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9 Best Welders Reviewed!

Updated on June 27, 2013

Looking For A MIG, Tig, or Stick Welder For Home or Shop Use?

If you need the best welder for MIG, Tig, and Stick welding and you want one for hobby welding or small to medium level jobs (like small jobs on up to basic sheet metal, auto body work, and tube welding), then this is going to be a good article for you.

I am going to cover welders that that can run on a 120v outlet (or 110v). But some of these welders can automatically or manually switch if you have a 240v (or 220v).

If you don't know the difference, here's what I am talking about. The standard household outlet is 120v or 110v. But some outlets are wired for higher voltage so that you can run machines that require more power. For example, your dishwasher and laundry equipment usually require 220v or 240v.

I will show you the top 3 Mig Welders, TIG welders, and Stick Welders for the money. Some are actually on $199 - $299 if you can believe that!

Top 3 MIG Wire Feed Welders:

MIG Wire Feed Welding Is Ideal For Novice Welders. Many Veteran Welders Swear By It and Use It For All Kinds Of Jobs...

Hobart Handler 140 MIG Wire Feed Welder:

500559

I've always been a big fan of the welders made by Hobart. They are inexpensive and work well with most welding projects. Since many welders do rather small projects, you won't mind that this welder only has 115 volts. The mobility of this welder is awesome.

If you do a lot of household projects and auto body work in my garage, you'll find this one easy to tote around for each location. You can just take this welder to both of them when you need to. It can attach to a mobile surface with wheels, so you can push and pull it around wherever you go with ease.

This is also the perfect welder for a beginner in the craft. When I learned welding over 20 years ago, I was taught with a simple TIG welder and torches. Of course with those you could torch material that was very thick, unlike with this. The Hobart 140 welder simplifies the whole process of welding because it is made for easier projects that involve thinner material.

Just make sure you pay attention to the instructions because it gives you helpful tips on how to use this welder properly. They aren't hard to follow and anyone can do it, even without welding experience. Since the common person only needs a welder to do simple chores around the house, there is no need to get a more powerful welder than this. The Hobart 140 is what you will want to have.

Hobart 500559 Handler 140 Wire Feed Welder

Hobart 500559 Handler Wire Welder
Hobart 500559 Handler Wire Welder

Hobart is owned now by Miller and Miller has the best standards when it comes to welding machines. Hobarts are like Hondas, and Millers are like Acuras. It's the same machine but with one or two less bells and whistles. Awesome welder.

 

Hobart Handler 140 Review: - Using Flux Core and No Shielding Gas...

Lincoln Electric Handy MIG Welder

K2185-1

A customer who bought this Lincoln Electric Handy Mig Welder was kind of skeptical about buying a cheap portable welder like this. He bought it knowing nothing about welding, except that you need high voltage to work with thick material. A friend of his my suggested this Lincoln Electric MIG Welder because it is easy to learn and use. He primarily wanted this to weld sheet metal in his new auto body shop that he started.

He had tried out other welders that were 220 volts, but they weren't suitable for sheet metal that is only ¼ inch thick. This 115 volt welder is made for smaller projects with thinner material like this.

One thing that disappointed another customer was that the gas regulator did not have its own gauge. This customer had to end up buying a gauge because he need to know when the gas is almost empty. But still, he didn't let this bring him down. This is a high quality portable welder that you can bring anywhere, including inside your house.

Another customer was amazed that he could just plug it into a common household outlet and the breaker didn't even pop, which was his biggest fear.

So overall, customers are very happy with this purchase. The instructions give you clear examples and details on how to use the welder and you'll feel like a professional after using this a few times. I recommend this for anyone who wants to start practicing welding.

Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder

Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder
Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder

Lincoln Electric is equally as good as Miller in my opinioin. They are both considered the top brands in the industry. So much so that they are called the 'Red' (Lincoln), and the 'Blue' (Miller) rather than by their names. This is my first choice over the Hobart, but then we are just splitting hairs on the differences.

 

Millermatic 140 Mig Welder With Autoset

907335

This light weight travel size 140 MIG Welder doesn't disappoint. You can adjust the welder to a specific level of thickness for your material and it sets the welder to the correct parameters automatically.

It can also weld material up to ½ an inch in thickness, which is a step up from other brands that can only handle ¼ inch. There was not even any burn through when I went to weld a 24 gauge sheet metal. However, if you go and weld thick material like this then make sure you have a 20 amp breaker available.

A customer tried welding on a 15 amp breaker and almost popped it. Another thing you should be aware of is the wire feed motor is a little too loud at times. It got to the point where another customer had to wear ear plugs. Don't let this discourage you though.

This welder is very convenient to travel with and can handle many welding jobs that even the more expensive snap on welders can't do properly. With this MIG welder, you can use a flux core or a gas mix. Make sure you buy clamps, grinders and safety equipment first though. You can get these at any welding supply shop in your area. Then just sit back and watch this baby weld with ease.

MILLER MILLERMATIC 140 MIG WELDER w/ AUTOSET - 907335

Millermatic 140 Auto-Set (Machine)
Millermatic 140 Auto-Set (Machine)

If the Hobart above is a Honda and Lincoln above is a Lexus, then this Miller welder is a Ferrari. If you can afford it get it.

 

Miller 140 Mig Welder Demonstration: - You have to get through the first several seconds because his hand is in the way...

Top 4 Stick Welders:

Stick Welding Is Easy To Learn (Wire Feed is Even Easier). It's Great For Jobs That Are Outside and Windy, and The Material Is Rusty or Dirty...

LONGEVITY 140 Dual Voltage Stick Welder

721405557523

This portable 13 pound stick welder is great to have for anyone who needs to make repairs around the house or wants hands on experience with welding. It can easily push 1/8 rods and has no trouble working with ½ inch steel material.

One unique thing about this welder that I noticed was that you can connect it to a 110 volt or a 220 volt outlet. It comes with power plugs and an adapter for switching power to do this. I am not used to having these dual voltage capabilities with others welders I have bought.

One customer whent through the trouble of installing a 220 volt outlet in his garage only to find out that the Longevity Stickweld 140 is compatible with 110 volt outlets.

The stick welder even gets up to 140 amps on a 110 volt outlet, which is impressive. This customer noted above did have more issues with this welder in the beginning. After the first two months it suddenly stopped working and he had to bring it to a repair shop to get it fixed. But one should understand that he did buy it used so perhaps that was his fault as well. Overall, this welder is powerful for the cost and convenient for people who don't want to install 220 volt outlets.

LONGEVITY Stickweld 140 140AMP Dual Voltage Portable Stick Welder

LONGEVITY  721405557523 Stickweld 140 140-AMP Dual Voltage Protable Stick Welder
LONGEVITY 721405557523 Stickweld 140 140-AMP Dual Voltage Protable Stick Welder

Longevity welders may be the best Chinese made welders. Although they have stiff competition. This is a fairly good stick welder for the money.

 

Hobart Stickmate 205:

500502

This arc welder by Hobart is priced fairly when compared to other welders and it was by a brand that I trust.

One customer tried it out and one thing that was disappointing with this machine right off the bat was that it doesn't have DC capabilities, only AC.

Most welders I have used have DC or a DC/AC combination. This customer ssumed this would be no different, but he didn't pay attention to the AC only label on the box. Still, this welder works great with any utility or fabrication work that you need to make. It has a nice cooling fan that helps preserve the power source life.

Just be sure that you use the right rod for the job and let the welding begin! The customer was able to take a piece of .125 DOM steel tubing and bend it into the shape of a horseshoe. They were amazed at strong the welds which were made with this machine. Once you figure out the settings for the heat ranges you could weld pretty much anything together.

All it takes is a little bit of practice getting to learn the settings, but once you master it you will never want to put this welder down. This is definitely a good machine for welder enthusiasts.

Hobart 500502 Stickmate 205 AC Stick (SMAW) Arc Welding Power Source

Hobart 500502 Stickmate 205 AC Stick (SMAW) Arc Welding Power Source
Hobart 500502 Stickmate 205 AC Stick (SMAW) Arc Welding Power Source

This stick welder (arc welder) is a very good buy. It's owned by 'Blue' (Miller) so you know it's backed by the best company on the planet (other than Lincoln). You will be very happy with this quality buy.

 
buzz box welder
buzz box welder

The 'Buzz Box'!

If there was a Hall Of Fame for welders, the old Lincoln Buzz Box would be in it, and at the top of the list..or the first welder they put in the Hall Of Fame. Why? Because it was a perfect arc welder. Lincoln first started building welders in the early 1900s, and they built them well. After many years of perfecting arc welding technology they built the Tombstone. And it was a big hit.

It was called the Tombstone because it's shape resembles a tombstone, and it has changed very little.

Most welders would agree that the Buzz Box welder should be in every shop. It's an welder that will be passed down for generations, and it's a workhorse. Plus, there's tons of parts for it, it has a three year warranty (which you'll probably never need), and it's got more than a hundred years of research and development behind it...

So why is it called a 'Buzz Box'? Because of the buzzing sound it makes when you strike the arc. Get one. It's easily going to be the best money you spend on a welder.

Buzz Box Demo

Decent demonstration of the buzz box stick welder in AC, DC mode.

Lincoln Buzz Box Welder For Sale:

Lincoln Electric K1170 AC225S Stick Welder
Lincoln Electric K1170 AC225S Stick Welder

The best stick welder you will ever buy, period. Hands down. Get a piece of history in your shop!

 

Top 3 TIG Welders:

TIG Welding Requires More Skill Than MIG or Stick. But It's Also More Versatile. You Can Weld More Kinds Of Materials And It's Ideal For Tough Welding Jobs Like Going Around Tubing, Curves Etc...

Thermal Inverter Portable Stick and TIG Welder Package:

W1003203

The Thermal Arc DC Welder is great for beginning welders. One customer bought this welder for his son to get him started in the craft and apparently he absolutely loves it. This machine can deliver power up to 95amps, which you can get on a standard 115 volt outlet.

Another customer had questions about this when he first bought the welder, so he called the company and they were very quick to answer his questions. According to this customer, 'Other welding companies I have talked to in the past never responded so quickly to me before.'

Assuming this customer is speaking the truth, Thermal sure gets an A+ on customer service. Getting back to the welder, it is light enough to carry around your house for maintenance and repair work. Even the portable inverter power source is only 10 pounds. The welder has a switch for stick and lift TIG functions with DC capabilities. It has safety indicator lights for power and overheating.

Overall, this welder is best used for light fabrication and light maintenance work. If you try to do heavy duty welds you may find this to not be powerful enough. In such a case you should go with the 220 volt welders. Otherwise, this is a great one to start out with for simple jobs. I have hear great things about this welder and the company behind it.

Thermal Arc W1003203 95 S Inverter Portable DC Welder Stick/TIG Package

Thermal Arc W1003203 95 S Inverter Portable DC Welder Stick/TIG Package
Thermal Arc W1003203 95 S Inverter Portable DC Welder Stick/TIG Package

Thermal welders are made in China (from what I understand up to this point in my career), and as a result they are the best Chinese wedler manufacterers. But what's cool is that they have US based customer service and they are good. So this is a really good choice through and through. But if you can afford the price get the Hobart above.

 

Hobart EZ TIG Inverter Welder:

500551

This welder was a little expensive, but you get what you pay for. It provides top quality welds and has awesome single knob control. I welded some steel the other day and it came out great. I love that this welder is capable of both AC and DC, which is a feature that lacks in other welders.

It is also very easy to setup this welder for use. All you need to do is get a 230 VAC, hook up the gas, select the level of thickness, the material and then you can weld! The different materials you can select are stainless steel, mild steel, chrome moly and aluminum. I recommend starting off with mild steel if you are a beginner because it is the easiest material to work with.

The TIG welding is a little more difficult than I thought it would be, but with practice you get used to it. You can be extremely versatile with this welder because it works great with auto body work, metal art, home repairs, fabrication and vocational training.

Overall, this welder delivers clean welds and is suitable for both beginners and experienced welders. If you are a beginner you should watch a few of the online tutorial videos that Hobart has available. They will help you get better at it.

Hobart 500551 EZ TIG 165i 230-Volt Inverter-Based AC/DC Welder

Hobart 500551 EZ TIG 165i 230-Volt Inverter-Based AC/DC Welder
Hobart 500551 EZ TIG 165i 230-Volt Inverter-Based AC/DC Welder

In my opinion this is the best TIG welder in this power range for the money. Period. It's well built and works as well as a real Miller or Lincoln.

 

Eastwood 200 AMP TIG Welder:

B004P4Y3GY

When looking for a TIG welder for myself I didn't want to spend a lot of money. The American brands always seem to be overpriced, so I decided to find some brands made in China. A friend of mine suggested that I use Eastwood. But this one was still out of my price range.

According to someone who bought the Eastwood 200 AMP AC/DC Welder, he liked that it had a 3 year warranty included with it. It does perform an accurate weld, however he did have a little problem with the pedal at first. It suddenly stopped working after a few tries.

He called the company and used his warranty to get a new one. Within less than a week, they sent him a replacement free of charge. He replaced the pedal and then got it working in no time.

According to this customer, it makes welding aluminum much easier than other welds he has tried. He wished it had features which other welders have, like pulse mode and adjustable frequency.

Overall, this welder is a cost effective way to get into TIG welding and anyone interested in TIG welding can make great use of this.

ArcOne Stick and TIG Welder:

I100STS

This is one of the cheaper TIG welders I have ever used. It is light weight and feels flimsy, but it actually delivers a great weld. I tried it out on a 1/8 piece of mild steel and it burned it just fine. I didn't think I would be able to burn it so well at 100 amps, but I did.

This is great because I can use a simple 110 volt outlet for this. However, it did tend to trip on a 20 amp circuit when I was only putting out 70 amps with it. I didn't think a little machine like this would trip on 20 amps, so I had to upgrade to a 30 amp breaker. However, if you are being mobile with this device in a secluded area then a 20 amp generator will do.

I'm not too crazy about the heavy cables that you need with it, but that is a minor inconvenience. If anybody is looking to save money and start learning about TIG welding than the ArcOne is certainly what you will want to get.

It has amazing fine tuning and heat adjustment controls that make getting into welding a snap. It even works better than some of the name brands that are triple the price. You can't go wrong with ArcOne.

ArcOne I100STS Industrial Series Stick and TIG Welding Machine

ArcOne I100STS Industrial Series Stick and TIG Welding Machine
ArcOne I100STS Industrial Series Stick and TIG Welding Machine

This company is not as big or well known as the other brands. But this welder is surprisingly good, and it's cheap. It's also made in the EU, and not China if that matters to you. Can't beat the price, and the welds it delvers are in line with the name brand welders. I like it.

 

Are You Interested In MIG, TIG, or Stick Welding, and Why?

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    • i Dia1 profile image

      i Dia1 3 years ago

      This article is a wealth of information for welders. Thanks for sharing.

    • Custom Choppers G profile image
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      Custom Choppers G 3 years ago

      @i Dia1: Thank you so much! I really worked hard on it :-)

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