8 Best 120v Stick Welder: 2020 Best 120v Arc Welder Reviews

best 120v stick welder

Stick welding is one of those welding processes that is not restricted to one particular group of people. Whether it’s home or industrial welding applications, a stick welder will come in handy. For home use, in particular, you will be best served by the best 120v stick welder.

Due to the popularity and versatility of this welding process, stick welders are in plenty in the market. And they come in all shapes, sizes, and prices. The question is, which one is best suited to your welding needs and applications.

As with any other appliance, different stick welders will appeal to different people. Nonetheless, there are those that can be considered ideal for a variety of welding applications. So which is the best 120v welder for stick welding?

After analyzing many different models we have narrowed down to eight. These eight offered great value for money and came highly recommended by users.

A Quick Comparison Of Our Top 120v Stick Welder

Best 120v Stick Welder

Forney Easy Weld 298 Arc Welder 100ST, 120-Volt-"Best Budget Welder"

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Forney was the first company to produce a welder for hobbyists and farmers. Thus, there is a lot to expect from the Forney Easy Weld 298 Arc welder. Built with the inverter power system, it is a lightweight and compact machine for farm and home use. 

Portable and flexible
Weighing 7.5 pounds, it is one of the most lightweight stick welders out there. But that’s not all as this electric welder comes with a long 6 ft electric cord. Thus, it offers you the flexibility to weld in almost any location within your home.

TIG capable welder
In terms of versatility, this stick welder is also capable of TIG welding. This gives it versatility in terms of what you can weld and the thickness of the welding materials.

Uses both AC and DC
On its description, this is described as an AC welder. However, the output is actually DC-based and pugs into AC power plugs. This makes it an easy machine to use as you can plug it into a regular 120v power outlet.

SPECS

  • Inverter power system
  • 120v power input
  • 90 amps output
  • 6-foot power cord

why i like it

drawbacks

Given that it is an inverter-based welding machine, it is very lightweight and compact. Besides, its build quality is also very good. Overall, it is a great machine that can perform a variety of welding tasks.

Amico ARC-160D, 160 Amp Stick ARC IGBT Inverter DC Welder

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The Amico ARC-160D stick welder is another that is more suited to home repair works. As its name suggests it uses IGBT inverter technology. As such you can expect a small and lightweight unit.

160 amps maximum output
A maximum output of 160 amps is not all that impressive. However, for mild steel, automotive repair works, it is more than sufficient. Furthermore, the power output of this welder can go as low as 20 amps, which is ideal for thinner sheets of metal.

Ease of use
Designed more for homeowners, this unit is incredibly easy to use. You have a simple dial for setting the output amperage you wish to weld at. Furthermore, there is an LCD that displays the amperage you are welding at. This makes it easy to switch between different amperage output.

Impressive duty cycle
For such a small machine I was not expecting to be blown away but its duty cycle. Surprisingly though, it has a duty cycle of 60% at 160 amps. This was honestly a pleasant surprise.

SPECS

  • 115v/230v power plug
  • 20-160 amps range
  • 60% duty cycle at 160 amps
  • 10 feet 300 amp grounding clamp
  • 200 amp electrode holder

why I like it

drawbacks

This is a welder designed for welding thinner sheets of metal. It is, for this reason, it is more suitable for home use.

Thunderbolt 160 DC Stick Welder

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The Thunderbolt 160 DC Stick Welder is yet another popular welding machine for a variety of welding tasks. This stick welder is simple to use and portable, making it an ideal option for beginners and pro welders alike.

Simple to use
One of the reasons why it is loved by beginners is how simple it is to use. It comes with a simple user interface that makes it easy to set your amperage and heat output. Moreover, the hot start technology makes starting the rods quickly and easy.

A versatile welder
This welding machine comes fitted with the Miller multi-voltage plug. This means it is a dual voltage machine that can use either the 120v or 240 v power output. This DC stick welder can thus be used on a variety of welding projects.

Portable
This welding machine was built to be lighter than previous models. The result is a welding machine that weighs 15 pounds. This makes it easy to carry around from one welding project to another.

SPECS

  • Miller’s hot start technology
  • 10 ft work cable with clamp
  • 6.5 ft power cord
  • Shoulder strap included
  • 15 pounds weight

why I like it

drawbacks

This little welding machine has plenty to offer. It is both portable and powerful. Also since it uses both the 120 and 240 power plugs can be used by beginners and pros alike. Overall, it is a great welding machine.

Metal Man INVERTER 80 Amp Inverter DC Stick Welder

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When you are thinking of a small inverter stick welder that is enough for home use, the Metal Man INVERTER 80 Amp Inverter DC Stick Welder, is a perfect choice. It is the best 120v inverter welder in its category.

A portable welder
Being an inverter DC welder, it is a very lightweight and compact welding machine. It weighs about 13 pounds. This means it can be used on different welding projects that require a lot of movement.

Flexible welder
While it is a stick welder, it can also be used for TIG welding. The TIG torch is sold separately though. Nonetheless, for the price you are getting it at, it is understandable. With both stick and TIG welding, you can weld both mild and stainless steel.

Cooling features
To ensure it runs optimally, it is fitted with a cooling fan. This keeps it cooled while it’s being used. To prevent overheating it features a thermal overload protection feature.

SPECS

  • 80 amps power output
  • 120v power input
  • Hot start feature
  • Cooling fan
  • Thermal protection feature

why I like it

drawbacks

This little machine has delighted many welders and welding enthusiasts. It offers all the basic features you would want from a welder. And the best part is that it is offered at an affordable price tag. Also given it’s an inverter welder it is lightweight and compact.

Hobart 500570 Stickmate 160i

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A bit pricier than most other stick welders, the Hobart 500570 is also quite different from other welders. And this is a good thing. 

Hot start technology

Waiting for your welder to startup can be frustrating. Thanks to the hot start technology of this welder, you do not have to wait for it to be ready to go. With an amperage output of between 20 and 160 amps, it handled 5/32 inch thick mild steel pretty well.

Dual voltage

You get a dual voltage power plug with this unit. Thus it can run on a 120v or 240v. The only thing to note is that you need to ensure the adapter cord and power plug fit the receptacle. 

Portable 

The first thing you notice about this unit is its design and construction. It’s not the biggest welder out there, meaning it does not take up alot of room. Furthermore, weighing 15 pounds it is also relatively lightweight for carrying.

SPECS

  • 30% duty cycle
  • 120v/240v dual voltage power plug
  • 10 ft work cable with clamp
  • 20 to 160 amps output range
  • 10 ft electrode cable
  • Hot start technology

why I like it

drawbacks

If you are a professional welder, we would advise you to look elsewhere. However, if you are looking for a small machine for light welding tasks around the house, this excels at that.

Forney Easy Weld 180 ST 120V/230 V Welder

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Perfect for beginners, the Forney Easy Welder 180 ST is a powerful stick and TIG welder. While it isn’t as affordable as other beginner-friendly welders it is well worth the cost. And here is what you get with this welder.

Dual voltage capabilities
One of the features that are used to identify the best 120v arc welder is dual voltage. Capable of using a 120V or a 230v power outlet, this is one of the welders. It thus can be used at home as well as in an industrial setting.

A powerful welder
Given its dual voltage capabilities, a lot is to be expected when it comes to power output. And it does not disappoint. It has an output of 10 to 90 amps using the 120v plug and an output of 10-180 amps when using the 230v plug. This makes it capable of welding ½ inch thick mild steel

Rugged construction
There are those units that feature a polycarbonate exterior. This is not one of them as it features an all-metal casing. This all-metal casing protects it from wear and tear as well as from harsh weather conditions.

SPECS

  • 120v/230v input power and adapter
  • 8-inch electrode holder
  • 8-inch ground clamp
  • 690 amps power output for the 120v
  • 180 amps pour output for the 230v
  • 30% duty cycle

why I like it

drawbacks

This unit costs slightly less than $400. So is it worth it considering some other units cost less than $200? Well for what you are getting it is worth it. Most of the cheaper welders lack some of the features you get with this welding machine from Forney.

KICKINGHORSE A100 UL-Certified Arc Stick Welder- "Premium Pick"

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Not everyone is looking for a big and powerful welding machine. Some of us are looking for something a bit smaller and compact. Kicking Horse, a company from our neighbors up north, has one of the best small and lightweight stick welders for home use.

Small and portable
At first glance, it is clear that this is one of the smallest welders on the market. Measuring 9 by 4.7 by 6.7 inches, it is quite compact. More importantly, it only weighs 7.7 pounds, meaning you will have no trouble carrying it around.

Anti-stick circuit
If you do strike an arc with the electrode and it comes in physical contact with the metal there is a risk of it sticking. Thankfully this unit comes with an anti-stick circuit. It increases the current making it easy to rip off the electrode when it sticks to the metal.

Hot start technology
It takes very little time for this small machine to be ready when you turn it on. This is thanks to the hot start technology. You can thus get welding in no time.

SPECS

  • 30% duty cycle at 100 amps
  • 200 amps electrode holder
  • 100 amps max output
  • Six ground clamps
  • 10 amps minimum output
  • 120v single phase input

why I like it

drawbacks

This little machine is a worthy purchase. Despite its short cables, it is so small and lightweight that you can carry it around. Thus this will never be an issue.

ARCRAFT Hobby80 Mini DC Arc Welder

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Next up is another small and lightweight mini welder. The ARCRAFT hobby80 mini welder is a DC welder. Let see how this welder performs.

75 amps DC output
With a 75 amps output, this is not designed for handling thick sheets of metal. However, it works well on thinner sheets. It can easily handle ⅛ inch thick metals. On the other end of the spectrum, it has a minimum output of 20 amps.

Easy to carry
Weighing 5.47 With the included shoulder strap, you will have no trouble carrying it around.

Hot start and anti-stick circuit
This machine features the hot start technology we have come to expect from most welders. It means it takes little time for this unit to get started. There is also an anti-stick circuit for when the electrode sticks to the metal surface.

SPECS

  • 75 amps dc max output
  • 20% at 75 amps duty cycle
  • 20 amps minimum output
  • IGBT technology
  • Anti-stick circuit

why I like it

drawbacks

This is one of the smallest and most lightweight stick welders out there. There are many things to love about it. For small repair jobs around the house, this is a great welder.

Why Choose a 120v Stick Welder

So should you buy a 120V stick welder? Compared to other welding machines a 120v stick welder can be a great purchase. For unlike an MIG welder you can use it outside and is also less costly compared to other welding processes.

Also, this is a welding process that is easier to learn than most other welding processes. Futhermore, you can use it on a wide variety of metals as it allows you to easily switch rods. Stick welders are also lightweight and do not require a gas cylinder, thus are more portable.

FAQs about 120v Stick Welder

What type of stick welder works best for general welding?

Ideally a machine with both AC and DC output will be great for all round welding. DC stick welding offers benefits such as less spatter, and better looking welds. AC stick welding on the other hand will do well when welding magnetized surfaces. So a machine with both outputs will be a better option.

What type of rod should i use for a 120v Stick welder?

With a 120v stick welder you can use some of the most common electrodes available. Including the 6013, 6010, 6011,7018 and 7024. These five offer different benefits so its up to you to opt for the one tha meets your needs.

Do i have to remove rust or oil before stick welding?

While stick welding can weld rusted or dirty metals, it is always a good idea to remove rust or oil using a wire brush. Rust and dirt can sometimes lead to poor penetration, cracking and slag inclusion.

Can I plug a 120v 20 amp arc welder into 250v 20 socket?

For safety reasons a 120v 20 amp arc welder should only be plugged into a 120 v power outlet. Plugging it into a 250v 20 socket will lead to a fiery disaster.

Stick Welding Thin Metal using 120v Stick Welder

This Video will help you to know how you weld thin metal using 120v Stick Welder….

Conclusion

Stick welding is one of the oldest welding processes. As such, most of the earlier stick welding machines were bulky and difficult to use. Hence, why only professional welders owned welding machines back in the day.

Thanks to advancements in technology, modern stick welders are lighter and easier to use. There are numerous welder models and brands out there. And new ones are being produced almost every day.

However, not all have what it takes to be crowned best 120v stick welder. The four reviewed above, do have what it takes though. Hence why we opted to review them.

Last update on 2020-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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