Manual metal arc welding or stick welding is a popular process of welding iron, stainless steel, and other metals together. It’s mainly used in construction, maintenance, piping, and automobile repair by professionals and DIY enthusiasts.
Arc welders or stick welders are practical and reliable tools that weld metals easily and in good quality. Whether you’re into home projects, want to have things fixed on the farm, or love to spend time in your home workshop, you need to buy a good stick welder that won’t let you down.
In this article, I’ll help you choose the best stick welder that suits your specific needs. I’ll review 7 of the best products on the market and tell you how to pick the right one.
Many beginners struggle when they’re looking for a stick welder because there are lots of good options on the market. Even if you’re an experienced user looking for an upgrade, you might be overwhelmed by the number of options available. This is why I reviewed 7 of the best products to help you pick the most suitable one.
Professional users, as well as first-timers, love this combo machine from PrimeWeld as it covers all your welding needs at a competitive price. With a 60% duty cycle on all processes, it’s safe to say that this welder won’t let you down as you work with multiple metals.
You can use the plasma cutting function to cut ½-inch metals at 50A with flawless and clean results. You can also alternate between TIG and stick welding using a simple switch. This machine weighs 32 pounds but it comes with a handle so you can move it around the jobsite.
Because it’s versatile and reliable, this is a good choice for farm use where you’re expected to do a lot of welding every single day. There are other sturdy models on this list, but they’re too bulky so they’re not that easy to move around.You’ll struggle to move your heavyweight welder every time you need to pay attention to the broken fence.
The gauge is at the front of the machine so you can adjust its performance to suit all your needs. It’s in PSI so you don’t have to worry about conversions. Starting the arc on a rusty metal can be a little problematic. Other than that, the machine works perfectly.
While plasma cutting is a great feature, this machine can’t cut thicker metal sheets which might be a bit inconvenient. However, if you’re buying it mainly for welding, this should be your number one choice. I recommend this welder for professional and beginner users because it’s easy to use and will last for long.
If you’re looking for a versatile and well-built machine, then you need to take a look at this one from Lotos. It can do plasma cutting, TIG welding, and stick welding so you can finish all your welding jobs. It can be used to cut metal sheets, painted surfaces, and rusty surfaces easily and fast with minimum slag.
Unlike other flimsy models, this one can tackle more challenging metals like alloy steel, stainless steel, mild steel, copper and aluminum thanks to the hazard-free compressed air. There are safety controls; the torch control and heat control to protect your welder while you’re using it.
Although this is a heavy-duty machine, it can be set up in 1 minute. This means that you’ll spend more time focusing on your job. It provides a stable and easy arc start with a deep welding pool. It can work with several acid or basic electrodes.
Moreover, you can use this machine for plasma cutting and TIG welding. The non-touch plasma cutter provides a power of 10 to 50A. The 200A TIG welder using the hand torch control works on thinner-gauge materials. However, this welder doesn’t come with a foot pedal which is a bit disappointing given the price.
The machine is compatible with dual volts and provides power of 200A at 220V 150A at 110V when used for stick welding. The pilot arc technology allows you to cut without touching the tip of the metal. This machine weighs 42 pounds so it can be moved around thanks to the built-in handle. However, if you’re looking for a lightweight model then you need to look for another one.
As the name suggests, this welder is designed for easy welding so it’s an excellent choice for beginners and experienced users. Forney offers a reliable welder that delivers high-quality results at an affordable price.
This is a compact welder that weighs 9.65 pounds so it’s easy to move around. It can do TIG welding, although you’ll have to buy the TIG torch separately.
It can handle very thin electrodes up to 1/8 inches. The easy-start guarantees that you won’t waste time getting the machine started, so it’s a good choice for lightweight maintenance and repair jobs. There’s no foot pedal operation on this welder.
With the process selector switch, you can adjust this stick welder to finish all jobs in the desired quality. It features an overload LED that tells you how your machine is operating. There’s also a knob that you can use to adjust the amperage.
With only 90A of output and 30% cycle at 80A, this is a good job for fencing and repairs. However, this welder won’t suit heavy-duty industrial jobs. The power cord is too short so it’s a bit limiting.
Zeny offers users this versatile and portable welder that can be used to weld iron, steel, aluminum and lots of other metals. It features a smart design that allows you to change from AC to DC power using a simple switch. It supports 110V and 220V input voltage and will automatically switch when it’s connected.
This welder comes with an easy to use handle that allows you to carry it around although it weighs 18 pounds. It’s an excellent choice for people who like to move around the jobsite to have all the work done. It’s also a good choice for someone who likes to finish several jobs around the house.
You can easily control the amperage thanks to the LED meter so you pick the right one for the metal you’re welding. The welder offers 3 levels of protection; overload, over-voltage, and over-current protection.
High efficiency is another interesting feature as it provides a 60% duty cycle. The connector is made of copper to provide good conductivity. It features a smart fan design dissipates heat while you’re working. The welding thickness ranges from 1 to 15mm so it’s suitable for home decorations, automotive maintenance, shipyard maintenance, and sheet metal processing.
However, most of the time the arc doesn’t last for long. This means that you’ll have to spend more time to get the job done. It’s a good choice for amateurs but it’s not suitable for more heavy-duty industrial jobs.
The advanced IGBT inverter technology allows you to weld stainless steel, mild steel, cast iron, and aluminum using this machine from Dekopro. This is a convenient stick welder that weighs 12 pounds and comes with a handle so you can move it around wherever you want to go. It’s also easy to store after use.
Due to its leading control mode, you’ll enjoy closed-loop feedback control which keeps the output voltage stable as you’re using the welder. It adjusts the voltage to match the welding current as you’re working. Even if you’re a first-timer, you’ll be able to weld with a professional finish on more delicate jobs where appearance matters. This is why it’s a good choice for working on the body of your car or boat.
It comes with a 9-foot cable and operates quietly, unlike other welders which can be too noisy. It’s dual voltage compatible, providing a duty cycle of 40% at 110V and 60% at 220%. Starting the arc is relatively easy which makes this welder a great choice for people who want strong welds without paying lots of cash.
Using this welder on 110V isn’t recommended as it doesn’t turn on easily. It’s not as sturdy as more expensive models that last longer.
For more serious and experienced users, this multi-process welder from Everlast is the right one to pick. Although it’s expensive, it’s good value for money because of the multiple processes you can handle using one reliable machine.
Just like other expensive models, this one can get its power from 110 and 220v outlets, so you can use it wherever you go. However, what I really love about this welder is its ability to switch quickly between TIG, stick welding, and plasma cutting in a blink using the selector switch. It’s a reliable machine that won’t disappoint you regardless of the job you need to finish thanks to the exceptional arc stability whether you’re using TIG or stick welding.
This is a heavy-duty machine that you can’t easily move around. It weighs 60 pounds so it’s not for you if you’re looking for a portable or lightweight model.
It saves on power thanks to the inverter design and there’s an alarm that warns you when the duty cycle is exceeded. It can even work on a generator that provides 10,000 watts of clean power.
Plasma cutting and welding work on almost every metal so it’s a versatile machine that you can use for various purposes. This is an extremely expensive model that I recommend only for professional users.
Because of its weight, you should set it up in your workshop for the most serious jobs. However, if you’re looking for a reliable and durable welding machine that can be used for various applications then you should stick to this one.
When you’re working on the jobsite, you’ll appreciate the versatility of this welder. It’s compatible with most generators and comes with good safety features against over-voltage under-voltage, over-current, and overload so it’s a good choice for the jobsite when the electric current isn’t stable as it automatically compensates the fluctuations.
This is a dual voltage welder that operates at 110V and 230V. It comes with an LCD so you can adjust the welding current for best results. It’s a good choice for working on thicker materials, but might be difficult to use with thinner than 10g metal.
Although this is not a powerful model, it features good arc stability with a hot start and ant-sticking features. It comes with an intelligent fan that reduces the temperature of the machine to keep it in good condition. It also reduces the amount of contaminants pulled through the power source.
Post-weld clean-up is easy because this machine delivers clean and strong welds by minimizing spatter. The duty cycle is 60% so it’s a good choice for medium-scale jobs. It weighs 16 pounds and comes with a handle so you can move it around conveniently.
Starting this welder is a bit challenging. The copper-clad aluminum cables get too warm and are prone to damage, so you might need to replace them after a few uses.
Stick welders are great machines that cater to the needs of beginners and experienced users. I chose the PrimeWeld Plasma Cutter, 200 Amps Tig Welder and 200 Amps Stick Welder Combo as the best stick welder because it’s quite easy to use and covers various applications which makes it good value for money. It can do plasma cutting, as well as TIG and stick welding so you can use it or multiple purposes.
While it comes with some disadvantages, stick welding is the most popular welding process that people use at home or on the jobsite. You need to pay attention to your needs and applications so you can buy a suitable machine. I guarantee that any machine you choose from this list won’t let you down.
Stick welding is probably the most commonly used method of welding metals. It uses fixed-length electrodes and electric power to weld different metals together.
The stick welder has a ground cable that you connect to the part you want to weld and there’s another cable with an electrode holder. The electrode features a solid metal core covered by mineral and metal compounds joined together by a binding agent.
The rod then transfers the electric current to the arc by creating a short circuit and high temperature. The electric arc melts the metal parts and the electrode itself.
The electrode’s job is to provide arc stability and protect the welded metal from reacting with gases in the atmosphere that might change its properties through oxidation. Here are some reasons why stick welding is very popular.
These are some of the advantages that tempt people to choose stick welders for their tough jobs. However, stick welding comes with a few limitations that you need to consider before shopping for the best sticker welder on the market.
Nevertheless, if you’re looking for hassle-free and straightforward welding, then stick welding is for you. You can easily learn how to become better at it if you have the right machine.
Stick welders are suitable for farmers, home welders, and pipe welders. These welders are usually easy to move around so they’re suitable for various applications. All you have to do is to switch the electrode to match the metal you want to work with and you’ll be good to go.
Unless you’re very good at what you do, stick welding shouldn’t be used for car bodywork and other applications where the appearance matters. The results are not always as neat as other types of welding.
While most people look primarily at the price tag, this shouldn’t be your first priority while shopping for a stick welder. Of course, you need to stick to your budget but there are more important factors to consider so you can buy a machine that suits your needs.
Stick welders are usually designed to work with home current of 110-120V. This is a good choice for hobbyists as well as professionals who don’t want to use a converter.
Most machines can also operate at 220-240V. The higher voltage allows for higher output and amperage welds. This guarantees a cleaner arc and a better result.
If your welder output is too weak, you’ll spend more time passing the machine until the welding process is over. A machine with at least 100A is a good choice if you’re doing regular welding. Beginners can get away with less power since they will be using the machine occasionally.
This refers to the amount of time you can keep on using the machine before you need to let it cool off. A 60% duty cycle means that you can use your machine for 6 minutes and let it rest for 4 minutes before it’s ready for use.
A longer duty cycle is definitely a plus for a professional welder. It allows you to finish your job faster and in better quality. However, if you’re a beginner, you might not want to spend a huge amount of money on a heavy-duty stick welder that has a long duty cycle.
This is an important feature, especially for beginners. All the controls, knobs, and switches must be easy to use and understand. Having an LCD is a huge plus so you can always keep an eye on how your machine is performing.
Fortunately, most stick welders come with easy controls as they’re quite basic. You can adjust the power easily and see if the duty cycle is about to be exceeded.
Safety features guarantee that your machine will last for long. Overload protection stops the machine when you exceed the duty cycle, thus protecting its components. Some machines also feature a fan that automatically operates when the welder overheats.
When you’re working on the jobsite, there might be some fluctuations in the electric current. Some stick welders have a feature that stabilizes the current and protects the machine from such changes.