Table of Contents
One of the most important things to consider when buying a welder is what type of welding you intend to do.
Beyond the difference in applications, the different types of welding often require different techniques and are learned in stages.
That said, every stage will require something a little different than the one before it in terms of technique, so it is a good idea to get the right welder for each type of welding that is best suited for a beginner.
This is one of the more popular types of welding for at-home projects, though it is also one of the more difficult types of welding to master.This type of welding does not use gas, which ultimately saves you some money in operational expenses.However, you must be incredibly smooth and consistent when stick welding or else there will a fair bit of splatter and plenty of post-weld cleanups.Still, for small projects around the house for a consumer that does not want to spend a lot of money over the course of the welder’s lifetime, this is a solid, albeit technically difficult, option.Stick welding is also the only type of welding suited for cast iron.
On the other end of the spectrum, MIG welding is often considered to be the easiest type for beginners.This is largely in part because the wire used for MIG welding is fed through a constant, pre-selected speed on a spool.As the wire passes through the electrode, it is melted and leaves an exceptionally clean weld.This type of welding can be used for both thick and thin metals and produces an incredibly strong and durable weld that requires little to no post-weld cleanup – so long as you can provide a consistent pace to match the constant feed.
TIG welding often sits between MIG and stick welding in terms of difficulty, though its applications are often wider in scope.This is the method you would use for nonferrous metals like aluminum, copper, and magnesium.That said, TIG welding is most commonly used to weld thinner sheets of metal together.The true difficulty of TIG welding comes with knowing what the appropriate settings for the welder should be rather than the actual technique.Still, as a gas arc welder, TIG welding does require more proficiency and control with the electrode than MIG welding does.
Flux cored welding is technically a type of MIG welding, though it helps alleviate some of the additional cost associated with MIG welding.This is because flux core wire does not require a gas shield like traditional MIG welding.This means you get all of the benefits and ease of MIG welders and their constant wire feeds without having to worry about purchasing gas canisters to shield the metal as it passes through the electrode.This makes welding outdoors much easier and still produces the clean, strong welds that MIG welding is known for.
When buying a welder, power can be approached from two different perspectives. The first is how powerful the welder is itself.
This is important because a thicker wire will require more power to fully melt and produce clean, strong welds. The second consideration when it comes to power involves how the welder itself is powered.
Welders will either be AC or DC powered. DC powered welders are used more often for professional welding because they can handle all types of wire.
However, beginner welders might do better with AC welders as the AC current will help better control the arc, which means less to worry about.
That said, do not use AC welders for wire coated with high cellulose sodium or low hydrogen sodium.
Best MIG Welder for Beginners – Hobart 500559 Handler
- 5-position voltage control selector adds a smooth, stable arc at all welding thicknesses
- Welds 24 gauge up to 1/4 in mild steel; Weldable Materials: Steel, Stainless Steel and Aluminum
- Welding Processes: MIG(GMAW), Flux Cored(FCAW)
- Operates off 115V standard household current; Wire Feed Speed Range 40-700 IPM, 50-740 IPM at no load
- Welding Amperage Range: 25-140 A; 20% duty cycle @ 90 Amps, 19V
Hobart is a brand that specializes exclusively in welding products and has an answer for whatever type of welding needs you may have. This is one of the few brands on our list that even offers extremely capable plasma cutters as well as every type of welder around.
In this instance, Hobart makes by far the best MIG welder that we came across with a number of features that are ideally suited for beginner welders.
For one, this welder aims to provide the maximum amount of control. This is important because beginner welders are often not the most technical welders.
As such, it allows beginners to set their welder up and simply go without having to worry about less than ideal welding conditions. Arguably two of the best features in this regard are the valve and gauge.
The solenoid gas valve and dual-gauge regulator ensures that your welder provides a steady stream to help control the arc.
On top of that, the Hobart also features a 5 position voltage control so the arc will not be too strong or too weak. Finally, the AC current will further stabilize the arc, preventing it from developing a blown shape.
- Has a 5 position voltage control
- Can weld mild and stainless steel
- Can weld ¼” mild steel
- Can run flux core, solid, and aluminum
- Cast aluminum wire drive system
- Excellent gas valve and gauge
- Only 140 amps
- Most expensive welder reviewed
- Only uses 110V
- 【Household Smart Welder】 Compact and exquisite MIG gas welder, made of heavy duty stainless steel body, painted with durable yellow paints, ensure its long-last serving life-span.
- 【Flux-cored Wire】No gas welder uses convenient flux-cored wire, self release metal-inert Gas while welding, prevent oxidation of the welded part.
- 【4 levels Adjustable Welding Speed】 Features 4 levels of current flow settings, by adjusting the 4 buttons for min/max, 1/2. Also features a wire feeding speed adjust rotary knob. 10 levels of wire feeding speeds for your choice.
- 【Portable Design & Wide Applications】 It is perfect for welding normal thin steel and iron, perfect for home DIY and general repairing work. Mini size but also practical, it will obtain a professional finish in welding. Features a easy carrying handle, light weight, compact design, Easy for translation and storage. Very convenient, can be used anywhere you need.
- 【Accessories Included】 Two air-vent on the machine to help heat dissipation. The welding gun with full on/ off safety control. Standard American triangle ground cord and automatic thermal safety protection. Comes with a reel of 0. 9mm, 0. 55lbs welding wire and a brush/chipping hammer.
Unlike some of the other companies on our list, Goplus does not have the brand prestige that ensures comfort and security. In fact, Goplus does not specialize in welding or even metal fabrication products at all.
Instead, this company offers a wide range of products that are more focused on the consumer market and for use at home. As a result, their welding products are priced lower than others on the market.
This is by far the least expensive welder that we reviewed. In fact, it is more than 50 percent less expensive than the next least expensive welder on our list.
If you are a beginner welder, chances are you may not be comfortable dropping hundreds of dollars on a product that you are not necessarily all that proficient with yet.
Thankfully, the Goplus actually manages to provide a solid beginner experience at an incredibly low price. For instance, while not the most adjustable, the Goplus welder still provides 4 different voltage settings. On top of that, the AC current of the Goplus helps stabilize the arc and prevent a blow shape.
Perhaps one of the best things about the Goplus for beginner welders is that it comes with a complete kit -including a mask and brush.
- Least expensive welder reviewed
- Provides 4 current flow levels
- Adjustable wire feed
- Stainless steel body
- Comes with a complete kit
- Steady AC arc
- Only 130 amps
- Only uses 110V
- It is relatively heavy
Best TIG Welder for Beginners – EVERLAST PowerARC 160STH
- Lightweight and portable - 35% at 160amp -- With HOT START
- IGBT Infineon Modules , inverter technology
- 160a HF TIG DC and STICK with build in valve
- 5 Year (Parts and Labor) and 30 days money back
- DUAL VOLTAGE 110v/220v
Everlast is another brand on our list that has made quite a name for itself making and selling welding products. In fact, this is one of the few brands that has even extended their focus to include a wide variety of peripheral devices designed to be used in conjunction with their welders, like generators and inverters.
This specialization combines to provide an excellent product lineup which is on full display with their PowerARC 160STH TIG welder.
It is worth noting that this welder is designed for buyers who are a little bit more experienced than. That said, if you are a beginner TIG welder, this product is designed to help guide you through the learning process.
This begins with a wide range of versatility that includes a number of regulatory features, so you do not have to worry about imperfect technique while you learn.
First, this welder provides an infinitely variable power control dial. Rather than having a handful of prearranged settings controlling the power of your welder, you can fine-tune the power to get exactly the right kind of arc you need.
On top of that, the post flow regulator ensures that your TIG argon arc will control both the quality of the weld as well as the rate of argon consumption.
- A solid 160 amps
- Comes with hot starter
- Can use 110V or 220V
- Best digital display
- Can weld mild, stainless, and aluminum
- Excellent arc and post flow regulators
- It is more expensive
- It is relatively heavy
- Pedal eliminates amp control
- SF-160A is specially designed for welding cellulose electrode welding machine.
- Advanced IGBT inverter technology, excellent Arc stability, hot start, anti-sticking, forces adjust, steeples amperage control, all generators friendly.
- Automatic compensation for voltage fluctuation, over-voltage protection, under voltage protection, over current protection, over load protection.
- Fan automatic temperature control, intelligent fan control operates when welding commences to cool components and reduce airborne contaminants pulled through the power source.
- The lightness and strength of its components make this a reliable work tool for professionals or personal use. This is optimized to deliver a flawless weld, making spatter and post-weld cleanup almost non-existent.
Amico Power is probably best understood as a mid-tier manufacturer. While they do not actually specialize in welders exclusively, it is one of their major product lines, and all of their other products use a similar motor based mechanism.
That said, this is definitely one of the most budget-friendly welders that we reviewed, but it is also designed exclusively for stick welding. While this is not inherently a problem, it does mean you should be a bit more advanced than an absolute beginner.
When it comes to stick welding, this is definitely a good product to begin learning on. Aside from the fact that it is relatively inexpensive, it is also one of the lighter welders on our list.
Since stick welding travels easier than many of the other types of welding, this provides more versatility. In terms of stick welding effectiveness, the Amico Power offers a solid 160 amps to work with. Of course, as a beginner you may not yet be able to handle that kind of power, but the Amico Power welder has you covered there too.
With an infinite amperage control knob, you will not have to worry about splattering your weld when stick welding again. The only issue is that the amps have a tendency to run lower than stated, though they remain constant even with an extension cord.
- Offers a solid 160 amps
- Can use 110V or 230V
- Infinite amperage control
- Can weld mild and stainless steel
- Only suited for stick welding
- Amps are not always accurate
- Is cold starting
Best Hybrid Welder for Beginners – SUNGOLDPOWER 120A
- ★UL1741 Standard Solar Inverter: Sungoldpower 6.5KW DC 48V (SP6548 series) pure sine wave AC output 120V, Built-in MPPT solar charger max 120A and utility battery charger max 120A, Max PV input 390V (Voc) ,Dual PV input
- ★ Parallel Kit: parallel support up to 6 units, 120V single phase (1 unit ),120V/240V Split Phase capable (2 unit parallel),208V 3-Phase Support (3 unit parallel)
- ★ WIFI Model : Sungoldpower 6500W solar inverter built-in WIFI transmitter,Enable inverter data to be transmitted via WIFI to user's iphone or android smartphone, app can be downloaded from apple or android store
- ★ Batteryless support: 6500W 48V inverter can power the loads from PV array / ac grid without battery connected
- ★ LCD operation: Detachable LCD control module with multiple communication ports for BMS (RS485, CAN-BUS, RS232)
SUNGOLDPOWER is actually far more well-known for their budget-friendly power inverters than they are for their welding machine.
That said, welders – especially those that run on DC power – are noted for including power inverters as part of their design to help control the arc. This actually bodes well for the power of this welder – though it carries considerations with the arc.
On top of that, this welder comes with a hot start feature, so you do not have to wait for the arc to form before you can begin working. One of the more interesting qualities about the SUNGOLDPOWER welder is that it is also the lightest welder that we reviewed.
This welder also offers a bit of versatility in that it can be powered from either 120V or 240V outlets, and you will not have to worry about the DC conversion. Even better, this welder comes with overload protection to ensure that the welder does not blow out your circuit breakers.
The only issue is that this welder may be a bit too strong as the arc has a tendency to blow through the puddle and the voltage to amperage ratio often splatters more than others.
- Offers a powerful 120 amps
- Comes with a hot starter
- Can use 120V or 240V
- Has overload protection
- Reasonably priced
- The most lightweight
- Digital display not always accurate
- Puddle not the smoothest
- A bit more flux splatter
Best Portable Welder for Beginners – Lincoln Electric K2185-1
- Enjoy of a compact, portable and lightweight wire feed welder that is user friendly | Shielding gas sold separately
- Welder dimensions – 12.8” H x 8.8” W x 18” D | Welds up to – 1/8 in. mild steel | Power cord length – 6ft. | Cored Wire Size Range – .035 | Voltage – 115V, 20 Amp
- Cold contactor safety feature keeps welding wire electrically “cold” until gun trigger is pressed
- Great for home repair and hobby projects on light gauge mild steel found around most households
- Four voltage settings and continuous wire feed speed adjustment allow you to weld mild steel from 24 gauge to 1/8" thick
Lincoln Electric is easily one of the more storied companies on our list, with a history stretching back over a century. While the brand may have started out making electric motors, they quickly pioneered welding machines and made the first portable electric welding machine in the world.
This innovation and experience have carried over into the modern day, leading Lincoln Electric to produce the best portable welder for beginners we have found.
It is important to note that this is not strictly the lightest welder that we encountered, but it is still lighter than most and by far one of the best MIG welders on our list.
For one, the Lincoln Electric is AC powered, which will ultimately help control the arc for beginner welders much more than a DC powered arc will. On top of that, the 4 voltage settings provide more control to prevent splatter.
The Lincoln Electric also provides a fully adjustable wire feed, so you do not have to feel rushed when welding and make mistakes that simply add more work to your project.
Even though this welder puts out the lowest power at only 88 amps, it is still consistent enough to handle ⅛” mild steel. On top of that, this welder will not get hot until triggered, and then it has an incredibly short heat up time.
- Has 4 voltage settings
- Adjustable wire feed
- Can weld ⅛” mild steel
- Can weld flux cored wire
- Comes with a full kit
- Fairly lightweight
- A low 88 amps
- Relatively expensive
- Only uses 110V
In the end, there is no single welder that will be the best welder for all beginners to buy. Depending on what type of projects you think you will use the welder for, one welder will invariably be better than the others.
For instance, amateur mechanics are certainly not going to need the same welder as someone looking to make a few repairs around the home in most cases.
For most beginners, the overwhelming majority of their projects will involve MIG welding, because this is the easiest type of welding to do. In that regard, the Hobart 500559 is the best MIG welder that we reviewed.
While it is fairly expensive, it provides the widest range of versatility we saw in the types and arrangements of metal we saw. Moreover, it offers a wide range of features to help control the arc, so you do not need to finesse it quite as much.
Of course, most beginner welders may not be comfortable dropping half a grand on a welder and would prefer to buy something a bit more budget-friendly. In this regard, we recommend the Goplus.
While it may not have the same kind of brand recognition as some of the other welders we reviewed – nor does it come with a warranty – the price and quality are hard to beat.