Welding can seem daunting for many people because it requires a lot of tools and preparations. In reality, getting the best welder for beginners with everything you need to get started is pretty simple. The only tricky part is trying to choose which one is the perfect model for you and your hobby! Finding the ideal welding equipment involves taking into account some different factors that we are going to explore here.
We’ve made this as easy as possible by finding the 8 top welders for beginners out there today among the 41 models that we’ve examined for this review. At the top of our list, we have the Forney Easy Weld 100 ST Stick Machine as it is exceptionally easy to use, shows excellent performance, and has great portability. Additionally, there are other types of welders available here, which is why we’ve also reviewed 7 other high-quality models.
Top 8 Welders for Beginners Review 2020
We have spent 61 hours doing our research and have consulted expert sources to make all this information easy to process. To find the perfect welder for your needs, you have to check some of the most important features. Here, we will describe everything from the type of the units to their duty cycles, input voltage, weight, and warranty. To make this easy to digest, we’ve created a comparison table for a quick product overview. After that, you can find detailed reviews of each model and a comprehensive buying guide, which was designed to simplify the purchasing process. Don’t forget to check the FAQS section and our verdict with the top 3 picks from this list. Let's get started!
An amazing MIG/flux wire welder for beginners with four output settings and thermal overload protection. It also comes with a carry handle a handheld face shield.Read Our Review
Forney Easy Weld 100 ST Stick Machine – Editor's Choice
- Type: stick (lift-arc TIG capable)
- Duty cycle: 30% @ 80A
- Input voltage: 120-volt
- Weight: 9.65 lbs.
- Warranty: 1-year
More features: welds 16 gauge up to 5/16″, handles up to 1/8″ electrode, includes electrode holder and ground clamp
Forney has been able to make a welder that ticks all the right boxes on what makes the easiest welder for beginners. It’s exceptionally easy to use, and you’ll be able to get started straight away. The instructions are clear, but make sure that you read them before you begin so you’re fully informed on what you’re doing.
As well as being easy to use, this welder is exceptionally light. At a little under 10lbs, it will be very easy to carry wherever you need to weld. With that low weight, we didn’t expect much performance, but that’s where we were proved wrong.
It’s perfect for a wide range of small jobs, and you’ll find yourself using this welder time and time again. The electrode and ground clamp are going to allow you to weld as soon as this unit arrives with a high level of confidence with your safety in mind.
The controls are easy to use, and you can plug this welder in any home outlet. It doesn’t have the highest level of capability, but you’d expect that from a beginner model as sometimes it can run a little too cold for the bigger jobs.
What you do get here is a smooth arc that is going to leave you with exceptional welds. As your first welder, this is brilliant. It can either serve as a simple welder for those day-to-day tasks or your route to becoming a welding professional and eventually moving on to bigger and more powerful machines.
- Easy to use
- Highly portable and lightweight
- Perfect for small jobs
- Provides a smooth arc
- Runs a little cold
Campbell Hausfeld 115V Arc/Stick Welder – Best Value
- Type: stick
- Duty cycle: 20% @ 50A, 10% @ 70A
- Input voltage: 115-volt
- Weight: 24 lbs.
- Warranty: 1-year limited
More features: dual heat setting, thermal overload protection, welds mild or stainless steel from 18-gauge to 1/8″
Most household outlets are going to have a maximum power output of 115 volts, which is why a lot of these welders will have that as their input voltage. Higher than this, and you’d have to use a different power source.
This model is a bit heavier than the previous one that we looked at, but with the wide handle it has, it’ll still be highly portable. The housing also has a good level of build quality, and, therefore, you’re not going to worry about damaging it. Two different heat settings will allow you to weld with confidence. However, the rod clamp could be a bit tighter to let you use bigger electrodes.
What helps to make this such a brilliant welder for beginners is the amount of help that the manufacturer gives to you. Not only the instructions are very informative and easy to follow, but there is also a worksheet for you to reference.
All of this comes at the unbelievable price, which helps to make it the best stick welder for beginners who are on a budget. It’s a perfect introduction into welding, and even if you move on to a bigger machine, you’ll probably still go back to this for your smaller jobs.
- Two heat settings
- Clear instructions and worksheet
- Great for quick repairs
- Fantastic value for money
- The rod clamp isn’t very tight
Hobart Handler 140 – Premium Pick
- Type: MIG
- Duty cycle: 20% @ 90A
- Input voltage: 110/115/120-volt
- Weight: 57 lbs.
- Warranty: 3-year
More features: 25-140A output, 40-700IPM wire speed feed, five-position voltage control, welds up to 1/4″ mild steel
If you are new to the world of welding but still want to use the highest quality equipment, there is an ideal model for you. Hobart has been able to make the best MIG welder for beginners.
It is quite heavy at 57lbs, but that’s not much of a surprise with its solid construction. It’s a welder that was built to last, and you’ll find yourself using this for many years. That durability is part of the reasons it’s worth its high price.
The amount of control you have over this welder is excellent. It has five different voltage settings and also allows you to choose the speed that the wire is fed through. It means you get the exact results you are looking for.
The setup is still fairly simple despite this one being a heavy-duty welder. It only has a duty cycle of 20%, but with it being able to work so quickly, that’s not going to be much of a problem. It is able to get through more work than most other beginner welders.
We think this welder is perfect, and that is echoed with the user reviews it has. You may be a little vary about paying a high price for a beginner welder, but it’s well worth the money. The impressive arc stability will have you making perfect welds in no time.
- Solid construction
- Simple set up
- Impressive arc stability
- 5-position voltage control
- A little expensive
AmicoPower Arc-160 – Best Duty Cycle
- Type: stick
- Duty cycle: 80% @ 160A
- Input voltage: 100-250V
- Weight: 13 lbs.
- Warranty: 1-year limited
More features: 5-160A output, LED display, multiple levels of protection, comes with electrode holder, work clamp and power adapter
If you’re going to weld for long periods, then you’ll want to use a unit that has a good duty cycle. This is a measurement of how long you’re able to use your welder over a 10-minute period on full power.
We’ve already seen a few welders here that have a duty cycle of 20%, which means that they can work continuously for 2 minutes in any 10 minute period. The 80% duty cycle rate here means that you’re going to be able to weld continuously for a lot longer.
Another great aspect of this welder is that it can use up to 250v, but you will need to make sure you have a power source that can handle that. It does mean that it’s capable of a wide range of jobs at a near-processional level.
With that level of performance, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the welder would be very heavy when, in reality, it only weighs 13 pounds. That helps to make it extremely portable, and you’ll be able to use it anywhere you need too.
Overall, this welder is extremely impressive and very easy to use. It will allow you to progress from a complete novice to someone who is confident with all types of welds in no time. It’s very well-made, and, perhaps, this is the best arc welder for beginners. Just make sure to be careful with your arc distance.
- Lightweight and portable
- High power level
- Long-term durability
- Excellent usability
- Must be careful with arc distance not to lose it
Chicago Electric Welding Systems 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder – Best Flux Core Welder for Beginners
- Type: MIG / flux wire
- Duty cycle: 20% @ 110A, 60% @ 60A, 100% @ 30A
- Input voltage: 240-volt
- Weight: 56.70 lbs.
- Warranty: 1-year
More features: 170A max output, manual wire feed speed control, thermal overload protection, comes with two tips, handheld face shield, brush hammer, flux wire
Safety is always paramount when you’re using a welder, and if that’s something you’re concerned about, then this welding system is going to be ideal. It’ll allow you to get your work done with a high level of confidence.
It works vis a self-shielded flux wire so that you don’t have to use gas, but that’s not the only convenient feature. It also has thermal overload protection and comes with a handheld face shield. With the welder also being backed by a 1-year warranty, it’ll also give you assurances on its build quality.
There is a wide range of adjustments that can be made to get the perfect level of performance, and this includes four output settings. Whatever small job you need to do, this can do it effortlessly.
It does have limited capability, but you’d expect to see that from a beginner model at this price. It is also significantly heavier than some of the other welders we’ve seen, which is important to take into consideration if you’re looking for portability.
That being said, it does have a wide handle, and it will be easy enough for most people to carry, especially over short distances. Overall it’s one of the easiest welders to use out there and one that values the safety of its users very highly.
- Easy to use with flux wire
- Good reliability
- Four output settings
- Thermal overload protection
- Limited capability
EVERLAST PowerARC 140Sti – Best Compact Welder
- Type: lift start TIG / stick
- Duty cycle: 35% @ 140A
- Input voltage: 120/240-volt
- Weight: 24.8 lbs.
- Warranty: 5-year
More features: auto adaptive hot start, LED screen, comes with electrode holder, cable, 17V series TIG torch, work clamp, carry case, wire brush
In terms of performance, this is one of the most impressive welders around. It has an input voltage of up to 240v and can provide power up to 140 amps, which is impressive for such an affordable model.
These machines work at a very high temperature and are expected to get through a lot of work. Due to this, they need to be very well made. The problem with many beginner welders is that they just aren’t made to a high enough standard to cope with these stresses.
In this list, we’ve only looked at high-quality models, but this one is especially impressive with its high-quality construction. It has immense durability, and that is backed by the 5-year warranty it has. The company is called Everlast, and that seems quite apt.
It weighs nearly 25 pounds, which is neither light nor heavy, but it does come in a compact size, making it easy to use almost anywhere. An annoying feature is that it has only a strap handle. It’s a surprisingly low-quality feature on an otherwise excellently made product.
If you want to get high-quality welds, then this is also a great welder for that. It has marvelous arc stability to get the finish you want. It makes it ideal for those who care not just about the strength of the weld but also the aesthetics of it. Moreover, there is an auto hot start feature that allows you to operate it faster.
- Compact design
- Auto hot start
- Impressive arc stability
- High-quality construction
- Strap handle could be better
Hobart Stickmate 160i Stick Welder – Best for Smooth Welds
- Type: stick
- Duty cycle: 30% @ 160A
- Input voltage: 120/240-volt
- Weight: 15 lbs.
- Warranty: 5/3/1-year
More features: up to 160A of output power, welds up to 3/8″ material, comes with electrode cable and heavy-duty holder, work cable with clamp, power cord with adapters
If you loved the look of the previous Hobart model but thought it was a little too pricey for your needs, then this is an excellent cheaper option.
It has an input voltage of up to 240v and a power rating of up to 160 amps. Therefore, it should be able to breeze through most light jobs. It’s not heavy-duty like the other Hobart model we looked at, but it does have plenty of capability.
An advantage of this model is that it’s much lighter at only 15 pounds. It’s another one that has a strap handle, but that’s less of an issue with the low weight it has. This model is easy to carry and quite compact too.
The build quality we see here is very high, and you’ll be using this welder for years to come. There is a long warranty available if you needed that peace of mind, but this is a product that should be able to cope with the stresses and strains.
Starting it is extremely easy, and you’ll be able to get going straight away. The arc holds very well and ensures smooth and consistent welds. Hobart is a manufacturer you can trust, and that’s seen here.
- Perfect durability
- Quick and easy starts
- Works well at 240v
- Allows smooth welds
- Light-duty welder
SUNGOLDPOWER 200Amp TIG ARC Welder – Best TIG Welder for Beginners
- Type: TIG / MMA
- Duty cycle: 60% @ 200A
- Input voltage: 110/220-volt
- Weight: 22 lbs.
- Warranty: 1-year
More features: IP21 protection class, HF start, digital LED display, comes with TIG torch, electrode holder, ground clamp, needle holder, ceramic nozzle, inner hexagon spanner and cables
The digital LED display on this welder helps to make it very easy to use. It enables you to have complete control over what you’re going. This is helped by the dual-voltage switch it has and the adjustability provided. While this is not the lightest welder that we have looked at, it is very portable, which is helped by the wide handle.
Apart from that, you get a bunch of useful accessories with this product. They are the TIG torch, two cable joints, a ground clamp and cable, the electrode holder and cable, a hexagon spanner, three ceramic nozzles as well as three needle holders. It’s an amazing collection of accessories that might be required for your further projects.
The duty cycle on this welder is very impressive, as it can run at 60% at 200A. It all adds up to an impressive level of performance from a welder that comes in quite a compact housing. Unfortunately, a few users have reported some delivery issues. Still, others were happy with their products.
It’s a very well-priced model, which represents excellent value for money. It is very efficient, and you’ll love being able to use this time and again with no problems. It’s an excellent TIG welder and another on this list that has a magnificent range of qualities.
- High build quality
- Dual-voltage switch
- Impressive performance for its size
- Lightweight and compact
- Some delivery issues are possible
With so many different welders out there, you can be left scratching your head and confused about which one to get. In this buying guide, we'll shed light on everything you need to know to get rid of that confusion and have a clear idea about what you need. We do that by looking at the key features in detail and also answering some frequently asked questions. All you need to do is read and refer back to this section if you need to clarify something.
Things to consider before buying a welder for beginners
Before you buy a welder, you need to know what tasks you plan on completing. Is it a small household job, or are you looking to weld something substantial? The type and amperage may be the most important features to some, but others may value portability higher. It could be that you're not sure what you want. Either way, it’s a good idea to make a note of each section to see how important it is to you. By the end, you’ll have a much clearer picture.
Different types of welders specialize in different things. You want to ensure you’re getting a welder, which is going to be suitable for your needs. Here, we take a brief overview of the various types out there.
MIG – This is the most common type of industrial process and stands for ‘metal inert gas’. This involves wire and an electrode with a controlled supply of gas. This is going to be the most suitable for aluminum, mild steel, and also stainless steel. It’s also seen as the easiest form of welding to learn. The Chicago Electric Welding Systems 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder is a fantastic example of a MIG welder, which is a breeze to learn to use.
Stick – Stick welding (also known as arc welding) is commonly used for iron and steel. This is where a hot arc will be created between the surface and the stick, which will then melt the metal and join them together. It's a more durable method that is ideal for difficult conditions. For exceptional results with stick welding, we recommend the Forney Easy Weld 100 ST Stick Machine, which is also TIG capable.
TIG – This stands for 'tungsten inert gas' and is where the electrode heats the base metal and enables a molten weld between the two. This is generally a more complicated process, which will take longer to complete. It is highly versatile, however, and can be used with all types of metal, excluding iron.
It’s important to check just how much power your welder is going to draw if you want to be able to use its full potential. If you plan on using outlets in your home, then there is a good chance you will blow your fuse if you try and take it to full power if you’re using a very powerful welder.
If your home outlet provides 115V, this would require a breaker of at least 20A to be capable of handling welds up to 140amps. Some homes and businesses will have 220v or more where you’d need a 4-prong or heavy-duty 3-prong outlet.
The duty cycle is a parameter that refers to the amount of time that the welder can be used continuously on full power. This is rated on a 10 minute period, and if there is a duty cycle of 50%, this means it can be used at full amperage for 5 minutes.
After this time, it then needs to be rested for the remaining time. Different welders will have different duty cycles. It’s important that you know the limitations of your machine before using it as otherwise you can cause heat damages. For those looking for the best duty cycle, it’s hard to look past the AmicoPower Arc-160 with an 80% duty cycle at 160A, as it can work a lot longer compared to other models.
The amperage range is essential in welding, as this is going to dictate the type of material you’re going to be able to work with.
As mentioned, for amperage levels above 140, you’ll need more power than regular outlets are capable of. Therefore, if you have high welding requirements, you may need an alternate power source to cope with the amperage.
It’s important to know what materials you can weld with your particular machine. Here, we will look at a basic list:
MIG – Steel, stainless steel, aluminum alloys
Stick – Steel, stainless steel, cast iron
TIG - Steel, stainless steel, aluminum alloys, chromoly, copper, brass, exotic metals
If you go against this, then you are going to be setting yourself up to fail. There are also other materials that can be welded such as thermoplastics and ceramic, but they require different technology with different types of welders.
Where are you going to be using your welder? Do you want it to be portable, or is it simply going to sit in your garage? Whatever the answer is, you need to know how portable you need it to be as the weight of these welders can vary hugely from one product to the other.
The Forney Easy Weld 100 ST Stick Machine is less than 10lbs and extremely easy to carry, while the Hobart Handler 140 MIG Welder, on the other hand, is heavy-duty and much harder to carry at 57lbs. Generally, heavier models have a better capability, but that isn’t always the case. Don’t forget to check the product description to find out how heavy is your unit.
Having a good warranty is important, especially for a device such as a welder where high temperatures are used, and safety is paramount. Most of these welders come with a good warranty, but it’s always a good idea to look beyond the headline and see what it covers.
Some warranties are limited and only cover you if there is something wrong on delivery rather than something failing after a few uses.
It’s frustrating when you go to start welding and then suddenly realize you don’t have everything you need to get the job done. What you need for the job will depend on what type of welder you are using.
Stick welder – Filler rod, electrode clamp, ground clamp, welding machine.
TIG welder – Bottled gas, foot pedal, filler rod, welding gun, ground clamp.
MIG welder – Bottled gas, welding gun, ground clamp, and wire feed.
The manufacturers usually include information about the accessories in the product description. With some of the models that we have reviewed above, you can expect to find TIG torches, electrode holders, ground clamps, needle holders, brush hammers, flux wires, handheld face shields, and more.
When you're a beginner, you often don't want to pay a lot as you either don't need a top-end model or are not sure you'll enjoy it. If that doesn't apply to you, and you want a premium quality beginner welder, then the Hobart Handler 140 MIG Welder would be the perfect choice at around $500.
The EVERLAST PowerARC 140Sti is a wonderful compact model that runs around $300, but there are some welders around the $200 range, such as the Forney Easy Weld 100 ST Stick Machine, which you can start using right upon the delivery.
If you’re really on a budget, then you can opt for the Campbell Hausfeld 115V Arc/Stick Welder, which is a little over $100. This is still a great option that we loved using.
Whichever welder you choose, we've made sure here that we have only shown models that represent good value for money.
Different gasses can be used for different types of the weld. For example, carbon dioxide is often used and is the least expensive shielding gas option. Its problem is that it produces quite a messy arc. For high-quality welds, either argon or helium makes up the majority of the mix. Argon has a narrow profile, making it ideal for fillet and butt welds. Also, if you’re welding a non-ferrous material, such as magnesium or titanium, you’ll want to use 100% argon or helium. Oxygen can also be added to the mix to increase fluidity and arc stability. Helium is able to create the hottest arcs and is better for thick materials. The problem with helium is that it is more expensive and requires a higher flow rate. On beginner welders, however, sometimes, no gas is used at all. Instead, they will use flux-covered rods for the shielding. This can make them easier to use and is ideal if you're only going to be using your welder for small jobs.
A Hot Start feature boosts the output voltage for an instant to make the electric arc ignition simpler and faster. This system is used for stick welders only and is extremely helpful with particular electrodes. With this function, you will be able to create smooth welds and avoid some mistakes, such as poor fusion right at the start. If you want to achieve a better quality of your welds with a stick model, you can consider getting one with this feature.
When using a low-powered welder, it can be tempting to skimp on protective clothing, but you shouldn’t make that mistake. You don’t want to have any exposed skin as splatter burns are the most common form of welding injury. Your clothing should be non-flammable and made from natural materials, as synthetics can melt and burn your skin easily. For amateur welders, it's a great idea to get a leather apron as this will give you impressive protection. They're also high-quality welding jackets available. You should have safety glasses and a helmet as your eyes need extra protection. You need to get welding gloves for your hands and make sure you get a quality pair. Aside from that, denim pants and durable rubber-soled shoes are fine. As a final note, make sure none of your clothes have cuffs. You don’t want to have anywhere that splatter can get trapped.
All the welders that we have looked at here have an impressive level of quality. For us, the one that shines more than the others is the Forney Easy Weld 100 ST Stick Machine as it's extremely easy to use, highly portable, and can deliver outstanding results.
For those who need an affordable model, we recommend the Campbell Hausfeld 115V Arc/Stick Welder. It comes with informative instruction to get started right away.
If you’re looking for a high-quality MIG welder instead, the Hobart Handler 140 MIG Welder is going to be an excellent choice. It ensures impressive arc stability and has a 5-position voltage knob for better control.
Starting your new welding journey is almost here. All you need to do is to pick the best welder for beginners, make sure you have everything you need, and you are ready for your new project!