Multi-process welders are cost-effective, versatile, and space-saving. Experienced welders use them for complex tasks, and beginners gain a full skill set with these devices.
I’ve been in the welding field for more than two decades. I’ve worked with a variety of welders, and these Combo machines got my attention with their interesting capabilities.
In the coming sections, I’ll explore their performance, and by the end of the article, I’ll reveal the best multi-process welder. So, keep reading!
This is a roundup of our favorite multi-process welders. They have different combo variations and price points, so you can pick the setup that best suits your skills and workload.
The AHP Alpha is a tough TIG welder with 200 Amp of ready-to-use welding power. It’s a versatile welder with a Stick welding capability.
You can employ the AC/DC and pulsed power modes to achieve some pretty beads on aluminum or steel. The output is highly regulated and shouldn’t give you any unpleasant surprises.
The Stick mode is impressive, and it has some pretty good tweaks for veterans, like post flow and AC-balance. This isn’t surprising from AHP, who takes the welding business quite seriously.
The price is mid-range, so it’s suitable for enthusiastic beginners and perfect as a stand-by machine in a professional workshop. MIG is the biggest missing feature from the AHP, but that would’ve spiked its price!
It’s not easy to find a plasma cutter, TIG torch, and Stick welder in the same machine. Knowing that it comes at a moderate price, as well, is good news.
Excitement aside, we should get to work and talk about its performance and quality.
Plasma Cutting is a feature that often stands out and catches my attention, so let’s start there.
You have a fair range from 10-50 Amp, which isn’t savage, but it’s quite sufficient for regular cutting jobs of up to ½-inch pieces.
You don’t need to prime the surface you’ll work on, it’s capable of slicing through paint, rust, or irregular surfaces. It employs industrial-grade compressed air, so no need for fancy gas here.
There’s a broad range of metals you could cut with the Lotus. Copper is soft, and we expect it. Steel with its three varieties stainless are all good. And, it can cut through aluminum, which is often tricky with other devices.
The TIG power goes from 15-200 Amp, which is great for a variety of applications from precision work on a thin sheet, to high tensile-strength stainless-steel welding.
The performance of the Lotus with the Stick isn’t any less impressive. It has the same 50-200 Amp dial, its DC output is steady, and it provides smooth start and finish points. We expect beautiful uniform beads from this one.
This is a perfect addition to any workshop. Its versatility will certainly come in handy for most tasks, including metal cutting. It’s suitable as a stand-alone unit in a small to medium sized workshop, and it can be used as a standby machine in larger settings.
Digital technology is used heavily in the Everlast welder. It cleverly turns the basic TIG/MIG/Stick into a more versatile device with pulsed MIG and pulsed TIG. This automatically increases the types metals you can work on, in addition to handling a broader assortment of tasks.
The Hi-Tech ingredient also optimizes all the parameters through the synergy function. Manual adjustment can only go so far, especially if you’re a beginner. Even veterans can put this feature to good use and get better welds.
The start and finish points of your beads are often quite visible, and it takes significant skill to start and finish a weld line uniformly. This should become easier with the extra start and finish options for TIG and Stick welding.
Despite all the adjustments, the Everlast is an easy-to-use device. Even the connections are designed for quick-action, and they’re placed in a single location in the panel for easy access.
This welder is well-suited for a medium sized workshop. It’s admirable in many ways, except for its slow duty cycle. It might not be the best choice if you have a high workload, but it’s great if you’re into precision work with small metal pieces.
The Weldpro certainly earns the ‘multi-process’ title. It has MIG/TIG/Stick basic functions, in addition to Flux Core.
It’s quite capable of handling aluminum, thanks to the multiple welding options and a similarly broad range of power variation. It also comes with a spool gun for additional flexibility.
The power settings are pretty good and match the highest in the industry. The MIG intensity ranges from 40-200 Amp, the TIG from 50-200 Amp, and the Stick from 40-200 Amp for the 230-Volt setting.
The duty cycle is a little less satisfactory. A 30% setting is slow, even for a compact portable unit. Several users match their progress to this schedule, and make good use of all the other features.
Weldpro is an ambitious combo welder that disregards its own compact size and aspires to perform like an industrial welder. It’s perfect for use onsite, at home, on the farm, and around your garage.
Almost everyone in the welding business knows the name ‘Lincoln’. That’s because Lincoln Electric was established in 1895, and since then, it has manufactured some of the best welders in the industry.
The Lincoln Powermig 210 is a portable dual-voltage welder, which is designed like a MIG, but it also provides Flux Core, DC Stick, and DC TIG.
The display is intended to guide you through the adjustment and fine-tuning process. This feature is especially beneficial for newcomers, as seasoned welders know the Lincoln like the back of their hands!
You can purchase a spool gun separately to complete the welding station setup. It’s an indoor/outdoor portable model, and with the right accessories, you’ll have a wide range of doable tasks.
The Lincoln is a practical multi-process welder that fits nicely in your home or workshop. It’s sturdy, practical, and easy to work with. Beginners, hobbyists, and professionals could make good use of this diligent welder.
The Amico Power welder employs the Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) technology. In terms of electronics, this makes switching much quicker and far more efficient. This is the latest trend in the world of welding devices, and so far it’s doing good.
So how does IGBT benefit you? It offers a broader range of power variations and mode selections. It also offers more control of the output current and optimizes power consumption. In short, you win more from the broader range of modes, and you save more from the efficient operation.
These devices are often small and portable, as the IGBT tech replaces several bulky pieces used for older models.
The Amico is primarily TIG with a powerful Stick function. It’s easy to set up and operate, and it comes at an appealing price point.
These attributes make the Amico welder a smart choice for beginners and hobbyists. Workshops could also acquire one of these for quick outdoors jobs or for training purposes.
The Mophorn is a versatile welder with TIG and MMA Stick functionality. It’s a dual voltage AC/DC inverter that runs with an admirable 85% efficiency.
This advanced welder uses Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) to give a constant output power irrespective of the loading conditions. It’s quieter than the regular modulators and more efficient.
The duty cycle for the Mophorn is 60%, which is expected from a device built around the idea of efficiency. You can adjust its intensity from 20-200 Amp. This should cover your welding needs on simple and complex tasks.
It’s capable of handling a variety of materials, so you can use it for welding stainless steel, aluminum, and sheet metal. It’s an all-purpose welder you can apply for anything from domestic applications to light industrial work.
Miller is another big name in the world of welding. The company was in business since 1935, and their engineer Alan Mulder recreated AC-welders to suit factory and construction site work. Miller has since then earned a high status in the industry.
The Multimatic welder is MIG, TIG, and Stick multi-process welder with a basic setup. It’s not out to show off the fluff, just the fundamental task requirements.
You can attach two different gases to this welder, so that should eliminate the inconvenience of switching connections.
The duty cycle for Stick is about 40% at 240 volts, which is not bad at all. It falls a bit to 20% for the MIG, which can still be used for high-precision light work.
The price mark of the Miller welder is high up there! It’s a sturdy machine though, and it has a reputation of working consistently for a long time. As you know, the balance between budget and quality is an eternal debate.
The miller welder is one of the lightest models, weighing about 10 lbs, which makes it easily portable. It’s perfect for light work, tight spaces, automotive workshops, and domestic uses. Hobbyists and professionals can make good use of this high quality welder.
It’s not easy to pick the best multi-process welder from this list. Every device earned its spot with its remarkable features and performance. I, personally, lean towards the Lincoln Electric Powermig 210. It’s a true multi-process welder with MIG, TIG, Flux Core, and MMA Stick.
The Lincoln is portable, sturdy, and versatile. You can use it indoors or outdoors, and you can apply it to a wide range of projects.
The Lotos LTPDC2000D Combo Welding Machine is another great choice, especially if you’re looking for a budget-buy. It has a plasma cutter, DC TIG, and MMA Stick. You can use it on a broad range of materials with various thicknesses, and it’s quite easy to set up and operate.
Here are the top reasons why you could benefit from having a combo welder:
When buying a welding machine, you’ll find that they’re available in several types.
Here’s what you need to know about each of them:
Space is usually in short supply, whether you’re working in a workshop, onsite, or at home. You can organize your workspace better with fewer devices.
Having one machine instead of three frees up your room. As a general rule, open spaces are also safer and easier to move around.
If you’ve worked in any site, you’ll come to appreciate this feature. In short, well-organized places are easy on the eye and encourage productivity.
A combo creates less clutter around your workstation, and you wouldn’t need multiple sets of branded accessories, leads everywhere, in addition to several massive devices.
A multi-process welder costs much less than three specialized welders. The standardized consumables and accessory sets also contribute to cost-economy.
We get the best results from the machines we know well. If you can use one device for three different welding purposes, it often reflects positively on the quality of your work.
These are the main points you should consider before buying a multi-process welding machine
The type of material and thickness you usually work on are defining factors of the kind of welding combo you should choose.
If you often work with steel alloys and stainless steel, you can pretty much use any welding method.
You can use MIG or AC TIG for your aluminum pieces. There’s a constant debate as to which method is easier or more efficient, and it hasn’t been settled to my knowledge. My two pence on this is use MIG for precision work and AC TIG for quick high volume work.
You might be aware of the tricky business of welding cast iron, but you can try the Stick. If not for welding, it’s good for iron processing.
TIG is the sole proprietor of the ‘other’ metals like brass, chrome, and copper, in addition to the less abundant metals like titanium and magnesium.
MIG and TIG are good with thin sheet metals, while Stick and Flux Core handle thick objects nicely.
Welders are split in the middle as to which welding method is easier. It seems that the personal factor here is paramount.
This is understandable, as whatever you’re trained to do will always feel easier than any other process you’re not well-versed in.
When it comes to the new welders, everything is a clean slate. So, I’ll recommend MIG as an easier process. It’s easier to control, it has fewer variables to worry about, and beginners often gain more confidence as they cover ground with this simple method.
Speaking of confidence, I’ve seen many new technicians skip the TIG part whenever they could because ‘it was too complicated’. When these same guys tried it a few times, their beads eventually evened out. A few months later they swore that there’s nothing easier than TIG welding!
Veterans might lean towards MIG or TIG, and that’s understandable. Some seasoned welders like to broaden their repertoire or have work that requires a specific welding method.
This is another way the multi-process welding machine proves its capabilities. It offers a wide range of useful welding combinations and encourages welders to build new skills.
The weight of multi-process welders goes from 10 lbs to around 90 lbs. The compact units are great for site work, domestic repairs, farm work, and shipyard maintenance tasks.
The heavier machines often come with a host of features. It’s best to decide beforehand on the functions you need and whether you need to move your welder from spot to spot.
The main bulk of your work could be outdoors onsite, or it could be mainly in the workshop. Decide where you work mostly, and that’ll point you to the right model.
MIG and TIG are generally good for workshops, where the airflow wouldn’t interfere with the gas shielding.
Stick and Flux Core are tolerant of outdoor work and will give good results even with dusty surroundings.
This tells you how long you can work with welder before it starts to overheat and calls for a recess.
The duty cycle is often expressed as a percentage, and we understand it as how much of a 10-minute interval the welder is on before it needs to cool itself off.
A 70% duty cycle means that you get 7 minutes of welding and 3 minutes of rest.
The industry norm hovers around 60%, and sometimes the nominal value is more than what you actually get, so aim for a higher value.
There’s a wide range of prices available for you to choose from. Price is often directly proportional to the quality, but we’ve seen some fine models at moderate prices.
There are hidden costs, and it’s essential to add them to your device budget for a more accurate estimate. Welding requires several accessories, and they tend to wear off quickly. You’ll also need to replenish your consumables regularly.
Safety gear is a one time purchase, so add it to the budget if this is your first welder, and you don’t own a set already. By all means don’t skimp on safety gear. So many injuries can be avoided by just putting on the right clothes.
I’ve seen many workers who didn’t take the safety procedures seriously enough, and there were always consequences.
Prepare your metal before welding. Polish the surface of sheet metals with a brush, and file a bevel tip along the borders to be welded for a tougher bond.
Brush the aluminum surface in one direction. If you go back and forth with a metal brush, the oxides will be ingrained into the metal.
Observe the proper direction of each welding technique. Should you drag and pull or advance and push? This depends on the welding method you’re using and the orientation of the piece you’re working on.
The speed of the wire advancement should correlate with the power you’re using. Any discrepancies leave a visible effect on your beads.
You should also regulate the pace of your filler with TIG welding to avoid a ‘hopping’ pattern on the welded piece.
Avoid directing the heat from the tungsten to the filler. And by all means, don’t dip the tungsten into the weld pool.
Follow the directional instructions on the electrodes before using the Stick. Mostly there’s a ‘1’ for ‘all positions’, but it’s best to double-check.
Try to set up your workstation in an ergonomic manner. Sitting comfortably helps in creating neat beads and welds that require minimal finishing touches.
This should keep welding defects to a minimum. I’ve seen a lot of messed-up beads, and these simple tips, take care of most of them.