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A multi-process welder provides you with multiple ways with which to do your welding. This makes it ideal for use with different types of metals. As such, you may benefit greatly from owning one of these, whether as a professional or a DIYer.
When we started out, we looked into 16 different products and narrowed down the list to the six best multi-process welders available. Among the shortlisted products is the Everlast PowerMTS 251Si which has enough merit to be picked as our editor’s choice product. The tool is a heavy-duty commercial machine that you can take to task with your most complex projects. Also, it offers MIG, DC stick, and DC TIG processes as one of its many benefits. The duty cycles are also worth writing home about. Nevertheless, you may find some of the other five tools in the list offer additional benefits in certain areas. As such, if you read about them below, you might end up picking them over the editor’s choice.
Our team already spent a lot of time looking into multi-process welders. As such, we can tell that factors such as duty cycle, process types, input voltage and maximum output affect the usability of the machine. These factors were consequently at the forefront of our grading criteria for the devices. As well, the dimensions, weight, and other features may provide additional benefits to the user. If you want the best multi-process welder, these factors will matter in your selection as well. With the information we got from manufacturer and vendor sites, we were able to rank six of these products in a table. We as well provided detailed information on our top picks as well as a buying guide in the sections below.
If you are going to buy the Everlast PowerMTS 251Si, you should know that it is quite heavy as compared to some of the other options on the market. It even weighs more than twice the weight of the Weldpro MIG200GDsv.
Nevertheless, most users will appreciate having this machine around them as they can use it for multiple projects. The first thing mentioned in the features above is the process types that the device supports. They include MIG, TIG, and Stick welding.
Of course, for the device to carry out these processes, it needs various attachments. While they are not mentioned in the features or shown in the picture provided, you would be wrong to assume that they are bought separately.
Included in the package are a TIG torch, MIG torch as well as a stick electrode holder. The TIG torch comes with a 12ft while the other two come with 10ft cables.
Another inclusion in the package is that of the argon regulator. If you are not a newbie to welding, you will know that argon gas protects your weld from reacting with gases around it.
Additionally, you get a foot pedal and a spare consumable starter kit. In this, you may find a few filler metals. Nevertheless, tungsten has been excluded from the mix.
Also, if you are familiar with welding, you will know that amperage will affect the penetration of the weld. As such, where a lot of penetration is required the more the ampere output by the device, the better. Consequently, the machine on review performs quite well in this regard.
Duty cycle statistics for the machine also seem to be quite impressive. Another thing that sets this device apart from other machines is the set of controls.
Most people will have a field day with the pulse MIG and pulse TIG functions. You as well get a few extra features such as the lift start in addition to the high frequency start in TIG mode.
As a result of the features mentioned above, you can see that the tool presents excellent value for money. You thus should have no problem making this investment if you have the cash lying around.
Electrode/wire diameter: up to 3/32”, 5/32”, 0.035”, 0.045”
Weight: 40 lbs.
Dimensions: 14” x 10.75” x 19”
The Lincoln Electric POWER MIG K4195-1 is our premium pick and requires that you spend a little extra to own it. This is in comparison to its predecessor on the list.
You have to consider the fact that it is lightweight a highlight for the machine. Consequently, you should have an easier time with transport should the need ever arise.
The dimensions also fit the lightweight nature of the device. This is bound to be a benefit even when it comes to storage. Nevertheless, due to this size, there are a few features you might have to give up.
When we look at what makes this tool stand out from others, welding process options are on top of that list. This is because, in addition to MIG, DC STICK, and DC TIG, you get Flux-Cored welding as well.
The machine should come with most of the body assembled. As such, the only things you need to do are to plug it in, attach a few accessories, and start welding. The dual voltage input will allow you to use any of the sockets in the house.
Also interesting is the color display provided by the machine. Using this feature, you can receive instructions on set-up as well as access settings for the different welding projects. This is in addition to the push and turn digital controls that are availed to you.
Also, a closer look at the image above will reveal quite a few accessories. It is important to note that all these come with the package. They include a ground clamp, regulator, MIG gun, and more.
You will as well do well to note the various electrode diameter options available. A rule of thumb is that smaller diameter wires often come with more penetration. However, be careful with the power or current levels you employ. If you use too much, the welding arc could become unstable.
If you are working with a relatively tight budget, you may want to select the Weldpro MIG200GDsv machine as your purchase. It costs less than $700, which is about half the price for most of the tools on our list.
However, the value you get for purchasing this tool is quite high. For this reason, you will find a lot of individuals choosing this model over a few of the higher-end ones.
The dimensions listed above tell the story of a small device. As such, finding space in your garage or shed for the equipment shouldn’t be that tall a task. This also directly translates into a lightweight machine.
Concerning the welding processes, you get up to four types with this tool. They include STICK, Lift TIG, Flux-cored, and MIG. These should apply to the bulk of your welding projects.
Another feature you are bound to appreciate is the dual digital display. You can use this as a reference point as you set amperage. Another parameter you can tweak is the wire speed while welding.
Seeing as though this is an electrical device, it makes sense that is included overload protection. This way, both you and your equipment stay safe as you weld.
Also, the wire diameter is variable. You can thus use different sized needles and wires, depending on the material you are welding.
The machine is capable of welding even aluminum. However, this is only possible if you use it with the optional spool gun. You also have to set the device to MIG mode.
As well, most users will love the fact that it comes with a two-year factory warranty.
What makes it special?
Multiple accessories included
Variable wire diameters
What cons did we find?
Not many negatives have been mentioned in regards to this tool
Like the Lincoln Electric POWER MIG K4195-1 machine, this tool costs upwards of $1700. Also, both of these options weigh 40 lbs.
When it comes to functionality, it is hard to go wrong with this purchase. The TFT screen, for instance, is not something you will find in a lot of the other competitors.
As you will find out, if you buy the machine, the screen is not just for show. It can provide you with the manual at a moment’s notice. This is especially useful if you have never used such a device before and are still learning the ropes.
You can also get a catalog of available spares for the machine. These are displayed in various languages, and that caters to a broader market.
The tool will come with quite a few accessories. However, shielding gas is not included in the purchase.
Various steels and aluminum are some of the metals that you can weld with the device. Also, like a lot of the other options above and below this product on the list, the weld processes available are quite impressive.
There is one feature that sets this machine apart from all the rest. This is the sMIG or smart MIG in full. What this feature does is allow the device to learn according to the habits of the user. As such, it is capable of adapting to your welding style for the best results.
You can as well opt to buy the Forney 324 machine. Using the MIG welder, you can attach carbon steel, stainless steel, magnesium, copper, as well as a few other alloys. The STICK, TIG, and Flux-cored processes also offer a wide range of options with regards to the metals you can work with.
Since this is a relatively big device, it makes sense that it weighs as much as it does. Nevertheless, you might end up overlooking these flaws if you are sufficiently impressed by the benefits.
The machine is easy to start and more than that easy to use. A three-position switch located on the body of the tool is quite dependable when it comes to switching processes.
The metal body is as well impressive as it adds durability. Another area to look into is the input voltage of the machine. At 120V/230V, you should be able to find quite a few sockets in your vicinity capable of such.
Among the accessories that you get in your package are a flow meter and gas hose. The former will help you regulate the speed of welding for each welding job. You as well get a STICK and MIG set-up with the box.
Conspicuously missing from the package are TIG welding accessories. If this is necessary for the work you want to do, you might need to spend a little extra money.
There are as well a few other accessories that the manufacturer suggests you get. They include a spool gun and a foot pedal.
These are all well and good if you have the accessories lying around. However, if you are buying everything, the cost of the machine could increase significantly.
What makes it special?
Usable with a lot of metals
Relatively high output
Can work with most available sockets
Easy to use controls
What cons did we find?
Short duty cycle
You will need to purchase a few extra costly accessories
Duty cycle: 60% @ 50 A (plasma cutter), 60% @ 200 A (TIG), 60% @ 200 A (Stick)
Electrode/wire diameter: n/a
Weight: 33 lbs.
Dimensions: 17’’x 8’’x 14’’
Another machine you should consider purchasing is the Lotos LTPDC2000D. This device is undoubtedly the least expensive one we have on our list. If affordability is a significant concern, this should be among your top picks.
What you get after spending your money on the tool is a machine that can work with most of your sockets. You may also want to know about functionality and tasks you can complete with the invention.
With regards to welding, it is most effective when you use it for TIG and Stick projects. However, it also sets itself apart from a lot of other machines by including a Plasma cutter in the design. This should be able to work on bronze, aluminum, steel, and other metals.
You may also be wondering about the size of the machine. If you intend to move the tool around a lot, then it shouldn’t be too hard as the device only weighs 33lbs.
Also, you will need a foot pedal so you can control the device and get optimum results from your welding. However, this is a component that you may have to purchase separately. As such, this may eat into the less than $500 price point of the machine.
One thing that a lot of people will not like about the device is that it is not compatible with some of the third party consumables on offer. This severely limits your options with how you can use the machine.
Nevertheless, some people may be able to overcome this hurdle.
Knowledge about multi-process welders is an asset if you want to buy one of these machines. This means an in-depth understanding of the tools, including how they work and the best features to look out for.
The buying guide below should get you to a point where you are comfortable choosing a device on your own. As such, pay attention to every word and sentence included.
What is a multi-process welder?
To define a multi-process welder, you must first define a welding machine. This is a piece of equipment that can be used to join thermoplastics and metals together. Often the process involves intense heat.
There are, of course, a few different processes of welding. They include TIG welding, MIG welding, Stick welding, and more. A device that is capable of two or more of these processes is what is referred to as a multi-purpose welder.
Features to consider when choosing a multi-process welding machine
Once you start researching the various models available, you will see a lot of variable features in the different models. Being that users are all different, some will appreciate the inclusion of some features while others will not.
Professionals will likely use tools with more features since their projects are more diverse. However, for the DIYer, they might have a specific use in mind that requires a single feature. As such, both of these users will select the model they want based on their needs.
Welding processes combination
While these devices allow for different processes, not all of them are included in one device. The Forney 324, for example, has MIG, TIG, Stick, and even a Flux-cored welder but no plasma cutting capabilities.
Conversely, the Lotos LTPDC2000D has TIG, Stick and plasma cutting capabilities but no MIG welding. As such the work you need to do with your machine will dictate the combination, you choose. That as well has tremendous input on the equipment you buy.
Ideally, you want a tool that works with an alternating current. This is because welders consume a lot of power, and a steady source of that power would be your sockets.
Since direct currents will often come from batteries, it would be quite expensive and bothersome if your welder used such. Nevertheless, the capability for the same would be welcome since situations may arise where an AC is not available.
This is often in regards to the power requirements of the device. Ideally, you can get enough power for the device in your home or workshop.
In the U.S.A, the standard voltage output by sockets is 120V. Most of the devices above, including the Lotos LTPDC2000D, will find this power output enough to run.
Maximum output is often rated in terms of amperes. Devices like the Everlast PowerMTS 251Si can reach a maximum output of 250A during the TIG and MIG welding processes. For Stick, it can only reach 200A.
As we mentioned before, this is likely to affect the penetration of the weld. As such, you can go for more powerful devices depending on the use you have in mind. This also works in conjunction with the diameter of the wires.
Welding machines can stay active for limited amounts of time before needing breaks.
The duty cycle is indicated as the percentage of time a device can stay on in a full-on and off-cycle.
Of course, this also means that products with higher duty cycles are better than their counterparts. Put that into consideration as you search for viable options.
The weight of the machines matters more if you plan to move it around from time to time. However, if it is going to be a stationary installation in your workshop, you may not have much use for a lightweight device.
Also, it is quite common for devices with a lot of features and accessories to be quite heavy. As such, there has to be a trade-off between the weight of the machine and the functionality.
For a lot of devices, the electrode or wire diameter varies. Also, you will find that the wire diameter will likely affect the penetration of the consumable while welding.
If this was the only differentiating factor between potential purchases, go with the one that has a smaller diameter. On paper, that should provide you with more penetration.
Materials you are going to weld
Typical materials to put on the welding table include various types of steel, metal, aluminum, and more. Nevertheless, each person will likely have an idea of the materials they will work with most often.
As such, you should carefully read product descriptions and search for extra information on the same. This prevents you from making a useless purchase.
The ESAB EMP215IC can be lauded for its TFT screen. It should be easy to operate and additionally includes a manual. Most newbies to the trade will appreciate the thoughtfulness of the manufacturer and buy the product as a result.
Similarly, you should look for an interface that is just as easy to use. That way, you won’t have to think about too much as you take on the project at hand.
Welder quality and performance
You can check on the body of the device as well as the quality of its output. How reliable are the components included in the package? Also, how well does it perform when you use it on certain metals?
You may not get the chance to test out all parameters before you buy the machine. Nevertheless, you can check on the reviews section for the product on sites like Amazon.
You can also judge performance by using criteria such as max output, duty cycle, and even electrode diameter, all of which we have mentioned above.
You have probably made other purchases before even thinking about the multi-process welder. As such, it should be evident to you by now that reading the warranty terms is essential.
Areas to carefully look into include how long the warranty will last and the parts that it covers. The longer the coverage, the better.
High temperatures are necessary for the welding process. As such, you may need to protect yourself by wearing protective clothing.
Among the things you need are close-toed shoes, a long-sleeved but non-flammable shirts, and welding gloves. Also, a face shield and ear protection are essential to prevent sparks from getting into your nose, eyes, and ears.
As well, stay away from chlorinated hydrocarbon as you are welding to prevent poisoning.
It is hard to top the Everlast PowerMTS 251Si as a commercial welding device. Power output, duty cycle, and a few other features are all quite impressive which is why most people will put the tool on a wish list.
The Lincoln Electric POWER MIG K4195-1 is not far behind in ratings. It is lightweight, electrode diameters are many to work with, and maximum output is impressive. One of the things that work against the device is its high price. Nevertheless, that may not be a concern for everyone.
Lastly, you have the Weldpro MIG200GDsv that makes a case for itself by being affordable. Consequently, it is much more accessible to DIYers and other non-professional users. Do tell us which of the six products above most appeals to you. More than that log on to Amazon, order the product and get to welding as soon as possible.