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5 Best Welder Generators of 2024

Updated
Weld anywhere with a welder generator.

Working on construction sites and building projects presents a whole new set of challenges, especially when it c o
mes to welding. What do you do if there is no available power or the only generators on site are for the lights and general electrics?

Say hello to the best welder generators, where mobile welding is entirely possible.

Our Top Picks

We independently evaluate, assess and research all recommended products and services. If you purchase through the links we provide, we may receive compensation.
Image
Model
Product Comparison Table
Features

Product Image of the Tomahawk Generator
Best Stick Welder Generator
Tomahawk Generator
  • 15 HP inverter generator power
  • Rugged wheel kit for portability
  • Two 120V outlets and amperage dial
Product Image of the Lincoln Electric Ranger 330MPX
Best Quiet Welder Generator
Lincoln Electric Ranger 330MPX
  • Super-quiet
  • Super-light & efficient
  • Easy start technology
Product Image of the Lincoln Electric Ranger 225
Best Gas-Powered Welder Generator
Lincoln Electric Ranger 225
  • 12 to 14 hour fuel run time
  • 9,000 watts
  • Multi-process applications
Product Image of the DuroStar DS12000EH
Best Portable Welder Generator
DuroStar DS12000EH
  • Can power your entire home
  • Dual fuel technology
  • Equipped power panel

No products found.

Best Budget Generator
Lincoln Electric Bulldog 5500
  • Weighs 198 pounds
  • Slightly more affordable
  • High-quality components

Review Methodology: At Sensible Digs, we dive deep into the world of welder generators, assessing and comparing the market’s top offerings using a checklist of key criteria. Our hands-on experience and professional evaluation techniques help us measure and rank each product. From performance benchmarks to design choices, we cover all aspects to give you a comprehensive understanding. We review, test, and track product features such as power output, fuel efficiency, portability, and durability, among others. Our results, backed by concrete data and evidence, highlight the distinct advantages of each welder generator, helping you make an informed decision based on your specific needs.



The Best Welder Generators of 2024

Tomahawk 15 HP Engine Driven Generator

Best Stick Welder Generator

This welder generator might be just the thing for you. It’s suitable for taking onto job sites when you require electrical power and constant current stick welding. Whether you’re going to a farm or a construction site — or anywhere else, really — this product will be your companion.

It has back wheels which allow you to maneuver it easily. So you can take it around with you, whether you go.

This generator packs quite the punch with 15 HP and 2000 watt power.

What We Like

15 HP Inverter Generator Power

Power is one of the most critical elements when choosing a welder generator. With a horsepower of 15, this will give you continuous powerful force. It’s very reliable for running your tools, even simultaneously.

Rugged Wheel Kit for Portability

If you’re moving from place to place and need to take this with you, it’s easier than ever. The rugged wheel kit makes it easy to transport around job sites.

Two 120V Outlets and Amperage Dial

We think you’ll appreciate the two 120-volt outlets. This lets you plug in most power tools. You can even use two at once!

It also has a digital voltmeter so that you can keep an eye on the welding output.

Last but not least, it has an amperage dial so that you can customize your amperage within a coarse range.

Top Tip

Set it above seven for maximum power while you’re welding.

What We Don't Like

Assembly Required Upon Arrival

It’s important to note that you may have to put in some effort to get this up and running. The welding cables don’t come assembled, so you need to take time to do that. In fact, some customers found that the included ones weren’t long enough. So take note that you might need to buy longer ones.

The gas tank also comes without a cover. The bag it comes with is pretty cheap, too.

Overall, it’s a fantastic choice, but works a little better with some adjustments.

Product Specs

Weight (pounds) 202
Dimensions (inches) 30 x 24 x 22
HP 15
Wattage 2,000
Amps 210
Fuel Gasoline
AC/DC DC
Multi-process TIG, stick and MMA
Price $$$

Our Ratings

Power
4 / 5
Design
3.5 / 5
Weld Quality
3.5 / 5
Generator Capacity
4 / 5
Total Rating
3.75 / 5

User Experience

From the moment I got my hands on this welder, I knew it was a mixed bag. It's got a large gas tank capacity and came with a convenient funnel, but no cover, and the complimentary bag's zipper broke after one use. The welding cables needed assembly and I ended up getting longer ones, as the provided ones didn't reach far enough. I've used it a couple of times and it's done the job well, but the machine makes a loud turbo noise during operation, which was unexpected. I did appreciate the company's customer service though, they were really responsive when I called with questions.

Lincoln Electric Ranger 330MPX

Best Quiet Welder Generator

If you want a welder generator that is quiet and still performs, this is worth your consideration. This is the Ranger 330MPX, the second of 4 Lincoln Electric models to feature in this review. Thanks to new and improved technology, this model is 20 percent smaller, and 25 percent lighter than all the other welder generators in its class.

So, not only is it 60 percent quieter than the competition, but it’s also lighter and portable. It also benefits from a digital interface that is the latest in advancements to improve the welder’s performance and productivity.

It features the same Chopper easy start function, and with a running wattage of 10kW, it has enough power to tackle the heavy-duty tasks that the 330-amp output demands.

What We Like

Super-Quiet

Welder generators are not the quietest at the best of times, so to get a model that is 60 percent quieter than the competition is a welcoming relief to those around you and for your ears.

Super-Light, Super-Efficient

Thanks to the latest developments in technology, this welder generator has a 20 percent smaller footprint and it is 25 percent lighter. Getting this unit to and from your place of work should be a lot easier.

Easy Start Technology

Lincoln Electric has invented Chopper technology that ensures an easy start to the arc and improves the quality of the beading and reduces spatter. It all adds up to an easier welding experience.

What We Don't Like

Very Expensive

This is the second most expensive welder generator to make the review. While it is quality, it is costly. Think about the price of a small second-hand car, and you might be in the right ballpark with the price.

Lacks a Tubular Frame

Like the Ranger 305, this welder generator lacks a robust tubular frame. Instead, this is an enclosed case generator, which makes it compact and protects the engine components.

Product Specs

Weight (pounds) 446
Dimensions (inches) 25 x 20 x 36
HP 25
Wattage 10,000
Amps 330
Fuel Gasoline
AC/DC DC
Multi-process Stick, TIG
Price $$$$

Our Ratings

Power
5 / 5
Design
4.5 / 5
Weld Quality
5 / 5
Generator Capacity
5 / 5
Total Rating
4.75 / 5

Personal Perspective

Best in class, this welder generator, the Ranger 330MPX, exceeds expectations with its innovative technology. This model is impressively quiet, compact, and portable, making it stand out among its peers. The digital interface boosts performance and productivity, and the easy start function is a useful feature. Despite its high cost and absence of a tubular frame, its power capacity of 10kW and 330-amp output make it suitable for demanding tasks.

Lincoln Electric Ranger 225

Best Gas-Powered Welder Generator

This is the model down from the Ranger 305, so it lacks some of the refinement featured on that model, but it is still a quality welder generator as it shares many attributes. It has 9,000-watts of power, so it should handle the toughest demands made of it in the field, and it has a 14-hour running range thanks to the 12-gallon fuel tank.

This welder provides DC and AC, so you can use it to power other tools, and it primarily acts as a stick and TIG welder. It lacks the Chopper technology of the 305, making the stability and smoothness of the weld harder to achieve, which subtracts somewhat from the overall welding experience.

Given that the price of this generator is fractionally less than the 305, it might be a good idea to pay the extra and get the beefed-up welder generator, but if you can’t stretch that far, this is an excellent choice.

What We Like

12 To 14 Hour Fuel Run Time

The 12-gallon fuel tank will run continuously for 12 to 14 hours, giving you plenty of time to complete your welding tasks. It also has an electric start, making it more efficient.

9,000 Watts

The 305 produces 9,500 watts, so this cheaper model holds its own, creating 9,000 watts. That’s still plenty of power to get those heavy-duty tasks completed.

Multi-Process Applications

Whether you are flux-core, TIG, MIG welding, this Ranger 225 has you covered. And because it has an AC/DC power generation, you can TIG weld aluminum as well as DC weld stainless steel, cast iron and mild steel.

What We Don't Like

Lacks Some Features

When comparing this to the 305 model, it lacks the Chopper technology to create easy arcs and produce better quality weld beads. These may not be deal-breakers, but they make a world of difference to people learning the craft.

High Price Tag

Unfortunately, the high price tag is a feature of Lincoln Electric Ranger generators. They are quality, but comparing this model to the 305 doesn’t see much in dollar savings, yet this welder generator is a less capable machine.

Product Specs

Weight (pounds) 563
Dimensions (inches) 42.3 x 21.5 x 29.9
HP 23
Wattage 9,000
Amps 225
Fuel Gasoline
AC/DC AC/DC
Multi-process TIG, flux-cored, MIG
Price $$$$

Our Ratings

Power
4.5 / 5
Design
4 / 5
Weld Quality
4.5 / 5
Generator Capacity
4.5 / 5
Total Rating
4.25 / 5

Community Feedback

My experience with this Ranger was a bit of a roller coaster, but it ultimately proved to be a high-quality machine. It was challenging to unload from the truck, yet once I got it set up, I found it to be an excellent product that performed exceptionally well. One downside, though, is that unlike other models I've considered, this Ranger arrived with no additional accessories such as a cover, electrode, or ground clamp. Even though it's a top-tier machine, I felt the manufacturer could've added more value to the purchase by including these items.

DuroStar DS12000EH Portable Generator

Best Portable Welder Generator

The DuroStar generator is a great portable and powerful option. It’s powered by gas, giving you long-lasting and high power. We’re talking 4000 starting watts followed by 3300 running watts, all run by a 7 HP 208cc engine.

Thanks to the portability and the power, you can put this welder generator to the test with pretty much any job. It can handle powering high voltage appliances, heavy-duty power tools, and anything in between.

What We Like

Can Power Your Entire Home

If you have a power outage, this welder generator can power your entire home. This is a reliable piece of equipment to have nearby, especially if you live in a stormy climate.

Dual Fuel Technology

While this can run on gas, you can also run it on propane. This gives you more options and flexibility when choosing how to run your generator.

Equipped Power Panel

The power panel has various outlets, including a transfer switch-ready 50 amp outlet, MX2 Power Boost, and more. You can use it to power up appliances and even RVs.

What We Don't Like

Poor Quality Wheels

The wheels don’t get a good rep. Some customers say they are too soft, and others found they collapsed over time. They found it would be better if this had hard plastic wheels that could handle this machine’s general use better.

Useless Instructions Included

The instructions for installation and use are basically useless. Customers found them completely impractical, which can make learning how to use this welder generator challenging.

Product Specs

Weight (pounds) 127
Dimensions (inches) 24 x 17 x 17
HP 7
Wattage 8,500
Amps 79.17
Fuel Gas or propane
AC/DC DC
Multi-process Stick
Price $$

Our Ratings

Power
3.5 / 5
Design
3 / 5
Weld Quality
3 / 5
Generator Capacity
3.5 / 5
Total Rating
3.25 / 5

First-Hand Impression

My experience with this DuroStar portable welder/generator was a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, it's a workhorse once you get it running — the generator runs a long time on a tank of gas and welds fairly well, even penetrating thick pipe with ease. However, it's safe to say that getting it to that point was a bit of a hassle as it required a good amount of assembly, tire replacements, and additional purchases like a ground wire, line feed, clamps, and specific oil. While the voltage gauge might be vague and the initial set-up a bit challenging, I find that it's a decent investment for small, non-commercial projects.

Lincoln Electric Bulldog 5500

Best Budget Welder Generator

The Bulldog is a tube frame welder generator, making it a lot lighter than the enclosed case models. This one weighs 198 pounds, which is over half the weight compared to the others. It isn’t the most potent welder generator, producing 5,500 peak watts and 4,000 continuous watts.

It is still powerful enough for stick welding, but unfortunately, it doesn’t support any other method. As the budget model, it costs half what the others do, so if you are into saving money, it’s negative points might not matter.

The amperage range is 70 to 140, and it comes with low-lift grab bars to make it easier to transport.

What We Like

Weighs 198 Pounds

This welder generator is half the weight of some on the list, weighing just 198 pounds, making it easier to cart to and from the worksite. The tubular frame adds stability, and the open casing reduces the bulk of the welder generator.

Slightly More Affordable

Nothing is cheap when it comes to welder generators, but in context, this is half the cost of most on the list, qualifying it as the budget model. You will still need a few thousand dollars, but that’s a bargain.

High-Quality Components

As you would expect from Lincoln Electric, the materials and components used in manufacturing this welder generator are of the highest quality. So, if you want a sturdy and robust device that doesn’t cost the earth, this is a good choice.

What We Don't Like

Limited Welding Uses

This welder only supports stick welding, so if you want to switch styles, you need to get another welder generator, which will cost! It also might restrict the applications you can do and the material you work with.

Small 8.9 Horsepower Engine

The more expensive models have 23 horsepower engines. This one is rated at 8.9, so it is considerably less powerful than the competition.

Product Specs

Weight (pounds) 198
Dimensions (inches) 25.6 x 21.8 x 31.5
HP 8.9
Wattage 4,000
Amps 140
Fuel Gasoline
AC/DC AC
Multi-process Stick
Price $$

Our Ratings

Power
3 / 5
Design
3.5 / 5
Weld Quality
2.5 / 5
Generator Capacity
3 / 5
Total Rating
3 / 5

User Experience

My experience with this welder generator, the Bulldog, has been a mixed bag. Its tube frame design makes it significantly lighter than its counterparts, weighing in at a manageable 198 pounds. Now, it may not boast the highest power, providing 5,500 peak watts and 4,000 continuous watts, but it has just enough oomph for stick welding. However, its versatility is stifled as it doesn't support other welding methods. On the bright side, its price tag is less hefty and it has high-quality components. With an amperage range of 70 to 140, and the inclusion of low-lift grab bars for easier transportation, these features somewhat balance its limitations.

Product Comparison Chart

Product Best Weight Dimensions HP Wattage Amps Fuel AC/DC Multi-process
Tomahawk Generator Stick Welder 202 lbs 30 x 24 x 22″ 15 2,000 210 Gasoline DC TIG, stick and MMA
Lincoln Electric Ranger 330MPX Quiet 446 lbs 25 x 20 x 36″ 25 10,000 330 Gasoline DC Stick, TIG
Lincoln Electric Ranger 225 Gas-Powered 563 lbs 42.3 x 21.5 x 29.9″ 23 9,000 225 Gasoline AC/DC TIG, flux-cored, MIG
DuroStar DS12000EH Portable Portable 127lbs 24 x 17 x 17″ 7 8,500 79.17 Gas or propane DC Stick
Lincoln Electric Bulldog 5500 Budget Pick 198 lbs 25.6 x 21.8 x 31.5″ 9 4,000 140 Gasoline AC Stick

How Does a Welder Generator Work?

A welder generator provides power for welding machines, without the need to connect to a mains power supply. Fill up the fuel tank, just as you would a regular generator, and the generator will power your welding equipment.

It makes you entirely mobile, enabling you to work wherever the welding project is rather than being restricted to the workshop or one place.

What Size Generator Do I Need for a Welder?

The bare minimum is a 5,000-watt generator to power a 120-volt welder drawing less than 40 amps at startup. This also includes many 160-amp welders. If you have a welding machine that has 240 volts, it may only draw 20 amps at startup, but you will need a generator that has a minimum of 7,000 watts.

8,000 and 10,000-watt generators are available, but these generate so much power that you could run the entire house without the generator skipping a beat.

How To Choose the Best Welder Generator

Making the best choice depends on a host of considerations. Here are some of the fundamentals you should consider before you buy.

What Fuel Will You Need

Generators are typically gasoline driven, but it is possible to get LPG and diesel models. The type of fuel shouldn’t affect how you use the generator, but the costs will vary greatly. This impacts on your running cost significantly.

Diesel gives the longest runtime for your dollars, as it is more economical. Most fuel supplied on-site is diesel, so you are likely to need a diesel generator.

Propane is more costly, but there are advantages to using it. It can be stored for a long time, unlike gasoline that has a shelf-life of about 6 months. It burns cleaner than other fuel types, meaning it can be used in areas where there is less ventilation.

Fuel Consumption

Most small, compact and portable generators are gasoline-powered. These are the most common because they have high fuel efficiency and are more robust in colder weather. Also, gasoline is cheaper than propane and diesel.

Power Type

Whether your chosen generator is AC or DC matters, especially if your welder is the opposite current. Finding one to match is crucial. Failing that, if you have an AC/DC welder, get a generator that can switch between the two.

How Heavy?

Gasoline generators are typically suitcase-size, making them portable and easiest to transport from job to job. The rule of thumb is that the more powerful the generator, the more cumbersome and heavier it is.

The two main designs are open tube frame and an enclosed casing. Tube frame models tend to be lighter and more compact, while enclosed varieties are quieter and protect the engine components better against damage.

How Portable?

By its very nature, a welder generator should be portable so you can work remotely. But some are better than others. If you have a heavy generator, it might be worth mounting it on the back of your truck?

All generators are designed with a degree of maneuverability, but whether you go for an open tube or enclosed model is a personal choice. Just make sure you can lift it without causing any injuries, and it has the power to run your welder.

Power Output

The style of welding matters because the generator you have needs to cope with the demands of the job. You may also have a multi-process welder that requires enough power to operate things like plasma cutters.

Get a generator with the grunt to power other equipment, like grinders, lights and other power tools.

How Loud?

The noise your welder generator makes is significant, especially if you are working near it for hours on end. Encased models are quieter because everything is hidden neatly behind a sealed casing, significantly lowering the volume of the generator. Open tube models are the noisiest.

However, don’t compromise on power for the sake of noise levels. Building sites are noisy places by definition, so invest in ear defenders and get the generator to match the power you need as a first consideration. But if you can get a quiet model, great!


Welder Generator FAQs

Will a 5kVA Generator Run a Welder?

Yes, a 5kVA generator will run a welder machine, but only one with limited volts. The highest rating you can run with a 5kVA generator is 120 volts, as long as the welder generates 40 amps or less during startup. If your welder is more powerful, you may need to upgrade to a 7kVA or even 8kVA generator.

Can I Run a Stick Welder on a Generator?

Yes, you can, as long as the welder uses no more than the generator’s maximum rated amperage. For example, a typical stick welder uses about 100 amps, so if you are running your welder on a generator of 5kVA or more, you should be okay. If you up the amps to weld heavy-duty projects that need greater weld penetration, then consider upgrading your generator to a 7 or 8kVA model.

Can a Welder Generator Power a House?

It depends on the power output. A welder generator of say, 10,000 or 12,000 watts can power an entire household without any trouble at all. It also depends on the size of the house and the amount of electricity needed, but generally, a welder generator with enough watts can power a house.

Some gas welders/generators can offer outputs ranging from 4,500 watts to 12,000 watts, which is usually sufficient to run an average-sized house. This should only be done with caution and the help of someone experienced in powering homes with generators.

How Do I Choose a Welder Generator?

When choosing a welder generator, think about what type of fuel it uses and how much fuel it consumes. Diesel-powered welders typically have longer runtimes than gas-powered ones, making them ideal for long-term welding jobs.

If you anticipate moving your welder from job site to job site, then a gas-powered model might be more convenient due to its lighter weight and portability.

Welders can be powered by single-phase or three-phase electricity – the difference lies in how many wires each requires for operation (one or three, respectively).

Three-phase welders provide higher power output, making them suitable for heavier welding jobs. Single-phase models are preferred for more lightweight welding tasks where lower power is required.

If you need a mobile welder that’s easy to transport between worksites, look for one with minimal weight and compact size.

Bear in mind that diesel welders tend to be heavier than their petrol counterparts due to their larger engines and tanks, so if portability is essential, you may benefit from a light petrol option instead.

Gasoline-powered welders are known for being noisy compared with those running on other fuels such as diesel or propane.

Some newer models have built-in noise-dampening systems that considerably reduce the sound levels – these are especially worth considering if you’re looking for an option that won’t disturb nearby neighbors!

What Size Generator Do I Need to Run a 240v Welder?

To run a 240v welder, you’ll definitely need a generator with a minimum output of 7,500 watts and a 30-amp circuit. But, using a generator with at least 10,000 watts is recommended for the best performance and to ensure the welder can handle its maximum output.

The generator should have a high surge power rating to handle the high starting loads of the welder. Be sure the generator has the proper outlet for the welder’s plug.

What is the Best Welder Generator on the Market?

The Lincoln Ranger 330MPX is one of the market’s most reliable gas-powered welder generators. It performs superbly in various welding and generator applications thanks to its superior technology.

It is significantly quieter than many other gas-powered options, making it much more user-friendly, particularly in residential areas.

Also, it has accessible start technology, allowing quick and efficient starts without spending time priming equipment. Plus, its engine can run for long periods and sips gas rather than gulp it like other machines.

Thanks to these features – plus superior wattage output and excellent overload ability – the Lincoln Ranger 330MPX truly sets itself apart from the competition as the best welder generator on the market.


Welding on the Go

Welder generators are efficient machines that allow you to work in any environment without needing to plugin. They are a professional welders dream because they increase your earning potential and make you completely mobile.

Welder generators cost a lot of money, but if you are a welder looking to gain new opportunities, a welder generator is an ideal tool.

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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.