If you are a do it yourself kind of person you will find welders, stick welders in particular to be handy tools. Stick welders are easier to use and more portable than some of the other types of welders out there. This is why they are loved by beginners and pros alike.
Also, stick welders can be used to weld both ferrous and non-ferrous metals. And also can be used outdoors without having to worry about wind interference. In a nutshell, stick welders have a lot to offer.
But which is the best stick welder to have? There is surprisingly a large selection of stick welders on the market. This means sifting through all the different makes and models available can be time-consuming.
What is easier is sifting through a list of best stick welder for beginners. And after evaluating and testing a host of different stick welders we have narrowed down to seven. These seven offer value for money, hence why they are on the list.
A Comparison of Our Top Picks for 2020
Top 8 Best Stick Welder Reviews
DEKOPRO 110/220V MMA Welder,160A ARC Welder Machine
The DEKOPro MMA welder falls within the same 160 amps max output category as some of its other competitors. So does it deliver anything different from the competition?
The inside components of the unit such as motors and control circuits are housed within a steel casing. This steel casing has a nice metallic silver spray finish with yellow highlights. Overall, it looks very premium.
Nobody wants a machine that is prone to overheating. To prevent this Dekopro unit has a fan that cools it and keeps air contaminants away. In addition to a fan, it is also equipped with side vents that help keep it cool and ventilated.
Ease of use
Ease of use is another thing you get from this stick welder. There is a single current adjustment knob for adjusting the machine’s output. There is also a digital current meter that shows you the output of your welding gun at any given time.
This is a welding machine that offers great value for money. It is priced at below $150 and offers all the features you would need.
Lotos LTPDC2000D Non-Touch Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter/Tig/Stick Welder 3 in 1 Combo Welding Machine
One of the most complete packages you can get to suit your welding needs is this one right here. The LOTOS LTPDC2000D non-touch pilot arc plasma cutter/tig/stick welder. A three-in-one welding machine, it truly deserves the number one spot on our list.
This machine has a dual voltage capability of 110v and 220v stick welding. Thus it can be used with standard power outlets you have in your home. As well as with more high power outlets. For both tig and stick welding it requires a 50 to 200 amp DC output.
A three-in-one machine
It can be used for tig and stick welding. Also, it comes with a plasma cutter, which can be used to cut through metal. This 50 amp plasma cutter is quite effective at cutting painted, rough or rusty surfaces.
Compact and portable
Normally, you would expect such a machine as this to be bulky, cumbersome and a nightmare to use. However, it is pretty compact and light. Also, given that it is a stick welder it is easy to use. The plasma cutter has a non-touch pilot arc, meaning you don’t have to touch it to use it.
This is one of the most advanced welding machines out there. Indeed not many stick welders come with a plasms cutter included. Furthermore, it is easy to use for both professionals and beginners alike. Indeed this welding machine is one of the best arc welder for beginners in our entire list.
AUTOOL EWM-508 ARC-200 DC Inverter Welder
The title of the best cheap stick welder goes to the AUTOOL EWM-508 ARC-200 DC inverter welder. Costing slightly over $120 it is a decent welding machine to have at home. Its list of features is what you would expect from such a machine.
This welder comes equipped with an IGBT control. What this smart control does is regulate the current. This translates to a smooth joint weld with a low splash. This helps make a better weld, especially on joints.
In case of overheating, the welder comes with an automatic power-off feature. This helps prevent overheating of the machine when in use. It also comes with a fan with a rotation of 4100 turns per minutes which helps deal with the heat.
Pure copper cable
The pure copper cable that is included with this welder is awesome. It helps in regulating the amount of power used by the welder. This it can do even over long distances. This helps improve efficiency by up to 70%.
This welding machine is loved by many due to its ease of use and compact design. Also, it is pocket-friendly and is ideal for do-it-yourself projects. It does not have any complex features which are an added benefit.
HZXVOGEN 110/220V Welder Dual Volt Arc Stick Welding Machine
Another great contender for the title of best cheap stick welder, the HZXVOGEN is a portable welding machine with a reasonable price tag. It goes for about $100, which makes it one of the most affordable out there.
The first thing you notice about this machine upon purchase is how compact and lightweight it is. It weighs 1.95 kg, which is pretty light for a welding machine. Atop the welder is a nice handle that makes it easy to carry.
Surprisingly, this budget welder is a dual voltage machine. It can work with both the 110v input current as well as the higher 220 v input current. This is pretty impressive as most of the welders with this feature cost way much more.
This welding machine comes with several useful accessories. For starters, you get an electrode holder and an earth clamp. Also included in the package is a 30Amp adapter cord.
Many who use this welder have praised it for being lightweight and compact without compromising on performance. It does what it is built for exceptionally well, and is a machine you would be happy to have at home.
Forney Easy Weld 180 ST Welder
One of the best stick welders for beginners and powerful welding machines is the Forney Easy Weld. Its bestselling point is how easy it is to use. And with a name like Forney Easy Weld, it should be expected.
Similar to the other welding machines already reviewed this is a dual voltage machine. However, it uses either a 120 v power input or a 230v power input. This makes it one of the more powerful offerings in the under $500 price tag.
When it comes to welding, this welder does not disappoint. At 180 amps it is capable of welding steel of up to ½ inch in thickness. Overall, it has an all-metal external casing, which improves its durability and toughness.
While you will mostly power it using your shop’s or garage’s electrical power supply it can also be powered by a generator. The good thing is that the quality of the weld does not become bad when attached to a generator.
While it is not suited to heavy-duty tasks, it is more than capable of handling small and light projects. Beginners will find it a nice welding machine as it is easy to use. Also, it can be used for both stick and TIG welding. Hence why it is best stick welder for beginners.
HITBOX ARC Welder 200A Stick DC 220V Inverter Welding Machine MMA200 ZX7 Rod Stick Portable Welder
For larger welding jobs, the HITBOX ARC welder 200 A stick DC 220V inverter welding machine will come in handy. While it is one of the more affordable offerings on the market, it is quite powerful.
Lightweight and compact
Weighing 2.9 kgs, it is a lightweight and compact welding machine. This makes it ideal for handling various projects. You can easily carry it around to make repairs around your yard or use it in your garage.
This is isn’t a dual voltage welder and only works with the 220 v circuit. Nonetheless, it offers excellent performance. When set at 145 amps it can handle welding metals of up to ¼ inches using a 3/16″ 6013.
Included in the package is a heavy-duty bag for carrying the welding machine. We found the bag to be of good quality. This bag blends perfectly with the overall quality of the welding machine carried inside it.
This is a powerful welding machine. It uses the 220 v circuit which is a bit of a disappointment. Nevertheless, it can be a great companion to have for farm, yard or garage work. Its portability and power make it an ideal unit for homeowners and pros alike.
SUNGOLDPOWER 200Amp MIG MAG ARC MMA Stick DC Welder 110/220V
This welding machine is the complete package. It can be used for MMA stick, gas-shielded, and gasless flux-cored welding. It can also weld non-ferrous metals such as aluminum, which adds to its value.
A highly rated welding machine it can use both the 110 v and the 220 v power inputs. With its dual voltage capabilities, it is capable of welding mild steel. Also, it can be used to weld stainless steel.
Adjustable wire feed speed
Another great feature of this welding machine is the adjustable wire feed. Any experienced welder knows how important this is. You can control the rate at which the wire is fed through the welding gun.
It is capable of welding aluminum using a spool gun. However, a spool gun is not included in the package. What is available is a selector switch that makes it easy to swap the welding guns for welding different metals.
When you think about the best inverter stick welder, this welding machine is one that should come to mind. It is an absolute beauty and has a lot to offer. Also, it is not an expensive unit and goes for less than $500.
HITBOX ARC160 Stick MMA Welding Machine 220V Inverter Portable Rod Stick Arc Welder
It is difficult to imagine that the HITBOX ARC160 stick MMA welding machine costs less than $200. A powerful option for home use, it is by far the best stick welder under $200 on our list. But this is not the only thing that earned a spot on our list.
This welder uses the same 220v power plug found on most large air conditioners. This gives it an output current range of between 30 and 160 amps. This is pretty powerful for a welding machine at its price point.
A reliable performer
With its 30 to 160 amps output current range it can handle a lot of welding tasks. It is common for its owners to weld for 6 hours without experiencing problems. There is no overheating with this unit.
Light and compact
While it is built for power, it is surprisingly compact and lightweight. It is thus easy to use and carry around especially thanks to the handle it comes with. It weighs about 8 pounds which is lighter than most similar products.
When it comes to the best budget stick welder, this welding machine is a serious contender. Weighing only 8.68 pounds it is one of the most lightweight welding machines out there. More importantly, it is powerful and durable enough for multiple welding tasks.
Introduction to stick welding
Stick welding is a very common welding technique. In this technique, the electrode is covered in compounds and metal powder. A binding agent is used to bind these powders and compounds to the surface of the solid rod.
Similar to MIG welding, an electric current passes through the rod to establish an arc between the rod and the metal to be welded. The heat generated causes the covering of the rod to decompose, in turn creating a gas that shields the weld pool from atmospheric contaminants.
There is no need for an external gas tank in stick welding. All you need is a welding machine and the electrode. Stick electrodes come in different sizes. The size of the wire used determines the voltage and amperage to be used.
How it works
An electric current that can either be Alternating (AC) or Direct (DC) passes through the flux-coated electrode. At the point of contact with the base metal, it arcs. As the wire melts the flux coating creates a cloud of gases around it.
It is this cloud of gases that protects the weld pool for contaminants in the atmosphere. When the molten metal cools, the cloud of gases settles on the pool, forming slag. The slag has to be removed to reveal finished weld.
Pros of Stick welding
- The equipment used is easy to use and inexpensive
- No external shielding gas required and thus is convenient
- Can be carried out outdoors in windy or even rainy conditions
- Can be used on painted on even rusted metal surfaces
- Changing electrodes for welding different metals is easy
- Is not ideal for welding certain types of thin metal
- Slow compared to other types of welding techniques
Stick Welders Buying Guide
Like any other appliance, people have different preferences when it comes to stick welders. Also, different welder models are suited to different welding tasks. Let us now look at what makes a welding machine be suited for your specific welding task.
Stick welders are categorized int two, inverters and transformers. Of the two, inverters are the more common. The reason being they are more compact and lighter, however, they are also pricier.
Inverters are best suited to multiple welding projects that require a lot of movement due to their portability. They are preferred by hobbyists and freelance welders. They generally weigh less than 20 pounds and are thus easy to carry from one task to another.
Transformers, on the other hand, are bulkier and cost more. But what they lack in compactness they more than make up for in their build quality. They are usually more robust and suited to more heavy-duty tasks.
Moreover, they consume more power compared to inverters and require more space. Nonetheless, they are the cheaper option and make great welders for the occasional welder.
The type of current use
Welders use either AC or DC current, with most welders using DC current. However, most homes use AC, which brings about compatibility issues. To avoid this we recommend going for a welder that uses both AC and DC currents.
This way you get the best of both worlds. Most welders use DC current because it produces smoother welds.
A welders power output has a direct impact on its performance. The higher the amperage the less time spent welding. The best stick welder under $500 will have an amperage of 100 amps and above.
For most hobbyists, an input voltage of 115 volts is enough. However, for more demanding welding tasks an input voltage of 230 volts is better. The best stick welder for the money is usually dual voltage.
This means they are compatible with both the 115-volt input voltage and the 230 volts. Such welders offer more power and flexibility. Ideally, though the best stick welder for home use will have an input voltage of 115 volts.
This refers to the amount of time a welding machine can weld before requiring to cool down. Based on a 10-minute session duty cycle is denoted in percentages. A 50% duty cycle means a welder can go for 5 minutes before requiring a cooldown.
Duty cycle ordinarily depends on the output power. The higher the output power the lower the duty cycle.
The reasons why the Lotos LTPDC2000D is top on our list is because it is the most versatile. Ideally, you will want a welding machine that can do more. The best tig stick welder will capable of both tig and stick welding.
How versatile a machine is will influence its value. Some machines are restricted to one type of welding. The best stick welder under $500 can usually handle more than one type of welding.
Depending on whether you are a beginner or a professional welder the type of welder you get matters. Some welding machines have limitations that you cannot overlook. Therefore, when shopping for a welding machine it is important to consider its purpose.
Last update on 2021-03-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API