So what do you look for in a cutting torch? The very first feature that offers the best return on your investment is versatility. Oxygen-acetylene torches should come with different nozzles and pressure regulating features that allow for not only cutting but also welding, soldering, and brazing. Most users also like portability because not all of your cutting or welding is going to be done in the comfort of your shop. Finally, although a cutting torch is a very valuable tool, it generally isn’t used as much as an air compressor, cordless drill, etc. Consumers want the price to justify the “have it if you need it” mindset of the torch.
Here are 5 of the best cutting torches on the market. They all combine the desirable features and then some.
Campbell Hausfeld WT400000AV Oxy-Acetylene Torch Kit
Campell-Hausfeld is one of the most trusted names in home and automotive tools and their 5-year warranty on all products makes this particular model a very worry-free investment. This unit is a fully portable oxy-acetylene torch that has the ability to cut metal up to 6” thick. With the appropriate tips it can also do brazing up to 1/2” wide. The kit also comes with a rosebud tip which is not standard for other manufacturers. The stainless steel torch handle and 15′ double lined hose give an idea of the typical durability that ever asset of Campbell Hausfeld tools are known for. Great for light to medium duty.
Ameriflame T100 Portable Welding/Brazing Outfit with Carrying Stand
Sometimes low prices have the opposite effect in that they scare consumers away instead of providing them with an unmatched value. At first glance the low price tag for the Ameriflame T100 could be a red flag indicating a cheaply made model with a 1-year life span (if that). The truth is this model has received nothing but rave reviews with comparisons to torch kits that cost 3X-4X the price.
It is a 10-piece set that is incredibly light at just over 11 pounds. This portable unit is perfect for medium duty cutting, welding, and brazing (in fact it was Amazon’s #1 ranked brazing kit). The combination of low price and high quality makes the Ameriflame T100 a prime candidate for a double buy – purchasing a second unit just to have as a backup. It’s, hands down, one of the best cutting torches for the money.
Victor Technologies 0384-2045 Performer Cutting System
One of the more heavy-duty systems available, this setup from Victor Technologies has the ability to cut metal up to 8” thick or a 3/4” wide swath. Welds can be made up to 1/8” wide or 3” deep with nozzles that are included optionally. Attachments in the package include a cutting tip, a heating nozzle, and a welding tip. This medium duty cutting torch has everything included for most cutting, welding, and brazing jobs. It comes with a 5-year warranty to justify the higher, roughly $400 list price even though most consumers consider that price still a significant bargain.
Victor Technologies 0384-2036 Journeyman Heavy Duty Cutting System
The extent of material thickness that most home users are going to cut by hand generally doesn’t get past 6”. However, it’s best to include a heavy duty cutting system for those who have extensive farm or auto cutting or some welding needs. As expected, you’ll pay more for the expanded capabilities of a torch designed almost for industrial use and this Victor Technologies model is no different with price ranges from $500-$900.
That being said, when reliability is your livelihood, it’s best to spare no expense. The 0384-2036 cuts up to 8” thick and 3/4” wide. It is a perfect addition for somebody who needs to carry a torch as part of their job or prefers using propane compared to acetylene. It’s among the best cutting torches period, and this fact alone might justify its higher price.
Neiko® 10921 Gas Welding and Cutting Torch Kit
One of the most affordable and best cheap cutting torches on the market, the Neiko 10921 doesn’t seem to lack anything in the power and versatility market despite the low cost. This unit is an all-purpose torch that comes with cutting nozzle #1 as well as multiple welding nozzles (#0, #2, and #4). If you use a cutting torch sparingly as a hobbyist or for random emergency situations this is the ideal product for you at a great price. If you tend to use a cutting torch / welder more frequently it’s probably best to invest a bit more money in a unit fit for heavy-duty use.
Cutting Torch Conclusion
In order to find the best cutting torch, you really need to identify how you specifically are going to use the unit. If you’re a tinkerer or a hobbyist who might break have cutting/welding/brazing needs 10 times a year max, some of the lower-priced models are going to be more than capable of serving your uses. If you’re the go-to in your neighborhood or family for fixing things, you’ll probably want to spend a bit more now so you aren’t inevitably doing so anyway 2-3 years from now.
Another thing to consider is the accessories that are included. Some additional tips can cost up to $75 each so if they are included in the kit it adds that much more valuable while giving you extra versatility.
If this is your first cutting torch purchase, be warned that it might be a trial and error process. Once you fine-tune your ability and needs, finding the ideal cutting torch for you personally will be a much easier task. Good luck!