or plasma cutting?” In this article, we will look at the differences between laser and plasma cutting, and the type of projects you can use these technologies for.

Laser CuttingLaser Cutting

Laser cutting is a technology that uses a laser to cut materials and is typically used for industrial manufacturing applications. This works by directing the output of a high-power laser most commonly through optics. The laser optics and CNC (computer numerical control.) are used to direct the laser beam onto the material. The high-power beam rapidly heats, melts, and partially vaporizes the metal, or is blown away by a jet of gas, leaving an edge with a high-quality surface finish. The laser cutting machines we manufacture are used to cut flat-sheet material as well as structural and piping materials.


Plasma Cutting Plasma Cutting

Plasma cutting is a low-cost cutting which, provides high speed and precision by way of a melting process. In which, a jet of ionized gas is used to melt and expel material from the cut. Typical materials cut with a plasma torch include steel, Stainless steel, aluminum, brass, and copper, although other conductive metals may be cut as well. Plasma cutting machines are often used in fabrication shops, automotive repair, and restoration, industrial construction, etc. Like a laser cutter, a plasma cutter ultimately cuts through metal by melting it. Our plasma cutting machines are powered by the Ultra-Cut XT technology by Victor Thermal Dynamics. This technology provides the next generation of higher productivity, increased flexibility, and confidence in high precision plasma cutting. 

Comparing Laser Cutting and Plasma Cutting

  • Lasers are typically more expensive to operate but offer a level of detail that plasma cutting does not. Therefore, lasers are great for engraving details or cutting out small shapes from the metal, whereas plasma is better for more simple cuts.
  • Plasma cutters can cut through thick sheets of metal. In general, a plasma cutter can cut through metal up to 1.5 inches thick. Lasers, on the other hand, can cut through half-inch thick aluminum, three-quarters-inch thick stainless steel, and one-inch thick steel.
  • Plasma can only cut materials that conduct electricity, whereas lasers have been used to cut wood, plastic, glass, and other materials. This is because the plasma uses electrically conductive gas to create the cuts, rather than a beam of optic light.
  • Lasers cannot cut highly reflective materials like copper, so plasma cutting may be the best option for materials like this. However, plasma can cut through any conductive metal, regardless of the surface.
  • Laser cutting has a tighter tolerance of just .002 inches, making it ideal for precision cutting or parts that have intricate notching.
  • Both laser and plasma cutting machines we manufacture use CNC (Computer Numerical Control) to control the machines. This provides greater accuracy and faster production.

Our Experts can help you decide

Whatever you need for your project, Rhino Cutting Systems is here to help you make the right decisions. Rhino’s plasma and laser cutting machines are manufactured using the most modern and efficient technologies. From Bevel, Drill, Production Operation Protocol (POP), Fiber Laser, Height Control, Auto Gas Box and many more. These technologies offer complete, turnkey equipment solutions, Rhino Cutting Systems bridges the gap between cutting processes and motion control. Our laser and plasma cutting machines are designed to optimize cut quality and reduce cycle times as well as save precious raw materials.


Let’s face it, no two projects are the same. Time and budget restraints can factor into whether or not you choose our laser cutting machine or our plasma cutting machine. Additionally, the type of project, as well as the thickness of the material and level of detail needed, will definitely play a role in the one you choose. Regardless of the machine you choose, the final product will be just what you wanted. Contact the experts at Rhino Cutting Systems today and let’s work together to find the perfect machine for your next project!