When you’re welding, you need to have the right equipment to get the job done and a torch is an important tool in a metalworker’s toolkit. There are two main types of torches: the cutting torch and the welding torch. But what’s the difference between them?
A cutting torch is used to cut metals into smaller pieces, and a welding torch is used to join pieces of metal together. Cutting torches have a nozzle that makes it possible to cut metal, while welding torches have a tip that is designed to create a weld pool used for joining pieces of metal.
And which one do you need for your project? In this post, we’ll take a closer look at both types of torches and explain when you should use each one.
In this guide, we cover the following topics:
- How does a welding torch work?
- Best torch welding kits
- FAQs on what is the difference between cutting and welding torches
How Does a Welding Torch Work?
When most people think of welding, they imagine a hot flame is used to melt two pieces of metal together. However, the torch is only one part of the welding process. The torch itself is actually quite simple, consisting of a nozzle, a handle, and a gas valve.
The nozzle is where the flame comes out, and the handle is used to adjust the size of the flame. The gas valve regulates the flow of fuel to the torch. The fuel can be either propane or acetylene, and the torch is usually fitted with an oxygen tank in order to create a hot, oxygen-rich flame.
When used correctly, the torch can reach temperatures of up to 6000 degrees Fahrenheit. This extreme heat is what allows the welders to join two pieces of metal together.
High/equal pressure torches use oxygen and acetylene gases. Each gas has its own chamber and the torch is constructed such that each gas is supplied under adequate pressure into the mixing chamber.
You can control the supply of individual gases using needle valves. The mixture of oxy-acetylene aids the cutting, welding, brazing, or soldering action based on the tips used.
Welding torches are made of brass, aluminum, or stainless steel, while the tips are usually made of copper. Manufacturers specify which torch tip size to use based on the job’s thickness.
Depending on the tip size and the thickness of the job, the gas pressure can be adjusted with the help of a pressure regulator.
Torch welding devices produce flames with temperatures over 6000 deg F. You can attach a cutting head, welding tip, or a heat attachment depending on the job – welding, cutting, brazing, etc.
For cutting thick metals, you’d need an additional cutting tip attached to the cutting head. This will control the thickness of the flame and make it easier to cut thick metals.
Some torches use other gases such as propane and even natural gas. However, propane torches do not produce as much thermal energy as oxy-acetylene torches. In general, oxy-acetylene torches give a better weld quality as well and are preferred by professionals and DIY welders.
To use a welding torch for cutting, you use the following steps:
- Ensure safety always – make sure the area you weld in is well-ventilated. Wear safety goggles/helmets and appropriate welding attire.
- Attach the appropriate tip for the project. Some kits include the tips but for special cutting, or for use with propane, you may have to buy tips or nozzles separately.
- Connect the oxygen and gas tank to the torch handle. Select the appropriate psi.
- Ignite the torch and set it to a neutral flame. For a neutral flame, you need to find the right balance between oxygen and acetylene. After adjusting the pressure, and connecting the oxygen and acetylene tanks to the brazing torch, ignite the acetylene and light the torch. Slowly begin adding oxygen until you get sharp cones to create the portable torch tip.
- Move the torch tip slowly along the line of the cut until the metal is fully parted.
What is the difference between a cutting torch tip and a welding torch tip?
Cutting involves the removal of material whereas welding involves the joining of metals. In general cutting tips have a larger oxygen orifice size to allow greater oxygen flow rate and large oxygen stream.
Welding tips or nozzles have a single hole where the oxy-acetylene mixture exits and burns. On the other hand, the cutting nozzle or tip comes with a single hole in the center with a ring of holes surrounding it.
Their purpose is to feed more oxygen to the flame – which you enable by pushing the oxygen lever on the cutting handle. It’s important to keep your tips clean so gas can flow unobstructed, I typically use stainless steel wire files for cleaning the gas orifices of cutting and brazing tips.
Let us now discuss some of the best welding torch kits available on the market.
Best Welding Torches and Welding Kits
Winner – ESAB Victor 0384-2692 Medalist HD Acetylene Cutting and Welding System
Without a doubt, the Victor Medalist is the choice of professional welders and it has been so for decades. Features like heavy-duty construction, versatility, and portability make the Victor ESAB Medalist the favorite welding torch kit for home and industrial projects. Many professional welders will vouch for this cutting and welding system.
Victor ESAB can be operated on oxygen, propane, or natural gas. Its user-friendly design includes color-coded knobs that make adjustments easy. With optional nozzles, you can weld up to ⅛” or 3”.
The kit also comes with goggles, check valves, various attachments and cutting and rosebud tips, a long 25-ft hose, and everything else you need to get started. This safe kit includes valves to prevent the back-flow of gases.
- Cuts up to 3/4″ or 6″ with optional tips.
- Can weld up to 1/8″ or 3″ with an optional nozzle
- Long hose of 25’
- Built-in check valves to prevent backflow for enhanced safety
- Heavy duty
- Long hose
- Value for money
- Proven in the industry
How it compares
No doubt, the Victor ESAB has a long-standing reputation in the industry. It is extremely well-made; a reliable cutting and welding torch kit that is ergonomically designed and user-friendly.
Victor ESAB is also safe to use and comes with in-built reverse flow check valves that eliminate the reverse flow of gases. The price may be on the higher side, but it is total value for money.
Most Durable – ZenStyle Oxygen & Acetylene Gas Cutting Torch and Welding Kit
With appropriate tips, you can easily cut 6” and braze up to ½” with the ZenStyle oxy-acetylene welding kit. It is easy and intuitive to use with clear and legible numbers on the gauge. This makes it perfect for DIY enthusiasts and veteran welder professionals alike.
You will certainly save time and money with the ZenStyle oxy-acetylene – it comes with all the accessories you need to get started on your cutting or welding project.
The versatile ZenStyle oxy-acetylene welding kit is also ideal for various applications like soldering, brazing, welding, cutting, etc.
- Durable and high-quality materials like brass – no plastic parts or painted thin metal sheets
- cut up to 6” and weld or braze up to 1/2”
- Fits all American oxygen cylinders and most acetylene cylinders
- Delivery pressures – for oxygen between 5-125 psi and for acetylene 2-15 psi
- Large brass handles for easy and smooth adjustments
- Cutting nozzles #0 welding nozzles #0,#2,#4
- Hose length 15 ft. with diameter ¼ ft
- No leaks
- Great customer service
- Value for money
- Includes a carrying case and goggles
Replaceable tips and other normal parts are hard to find
How it compares
With the ZenStyle Oxygen & Acetylene Gas Cutting Torch and Welding Kit, you get all the accessories you need for home or professional projects, without spending too much. This top-quality, durable cutting torch and welding kit gives outstanding performance and does a wide range of tasks like welding, soldering, and rivet cutting. Its price is nearly half that of our winning entry.
3. Best Overall: Hobart 770502 Medium Duty Oxy-Acetylene Kit
The Hobart 770502 cuts up to 6” and welds up to1/2” with optional tips and cuts up to ½ “ and welds up to 3/32” with included tips. You can also operate it on propane gas simply by changing the tip (included in the kit).
The Hobart 770502 is versatile and can be used for various applications like the farm, ranch, refrigeration, automotive, etc.
- Includes backflow preventers
- Acetylene regulator has CGA510 fitting
- 20-foot T-grade hose.
- Includes goggles
- Medium-duty jobs
How it compares
The Hobart 770502 weighs just 16 lb. and can be taken out for farm or ranch work. It is versatile and can even be used with propane. With optional tips, you can use it for cutting and welding up to 6” and ½” respectively.
The price is slightly on the higher side.
4. Best Affordable Cutting Torch: ABN Oxygen & Acetylene Torch Kit
This is a built-to-last, easy-to-use oxy-acetylene cutting torch kit that costs less than $75. Despite its affordable price, the ABN Oxy-Acetylene cutting torch kit comes with brass fittings and copper tips that are built for strength and durability.
- Includes oxygen and acetylene regulator valve knobs, copper welding attachment, iron-chrome igniter, tip cleaner, brass joints, and storage case.
- Useful for cutting, welding, soldering, brazing
- Constructed of heavy-duty metal parts
- Easy to use
- Built to last
- Can be hooked with Viktor’s set
- Prone to leaks
How it compares
The ABN Oxygen & Acetylene Torch Kit best-cutting torch kit is great for light cutting work. It is portable and made with sturdy metals like brass. However, some users have complained of leaks. Its price is very attractive.
5. Best Portable: Stark USA 55147 Oxygen Acetylene Welder Tool Kit
The Stark USA 55147 is perfect for an amateur or a seasoned pro. It can be used for various applications like soldering, brazing, welding, and rivet cutting. It weighs less than 20 lb. and comes in a carrying case for portability.
The kit contains everything you need to get started: gas regulators, handles, etc. it also includes various nozzles, cutting tip size no.0, and hoses for different applications.
- Cuts up to 6 and welds up to ½
- Comes with reverse flow check valves
- Sturdy brass valve body
- Precision torch valve handles with dual check valves
- Weighs just 16 lb.
- Twin Hose 15′ x 1/4″ Welding Hose
- Lightweight and portable – includes a carrying case
- Compatible with Victor products
- Great for gifting
- Poor customer service
- Might not hook directly to the acetylene tank – needs an adapter.
How it compares
For less than $200, the Stark USA 55147 is a great welding kit. It is versatile and portable, and you can use it for various applications indoors and outdoors. It comes in an attractive kit and is good for gifting too.
How to use a welding rod with a torch?
- Hold the torch in the usual manner at the appropriate angle
- Move the torch forward with a sideways weaving motion along the line of the weld.
- At the same time, feed the welding rod into the puddle melting both the base metal and the rod with the flame.
- Make sure to hold the welding rod at an angle of 45 degrees to the surface of the base metal along the line of the weld.
The main difference between a cutting and welding torch lies in the tip used. Cutting tips are thicker and allow greater oxygen flow for which they need more holes. The extra holes help increase the oxygen flow through them. Welding tips have a single orifice in the center. These days, you can buy oxy-acetylene welding kits that do both jobs – cutting and welding along with the tips for both jobs.
The ESAB Victor 0384-2692 Medalist HD Acetylene Cutting and Welding System has a long-standing reputation in the industry. It is extremely well-made; a reliable cutting and welding torch kit that is ergonomically designed and user-friendly. Victor ESAB is also safe to use and comes with in-built reverse flow check valves that eliminate the reverse flow of gases.
With the ZenStyle Oxygen & Acetylene Gas Cutting Torch and Welding Kit, you get all the accessories you need for home or professional projects – without spending too much. This top-quality, durable cutting and welding kit gives outstanding performance and does a wide range of tasks like welding, soldering, and rivet cutting.
The ABN Oxygen & Acetylene Torch Kit is one of the best budget-friendly cutting torch kits. It is great for light cutting work, portable, and made with sturdy metals like brass. Its price is very attractive too.
Below is a helpful YouTube video showing the basic method used to torch weld metal pieces together.
FAQs on What Is the Difference Between a Cutting and a Welding Torch
Can you weld with a cutting torch?
Yes, you can use the same oxy-acetylene torch kit for welding and cutting by using the right tips and nozzle attachments.
Can you cut metal with a welding torch?
Yes, you can cut metal with an Oxy-acetylene welding torch but you’d need to make certain adjustments first. Mainly, you need to use a special cutting tip.