Are you thinking about getting into the world of welding, either as a hobby or as a potential future business you can do?
Well, you do not need to be intimidated by the efforts you must supposedly make, after all, welding exists for your comfort, as it takes ordinary metals and transforms them into useful items. Even in any DIY project, you want to do, a proper welder is very useful to your objectives.
The following welding machines are the best in the market, and they will help you no matter whether you are an expert or just beginning in this activity.
MIG (Metal Inert Gas) machines for Beginner
Forney easy weld 299 125FC welder – Best for Handling Lighter Projects
This is among the basic flux-core weld machines that work similar to a MIG machine, though they do not need you to use shielding gas, unlike the usual MIG machine. You cannot add gas to the equipment, even though you may sometimes hear of it as a wire feed weld machine.
This makes it easy to use for beginner welders or those that enjoy DIY activities. When you have it in your hands, you can easily turn your ideas into works of art and other useful items. For instance, if you are a novice welder that feels intimidated by heavy welding machines, this is the one for you.
It has a ground clamp as well as a MIG gun, working in combination with a flux core wire of .030”. This means that the flux is within the wire, and makes sure it has sufficient shielding that you need over molten weld puddles. If you are handling thick material, put the settings of the machine on lower wire speed of feeding, while the thinner material is at higher wire speed.
The learning curve is also not as difficult as you may imagine, as you can easily learn it within thirty minutes and you get the hang of what is going on. The machine also comes with a 6-month warranty, so you do not need to worry too much about issues relating to repair.
- Very efficient in its job
- Gives consistent and clean weld results
- Easy to learn and use
- It cannot handle heavy duty work
- The plastic wire feed mechanism does not allow a user to adjust the tension slightly
- The cords are short, so you need a long extension cord
Lincoln K2185-1 MIG welder – Good Choice for the Money
This is a compact and highly portable welder that gives you a great option to do repairs in your home and as a means of doing hobby projects.
The machine has a cold contractor safety feature, which maintains electrically cold temperatures in the welding wire until you manually press the gun trigger.
Another good aspect us the feed speed control, which makes it easy for you to maintain the welding at your desired speeds.
It can plug into a 20 amp, 115V outlet, and it remains a user-friendly option. The four voltage settings will enable you to work on mild steel that is between 1/8 inches in thickness and 24 gauge. The packaging also includes a MIG weld – including a work cable, cable, and gun assembly, spool of solid wire, gas nozzle, clamp, hand shield, gas hose and regulator, and contact tips.
- It can handle both light and medium welding jobs with ease
- Very good quality
- Very easy to use even for beginners
- Very good for the price
- You will need an auto darkening mask
- The shielding gas does not work effectively in some cases
Super Deal MIG 130 AC weld machine – Easy to Use Product
This is among the top household welders, which remains an intuitive and lightweight option.
Constructed from high-quality PVC material in addition to delicate treatment, it gives you a combination of easy operation, comfortable grip and high accuracy in your work.
The flux is convenient, thanks to the self-releasing metal inert gas as you weld, and prevents oxidation of the welded parts. The interface is user-friendly as well, as you can access the advanced options very easily and set up the equipment quickly when you need it.
The variable speed control is a plus as well, since you can adjust the flow of electrical currents. Simply adjust the buttons for MAX, MIN and ½. The controls also include a rotary knob that changes the wire feeding speed by up to ten levels, and there is an Off/On safety control.
All this may make the machine seem heavy, but it only weighs about 38 lbs. making it perfect for home and field use.
- Does the job effectively for its price
- Very easy to use
- Good for smaller jobs around the house
- The flux core wire is not the best and is subject to burns
- The instruction manual is not very easy to follow
Goplus MIG 130 welding machine automatic feed – Good for Thin Metal
Remaining among the compact options you can get, this is made from a stainless steel body (heavy duty), and painted with yellow paints that are durable and ensure it has a long lifespan.
It does not have a gas welder and uses a flux-core wire. The source of gas is the self-release inert gas, which prevents oxidation of welded parts.
There are four main control settings, MAX, MIN, 1/2. It also has a rotary knob to adjust the speed of wire feeds by up to ten levels.
All of these make it a good option if you want to weld iron or normal thin steel, as well as making general repairs and home DIY repairs to give you a professional finish. You just need to be careful about the wire, since it is always live.
Pro tip: do not let the wire unravel, and be very careful as you feed it into the machine. It also works best with .030” wire (about 0.8 mm).
- Easy to set up
- The controls are conveniently located on the machine
- Works very efficiently
- You need to handle the wire with a lot of care because it is always hot
- The wire feed speed tends to be inconsistent sometimes
TIG machines (Tungsten Inert Gas) for Beginner
Lotos Technology CT520D Plasma TIG stick welder – Best for DC Currents
If you need a multipurpose welder machine, the LOTOS CT520D might be a valid option to pick. It allows the users to use plasma cuts as well as DC TIG/Stick welding abilities, all from one machine.
The machine combines three functions, thanks to its 50A air plasma cutter, 200A stick welder and 200A DC TIG welder, all at the flip of a switch. It is also able to handle a variety of metals up to ½ inch, thanks to it’s 50 A pilot arc cutting function (plasma enabled).
The air plasma cutter is important at cutting cost while increasing the efficiency of work, and it works well on most metals – including aluminum, stainless steel, as well as mild steel, alloys of steel, copper, and other metals. It also incorporates cutting using oxyhydrogen, meaning that it enhances safety during use, and remains easy and affordable.
These features make it a viable addition to users that enjoy doing DIY projects, as well as businesses. It also it takes care of the needs of professional operators. The machine itself can operate on dual voltage and frequency (50/60 Hz, 110/220V).
- Great option for the cost
- Easy to switch modes without needing another machine
- The machine is quiet
- It is tricky to adjust the amp gauge temperature – it is either too cold or too hot
- The ground cable is too short, and it lacks a pedal
- The hose lacks flexibility, even though the TIG torch is good
Lotos Tech TIG200 200A AC/DC stick welder – Perfect for hobbyists
This welder that also happens to be a dual voltage machine, compact and versatile in its uses gives you a simplified variety of controls, helping you to perform multiple functions without struggling too much.
The square wave inverter is among their unique features, helping you to weld aluminum accurately.
It is easy to switch from 110V to 220V and vice versa, thanks to the adapter plug (comes in the packaging), and it gives DC/AC 200 A when you want to do stick and TIG welding.
These features also make it perfect for weekend and professional enthusiasts, who are seeking for high-quality features in affordable and efficient machines. It is suitable to weld mild steel, stainless steel, aluminum, as well as other materials.
- Good machine for the price
- The torch and pedal are of high quality
- Has a legitimate power rating
- The controls can be confusing, especially when you are a beginner
- The mask is poorly made
PrimeWeld CT520D 200A TIG welder and amp stick – Best for Aluminum
This multipurpose unit combines three-in-one functionality, making it a useful tool for both cutting and welding options.
Its usefulness allows you to cut varied types of metal going up to 1/2 inches, using the 50A plasma cutting function.
It can switch up between the DC STICK Welder and the DC TIG Welder easily and quickly. It is also not heavy, as it weighs only 32 lbs., making it a portable option and a reliable one – in fact, the duty cycle is up to 60 percent on all processes.
The plasma cutter is important at cutting cost while increasing the efficiency of work, and it works well on most metals – including aluminum, stainless steel, in addition to mild steel, alloys of steel, copper, and other metals.
It also incorporates cutting using compressed air, meaning that it enhances safety during use, and remains easy and affordable. In addition, there is a water trap (bypass regulator) for the TIG welding. This may seem insignificant, but it actually adds safety as you do welding and cutting activities.
Pro tip: when you are doing TIG weld processes (especially for stainless steel), make sure to run argon into your machine directly and leave the water trap. Otherwise, you will slow down the flow of argon too much to accomplish any meaningful work.
- Very high-quality construction
- Very good for both smaller and larger projects
- Works very well
- Easy to set up
- Compact and very portable
- The leads, as well as the grounding clamp, are not very long
ESAB Thermal arc W1003203 95 S DC TIG welder – Good for Home Garage
This is a good machine if you are an intermediate user in the world of welding, or you are a hobbyist and DIY (do it yourself) enthusiast.
The machine produces welding results of good quality at easy and affordable methods, regardless of whether you do it at home, the field, or your garage.
It has capabilities to handle Lift TIG and stick welding, and is capable of getting 95 amps of power using circuits of 115V. This also makes it a good option for doing light repair jobs and maintenance, in addition to light fabrication.
You may think the machine is heavy, but it is surprisingly lightweight, even compared to most other machines – in fact, it only weighs about 9.7 pounds. The machine also has a control knob of weld average, allowing you to make adjustments as you do your work.
It is important to note that the package does not include an argon bottle, so you need to buy the mid-sized ones if you cannot get the larger size.
- Affordable and good for beginners
- Easy to carry around
- Easy to use as it has basic controls
- Cannot handle heavy duty work
- Does not regulate power very well
Stick welding machines for Beginners
Campbell Hausfeld WS099001AV arc stick welder – Best for Automotive
Best for shop and home application, this welder has the benefit of having a comfortable handle to give you greater convenience when carrying it, and it is capable of handling 18ga. The best rods to use it during welding are 5/64 inch and 1/16 inch.
The machine has a dual heat setting that allows for both hobby welding and small repairs, which you can run on standard power voltages of 155V.
An interesting feature is the thermal overload protection, which guards the machine and its internal components from overheating problems, while a transformer is also included to give a smooth arc that is easy to start, stop and control. You can use it on automotive sheet metal, as well as wrought iron and boat trailers.
- It is useful in a variety of welding situations
- Very good construction and durable
- Quiet mechanism
- Cannot handle very heavy projects
- It lacks a fan, so the good rods can fail to penetrate the metal sometimes
Amico Power inverter welder DC – Perfect for Home Mechanic
This welder is among the best welders in the series, as it utilizes innovative technology to change the power you are using (AC currents) to DC, and also uses a step-down transformer that manages the current and voltage flowing in and out of the machine.
It is also small and compact, compared to many conventional machines that are bulky to carry.
The versatile power source also makes it easy for you to use it in most conditions. In fact, you can even plug it in a 110V wall that uses household currents, instead of plugging it in sockets that use high voltage.
- Works very well in a variety of conditions
- Highly portable
- Easy to setup and use
- Uses power very efficiently
- The electrode holder lacks sufficient tension, though you can replace it
Longetivity 721405557523 – Portable Stick Welder
This is a good pick for anyone that lovers welding, as well as people that do extensive repairs on objects.
It remains a compact and lightweight option that you can carry around for your various projects. The display settings are also easy to view, thanks to the machine having a digital display.
The stick welder of 140A operates well using 220 and 110V, and the lift TIG operation is readily available so that you connect a TIG torch whenever you need one.
- Highly portable
- Very efficient at using power, compared to many stick welders
- Has a smooth arch
- Easy to operate
- The duty cycle is prone to overheating, so you need to check it regularly to ensure it does not happen
- The inside components are fragile and can fail quickly
Best Welder for Beginners in 2020 – Buyer’s Guide
The things you need to know before you begin welding
Let us be honest – welding is intimidating. There are few machines that can be this helpful while still having the potential to injure you severely if you use them wrongly, and welding achiness fit these criteria very well. However, as long as you make some effort and spend your time doing it correctly, and you work with the correct tools, you can actually handle any project you want to do – and you will become better the more you practice it.
That said, what are some things you need to know before you start? Here are some of them.
- Safety is essential
Because welding can be dangerous when you perform it incorrectly, make sure you have the right gear before you even think about starting. These tools include safety glasses, fire-resistant jackets, approved welding helmet, and welding gloves.
To make your work easier, it is better to go for an auto-darkening helmet. You must also ensure that you work in a place with sufficient ventilation – if it is not present, then you require a system to extract the fumes. In addition, you must not work near flammable material, so choose a place that has plenty of space to let the sparks fly.
- Know the welding processes – TIG, MIG, and stick flux
These terms may sound strange when you are just starting out, but they are very important to know. Not all of them are at the same level of ease of use, as some will require more experience and skill to master.
Wire welds use spools of wire, which a gun feeds into the machine. The consistent feeding of the wire reduces sudden stops and starts, which makes it easy for an inexperienced welder to make nice and neat looking joints. In addition, it is more economical, quicker, and better when one is dealing with thin sheet metals.
- Input voltages
There are two kinds of voltages you can use in welding; either 220V or 110V, which are mainly available in most garages and homes (if not all).
Lower voltages will be enough when you are working with the thinner material, while higher voltage is better when working with the thicker material. If you are a beginner in welding, it is best to use machines that have dual voltage options, to allow you to do more practice with different metals – and increase your overall ability and confidence.
- User interfaces
It might be very tricky for new users to dial weld settings, so make sure to get a machine that can do this for you, through the use of logical progressions. This will allow you to choose the process you want, the type of material you are welding, the thickness of that material, and the consumable – electrode or wire – you are using to weld.
A good machine will know the voltage you are using, so it will change the settings appropriately.
Keep in mind that certain consumables and processes are better choices when you are welding specific materials, while others will need extra tools to do the job.
To know what to use, you need to find out from the manufacturer of the machine you want to purchase, and think of every project in your mind. From there they can advise you on the best machine to get for the jobs you want to carry out.
This is the filler material that you are using during welding, and is either electrodes or wires. You will need to match the consumable with the material you are dealing with as well as the process you are carrying out. The better you become, the more you will notice differences between consumables and know the one you prefer.
How do MIG welders work?
MIG, also known as Metal Inert Gas, is a welding process that uses electric arcs to feed wire into a welding machine. It is the easiest method for a beginner to learn, and it tends to lay down welds faster and more accurately.
The welding machines that use this method have a compartment that contains welding wire spools, and it feeds these spools under high temperatures, causing the two metals to melt and fuse together.
The method is also very versatile as you can work with a variety of metals – including aluminum, carbon steel, copper, magnesium, stainless steel, and many other alloys. The thickness can change as well – you can work with thicker plates to thinner sheets of metal.
What do you look for in a MIG welder?
Spool guns for aluminum
If your intention is to weld aluminum, you cannot operate effectively without a spool gun. This is because aluminum tends to tangle when you feed it through the standard spool.
The better solution is having a special spool gun, which you attach to the torch handle and feeds the metal directly in the gun. If the welder itself lacks the gun, then make sure it has a separate mounting area for that.
Check the short circuiting of the machine
When short circuits happen, surges of power will ruin the weld pool due to splattering. Welding machines have safeguards against this, so check how your individual machine handles this problem.
Protection against thermal overload
The best MIG welders will have some form of protection against heat overloads as you operate. Otherwise, if this feature is missing, the machine will just become a high-end table that you do not need.
What are TIG welding machines?
Also known as Tungsten Inert Gas, it uses a non-consumable electrode made of tungsten (unlike wires), and the electrode transfers current to the weld arc at high temperatures. The weld puddle and tungsten are cooled using an inert gas, in most cases argon.
You also need to use a filler material to act as reinforcement, making it similar to oxy-acetylene welding processes. If you have worked with either of them, you can easily work with the other due to their similarities.
The process is different from other forms of welding, as the machines will usually use a soft start-soft stop process for controlling the heat. The remote will adjust the amount of heat as you use the machine, so you can use it in smaller and larger areas at the same time.
What to look for in a TIG machine
The factor that makes TIG weld machines so adaptable is that you can control the current you are letting in. Recent developments of these welders allow them to deliver more pulses every second compared to older machines – making your work faster and output stronger. The pulsing also allows you to work on thin metals or difficult joints where very high heat can lead to rusting (especially on stainless steel).
The smaller welding machines – weighing between 40 to 50 lbs. allow you versatility and sufficient power for seller jobs, so you do not always require the larger machines that weigh more than 100 lbs.
Because you will do some work in awkward positions, this will cause fatigue in your feet – so that is where a foot pedal comes in. it needs to be extremely responsive, so do check for that.
Settings for high frequency
This will make it easier for you to control the arc. The controls also need to be easy to read and snap into place.
What is stick welding?
Also known as SMAW (Shielded Metal Arc Welding), it is the most widely used weld method, and uses electric current and electrodes to fuse metals. The electrode is comprised of a stick or solid metal rod, bound by a coat of metal powders and compounds that use a binding agent.
As the electrode melts from the heat, the flux coat will shield the melting metal by creating a cloud of gases, which will stop oxidation from occurring. The gas cloud will settle on the molten metal afterwards, and it changes into slag that you must chip off after you complete the process.
What to look for in stick welders
The most important factor to check is a DC welder – as most electrodes will operate better when they use DC instead of AC. Even though AC is important for doing many projects, it is better to use DC as it runs smoother – but make sure the unit has sufficient power to finish the work you are doing, and the power outlet can handle the voltage.
What does MIG stand for in welding?
For those not in the know, MIG stands for “Metal Inert Gas Welding.” (Apparently, the “W” didn’t make it into the acronym.) This refers to the manner in which the welding takes place. This type of welding makes use of a large tank, within which there is a metal electrode or wire which runs through the machine. In addition, inert shielding gas which can help keep the process safe while facilitating the welding itself is released from the tank.
What metals can you weld while using a welding MIG?
One of the best things about opting for MIG-style welding is the fact that it is capable of allowing you to weld a wide variety of different types of metals. Among the metals, you can weld with ease and safety while making use include aluminum, stainless steel, magnesium, and similar metals.
What are shielding gases and why are they important?
For those not in the know, shielding gasses are a type of gas that can be either inert or semi-inert which are often used when welding. They are important because they help protect the area in which you are welding from elements that might cause rust or corrosion, such as oxygen or water vapor. Left unchecked, these gases have the potential to lower the overall quality of the metal you are working with. Failure to properly shield your metal from these former substances can have disastrous consequences. For example, it can lead to the metal beginning to corrode, which in turn can cause it to become quite porous and weak. In addition, a lack of proper shielding can cause splattering. For the majority of MIG welding jobs, CO2 gas will work fine, but for certain other jobs such as those which require a flatter bead profile or superior wetting action, you may want to opt for an Argon-CO2 mixture instead.
What are the pros and cons of MIG welding?
There are several pros and cons to MIG welding depending on what you’re looking to accomplish. On the pro side, it is fair to say that MIG welding is one of the easiest types of welding and metal working to use. Whether you are an amateur and want to do some light welding on the side as a hobby or wish to do some DIY, construction, or repair work, MIG can be a great way to go without having to learn a lot of specialized techniques. Moreover, you can use MIG on many different types of metals, especially the more common ones, and use them to forge something strong and durable. In addition, you can conduct MIG from any number of positions without the need for a highly-specialized setup. On the con side, MIG welding can run into problems when trying to achieve a high degree of precision. For jobs that require a great deal of precision or “attractively-welded” metal, you may want to consider TIG welding, which can do a better job with materials that are thinner or require a more delicate touch.
What safety gear should you have while welding?
First and foremost, you absolutely need to wear thick leather gloves and a tinted welding helmet. When working with metal, you can count on being subject to extreme heat and sparks, and so you need to ensure that your hands and face are completely shielded from both. In addition, you’ll want to consider wearing heavy leather materials over the rest of your body as well, especially your arms, which can also be susceptible to sparks and extreme heat while you weld. In addition, you’ll want to consider having a mask on which can help with proper breathing and to always conduct welding in a well-ventilated area. Welding can unleash some pretty nasty noxious gases, especially when working with something like galvanized steel. You don’t want to be breathing that stuff in, which is why you’ll want to make sure you have a means of filtering it out of the room and ensuring you always have a clean oxygen supply. Moreover, you’ll want to keep a full fire extinguisher handy just in case.
How do you know what setting to use?
What type of setting you need to use will differ from project to project. That said, if things seem too intense, they probably are. If you are searing holes into your sheets of metal without meaning to, chances are you could do with turning things down a few notches. If the bead ends you are working with seem lumpy, consider the possibility that you have fed too much of the wire. You can “hear” good welding when it happens, as it usually produces a nice even, crackling or buzzing sound.
What about welding aluminum?
You can weld aluminum, but because it is a softer metal compared to others you’ll typically work with, you’ll probably need to get a spool gun or similar tool to compensate. In addition, you’ll want to consider using Argon as opposed to CO2 as a shielding gas.
What about welding cast iron?
If you really want to try, you can take it slow and do bits and pieces at a time. That said, the process will be agonizingly slow, if it works at all, so you may want to consider other ways of working with cast iron as opposed to MIG welding.
What about welding stainless steel?
You can weld stainless steel, but as with aluminum, you’ll want to change your shielding gas. Try opting for a mixture of Helium, Argon, and CO2 for the best results.
How much do MIG welding units cost?
The ultimate price of your MIG welding unit will ultimately determine how much power you wish to bring to bear. If you just want to get some basic welding done and don’t need a ton of power, you can acquire a quality MIG welding unit for a few hundred dollars. If you are looking to do something that requires more power, you’re more likely looking at several more hundreds of dollars, and very possibly a thousand or more for a truly A-list unit.
The Lincoln K21 and Amico inverter welder are our picks, as they show consistency in their operations while remaining impressive in their ability to handle various types of demands. When you are a beginner or intermediate user in the world of welding, you need a reliable tool that can help you learn as much as you can while still doing its job effectively and safely, and these tows have managed to be impressive on that front.