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2 Best Hypertherm Powermax 30 Plasma Cutters

In this post, we’ve reviewed and compared the two most popular models of Hypertherm powermax 30 plasma cutter series. Certainly, it’ll save you loads of time and effort when choosing one that is best suited for your needs!

Hypertherm is one of the most known and trusted brand names in the metal cutting industry. It takes great pride in offering plasma cutting machines that are designed and manufactured in the USA. With over 40 years of experience in the metal cutting industry, Hypertherm plasma cutters and accessories are among the world’s best.

One of the best series in their line of plasma cutters is the Powermax.

Hypertherm Powermax plasma cutters are industry-leading when it comes to reliability, quality, and durability. These products are renowned for their straightforward setup and simple operation while providing the accuracy that any professional is looking for.

30 air 088096 and 30 XP 088079 are the two most popular models in the Powermax 30 plasma cutters lineup.

In this Hypertherm powermax 30 plasma cutter review, we’re going to compare these two models so that you can decide which one is better suited to the type of work you do.

Hypertherm powermax 30- In-depth Reviews of 2 Top-Rated Models

Let’s dive into Hypertherm powermax 30 air review and Hypertherm powermax 30 XP review.

#1 Hypertherm Powermax 30 air 088096 Hand System

hypertherm powermax 30 air 088096 hand system

The 30 AIR 088096 is a professional-grade, excellent plasma cutting hand system. It is the lightest and smallest handheld plasma cutter in its class. Despite its small footprint, it promises to offer superior performance.

This model works very well at home or in a workshop. Both professionals and DIY-ers can reap several benefits. It cuts easily and faster. It is lightweight and highly portable. At only 29.8 pounds (13.5 kg), it offers you the highest portability. So, you can easily carry it anywhere by handle or shoulder strap.

Top Features & Benefits

  • You can set up and operate it anywhere.

This model’s most significant feature is the integrated air compressor.

There’s no need to lug along a separate compressor, and you’re not limited to using an external air supply. Just plug it in 120 or 240 plugs and start cutting using the internal air compressor. Thanks to its Auto-Voltage™ technology and included plug adapters.

Most importantly, its built-in air compressor eliminates the need and unnecessary costs for an external air compressor and filter.

  • Powermax30 AIR provides superb performance and cut quality in hot and humid conditions.

This model inaugurates high-performing technology and patent-pending consumable designs. Coupled with the highly effective moisture removal technology, it can cut consistently by optimizing the internal compressor’s airflow. This enables the unit to perform efficiently in humid and hot conditions.

  • It cuts a variety of metal types and a large range of thicknesses.

This system is designed for Drag cutting. That means you have to drag the torch directly across the workpiece.

It has the capability to cut electrically conductive metals with thickness up to 10mm or 3/8 inches. The severance cutting capacity is 5/8 inches or 16mm. It also has the capability of piercing thickness up to ¼ inches or 6mm.

You can use it for cutting stainless steel, mild steel, or aluminum. By utilizing the continuous pilot arc feature, it easily and quickly cuts rusted metal or metal grates without retriggering.

  • Powermax30 air 088096 can withstand heavy-duty use in the most demanding environments.

The included Air T30 torch is extremely robust to withstand heat and impact. The torch is ergonomic and lightweight to reduce cramping and soreness during long working hours.

  • 30 air plasma cutter comes with everything you need to get started.

The kit provides a set of powermax 30 air consumables needed to operate this system. Conveniently, they are pre-installed on the torch. The genuine torches and consumables keep the system running at peak performance, extend consumable life, enhance cut quality, and boost productivity.

The kit includes:

  • Swirl ring, electrode, retaining cap, nozzle, deflector
  • Extra nozzle and electrode and carrying strap
  • Work clamp with a 15-foot lead, 10-foot input power cable, and adapters for 120-volt & 240-volt outlets.
  • Quick setup card, & operator and safety manuals

Powermax 30 air specs

Input current @ 2.5 kW120-240 V, 1-PH, 29-15 A
Input Voltages120-240 V, 1-PH, 50/60 Hz
Output current
15-30 A
Open circuit voltage (OCV)
256 VDC
Rated output voltage
83 VDC
Duty cycle @ 104-degreeF (40-degree C)
35%, 240 V; 20%, 120 V
Engine drive requirement
5.5 kW for full 30A output
Power supply typeInverter (IGBT)
torches – 1-year warranty
power supplies – 3-year warranty
Weight w/torch29.8 pounds
Dimensions with handle14″ D; 6.6″ W; 12″ H

To sum it up: For mobile work to use in the metal shop or farm, Hypertherm 30 AIR handheld plasma cutter outperforms most in its class. If you’re looking for the best plasma cutter with a built-in compressor that you can easily take with you, this model is an excellent choice for you.


  • Very quick and simple to set up
  • Superior cut quality
  • Can cut rusted metal
  • Fast cutting speeds
  • Reliable and powerful
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Requires minimal cleanup
  • Very well designed and rugged
  • Cost-effective


  • A little pricey

#2 Hypertherm Powermax 30 XP 088079 Hand Plasma System           

hypertherm powermax 30 xp 088079 hand plasma system

The Powermax 30XP 088079 is a superior hand plasma system for hobbyists as well as professionals. It is a high-performing, versatile, reliable, and durable unit.

This updated model comes with enhanced cutting power. It has increased cutting power by 50% over the previous model for faster cut speeds.

Top Features & Benefits

  • 30 XP 088079 is a versatile 30-amp system

You can handle a wide range of applications with this system. This powerful unit can cut any electrically conductive metals, including aluminum, stainless steel, mild steel, even if painted or rusted.

It offers high-power cutting for thick metals up to 16mm and can perform detailed cutting on thin metals. Thanks to its easy to use, unique 2-in-1 design and Hypertherm’s FineCut consumables.

  • It offers more flexibility to use.

This unit has the flexibility of using both 110 or 240-volt input, making it workable to any job site. Conveniently, its auto-voltage adaptability automatically adapts to 110 or 240-Volt input power.

  • Duramax LT torch is high impact and heat-resistance

The included Duramax LT torch has a better life than the 30 AIR’s AT30 torch.

The 15-feet (4.5 m) rugged torch lead strain reliefs on both ends give it protection in demanding environments.

This is a shielded torch, so dragging it on the plate won’t be a problem. Moreover, the ergonomic design of the torch provides a sure, comfortable grip and allows you to use it for a long time without any fatigue.

Notably, the consumables are 70% long-lasting ultimately reducing operating costs.

  • You can carry it easily and safely.

This hand plasma system is small in size and weighs only 21.4 pounds. The included shoulder strap ensures its high portability. It also comes with a durable hard case to protect the system and gear.

  • It is a full set.

088079 comes with everything you need to get started right out of the box.

  • FineCut consumables
  • standard consumables
  • Magnetic Base
  • shoulder strap and carry case
  • Eyeshield, gloves
  • Operators & safety manuals 

There is a bonus….

This system is easy to operate with a one-knob interface. The included kit with Magnetic Base makes it more user-friendly.

Its Circle Cutting Guide lets you easily set up the torch for accurate circles up to 51 cm (20 inches) in diameter. The kit also includes-

  • Adjustable axles, two metal wheels and 11 inches (28 centimeters) arm
  • A rotating torch cap holder
  • 4 suction cups
  • A center pin and holder

And all comes organized in a plastic carrying case.

To summarize, if you need a very user-friendly plasma cutting hand system with a little more power, then this is it.

Powermax 30 XP specs

Input current @ 3.8 kWSingle phase, 120-240 V, 25-18.8 A
Input Voltages120-240 V, 1-PH, 50/60 Hz
Output current15 to 30 A
Open circuit voltage (OCV)256 VDC
Rated output voltage125 VDC, 35%, 240 V
Duty cycle @ 104-degreeF (40-degree C)35%, 240 V; 20%, 120 V
Engine drive requirement5.5 kW for full 30A output
Power supply typeInverter (IGBT)
Warrantytorches – 1-year power supplies – 3-year
Weight w/torch21.4 pounds
Dimensions with handle14.0″ D; 5.5″ W; 11.5″ H


  • Ideal for cutting both thick and thin metals
  • Surprisingly faster and deeper cut
  • 50% increase in cutting power
  • Less edge preparation
  • User-friendly, ergonomic design
  • Highly portable; easy, and safe to use
  • No explosive or expensive needed; it uses only compressed air
  • 110 or 240 V compatible


  • At reduced voltage, this model works, but not very well.

Hypertherm powermax 30 air vs. 30 XP

These two models may seem similar at first glance. But there are some important distinctions between them that you should know before purchasing.

Dimensions and Weight

The 30 AIR is slightly larger and heavier than the 30 XP.

30 AIR30 XP
Weight (pounds)29.821.4
Height (inch)1213.1
Width (inch)6.67.7
Length (inch)1416.5


Both models are rated at 30 amps. But the 30 XP produces 50% more wattage than the 30 Air.

Cutting Capacity

30 AIR30 XP
Recommended thickness 5/16” (speed 20 ipm) 3/8” (speed 10 ipm)3/8” (speed 20 ipm) ½” (speed 10 ipm)
Severance5/8” (speed 5 ipm)5/8” (speed 5 ipm)


30 Air comes with an AT30 torch (non-shielded design), where 30 XP includes Duramax LT torch (shielded design).

Consumables Life

30 XP has a better consumables life than the 30 AIR’s AT30 torch, which is rated 70% more.

That’s it- the reviews of the two most popular models of hypertherm powermax 30 line up.

Both models pack a pretty big punch for their size.

But which is better suited for your work?

That depends. First, consider your daily workload.

Hypertherm 088096 Powermax 30 AIR– is perfect if you don’t want to depend on an external compressor and need a unit to use for everyday cutting or welding hobbies.

Hypertherm 088079 Powermax30 XP– is the right choice if you want a little more power and a faster cutting speed.

30 AIR will not finish the cut quite as fast as the 30 XP. However, if you need to cut 5/8-inch thick materials regularly, the 30XP is your best option.

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