Home - Machine Repairs - Plasma vs. Laser vs. Water Jet Cutting

Plasma vs. Laser vs. Water Jet Cutting

Posted on July 11, 2019 in Machine Repairs

If you have been involved in the metal fabrication industry for quite some time now, chances are high that you might have asked yourself this quintessential question before, “plasma, laser or water jet cutting? Unfortunately, we don’t have a definitive answer for this, simply because it all depends on what you really put more value in. In order to put on a resolution to this dilemma, we need to have a breakdown of the technical and economic aspects of these primary metal cutting solutions. 

Plasma Cutting 

The working idea behind plasma jet cutting method is to utilize an electrically conductive gas so that energy can be transferred from an energy power source through a plasma cutting torch then towards the material that you wanted to cut.  Distinguished for its high-level of efficiency in cutting through a variety of metals, plasma cutting is earned a good reputation as being the least expensive among the three options to which we are giving details here:  


  • Economical
  • Cutting accuracy exceedingly better than 0.00*” 
  • Capable of cutting through a wide array of metals 
  • Faster cutting speeds
  • Impressive hole quality

Perceived Disadvantages 

Plasma vs. Laser vs. Water Jet Cutting
  • A lesser level of accuracy when compared to water jet cutting and laser cutting
  • In order to deal with different materials, you need to change the cutting edge.  
  • Creates fumes which are a byproduct of this cutting method. 
  • Slipshod edge quality  with some materials
  • Produces fumes in the cutting process
  • Poor edge quality on some materials
  • Laser Cutting

In order to cut a wide range of materials, laser metal cutting makes use, as the name itself suggests, laser beams. This method of cutting is a notch higher in comparison to plasma cutting because it utilizes a lesser amount of energy as it cuts through steel and aluminum.  

Laser Cutting Advantages

  • Allows for faster cutting of intricate shapes sans the need for tooling.
  • Cuts through various materials with  varying degrees of thicknesses simultaneously
  • Capable of  cutting through narrow widths
  • Efficient cutting method for both nonmetals and qualified metals. 
  • A fast method of cutting metal 
  • Efficient job processing
  • Reliable

Perceived Disadvantages of Laser Cutting

  • Much more expensive in comparison to other methods of cutting
  • Requires higher levels of accuracy when placing lasers
  • Difficult to use on reflexive metals


You can determine the level of accuracy of a cutting machine by making a comparative analysis of the actual measurements of the final part to the programmed part size. The absence of heat distortion is making water jet cutter most accurate, trailing behind it is last and plasma cutting.