Best Engine Driven Welders for the Money – Top Picks & Reviews

Many welders nowadays are portable enough to carry anywhere. Still, they are useless when you need to weld somewhere without any power source. In this kind of location, how can you even weld?

The answer to that is by using the right piece of equipment.

Best engine driven welders

We’ve done a lot of research to develop these 3 recommendations for the best engine-driven welders for the money. We’ve included it in a table that shows their main features. Be sure to check the video reviews users have made of these machines. Click the button in the table below.

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Instead of relying on a separate power source, this type of machine is powered by its generator. It allows you to work anywhere. This means you can do your projects even in the remotest of places.

If this sounds like your ideal machine, you know that checking out the different models available is your first step to buying one. And you probably know that this step is also a time-consuming one.

To help make your research easier, we have gathered our top picks for the money. Read our reviews to see which one meets your requirements.

How Does It Work?

Before you start using one, you first need to know and understand how an engine-driven welder works. Think of it as a combination of a welder and a generator housed in a single machine. This means that the power needed by the machine is built-in and does not come from any outside source.

It’s a fuel-powered engine that uses either propane, diesel, or gas. Along with it is a generator. Once you start up the engine, it allows the generator to produce enough power for you to start working. You only need to make sure that there is enough fuel for it to work.

That’s how simple the operation of the machine is.

Advantages

An engine-driven option gives you the convenience of welding without worrying about finding an electrical supply. After all, that’s the main selling point of this type of machine.

But, did you know that they also have other advantages?

industrial welders

For starters, doing work anywhere is not the only thing this machine can offer. Its built-in generator is not only used for supplying enough power to weld. You can also use it to power up your other tools and equipment like a standalone generator. You can even use it as your backup generator in a power outage.

Its mobility and use as a generator are not the only advantages this type offers. Other noteworthy features include the following:

  • It is typically used outdoors in locations without any power supply present. You can also use it indoors if you don’t have a sufficient or stable power supply.
  • It allows you to stick weld and do other types, depending on the type and accessories connected.
  • Because it is fuel-powered, you can easily refill it at any gasoline station when you run out of fuel.
  • It is generally much more powerful than the portable ones typically used at home.
  • It is known to be durable because it is designed for use outdoors and in different weather conditions.
  • Despite being larger than portable options, the smallest ones can still be carried around by hand. The bigger-sized ones can be equipped with a wheel kit to make them mobile.
  • Because it generates thousands of watts, you can use it for light-duty and heavy-duty projects.

There are many other advantages of this power supply, aside from the ones above. Maybe you know that you will do a lot of welding in different places where the power supply is questionable. You should invest in one.

Buyer’s Guide

Let’s face it: they’re expensive. However, it is also one of any serious welder’s best investments.

We understand that the prospect of shelling out thousands of dollars for equipment can make you hesitant to get one. That is why we have developed a buyer’s guide to help you get the right one. You will not regret shelling out potentially thousands of dollars.

high quality weld

When choosing one, you need to focus on the following aspects:

  • Fuel Required – gas is often the fuel of choice for smaller ones because of its lower price and consumption. Propane has no emissions, so you can use it in spaces with poor ventilation and can even be stored for longer periods. Diesel has the longest run time and is the most fuel-efficient while the most expensive.
  • Style or Design – open designs or tube frames are much easier to move around than one with an enclosed casing.
  • Power Type – AC is the most common and is found on cheaper models, which is good for basic needs. DC models are more expensive and need additional accessories for them to work, but let you do more types.
  • Output Range – while most of them are powerful enough for heavy-duty work, they also come in different output ranges. They range from 5,000 to 20,000 watts.
  • Application – while they all allow you to do different types, certain models allow you to do more complicated work like arc gouging and pipe welding.
  • Weight – the bigger and larger the machine, the more powerful it is.
  • Duty Cycle – this determines how long you can use it before you need to let it rest.

Use this buyer’s guide as your checklist when determining what you want and need before making your purchasing decision.

Top Picks

Once you know the features you want, you can now narrow down your search for an engine welder. Looking for a model with all the features you need is ideal. Don’t be surprised not to find one with all the features you need or find one beyond your price range.

But if you have trouble finding one or can’t choose among the many available, why not consider any of our top picks?

bobcat welders

Miller Bobcat 250

Miller is known to craft reliable models, which should be expected given their price range. The Bobcat 250 stands out as one of the best options around. This model is renowned for producing smooth currents and better accuracy than most models. It’s also incredible in terms of reliability.

It is equipped with a fuel tank that can hold up to 12 gallons, allowing it to run for as much as 14 hours. It can generate power of up to 11,000 watts. Not only that, it has a rated output of 25V. With an amp range of 40 to 250 amps and a duty cycle of 100%, you’re in a good place. It runs on a 23 HP Kohler or Subaru engine.

Pros:

  • It has a multifunction process that allows you to do different types, including MIG and TIG.
  • Weatherproof, which makes it usable even in extreme weather
  • It is suitable even for industrial use.
  • Has both AC and DC modes
  • It comes with a standard three-year warranty.
  • The noise level is lower compared to most models.
  • It has features like an idle lock and fuel readout gauge
  • It comes with stud covers.

Cons:

  • You need to buy welding leads separately since it only ships with basic accessories.
  • Price falls in the middle range, which is still considered to be quite high by most.
  • It weighs 501 lbs.

Miller Trailblazer 302

The Miller Trailblazer 302 may fit their requirements for the more advanced users. It is designed for industrial use, especially for repairs and construction work. It can generate as much as 13,000 watts without sacrificing fuel efficiency. It is also known for its stellar arc performance, no matter what welding type you use.

A unique feature of this model is that it employs a two-generator system, separating the supply for welding and generating power. Maintenance won’t be an issue, as it comes with removable service doors.

Pros:

  • It’s relatively quiet for its class.
  • It’s among the most powerful models around.
  • It can be used not just for welding but also for cutting.
  • It comes with remote control for use when TIG and to control spool guns and wire feeding.
  • It’s designed for heavy-duty even in extreme conditions.
  • It can operate for up to 18 hours.

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • It’s noisy despite being marketed as a quiet model.
  • Its features may be too much for casual users.

Miller Bluestar 185

If portability is a must, opt for the Miller Bluestar 185. Its small footprint makes it ideal for those who only need to do stick and TIG. It runs on a 13 HP engine and has a 6.25-gallon fuel capacity. It can generate a maximum of 6500 watts. Don’t expect anything fancy because this model is marketed as a basic model of its type, which explains its lower price.

Pros:

  • It can reach up to 12 hours of operation.
  • It’s small but powerful enough for basic welding.
  • It features an electric start and auto-idle.
  • It’s cheaper than most comparable models,
  • It’s more portable compared to others in the same class,

Cons:

  • Designed for stick and TIG only, but you can also do some basic or minimal MIG and plasma cutting
  • Not suitable for complicated projects

Lincoln Electric Ranger 225

Another highly-rated option is the Lincoln Electric Ranger 225. It provides DC power by default and can supply AC power, unlike most alternatives that offer the opposite. It is designed mainly for Stick and TIG. It has a 12-gallon fuel capacity and provides up to 10,500 watts of power.

This machine is equipped with an electric start and can run for 14 hours. The maintenance is also easy. It’s because of the service doors present. It has a 100% duty cycle and 25V output.

With a 50 to 225 welding amp range, you’ll be able to do whatever you want with it.

Pros:

  • It has a much more affordable price.
  • It comes with an electric start and auto-idle feature.
  • The maintenance is relatively easy because of the service doors present.

Cons:

  • It’s limited to stick and TIG, although you can use it for some flux-core and MIG.
  • It does not have “Chopper” technology that offers smoother operation.
  • It requires accessories for AC power mode.
  • It’s only suitable for basic work, not industrial use.

Hobart Champion Elite

The Hobart Champion Elite is the easiest to set up among the many options around. Despite its seemingly simple appearance, it is equipped with a 12-gallon fuel capacity. It has a 23 HP engine and can generate up to 9,500 watts.

It also comes with a 100% duty cycle and has high-quality components that ensure its durability.

Pros:

  • It’s lighter than other models with similar specs.
  • It comes with an electric start and 120v and 240v receptacles.
  • It comes with a standard three-year warranty.
  • The price falls in the mid-range.

Cons:

  • It can only do DC-powered welding, ranging from 40 to 225 DC.
  • It ships without any leads.
  • Despite its smaller frame, it is still quite heavy at 493 lbs.

These are our top five picks that we believe will give anyone the best value for their money. Those manufactured by Miller dominate our list. That does not mean that those from other brands should not be considered.

When looking for the right equipment, prioritize the features you need. Don’t just go after the brand. After all, you will spend thousands of dollars on the one you will use for a long time. Your chosen welder must have all the features you need and more.

The price tag of any engine-driven welder is nothing to sneeze at. That is why you must get the one that provides you with the best value for your money.

Are they right for you? 

There is no denying that these types of metal beasts offer so many benefits over some of the simpler machines out there. Suppose you are serious about your business and ramping up your money-making efforts. You need a piece of machinery that can go the extra mile and offer those functionalities you require. 

It’s not enough that you can do jobs. You should also have the advantage of not having to drag an external generator along with you to get the job done. You can buy special generators capable of handling the very sporadic load that these machines will require. You’re buying a solid machine that will make you a lot more mobile while upgrading your earning potential! 

You will see rather quickly how it also becomes a good financial investment to get the type of machinery that makes your life easier. When you consider the functionality of different machines, it’s not just important to consider the machine’s price. It has the potential for improving your business if you do not have that piece of machinery available.

Sure, these machines may cost you between $4,000 for the simpler options and $6,000 for advanced ones. The question is really how much additional functionality you can get from this.

Suppose your alternative is to buy a $2,000 welder that serves a more generic function. The difference in cost becomes the most important aspect for you to be focusing on. 

Are the additional portability and earning potential provided by these types of machines making up for the higher price tag? Will you pay $2,000 less and have to make sure there is an adequate power supply wherever you go? 


These machines are no different from portable sawmills for engine-driven welders. They come in different price ranges, with some of the machines offering more functionality and reliability.

With these machines, you aren’t just able to make sure your needs are met. You can also power all the other stuff you need to have power. 

Miller

We have already taken a brief look at some of Miller’s most popular machines manufactured. Here’s another brief overlook of some of the remaining machines that this great American manufacturer has to offer. 

There is no denying that the Miller Bobcat 250 is great. The Miller Trailblazer 302 and the Miller Bluestar 185 are great, too. They are some of the most advanced and popular models on the market. They are still some of the slightly less known machines out there that warrant being covered!

While being a considerable step up, there is no denying that you get a whole lot of power when it comes to Miller’s Big Blue 300. It also comes with a much bigger price tag than some other machines that people are looking into. It is not a machine for everyone!

With this impressive machine, you get a 60% duty cycle at 300A while having a max amperage output of 410 amps. Are you wondering what this machine is capable of doing? It offers flux-cored, MIG, Stick, and TIG capabilities with 3 years warranty. Whether looking to weld stainless steel or mild steel, this is surely a great machine for any career welder. 

Suppose the time has come for you to upgrade your old Airco Dipstick 160. You might want to look in the direction of the more modestly priced Miller Blue Star 145. It allows as much as 185 amp of power!

Lincoln Electric

engine driven welder

Lincoln is another great company that produces these machines. We’ve spoken about the possibility of choosing the popular Lincoln Electric Ranger 225. It may not be what you’re looking for. You want something that has more power than the 225 welding amp that this machine can produce. You’re lucky to know that it’s not your only option when it comes to this manufacturer! 

When looking to upgrade your game with a strong piece of equipment from Lincoln, a good contender is the SAE 300. Its 300 amps of power at a strong 60% duty cycle is just incredible! This machine is one you won’t be disappointed with whether you’re doing pipeline repairs or things for the construction industry. The strength of the weld is imperative.

It is rated at 60% duty cycle at 300 amps. Its entire range allows this machine to go as high as 390 amps. At 250 amps, it has a 100% duty cycle.

Two other Lincoln models that deserve mention are the Bulldog 5500 and the Lincoln 250. This machine lets you get as many as 250 amps, and it can also produce as much as 11,000 watts at peak with its generator. It will come in handy in most situations you can think of.

engine driven welders

Our goal

At Atlantic Aspiration, we aim to provide you with honest and reliable information on various tools. We want to help change how you do the work you do. We strive to be as objective as possible. We do a lot to include various resources that we think you might appreciate.

Our job hasn’t been achieved if you don’t end up with the product that works for your needs.

Besides putting together these “best of” articles, we do more. We also continuously create informational guides on the various tools you might purchase through our platform.

For instance, here is a thorough guide on using a plasma cutter. Our goal is to become your go-to source for information on the built world. We want to help you find the right tools and find various information you may be interested in.

How to use a welder generator to power a house?

  1. Turn off the power.

    Head to the breaker panel and make sure the power inlet from the utility company is turned off.

  2. Connect the generator to your main breaker panel

    Connect the cord from your welder’s receptacle to the main breaker panel.

  3. Remove welding accessories

    Since the generator will now be used as a power source, you can remove all the accessories.

  4. Fill up the generator.

    Fill the tank with diesel or any other fuel the device takes.

  5. Switch from utility power to generator power

    Head to the main breaker panel and use the generator panel to switch off the utility. Make sure your welder generator is on, and you’re good to go!

FAQ

Can you use a welder as a generator?

Yes, you certainly can. Suppose you have a welder running on diesel. In that case, you can double it up as a generator to power your emergency lights and other appliances.

What is the easier welder to learn on?

MIG welding is the easiest type of welding to begin with. You can begin your welding journey with this Lincoln welder that can weld up to 1/8th of an inch in mild steel. It’s so compact and lightweight that anyone can use it, even on the go.

Should I get an engine-driven welder?

There are two conditions for getting an engine-driven welder. If you need to attend a very high voltage welding job, you should get an engine-driven welder. Engine-driven welders give high outputs and are used for serious jobs only. Suppose your home electrical outlets cannot provide a high amount of voltage. In that case, you should consider converting to an engine-driven welder.

What are the 4 types of welding machines?

The first type is MIG gas welding, also known as Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW). Secondly, TIG or Gas Tungsten Arc Welding is the best type of welding known for thin metals. Stick shielding, metal arc welding, and Flux-cored arc welding are popular.

What is the main advantage of using an engine-driven welder?

Engine-driven welders are highly strong and mighty tools. It consists of a fuel-powered engine connected to an electrical generator. This power source is used for TIG, MIG, or flux-cored arc welding. There are several advantages of using an engine-driven welder. The biggest advantage remains that you have the power source with you at all times. You can weld anytime and anywhere.