Hobart 500566 Airforce 40i Plasma Cutter Review

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In Brief: Hobart 500566 Airforce 40i Review

From the industry-leading Hobart company comes the Hobart 500566 Airforce 40i Plasma Cutter 240V. This machine includes dual voltage technology and a powerful XT40R torch designed for ergonomics and safety. It features a built-in pilot arc controller function and safety features such as Fan-On-Demand.

As one of the welding industry’s leading manufacturers, the Hobart company creates and produces innovative machinery for plasma cutting and welding needs.

This company holds its products to a high standard of quality and customer satisfaction.

The Hobart Airforce 40i lives up to its company name. This machine makes portable plasma cutting easy enough for beginners to use with no prior experience.

At the same time, its precise controls allow experienced users to dial in the right settings for more advanced projects.

Key Specifications of the Hobart 500566 Airforce 40i

Hobart 500566 Airforce 40i Plasma Cutter 240V

The Hobart Airforce 40i comes ready for use out of the box. It includes a user-friendly interface with controls designed for easy beginner plasma cutting.

This machine comes with safety features designed to prevent overheating and extend the life of the product as well.

Check out the Hobart 500566 Airforce 40i in action here –


Read the long list of Hobart 500566 Airforce 40i specs below:

Plasma Cutter
Input Voltage110/115/120V
Amperage Range
Rated Output @
104F, 120V
(15A) 20A @ 88VDC
60% duty cycle
(20A) 27A @ 91VDC
35% duty cycle
Rated Output @
104F, 240V
40A @ 140VDC
60% duty cycle
Input Phase1-Phase
Dimensions5.5 in. w x 9 in. h x 13.25 in. l
WarrantyCheck Manual
FeaturesDual voltage
Pilot arc controller
Accessories12ft. Xt40R plasma cutting torch
12ft. work cable and clamp
12ft. power cord and plug
Built-in gas/air filter and regulator
Consumables kit

Unique Features

With the Hobart Airforce 40i, the pilot arc controller feature and line voltage compensation function combine to create a strong beginner plasma cutter.

Pilot Arc Controller

The machine features a pilot arc controller that allows users to operate the plasma cutter on painted metal without the need to trigger the torch multiple times.

Dual Voltage

With a dual voltage setup, this plasma cutter runs on 240V for bigger tasks and 120V for household jobs.

Line Voltage Compensation

Line voltage compensation helps keep cuts smooth and clean by providing a wide range of forgiveness in terms of setting variables.


The included Fan-On-Demand function prevents the cooling fan from running until needed. This improves energy efficiency and reduces noise as well as dust.

Welder Compatibility

This plasma cutter works with many engine-driven welders to receive higher voltage inputs and provide better outputs as well.


Performance & Ease of Transportation

Backed by the high standards of the Hobart company, the Hobart Airforce 40i plasma cutter provides optimal cutting performance and surprising portability.


The Hobart Airforce 40i plasma cutter works beautifully right out of the box. Simply set it up, hook up an air compressor, and get started operating this high-performance portable cutter in no time.

Thanks to this machine’s focus on beginning users, it sets up in no time and runs smoothly for years. It cuts like butter through a variety of metals and thicknesses and it features durable interior components that last.

The machine makes it easy to identify when air pressure needs adjusting so it can continue performing well and living up to expectations throughout your projects.

It doesn’t burn through consumables too fast and provides efficient plasma cutting for any skill level.

Ease of Transportation

This machine weighs just 21 pounds and remains on the low end of the portable plasma cutter weight range. Despite its lightweight design, it includes reliable, sturdy inner parts and a durable, heavy-duty outer shell.

This machine works on both 120V and 240V currents, so you can plug it wherever you need it for on-site plasma cutting work.

With a convenient strap handle, this machine travels easily even when used with its included attachments.


Cut Quality and Available Options

This plasma cutter handles thick metal cutting with no trouble. It cuts very quickly and cleanly with no excess cleanup after a pass. The results look sharp and professional even when operated by a beginning user.

For thinner materials, the machine works best for quick passes. It cuts through thin material just as smoothly as thick and lives up to the expectations of the Hobart company’s loyal customer base.

The Hobart Airforce 40i plasma cutter comes in just one option. Customers may add the following:

  • Protective cover: This machine doesn’t need a utility cart thanks to its highly portable design. However, a protective cover can keep it safe when not in use.
  • Replacement torch: Purchase a replacement torch and consider upgrading the length of the cord as well.

Ease of Maintenance, Repairs & Warranty

Customers can purchase replacement consumables, cables, and accessories from the Hobart company web site. The site does not include replacement internal working components for welders or plasma cutters.

The Hobart company recommends contacting a licensed repair technician to handle internal repairs.

Before performing routine maintenance, unplug the machine and leave it unplugged for 30 minutes to discharge electricity inside.

Every time you use the machine, check the gas pressure, air pressure, electrode, and torch tip. Every week check the shield cup shutdown system.

Every three months check the torch body and cable as well as other cables and the gas and air hoses. Clean the air filter and regulator at this time.

Every six months open the machine and use compressed air to clean the inside. Clean the vents at the same time.

The Hobart company provides a 5/3/1 warranty on this machine.

The warranty covers five years of parts and labor on the power rectifiers, stabilizers, transformers, and reactors, plus three years of parts and labor on the switches, controls, PC boards, and rotors.

The warranty includes one year of parts and labor for plasma cutting torches and six months of replacement parts for batteries.

Contact the Hobart company for more warranty information at 1-800-332-3281.


What size air compressor does the Hobart Airforce 40i require?

This machine needs an air compressor that provides at least 4.8cfm @ 90-120psi.

Does the Hobart Airforce 40i have a pilot arc?

Yes. This machine includes a pilot arc for plasma cutting.

Can the Hobart Airforce 40i cut through metal that has rusted or been painted?

Yes. The cut may not appear as clean on a single pass when working on rusty or painted metal, but the machine can handle it.

What size generator does the Hobart Airforce 40i require?

This machine runs on generators that provide at least 7000 watts of continuous power and 30amps of output.

Price of the Hobart 500566 Airforce 40i Plasma Cutter

The Hobart Airforce 40i plasma cutter comes with everything you need to use it out of the box other than an air compressor.

It features durable inner components and a sturdy outer shell plus all the power and sophistication of the Hobart brand name.

With so many features and benefits, this machine’s price falls higher than many of its competitors. Despite its higher price, however, customers feel the cost strongly reflects the exceptional value of this product.


Who Should Buy the Hobart 500566 Airforce 40i Plasma Cutter ?

Home hobbyists looking for a portable plasma cutter with plenty of power to handle tough jobs enjoy working with the Hobart Airforce 40i.

This machine plugs easily into home outlets and works on more powerful voltages as needed, too.

The plasma cutter provides optimal precision controls for metal artists as well as auto repair and restoration hobbyists. With a simple user interface, the product makes it easy to dial in the right settings as you work.

Even professionals and experienced users find a lot to love in this powerful little product. It handles steel up to 5/8-inch thickness and keeps plasma cutting simple and accessible for quick on-site jobs.

Our Recommendation

The Hobart Airforce 40i brings convenient plasma cutting to residential customers.

This machine includes tons of beginner-friendly functions and enough precision to keep more experienced users satisfied throughout a multitude of projects.

We recommend this plasma cutter for auto repair and metal art purposes. We also recommend it for beginners and home hobbyists as well as DIYers who need a simple, lightweight plasma cutter for on-site work.


Last update on 2024-06-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About Ryan Henderson

Ryan has more than ten years of experience of writing on power tools - use, reviews, and more. During his free time, he loves cooking and spending time with his dog.

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