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Hobart Airforce 12CI Full Review, Is It Really What You Need?

Creating a surprising formula, Hobart introduced a lightweight, monster power plasma cutter. Hobart Airforce 12CI is this monster. It also comes with another surprise. It has its own internal air compressor, which makes him rank high in terms of portability. Think of it, you have a lightweight cutter, and you don’t need to carry an air compressor. This is a perfect portability condition.

There are still some surprises to know about this cutter. We will uncover them all in this in-depth Hobart Airforce 12CI review. We will also go through the drawbacks of this machine and how they could affect your experience. Let’s break these plasma cutter features down one by one.

Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter with Built-In Air Compressor 120V , Brown

Who is Hobart Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter For?

This cutter is ideal for a person:

1. Looking for a plasma cutter for light to medium work
2. Wants a plasma cutter with an internal air compressor and doesn’t want to carry an air compressor around
3. Seeking a literally incomparable machine regarding ease of movement and portability.

Hobart Airforce 12ci Pros and Cons

  • Incomparable lightweight/performance formula
  • Internal air compressor
  • Automatic gas settings
  • Highly valuable safety procedures
  • Deliver precise and clean cuts
  • Good warranty terms
  • Long-life torch and consumables
  • It’s a single voltage with only a 120V option
  • Not compatible with CNC Table

What makes Hobart 500564 Airforce 12i Plasma Cutter Special? – In-depth Review

Hobart 12CI Performance in Review | Clean Cuts on Various Metals | 9.5/10

Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter with Built-In Air Compressor 120V , Brown

This is one of the powerful plasma cutters of Hobart. It delivers exceptional performance compared to its weight.

Cuts Variety of Metals 

Hobart plasma cutter 12ci works effectively in cutting different metals, including:

  • Stainless steel
  • Mild steel 
  • Aluminum
  • Brass
  • Copper
  • Galvanized steel

You can expect good cutting results on all of these gives you great power for your cuts to facilitate your work on metals.

Cutting Thickness to Count On 

Hobart 12ci would give you a precise and clean cut for metals up to ⅛ inch at an average rate of 10 inches per minute, and a maximum severance cut up to ¼ inch. Although the cutting thicknesses we just mentioned are the standard for this machine, the machine could go further, with some metals reaching higher cutting thicknesses at high-power settings.

After all, this machine gives you tremendous power, allowing for minimum possible dross.

Various Applications to Use it For

Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter with Built-In Air Compressor 120V , Brown

This machine is for light to medium metalwork. You can smoothly use it in various applications including:

  • Constructions
  • DIY
  • Farm and Ranch Manufacturing 
  • Metal Art

These are just some examples. You can still use the machine for endless projects and metalwork.

Design and Functionality in Review | Perfect for Portability | 9.2/10

One of the most extraordinary things about this machine, Its light weight compared to the power it has. The only thing that affects the Design and Functionality rating negatively is the single voltage option this machine comes with.

Portable and lightweight

Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter with Built-In Air Compressor 120V , Brown

At a weight of 27 lbs. comes this Hobart Plasma 12ci. This is approximately half the weight of other plasma cutters at its price range. This allows you to carry and move it with much ease and with no hustle. In addition, its 110v power options make it easily attachable to any power outlet. It provides a superpower compared to its lightweight, which is a significant advantage for this “Airforce” plasma cutter.

Built-In Air Compressor

Unexpected thing from a lightweight machine, to have an internal built-in air compressor. But with this Hobart 500564, it is possible. Thanks to the inverter technology, this machine is equipped with its own air compressor, and you don’t need to use an external one to set this machine.

With this cutter, you would go literally anywhere with a minimum effort.

Runs in House Smoothly

This machine runs on standard household power. You can plug Hobart plasma 12ci simply into a 120V standard household power outlet. So it could be easily used in various places.

Safety in Review | Incomparable Safety procedures | 9.8/10

Dealing with metals required numerous safety procedures to ensure your safety and that of the machine. This machine provides notable safety procedures.

Dependable Air Cooling System

The torch and tip of the machine cool quickly thanks to the integrated post-flow air cooling system. This advanced cooling system helps in prolonging the life of consumables and the torch. It also maintains the durability of the tools. It also has a Fan-On-Demand that significantly helps in getting rid of dust and debris that results from cutting and throw it away from the machine.

Troubleshooting Indicators

This cutter has auto troubleshooting indicators that discover and diagnose the condition of the machine once it contains an issue and helps in solving the issue. It can check the status of the torch, the machine’s temperature, and power conditions. If the Troubleshooting Indicators found any issue, it gives an alert using the LED light and could fix the issue. This helps to keep your machine in the best possible condition, providing long life for the machine and ultimate safety for its user.

Automatic Shut-Off Mechanism

In addition to its thermal capacity that could reach up to 104F (40C), it has special thermal protection. Thermal protection helps to protect the machine from getting overheat by switching off the system if the airflow is blocked or the duty cycle exceeded its standard level. By doing this, the machine protects its internal parts and overall system from quickly deteriorating.

Operations and Usage in Review | Efficient Operations | 9/10

Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter with Built-In Air Compressor 120V , Brown

This cutter operates with a pilot arc start. Let’s take a look at it.

Professional Start 

This machine uses a pilot arc operation. The pilot arc allows the user to start cutting without having to touch the surface of the metal. This leads to a cleaner cut by minimizing dross and also minimum tip burnout. The pilot arc of this machine is a significant component here.

Comfortable Torch’s Grip 

Hobart 12ci cuts with an XT12R plasma torch. This torch gives you a comfortable grip and easy-to-use mechanism, helping you to complete your work more efficiently.

Good Warranty Terms | Warranty in Review | 9.1/10

This machine comes with the standard Hobart warranty terms that include:

  • 5-year warranty on transformers, stabilizers, and main rectifiers.
  • 3-year on generators, PC boards, and drive systems
  • 1-year on guns

What’s inside the package – Quick Unboxing 

This machine’s package includes:

Main Parts 

  • 12 ft. XT12R hand-held torch
  • 12 ft. work cable with clamp 
  • 7 ft.power cord with plug 


  • 2 tips 
  • standoff guide 
  • Electrode

Hobart Airforce 12CI Plasma Cutter Review & Unboxing

Unboxing Hobart Airforce 12CI Plasma Cutter

Hobart Airforce 12CI Machine’s Specifications

Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter with Built-In Air Compressor 120V , Brown
Item Weight27.1 lbs.
Duty Cycle35% at 12 A 
Maximum Cut¼ inch
Maximum Clean Cut⅛ inch
Input Power Frequency60 Hz
ApplicationsConstructionsDIYFarm and Ranch ManufacturingMetal Art 
Hobart Airforce 12CI Plasma Cutter Specifications

Conclusion: Why You Should Get Your Hobart plasma 12ci Today!

Lightweight and huge power is a combination that is hard to be found. In Hobart Plasma 12CI, you would find it. You would also find precise and clean cutting ability, long-life torch and consumables, and a highly safe machine to use. All these things are backed by Hobart’s dependable warranty. If this is what you are looking for from a plasma cutter, you can find this plasma cutter at the best market price on Amazon directly through this link, Hobart 500564 Airforce 12ci Plasma Cutter.

Hobart Airforce 12ci Alternatives:

Check out also our reviews for similar plasma cutters with affordable prices under $500

9.5Expert Score
Best Safety Plasma Cutter

If you are interested in a safety plasma cutter, we recommend Hobart Airforce 12CI, its Incomparable Safety procedures.

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