Best Welders for Beginners

best welder for beginners

Buying a welder can be daunting, especially if you’re new to welding. With the different types of welders out there, many newbies tend to get overwhelmed with questions such as, “which one should I purchase?” or “which features should I look for?”

But fear not! We’re here to help you navigate through the various options and find a welder that suits your specific needs. We will also discuss welding techniques and their benefits in our beginner-friendly buying guide.

Below are the best welders for beginners, their advantages and disadvantages, and the questions you need to ask yourself before you make your purchase.

AHP AlphaTIG 200X AC DC Tig/Stick Welder

2018 AHP AlphaTIG 200X 200 Amp IGBT AC DC Tig/Stick Welder with PULSE 110v 220v 3 YEARS WARRANTY

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This TIG welder is an attractive option to both professional welders but also beginners and hobbyists. It offers incredible versatility and value for this type of welder and you’re sure not to be disappointed in its performance when working on aluminum and steel.

Features and Measurements

The welder welds up to 1/4-inch on aluminum and 3/8-inch on mild steel and will also work on thinner-gauge materials. It operates on both 110V with a 10-150 amp output and 220V with a 10-200 amp output and runs on AC/DC power. This machine also features Advanced Inverter Technology with PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) using IGBT technology and an HF start feature that generates a high-frequency arc for welding aluminum.

The product dimensions measure 19 x 23 x 12 inch and it weighs around 69 pounds.

Packaging

This unit comes with a foot pedal, however, it’s not the most responsive pedal out there and you probably want to upgrade it at some point. You also get a 3-year warranty so if you encounter any difficulties or your welder has a defect, you’ll have the peace of mind to get another one.

Overall

We recommend the AlphaTIG 200X welder as a first TIG welder. It offers users a lot of control over specific machine functions and although it’s not as portable as other welders on this list, the welder really pulls its own weight in terms of functionality, durability, and versatility with various metals.

PROS

  • Also has a stick function
  • Ideal for aluminum and steel
  • Comes with a foot pedal

CONS

  • Some buyers didn’t like the included foot pedal
  • Not as portable as other options
  • Fans are a little bit noisy

Amico DC-160A Welder

160 Amp Dual Voltage Input DC Welder IGBT Inverter Welding Soldering Machine

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This stick welder gives you power and precision to tackle a number of projects including light metal fabrication, maintenance and repair, farm and home projects, and light industrial work.

Features and Measurements

The welder uses an IGBT inverter technology, which means it switches from AC to DC power and then transforms the power to the appropriate voltage and current for your work. This technology is fairly innovative and makes this welder incredibly versatile. The machine even offers infinite amperage control with an LED meter so you can adjust your settings to whatever you need to complete your project.

The product dimensions are 12.5 x 9 x 22 inches and it weighs about 18 pounds. Its portability ensures you can use this tool just about anywhere at home or in your shop.

Packaging

The packaging includes a 10 feet cable with electrode holder, a 10 feet cable with work clamp, an 8 feet 220v power cord, and a 110V power adapter.

Overall

The Amico DC-160A welder is solidly built and is perfect for those who are trying stick welding for the first time. Plus, this small, lightweight machine is ideal for taking your equipment on the go.

Another benefit is that it can be plugged into a 110V wall socket in a home instead of needing a high voltage current so you can use this pretty much anywhere. With such a durable and affordable welder, you’ll surely learn how to become a great stick welder before you know it!

PROS

  • Offers dual voltage at 115V and 230V
  • Portable, lightweight, and compact
  • Can plug into a 110V wall socket at home

CONS

  • The stinger sometimes falls apart

Forney Easy Weld 299 Welder

Forney Easy Weld 299 125FC Flux Core Welder, 120-Volt, 125-Amp

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This is a basic flux-core welding machine – though some consider it a MIG machine. It does, however, differs from traditional MIG machines in that it doesn’t require a shielding gas.

The manufacturer estimates that it takes only half an hour to learn the tool and figure out how to use it and DIYers or beginner welders can use it for basic metalsmithing projects, such as creating metal art or fixing a broken lawnmower.

Features and Measurements

The welder can weld 24 gauge wire up to a 1/4-inch and it has a 120-volt input and a 125 amp output. Also, it accepts 2 and 10-pound wire spools.

The product dimensions come in at 23 x 11 x 18 inches and it weighs around 42 pounds. This size makes it fairly portable to take around your house or workshop for various tasks.

As mentioned above, beginner welders will find this product easy-to-learn and use. The company even offers a quick start guide on their website so you’ll be up and running in no time!

Packaging

The packaging includes the following: 8 feet ground clamp, 8 feet MIG gun, one additional .030-inch contact tip, chipping hammer, and .030-inch MIG wire. There aren’t any other accessories, but some recommended ones include more contact tips, welding nozzles, diffusers, anti-spatter spray, and nozzle gel.

Overall

The Forney Easy Weld 299 welder is a great value for the price you pay and is perfect for beginners who’d like to start practicing welding.

Although this welder isn’t meant for heavy-duty projects, it performs admirably for smaller projects like metal fabrication. As a bonus, the welds tend to come clean without too much contamination.

Additionally, you don’t need too many attachments for this welder. But unfortunately, the package doesn’t come with a lot of wire so you’ll want to purchase more once you start using the welder. This machine also gives off a lot of splatter.

PROS

  • Perfect for DIYers and beginners
  • Suitable for small projects
  • Doesn’t require shielding gas

CONS

  • The wire that comes with the package doesn’t last and isn’t the highest quality
  • Gives off a lot of splatter

Goplus MIG 130 Welder

Goplus MIG 130 Welder Flux Core Wire Automatic Feed Welding Machine w/Free Mask

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This is a great beginner MIG welder due to its versatility and professional finish in welding, auto bodywork, and other projects that involve processing thin steel. Its durable construction and plentiful features provide significant value in a small, compact, lightweight design. With this machine, you’ll be able to weld thin steel and iron for DIY projects at home and general repair work.

Features and Measurements

The welder offers 4 adjustable levels of welding speed that allow you to work on various sorts of projects. There are also 10 levels of wire feeding speed so you can adjust it to fit your needs. Also, the flux-cored wire releases metal-inert gas while welding to prevent oxidation of the welded part – this will keep your project a little more durable.

The product dimensions measure 13.4 x 7.3 x 11.4 inches and it weighs about 35 pounds.

Additional Features and Packaging

This welder also includes a few safety features such as automatic thermal safety protection and a torch with full on/off safety control. On top of that, it even has a couple of air vents on the machine to help dissipate heat.

The package includes a welding wire, a protection mask, and a brush/chipping hammer.

Overall

This Goplus MIG 130 welder is perfect for beginners who might be new to MIG welding. It’s durable, affordable, and works like a professional-grade tool. Additionally, the welder’s portability makes it great for any small job around the house.

Something to keep in mind, however, is that the wire is always live and will be hot, so be careful handling the material. But other than that, its 4 heat settings, the infinite wire speed settings, and safety features make it ideal for anyone who’s looking into MIG welding.

PROS

  • Versatile and powerful
  • Compact and easy to move around the home or shop
  • Doesn’t require gas to operate

CONS

  • The wire is always live and is hot

Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder

Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder 115V

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This is a durable, well-built MIG welder which can handle some of the toughest projects. Do you need to perform auto body work? Heavy-duty house repairs? How about working on farm equipment? With this machine, you can do all of this and more!

Features and Measurements

The welder runs on a 115V household current and it can output anywhere from 25 to 140 amps. Moreover, its duty cycle is 20% at 90 amps and it welds up 24 gauge wire up to 1/4-inch in mild steel, much like the Forney Easy Weld 299 welder. It also has an industrial cast aluminum drive system and a 200 amp heavy duty work clamp and if that’s not enough, you can even control the welding arc using a 5-position tapped voltage control selector.

For both MIG and flux-cored welding, the manufacturer recommends the following processes: cast iron, copper, brass, titanium, and magnesium alloys.

The product dimensions are 19 x 11 x 13 inches and it weighs around 57 pounds.

Packaging

Made in Troy, Ohio, the packaging comes with the following parts: built-in gas valve, 10 feet MIG gun with liner, dual gauge regulator and gas hose, 10 feet work cable and clamp, 10 feet power cord, extra .030-inch contact tips, sample spool of .030-inch flux-cored wire, and 8-inch spool adapter. You also get an owners manual, set-up guide, and manufacturer’s warranty in case something happens.

Overall

The solid construction of the Handler 140 welder means you’ll be able to complete plenty of projects with it over the years. It’s easy to set up and use in a short time and can be used for a variety of different projects including auto and garden repair, ATVs, metalwork, and others.

We also commend the welder’s professional quality and durability over makers of similar types of MIG welders. If you’re new to welding and looking for a reliable, durable MIG welder, you should definitely consider this one is.

PROS

  • Versatile and durable welder
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Suitable for diverse projects

CONS

  • The leads are somewhat short

 

Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder

Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder

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If you’re looking for a compact, lightweight, and portable MIG welder, this might just be for you! It’s perfect for small projects around the house (like home repairs or hobby projects on light gauge mild steel), extremely user-friendly, and comes with everything you need to use it immediately.

Features and Measurements

The welder welds up to 1/8-inch of mild steel and plugs into a household 115V, 20 amp outlet. It has 4 voltage settings and a cold contactor safety feature which keeps the welding wire electrically “cold” until pressing the gun trigger. It also grants you more precise control through wire feed speed adjustment and selectable voltage ranges. Plus, the fan cooling prolongs the life of the welder so you can use it for years on end.

The product dimensions come in at 12.8 x 8.8 x 18 inches and it weighs about 26 pounds and 46 pounds with everything included.

Additional Information and Packaging

Lincoln Electric manufactures this welder in the United States. Included in the package are a gun and cable assembly, work cable and clamp, gas nozzle, gas regulator and hose, spool of solid wire, contact tips and hand-shield with filter plate, and lens. All you should need to purchase is shielding gas.

There’s even a spool of self-shielded, flux-cored wire, contact tips, and chipping hammer/brush so you can use this welder to weld with gasless, flux-cored wire as well.

If you like, you can also purchase a separate cart to hold the welder.

Overall

The Lincoln Electric K2185-1 welder can be any DIYer’s best friend for small projects around the house, such as body panel replacement and custom fabricating.

It would most likely not be able to handle larger projects so keep in mind that it won’t perform like other more expensive welders. Plus, the box the welder comes in includes almost everything you need to use it except a cylinder of shielding gas.

These great features make the welder affordable and a great value, especially if you’re purchasing your first one.

PROS

  • Compact, lightweight, and portable
  • Perfect for small DIY projects
  • Includes a cold contractor safety feature

CONS

  • Not suitable for larger projects

Lotos LTPDC2000D Plasma Cutter/Tig/Stick Welder

Lotos LTPDC2000D Non-Touch Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter/Tig/Stick Welder 3 in 1 Combo Welding Machine, Argon Regulator Included, ½ Inch Clean Cut, Brown

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Designed specifically for professionals and DIY enthusiasts, this multipurpose welder allows you to both DC TIG and stick weld in addition to plasma cut all from one unit!

Features and Measurements

Both the DC TIG and DC Stick/MMA output current is 10-200A at 220V and 10-150A at 110V and it has an automatic dual voltage input that allows the machine to run directly either on 220V or 110V.

The Pilot Arc technology of the 50A plasma cutter enables you to cut through metal, even if it’s rusted and rough, without touching the welder tip to the metal. The maximum rated clean cut thickness is 1/2-inch and the maximum rated severance thickness is 3/4-inch. There’s even a cooling system in place to ensure that the plasma cutter has a stable and better cutting quality.

All you need to do is flip a switch to change between the functions.

The product dimensions measure 17 x 8 x 12.5 inches and it weighs around 42 pounds, which allows you to easily port it around wherever you see the need.

Packaging

The packaging includes a power supply, consumables, ground clamp, air filter and regulator, argon regulator, and connections. Your purchase even comes with a one-year limited warranty and 30-day money back guarantee in case you’re not satisfied with your product. An optional foot pedal is available for additional purchase.

Overall

The Lotos LTPDC2000D welder is perfect for beginners who’d like to try their hand at a few different types of welding. Its 3-in-1 functionality is one of the highlights of this product. Not many welders on the market offer the options to TIG weld, stick weld, and plasma cut all in the same device. Please note, however, this welder isn’t equipped to weld through aluminum.

The unit portability becomes useful in case you need to use it in the shop, at home, or on the go. You won’t find this flexibility with all machines. Additionally, the plasma cutter works through metal without too much slag to chip or grind off once you’re done.

PROS

  • Combines multiple welding functions into one machine
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Quick setup
  • 30-day money back guarantee

CONS

  • The consumables are specific to the machine (not universal)

Which Welder Is the Best?

Probably the first question you have after viewing our list of favorite welders for beginners is: which welder is the best or which one should I choose? Ultimately, it comes down to what kind of welding you’re looking to do. Determining which type of welding you’re doing will decide which welder to purchase.

  • MIG welding: best for steel, aluminum, and stainless welds. Easy to learn and can also gauge thinner materials down to 26-gauge.
  • TIG welding: best for welding thin sections of alloy steel, stainless steel, and other metals such as aluminum, magnesium, and copper alloys. Perfect for stronger welds with thicker materials and a little more complex and challenging to master.
  • Stick welding: one of the most popular methods for home-welding and the most economical welding method. However, it’s limited to metals less than 18-gauge, so it’s better for thicker materials. Also, it’s more challenging to learn and master.

Overall, we recommend purchasing a MIG welder if you’re new to welding and are looking for an easy method to learn that still offers you a variety of projects to try. Some additional benefits of MIG welding are:

  • Highest welding speeds possible
  • Precise control over thinner metals
  • Cleaner welds with little to no slag to clean up

The MIG welders included in our list are the Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder, the Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder, and the Goplus MIG 130 Welder.

On the whole, MIG welding is best for beginners who might not have tried any welders in the past. As you gain proficiency with the welding process and what you can do, then you can translate your experience with MIG welding to other methods like TIG and stick.

6 Things to Consider When Buying a Welder

1. Which process best fits your needs?

If you’re looking for a welder that will help you fix your pipes, you’re most likely to choose a stick welder. If you’re looking for something to make a metal art sculpture for your business, you’ll choose a TIG welder. Make sure to align the type of welder you purchase to your welding objectives. If you don’t align these, then you might purchase something with either too little or too much power or something that doesn’t have the right type of accessories for what you’re trying to accomplish.

2. How much time you’re willing to devote to learning?

Some welding processes will take longer to learn than others. MIG welding is the easiest welding process to learn whereas TIG and stick welding take longer to learn. If you’re willing to devote more time to learning TIG or stick welding, you might consider buying a welder that serves those functions.

3. How much you’re looking to spend?

Establishing a budget will determine the brand and quality of welder you’ll buy. Our list features some excellent values that combine the best of functionality and features and value. But if you’re willing to spend more on a good machine, then it might be worth it to purchase a brand name machine.

4. How often you’ll use your welder?

If you’re only looking to use your welder occasionally, it might be worth looking into something a little cheaper. However, if you’re interested in something that you’ll use everyday, make sure to purchase something durable that can stand the pressures of everyday use. Sometimes that means spending a bit more money to ensure that the welder’s capabilities, durability, and versatility are high.

5. Where you’ll use your welder?

Some welders should only be used indoors. But other welders, like stick welders, can be used in rain, snow, or other adverse weather conditions. Keep this in mind when looking to purchase a welder.

6. What kinds of materials you’re looking to weld?

Almost all welders can only handle specific materials. For instance, MIG welding is primarily used for welding steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. TIG welders, however, cannot handle aluminum or heavy-duty metals such as cast iron. Stick welding is ideal for strongly welding metals like cast iron or alloys.

Is Stick Welding Stronger Than MIG?

Yes, by far and large, stick welding is stronger than MIG welding. Although stick welding can weld some of the same materials such as steel and stainless steel, MIG welding is too weak for thicker materials such as cast iron. Stick welding, on the other hand, can accommodate heavier and thicker materials such as cast iron.

What Is the Strongest Type of Welding?

As stated above, stick welding is the strongest type of welding. TIG welding tends to be aesthetically pleasing and is more likely to be used for artistic projects such as sculptures or welds on motorcycles or the outside of cars. MIG welding is best for thinner metals whereas stick welding is specifically suited for more heavy duty materials such as pipes or projects incorporating thick steel. Other than stick welding, no other welding process can be used on cast iron either. Thus, stick welding is best classified as the strongest type of welding.

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