Best Welders for Beginners of 2020

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Categories Welding
Novice welders need a reliable welder.

How do you decide which is the best welder for beginners? There are so many to choose from that it can be confusing. You could take a chance and get a welder to try it out. Hopefully, it works out just fine, but it is an expensive mistake to get it wrong.

Welding is hard enough to learn with an appropriate welding machine. We look at 7 of the best welders for beginners to make your choice easier.


What Is the Best Type of Welder for a Beginner?

The best type of welder for beginners is a MIG welder. It is the easiest method of welding to master, making it ideal for novices. The good news is that most MIG welders are multi-functional, adapting to TIG and stick welding with ease. So, once you’ve learned MIG welding, you can graduate to another style.

Of course, the type of welder does vary with each project. Some methods are better than others when dealing with specific metals. MIG is popular, but it can be messy and not very precise.

TIG welding, in comparison, is neat and accurate, making it the ideal welding method when you are working on sheet metal and intricate projects. It’s also a slower process. It’s why MIG welding is better for beginners because you will make mistakes, where the neatness of the weld is less critical.

There’s also the question of costs. TIG welding is more expensive than MIG and stick welding, so you are less likely to learn using a TIG welder.

Most Common Welding Processes

There are lots of welding methods, but there are three that are commonly used.

MIG

Forney Easy Weld 261, 140 FC-i MIG Welder, 120V, Green
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MIG welding uses a wire electrode on a spool to feed at a predetermined rate. An electrical current is applied to the base metal and the wire to create the arc, which causes it to melt with the base metal, producing a strong joint.

MIG welding is ideal for both thin and medium thickness metal. It is easy to learn and relatively clean, requiring almost no clean-up. It is also effective when welding outside, even in windy and dirty conditions.

PROS:
  • Easy to learn.
  • Better for medium to thin metals.
  • Faster welding rate.
  • Relatively cheap.
  • Ideal for outdoors.
CONS:
  • Can be messy.
  • Lacks precision.
  • Requires shielding gas.
  • Contamination of the weld is common.

TIG

PrimeWeld 3-in-1 50 Amp Plasma Cutter, 200 Amp TIG Welder and 200 Amp Stick Welder - Welding and Cutting Combo, Mobile Welding Machine, Portable Plasma Cutter, Multipurpose Welder and Cutter, CT-520D
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TIG welding differs from MIG because it uses a non-consumable electrode to produce the weld. Typically made from tungsten, the electrode is protected from contamination by the argon shielding gas and the filler metal.

The current creates an arc of energy through ionized gas and metal vapors known as plasma. TIG is harder to master because it requires two hands and greater skill. TIG is best suited to welding thin alloys such as stainless steel and non-ferrous metals like aluminum, magnesium and copper alloys.

PROS:
  • Precise.
  • Neat welds.
  • Ideal for thinner materials.
  • Welds stainless steel.
  • Great for alloys like aluminum and magnesium.
CONS:
  • Hard to learn.
  • Expensive set-up costs.
  • Time-consuming.
  • High light intensity.

Stick

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
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Stick welding has been a firm favorite with home welders for many years. It uses an electrical current to create an arc of energy to bridge the gap between the electrode and the base metal. Stick is the ideal method for both indoors and outdoors and can even function in windy weather.

It’s also the cheapest method, and it creates strong bonds even on rusted metals. Stick welders do have limitations, especially with the thickness of the metal. It is capable of welding metal no thinner than 18 gauge. It is difficult to master because it is a challenge maintaining an arc.

Stick is better suited to thicker metal, making it the ideal method for industry and construction.

PROS:
  • Cheap to set-up.
  • Ideal for home welding.
  • Creates a strong weld.
  • Works on rusted metals.
  • Great for welding thick material.
CONS:
  • Hard to master.
  • Arc blow is common.
  • Hard to maintain the arc.
  • Slower process.

Metal Vs. Weld Process

Material MIG TIG Stick
Steel X X X
Stainless steel X X X
Aluminum alloys X X
Cast iron X
Cromoly X
Copper X
Brass X
Exotic materials (magnesium, titanium, etc.) X

How To Choose the Best Beginner Welders

There are so many variables when exploring welding for the first time. Here are some pointers to look for in your first welding machine.

Which Method?

There are three main types of welding, so deciding which is right for you is crucial. MIG is the easiest to master, so it might be better to learn that method first and then graduate to a more complex style as you improve.

The welding machine you buy will also have a bearing on the welding method. Most, but not all, are geared toward adapting to each style, but some do it better than others.

Welding Aspirations

Are you looking to weld as a hobby? Is it something you want to master to improve your DIY skills, or are you looking at becoming an expert with one eye on the future?

How you approach welding determines the quality of the welding machine you buy. For hobbyists and once-in-a-blue-moon welders, you can focus your attention on the leaner priced welding machines.

For those taking their welding seriously, try and get the best your budget can afford. If you can stretch the budget a little, it may be the difference between you buying a welder for life or a welder that you outgrow as you become more experienced.

Set a Budget

This is the most important thing you can do. Welding machines start at about one hundred dollars, with those at the high-end costing thousands of dollars. Where you are on that scale, only you will know.

Try and get the best you can for your money, and accept that not all your hopes and desires will be met unless you are awash with spare cash and don’t care how much you spend.

The rule of thumb is the more you spend, the better quality the welding machine and the more functions it has. That is not always a good thing if you are a novice. You can learn to fly a light aircraft easier than the space shuttle, if you get our meaning.

Know Your Skill Level

Don’t run before you can walk. Knowing what your skill level is, is crucial if you want to grow as a welder. The machines available are broadly categorized as entry-level, standard and high-end, so knowing your skill level should lead you to the right type of welder.

Also, getting a welder that you might outgrow in a short space of time means spending your money twice.

Is It Portable?

Do you need a welder that you can easily cart around, not just from location to location, but also around the garden and home? Portability is a handy attribute for a welding machine, so don’t dismiss it as a minor consideration.

What Can It Do?

Obviously, the more you spend, the better features the welder has. Don’t expect too much from the budget models, but if you are spending a bit more, demand the best features you can get for your dollars. As a novice, you need all the help you can get?

Look for additional dial-in features, like temperature control and adjustable feed rate. Also, setting material thickness parameters and types of metal is useful for beginners. Look for a welder that only heats when you pull the trigger rather than when you plug it in. This reduces the instances of arc-eye.

Some welders tell you when you need to adjust the settings, and others have overheat protection that cools the welder should it get too hot. Whether it’s safety or convenience, the welder you choose makes a huge difference to how smooth your welding process is.

Look for the Brand Name

The brand isn’t everything, but it does go a long way to getting a quality welder. Some brands are more popular, and the reason is that they produce better welders. Also, look at the online reviews on sites like Amazon to see what people are saying.


The Best Beginner Welders of 2020

If you are new to welding, understanding what each machine does is a bit like asking someone to explain the theory of relativity. We get that it’s confusing, which is why we dedicated this search to make your choice easier.

1. Primeweld 3-in-1 200 Amp TIG Welder

Best TIG Welder for Beginners

PrimeWeld 3-in-1 50 Amp Plasma Cutter, 200 Amp TIG Welder and 200 Amp Stick Welder - Welding and Cutting Combo, Mobile Welding Machine, Portable Plasma Cutter, Multipurpose Welder and Cutter, CT-520D
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If you are considering taking up TIG welding, then this welder is the ideal candidate. It is a TIG welder first and foremost, but it also acts as a multi-process welder. It plasma cuts, TIG welds, stick welds and arc welds.

It’s also lightweight and portable, making this the ideal welder to take on the road with you. It is rugged, durable, and versatile, which are superb attributes in a beginner welding machine. TIG is not the easiest method of welding to learn, so if you are attempting it, choose the best welder.

Why We Love It

Multi-Purpose

Why restrict your learning to TIG. Why not master stick and arc welding at the same time. This welder is versatile, meaning you can swap between styles for the best results.

Easy To Use Control Dials

When you start as a welder, you want a machine that’s easy to understand and won’t leave you scratching your head, wondering how it works. This Primeweld model has two dials, a pedal or machine switch and a current meter.

Take It Anywhere

This welder is lightweight and portable, making it the perfect choice for taking to the job. It weighs just under 36 pounds, and with the large carry handle, it is easy to transport from place to place.

Keep In Mind

Not the Cheapest

We get that the best policy is not always the cheapest one, but you will need to part with a sizable chunk of money to get this welder. That said, it is a quality product that should stand the test of time.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 35.7
Dimensions (inches) 23.58 x 16.81 x 12.8
Multi-process TIG, MIG, stick, arc, plasma cutter
Voltage 240
Max amps 200
Duty cycle 60 percent
Price $$
Warranty 3-year

2. Weldpro 200 Amp Inverter Multi-Process Welder

Best Beginner Multi-Process Welder

2020 Weldpro 200 Amp Inverter Multi Process Welder with Dual Voltage 220V/110V Mig/Tig/Arc Stick 3 in 1 welder/welding machine
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This is Weldpro’s flagship welder. It is capable of MIG, lift TIG and stick welding, so if you want a welding machine covering all the bases, this could be the one. It has an easy to read display that allows you to simplify the control of the amperage and the feed rate.

This welder is lightweight, weighing just 30 pounds, and it has a 200-amp maximum output, meaning that you can weld across a wide range of different metals, with varying thickness. This machine also comes with overheat protection.

The package includes a 13 ft WP-17 TIG torch, a 10 ft MIG torch, an earth clamp, a power adaptor and a gas hose. It comes with almost everything you need to start welding.

Why We Love It

Complete Package

It comes with all the kit you need to start welding straight out of the box. All you need is the gas supply, and away you go. It has a MIG and TIG torch, power regulators, and it even has a ready supply of tips.

Only Weighs 30 Pounds

Weighing just 30 pounds means that this welder is not only practical; it is portable too. So, it can easily transport to the job site or around the home.

3-in-1 Welder

A 3-in-1 welder is the best type because it saves you extra expense if, once you’ve learned how to MIG weld, you can then switch to the stick and TIG methods. It is a versatile machine and a great tool to learn with.

Keep In Mind

Not a Budget Option

You need to be pretty sure that welding is going to be your new favorite pastime before parting with the cash for this welder. It is not a cheap option. Some might say it is too expensive for a beginner welder. That may be so, but it is the best multi-process welder.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 30
Dimensions (inches) 17.72 x 8.66 x 14.96
Multi-process TIG, MIG, stick
Voltage 110/240
Max amps 200
Duty cycle 30 percent
Price $$$
Warranty 2-year

3. Forney Easy Weld 261 140 FC-i MIG Welder

Best MIG Welder for Beginners

Forney Easy Weld 261, 140 FC-i MIG Welder, 120V, Green
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When you name your product “Easy Weld,” you can be sure it is an ideal machine to learn the craft. This is a MIG welder, so it is the easiest method to learn. It has a maximum output of 140 amps and a 120V input.

It is also a gasless, flux-cored welder, so again, if you are learning the ropes, you don’t have to pay out for expensive gas canisters. It also makes it an easier process to learn. This welder has infinite voltage and wire speed control to regulate the welding rate.

This welder is ultra-lightweight, compact and easy to store away, making it the ideal choice for hobbyists and DIY enthusiast welders working from the garage or home workshop.

Why We Love It

Lightweight and Portable

These compact welders are aimed at the home market, so being lightweight and compact is a major bonus. They are easy to set up and pack away, taking up a minimum amount of room space.

Gasless Flux-Core

Because there is no gas, it means you can start welding straight from the box. Sure, at some point, you are going to need to learn about gas protection, but for now, enjoy the process in its simplified state to get you used to how a welder handles.

Great Price

This welder is a third of the price of the Weldpro. When you are a beginner, the budget is always a factor because you don’t need to spend piles of cash to get onto the welding ladder. Some budget machines will get you onto the lower rungs for a fraction of the price.

Keep In Mind

Slow Feed Rate

Some users have complained that the wire feed rate is on the slow side. It isn’t such an issue when you are a beginner, but as you learn, you increase your speed, and then it can slow you down, which can become a problem.

Build Quality Issues

As with all products built on a budget, this Easy Weld is no different. To save costs, Forney has used lesser grade materials, relying on plastic instead of metal. It isn’t a massive issue if you accept that you get what you pay for. It’s the difference between a welder for now or a welder for life.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 19
Dimensions (inches) 16.7 x 12 x 8.1
Multi-process MIG
Voltage 120
Max amps 140
Duty cycle 30 percent
Price $$
Warranty 1-year

4. DEKOPRO 110/220V Stick MMA Welder

Best Stick Welder for Beginners

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
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Okay, if you want a lightweight welder, get one with inverter technology. Inverters are the new version of transformers, enabling you to regulate the quality of the arc. Inverters are more efficient and precise. However, they don’t have the same capacity handling load that transformers do, so you might be limited to workload.

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.

Great Price

For a starter welder, this is an excellent price. It isn’t going to rival the premium models, but it will set you on course for learning to weld and be a reliable machine for several years.

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

Build Quality Issues

When things are this cheap, the quality of the parts will be reduced compared to higher-end models. Less expensive components feature heavily, reducing the operating lifespan of this welder.

Rods Stick at 110V

Everyone reports that this welder works well at 220 volts, but at 110V, 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 40/60 percent
Price $
Warranty 1-year

5. Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder

Best Beginner Welder for Home Use

Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder
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There is a clear distinction between home welding kits and those used for industrial applications. Home welders are versatile and compact, focusing on convenience and portability.

This Lincoln Electric welder scores highly for home use. It’s a MIG welder, so it won’t cover other types of welding, but it is an excellent choice for home repairs, projects and hobby users. It has several safety features, including the cold contactor facility that keeps the spool wire cold until you pull the trigger.

It has a 20 percent duty cycle, so not the best in its class, but for home projects, where speed is less of an issue, this welder is quality.

Why We Love It

Increased Safety Features

Cold contactor safety means that the spool wire is kept electrically cold until the trigger is depressed. This is a great safety feature because it stops the feeder wire melting before you are ready, and it gives you greater control.

Fully Kitted

This set has the gas regulator, the power adaptor, 6 ft power cord, 8 ft clamp cable, gas nozzle, MIG torch, 1-pound of 0.035-inch flux-core wire and 2 pounds of 0.025 solid MIG wire. It even comes with replacement tips.

Mid-Priced for Quality

There’s a lot to be said for pitching your price-point somewhere in the middle. Too high and people walk away, and too low, and everyone is suspicious why it is so cheap. Mid-priced is the way to go, as it caters to people who want a quality welder without the second mortgage.

Keep In Mind

Not Made in the USA

The description says it is made in the USA, but Poland seems to be the country of manufacture. Now, this is only an issue if you are a staunch supporter of American industries. Poland is famed for its welding industry, so if anyone knows how to make a welding kit, it’s the Polish.

Not the Cheapest

The price is a pro and a con. Some won’t justify the extra couple of hundred dollars needed to get this machine, while others will see that it is mid-priced and offers better value than a budget model. It comes down to personal choice at the end of the day.

Lacks Power

The duty cycle is at 70 percent, but the amperage is low, making this a hobbyist and DIY-enthusiasts welder. You would never tackle heavy-duty work using this welder, that’s for sure.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 26
Dimensions (inches) 18 x 10.3 x 16.75
Multi-process MIG
Voltage 110
Max amps 20
Duty cycle 70 percent
Price $$
Warranty 5-year

6. VIVOHOME Portable Flux Core Welder

Best Portable Welder for Beginners

VIVOHOME Portable Flux Core Wire No Gas MIG 130 Welder Machine 110V Yellow
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While this might not be the lightest welder, it is a gasless version, so it requires no shielding to produce good quality welds. For that reason, it is a great option when traveling to and from job sites.

The gasless feature means that the flux-cored wire self-releases metal inert gas from the welding process that prevents oxidation of the weld. This makes it a great choice of welder for home repairs and lighter steel projects.

It has 4 levels of current flow and 10 welding speeds, so you can increase the welding rate as you improve.

Why We Love It

Complete Package

Imagine unboxing this welder and finding everything you need to get you started. It even comes with the welding face shield and several other useful accessories.

Packed With Safety Features

It has overheat protection, a built-in fan and rubber feet for added grip. It also requires no gas for inert shielding, so you don’t need to store dangerous canisters.

Beginner Welder, Beginner Price

Getting a welder that is entry-level in every way is crucial. It means welding is affordable and not beyond the reach of most people. Just bear in mind, it won’t be a welder for life.

Keep In Mind

Cheap Price, Cheap Parts

You get what you pay for, so buying a cheap welder is a great idea initially, but it has limitations that will become apparent as you progress, and that’s where dissatisfaction sets in. Pretty soon, you will be scouring the internet for a new welder.

Lacks Power

This is a 110-volt welder, so it is aimed at the domestic market. Don’t ask too much of this welder as it might not deliver. Use it for lighter duties and thinner materials like mild steel and sheet steel.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 36.9
Dimensions (inches) 20.6 x 15.1 x 12.4
Multi-process MIG
Voltage 110
Max amps 130
Duty cycle 60 percent
Price $
Warranty 1-year

7. Super Deal PRO Commercial MIG 130 Welder

Best Value for Money Beginner Welder

Super Deal PRO Commercial MIG 130 AC Flux Core Wire Automatic Feed Welder Welding Machine w/Free Mask 110V
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When we talk about a value for money welder, we are moving in a pretty crowded market. There are many, entry-level welders to appeal to the novice, so let’s start with the price as our base point.

This model is the cheapest to feature in the review, making it an ideal learner welder. And you’d think, for this price, you would miss out on many features reserved for better machines. This welder has a flux-cored wire that naturally produces inert gas during the welding process. It is a gasless welder.

It has 4 speed levels and 10 feed rate settings to adjust the spool feed to match the task and the skill level. And it comes with all the accessories, including a face shield, to get you welding from the get-go.

Why We Love It

Super-Amazing Price

You just can’t argue with a welder that costs so little. It may not be the best, but no one is disputing that. You can always get better for the money, but as an entry-level welder, this has it all.

Accessories Galore

Some of the premium welders struggle to give you even half what this delivers for a much higher price-tag. To include a face shield, spare tips, and fuses is incredible when you think what this costs.

Easy Controls

With just a few buttons and a speed-control dial, you can have this welder up and running in no time. There’s not even any gas to worry about. It also means it’s an easy set-up and pack-down.

Keep In Mind

Lower Quality

This is not the promised land for welders; it’s just a cheap model to get you started. Once you accept this, you can weld away, happy in the knowledge that you will outgrow this machine and seek a better alternative one day.

Trips the Breaker

Once you plug this machine in, it holds the arc for about 5 seconds and then trips the breaker. This is not the case with all, but many have mentioned this as a recurring theme.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 38
Dimensions (inches) 20.25 x 15 xx 20.5
Multi-process MIG
Voltage 110
Max amps 130
Duty cycle 35 percent
Price $
Warranty 1-year

Beginner Welder Comparison Chart

Product Best Weight Dimensions Welding process Voltage Max amps Duty cycle Warranty
Primeweld 3-in-1 TIG Welder TIG 36 lbs 23.58 x 16.81 x 12.8″ TIG, MIG, stick, arc, plasma cutter 240 200 60% 3-year
Weldpro 200 Amp Inverter Welder Multi-Process 30 lbs 17.72 x 8.66 x 14.96″ TIG, MIG, stick 110/240 200 30% 2-year
Forney Easy Weld FC-i MIG MIG 19 lbs 16.7 x 12 x 8.1″ MIG 120 140 30% 1-year
DEKOPRO Stick MMA Welder Stick 12 lbs 16.1 x 11.4 x 6.3″ Stick 110/220 160 40/60% 1-year
Lincoln Electric MIG Welder Home Use 26 lbs 18 x 10.3 x 16.75″ MIG 110 20 70% 5-year
VIVOHOME Flux Core Welder Portable 37 lbs 20.6 x 15.1 x 12.4″ MIG 110 130 60% 1-year
Super Deal PRO Commercial MIG Value For Money 38 lbs 20.25 x 15 xx 20.5″ MIG 110 130 35% 1-year
Jump to the Full Beginner Welder Reviews

The Start of Something Beautiful

Once you start welding, you’ll never look back. It is creative, practical and rewarding. It will turn you into a DIY and repair God in the eyes of others. So, get on the ladder, learn the craft and the rest will be history.

Welders for beginners are the ideal tool, with many offering the bare minimum to get started, while others will be your welding buddy for life. It all comes down to the budget. As an old Crusading Knight once said to Indiana Jones, “Choose wisely.”

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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.
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