Like most disciplines, welding requires you to master the basics first if you want to be good at it. Sadly, many beginners struggle to pull this off just because they bought the wrong welding tool.
If you want your welding education to be off to a great start, you need a welding tool that is built for the beginner in mind. You’d want to avoid picking up welding tools that make the basics complicated.
Many welders in the market can serve as a good gateway to the craft or discipline of welding. To help you find the welder that will set you on the right path, we’re giving you a list of our top picks and reviews.
Types of Welding Methods
But before we get there, ask yourself this question: What kind of welder do I need?
First off, it bears noting that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to welding. Different jobs require different welding processes. There are many welding methods, the most common of which being MIG welding, Flux-cored Arc Welding, TIG welding, and stick welding. To help you determine which welder is the right one for you, a breakdown of the different welding processes is in order.
MIG welding, otherwise known as Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), uses a wire electrode that is fed through a spooling gun at a pre-set speed. This process creates the arc that melts the wire and merges it with the base, which facilitates the production of strong, refined, and clean welds.
Flux-cored Arc Welding
Flux-cored arc welding (FCAW) facilitates the wire feeding process by using a flux-cored wire that protects the arc from contamination. It’s this protection that makes this the preferred welding method outdoors.
TIG welding—also called Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)—produces welds by using a non-consumable tungsten electrode. To protect the weld material from contamination, this welding process uses a shielding gas and a filler metal. While TIG welding is more difficult to learn, it’s the method that produces the most durable and precise welds.
Stick welding uses a “stick” (otherwise known as an arc-welding electrode) that produces an electric current to weld metal pieces. This welding method is recommended for alloys and joints. It’s also the most affordable, making it the most popular welding method for home use.
Without further ado, here are the best welders for beginners.
1. Weldpro 200 Multi-Process Welder
If you’re new to welding, the Weldpro 200 Multi-Process Welder is just the thing to get you on the right track (and it doesn’t hurt that it’s very affordable). This welding machine comes with MIG, TIG, and Stick welding operations (at 200 amp output), so no need to buy more than one welding unit if you’re not going to stick with one welding process.
Thanks to the welding machine’s pre-set internal parameters, you don’t have to waste time trying to decide which settings are recommended for certain situations. While it’s still best that you adjust the more important settings (such as the heat settings) manually, not having to worry over other details can go a long way into helping you get things done much faster.
Most beginners struggle with the proper handling and maneuvering of the torch, but this unit does away with all of those by including a button that allows you to switch between manual wire feeding and automatic wire feeding on the fly. Since you don’t need to hold the trigger, you can focus on the torch, allowing you to create higher quality welds.
The Weldpro 200 scores high on portability as it’s smaller than most welding units, making it easy for you to lug around.
- Can perform three different welding functions
- Affordable price
- Ease of use
- High durability
- Powerful for its size
- Easy to switch between Manual and Automatic welding
- Doesn’t come with a spool gun
2. Forney Easy Weld 271 MIG Welder
The Forney Easy Weld 271 is capable of MIG and TIG welding, which it does equally well. While this unit isn’t fully capable of handling heavy-duty welding projects, it gets the job done quite well with projects that involve light and medium-duty welding. It doesn’t hurt that the digital readout screen allows you to adjust the power and precision settings on the fly, which can facilitate a smoother welding process.
This multi-process welder is packed to brimming with useful accessories, including a cast aluminum drive system, a regulator, a gas hose, and a 10’ MIG gun. With a maximum output of 190 amps, this welder is more than capable of executing its functions to great effect.
The Forney Easy Weld 271 delivers the good in terms of quality, functionality, and versatility. If you’re looking for a welder that does it all, you can’t go wrong with this one.
- Multi-process welding capabilities
- Comes with a cast aluminum drive system
- Intuitive digital readout
- Ease of use
- Highly versatile
- A little pricey
- TIG accessories are not included
3. Miller Electric 120/240 AC Welder for MIG Welding
If you’re a beginner who wants to get started on MIG welding, the Miller 120/240V welder is a good companion to have. It’s very efficient, for starters. In fact, it can weld up to ⅜” even when working with 24-gauge steel. The wire feed is consistent as well, allowing for a smoother feeding process.
One major thing that sets this welding machine apart from others is its quiet operation. Despite its size and power, this welder comes with a cooling fan that’s so silent it’s as if it wasn’t there.
More importantly, this welder is excellent at performing its primary job, although it’s not too bad in performing its other functions (flux-core and MIG welding). It also comes with many useful accessories, such as a dual gauge regulator, automatic spool gun detect, an aluminum drive system, not to mention its plethora of convenient features like aluminum drive system, thermal overload protection, and Quick Select drive roll. Simply put, this MIG welder brings a lot to the table for both beginners and experts alike.
- Packs a lot of power
- Excellent welding performance
- Light even for a heavy-duty MIG welder
- Minimizer spatter
- Quiet operation
- Can weld all types of metal
- Dual voltage capability
- Price is on the expensive side
- The ground cable could be longer
4. Amico TIG 160 Amp Torch ARC Stick DC Welder
The Amico TIG 160 DC Welder is a welding machine that not only lets you weld a wide array of materials, but it’s also built and designed with the beginner welder in mind. This all-around welder lets you perform both Stick and TIG welding, and it doesn’t hurt that it packs enough power to weld different thicknesses of metals. This TIG 160 DC Welder is capable of welding ¾ inches of stainless steel.
This DC welder also has a wide range of amperage settings (20 to 160 Amps), allowing you to weld successfully across different penetration requirements. And because of the machine’s high duty cycle, you can weld for long stretches without worrying about overheating.
Last but not least, this welding machine is built for portability. Weighing 14.5 pounds and with dimensions of 16.6” x 7.5” x 11.8”, the Tig 160 DCWelder doesn’t require much effort to take with you on trips.
- Easy to set up
- Highly portable
- Affordable price
- Allows Stick, Arc, and TIG Welding
- Spatter-free welding
- Dual voltage input
- Foot pedal not included
- DC only
5. ESAB 0558101694 MiniArc Welder
The ESAB MiniArc Welder is the quintessential starter pack for beginner welders. It’s packed with useful features, sure, but has enough power to back it all up. This unit can run on a 115 and 230-volt input, giving you a wide range of control. With an amperage range of 5 to 160 amps, this welder is capable of pulling off a wide range of welding jobs, from small projects to industrial-scale welding jobs.
Perhaps this welder’s best feature is the fixed hot start, which allows you to strike an arc with the least amount of effort. This is especially helpful if you haven’t touched a welding machine before. You can weld to your heart’s content without worrying about sputtering. Better yet, you’ll find it easy to maintain a smooth arc.
Portability is an important feature when you’re a beginner welder. Thankfully, this MiniArc welder delivers on that score. Weighing only 18 pounds, coupled with its built-in shoulder strap, this welder is a cinch to carry around with you from job to job.
- Packs a lot of power considering its size
- Extensive amperage range (5 to 160 Amps)
- Dual voltage input control
- Fixed hot start
- High portability
- Makes random noises at times
- External gas shield not included
6. Hobart 500495 Handler 125 MIG Welding Package
If you put a high premium on both portability and efficiency, the Hobart Handler 500595 125 MIG Welder ticks all the right boxes. This welder is not only easy to use, but it also comes with a comprehensive manual that beginners can easily understand.
What makes this welder special is that it can be converted into either flux core or MIG welding. It doesn’t hurt that it produces clean welds with minimum spatter, even when you’re working with thick materials. Speaking of thick materials, the Hobart 125 welder can weld steel from 24 gauge to 3.16″, and it does so with great results.
Safety is of paramount importance when you’re welding. Thankfully, this welder comes with an electrically cold trigger that shuts the unit down when the trigger is not pressed for a long time, which prevents accidental arcs and possible injuries.
- Four voltage input system
- Easy to set up and operate
- Can weld all materials even at high gauge numbers
- Can do flux core welding and MIG welding
- Easy to transport
- Electric cold trigger
- High duty cycle
- Accessories for gas welding are sold separately
- Expensive for most beginners
- Needs a high capacity generator on account of its high amperage
7. Chicago Electric Welding Systems MIG/Flux Wire Welder
The Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder is designed and built to make life easy for beginner welders. Whether you’re doing flux core welding or MIG welding, this welder has all the welding applications to help you get the job done without the usual hassle. Not only can it provide you a consistent arc, but it also allows better penetration. Activate the wire spool setting and you can weld steel plates up to ¼” like it’s nothing.
Boasting four output settings, this welder has a lot to offer in terms of versatility as well. And it’s easy to achieve great results even with deeper penetrations thanks to the unit’s reliable wire feed speed control.
Safety is of special importance when you’re a beginner. Thanks to this unit’s thermal overload protection feature, the unit will automatically shut down if needed, protecting you from possible injuries.
If you’re someone who’s still learning the ropes and want to focus on quick little jobs, this welding tool ticks all the right boxes.
- High duty cycle
- Capable of working with all metals
- Arc is consistently steady
- Four voltage output settings
- Thermal overload protection
- Deep penetration
- Doesn’t work on 220 V
- The cable could be longer
8. SunGold Power Multifunction Welder
The SunGold Power Multifunction Welder, as the name itself explicitly states, is an all-around welder, and it does a good job at that.
The SunGold also packs a lot of power even for its size. You can use it on metal plates with thicknesses between ⅜” to 3/16″, not to mention 2.5/3.5 mm electrodes. Not only is it capable of deep penetration, but it can also produce clean, smooth welds, whether you’re running on either 110V or 220V output.
This welder can run on DC ranging from 2 to 200 amps, which gives you a lot of wiggle room no matter the job type. Moreover, it comes with an IGBT (Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor) that facilitates a smoother transition between 110V and 220V without compromising energy efficiency.
If you’re new to welding but want to work on a wide range of welding jobs, the SunGold welder won’t disappoint.
- Smooth transition between 110V and 220V
- Deep penetration
- Produces smooth, clean welds
- Capable of working with different thicknesses of metals
- High amperage capability
- Extensive settings
- Leads could be longer
- Some customers complained of extended cold start