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We have researched five of the best stick welders available on the market right now, and have made sure to include a range of prices. Our reviews are our own opinions based on experience, research and also reaching out to existing owners to get some feedback on their stick machines.
Our Top Choice
- 3 in 1 with options for a 50 A Air cutter, 200 A TIG welder or a 200 A Stick option
- Relatively quiet machine
- Good looking, solid device
If you’re looking for a welder that you can use for tasks like general construction, home repair, farm, and ranch applications, among others, then you should consider one of these different welding machines.
A stick welding machine is effective for welding alloys or joints. The top stick welding machines can provide a means to be used indoors, outdoors and even enclosed areas.
Stick welding can weld thick metals like cast iron and stainless steel. It is also a welding technique that is appropriate for windy conditions.
But like other forms of arc welding, it does have its disadvantages. For one, it results in much metal spatter.
You also have to replace the rod quite frequently. And you have to clean the welds afterwards.
Despite those disadvantages, many novice and expert welders alike continue to opt for stick welding. If you’re one of them, you’re likely planning to invest in a low price machine.
This article will help you find the right stick welding machine for you.
- Can You Stick Weld Metal While it is Wet?
- Can You Weld Brass with A Stick Welder?
- Is MIG Welding Stronger Than Stick Welding?
- Stick welding calculator
- Can you weld brass with a stick welder?
- Stick welding for auto body parts
- Precaution while welding in the rain
- Ac stick welding benefits
Best Stick Welder Reviews
Lincoln Electric K1170 AC225S
If you’re looking for a portable machine for home projects, then this one isn’t for you. But if you’re shopping for a unit that is very durable and powerful, then the Lincoln Electric K1170 is something you ought to consider buying.
Weighing more than 90 pounds, the K1170 may likely stay in your garage or shop. But that’s fine because this machine more than makes up for its size.
This jukebox-sized unit can handle most jobs, from welding low alloy, carbon, and stainless steel. It offers an extremely smooth arc, and best used for home repairs and light fabrication.
It’s the type of unit that can last for many years. And in case it breaks down, don’t worry as sourcing replacement parts will not be a problem at all.
While it is not the most affordable in this list, you can be assured of the quality and durability of this welding machine.
Lotos CT520D TIG Welder
This is a highly versatile welding machine.
It is not only a stick welder but a TIG welder as well. It can switch between the two functions simply and is easy to use.
It can also cut various metal types up to ½ inch in thickness with its plasma cutting function.
This is a relatively lightweight device at 32 pounds. It is very portable and reliable, with a duty cycle of 60 percent at max amps of 200. This means you can work faster because of the high duty cycle of this unit. Speaking of amps, this Lotus unit has a range 10 to 200 amps for welding and a lower range of 10 to 50 amps for cutting.
Lotos LTPDC2000D Pilot Arc 50Amp Dual Volt 200A
Similar to the CT520D, this is a three-in-one machine that is similarly easy to use. You can save money if you buy this model as it can perform the function of three different units.
It works as a 3 in 1 unit. And like the CT520D, maximum amperage for the welding functions is 200 amps while the limit for the cutting function is 50 amps.
There are a lot of things about this item that will impress you. One is that it is made from Robust Infineon IGBT Power Drive matrix, which simply means that it provides superior cutting power and long life span.
Moreover, getting started with this unit is easy. Simply flip the switch, set the current, and you can start welding. You can weld materials like steel and alloys with this unit.
However, you may have to do some research on how to operate it as there is no user’s manual included in the package.
Lotos Technology TIG140 140 Amp DC
Lotos is known for its versatile machines, and the TIG140 is a good example. Like the previous Lotos units discussed in this article, this one is a combo machine.
It not only works as a stick welding machine but also as a TIG welder.
You can weld copper, stainless steel, and ferrous materials on this machine. And with 120 and 240 volt capabilities, you can operate it almost anywhere. You can even plug it in a generator if needed.
It’s a fairly good unit for small tasks, although you should not expect it to have a fitting for its tig torch. Also, the mask and chipping hammer included in the package aren’t exactly superiorly built.
Stanley 41118U IPER E169 120-volt 100-Amp
For small welding tasks, this is another machine that you can depend on. Perhaps its greatest trait is its portability.
It weighs around 25 pounds, so you can maneuver it easily for minor domestic repair jobs.
Despite its frame, this is a pretty good device. It can weld mild and stainless steel up to 1/8 inches thick with a single pass. And it has an automatic shut-off feature to prevent overheating.
You just have to live with some of its imperfections such as its cheap ground clamp. But overall, this is a very good, easy to carry machine.
How to Choose the Perfect Stick Welding Machine
There are many factors that will come into play when you are shopping for one of these machines. But perhaps the most important of them are:
There are DC inverters, AC welders, DC transformers, and AC/DC inverters. Each type has its pros and cons.
If you are a novice or beginner to arc welders, you should go for DC inverter welders. These are light, small, and portable. AC/DC inverters are also a good option, but these are very costly.
If you need a welding machine for long usage at high amps, then a DC transformer welder is what you need. It can last for a long time, aside from being affordable. But the downside is that it is very expensive and noisy.
AC air cooled welders feature 50 volt and 80 volt options. These are heavily built and can last for many years. But these aren’t portable and aren’t the easiest to use.
Look for a good quality one that has at least 30 percent duty cycle at 70 amps. Avoid the cheap ones that have 10 percent duty cycle because it would make your work longer.
As you may know, the duty cycle indicates the duration for which the unit can weld in 10 minutes. Thus if a welder has a 10 percent duty cycle, that means you’ll be spending 9 minutes cooling it down and just a minute for welding.
Ease of Use
This is very important especially if you are a novice welder. The good news is that most of the modern, high quality devices today are easy to install and use. You will need less time to set them up and learn how to use them.
Think about one with a digital amp readout so you can set the amps correctly. Another feature to look for is the start current. A good machine can temporarily increase output current during the start of a weld so that the arc can be ignited quickly and safely.
Input Power Requirement
Welders can operate on an input power of 110 to 220 volts. Basically, the higher the power input is, the more powerful the unit is. However, machines needing higher power would not be able to run on the normal household circuits and necessitate special power circuits. So you should make sure to consider the power output available in your garage or home when buying.
- Safety: Buy modern units with safety features such as anti-sticking
- Open circuit voltage: This affects arc stability and ease of start. Look for a unit with an OC of 70 to 80 volts. Avoid those with 50 volts OCV because those units are tough to start.
- Stick welding electrode: The unit you should get supports the rod that is appropriate for the material to be weld. For example, a 6011 welding rod is suited for repairing a steel tool, while 7018 is for repairing and piping steel welding.
Best Applications for a Stick Welder
I am aware that shopping for a stick welding machine can be overwhelming especially for novice welders. If you’re a neophyte welder, the products that I have reviewed here today should be good enough for your welding requirements.
When considering the applications, you first need to think about why you may need one.
Stick Welding is a very adaptable procedure with regards to where and how you operate it.
This kind of welding can be completed:
- Inside your workshop
- On a commercial production line
- A boat
- A bridge
- An oil refinery
- A pipeline
- Other comparable kinds of sites
Gas and water pipes are not required, and welding cables cover significantly outside the power source.
In isolated zones, petrol or diesel-powered units can be used.
Apparatus is comparatively simple, cheap and transportable
Supplementary gas protection or granular flux are not essential.
The procedure is less sensitive to environmental stresses such as wind etc., than gas-shielded arc welding procedures.
It can be used in areas wherever access is restricted. This method is appropriate for most of the frequently used metals and composite metals.
Why Choose a Stick Welder
They are a good investment, whether you’re a novice welder or an intermediate one who’s bent on improving your skills.
Sure, stick welding has its disadvantages such as the noise the machine makes, and the need to replace the rod every now and then.
But it is still cheaper than MIG or TIG welding. And unlike TIG welding, it is relatively easier to learn.
If you are to buy a stick welding machine, consider the factors such as the type, ease of use, duty cycle, and input power requirement.
It won’t hurt if you buy a unit that can also cut metals but at the end of the day, what you really want is one that can help you weld materials in the quickest, most efficient way possible.
What is the best stick welder to buy?
It really depends on your needs. However our opinion is that the Lotos CT520D is a safe bet as it is not only high quality and affordable, but it also is a 3 in one that includes not only a stick welding function, but also TIG and Plasma cutting functions.
What is a good cheap stick welder?
Probably the STAHLWERK ARC 200 MD IGBT. It has fantastic reviews and our own analysis indicates that it is a great machine for the money.
Are 110v stick welders any good?
If you are doing simple tasks around the house, then 110v stick welders are a great choice. If you are going to be doing heavier work, then a larger voltage will be required.
Is stick welding better than MIG?
They tend to have a greater penetration depth in the metal than MIG welders. If you are working with thicker metals, then stick is a better choice to use rather than MIG, as it will ensure a much stronger bond.
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