Best Stick Welders – Gadget Reviewed Buying Guide
Are you looking for the best stick welders in the market? If yes, you should know that these depend on price, features, and functionality. Therefore, you may confuse while selecting the perfect stick welder. We tested many products and then narrowed down the top five products for you in this article.
Besides, we have given an elaborated buying guide. Some features you should consider before buying a model include; electrode diameter, weight, input voltage, duty cycle, maximum output, process type, etc. These help to determine the quality of each product and their working efficiency.
What are Stick Welders?
It is a type of arc welding machine which needs electric currents and an electrode to join various metals. You can find the electrode in a sturdy metal stick surrounded by a coating of metal powders and compounds.
AC and DC make an electric arc between metals and the electrode. For example, people use it to weld steel and iron in the construction and repair industries.
What is Stick Welding?
It is a process called shielded metal arc welding. You can use this method outdoors in windy conditions, and this trick is straightforward to learn. Besides, it allows you to do it on items that have rust without using any gas. It doesn’t matter if you use a multipurpose or a single-purpose model because you must use the best one to get perfect results.
Benefits of Stick Welding:
These are a better option than any tools and can provide more advantages apart from welding. Therefore, we have given here a few benefits of the tool.
Affordable: The machine is available at a reasonable price. In addition, it comes with other accessories. Therefore, you don’t need to maintain the tool too much. Consequently, you will not need to spend more money, time, or effort on them for regular maintenance. Remember that the tool is more affordable welding equipment than other welding tools.
Enhanced Flexibility and Versatility: The gadget is flexible and versatile. Besides, it is suitable for various types of metals and materials. In addition, the gadget can switch the electrode to deal with many projects. Moreover, it will not need different types of gas. Instead, you can use a simple model to perform various works.
More Reach: The tool allows you to reach 12 to 16 inches in length. Therefore, you can provide simple access to hard-to-reach spots and tough areas to maneuver easily. Thus, it becomes possible to weld in multiple angles and positions to work effectively.
Novice Friendly: The tool is simple and allows you to streamline the process compared to other machines. This feature makes it a good tool at a budget-friendly price range for those who are starting.
No need for Shielding gas: MIG and TIG models usually need a gas cylinder to operate. But these don’t need any shielding gas to operate. Instead, they can generate their shielding gas from the electrode while working. As a result, you don’t have to carry the gas cylinder around.
Tips to Use Stick Welders:
These are some tips you can follow to use these properly and safely.
- Try to use Steel with less silicon (< 0.1%) and sulfur content (< 0.35%). It is ideal for the process because these deter cracking while welding them.
- Remember that you must clean every joint accurately before beginning the method. Ensure that you have to remove the oil, grease, rust, and paint from the metal surface. Instead, you should use an electrode while unable to clear the contaminants.
- You should use a proper-sized electrode to perform any type of welding. However, if you are willing to get better results, you must use a large electrode to maintain the quality.
- If you face inconsistent arcs, you must use a wet electrode. On the other hand, dry electrodes help to deter issues with the welding arc.
- Reducing the current will decrease the splatter from the weld while you think about the cleaning process. But, again, it is because these allow you to clean the machine safely.
Top Five Best Stick Welders:
Lotos LTPDC2000D 3-in-1 Stick Welder – Best Overall
Description: Lotos is well known for making quality models at reasonable rates. The tool is a portable three-in-one machine. With the help of the product, you can complete most tasks. It has a short electrode clamp at six feet. But it is not uncommon to have six-foot leads for stock electrode clamps. If you want, you can add an extension to last for a long time.
It is a perfect option according to the price for its dual voltage input and a plasma cutting function with a 15- to the 200-amp range. You can get a one-year warranty also.
Plasma cutter: It offers a 10-50AMP Plasma Cutter Current Output. In addition, it can provide ½” of max ideal cut thickness and 3/4″ of max Severance Thickness. Its Pilot Arc Torch helps to cut through the rough surface.
Material: It can offer quality TIG & Precise welding on Stainless or Steel on Thinner-gauge Materials. Besides, it has a precise foot pedal, and HF arc Start hand torch control.
Easy to set up: The product comes with a pre-installed NPT ¼” industry type D plug and air filter regulator. These enable you to attach to the air compressor quickly. In this case, you need to use the stand coupler available on your air compressor. In addition, the Papst advanced cooling system makes sure that the plasma cutter provides a stable performance.
Papst advanced cooling system
Quick set up
Electrode clamp height is only six feet
EVERLAST PowerARC 140 TIG / Stick Welder
Description: Everlast PowerARC is the best option if you’re looking for a five-year warranty. It is a little bit higher in quality. Besides, it comes with longer leaders at about eight feet in length. In addition, the price of the model is quite similar to the earlier one. But the product does not come with a plasma cutter ( a handy item for a portable machine).
We advise you to use the machine if you want to use a lighter model and don’t have a plasma cutter. It is suitable for both a hobbyist and an industrial worker.
Performance: The product can deliver excellent flexibility and performance in a small utility class welder package. This IGBT inverter has both Stick and DC Lift TIG capability.
Accessories: It includes a carry case, a torch with the cable, a DINSE style connector, a gas valve TIG torch with cable and DINSE connector, and the work clamp.
Simple connection: The product comes with DINSE 25mm style connectors used to connect easily. Besides, it has Lift Start DC TIG setting that you can use to weld steel and stainless. In addition, it has a 17V series with a manual gas valve with a default torch handle.
Voltage: It offers 140 Amp and 120/240V dual voltage. However, 24.8 pounds is its only weight, and 20″ x 12.5″ x 13.5″ is the dimension.
Electrode clamp of Eight feet
The output range is only 10 to 140 amps
Amico ARC-160D Stick Welder – Best Value
Description: Amico ARC is one of the best stick welders for someone looking for a low-budget model. Its cost is low considering the quality. Besides, it weighs light resulting in you can carry it easily. Moreover, you can get a dual-voltage input option.
It has a sturdy case and a handy shield. You can use the shield to cover the setting adjustments to secure it from damping. Besides, you can get here 10 feet earth and electrode clamps, which are higher quality than other stock leads. Above all, the product is a good choice for beginners. It is one of the most effective arc welders considering the price.
Design: It combines a professional Stick Arc and Lift-TIG, offering an industrial-level design.
Supportive electrodes: The product can support E6010, E6011, E6013, E7014, E7018, etc. Besides, it has a great Lift-TIG arc welding function. You can weld thin stainless steel and other metals using the product.
Automatic selection: You can see the model offering an automatic selection feature used to detect input voltage automatically. This feature helps you to switch between 100~250V/50~60Hz input power. Besides, you can use almost voltages and frequencies. Moreover, its Adjustable arc force settings enable you to meet your custom welding needs. In addition, it comes in advanced IGBT inverter technology with superior arc characteristics.
Duty cycle: The 80% duty cycle at 160 amps can ensure you can weld it for a long time. Besides, you can use the product with an extended power cord up to 700 feet, which resists power fluctuations at any length.
Function: You can get different powerful functions to start it easily. The product offers a default hot start, anti-stick, thrust adjustment, current-intensity control, etc. In addition, it can provide over-voltage protection, under-voltage protection, over-current protection, and overload protection.
Suitable for professionals: The machine’s components are very strong, making it perfect for professionals or individuals.
Accessories: It comes with 7 feet of power cord, 10 feet of 300-Amp electrode holder assembly, 10 feet of 300-Amp grounding clamp assembly, and a 230V to 115V power adapter.
The power cord of seven feet
Ideal for professionals
Adjustable arc force settings
Hobart 500571 Stickmate 210i Stick Welding Machine
Description: Hobart always offers quality products with five-year warranties, and the machine is no exception. However, based on its features, you can not get it available at a low-price range.
It weighs very light and offers the highest quality. Besides, the machine can offer longer ten-foot leads. In addition, it can provide a single volt input of 220/240v and 110/120.
Quick and reliable: If you’re looking for a reliable product, it is the one you should use. The Hot Start technology makes the product unique.
DC output: The output indicates fewer arc outages, less sticking, less spatter, and best arc control. You should use DC as the output for the process.
Weight: This model weighs nearly 100 pounds. Thus, you can work smarter, not harder, by bringing the machine to work. Besides, you can port because it is simpler to carry. In addition, it is powerful with up to 85 more amps.
Fewer arc outages
Easy to carry
Medium price range
HITBOX 160A Inverter Arc & Stick-Welder
Description: Although it is not the highest quality model, it can weld well for its low price range. The product weighs very light and is perfect for a portable onsite tool.
Besides, the model offers a one-year warranty letting you know that it is reliable. Unfortunately, the maximum range is at 160 amperages, which is minimal for heavier gauge jobs.
But people do not like that it comes with a 220/240-volt input option with 5.5′ leads. You can extend or buy a longer lead whether you require it. Above all, the product is much more reasonable than other models. If you are looking for a lightweight tool, it’s an affordable option to consider.
Hot start function: You can see the no-load voltage reaching 78V. Its current value is boosted momentarily at the start of the method. The arc start allows you to perform smoothly.
Arc force function:
Arc force function continues certain extent because of the melting of the rod, and it continues even if the distance from the object is increased. In addition, the product comes in a state-of-the-art IGBT inverter protection system.
Lift TIG welding: You can perform the process by connecting a TIG torch. If you want, buy it separately. While using lift TIG welding, try to connect the argon flow meter to the gas bottle. Next, you need to connect it to the torch from the argon flow meter. If you are looking for torch selection, you should use the WP-26V welding gun.
Low price range
IGBT inverter protection system
Stick Welder Best Buying guide:
These machines are the most basic of the welding technology. Usually, these tools are long-lasting and durable. If you are a skilled and experienced welder, you can create top-quality welds at a rapid rate. In addition, you can maintain pace with multiple flux-core operators.
When it comes to underwater welding and quick jobs, people still prefer to go with them, and it remains the best option still now after more than a century. These are a few factors that you have to consider before purchasing a model.
Stick Welder Power Output (Amps):
Amperage represents the maximum current of the model. After watching the value, you get to know about the thickness you can or cannot weld with them. You should choose a model with the correct amperage rate. It helps to fuse any weldable metal of different gauge sections.
If you use a harder metal, it requires more amps per inch of thickness. For example, stores use 70 – 90 amps for mild steel based on the material thickness.
Therefore, we recommend choosing a tool with the correct amperage range based on the type of process you want. If you want to get better performance, you need to select a tool with 20 to 50 amps. Then, you can weld even a higher or any unknown variable. A machine with higher amperage can cause deeper penetration, allowing you to weld thicker metals quickly.
You can run these on either single-phase power (110/120V input or 220/240V) or three-phase power (240V input). In this case, you should use a single-phase for standard household power. Besides, you have to use the three-phase for industrial power, and you can use three-phase power for heavy-duty machines.
A tool with 110/120V is a good choice for hobbyists. Hence, they only need to connect the machine to their standard household power outlet. But models with 220/240V are ideal for professionals. It is because they are strong and need the correct power outlet. In addition, a few models may use both input voltages, called dual-voltage welders.
Thus, the factor will determine the model type you will select. Remember that you must not buy a machine you cannot run with the electrical capacity in your place.
If you want, you can use a tool with 110V. It is lighter, affordable, and portable. Besides, it is a smaller choice for people who only use the gadget at home. Ensure that you must not weld steel thicker than 1/4-inch. You can carry the machine at any location. In addition, it fits easily in closets, under the car, and ducting. Whether you want to repair field plows, backhoe buckets, or semi-truck wheels, use a tool with 240-volt power. Thus, you can decrease the adequate current to weld thick pieces.
Inverter Vs. Transformer:
These are categorized based on the power source. People use inverters mostly. Besides, some machines want to have an inverter. Let’s know about both of them.
This type is portable and energy-efficient. Besides, it weighs about 15 – 20 pounds, making it simple to carry around. In addition, inverters consume less storage space and are known for a more stable and smoother arc. With the help of the inverter, you can get better control over the tool’s operation. But these are a bit less robust than transformers, which is why people prefer using them on construction sites. Instead of analog, you may need to hire an expert service if it belongs to digital technology. Therefore, you may need to cost extra instead of fixing them yourself.
These have solid designs and appear as built-like tanks. Generally, transformers consume a lot of power and perform heavy-duty work. But, these are a heavier option because they need more space than inverters. However, the initial cost is less, and their durable design makes them attractive.
The duty cycle indicates the time required to weld with a given machine before cooling down. If the machine has a longer duty cycle, it can perform a task more efficiently. Therefore, ensure that you need to buy a tool with a high-duty cycle so you can use it for more extended periods. Thus, the machine also helps to prevent overheating issues. Hence, you can see the duty cycle as a percentage or ratio.
A machine with a duty cycle of 30% allows you to use it for 3 minutes before cooling down for 7 minutes. The factor depends on the output power settings. If your machine offers a higher amperage, it can result in a lower duty cycle. Therefore, you should check the amperage and duty cycle before buying.
Use a lower-duty cycle machine if you are willing to use it for home repair work or other hobby tasks. However, you will need a higher duty cycle for industrial applications or a professional welder. If you use a machine with a lower duty cycle, you must stop every 2 minutes.
When it comes to output current type, you can find three choices available. These are as follows— AC (alternating current), DC (direct current), and combination (both AC & DC).
We have explained them in detail to help you to select the correct option. The factor depends on your requirements and available current type.
AC: You can see this current type on entry-level or basic stick welder models. Beginners or those who can’t find the DC option use it. If any metal gets magnetized by friction, you can use it.
DC: It is the most common type, which allows you to use the model in many cases. You should not use it on the magnetized metal case. This current type gives an arc that is simple to start, contains less spatter, and is very stable. DC is a preferable option while performing overhead and vertical methods and can provide you with two polarities— positive and negative. But it depends on the different characteristics of the procedure. Positive polarity means high penetration with less deposition, whereas negative means vice versa.
Combination: You can interchange AC/DC type from AC and DC output according to the project need. Although we use Direct current most frequently, we should switch the current type to AC output to do your job.
Always go with a machine with additional features. It is a preferable option for the people using the device for different projects. Besides, people allow you to switch between various functions at a low cost, and it is not for those who want to use it for the machine.
These can perform functions including plasma cutters, quick switching between TIG, MIG, or flux core, etc. In addition, some machines provide control over amperage and voltage fluctuations. However, most machines come with fast cooling systems to prevent overheating.
If you want, check the necessary features first to select the correct model for your task. Using a multifunctional machine to complete your project work is a good idea because these can offer modern technology solutions to perform the process efficiently.
Depending on the process type, these are categorized into single process and multipurpose machines. If you know about them properly, it will help you to select the correct machine suitable for your needs.
These come at a more reasonable price than MIG, TIG machines, or multipurpose ones. You can use these with a MIG or TIG machine.
It is a valuable but costly all-around machine. You can use them to swap from the MIG technique to this type or vice versa. Some devices provide plasma cutters and TIG capabilities. Multipurpose machines offer many options for versatility, and they can prevent you from purchasing separate tools for different styles.
Unlike the TIG and MIG processes, you can perform the process on a few metals. In this case, you have to switch the stick while changing metals to set the material. But you will need time and skill for it. You should use a machine allowing you to change the stick instead of making the task complicated. You must not want to waste your time and effort.
We recommend you to go with a product that can offer an easy-to-view or understandable display and control options for novices. These features allow you to get a good experience in operating them accurately. In addition, the controls enable you to swap out gloves, and you can use controls easily on most models.
You can see an on/off power switch, controls to manage the amperage, and a display to see the power. But these are not all that you see in these machines. They feature some extras, including AC/DC switch, duty cycle warning, and voltage switch. It is essential to select the options depending on your experience and preference.
Stick Welder Versatility and Portability:
Versatility is the primary reason why you should use these machines. The tools allow you to use different metal qualities in windy conditions. Portability, size, and overall weight might affect this buying factor. In this case, you can use small–medium-sized, lightweight, and portable models. These are perfect for people who want to use the tools outdoors or on multiple worksites.
Generally, these are lightweight and easy to carry. However, people concerned about the tool’s weight should choose a machine with an inverter, which weighs 10 – 20 pounds, whereas machines with a transformer weigh 90+ pounds.
Ensure that you need to select the machine with safety features for its safe and effective usage. For example, you must consider the thermal overload protection feature. Ensure that your product has this feature. It helps to power off the machine automatically. Thus, the feature prevents overheating, under/over-voltage, and over-current.
The duty cycle indicator is one factor preventing your machine from overload protection. Other safety features include anti-stick protection, welding gloves, and a welding helmet. While buying, check if the product arrives in a safety toolbox to carry around safely.
You should go through the user manual to know the safety features you should follow while operating. The reason is that injuries or accidents can happen during the procedure. Therefore, knowing the user manual keeps you careful of the fact.
Build Quality or Constructed Material:
You must consider the material you use and the material used to construct. Using a machine of high-quality parts offers longevity and makes it durable. Besides, these can withstand without any issues. In addition, these consist of mostly heavy-duty metals, including carbon steel, stainless steel, and steel alloy.
Stick Welder Price:
These are not so costly. If you invest $200, you can get a durable model providing solid results and longevity. Expanding your budget allows you to get more power and versatility. Moreover, you must not need to buy gas or any consumables. You will need electrodes to decrease maintenance costs.
The warranty is another essential consideration to check while shopping for a stick welder. Products made of high-quality materials from reputable brands are more robust, durable, reliable, and last longer. Therefore, it is better to choose the stick welder with a limited warranty to cover its manufacturing defects for several years.
The Bottom Line:
These are popular for their superior speed and predictability. In addition, these have major uses in the home and industrial welding applications. However, the products we have discussed above offer unique functions and operations to meet specific needs. Therefore, ensure that you choose the suitable one from the best stick welders.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Is MIG or stick type— which is better?
Both types can generate top-quality welds. But the difference between these two is the type of metal in which the machine works better. MIG is better for creating a clean, strong joint if you use thinner metal. But for thicker metals — over ⅜ inch, you should go with another one.
- How much should you spend on them?
$150 – $250 is the average price of these machines. The price depends on multiple factors, including hourly rate, materials, and the type of project you work on. Generally, the total cost covers materials, equipment, and labor.
- What type should a beginner use?
MIG type is the best for a beginner. These are designed with a wire electrode on a spool. You can learn it easily because it is a semi-automatic or automatic process.