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Stick welding, also commonly known as shielded metal arc welding, is the perfect welding method to use outdoors in windy conditions. It is easy to learn and you can even do it on items that have rust without using any gas. Whether it is a multipurpose stick welder or a single purpose stick welder, you must get the best to achieve great results.
There are numerous types of stick welders in the market that vary in price, features, and functionality. Choosing the best stick welder from the sea may be daunting. We came up with this guide to make it easier for you. We considered over 20 products and narrowed down to the finest 5 in the market. Out of the 5 stick welders we reviewed, the EVERLAST PowerARC 200ST was our best pick. Its welding and power capabilities, convenient size and excellent value could not be matched.
We put our best foot forward in conducting the research with regard to time and sources. You can, therefore, trust our product list to have the best stick welders in the market. Some of the features on which we based our selection and ratings include; electrode diameter, weight, input voltage, duty cycle, maximum output, process type and many others. These features determine the quality and functionality of a stick welder. The comparison table, in-depth product reviews, and a buying guide, in the end, has all the ideal information you need to have before buying a stick welder.
This powerful stick welder was built with a true professional in mind. It is a bit pricey but with all its convenient features and professional performance, it is such a huge steal. It is not only limited to professional use but can also be used at home by hobbyists and beginners.
The welder comes in an inverter design, which makes it lightweight and portable. It features a handy carrying strap and a carrying case that makes storage and transportation convenient.
The welder has got both TIG and stick welding capability, which increases your welding opportunities. Actually, the E6010 welding capability allows you to work on pipelines, container vessels, construction sites, shipyards and portable repair jobs.
However, if you want to TIG weld well with this machine, you have to get a gas regulator and a TIG torch and a gas valve.
The welder offers exceptional arc stability, just like many other big wig brands. Its stick part has an auto-adaptive start and an auto-adaptive arc force control for an excellent arc and weld quality.
It also features a favorable dual voltage capability. You can safely and effortlessly switch between 120v and 240v with the adaptive technology provided.
Beginners will love using this welder for the first time as it has a life start feature, and it includes everything one would need to get started. Though you will have to get the welding rods for stick welding separately.
Overall, this is a fantastic choice for anyone who wants a versatile stick welder with professional performance. It is one of the best inverter stick welders that are worth investing in.
If you are looking to replace your current stick welder with a premium quality one, this is your best bet. The Lotos welder offers excellent value. It is costly for all the right reasons. First off, it is a multipurpose welder that offers plasma cutting, TIG and Stick welding capabilities. Then it can weld metal as thick as ½ inch.
This 3-in-1 stick welder comes in a simple, elegant design that is lightweight and portable. Its set up is pretty straightforward. It will take you less than a minute to get started, thanks to the pre-installed plug and air filter regulator that allows a quick connection to the air compressor.
The welder features a non-touch pilot arc, which will help you cut through surfaces with much ease and minimum slag. The welder’s tip will not be touching the surface whenever you cut metals.
Furthermore, you can run the welder on either of the 2 voltages it offers, 220v or 110v. Just be sure to get a pigtail to help you with an easy transition.
You will also appreciate the vast amps range (10 to 200 amps) offered for welding. Additionally, you will be able to make clean cuts on metals as thick as ¾ inch, as that is the maximum severance thickness the welder offers.
The manufacturer backs up all these fantastic features with a 3-year warranty. All in all, this is one of the best TIG stick welders for home, farm or industrial use. Its superior features and top-notch functionality are worth investing in.
This is another one of the best stick welders under $500. Though not so powerful with an output of 90 amps and 120volt input, it is perfect for beginners. It will feel right at home in your home-garage or farm, and its capabilities will blow you away.
This welder comes in a compact portable design. In fact, it is the best portable stick welder on this list weighing less than 10 pounds. It is the inverter system used in its construction that makes it incredibly lightweight.
The welder has both TIG and sticks welding capabilities, which expands your welding opportunities. Transitioning between the two is a breeze. All you have to do is flip a switch. Beginners will find this feature favorable.
However, do note that you will have to buy a TIG torch separately as it is not included in the package.
The 90 amp power output makes this one of the best stick welders for home-use. The power is enough for various projects in the home, as well as other dome automotive applications.
Another praiseworthy feature is that it can handle up to 1/8 inch electrode and can weld metals as thick as 5/16 inches.
This is a perfect option for anyone looking for a stick welder that is lightweight, easy to operate, and offers top performance results. All its convenient features combined make it the best stick welder for beginners.
The smooth performance and durable build that this welder offers debunk the myth that lies behind products made in China. It is an excellent pick for DIYers with metalwork projects and farm maintenance and repair. It is not the most affordable stick welder out there, but it is worth the buy.
The welder comes in a rugged design that is lightweight and portable. Weighing less than 20 pounds, you can easily store and carry it around.
What sets this welder apart from its peers is its DC operation. This makes it run smoothly as it features easier, quicker, and more reliable starts. The Hot Start Technology, the welder, employs is the one responsible for all the basic and stable arc starts.
Moreover, you will experience easier welding and less spatter thanks to the welder’s superior arc control. Also, because of is DC operation, you will achieve excellent results with greater precision.
With 160 amp power, you can weld up to 5/32 mild steel. It works better on thinner metal sheets. You can fine-tune and adjust the heat output to any value up to 160amps for the best results with every metal you work on.
Additionally, you will appreciate the dual voltage capability the welder features. You can easily connect to either 120v or 240v receptacles with any tools.
The most exciting thing about this welder is the 5/3/1 industrial warranty that has different parts ensured for a specific number of years.
In conclusion, this one of the best stick welders for farm-use, metal art, repairs, and DIYs. It offers versatility and unmatched first-rate features that justify its cost.
If you are looking for a stick welder that is worth every single penny, you will spend, this is your ultimate choice. This welder offers the best value with high-end features and top performance at a very pocket-friendly cost.
It comes in a solid body built with high-quality components for durability. Unlike most of its peers, it is heavy. It is heavy because it is a full-bridge welder, many lightweight welders are half-bridge.
As much as it is not lightweight, it comes with a carrying handle and straps for easy carrying or transportation.
With its advanced full-bridge IGBT inverter technology, you will not only get high-arc performance but also be able to entirely control it. You can make adjustments as small as one amp at a time.
What’s more, you will enjoy a higher duty cycle of about 60% at 180 amps without worrying about it overheating thanks to the built-in fan. The fan cools the internal motor.
Another exceptional feature is the arc force overload protection. It protects the welder from damage caused by over-voltage, under-voltage, and over-currents.
The welder is also beginner-friendly as it comes with a complete starter package and it features the Hot Start Technology which offers easier and reliable starts.
Its dual voltage capability makes it one of the best 110v stick welder. You can choose between an input of 110v or 220v.
All considered, this is a fantastic choice for anyone who does not want to dig dip into their pockets.
What makes it special?
Built to last
High arc performance
Easier and reliable starts
What cons did we find?
It is heavyweight
Things to Consider
A stick welder is a must-have tool for a proficient or novice welder. Since the market is flooded with various brands and models of stick welders, selecting the best can be daunting. This section contains all the information you need to know before choosing a stick welder to make the best buy. You will know what a stick welder is, its benefits, and he features you have to consider before making a purchase.
What is a stick welder?
A stick welder is a welding machine that uses electric currents and an electrode to join various metals. The electrode is a sturdy metal stick that is surrounded by a coating of metal powders and compounds that have a binding agent.
The electric currents (AC/DC) makes an electric arc between the metals to be joined and the electrode. A stick welder is mainly used for welding steel and iron in the construction and repair industries.
Benefits of stick welders
Here is why you should get a stick welder ASAP:
It works well in windy and rainy weather
It is cheaper because it works without external shielding gases.
Most of the machines are affordable.
They are lightweight and highly portable.
Stick welding is easy to learn, and the machines are also easy to use.
The welders are not sensitive to paint, rust or dirt, saving you time and energy.
A stick welder can weld a variety of metals.
It works better in tight spaces, especially if you need to weld corners and edges.
Features to consider when choosing a stick welding machine
There are features that you must look out for when buying a stick welding machine. They determine their quality and functionality. Some of the features include:
There are 2 types of stick welders based on process type; single process sticks welders and the multipurpose stick welders. The single process stick welders are much more affordable than the multipurpose ones or MIG and TIG machines. They are a perfect option for anyone with a TIG or MIG machine and needs to perform stick welding.
The multipurpose stick welders like the Lotos LTPDC2000D reviewed above also come in handy if you want an all-around welder. They are a bit costlier.
AC/DC power source
Alternating current (AC) is usually found in beginners’ stick welders, while DC is much more common because it can be used in any situation. DC reverse polarity welding is more favorable than AC because it features easier and quicker starts, fewer arc outages, less spatter and better welds on thin metals.
Going for a stick welder with both AC and DC options is the best for optimal performance.
Inverter vs. transformer
Inverter stick welders are increasingly becoming popular than transformer ones because they are more versatile, have a higher arc and welding quality, and are highly reliable. They also use less electricity than transformer welders.
Transformers are best suited for heavy-duty work, are a lot heavier, and occupy much space. They are built to last forever and their initial cost is pretty low. They are a perfect choice if you want something to use occasionally. It all boils down to personal preference but anybody would like something affordable, reliable, and is easy to use and maintain.
Most welders have an input voltage of either 115v or 230v. Some are capable of using both like the Hobart Stickmate 160i reviewed above. The 115v is best suited for hobbyists or DIYers in need of just a little power. They can be plugged into the standard home power outlet.
As for the 230v welders, you might need a robust power outlet like a generator to be able to use them because they are too powerful.
The welder’s amperage will show you how much power you can get out of it. A welder with a higher amperage can penetrate deeper and easily weld thicker metal items. They are faster as you won’t have to repeat your passes to achieve a weld.
It is better to settle for a higher amperage because you can always reduce the amps, but you can never increase it in a welder with lower amperage.
Size and weight
This determines the portability of the stick welder. If you need a welder that you can easily carry around to repair projects or construction works away from home, then you better get a lightweight one with a compact design. The Forney Easy Weld 100 ST ARC Welder reviewed above is an excellent lightweight choice for easy transportation and storage.
This is the period of time that you are able to weld before stopping to let the welder cool down. It is displayed as a percentage, and 30% usually means you can go for 3 minutes before cooling down. It usually varies with the welder’s power output, the higher the amperage, the lower the duty cycle.
If you want to weld for more extended periods before cooling down, then you have to choose a welder with a higher duty cycle. There are welders that have better duty cycles at set amperages compared to others, you have to look out keenly to get the best.
The electrode’s diameter determines a welder’s amperage. A smaller electrode diameter requires a lower amperage and vice versa. You have to be keen to ensure you pick the right amperage for your welder’s electrode diameter.
It is better to settle for a stick welder with thermal overload protection to prevent thermal overload which could cause damage to the machine. It automatically shuts down the unit temporarily when it becomes too hot.
Welder quality and performance
The welder’s quality and performance will be determined by its versatility, construction, power, safety features, and other convenient features. A high-quality welder should be durable, portable, easy to use and highly efficient.
Warranty is always an indicator of high quality. Go for products with a warranty like Hobart Stickmate 160i reviewed above. In case you encounter any challenges, you can always get help from the manufacturer.
It is essential that all the controls and display is easy to learn and use. They should also be big enough that you can easily use them with gloves on. The basic controls include on/off switch controls, AC/DC switch, duty cycle warning, and a display that indicates power.
First, you have to ensure the welder is installed correctly and you are in a well-ventilated area. You can protect your body with fire retardant clothing, gloves and shoes. Eye protection at all times is also crucial. Additionally, ensure you take precautions to prevent fires and keep a well-stocked first-aid kit for emergencies.
It is possible to get shocked by a welding machine but not electrocuted. Since a controlled circuit of electricity is being used to weld, you can easily get shocked if you are welding in a wet environment, or the welder is damaged. Voltages in a welding unit are too low to kill you.
You will know a welding rod is bad if it has any rust or its flux has softened or formed a powdery coating that is dry. If you see bubbles on the weld, it means the electrode/rod has absorbed water and is not safe for use.
A stick welder is the best thing you can get for those DIY or metal art projects you have at home as well as farm repairs and maintenance. They are not just limited to home and farm-use as they come in handy at construction sites as well. There are multiple brands and models in the market, and making the right buy can be a tad confusing. This guide will help you make the best choice easily.