On-loan Yeovil striker Reuben Reid opened the scoring from close range after latching on to a rebound as man of the match Joe Bryan's thumping shot bounced off the post.
Argyle surged further ahead when Onismor Bhasera's pace-driven cross from the left flew off Cheltenham's Michael Hector and in, on 54 minutes.
The win, their fourth in five, lifted Argyle to 18th in the tightly-packed basement, three points above second from bottom York with a game in hand.
"I thought it was a very good performance - a great comeback after the disappointment of losing at York," the former Chesterfield boss said.
"We weren't at the races at York so to come back and give that performance against a very good team, who are going for automatic (promotion) was outstanding and we could have scored a lot more goals than we did.
"I have always said the magic word is consistency and that's what I have been trying to get out of the players.
"I won't leave them alone until we get that, and I think we are improving.
"The York game was a downer, it was the way we performed more than anything else and I don't expect that. I have been very pleased with the way we have been playing, I think we are improving."