Many people have difficulties when their projects include outdoor welding. In such cases, a right stick welder can be all that you need to tackle problems. You can still get an excellent penetration of the metal, and you do not have to worry about wind concerns.
Regardless of the conditions, stick welders can allow you to finish your projects easily. They are simple to use, portable, and more importantly, very reliable.
However, it can be quite challenging to find an appropriate stick welder. Check our article today for the best stick welder you can get on the current market!
Table of Contents
- What Is a Stick Welder?
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Stick Welder
- How to Choose the Best Stick Welder?
- Best Stick Welder Reviews 2020
- Best Stick Welder Under $200
- Best Stick Welder Under $500
- Best Stick Welder Under $1000
What Is a Stick Welder?
Some people know it as a stick welder, while others may be more familiar with the name Shielded Metal Arc Welding. Some even call it Covered Electrode. But no matter what you call, it is a popular gadget to join different metals using fixed length electrode as well as electric power.
There are many different kinds and sizes of electrodes when it comes to sticking welding, which have significant effects on arc voltage requirements (ranging between 16 and 40 volts) and amperage requirements (between 20 to 550 amps).
Depending on what types of electrodes you are using, the current can be alternating or direct. However, it is essential to manage the current level through the power source within an appropriate range, so you can control the variables of welding.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Stick Welder
Stick welder has more outstanding benefits compared to other types of welding. We want to illustrate several strong points that you should make notice when choosing stick instead of other welding types.
- The best option for confined space
Firstly, stick welders are perfect options in case you work in a narrow location. Other welders demand large space, for example, you need a large working area for MIG welders with guns. Meanwhile, the presence of stick welders is suitable for you to work in corners or edges.
In addition, when it comes to portability, stick welders are better than other types. Lightweight choices are available on the market, such as the best TIG or MIG welders. However, the versatility of stick welders are undefeatable, and it is unnecessary to have some shielding gas like the other product lines of welders.
- Low costs
If you are choosing between stick welders and others, this factor will help you make the final decision. This welding product line usually comes at a lower cost.
In general, you only need around $250 or less for most stick welders on the market. Some stick welders even come at $100, but they have a limited number of features, which you should take into consideration.
In contrast, there are stick welders sold at over $500 for professional welders as well.
Besides, another advantage is the diversity of the electrode, which allows you to choose from various stick welders on the market. Rods can be useful for additional penetration and burning through rust. As a result, you can cope with smooth weld or overcome strange positions more easily.
Meanwhile, there are still some disadvantages of stick welders which may interfere in your work. It should be carefully considered before you have your final selection. Fortunately, some of them can be quickly solved .
If you are a beginner, you probably have some difficulties in the first try. Even if you try solid penetration, it is possible to weld a few inches, and you will need a new electrode or stick quickly.
In other words, you may waste a lot of electrodes and stick when you are getting used to stick welder.
A great weld usually requires some good skills. If you work for your home or for fun, the welding is not necessarily perfect. Nevertheless, stick welding can be a bad option for professional welders as they have to pour more time and skills to finish the project.
The low level of penetration is another drawback of sticks or electrodes.
How to Choose the Best Stick Welder?
Before welding something, it is essential to understand some basic information about welding and more importantly, how to choose the best stick welder for your work. Here are several tips for you to consider before making the purchase.
Identify Your Needs
If your goal is to find the best stick welder for the money, it is even more crucial to understand what you need from the use of stick welders. Do you need it for home use only and how much is the workload of welding in your circumstance?
This step helps you avoid wasting too much money on a welder which has too many features you do not need.
Set your budget
An extreme factor that you should draw your attention is the budget. The amount of money should be set before choosing which one meet your requirements. Based on the predetermined strategy, you will find it easier to find out the most suitable welder for your project with the appropriate price range. Unless you set the spending, you will be occupied by thousands of available choices in the market.
Primary Power Demands
Another important factor to think about is whether the work is home or industry. Household projects are usually associated with thin metals, so all you need is some kind of welders that can well with these metals.
However, with thick metals, you need a high-power welder which apparently comes at a higher cost.
Even though weight is not a priority in the selection of stick welders, you do need to consider the portability carefully. You should start by getting several high-quality options on the market, then go for the lightest.
However, you should pay attention to the size of the machine. It can be considered as a strong point when you can carry it somewhere else easily.
Duty cycle is one of the most essential factors that you need to notice before selecting the suitable welder. Duty cycle illustrates the time duration that the welder can work before turning off and cooling.
Normally, the more expensive welder, the longer duty cycles the machines supply. Thick metals or stainless steel also takes more time on task, so that the long duty cycle should be prioritized if your work related to these types of materials.
The manufacturers are now offering around 20% and 60% duty cycles for their product. However, many of them have improved this index up to 70%. You can base on this feature to select your own welder.
Ease of use and operation
If you are a newbie, you will definitely focus on this feature. The stick welder should come with the easy installation and usage, so that you can save time for operating the machine. The ease of use also makes you feel more confident in welding for the very first experiences.
Some people care about this factor so much, while others don’t. In fact, it depends on your flexibility and budget.
There is no denying that maintenance is essential for all machines, even the best ones. Therefore, no matter how good the welder is advertised to be, you should always take care of it and maintain it on a regular basis so that you do not have to replace it with a new one too soon.
Best Stick Welder Reviews 2020
|Stick Welder||Voltage||Amperage Range||Dimensions||Weight||Editor’s Rating|
|Amico ARC-160D 160 Amp Stick Arc DC Welder||115/230V||160 A||16.6 x 7.5 x 11.8"||16 lbs||4.4/5|
|Forney Easy Weld 298 Arc Welder 100ST||120V||90 A||16.2 x 8 x 12.5"||13.74 lbs||4.5/5|
|ZENY Arc Welding Machine DC Inverter Dual Voltage 110/230V||115/230V||160 A||18 x 10 x 14"||18 lbs||4.5/5|
|AUTOOL EWM-508 ARC-200 DC Inverter Welder||110/220V||160 A||11.4 x 7.9 x 5.1"||12.35 lbs||4.4/5|
|HITBOX ARC Welder 200A Stick DC 220V Inverter Welding Machine||220V||200 A||9.1 x 9.1 x 9.7"||7.72 lbs||4.0/5|
|Forney Easy Weld 180 ST 120V/230 V Welder||120/230V||180 A||11 x 6.3 x 14.1"||23.3 lbs||5.0/5|
|Forney Easy Weld 140 MP, Multi-Process Welder||110V||140 A||15 x 12.5 x 20"||25.8 lbs||4.4/5|
|EVERLAST PowerARC 140 140amp Stick IGBT Welder||120/240V||140 A||20 x 12.5 x 13.5"||24.8 lbs||4.3/5|
|PRIMEWELD TIG225X 225 Amp IGBT AC DC Tig/Stick Welder||110/220V||160 A||24 x 19 x 12"||90 lbs||4.6/5|
|ESAB 0558101694 MiniArc 161LTS Stick Package||115/230V||160 A||15.8 x 5.8 x 10"||28.8 lbs||4.9/5|
We will walk you through three types of the best stick welders based on their prices. Of course, they have good performances and supply you with a wide range of choices. Come and find out your best stick welder now!
Best Stick Welder Under $200
In the market, we can find several brands that have good welding offers for beginners. If you want to buy a welding machine for practice or small projects around your house, you can consider this price range of $200. It should be the first priority when you are a newcomer in welding!
With this price segment, we have five outstanding best stick welder under $200 as below:
1. Amico ARC-160D STICK Welder – I Highly Recommended
Amico ARC 160D can be considered as a DC stick welder that provides users a dual voltage input of 115 and 230-volt package.
This item weighs 16 pounds and has its own dimensions of 16.6 x 7.5 x 11.8 inches. With its design, ARC 160D is one of the small and flexible welders in the market.
ARC 160D has an LCD display, which is a strong point of this product. It helps users record the voltage easily.
The Insulated Gate Bi-Polar Transistor (IGBT) Module Technology in ARC 160D is also an advantage. This application in the model is efficient and used for fast switch. It is a good way to improve the ability of over or under-voltage protection during welding process.
This item possesses many outstanding features such as automatic compensation for voltage fluctuation, and overload protection, etc. It means when you work with the inconsistent power, the fan system will cool itself and your machine will be in safe condition.
This machine provides a generous output, which is capable of welding in many material types. You will feel comfortable when you have some weldings to complete.
However, there are complaints that the users can’t maintain an arc on either the reverse or straight polarity settings.
With this niche, ARC 160D is still a smart choice for both individual and professional purposes.
- LCD Display is easy for users to control voltage
- IGBT Module Technology
- Intelligent fan system prevents overheating
- Not stable
2. Forney Easy Weld 298 Arc Welder
Different from ARC 160D, Forney Easy Weld 298 is a single voltage input welder. This item has the input of 120 volts and the output of 90 volts. Its weight is 13.74 pounds and the dimension is 16.2 x 8 x 12.5 inches.
This item is ideal for beginners who want to repair the outdoor items or rusty and thin metal and maintain pieces of equipment.
As its name “Easy Weld”, the main purpose of this device is defined. It is easy for the users to weld in a long distance. Moreover, this product line provides us a cheap, flexible and portable option for working in a small area.
The negative point that you can find out in this model is that it can provide user a fairly cramped weld. Hence, this model is suitable for small projects.
As one of the cheapest welder option, Forney 298 is not highly recommended because of its short lifespan.
- Cheap, Portable
- Easy to handle
- Suitable for beginners to use
- Short longevity
- Only for small welding work
3. ZENY 20-160A Stick MMA Electric Welder – I Highly Recommended
If you are a newbie in welding and you want to seek for a light welder, ZENY 20 Arc Welding Machine can be a good idea.
It is designed with 18 pounds in weight and 18 x 10 x 14 inches in dimensions. This item owns the dual voltage of 110 and 230V.
The best point of this unit is multi-process feature. It means that you can use this device with different thickness of materials such as aluminum or stainless steel.
We have researching another interesting fact that it is supported by the voltage compensation technology inside. This compensator may maintain the substance of the weld in the variety of voltage.
The IGBT Module Technology and higher inverter (up to 85% of its efficiency) are applied in this model. It is a good way for us to protect the power in most instances as well as a great transition between AC and DC.
Besides, LCD Display and built-in fan systems are utilized to control the usage. 3 levels of protection including overheating protection, overcurrent protection, and overpressure protection are the important factors that ZENY 20 Machine provides us.
About package, this machine is also associated with an electrode holder with 10 ft. cable, work clamp with 10 ft. Cable, input power adapter cable & plug, and owner’s manual.
This preparation from the manufacturer is everything you need to have an easier welding process.
On the other hand, this device has its small drawback. The manual in this package is not clear, the bilingual instruction makes the users confused.
- Lightweight and portable
- Easy to carry on
- High-speed fan system improves heat dissipation
- LCD Display
- Suitable for both individual and manufacturing purposes.
- Not durable
4. AUTOOL EWM-508 ARC-200 DC Inverter Welder
AUTOOL EWM-508 ARC-200 is a DC stick inverter welder which is highly recommended by Amazon’s choice. This product weighs 12.35 pounds and has its dimensions of 11.4 x 7.9 x 5.1 inches. This shape is small so that we can take it everywhere we need it.
This welder, like the above products, owns a smart IGBT system, which plays an important role in completing welding. It saves power and improves the efficiency of the machine.
It also offers us full protection by the automatic power-off system to reduce overheating while in use. The high-speed fans are applied in this model to dissipate the heat escaping from the machine. The speed of the fan is up to 4,100 turns per minute.
In addition, this model is designed with digital chip control. These built-in chips create a good way to complete the welding exactly, safely, and stably. The supplier offers us a 3-year warranty for this model.
This machine can meet the demands of both amateurs and professionals.
- Smart IGBT system
- Automatic power-off
- High-speed fans
- Digital chip control
- Noise from fan system
5. HITBOX ARC Welder 200A Stick Inverter Welder
We can accessibly find out that this item has the most outstanding feature of the versatility and portability.
This machine has a weight of 7.72 pounds and the dimensions of 9.1 x 9.1 x 9.7 inches. Due to the small and lightweight appearance, you can find it easy to carry and take it everywhere you need. This device is one of the most lightest welders available in the niche.
Not have many differences from these above models, HITBOX ARC 200A is a DC stick inverter welding machine with the IGBT technology.
Moreover, it runs off 220-volt industrial power, a popular power input in the market.
The duty cycle illustrates the capability of the machine. The more duty cycles, the longer time the machine will work without stopping for cooling. This unit also creates a wide welding range of 10-120A with a 40% duty cycle.
Thanks to the design, this unit suits small repair and decoration projects.
However, you should consider about the machine’s lifespan before deciding to choose this item.
- Lightweight and portable
- Easy to use
- Quick responses from customer services
- Short longevity
Best Stick Welder Under $500
We also have other choices for a larger budget. Let’s have a quick look through the best stick welder under $500 as following:
1. Forney Easy Weld 180 ST 120V/230V Welder
Forney Easy Weld 180 ST is another stick welding model from Forney Brand. This item is not too heavy, only 23.3 pounds and 11 x 6.3 x 14.1 inches in dimensions, so that you can bring it along with ease.
This model also has the Easy Start Technology which makes the running start become smoothly and rapidly. Thanks to this revolution, it also creates a stable arc and eradicates electrodes sticking, too. It is a strong point for the welding process, especially if you are an absolute newcomer.
Easy Weld 180ST runs off the 120 and 230 dual voltage that allows effortless welding in the garage, metal welding or light industrial projects. The key features of this item allow us to control the heat usage.
- Not heavy
- DC Stick and TIG welder
- Maneuverable and easy to handle
- Not much sparkling when welding
- Dual voltage
- The fan system takes time to turn on
2. Forney Easy Weld 271, 140 MP Welder
Another strong candidate from Forney family is Forney Easy Weld 271. With the weight of 25.8 pounds, quite heavy and stable, this device is designed in the shape of 15 x 12.5 x 20 inches. It uses gas or gasless wire for welding.
This model is a combination of everything you want in a welding machine. It is 3 in 1 multi-processing equipment, which you can use as a MIG, a DC TIG, or even a stick welder. This model has three switch positions so that you will find it easy to change your welding process.
Its portability allows you more flexibility while you weld and increases your productivity wherever your project is.
This item is an obvious choice for home or farm repairs. It suits small projects like maintaining the garage and welding in households.
Forney 271 also offers the users a 12-month warranty when you decide to choose this item, so that you can have peace of mind when using this convenient item.
- Multi-processing machine
- Not Heavy
- Accessories for TIG Welder are not included in the package
- Difficult to install
3. EVERLAST PowerARC 140 Stick IGBT Welder
EVERLAST is one of the most well-known welding manufacturers in the market. It supplies with the market a large number of welding types of equipment, and EVERLAST Power ARC 140 is launched according to the aim of bringing the customers a 2 in 1 Stick and TIG welder.
To begin with, IGBT inverter Technology along with a dual input voltage of 120/230 volt are designed as all welding machine.
It also attracts the consumers by the compact design. Its weight is just 24.8 pounds and its dimension is 20 x 12.5 x 13.5 inches. It is portable enough for you to handle or take it anywhere for your work.
Thanks to automatic hot start technology like other welders in the market, this machine helps you save your time and reduce the electrode sticking.
It combines two separate processes, TIG welder and Stick welder, which creates a welding range of 140A with 35% duty cycles.
EVERLAST 140, with the smart design, is a good choice for welding stainless or steel.
- IGBT Inverter Technology
- Not heavy and portable
- TIG and Stick Welder
- Automatic hot start
- Good duty cycle
- A little warm in gloves when welding.
- Not include the gas regulator when using TIG welder function.
- EVERLAST customer service is not recommended.
Best Stick Welder Under $1000
Having a budget of $1,000, you have plenty of choices for welding in your project. We are spending a lot of time to research and we want to give you 2 outstanding candidates for this segment to make you clear before the final decision. Let’s start with the 2 best stick welders under $1000 now!
1. PRIMEWELD TIG225X Stick Welder
This product comes from the PRIMEWELD brand. With the price under $800, which are the ultimate features that make this product different from the others in the market?
Firstly, TIG225X weighs up to 90 pounds, much heavier than the above products. Its dimension is 24 x 19 x 12 inches. It gains the 7th position in the TIG Welding equipment according to Amazon’s choice.
This item also possesses IGBT inverter technology, but in advanced condition with Pulse Width Modulation (PWM). We do not need to worry about the power saving when you get used to this machine. This is a great improvement of reliable factor from the manufacturer.
Besides, 110V/220V Dual voltage and many pulses are applied in this item. These features make this product more flexible and reliable when using .
The ease of use as well comes from both hand torch start and precise foot pedal welding with high quality to control the heat. Especially, the hand torch is made in the USA. It is clear that this design is the apple of the customers’ eyes.
This model is a combination of TIG and Stick Welder. It supplies a wide range of usage for both individuals as well as professional users.
- Dual Voltage
- Advanced inverter IGBT technology with PWM
- Have both hand torch and accurate foot pedal welding to control the heat
- TIG and Stick welder
- Good customer service
- Not easy to carry on everywhere
- Difficult to set up without handbook
2. ESAB 0558101694 MiniArc 161LTS Stick Package
Another alternative welder for this segment is ESAB 0558101694. This item is designed as a stick welder with 28 pounds in weight and 15.8 x 5.8 x 10 inches in product dimensions.
This product package is a TIG/ Stick welder that offers an automatic input supply either 115V or 230V.
It also supplies a fix hot start parallel with fix arc force, so that it gives the users the expected versatility. This is the most attractive features that makes this device differ from the others currently in the market.
This machine also operates a various range of DC output from 5A to 160A. The package of products includes a shoulder strap, carry case, 10-footwork cable, 10-foot welding cable, and clamp. These associated accessories make your assembling process much easier and more useful when you use.
It is a great choice for professional use or individuals with complex TIG welding jobs.
However, this item has no foot pedal for the heat control as other available models in the market.
- Lightweight and portable
- Control system is easy to use
- Hot start, arc force, lift arc TIG are applied
- No foot pedal
- No regulator or TIG torch
Nowadays, all the best stick welders mentioned above are completely competitive in the market. To recap, identification of your needs, versatility, portability, maintenance are the criteria that you should be concerned about. In terms of price, this article gives us some advices on welding machines based on your budget. If you can choose a right welder, you may enhance the work efficiency and of course, tackles all the tasks related to welding projects.
If you are a newbie, all the features should be taken into account, and you can find your right partner.
We hope that the best stick welder in 2020 article is useful for you. If your friends also need welders, do not hesitate to share this article for them.
Thank you and see you next time!