Best Cheap Welders of 2020

Updated
Categories Welding
Cheap welders make home welding affordable.

Welders used to be expensive. The concept of the best cheap welder didn’t exist. But now, thanks to mass production and falling costs, finding the best budget welding machine is entirely possible.

If you are looking for an affordable electric arc welder, you’ve come to the right place.


How Do You Weld on a Budget?

This is a 60 million dollar question. Okay, since we are talking about budget, let’s call it the 60 dollar question. The first thing you do is shop for a budget welder.

There are plenty of cheap welders out there. There are more low-cost models than high-end machines, so finding one should be easy. However, finding a good one is a different matter.

The second thing is to decide on a method of welding. TIG welding is more expensive thanks to the higher cost of the machines and related equipment. Stick welding is low-cost and easy to set-up, as is MIG welding, the most common method practiced by far.

Decide what material and thickness you are going to weld. Stick is better for outdoor conditions, so for mending farm machinery, this is a good choice. TIG and MIG would be expensive and ineffective in these conditions.

MIG welding requires gas, which adds to the costs, but it is an effective way to weld stainless steel. TIG is better for thinner materials but is very hard to master, so wastage would be high as you learn the skills.

Look for multi-process welders that cover all three methods. You save a packet and get to widen your scope. It brings me neatly to my next point: practice makes perfect. The easiest way to minimize welding costs is to reduce wastage. By bettering your welding technique, you waste less.

Visit steelyards to get hold of scrap metal to practice on. It’s a lot cheaper than wasting good quality material.

Think about the equipment downtime as you finish welding. When you need to weld another part, it takes power and energy to start it up again. This costs money. Bulk welding is far cheaper.

Preserve your budget by using good preparation skills. A well-prepared piece of metal welds easier, uses less filler and has a higher tensile strength. In some situations, a double bevel may be better than a single. It requires 1.45 pounds per foot of weld metal, whereas a single uses 1.96.

How To Choose the Best Budget Welder

Budget welders can be excellent value for money or an expensive mistake, depending on what welder you buy. Knowing the difference is crucial.

Decide on the Discipline

TIG welding is better for exotic metals and thinner material, but it is hard to master. It is also the best method for precision welding. MIG welding is easy to learn and is suitable for working on thicker plates. Stainless steel and other aluminum alloys work well with MIG welding.

Stick is best for thicker metals, thanks to its deeper penetration. It is also the method of choice for working outdoors. Don’t buy a MIG or TIG welder if you are working in the open air. Stick is hard to learn but effective on brittle metals like cast iron.

Think About Power

You should consider the input and output ranges of the welder you buy. Also, you may want an AC or DC welder or one that caters to both. Cheap welders produce about 100 to 150 amps for output, limiting the thickness of metal you can work on.

What’s the Duty Cycle?

Duty cycle is a term you should get familiar with. The duty cycle is defined in 10-minute frames. Your welder is rated in percentage depending on how many minutes it can operate within that 10 minutes.

If a welder rates at 30 percent, it means you can work for 3 out of every 10 minutes, allowing the torch to cool for 7 minutes. Most cheap welders have a duty cycle of about 15 to 30 percent.

How Much Do You Want To Spend?

Most cheap welders range in price from just a few hundred dollars and higher. Above that, and you are in the realms of higher-end models. Logic tells you that if you are spending less on the welder, then so is the manufacturer during the production process.

Cheap welders don’t last a lifetime, unlike higher-end models. That said, cheap welders are excellent if you want to see out the next 5 years of welding without too much outlay.

Hobbyist or Professional?

Home welders are the reason why the cheap welder market exists. They fill that niche, allowing you and me to buy a budget model and attend to minor repairs or craft welding at home.

Professionals have a different set of demands. They need welders to be robust, have a high output range, and withstand the rigors of the construction site. A cheap welder wouldn’t last the distance in that environment.

Multi-Process or Not?

Multi-process welders cover all the bases when it comes to welding methods. Some welders can MIG, TIG and stick weld, saving you a packet on the purchase costs. Decide what you want the welder to do and the type of work you are undertaking, then buy the welder to suit that application.

If you are mostly working outside, a stick welder will be the best choice. If you need precision, a dedicated TIG welder is ideal. You get the picture.


The Best Budget Welders of 2020

With so many cheap welders to choose from, there were a few worth considering. Here are the best 7 we could find.

1. Hobart 500572 Handler 100

Best Cheap Welder for Cars

Hobart 500572 Handler 100
Check Price

When you work on cars, you need a welder with the flexibility to deal with thick and thin material. Say hello to the Hobart Handler. It has 4 output settings to increase or decrease the voltage depending on the metal’s thickness.

This versatility is ideal when you are working on body panels and axles alike. The flux-core wire allows you to work in almost all settings because it is a gasless welder. Again, fixing vehicles is a messy business, often conducted in outdoor conditions, so this welder will fast become your favorite.

It has safety features like the cold start, which keeps the wire electrically cold until the trigger is depressed. This makes it easier to use and decreases the instances of accidental arcing, which causes arc-eye.

Why We Love It

Adjustable Voltage Settings

Multiple settings give you the flexibility to scale up and down the thickness of the material you can work with. Car maintenance and repair need this versatility because of the different metal gauges.

Portable and Light

One of the best features of this welder is its size and weight. It is portable and easy to store away, ready for when it’s needed.

Ideal for Home Use

Because it’s rated at 115 volts, you can plug this machine in and get to work fixing your car right there on the driveway. It works on the domestic power supply, making it the ideal tool for home car repairs.

Keep In Mind

Flux-Core Only

This is a dedicated flux-core welder, so bear in mind that once you’ve finished making the repair to the car, it won’t TIG or MIG weld for other applications. This will limit its use.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 44
Dimensions (inches) 16 x 10 x 13.5
Multi-process Flux-core only
Voltage 115
Max amps 100
Duty cycle 20 percent
Safety features Cold start
Warranty 5-year

2. Lincoln Electric K2278-1 Handy Core Power Welder

Best Portable Cheap Welder

Lincoln Electric K2278-1 Handy Core
Check Price

If you are looking for a portable welder, this is the model you should consider. Lincoln Electric is a respected name in the industry, and this Handy Core Power Welder will set you off in the right direction.

It can weld to a depth of 0.125 inches on mild steel, and it has straightforward controls. It has a high and low power switch and a dial that controls the voltage. It’s lightweight and portable, so it should satisfy most home or hobby users, and it is also a great choice as a beginner welder.

It plugs straight into your home electrics and delivers a maximum 88 amps output. It also has a cold contractor safety feature that keeps the torch electrically cold until you depress the trigger. It stops instant arcing the moment you plug in the unit and protects your eyes.

Why We Love It

Ideal for Beginners

When you first learn a new skill, it takes all your concentration to get it right. Why would you want to over-complicate matters with a welder that is so difficult to use? What you want are easily adjustable controls.

Cold Contractor Safety

Keeping the electrode electrically cold until you are ready to use it is a useful safety feature. It stops arc eye and retinal damage because it cannot form an arc until you depress the trigger.

Easy To Use Controls

The controls on this welder are simple to master, making it a great choice if you are a novice. It has a high and a low button and a dial that controls the output. What could be easier!

Keep In Mind

Lacks Real Power

With a maximum output of 88 amps, you will struggle to weld anything other than small welding projects and lighter tasks. This is a welder aimed at the home-user market, so it isn’t going to cope with heavy usage.

10-20 Minutes Cooling Time

Don’t expect a fast work rate when using this welder. It takes between 10 and 20 minutes to cool down between uses, making the task painfully slow.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 45
Dimensions (inches) 8.82 x 17.99 x 12.88
Multi-process MIG
Voltage 115
Max amps 88
Duty cycle 20 percent
Safety features Cold start
Warranty 1-year

3. DEKOPRO 110/220V MMA Welder

Best Cheap Stick Welder

DEKOPRO 110/220V MMA Welder,160A ARC Welder Machine IGBT Digital Display LCD Hot Start Welder with Electrode Holder,Work Clamp, Input Power Adapter Cable and Brush
Check Price

This DEKOPRO has inverter technology. Inverters enable you to regulate the arc’s quality, and they are more efficient and precise than heavy-duty transformers. However, they don’t have the same capacity as transformers, so it might limit your workload.

While a stick welder is tricky to master, it is rewarding and beneficial on the farm and when working outdoors. The gasless feature means that you can also achieve high-tensile welds even on rusty and painted metals.

This stick welder is suitable for welding aluminum, mild steel, stainless steel, and other non-ferrous materials. It is a go-anywhere welder, weighing just 12.1 pounds. It makes it the ideal welder if you are looking to take your skills on the road.

The package comes with a stick torch, power adaptor, wire brush and earth clamp.

Why We Love It

Lightweight Inverter Technology

The inverter replaces heavier and less efficient transformers as a means of controlling the accuracy of the arc. Also, inverters are lighter and more advanced, so they can deal with adjustments more rapidly.

Works on Rusty Surfaces

If you are in the field and need to make fast repairs, you don’t have time for metal preparation. Stick welders bypass this and are effective even on rusty and painted surfaces.

Simple Controls

With an on/off switch, a current dial, and a current meter, this welder is simple to use and control. This is ideal if you are learning the ropes and want to keep things as simple as possible.

Keep In Mind

Feels Cheaply Made

When welders are so cheap, you have to question the economics of the production process. How do they make these machines so cheap? For one thing, the quality of the components suffer, which reduces the sturdiness of the welder.

Rods Stick at 110V

Everyone reports that this welder works well at 220 volts, but at 110 volts, the rod tends to stick, making it almost impossible to get a great weld line and joint.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 12.1
Dimensions (inches) 16.1 x 11.4 x 6.3
Multi-process Stick
Voltage 110/220
Max amps 160
Duty cycle 60 percent
Safety features High-speed fan, overload protection
Warranty 1-year

4. Forney Easy Weld 261, 140 FC-i MIG Welder

Best Cheap MIG Welder

Forney Easy Weld 261, 140 FC-i MIG Welder, 120V, Green
Check Price

This Forney Easy Weld could so easily have won the best stick or MIG welder awards thanks to its multi-process capabilities. It handles TIG and stick welding, but it is primarily a MIG welder. It puts out a maximum of 140 amps and is a dependable light-gauge welder.

Even though it is a multi-process device, it works best as a MIG welder, which is why we chose it. This makes it easy to learn with and super-versatile. It is easy to operate and robust, thanks to the rigid metal shell, and you can use it as a gas shielded welder or go gasless if you prefer, in outside conditions.

This unit is also lightweight, making it a contender for the portable category. It weighs just over 25 pounds, putting it at half the weight of the Hobart.

Why We Love It

Weighs 25 Pounds

You could lift this with one arm. Being so light makes it ideal for storing away in the garage or workshop, and given its diminutive size, it fits into the smallest of car trunks.

Easy To Use

The controls are simple to operate, making it another welder suited to beginners. It has two dials and a switch to select different welding methods. The dials control the amperage and the voltage.

Money-Saver

This welder saves you money because you don’t need to buy a TIG or stick welder separately. While this welder is primarily MIG, it can switch easily between stick and TIG. It makes it a 3-in-1 welder and the perfect machine to cover all your welding bases.

Keep In Mind

Quality Costs

If you want the best quality, you have to pay for it. It isn’t the most expensive welder available, but it also isn’t the cheapest. Forney has opted for the middle ground, where they hope their superior quality shines through.

Short 12-Month Guarantee

Compared to some models that have 3 and 5-year warranties, this model has a meager 12-month guarantee. If something malfunctions after the first year, you have no way of addressing the problem with the manufacturer.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 25.8
Dimensions (inches) 14.19 x 19.31 x 11.61
Multi-process Stick, TIG, MIG
Voltage 120
Max amps 140
Duty cycle Not stated
Safety features LED warning lights
Warranty 1-year

5. Super Deal PRO MIG 130 AC Welder

Best Cheap Beginner Welder

Super Deal PRO Commercial MIG 130 AC Flux Core Wire Automatic Feed Welder Welding Machine w/Free Mask 110V
Check Price

Super Deal may lack the industry recognition that names like Lincoln Electric and Forney get, but if you are a beginner and on the lookout for a starter welder, you could do a lot worse than this model.

It’s primarily a MIG welder, but it does operate as a flux-core welder, making it versatile, especially when you want to go gasless and work outdoors. It has a user-friendly interface, which is ideal for beginners. There is an on/off button, a high and low setting to adjust the current flow and a dial. What could be simpler!

It only weighs 38 pounds, so it is portable and easy to store away, and it even comes with accessories like a welding face mask, a wire brush and a hammer to chip away any hardened deposits.

Why We Love It

Ideal for Beginners

When you start out, you want a welder that gives you the most for your bucks and is easy to use. This welder hits that nail cleanly on the head, especially as it comes with an array of accessories.

Flux-Core Capabilities

Sometimes you need to adopt a different approach to your welding, so having the option to swap from MIG to flux-core is a bonus. It means you can go gasless and take your welding outside.

Adjustable Speed and Temperature

Changing the speed and temperature allows you to work on different grades of steel as well as thicknesses. It gives you flexibility when it comes to home and auto repairs.

Keep In Mind

10 Percent Duty Cycle

At 60 amps, the duty cycle is an impressive 35 percent, but this restricts the material thickness you can work with. At 105 amps, that cycle drops to 10 percent. For every 10 minutes of usage, you get 1 minute of operating time!

Feels Cheaply Made

Low price equals cheaper components. It is about as low-cost as welders get, so it’s no wonder the quality of the working parts is questionable. This is fine, as long as you understand that you get what you pay for.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 38
Dimensions (inches) 20.25 x 15 x 12.5
Multi-process MIG, flux-core
Voltage 110
Max amps 120
Duty cycle 10 percent
Safety features Welding face shield
Warranty 1-year

6. Lotos CT520D 200 Amp Tig Welder

Best Cheap TIG Welder

Lotos CT520D 50 AMP Air Plasma Cutter, 200 AMP Tig and Stick/MMA/ARC Welder 3 in 1 Combo Welding Machine, ½ Inch Clean Cut, Brown
Check Price

Okay, the first thing to say is that TIG welders are a lot more expensive than MIG and stick models. This welder is low-cost for a TIG but is almost 4 times the price of the cheapest welders featured in this review.

This Lotos is a multi-process welder. It TIG and stick welds, plus it also has a plasma cutter feature. So it has all the bases covered when it comes to metal fabrication work. This is a DC TIG welder, so it is effective with stainless steel and thinner gauge metals needing precise joints.

This model has an easy arc starting feature that gets you going in no time and maintains a steady welding pool and a consistent welding shape.

Why We Love It

3-in-1 Tool

You can TIG weld, stick weld and plasma cut with this machine. For fabricators and welding enthusiasts across the country, this is a handy tool. It speeds up your work rate and reduces your costs.

Precision Welding

When you need a level of accuracy that other welding techniques fail to deliver, TIG is the best. You get neat welds that rarely need any cleanup, and it keeps spatter to a minimum.

Ideal for Thinner Material

TIG is versatile, but it is better suited to thinner material. If you are working on sheet metal, using a TIG welder results in a neater joint and less cleanup.

Keep In Mind

More Expensive

TIG welders are a lot more money than MIG and stick welders. This model is over 3 times the price of some on the list.

Hard To Master

TIG is the hardest welding technique to learn. It can take months to get it right, compared to MIG welding, which can be mastered quickly.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 38.55
Dimensions (inches) 17 x 8 x 11
Multi-process TIG, stick, plasma cutter
Voltage 110/220 (requires an adaptor)
Max amps 200
Duty cycle 60 percent
Safety features Air filter, easy arc start, adjustable hot striking
Warranty 1-year

7. Goplus MIG 130 Flux-Core Welder

Best Cheap Flux Core Welder

Goplus MIG 130 Welder Flux Core Wire Automatic Feed Welding Machine
Check Price

This welder can handle lighter duties like sheet material and thinner gauge metals. It has 4 adjustable current levels to cater to different applications. And thanks to the automatic wire feed system, you have one less thing to worry about when operating the welder.

It has safety features like overheat protection and two vents to keep the machine cool. It’s lightweight, weighing just 35 pounds, so it is the ideal home and workshop welder for smaller tasks around the home.

It comes with accessories, including a chipping hammer to remove hardened slag and a welding mask.

Why We Love It

Stainless Steel Casing

The stainless steel body protects the welder from damage and the rigors of daily use. It is a feature typically found in more expensive welders rather than budget models.

Adjustable Current Flow

Adjusting the current flow gives you greater flexibility to weld thinner or thicker material. It makes it possible to do repair work on car body panels without the fear of melting the sheet metal.

Lightweight and Portable

This welder weighs 35 pounds, so getting it to and from the welding site is easy. It also makes it simple to store away in the garage or workshop.

Keep In Mind

3-Month Warranty

Offering a 3-month warranty is like saying we don’t want to support this product after that time scale because it will undoubtedly malfunction. Warranties underline the confidence manufacturers have in their products.

Cheap Components

This machine has such a low retail price that the quality of the components are not as good as the high-end models. It all adds up to a higher risk of a malfunction, with the possibility of seeking a full replacement.

Lacks Power

This welder tackles the lighter duties, restricting the types of metals you can work with and the applications.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 35
Dimensions (inches) 14 x 8 x 12
Multi-process Flux-cored, MIG
Voltage 110
Max amps 130
Duty cycle 20 percent
Safety features Overheat protection, safety cooling fan
Warranty 3-month

Cheap Welder Comparison Chart

Product Best Weight Dimensions Multi-process Voltage Max amps Duty cycle Warranty
Hobart 500572 Handler 100 Cars 44 lbs 16 x 10 x 13.5″ Flux-core only 115 100 20% 5-year
Lincoln Electric Handy Core Power Welder Portable 45 lbs 8.82 x 17.99 x 12.88″ MIG 115 88 20% 1-year
DEKOPRO 110/220V MMA Welder Stick 12.1 lbs 16.1 x 11.4 x 6.3″ Stick 110/220 160 60% 1-year
Forney Easy Weld 261, 140 FC-i MIG Welder MIG 26 lbs 14.19 x 19.31 x 11.61″ Stick, TIG, MIG 120 140 N/A 1-year
Super Deal PRO MIG 130 AC Welder Beginner 38 lbs 20.25 x 15 x 12.5″ MIG, flux-core 110 120 10% 1-year
Lotos CT520D 200 Amp Tig Welder TIG 39 lbs 17 x 8 x 11″ TIG, stick, plasma cutter 110/220 200 60% 1-year
Goplus MIG 130 Flux-Core Welder Flux Core 35 lbs 14 x 8 x 12″ Flux-cored, MIG 110 130 20% 3-month
Jump to the Full Cheap Welder Reviews

Can I Plug a Welder Into a Regular Outlet?

Most home welders have a voltage range of 110 to 120 volts. This matches the domestic power supply within your home. Industrial welders have 220 to 240 volts. This is too much for household supplies and better suited to commercial applications.

Some machines come with a multi-voltage power (MVP) adaptor so you can switch between the two with ease. These are dual voltage machines that can be used inside the home, thanks to the MVP adaptor. The only other way to get 220-volt sockets is to employ a professional to come and install one.


Take a Leap, Go Cheap

Cheap welders will never perform well enough to interest the professionals, but if you are a home welder, they are affordable, compact and easy to use. Best of all, they don’t cost the earth.

A cheap welder is the ideal tool to buy for occasional use because it will last for years thanks to the light usage, and cost you next to nothing.

Headshot of mark

About the Author

Mark Weir

Mark spent 24 years working in real estate, so he knows his way around a home. He also worked with contractors and experts, advising them on issues of planning, investments, and renovations. Mark is no stranger to hands-on experience, having renovated his own home and many properties for resale. He likes nothing better than seeing a project through to completion.
9 Types of Welding (Pros and Cons)9 Common Types of Welding Explained
Welding Project IdeasWelding Project Ideas (66 Ideas for Beginners to Pros)
How To TIG WeldHow To TIG Weld (Step-by-Step Process)
10 Best MIG Welders (2020 Reviews)The Best MIG Welders (For Professional Results)
Want To MIG Weld? Here’s How.How To MIG Weld
Simple Steps for Welding Cast IronHow To Weld Cast Iron

Leave a Comment