Welding is a skill that is handy for almost everyone. You can use it to work on DIY projects, or you can even become a professional welder and make a living out of it. If you are just a beginner, you need help to equip yourself with the welder that is best suited for your learning.
I’ve listed below the best welders in the market. Check some of their good features as well as their weak spots so you can decide for yourself which is the best welder for beginners.
What are the most common types of welding and where are they used?
Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW). This is a type of stick welding. You will see this type used in industrial fabrications. They use this to weld iron and steel. This is the type used in fabricating steel structures. This type can also be used in workshops or field work.
Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW/MIG). Just like the SMAW, this type is also used in industrial welding. However, this is faster than SMAW because it uses continuous electrode wire feed.
Flux Core Arc Welding (FCAW). This is a type of welding used in portable applications. They usually use this in welding thick and out of position metals.
Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW/TIG). This is the type commonly used to weld thin sections of stainless steel. This type is also used to weld copper, aluminum, or magnesium alloys.
What factors should I consider when determining a budget for a welder?
Before purchasing a new welder, you need to determine where you’re going to use it. What projects will you work on the most? Ask yourself if you see yourself sticking to the same type of projects. Or if you want to go beyond to more ambitious ones.
You need to determine this because you need to know if you will need more amperage or power in the future. If yes, then don’t settle for basic welders. Consider investing in a welder that can handle more than basic welding tasks.
Aside from the welding machine itself, you also need to factor in the cost of accessories and supplies. You will need proper protective gear like a helmet or mask, gloves, and jacket. In addition, you need gas and consumables. Therefore you should consider purchasing a welding set that includes everything you need. Most of the time, purchasing a set can save you money.
Common Welding Terms you should familiarize yourself with
As with any new craft or skill, there are terminologies specific to welding that you need to familiarize yourself with. It is important to acquaint yourself with these terms.
You will encounter these terms when you shop for the right welding tools and equipment. You will see these terms used as you read through this article. Knowing what these terms mean will help you better understand each product.
A duty cycle is the number of minutes out of a 10-minute period that you can operate an arc welder at maximum rated output. Let’s say that a machine has a 60% duty cycle at 300 amps. This means that the welder can be used for 6 minutes at 300 amps.
You must then allow the machine to cool with the fan running for at least 4 minutes. This is vital in reducing heat damage to the machine. It can help you extend the life of your welder.
Arc is a term used to describe the physical gap between the end of the electrode to the point where the arc makes contact with the base metal.
This is the amps and voltage that the power source will produce for a duty-cycle period.
This is the coated metal wire that has the same composition as the material you are welding.
This is the coating on arc-welding rods. This is also the flux-cored welding wire consumed by the arc to produce shielding gas. This gas displaces the air and impurities around the weld.
Shielding gas is a protective gas. It is used to prevent atmospheric contamination of the weld pool.
These are metal particles thrown from the weld. They often cool and harden on the work surface.
Miller Electric 120/240VAC, 1 Phase
Miller Electric is one of the most well-known names when it comes to welding machines. This is an ideal welder for beginners because of how easy it is to use and operate. When you purchase a Miller Electric 1 Phase, it includes a 10ft M-10 MIG Gun and a 10ft Work cable with clamp.
This welder has a built-in gas solenoid valve (http://www.adamantvalves.com/the-advantages-of-solenoid-valve.html) and dual gauge regulator with gas hose. Each purchase also comes with a sample spool of 0.030in. solid wire, 2 0.030in contact tips, and 2 hook-and-loop cord wraps.
This welder can weld 18 gauge to 3/8’ aluminum without any issues. This proves just how versatile this machine is! The Miller Electric is not as affordable as other welders though. However, I still consider this machine a value for money purchase – it is truly top quality.
Beginners should also find this machine to their liking. Its versatility means that they can use it to experiment with different materials. This can be ideal for practicing on materials of different thicknesses.
Another great feature that beginners will love is the AutoSet function of this welder. I like that I can simply input the measurements of the material I’m using, and the Miller will automatically switch to the proper settings. This normally results in clean and perfect results, even for the newbies!
- May be ideal for beginners.
- The auto-set function can be helpful.
- Can be used for different materials.
- Known to be more expensive.
- Fast wire speed might need getting used to.
Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder 115V
If you’re looking for a compact machine that you can use for both MIG (https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/materials-science/gas-metal-arc-welding).
and flux-cored (https://www.keenovens.com/articles/flux-cored-welding.html).welding processes, then this is an ideal welder for you. This is a machine that will let you weld thin and thick materials effortlessly. The professional-quality result surprised me, especially considering how small this machine is.
However, don’t let its size fool you! Although it is compact in size, this is a well-built machine. It is made of strong and sturdy steel. The gun and cable are light, so it won’t tire you easily.
I like the size of this machine because it is very portable. I didn’t have any difficulty lugging it around. Another nice feature is that it doesn’t consume too much power. You can power it using your household electricity without a hitch.
Beginners won’t have any issues setting this welder up, and it will take you just a few minutes to do so. This is a great machine for those who want to quickly get started on a project.
This is also an easy to use machine. Even those who are just starting out or with limited knowledge will find this machine user-friendly. If you need a welder for light use or other beginner’s projects, then this a highly-recommended machine.
- Can run on household electricity.
- Machine is well-built.
- Should be compact and portable.
- Gun and cable are lightweight.
- Gas cylinder is sold separately.
- Not meant for industrial use.
OTOS MIG175 175AMP Mig Welder
If you are a beginner looking for a complete welder set, then this might be what you’re looking for. It comes with a free spool gun and mask. The set also comes with aluminum welding wires and solid wires. Each purchase comes with an Argon regulator and a standard MIG gun.
The spool gun is a great way for you to save time and effort. It feeds wire evenly and it can help you get seamless welds. The spool gun does a lot to make sure that your welds will last.
I like that this welding machine only weighs 85 lbs. I can move it from one project site to another without any difficulties. The portability of this machine makes it ideal for use if you need a job done quickly.
If you are a beginner, this is a machine that can help you started. It is timed for 3-second bursts. Once you become accustomed to the timing of the bursts, you should be be welding seamlessly!
The OTOS is a welder that you can use effortlessly when it comes to mild steel and stainless steel. However, I wouldn’t recommend using it in 440 steel (http://www.pennstainless.com/stainless-grades/400-series-stainless/440c-stainless-steel/) since it may be too much for the machine. This is great for personal projects, but not for production line use.
- Comes as a complete set.
- Programmed for 3-second bursts.
- Known for portable design.
- Works best with mild and stainless steel.
- Not ideal for girder work.
- Not meant for production line work.
Goplus MIG 130 Welder Flux Core Wire Automatic Feed Welding Machine w/Free Mask
If you’re looking for an affordable welding machine, then you might want to consider the GoPlus. This welder is perfect if you need to take care of small-time welding jobs. Although it is not as powerful as other welders, this is a favorite among welding enthusiasts.
This machine gives strong and sturdy welds. However, its maximum output is just around 105 amps. Don’t expect it to work when you’re fusing thicker metals.
The compact design of this welder makes it easy to store. If your workshop is as small as mine, space is of utmost importance. This is a welder that doesn’t take up too much space. Even the limited space of a tool shed will be more than enough for it.
One of the most challenging tasks for new welders is operating the machine! This won’t pose too much of a challenge for beginners using the GoPlus. I’m impressed with how easy it is easy to operate. And this can help a lot in reducing the learning curve if you’re new to welding! Another thing that you’ll notice is how light the machine is. New users may find heavy welders awkward to use but not this one.
- Compact and easy to store.
- Produces strong and sturdy welds.
- Can be value for money.
- Doesn’t have much power.
- Not ideal for fusing thick metals.
Forney Easy Weld 299 125FC Flux Core Welder, 120-Volt, 125-Amp
Beginners who are looking for a welder that is easy to learn and master should seriously consider the Forney Easy Weld 299. As its name implies, this is an easy to use welder. Experienced welders can also find this welder a joy to work with.
This welder can handle up to a quarter inch of metal. It can also run 10lbs spools. It can be used for flux core, which allows you to move and work without worrying about gas supply. This makes it perfect for off-site use!
It has a slim design that lets users weld even in confined spaces. Not only is this machine small, but it is also lightweight. It only weighs 14lbs. If you’re looking for a welding machine that you can use on the go, this is a great choice.
This welder comes with a 6-foot power cord. This provides flexibility in its use before the need for the use of an extension cord.
The word “Easy” in its name is not just a coincidence. Just plug the machine and you can get started on your project. It doesn’t need any complicated procedures to work. Even if you are a novice welder, you cannot go wrong with a plug-and-play welder.
Most small welders don’t produce much power. This tool is an exception! I like that it has enough power for welding stainless steel. Even beginners can use this to weld heavy-duty materials.
- Can be used to work in tight spaces.
- Plug-and-play device.
- Long power cord helps flexibility.
- Wire feeder is not too long.
- Only comes with 2 amperage settings.
Among the welders listed above, the one that I consider to be the standout is the OTOS MIG175 175AMP Mig Welder. It comes as a complete set so there is no need to purchase additional parts. It even comes with a welding mask!
It is small and portable. I can easily take it with me whenever I need to work away from my workshop. I also don’t have to worry about working in tight spaces and not having enough space to move around.
Another feature that I like is the 3-second bursts programmed in the machine. Once I got the hang of it, it made using the welder so much easier. Even novice users should find using this machine easy.
Which is the ideal gas for MIG welding mild steel?
Using a mixture of 75% CO2 and 25% Argon is ideal for mild steel (https://www.bakersgas.com/weldmyworld/2016/09/19/common-questions-new-welders-ask-mig-welding-welding-gear/ ). This mixture allows you to better control of the weld puddle and the quality of your weld. You can readily purchase this mixture at local welding supplies stores.
What makes the welding rod stick to the metal?
If your welding rod sticks to the metal, it can be due to one of two things. The first one is that you may have your amperage too low (https://www.arc-welding-and-beyond.com/welding-questions.html). This is why I like welders that have pre-set settings so there’s no need to second-guess yourself.
The other reason is that you may have let the rod get too close to the parent metal. Just make sure that the arc length is not too short so you can solve this issue (https://www.millerwelds.com/resources/article-library/five-steps-to-improving-your-stick-welding-technique).
How long is the waiting time before using something that is newly welded?
You don’t need to wait too long to use something that is freshly welded. Just give it enough time to cool down so you can handle it! If you can handle it, you can use it.
What should I use to weld aluminum?
You can use either an MIG welder or a TIG welder if you need to weld aluminum. If you’re using a TIG welder, make sure that you have the right electrode and filler metal for your welder. If you’re using an MIG welder, you need to use a lighter aluminum wire as a filler.